Saturday, December 11, 2004


Captain Clark tailors a new pair of gloves and a hat from a bobcat pelt. The captains cancel any future hunting until the men become acclimated to the cold weather.



With winter quickly approaching, its time to make sure the perennial garden is ready for its long sleep. However, if you do nothing at all, you'll simply have more work to be done in the spring. The following advice will help you determine which fall chores should have high priority and which are optional.

Most fall chores in the perennial garden simply have to wait until mid to late fall, especially cutting back the tops of plants. Cutting back plants too early may result in a sudden flush of soft growth at a time of year that is risky. The goal is to allow your perennials to become dormant according to their own natural schedule, responding to the cooler weather and shortening days. There will be plenty of mild days to cut things back selectively later in November and December.

If color in your garden seems to have languished after September rolls around, consider putting in some late-blooming perennials to spruce things up. Hardy Mums, pansies and kale are very popular for fall display, but many other perennials can provide much-needed color at this time of year.

Here are some perennials to consider: Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Russian Sage (Perovskia), Bugbane (Cimicifuga), Fall Asters (Michaelmas Daisies), Tricyrtis (Toad Lilies) and Autumn Monkshood (Aconitum).

Early Fall is a good time to do these jobs:
• Edge your perennial beds.
• Continue dead-heading any daisy-flowered perennials, especially ones like Echinacea, Rudbeckia and False Sunflower (Heliopsis). These will continue flowering for weeks if you prevent the flowers from forming seeds.
• Remove any perennial weeds that have invaded the garden. A non-selective herbicide is a good way to remove the spreading types, applied carefully while the weather is still warm and the weeds are actively growing.
• Remove any annual weeds that are going to seed. Throw these in the garbage, not in the compost pile or next year there will be ten times as many.
• Empty your compost bin. Early fall is a great time for this, since it makes room for all those leaves, dead plant tops, etc. that you will have on hand in another few weeks. If your compost is not quite ready, maybe there is some corner it can be stockpiled to finish rotting before spring.
• Re-evaluate and perhaps consider renovating your perennial garden.
• Take pictures, make notes, start a scrapbook or do anything at all that allows you to remember the past season with its successes and failures in detail. You can even just mark plants for moving next spring using that brightly coloured surveyor's flagging tape.
• Consider moving some plants around now, or maybe even removing some losers to make room for better things.
• Go to the garden center and look at shrubs and evergreens; special internet savings and fall sales at Greenscape Gardens. Look for shrubs with attractive fruit in the fall or winter. These will look great with ornamental grasses!


Moving or dividing perennials in the autumn is a great way to reduce your work next spring. The cool, moist weather is an ideal time for perennial roots to become well established. Gardeners often ask us when the best season is to move specific perennials, so we have a working "rule of thumb" for timing.

Jennifer's Rule-of-Thumb for when to move or divide perennials:
• If the plant blooms between early spring and late June, then early fall division/moving is ideal.
• If the plant blooms after late June, then early spring division is ideal.

Exceptions to the rule are: Peonies (move/divide in fall only), Oriental Poppies (move/divide in August), Bearded Iris (move/divide in July through September) and true Lilies (move/divide in mid to late fall).

Of course, rules are made to be broken, so sometimes just see what happens. Just remember that if you move or divide a big, bushy perennial always cut back the foliage by at least half to prevent serious wilting. This helps to keep the leaf mass in proportion to the reduced number of roots!


A couple of good, hard frosts makes a big difference in the garden. Some perennials immediately begin to go dormant, while others seem to want to hang on into late fall. We encourage leaving most perennials alone in the fall if you are unsure of what winter interest they might provide. It would seem a shame, for instance, to cut back those big, beautiful clumps of ornamental grasses in the fall, ruining any opportunity to hear them rustling in the winter winds, or to enjoy the contrast of their wheat-colored stems against clean, fresh snow. Winter interest is entirely subjective, and only you can decide what is attractive to your eye, or what looks tired and messy.

Here are a few tips and ideas:
• Fall-blooming ornamental grasses usually remain awesome well into the winter. Don't cut back the ornamental grasses before late winter or early spring. Some gardeners are now waiting even beyond THAT, and enjoying the effect of wheat-colored grass clumps contrasting with spring-flowering bulbs!
• Seed heads of certain perennials provide food for finches and other birds, and they look great against a blanket of snow. Most late flowering daisy type perennials are on this list (like Rudbeckia and Purple Coneflower), but others with nice seed-heads and sturdy stems include: Achillea, Agastache, Aster, Astilbe, Baptisia, Buddleia, Chelone, Cimicifuga, Eryngium, Eupatorium, taller Sedum, and a few others.
• There is a common theory that the dead tops of perennials help to trap the snow, which is the very best insulation against cold temperatures. In St. Louis with erratic snowcover and mid-winter thaws, the tiny bit of extra snow that is actually trapped may in fact be of little benefit.
• Many perennials have very little winter interest. Cutting these types back in the fall effectively "clears the clutter" and makes the ones you leave look even better. Consider cutting these down in late fall: Alchemilla, Anemone, Campanula, Centaurea, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Dicentra, Euphorbia, Geranium, Hemerocallis, Hosta, Lychnis, Monarda, Nepeta, Oenothera, Phlox (tall types), Trollius, Veronica.

