‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—DECEMBER 2015
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
3758 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53704
608/244-5661 or [email protected]
THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHTS:
‘A Holiday Evening at Klein’s’ is Tuesday, December 8
December 2015 Marks 9 Years of Monthly Newsletters!
10 Great Gift Ideas from Klein’s This Holiday Season
Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
You Asked the Mad Gardener About a Sad Houseplant
Plant of the Month: Christmas Cactus
Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy
Our Very Favorite Homemade Mac & Cheese Recipes
An Insight into Maple Tar Spot
Product Spotlight: Wintercraft®-The Wonderful World of Ice Lanterns
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—from November 2015
—Feeding Houseplants During Winter
—Rabbit Proofing the Garden
—Mulch to Prevent Winter Injury
December in the Garden: A Planner
Gardening Events Around Town
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
Review Klein’s @: Yelp, Google Reviews or Facebook Reviews
Join Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Facebook
Join Klein’s Blooming Plant or Fresh Flower Club
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets
JOIN US FOR ‘A HOLIDAY EVENING AT KLEIN’S’
Tuesday, December 8, from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Create your own customized 16”x16” reclaimed wood sign on this fun-filled evening in Klein’s own winter wonderland; filled with sparkling lights, unique holiday decor, our own homegrown poinsettias and the smells and sounds of the holiday season. The signs you create are customized just for you at this Crafty Project Party! You’ll paint on reclaimed wood full of character—hand made with love right here in Wisconsin!
The cost for the Crafty Project is $65. For more information about The Crafty Project and to reserve your spot please visit www.thecraftyproject.com/#!december-8th-private-class/clli or check out our Facebook or home page at kleinsfloral.com.
In addition, we’ll be offering other hands-on projects and one-time savings on selected holiday items and decor. Food and refreshments will be available throughout the evening.
THIS EDITION MARKS OUR 9TH ANNIVERSARY
of monthly newsletters. A big ‘Thank You’ to our thousands of subscribers. We enjoy writing it, we enjoy sharing it and we appreciate your comments and feedback. For a look back, check out our very first newsletter from December 2006 @ kleinsfloral.com/cms/newsletters/December06.pdf
10 GREAT GIFT IDEAS FROM KLEIN’S THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
- One of our many windowsill herbs in a beautiful new pot chosen from our large selection of ceramic, glazed or resin pottery. Herb choices include lavender, rosemary, mint, thyme, sage and many, many more.
- A naturally air purifying houseplant. Choose from our large selection of houseplants in all sizes and for any decor.
- A Dane Buy Local Gift Card available at the Home Savings next to Klein’s at 3762 E. Washington Ave. For more details, check out danebuylocal.com.
- A gift subscription to one of the many great green gardening magazines on the market today including Wisconsin Gardening(statebystategardening.com/wi) Organic Gardening Magazine (organicgardening.com) or Mother Earth News (motherearthnews.com) or perhaps a book about growing things naturally.
- Badger or Green Bay Packers themed flags, birdbaths, stepping stones, gazing balls or windchimes and so much more for the sports lover/gardener in your life.
- One or more of our intoxicatingly fragranced candles from Ella B. Candles (www.ellabcandles.com), Thymes (www.thymes.com), Rewined (www.rewinedcandles.com).
- An Olbrich Botanical Gardens Gift Membership. Share a full year of beauty and inspiration! Choose from individual memberships (beginning at just $40) or Plus One ($50), Family ($55) or Family and Guest Memberships (just $65/year). Benefits include free entrance to many of Olbrich’s shows and exhibits and the Bolz Conservatory. Enjoy added savings at the gift shop and on most classes and seminars. Visit olbrich.org/membership/gift.cfmfor details.
- A yearly admission sticker to the Wisconsin’s state parks. Share the beauty of our great state with family and friends. “The Wisconsin State Park System provides places for outdoor recreation and for learning about nature and conservation. The 99 state parks, forests, trails, and recreation areas report about 14 million visits a year. Come and join the fun!”
For more information on how to purchase a 2016 state park admission sticker, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks.
- Seed starting supplies such as seeds, grow lights, seed starting mixes, cell packs, and trays, peat or coir pots, plant tags and markers or a self-contained a growing kit. Seeds for spring aren’t quite available at Klein’s but are available through many mail order sources. Check out the following: Cyndi’s Catalog of Garden Catalogsat gardenlist.com.
- Or, of course, a Klein’s gift certificate. Order one from the comfort of your home or office by clicking on kleinsfloral.com/gift.php.
DURING DECEMBER, ENJOY THESE END OF SEASON SAVINGS:
CLEARANCE on overstocked Garden Art, Floral Supplies, Selected Holiday Items, and much, much more. Hurry on in! Supplies are limited and we need to make room for poinsettias!!!
THE MAD GARDENER
“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”
Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at [email protected]. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. We’ve also posted a link to this e-mail address on our home page for your convenience. Your question might then appear in the “You Asked” feature of our monthly newsletter. If your question is the one selected for our monthly newsletter, you’ll receive a small gift from us at Klein’s. The Mad Gardener hopes to hear from you soon!
Sorry, we can only answer those questions pertaining to gardening in Southern Wisconsin and we reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.
Please note that our Mad Gardener is not only an expert gardener, but can answer all of your indoor plant questions as well.
