Hello Fellow Gardeners,
Now that it is getting colder and we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, it is time to get ready for the holidays in December! Below are some gardening tips, recipes, educational opportunities (including the 2016 Master Gardener program – hurry, deadline for registration is December 18th!) and events for December including lots of festive events for all!
Don’t miss the opportunity to get some of your decorating and gift shopping done by going to some local events including the Mill Creek Towne Holiday Show on Friday, December 4th and Mill Creek Towne Garden Club’s Season’s Nursery sale on Friday to Sunday, December 11th-13th (see below for details on these and other local events for December)!
- Evaluate gardening year, and make notes of desired changes.
- Start reading those seed catalogs!
Here’s a link to a new introduction video for the HGIC! (Video | YouTube)
Flowers and Groundcovers:
- Water transplants if weather is dry.
- See UMD’s HGIC’s December Flower tips for more details.
- An assortment of fall-blooming camellias, some being visited by insects, at Brookside Gardens. A UMD Extension writeup on camellias is here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/expert-plant-picks-camellia
- Think about nesting as you prepare for winter. The Xerces Society (xerces.org)
- Beautiful, Intimate Portraits of Bees — National Geographic. Sam Droege’s beautiful native bee pictures. (National Geographic)
- Fall-blooming camellias bring down the curtain on the growing season. All about fall-blooming camellias, including the story of plant breeder.
- In spite of the colder temperatures, there are still some butterflies on Assateague Island.
Trees and Shrubs:
- Prune maples, dogwoods, birch, elm, walnut, and yellowwood to prevent “bleeding”.
- Moderately prune evergreens, especially hollies, for indoor decorating.
- Water slowly and deeply if weather is very dry and ground is not frozen.
- Prune out Fireblight damage Malus and Pyrus when very cold.
- Diseases to watch for: Fireblight
- For care of holiday plants and trees, see online publications on “Seasonal and Indoor Plants” tips.
- See HGIC’s December Trees and Shrubs Tips for more details.
- Prune out Fireblight damage on apples and pears when very cold.
- Diseases to watch for: Fireblight
UMD using new technology in the production of strawberries. (Video)
- Here are some more gardening tips for December from UMD’s HGIC.
- Avoid walking on frozen grass to avoid damaging the crowns.
- See HGIC’s December Lawn Tips for more details.
- Pinch out growing tips of leggy cuttings and plants that are overwintering. No fertilizing yet.
- Pests to watch for: Whiteflies, spidermites
Growing herbs and vegetables inside. (gardeningknowhow.com)
- See HGIC’s online publications on care of holiday plants under “Seasonal and Indoor Plants”
For the holidays, several botanical gardens (including the U. S. Botanic Garden on the Mall) are featuring architectural sculptures made of natural plant material by Paul Busse and his artistic staff. These detailed models depict well-known buildings in an unusual, often whimsical, way. Interwoven in exhibits with large G-gauge model train layouts, they are drawing crowds. (Article by Adrian Higgins.) (Washington Post)
- See HGIC’s December Houseplants Tips for more tips.
Indoor/Outdoor Insect and Wildlife Tips:
- Watch for insects that may show up including stink bugs, spiders, crickets, flies, mites, and Pantry pests like Indian meal moths and beetles.
- Destructive Beet Flea Beetle Intercepted in Baltimore
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Wednesday that agriculture specialists from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Port of Baltimore made a first-in-nation pest discovery…(entomologytoday.org)
Parks’ arborists briefed the Montgomery County MD Council yesterday about the plight of ash trees on parkland resulting from a non-native invasive beetle. Unfortunately the destruction from this beetle will result in thousands of ash trees being cut down.
http://bit.ly/1IzPkvY WTOP News was at the briefing.
“Within about eight years, there will be zero ash trees left,” said Patrick Harwood with the Montgomery County Parks Department (wtop.com)
- Destructive Beet Flea Beetle Intercepted in Baltimore
See HGIC’s December Insect Tips for more details.
- For more information on wildlife management and attracting wildlife see HGIC’s December Wildlife tips.
Support our Local Farmers – Participate in the Buy Local Challenge!
Please support our local farmers by visiting one of Montgomery County’s Farmers Markets and purchasing local fresh produce. See below for a listing of local farmersʼ markets and farms in your area.
- Maryland’s Best Farms Directory
- Montgomery County Farmer’s Markets
- Buy Local Challenge Tips and Recipes
- Marylandʼs Best Tips and Recipes
- Buy Local for the Holidays
Source: University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC).
Upcoming Events and Educational Opportunities:
See below for highlights of upcoming events on our calendar. Check out our Events Calendar for a complete list of upcoming events for all ages!