Certain perennials naturally carry over a low clump of evergreen leaves near the ground, known as a "rosette". Although you can trim the upright stems back, these lower leaves need to be left alone in the fall. By spring they often look a little worse for wear, but a quick trim with scissors (only the brown or dead parts) will tidy the plants up again. In this group are: Achillea, Aster, Coreopsis, Digitalis, Erigeron, Fragaria, Gaillardia, Geum, Heuchera, Bearded Iris, Shasta Daisies, Penstemon, Poppies, Polemonium, Potentilla, Salvia, Scabiosa, Stachys, Tiarella, Verbascum, and many of the hardy ferns.

Evergreen perennials and alpines should not be trimmed in the fall. Usually the best time to trim these is immediately after blooming, if at all. Leave these ones alone in the fall: Ajuga, Alyssum, Arabis, Armeria, Artemisia 'Powis Castle' and 'Huntingdon', Aubrieta, Aurinia, Bergenia, Cerastium, Corydalis, Dianthus, Epimedium (trim in late winter, before new buds appear), evergreen Euphorbia, Helianthemum, Helleborus, Heuchera, Iberis, Kniphofia, Lamium, Lavender, Liriope, Origanum, Phlox (creeping types), Primula, Pulmonaria, Sagina, Saxifraga, Sedum (many creeping types), Sempervivum, Teucrium, Thymus, Viola.

Certain woody-stemmed perennials are better left alone in the fall, and pruned back in the spring, leaving about 6 inches of woody stem for the new buds to appear from. These include: Buddleia, Caryopteris, Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve', Fuchsia, Hypericum, Lavatera, Perovskia (Russian Sage), Phygelius, Santolina.

And, finally, certain perennials with associated disease or insect problems should not only be cut back in the fall, but care should be taken to remove and destroy the leaf litter below them, where insects and pathogens may be hiding. Among these: Alcea (Hollyhocks), Aquilegia (Columbine), Crocosmia, Delphinium, Helenium, Heliopsis, Hemerocallis (Daylily), Iris (Bearded types, leave green leaves alone but remove all dead ones), true Lilies, Monarda, Peonies, Summer Phlox, Tricyrtis, and Veronica (tall types).


Mulch adds a layer of insulation on top of the soil, preventing sudden changes in soil temperature (from either deep freezing OR thawing), changes that can wreak havoc to the root systems of tender plants. The following perennials should always be mulched in the St. Louis area:

• Autumn-flowering ornamental grasses, especially newly planted.
• Japanese Anemones, Probably only required for the first winter.

Mulching materials should be organic matter that remains loose and won't pack down to suffocate your plants. Good choices include hardwood mulch, dried leaves (a mix of different types is best), clean straw, chopped dead tops from other perennials, evergreen boughs from pruning. Bad choices: peat moss, garden soil, newspaper, sheets of plastic or garbage bags. All of these have a smothering capability.

Mulch can be simply piled high on top of your plants, but a depth of 6 to 8 inches or more is ideal.


Hardy Mums are often called Garden Mums. Basically, Mums are mostly now being bred to produce exuberant cushions of stunning, glorious color in the containers at the time you buy them. For the most part, they are being bred as a temporary holiday plant, to be enjoyed while in flower and then discarded afterwards. The price of Mums makes this very affordable. The hassle of overwintering them and then pinching several times each season in future years (May through July) may not be worth the effort in the end.

Mums need regular fertilizing, a full sun location, regular insect control, and constant watering through droughts in order to ever again achieve that perfect cushion look they had when you bought them. Without all of those things, more often than not they end up looking tall, spindly and bedraggled in their second season. Check them periodically in late winter and spring to make sure the frost has not heaved them from the ground, and press the rootball back in gently. In spring, cut back the dead foliage and wait until about the end of May to see if they survived.



A husband took his wife to play her first round of golf. Nervous, the wife promptly hacked her first shot right through the window of the largest house adjacent to the course.

The husband cringed, "I warned you to be careful! Now we'll have to go up there, find the owner, apologize and see how much your lousy drive is going to cost us."

So the couple walked up to the house and knocked on the door.

A warm voice said, "Come on in."

When they opened the door they saw the damage that was done: glass was all over the place, and a broken antique lamp was lying on its side near the broken window.

A man reclining on the couch asked, "Are you the people that broke my window?"

"Uh...yeah, sir. We're sure sorry about that," the husband replied.

"Oh, no apology is necessary. Actually I want to thank you. You see, I'm a genie, and I've been trapped in that lamp for a thousand years. Now that you've released me, I'm allowed to grant three wishes. I'll give you each one wish, but if you don't mind, I'll keep the last one for myself."

"Wow, that's great!" the husband said. He pondered a moment and blurted out, "I'd like a million dollars a year for the rest of my life."

"No problem," said the genie. "You've got it, it's the least I can do. And I'll guarantee you a long, healthy life! And now you, young lady, what do you want?" the genie asked.

"I'd like to own a gorgeous home complete with servants in every country in the world," she said.

"Consider it done," the genie said. "And your homes will always be safe from fire, burglary and natural disasters!"

"And now," the couple asked in unison, what's your wish, genie?"

"Well, since I've been trapped in that lamp and haven't been with a woman in more than a thousand years, my wish is to have sex with your wife."

The husband looked at his wife and said, "Gee, honey, you know we both now have a fortune, and all those houses. What do you think?"

She mulled it over for a few moments and said, "You know, you're right. Considering our good fortune, I guess I wouldn't mind, but what about you, honey?"

"You know I love you sweetheart," said the husband. I'd do the same for you!"

So the genie and the woman went upstairs where they spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each other.

After about three hours of non-stop sex, the genie rolled over and looked directly into her eyes and asked, "How old are you and your husband?"

