Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Horticulture During December ?!!

At first glance the topic of horticulture may take us to flower gardens, planting seeds, and growing herbs and veggies in summer.  But the month of December is a strong contender in the annual cycle of growing and harvesting.  Living Christmas trees and freshly cut trees are all plants grown for the purpose of giving joy.

Horticulture manifests itself OUTDOORS in various ways. Christmas tree farmers harvest all trees ready for market.  During their decade of developing into the perfect trees to display treasured ornaments, those evergreens were watered and cared for, as all trees deserve.  

After harvest is completed the soil will be rejuvenated with nutrients, and young tree seedlings will be planted to begin the cycle again. (More trees to generate oxygen for our environment… always a good thing.)

During December, horticulture manifests itself INDOORS as well.  Garden centers and florists provide an array of plants to use as gifts or to enhance indoor décor.  Poinsettias, amaryllis, holly, kalanchoe and other succulents are adorned with tiny bells and bows, pine cones and brightly colored ribbons.  Pine cones (large or small, natural or painted) can become part of holiday décor, displayed in baskets.

Wreaths are often comprised of branches from a single evergreen, like boxwood (genus Buxus) while others are a mix of several species.  My favorite wreaths include a blend of branches from white pine, balsam, cedar, juniper (with blue berries) and spruce.   The addition of a large bow, sprigs of holly and sparkly ornaments will complete the wreath (although I have seen feathers and other unusual bling used.)  Non-traditional wreaths can be quite stunning!

Although it may seem unlikely, a horticulture theme permeates the month of December.  Nature surrounds us—especially after a winter storm when evergreens are covered with sparkly white blankets of fresh snow.  Enjoy the season!

M. Lynn Schmid, Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture