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Edition 16.48 J&L Garden Center's News December, 2016

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition. - Martha Washington

Wrapping trees with Christmas Lights

Wrapping trees with Christmas lights can create a beautiful sparkle in your yard. The two biggest things that will make a big difference is having enough lights, preferrably of the same type, and to keep consistant spacing. The width of your palm and thumb laying flat on the tree (around 4") is a good standard. If you have enough lights you can go tighter to create a brighter display, but if you're on a light budget, you may want wider wraps.

Figure out which trees need to be wrapped, and get a good guess of how many lights you think each tree will need. If a tree is 1' thick, it will go around about 4-5 times. If it is 3' thick, it will only go around twice. It's best to get lots of lights and keep some extras for future years, or just use them to fill in the trunk or wrap some shrubs.

The next step is to find power and run it to the tree. Locate the closest outlet. Take a strand of lights and test it. If it doesn't work, check GFI, your breaker box, or see if there is a switch that turs it on. If it still doesn't work, find a new power source. Tie te end of your power cord to tree. Starting at bottom of your tree is good on small trees. Running your cord to the main intersection of limbs is better for bigger trees. Run your cord to the power source. Tie or zip-tie it to the power source to secure it from being pulled out.

Plug the first strand into the cord on the tree. Wrap it around once and tie it to itself around the cord.

Are the lights working? If not, try a different strand. Still not working? You might want to try a different outlet or cord.

Wrap the first strand around the tree. Keep consistent spacing. Tie it to the second strand by wrapping the two ends together before plugging them in. Wrap until you get to your desired height.
Here you can wrap the strand around any twig sticking out or staple before coming back down the branch. Bring the strand down quickly, wrapping two or three times, just enough to keep it snug. Once you reach the next branch you want to wrap, go up it, and repeat until you are satisfied with that part of the tree. Tie off the end of your strand to the branch when you are done.

If the tree has smooth bark, staple as needed to keep the lights snugly in place. If it has rough bark that the strands stick to easily, you can usually forego staples, but they can still be useful to secure tricky spots. Keeping your lights snug while you wrap will help keep them in place.

Wrap the most prominent limbs first, choosing limbs on all sides of the tree that will be most visible.

It's best to start a new line from your power cord every 4-6 strands if you're using traditional incandescent lights. If you have newer LED lights, you can use many more in one set, but It's best to start a new set for each main limb so it will be easier to identify problem strands.

Be careful on ladders, and if you're climbing in a tree, be sure to use a harness. With some patience and a little bravery, you can create a spectacle out of the trees in your yard. Even a few lights will brighten your yard for the holidays.

It's always more fun to hang lights with a buddy, both to shoot the breeze with, and to hold your ladder. Safety is key here. Nobody wants to spend the holidays in a cast.

Happy Holidays!

Gardening in December

December is a festive season. It is a busy time for all: Shopping, decorating, and entertaining all take top billing this month. Fall officially changes to winter this month, but with the winter holidays, one hardly notices the official passage into winter.

By now, planting chores and winter prep are completed in the garden and yard. Many of the leftover chores are hold-overs from last month's list. Yet, there are still a few other things you can continue to do in the home, yard, and garden this month:

Click here to find more suggestions about Gardening in December

December Garden Checklist
  • Plant a basket of Paperwhite narcissus for holiday bloom.
  • Start your Amaryllis bulb now to bloom for the winter season.
  • Finish filling flower beds with bulbs and flowers for winter and spring bloom.
  • Prune Raspberries and Roses - just to prevent snow breakage.
  • Cut back chrysanthemums and other perennial flowers; clean up the ground.
  • Water evergreens, and newly planted shrubs, if the weather is warm and dry.
  • Water bulbs, especially newly planted and potted ones.
  • Clean up flower beds to prevent cutworms, slugs and snails.
  • Clean up vegetable gardens to prevent diseases for next year.
  • Pre-chill tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses for forcing winter blossoms.
  • Wrap the trunks of young trees to protect them from winter sunburn.
  • Spray Peach, Apricot, and Nectarine trees to prevent coryneum blight.
  • Spray evergreen plants with Wilt Prufe antidessicant to prevent winter sunburn.
  • Buy a potted Christmas Tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas.
  • Mulch, mulch, and mulch some more.
Winter Lawn Care

Mow your lawn short the last time you mow for the year. By cutting the grass a little shorter in the late-fall, you reduce the chance of it laying down and creating a snowmold problem during the winter. Do not cut your lawn short until the last time you mow it for the year.