DECEMBER STORE HOURS:
Monday thru Friday 8:00-7:00
Holiday hours run through Wednesday, December 23
Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24–Open 8:00-4:00
Starting December 26:
Monday thru Friday: 8:00-6:00
New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31–Open 8:00-4:00
Closed Christmas Day, December 25 & New Year’s Day, January 1, 2016
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
The new 2016 FTD Calendar is now available at our checkout. These beautiful, flower-filled calendars are free. No purchase necessary.
Early December–Order your beautiful poinsettias, blooming plants, designer gift baskets or custom-made centerpieces now for holiday gift-giving and guaranteed delivery. Early ordering ensures you top quality product for your home decorating and holiday party needs.
December 12 thru December 24–Stop in and check-out our in-store specials for any last minute gift-giving ideas. We still have a fantastic selection of homegrown poinsettias, blooming plants, houseplants, decorations and more. Shop early for the best section and we’ll deliver anywhere in Madison or the surrounding communities thru noon on Dec. 24.
December 22–Winter Solstice
December 25–Christmas Day (Closed)
December 25–Full Moon
December 26–Kwanzaa Begins (runs through January 1)
December 26—The After Christmas Clearance Sale begins at 8:00! Everything ‘holiday’ must go! This is a great time to plan for this week’s New Years Eve party or to pick up some excellent bargains for next year’s decorating. Poinsettias are perfect for adding instant color to your late season holiday party and are gorgeous in fresh arrangements.
December 26 thru December 31–Order your New Years Eve centerpieces and custom designed arrangements early!
January 1, 2016–New Year’s Day (Closed)
‘THE FLOWER SHOPPE’:
For sheer selection of holiday greens for your decorating needs, Klein’s should be your one and only choice. Klein’s is offering greenery from no less than a half dozen different suppliers from throughout Wisconsin and covering all types of greenery, quality and price ranges. We have it all; pine boughs, spruce tips, kissing balls, door swags, wreaths, roping and decorative branches (dogwood, willow, winterberry etc.). Our wreath choices range from the simple to the elegant and sophisticated with everything in between. Choose from dozens of outdoor holiday ribbon–cut to measure–for creating the perfect bow to suit any decor.
Holiday Decorating With Fresh Greenery
By Karen Russ, HGIC Horticulture Specialist; George D. Kessler, Extension Forester; and Bob Polomski Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University.
Decorating the house with fresh greenery is one of the oldest winter holiday traditions. Evergreens have been a part of winter festivals since ancient times. Evergreens are used to represent everlasting life and hope for the return of spring.
Southerners have been decorating with greenery since colonial days, although the custom was not common in the Northern United States until the 1800s. Churches were decorated elaborately with garlands of holly, ivy, mountain laurel and mistletoe hung from the roof, the walls, the pews, pulpit and sometimes the altar. Lavender, rose petals and herbs such as rosemary and bay were scattered for scent. Homes were decorated in a simpler fashion with greenery and boughs in the window frames and holly sprigs stuck to the glass with wax.
Today, decorating for the holidays with fresh greenery is more prevalent than ever. Greenery such as cedar, ivy, pine and holly add a fresh look and natural scent to our homes.
The first and often the best place to look for holiday greenery may be in your own landscape. Greenery gathered from your own garden will be fresher than any that you can buy. You may also have a variety of unusual greenery that would be difficult to find for purchase.
When gathering live greenery from your shrubs and trees, remember that you are actually pruning the plants. Consider carefully which branches to cut and which ones to leave. Distribute the cuts evenly around the plant in order to preserve its natural form.
Many different kinds of greenery can be used for holiday decorations. Pines, firs and cedars are good to use for indoor decoration since they dry out slowly and hold their needles best at warm interior temperatures. They may last for several weeks if properly treated and cared for. Hemlock, spruces and most broadleaf evergreens will last longer if used outdoors.
Dried evergreens can become flammable when in contact with a heat source such as a candle flame. Make sure that any wreaths, roping and garlands that you bring indoors are as fresh as possible. Check needles by bending them. They should be flexible and not break. Avoid greenery that are shedding or that have brown, dry tips.
Before bringing the greenery inside, soak them in water overnight to rehydrate them.
Never place fresh greenery near heat sources, such as space heaters, heater vents or sunny windows. Be careful of wreaths used on the front door, if there is a glass outer door that receives direct sunlight. Keep greenery away from candles and fireplaces. If you use lights near your green arrangements, make sure that they stay cool, and if outside, that they are rated for exterior use.
Check your decorations every couple of days for freshness. If greenery are becoming dry, either replace or remove the dry portions. Make sure to discard dry greenery away from the house or garage to prevent a further fire hazard.
Safety for Children & Pets
Some popular plants used in holiday decorating can present poisoning hazards for small children or pets. Poisonous berries are found on holly plants, yews, mistletoe, ivy plants, Jerusalem cherry, bittersweet and crown of thorns. The pearly white berries of mistletoe are particularly toxic. Keep all these plants out of the reach of children and curious pets.
Keeping Greenery Fresh
–Use clean, sharp cutters to cut branches and immediately put cut ends into water until ready to use.
–Crush the ends of woody stems to allow the cutting to take in more water.
–Keep greenery out of sunlight.
–Immerse greenery in water overnight before arranging. This allows the cuttings to absorb the maximum amount of moisture.
–Allow the foliage to dry and then spray it with an anti-transpirant, such as Wilt-pruf, to help seal in moisture. Note: Do not use anti-transpirants on juniper berries, cedar or blue spruce. The product can damage the wax coating that gives these plants their distinctive color.
–Keep completed wreaths, garlands and arrangements in a cool location until use.
–Display fresh greenery and fruits out of the sun and away from heat.
