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Backyard cuttings

By Judy Stark, Times homes and garden editor
Published December 8, 2007


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Fruits, veggies not just for eating

Red and green apples, red pears, lemons, limes, tangerines, cranberries, kumquats, red peppers, pink potatoes: The produce section is full of holiday decor items. Tuck in some greenery or pittosporum or waxy leaves from the garden. Arrange them in a bowl or on a cake stand or line them on a mantel or down a table. If they look good enough to eat, go ahead.

 

Put your prized plant to the test

If you think you've got a blue-ribbon blossom, enter it in competition at the State Fair in February. The deadline for entries is Friday. For rules and entry forms go to www.floridastatefair.com. On the left, under "State Fair," click on "Competitions," then under "Family Living Competitions," select "Horticulture."

 

Trim the trees in a different way

Trimming the tree is on our minds this month. It's a good time to prune hardy deciduous trees such as oaks, elms, maples and sweetgum, or to transplant them. (Don't prune them if they've just been planted or transplanted; wait about six months for them to get acclimated.) Grapevines, both bunch and muscadine, should be pruned while dormant, when bleeding of the vines isn't harmful.

 

Decorations do double duty

Get some nice holiday aromas in the air by making pomander balls with oranges and cloves. Use a skewer or big needle to poke holes in the fruit, then insert whole cloves. You can pile them in a bowl with some greenery for a decoration, or tie a ribbon around them and hang them in a closet.

 

Nighttime is not the right time

Holiday word to the wise, from The Little Book of Christmas Joys: Never select a Christmas tree after dark.

 

These peaches like Florida's climate

Peachy idea, if you're thinking of adding a fruit tree to your garden: Floraprince, UF Gold, Flordaglo and Tropic Beauty are peach varieties that should fruit in our area even with limited chilling hours to set fruit. Now's the time to spray peach and nectarine trees with a fungicide. You'll need to repeat in January. The University of Florida/IFAS publication "Peaches and Nectarines for Florida" may be accessed on the Internet at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG244.

[Last modified December 6, 2007, 15:30:36]


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