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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Yule Logs

What in the world makes a log a 'Yule log'? I can remember campfires where we joked about great big logs being 'the Yule log' and you hear about it during the holidays, but what is it? I've also seen log-shaped cakes called Yule logs, confusing the topic even more. The Yule log has its origins in pagan rituals in Europe surrounding the Winter Solstice. In ancient times, winter was truly...

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Norfolk Island Pine

Perhaps you were given or decided to buy a Norfolk Island pine for Christmas this year. Often they are marketed pre-decorated, making it hard to resist as a living Christmas tree. But what do you do with it after Christmas? You might wonder-- is there really a Norfolk Island? Yes, it's not make-believe. Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific between Australia, New Zealand, and N...

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What is a clementine anyway?

Winter is the season for citrus. One of my favorites is the clementine—and my 19 month old son is developing a taste for them as well. At first, he would only throw them, referring to them as "balls". Once he realized they are for eating, he's been devouring them while making the sign for and saying "more". They are available for a relatively short time each year, so we are thoroughly enjoying...

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Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is a lesser known holiday plant compared to the poinsettia, but no less spectacular in my opinion. Their flowers are truly unique, and unlike poinsettia, it is relatively easy to coax a Christmas cactus into re-blooming each year. Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter cacti, commonly called 'holiday cacti' are named all in reference to the time of year they typically bloom...

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Avoiding Garden Gift Gimmicks

Holiday catalogs are filled with gadgets for the person that has everything, and gardeners are no exception. As our inboxes and mailboxes fill with offers and catalogs promising the "perfect gift" that will make gardening quicker, easier, cost less, yield more, and are the key to a perfect garden, you might start to wonder what to believe. There are a lot of gifts on the market that sou...

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Although the topic of mice is really not a horticultural topic, or exists at the far fringes of horticulture at best, every fall our office gets calls about mice. Fall is the time of year mice are looking for a warm place to spend the winter. This is especially true if you live anywhere remotely rural. Even a park can be a source of mice. My husband and I live near both woods and farm f...

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Yam or Sweet Potato?

There are certain foods we tend to associate with the Holidays, but we may call them by different names. For example, many of us will find sweet potatoes gracing our tables, while some families refer to them as yams. Which is it? What are you actually eating? While we sometimes use the name interchangeably, yams and sweet potatoes are two totally different plants. The yam includes vario...

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