A Gardener's Notebook: Happy Holidays!
December 24, 2000
? 2000 Douglas E. Welch
"'Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house,
a Garden writer was scurrying,
Fast as a mouse?"
While I probably owe many apologies to Clement Moore it is, at least, the
truth. Relatives have descended upon the house, packages are overflowing the
space beneath the (oh no, truth be told, artificial!) tree and my 2
year-old, Joe, is totally entranced by Christmas this year. You can imagine
the state of affairs in the Welch household tonight.
The smell of Christmas
For whatever reason, the pine boughs I cut for our annual holiday party 2
weeks ago are still smelling wonderful. I try to do this every year since we
don't have a natural Christmas tree in the house. My guess for this
unexpected bounty is that we are still having fairly warm and dry weather in
the Southern California. Perhaps the temperatures have kept the sap moving
longer than usual. The limbs were pretty "goopy" as I put the wreath and
swags together. It is so enjoyable to have the smell in the house as it is
one of those things that truly reminds me of Christmas. It can be a bit of a
mess when you are putting the decorations together. Be sure to wear old
clothes and use old gloves. They won't be much use for anything else after
you are done. Pine sap seems to laugh at any cleaner short of paint thinner
The garden has been in the back of my mind these last few weeks. I will need
to prune back all the roses very soon as we are making another business trip
to Salt Lake City in January. I need to have all my "sheep" shorn down to
their bare essentials before we leave. I always try to complete this task in
early January so that the roses have a chance to develop a healthy new
growth before the heat of summer comes on strong.
This heavy yearly pruning imitates the freeze and animal damage that roses
would suffer in the wild. Since these are hybrid roses, though, I am a
little gentler than your average mule deer in my cutting. Basically, each
plant is trimmed of all foliage and left with 3-5 healthy canes to start the
new year's growth. This really helps to tidy up the garden and removes all
the gangly growth of the last few months. It also helps to keep them from
taking over the driveway and property line completely.
Once we settle our lives after the e***ment of the holidays there are
plenty of garden tasks to engage us. Cleanup continues apace and there are
some fence repairs, transplanting and pruning yet to be accomplished.
Overall, though, we are fairly well prepared for the rains and the coming
Spring---if the rains will ever arrive. No rain since October here and that
rain was barely enough to knock down the dust.
A heartfelt Happy Holidays to all and may the New Year bring joy and
happiness to you, your family and your gardens!
"Without necessarily planning to in any formal way I have started my own
small version of a white garden. Vita Sackville-West, a turn of the century
gardener developed a very famous white garden at Sissinghurst...."
From A Gardener's Notebook: The White Garden, July 30, 2000
Read it all at: <http://www.moonsgarden.com/;