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Edition 15.51 H&H Gardening Newsletter December 23, 2015

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Lawn Fertilizer
Fertilize cool-season lawns, that is, lawns planted with ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue. Apply crabgrass preventer to all lawns now, if you haven't already.

Contact Information:

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(562) 804-2513

6220 Lakewood Blvd
Lakewood, CA 90712

Store Hours:
Mon.-Fri.: 7:30 to 5:00
Sat. 8:00 to 5:00
Sunday: 9:00 to 4:00

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featured quote

Featured Quote:

"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens--the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind's eye."
Katherine S. White

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Hours:

Thursday, December 24, 7:30-noon
Friday, December 25, Closed
Saturday, December 26, 8:00-5:00

Thursday, December 31 7:30-noon
Friday, January 1, Closed
Saturday, January 2, 8:00-5:00

2016 Rose Catalog
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Holiday Trivia

• The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned in London, in 1843, by Sir Henry Cole, with illustration by John Callcott Horsley. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first official White House card in 1953.

• "Rudolph" was actually created by Robert May for Montgomery Ward in the late 1930's as a holiday promotion. The song was written later by Johnny Marks, and recorded by Gene Autry in 1949; it promptly sold about 2 million copies.

• Christmas became an official national holiday in the USA on June 28, 1870.

• Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant and are the number one "flowering" potted plant in the United States.

White House Christmas tree, 1994

• Franklin Pierce put the first Christmas tree in the White House (in 1856), for a group of Washington Sunday School children. Benjamin Harrison is credited with starting the tradition of the White House tree, being the first to have a decorated family Christmas tree in the White House in 1889, and Calvin Coolidge put the first National Christmas Tree on the White House lawn (not in the White House) in 1923.

• The first reported electrically lit Christmas tree was in December, 1882. The world's first practical light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879, and a mere three years later, in 1882, an officer of Edison's electric company, one Edward Johnson, electrically lit a Christmas tree for the first time. In 1917, after a tragic fire in New York City that was caused by Christmas candles, Albert Sadacca (fifteen years old at the time) invented safety lights for Christmas trees. Decorating a live Christmas tree outdoors became popular, and eventually moved to indoor trees. The outdoor lights also moved onto houses, and decorating houses in lights became (and has remained) popular.

• Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska.

• In 1979, the National Christmas Tree was not lighted except for the top ornament. This was done because of the American hostages in Iran.

• According to the Guinness World Records, the world's tallest cut Christmas tree was a 221' Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) erected and decorated at Northgate Shopping Center, Seattle, Washington, USA, in December 1950.

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Gardens for Kids

Not all plants are created equal in the eyes of children. Although they don't differentiate when it comes to flowers and vegetables or annuals and perennials, kids have their hands-down favorites. They prefer huge flowers like marigolds, petunias, and sunflowers and small vegetables like cherry tomatoes, dwarf carrots, and radishes.

They love unique color shades, too, so make sure to include flowers with multi-colorings such as pansy, snapdragon and striped impatiens, and vegetables such as purple carrots, and 'Easter Egg' radishes, along with striped beets and tomatoes.

Textured plants are irresistible. If your conditions are right for them, include the fuzzy woolly thyme and lamb's ears, the prickly coneflower and strawflowers (for sunny locations) and donkey tail fern, maidenhair fern and columbine (for shadier spots).

Fragrant plants transport the imagination. If you grow them now, your child will always remember the scents of gardenia, heliotrope, roses, peonies, and lilacs. If you show them which plants to rub between their fingers, they'll never forget lavender, chocolate and pineapple mint, lemon balm, rosemary, basil, and scented geraniums.

Butterflies fascinate children, and there are many colorful plants that that will attract them. Consider including butterfly bush, lantana, monarda, salvia, sweet peas, and veronica--but don't overlook carrots, dill, fennel, and parsley to round out their diet.

Positively pickable plants also get the thumbs-up from kids. While mom's landscape may be off-limits for bouquet gathering, children should have free rein over certain cutting gardens. Cosmos, snapdragon, salvia, zinnia, coleus, and celosia are just a few that will produce more blooms if frequently picked.

Don't overlook spring- and summer-flowering bulbs that hold the promise and surprise of things to come. Use the same rules as above when selecting colors and varieties.

