Friday, November 30, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - November 30, 2012

Next week will seem like the shortest days of the year as the sun sets earlier in the day than it does on the shortest day , the winter solstice. It’s no wonder that our traditions and many religious rituals have to do with light and some type of evergreens. Just yesterday we cut some of the most beautiful 10 foot Canaan Fir that only differ from the Fraser Fir in that they do not have the silvery sheen to the underside of the needles. Canaan Firs have needle retention every bit as good as the Fraser as long as they are cut late in the season; that is, around Thanksgiving or later. Other nursery work consists of the mundane task of emptying the mouse traps in the plant storage houses in order to keep the mice damage to a minimum. A new variety of flower we just planted last week is the Anenome with its fuchsia and blue flowers appearing like miniature poppies. Another new item for next spring will be the robust Gerbera daisies that we’ll transfer to a 10 inch diameter pot that can be placed on the deck or patio for an all summer display of radiant color. Soon it will be time to take cuttings from the new Calliope geraniums that we planted in September. These geraniums grow well in full sun or moderate shade and make gorgeous hanging baskets as they are more compact than the regular vining geraniums which require more trimming and deadheading thus, a lot more work! Enough talk about getting ready for spring. Grave blankets, poinsettias and cut trees are the norm right now before we head into the long winter doldrums after the holidays. Enjoy the cold winter days and they’ll seem to fly by until those hints of spring appear. Tom

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - November 23, 2012

Wreaths, roping, cut trees and all the rest have arrived at the nursery so that it does look like the Christmas season has begun although the temperatures seem more like late October. The sunny weather has made it necessary to start up the water pump to water all the trees and shrubs in storage huts which make for a real hassle as the waterlines and pump intake have to be drained again because of the approaching cold. The grave blankets are still being manufactured with all the various customizing according to the wishes of different customers. Once blanket that I must fabricate every year measures 6 feet wide by at least 8 feet long and weighs over 100 pounds! After the delivery of many grave decorations the day before Thanksgiving, we will be delivering to local cemeteries two to three days every week right up until Christmas Eve. Remember that if you’re fussy about picking out a cut tree for Christmas, this weekend is the time to do it in order to get first choice. If you’re not going to decorate the tree now, just simply lay the tree in the back yard or tag it for later pick up or delivery. If you’re cutting your own tree at a smaller operation that would allow you to tag a tree for later cutting, I would advise against this strategy as others that may see the beautiful tagged tree later will simply pull off the tag and cut it! Soon, let’s hope for some snow! Tom

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - November 9, 2012

For the past four nights the weather has been frosty in the mornings with the skies clear at night. The above scenario is ideal for hardening off trees and shrubs to get ready for the long winter. Timely “to dos” include fertilizing the lawns this weekend with a winterizer fertilizer and spraying liquid fence on any tree or shrub that may be susceptible to deer damage such as the Taxus genus. In two weeks we’ll be setting up our cut Christmas tree display of Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, White Pine and Scotch Pine all from southern Ohio. I like the Ohio Fraser Fir much better than those grown more commonly in North Carolina as they are so much fresher and seem to last at least a month in the house as long as the tree stand does not run out of water. The North Carolina Fir I think are piled into stacks and then may go through a heat because of the green foliage packed so tight which then makes them susceptible for deterioration. Our supply of firs in contrast is grown by a small family farm in Ohio that is better able to harvest trees much later in the season. Grave blanket production has finally begun as we’ve been able to cut branches after the inclement weather from hurricane Sandy. By November 20th, we will be able to have a full selection of blankets and pillows with deliveries beginning that day for those wanting delivery or pick up by Thanksgiving. Get out and enjoy the weather! Tom