No question about it, December is all about decorating, both within and without. But it’s also the time to reflect upon the year’s past achievements. Let’s pause each day to enjoy the winter views from our windows, the silhouettes of trees, the colorful birds. And let’s keep most of the work indoors:
Christmas Tree. To get the biggest bang for your Christmas tree buck, select early the freshest possible specimen, and treat it with an anti-desiccant — such as WiltPruf — in order to reduce moisture loss. Keep the tree well watered, too, and as cool as possible, by turning off nearby radiators.
Evergreen Decorations. Spray with anti-desiccant all of your evergreen wreaths, garlands, and mantel swags. This will keep them fresh-looking for the entire month.
Holly, Boxwood, Yew. Prune older shrubs freely for decoration; drastic side pruning results in thicker central growth later.
Cold Protection. After the first hard freeze (not just a touch of frost), mulch perennials that require it. The goal is to keep them cold and unstimulated by ocassional midwinter warmth.
Window Garden. Make your window garden a dominant portrait. First polish the glass and wash the shelves and give the plants a good showering before you get too holiday-crazed. Then place candles there for evening burning. To you and all who pass, your window will give great joy.
Florist’s Plants. The florist has a bevy of beautiful blooming subjects this month. Add a few seasonal plants to enhance your own colorful houseplant scheme…a pink poinsettia with your white wax begonias, or a red one for your rosy impatiens, a pink kalanchoe to compliment your purple African violets or a Christmas Cherry among the green ferns or vines. As with all florist’s plants, remove foil wrappings immmediately — they are death traps.
Bulbs in Cold Storage. Don’t forget the potted bulbs or the vased hyacinths in your refrigerator, cold cellar, or slightly-heated garage. These must not be allowed to dry out if you wish to enjoy — as I do — a private, indoor spring that begins on New Year’s Day.
A Random Thought. Don’t forget to polish the silver…nothing beats the gleam of silver serving-pieces and candlesticks during the holidays.
Another Random Thought. If you have propagated your houseplants — African violets, scented geraniums, vines, etc., why not give your extras away as host or hostess gifts, or Christmas presents? Plant in an attractive pot, and include a hand-written tag that describes the plant, its uses, and culture. Attach tag to plant with a colorful ribbon.
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