Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Sri Lankan Spiced Nuts for the Holidays

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Last week we looked at DIY shortbread as a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, a small token of love, thanks or gratitude, a tasteful and tasty expression of good cheer. And today we’re looking at another classic little holiday gift, a small jar of mixed nuts. But these are no ordinary mixed nuts!

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Happy Holidays


This has been a crazy holiday season what with the ice storm and all. Even though we lost power we still stayed open to ensure our customers were able to get all their groceries to make Christmas dinner. We hope you all have a wonderful time today and tomorrow. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas this is still a special time of the year as we come to the end and prepare for all that the new year has in store.

Regardless of whether you’re hanging stockings tonight or not – there is one thing we all do at this time of year; indulge in at least one Christmas movie. Continue »

Allan Gardens Christmas Flower Show 2013


When December in the city is gloomy, there’s no snow on the ground, and the sun disappears at four o’clock, Allan Gardens is a favourite winter destination. The Christmas Flower Show at Allan Gardens Conservatory does more than get you in the holiday mood. As soon as you walk in the door, the scent of flowers and thousands of growing things soothes your spirit. As you walk through the winding paths, a non-stop display of greenery and flowers unfolds. 

Poinsettias and other greenery at Allan Gardens.

Poinsettias and other greenery at Allan Gardens.

Right now, the show boasts a sea of poinsettias, massed in bands of colour: pinks, white, scarlet red and deep wine. I’ve ever seen so many poinsettias in one location, there are absolute rivers of them. If you’ve ever been underwhelmed by a single “office poinsettia” in a pot, do yourself the favour of experiencing them this way:  They’re really at their best in this kind of abundance.

Pink cyclamen, scarlet fuchsia, and orange solanum pseudocapiscum

Pink cyclamen, scarlet fuchsia, and orange solanum pseudocapiscum

Other seasonal flowers brighten the space too. Delicate white, pink and red cyclamen flowers shimmer over whorls of patterned leaves. Paperwhite narcissus flowers perfume the air. Tiny orange globes of Solanum pseudo capsicum make an unexpected colour contrast with the pinks and reds. The way the floral designers combine plants is constantly surprising. I kept finding new colour and texture combinations everywhere I looked. 

Topiaries and obelisks in Victorian themes, and evening candlelight add to the charm of the show. In the main palm room, a special display of green people sporting gorgeous duds made of succulents and moss stand next to a grand piano. Come often, every time you visit it’s likely to be a bit different, with new plant varieties coming into bloom. Admission is free. The show runs till January 12th.


Five Steps to Keep Your Gift Plant Healthy

If you’ve received the live gift of a flowering plant this season: a poinsettia, azalea, cyclamen, kalanchoe or amaryllis, you can enjoy it for long after holiday time by paying attention to a few care tips.
1. Watering Your plant needs just the right amount of water. That means: evenly moist throughout the rootball on first watering, and barely moist to almost fully dry before the next watering.

Watering Pitfalls: Getting water into a gift plant can be tricky. The green plastic pot, wrapped in foil, is planted at the nursery, assembly-line style, usually with soil right up to the top of the planter. This poses a problem, as there is no space at soil level to hold water. When you try to water, the water flows down the edge of the pot, as it has no room to collect and seep into the soil: a death sentence for your plant. You might think you’ve watered it, by throwing half a cup of water on it, but you really haven’t.

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Reinventing Fruitcake

Fruitcake may be inextricably linked with Christmas, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea.  The common fruitcake (crustus fructus lacrimosa) has been in existence since time immemorial, literally, and legend has it that the original Gifts of The Magi were actually gold, frankincense and fruitcake. Luckily, Caspar, upon hearing that Melchior was trying to pawn off a fruitcake he had received at a going away party in the Orient, had some Myrrh in his pocket and said, “Hey Buddy, give the kid this instead.” And the rest is history. Continue »