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Wait until next month before pruning any perennials, shrubs or trees that were injured during December's freezing mornings. If it gets really cold again, those open wounds may invite further disaster.

Be sure to rake up and discard all the fallen leaves around your rose bushes, which may be harboring next season's pest problems.

Plan on spraying your deciduous fruit trees again this month. This will help control peach leaf curl. Your local nurseryperson can direct you to the right shelf for the product that's intended for your particular fruit tree variety.

Clean and sharpen all your pruning tools when you're done. Don't put them away wet and dirty, which can encourage the formation of rust.

Think about what you want in your summer garden, then hit the catalogs or seed racks at your local nursery.

If crabgrass is a problem in your yard, control it now with a preemergent, before it germinates next month.

Winter-flowering plants need a feeding with a balanced fertilizer to keep blooming in these cold months. Among those that should be fed: primroses, stock, calendula, snapdragons, iceland poppies, pansies and violas.

Bare root plants are available at nurseries now. Choose from a wide assortment of fruit trees, roses, grapes and berries.

Artichokes and gladiolus can be planted this month. Plant a few gladiolas every three weeks until July for a continuous bloom from spring until fall.

Camellias at the nurseries will be in bloom now; choose one that catches your eye.

Start tomato and pepper seeds indoors in small containers or peat pots, either on a sunny window sill or beneath flourescent lights.

Now is the good time for pruning deciduous fruit trees, grapes and roses. If you're unsure how to proceed, check with your favorite nurseryperson. Two good books on the subject include Ortho's "All About Pruning" and Sunset's "Pruning Handbook".

When selecting bare root roses, look for those with a grade number of one. These are the healthiest roses available.

Perennials that can be divided now include shasta daisies and day lilies.

Plan on spraying your deciduous fruit trees one more time before Valentine's Day. A copper-based spray will help control peach leaf curl and brown rot.

Apply a dormant oil spray on your roses and deciduous fruit trees now. This will suffocate spring and summer pests, including scale.

Pre-emergents, applied now to your lawn, can help stop the summertime onslaught of crabgrass.

When planting bare root fruit trees, make sure they will be in an area with good drainage.

Add a splash of winter color to your porch or patio. Pot up transplants of primrose, cyclamen, pansy and calendula, now appearing at area nurseries.


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# Tend to your summer shade garden this week. Start colorful tuberous begonias indoors now. Move them outside in late March.

#Early February is a good time to start seeds of tomatoes and peppers indoors.

# Remove old flowers on camellias to reduce the chance of petal blight.

# Place three inches of mulch around trees and shrubs to keep weeds under control. Keep the mulch at least an inch away from the trunks and stems to avoid rot.

# Azaleas in bloom are arriving at stores now. Head to your favorite garden center for best selection.

# Mid-February is the best time to apply your final (or only) application of dormant spray for peach leaf curl, brown rot and scale on your stone fruit trees.

#Asparagus shoots are starting to pop up now. They'd appreciate a feeding of a balanced fertilizer.

# Blooming plants for your Valentine's Day sweetheart include azaleas, cyclamen, tulips, hydrangeas and orchids.

# Finish pruning your roses by mid-February.

# Dahlia bulbs are available in area nurseries. For best selection, choose them now then plant them in the garden in late March for a rich array of color and different flower forms.

# According to several nurserypeople, now is a good time to transplant azaleas and camellias.

# Snails will soon begin their yearly trek to your tender, young foliage. Look for them hiding beneath plants and lumber piles now before they get started munching.

# Before planting your flower and vegetable beds, mix in compost to help condition the soil.

# Despite the warmer days, it's still winter. Leave freeze-damaged leaves on plants for a couple more weeks, to protect and insulate any new growth from a March cold snap.

# Tuberous begonia bulbs are available at nurseries now. For a sure winner, select the largest and healthiest looking bulbs.

# It's not too late to plant winter and spring blooming annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, calendulas and alyssum.

# Sharpen lawn mower blades and change the mower's oil before lawn cutting becomes a weekly job.

# Eliminate mosquito breeding areas in your yard before the buzzing begins in earnest. Empty any rain-filled containers around the yard.

