Archives for December 2006

Last Green Thumb of the Year

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orientallily

It’s New Years Eve, Happy New Year Everyone!

I thought I’d end the year on a high note but showing you one of my favorite photos. This is not the best floral photograph that I’ve ever taken but, it’s a very long way from the worst. I love the way the White Oriental Lilies pop out from their leafy green background and how their being placed diagnally across the photo frame gives them more interest than if they’d been in a row or a cluster.

On a bit of a sad note – It’s more than a little bit ironic that I’m posting a photo of lilies today. My mother died two and a half years ago, and today would have been her birthday. Yep, she was a New Years Eve baby. The world partied every year on her birthday. I don’t think she hated lilies but she wouldn’t grow them, and when my father died she didn’t want any, in any of the flowers that people sent to the funeral home. Lilies had always reminded her of death. Probably because they are such a predominant flower in funeral arrangements. That’s why it’s ironic that I’m posting a lily photo today.

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Geneology – my family left Canada for the USA

Are any of my readers genealogy buffs? For some reason I’ve always been interested in my family history. Actually I think I might know why I developed an interest early on. You see I’m the last child of much older parents. The next sibling closest to me is 10 years older, and my oldest brother was just shy of 20 when I arrived in this world. So I grew up knowing I might not have my parents around as long as most people do, and I only ever had one grandparent.

When I was 12 or so I began asking my only living grandparent about our family history. She was 92 at the time, and little did I know it but it’s a good thing that I did start asking questions when I did because she was gone a year later.

One of the things that I’d learned from her in those talks so long ago was that her branch of the family came from England, Wales, and Scotland. Part of her long family line had been in what was to become Canada since the 1600’s! Another thing that learned was that in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s several lines of our family moved to the US for work. Many of them settled in Ohio and Idaho.

I’d like to learn more about my American relatives so I might travel to Idaho one day. What have begun to do is spend some time researching the history of the areas that my relatives moved to. One of the areas is Boise Idaho.

Boise is a thriving city with a quaint small town feel from what I’ve gathered reading about the city. You know where I got some of my information? From the Boise Home Guide! Yeah, a real Estate page. Actually I’ve learned that the city is growing because many people like the city, and the atmosphere so much and that their real estate market is doing well as a result. Check out these homes on the Boise mls to see what’s available. I really like the style of some of the houses and the prices seem reasonable for the area as well.

Boise seems so nice. Perhaps I’ve discovered one of the reasons why my relatives moved there and ended up staying? I’d love to learn if they’ve started any businesses there or if anyone made a bit of a name for themselves in the area. That would be interesting. It’s always fun finding an interesting gem of information like that.

So how many of my gardening friends also have an interest in genealogy? I bet more of you have that interest than I think.

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Re-use your Christmas Tree

Do you still have your Christmas tree?

If you do, you might want to think about reusing it rather than putting it out on the curb for the garbage collectors to pick up. The Star Tribune, St. Paul Minneapolis has a great list of ideas for those who want to find ways to reuse their Christmas tree.

WINTER MULCH
Evergreen branches can be like a parka for your plants. “The branches help soil maintain an even temperature, and they will stay in place better than loose leaves or straw,” said Nancy Rose, a horticulturist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Just cut branches off the tree and pile them on plants that need protection.

FOR THE BIRDS
Your discarded Christmas tree can provide habitat and a feeding station. If you have a sheltered spot in your yard, simply lay the tree on its side or add it to a brush pile, then scatter birdseed around it, said Duluth ornithologist Laura Erickson. Or “plant” your old tree in a bucket filled with sand, then decorate with pine cones slathered with peanut butter.

TREE FOR ALL SEASONS
Get more mileage by repurposing your tree for other holidays. Tamara Belle-Isle said the artificial tree of her childhood stayed up through Easter, first decked with Christmas ornaments, then Valentines, then Easter decorations. George and Michelle Gold save their natural Christmas tree for Lent. They take it outside, cut off the branches, saw off a section of the top and make it into a cross.

BACK TO NATURE
You can compost your tree or, if you have access to a woodchipper, you can turn it into mulch. Evergreen chips can be used just as you’d use any wood chips, plus they smell good.

BURN IT — OR NOT?
Mary Granger’s Christmas tree comes down Jan. 2, is chopped into firewood and burned the following year while the new tree is trimmed. Old Christmas tree limbs can make good fire starters because they crackle and are aromatic. But burn with caution: Christmas trees are highly flammable, and they contain a lot of resin, which produces more creosote than hardwoods.

SPRUCING UP YOUR POTS
If you never got around to adding seasonal interest, here’s an easy, no-cost alternative to the ubiquitous spruce tips. Just cut off your Christmas tree branches and stick them in your pots. (Keep the Christmas-tree trunk, save it until spring and use it to stake tomato plants.)

TREE-MENDOUS TRELLIS?
OK, it’s not fancy but it’s functional. When propped upright in the garden, your old Christmas tree can provide a structure for morning glories, purple hyacinths or other climbing vines. A tree trellis lasts only a season, but you can’t beat the price.

Does anyone else have any other ideas of how a Christmas tree might be reused? List them in the comments area, lets build this list.

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