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December Newsletter

We are nearing the end of the year. It is time to enjoy the holidays and to reflect back on the last year. Many of us are happy that the year is over and are looking forward to better economic times. I'm thankful that Garden View has so many great and loyal clients and customers. I'm thankful that through this whole economic mess that we have not had to lay a single employee off. I'm thankful that I get to work with my family and great long term employees in a profession that I find so interesting, which allows artistic expression and brings so many people pleasure.
I'm sure next year will bring its share of challenges; OK, We're ready. Bring it on! We will flourish and learn from it, just like we have for the last couple years and the 28 before that.

Mark Meahl (President Garden View Inc.)

Enjoying the Evenings
In most parts of the country it is freezing outside. Here in Southern California it is now winter and most days the temperature is very comfortable. In the evening it can get a bit nippy though, fireplaces and fire pits can provide heat so we can entertain and enjoy our outside rooms and living spaces throughout the year.

December Garden Tips

Cut holiday decorations carefully so you thin out and improve the shape of donor plants. Sprigs of needle-leafed evergreens, holly pyracantha, and toyon are attractive choices for arrangements.

PRUNE EVERGREENS (Podocarpus gracilior - right):
Many evergreen trees and shrubs benefit from a light winter grooming. Prune to shape cedar, cotoneaster, fir, juniper, magnolia, pine, pittosporum, podocarpus, pyracantha, and viburnum.

PRUNE NATIVES (Fuchsia - left): Cut California fuchsia (Zauschneria californica), Coast sunflower (Encelia californica), Matilija poppy, and needle grass (Nassella) nearly to the ground. Prune Cleveland sage, coyote mint (Monardella villosa), and Island bush snap-dragon (Galvezia speciosa) more lightly: about one-third.

WATER NATIVES (Matilijia poppy - right):
This is the growing season for California Natives so if the weather is dry water these plants.

CARE FOR GIFT PLANTS (Cyclamen - left):
Azaleas, cyclamen, and poinsettia would actually prefer to be outdoors; while they're in your house, display them in as cool but bright a spot as possible-away from heaters and the fireplace. If pots are trimmed in decorative foil, punch a hole though the wrap or remove it so plants can drain well. Keep soil slightly damp, never soggy.

Though Poinsettias prefer to grow outside the gift poinsettias we purchase in December for holiday color are actually grown in greenhouses under perfect conditions and forced to bloom and produce red leaves in December rather than their natural growth pattern in spring. When placed out doors they are usually very delicate and not acclimated for severe weather conditions. Changes in temperature, over or under water, rain and the cold may lead to their early demise or severely damage the red leaves.

are blooming now. Some of these trees produce an annoying seed as the tree ages. Unfortunately we can not predict which trees will produce seeds when purchasing them. We can reduce and almost eliminate the seed formation by spraying Floral Fruit Eliminator before flowering ends. The active ingredient, a natural plant hormone called Ethephon, cause the fertilized flowers to fall off so the fruits can't develop.


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Water-Wise Tips
Leave the Irrigation Controller OFF

After it rains (of course you turned off the controller during the rain) leave the irrigation controller off for as long as reasonable. That won't just save water now but by training your roots to grow deep it will save water over the life of your landscape. Though many of your deciduous trees have no leaves and are not growing or absorbing water right now the roots are still growing. Most evergreen plants and trees and grasses do not need much water now. If the ground gets a little dry on the top the roots will grow deeper. If we water too much the roots will grow to the surface looking for air.

In the Dirt
with Julie Meahl

Julie Meahl This month is all about the beautiful bright red poinsettia.  This plant is the staple flower for the Christmas season.  Everyone decorates with them and gives them as gifts.  The actual flower is the inconspicuous yellowish center.  It is the leaves that turn red when they experience long nights.  The poinsettia growers have a long process of 14 hours of dark each night starting in October.

Want a few tips on keeping your holiday poinsettias looking good?  Protect it from temperatures below 50 degrees because this makes the leaves drop.  Water the plant thouroughly so all the soil is saturated and water seeps through the drain hole, but never let your poinsettia sit in water.  Check it daily and water again when the soil feels dry to touch.  Poinsettias must have at least six hours of bright indirect light each day to be at their best.  Choose a place away from drafts and radiators.  To preserve the bright color, the temperature should not exceed 72 degrees during the day or 60 degrees at night.

If you decide to plant your poinsettia outdoors, plant against a sunny wall under south-facing eaves.  When the color starts to show, fertilize every 2 weeks with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.  This poinsettia can grow to 10 feet tall.  Enjoy & have a wonderful holiday season!

Thank you Mother Nature, now you're in the dirt!

(Julie Meahl is the Retail Manager and Vice President of Garden View, Inc.)

Blake's Landscape Maintenance Blog

Blake If you are a Garden View landscape maintenance client you should be noticing Poinsettias planted on your property.  At first glance I am sure that instead of Christmas cheer surging through your veins it was sheer, blood boiling rage.  You did not authorize this!! How much is this going to cost you??? These damn plants barely last three weeks!!! I hate puppies, kittens, and rainbows!!!!!

Be cool.  It's free.  We just want to say thanks for being such a great client and your continued loyalty. Happy holidays!

(Blake Meahl is the Operations Manager for Garden View's Maintenance Division.)

Leaf Blower Comic
Leaf Blower Comic
If you have any suggestions on articles you would like to see in our newsletter or suggestions for improvement please let us know.
-Tyler Meahl (Technical Manager and Special Projects Coordinator for Garden View Inc.)

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