Winter has well and truly set in, and to tackle what can be a tough time for many, Squire’s Garden Centres has come up with some green-fingered suggestions to lift our senses and help beat the winter blues.
As we near the end of January, the bright, colourful decorations and festive cheer of Christmas become a distant memory and we are left searching for ways to shake off the effects of Blue Monday (the Monday of the last full week in January), widely considered the saddest day of the year.
In response, the experts at Squire’s have developed a list of ‘pick me up’ plant recommendations, naming the key things to look for as colour, scent, good foliage, and ability to withstand cooler temperatures.
“We find that customers need a bit of extra inspiration at this time of year,” says Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s Garden Centres.
“In addition to the bare spot where a lovely Christmas tree once stood, we are staring down the barrel of another couple of extremely cold, dark months, before the first signs of spring start to rear their head.
“There are, however, a number of easy and relatively inexpensive plants that will bring a bit of colour and life back into the home.
“It is also, of course, well known that caring for plants has a positive impact on mood and wellbeing and therefore, is the perfect activity for this time of year.”
To add a burst of colour Squire’s recommend the Anthurium, an exotic houseplant with waxy blooms. The plant also has a decent-sized leaf area, which is good for oxygen exchange.
A classic option is the Phalaenopsis Orchid, a popular species that is good for beginners due to its suitability to indoor living, and ability to flower all year round. As in the case of all Orchids it has attractive, structured leaves and with its love of lower light levels, thrives well in the winter months.
Tropical plants such as the Guzmania Lingulata, from the same family as the pineapple, are a fun option for those who like to make a bit of a statement. Tropical plants like humidity, so Squire’s suggests steaming your plant in the bathroom or kitchen every couple of days. They also like diffused, bright light – as opposed to direct sunlight.
With their profusion of beautiful flowers, a pot of Jasminum is the perfect way to add a lovely sent to your living room. Purchasing Jasminum in flower now, means you are likely to get a second flowering later in the year.
Gardenia with large, showy flowers, that open white and fade to a deep ivory, is another fragrant flower with a pleasant scent that blooms into winter. However, careful watering and an even temperature are needed for the buds to flourish.
Squire’s recommend a flax plant, such as a Dracaena, for that lonely corner where the Christmas tree once stood. The increasingly popular Dracaena is good at withstanding lower temperatures and so responds well in a room that does not always have the heating on.
Window box options:
A winter planted container (sitting on a windowsill inside or outside) is fun to put together, and evergreen herbs are a great place to start. Rosemary is hardy and performs well in colder temperatures, in addition to being a useful herb to have on handy for winter roasts. Lavender, an old favourite, won’t flower just yet but is another plant that works well in this situation. Newly available daffodil plants can also be included, ready for spring.
For more information, ideas and inspiration visit your local Squire’s centre or www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk. Prices of recommended plants range from £2.99 – £22.99.