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March is an excellent time to begin fertilizing cool season grasses, such as fescue. Apply every six weeks now through June; resume feeding September through early November.

Apply rose food every six weeks beginning now through October.

Prune and clean up beneath flowering shrubs such as camellias, quince and forsythia.

Prune out suckers (the branches that sprout directly from the root stock beneath the soil) from trees and shrubs.

Install or repair your drip irrigation system for your trees, shrubs and vegetable garden.

Vegetables that can be planted now include lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes and chard.

For a continuous bloom through the summer, plant a few corms of gladiolus each week through early April.

Check for snails in their hiding places: beneath the cool green leaves of low growing plants or under the wood pile.

Add mulch around shrubs and trees, out to the drip line. Leave a six-inch area clear adjacent to the trunk to prevent rot.

Nurseries are getting in a wide selection of tomato and pepper plants. Shop now to insure you get the variety you want; but hold off planting them in exposed locations for another month.

Protect young summer vegetable transplants from late March cold snaps with hot caps or other insulating devices, such as the Walls of Water.

Shade-loving summertime flowers that can be planted now include fiberous begonias and impatiens.

Flowering plants available now for the garden that gets six or more hours of sun a day: Shasta daisies, geraniums and marguerites.

Alive or dead? Now's the time to walk around the yard and determine which plants any early winter freezes. A shrub branch that bends indicates it may still be alive. If it snaps, that portion of the plant may be dead.

Begin spring feeding of trees and shrubs. A complete fertilizer - one that contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus - is a good choice.

Alternate mowing patterns each week, to avoid permanent wheel tracks in the lawn.

Move tuberous begonias outside in late March.

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Make sure your sprinklers are covering the entire lawn area equally. Scatter a dozen, equally sized, flat-bottomed cans throughout the area while you water; then, measure the water in each can.

Remove and rake up faded flowers from rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas.

Start feeding houseplants on a monthly basis now through October.

Plant seeds of loose-leaf lettuce now before the weather turns hot. Save room for taller growing vegetables, such as tomatoes, to the south of the lettuce to provide summer shade.

The last weekend of April is an ideal time to plant your summer outdoor vegetable garden.

Besides the Yolo Wonder, good sweet peppers for the valley include Flamingo and Gypsy.

In search of spring flowering trees? Consider the Western and Eastern redbuds, dogwood, crabapple and flowering pear trees.

Redhumped caterpillars will soon start chewing the leaves of several varieties of trees. Look for them massed on the undersides of the foliage; clip off and discard those leaves.

Resist the urge to rototill excessively wet soil. This could compact the ground, destroying tiny air pockets necessary for plant root growth.

Looking for an easy to grow perennial? Try one of the many salvias (sage) now available.

All lawns can benefit from an application of fertilizer now. A product that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is ideal for your grass.

If plant leaves look chewed, start searching for snails. Their hiding places include damp, dark areas: under boards, flower pots and beneath the foliage of lush, green plants such as hostas and agapanthus. Safer, effective snail control products contain iron phospate as the active ingredient.

Trim back winter freeze damage from perennials.

Freshen up your container gardens with new plantings of colorful annuals such as marigolds and petunias for sunny areas; impatiens and fushias for the shade.

Your azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and gardenias would like to be fed this month. Use a fertilizer specially formulated for these plants.

Recent tomato taste trials in our area turned up four winning varieties: Supersteak, Better Boy, Celebrity and Ace

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Don't remove your bulbs from the ground until the foliage is dry and crisp.

Apartment dwellers with a patio that gets at least six hours of sun a day can easily grow peppers in containers.

Add mulch around trees, shrubs and garden plants. This will reduce the number of weeds as well as conserve moisture.

Pinch back petunias and fuchsias to encourage more blooms on a compact plant.

Soon, those tomato plants will start to sprawl all over your garden. Stake them now to avoid future entanglements.

One of the most aromatic shrubs for our area is currently putting on quite a show for noses. Plant the banana shrub (Michelia figo) near a window or doorway in part shade.

Keeping your mower set at the highest or next to the highest blade setting will help keep your fescue lawn healthy through the summer.

Water your lawn in the morning to discourage fungus diseases.