"Don't Leave The Leaves." Make sure that you rake all the leaves from your lawn. Try to remove the leaves within three to four days after they drop. Some trees drop their leaves all at once while other trees may drop their leaves slowly all winter. Sycamore trees, oak trees, beech trees, and willow trees are probably the worst varieties for dropping their leaves. Ginkgo, on the other hand, drop all their leaves in one day.

Leaves left on the lawn may cause fungus or snowmold problems that are much easier to prevent in the fall, than to cure in the spring.

  • Fertilize with Fall & Winter Fertilizer or Dr. Earth Lawn Food sometime between early-October and late-November.
  • Do not fertilize your lawn if you cannot water your lawn, and the weather is still hot and dry; wait until the temperatures cool down and it starts to rain or snow to apply your winter fertilizer.
  • Mow your lawns 1.5" until the last mowing of the year. Then cut it short.
  • Rake leaves. Do not let them remain on the lawn very long.
  • Apply a lawn fungicide, to help prevent snowmold, if your lawn has had a snowmold problem in previous years.
Winter Plant Care

Some plants are much more 'winter hardy' than others. Many plants that thrive in California and Oregon, without any special winter care, will struggle and die if they are not properly protected during the winter in Utah. Conversely, many plants that are not supposed to survive the winter in Utah may grow and flourish if they receive the correct winter care.

Some plants survive through several winters without any protection, and then unexpectedly die for no apparent reason. Some plants growing in one area of the yard require much more winter protection than the exact same plant growing in another area of the same yard.

Why are some plants able to survive cold winter temperatures and others do not survive?

1. Winter Acclimation,

2. Winter Hardiness,

3. Winter De-acclimation,

4. Actual Winter Weather Conditions.

Planning ahead and preparing your plants for winter can help minimize some of the factors that might otherwise damage or kill your plants.

Dry winters cause more winter injury in plants than winters with heavy snowfall. Snow is one of the best natural insulators that plants have. Snow cover protects plants from extreme temperatures (both from heat and from cold).

Snow cover also helps maintain moisture in the soil for plants to use during the winter. If mother nature doesn't provide this necessary insulation, you will need to provide something to protect your tender plants.

Click here to find more suggestions about Plant Care during the winter.

Winter Rose Care & Protection

1.Stop fertilizing roses in Mid-August.

2. Stop watering roses as much in late-September. Keep them moist, but not too wet.

3. Stop cutting off spent flowers in mid-October. Let the blossoms develop 'Rose Hips'.

4. After the ground freezes, cover the crown of the rose with leaves, Soil Pep, or soil. If wind is a problem in your area, place a Rose Collar, or a tomato cage around each bush, to keep the leaves or mulch from blowing away. By covering the crown six inches, the frost is less likely to cause any serious winter injury. Your roses will grow and bloom beautifully for many years.

5. After the rose bush is completely dormant, cut off any tall canes to about three feet tall. Extra long canes break easily with heavy snow. Do not cut the plants too short, wait until next spring to prune them severely.

6. Climbing roses need the same protection as bush roses, but they cannot be cut back to three feet tall. The best way to protect climbing roses from the extreme cold is to take them off their trellis and bury them with mulch or soil. Since this is not always practical, and we don't always have extremely cold winters, most people will just bury the crowns six to twelve inches deep and prune out any winter injured canes in the spring.

7. Tree roses need extra protection during the winter. The entire cane, from the ground to the top of the branches, should be covered with straw, leaves or some other insulation. One way to protect your tree rose is to build a cage around it and fill the cage with straw. With a little extra care tree roses will grow and bloom for many years.

Grow an Amaryllis

Amaryllis normally bloom in the spring, but if the bulbs are stored in cool temperatures of 55 degrees Fahrenheit for several weeks, the genetic timetable of the amaryllis bulb will be set ahead and it can be in full bloom during the winter. The Amaryllis growers take care of this for you the first year.

Some varieties of Amaryllis will bloom earlier than others. Amaryllis bulbs are sometimes unpredictable. After planting, some bulbs may start growing and blooming immediately. Other bulbs may wait several weeks to start growing. Once the bulb does start growing, it usually takes six to eight weeks for the blossoms to appear.

After your blossoms have faded don't be too surprised if another blossom stem appears later in the spring or summer.

