December E-News from Viette's               Volume 11: No. 12

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                       December/2015

Christmas front porch at night
Happy Holidays
from your friends
at Viette's
We wish everyone a beautiful
and safe holiday season
filled with joy and good cheer!
Enjoy this festive time and
may your new year be filled
with peace and happiness! 
Join Andre and Claire for a personal tour of
their beautiful Christmas wonderland.
Quick Links
Plant of the Month
Crystal tree Whole
The Christmas Tree
For many families, the selection of a Christmas tree is a "deep-rooted" Christmas tradition that often marks the beginning of the holiday season. At our house, searching for the perfect tree is quite an event and every year we reminisce over past tree hunting adventures! It is a wonderful family tradition!
Rows of Canaan firs at a tree farm
Rows of Canaan firs at a tree farm
Types of
    Christmas Trees

There are many different species of trees that are commonly used for Christmas trees. My personal favorites are the soft-needled fir trees, especially the Balsam fir and Frazer fir. These trees are long-lasting with great needle retention and they add a wonderful fragrance to your home for the holidays! They have strong branches and, as long as they haven't been over- sheared, are open enough to hang lots of ornaments.
pines, especially white pine and Scotch pine, are also very popular. These are long-lasting but are sometimes hard to decorate because they tend to be very full - especially if they've been over-sheared.
Spruce trees make lovely Christmas trees, particularly the Blue spruce, if you can get past the very prickly needles! André often picks a beautiful Blue spruce for his snow tree which he flocks and decorates with colorful balls and other ornaments.
Andre_s beautiful _snow tree_.
Andre's beautiful snow tree.
Choosing a Good One
There are many places you can get trees, from retail lots to choose-and-cut farms. When you go to a farm and cut your own, you know it's fresh and it's fun to wander through the growing trees to find the most perfect one! If you choose a cut tree from a retail lot, make sure it is fresh. The tree should have a healthy green color and the needles should be flexible and not come off when you stroke a branch. A good way to check for freshness is to lift a cut tree off the ground a few inches and then let it drop on it's cut end. A few inner needles might fall but green outer needles should not drop off the tree.     
Canaan Fir has short_ soft_ fragrant needles.
Canaan Fir has short, soft,
fragrant needles.
Once You Get it Home
Once you get home with your tree, make a fresh cut about an inch above the original cut. Place your tree in the stand and keep the reservoir full of water at all times! It will take up a lot of water so be sure to check it several times a day. Always keep your tree away from heat sources.
If you aren't putting your tree up right away, re-cut the end, put it in a bucket of water, and keep it in a cool, shaded place until you are ready to bring it inside. Check the water level in the bucket every few days and keep it topped off.
To help keep your tree and greens fresh, try Andre's special Christmas tree stand formula and his Christmas tree and greens spray.
Bonide Wilt Stop can also be used to keep your tree and greens fresh over the holidays.
Andre's crystal tree
Andre's crystal tree up close
Decorating the Tree 
Watch Mark's video tips on the best way to put lights and ornaments on the tree to get a beautiful effect.
Snow tree sparkles in the light
Snow tree sparkles in the light
Join Our List
Did You Know?  
Amaryllis Ferrari has stunning 7_ deep red blooms_
Amaryllis 'Ferrari'
Amaryllis -  
Wonderful Holiday Gift
Not all amaryllis bulbs are created equal!
A quality bulb is a must if you want a spectacular show. Generally, the larger the bulb, the larger the flowers, the more flowers/stem, and the more stems per bulb. If properly cared for, these bulbs can last year after year.
Amaryllis bulbs can be potted in a pot with potting soil, or simply placed in a large vase with pebbles or glass marbles to grow with just a little water. Growing "kits" can be purchased from a variety of sources, but again, be sure you can see the bulb so you know what you are getting.
Whichever growing method you choose, it is important that you keep the upper portion of the bulb dry. Take care when you water to avoid getting water on this part of the bulb.
Place your amaryllis bulb in a warm, sunny location while the flower stalk is growing, but as soon as the first flower opens, move the plant to a cooler location out of direct sunlight. This will prolong the life to the flowers.   
Amaryllis Minerva
Care After Flowering
When all the blooms on a stem have faded, cut the stalk off about 2" from the base - be careful not to injure the foliage. After all the stems have been cut back, move the pot or vase back to a bright, sunny window to grow. At every second watering, add a half dose of liquid bulb booster or African Violet fertilizer.
In the spring when nighttime temperatures remain above 60°F, you can transplant your amaryllis bulbs outside in a sunny location to grow through the summer. 
Tip of the Month
back porch display
Decorate for the Holidays!
There are a lot of beautiful things in your garden that can be used for decorating ...
Collection of things for decorating
A collection of a few things from
the woods and meadow
Natural arrangements made from interesting dried flowers, seed pods, berries, and greens harvested from your garden can bring beauty to your home, both inside and out.
You don't have to be a professional flower arranger to create beautiful holiday and winter displays, just a creative imagination. Take your shears on a stroll through your winter garden or take a walk through the woods and fields and start clipping and collecting.    
Fresh Greens and Dried Flowers 
Variety of greens for decorating
A variety of greens, berries, and pine cones make wonderful decorations
Many evergreens can be safely thinned and "plucked" at this time of the year. There are so many different colors and textures of greens that can be used to create a wonderful foundation for a variety of Christmas and holiday arrangements from centerpieces to swags and wreaths to beautiful outdoor displays.
Each year, Andre cuts boughs of various firs, pines, cypress, cedar, spruce, boxwood, and magnolia so that he has a wide variety of colorful greens
Juniper berries
Juniper berries
to work with when decorating for Christmas. Fall is a great time to plant some of these evergreen trees and shrubs in your own gardens so you will have attractive plants in the landscape year around and a bonus of some beautiful greens to cut at holiday time!
Watch Mark Viette's video tip on cutting and using fresh greens in holiday decorating.
The flowers of many perennials and shrubs dry naturally right on the plant and can be cut and used in beautiful, long-lasting arrangements allowing you to enjoy your garden's beauty well into winter. Hydrangea, yarrow, sedums, and ornamental grasses are good examples.
Dried hydrangea flowers with evergreens and winterberry
Dried hydrangea flowers with evergreens and winterberry holly
Decorating with seed pods
Seed pods and dried flowers can be spray painted gold or silver.
Seed Pods and Pine Cones
In addition to flowers, look for other interesting colors, shapes, and textures in and around your landscape. Dried seed pods from oriental poppies, Siberian iris, peonies, and yucca make wonderful additions to a fall and winter display. Even daylily seed pods or their dried flower scapes are neat! Pine cones are great additions to holiday arrangements and they can be easily collected from under trees in the woods or in your yard.
Dried seed pods, leaves, and dried flowers can even be spray painted gold or silver before using in holiday arrangements.
Pumpkins and gourds painted gold
Pumpkins and gourds painted gold
Andre spray painted some of his left over fall pumpkins and gourds with shiny gold paint and added them to one of his outdoor Christmas displays. Wow what a neat idea! They really brightened up the display!
Brightly colored autumn leaves, along with pine cones and gourds can be sprinkled around the base of your arrangements for an added touch of whimsy!   
Holiday arrangement from the garden
Holiday arrangement from the garden

