Ring In The New Year...
It is hard to believe that 2006 has arrived. The holidays
have come and gone - decorations have been taken down and packed
away for another year. We survived the hustle and bustle of the
holidays, barely. My mother's father
passed away December 20th and we laid
him to rest on the 28th. The circle of life continues although
not as easy as we would like. Rest in peace grandpa - your love
of life will be missed but remembered by all you touched.
outside all day New Year's Eve. I needed to be outside, busy with
my hands, feeling the fresh air blow across my face, raking
leaves and cutting back perennials that I never got around to in
the fall. Doing all of those things made me feel better.
Gardening is therapy for the mind, body and soul. Nothing makes
me feel better when things are hectic and stressful then working
a few hours outside. Nature has a way of soothing the mind. I
think it is because there is always something growing, thriving
and alive. Just like real life itself.
forward to many great gardening moments in 2006!
This month is a good time to remember your houseplants. If
any of them are getting too big for their pots simply divide them
and re-pot. While you are at it give them some TLC by doing the
judiciously. A light trim is usually sufficient.
- Check for bugs.
Aphids and other critters can usually be eradicated with some
- Make sure the low
winter sun isn't hurting your plants placed near windows. You
can relocate them or simply rotate them periodically if
- A different
window related problem may be the cold. Leaves don't like
touching cold glass.
- If your house is
really dry (like mine) make sure you mist your plants
Boughs For Beds...
Many of our readers are disposing
of a Christmas tree in the very near future. Why not put that
tree to some beneficial use?
- Evergreen boughs
are great insulators and can be effectively used as a mulching
material on flower beds.
The whole tree itself makes a nice temporary
protective habitat for birds. Place it in the garden near your
The New Year's somewhat milder weather has us
dreaming about spring! Looking at the calendar, it seems like a
long way off but guess what? There are several flowers
whose seeds can be started this month! They include Begonia,
Browallia, Geranium, Larkspur, Pansy and Vinca. Check out
When to Start Seeds Indoors for more details.
Savvygardeners, Sappy Trees...
If you have ever pruned trees in late winter to early spring,
you may have noticed that some weep sap from fresh pruning
wounds. Different species of trees vary in how easily and how
much they "bleed." Those that are most susceptible to bleeding
include maples (silver, sugar, amur, Norway and hedge), black
walnut, pecan, birch, mulberry, Osage orange (hedgeapple
tree) and grape. Though bleeding may look as if it would cause
considerable damage to the tree, that's not the case. Even if
large amounts of sap are lost, there is no apparent long-term
damage. However, many people find the appearance of this
bleeding objectionable. Pruning during the winter when
temperatures remain below freezing will help minimize sap flow.
So if you have any of the "bleeders" that need pruned, you might
want to do it while the weather is really cold.
Belated Bulb Burial...
It seems like every other year I just
don't get around to planting my bulbs in December.
It happened again in 2005 and probably happened to several other
Savvygardeners as well. If you didn't get your
bulbs planted before the ground froze, plant them now in
individual peat pots and place the pots in flats. Set them
outside where it is cold and bury the bulbs under a thick blanket
of leaves. If we're lucky the ground will thaw again this winter
and we can use the opportunity to transplant them into the
Asking About Ashes...
A common question this time of year concerns the spreading of
wood ashes from the fireplace into the garden. Many gardeners
have heard that wood ashes increase soil pH. While this is
technically true it would take very considerable quantities
to have any significant effect on pH. Just spread them as evenly
as possible and try not to overdo it.
Keep Off The Grass...
When temperatures plummet your
grass will respond by moving water to areas outside the cells.
Ice accumulates in spaces between the cells and individual grass
blades become brittle. Walking on frozen turf will force the ice
and cells together and can cause permanent damage to your lawn.
Do your best to avoid it.
couturiers possess many of the same talents: imagination,
knowledge, and industry. Both know which colors shock or
coordinate, which textures rasp or soothe, and both see fashions
change - but they never forget that the concept of beauty is
Rosemary Verey, British Author and