–Plan to replace greenery and fruits throughout the holiday season if they become less than fresh.
Decorating With Greens
Many different types of decorations can be made with fresh greenery. Some traditional types are garlands, swags and wreaths. A number of different types of forms can be stuffed with sprigs or branches to create topiaries. Kissing balls are an unusual alternative to the usual mistletoe sprig.
A variety of wreaths and garlands are readily available commercially. Undecorated ones can be dressed up with contrasting live greenery from the yard for a personal look.
In addition to the more commonly used evergreens, consider using other plant parts such as berries, dried flowers, cones and seed pods to give color and texture interest. Some possibilities include:
–Lotus seed pods
–Sweet gum balls
–Wax myrtle berries
–Fruits such as lemons, limes, lady apples, seckel pears, kumquats and pineapple.
Preserved leaves such as ivies, mahonia, eucalyptus, boxwood, beech, camellia, oak and rhododendron are useful and long-lasting as holiday decorations.
Source material from: www.clemson.edu/extension/
YOU ASKED THE MAD GARDENER . . .
I’m wondering if you can advise me on what I may be doing wrong for my dieffenbachia? I water her about every 2 to 3 days—I’d say probably 3 cups of water. She sits on my sun porch with large windows on three sides—east, south, and west. The leaves are crinkling and brown on the ends. Thanks for the help! Natalie
Based on your photos, your plant seems to be very healthy regardless of the browning tips. It’s not abnormal for plants to go through a period of acclimation as they adapt to their new surroundings. The older leaves on your plant developed in a sunny greenhouse (either here or in Florida before shipping) and during the warm summer months when the days are very long. Now it’s in a new home with less light and shorter days as winter approaches. Tropical plants simply can’t support the earlier produced foliage. Once the plant acclimates and the days lengthen in February, the plants usually rebound quite nicely with fresh new growth. It seems you have your dieffenbachia placed in a perfect location, but we can’t alter the day length. Tropicals prefer 13-16 hours of daylight (they all originate near the equator). We’re now at 9 hours and dwindling.
You don’t say whether this plant was recently purchased or not. It looks as though the plant was transplanted from its original container. Transplanting a houseplant during late summer and fall can also contribute to the browning leaves. Fall is the worst time of the year to transplant houseplants as they want to semi- ‘shut down’ for the winter months. March and April are the best.
As for the watering, it seems a little too much to me if the frequency and amount are accurate. However, without actually seeing your location and actually feeling the soil each time you water, it’s hard for me to determine. With thorough waterings, your plant should be able to go a week or more between waterings. Dieffenbachias prefer to get rather dry between waterings. Water thoroughly only when dry to the touch 1/2″ below the surface.
If you are still concerned, please don’t hesitate to bring the plant in and have one of us look at it. Your photos can’t show us if perhaps you have an insect or fungal problem.
Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener
DID YOU KNOW. . .
. . . that the unsightly black blemishes on maple tree leaves this past season should bring no longterm damage to your trees?
The following article by UW-Extension horticulture educator, Lisa Johnson, appeared in the Nov. 15 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal @ host.madison.com.
Garden Calendar for the Week of Nov. 15:
Due to the warm autumn temperatures, leaves took a long time to come down this year, and many perennials were still viable and blooming into November, so raking and clean-up is coming late this year.
Now that leaves are finally down, rake them up and compost them if there is minimal foliar disease. If you have had significant diseases such as downy mildew, apple scab, rose blackspot, powdery mildew, buckeye/horsechestnut foliar diseases or anthracnose, take the leaves to the yard waste center where they can be hot-composted.
I have had a number of questions this year about composting maple leaves with maple tar spot. Maple tar spot is a foliar disease that attacks Norway and silver maples most commonly, forming dime-size or larger raised black lesions with yellow haloes. Since this is basically a cosmetic disease, you don’t need to worry too much about composting these leaves, even if you don’t have a hot compost pile. Spores may survive if you don’t hot-compost (pile temperatures need to reach 135º to kill most pathogens and weed seeds), but this is not a particularly virulent disease.
For more about tar spot, the following comes to us from UW-Madison plant pathologist, Brian Huddelson.
What is tar spot? Tar spot is a common, visually distinctive and primarily cosmetic fungal leaf spot disease. While tar spot can affect many species of maple including big leaf, mountain, red, Rocky mountain, sugar, and sycacamore maple, in Wisconsin, this disease most commonly affects silver maple. Boxelder (also known as ash-leaved maple), willow, holly and tulip-tree can also be affected by tar spot.
What does tar spot look like? Initial symptoms of tar spot are small (approximately 1∕8 inch) yellowish spots that form on infected leaves. These spots may remain relatively small, or may enlarge over the growing season to roughly 3∕4 inch in diameter. As tar spot progresses, the center of the infected area becomes raised and turns black. This black area resembles a blob of tar on the leaf surface. Careful examination of the tar-like areas reveals convoluted line patterns that resemble fingerprints.
Where does tar spot come from? Several fungi in the genus Rhytisma (most commonly Rhytisma acerinum and Rhytisma punctatum) cause tar spot. These fungi commonly survive in leaf litter where they produce spores that lead to leaf infections.
How do I save a tree with tar spot? DO NOT panic. For most maples and other susceptible plants, tar spot is not a serious disease. It is primarily a cosmetic disease that makes the tree look a little ragged, but does not kill the tree or shrub, nor even cause serious defoliation. Fungicides containing copper and mancozeb are labeled for tar spot control in Wisconsin. However, fungicide treatments for this disease are rarely, if ever, warranted. Consult with your county UW-Extension horticulture professional to determine if your tree warrants treatment. If warranted, three fungicide applications will be necessary for control: one at bud break, one when leaves are half expanded, and one when leaves are fully expanded. Be sure to read and follow all label instructions of the fungicide that you select to ensure that you use the fungicide in the safest and most effective manner possible.