Amaryllis grows fast. Sometimes it seems as though you can sit back and actually watch it grow. Amaryllis grow faster in warm room temperatures and in direct sunlight. When amaryllis blossoms finally open, the spectacular flowers will last for two or three weeks. Cooler temperatures during this period will help the blossoms last even longer. Make sure the bulb has plenty of water during this stage of growth. Support the leaves and the blossom stems so they do not bend or tip over.

When the blossoms fade, cut the blossom stem off close to the bulb. Don't cut off any leaf stems, just remove the blossom stem. Another blossom stem may begin to form immediately or within a few weeks. Four or five blossom stems are possible on the larger size (40cm) bulbs.

Planting Tip:

  • Use a pot just slightly larger than the bulb.
  • Spread Roots out when planting. Do not damage the roots.
  • Plant with one-third of the Bulb above the soil level.
  • Use Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil.
  • Cover the soil surface with a layer of fine gravel to help keep the 'Bugs Out'.

Keep the Color Coming: by Tamara Galbraith
Attention: Anyone who received an amaryllis as a gift over the holidays...don't throw that bulb away just because the flower stalk is now withered and ugly! With a little coddling, you can enjoy the same beautiful blooms next year.

After the blossoms shrivel, cut the flower stem 1 inch above the base with a sharp knife. Continue to water and feed the remaining bulb regularly, and provide plenty of light. Amaryllis can be planted outdoors - pot and all - in partial shade and then into full sunlight during the summer.

For Christmas blooms next year, bring the plants into the garage in late September and place the pots on their sides. Cut off all water. This gives the plants a couple of months to rest before preparing to bloom again during the holidays.

In November, remove any dead leaves and replace the top couple of inches of potting soil. Resist the urge to pot up, as amaryllis like being jammed into a small space; there should only be about 1" between the bulb and the pot. Thoroughly water, place in a sunny window indoors and wait until growth emerges.

Once a flower bud becomes evident, continue watering when soil becomes dry, and make sure the plant is receiving plenty of sunlight. Water well during blooming, but put the plant in a less bright spot to help the flowers last longer. Then, when the flowers begin to fade, it's time to start the whole process over again.

Click here to read more about growing and taking care of Amaryllis bulbs.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus can add a little more interest and a little more variety to your houseplant collection. They are different than most other houseplants, and are very easy to take care of. Christmas Cactus produce an abundance of flowers and can flower for six weeks, and sometimes even longer. Add an Easter Cactus, or a Thanksgiving

Cactus to your collection, and you can almost have one of these beauties blooming throughout the year. Christmas cactus is a member of the cactus family, but it doesn't have spines. Unlike its thorny relatives, Christmas Cactus prefer humid, moist conditions with only a moderate amount of sunlight. Christmas Cactus grow naturally in the tropical rain forests; not in the hot, dry deserts. Christmas cactus seem to thrive on neglect. Unlike most other houseplants, forgetting to water them for a week or two will not hurt them.

The Christmas Cactus belongs to the plant genus Schlumbergera. They were previously classified in the plant genus Zygocactus. Even though the classification has been changed, most people still refer to the Christmas Cactus as a Zygocactus. The true Christmas Cactus are only available in red and pink. Through years of plant breeding, Thanksgiving Cactus are now available in several different shades of red, white, pink, purple, yellow, and salmon.

The three common flowering cacti are called Holiday Cactus.

Thanksgiving Cactus Schlumbergera truncatus. These cacti are also called Crab or Yoke Cactus because of their pointed lobes. The branches are usually upright and erect. They are available in many different colors and start blooming in late fall through Christmas. This is the common 'Christmas Cactus'. The petals are one sided and have reflexing petals.

Christmas Cactus Schlumbergera bridgessii. It is the true Christmas Cactus. It has rounded lobed leaves. The branches are usually weeping. It is only available in one color - red. It starts blooming about a month after Thanksgiving cactus, and rarely blooms before Thanksgiving. The flower petals are evenly distributed around the flower tube.

Easter Cactus Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerii. These cacti have wider rounded leaves, often tinged with red. They have bristles on the sides of segments and at the tip of the terminal segments. They generally start blooming in February or March.

Click here to read more about taking care of your Christmas Cactus.

Poinsettias Can Last the Season

Bright and cheery, poinsettia is a traditional decoration at Christmas time. Its "flowers" are actually leaf-like bracts that surround the tiny, yellow, true flowers in the center. Poinsettias are easy to grow and can add a wide variety of color to your home. Poinsettias are available with white, pink, red, yellow, speckled, and even multi-colored bracts. More poinsettias are commercially grown in the world than any other houseplant or flower. Two-thirds of all poinsettias grown in the world are sold in the United States. Almost everyone in the United States buys at least one or two poinsettia plants every year, many people buy even more.

