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It's time to find the perfect christmas tree
Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter
*How to print article's at bottom of newsletter.
The Maine Christmas Song 0001
The Maine Christmas Song

Selecting the perfect tree with the family


It is the time to visit your local nursery to select your fresh-cut Christmas tree. Most of us take the Christmas tree for granted each year, buying it and decorating it without much thought. This year I want you to know the story of the Christmas tree; it will change how you see your tree.

This is a once-upon-a-time story. It starts far away in the mountains of Germany, where the tradition of bringing an evergreen tree into house for Christmas began. The evergreen tree was brought into the house to ensure health and happiness through the season and the spring greening of Mother Earth. As people emigrated to other parts of the world they took the tradition with them and the popularity grew.

In America the tree grew from a table tree to a full-size floor-to-ceiling tree. As its popularity increased each year, problems rose due to unrestricted cutting of the tree in the forested areas. Conservationists warned then-President Theodore Roosevelt that if he did not act fast, the nation's forests would be depleted in just a few years. By 1900, roughly half of our timber had been cut--not, of course, all for Christmas trees. The topsoil was washing away and many birds were approaching extinction.

Fearing that our great forests would be destroyed, the President banned the Christmas tree from his home and urged everyone to do the same. Unfortunately for the President, his two children did not listen to their father and smuggled a tree into the closet of their room. As punishment for their deeds, the children were sent to the office of the National Forest and Parks Service to hear the explanation of the problem. To the President's surprise they came back with a plan that would help thin the forest selectively and save the tradition of Christmas trees. New conservation practices helped to relieve the strain of the tree shortages, and the forests were saved from unnecessary destruction.

Some years later, his cousin President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a farm in Hyde Park N.Y., and in an effort to encourage soil conservation he experimented with growing Christmas trees commercially. He chose land that was too stony to farm, too steep to plow or otherwise unsuitable for cultivation crops. The project was a success and he encouraged others to do the same.

The Christmas tree farmer became a American hero. Tree farming helped relieve the pressure on our forest, preventing erosion of our soils, helped prevent the extinction of some wildlife and created thousands of new jobs on land unsuitable for farming. The Christmas tree of today is possible because of two children, Archie and Quentin Roosevelt, who wanted something badly enough to work for it and their father, who helped make it possible. So you see, there is more to our president than the teddy bear and the Rough Riders.

By the way, the state of Maine was the home of the Christmas tree for America. The first Christmas trees sold in Boston came from Maine--and many still do. Maine had the best growing conditions, soil and climate for the balsam fir tree. Then and today the balsam fir is the number one selling Christmas tree in America from Maine to Florida and west to California. The tree has everything we want for the house--fragrance, color, hardiness, shape and affordability. Enjoy!




The care of a living christmas tree, indoors


One of the most exciting parts of the holiday season is selecting the family Christmas tree. This year for a change, how about a selecting a Christmas tree that you can plant in your yard after the holidays? You can decorate it inside this year and outside in the yard next year.

Today a good cut tree will cost you $30 to $75 dollars and when the holiday is over, you have nothing left for your investment. You can purchase a living tree with a root ball for $50 and up.

If the north wind is a problem, now is the time to start planting the first of that hedgerow of evergreens to break the wind. This is the fun way to get the job done. Each tree will have its own special memories of past holidays while performing an energy-saving task.

The proper care of a living tree is as follows:
  • Choose a tree that you can handle since the dirt ball or pot will be heavy.
  • Pick out the tree while the weather is good and the moving is easy.
  • Your living tree can only stay in the house for 7 to 10 days. So, plan for the time that the tree will be in the house and out.
  • Living trees must be kept away from fireplaces, wood stoves and heating ducts. The tree is now dormant and if you wake it up it will start to grow in the house. Then, once you take it back out, the cold weather could hurt the new bud.
  • Keep the room cool and the root ball wet so the plant does not dry up.
  • To prevent damage to floor or carpet, place the root ball in a tub. A child's flying saucer sled will work great.
  • Try to bring the tree inside when the outside temperature is no colder than 25 degrees from inside.
  • If you have a garage or barn keep the tree there until you are ready to bring it indoors. If not, keep it as close as possible to the door for easy access during periods of heavy snow.
  • When you are ready to bring the tree indoors, place a scatter rug by the door and the container on it. The scatter rug will allow you to slide the tree along the floor without damage to the floor and it will save you extra lifting. Do not fill the container full of water--a quart at a time will do. To help keep the tree dormant, spray the foliage with Wilt Pruf or Wilt Stop. This will keep the moisture in the tree.
  • Use the new LED lights on the tree, as they produce little to no heat and that helps keep the tree dormant.
  • Mist the tree daily with water.
  • After the holidays, if the weather is stormy or very cold, place the tree in the garage or barn. If not possible, up against the house or fence to keep it out of direct sun and the wind. Cover the root ball with bark mulch, straw or soil until spring.

You can plant the tree in the yard if the weather is good but you will have to dig the hole before the ground freezes and bring the soil into the garage so it does not freeze. You must also fill the hole with leaves in a trash bag just in case it snows or you will never find it (or worse, find it by falling in it). I wait until spring; it's easier!

