February is a month of hope. The spring is approaching, new life is stirring. Let's cross our fingers that the month brings happiness and maybe even some love for Valentine's Day. Here are a few suggestions for special gifts for loved ones, especially living gifts that will grow and prosper alongside a relationship.
Aussie flu. There's always some sort of flu-like virus in the winter, not to mention the Covid-19 pandemic. So whatever the winter has brought, you can be certain that every year will be slightly different.After a winter of viruses and dull skies, it's not unusual for many people to be recovering slowly from ill health and a certain amount of gloom caused by dull weather and grey skies. A few years back there was an outbreak of
There are several landmark dates each year, and Valentine's Day is one of the first. February 14th is traditionally the day that you can officially show loved partners how much you care. One of the most popular gifts is a bunch of flowers. Indeed, cut flowers are generally greatly appreciated as they are bright, cheerful and signify friendship or even love. But they have one major flaw: they die!
Heres seven ideas that might help you to select a longer-lasting gift:
Hoya kerrii, the sweetheart plant
These little house plants have foliage shaped like a heart! If you buy a pair of plants they are said to represent friendship or love as theres one for you and one for another. The succulent plant is also known as the sweetheart plant or Valentine Hoya. They are really easy to look after too. Just place them in a bright position and water sparingly.
Hoya australis. During the flowering season later in the year it should produce intoxicatingly fragrant flowers which look as if they are made of wax (pictured below). If you can't find something suitable, how about making your own support and training a trailing house plant up and around it? Even ivy can be treated in this way.Some plants come with their own heart-shaped supports. During February there are often climbing or trailing house plants available that have been trained around hearts in various forms. One of the most popular is the incredibly easy-to-care-for
Some plants have heart-shaped foliage, without being too obvious. Take Ceropegia woodii (pictured below) and its relatives, for example. This little hanging plant is known as hearts on a string and the trail of tiny heart-shaped leaves, which are pink on the back and green with silver on the top, can trail to as much as 2 metres! It could make the perfect Valentine's Day gift.
When you start looking at leaf shapes you will realise that many of them form a natural 'heart-shape'. One of the glossiest is Anthurium 'Giant Chocolate', giving you a combination which is difficult to resist, after all, who wouldn't enjoy chocolate AND hearts? There are often varieties with 'love' in the name available too.
If your Valentine has a garden, a cherry tree with the name Prunus 'Sweetheart' would represent a wonderful gesture. This is a present that will grow and improve every year. The fruit is described as 'Very precocious, firm with good flavour.' It's one of the later picking varieties but well worth the wait as fewer cherries are available in the shops later in the season.
If you want to be original with your Valentine's Day gift, there are plenty of alternative gifts that signify some sort of 'life'. For example, a bird nesting box which is a living gift with a difference, providing a home for nesting birds and the new life that follows. After all, Valentine's Day is also said to be the time of year when birds choose their mates.
Maybe a heart-shaped pot holder, made from galvanised metal, might be more suitable? You could team it with your own heart-shaped plant for a double-dose of love.
February celebrations continue with Chinese New Year which happens in mid-February. There are generally at least two weeks of festivals and celebrations for those tuned into Asian astrology. It is said that the year of your birth and therefore the animal that this represents, determines part of your personality.
The Chinese zodiac comprises a 12 year cycle but not every revolution is the same. Each year, the animal of that particular year could provide a highly appropriate gift to someone for whom the Chinese New Year is important. There are statues for the garden, for example.
Lucky plants and flowers are always appreciated and they can make an amazing gift. For example, Lucky Bamboo (pictured below) is appropriate all year round. It has its heart at the centre of Chinese tradition and is said to improve the flow of good energy within a home, sometimes being used in Feng Shui. There are also money plants which are meant to bring prosperity to the owner.
Or how about house plants that clean the indoor air? What could be more loving than helping to keep the inhabitants of a home as healthy as possible? Some plants are better than others at filtering the air and they can be found HERE.