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Winter wonderland - which plants can lift the spirits in November?

It's November and the magic of the season can be brought to life with plants.

As we approach the uphill climb to the shortest winter day there's a huge sense of deprivation amongst people who love to be outdoors. Falling light levels in November mean that those with indoor work commitments rarely have the opportunity to take advantage of the dwindling daylight hours outdoors. And this is exactly why the various plants associated with the festive season have come into being. If you can't be outdoors amongst greenery, bring it indoors! There's a wonderful array of great plants that are associated with November and winter in general. They mostly share a common theme  the fact that they are evergreen at a time when many things outdoors are brown, grey, or perhaps 'silvery' for the more romantic viewer.  Holly is a glossy evergreen that is generally lit up by glorious red berries during November and December.


Prepare for winter

November is certainly not too early to start preparing your winter displays. Swags of holly, ivy and conifer embellishment can be planned, and you might want to source your Schlumbergera (Christmas cactus),  succulent house plants that are already coming into flower.  Christmas cacti are actually succulents and they are flowering NOW! So easy to look after, they will continue to grow and flower year after year if they are happy.


Indoor preparation provides winter joy

Towards the end of November, Poinsettia will be appearingin the shops; then there's Amaryllis and a host of prepared bulbs such as hyacinths which serve to remind us that there's plenty of excitement still going on in the natural world whilst our curtains are drawn.  Curtains make a home feel cosy, but sometimes there are things worth being outdoors for in winter.  There's a magical world awaiting outdoors during November and December.

Outdoor winter colour for an uplifting sight

Make the most of the opportunity during mild November weekends to plant cyclamen and winter pansies or violas outdoors where you can see them every time you arrive home. You'll enjoy an uplift in spirits when you see them, whatever the weather. Use cheery plants to keep S.A.D. at bay!

Cyclamen come in many different colours including pink, red and white.

Cyclamen look lovely in containers but these bulbs are also excellent in the ground.  

Pansies and Violas make a welcome splash of colour outdoors in winter. If you are preparing for the festive season and going for the 'real tree' approach, you should already be thinking about where to source your green, towering beauty. Christmas trees provide a huge opportunity to have fun with decorations.   Allow your tree to be bright and beautiful with plenty of sparkle for a touch of magic. Who could possibly feel gloomy with such a joyous task ahead? Let the whole family take part in preparing for the decoration ritual and don't be too precious about colour themes. A riot of colour and fun can provide a positive start to the season and it's a great time to bond with everyone who is able to join in.  Christmas decorations can come out of the loft very soon! Rejoice in the opportunity to get the whole family together in order to brighten up the house.

Advent calendars!

Don't leave it too much longer before buying an Advent calendar! This item needs to be in place before anything else and November is the time to source the perfect calendar.  This wooden Advent calendar measures around 36cm high and it has little boxes which can be filled with surprises.

The kings of Advent calendars!

Did you know that one of the largest Advent calendars ever built was situated at St Pancras station in London to commemorate the station's refurbishment in December 10 years ago? It measured 71m high and 23m wide. And Harrods is the store credited with selling some of the most expensive festive calendars. There was  a Christmas tree calender, carved from burr elm and walnut wood, with 24 compartments, each housing a piece of organic chocolate. The price tag was over £380,000. Then another designed by Porsche which cost £618,000.

Suitable for smaller pockets

Fortunately, most Advent calendars are far more affordable. Here's a small selection which are currently available from Perfect Plants.  

This jolly Advent train can chugg along, delivering a present for every day of the month.

This gingerbread house calendar is delightful. Made from wood, it measures around 32cm long  

A Christmas pudding with opening windows. A more traditional Advent calendar which measures around 68cms.

Light festivals

Perhaps one of the very best ways to step up the pace is to book a place on one of the many different festivals of light that are now available across the UK.  If anything can stir the spirits of wellbeing, this is it! Got a National Trust or RHS garden near you? Then they will probably have a lantern festival this winter. Book early in order to avoid disappointment.  Light up the sky with a lantern festival. They're a lot of fun!  Christmas illumination festivals are fun! Find one near you and organise an outing for an instant spirit uplift.   So many sparkling opportunities!

Don't let the season of shopping allow you to lose the magic. Get outdoors and celebrate some of the beauty that awaits this November.

Enjoy Christmas shopping! You can do it from the comfort of your own home.

By Perfect Plants


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