December's Plant of the Month
Danae racemosa, commonly called Poet's Laurel, is a graceful foliage plant for floral arrangements. Poets Laurel is used for its glossy emerald green color and long-lasting vase life.
It grows well in our amended garden clay soils, though it prefers being well-drained. The foliage discolors in sun, so plant it in dappled shade. It takes a while to get its root system in place, but then makes a dramatic, arching shrub in the garden. The stems brown and die in late winter, so cut it freely for the winter holidays and use it indoors. New shoots will appear in Spring.
December To-Do's in the Garden
- Keep plants and shrubs watered during dry spells.
- Plant deciduous trees and shrubs now in their dormant season.
- Lay cut Xmas tree branches over tender perennials to protect from cold.
- Remember to feed the birds.
- Prepare new beds when the soil is dry enough and let rest through the winter for spring planting.
- Apply lime now if you need it (get a soil test. see www. content.ces.ncsu.edu/a-gardeners-guide-to-soil-testing). Lime takes a long time to react with the soil, so winter applications help the spring garden.