How do I avoid problems with tar spot in the future? You can reduce or even eliminate tar spot (and thus the need for fungicide treatments), by simply removing fallen, infected leaves from around your trees each fall. Infected leaves should be buried or composted.
NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach.
ENTRY: NOVEMBER 3, 2015 (Feeding Houseplants During Winter)
When I got home from work this afternoon, one of my neighbors stopped by with a few questions about overwintering a few garden plants and what to with certain houseplants during the upcoming winter months. One of her questions was about fertilizing. We receive this question quite often at work this time of the year; especially as houseplants begin looking a little peaked as the days shorten and houses cool.
Beginning in October, as the days shorten, most indoor plants require not only less water, but little if any fertilizer. Because there is naturally little or no growth during the winter months, it can actually be harmful to your plants to encourage new growth during this time. Therefore, it is best advised to begin cutting back on indoor fertilizing progressively during the months of September and October, stopping completely during November and then not fertilizing again until the end of February when the days begin to lengthen. During March and April slowly increase your fertilizing to normal strength by May 1. From May thru August fertilize at full strength per package instructions. Never exceed recommended amounts. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, plants grown under timed light replicating longer days can be fertilized lightly throughout the winter, as with plants growing actively on sunny windowsills, where more watering is required. For ease, one can use fertilizer drops (such as Bonide or Miracle-Gro) at half strength with each watering even during the winter months. At this diluted rate, plants remain healthy and rich green, with little or no growth. Again, go back to full strength by May.
But most importantly, water most indoor plants during the winter only when rather dry below the soil surface, rather than to the touch. Overwatering, more than any other reason, is the cause of death during our long Wisconsin winters.
ENTRY: NOVEMBER 18, 2015 (Rabbit Proofing the Garden)
Wow, what great weather we’ve been experiencing in recent weeks. We’ve had one of the nicest Novembers in recent memory. The bulbs are all planted and the garden has pretty much been put to rest for the winter. One of my last fall gardening tasks today was to put the rabbit protection around some of my valuable garden shrubs and small trees. Experience has taught me the importance of this autumnal garden task.
As many local gardeners remember, 2012 was one of the most devastating gardening years in recent decades. The weather was not only brutally cold, but also quite snowy. The weather wreaked havoc on many usually hardy garden plants; from perennials to rose bushes and even the hardiest of conifers. In addition to the weather, rabbits played an equally damaging role in the garden during that horrible winter. The cold and snow made foraging for food difficult for them and with the high rabbit populations in the previous years, competition or food was fierce. Though I had protected most newly planted shrubs and younger plants, the rabbits surprisingly nearly girdled 20 year old arborvitaes with 8” trunks of their bark. They were starving. After that brutal year, I take no chances and now protect any plant I feel vulnerable.
So now each fall, after all garden chores have been completed, I place a chicken wire fence around all potential rabbit victims—I was up to about 45 individual shrubs, trees and vines last winter with a few more added today. However, the task is not as daunting as it sounds and well worth the time to avoid heartbreak come spring.
For the most part I use 3-4’ wide chicken wire. It’s important to protect the trunks and branches high enough in case of deep snows. Rabbits standing up on their back feet (and desperate) can easily reach 2 or more feet in their quest for food. I choose chicken wire over other types of hardware cloth because it’s inexpensive (available in huge rolls @ home improvement stores), nearly invisible, and easy to work with. I use a tin snips to cut my lengths of chicken wire in much the same way one uses scissors to cut fabric.
Before I begin circling the plant with the chicken wire, i gently pull the branches together where necessary and secure them in that position with a bungie cord or twine. By doing so, I’m decreasing the amount of chicken wire per plant that I’ll need. Once made narrower, I measure and cut the chicken wire to make a complete circle around the plant, leaving sufficient space between the wire and the plant when possible. I complete the circle of chicken wire by wiring together the frayed ends or with twist ties if needed.
To secure the ring of chicken wire to the ground, I use 3-4 bamboo stakes per plant and weave the stake though the chicken wire a few times before pushing it into the ground. Many sources recommend garden staples just at the base, but I find doing that alone leaves the fencing with little support higher up making it very easy for the bunnies to push the chicken wire against the plant and achieve their goal. The 3 or 4 bamboo stakes makes for a rather sturdy fence.
In the springtime (usually early to mid-April), I simply pull the stakes, slip the fences up and over the plants and then flatten and stack my rings of chicken wire for the next season; leaving the rings fully in tact. Because they’re flattened, my 45 rings of chicken wire create a stack no taller than 2’ tall for easy storage. The next fall, I slip the already form ring over another plant that fits it; creating new rings as the plants grow larger.
Though the chicken wire is adequate for rabbit protection, the holes are too large to protect plants from voles and smaller rodents. Where those animals are a problem, a finer meshed hardware cloth may be needed.
ENTRY: NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (Mulch to Prevent Winter Injury)
As the ground begins to freeze, it’s time to think about mulching our beds for winter protection.
Mulch to Prevent Winter Injury
By Dr. Leonard Perry. Extension Professor for the University of Vermont
Mulch is a standard form of winter protection for many shallow-rooted plants. While in summer it is effective in retaining soil moisture, preventing erosion, and controlling weeds, in winter it acts as insulation for the soil and plant roots.
