Denise Duvic, MG

Things to Do This Month

Warren County Master Gardeners

Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' 

​Denise Duvic, MG

​         ​​Vicksburg, Mississippi

Things To Do This Month

The 2019 seed and plant catalogs are arriving in the mail, so use some of that free time during the holidays to browse through these and plan your garden for next spring. Early order discounts and the best selection will be your rewards! Don’t let the glossy pictures make you forget your pocketbook and your limited garden space. Only order the seed or plants that you truly will use next spring and summer.

Keep those Seed Packets
A handy way to keep those empty seed packets for future reference is to insert them into the pockets of inexpensive photo albums. Use the type of photo album that opens to expose two rows of flip-up, non-adhesive pockets. Insert one packet per pocket and you can read both sides of the packet for botanical name and cultural information. This makes a nice record of the seed you have used from year to year.

Holiday Shopping 
Don’t forget the gardener on your gift list. Some examples of gifts any gardener would appreciate are hand pruners, garden gloves, a subscription to one of the gardening magazines such as Mississippi Gardener, Horticulture, National Gardening Association, Fine Gardening or Organic Gardening. Also, watering cans, sprayers, seed, and the latest gardening book would be nice.

Rosemary Christmas Topiaries
Nurseries and garden centers have these fragrant holiday plants for sale now. These are available as living wreaths, miniature Christmas trees or one- ball topiaries. Be careful not to overwater these plants. Water only when soil is dry and keep in a well-lighted area of the home. Next to a bright window would work well. Snip a few wayward twigs to add to your holiday dishes!

Garden Pool Upkeep 
Although your garden’s water feature may look lifeless during the winter months, it may serve as the only water source for area birds and squirrels. Take advantage of the mild winter days to remove debris and clean your garden pool. You don’t want it to look like a swamp and your wildlife friends will appreciate it.

Spring Bulbs
It’s not too late to plant bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and Dutch iris. Your procrastination will pay off in reduced prices for the bulbs, as most nurseries and other sources will have their bulbs on sale by now. Be selective and purchase only firm, not mushy, bulbs. Get them in the ground before Christmas and hope for continued cold weather so roots will from before the foliage begins to emerge.Type your paragraph here.

                                     Tips of the Month

Aucuba Berries—Though best known for their foliage, some aucubas also have red berries useful in holiday decorations. If your plant fails to produce berries, it’s either a male plant or a female that needs pollinating. The selection Variegata (commonly called Gold-dust plant) is always female, while Picturata is always male.

Orchids—Of the gift plants available at this time of year, phalaenopsis orchids may the most economical buy, if you prize long lasting blooms. Plants may cost $25 or more, but the flower last 3 to 4 months. Look for plants with branched stems or more than one stem per plant.

Gifts for gardeners—Consider a present you won’t have to wrap. The gardener on your list will appreciate a gift certificate from his/her favorite catalog, nursery, garden center or bookstore.

Bromeliads—When grown indoors, bromeliads should be planted in soil that is allowed to dry slightly between waterings. However, when grown outdoors or in a greenhouse, the plant survives nicely on a piece of driftwood where aerial roots hold it in place. In this case, fill the cup formed by the circle of leaves at the center of the plant with water.

Houseplants—Now that you’ve brought them all indoors, prune overgrown plants by removing entire branches. If you have a lot of plants, try grouping them so your home doesn’t look like a horticultural orphanage. Set small pots on top of the soil beneath potted trees. Use big baskets with other containers to combine several separate plants into a temporary garden.