Is nutgrass driving you nuts? There are herbicides available that help control nutgrass (nutsedge) in lawns. Check with your nurseryperson for more details.

Now on the nursery shelf: snail and slug controls products that are reportedly non-toxic to your pets. The active ingredient is iron phosphate.

Mid-May is not too late to plant popular summer vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers.

Crabgrass is beginning to show its ugly heads in area gardens. Hand-pulling is much easier now, before the plant's large, fibrous root system has time to take hold.

Give your clay and plastic pots a boost on sunny patios. Elevate pots onto boards to lessen the damaging effects on plants from heat radiated off the hot concrete.

Protect azaleas and rhododendrons from too much light. These shade lovers appreciate a home that only gets morning sun or filtered sunlight.

For a fall crop of beautiful chrysanthemum flowers, start planting this month.

Annuals planted recently should be fed on a monthly basis throughout the spring and summer.

For maximum flavor, don't let zucchini get more than 8-10 inches long.

Although carrots become sweeter with age, be sure to pick them before they take on a woody appearance.

Snow peas are ready to be picked when the peas are just beginning to swell in the pods. Snap peas taste best when the pod is plump, but the skin is still shiny, not dull.

Stake or cage your tomatoes now while they are still of a manageable size.

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For your scented garden, add these June bloomers: gardenia, star jasmine and tuberose.

Both warm and cool season lawns should be fertilized now.

Remove any fruit clustered too closely together. There should be six inches of space between apples, pears, peaches and nectarines.

Dead spots on the lawn? Make sure your sprinklers are hitting those areas. Scattering several equal-sized containers throughout the lawn during an irrigation can help you determine who's wet and who isn't.

Most lawns only need to be watered two or three times a week at most; a deep, thorough watering could lower that total to once per week.

During the summer heat, your lawn needs about two inches of water per week. To find out how much water your sprinklers are applying to your lawn, place several flat bottomed containers (such as tuna fish cans) around your lawn, turn on the sprinklers for a half hour, and then measure the water in the containers. Adjust your sprinkler time accordingly.

Successive plantings of vegetables will prolong the harvest. Plant radishes, carrots, snap beans and corn every two weeks through July.

Remove faded flowers from annuals to encourage new blooms.

Mark the raspberry and blackberry vines that are producing fruit now. Those are the vines that should be cut down to the ground at the end of the season.

Check for and discard young tomato hornworms on the underside of tomato leaves.

Cut back Mexican primroses (evening primroses) this month to keep them from getting leggy.

Water plants early in the day to ensure maximum growth and minimum disease problems.

Battling crabgrass? Not all weedkillers can thwart this annual pest. Make sure that the herbicide you are using lists crabgrass control on the label.

Add summer color to your yard now with vincas, marigolds, petunias, bedding dahlias and impatiens. Fertilize on a monthly basis to keep them blooming until the first frost.

Wood chips, used as a mulch around plants, can suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture and enhance the plants' root growth.

Going on vacation? Water all houseplants thoroughly before leaving. Then, place them out of direct sunlight to help them retain moisture.

If you have automatic sprinklers, make sure that the control unit's backup battery is fresh, thus averting a lawn and garden disaster in case of a power outage while you're gone.

Don't fertilize your lawn or plants in the two weeks prior to your vacation. The new growth will require more water while you're away.

Remove fading or dead rose blooms before go on vacation. Nipping these will redirect the plant to produce more rose blossoms instead of energy-sapping rose hips while you're away.

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Cut off any dry foliage on spring blooming bulbs such as gladiolas and irises. Divide and replant any crowded clumps.

Clean up any fallen fruit, vegetables and flowers to help head off future pest problems.

Looking for colorful additions for shady areas? Try impatiens and begonias, now available at nurseries and garden centers.

Make the nursery the last shopping stop of the day. Plants left in a hot car can die in as little as 15 minutes.

Harvest zucchini when the fruit is no more than 8 inches long.

Potted plants on a hot porch need to be watered thoroughly. Dunk the pot into a bucket of water or slowly water the container with a hose.

If you use grass clippings as a mulch around trees and shrubs, let them dry out thoroughly to prevent matting and rotting.

