Friday, December 30, 2011

So Striking: the Winter series Camellias

Winter's Snowman Camellia

Another wonderful addition to the winter garden is the camellia, specifically the Winter series Camellias. The Winter series is the most cold hardy camellias to date, most being a Zone 6 and handling our Zone 7 weather easily.

They are so striking and beautiful, they can be used as a single flower in the garden or as an entire hedge. They can grow in height of around 6 ft., and spread in width to 5 ft. or more, depending on the variety, which makes them perfect for an alluring and evergreen privacy screen.
There are many gorgeous colors to choose from, from lavender to pink to white. At Strange's, we have several varieties available in our nursery in 1 gallon, 3 gallon or 7 gallon pots, including Winter's Charm, Winter's Darling, Winter's Fancy, Winter's Peony, Winter's Beauty, Winter's Cupid, Winter's Fire, & Winter's Snowman. A gorgeous flower and plant, including the Winter's series Camellias in your garden will add great interest and character.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Overwintering Experiment

It's frosty out there! During the winter season, some plants will survive, some will die, and some will need to be covered or taken indoors. Here at Strange's, we're always trying to figure out easy ways to keep our plants happy and healthy.

Bonsai trees, like other temperate climate plants, need to go dormant over winter. Tricking your plant into sustaining growth will eventually lead into a forced dormancy, which is stressful and usually fatal. Most plants have internal clocks that tell them when to go dormant, so keeping your outside plants outside keeps everything running smoothly.

Even so, they need protection, and some of our greenhouse staff have come up with an interesting way in keeping our bonsai tree's roots warm. At $2.49 a bag, giving your potted bonsai tree a snug little mulch home is an easy and cheap way to make sure it's protected while also letting it stay outside.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Rose: The Helleborus Gold Collection

There are not many plants that can withstand the harsh cold & frost of deep winter, so the ones that do, stand out, their gorgeous color brightening up a dormant & grey garden.

Helleborus niger, known as the Christmas Rose, generally blooms later than December 25th. The term 'Christmas Rose' is due to an old legend that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give Jesus in Bethlehem. Under the old calendar, January 6th was the day Christmas was celebrated, which is closer to when the Helleborus niger blooms.

Below are two flowers from the Helleborus Gold Collection that we carry at Strange's.

'Josef Lemper'
Pure white blooms are held upright by dark green foliage. Plants will mature to about 12” to 15” tall. These winter beauties thrive in shade and make great additions to containers for winter interest, from November to January.

'Pink Frost'
An eruption of burgundy buds open to blossoms of soft pink that darken to rich hues as the flowers age. As fresh blooms appear, the display across the spectrum from white to pink to red is stunning. Rich green foliage has red stems and a silvery sheen marbled across the top.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Smell of Christmas

As the temperatures drop to a steady chill of 50 and below, a beautiful day one that I can go without my coat, Christmas becomes heavy on our to do lists. Why, there's the lights, the garlands, the stockings, the wreaths, the poinsettias, and of course, the tree.

There's so many choices when it comes to trees. Artificial is one way. Its the easy, put-it-up-&-take-it-down tree, with lights and a stand built in, and moveable wire for branches. The downside is that its fake. It doesn't have that beautiful, forest scent that fills your nose and delights your mind with dancing sugar-plums, warm fires roaring and sleigh rides through the snow. Walking through the tree lot in Strange's nursery, the smell of Christmas surrounds you, from fresh wreaths, groupings of holly, and of course, row upon row of fresh cut Fraser firs.

Besides the wonderful smell that will fill your home all month long, cut trees are always tall. Towering over almost everyone, they inspire awe to children and adults alike. From 7 ft. to 11 ft. tall, they beg for high ceilings, long garlands and a staggering collection of ornaments. They long to be chosen for a loving family's home, where they are admired and adorned like a newborn baby. Every cut tree deserves a home, and at Strange's, we want to make it as easy as possible. We care for these trees as much as we care for our customers, and you can see it in everything we do. From free full service, lifting and loading the tree while you sit back and relax, to offering a $10 coupon towards any cut tree. With this offer, a 7-8 ft. tree could cost you only $39.99!* Such a small price for the size of the tree, the smell that fills your home, and the joy it will bring your family.

A cut tree is a memory maker, the ultimate connection of Christmas now to Christmas then. We, and people across the world, have been celebrating Christmas with an evergreen since the 1900s. Most back then cut down their own tree from a nearby forest, which you can certainly still do today. However, the benefits from buying a Strange's cut tree are enormous. First, we stock only Fraser firs, hand picked ourselves for their firm branches, soft, silvery-green needles, and perfect shape. Second, we only sell locally grown, North Carolina firs, that have been fresh cut by the tree farmers themselves. Buying a fresh cut tree from Strange's shows you support local farmers, you support the environment, and you support the history of Christmas.

For those who want to continue the tradition, we also have trees that have not been cut, that can take you through this Christmas and the next, provided you plant it and care for it all year long. Whichever you prefer, the smell of Christmas is not to be missed, as it takes you far further into the spirit than anything else ever will.

*Price subject to change.