If you're like me, you'll have beds that need work. A few of my more mature beds need to be thinned. The trees have grown so much since the beds were first started that now the spots are more shade than sun. I've made a note to move some hostas and astilbes under those trees and to move the gallardia out to a sunnier spot.
Recycle your greenery
If you're passing a Christmas tree farm or lot, stop in and ask if they have any free branches that they have pruned from their evergreens. These make great additions to the mantle, for centerpieces, tucked behind a picture, in a pitcher in the bathroom or in Christmas stockings hung on doors. I'm going to put holly or magnolia leaves in the stockings hung by the hearth (remembering to take the greenery out on Christmas Eve before Santa arrives).
After Christmas, I put the "spent" greenery under the azaleas and other acid-loving plants, for one more layer of protection during the freeze-thaw winters we experience here.
Gift idea for the birds
Here's a wonderful gift idea for the bird lover. At www.Duncraft.com, I found the "Solar Sipper." It's an insulated bowl with a black plastic cover that absorbs and holds the sun's heat. That collected solar heat keeps 40 ounces of water from freezing throughout the day down to 20 degrees. There's a small opening in the cover that allows birds to drink while keeping the water clean. It comes with a bracket for hanging on the wall ($32.95) or without ($19.95).
For the "brown thumb," give tillandsias. Called "air plants," this curious flora needs no soil to grow. As long as they receive enough light and a relatively small amount of water, Tillandsias can grow almost anywhere. I found four varietals at Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com) for $25 each. Pricy, but beautiful.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.busse
@wvgazette.com or 348-1249.