The living tree is more work than the traditional cut tree but you will not be sorry when you see the results.  Enjoy!

dominick the donkey
dominick the Italian donkey






When I was younger, and it came time to select the perfect Christmas tree, we had one choice--the Balsam fir. Although this is still the number one tree sold in New England, today the selection is very different and our choices more numerous. Let me tell you about these trees and then you can select wisely.

The Balsam Fir
Needles lie flat on each side of the branch and the branch is thickly covered with needles. The needle is dark green on top and pale green on the bottom. Needles are an inch long and, when crushed, are VERY fragrant. Your entire home will smell like the great outdoors. Branches are stiff but will bend with the weight of lights and ornaments. Ornaments are easily displayed, as the branches spread out and open up the tree to show inside to the trunk. Balsam fir has long lasting color, fragrance and freshness.

Frasier Fir
A new hybrid of the Balsam fir. Needles are flat and surround the branch, not just on the sides. Top of the needles is very dark green, while the underside is silver. Needles are an inch long and have some fragrance to them. The tree is much fuller than the traditional Balsam fir. The branches are stiff but will bend some with the weight of the lights and ornaments. When it is heavily sheared, ornaments lie on the side of the branches as the tree does not open up as much. Fraser fir has the best color of all trees with the dark green top and silver underside. Fragrance good in the room it's in.

Douglas Fir
Flat needles on each side of the branch like the Balsam but longer--1.5 to 2 inches long. The branches are thick with needles; they are dark green on top and silver green on the underside. There is a little bit of fragrance but not like the Balsam fir. Branches are very flexible and decorate easily but heavy ornaments pull down branches easily. Tree has a weeping appearance, unusual and beautiful. Like all fir trees, it's long lasting, has good color and is fresh looking. Look for tags on the branches to see where it was grown. If grown on the West coast and you had temperatures 20 degrees or colder, do not buy it. West coast grown trees will shed needles when they hit the heat in your home.

Scotch Pine
Once very popular in the Midwest but due to insect problems and disease there are fewer and fewer trees grown each year. It grows very upright and the branches are stiff. Lights and ornaments lie on the side of the tree as branches bend very little. Needles are 2 inches long and blue green, with a silver underside. Not much of a fragrance but will last in the house longer than most trees.

White Pine
Very soft looking with pale green needles 3 to 4 inches long. Trees are sheared heavily and I think it is difficult to decorate, as branches are soft and ornaments fall off easily. Dries up faster than the fir family, as needles are thin and soft. It's beautiful to look at, but the tree will not last long in a warm room.

Noble Fir
From the West Coast, this is a tree that we should all try at one time. Stems are filled with one inch long needles that are rounded on the tip. Several layers of silver green needles on the branches, and they are just beautiful. Branches spaced about 6 inches apart, almost like layers on the tree, so ornaments can dangle on branches and display beautifully. No real fragrance but this tree will not shed needles--yes, it will not shed! When dry, maintains the color.







"The best of all  gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other"    



Aluminum Christmas tree with color wheel, the first artificial Christmas tree

As you prepare for the wonderful holiday season ahead of you, STOP for a second and think back about the holidays of the past. I want to tell you about some of my favorite memories, as some of you have just joined my gardening family and I want you to know who I am. Then I want you to use your own memories to make your holidays even better for you and your family.

When I was 11 years old, my Mom and Dad packed up the car with us five kids, and we headed out to a secluded wooded area in Central Maine in search for the perfect Christmas tree. My dad had a friend who told him he could cut a Christmas tree on his land, so he took him up on the offer. Each of us also wanted to bring home a small tree for our classroom at school--remember when you could do that?

We traveled for about an hour and found the site to cut our perfect Christmas tree. First, we had to find the perfect tree for the family--and it was a beauty. Eight feet tall and no holes all the way around, dark green and with a fragrance I can still remember. My Dad had the five of us carry the tree to the car as he supervised the operation, with the promise that we could soon choose the trees for our class room. Back in the woods we ran and one by one we cut down our own 3 to 4 foot tree. I remember the five of us carrying the trees back to the car and helping my Dad tie them on the roof of the car.

Then it happened, a big man in a pickup truck pulled up beside us and asked us where we got the trees. My Dad told him that we cut them on his friend's land and we had permission to do so. Unfortunately, my Dad's friend's land was on the other side of the road and this man was a bit upset with us cutting trees on his land. He wanted his trees back and was going to call the police on us, until all five of us kids started crying at the thought of going to jail. The big man did not expect that and soon agreed that $20.00 would cover the cost of the trees. We quickly finished tying the trees on the car and got out of there fast, vowing to never cut down a tree again in the wild.

When we got home I remember my Mother scrubbing our hands with Comet cleanser to get the fresh pitch off our hands--and my sisters had to take a bath, as they had pitch in their hair. When was the last time you had pitch on your hands from a Christmas tree? While my mother cleaned us up, my dad built five tree stands for the classroom trees, and Monday morning, bright and early, the trees were off to school for the celebration.

