The other day, I went to the local nursery to pick up a few stalks of "Lucky Bamboo" Dracaena sanderiana. Yes, it's only January, and that's how strung-out I was for the sight of some greenery.
Stuck in a water-filled bowl of pebbles, these shoots would almost have you believing that they actually bamboo . . . or at least a real plant. As long as I change their distilled water weekly and keep them out of direct sunlight, they carry on their charade admirably.
On the way out of the nursery clutching my bag of lucky bamboo shoots, I noticed that the ground was covered with leftover Christmas tree branches. Since we were on the road during the holiday season, there's no tree this year to harvest for winter mulch. I'm not adverse to clipping away at our neighbors' discarded trees on trash day, but this opportunity was so much more dignified. I filled the car trunk with pine boughs and happily drove home.
I like to wait until after Christmas to lay down mulch. The ground has to be frozen in order for the mulch to create a micro-climate that protects against the freeze-thaw cycle. And voles and mice will set up housekeeping in a cosy pile of mulch if the season's warm--without so much as a thank-you for the home delivery of tasty roots and stems. Unfortunately, during the few days between bringing home the branches and tucking them around, we've had our January thaw. The temperature has risen to the 50s, the snow is melting, and the air is balmy. Winter weather is forecast to return in a day or two.
So maybe I really will need some luck in order for this mulch to do its job. Good that I went for that bamboo after all.