Winter Cold and Merry Christmas

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Panto in full swing now and having great fun, the two shows each day just fly by, and our dressing room looks v. Christmassy. Lots of tinsel, lights and balloons, I’m sharing with the Princess and Dame. The Dames many wigs and colourful outfits adds to the Christmas cheer, on the first night we also got flowers and traditional Christmas plants which adds the finishing touch to the display. Which started the dame asking many questions on can I / how do I keep them going? I have to say though we have an up hill battle as the dressing room is either boiling hot or freezing cold, no good for plants or people! So here’s a few pointers.

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Firstly the positioning of any plants or cut flowers is key, even light and temperature keeps them going much longer, so not right by radiators or draughty door ways. Cut flowers – do re-cut the stems take off about 3cm and cut with a slant so they don’t sit flat on the bottom of the vase which can stop them taking up water so readily. Do use the little sachet that most come with these days and make sure the vase is properly clean put it through the dish washer if you can or use a sterilising product I use the stuff that’s for babies’ bottles – good value and goes a long way. Potted up bulbs are also popular like Daffodils, normally “Paperwhite” ( lovely scent) or “Tete-a-Tete”  and Hyacinth (beautiful scent) keep well watered as they’re really thirsty  and don’t put them anywhere too warm as they will grow too quickly go leggy and flop, so a cool corridor or window sill is best.

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Cyclamen also like cool conditions bright light is ideal but not direct sunlight, and mist occasionally and don’t over water, they really don’t like it! Amaryllis ( which is actually Hippeastrum ) bulbs are really popular as gifts, as the flower spikes are amazing 1 ½ feet tall with 3-6 trumpet blooms 5-6 inches across in red, white, purple, pink and orange. Keep evenly watered when in growth and once the flower is finished cut it off but carry on watering and also feeding the bulb until the foliage withers. These bulbs will readily re-flower just make sure they never get frosted; when they’re dormant the compost is kept almost dry until growth starts again.

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Poinsettia can be kept going from one year to the next but they will never be as full on as the first year as the growers adjust the lighting to get them to flower (which are actually coloured leaves) at Christmas and also apply a chemical to stop them going leggy which is their natural habit. But if you want the challenge… give them maximum light in winter but protect from full sun in summer, water thoroughly and then wait for the compost to dry out before re-watering. Personally I just buy a new one each year!

Merry Christmas to you all, I hope it’s very colourful and festive,

Charlie.

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