Indoor plants create a colourful time of the year

An Amaryllis ready for Arundel Castle.

An Amaryllis ready for Arundel Castle.

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CHRISTMAS is a colourful time of the year, the lights shining in the towns around the county are wonderful to see, Arundel looks especially festive with its traditional Christmas tree with shimmering white lights accompanied by lots of smaller lit trees, mostly perched high on the old buildings giving the town added sparkle.

The castle garden team have added colour to the inside of the castle by taking up some wonderful indoor plants, which have been grown on site in time for Christmas.

We have already taken up some of our Amaryllis; these include Amaryllis Lima which we’ve grown for the first time this year, with their unique light green and mauve petals.

There are all sorts of colourful varieties of Amaryllis with wonderful names such as “Merry Christmas” - with stunning deep red petals, “Milady” - pale pink, “Miracle” - cardinal red and for a more spring like name “Apple Blossom” - pale pink and white.

If you want to add colour to your home or a friends this Christmas, Amaryllis will give you a different look that should last well into the New Year as the flowering time is 7-10 weeks!

Some other good indoor plants are Paper Whites (narcissus tazetta) a small white headed daffodil with a wonderful scent, or if you prefer a more traditional look the Poinsettia is a favourite.

The Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) originates from the tropical highlands of Mexico, where it grows as a flowering shrub reaching to three metres in height. It grows in relatively dry condition.

There are many myths and legends surrounding this plant - Mexican folklore has it that a young girl who had nothing to take to the altar on Christmas Eve gathered a bunch of wildflowers from the roadside, and when she presented them they turned into beautiful poinsettias.

The tale of how this tall tropical perennial roadside plant became the most popular Christmas house plant in the world is no less remarkable.

It all started with Joel Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico, who, being a keen plantsman, sent some cuttings home to his garden in North Carolina in 1825. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that they were grown commercially as an indoor plant and will vary in colour and size, the favourite being red for Christmas.

When buying Poinsettia’s check that in the middle of the colored bracts are the actual flowers. They should definitely still look yellowish-green and be unopened. The leaves should not be rolled up or yellow and the soil should not be wet or too dry.

Tips from the castle garden team:

Cover your garden taps and any exposed pipes to safeguard against extreme weather.

Keep digging in organic manure into the soil, weather permitting.

The last chance to prune roses to guard against the winds, take back by approximately a third.

This is your last chance to protect the plants at risk from frost.

Feed the birds in cold weather.

Arundel Castle Wishes You a Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Arundel Castle & Gardens - open from Saturday 31st March to Sunday 4th November 2012, Tuesdays to Sundays inclusive, Bank Holiday Mondays and August Mondays.

Martin Duncan - Arundel Castle Head Gardener