This holiday season, avoid the stress of not knowing what to give the person who seems to have everything by visiting a local flower shop or garden center.
“Everybody needs flowers to brighten up their day,” advises Dawn Marshall, owner of Donahoe’s Whimsical Flowers in Front Royal.
Marshall has been working since mid-November getting ready for the holidays. One of her top items year after year, she said, is a Thomas Kincade Telefloral flower arrangement that includes a lighted building.
“It is such a very popular item for Christmas,” Marshall said. “This year, it is a sweet shop; it’s a candy shop. It’s the cutest thing.”
She said some of her customers have been collecting Kincade cottages for years and noted that the small buildings can be combined to set up a holiday village display.
This year, Marshall has ordered double her usual amount of holiday plants. The Christmas cacti will be arriving the first week in December — those plants and poinsettias are always popular Christmas flowers.
“It’s going to be an absolute winter wonderland in here,” she said as she looked around her shop. She added that they will be holding an open house Nov. 28 through Dec. 3.
In addition to the Kincade arrangement, Marshall suggests a holiday gift of flowers that includes fresh flowers and live plants.
“Lots of time, what I do is use fresh flowers with the house plant. So then I’ll put it in a basket or something and I’ll have the plant in its own little container. So when the fresh flowers pass away, then you’ll still have the house plant. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
She added that centerpieces — fresh or silk — are also a nice addition to the home during the holidays.
“Centerpieces are so nice for the holiday season to have on your kitchen table, or your kitchen island .. or even in the foyer or the powder room.”
With a pretty container, creative use of ribbon or other small holiday decorations as well as directions on how to keep it alive, house plants can be turned into lovely homemade gifts.
Janet Heishman, who owns Pot Town Organics in Strasburg with her husband Ron, said a popular container flower to give as a hostess gift is the paper white.
“This is a super easy gift at Christmas,” she said as she placed a paperwhite flower bulb into a tall clear glass that had a few inches of small pebbles at the bottom.
“This is perfect for taking to a party,” she said.
She has paperwhite bulbs for white or yellow flowers for sale at $2 a bulb.
“The white ones will bloom in two to three weeks. The yellow ones are four to six weeks,” she said.
She pointed to another bulb — the amaryllis — as another holiday flower gift idea.
The plant has trumpet-shaped flowers and blooms in about six weeks. Heishman suggested that anyone wanting to make a gift of potted amaryllis and have it flowering by Christmas should plant the bulb now in a pot. Amaryllis bulbs at her shop are $18.95 each.
“This is something people want to keep — in Florida, they plant them outside,” she said, warning that the plant would not survive outdoors in this area,
Pot Town Organics has a wide variety of house plants available for gifts. Heishman picked up a Swiss cheese plant and placed it in a white pot.
This plant, she said, is “super trendy” right now. What makes it interesting is its large, heart-shaped leaves with Swiss cheese-like holes in them.
“You can’t go wrong with white … a white pot with a green plant is a perfect gift,” she added.
Another house plant that’s a favorite among younger people, she said, is the goldfish plant.
“Here’s one with a bloom on it — it looks like a little goldfish,” she said pointing out the tiny orange flower that did indeed resemble a goldfish.
Pot Town Organics also carries the Christmas cactus — at $13 a plant.
“That’s a really traditional kind of gift. They’re usually not so overly expensive,” she said.
Visitors to the store should check out the large blooming Christmas cactus in her storefront window. That cactus is 50 years old.
What’s her secret to keeping them alive and blooming year after year?
“You water it and let it dry out, and I mean let it dry out — this is one that will rot on you in a heartbeat,” she said, adding that the plant also needs to go dark to signal it to set blooms again for the next holiday season.
Other items sold at Pot Town Organics that would make any gardener happy include gardening tools and decor, organic gardening products, a variety of pots and watering cans and items needed for beekeeping.