by Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center
Birth flowers are practical, versatile gifts well suited for the gardeners in your life.
January — Carnations shows well in the perennial garden often denuded of flowers. The spicy clove scent is most welcoming. This evergreen perennial is deer and javelina proof.
February — Violets take the snow and cold in stunning amethyst, gold and blue like no other mountain plant.
March — Daffodils announce the arrival of spring in the mountains. Daffodils are squirrel, rabbit and javelin proof and easy to grow.
April — Daisies: both the perennial Shasta-daisy and one of the cold hardy Gerbera varieties grow well locally. The secret to a long-lasting daisy arrangement is to put a fresh cut to the stem under water daily to encourage water uptake, discouraging stem rot.
May — Lily of the Valley has always been a favorite of royalty, as seen in the bridal bouquets of both Princess Diana and Princess Kate. They are a fragrant birthday gift, either as a container plant or planted directly in the garden.
June — Roses: A live blooming miniature rose is a long-lasting alternative to a short-lived rose bouquet. Ultimately, nothing tops the fragrance of old-fashioned roses picked directly from the garden.
July — Larkspur by its botanical name is called delphinium. This flower prefers cool, moist gardens. You can create a dramatic, shade garden area to grow the tall pink, blue, purple or white spikes of this perennial favorite.
August — Dahlia automatically conjure thoughts of giant dinner-plate blooms. Dahlias also have small blooms and single daisy-like flowers and more. Pinch flowers as they fade to encourage waves or reblooming flowers.
September — Asters are a welcome way to bridge the gap between summer and fall. You can choose from flower in all shades of blue, white, pink and purple. This hardy flower comes back every year.
October — Marigold, with its vibrant pumpkin orange and harvest gold flowers, stands out above the rest of the autumn blooms. Try using as a border around patios or place potted marigolds near entryways and windows.
November — Chrysanthemum; all mums pair well with boxwood, salvias, ornamental cabbages and kales. Dark mocha, oxblood red and earth-toned pots planted with mums blooming red, yellow and orange echo the season’s thankfulness.
December — Poinsettia in traditional red is not for everyone. Instead, give a cheerful coral-color poinsettia, or a color-enhanced pink, burgundy or white bloomer.