Mistletoe - 'Drualus'
Mistletoe (viscum album) is a parasitic plant that grows on trees, particularly hardwood trees such as oak and apple. A parasite is a plant or animal that needs another plant or animal to survive. As mistletoe grows on a tree it uses its roots to invade a tree's bark, which allows the mistletoe to absorb the tree's nutrients. Sometimes, mistletoe harms a tree but usually it doesn't kill it's host.
Kissing under the Berries: While Mistletoe is widly viewed as a symbol of love and fertitlity, it is also associated with peace. Ancient tales tell of enemies who encounter each other under trees bearing mistletoe. The armies laid down their arms, embraced each other and agreed to a truce until the next day. The act of goodwill is yet another possibilty of why we kiss under the mistletoe – greetings, friendly exchanges and abstaining from violence.
The secret to growing Primroses
There are lovely early flowering Primroses starting to show colour at the moment – it's such a beautiful sight; one of my favourite pick me ups. Just look at where primrose grow in the wild, usually at the side of sheltered ditches,as you know ditches can be very dry so that tells us that primroses love well drained stony soil.
Grit and grit is one of the secrets to success. When you plant primroses, dig in plenty of grit into the soil, so roots will be sitting in well drained soil.
Always plant primroses at an angle. This allows rain to run off the primrose, not into the crown which causes it to rot. Again, just look at how they grow in a ditch – always sitting sideways. Keep the plant raised out of the ground a little; this stops lower leaves becoming diseased.
When planting, add slow release fertilizer to keep the primroses in good shape and improve their flowering performance. With these few simple tips you will have long flowering primroses that will come back year after year. Did you know – primroses, and in particular the yellow kinds, are beautifully scented too!
Poinsettia has steadily become established as a quintessential Christmas flower in recent decades. It's bright red colour making it as seasonal as red berried holly (although don't forget that Poinsettias are also lovely in pink and white)
Care of your Poinsettia:
Poinsettias hate to be in a draft or to be in an overheated area, so if you see Poinsettias for sale outside shops and other retailers, they are dead before you even buy them! They absolutely cannot be in cold temperatures for any length of time. Margaret's Tip: water with tepid water – they respond to this treatment terrifically.
A Great Time to Forage in the Woods!
At this time of year, it is such a treat to take a nice walk in the woods. The vibrant autumn colours – the exciting reds, scarlets and yellows – are at their best. I think the greenness is really what makes the forest enchanting. The ferns, mosses and other greens are just so lush, and what about all of the mushrooms and fungi that are still with us in mid-November? Actually, it's not surprising given the mild temperatures of up to 15ºC we've been getting lately! Of course, let's not forget the berries – lots of them: the reds and oranges of holly, mountain ash, whitethorn, blackthorn etc. The acorns and conkers are all ready for the hibernating animals to collect. This autumn/winter transitional period is so full of the wonders of nature, go out and enjoy it!