Christmas Decorations to make and give -1968


December isn’t much fun in the garden, although winter flowering heathers, jasmine and the little outdoor cyclamen make a cheering patch of colour in a mild year. Most of our thoughts are spent preparing for Christmas and it is with this in mind that I thought we would discuss a few ideas for Christmas decorations and care for pot plants, which you may be giving or receiving.

I think, last year, I told you about the wire coat hangers which come from the cleaners and which make such a good base for a decoration. First bend them into a circle, or any shape you desire and then wire on holly or ivy, sprays of fir or, indeed, any evergreen. You can brighten it with shiny balls or large red paper bows – red cellophane is especially effective. If you like to whiten the leaves, us distemper, it is a little more expensive but less mess then white- wash. If you prefer to make a purely artificial decoration, cut out leaves form shiny paper, in any colour, stick a little wire down the back with sellotape and then attach these to the coat hanger and add any shiny decorations that you fancy. Once you start, you will have all sorts of bright ideas of your own.


Pot plants whitch apperar in the shops at this time of the year in ever increasing variety, make wonderful presents. The proces vary form as little as 3/6d, upwards and most of themcan be treasured for months, or even years, givein daily pleasure and a reminder of the kind friend who sent them.

There are a few general rules for their care, whitch may be of help if you have not grown these plants before. The first thing to remember is thar, at this time of the year, all these plants have been grown and probably forced in warm greenhouses with high humidity. They are then packed off to the shops and,finally, having sufferd various climatic upsets, they arrive in your frount room. This is the time to try and get them back to as even a temperature as possible. If they are on the windowsill on a cold night, don't draw the curtains over as this can kill the more tender plants over night. All except plants with hairy leaves, or cacti or succulents. like their foliage sprayed with water. Should you have central heating, once a day is not too much. The colder the atmosphere the less water the plant will need, either above or below.

Careing for them

Watering is not an easy thing to carry out wothout experance, but it is far easer to cause damage by over, rather then under, watering. Never leave plants standing in water for more then an hour or two, the soil will become salinated and sourand the roots of the plant will die. Far better to catch the plant on the point of wilting and plunge it in the sink or bucket untill the bubbles stop appearing on the surface. Dont use icy cold water form the tap, temper it with a little warm water during all the winter months. In rooms with very dry atmospheres, it is a good idea to stand your plant in a decorative bowl and pack a little damp moss around the pot. This not only keeps the roots damp, but allows a certain amount of local humidity to percolate around the leaves.

Don't worry about feeding your plant until the Spring, again more harm can be done by over, rather then under, feeding and we can come again to this subject at the appropriate time.

I am a complete pot plant fan. It is such an easy way to keep your rooms decorated at all times, otherwise i find that one is always caught out by the most important guests at the time when your flower arrangments are dead or you have none at all.

A happy Chridtmas to you all and may you go from strength to strenght in the New Year.



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