Repot one to two-inch cuttings of coleus and geraniums in small containers for use as indoor potted plants for this winter and as outdoor plants in next year's garden.

If grasshoppers have stripped any trees or shrubs of their leaves, reduce the plant's stress by watering deeply with a soaker hose around the dripline twice a month during the summer.

Reduce the chance of sunburn on the bark of leafless trees and shrubs by painting the trunk and stems with white interior latex paint, diluted with water.

Want to increase the number of summertime flowers or the amount of tomatoes and peppers at harvest time? Use a fertilizer now with more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen, such as an 8-10-10 formulation.

Attract ladybugs to help battle aphids in your garden by including these ladybug-attractive plants in your problem areas: dill, golden marguerite, coriander and Queen Anne's lace.

Looking for houseplants that don't need much care? Try philodendron, the Chinese evergreen or the peperomia. All of these can take low levels of light and only need a thorough watering once a month.

Dig down a foot and check the soil moisture around stressed shrubs and trees. A handful of this dirt that is either dry or muddy indicates the plant is underwatered or overwatered.

New research shows the benefits of summertime deciduous fruit tree pruning to keep trees at a manageable height, with the fruit within easy reach. Cut back or remove branches above that height.

Plant your last section of sweet corn when the crape myrtle is in bloom.

Press your fingernail into a kernel of corn; if the liquid is milky, not clear, it's ready to eat!

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# Train new raspberry and blackberry canes on a trellis or fence. Cut to the ground the old canes which bore this year's crop.

# Brown spots in your lawn? Check your sprinkler coverage of that area. It may be getting substantially less water than other parts of the lawn.

# Extend the flower season by planting more summer and fall bloomers such as petunias, zinnias and marigolds.

# Don't let red tomatoes become overripe on the vine. Pick them when they're fully firm, not squishy.

# To increase flower production on geraniums and fuchsias, pinch them back.

# Keep your roses cool during August. Water deeply and add mulch around the root zone.

# For larger chrysanthemum blooms this fall, disbud them now. Stake and tie the plants to prevent drooping and breaking.

# Marigolds and zinnias can bloom well into the fall. It's not too late to plant more of these seeds.

# To increase the blooms of marigolds, celosia, cosmos, zinnias petunias and impatiens: apply a fertilizer with more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen, perhaps a formulation such as 5-10-10.

# Fruit and nut trees that would enjoy a bit of fertilizer this month include almonds, apricots, citrus, peaches and nectarines, cherries and walnuts.

# Train new raspberry and blackberry canes on a trellis or fence. Cut to the ground the old canes which bore this year's crop.

#Now is the time for planting seeds of winter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and lettuce. Be sure to keep these new seed beds moist.

# Bermudagrass lawns are growing actively and would benefit from an application of fertilizer. Be sure to water the lawn thoroughly after feeding to prevent grass burn.

# To increase the number of blooms of marigolds, celosia, cosmos, zinnias, petunias and impatiens: remove the dead flower heads so the plant can put its energy into new growth instead of seed production.

# Whenever you spot a fruiting blackberry cane now, mark it with a dab of white paint to remind you to prune it out after you've picked the berries. For new canes on trailing varieties, peg them to the ground to ease your pruning chores.

# Late August is a good time to plant seeds of winter blooming flowers such as sweet peas, snapdragons, Iceland poppies, pansies, violas and primroses. Be sure to keep these new seed beds moist to stave off the drying effects of our warm afternoon breezes.

# If your azaleas and rhododendrons have set their flower buds for next spring's bloom, switch your fertilizer to an 0-10-10 to boost the flower size next year.

# Fallen fruit and vegetables may be harboring next year's pest problems. Clean up and discard these unwanted homes.

# Now's the time to divide crowded clumps of Shasta daisies.

# Get a head start on your winter flower garden by planting early flowering sweet peas, such as "Winter Elegance" or Early Multiflora.

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Protect your backyard grape crop from scavenging birds. Attach flash tape to some of the branches; or, place netting over the vines and secure it to the ground.

Tomato hornworms are arriving late this year. Look for them when they are actively munching on your tomato leaves, early in the morning or just after sunset.

If your automatic sprinklers come on while you're asleep, take a few minutes to turn them on manually to check for any broken or clogged sprinkler heads.