Now the story is not over and the best part is yet to come--because the big family tree had a vine running up the middle of the tree that we did not see. We decorated the tree with lights, glass balls and tinsel; remember tinsel? How that beautiful silver foil made your tree glisten; I miss that. My brother Bob loved this tree as he showed--he spent much time playing with the tree branches and ornaments. Well...on Christmas Eve, Bob came down with a strange rash on his arms, neck, and face. Yes, Bob had poison ivy--and the doctor told my parents to get the tree out of the house or all the other kids could get it too!

My Dad took the tree apart, with all of us crying, on Christmas Eve but he promised he would find us a new one. Two hours later, Dad returned home with a big box marked Artificial Christmas Tree, as there was not a tree available anywhere. To our horror, we opened the box to find a silver tinfoil tree with branches that we stuck in a big wooden trunk painted silver. It even had a light that turned under it making the tree four different colors. My Dad said it was all he could find everywhere he looked, so it was better than no tree at all.

Now on Christmas morning, the fun really began as one by one our neighbors came to the door to protest that the Christmas tree was thrown on the snow bank in front of the house. One by one, they told my parents how upset they were with them, that they had punished us kids for being bad by taking down the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. What could those children have done that was so bad that you could punish them that way? A quick explanation--and giving them a look at my brother Bob's face and hands--and all was well again.

That silver tree never went up again--and we never cut down our own Christmas tree in the wild again!

From my family to yours--Have a Merry Christmas!

Paul, Chris, Matthew, Christina,  Jason, Peter, Patrick, Kristen and Michael the first grandchild

Chef Roland Parent's (Paul's Dad) receipe for Indian  pudding



5 cups of Half and Half

6 ounces corn meal

12 Ounce molasses

3 eggs well beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon ginger

1/2 cup melted butter ( usually 1 stick)

2 cups cold milk or Half and Half



Into heavy pot all first 3 ingredients bring to a boil stirring constantly and cook until thickens. Pour some of mixture into beaten eggs and stir. Add to mixture with rest of ingredients, stir and pour into pan.

Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees

Then, add 2 cups half and half and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cover pan with foil. serve with Ice Cream "vanilla".


              Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-985-6972

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $29.95! Limited supply!! Now Available!!!!




Just after World War II ended, US building construction came alive once again. Homes were built to help returning service personnel. With the buildings came landscaping. Whether it was winter or summer, the weather was always a factor. But horticulturists knew that some plantings would not make it through the hot or cold windy weather and drought that was destined to arrive. A gardener by the name of Dr. Luther Baumgartner developed a chemical mix that he felt would reduce evaporation from foliage. Luther experimented with his invention at a nursery in Hawthorne, NY and it worked. He was able to get a well known Chemical Co. to bottle his formula which he called Wilt-Pruf. He sold his new product to his neighborhood nurseries to help them protect their plantings. Wilt-Pruf became successful almost overnight, so Dr. Baumgartner sold his Wilt-Pruf to a company in Connecticut who was familiar with the lawn and garden distribution process.

The chemical formula being used back then was a bit difficult to use for several reasons. It was sticky, difficult to clean up, could not be frozen, and had a limited shelf life. A company in Pennsylvania produced many agriculture sprays using pine resin as their base material and they felt they were a natural to make Wilt-Pruf. After extensive experimenting and testing, Wilt-Pruf was now ready to be produced, bottled, stored, and shipped from this company in Pennsylvania. Not only was Wilt-Pruf a very useable garden spray, but Wilt-Pruf also boasts being organic, biodegradable, and non-hazardous. It has an indefinite shelf life and is not damaged by freezing.

Now that Wilt-Pruf was in demand throughout the country, a distribution system had to be determined. New ownership was necessary and the product was sold to its present owner over forty years ago. Sales representatives were hired and lawn and garden distributors were solicited to sell Wilt-Pruf to garden centers and other retail outlets.

 Now Wilt-Pruf was entering a new era. Gardening was growing by leaps and bounds. Wilt-Pruf has been accepted nationally as a much needed plant protector during periods of water stress. It is being distributed by some of the country's largest lawn and garden distributors as well as many highly professional smaller garden supply stores. Wilt-Pruf is currently in demand overseas with customers in England, Belgium, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and South Korea.

Wilt-Pruf spray dries to form a clear transparent and flexible protective coating without interfering with plant growth or materially affecting respiration, osmosis, or photosynthesis. Ultraviolet rays from outdoor daylight react with our film polymer which produces a continuous flexible film which forms a coating similar to having numerous bed sheets on a bed. When the top sheet is removed there are still many more sheets left. The same phenomenon is true with Wilt-Pruf. As the outside layer wears off with the sun, wind and rain and powders away, another layer has formed. This process continues until all layers have worn off which takes three to four months and sometimes longer depending on climatic conditions. Wilt-Pruf is the only horticulture anti-transparent that has the ability to provide this long lasting protection during severe periods of water stress.


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  Written by Paul Parent                         Produced by Christine Parent

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