Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2011
Regional Report

Enjoy the Winter Wonders

Take time to enjoy the outdoor garden, from inside your cozy home. Watch how tawny grasses shimmer in the winter winds and black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers catch bouquets of snow on their seedheads. Enjoy scarlet dogwood twigs and purple raspberry canes as they become encased in sparkling ice.

Grow a Hoya

Consider growing a hoya this year. These unassuming plants take little attention and will reward you with sweet-smelling exotic flowers and attractive foliage in green, cream, and pink. Give them a sunny window, slightly dry soil, and a tight pot. They do well hanging or sitting on a table where they can spread.

Plan the Spring Garden

Start planning the spring garden. Catalogs are coming, and many companies offer incentives for early orders. If you page through and turn down corners as soon as catalogs come, it won't be such a daunting task to sit down with all of them at once. Consider sharing orders with friends to reduce shipping charges.

Monitor Poinsettias after the Holidays

Monitor your poinsettia carefully. Watch for pests such as whiteflies and aphids. If it is in a decorative sleeve, take it out of the sleeve when you water. Even better for the plant is to take the sleeve off and slip the pot into a decorative container to make sure the growing pot has good drainage. Just be sure to lift the growing pot out to drain after watering.

Keep Cyclamen and Paperwhites Cool

Keep cyclamen and paperwhite narcissus in a cool spot to prolong the blooms. As soon as a flower fades, remove it. Water paperwhites sparingly if in soil; if growing in water, be sure to keep the water level above all the roots. Watch for root rotting and remove any suspicious roots immediately.

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