As always we find the adverse winds very distructive during the winter months as well as being really uncomfortable and almost impossible to work outdoors. There is one little indoor project that comes round every year at this date which can be turned into indoor gardening.... why not build a garden Nativity scene? Many Majorcan homes, businesses, the town central square and of course the church will all display a ‘Belen’ a Bethlehem or Nativity scene
This little gardening project if made now can stay in place until after January 6th, The feast of the Three Kings so what you put together needs to be long lasting. Many years ago Christmas here in the Mediterranean was not a decorated tinsel and Christmas tree party to welcome Santa Clause and presents. It was purely the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas day and later the gifts brought by the Three Kings on January 6th. How things have changed!!
An indoor garden can start in a large flat container or even a corner of the porch where a little soil can be spread out on a plastic bag to keep it tidy. The focal point is of course to be the Stable and a miniature crib. Make the stable from anything that takes your fancy, mine is always a couple of hefty stones and a broken plant pot that forms an arch shaped roofing where the Angel Gabriel is placed. Now you can build up around this with as much as you like. A path must lead up to the stable entrance, this can be flat stepping stones or moss collected from the garden and at the furthest point on the path little figures of the Three Kings will be placed.
Now comes the other decoration. Tiny rosettes of succulents and cacti transplant easily and immediatly look like mature plants, they will probably even take root and start to grow whilst they are on display. Spider plant baby leaf tips make another easy transplant.
Cut them off the parent plant with a little bit of stalk, bury the stalk which will help keep the plant stable and make an edging of these, they can be really effective It will surprise you just how many little weeds and all sorts can be transplanted. Larger areas of moss can be used if you collect it carefully in one sheet, it looks good with toy farm animals standing looking towards the stable.
This is where, if you are a good horder, and I admit I am, all those childrens toys like their farm animals come into good use. You will of course find little weeds and grasses growing out of the moss, just leave them there they will continue to grow and make it all look like a natural field with the ‘cattle standing by’ Use your own imagination with everything you can find either in the garden or even out in your country walks and you will soon have a miniature setting for this little Nativity scene.
Now the important figures, if you are starting from scratch then you will find every Christmas market has stalls galore with a very large selection of all the important figurines you will need to make up the Christmas Story. Once you have them then you will always have them if you want to repeat this indoor garden other years. I can’t remember just how old all my pieces are. I always place a little nightlight type candle inside the stable so that it pin points the figure of the Baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph standing by. Outside the stable can be different animals and some Shepherds all placed in amongst the different plants you have managed to transplant. The Three Kings must be on the furthest point of the path away from the Stable until after Christmas day then day by day you can have them advance until January 6th when they present the Baby Jesus with their gifts. Here again you will find figurines of these Three Kings in the Christmas markets or in Toy shops. If you have children in the house you can just imagine how they like to help or instuct as to how they think things must be placed ‘like we have it in school!’
So, what else is there at this time of year? Holly and Mistletoe cannot easily be found here not being natural plants of the Mediterranian. There is plenty Ivy, Christmas trees now abound in garden centres and of course the Poinsettia has moved in as the number one Christmas plant to be found in every shop and market in all shapes and sizes, you might even have been able to keep one alive from last year. Another potted plant at this time of year is the Christmas Cactus, quite a small member of the Cacti family with little pink or red flowers.
All are fun plants to have for indoor gardening and of course as a delightful gift. So... get decorating your house for Christmas.