Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

November, 2003
Regional Report


Homemade Suet: It's For the Birds
I enjoy the local wildlife and make it a point to keep my bird feeders supplied with suet during the winter months. Here's an easy recipe for a nutritious peanut butter and suet mix to keep the birds happy.

1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup lard or suet
3 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour

Melt suet or lard in saucepan. Add the peanut butter, stirring until all is melted and the sauce is well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix the cornmeal and flour. After the suet or lard has cooled slightly, add the cornmeal and flour mix and blend thoroughly. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Place the mixture in your suet feeders or smear it on pine cones. Hang the cones in tree branches out of direct sunshine.

Favorite or New Plant

Sturdy and Attractive, Schefflera Makes an Outstanding Houseplant
Whether you call it umbrella tree or octopus tree, the schefflera is an easy plant to cultivate in your home. Native to Papua, New Guinea and Indonesia, where it can grow to 40 feet, schefflera is a tough plant that can tolerate the low humidity in our homes. It puts on a fine display with foot-long leaflets radiating from a central point like the ribs of an umbrella. Each long-stalked leaf is composed of five to seven glossy, leathery, bright green leaves.

Schefflera thrives in bright light but will grow under slightly lower light conditions as well. It tolerates cool temperatures at night and warmer, 70-degree F conditions during the daytime. Water moderately all year-round, being sure to allow the soil surface to dry out between applications. Fertilize sparingly (I use a quarter strength dilution of a liquid 20-20-20 every two weeks).


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