Pacific Northwest

December, 2011
Regional Report

Check on Outdoor Bulbs

Keep an eye on bulbs planted in the ground. If any start to rise to the surface of the soil in the fluctuating temperatures of late winter, gently cover them with mulch. Brush away the mulch in early spring when they begin to grow in earnest.

Remove Leaves from Hellebores

This month you may see Helleborus orientalis begin to bloom. To show off these early flowers, cut most or all the leaves back to the ground (most of them are probably showing damage from winter weather anyway). After bloom, a new flush of foliage will appear.

Care for Living Christmas Trees

For a living Christmas tree that you haven't yet planted, be sure to keep it on a protected porch or in the garage for several days. This is an "in-between" step in temperature to help acclimate the tree more gradually to the outdoor temperatures.

Bring Forced Bulbs in from the Cold

If you potted up bulbs last fall for forcing and refrigerated or set them outdoors, now is the time to bring them in from the cold. Give them a warm, bright spot. Once they show some green above ground, water them well. Before long you will have spring's color chasing away the grays of winter.

Care for Winter Blooming Jasmines

January is the month when winter jasmines are in bloom, another harbinger to spring along with the lengthening days. If you succumb to the temptation and buy one now, already in bloom, keep it in a cool room or protected spot outdoors where it can still be seen and enjoyed. Wait to plant it in the ground until after it has finished blooming.

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