Failure to mulch landscape plants and evergreen shrubs may lead to serious winter root injury. Alternate thawing and freezing of unmulched soil as temperatures warm during the day and drop at night may cause frost heaving in the spring. Freezing and thawing occurs mainly in the fall and spring, and in fall may keep perennials from hardening properly or cause injury to unhardened plants
Mulch retains soil heat and keeps it from escaping, which in turn protects root systems. Initially, the soil under mulch does not freeze as deeply, so plants will continue to absorb water. However, the soil will freeze eventually, so in the spring mulch doesn’t help much with desiccation of foliage. Mulch helps evergreen shrubs go into winter with more moisture, so less damage will occur from drying out come spring.
While snow cover can provide good protection for plants, it’s not possible to predict when, or how much snow, we will get each year. So, your best bet is to spread pine needles, straw, chopped leaves, wood chips, corn cobs, or other organic materials around the base of your landscape plants. All are effective although availability and cost may influence your decision as to what to use.
Keep in mind that you should avoid pine needles if you don’t want acidic soil. Avoid weedy hay, using weed-free straw (or marsh hay) instead. Wood chips might take up lots of nitrogen when decomposed, so it’s better if they are already composted, or use chopped or milled pine bark.
Regardless of the material you select, the rule of thumb for winter mulches is to apply a two or three-inch layer. Adding more not only wastes money but also may smother the root system, and possibly kill the plant, especially shallow-rooted perennials such as yarrow or bee balm. Some plants can withstand such abuse, but overmulching is often a leading cause of death to azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as ash, linden, maple, and narrow-leaf evergreen trees.
Pine bark and pine needles will pack down very little, so you probably won’t need to add any more as the winter progresses. If you use straw, start with a four- to six-inch layer, as it will pack down to the desired final depth of two to three inches. You may need to add more throughout the winter to maintain that three-inch depth, especially if snow cover is sparse or nonexistent.
After applying the mulch, gently pull it away from the stems or trunks of the plants. Mulching too close to the trunk may provide optimum conditions for the development of cankers on the lower trunk or stems of woody plants. If this occurs, the damage cannot be reversed, and the plants die in a matter of seasons. It also will provide a home for mice, which can chew the bark and girdle the stems, resulting in the plant’s death. Girdle means to remove a band of bark and cambium from the circumference of a tree or plant, which usually kills it.
Mulch fall-transplanted trees and landscape plants as soon as you’ve planted them. That’s because the mulch is needed to keep the soil warmer and moister for as long as possible before the ground freezes to help the roots become established. For these plants, you might want to use mouse guards around trunks to prevent injury.
For established landscape plants, although many gardening books recommend mulching when the soil cools or is slightly frozen, I prefer to mulch earlier in the fall. This helps retain soil warmth, so roots continue to grow for a longer period, and plants can absorb more moisture to head into winter in better shape against drying out. Then in spring you will need to remove the mulch from perennials or pull it away soon as snow goes and plants start to grow. For woody plants you can leave it on.
For years I’ve monitored soil temperatures under various mulches and of soil without mulch. I have found that by adding only a couple inches of bark mulch in the fall, you can prevent soil temperatures from moderating or fluctuating wildly by as much as 10 degrees F. So if air temperatures drop to below freezing overnight, soil temperatures might remain at 40 degrees F or above and roots will continue to grow.
If temperatures drop really low, like 10 degrees F overnight, soils might remain just below freezing or around it, so less hardened roots will not suffer damage in the fall as they otherwise would. Mulch is key in fall as perennials harden as the season progresses. So while they might take 20-degree F soil temperatures in midwinter, if such occurred in mid-fall it might kill them as they aren’t fully hardened. That’s why it is so critical to mulch early. If temperatures remain low in the fall for a few days, soil temperatures will drop more slowly on mulched soils, so wild swings in temperature are less apt to occur.
KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTH—These are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!
One of the ultimate comfort foods on a cold winter day, mac & cheese is loved by both young and old alike. The following is a selection of some of Klein’s very favorite homemade recipes.
LIGHT & CREAMY HOMEMADE MAC & CHEESE—Not overly cheesy, this easy recipe appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal, August 2005.
2 cups shredded cheddar
7 oz. dry macaroni, cooked and drained
2 TBS. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion or garlic salt
3/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
Preheat the oven to 425º. Combine the cheese, cooked macaroni, butter and seasonings. Mix well and spoon into a greased 8”x8” baking dish. Combine the milk and eggs and pour over the macaroni mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 15-20 minutes until set. Serves 4-6
This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9” x 13” pan. Increase the baking time as needed until set to desired consistency.
EMERIL’S BAKED MAC & CHEESE—From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, October 2010.
1 lb. macaroni
6 slices bacon cut into 1/2” pieces
1 TBS. minced garlic
2x 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups (12 oz.) finely shredded cheddar
1 cup (4 oz.) Monterey jack
1 cup (2 oz.) finely shredded parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375º. Cook the macaroni just 6 minutes and drain. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a small skillet until crisp. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Transfer the bacon to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the cooked macaroni and toss well. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add 1 tsp. salt, the cayenne, nutmeg and the cheeses. Mix well. Add the macaroni and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 4 qt. baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more or until of desired consistency. Let rest before serving. Serves 8-10.
PUMPKIN MAC & CHEESE—An award winning recipe from Better Homes & Gardens magazine, October 2011.
