With the recent rains and cold, there are a few garden tasks to be done. First of all, check to see that plants under eaves or heavy foliage larger plants(evergreen trees, large evergreen shrubs, etc.) have moist soil in the root zone. The first rains often miss saturating those areas and any plants under them can suffer a water shortage. This is important with shallow rooting plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, pieris, and camellias, so often planted in just those areas. If they go dry, the flower buds will dry up and/or the flowers that are produced are of poor quality. Buds can drop off, and as flowers bloom(on camellias), the buds begin to open, then abort or stop opening(this is known as bull nosing). Those flowers never completely open and then present an ugly sight, and eventually drop off. With azaleas and rhododendrons, their buds abort and never open if their roots go very dry. If that condition persists, then the plant health will suffer and you may lose it. Probe with your fingers, or dig shallowly to see that soil is moist, especially at a lower than surface level.
The recent cold is very good for all deciduous species. This is just what they like. A cold spell that shuts down the plant’s internal system to make them go dormant so they can rest completely and begin next spring’s growth with much vigor and blooms. This is very important for fruit trees. They need this more than the total estimated number of cold chill hours. This is a tip from the large fruit tree producers/growers. Almost any resulting cold that comes after January is not going to produce this effect as much as early season cold. So with Nature’s blessing, we can look forward to another banner blooming season for the fruit trees and hopefully a bountiful harvest from the fruit crop!
A tip for your container displays.. Try to not overdo the colors you choose in the arrangement. Stick to a basic backround color (the obvious choices are the greens of foliages), then all variegated leaves, or think of flower colors. you can spice up the display if you add seasonal colors from poinsettas, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, Iceland poppies, calendulas, stock, and fairy primroses. Choose your floral color scheme from these and think how they will complement or contrast each other in the display. Something that pleases you is the object to strive for. If you do not know how to do this and want to try. Look to magazines for inspiration for you own personal composition.
If you wish to make an indoor display, try some of the lush flowers of small potted orchids, anthurium, christmas cactus, poinsettas, then add your lush foliages… such as ferns, heucheras, mounding houseplant selections. If you want dramatic foliages, look to acorus, cordyline, and phormiums. There is a wealth of plant materials from which to choose and when you go window shopping, you will doubtless find even more variety than can be mentioned briefly here.