THE CHILL IN THE AIR demands year-end duties in the garden. The holiday clean-up is the really important one. Who wants to put up festive decorations with a messy yard? Gather the family, get the rake and broom and get busy! Once all the dead annuals and perennials are removed and the leaves cleared away, it’s time to crank up some holiday songs and put the Ho Ho Ho on the front lawn!
Words of advice when cleaning out the garden—do NOT wear flip-flops! There may be things hiding under the leaves that have long been forgotten! This reluctant gardener chose a bright sunny day to remove the finished swamp sunflowers. It was still warm, so there I was in my capris and flip-flops yanking tall sunflower stalks in a very large garden. The next thing I knew, my foot was speared by an old wooden stake—right through the flip-flop! A scream flew out of my mouth and boom, I was belly up on the ground like a dead roach! Not wanting to let my body fall on said stake, I twisted as I was falling and somehow managed to scrape the side of my leg on it. My helpmate sister envisioned a snake strike (which may have been better) and she came running. At this point, there was nothing to do but laugh and return to an upright position to finish the job at hand! So the moral here is, “Never wear flip-flops to work in the garden!”
Back to the holidays—indoors now! Plants such as Christmas cacti, poinsettias or rosemary bushes will surely be part of your holiday décor. These all look great when they arrive, but how do you keep them looking great and alive? The rule is to repot them and remove that foil wrapper. If your new container does not have drainage holes, use pea gravel, chopped ceramics or sand to create drainage in the bottom. Remove the plastic pot, mash the root ball, then place on top of the drainage material. Add a little fresh potting soil and find a well-lit spot to display your holiday visitor proudly. Water once a week. A few beautiful blooms can be a real lift for the holiday spirit. Make Nature a part of your holiday magic!
Email your gardening questions and comments to Lisa at [email protected].