"Why, we're both 35," she responded breathlessly.

" No kidding," he said, "Thirty-five years old and both of you still believe in genies?"

Friday, December 10, 2004


Captain Lewis returns back to Camp Mandan around noon with temperatures still below zero. Six hunters are butchering the meat at the hunt camp. They'll process all they can carry on four horses. The Missouri River is frozen solid and large bison herds cross without breaking through. The men who have frostbite are improving daily.



* You love toasted ravioli with Budweiser beer.
* "Vacation" is a choice between Silver Dollar City and Lake of the Ozarks.
* You can find Pestalozzi Street by aroma alone.
* You can get anywhere in 20 minutes, except on highway 40.
* You know what "Party Cove" is, and where the "lake" is.
* You still can't believe the Arena is gone.
* Your first question to a new person is, "Where did you go to High School?"
* You know at least one person who's gotten hurt at Johnson Shut-ins.
* You know in your heart that Mizzou can beat Nebraska in football.
* You think the four major food groups are Beef, Pork, Budweiser
and Imo's.
* You know there are really only three salad dressings: Imo's, Zia's and Rich and Charlie's.
* You'll pay for your kid to go to college unless they want to go to KU.
* You would rather have a root canal without anesthetic than drive on Manchester on a Saturday afternoon.
* It just doesn't seem like a wedding without mostaciolli. AND YOU PRONOUNCE IT 'MUSKACHOLLI'. (The balance of the menu is ham, boiled roast beef, string beans with ham and of course pitchers of Busch Bavarian...classy weddings have Bud)
* You know, within a three-mile radius, where another St. Louisan grew up as soon as they open their mouth.
* You know what a Pork Steak is...and what kind of sauce to put on it!
* Everyone in your family has floated the Meramec River at least once.
* A hoosier is someone that lives just south of Chouteau, not a person from Indiana.
* You have made fun of Mike Shannon and tried to imitate him ordering another cold, frosty Busch Bavarian Beer.
* You have listened to Mike's broadcast on KMOX, while watching the game on TV and wonder what game he is watching
* A tear forms in your eye as someone mentions their favorite Jack Buck story.
* You've said, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity."
* Your favorite summer treat is handed to you upside-down
* You bleed Blue between September and May (except when the idiots are striking).
* You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from St. Louis.



Most folks think of mistletoe as an excuse for smooching around the holiday, and today, there probably aren't too many people who have actually seen anything but plastic mistletoe!

There is a real plant that is the true mistletoe. Several types of mistletoe exist, including American Mistletoe and European Mistletoe. These two are different, but related, species of parasitic shrubs. Both have small, leathery leaves and translucent, white berries.

American Mistletoe, Phoradendron sp., can be found hanging around trees from New Jersey to Florida and west to southern Illinois and Texas. Though you can sometimes purchase seed of the American Mistletoe, it is generally not successful in cultivation. Though these plants do have chlorophyll, as parasites they meet their nutritional needs by tapping into the flow of water and minerals of other plants, particularly trees, such as apple, hawthorn, linden and oak. The seeds actually germinate on the host plant and tap in immediately.

Though it may be great fun to catch the object of your affection under the mistletoe, both the berries and foliage can cause severe digestive upset if eaten and in rare instances may be fatal. Now that could explain why plastic mistletoe has become so popular!



The poinsettia, the most popular holiday plant, is best known as the plant with bright red flowers on a green background. But what most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts or leaves, which surround a small, yellowish-green structure that is the true flower.

Today's poinsettia is much improved from the poinsettia of even five years ago, thanks to plant breeders. Although red is still the most popular color, pink-, salmon- and white-colored bracts are also available. Even speckled pink, red and white bracts are now available in cultivars, such as Jingle Bells and Monet. Even more recent on the scene include those with variegated green and yellow leaves, bracts that have sharply pointed lobes that resemble holly leaves and a few that have ruffled bracts.

New cultivars tend to have a greater number of large flowers on more compact plants. Poinsettia trees are also popular as are hanging baskets. Although, like many other florists' plants, dwarf poinsettias can be found that pack a lot of color in a small package.
The long-lasting nature of today's poinsettias can only be enjoyed if they receive the proper care in your home. The best way to extend their beauty is to match, as closely as possible, the conditions in which they were produced. Poinsettias are raised in greenhouses where cool temperatures can be maintained between 60 -75 F with high relative humidity and high light intensity.

These conditions will be difficult if not impossible to match in the home. Natural light intensity tends to be quite low and of shorter duration in the winter. And as we heat the air indoors, the air becomes drier so that relative humidity often drops below the level of plant and people comfort.

Make the most of the situation by placing your plant near a sunny window, but do not allow the foliage or flowers to contact cold window glass. Artificial light may be needed for extended growing periods. A humidifier will increase both plant and people comfort. Grouping plants together on a pebble tray will help raise humidity around the plants themselves. Both hot and cold drafts can cause leaf drop, so avoid placing plants near doors or heating vents.

Both under and over watering can decrease the life of your plant. Plants that are allowed to wilt will begin to brown along the edges of the leaves or may drop leaves entirely. Watering too often will prevent proper aeration of the soil, and roots will begin to die and decay. Poinsettias should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. If your pot was wrapped in foil, be sure to poke a few holes in through the bottom to allow water to drain away. And if you're giving a poinsettia as a gift, be sure to protect it from frigid outdoor temperatures during transport. If you have several errands do not keep the plants in an unheated car because damage will occur instead drop off your plants at home before running the errands.