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous plants. The milky sap is usually harmless but in rare cases it may irritate someone's skin. Fortunately the sap doesn't taste good because it may irritate the stomach, but it will not poison anyone.

Even though poinsettias are easy to grow they are not "foolproof". Many people have problems with them dropping their leaves prematurely or losing there bracts. The length of blooming time depends on how well you take care of your plant when you first buy it. They have specific needs if you want to keep them looking good for the entire Christmas Season.

When you purchase your poinsettia, make sure it's the last stop of the day. Poinsettias like warm temperatures and can be damaged if left in a cold car for several hours.

If you had your poinsettia sleeved at the store, remove the sleeve as soon as you get home.

Choose a spot in your home that has bright, indirect light, avoiding any drafts or heat sources. If your plant starts to drop a lot of leaves, try moving it to a brighter location.

Day temperatures should be between 65 and 75 degrees. Night temperatures can be cooler, but shouldn't get colder than 55 degrees.

Water your plant thoroughly after the surface of the soil dries out - on average every 2-3 days depending on how warm your home is. Over-watering is the most common reason for poinsettia troubles.

Apply enough water so the pot is evenly moist and begins to drain out of the bottom of the pot.

If you're using a pot cover or decorative container be sure to drain out any excess water that has dripped through the pot.

Click here to read more tips to keep your poinsettia looking great throughout the Christmas Season.

Fresh-cut Christmas Trees

Fresh-cut Christmas trees need special care if they are to remain fresh until Christmas Day. I am sure you have had the experience, just like myself and many other people, that your tree dries out and falls apart just before Christmas. Not only is this experience a hassle, but it is also a fire hazard!

Ideally, Fresh-cut Christmas trees should only be kept inside the house for two or three weeks. Many people want to have their tree decorated from Thanksgiving Day until New Years Day. Unfortunately fresh-cut Christmas trees just can't always last that long inside a warm house. However, with the proper care, you can extend the life of your tree, enjoy your tree the entire Christmas season, and decrease the fire hazard of your fresh-cut Christmas tree. Always keep fire safety in mind when purchasing and displaying any kind of Christmas trees - artificial and Potted Christmas trees included.

  • Test for freshness when you buy your tree.
  • Cut one inch off of the base of your tree e and put your tree in a bucket of warm water immediately.
  • Use a water stand.
  • Do nct cut bark off the tree to make it fit into your tree stand.
  • Always use miniature lights.
  • Never, never have a fire in the same room as a Christmas Tree.
  • Spray your tree with 'Wilt Pruf'.
Potted Christmas Trees

Potted Christmas trees are a great winter holiday idea because they keep giving and giving year after year. You can enjoy the memories of Christmases past. You can watch your 'Tree' grow, the one you had when you were a child.

You can enjoy a potted tree inside for Christmas and then plant it outside after Christmas: instead of just throwing your tree away. Colorado Spruce seems to be the favorite tree for this purpose, however, Austrian Pine and Scotch Pine are just as nice as a potted Christmas tree. There are also many dwarf varieties of pine and spruce trees that would make a great potted Christmas tree, and then fit perfectly into a small yard.

Before purchasing one, decide where the tree will be planted after Christmas. Consider the mature size of the tree, and the weight of the potted tree. A potted Christmas tree can weigh 100 to 200 pounds. Can you take it inside your house?

  • Keep your tree inside the house 10 to 14 days.
  • Keep your tree as cool as possible while inside the house.
  • Water your tree thoroughly every two or three days.
  • Water your tree thoroughly when you put it back outside.
  • Spray your tree with Wilt Pruf just before you bring the tree inside.
  • Protect your tree. After Christmas, the tree can be placed in the garage, in a shed, or next to the house for week or two before planting it.
  • It can be helpful to pre-dig the planting hole, as the ground can be frozen in late December and early January.
  • After planting, water the rootball thoroughly, even if it is extremely cold outside.

Click here to read more about helping your Christmas Trees stay fresher - longer.

Where do bugs go during the winter?

As fall fades into winter, yards and gardens should have been cleaned up and plants should have gone dormant. What about the insect pests? Most insects will be protected from the winter weather and will be ready to reappear next season, right on schedule.

Some migrate, some hibernate, and some insects make their own antifreeze to make it through cold weather.

As winter approaches, insects come up with a variety of strategies to survive the freezing temperatures of the season. Many head for some cover (including our homes) where they will be partially insulated from the most severe effects of the weather.

