Live Christmas Trees
Consider making a live Christmas tree a family tradition. Predig the hole outside for planting the tree after the holidays. Wrap the root ball in a wet bath towel and set the balled-and-burlapped plant in a large pan. Pour a quart of water a day on the towel. The tree should survive at least a week, or maybe two, indoors before planting outdoors.
Books often top the list of gifts for gardeners, but why not a high-quality spade, ergonomic hand tools, garden-related jewelry, or clothing? Even non-gardeners will appreciate hyacinth bulbs with a bulb vase or paperwhite narcissus, pebbles, and a bowl.
Mulch Perennials and Roses
Once the ground is frozen hard, it's time to apply mulching material to the perennial garden and rose beds. Use pine needles or loosely packed leaves, such as those from oaks or sugar maples. For extra protection, add pine boughs from holiday decorations once they're taken down.
To have poinsettias looking their best for as long as possible, choose plants whose central, yellow flowers are not fully open. Place the plants near a sunny window but away from air vents. If the pots are wrapped in foil, poke a few holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. Keep the soil evenly moist.
Before you put away your garden tools for the winter, wash or scrape off the soil. Then remove any rust with steel wool and wipe the surface with an oily rag, or spray with cooking spray to protect the steel surfaces from rust damage. Store in a dry place.