The poinsettia is often listed as a poisonous plant; however, there is no scientific evidence to support this conclusion. Even studies where rats were fed poinsettias, the rats showed no evidence of poisoning. Some people are sensitive to the milky sap in the plant and may develop a skin irritation if they are in contact with that sap. It is always best to keep plants out of the reach of children and pets.



A guy responds to a job position at the city zoo. The ad mentioned the salary but not what he would be doing. He finds out that the zoo's gorilla had unexpectedly passed away.The zoo had just spent millions on promotions which focused on the gorilla and now they needed a gorilla.

The guy really needed the job and the money was good so he
accepted. Everyday he would put on the gorilla suit, hang out in his cage and be the gorilla. After a while he started enjoying himself. He would scare little kids, roar at the crowds, and eat bananas and stuff. GORILLA THINGS. As time wore on he became the main attraction at the zoo. He would swing on his trees and vines, and the people loved him.

One particularly busy Saturday he was swinging around and accidentally swings over his fence and lands in the lions cage. The lion slowly opens his eyes and sees the gorilla.The lion begins to stalk. The lion, now drooling and wide awake, slowly approaches the gorilla who is backed up against the fence.

The lion is ready to jump, then the gorilla started yelling, "Help! Help! I'm not a gorilla. I'm a man! help, help !!

"Then the lion said, "Shut-up stupid, or we'll both get fired!"

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Captain Lewis goes with the hunting party. The hunting party kills nine bison. Lewis stays overnight with the hunting party, where he sleeps miserably on the snow with a light blanket. Meanwhile, several Mandan chiefs visit Fort Mandan and bring some meat for the corps.



The avocado tree (Persea americana), is normally grown from seeds removed from ripened fruit. There are two acceptable methods of doing this, either by sprouting the seed in water or by actually planting the seed in soil.

Many people start avocado trees as novelty house plants by piercing the seed with its pointed end up, partially through with toothpicks on three or four sides to hold it on the top of a jar or vase partly with water and few pieces of charcoal (to keep the water sweet) just covering the base. In 2 to 6 weeks, when roots and leaves are well formed the plant is set in potting soil. Plant the germinated plant into soil within a few weeks or months after germination, or deterioration will occur.

They are also easily sprouted in a well-drained 4- or 5-inch pot of porous, fertile soil. The top of the seed should just barely peek above the surface of the soil. If the soil is kept fairly moist and the temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees, the seed will begin to sprout and a pretty, leafy plant will develop.
When the seedling reaches 12 inches, it should be pinched back to about 6-8 inches to produce a rounder, fuller plant. Avocados grown inside thrive in sun or in a good, lighted location. Once they've filled their pots up with healthy roots, they should be potted in larger ones. Repotting should be done in the spring.

Keep a sufficient amount of water in the soil but avoid overwatering. They should be fertilized with a balanced houseplant food every two or three weeks in the summer and about every six weeks during the winter. It's also a good idea to mist the leaves of your Avocado if the air in your home is very dry. Indoor trees need low night temperatures to induce bloom.

Transplanting should be done in early spring. Potted plants should be moved outdoors gradually, so they can acclimatize themselves, and adjust to the new elements.



Though it may give you the blues to take down your holiday tree, you can find solace in recycling your tree in the landscape.
Winter birds will appreciate using the tree for cover in your backyard, especially if you decorate it with bird food ornaments. Be sure to remove tinsel, plastic and other non-recyclable ornaments.

Suet, molded seeds or disposable birdseed hangers should be readily available from bird supply shops. Homemade treats, such as pine cones or stale bread smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed, are also a hit.

You'll need to secure the trunk to the ground to prevent it from rolling away in winter winds. You can attach the tree to a stable support with wire or twine or use stakes to secure the tree to the ground.

Christmas trees can also be recycled to use as mulch around the landscape. You can chop or grind smaller branches for wood chips to use in flower, tree and shrub beds. Larger branches can be cut into smaller bundles for winter protective mulch around newly planted perennials and small shrubs. Be sure to remove the branches in spring, when the plants begin to grow again.
Many communities have special pick-up service for discarded holiday trees.

St. Louis County Parks recycles trees at several of the local parks including Quenny Park on Weidmann Rd.



As an older man was driving down the highway, his cell phone
rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Harold, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 270. Please be careful!"

"Hell," said Harold, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them !!!"

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


The Missouri River is now freezing over with over one inch of ice. The temperature early in the morning is -12 F. Clark and 15 men travel seven miles to hunt and bag eight bison and a deer. York and 2 others have severe cases of frostbite because of the low temperatures. Two other men are injured when they fall packing out the bison.



Choosing the family Christmas tree can be a season highlight or headache. Everyone has an opinion and generally, bigger and fuller is seen as better.

Types of Trees

The first decision is what type of tree to go for. There are basically four choices:
1. Artificial - They their advantages, but they're not real.
2. Pre-Cut trees
3. Cut Your Own trees
4. Live, Potted or Balled & Burlaped trees

Pre-Cut Trees The obvious advantage of a pre-cut tree is convenience. There are always hundreds to choose from. Greenscape Gardens will make a clean cut on the trunk for you and lly wrap the tree in plastic mesh, making it easier to get into the house and to set up in the stand.

The down side to pre-cut trees is that they are cut a couple of weeks before they appear at the garden center.

Finally, the draw back to both pre-cut and cut your own trees is that they are dead and so they are slowing drying out and dropping needles on the floor. And the drier they get, the more of a fire hazard they are.

Cutting Your Own Christmas tree means your tree will be fresh. It should retain its needles longer than a pre-cut tree and will probably even add more evergreen scent to your home. Most tree farm specialize in tree varieties that grow well in their area and can be sheared into the classic Christmas tree conical shape. This means you might not have a vast choice of tree types, but your tree should be healthy and well cared for.

The looming drawback to cut your own trees is that you have to cut your own tree. Bring a sharp saw. Once its cut, you generally have to drag it back to your car, so keep that in mind when looking for the largest, fullest tree.

Live Trees The final Christmas tree choice is a live tree. Greenscape Gardens has container grown and B&B trees available for Christmas trees.

Live trees will, of course, be the freshest choice. If your tree is potted and small enough to move, you can re-use it for several years. But if your objective is to use the tree for the holidays and then plant it in your landscape, there are several more factors to consider, like mature height and width and when are you going to get it into the ground.

Freshness - A fresh tree will look healthy and green, with few browning needles. The needles will feel pliable and when broken and squeezed, they will exude pitch. A simple test for freshness is rubbing your hand along a branch to see if needles fall off.

Shape - Most evergreens don’t grow into perfect conical Christmas trees. Growers shear the trees each year to maintain a nice shape and to encourage the branches to fill out. A full tree is beautiful on its own, but if you have a lot of ornaments, a tree with shorter branches might be a better fit. Ornaments get lost in lush trees, like the firs.

Also keep in mind the sturdiness of the branches. Many pines make tempting choices because of their long needles, but the branches will bend under the weight of even smaller ornaments.

An increasingly popular option for Christmas trees is purchasing a live tree, to be planted on your property after the holidays. With a live tree, you have to consider more than what type of tree appeals to you.

Points to Consider

• What type of tree do you want planted on your property? A dwarf evergreen may be a better choice for a small yard or maybe a yew, juniper, arborvitae or even a holly.
• Mature Size Along with color and texture you'll need to consider the tree’s growth rate and what its height and width will be at maturity. Fir is excellent as a cut tree, but it might not find ideal growing conditions in your yard. Pines make very good Christmas trees, but they will get very tall and as they grow, the distance from ground to the first branches increases.
• What grows well in St. Louis? White pine are popularly grown. Norway Spruce and Blue Spruce are also used as live Christmas trees.
• Survival Rate. Don't select the largest tree. Smaller trees may be in better proportion to the size of the root ball and stand a better chance of survival. Whatever variety you choose, only consider trees that have been recently dug or were container-grown and that look healthy. Many times the bargain trees are leftovers from the growing season. They may be in a stressed condition and might not recover.
• Remember, most digging stops when the ground freezes, so you may have to pre-order a tree in the fall. Container grown trees circumvent this problem.

Caring for a Live Tree

• Store the tree in a cool area, protected from winds, freezing temperatures and direct sunlight.
• Check often to be sure the root ball does not dry out.
• Once inside, keep the tree away from sources of heat such as radiators, vents or fireplaces. It will still do best in cool temperatures around 60 to 65 degrees F.
• It's best to keep the tree indoors for as brief a time as possible, not more than two weeks.

Planting Your Tree Outside

• To plant your tree after Christmas you will need to dig the hole earlier, before the ground freezes. The depth of the hole should be the measurement from the bottom of the root ball to the soil level. The width should be 50% bigger than the width of the root ball.
• Place the soil you remove in a container or tarp and store until you need it to cover the planted tree. It's a good idea to keep the hole mulched and covered so it doesn't fill in or freeze. You might want to mark its location, too.
• Add compost or other soil amendments within the hole, if the soil in the area is not fertile and well-drained.
• Plant the tree two inches higher than its original height grown at the nursery or in the container.
• Once the tree is placed in the hole, remove any plastic wrapping.
• Try to loosen the outside roots and direct them outward.
• Refill the hole with the soil you saved and gently heel it in.
• Water the soil thoroughly after planting and every month or so if temperatures remain mild and precipitation is light and especially if there is a thaw.
• Once the ground around the tree has frozen, apply about 3-6 inches of mulch.

Taking Care of a Live Christmas Tree

Caring for a Live Tree
• Store the tree in a cool area, protected from winds, freezing temperatures and direct sunlight.
• Check often to be sure the root ball does not dry out.
• Once inside, keep the tree away from sources of heat such as radiators, vents or fireplaces. It will still do best in cool temperatures around 60 to 65 degrees F.
• It's best to keep the tree indoors for as brief a time as possible, not more than two weeks.

Keep the Tree as Fresh as You Can.

• The most important thing you can do is keep the tree watered. Cool temperatures will also help cut back on needle loss. If you are not brining your tree in right away, let it sit in a bucket of water outdoors or in a cool place inside.
• Try to keep it away from direct sunlight, winds and sources of heat like heaters, stoves or appliances.
• If your tree has been sitting for more than a day, make a fresh cut at the bottom at least 1 inch above the original cut. A smooth, clean cut will help the tree absorb water more readily. Then fill the reservoir with lukewarm water.
• Your tree begins losing water as soon as it is cut. In a heated room, a tree can absorb up to a quart of water a day, so check and fill the reservoir often. Once a tree is allowed to lose 20 percent of its moisture content, it will not be able to recover.
• While any tree will burn if it comes in direct contact with flames, Christmas trees become a fire hazard when their moisture content falls below 50 percent, able to ignite from contact with hot lights.