Would you like a chance to learn more about the natural world and our place in it? Would you volunteer your time to share the wonder of Nature with others, to assist in ecological research, and strive to make your community a healthier, happier place?If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may have the makings of a Maryland Master Naturalist.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks to host Master Naturalist training, beginning February 10, 2016 and continuing through mid-May. Classes, which will focus on the natural history of Maryland’s Coastal Plain, will be held on Wednesdays, from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, at MD DNR headquarters, the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis. Three field days will also be scheduled on Saturdays, to practice identification skills and research techniques. Expert instructors will be on hand to guide Master Naturalists and to share tips and tools of the trade. Read more about this program…
Master Gardeners are trained volunteers of the University of Maryland Extension dedicated to helping County residents by educating them about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes and communities. Participants in the 2016 Montgomery County Master Gardener volunteer training program will learn environmentally sound gardening practices and after qualifying as Master Gardeners have many opportunities to help and teach others.
Classes meet on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week from January 26, 2016, to March 11, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.at the Montgomery County Extension, Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Road, in Derwood, MD. Cost is $325. The deadline to register is Friday, December 18, 2015. Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more details: https://extension.umd.edu/…/Mon…/2016%20training%20class.pdf
November 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Open Nightly from November 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016 (closed December 24 & 25)
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 5:30 – 9:30 PM | Friday – Saturday: 5:30 – 10:00 PM
Make a new holiday tradition at the Garden of Lights Walk Through Holiday Light Display
Step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, fountains, sparkling snowflakes overhead and more. The Garden of Lights celebrates its 18th season as a Baltimore/Washington, DC area family holiday tradition.
The night wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to enjoy watching G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. Afterward, warm up inside the Visitors Center while you sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances. The Conservatory Winter Display and Garden Railway Exhibit is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM beginning Friday, November 27, 2015 – Sunday, January 3, 2016.
$25 per car/van (Monday-Thursday) | $30 per car/van (Friday-Sunday)
$25 advanced tickets available beginning November 1, 2015
Cash only at entrance | Call for info on fees for buses, vans and limos.
The City of Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival is getting ready to welcome visitors for its 20th spectacular season. The wondrous display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park will be open nightly November 27 through December 31. Please note that the festival will be closed on December 25.
The 3.5 mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 365 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole, and much more. The park is located at 11950 Clopper Road, just a few miles west of the intersection with I-270.
Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Road
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878
Sunday – Thursday: 6 – 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 6 – 10 p.m.
Zoolights at the National Zoo November 27-January 2.
Over 500,000 LED lights and music, too!
Mill Creek Towne Holiday Show
Friday, December 4, 2015, 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
17817 Vinyard Lane, Derwood, MD 20855
Come and spend a lovely evening in Mill Creek Towne. Enjoy food, the company of your neighbors and get some holiday shopping done. Raffle drawing every half hour for gift certificates to be used at one of our vendors.
Mill Creek Towne Garden Club Season’s Nursery Holiday Fundraiser
Friday–Sunday, December 11–13, 2015
cordially invites you to our
Please support Mill Creek Towne Garden Club’s community projects through our Season’s Nursery Sale. Proceeds help defray the costs for landscaping and maintenance of the MCT entrances. The sale is on Friday–Sunday, December 11th–13th, 2015. Season’s Nursery will donate 5% back to the MCT Garden Club from the Gift Shop, nursery, firewood—EVERYTHING. To participate, you must mention “MILL CREEK TOWNE GARDEN CLUB” when you make your purchase.
Fri–Sat 8:00 am-6:00 pm | Sun 9:00 am-5:00 pm
8135 Snouffer School Rd.
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
*Donations to MCT Garden Club are gratefully accepted*
Montgomery Parks Special Events & Festivals – December
Saturday & Sunday, December 12 & 13, 2015
|Noon-5pm | Agricultural History Farm Park, 18400 Muncaster Rd., Derwood, MD 20855
FREE! All ages welcome | No registration required
Saturday, December 19
|7-8 p.m. | Meadowside Nature Center
$6/child b| Ages 3 & up| Please register for all attending at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Come share the light and warmth of the campfire ring at Meadowside. We’ll tell tales of winter, make lanterns (one per family) to light our way and enjoy a toasty marshmallow treat.
Sunday, December 20
|1-5 p.m. | Brookside Nature Center
$6/person| Ages 3 & up| Please register for all attending at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Rediscover winter at Brookside Nature Center’s Solstice Celebration with activities and crafts that highlight different cultural celebrations of the year’s shortest day. Calm yourself with a spiral walk; sip hot cider by the fire; make lanterns to light up the night; and enjoy the shadow-puppet theater’s presentation of Shingebiss and the North Wind. Pre-registration appreciated but not required.
Sunday, December 20
|4-6 p.m. | Meadowside Nature Center
$6/person| Ages 3 & up| Please register for all attending at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. The winter solstice is a just few days away, and the winter holiday season is here! Join us at Locust Grove Nature Center to welcome winter with a family-friendly celebration. Enjoy a campfire, make New Year’s wishes, light candles, make treats to share with animals, and roast chestnuts and marshmallows on an open fire! Please register and pay for both children and adults.
Tuesday, December 22
|6:30-7:30 p.m. | Black Hill Nature Programs
$6/person| Ages 8 & up| Please register for all attending at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Celebrate the start of winter with a hike by the light of the no-quite-full moon. We’ll look and listen for creatures that are most active at night. Hikes are approximately 1 mile. Dress warmly and please, no flashlights.