Mid-Atlantic

December, 2009
Regional Report

Mulch Sprouting Daffies and Tulips

With the fluctuating weather -- warm, cool, cold then warm again -- spring bulbs in the Philadelphia area are pushing up. A deep freeze may or may not damage foliage. It will likely kill exposed flower buds, meaning no spring flowers. To buffer against winter's varying temps, cover the bed with chopped leaves or root or bark mulch. Two, three inches should be enough protection now and nutritious compost come spring.

Be Quick to Water Holiday Plants

Pots of star-flower hydrangeas were on sale, so I bought five to decorate as holiday gifts. I brought them inside. By morning, three were wilted. Fortunately a half-cup of water each revived them all. They're quite densely root-bound though -- so will need daily watering to stay alive. Sooner than later, they're best repotted in a larger container. First though, carefully untangle or cut the roots to make room for water and more growth.

Decorate Holiday Packages with Herb Sprigs

Are your rosemary, lavender and bay looking exceptionally green and lush? Share the bounty. Slip some stems of these fragrant herbs between the ribbons when you're wrapping packages.

Check Gift Plants for Critters

Colorful holiday poinsettias certainly bring good cheer. They can also carry whiteflies, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and spider mites. Look closely under leaves, on stems, on soil for moving critters or white cottony masses. If infested, best to treat with the least toxic insecticide to get them through the holidays. After that, toss them. If you keep them, you'll spend all winter spraying to control pests -- because hothouse poinsettias are prone to infestations.

Make a Gift Recipe Booklet

This idea is a spin-off from Katy and Grant's wedding remembrance. Which holiday treats are your family's favorites? Choose as many as you have time or energy for or interest in typing. With so many computer programs, it's easy to create booklets with photos, drawings or keep it simple. You can also individualize -- make one booklet with a special someone's favorite cookie, dessert, entree or desert collection. The possibilities are endless.

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