Celebrate the New Year with a visit to your friendly neighborhood nursery or garden center! They have so many lovely flowers right now to help you ring in the new year.
Featured image is Tagetes, also called “Flor de Muerto,” due to its use in Day of the Dead celebrations. It is also the birth month flower for October.
Flowers in Winter
Winter is an especially wonderful time to visit a nursery – it’s a space filled with life. The sight, scent, and even subtle sounds of so many healthy growing and flowering plants in one small space is delightful. The idea that I get to take some home with me is dazzling. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers!
I prefer nurseries over big box stores. Yes, big box stores have plants and flowers too, but local nurseries have knowledgeable staff that have the information to help you succeed with all your planting. It may cost a tad more – but to help keep nurseries and their people thriving and available into the future is worth a few pennies now.
A quick survey shows that our local nurseries offer an awesome array of colorful flowers that prefer cooler weather. Most commonly you can select from: calendula, stock, pansy, poppy, ornamental cabbage, ornamental kale, snapdragon, Johnny-jump-up, violet, yarrow, alyssum, feverfew, Gypsophila (includes baby’s-breath), and last – but not least – two sister species, dianthus and carnation.
I call your attention to carnation and dianthus for a special reason – they are the “birth flower” for the month of January. Just like birthstones, birth flowers are there to help us celebrate. The concept of birthday flowers has been around since at least the 1500’s in England, and is also found in a number of other cultures. With proper planning, 2020 could be a year of flowers around your home and yard. Note – I did mention growing carnations in my blog last year.
Birth Month Flowers. January – carnation and dianthus February – pansy and violet, also called heart-ease March – daffodil and narcissus April – daisy and sweat pea May – lily of the valley and hawthorn June – rose and honeysuckle July – larkspur and water lily August – gladiolus September – aster October – marigold and calendula November – chrysanthemum December – holly and poinsettia
Dianthus are also known as “pinks.” In the wild they are pink, but brought into cultivation the plant breeders have selected for flower colors and blends ranging from almost purple through magenta to lavender and lilac, on to red and scarlet, orange, yellow, and even pure white. Note that highly similar magenta-based pigments occur in our local carnation cousin – cacti! Yes, they are genetically close! Interestingly, both cacti and carnations are more tolerant of our alkaline soils than many other popular garden flowers.
My birthday is not in January but I did purchase some dianthus to help celebrate a birth – the birth of the new year! Happy 2020 gentle readers! May the year bring you peace, prosperity, and happiness.
Win a Book!
The first reader with the correct answer to this quiz question will be mailed a free copy of my Butterfly Gardening book!
Q: Which Shakespeare play includes a discussion on pinks?
Hint: they are also called gilly-flower.
Please list your answer in the comments section below. Check the box! Your email is hidden from view so be sure to check the box to get email notifications about follow-up comments!
To learn more about growing flowers in the Southwest in every month of the year, you might find my monthly gardening book useful. Month by Month Gardening for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press) offers growing and care for all the Southwestern growing zones. Note that this link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there I may get a few pennies.
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