This holiday season, avoid the stress of not knowing what to give the person who seems to have everything by visiting a local florist or garden center.
“Everyone needs flowers to brighten their day,” advises Dawn Marshall, owner of Donahoe’s Whimsical Flowers in Front Royal.
Marshall has been working since mid-November to prepare for the holidays. She said one of her highlights year after year is the Thomas Kincade Telefloral flower arrangement that includes a lighted candy store.
“It’s a very popular Christmas item,” Marshall said. “This year, it’s a candy store; it’s a candy store. It’s the sweetest thing.”
She said some of her clients have been collecting Kinkade Cottages for years, and noted that smaller buildings can be combined to create a holiday village show.
This year, Marshall ordered twice her usual amount of holiday plants. Christmas cacti will arrive in the first week of December – these plants and poinsettias are always popular Christmas flowers.
“It’s going to be an absolute winter wonderland here,” she said, strolling through her store. She added that they will be holding an open house from November 28 to December 3.
In addition to the Kincade arrangement, Marshall suggests a holiday gift of flowers that includes fresh flowers and live bloomers.
“A lot of the time, what I do is use the fresh flowers with my house plants. Then I’ll put them in a basket or something and I’ll put the plant in its own little container. So when the fresh flowers are gone, you’ll still have a house plant. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
She added that centerpieces—fresh or silk—are also a great addition to the home over the festive period.
“Centers are so great for the holiday season to have on your kitchen counter, kitchen island..or even in the foyer or powder room.”
With a pretty container, creative use of ribbon or other small holiday decorations plus directions on how to keep them alive, houseplants can be turned into beautiful homemade gifts.
A popular white paper flower to give as a hostess gift is the Paperwhite, said Janet Heishman, who owns Pot Town Organics in Strasbourg with her husband, Ron.
“This is a very easy Christmas gift,” she said, placing a paper white flower bulb in a tall clear glass that had a few inches of small pebbles in its bottom.
“This is perfect to take to a party,” she said.
She has white paper bulbs of white or yellow flowers for sale at $2 a bulb.
The white flowers will bloom in two to three weeks. This jaundice lasts four to six weeks.
She pointed to another bulb—amaryllis—as another holiday flower gift idea.
The plant has trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in about six weeks. Heishman suggested that anyone wishing to gift potted amaryllis and have it bloom by Christmas should plant the bulb now in a pot. The amaryllis bulbs in her store cost $18.95 each.
“This is something people want to keep — in Florida, they grow it outside,” she said, warning that the plant will not survive outdoors in this area,
Pot Town Organics has a wide variety of houseplants available for gifts. Heishman picked a Swiss cheese wort and placed it in a white vase.
She said that this plant is “very trendy” right now. What makes it interesting is its large, heart-shaped leaves with holes that look like Swiss cheese.
“You can’t go wrong with white…a white pot with a green plant in it is the perfect gift,” she added.
She said another favorite house plant of the guys is the goldfish.
“Here’s one with a flower on it—it looks like a little goldfish,” she said, pointing to the little orange flower that looked like a goldfish.
Pot Town Organics also carries Christmas cactus — factory priced at $13.
“It’s really a traditional kind of gift. It’s usually not very expensive,” she said.
Shop visitors should check out the large blooming Christmas cactus in the storefront window. This cactus is 50 years old.
What is her secret to keeping them alive and thriving year after year?
“You water it and let it dry, and I mean let it dry — that will rot on you in a heartbeat,” she said, adding that the plant also needs to get dark to signal it to start flowering again for the upcoming holiday season.
Other items sold at Pot Town Organics that would make any gardener happy include gardening tools, decor, organic gardening products, a variety of pots, watering cans, and beekeeping items.