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Flowers to the People

Force those winter blahs away with winter blooms like amaryllis, paperwhites, and hyacinths -- without uprooting too much green from your wallet.

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After the Christmas tree has dried up and been dragged to the curb, many New Yorkers find themselves devoid of greenery outside their salad bowls. Although city dwellers usually consider themselves detached from the soil, it's easy to turn a cramped apartment into a lush indoor garden -- despite dry air and hissing radiators.

According to rooftop-garden expert Rebecca Cole, this is the time of year when indoor bulbs bloom: Think amaryllis, paperwhites, hyacinths. "They're really easy!" she promises. Another sturdy choice is ivy, and all of it is on sale, this week, by special order from Cole -- $20, down from $35. Her orchids, which usually run from $50 to $95, are $30 to $65. And paperwhites, which were $22 and $40, are now $14 and $25. If you're not sure how green your thumb is, fresh-cut flowers always brighten a room. Her arrangements, which are usually $55 to $125, are on sale for $40 to $75. The sale lasts until January 12.

The best-kept secret of indoor landscapers who don't have access to the wholesale markets is the inexpensive plant shop at Kmart, where orchids are $10 and house plants hover at around $15.

Another good resource is the Chelsea Garden Center, where trees (both live and artificial) are 50 percent off. At the Garden Center in the East Village and the Garden Store on Ninth Avenue, everything's half off through January 14. For the horticulturally confused, the store's Website (chelseagardencenter.com) dispenses pointers on how to best humidify, ward off wilting, and protect your plants from mealy-mouthed insects.

Kmart, 770 Broadway, at Astor Pl. (212-673-1540); Rebecca Cole Design, 41 King St., by appointment only (212-255-4797); Chelsea Garden Center East, 321 Bowery (212-777-4500); and Chelsea Garden Store, 207 Ninth Ave., at 23rd St. (212-741-6052).

Picks of the Week
Bottega Veneta's sleek Italian leathers -- boots and bags -- and luxurious ready-to-wear is up to 50 percent off. 635 Madison Ave., bet. 59th and 60th Sts. (212-371-5511); A.E., D., M.C., V.; sale begins 1/8.

A Second Chance sells already-worn women's designer clothing (Armani, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, etc.) at a discount. Now it is cleaning its racks to make room for spring. All skirts, pants, and tops are $10; all jackets and dresses are $25. Mention this page and it'll lop off another 20 percent. 1109 Lexington Ave., second floor, near 77th St. (212-744-6041). A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 11-7, Sat. till 6, Sun. noon-5; 1/8-1/15.

Jimmy Choo's boots and stiletto heels may not be snowproof, but they're awfully sexy, and they're currently 30 to 50 percent off. 645 Fifth Ave., at 51st St. (212-593-0800); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.- Sat. 10-6; sale begins 1/8.

Madison Avenue Maternity sells the high-end Michele Saint-Laurent Collection for fashion-conscious future moms. Pleather pants and skirts, cashmere tunics, and button-down shirts are all 50 percent off. 1043 Madison Ave., near 80th St. (212-988-8686); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-7, Sat. till 6, Sun. noon-5; 1/8-1/31.

Peacock Alley specializes in classic white bedding, but it also carries a range of shaded neutrals in high thread counts. Egyptian-cotton sheets are half off. Bath towels, usually $34, are now $17. 334 E. 59th St. (212-751-7005); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-6, Sat. till 4; 1/8-1/12.

Mason's Tennis Mart sells cute tennis dresses, warm-ups, sweaters, and shirts from all the top athletic lines (Fila, Reebok, Wimbledon, and Quantum). Everything is 50 to 70 percent off. 56 E. 53rd St. (212-755-5805); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-7, Sat. till 5; 1/10-2/10.


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