Northern & Central Midwest
Plant Seeds of Annual Herbs
Sow seeds of basil, cilantro, and dill indoors every two weeks for a steady supply of fresh herbs to cook with. Use sterile potting soil, a pot with plenty of good drainage, and snip the herbs regularly to keep them stocky. Clip rosemary regularly to cause it to put out side branches.
Remove Screens for More Sun
Remove indoor screens from sunny windows in which you want to grow herbs, succulents, and flowering annuals. Screens can block a good portion of light, and it will make you feel good as well to have more sunlight flooding the room. Make sure to put only plants that can stand direct sun in these windows.
Stick Greens into Potting Soil
Leave potting soil in outdoor pots to hold cut greens and red twig dogwood branches for winter decoration. After sticking in the boughs and twigs, water the soil thoroughly so it will freeze the arrangement in place and last through the winter. Pine branches hold up longer than spruce branches for long-term winter color.
Mulch Hybrid Roses
Once the night temperatures are steadily in the twenties, cover hybrid tea and grandiflora roses. The best covering is a loose mix of compost and shredded leaves. Cover plants at least a foot high, holding in the mix in place with chicken wire if necessary. Styrofoam rose cones trap heat inside and can cause roses to come out of dormancy on sunny days.
Use Natural Materials to Decorate
When you're scoping out greens for holiday decorating, don't forget to look at other natural materials to add flair to your decor. Check out the perennial garden for rose hips, thistle seed heads, purple coneflower seed heads, ornamental grasses and sedum seed heads. Check out the local field for curly dock seeds and Queen Anne's lace and goldenrod seed heads.