VOLUME 18, ISSUE 51 • December 22, 2022

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


Because of the extreme cold that is barreling toward us I've decided to send this week's e-gardens out as quickly as possible.

In this issue…
Freeze warning and what to do;
Poinsettias and what to do;
This weekend and what to do;
Mulch volcanoes and what not to do;
Your Questions and my Answers.

Photo: Variegated poinsettia brings holiday cheer to its surroundings.

Click image for larger view.

(Santas by Neil Sperry)
Back row, holding Christmas tree and far right with Texas belt buckle: carved from wood (total of 5 Santas)

Front row: 6 Santas poured in plaster from antique German and Belgian chocolate molds from the 1930s-1950s, then painted.

The example is from the premier chocolate mold maker Anton Reiche of Dresden. The green Santa was poured in that 90-year-old mold.

My Santas join me in
wishing you a


And until next week…
Happy Gardening!


Gardening This Weekend

Slim odds you'll be doing much gardening this weekend, what with family, holidays and really cold weather. I'd estimate you can read this week's list in less than a minute.

Photo: Don't worry about daffodils that are already growing. They'll survive cold just fine.


Freeze Warning: Time to Cover!

We learned the value of protecting tender plants with frost cloth in February 2021. We're sending e-gardens out early so that you can have a bit of time to get your plants covered as necessary. Please read the details.

Photo: Frost cloth over plants of borderline hardiness can make a huge difference in survival.


Just in my Lifetime…

I've seen monumental changes in this spectacular flower of Christmas. Let me tell you a few things as I celebrate one of the best growers I've ever known.

Photo: Of all things, a variegated poinsettia. Showy in all regards.


Things I Can't Explain: Mulch Volcanoes

Life is confusing enough without having to explain seemingly senseless horticultural habits like topping crape myrtles - or piling soil and bark mulch up around tree trunks. What's the deal?!

Photo: They're ugly and they're senseless. But I think I know why they're there.


Ask Neil

Vertical hollies and tiny crape myrtles. How not to trim vitex and how to trim a special live oak. Grub worms and agaves. What a mix we have for you this week.




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