If you'll be renovating your lawn on a weekend this fall, now's the time to call the rental yard to reserve a dethatcher and aerator.

Plant a short row of lettuce every two weeks until mid-October. The loose leaf varieties, including Green Ice and Ruby, do best here.

Add organic matter to the garden bed before planting winter crops such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, onion sets, garden peas, garlic, carrots and beets.

Ferocious winter winds that whip through the Delta and the Central Valley are on the way; check the ties on stakes that support young trees and tree roses. However, to allow a tree's root system to fully develop, don't continue to stake any tree that can stand straight on its own. One year for tree stakes is usually enough.

Nurseries will have a good selection of tulips, daffodils and crocus bulbs this month for planting in October. Chill tulip bulbs in the refrigerator for four weeks before planting.

Looking for perennials that will provide some Christmastime color in the yard? Plants for our area that are available now include euryops, primroses, freeway daisy and winter blooming bergenia.

Add shrubs that bloom in the winter. Among the ones that do well here are camellias, daphne, forsythia and flowering quince.

Shorter days and cooler daytime temperatures reduces the amount of water your lawn needs. Cut back your sprinkler time by 25%.

Plant daffodil bulbs every two to three weeks from now through November to prolong the bloom period next spring.

Nurseries have a good supply of winter blooming annuals in supply now; don't overlook their selection of onion sets, which will be coming soon.

Keep cabbage loopers, aphids and whiteflies away from your winter vegetable crops with row covers.

Feed your lawn now with a complete, slow release fertilizer. Look for three prominent numbers listed on the bag, which refer to the percentage of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus of the fertilizer.

Remove the dead and dying summer vegetable plants from your garden. Work compost into the area, giving it a head start for next year's crops. A good rule of thumb: rototill in one cubic yard of compost for every 300 square feet of garden space.

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Feed roses one more time to keep the blooms coming through the fall.

Clean up the summer vegetable garden. Plant a cover crop such as vetch or clover.

Vegetables to plant from seed now include radish, spinach, peas and fava beans

This is a great time for planting new trees and shrubs, especially ones with outstanding fall foliage for our area. Good specimens include Chinese pistache, tupelo, red oak and scarlet oak.

Dethatch, aerate and overseed bermuda grass lawns with rye grass to keep it green all winter.

Cool season lawns, such as the popular fescue blends, are putting on a spurt of growth now. Mow often so that you are never removing more than a third of the total height of the grass blade.

Nurseries have a good supply of winter blooming annuals in supply this month; also, select onion sets now for your vegetable garden.

This is a good time to plant ground covers. This will give their root systems a chance to get established for their burst of spring growth.

Despite the cooler temperatures, your lawn and garden still need about an inch of water a week. Unless the rains come, keep your automatic sprinklers operating.

After you've cleared out the dying summer vegetables, prepare for next year's garden by checking the soil pH. Test kits are available at just about every nursery.

Feed your bare garden soil during the winter with a cover crop of clover, fava beans or vetch. This will add nitrogen for next year.

Tomato hornworms are going into hibernation in the soil beneath your tomato plants. Dig down about four inches and discard their cocoons, which resemble two inch-long, reddish footballs.

Scatter and plant tulip and daffodil bulbs outdoors for a more natural look.

Add some indoor color for the upcoming holiday seasons by planting bulbs now in containers.

Now is your last, best opportunity to renovate an ailing lawn in 2000. Overseed bermuda grass lawns with annual or perennial rye seed.

Protect rhododendron and azalea roots during the winter by adding two or three inches of mulch beneath those plants.

Available now at nurseries: colorful winter blooming annuals such as violas, calendulas, stock, Iceland poppies and snapdragons.

Temperatures dipping down below freezing can occur here in early November. Prepare for that possibility by moving frost-sensitive potted plants indoors.

Row covers, hot caps, and water-filled containers surrounding young vegetable seedlings offer these plants a warmer nighttime environment.

Prepare for the rainy season by knocking down watering basins around trees.

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Freezing temperatures in our area can happen as early as the first week of November. Get ready for the rain and cold ahead:

If the predicted low temperature is 32 or below: disconnect, straighten out and drain any water from your garden hoses to prevent cracking.

