We have less than a week to go before Christmas and just a couple of weeks left as we close out the year 2015. Part of the state was hit with a harsh ice storm that caused great damage to many of our trees and shrubs three weeks ago.  Hopefully you were not a victim of that ice storm and have been able to use the unseasonably beautiful weather the last couple of weeks for planting pansies and spring flowering bulbs instead of pruning and hauling downed branches.  This tree and shrub damage is a reminder of why our neighborhoods, communities, and property owners all across our state must always be planting new trees and shrubs to replace those lost over the years to old age, new building and development, diseases or storm damage.  If we want to enjoy the clean air, fresh oxygen, soothing shade, fall color and summer cooling of trees in our community we must all plant new trees and shrubs regularly over the years to develop and then to maintain a green canopy.

Christmas celebrations include lots of greenery from Christmas trees to ropes, garlands, swags and wreaths of evergreens. Poinsettias, amaryllis, paperwhite bulbs, ivy wreaths and topiaries and many other plants also help us decorate and celebrate this joyful and festive Christmas season.  Gifts have been an important part of this holiday since the three wise men showed up with gifts for the baby Jesus.  There are many wonderful gifts you can still get for your gardening friends or yourself as you celebrate Christmas.  Visit your local nursery or garden center and buy a pretty colorful plant to give now or consider a gift certificate so your gardening friends can buy the exact tree, shrub, rose or other plant they want now or next spring when they plant for a new growing season.  Consider gifting a hobby greenhouse for your spouse or a really good friend, garden tools or garden equipment you know they want, need or would really enjoy.  Gift a composter to make better use of all their fall leaves, rain barrels to collect water or a drip irrigation or sprinkler system to help with plant watering.  Most gardeners appreciate new garden gloves, garden aprons, gardening boots or other garden supplies.  Gift a membership in the Oklahoma Horticulture Society, Myriad Gardens Botanical Gardens, Tulsa Botanic Gardens, Oklahoma City Zoo and Gardens or a plant society that may be of special interest to them. Gift a trip to visit a garden or gardens they have been wanting to see or give a day or weekend of your time to help with their yard and gardening efforts.  Garden books and garden magazines are always an appreciated gift and inspire new ideas and stimulate gardening imagination.  Finally contemplate a long term gift to encourage more horticulture education to a local or state 4-H or FFA group or to support horticulture education at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City or OSU Stillwater.  Support local beautification efforts in your community through Oklahoma City Beautiful, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful or the Oklahoma Tree Bank Foundation or other similar groups across the state.

It is pretty easy to make a gardener happy from the joy of a new plant experience to helping support more tree planting across our state. The better you know the person and the more personalized the gift is to their area of interest the more memorable your gift will be.  We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and hope you will create many great new memories to remember for years to come.


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