Christmas

DECEMBER
29
2014

FILED UNDER

TREE-CYCLE! Here's how...

Just weeks ago you picked the perfect Christmas tree, and it doesn't have to go to waste. To us, the outcome is not only sustainable, but a fitting way to complete the cycle for this truest symbol of Christmas. Tree-cycling is the practice of recycling Christmas trees in order to extend their usability. Common practices include chipping trees for use as mulch in community areas, erosion protection in fragile areas such as river deltas, underwater habitat creation and shoreline stabilization. Why not turn it into mulch this year! That’s what most Hampton Roads localities do with live trees that are placed curbside or dropped off at specified collection areas for recycling after the holidays. The following cities and counties have posted their schedules for the 2013-2014 season. See below for your cities scheduled pickup.

Chesapeake
When: Dec. 26–Jan. 9
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Place it separately from bulk waste and regular trash so it can be easily collected. Please do not put in a bag or put netting around it.
Where: Trees will be picked up on the regular trash collection day. Trees picked up after Jan. 2 will be recycled. If possible, please hold off until January 3 to put your tree out for collection.

Hampton
When: Ongoing
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Place natural trees separate from bulk waste and regular trash. Do not put in a bag or put netting around it. Artificial trees can be disposed of at curbside as part of the bulk waste. Artificial trees should not be placed with leaves, grass or tree branches.
Where: Trees will be picked up at curbside on regular trash collection day. Residents can also bring naturally grown trees to be recycled at the Yard Waste Transfer Site, 100 N. Park Lane (off Big Bethel Road at entrance to Bethel Landfill) from 8 am to 3 pm Monday – Saturday (closed city holidays). For more information visit: www.hampton.gov/publicworks/solidwaste.

James City County
When: Dec. 26–Jan. 31
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.
Where: James City County’s three convenience centers:

  • Jolly Pond Road
    1204 Jolly Pond Road
    Open every day 7 am to 5 pm
  • Tewning Road
    117 Tewning Road
    Sunday – Closed
    Monday 8 am – 12 pm
    Tuesday – Saturday 8 am – 4 pm
  • Toano
    185 Industrial Boulevard (Hankins Industrial Park)
    Open every day 8 am – 4 pm

Newport News
When: Ongoing
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.
Where: Christmas trees can be brought to the Recovery Operations Center (formerly the Denbeigh Compost Facility), located at 550 Atkinson Way off Warwick Boulevard, Monday-Saturday from 8:00am – 4:00pm. Artificial trees cannot be accepted for mulching, but can be disposed of in trash container. For those who are unable to bring their trees to the Recovery Operations Center, natural trees can be placed in a brush pile separate from any bulk trash being set out an each area’s normal bulk waste collection day. To find your normal bulk waste collection day, please visit http://www.nngov.com/public-works/sw/resources/schedule or call 757-933-2311.

Norfolk
When: Ongoing
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.
Where: Trees will be picked up at curbside to be recycled on regular trash collection day as part of yard waste collection. Residents can also bring natural trees to the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center, 1176 Pineridge Road. The Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. For more information go to www.norfolktrash.com.

Poquoson
When: Dec. 26 – Jan. 21
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.
Where: Residents can drop off natural trees to be recycled at the Municipal Pool Parking Lot or the VPPSA Compost Facility (locations listed below).

  • Municipal Pool Parking Lot
    16 Municipal Drive, Poquoson
  • VPPSA Compost Facility
    145 Goodwin Neck Road, Yorktown, VA 23692
    Monday – Saturday 8 am – 4 pm
    Closed Sundays

Portsmouth
When: Ongoing
What to Know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, garland and lights.
Where: Curbside; residents may place their tree at the curb for pickup on their normal trash collection day.

Smithfield
When: Now – Jan. 16
What to know: Contact Alexandra Pearson at 365-4200 or apearson@smithfieldva.gov and provide your address if you have a Christmas tree to be picked up. Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.

Suffolk
What to know: Tree are not recycled but residents can put them out for disposal for two weeks after Christmas with their regular trash and the collection will not be deducted from their annual (12) free bulk collections.

Virginia Beach
When: Normal trash collection day
What to know: Christmas trees will be handled as normal yard debris and need to be free of any decorations or tinsel. Trees collected curbside will be processed into compost. Trees dropped off at the City Landfill and Resource Recovery Center will be ground into mulch.
Where: Curbside or the City Landfill and Resource Recovery Center at 1989 Jake Sears Road with proof of residency.