Protect your plants near the house from becoming waterlogged by extending your home's rain gutters with flexible pipe.

Fix any dripping outdoor faucets and then wrap the exposed portion of the water pipes. Insulation that becomes saturated from a leaky faucet is of little protective value during freezes.

Turn off and drain sprinkler systems by removing the head from the sprinkler at the lowest point of your lawn; or, install a sprinkler end drain.

Drip irrigation systems should be turned off if a freezing morning is forecast; remove the end plug for drainage.

Other November Garden Chores:

Snails are lurking in the shade. Look for them during the day beneath piles of lumber and under the canopy of big-leaf plants, such as hostas and hydrangeas.

Spruce up the garden with plants that produce colorful red berries during the winter. Cotoneaster, toyon and pyracantha do well in our area.

Add leaves and small twigs to the compost pile. Using a chipper/shredder on fall garden debris will speed up the composting process.

Plant blueberry vines in acidic soil, preferably on the east side of a building. They will succeed wherever you have azaleas that are doing well.

Plan on spraying your deciduous fruit trees this month for peach leaf curl. Your local nurseryperson can direct you to the right shelf for your particular fruit tree variety.

November is an excellent month to plant trees. Among the trees with colorful fall foliage that do well here are Chinese pistache, zelkova, ginkgo and the red oak.

Plant new trees and shrubs "high" to avoid stem rot. The top of the root ball should be about an inch above the soil line to allow for settling.

For cut flowers in late winter, plant freesia corms now.

In bloom right now: sasanqua camellias, a great shrub for our area. They can take more sun than the japonica camellias, which bloom in winter.

The sun is lower in the horizon. Move your houseplants so they're closer to the light source.

Onion sets are still available at area nurseries. Plant now for a Memorial Day harvest.

November is the best time to plant garlic here in the valley.

Bare root blackberries available now that do well in the valley include Olallie, Marion and Boysen.

Feed your lawn now for the winter with a fertilizer that contains phosphorus and potassium as well as nitrogen.

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Protect your in-ground plants near the house from becoming waterlogged by extending your home's rain gutters with flexible pipe.

Fix any dripping outdoor faucets and then wrap the exposed portion of the water pipes. Insulation that becomes saturated from a leaky faucet is of little protective value during freezes.

Turn off and drain sprinkler systems by removing the head from the sprinkler at the lowest point of your lawn; or, install a sprinkler end drain.

Drip irrigation systems should be turned off if a freezing morning is forecast; remove the end plug for drainage.

Flowering quince, acacias and winter daphne will be the first plants to bloom in a few weeks. These harbingers of spring can be planted now.

Spring-blooming perennials to plant now include foxglove, columbine, salvia and gaillardia.

Winter and spring blooming annuals available at local nurseries this month include primroses, snapdragons, cyclamen, pansies and violas.

Choose poinsettias with an abundance of dark, rich green foliage that is undamaged, dense and plentiful all the way down to the soil line.

Clean, sharpen and oil garden pruners before making the first cut of the season.

Wash mud off shovels and rakes before putting them away in the garage.

Dormant roots of asparagus and artichokes are available now in some nurseries. Plant in areas that have good drainage, such as raised beds or hillsides.

Living plants that make good Christmas gifts include herbs. Basil, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme grow well indoors, in a sunny window.

Choosing a living Christmas tree? Varieties that do well in our climate include the Italian stone pine, aleppo pine, deodar cedar and Colorado spruce.

Avoid the Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) when shopping for a living Christmas tree. The Monterey pine, which has a tough time surviving here in the valley, is subject to bark beetles and pine pitch canker.

After purchasing a living Christmas tree, leave it outside until a few days before Dec. 25 to keep the tree from becoming stressed.

Keep poinsettia plants thriving through the winter in your house. Place them in a warm, sunny location, out of drafts. Water weekly; feed monthly through April. Then, transplant them outdoors.

If you received houseplants as holiday gifts, be sure to remove the foil surrounding the pot to avoid root rot.

Bare root roses are now appearing in area nurseries. Choose those that list Grade 1 on the label. These will grow more vigorously in their first year, unlike those graded as 1-1/2 or 2.


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