Don't let the cold weather keep you from enjoying your gardens and gardening. Check out these great ideas for keeping your green thumb active and bringing the best of the out-of-doors inside.
Kokedama: Hanging moss ball gardens
For a unique and eye-catching twist on hanging planters, try kokedama. Kokedama is an art similar to bonsai, in which plants are grown in balls made out of moss and hung from strings.
Kokedama looks very exotic, but it is easy to make. Start with a very small shade-loving plant, like a fern or periwinkle. Carefully remove all the soil to expose the roots. Wrap dry sphagnum moss around the roots and tie cotton string around the moss. Mix seven parts of peat with three parts of akedama, which is bonsai soil. Shape the soil mix into a ball about the size of an orange. Make a small hole in the ball of soil and gently press the plant inside the hole. Carefully close the hole. Press small sheets of moss firmly into the soil, covering the entire ball. Wrap string around the ball, and then hang your kokedama in a shady spot in your home. For a cheerful display, hang several kokedama at varying heights using different coloured strong.
Green walls, or vertical gardens, are all the rage for outdoor gardens, but they are also quite well suited to the indoor environment. Green walls make a big impression in a small amount of space, following the trend favouring gardens that make a splash.
A vertical garden inside a home is not only elegant and original, it also makes the indoor environment healthier by filtering and humidifying the air.
Potted Fruit Trees
You can grow fruit trees inside your house or apartment, even if you live in a cold climate. If your home is not very sunny, you can supplement the natural light with fluorescent plant lights placed a foot away from your trees.
Blooming several times a year, the calamondin orange makes a particularly welcome houseplant. The one-inch tart fruits are excellent with meat or fish or in marmalade.
Calamondins naturally grow barely three-feet tall, but you can keep other fruit trees small by pruning and limiting the size of the pot. Kumquat and Key lime are fragrant and tasty choices for your indoor orchard.
If you are eager for spring flowers you can get a jump on the season by planting spring bulbs in pots and "forcing" them to bloom during the winter. Early-flowering minor bulbs such as crocus, jonquils, and galanthus are quite amenable to blooming indoors. A number of daffodil and tulip varieties are able to bloom indoors or out. After they are finished flowering and the ground is workable plant your spent bulbs outdoors; there's a good chance they will bloom the following spring. Forcing takes a lot of life out of bulbs, so it's not a good idea to try to force them more than once.
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