Volume 5, December 2015
Holiday Greetings, 

I have just returned from a heart-warming morning with the Groton Garden Club, making
Completed Boxwood trees for Loaves and Fishes
boxwood trees for Loaves and Fishes, the local food pantry.  We then loaded my Transit Connect with 20 decorated trees and delivered them in time for this week's "Shop for Your Kids" event.  Parents who are clients of the food pantry can select new toys, games and books for their children and are entered in a raffle for the trees.  What a great event!

A few of us at PBOG are busy taking inventory, sharpening tools and working on year-end accounting.  Outside, the weather is so mild that we wonder if and when snow will come.  Perhaps we might have more of a continental winter this year?

I am so happy to have more frequent rain.  We need to go into winter with the ground well hydrated after our drought plagued summer and fall.  This allows root systems to better withstand cold temperatures with or without snow cover.  So it's now safe to stop hand watering newly-planted trees and shrubs. 
Do I Put Down Winter Protection Now?
The answer is NO!!!  The ground is so far from frozen that you can actually endanger your plants by protecting them too soon.  Rodents are still active and will take shelter among salt marsh hay, pine needles, evergreen boughs or burlap wrap.  Then their attention may turn to gnawing stems and leaves of the nearby plants.

We at PBOG are watching the weather closely for the right time to apply winter protection.  We'll look for a spell of steady temperatures in the 20s, before a heavy snowfall, when the ground is not likely to completely unfreeze again.

For tender roses, we mound up a foot of compost around the bases to offer at least 10 degrees of frost protection.  Again, we'll wait a bit for this task.  Some years this day comes in January!
Plant Pick - Erica carnea
Erica carnea
In this mild month of December, buds are swelling on plants of the hardy heath, Erica carnea.  Varieties such as 'December Red,' 'King George' and 'Springwood Pink' usually bloom in March but may offer a December-January-February show this year.  Unopened buds will hold through snow and be ready for spring.

Related to summer-blooming heathers, heaths are distinguished by their earlier bloom time.  They have either a spreading or bushy habit and small needle-like leaves that often change color with the seasons.

Since we never know what kind of winter we are getting, I always recommend placing a thick layer of pine needle mulch held down by evergreen boughs over plantings of both heaths and heathers once the ground freezes.  This protects them nicely from desiccating winter winds and can be gradually removed in spring.
Garden Tools Make Great Gifts!
Felco Pruners
A new client asked me recently to recommend brands of good garden tools.  When they are used everyday, tools have to be made to last!  I'll share the ones we like to use:
  • Felco pruners and saws
  • ARS hand shears and nippers
  • AM Leonard weeding knives and sheaths
  • Corona loppers and shears
  • Fiskars scissors
  • Barnel trowels and hand cultivators
  • Seymour or WW Manufacturing - heavy-duty rakes and shovels with fiberglass handles
  • Groundskeeper - lightweight rakes
Winter Is a Great Time to Design and Plan
Just a reminder that I would love to work with any of you during the winter on plans for spring.  Already I've enjoyed getting out to choose groundcovers to fill empty spaces in various beds for several clients who will now have a leg up on the spring rush!  

Paul Marean will be back with us next spring as Project Manager in charge of design and installations.  He is available now to discuss larger landscape designs involving trees, shrubs, perennials and/or hardscape.  Not only can the design be finalized now, but the time-consuming budgeting phase can be completed most efficiently.

Please let Priscilla know if you would like to set up a meeting.
Priscilla's To-Do List for December

Amaryllis Minerva brightens a dreary winter day!

  • Cut boughs of holly, winterberry, boxwood, and needled evergreens to enjoy indoors
  • Cut down on watering houseplants and stop fertilizing as most need a dormant period
  • Force bulbs of amaryllis and paperwhites
  • Mark driveways with sturdy stakes to guide plows
  • Stock up on Safe Paws ice melt for walkways
  • Sharpen and repair garden tools
  • Drain and store hoses
  • Drain and store plastic tree watering devices
  • Stock birdfeeders with seed and suet
  • Take time to relax and enjoy the season
Be our Facebook Friend
Many of our crew took pictures of something beautiful in your gardens this year.  Send us a Friend request or we can send you one.  Visit our Facebook page often to see if your garden is featured. 

Click on our Find us on Facebook link below.
Happy Holidays from all of us at PBOG
Priscilla Williams
Karla Bigelow
Chuck Papalia
Tyler Ewen
Russell Stafford and Kate Pullano
Reese Crotteau
Estelle James
Peggy Liversidge
Susan Shaine and Adam Geriak
Al Newman
Paul Cavanaugh
Martha Ludlum
Carmine Imbriglio
Mr. Stripey
Lisa Mattei
Lisa Mattei
Doris Huxley

John Schneider

Gary Adams
We are so grateful for your continuing support in 2015.  May you and your family enjoy a wonderful holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!

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