Decorating the house with fresh greenery is one of the oldest winter holiday traditions. People have been decorating with greenery since the 1800s, with some homes elaborately decorated with garlands of holly, ivy, mountain laurel and mistletoe hung from the roof. Other homes went a simpler route, with greenery and boughs in the window frames and holly sprigs stuck to the glass with wax.
Today, decorating for the holidays with fresh greenery is more prevalent than ever. Greens such as cedar, ivy, pine, and holly add a fresh look and natural scent to our homes, and are good to use since they dry out slowly and hold their needles well. Hemlock, spruce, and most broadleaf evergreens can also be used, but will last longer if used outdoors.
In addition to using greenery in traditional methods such as wreaths, garlands and table centerpieces, you can also create beautiful arrangements in window boxes, pottery or vases. The key is to either immerse the cut ends in water before arranging or place them in an oasis inside the container, which you can keep moist.
Besides the more commonly used evergreens, consider using other plant parts such as acorns, berries, dried flowers, cones, seed pods and branches of dormant plants such as pussy willow or forsythia to give added color and texture interest. You can even incorporate fruits such as lemons, limes, apples, pears, kumquats and pineapple.
It's important to decorate safely during the holidays. Dried evergreens can become flammable when in contact with a heat source such as a candle flame, space heaters, heater vents or sunny windows. If you use lights near your green arrangements, just make sure that they stay cool and, if outside, that they are rated for exterior use.
Nothing can beat the look of real leafy greens scattered around the house and in arrangements. It's hard to beat the aroma of real needle evergreens decorating your house in the winter months. You can find all kinds of fresh greenery here, so come on in and join us in celebrating the holidays.
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Fungus gnats can become a nuisance indoors when adults emerge in large numbers from potted plants containing consistently damp or wet soil. While the adults are harmless to humans and animals, the eggs they lay become larvae or maggots, and can damage plants.
African violets, carnations, cyclamens, geraniums, poinsettias and indoor foliage plants can be susceptible and show symptoms of sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth, or leaf yellowing and foliage loss.
The larvae feed not only on fungi and decaying organic matter, but on living plant tissue, particularly root hairs and small feeder roots.
Overwatering is the usual cause of fungus gnats, so it is important to focus attention there. It's best to allow the soil to dry as much as possible, without injury to the plants, as an effective natural way of controlling them.
Another natural solution is to cover the soil with a one-inch layer of decorative rock, gravel, or sand.
An initial infestation can easily be controlled with an application of a pyrethrin spray. It helps to do at least one follow-up application 7-10 days later to break the breeding cycle.
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