Williamsburg
When: Jan. 6th and 13th
What to know: The City Crews will be collecting Christmas trees on Monday, January 6, 2014 and Monday, January 13, 2014. Trees must be placed at the curb before 7:00 a.m. and should be free of the stand, ornaments and lights. Please place separately from bulk waste and regular trash.

York County
When: Week of Jan. 6
What to know: Trees should be placed roadside by 7:00 a.m. on Monday for collection by the end of the week. Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and light.
Where: Natural trees will be picked up curbside for recycling only during the week of Jan. 6. Otherwise, trees can be brought to the VPPSA Compost Facility (location listed below) year-round.

  • VPPSA Compost Facility
    145 Goodwin Neck Road, Yorktown, VA 23692
    Monday – Saturday 8 am – 4 pm
    Closed Sundays

Dates provided by askhrgreen.org

DECEMBER
26
2014

FILED UNDER

Keep 'Em Blooming!

TIPS FOR MAKING HOLIDAY PLANTS LAST

Although the holidays are over you can keep your Christmas flowers blooming through the New Year. Here’s a few tips from our experts...

Poinsettias
Poinsettias are easy to keep beautiful and blooming throughout the holidays and beyond as long as you follow a few simple steps:

  • Avoid exposing the poinsettia to freezing conditions. Do not leave it in the car while you finish shopping. Take it home and place it inside the house as soon as possible after purchasing it. Poinsettias like it warm just like you do.
  • Place your poinsettia in a spot with bright natural light, but do not expose it to direct sunlight.
  • Do not place your poinsettia in an area where it will be exposed to drafts, heat from appliances, radiators, or ventilation ducts.
  • The color of your poinsettia will last longer with temperatures around 65 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night.
  • The soil should be kept moderately moist; check every few days and water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Before watering, remove the pot covers or foil wrapping; water to saturate the soil, and then allow the pot to drain. Do not let the plant sit in standing water.

Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus is a great way to add a burst of color indoors throughout the winter months ahead.

  • Christmas cactus prefers bright, indirect light, so be sure to keep it in a well-lit location away from drafts, heat vents and other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can cause the flower buds to drop from the plant before they have a chance to open.
  • Unlike most other cactus, this one requires light to moderate watering.

Cyclamen
This cool weather bloomer boosts unusually shaped, colorful blossoms sure to brighten winter days.

  • To prolong the life of your plant, water the soil as soon as it feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, and be careful not to spill water onto the crown (center) of the plant. If it becomes too dry, the leaves will wilt and may fall off, and flower buds may fall off too.
  • You can also keep humidity high around plants by placing plants on a tray of moist pebbles; just don't let them sit in standing water.

Watering Tip- Soak the pot from the base in a saucer for a few minutes, then drain the water. We recommend removing the flower stalks once they have finished blooming as this can promote renewed flowering. To do this, cut the dead leaves and spent flowers off with scissors. Be sure to remove completely, as stalks left on may rot and get gray mold disease.

DECEMBER
18
2014

FILED UNDER

Merry Just Got Merrier

REDEEM YOUR MERRY MONEY! Friday-Sunday, December 19-21

Need a hostess gift, or a last minute gift idea or maybe just a little sprucing up before Santa’s arrival? Well merry just got merrier this season! Be sure to come in this weekend and redeem all of your stored up Merry Money. You’ll save up to 50% or half off the final purchase price on purchases, December 19 – 21.

Discover holiday gifts for everyone on your list: amaryllis, poinsettias, heirloom-quality tools, holiday decor, stocking stuffers, gift cards and even garden statuary. And now’s the perfect time to freshen up those holiday greens both inside and out. Nothing says Christmas like fresh and fragrant greenery. From greeter charms, to wreaths and aromatic rosemary, our fresh ideas will have your home looking its best, naturally. So don’t forget to stop in this weekend and redeem your Merry Money and save up to 50%.

DECEMBER
16
2014

Plant of the Week:

GIFTS FROM THE GREENHOUSE

'Tis the season for great gifts to give and to get! Give the gift of our ready-made holiday arrangements. Using holiday faves like amaryllis, poinsettias, Norfolk Island pine and more, our growers have customized the most beautiful gifts of the season. Arrangements feature everyday houseplants such as pothos, orchids and succulents highlighted with traditional holiday plants. By starting with a backbone of great foliage and then adding a few seasonal highlights, you can give a gift that rivals any cut flower arrangement.

