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Gardener's almanac

Out of the deep freeze — It's been nice to enjoy some sun and warmer weather this week — relatively speaking. It is the last week of fall, after all.

Christmas tree recycling _ Ten locations in Wichita and nine elsewhere in Sedgwick County will begin accepting real Christmas trees for recycling on Dec. 22. But don't worry — even with that early opening date (for people who go out of town for the holiday), the recycling centers will be open through Jan. 23. They're sponsored by Sedgwick County government.

Be sure to remove all decorations from the tree before taking it to one of the sites. The trees will periodically be chipped, and the resulting mulch will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are the locations:

In Wichita:

* Boston Park, 6655 E. Zimmerly

* Buffalo Park, 10209 Hardtner

* College Hill United Methodist Church, First and Erie streets

* Earhart Environmental Magnet School, 4401 N. Arkansas

* Edgemoor Park, 5815 E. Ninth St.

* Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St.

* Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. North

* Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 Museum Blvd.

* Osage Park, 2121 W. 31st St. South

* South Linwood Park, Hydraulic and Mount Vernon

In Sedgwick County:

* Cheney, East South Avenue and Garfield

* Clearwater, Aquatic Center parking lot

* Colwich, 115 S. Third St.

* Garden Plain, water tower

* Kechi, 107 Sioux St.

* Mount Hope, 400 S. St. Thomas

* Mulvane, 117 E. Main St.

* Park City, 6801 N. Hydraulic

* Valley Center, City Park near railroad tracks.

Care of gift fruit baskets _ If you receive a basket of fruit for Christmas, you probably want to have it last as long as possible. If all the products in the basket are tree fruits (such as apples, pears, oranges or grapefruit), you can place the entire basket in a cool place, around 40 degrees, for best results. If the basket contains any bananas or other tropical fruits (with the exception of citrus), remove those fruits and store them separately, Ward Upham of K-State says. The longest you can expect to store the fruits without some shriveling and loss of crispness is about three to four weeks, he says.

Spring Gardening Series — The season named in this series of classes sponsored by the Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners refers to when you'll be gardening — not when the classes are held. The series will be from Jan. 4 through Feb. 15 — the perfect time to study up.

The fee is $5 for the whole series, and the classes will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road.

The class schedule: Jan. 4, Confessions of a Seedaholic: Starting Transplants from Seed; Jan. 11, Soil Preparation & Composting; Jan. 18, Get Growing Vegetables; Jan. 25, Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities: Building a Greener Community One Yard at a Time; Feb. 1, Using Ornamental Grasses in Your Landscape; Feb. 8, Growing and Using Culinary Herbs; and Feb. 15, Bring Your Yard Alive With Native Plants and Wildflowers.

To register for the series, call Angie Norris at 316-660-0138.

Botanica classes — Botanica will have a terrarium workshop, a series of drawing classes for beginners and a landscape design series in, or starting in, January. Perhaps one of them would be a good Christmas gift for someone, or for yourself.

* The terrarium workshop will be from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 13. Cost $30, $25 for Botanica members.

* The beginning drawing class will be from Jan. 14 to March 4. Each class will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $100, $90 for Botanica members.

* The Landscape Design Series will be Jan. 16, 23 and 30, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., taught by Mark McHenry of Hillside Nursery. Cost is $95, $85 for Botanica members.

Register for the classes by calling Karla Jahn at 316-264-0448 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Botanica's offices and the gardens will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 3.

Call for '09 memories and '10 resolutions _ As we near the end of 2009 and the beginning of twenty-ten, I'm wondering what your biggest gardening memory of 2009 is and any yard- and garden-related resolutions you have for 2010. E-mail me at acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

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