Winter Flowers

With Halloween come and gone, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. Holiday decorating can be expensive and after New Year’s those potted poinsettias, holly topiaries and Christmas cacti don’t look too appealing. It’s easy to save money by planting nontraditional holiday container gardens with plants that can be changed out from month to month. With our unseasonably warm fall, consider planting your garden before the hard frost sets in.

For hardy flowers, plant pansy, pinks, sweet alyssum, painted tongue or flowering stock. Hardy winter garden vegetables include radish, turnip, broccoli, English peas and leeks. A few plants withstand freezes that drive the thermometer to the low 20s and upper teens. These cold-weather all-stars are kale, spinach and collards, all of which grow well in a winter vegetable garden or winter container. As the holidays pass, you can replace dated-looking plants with hardier plants.

However, beware of the container you choose for your container garden. Anything that will help keep roots from freezing while not cracking during freezes will do — plastic, sturdy non-porous clay, metal, wood, or even old car tires, choose a container that will enhance your front entrance. Beware some inexpensive terra cotta clay pots, while thick enough to protect roots, can absorb water which can freeze, expand, and flake or crack. Plastic, on the other hand, which comes in many decorative styles and colors, may not crack as easily (though it most certainly can), but is not as thick as clay and may not offer the freeze protection plant roots need. Plus, as potting soil dries out, it tends to pull away from the sides of plastic pots, which can let freezing air get down around roots. The best method is to double up on pots, putting plastic pots down inside more decorative clay pots. This not only look nicer but acts as a double insulation. 

Here are some of our favorite plantings so far:

 

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