Check out more of our favorite plants to give and to get! HOLIDAY PLANTS >>

DECEMBER
12
2014

FILED UNDER

Celebrate a Christmas Fave

It's December 12th... and that means it's National Poinsettia Day! The Poinsettia is one of the few flowers of North America that can claim its own day thanks to Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. It is Roberts who is credited for bringing this beautiful traditional Christmas gift to our land. And it all happened like this: Ambassador Poinsett was on a diplomatic mission to Taxco, Mexico. The year was 1828. Admiring the tropical environment, he became entranced with the plants beauty, its medicinal uses, and its artistic applications by the natives of the region. So enamored was the ambassador that it was one of the first things he brought back to the United States.

The plant proved to have a major impact on not only Christmas in the USA, but agriculture, for many years to come. Because of its important role in the celebration of Christmas and its beautification to America, Congress set December 12th each year as National Poinsettia Day. The good Ambassador would be amazed at what started as simple cuttings from Mexico have become. According to USDA, poinsettias are the number one potted plant grown in the nation!

Poinsettias are easy to keep beautiful and blooming throughout the holidays and beyond as long as you follow a few simple tips:

  • Avoid exposing the poinsettia to freezing conditions. Do not leave it in the car while you finish shopping. Take it home and place it inside the house as soon as possible after purchasing it.
  • Place your poinsettia in a spot with bright natural light, but do not expose it to direct sunlight.
  • Do not place your poinsettia in an area where it will be exposed to drafts, heat from appliances, radiators, or ventilation ducts.
  • The color of your poinsettia will last longer with temperatures around 65 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night.
  • The soil should be kept moderately moist; check every few days and water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Before watering, remove the pot covers or foil wrapping; water to saturate the soil, and then allow the pot to drain. Do not let the plant sit in standing water.
DECEMBER
10
2014

Plant of the Week:

THE NORFOLK ISLAND PINE

This little beauty with soft needles, distinctive flat branches and a naturally symmetrical shape is a popular choice for indoor holiday decorating. The small and medium size varieties are often used as accent trees during the holidays or even as a tabletop Christmas tree. Best of all, once the holidays are over you can keep this plant around your home for a touch of green throughout the year. A truly great addition to your houseplant collection!

Not really a pine, the Norfolk Island is a member of an ancient family of conifers. This miniature tree thrives in the Southern Hemisphere. It is named for Norfolk Island, which is located in the South Pacific between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. It is an Australian territory, and its flag prominently features the Norfolk Island pine.

Holiday Tip: Add a strand of tiny string lights and even some ornaments for a festive look all season long!

DECEMBER
5
2014

GET THIS LOOK!

DO-IT-YOURSELF CHRISTMAS CONTAINER

Creating an outdoor arrangement of fresh greens in an urn or other container is a wonderful way to add holiday cheer and life to your front steps, porch or walk. Even if you’re not using other outdoor holiday decorations, a festive container arrangement at your entryway is a beautiful way to greet guests. Red and green are traditional Christmas colors, and they look fantastic together to convey that festive spirit. Best of all, those colors can be found right in nature, maybe svn in your own backyard.

To create the basic container, we used evergreens and annuals. Evergreens add the thriller to a container and can be kept and maintained through all seasons. Annuals add seasonal color and can be swapped out each season.

To decorate the container, we incorporated seasonal greens to give it that Christmas feel. We like starting with fresh greens like Fraser Fir for the first layer. Then search around your yard to find other fresh items that will work such as juniper, magnolia, nandina, holly, spruce, boxwood and berries.

What You'll Need:

  • Large Container
  • Ornamental Kale - this low grower, offers a unique texture
  • Pansies - these tough little flowers are availabe in tons of colors and are some of the longest blooming flowers of the cool season/li>
  • Sky Pencil Holly - with dark green foliage, this evergreen grows in a narrow, columnar shape -- a perfect thriller for your container
  • fresh-cut greens such as firs, juniper, magnolia, nandina, holly, spruce, boxwood and berries
  1. Fill the container with soil and plant the evergreens and the annuals. Be sure to add an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf.
  2. Then add the first layer of greens. The fraser fir greens can just be stuck in the container to make for easy removal after the holiday season.
  3. Continue adding additional greens and berries to the container.
  4. Add ribbon, picks or shatterproof ornaments for extra pizazz.
DECEMBER
4
2014

GET THIS LOOK!

DO-IT-YOURSELF BOXWOOD WREATH

Give your front door a makeover this season with this Christmas door decorating idea. Simple and festive, wreaths are the perfect way to welcome holiday guests into your home.

The simplicity of a boxwood wreath makes a great statement on your front door, above your mantle or on a mirror. All the decorating magazines are showing a simple wreath, with a simple bow for understated elegance. By preserving your wreath, it can add beauty throughout multiple seasons, however it will need to be stored properly to ensure its longevity.

