Christmas Themed Plants


TheGardenLady received this question from Sally:

Are there any other Christmas themed plants other than the mistletoe?

There are numerous Christmas themed plants and there is a long and interesting history of the reasons for the use of these plants during the holiday season. Many of these holiday themed plants are used in the US today. TheGardenLady will touch on some of the most popular Christmas plants. Common holiday plants are listed in this website, where there is a lot of interesting information given besides the list of holiday plants. In other parts of the world they may also use different plants.

The first Christmas plant materials, as told in the New Testament, were Frankincense and Myrrh. Both are resins of trees used as incense or fragrances. They were the most expensive substances in early history and were therefore the highest tribute offered. Both were and are used today as fragrances. Franckincense is from the Boswellia sacra tree and Myrrh is from the Camphor tree, Commiphora myrrha. They are are found in Oman, Yemen and the Northeast part of Somalia. Oman still produces perfumes made of Frankincense or on you can get soap made of Frankincense and Myrrh- All Natural Bath Soap – Frankincense & Myrrh Zum Bar Soap by Indigo Wild, 3oz. or Frankincense and Myrrh can be bought as fragrant oils or for incense.

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Aspidistra: The Cast Iron Plant


TheGardenLady received this question from Rachel:

I’m at college studying floristry and I’m trying to find the seasonal availability for Aspidistra but can not find it anywhere.  I was wondering if you could help me on that one please.

The Aspidistra is a plant that is a native of the Eastern Himalayas, Taiwan, China, and Japan.  In the US it is grown as a houseplant unless you live in Zones 7 (preferably 7b) and warmer climates.

In the warmer climates the Aspidistra plant is grown outdoors as an evergreen foliage plant.  (You can attempt to grow it in Zone 6b provided you don’t have temperatures dropping too low because a hard winter will knock the leaves off, or, although they probably will grow back by June because the root is so tough, will look ratty if frozen.) (In 6b you can attempt to grow Aspidistra outdoors if you put a wire container around it and fill it with a mulch of something like leaves or boughs of evergreens to a depth of a few feet during the winter.)

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Christy Baker

I am long term Philadelphia resident. I have a BA in psychology, a Master’s in Family Therapy. I am a certified Family Herbalist and Consulting Herbalist. I am currently pursuing a certificate in Horticulture Therapy and a second Master’s in Landscape Architecture.

Protecting Encore Azaleas from the Cold


TheGardenLady received this message from Encore Azalea:

Cold temperatures are quickly approaching and Encore Azalea® would like to help you prepare for winter’s frost.

Azaleas, like most plants, may need protection during freezes and extremely cold weather. If you feel that your Encore needs protection, any cloth material such as  burlap, old blankets, or sheets can be used to cover your plant.  It is recommended that you drive stakes in the ground around your Encore and drape the cloth cover over stakes.  Foliage in contact with the cover can be injured, so try to minimize cover contact with plant. 

Mulch heavily to protect the Encore Azalea’s roots.  Also, reduce water before the first frost.  Then, after a couple of hard freezes, water well to provide moisture.  This will help the plants to go dormant, or “harden off”. 
For more information on Encore Azalea®, please visit this site.  

How You Can Better Help TheGardenLady So She Can Better Help You


Dear readers,

I love hearing from you and receiving all your questions.  I love that my readership is from around the world. For all these reasons, I thank you for being part of

However, some of the questions sent to me are often so vague that it is sometimes very difficult to feel comfortable answering them.  When the question is vague, TheGardenLady does not have a magic lens to know exactly how to help.  Even if you were to take your problem or question to your local extension office or nurseryman, they would need to get a little more information from you to best answer your question.

So, when sending a question, be as specific as you can.


If you can, get the Latin name of your plant. Knowing the Latin name would be most helpful. Because common names are different in different parts of the US and different parts of the world, a scientist by the name of  Carl Linnaeus,  approximately 270 years go, started a system for naming in Latin, ranking, and classifying organisms that is still in wide use today. This makes it easiest for everyone to be sure they are speaking about the same plant.

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Topiary PowerPoint Presentation


TheGardenLady received an amazing PowerPoint presentation of topiaries, but doesn’t know who created it and would like to give credit for it.   Click this praxim1.pps,  hit open and then enjoy.

Does anyone know the location of these topiaries?

Does anyone know other photos of great garden sites?

8 Things To Do For The Garden In December


                                      (Photograph by Daniel Starrason)

Here are 8 things you can do for the garden in December:

1. Plant bulbs until the ground freezes or during a thaw.

2. Put burlap on stakes for winter protection of broadleaf evergreens or shrubs like roses that you want to protect.

3.  Apply winter mulches to bulbs, perennials, strawberries or shrubs AFTER the ground freezes.

4. Divide spring and summer blooming clumping perennials (Those that are fall bloomers can be divided in the spring or season opposite to bloom time.)

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