Dusty Miller for Advent
By Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
My favourite base for our Advent wreath is the Prince of Wales feathers in silver velvet, OTT leaves of Dusty Miller. (This year with a little extra substance from Lamb's ears). Centaurea cineraria is my December plant for False Bay Dozen for Diana. I look forward to your December choices. I began in October with Melianthus major. In November I added white pelargoniums. February 2016 the yellow stars of Hypoxis make up the first 4 in this Dozen for Diana.
Pam in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania shares my love of parsnips for her December plant.
Donna in NY State has a Christmas plant I don't expect - fern!
returning to my wintry favourite
silver leaves from Dusty Miller and lamb's ears
with white silk balls
What will I make space for in my garden, however small it is? What did I dig up, or take cuttings from, when we moved to our third garden? Plants must earn their place in my garden. I am imagining a courtyard garden with space for a small tree, shrubs, fillers, and a bit of groundcover. A few herbs. Somewhere to sit, with a tiny pond.
Second, they must be happy with the long hot summer and wet winter of a mediterranean climate. Double points if they are South African fynbos, but some exotic aliens are invited. I would water worthy plants through the summer, but the plant has to earn my sweat and exhaustion.
Third, got to have something special –
colourful flowers to pick,
I love Dusty Miller Centaurea cineraria for its silver feather leaves – beautiful as a halo around a posy, when giving flowers to your friends. In the garden, when it reaches just the right size, in a year or so, it is a silver fountain. If you blink, the Dusty Millers have a debauched evening, loll all over their neighbours, and take over the paths. Before they get that far, keep taking cuttings, so you always have plants of a satisfying size, and rip out the old, tired originals. (Already! I only planted Spring Promise in July) Perfect pioneer plants for a new garden providing the harmony of repeated focal points, a silver wave, or a gentle informal hedge.
Soft two tone lilac thistle flower. A true Mediterranean plant, an exotic alien, but it looks like one of ours!
Straw stars I made when we lived in Aarau about 20 years ago. Getting battered, especially the one with heavy ears of wheat (or is it barley?) That took at least two classes of carrying it home and back again. Filigree star loses loops each Christmas. Maybe next year, will be the year for fresh straw stars - which I will make in an easier to pack size.
We've done the 'fresh' pine tree with LONG green needles. We've tried the permanent plastic tree, which sheds short bits of nasty plastic. In Porterville I used the pecan branch for a more African version.
This year we have a township tree. Made in our neighbourhood from stacked wooden branches (probably from invasive alien Port Jackson wattle). I chose painted white for my straw and wooden Christmas tree ornaments. Keeping the glass ones for next year, when Thomas is not a playful kitten.
Dusty Miller take cuttings for Garden Lessons Learned and Advent wreath for Seasonal Celebrations. Each year my Advent wreath draws visitors via this Hungarian blog from 2010. Stars and tree are in this year's Austrian Christmas decorations at Tante Mali's Living and Green.
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