What You'll Need:

  • Fresh-cut boxwood greens
  • 18-inch wreath form
  • Floral wire
  • Ribbon
  1. Collect cuttings of a boxwood fresh from the plant. We recommend using small pieces with stems that are not so woody.
  2. Start on one side of the wreath form by clumping several branches together and using a half piece of wire – attach to the form.
  3. Continue around the wreath form securing the cuttings. Be sure to attach the wire securely, as the weight of the boxwood will become heavy as you start to add more.
  4. Pick your ribbon – choose from a variety of burlap ribbon and tie a simple shoe lace type bow. Or, you can make a long loop and knot at the top.
DECEMBER
3
2014

Plant of the Week:

CHRISTMAS CACTUS

Looking for a plant full of charming holiday color? The holiday season is full of traditions and holiday plants have played an important role in seasonal celebrations for centuries. While Christmas trees, poinsettias and mistletoe immediately come to mind, they are not alone. There are other plant options that boast Yuletide. The Christmas cactus is yet another popular holiday plant. This thornless member of the cactus family has flat green foliage, which flower periodically. Blooms are tubular in shape and come in varying shades of reds, pinks, whites and yellows. This houseplant is easy to care for making them the perfect gift for those with or without a green thumb.

Christmas cactus prefers bright, indirect light, so be sure to keep it in a well-lit location away from drafts, heat vents and other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can cause the flower buds to drop from the plant before they have a chance to open. And, unlike most other cactus, this one requires light to moderate watering. Christmas cactus is a great way to add a burst of color indoors during the holiday season and throughout the winter months ahead.

DECEMBER
2
2014

FILED UNDER

Get Gifting!

GREAT GIFTS TO GIVE AND TO GET

POINSETTIAS - You just can't go wrong with a traditional poinsettia gift. This year, give them a blooming gift they are sure to love. This Christmas flower comes in a variety of sizes and colors from red to white to even our exclusive painted poinsettias, embellished with glitter.

HEIRLOOM ORNAMENTS ~ 757 Collection - Celebrate Hampton Roads with this exclusive collection of ornaments. These two-sided, glass ornaments are intricately hand-painted celebrating all the cities of Hampton Roads. These keepsakes will be the highlight of any tree and are available for a limited time.

HOSTESS GIFTS - Don't show up empty handed to your holiday gathertings. Say thank you to that special host with unique wine tags, tea towels or candles.

LIVING ORNAMENTS - Make their Christmas come alive with a living ornament to adorn their tree or display on an ornament stand all through winter. With a beautiful glass orb, they can continue to fill their ornament from their very own garden with berry-producing shrubs and evergreens.

LOCAL JAMS, JELLIES & BUTTERS - Crafted locally from Virginia grown produce, these products offer the utmost quality at an affordable price. Our jams, jellies and butters are produced using the finest ingredients with methods established in the 1920’s. When you taste these jams and jellies you will experience vintage flavors in every bite. Taste the home-grown local goodness and give them a delectable treat.

ROSEMARY CONES - A rosemary cone will add warmth and fresh fragrance to your holidays. With a festive wrap, these tabletop plants add splashes of color and shimmering accents throughout the holiday season and are a beloved holiday gift idea.

GLOVES & TOOLS - The perfect gift for the gardener, gloves and tools never go out of style and always can be used. These make great stocking stuffers!

McDONALD GIFT PLANTS - These custom arrangements mix everyday plants with beloved holiday plants like poinsettias and Norfolk Island pines. Hand-selected and assembled in our greenhouse, these holiday arrangements will surely make someone's Christmas sparkle and shine.

HERB GARDEN MARKERS - Herbs such as basil, mint, thyme, rosemary and oregano are hardy and attractive herbs that can be grown indoors during the winter. Keep in pots indoors or transfer to the garden once the weather warms ups. Give these cute and attractive herb markers in a nice wood box for a great gift.

McDONALD GIFT CARDS - Give them the gift of choice. A gift card can be purchased in any amount from $10 to $300 at any McDonald location or online. The gift card can be redeemed at any McDonald location or can be used for landscape services. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about a size or color.

GARDEN STATUARY - With a wide assortment of statuary available, you can choose from something small to large, that fits any space and style. This keepsake will remind your special someone they are special all year long.

BIRDING ESSENTIALS - Still looking for that unique gift for the person on your list that has everything? Drop in and checkout the selection of bird feeders, birdhouses and birdbaths. Bird watching is one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy these fine-feathered friends. Surveys reveal that nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds.