There’s More Than One Way to Recycle that Christmas Tree

The Holiday Party’s Over Now What Do I Do With the Tree and Poinsettias?

The second week of January means that holidays are finished and life is slowly returning to a daily routine. The last three weeks saw Santa find his way down the chimney, the year 2011 arrive with a bang (thankfully only from fireworks) and holiday decorations find their way back into big red and green storage boxes destined once again for the far reaches of the attic or basement. What is left behind? Maybe it is the loaf of dark fruitcake being used as a doorstop, or possibly a stack of cards and leftover wrapping paper, some fading poinsettias, or a shedding spruce tree. To make a clean start, it is time to deal with the “leftovers” and move on. First the fruitcake. Toss it, bury it in the freezer for another eleven months, or lace

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Poinsettias – Symbols of the Holiday Season

Winter Rose Poinsettias at Longwood Gardens

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the poinsettia. And in case you have forgotten your poinsettia facts since last year here’s a refresher on what you need to know about this festive plant. Whether poinsettias are in the traditional velvety red color or any of the new streaked, spotted or dyed forms of plum, peach, blueberry, orange or cranberry colors, these plants help set the stage for a great holiday celebration. For all the cheer that poinsettias bring, there are still some people that look upon this festive plant as poison. Stop, let it be said up front — poinsettias are not poisonous! This myth started almost ninety years ago in Hawaii and amazingly still continues to this day. Apparently an Army officer’s two-year-old child died after supposedly eating a poinsettia leaf. The Physician who made the diagnosis later realized he had identified

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Debunking Garden Myths

Garden Myths Not Worth Repeating

Myths, old wives tales, and folklores abound even in the world of gardening. Gardening lore often gets passed from neighbour to neighbour as homegrown tips based on little or no scientific research. The myths start out as common sense conclusions and keep getting perpetuated time after time. Pretty soon they are part of the global gardening consciousness and they are believed to be true. Once this happens it is almost impossible to undo the belief. The poinsettia poison myth is still being trounced after eighty years. Well, here’s my attempt to dispel some popular garden myths.

Myth: Botanical “natural” pesticides are toxic to pests and harmless to other living things (including gardeners). Not true, in fact some botanical pesticides that are derived from poisonous plants are even more toxic than commercially prepared ones. Both pyrethrum (made from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) and rotenone (made from two tropical

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