It has been said that those raised in the South carry their love for the traditions and warmth of the South with them for the rest of their life, no matter where they live. Southern accents may fade, but traditions live on.
BY ERIN HOUGHTON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN HOUGHTON
As a North Carolina native one of my fondest memories was of time spent with my Grandmother helping her create Christmas gifts from her garden in keeping with an old Southern tradition of sharing seasonal bounty with family and friends.
Come join me for tea in my garden while I share with you how you can easily and inexpensively create and carry on the Southern tradition of giving, and sharing Christmas gifts, from your garden no matter where you live.
Bentley, my Studio Assistant, is waiting to wish you Merry Christmas.
Paperwhites are one of the easiest bulbs to grow indoors in any climate, or outdoors, if you live in a mild to moderate climate. The flowers have a lovely fragrance and add to the delicious smells of Christmas in home or garden. By starting a new pot every two to three weeks you’ll have blooms all winter.
I start mine early in November in order to have blooms for Thanksgiving and Christmas to give to family and friends as an early Christmas gift. The bulbs can be purchased at your local nursery or through the mail. I suggest you plant them in accordance with instructions from the nursery or on the package. Planting instructions can vary depending on whether you plan on planting the bulbs indoors, outdoors, in the ground, in pots, or in containers.
In Southern California, I grow Paperwhites in a container outdoors using growing medium. My method is to place a shard over the drainage hole and fill the pot half full with potting soil. Then I set the bulbs close, but not touching, with the pointed end up. Add more soil to cover the bottom two thirds of the bulbs and water well. Place the pots in the shade, until the first shoots appear, and then move to a sunny area in garden, or a well-lighted area inside.
The bulbs can also be grown in gravel or water and I like to use this method to create delightful hostess gifts by placing one or two bulbs in a whimsical container such as tea cup, unusual bowl, vintage box, or tin.
Erin Houghton is a regular contributor to Southern Guide to Life. She is an artist, photographer, gardener and owners of www.mypaintedgarden.com. She has been featured in numerous national publications and her art has been featured, and exhibited, both nationally and internationally. To find out more visit www.mypaintedgarden.com. Follow her on Pinterest. Visit her on Facebook. Shop her Online Store.