Bailey Arboretum Horticultural Notes: December 2015

How did it get so late so soon, It’s night before afternoon, December is here before June, my goodness how time has flown how did it get so late so soon”. Dr. Seuss

Craft Time: No other time do we craft things out of natural materials as now. Pine cones, evergreens, nuts, berried branches, seed pods, citrus, dried artichokes (the in thing this year). Decorate with a natural look whether you get the glue gun out or purchase something, keep it real.

“Pine” Cone Interest: Two ideas with cones. 1 Bleach them, they come out a soft ivory.  2. Using real pine cones (from pine trees not just conifers), heat them in the oven. The sap exudes and hardens giving them a shiny glow. 

Protect the Garden: Spray large leaf evergreens with antidessicants, protect tender shrubs with a wrap, mulch marginally hardy perennials.

Containers: Dump out the mums, raise the containers off the ground a bit and fill them with a variety of evergreens. Yew works well along with holly and magnolia. Did you grow schubertii allium? If so the flower heads are large and very strong, they take paint well and make beautiful decorative balls for outside or inside use.

Interior Gardens: Create an interior garden for your entertaining events. Shine the leaves on your house plants, set them in fine containers, add lights to them or a spot light on them. Add flowers onto the plants. I have a poinsettia free zone which has caused me to get other ideas. For one evening florist flowers interspersed with house plants looks fabulous.

Harvest: Best after the frost vegetables; root veggies, Brussel sprouts, kale. Parsley, if mulched, will produce all winter. If you are using glass cloches remember to remove them on days when the sun is strong.

Gifts. In this gift giving season think garden. Some outstanding garden books are out there as well as some fine gardening DVDs. I find the plant a month idea a wonderful idea, usually bulbs they make a rewarding present. Take it up a notch and give a subscription to Horticulture or Fine Gardening. Give a membership to one of our gardens, Old Westbury Gardens, Planting Fields, NY Botanical Garden and my own dear Friends of Bailey Arboretum.

Watering: We are still making up for the drought. Remember to water young evergreens if we go through winter dry periods.

The Wild Side: Time to get out the bird feeders, heated bird baths. Time to care for our feathered friends. Maybe purchase one of those seed covered bird houses as a gift?

Winter Solstice December 22: On the 23rd, days start getting longer.