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The Neighborhood Gardener – December

Better late than never! While the December issue of “The Neighborhood Gardener” went out as scheduled, we failed to post it to the blog. Our apologies! Here’s the December Neighborhood Gardener – look for January’s issue next Friday (January 11th).

December’s The Neighborhood Gardener:

poinsettiaPoinsettias: Holiday Color for the Home & Garden
Poinsettias are an iconic holiday decoration, instantly recognizable for their colorful, petal-like leaves called bracts. But today’s cultivated poinsettias come in a variety of colors besides the traditional red. And new varieties, like Ice Punch and Peppermint Twist, have been bred to last even longer indoors.

poinsettiaGarlands – Garlands are an ancient holiday tradition, dating as far back as Greek and Roman times. Ropes of garland are often made from evergreen material, like pine and cedar, as it’s pliable and relatively easy to work with. To make your own garland, cut branches ranging in lengths from six to twelve inches long. Overlap the branches and attach them using twine or wire. For a truly Southern look, you can even make garland with Southern magnolia leaves. Their leathery coating will keep them looking good for some time.

acornsPlant of the Month: Shumard Oak — Ideal for urban landscapes, Shumard oak is appreciated for its interesting foliage. It features traditional oak-shaped leaves that are dark green throughout most of the year and then turn a brilliant red or red-orange in fall. Once mature, these shade trees can reach 80 feet tall and have a 50- to 60-foot canopy. Shumard oak can be grown throughout Florida in full sun. It will grow best in a soil that’s rich and moist, though it can also be planted in drier sites.

December in Your Garden – Fallen leaves provide the carbon needed for successful composting and also make a good mulch. If plants did not perform as desired this year or new plantings are being planned, a soil test will reveal the specific nutrients that need to be applied.

raccoonFriend or Foe? Foe: Raccoon — Raccoons are very well-adapted to urban areas and often make a nuisance of themselves getting into trash, the vegetable garden, or worse, your attic. They’re also a major carrier of rabies in Florida. But there are inexpensive and simple ways to control this nuisance, mainly through exclusion and prevention.

Read the full December issue.

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