18November 18, 2015

After last winter, there was a lot of damage to plants from snow being pushed upon plants. I have to admit that when you are plowing snow and there is already 6 feet of snow on the ground that it is hard to remember where the plants are located in the yard. While the ground is still thawed out, now would be a good time to mark the edges of the driveway and to mark the location of shrubs. The best way to do this is to use heavy wooden stakes that can be pounded into the ground. You will want to use a 1 inch by 1 inch stake that is at least 4 to 6 feet long. This allows you to pound at least 6 inches of the stake into the ground. This prevents the stakes from being knocked over by the action of a snowplow, snow blower or a heavy load of shoveled snow. The top of the stake should be spray painted orange for better visibility in the snow. You should mark the location of the edges of the driveway and you should place a stake near any shrubs that are near the driveway. We carry the wooden stakes in the store, but we don’t carry the orange spray paint.

If you want to give paperwhite flowers as a Christmas gift, keep in mind that the bulbs only need about 4 weeks from planting to bloom time. This would mean that if you want the flowers in bloom, you should start the bulbs around Thanksgiving. If you want to give an Amaryllis bulb in bloom for Christmas, you may have to buy a bulb that has been pre-planted and started for you. The Amaryllis take 6 weeks or more to come into bloom from the time the bulb is planted. In theory, you could start one now and have it almost in bloom for Christmas. We have paperwhite bulbs and Amaryllis bulbs at the store and in the next week or so we will have some pre-planted Amaryllis bulbs available.

Many of you have Christmas cactus that has begun to form flower buds. One of the problems that people have is that the buds may fall off the plant before the buds open. This is usually cause by the plant being kept too dry. Many people think cactus so therefore the plant always needs to be kept dry. However, when the plant is ready to bloom, the soil should be kept evenly moist but not soaking wet at all times. If your Christmas cactus is not forming buds, it may be because the plant is being kept in a warm room or it may be due to the plant being exposed to artificial lights at night. In order for flower buds to form on the Christmas cactus, they require cooler temperatures coupled with darkness in the evening. If you keep the plant in a cooler room and if it won’t be getting light in the evening, you can probably get the plant to set flower buds. It may actually bloom at Christmas!

We have begun to get the cut greens and the wreaths in for decorating for the holidays. Window boxes and planters should be filled with greens before the temperatures freeze the soil in the planters. Last year, the soil froze in early November but rising temperatures did allow people to have their containers thaw out. It is better to do the containers earlier rather than later. However, this is New England and you never know what the weather will do.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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