2 cups macaroni
2 TBS. butter
2 TBS. flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 oz. shredded Fontina cheese
1x 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 TBS. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350º. Cook the pasta, drain and return the pasta to the empty pot. In a saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Stir in the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook a minute. Slowly stir in the cream and milk and cook on medium until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the Fontina, pumpkin and sage. Cook until the cheese is melted. Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta. Transfer the mixture to an ungreased 2 qt. rectangular baking dish (11” x 7”). In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, parmesan, nuts and oil. Sprinkle over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 side dishes.
STOVETOP MAC & CHEESE—A super-easy recipe from the pages of Cooking Light magazine, June 2006.
4 cups macaroni
3 TBS. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup (2 oz.) softened cream cheese
2 tsp. Dijon
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) shredded cheddar, Provolone or Asiago cheese
Cook the pasta, drain and rinse. Meanwhile place the flour, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Add the milk and whisk until blended. Drop the cream cheese by teaspoons into the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer 2 minutes until thick and creamy and the cream cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in the Dijon, Worcestershire sauce and garlic and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta and serve. Serves 6.
MARTHA STEWART’S PERFECT MAC & CHEESE—A classic!!
1 stick butter
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 1/2 cups (18 oz.) finely shredded cheddar
2 cups (8 oz.) finely shredded Gruyere cheese
16 oz. macaroni
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Preheat the oven to 375º. Butter a 3 qt. casserole and set aside. Place the bread in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 2 TBS. butter. Toss the melted butter with the bred and set aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere. Set cheese sauce aside.
Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve. Serves 12.
You can easily divide this recipe in half; use a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish if you do.
The following article was shared with us by one of our readers, Gwen Ebert, and we’d now like to share it with you.
Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy
By Bonnie L. Grant
Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy.
Natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked but simply that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices, but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable.
Soil Microbes and Human Health
Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.
Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.
Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener.
Mycobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.
How Dirt Makes You Happy
Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration to tasks than a control group.
Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life.
DECEMBER’S PLANT OF THE MONTH:
CHRISTMAS CACTUS (Schlumbergera bridgessii)
Next to the poinsettia, the Christmas cactus is probably the most popular of the holiday plant choices. The following extremely informative article comes to us from B. Rosie Lerner and the Purdue University Extension website @ www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/cactusFAQs.html
Christmas Cactus FAQs
Christmas cacti are not only popular holiday gift plants, but they are also the subject of frequent debate among gardeners. There appears to be much confusion about these unique tropical cacti regarding care, maintenance and, especially, on how to get them to rebloom. The following tips address the most frequently asked questions.
We typically think of cacti as being heat tolerant, but Christmas cacti will keep their blossoms longer in cooler temperatures. Keep the plant in a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can cause the flower buds to drop from the plant before they have a chance to open.
Christmas cactus is a tropical type plant, not quite as drought tolerant as its desert relatives and, in fact, may drop flower buds if the soil gets too dry. The plants will wilt when under drought stress. Water thoroughly when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch. The length of time between waterings will vary with the air temperature, amount of light, rate of growth and relative humidity.
The plant does not particularly need to be fertilized while in bloom, but most gardeners enjoy the challenge of keeping the plant after the holidays for rebloom the next year. While plants are actively growing, use a blooming houseplant-type fertilizer and follow the label directions for how much and how often to feed.
While the Christmas cactus can adapt to low light, more abundant blooms are produced on plants that have been exposed to more light intensity. Keep your plants in a sunny location indoors. Plants can be moved outdoors in summer, but keep them in a shady or semi-shady location. Leaves may start to turn a bit red if exposed to excessive light. Too much direct sunlight can actually burn the leaves or may cause them to become limp. When it’s time to bring the plants back inside in the fall, slowly adjust the plants to life indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend indoors each day.
If your plant tends to dry out and/or wilt frequently, it may be time to repot the plant into a slightly larger container. Well-drained soil is a must for Christmas cactus. Use a commercially packaged potting mix for succulent plants or mix your own by combining two parts plain potting soil with one part clean sand or vermiculite.
Pruning your Christmas cactus after blooming will encourage the plant to branch out. Remove a few sections of each stem by pinching them off with your fingers or cutting with a sharp knife. These sections can be rooted in moist vermiculite to propagate new plants.
Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8 P.M. – 8 A.M. each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. Christmas cacti will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees F, eliminating the need for the dark treatments. Plants should be blooming for the holidays if cool treatments are started by early November.
Other species of holiday cactus bloom at different times of the year and have slightly different growth habits. Christmas cacti have scalloped stem segments and bloom at the stem tips. Thanksgiving cacti have 2-4 pointy teeth along the edges of the sections and will bloom earlier than Christmas cactus if left to natural day-length. Easter cacti have rounded teeth along the segments and bloom primarily in the spring but may also periodically rebloom at other times of year.
For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison vicinity and we must receive your information by the first of the month in which the event takes place for it to appear in that month’s newsletter. This is a great opportunity for free advertising.
Bolz Conservatory Exhibit—Chocolate: The Bitter and the Sweet
October 31, 2015 thru February 28, 2016
Daily from 10:00-4:00, Sundays 10:00-5:00
In the Bolz Conservatory
Smell the sweet allure, and learn about one of the all-time favorite flavors – chocolate! This exhibit highlights the cacao tree, first cultivated in South America. The seeds from this tree are commonly called cacao beans and are surrounded by a pod. Chocolate is derived from the cacao beans. The high proportion of fat in the bean kernels (cocoa butter) is used in medications, cosmetics, and soaps. The pulverized residue, called cocoa, is used in beverages and as a flavoring. Visit the Bolz Conservatory to see the cacao plant up close and to discover where chocolate comes from and how it is made.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Olbrich Garden’s Holiday Express:
Flower & Model Train Show
December 5 thru December 31
All aboard for Olbrich’s Holiday Express!
