Category Archives: Ornamentals

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus by Byron Chitwood, Master Gardener. Guess what? Christmas cactus are named because they tend to bloom about Christmas time. However, they are also called Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus. When I was a kid, we called them “live forevers”. Live forevers will be described later in this article. The Christmas cactus is a native of southeast Brazil and primarily grows at an altitude of 2-7 thousand feet in mountainous areas. In Brazil, they are called “Flor de Maio” because they bloom in early summer…. Read More →

Hanging Baskets

Hanging Baskets by June Morgan, Master Gardener. Hanging baskets can add much to the outdoor porch and deck summer decor, but it can be a challenge to keep them looking their best. Proper siting, basket design and proper watering are key elements of good management. The best setting is a protected area which allows sunlight from above or the sides such as a deck canopy out of the strong winds which will tear the plants apart.  In contrast to the ordinary solid plastic container, the larger mesh basket… Read More →

Poisonous Holiday Plants

Poisonous Holiday Plants by June Morgan, Master Gardener.  If you have been following the columns by Master Gardeners, you are well aware of the main  toxic plants such as poison oak and ivy found in the summer. But decorative  winter plants also have their dangers, especially those prevalent during the holidays which can pose special threats to our pets and children. Poinsettias have a reputation for being poisonous, but it would be unlikely for a pet or child to ingest enough of the leaves to be really dangerous… Read More →

Using Plants as Holiday Centerpieces

Using Plants as Holiday Centerpieces by June Morgan This is the time to think about centerpieces for the holiday tables.  Catalogs offer glitzy and expensive arrangements, but the savvy gardener can use a lot of what is at home for a do-it-yourself project. For autumn, pumpkins and gourds are indispensible, coming in many colors and striations. Cut pumpkins to use as candle holders or to hold a pot of blooms or greenery. For different heights and lengths of the overall design, use trailing evergreens (please avoid poison ivy… Read More →

Creating Beautiful Christmas Wreaths

Creating Beautiful Christmas Wreaths by DeAnna Hambly Traditionally, the hanging of the Christmas wreath on the front door is one of the first events signifying the Christmas season. Many people also hang wreaths on the outside windows of their home or over a fireplace. Readymade wreaths can be purchased at almost any retail store, but before you purchase yours, consider creating your own wreath with simple items found around your home and from your garden. Making homemade Christmas wreaths is an inexpensive activity that takes very little time… Read More →

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses by June Morgan. From earliest years grasses have had important functions as human and animal feed, material for basket making and decoration. Later uses were functional as paths and playing fields.  But grasses used in landscaping design were rare ingredients in American gardening until the 1880’s when Wolfgang Oehme, from Germany, produced wonderful results in U.S. public gardens.  Since then, more varieties and  uses have been developed to the delight of the gardener. Ornamental grasses come in various heights, colors, shade and sun tolerance and soil… Read More →