Re-Purpose Christmas Trees
After they delight us indoors, live-cut Christmas trees can be transformed to serve several other useful purposes and should never be sent to the landfill. If your city or town has a Christmas tree recycling program, your tree can become mulch or compost. Kept at home, set the entire tree outdoors for a bird haven. Or, cut the branches from the main trunk and lay them over perennials for winter protection.
Inventory and Test Stored Seed
If you haven't already done so, go through any leftover vegetable and flower seeds and test the for viability. Do this by first dampening a paper towel, then placing about 10 seeds on the towel. Roll the towel and place in a plastic bag. Set in a 65 to 70 degree F place for several days, then check to see if any seeds have sprouted. If at least half in the test have sprouted, enough seeds are viable to make the packet worth keeping. Make a list of "keepers" to help you in choosing which seeds to buy in 2011.
Extend Care for Amaryllis after Blooming
As holiday-blooming amaryllis blooms fade, cut off the flower stalk at the base. Keep the plant in a sunny window and continue to water and feed until next fall. If possible, once all danger of frost is past next spring, set the potted amaryllis outdoors in a lightly shaded, sheltered spot, continuing to water and feed it. In the fall, stop feeding and watering, cut off the leaves, and allow the bulb to go dormant. After eight weeks, place in to a sunny window again, and initiate watering and feeding. A new flower stem should appear in several weeks.
Join a Plant Society or Botanical Garden
Looking for ways to learn more about gardening or specific plants? Or want to meet other gardeners? Join a plant society or local botanical garden or arboretum. Membership fees are usually reasonable. In return, most organizations offer helpful publications and the opportunity to interact with people with a great deal of plant knowledge. To find one that interests you, look through the classified ads of gardening magazines, links on websites, or do a search on the Internet.
Buy an African Violet
Brighten up the dark days of winter with one or more African violets. These are often available at garden centers and even grocery stores, and are easy to grow. Plus, they reward you with flowers year-round, except for a few rest spells. It's important to fertilize regularly and avoid getting water on the leaves. To accomplish this, set the pot in a saucer of warm water for 30 minutes, then discard any remaining water.