Full Moon Names December's Full Moon is called the Full Cold Moon. It is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark.
This full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes.
This is a good time to start pruning dead and dangerous limbs from trees.
Reduce watering of houseplants Take hardwood cuttings Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted
Add Mulch After the first frost, add a 2-inch layer of pine straw or finely shredded pine bark mulch around the bases of your trees and shrubs. You can also use fallen leaves: Rake them into a pile, and chop them up with a lawn mower; then gather them, and spread them around your plants. They’ll appreciate the extra protection during winter months.
Feed Birds Bird feeders are a great way to encourage these wonders to visit your yard. Place them where you can enjoy the show from a window or from your porch or deck. Visit your local garden center, a Wild Birds Unlimited store, or birdquest.com for a great selection of bird feeders. Deter squirrels by using a spicy birdseed such as Cole’s Blazing Hot Blend Bird Seed or treating the seeds with Cole’s Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce (birdwatchersupply.com). Birdbaths and birdhouses will also lure feathered friends to your yard.
Poinsettias Red is the color of choice for the popular poinsettia, but white, pink, yellow, and bicolor varieties are gaining favor. To rejuvenate your poinsettia for next year’s holiday season, move it outside when night temperatures are not apt to fall much below 50°F (10°C) and prune to keep it bushy and compact. To initiate flowering, the poinsettia needs long nights in complete darkness starting in early October. Cover the plant with a cardboard box or keep it in a closet from about 5 P.M. to 8 A.M. and water sparingly. When buds form in early December, stop the dark treatment.
Christmas Cacti Like poinsettias, Christmas cacti are available in a kaleidoscope of colors including red, white, pink, cream, and fuchsia. Long-lived, they may produce bountiful blooms for 20 to 30 Christmases to come. You can force a Christmas cactus into bloom in much the same way as a poinsettia, by providing long nights starting around October 1. You can also persuade it to flower by subjecting it to cool night temperatures of 50° to 55°F (10° to 13°C) starting in early November.
Amaryllis Although the amaryllis can be purchased at any stage of development, for many the real fun is growing their own plant from a bulb. Most amaryllis bulbs are sold already potted and with complete growing instructions. Once watering is started, you can expect magnificent lilylike blooms of red, pink, white, or orange in four to six weeks. After flowering, grow the amaryllis as a foliage plant until the leaves turn yellow. Then store the potted bulb on its side in a cool, dark room or basement to rest for eight to ten weeks. When new growth appears, repot the bulb and return it to the light to start the cycle again.
Astronomy The Geminids will light up the skies December 13–14.