January 2018 Gardening

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

No matter how old you are it is always sad to take down the Christmas tree and put the ornaments away for next year. After all the festivities of the holiday, you are now confronted with how to get this large needle-dropping tree out of your house.

A number of years ago, I read an article in the NY Times about recycling Christmas trees. In NYC they are collected on the curb to be shredded and used as mulch in the city parks. In others places, the trees are put into lakes to encourage fish habitats or placed on beaches to help protect sand dunes from winter storms. I remove all the branches from our tree with heavy duty “loppers” and place them outside as mulch in my garden. The fir clippings look quite pretty covering the beds with green during the long dreary months and keep plants from heaving in mid-winter thaws. When spring arrives, I collect the branches and put them on the compost pile. I have been even been known to cut up a tree in New York, if we have had Christmas in our apartment, and bring the branches up to Fishers Island in black garbage bags. But I admit that is a bit obsessive!

Once Christmas has been put to bed, I like to explore all the wonderful plant and seed catalogs that arrive during the month of January. I try to restrain myself from ordering too many things, but I am not always that successful. It is fun to cut out different varieties of plants and make a small collage of the cuttings to see how plant combinations or colors will work before ordering. This is especially helpful when ordering Dahlia tubers to get the right combination of colors and shapes. Nothing is worse than having a garden full of flowers that don’t go together once picked. I know people who envision the flower arrangements they want to have in their house and then order the seeds or plants that will accommodate that vision. I have never been that organized, but I admire people who are. This is my attempt at that practice with a collection of Dahlia tubers I am ordering from Swan Island Dahlias, ‘Foxy Lady’, Macalister’s Pride, ‘Summers End’ and for a bit of a punch ‘Dot Com’. I am also going to try ‘Moonstruck’ and ‘White Lightning’ and I know that ‘Victoria’ blue salvia, lavender, and white phlox will also look good with this combination of dahlias in an arrangement. Let your imagination go with thoughts of summer and a Happy Gardening New Year!

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Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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