Winter edition 2012
Fall edition newsletter Dec. 2012

Welcome to December
the month of holidays!




Garden Frog Nursery will be closed from December 6th thru first week of January. Please call Kourosh at 916-849-3754 for appointments during this time.

Protect your fountains during the winter months

For fountains, first remove the stature and pump, storing them inside if possible. Next, fill the bowl(s) or shell(s) with an absorbent material such as burlap bags or blankets. Then, cover the entire fountain with a fountain cover. Should condensation form inside the cover, they will be absorbed by the material. 
If the fountain is too large to empty place 2x4 pieces of wood inside the water (at each level if the fountain has multiple layers) to absorb the expansion from freezing and melting ice.

For birdbaths, planters or statuary set the pieces on high ground, preferably on wood or bricks, so they are elevated from the soil/ground which will freeze and where a pool of ice will not form. Use fountains covers or burlap to cover these and protect them from winter elements.  Birdbaths may also be turned over so as not to fill with water. 

Garden checklist for December
Trees and shrubs: Plant hardy varieties anytime. Water them well after planting and top them with a mulch of well-composted manure.
Chill paperwhites: When displayed in cool air (below 60° or so), the stems of these flowering bulbs do a good job supporting their blooms. But when you bring potted plants inside to enjoy their fragrance, the stems start flopping over. To prevent this, move the plants to a chilly porch or other cool, frost-free location whenever you leave the house for a few hours and before going to bed.
Sand icy walkways: Unlike salt, sand doesn't hurt plants when it washes onto their roots, so it's a good choice for concrete and asphalt paths and driveways. But don't use on tiles or wood decks, since it may scratch them; use a de-icing chemical instead (available at home improvement centers).
Here's a lovely way to bring pretty colors inside and brighten up the home by forcing blooms on branches indoors.  Its very easy and once you start, the blooms can take 2-5 weeks to appear so you can be ready for entertaining or giving a great gift!
• For height, select branches that are at least 12 inches long that have a lot of buds.  Some branches have the most buds in January and others in February like cherry.
Cut branches from the tree or bush with pruning shears or scissors and trim the ends, removing any smaller twigs and buds toward the bottom 6 inches of the branch (or any part that will be under water once in a vase and will rot).
• Using sharp scissors or kitchen shears, carefully slit the branches at the end in several directions. The slits should be about ¼ to ½ inch long.
• Mash the slit ends with a hammer so the ends splay out slightly to encourage the branch to absorb water. 
• Completely submerge the branches in a container of cool to lukewarm water so that no parts are sticking out (a bathtub or utility sink are good places for longer branches) and leave to soak over night.
• Place the branches upright in a bucket or vase and move to a room or area that doesn't get a lot of natural light (I use the hall closet, but a basement or dark corner would work too), and leave for a week or two or until the buds begin to show little signs of color. During this time add water as needed & a drop of bleach to prevent cloudiness.
• Move to their permanent location, and enjoy the blooms! Depending on the type of branch, the flowers will take between 1 and 3 weeks to reach full bloom, and may last for several additional weeks. (My dogwood branches usually last for a month at full bloom!)

Wrapping that holiday gift?
You may be wrapping a gift for Christmas, birthday or another special occasion, how about wrapping it in something a little more fun and interesting than gift wrap. Not only is it more interesting, its a great way to express yourself too!  How about a beautiful scarf, some recycled paper or a simple basket for wrapping your gift.  For the garden lover try using some cut greens tied to the box.  
 Most of all, have fun wrapping the gift; the recipient will enjoy opening whatever you put before them.
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