Insects obviously do survive the winter, or we would never see them again. Insects have a variety of methods for surviving the coldness of winter.

In general, insects are able to survive cold temperatures easiest when the temperatures are stable, not fluctuating through alternate thaws and freezes. Blankets of snow benefit insects by insulating the ground and keeping the temperature surprisingly constant.

The easiest winters for insects are the ones when the temperature gradually gets cold, stays cold, and then gradually gets warm as spring arrives. But even in the worst winters, a LOT of insects survive.

Fortunately, a large quantity of insects naturally die each winter. Many insects perish due to cold temperatures, the lack of food reserves, or from natural diseases that attack them while they are in their resting stage.

Spend some time in the fall finding and controlling insect pests in your yard. Try to eliminate their hiding locations. You may save yourself some time and money next spring.

Click here for more information about identifying and controlling Houseplant Pests

Holiday Decorating With Fresh Greenery

Decorating the house with fresh greenery is one of the oldest winter holiday traditions. People have been decorating with greenery since the 1800s, with some homes elaborately decorated with garlands of holly, ivy, mountain laurel and mistletoe hung from the roof. Other homes went a simpler route, with greenery and boughs in the window frames and holly sprigs stuck to the glass with wax.

Today, decorating for the holidays with fresh greenery is more prevalent than ever. Greens such as cedar, ivy, pine, and holly add a fresh look and natural scent to our homes, and are good to use since they dry out slowly and hold their needles well. Hemlock, spruce, and most broadleaf evergreens can also be used, but will last longer if used outdoors.

In addition to using greenery in traditional methods such as wreaths, garlands and table centerpieces, you can also create beautiful arrangements in window boxes, pottery or vases. The key is to either immerse the cut ends in water before arranging or place them in an oasis inside the container, which you can keep moist.

Besides the more commonly used evergreens, consider using other plant parts such as acorns, berries, dried flowers, cones, seed pods and branches of dormant plants such as pussy willow or forsythia to give added color and texture interest. You can even incorporate fruits such as lemons, limes, apples, pears, kumquats and pineapple.

It’s important to decorate safely during the holidays. Dried evergreens can become flammable when in contact with a heat source such as a candle flame, space heaters, heater vents or sunny windows. If you use lights near your green arrangements, make sure that they stay cool, and if outside, that they are rated for exterior use.

Nothing can beat the look of real leafy greens scattered around the house and in arrangements. It’s hard to beat the aroma of real needle evergreens decorating your house in the winter months. You can find all kinds of fresh greenery here, so come on in and join us in celebrating the holidays.

Insulating your Cold Frames

article picture

Old-fashioned cold frames made with brick or timber sides were not as light as modern aluminum and glass or plastic cold frames, but they were warmer. Glass sides let in more light, but also lost heat rapidly. Have the best of both worlds by insulating your glass-sided cold frame during the coldest weather, while taking full advantage of the glass sides in the spring and summer.

Sometimes there are small gaps between the glass and an aluminum frame. This does not matter in hot weather, but for winter warmth it’s worth sealing the gaps with draft-proofing strips sold for windows and doors.

Insulate the glass sides with sheets of expanded polystyrene. Cut it with a knife or saw. Measure accurately, allowing for the thickness of the material where sheets join at the ends. Push sheets into place so that they fit tightly.

In covering cold frames remember that cold frames of any kind benefit from a warm blanket thrown over them on very cold nights. A piece of old carpet is an ideal alternative. Put it in place before the temperature drops, and remember to remove it the next morning unless it remains exceptionally cold. Your plants need light and warmth.

The Beauty of Christmas Cactus

While the poinsettia remains the most popular of the holiday plants, a healthy Christmas cactus in full bloom is a great gift idea for that special gardener. It is easy to care for and can be grown indoors throughout the year. The flowers range in color from yellow, orange, red, salmon, pink, fuchsia and white or combinations of those colors. Its pendulous stems make it a great choice for hanging baskets.

The "Christmas cactus" that is grown commercially is actually several closely related species of forest cacti that grow as epiphytes between 3,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level in the Organ Mountains north of Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil, South America.

We typically think of cacti as being heat tolerant, but Christmas cactuses will keep their blossoms longer in cooler temperatures. It is important to keep plants in a well-lit location away from drafts of heater vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can cause the flower buds to drop from the plant before they have a chance to open.

