February brings hope, happiness and maybe love for Valentine's Day
There's no mistaking the heart-shaped message offered by these Valentines Hoya plants.
February signals the month of hope for several reasons. Valentine's Day is just one of them. It has become apparent that January wasnt the easiest month to bear for many people who suffered from ill health and a certain amount of gloom caused by dull weather and grey skies.
and other flu-like viruses hit the UK hard last month, with a rate of hospitalisation at around 4,000 per week at its peak. The symptoms of Aussie flu are similar to normal flu i.e. headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, blocked noses and sore throats - but they tend to last longer and are more severe. The illness can also lead to pneumonia.
It is now hoped that the worst might be over, and the launch into a brand new, and very short, month
is one to celebrate!
February delivers the first school holidays of the year
and kids will be delighted to put away their school uniforms for a week of rest and even possibly some outdoor fun, if the weather is kind.
Valentines Day is coming!
Is there someone you would like to please this Valentine's Day?
Valentines Day will arrive on Wednesday 14 February. So NOW is a great time to organise a gift to show how much you care. Cut flowers are always appreciated but they have one major flaw: they die!
There are many more longer-lasting Valentine's alternatives, including living gifts
that will grow and prosper alongside your affection. Heres seven ideas that might help you to select the perfect gift:
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
. Available in pairs or separately. £12.50 +p&p for the pair.
Hoya kerii have the most intriguing heart-shaped, succulent foliage.
This Hoya australis has been carefully trained around a heart-shaped support. It forms an instant affectionate symbol.
At this time of year there are climbing or trailing house plants available that have been trained around heart-shaped supports. One of the most popular is the incredibly easy-to-care-for 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. These are priced at £16.99 (+p&p) and its not difficult to understand why the plant is commonly known as a wax flower.
The wax flowers produced by a Hoya have the most intense, sweet and spicy fragrance later in the year.
It's all in the leaves
Some plants have heart-shaped foliage, without being too obvious. Take Ceropegia woodii, 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. Priced from £5.99 (+p&p), depending on the size.
The tiny leaves of Ceropegia woodii have a natural heart-shape that would make the perfect, subtle gift.
Hearts on a string makes a lovely hanging plant that looks wonderful draping from a shelf.
Hearts and chocolate
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! Chocolate AND hearts make a classic Valentine's Day gift! This house plant is £13.99 (+p&p) and can be delivered to your loved one's door.
Anthurium 'Giant Chocolate' is a glossy, beautiful house plant that produces columnar flowers which last for many weeks. The leaves are unmistakably heart-shaped.
Sweetheart cherry tree
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.
'Sweetheart' is currently available on two different rootstocks to form a bush-shaped tree
or a patio tree.
Prunus 'Sweetheart' will certainly make a loving statement for a special person.
Thinking outside of the box
If you want to be original with your Valentine's Day gift, theres even a bird nesting box with a little heart-shaped hole.
It's a living gift with a difference, providing a home for nesting birds. After all, Valentine's Day is also said to be the time of year when birds choose their mates. This nesting box is one of many different designs available
and it is just £5.85 (+p&p), delivered to your loved-one's door.
A white wooden nesting box with a heart-shaped birdy hole!
Hang your heart on a chain!
This hanging heart pot holder
is made from galvanised metal and can be used indoors or out. It measures 47cm high x 43.5cm x 21cm and has space for your own pot and plant. Ideal for indoor hanging plants or even ivy and annuals, it is both symbolic and beautiful too. £26.99 (+p&p)
Captured inside a heart, you can put all sorts of plants in this loving gift.
Chinese New Year
February celebrations continue with Chinese New Year
commencing on Friday 16. As we prepare to enter the Year of the Dog
there will be 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.
Celebrate the Year of the Dog with this puppy dog statue which can be yours for £16.99 (+p&p)
The Chinese zodiac comprises a 12 year cycle but not every revolution is the same. It is said that this particular type of dog hasnt been out of his kennel since 1958. Its called an earth dog year and anyone born within it could enjoy a personality that is serious, responsible and communicative. Fortunately, its a lucky sort of symbol, but Chinese superstition suggests that people should avoid sweeping floors, crying children or using scissors on the 16 February in order to avoid attracting bad luck during the coming year.
The Year of the Dog is said to be lucky.
Lucky flowers for those born in the Year of the Dog are said to be roses
So these two plants would make highly appropriate gifts for babies born during this time. Dogs are generally considered to be a symbol of good luck for Chinese people and apparently stray dogs approaching a property show that good fortune is on its way.
Lucky bamboo is a house plant that is incredibly easy to look after. Just add water!
Want to attract more Chinese luck? Try Lucky Bamboo,
a house plant that is meant to improve the flow of good energy within a home. It just needs water and is one of the easiest plants to look after of all house plants