By Kim Charles

A few years ago, but not so long as to become a distant memory, I was helping a friend with his tropical gardens in the Exumas, the Bahamas, and barely made it back stateside in time for the Traditional Holiday frantic pace and festivities. I WAS there at the start of Hanukkah that year and not being of Jewish descent, I was smitten by the quiet celebration as contrasted by my family's much more boisterous declarations! Perhaps it was just that particular small Family's traditions and perhaps other Jewish families are as loud as mine in their marking and making of the calendar? I profess ignorance, I'm afraid.

 

Jesse Rohde takes us along on a tour of her holiday highlights. 

"To and for my fellow GPODers:

Thank YOU for sharing views of your worlds and bits of Heaven with me!

Y'all have become my un-official Breakfast Club!! No entry fees required!!

Thanks also, to the "behind the scenes folks" who make this possible at Taunton! Y'all are the BEST!! And please know that those of us who receive these posts from you are very grateful!

Happy Holidays, and Peace on Earth, Please."

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I love the simple, single flowered Camelias which West Coast gardeners can take for granted!! (Lucky folks!!) 

This is Camelia x 'Yuletide' entering late Autumn, and I thought I'd give it a try at the Cabin's gardens with thick mulch. It did not make it through our normal Winter with those shallow soils....sigh.....so we moved. (But, that's another story.)

Up the highway, across the border, and down into the Arkansas River Valley is the town of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Actually, a small city.

One day between shopping sprees, I took a few minutes for a breather to slow down and visited the National Cemetery there.

Volunteers place Holiday Wreaths for EVERY patriot here, even Yankees! ;-) This Garden of Stone with a dusting of snow becomes even more breathtaking.

Gratitude is such a HUGE part of our Holidays. Or, at least should be.

Wild Rose Hips along the dirt road out to the Highway and the world beyond. The feathered ones have been feasting, obviously!

 

For anyone who knows me, I'm all about live plants, but also candles, and there's a myriad of candleholders, sconces, votives, and even a couple of torches scattered about in our house, throughout the gardens and even in our greenhouse. (I will admit to bending to practicality and used live/real garland inside only once. It is now relegated to the outside porches, and any Holiday plant brought inside must still possess it's roots!!)

 

While the "Weather outside is Frightful," (sorry, couldn't resist!!) my Winter Sanctuary provides us with an escape from reality.

I'm admittedly horrible at sending out the traditional Christmas Cards, but am fairly consistent at sending out Holiday Photos to friends and family via the Digital Delivery Systems.

I wished everyone Glad Tidings with this view a couple of years ago. That common, ole Asparagus Fern with the festive berries in the background has been with me for 15 years...or is it 17??

I purchased a pair of hanging baskets at the Dallas Farmer's Market back in the day when I was a City Apartment Gardener. We still have them, although they've grown way past basket size, and those bright berries desiccate and drop in the Spring and we now pull baby Asparagus as weeds both inside and out!!

We've recently moved North a bit, but stayed close to the Arkansas Border. (We're Okies.) It's amazing how much difference a hundred miles one way or the other makes.

I've loved the old-fashioned Nandinas since I was a brat in College in the last century! For a while, it became hard to find them, and as y'all know, Horticulture is like Fashion; plants come and go.

I've planted several here, and will install more in the coming years. The cold temperatures came very late that year. When they DID finally hit...OMG. I feel for you folks in Zone 5 and colder.

The berries are ripe and will be enjoyed by the Cardinals later as food becomes ever more scarce for them, but the leaves were still a dark green the Christmas I snapped this frame.

We've recently planted some Hollies, and are hoping for the same effects in future Seasons!

I've come to LOVE Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x ) and the breeders are coming out with newer colors all the time!

I also know many folks still have plants of this from their relatives of decades ago! (Nice!!) Mine are not so vintage, but give us time!!

 

And, I learned a couple of years ago that if I just edged my Rhipsalis baskets out into just a smidgen more sunlight during the warmer seasons, they'll turn this bright hue...as well as flower up a storm!!

(We have to be careful with the Summer's sun here. Triple digits are quite common, and expected.) Oh yeah, the street name of this true cactus is "Red Mistletoe Cactus," and I trust y'all can see why!!

This one is sharing basket space with another epiphyte, Billbergia rosea; a bromeliad, and the 'Kimberly Queen' fern contrasts by offering the other traditional color of Christmas, if in a non-traditional texture.

(Thanks to Frank and the other Aussies for sharing this specie with the rest of us!!! ;-)

 

The Jamaican Poinsettia (Euphorbia punicea) is related to the more widely used Holiday Poinsettia, but this woody shrub's bracts and flowers last for six months or longer! They are slow growing and large specimens become very pricey, if they are to be found at all. Although not endemic to that Island Nation, there's a couple planted there, now!!

 

Bonfire at Yuletime, the Cabin. (WELL: I TOLD y'all I have a candle fetish!!)

Very soon, the days will begin lengthening again....thank Goodness!!

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