I don't know about you, but I LOVE the Winter Olympics, and I can't wait for this year's games to start in Pyongchang, South Korea, on 9 February.
I've been excited about these Winter Olympics since.... oh, my whole life! But a couple of months ago, I started reading up about plants that are native to South Korea and found that some of them would fit perfectly into this month's box. So although this is our early Spring plant collection, I also like to think of it as our Winter Olympics plant collection, and I'm excited to think that some of the plants and flowers included in this box will also be blooming in South Korea around the time of the Olympics. :-)
I'm especially excited about this plant collection, because we get to see some of the earliest signs of spring, which means that we're through the darkest days of winter and on the home straight now! I love snow, but I don't like the cold, dark days of winter, so am always especially happy when the first shoots and flowers of spring start showing.
You can be absolutely sure that we'll be making the most of all that spring has to offer in future Lazy Flora plant collections too.
This delicate miniature early-flowering blue Iris will also arrive with you as a bulb with established shoots and will blossom into a beautiful bright iris (although just how quickly they bloom will depend on the temperature).
I am such a huge fan of iris, as they provide such a strong bold splash of colour whenever they bloom, and they stand a little taller and prouder than snowdrops, pansies and primroses.
Most irises originate from temperate parts of Europe and Asia. They prefer a sunny position: the more sun you can provide it with, the more flowers you will see. They also prefer quite moist soil during the spring when they are growing. During the summer, they are generally dormant and so prefer dry soil.
The irises in the picture are full-sized irises, and are slightly darker blue than the ones that will arrive with you, but you get the idea!
Iris takes its name from the Greek word for rainbow. It's thought that the reason for this is because Iris flowers come in such a huge range of colours. The ones we've chosen for you this month are delicate blue.
Irises are found growing wild in South Korea, so when these flowers bloom, you can think of the athletes competing at the Winter Olympics this year and imagine you're there with them (or is that just me?).
Even when irises have stopped flowering, their foliage gives a very attractive display of striking greenery.
I've included some snowdrops in this month's box, but in order to be sure you get to enjoy them at their very best, they won't arrive with you fully grown and in flower. They will arriveas a group of planted and sprouting bulbs, which you will be able to watch quickly grow into a beautiful clump of snowdrops. You don’t need to separate the bulbs out when you take them out of the pot, they can all be planted together in the same arrangement they were in the pot, they will grow just fine like that. And they look great in little groups.
If the temperature drops below freezing, snowdrops will collapse. But fear not: they are incredible flowers and contain a natural anti-freeze (amazing, right?!). So they will recover once the temperature rises.
Snowdrops are very important for bees, because they are some of the earliest spring flowers. The green lines on the snowdrop petals guide the bees to the pollen and nectar.
Even though these days we can see hundreds and even thousands of snowdrops in woodlands, they are in fact not native to the UK. They are actually endangered and threatened with extinction in places where they grow wild. Unfortunately, this is due to irresponsible harvesting of too many wild snowdrops, and as a result, you have to have a licence to sell snowdrops internationally. Rest assured that all Lazy Flora snowdrops have been responsibly sourced and cultivated in carefully controlled surroundings.
Oxlip is another plant that is native to Europe but also to South West Asia and in particular South Korea, so this is another you might see on TV over the coming weeks of coverage of the Winter Olympics.
Oxlip is technically a Primula. They are a semi-evergreen perennial (which means the plants live for more than two years). So, like many of the Lazy Flora plants we send you, you can replant this one if you like, and watch it come back to glory the same time next year (and if you have the space, of course - which many of us don't).
The stems on this plant can grow to up to 30cm high, with principal stems that bear one-sided clusters of delicate lemon flowers that are up to 2.5cm in width.
If you continue to dead-head them throughout the winter, they will continue to flower.
Originally from Japan, China and Korea, this Skimmia is a shade-loving evergreen that adds year-round colour to your garden. In autumn and winter, the female plants produce berries (if there is a male plant nearby), which birds love to eat. In spring, you’ll see reddish-pink buds, and in summer it produces creamy white flowers.
Skimmias prefer moist, but well-drained soil, and although they prefer shady conditions, they will do just fine in the winter months in a sunnier spot. In summer, it is best to move them to a shady or partially shady location.
This skimmia is such a fantastic addition to a winter garden, and has proven extremely popular with Lazy Flora customers so far.
Christmas Rose (Hellebore)
Yes, I know it isn't Christmas any more, but the informal name of this plant shouldn't stop us making the most of one of the most spectacular plants that is consistently around at this time of year, and one that keeps flowering, even when there's snow on the ground.
I have a Christmas Rose on my balcony and it has just been stunning since before Christmas. It's still going very strong and will be until well into February or even March.
This stunning semi-evergreen plant should continue to flower until will into the spring, but should not need deadheading. As the flowers fade, they remain attractive.
The scientific name for a Christmas Rose is a Hellebore. Hellebores prefer partially shady and sheltered conditions, and thrive best when they are in moist, but well-drained soil.
An important thing to bear in mind, however, is that you need to take real care when handling this plant, as the roots and seeds are known to irritate the skin. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, ingestion of any part of the plant may cause severe discomfort, so please be sure to wear your rubber gloves when planting up, and keep children and pets* away from the roots of this plant.
*I have had these plants on my balcony for weeks and my dog shows no interest in it whatsoever.
I absolutely love these amazing little violas, which have such an incredible colour.
If you dead-head violas, they will continue to flower until May. If they are buried by snow, you may notice the flowers disappear for a time. They should bounce back once the snow disappears. I had some of these on my balcony throughout the autumn and after the flowers disappeared temporarily during a very cold snap (they weren’t quite buried by snow but there were several days of very harsh frosts), they’ve just come back and are looking utterly gorgeous once again. I’ll post some pictures on Instagram in the coming days so you can see how they’re doing.
These little flowers may look very delicate, and it’s true that they won’t enjoy especially windy conditions, but they are some of the brightest and hardiest plants around at this time of year, and give an amazing bit of bright colour during the winter. They are a container box staple.
For those of you who are keen cooks – and in fact, for those of you who aren’t – Violas are edible flowers and their stems contain high amounts of Vitamin C. More than most vegetables, in fact. I, for one, know my immune system needs a boost at this time of year, so I might just try this out.
Please note that the violas that we have sourced for our Midwinter boxes are not quite the same colour as the ones in the picture. The ones we've included in our boxes are a gorgeous, delicate blue. I know you're going to love them!
If you’ve seen Lazy Flora’s Instagram page, you’ll know what a big fan of ivy I am. I just LOVE this plant. I love the way it climbs, it trails, and is virtually impossible to kill. It is one of the hardiest plants around.
This month, we’ve introduced a slightly darker variety of variegated ivy and boy does it look amazing. I love the colour and the waxiness of the leaves of this plant, and I know you will too.
Ivy thrives in cold and dark environments, so it is so perfect to include in our boxes at this time of year, when little else grows. But you can be sure that ivy will continue to make an appearance in Lazy Flora boxes in future.
Ivy thrives in cold and dark environments. This makes it an extremely popular plant at all times of year. However, in Autumn and Winter, it really comes into its own to add reliable colour and texture to many container gardens.
It is a wonderful plant which can be trained to climb walls, or to tumble elegantly down the front of containers and hanging baskets. Of all the plants in any collection, it is an extremely reliable grower, in almost any situation. This variegated variety is especially gorgeous at this time of year.
And this is what they look like all together!
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