The Bruce Company Blog
Every family has their own holiday traditions that are practiced, and enjoyed, year after year. We bundle up and head to get to the same place to get the tree. We bake cookies from the same family recipes. We watch the same holiday special on television. There are some time-honored traditions that everyone practices. Have you ever wondered how some of them got started?
Baby, it’s cold outside, so winter is definitely here. Outside, seeds and buds are slumbering. The earth is still. Inside our homes, we’re warm and happy in rooms sparkling with bright lights, views of any impending storms softened by steamy windows. This time of year we gather together to celebrate family and friends. But don’t forget your indoor gardening chores.
Close on the heels of our Thanksgiving celebrations, comes one of the most harrowing of all the winter holiday experiences – the Selection of the Christmas Tree. Luckily, we live smack in the middle of tree central. Of the 13,000 or so Christmas tree farms in the United States, more than 900 are located in Wisconsin. So we have plenty of choices.
Gardening in late November? Are we crazy? Most everyone we know is consumed with holiday decorating, shopping for gifts, and trying to reconfigure their Thanksgiving dinner traditions. But you can still squeeze in a little winter gardening and satisfy your green thumb. Because beautiful blooming plants make excellent gifts for gardening friends and kids.
Wow. It’s November and we’re seeing temps in the 60s. Remember last year? By this time we’d already had 3 measurable snow events. What a difference 12 months can make! The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting average snowfall for the lower Great Lakes region, with cooler than average temperatures
Despite this week’s warm weather, the night temperatures are cooling and last weekend’s wind stripped most of the leaves off our trees. And though the last few days felt like summer, colder weather is on its way. It’s time to get your ponds and water features ready for the frosty temperatures to come. If you still have leaves clinging to trees, your first step is to cover your pond with netting or a floating row cloth. This will keep the falling leaves and other debris out of the water, lessening the work next spring.
No snow for us yet, though I did see a few flakes around 4:30 on Monday. But there will be plenty of nice November days that are perfect for getting a jump on outdoor holiday decorating. Why not start with hanging your Christmas lights? There’s no rule that says they need to be lit right away and it’s so much easier to put them up in early November than in early December. Be sure to test them first in case you need to replace some strings. And if you need replacements, perhaps it’s time to make the switch from incandescent to LED.
At long last. It’s time to take a deep breath because the physical work and often frenetic pace of the growing season is over. Not having a million things to accomplish in the garden may find some folks feeling a bit bereft, but many others are so happy. The Garden Center is emptying of plant material and stocking up on holiday decor. Plants are lined up, ready for frost blankets and mulch piles. All of us here have such mixed emotions about the end of the outdoor gardening season. What about you?
Forcing spring bulbs into winter bloom was the rage in the 1800s. Hyacinths were especially popular. But there are others to try, too. We love vases of paperwhites and pots of amaryllis. And with a little prep time, you can have pots of tulips and daffodils blooming in your kitchen in late February.
October can be such a confusing time for new gardeners. Though the sun certainly isn’t quite as warm, the golden color of autumn light can fool us into thinking that it is still late summer. Fall is the time of year for two of our favorite garden activities-harvest and reflection. Without harvest, we can’t reap the rewards of a summer well spent. And without reflection, we’ll never learn from our mistakes and successes.