Follow some common sense rules to insure your safety during the holiday season.
• Keep the tree away from open flames and other sources of heat. Even some appliances, like your TV, can heat up sufficiently to be hazard.
• Keep tinsel away from the light sockets.
• Only purchase light sets that are approved by Underwriters' Laboratories and that are wired in parallel. Always check your lights before you put them on the tree. Replace tree lights with loose connections or exposed, brittle or cracked wires. Never leave the lights on unattended.
• Do not overload electrical circuits. If a fuse blows when you turn on your lights, it means that the line is overloaded or something is defective. Do not try to correct by replacing with a larger fuse. A typical string of lights with 36 bulbs adds 250 watts to the circuit. A 15-amp fuse handles a total of 1,500 watts.

Peace of Mind

To prevent staining, don't allow fallen needles, pitch or water from the reservoir to remain on carpets or upholstery.
Don't forget to recycle your cut tree. You could have it collected and hopefully turned into mulch. Or you could use it yourself as a temporary bird refuge and feeder in the yard. You could also cut the branches off and use them to cover and protect perennials in your garden.



Two rednecks, Bubba and Earl, were driving down the road drinking a couple of bottles of Bud.

The passenger, Bubba,said, "Lookey thar up ahead, Earl, it's a po-lice roadblock! We're gonna get busted fer drinkin' these here beers!!"

"Don't worry, Bubba," Earl said. "We'll just pull over and finish drinkin' these beers, peel off the label and stick it on our foreheads, and throw the bottles under the seat."

"What fer?" asked Bubba.

"Just let me do the talkin', OK?" said Earl.

Well, they finished their beers, threw the empty bottles under the seat, and each put a label on their forehead.When they reached the roadblock, the sheriff said, "You boys been drinkin'?"

"No sir," Earl said. "We're on the patch."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


The corps woke up to temperatures of -1 F. The Indians herald news of a bison herd nearby. Lewis and 15 men hunt down 14 bisons. The men are only able to bring back the meat of five of the bison to Fort Mandan. The Mandans and the wolves claim the remaining nine bison.



Artificial trees contain real pests. A shipment of artificial
Christmas trees with wood trunks came to Michigan with an unwanted pest -- an infestation of Callidiellum villosulum, brown fir longhorn beetle. USDA inspectors detected the pest after a tip from a Saginaw, Mich., consumer who bought the trees (Chinese imports) at an Ace Hardware.

The brown fir longhorn beetle is a threat to arborvitae, cypress, juniper, cedar and other landscape plants. APHIS issued a limited recall for the specific artificial Christmas trees. Purchase order codes are being used as the basis of identifying products for recall. The trees are sold under the brand Celebrations. In 1999, the Minn. Dept. of Ag. discovered the pest in a similar retail product. After the discovery, the department banned further sales of the trees.



Unfortunately, it is a fact of GARDENING that if you grow plants, there will always be the possibility of insect infestations.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can lessen the chances of insects attacking your plants considerably.

 Always use clean pots and planters when repotting
 Always use sterile potting soil. Using garden soil can have disastrous effects.
 Isolate any new plants for a month or so, and check them frequently for signs of insects or disease. This also applies to any of your plants that may have been outside for the summer.
 Promptly remove dead flowers or leaves.
 Give your plant a bath now and then with a soft cloth and a little soapy lukewarm water.
 Examine your plants now and then, don't wait for them to start looking sad. Use a magnifying glass to look for mites
 Proper feeding, care and fresh air make a healthy plant which is more resistant to insect problems.

It would be impossible to list every possible insect that attacks plants. The insects encountered the most often are mites, aphids, mealybugs, scale, whitefly, thrips and various soil insects. If the problem is found early enough, it can often be taken care without the use of insectcides. Be sure that you are using the right product for the insect you have. Don't spray your plant once and forget it, check every week for signs of the return of the pest. A single pesticide does not usually kill all pests and repeat applications are usually necessary. When used properly most chemicals are tested and safe to use. If you don't have to use chemicals, DON'T!

The pesticides listed here as remedies have been in use for many years, and are considered as traditional in the nursery and greenhouse industries.

APHIDS are common on house plant insects but fortunately, are easily controlled. Aphids suck sap from the plant and can cause new growth to be stunted and distorted. Aphids may be just about any color and are found on new growth and the undersides of the leaves, usually clustered together in a group. Heavy infestations cover the plants with a sticky honeydew. If you can handle living with Lady bugs in the house, they will take care of any aphid problem for you. Aphids can also be controlled with systemic insecticides.

SPIDER MITES are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. They are extremely small and a magnifying glass is usually needed to see them. They usually attack new leaves and buds. Plants infested with mites lose their green color and appear bronzed or washed out. In severe cases, the mites will form a fine webbing covering the underside of leaves. Once a plant is infested with mites, control will be difficult, if not impossible. Isolate your plant immediately, and dip it or spray it weekly with insecticidal soap. Systemic insecticides are sometimes effective if used soon enough.

Mites can reproduce each 3-7 days, so it is critical that you spray on a daily basis until the problem is under control. Dry air encourages spider mites to breed so anything you can do to increase the surrounding humidity will help you in your 'mite
fight'. Keep in mind that spider mites are NOT insects, so insecticides WILL NOT CONTROL MITES. Be sure that the product you use is listed as being effective against mites, and follow the directions on the label.