Large-scale model trains wind through a holiday scene overflowing with hundreds of poinsettias, fresh evergreens and exciting LEGO® displays in Olbrich’s Holiday Express: Flower and Model Train Show.
During the show, members of the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society come from all over the state to show off their large-scale model trains. You may see a bullet train, steam train, Santa train, circus train, or freight train, depending on the day.
See elaborate LEGO® constructions along the tracks in an exciting display of engineering and imagination. These intricate LEGO® models are constructed by members of the Wisconsin LEGO® Users Group (WisLUG).
Admission for Olbrich Botanical Society members is free. Admission to Olbrich’s Holiday Express for the general public is $5 for adults, and $3 for children ages 3 to 12. Children 2 and under are free. Admission to the tropical Bolz Conservatory is included.
Olbrich’s Holiday Express is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Olbrich will close at 2 p.m. on December 24, and will be closed all day on December 25 and January 1.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
Rotary Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Light Show
December 11-13, December 17-23, December 26 & 27 and January 2 & 3
More lights than ever! An Expanded Route! Free Shuttle on the Busiest Nights!
The show will be bigger, better and more beautiful than ever, as the wintery garden paths are brought to life with: 370,000 lights (15,000 more than last year), 100 beautifully decorated trees, over 2,500 luminaries, 500 dangling icicle lights hung from the tallest trees in the Garden and more.
Guests will also be treated to an expanded show this year with the addition of the first-ever route through the Woodland Walk Garden.
We’ve added FREE shuttle service on the busiest nights to make getting to and from the show easier. Visitors can park at Dawson Field, December 17-23, from 5 to 8 p.m., catch the shuttle and be delivered right to the front door of the Gardens. After you’ve enjoyed the show the shuttle will return you to Dawson Field.
Kids of all ages will enjoy peeking in the windows of the all-new child-size Elf Workshop and Santa House located in the gardens amid the light show.
Santa will visit December 19-23 and live reindeer will visit December 21 & 22.
Doors open 4:00 pm. Last ticket sold 8 pm.
Admission is $5 for those aged 3 & up.
Tickets available at the door or online @ rotarybotanicalgardens.org/hls-tickets
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI
608/752-3885 or rotarybotanicalgardens.org
Family Walk: Winter Birds
Sunday, December 13, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and other birds spend the entire year here. Some species consider our area “south for the winter.” Prepare for the Christmas bird counts on this informative walk.
University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or www.uwarboretum.org for details.
Family Walk: Our Feathered Friends
Sunday, December 13, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Birds are easier to spot when trees are bare of leaves, making winter a good time for youngsters to learn about them.
University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or www.uwarboretum.org for details.
Rotary Garden’s Evening Garden Seminar: Behind the Scenes-Holiday Light Show
Wednesday, December 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m
Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville, WI
For close to two decades, Rotary Botanical Gardens has featured the annual Holiday Lights Show which features over 370,000 lights, 100+ displays and miles of cords. This annual fundraiser continues to grow in size and popularity each year. Come learn about the show and the techniques in setting up such a diverse show with many elements. This presentation will also focus on some very cost effective opportunities for incorporating some of these ideas in to your own winter landscape.
Admission: $7 for RBG Friends members and $10 for the general public. No registration required
Seminar is conducted by Mark Dwyer, RBG Director of Horticulture
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org
Family Walk: Conifers
Sunday, December 20, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
The Arboretum is home to many species of conifers, and on this tour you’ll be introduced to pines, spruces, and firs.
University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or www.uwarboretum.org for details.
Dane County Winter Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, November 14 thru December 19, 7:30-noon
For details visit www.dcfm.org
DECEMBER IN THE GARDEN—A checklist of things to do this month.
