A Christmas at Martin’s Yard & Garden
This is my site Written by Wayne on December 1, 2009 – 12:01 am

Yard Decoration

Yard Decoration

Those of you who have been following Yard Talk over the years know how special Christmas Time is at Martin’s Yard & Garden. It is a very special, magical time, a time for sharing with our friends and family old and new. We welcome you once again into our home and gardens.



Our Christmas season begins a few weeks before Thanksgiving with Marty and I planning this seasons indoor and outdoor decorations. This is no easy task for over the years we have accumulated quite a collection of Christmas memorabilia. One that seems to multiply rapidly through the season, much like spearmint in the garden. Marty has an extensive collection of Dayton Hudson Santa Bears, with new ones arriving yearly. We both like Animated Holiday Figures, particularly Snowmen, which are displayed everywhere inside and out. This year we welcomed the Snow Triplets to our home along with Bernard, Brandon, and Bernadette.

All Lit Up

All Lit Up

The Friday after Thanksgiving we start putting up the outside decorations, this usually takes several days as it too seems to grow like weeds. Since I enjoy painting Christmas figures, much of the outside is centered around these creations. Of course, we also put up a few lights and garland.

Cookie Day

Cookie Day

The first Saturday after Thanksgiving is Christmas Cookie Day, a fun filled day involving anyone not afraid to measure, stir, bake and of course, eat a few cookies. Even Madison, our English Setter, gets involved, at least in the eating department. Since we usually bake between 900-1200 cookies, for friends and relatives, this happening lasts well into evening hours.

Between Outdoor Decorating and Cookie Day, Marty and I, choose the Christmas Tree. Some of our most cherished memories involve selecting just the right family Christmas Tree, by no means is this an easy task.  We have had Concolor Fir, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir, and White Pine.  The last two years we have had great luck with Black Hills Spruce which we highly recommend it for those looking for a more traditional look. 

We have to admit, we even have an artificial tree. This works perfectly for displaying Marty‘s extensive Christmas Egg Ornaments, many made by our son Geoff. The big advantage an artificial tree offers is that you can bend the branches to suit your needs, even to making it fit into a corner or flat against a wall. Besides I doubt if we could ever agree on two perfect trees!

Egg Tree

Egg Tree

Once the inside and out is decorated, cookies made and shared, and the trees are up, we put on some of our favorite Christmas Carols and wrap our family gifts. This is a time to kick back, relax with your loved ones, a time to count your blessings. Christmas is truly a time for sharing be it a simple cookie or song. We take comfort in the fact that in our own little way we bring joy into this world.


December Tip of the Month

While the best-selling trees are the Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir, Virginia Fir, Black Hills Spruce, and White Pine, no one can pick the right tree for you! This is a very personal choice, a time to get the whole family involved. The best thing you do is just get out there, you need to look, touch, and smell the trees. A nation wide listing of many of these locations can be found at The Christmas Tree Network (http://www.christmas-tree.com/). 

Here are some tips for caring for your tree throughout the holiday season:

  1. Select only the freshest, test for freshness by gently grasping a branch in your hand and pull it toward you. Very few needles should come off . Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. You should not see a large amount of green needles fall.
  2. If not setting up right away, store the tree in water if possible but make sure that the water will not freeze around the stump, we learned this lesson the hard way. An unheated garage, tool shed, chicken coop, or other area out of the wind and cold is an ideal location. We have found spraying the tree with WiltPruf makes the tree stay fresh longer.
  3. Cut off one half inch from the bottom of the trunk just before putting in the stand. 
  4. Be warned, inspect the tree before bringing it indoors. Insects, rodents, and other pests can enter the home on the Christmas tree and emerge in the warm house.
  5. Keep the tree’s stand full of water at all times, checking the water level twice a day. If the base dries out resin will form over the cut end and the tree will not be able to absorb water. The tree must then be taken down and a fresh cut made.
  6. The stand you use should hold at least a gallon of water. Trees may use several quarts of water a day. 
  7. Using plain tap water, slightly warm to the touch, is the best. 
  8. Place the tree well away from heat registers, space heaters, fire places, wood stoves, televisions, computer monitors and other heat sources. 
  9. Use UL approved electrical decorations and cords and unplug tree lights at night or while you are away. Miniature lights produce less heat and reduce the drying effect on the tree.
  10. Take down the tree before it dries out. Many fresh cut trees, if properly cared for, will last at least five or six weeks before drying out.
  11. Treatments are also available that can be sprayed on trees to reduce flammability. These contain borax or other flame retardants. 

Flower of the Month

Kalanchoe coccinea

Kalanchoe coccinea ‘blossfeldiana’ 

It is one of the prettiest succulent flowering plants to be associated with the Christmas season. It’s long lasting flowers can be forced to bloom quite easily while the fleshy, wide, oval-shaped leaves are quite attractive.

Kalanchoes are easy to grow, requiring minimum care. This plant does need plenty of light and moisture to grow. Their root system is extremely sensitive and you should use clay pots to allow  for better aeration of the roots. You can ensure excellent drainage by placing pebbles at the bottom of the pot and use light soil containing lots of peat moss, perlite and sand. 

Kalanchoes can be made to flower, like Poinsettias, by adjusting the length of daylight. Short days of less than 12 hours over a period of 2 to 3 weeks will trigger the formation of flower buds. Once the flower buds are formed, the natural daylight regime can be resumed. 


Featured Web Site

The National Christmas Tree Association is a wonderful site with loads of information on Christmas Tree selection and care. We also find it to be a very fun site for the whole family. There just is no way to describe this site and do it justice, you need to visit it at least once during the holidays.


Book of the Month

Family Blessings by Fern Michael’s

Fern Michael’s uses her keen insight into the emotional bonds between family members and the passions that bring men and women together to create an enduring novel that celebrates love, family, and forgiveness. It is a good family book for the Holiday season.

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Modified: March 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm GMT-0800

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