Bright Colored Berries 
Berried deciduous shrubs like Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and Beautyberry (Callicarpa) have branches covered with long-lasting colorful berries that are excellent in your seasonal arrangements. Euonymus and Nandina also have interesting bright colored berries that can be used for a splash of color in an indoor or outdoor arrangement.

View Mark's video tip on decorating with dried seed pods and berries, and creating holiday decorating themes.  
Putting it Together 
Nestle your garden gleanings into attractive baskets, vases, buckets, and barrels. There is no limit to what you can do with a good imagination and some garden leftovers! 
If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it along to your gardening friends!


From the Viette's Views Blog ...
From the archives ...
Foraging for Nature's Ornaments
Making a grapevine wreath This year, we spent Thanksgiving in beautiful Vermont with friends and family - what could be better! We even had a little snow and nice crisp, cold weather. Perfect! On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the kids (well they aren't kids anymore) went for a walk through the woods in search of interesting greens, seed pods, dried flowers, berries, [...] ...»
Antique ornaments    12-14-2012
Andre Viette loves Christmas! He also loves to decorate! Walk into his home after Thanksgiving and you will be greeted with the sounds of Christmas music; Mitch Miller (one of my favorites), Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Burl Ives ... all the old greats, plus many others. The carols just lift you up and get you into the Christmas spirit. They always remind me of [...] ...»

HouseToursHoliday House Tours! 

Viette House Tours 


Saturday, December 12 - 1:30pm 
Wednesday, December 16 - 1:30pm   

Join Andre and Claire Viette for a personal tour of their beautiful home decorated for Christmas!  

The crystal tree

Back by popular demand, Andre has added 2 house tours this year. He will show you his extensive outdoor displays and then lead you from room to room indoors explaining about each of his unique displays; the history behind them, how he creates each one, plus other tips and techniques for holiday decorating.
This Christmas wonderland takes Andre a full two weeks to complete and includes: 
  • Christmas birdhouse A live Christmas tree with snow and colorful ornaments
  • A live Christmas tree with crystal, pearls, and crocheted ornaments
  • Loads of beautiful arrangements with live greens 
  • Gold mantle arrangement
  • Antique, hand-made ornaments
  • Bell collection and colored glass collection
  • Santa collection with over 100 Santas
  • Beautiful manger arrangement
  • Old Christmas card collection, and lots more . . .
  • Plus, many wonderful outside arrangements with beautiful greens and colorful berries combined with antique farm tools, sleighs, and sleds!
The beautiful
Tour fee is  $10.00
Reservations are suggested but not required.

Call 800-575-5538 for more details.
Quick Tips for Poinsettia Care
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Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden'
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with Andre Viette"
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