Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2005
Regional Report

Recycle Your Christrmas Tree

Don't throw away that Christmas tree. Recycle it! Stand it next to the bird feeder to give the birds shelter. Festoon it with strings of popcorn and cranberries for a festive look and to feed the birds. Or, cut the boughs off and use them to mulch now-frozen perennials or evergreen ground covers.

Use Snow to Your Plants' Advantage

Snow shoveling will happen, like it or not. Instead of piling the snow in one pile, try distributing it evenly around garden plants. It's a bit more work, but this will insulate them for the winter and provide a great deep watering come spring thaw. Just make sure it doesn't contain salt.

Remove Snow Gently

In the event of one of those heavy wet snows the midwest is so famous for, remember not to knock the snow or ice off with force. Gently sweep it away and lift the branches from below. This will prevent breaking the frozen branches.

Pot Up Your Amaryllis

Pot up your amaryllis bulbs or bring them out of the basement and replace the top inch of soil with new soilless mix. Keep the top third of the bulb above the soil line, and place the pot away from drafts and direct sun. Be ready to give the stalk some type of support as the flower buds form.

Grow a Moth Orchid

Moth orchids make beautiful holiday plants. They grow best in a warm room with bright indirect light. Water once a week and fertilize once a month with a dilute fertilizer. It should bloom for many months. After blooming is finished, cut the flower stem just above a bud to induce another flowering stalk.

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