Christmas is only a few days away and we are looking forward to spending some of that special quality time with family and friends. Some we get to see regularly, others only at these holiday celebrations and gatherings.
The plants in our lives are kind of the same way: Some we get to see regularly or year-round and others are seasonal, or we only get to enjoy at certain seasons of the year or for special celebrations. Hopefully your Christmas season has been enriched with the color of poinsettias, the tradition of Christmas trees and the scent of wreaths or boughs of fresh evergreens.
If you got a living Christmas tree to plant out in the yard after Christmas, you want to move it outside within days after Christmas and get it planted before the tree gets too dehydrated and soft to face the rest of the winter in the yard. You can enjoy your cut trees, wreaths and boughs as long as you are being watchful for when they start getting brittle or dropping too many needles and might turn from joyful decorations to fire hazard.
Poinsettias will add color to your home for months, into March and April, if you water them correctly and keep them in indirect natural light near windows or under good artificial light.
Many also celebrate the holidays by blooming amaryllis or paperwhite bulbs. Depending on when you “force” them, you may have timed these bulbs to flower for Christmas or you may give or receive forcing bulbs for Christmas that you will now water and bring into flower to liven up the rest of winter.
You can enjoy the big red trumpets of amaryllis or the dainty white paperwhite flowers or scented blue, pink or white hyacinth spikes or pots of tulips and daffodils in many colors long before they will flower in the garden late next March into May.
Speaking of gifts, there are still many great gifts to share with your gardening friends or to treat yourself. Consider a gift certificate from their favorite nursery or garden center, a great gardening book, DVD, garden software or a subscription to a gardening magazine.
Buy them a great pair of garden hand pruners or loppers, other gardening tools or gloves or even a cold frame or hobby greenhouse to get a head start on the Oklahoma weather.
There are thousands of great plants and possible gardening gifts depending on whether your gardener has special interests in veggie gardening, bonsai, fruit trees, orchids, flower gardening, herbs, roses, perennials or another specialty.
Gardeners of all types would enjoy a membership in the Oklahoma Horticulture Society, which includes Oklahoma Gardening magazine and access to its newsletter and great programs.
Rodd Moesel serves on the Oklahoma State University Agriculture Dean's Advisory Committee. He is a former president of the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association. Email garden and landscape questions to email@example.com.