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Horticulture Tips

Surprise Your Bestie With A Garden Basket

 All of you gardeners out there might be looking for something different to bestow on your special Valentine other than the traditional red roses.  If so, how about putting together a Valentine Garden Basket of potted flowering plants that will last for weeks or even months to delight your sweetheart and impress them with your creativity and thoughtfulness!

Select a large basket or container and line with plastic or I have used aluminum foil to prevent water from spilling onto your furniture or table. Check the local garden centers for small potted plants of kalanchoes, cyclamen, azaleas, violets or other blooming plants.  Look for pots of spring bulbs that are just beginning to open their flowers.  Hyacinths, tulips, paperwhites, crocuses are just a few of the selections of spring potted bulbs.  Arrange these pots in the container or basket (you can even add a pot of a foliage plant such as pothos, philodendron, ferns, or English ivy to fill in the space) and conceal the tops of the pots with Spanish moss or moss taken from your own yard. You could also conceal a small vase in the basket and put the traditional red rose or other cut flower in there as well! Keeping the plants in their pots makes it easy to water and to quickly replace any flowering plant that begins to fade—without disturbing the entire arrangement. If your valentine is a gardener or gardener want-to-be you might include a nice pair of gardening gloves or a lovely botanical plaque or other small garden related gift item.

Keep in mind that because your gift contains plants that are still growing, you’ll need to share with your Valentine how to care for their special present. Be sure to remind them that these flowers will need exposure daily to bright light and to shield them from direct sun and cold drafts. Check the soil in the pots to see when water is needed and remind them not to overwater.  If possible cool indoor temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F will extend the life of the blooms. You might suggest that the arrangement be moved to an enclosed porch or other cooler area of the house when your sweetie will not be home and moved back into the warmer, inhabited areas to be enjoyed up close when sweetie is around.

Lelia Scott Kelly, Ph.D., writes Garden Tips weekly and is a Horticulture Specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Her office is in the North Mississippi Research & Extension Center, Verona.





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