The Christmas cactus is a tropical type plant, not quite as drought tolerant as its desert relatives and, in fact, may drop flower buds if the soil gets too dry. Water thoroughly when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch. The soil should be kept evenly moist for best growth.

Christmas cactuses will do best in bright indirect light. They don't need to be fertilized while in bloom, but most gardeners enjoy the challenge of keeping the plant after the holidays for re-bloom the following year. While plants are actively growing, use a blooming houseplant-type fertilizer and apply monthly until blooms set the following season. If taken care of properly, a single plant can last for many years, providing many seasons of enjoyment.

Click to print this article.

Winter Bird Feedings


One of my favorite pleasures in winter is to be inside my warm house and look out at the wild birds at the feeder. I love to refill the feeders in the morning after a storm, pouring out my gifts to the birds. They know what to expect and start flirting into the bare trees around the feeders as soon as I open the door.

Feeding birds at home is like running any successful restaurant:
You need a good location, a comfortable, clean space and an appealing menu. Different birds have different tastes. So what you put in your feeder should depend on what you would like to attract. Serve a seed special. The superior sunflower seed is the small black-oil type. Most birds who frequent feeders love them.Mimimize the mess. Hulled sunflower seed are more expensive, but there's less waste left behind. Shrubbery and trees offer quick escape routes if danger flies overhead or pounces from the shadows. A sunny spot out of the prevailing winds- near a small tree or shrubs, with a good view of the house- is a perfect spot for a feeder.

If you are new to feeding birds, you might wonder what to offer. In short, offer seeds and water. Many of the birds we see in winter are seed eaters. They have to be: insects are hard to come by this time of year. By setting up a bird feeding station, you are taking your cue from nature, offering the kind of nourishment that the birds are adapted to. You provide a generous, reliable source of food, and the birds gladly come and help themselves, up close, where it's convenient for you to watch them.

The hands down favorite bird seed is sunflower. It attracts many types of birds including woodpeckers, jays and finches. Buy the black sunflower seeds, sometimes called oil seeds. Birds prefer them to the grey and white striped sunflower seeds sold for people because they are higher in oil content. They are softer shelled, hence easier to crack open.

Another essential bird seed is niger. Finches adore niger. You may have dozens of finches visiting your niger feeder at once, which is quite a cheering sight on a winter day. Niger is a black seed, so tiny and light you can blow away a handful with a gentle breath. Buy a yellow seed sock or a hanging feeder specifically designed for niger, and hang it where you can see it from your best viewing window. Up close to the house, even under the eaves, is fine. Finches will become very tame and won't mind your standing two feet from them, on the other side of the window, while they eat.

When starting up a feeding program, be patient. It may take as long as several weeks before the birds discover your feeders. While you wait, be sure to keep the feeders filled. Eventually, the birds will come... and then they will come back!

Sometimes conscientious people are concerned about whether feeding the birds will harm the birds. Will the birds become dependent on the handouts? And it's often advised that one should only start feeding birds if certain that the feeding can continue uninterrupted all winter.

However, the evidence indicates that feeding is not likely to be bad for birds. They don't settle in and dine at just one place. Finches, for example, follow a circuit each day, visiting a number of feeders and wild food patches, as we know from studies of banded birds that can be identified individually.

With many households feeding birds, it's unlikely that a bird will starve because one feeder goes empty. All the same, birds that come into your yard at dusk on a cold evening are hungry, and one does not like to disappoint one's guests. It's my pleasure to make sure that they always find something to eat in my yard.

Recipe of the Week: Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

recipe image

What You'll Need:

  • 6 apples, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or other good baking apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Step by Step:

Pare, core, and slice apples. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice, then mix with fruit. Turn into buttered 8x8x2 inch baking dish; set aside.

In a clean bowl crumble together sugar, flour, salt, and butter. Add walnuts and top apples with crumbly mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until apples are tender, juices are bubbly, and topping is golden brown.

For variety, try adding a bit of mace, ginger, nutmeg, or whatever seems appealing.
If you want thicker juices, add 2 or 3 tbsp of quick cooking tapioca to make it more like apple pie filling.

Yield: 6-9 servings



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Bountiful, Utah, weather forecast
November 24, 2017



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Around Our Website:

More Gardening Advice

December Gardening Tips

Amaryllis Care

Poinsettia Care

Christmas Cactus Care

Christmas Tree Care

Forcing Paperwhite Narcissus

Forcing Bulbs

Winter Lawn Care

Winter Plant Care

Where Do Bugs Go
During The Winter?

Planting Fall Bulbs-
Tulips & Daffodils

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