___Mulch perennials to protect from the cold and prevent heaving.
___Purchase marsh hay and rose protection. Wait till the ground freezes.
___Mulch roses by mounding soil and wrapping, rather than using rose cones.
___Keep birdfeeders full. Clean periodically with soap and water.
___Make water available to the birds. Begin using a deicer as needed.
___Plant bulbs for forcing and put in a cool location for 10-12 weeks.
___Plant bulbs until the ground freezes.
___Prep lawnmower for winter storage and snowblower for weather to come.
___Mark driveways and sidewalks with stakes.
___Finish garden cleanup to make spring easier and prevent pests.
___Do any last minute raking to prevent smothering delicate plants or beds.
___Spread fireplace ashes over beds to amend the soil.
___Make sure clay pots are stored inside and dry to prevent cracking.
___Place your used Christmas tree in the garden for added wildlife protection.
___Have trees trimmed–it’s often times cheaper and easier to schedule.
___Inspect stored summer bulbs like dahlias, cannas and glads for rotting.
___Stop feeding houseplants and cut back on watering.
___Inventory last year’s leftover seeds before ordering new ones.
___Make notes in your garden journal for changes, improvements, etc.
___Wrap trunks of susceptible trees to protect from rodents.
___Visit Klein’s—it’s green, it’s warm, it’s colorful—it’s always spring!
Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds @ www.rareseeds.com or 417/924-8887
Burpee @ www.burpee.com or 800/888-1447
Harris Seeds @ www.harrisseeds.com or 800/514-4441
Johnny’s Select Seeds @ www.johnnyseeds.com or 207/861-3901
Jung’s Seeds @ www.jungseed.com or 800/247-5864
Park’s Seeds @ www.parkseed.com or 800/845-3369
Pinetree @ www.superseeds.com or 207/926-3400
Seeds of Change @ www.seedsofchange.com or 888/762-7333
Seed Savers @ www.seedsavers.org or 563/382-5990
Select Seeds @ www.selectseeds.com or 800/684-0395
Territorial Seeds @ www.territorialseed.com or 888/657-3131
Thompson & Morgan @ www.thompson-morgan.com or 800/274-7333
Brent & Becky’s Bulbs @ www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com or 877/661-2852
Colorblends @ www.colorblends.com or 888/847-8637
John Scheeper’s @ www.johnscheepers.com or 860/567-0838
McClure & Zimmerman @ www.mzbulb.com or 800/883-6998
High Country Gardens @ www.highcountrygardens.com or 800/925-9387
Logee’s Greenhouses @ www.logees.com or 888/330-8038
Plant Delights Nursery @ www.plantdelights.com or 912/772-4794
Roots and Rhizomes @ www.rootsrhizomes.com or 800/374-5035
Wayside Gardens @ www.waysidegardens.com or 800/213-0379
White Flower Farm @ www.whiteflowerfarm.com or 800/503-9624
Note: To receive every possible seed, plant or garden supply catalog imaginable, check out Cyndi’s Catalog of Garden Catalogs @ www.gardenlist.com. Most catalogs are free and make for great winter reading!
BEHIND THE SCENES AT KLEIN’S—This is a sneak peek of what is going on each month behind the scenes in our greenhouses. Many people are unaware that our facility operates year round or that we have 10 more greenhouses on the property in addition to the 6 open for retail. At any given moment we already have a jump on the upcoming season–be it poinsettias in July, geraniums in December or fall mums in May.
—We’re prepping the hundreds of poinsettias and holiday plants that go out for orders each day. After choosing the most gorgeous plants, we need to foil, bow and sleeve each order before loading into our vans for delivery to Madison’s homes, businesses and churches.
—Tropicals for next summer sale continue to arrive. Our tropicals (such as bougainvilleas, bananas, colocasias, alocasias, etc.) arrive now so we are able to get the best selection and are able to offer you substantial sized plants next summer.
—Hundreds of herbs for windowsill culture are thriving in the sunny, warm greenhouses . We have chosen only the best assortment for indoor growing and winter harvest. Choose from rosemary, lavender, parsley, thyme and more.
—We continue to plan and prepare for Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center in February by sprucing up display pieces and potting up thousands of violas, primrose, cineraria, etc. for sale at the show. This is Klein’s biggest annual event and our most important advertising.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT—Each month we spotlight some product that we already carry or one that we’ve taken note of and plan to carry in the near future. Likewise, if you would like to see Klein’s to carry a product that we don’t currently, please let us know. Our goal is to be responsive to the marketplace and to our loyal clientele. If a product fits into our profile, we will make every effort to get it into our store. In addition, we may be able to special order an item for you, whether plant or hard good, given enough time.
The Wonderful World of Ice Lanterns
Coming soon and new to Klein’s are kits to make Globe Ice Lanterns from Wintercraft®
Globe Ice lanterns — enchanting, glacial candle-holders — are enjoyed indoors and outdoors all year ‘round. You and your friends will marvel at these wondrous spherical shells of ice, the center of which glows with radiant flame. Mixing fire and ice is as timeless as the world’s first lamp-lighters. As a present day fun and beautiful creative endeavor, ice luminaries appeal to young and old alike.
A Globe Ice Lantern is a stunning sphere of ice with a hollow cavity where a candle or LED light can be placed to light it up! A Globe Ice Lantern can be displayed outdoors, indoors as a centerpiece, just for fun, or to add a little magic to a special occasion . . . Wintercraft kits take an ancient craft and make it new!
Through the centuries humans searched for ways to bring light into the darkness of winter. Ice lanterns, in any form, are a beautiful way to do just that. Many cold-weather cultures claim the invention of the ice lantern or ice candle—Finland, Norway, Russia, Germany, China and Japan. The truth is, given their latitudes, they all naturally have traditions surrounding ice as a tool and an art form. The most basic example of this is the boat lantern. To light the way on ancient vessels, ice lanterns were easily created and placed on decks—to see and be seen. As with most tools that hold symbolic meaning, a broom, a scythe, or a wheel, the ice lantern was assimilated into the holidays that dealt with the rebirth of the sun. The Winter Solstice, for example, is still the center point of joy for many who dwell in a cold climate. Great happiness is brought to all by the simplest thing—a dark winter’s night illuminated by a flame as it plays within a shell of ice.
Creating Globe Ice Lanterns with the Wintercraft system is fun for all ages, an easy craft to learn, and can be done at anytime of year (Globe Ice Lanterns can be made in a freezer).
Jennifer Shea Hedberg began creating ice lanterns as a child – in all shapes and sizes. Over time, she developed ways of making Globe Ice Lanterns that beguiled all who saw them. Hedberg began a winter landscaping and decorating business after news of her unique system spread. A friend and boutique owner suggested the idea of designing a DIY kit that could be sold in her store. After a quick sell-thru, Wintercraft was born.
In 2009, Hedberg designed her first Do-It Yourself Globe Ice Lantern Kit and launched her Wintercraft business. Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Kits are carried in stores throughout the US and Canada.
Visit them @ www.wintercraft.com