MEALYBUGS look like little white tufts of cotton so are often mistaken for a disease. They are normally found on the undersides of leaves or on stems at the apex of leaf joins. The white, waxy coating protects the insects from sprays, making control difficult. Touching each insect with a small brush or Q-tip dipped in alcohol will kill them, but the babies are very small and often overlooked, so a recurrence is possible. Be vigilante! Systemic insecticides are very effective.

The adult WHITEFLY is a small 'white' fly. Their control is made more difficult by the fact that they will leave the plant as soon as you try to spray them. The immature stage of white fly is scale-like and doesn't move, so it is in this stage that you must defeat them by weekly spraying or dipping with insecticidal soap.

SCALE insects often build up to large numbers because they go undetected. These insects are oval, about 3mm in length and look like small brown limpets. Their shell protects them from pesticides which makes their control more difficult. Scales are usually found on stems and the undersides of leaves but can be on top of the leaves. Small infestations can be removed by touching each insect with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Scales suck your plants juices, stunting the plants growth and they secrete a sticky honeydew which attracts ants and other pests. Dormant oil/superior oil is effective in controlling scale. Repeat applications is normally necessary.

SOIL INSECTS are noticed when brought to the surface during watering. Adults and larvae of several insects may fly or crawl around on the soil surface. In most cases they do no real harm to the plant. Large populations can cause wilting and poor plant growth due to minor root pruning. A soil drenching with insecticidal soap will usually solve the problem. Systemic insecticides are usually effective.

The damage done by ANTS is usually indirect and actually caused by the aphids, mealybugs or other insects which they 'farm' for the honeydew. They can however cause damage to the root system of the plant as they burrow to build their nest. A soil drenching with insecticidal soap will usually solve the problem. Systemic insecticides are usually effective.

THRIPS are very small and hard to see. They are light brown, slender insects, who while in the adult stage will fly to other plants when disturbed. They 'rasp' into the leaves to obtain the plants juices, leaving the leaf distorted, with noticeable scars. Spraying with insecticidal soap will usually solve the problem.



In the back woods of Kentucky, the redneck's wife went into labor in the middle of the night, and the doctor was called out to assist in the delivery.

Since there was no electricity, the doctor handed the father-to
be a lantern and said, "Here, you hold this high so I can see what I'm doing." Soon, a baby boy was brought into the world.

"Whoa there," said the doctor."Don't be in a rush to put the lantern down...I think there's yet another one to come."Sure enough, within minutes he had delivered a baby girl.

"No, no, don't be in a great hurry to be putting down
that lantern. . . It seems there's yet another one in there!" cried the doctor.

The Redneck scratched his head in bewilderment, and asked the
doctor, "Do you think it's the light that's attractin' 'em?"

Monday, December 06, 2004


Snow and strong wind greet the Corps of Discovery this morning. Clark reports the temperature to be 10 F. early in the morning. The captains write in their journals how the Indians dress for the cold weather, "bison skin moccasins and pronghorn skin leggs, topped by a bison rope". A fashion statement by today's standards.



Almost all plants may be grown in a container throughout it's entire life. This makes gardening in the winter months more fulfilling and sometimes even a challenge. House plant have been recognized as indoor container plants, but even perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees can be grown in containers.

Growing your plants in containers provides you with a few options that are unavailable to permanent plantings. The flexibility to move the containers around is perhaps the biggest advantage. As the seasons and the sun's position changes, you can move your plant to a sunnier or shady spot to fit the cultural needs of the plant. You will also be able to move plants into the 'limelight' when they come into bloom, or into the background somewhere when they are finished. You will also be able to grow acid loving plants in an area of alkaline soil and vice versa.

Remember: when you are growing plants in pots or planters, that the plants are much more dependent on you to provide their necessities in life. They are in a limited amount of soil, with their roots restricted, and exposed to the elements far more than if they were field grown. It is important for the plant's health that pay close attention to watering and feeding requirements of the plant. Plants in containers will dry out much sooner and need watering more often. To determine when the plant needs watering, stick your finger down into the soil and if is dry water the plant thoroughly. Because frequent watering will wash the plant food out of the soil, and the plant will utilize the limited soil nutrients they will be depleted much more rapidly, so a regular feeding program should be established according to the type of plant. During the growing season, either a slow release type plant food should be used or a soluble complete fertilizer should be used every two weeks. ALWAYS follow the manufacturers recommendations.

Choosing your container

Just about anything that will hold soil may be used as a planter. Ideally, the pot should have a diameter equal to 1/3 to 1/2 the height of the plant. The container must have holes drilled in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away from the soil. The main cause of death to container grown plants is overwatering and consequent drowning. If it impossible to drill the holes you can add a layer of gravel below the soil, but watering must be monitored closely. It may be more appropriate to put your plant into a regular pot and then place it inside your decorative planter. If you are building a planter using wood, use rot resistant wood such as redwood or cedar, and coat the inside with waterproof paint.

The growing medium

The choice of growing medium is extremely important. It must have the capability of holding water, but it must also be porous and drain easily. Commercial potting mixes is recommended. There are many available, but they can vary in quality, so be prepared to add organic materials such as compost or peat moss for moisture retention and course builders sand for drainage.The use of garden soil should be avoided, because of clay content and the risk of insect infestations and soil borne diseases and fungi.ix. A good container mix can be created which consists of one part of rich loam, one part course sand or perlite, and one part peat moss, compost, or other organic matter. If you are growing acid loving plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas or Heathers the mix should contain two parts peat moss instead of one.


