The first storms of the winter season have left us with a holiday bonus. Fallen evergreen boughs, branches and berries are ripe for the plucking from your lawn and garden beds.
From plant protection to Christmas decoration, here’s what to do with all that storm debris.
Nature’s insulation from freezing weather is as close as the cedar and fir boughs that were blown from the trees in the latest storm.
Gardeners stuck indoors due to shorter days and colder weather have an excuse to get outside and get moving by layering fallen leaves, evergreen boughs and other debris on top of tender plants this week.
The ground is kept warmer by just an inch or two of insulation layered over the roots of tender plants such as salvia, hardy fuchsia, lavender, canna, mums, and eucomis and pineapple lily.
Fallen leaves protect plants from freezing weather while fallen cedar limbs repel water and protect rot-sensitive plants from too much rain in the root zone. This month, plants, such as salvia and lavender that insist on good drainage, will welcome an umbrella of cedar.
CHRISTMAS GONE GREEN
There is another use for storm debris that is catching on with cities that want to go green and also with savvy citizens.
Instead of stringing lights and purchasing shiny ornaments, use branches of cedar to make garlands and evergreen bits from a mix of plants to fill the empty containers and hanging baskets that once festooned the summer garden.
Window boxes can be stuffed with drooping cedar and upright holly, while the colorful but leafless stems of coral bark maple or red twig dogwood can be poked into potting soil to add a colorful accent line to rise above the evergreen color.
DIRT-CHEAP WINTER COLOR
ACCENTS FOR THE FINISHING TOUCH
Add extra bits of color and texture to your outdoor holiday display using anything that is weatherproof. Pine cones and seed heads are traditional. Red yarnbows add a country touch. Metal cookie cutters or nut crackers will add a personal touch. You also could display your collections.
Going green and going natural this winter has one more advantage: Your outdoor holiday display can fill the voids and should continue to look fresh throughout the chilly month of January. Then, when you are ready for spring, you won’t have to worry about storing the holiday display. Your collection of evergreens, bark and berries can go right into the compost pile.