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Build a #Mosquito Control container so you can sit and unwind in the evenings without dousing in DEET.

Build a #Mosquito Control container so you can sit and unwind in the evenings without dousing in DEET.

Winter Color Beds of pansies, pots of ornamental cabbage, borders of narcissus . . . who says winter has to be bleak? Here in Texas with our nippy nights, warm sunny days, and a norther thrown in every once in a while to remind us it's December, winter is the flower gardener's most relaxed growing season. Without the green and growing jungle for competition, a simple splash of color goes a long way and here are a few ideas for cool season blooms. Pansies, with their jewel tones and ability to take sleet or sun, are our most popular winter planting. Tiny violas, like "johnny jump ups," and wood violets are the tough, enduring grandparents of the pansy family. Ornamental cabbage and ruffley kale are excellent color plants for containers and beds. The creamy ribs and deep green puckered leaves of ordinary garden Swiss chard make it a handsome winter landscaping plant. Bedding dianthus or "pinks" are practical choices for winter color. Bulb beds can provide rewarding winter color.

Sweet alyssum Sweet alyssum, with its dainty, fragrant flowers, is often used in containers and hanging baskets to spill over the edges, creating a soft, frothy look. It's also a great edging plant because of its tidy, compact habit. Regardless of how you use it, sweet alyssum does best in spring and fall's cool conditions (or use it for winter color in very warm climates). In cool-summer conditions, such as the northern third of the United States, sweet alyssum will bloom steadily through the summer.

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