The roots of a plant growing in a container will fill all of the available space and become rootbound eventually. When this occurs the growth of the plant slows and eventually stops altogether. The solution is to repot your plant into a larger container. It is best to transplant into one size larger than previously grown, rather than a jump to a very large pot to accommodate a small plant. Slow-growing plants may require repotting every two to three years, while faster growing plants should be repotted annually.

Water the plant thoroughly several hours before removing it from the container. This will help to remove the roots from the planter more easily, and reduce transplant shock. Invert the plant and tap the rim of the pot on the edge of a table until the root ball slides out of the container. Never pull on the stem of the plant to remove it, rather continue tapping or rolling the pot until until the roots slide out on their own. In extreme cases it may be necessary to cut or break the pot to release the roots.

When the roots grew out and reached the pot, they turned and began growing back into the ball. Once they are part of the mass it is hard for them to reverse direction again. It is necessary to give them a little help to get going on the right track again. Use your finger tips to carefully loosen the roots at the base and along the side of the root ball to allow them to grow into the new soil. If the root ball is extremely knotted and tight, it may be advisable to use a sharp knife and cut some of the entangled roots to separate them by making a 1/8 to 1/4 slice down the side of the root ball or gently, but forcibly separate the base of the ball. Use care not to damage any main 'tap' roots. Before repotting, prune off any dead or damaged roots.

Place a small piece of broken clay pot over any drainage holes in the new planter to keep soil from draining through the hole. If there are no drainage holes, add an inch or two of clean gravel to the bottom of the planter. Add potting mix into the container to a point that when the root ball is set in, it will come to within an inch of the top of the pot. Gently set the plant into the container, center it and face it in the direction which shows off it's beauty. Be certain it is standing straight and begin adding potting mix around the root ball, tamping it lightly until you have filled the gaps and slightly covered the top. Be sure to leave at least 3/4 of an inch at the top of the pot for watering. Water the plant well to get good soil contact with the roots. Air pockets can lead to serious problems. Do not water again until the soil is almost dry.

Help your plant to avoid transplant shock, by gradually bringing it back into full light rather than immediately putting it into full sun. Keep it in a warm area for a few days. Adding a soluble transplant fertilizer or rooting hormone to the water will help the roots recover and begin growing again sooner.



* Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
* In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
* No one expects you to run into a burning building.
* People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
* People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
* There's nothing left to learn the hard way.
* Things you buy now won't wear out.
* You can eat dinner at 4:00 p.m.
* You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.
* You get into a heated argument about pension claims.
* You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
* You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
* You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
* You sing along with the elevator music.
* Your eyes won't get much worse.
* Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
* Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service.
* Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
* Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
* You can't remember where you read this list!
* Greenscape Gardens has senior gardening discounts on Wednesday.

Sunday, December 05, 2004



The Northwest Company traders call on the captains to bid farewell since they are leaving to return to Fort Assinboine in Canada. Some of the Indians returned with the traders.



Young Warriors; Should fate find you on the battlefield,
May your cause be a just one.
May your courage not falter.
May you show mercy to your enemies.
May your efforts bring the blessings of peace.
May you be triumphant and earn victory.
May your sacrifice be always appreciated.
May you endure the conflict unharmed.

Should you be harmed,
May your wounds heal.
Should you perish in the struggle,
May God embrace you and find a Place for you in his Kingdom.



Composting is a great way to recycle the plant debris in your garden, including both crops and weeds. It's easy to do--nature does it on its own all the time. But with proper management, you can help nature move along a little faster, if needed.

Greenscape Gardens highly recommends the benefits of incorporating compost whenever planting. A 50% ratio of soil to compost will encourage better rooting and plant survival.

Compost returns some nutrients back to the soil, but the main benefit is in the improved soil structure. Adding organic matter, such as compost, will increase soil aeration and water-holding capacity, as well as increase the ability of a soil to hold additional nutrients for plants to take up later.

Having a compost bin or wall structure to contain the pile can help keep the pile in neat formation, but heaping the contents on the ground can work just as well. If a structure is used to contain the compost, removable horizontal slats will help make the structure adapt to the size of the pile, as it grows or shrinks, and will allow for easier turning.

To make your own compost, construct the pile in layers, beginning with about a 2-inch layer of soil. Soil contains microorganisms, which are responsible for breaking down organic matter. Then add 6-8 inches of plant debris, such as dry leaves, lawn clippings and faded garden plants.

The microorganisms will need nitrogen to break down the carbon in the plant material. Your pile already may have sufficient nitrogen, if there is a good balance of fresh green material, such as grass clippings, along with some dried material, such as dead leaves. If the pile is mostly dried plant material, sprinkle about a cup of commercial nitrogen fertilizer over a 25-square-foot compost pile as your next layer. Manure is also an excellent source of nitrogen, and 1-2 inches of rotted manure can be substituted for the commercial fertilizer. Water the pile thoroughly, and then repeat each layer until the pile is a workable height.

As the materials decompose, the temperature in the center of a good-sized pile can reach as high as 160 F, which will kill off some disease organisms and weed seeds. The minimum-size pile for heat generation is about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. Moist compost will heat more uniformly, so be sure to water the compost occasionally if needed, but do not waterlog the materials, as that will drive out much-needed air.

You can let nature take over from here, if you're not in a hurry. But, for faster results, you'll want to turn the pile about every month or so to allow more even heating of the contents and to incorporate air into the center.

Compost is ready to use when it's dark and crumbly and looks very much like good-quality soil. No telltale signs of the original material should be recognizable. Depending on outdoor temperatures and how well you tend the pile, your compost may be ready to add back to the garden by next spring.