Can You Honorably Re-Gift a Gloxinia?

Dear Garden Problem Lady

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Can I honorably re-gift an expensive Gloxinia plant?

Gloxinia, you say? Re-gift?? Can there be any honor in re-gifting?  Of any flower, plant, bulbs, seeds – anything of nature we don’t like or need – even fruit – or an alpaca sweater? H’mm. Does this innocent gift excite your allergies? H’mm. Of course, you have already enthusiastically thanked the giver? Said how kind and thoughtful? Or honestly told the giver the truth – you don’t want it.

NO! Peril. Graciously accept. Place the gift in a prominent place. If later you go ahead and take it to a hospital — or to a shut-away in a distant town – and can reach peace of mind – are you honorable? God knows. Nor will she tell.

I desperately need some winter color in my garden.

So do we all. You can resort to lovely pansies, so popular now. Otherwise, next year — think earlier. Plant January and February star perennial trees, shrubs and flowers – Witch-hazel, Mahonia, Helleborus – even one of those fiery red bushes – or something with berries like Holly, or very early blooming bulbs such as Snowdrops and Crocus.

I adore Mahonia (Grape Holly) – mine are blooming their heads off right now – bright chartreuse sprays of bloom, quite fragrant even, and covered with little bees that don’t mind the cold. HOWEVER starting in late summer, we are always plagued by the gazillion Mahonia seedlings that never stop coming up. How to stop them?

Just pay closer attention to those divine chartreuse blooms – and try to make certain that the beautiful purple “berries” that look like blue grapes never ripen. Mahonia is jocularly called “Oregon Grape Holly.” Cut all the “grapes” off in the summer and throw them out.

Is there a difference between something called “Spring Snowflake” and “Summer Snowflake?” I think it is called Leucojum, and the one I bought is called “Gravitye Giant Leucojum Snowflakes”.

As its name implies, you bought the larger of two beautiful plants. Spring Snowflake is about 12 inches tall and blooms early, shortly after snowdrops have finished. Summer Snowflake – mis-named – blooms about three weeks later in mid-spring. It reaches from 1.5 to 3 feet tall. Both sizes are enchanting. They look best planted in a mass – use at least a dozen bulbs. They also work sprinkled among other perennials.

When is the best time to prune boxwood shrubs?

Established boxwoods grow so slowly they need little pruning.  Very early spring is best for overall shaping, but you can cut stray branches any time during the growing season.

The Capitol Hill Garden Club welcomes members and visitors to its Tuesday January 10, 2023 meeting at 7:30 pm on Zoom. Claire Jones of Claire Jones Landscapes will show and discuss Exceptional Gardens Around the World. See capitolhillgardenclub.org for the link.

Feeling beset by gardening problems? Send them to the Problem Lady c/o the Editor, Hill Garden News. Your problems might even prove instructive to others and help them feel superior to you.  Complete anonymity is assured.  u