Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

December, 2000
Regional Report

Preserving Cut Flowers

Flower arrangements from a florist will last longer if you periodically add water to the container, keeping the florist's foam moist. Before arranging loose bouquets, cut off at least an inch of the stem with a sharp knife or scissors. To extend flower life, use a commercial cut-flower preservative.

Protect Fruit Trees

Nibbling mice can girdle fruit trees and ruin your orchard. They especially like the sweet bark of apples, quinces, and pears. Keep them at bay by stomping down the snow around the tree trunks when it is 4 inches or deeper and encasing the trunks in hardware clothe.

Get Pots Ready

It won't be long before it's time to start the earliest of the seeds for next spring. Check on what supplies need to be ordered. It's also important to clean pots and other containers. Wash containers with a Lysol and mild detergent solution. Rinse thoroughly.

Amaryllis as Gifts

Buy an amaryllis bulb for yourself or a friend, especially someone who doesn't get out or a child. These are magical plants that grow fast and reward the grower with giant flowers. Dozens of varieties are available, in colors ranging from pure white to shades of pink and crimson, sometimes striped or edged in a contrasting color. Varieties such as 'Scarlet Baby' produce "miniature" flowers.

Check Houseplants for Pests

Houseplants are susceptible to a variety of critters, including spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, and scale. To keep these pests at bay, provide good air circulation and increase the humidity around plants. Check plants regularly for pests and treat at the first sign using a safe pesticide such as insecticidal soap.


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