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Lawn and Garden

Showing Love

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02/01/2011 - February may not be a great time to go out in the yard and do some gardening in Wyoming, but with Valentines Day just around the corner there are definitely a lot of plants and flowers available in stores. This gives the plant lover an opportunity to enjoy plants indoors until the weather is nice enough to go outside and get busy gardening.

I suppose you could say that I am writing this month's article not for my usual audience, but more for people who might be looking for a gift for someone in their lives for Valentine's Day. Traditionally roses, and candies are the first thing people think of when looking for possible Valentine's gifts, but there are a lot of other flowers and plants out there that are equally beautiful, and many will last even longer.

The first live plant that comes to mind as a great alternative to roses, or other cut flowers is the orchid. Orchids are great not only because they are beautiful and long lasting, but also because they are exotic and not as commonplace as many other flowers. Phalaenopsis orchids are the most common and readily available, and they usually have 5-10 large blooms per stem. They range in color from white to magenta purple, and all shades in between.

Cymbidium, and Dendrobium orchids are much less common so normally they can only be found at greenhouses or florist shops. They come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. In fact these orchids vary so much in appearance that if there were 20 different varieties on the same table it would be hard to tell that any of them were related. An added bonus to these types of orchids is that most people haven't seen them many times if ever, and this makes them seem all the more exotic.

Orchids usually have a very long bloom time, followed by an even longer vegetative time. Although there is a long span between blooms, they are pretty easy to keep alive, and so even a novice gardener can have them in their home.

Bromeliads and Hibiscus are two other tropical flowers that make wonderful gifts. Bromeliads have a flower shaped much like the top of a pineapple fruit, or a thick feather shaped bloom. They are very easy to care for, with blooms that last for months. They only ask for medium light and water about two times a week. They come in nearly every color imaginable but are most common in pink, blue, red and yellow. Hibiscus are a Casper grown specialty of ours. They have multitudes of soft tropical flowers, in colors ranging from yellow to red or even pink or orange. Of the three, they are a little harder to take care of. -- not because they require anything special, but because they are very fast growers. So if you miss a watering when it is needed, they will be sure to cover the carpet with leaves for you. Or if they do not get enough sun, they will stop blooming for you. But don't let their temperamental nature scare you away; if they are well watched, and in bright light , they will brighten a room in your home like no other plant can. Whether you choose to give a gift of a card, flowers, or simply a kind word doesn't matter. What does matter is that you give something. Valentines Day is not a holiday when we give people gifts that they NEED, it is a day when we give gifts to let the important people in our lives know that we NEED THEM.

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