Gardening can truly be a fun experience for children. So start planning their garden today. You'll be getting started on creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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Track Santa's progress

Fun for the family from Norad! Click Here to receive updates from the North Pole and play games. New content daily. Track Santa's progress toward your house this Christmas Eve!

The ABC's of Plant Fertilizer

Ever look at a bag of plant fertilizer and feel like you were reading a foreign language? What does it all mean? What do those three numbers (different on every bag, it seems) really mean? What is NPK? With a short explanation, we feel certain that you will be armed and dangerous for your next foray to the garden center.

If you look at a bag of plant fertilizer, whether indoor or outdoor, you will always see three numbers (i.e. 8-8-4). These numbers represent the macronutrients (substances that all plants need for healthy growth) that will be supplied by the fertilizer.

The first number (8-8-4) is nitrogen (N). Nitrogen is necessary for leaf growth and health and is the nutrient most often lacking in garden soils.

The second number (8-8-4) is phosphorus (P), which is needed for fruiting and flowering and strong root growth.

The third number (8-8-4) is potassium (K). The plant uses this nutrient for stem and root development. It also helps plants resist diseases and better tolerate heat and cold.

There are other ingredients in most fertilizers as well; these are called secondary nutrients. Most often you will see calcium (for cell formation and growth), magnesium (aids in formation of chlorophyll molecules) and sulfur (works with nitrogen to make protoplasm for plant cells) listed on the container. Many soils have sufficient amounts of these secondary nutrients in them.

The third group of nutrients that are in most fertilizers is called micronutrients or trace elements. These should be given to plants in very small quantities; giving plants too much of these micronutrients can easily harm the plant. Some of the micronutrients often seen on a fertilizer bag are zinc, manganese and iron. Zinc and manganese help other nutrients perform well and iron is for chlorophyll formation.

When choosing a fertilizer, choose the right food for the particular plant you are feeding. For instance, if you are feeding a blooming plant, such as a rose, you will want a fertilizer that is higher in the middle number, because that is the nutrient that encourages flowering. If you are fertilizing a lawn, you want to encourage leaf growth, so the first number should be highest. All plants need to have strong stems and roots, so they all will need potassium. Most fertilizers are labeled for the plants you should feed with them "

Remember, more is not better--you can burn a plant by over-feeding (especially with nitrogen). Plants, just like people, occasionally need supplements to grow well. Fertilize your plants when needed with the correct fertilizer and they will reward you with growth, blooms and fruit--and they'll be better able to ward off insects and diseases.

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Garden Primer
How can I get my poinsettias to re-bloom next year?

  • Fertilize your plant every two weeks after the blooming season with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. Continue through August.
  • By March or early April, when the colored bracts begin to turn or fall, cut the plant back, leaving 4 to 6 buds.
  • Re-pot into a slightly larger container (2-3 inches larger in diameter).
  • Keep the plant indoors near (not directly in) a sunny window or outdoors in a morning sun-afternoon shade location. Water and fertilize regularly, and by the end of May you should see vigorous new growth.
  • Make sure to turn the plant so that the new growth grows evenly on all sides.
  • If you have been growing them outdoors in the summer, when fall comes bring your poinsettia indoors to a sunny location before night temperatures fall below 55-60°F at night. Check for pests and diseases and place the poinsettia in a south window.
  • Poinsettias begin to set buds and produce flowers as the nights become longer.
  • Beginning October 1, keep your plants in complete darkness for 14 continuous hours each night by moving it into a dark room or placing a large box over it.
  • During the day, allow 6-8 hours of bright sunlight. Flowers should mature in 60-85 days.
  • Continue this for 8-10 weeks, and your poinsettias should develop a colorful display of holiday blooms!

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Holiday Bread Bowl Dip
Makes an attractive--and delicious--centerpiece for the table!

What You'll Need:

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup ranch dip
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (whatever you like best works for this)
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish sauce (if using raw horseradish, use 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped/diced black olives
  • 1 round bread loaf

Step by Step:

  • Remove the center from bread loaf, leaving 1/2" thickness all the way around the sides, making a bowl out of the loaf.
  • Combine cream cheese, sour cream, ranch dip, and horseradish sauce together until smooth (beat on medium in a mixer).
  • Gently fold in the shredded cheese and black olives.
  • Place inside the bread bowl, cover with foil and chill 1 hour.
  • Serve with veggies, crackers or chips!


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