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Wait for cold before mulching strawberries

Question: I normally cover my strawberries with mulch after the ground starts to freeze. But the weather has been so warm I don’t know what to do this year. Should I still put straw over the plants? Should I wait? P.S.

Spider mites on houseplant

Houseplant Insects

Question: I brought my plants indoors in early October before we had frost. A couple of plants don’t look good. I think they may have bugs. What should I do? A.R.

Fir tree branch

Choosing and caring for your Christmas tree

Early December brings fond memories of family expeditions to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. My daughters are now adults with families of their own but they continue the tradition. You can select and cut down your own tree or choose from a variety of precut trees at local Christmas tree farms.


Wintering chrysanthemums

Question: This fall I brought several mums on sale at a local garden center. I left them in their pots on my deck. They bloomed beautifully but now I’m wondering if I can keep them for next year. They were labeled as hardy. Should I plant them in the ground or can I keep them in the garage? Do I pinch back, cut off the dried blooms or trim to the ground? Perhaps I should just toss them and start over next year. Is it too late to save these beautiful plants? – K.B. and E.M.


Three ways to overwinter geraniums

Question: Are there instructions for overwintering large geraniums plants. A friend told me to put the plant in a paper bag and hang them in the utility room.  Anything more scientific than that? M.K.

Poinsettia blossom

Getting poinsettias, cactuses to bloom

Question: I saved my poinsettia from last Christmas by moving it outdoors for the summer. This fall I brought it inside before the weather got cold. What should I do to get the poinsettia to bloom again? What about Christmas cactus? E.R.

Bee balm

Growing bee balm from seed

Question: While attending a backyard event at a friends this summer, I admired a beautiful patch of red blooms. I was not familiar with these flowers and commented on their beauty to my friend. She told me they were bee balm and hers had self-seeded. Several weeks later she dropped off a container of the spent blooms. If you could advise when and how I should plant I would be grateful. I have no idea what to do with these shriveled red flower heads. Thanks for any help you might be able to send my way.