As the days seem to grow shorter and darker in early December, the three banks of installation of solar panels still produce electricity although not enough to offset the nursery usage.  The most recent installation is that on the market-office complex which will be live before year’s end. In winter, the complex uses very few kilowatt hours and in late spring and summer usage is much higher due to the operation of coolers and air conditioning. Fortunately, during the long days and intense sun of summer, the panels will be at their peak production which will offset the power used from the grid and thus resulting in no utility bill once the credits of the panels solar productions have been applied.

Cuttings of various annual flowers that were shipped in late November are starting to root nicely along with varieties of geraniums from which we have taken cuttings that will be ready to transplant into various size pots.  Some of the most popular varieties have been what is called interspecific geraniums known as the Calliope brand.  New colors with a somewhat more compact growth habit will be available this spring especially in hanging baskets.  The heat of summer, partial shade or full sun does not seem to daunt these blooming “machines.”

Cut tree sales have been brisk so that unfortunately the selection is not broad and wide although the Fraser Fir remaining are shapely, fresh and beautiful.  At least twice each week more branches for grave decorations must be cut as orders come in from the local area as well as out of state.

This past week I have finally placed some of my own decorations on former family members including ones that died long ago. My Uncle George who is also now deceased asked me if I would decorate the graves of Susan R. and George L. Dayton that are just outside Burton, Ohio in Slitor Cemetery.  George L, my great grandfather had passed in 1919 and his wife Susan in 1892.  In accordance to my Uncle’s wishes I still decorate these graves today.

Two years ago the cemetery maintenance crew piled wood chips at least 1 foot or more around at least 3 ancient maple trees. Fortunately, with a call to the cemetery sexton Martha Eaves, I was able to persuade her to have the maintenance crew to reduce the mulch to a healthier 2-3″ depth.

In a small town in west Michigan, I had noticed ornamental pears dying and with a little digging the top of the root balls were more than 1 foot below the surface.  When I had mentioned to a local merchant the depth of the trees he gruffly complained that the town had assessed the merchants for the trees.  When I told him the deep planting was the cause of death, his only reply then was that the trees were the town’s trees.  Strange reply as he had partly paid for the trees and the shoddy workmanship in planting them.  Go figure!