Both miniature and regular cyclamen are available with flowers in red, pink and white.
Norfolk Island Pine — An evergreen but not a pine, this tree is a key export of Australia’s Norfolk Island. It grows to great heights outdoors in southern areas. Indoors, it makes a good houseplant, often lasting for years. Although Norfolk Island pine thrives under sunny conditions, it will stay attractive when grown in a room with low light if you water sparingly.
Christmas Cactus — An excellent choice if you want a long-lived houseplant that will bloom every winter without any special treatment other than a period of neglect in the fall.
Amaryllis — The same can be said for amaryllis bulbs. They bloom in winter after you put them through a period of dormancy in fall.
Poinsettia — Always a good choice for those who wish to enjoy the flowers for a while and get rid of the plant after the holidays. Making a poinsettia bloom every year is not as simple as it is with other plants.
Applications for Lynchburg’s 2016 Master Gardener training program, held Feb. 9 through April 21, are available at www.hcmga.com.
Christmas season. And remember that a birth is just the beginning – not the end – of such joy.
Today’s pick is the Norfolk Island pine tree. I was fascinated by this evergreen when we first moved to Florida because it’s a cousin of the monkey puzzle tree that grows in Ireland and Chile. Some of these pine trees in our neighborhood tower above the oaks. I was even more surprised when someone showed me the huge fruits that dropped from the top of one tree. You can’t always see these coming, so never park your car or put a patio beneath this tree. It’s a very narrow and symmetrical tree and can be kept in a container or used as a Christmas tree for a few years but will outgrow the container eventually. All parts are spiky, and you would only want to work around one with leather gloves.
Monica Brandies is an experienced gardener, freelance writer and author of 12 gardening books who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is www.gardensflorida.com.
Norfolk pine trees and Christmas cactuses. The connection of others, like paperwhites, laurel and rosemary, to the Christmas holiday is less known, but no less established.
Which plants are a danger to pets?
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)Its sap can irritate pets' mouths and stomachs, sometime causing vomiting, but its toxicity has been generally overrated.AmaryllisToxic to dogs and cats. Can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hyper-salivation, anorexia and tremors.Paperwhites (Narcissus)Toxic to dogs and cats. Can cause vomiting, salivation and diarrhea. Large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias. The bulbs are the most poisonous part.Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)Nontoxic to dogs and cats.Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)Toxic to dogs and cats. Can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Large ingestion of whole leaves can cause obstruction.Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)Nontoxic to dogs and cats.Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden and the ASPCA.
Kathie Hayden, manager of the Chicago Botanic Garden's Plant Information Service, says maintenance of these holiday-related plants after the holidays can be tricky and virtually none of them do well in Chicago's tough climate, so they must live out their lives in pots inside the house. Some, however, will enjoy living on porches, patios o... http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20151215/entlife/151219986/