Western Mountains and High Plains

December, 2005
Regional Report

Decorate Your Outdoor Containers

Add some color and interest to empty outdoor containers and pots with evergreen boughs and branches with colorful berries. The natural materials are my favorites, but you can use "realistic" greens, too.

Avoid Overwatering Holiday Plants

To make your holiday plants last beyond the holiday season, don't overwater them. Keep the soil barely moist to avoid root rot and yellowing of the foliage. This also will make the flowers last longer.

Use Snow as Mulch

If snow is abundant in your area, use it as a protective mulch. It is the best there is and it's free. Shovel it on perennial beds and areas where bulbs are planted. You want to keep the soil cool and at an even temperature to keep the perennials dormant through their rest period. Thawing and freezing leaves cracks and exposes the plants to winter kill.

Grow Kitchen Herbs

If you have a bright, sunny window, grow some herbs in the kitchen. Keep them sheared and use the clippings to flavor your cooking. Don't apply too much fertilizer to indoor herbs, as this will make them grow lanky and have little flavor.

Check the Water Garden

Top off the water garden or pond. Skim off any leaves and other debris that may have fallen through the netting cover. It is helpful to insert a section of metal pipe or a stout tree branch in one end of the pond. This collects heat during the day and melts the ice around it, allowing gases to escape that are harmful to overwintering fish.

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