Fire-engine red bows create a festive mood when repeated along fences, gates or wrapped around tree trunks. Wrap red and green bows around flowerpots, or add a broad ribbon garland with bows to patio walls.
Fire bowls get extra use during the holidays, especially if the weather is dry. Make sure you are protecting your wood deck from heat; don't place the bowl under trees; use the spark screen. Check your owner's manual for further instructions.
Most birds that winter locally eat seeds, so they will appreciate it if you keep their larder full with black-oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds or a mix. Goldfinch will eat Niger thistle seeds, which require a separate feeding station. A slice or two of apple or orange will be a treat, as will raisins, cranberries, and walnuts.
Don't forget Anna's hummingbirds! They will want feeders of sugar water: 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Change weekly.
This is the time to make sure garden beds are cleaned up and mulched. Add compost to nurture your soil.
While you're in the kitchen cooking for the holiday, take note of the ingredients you might grow for yourself. Don't forget some of the easiest items to grow in the valley: herbs.
Recycle your leaves in a compost heap, or put them out for leaf-pickup programs which extend into December. Check with your local collector for dates.
You can still put bulbs into the ground, but take care not to over-work the soil. Use one of the bulb planting tools, which lifts a cone of soil from the earth, so you drop in fertilizer, a bulb, and replace the soil without much handling.
Hang strings or blankets of lights over shrubs, especially your more tender plants. The light gives them a boost in climate zone. Make sure they stay on during the coldest nights. Don't overload your extension cord, and make sure to inspect it before you use it.
Keep an eye on pond mechanicals. Fish need oxygenated water even when hibernating. Remember, no food when the water is below 50 degrees.
The Master Gardener plant clinic is open for questions and insect identification on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the extension center, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point. Call 776-7371.
Bird counts: Help with the nation-wide bird count at North Mountain Park. Audubon volunteers help you identify species. All levels of birders welcome. Saturdays,
9 to 10a.m., Dec. 8 and 22. Call 488-6606.
Garden Clubs meet this month to celebrate the holidays with members. Their calendars will return next month.