Posted on 4 Comments

Trees for the Troops Mission

Trees for the Troops

It has been 15 years since the mystery woman came into Dees' back in 2003 and asked Tom Sr. if he could get a Christmas tree sent to her son, who had just been sent over to a very dangerous part of the world. It has been 15 years since our great customer Jim Adelis, whose own son was soon to be sent to the war zone, was told of the mystery lady. Luckily for us, he and his company Adelis International Security, based out of JFK, knew Cathy O'Reilly and the team at DHL Logistics and Freight Company.

After that conversation, Jim contacted Cathy O'Reilly of DHL and the ball started rolling. He called us back the next day and asked Tom Sr. how many trees he could send over. The number was 75 balsam fir Christmas Trees from our farm in Maine. I can still remember the first night I met Cathy O'Reilly and Maureen Cori. I laughed at the cardboard boxes they brought to put the trees in. They were a 5-foot high 8-inch square box. I thought there was no way we were going to get these trees into them. Sure enough, they fit and off they went to the war zone. A week or so later, we got another call from Jim. He said the trees were a huge hit with the men and women serving and asked if we had any more that we could send. So we have another 75. The rest is history. 15 years have passed and over 6000 plus Christmas trees and countless items have been donated from far too many people to mention--and you have an amazing story of a community coming together doing something positive for the men and women who serve the people of the United States.

It isn't just us at The Dees' Nursery and DHL or Adelis International Security that do this every year. To try and mention all who have participated in this great event year in and year out would take days, but a few who have stood out over the years need to be mentioned:

  • Mr. Dan Carbonara of the Port Authority Police Department.
  • The NYPD and Nassau County Police Dept.
  • Ben Thompson of the New York State Veterans Association.
  • All United States Veterans
  • The Oceanside Fire Dept.
  • Local Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops.
  • Many local schools who wrote cards including the Oceanside, Herrick's, Hewlett and East Rockaway School Districts.
  • Many local businesses have participated every year.
  • Our loyal customers who came each year to help celebrate the Trees for Troops send-off.

The four most important people in this 15 year endeavor:

  1. The Mystery Woman. We cannot forget the woman who initially asked if we could send a tree to her son. To this day, we still don't know who she is.
  2. My father, Tom Sr., who thought to himself we should try to send some of our Christmas Trees to the Soldiers, and started the conversation with Jim.
  3. If there ever was a person who is considered a connector, then Jim Adelis certainly fits the bill. He was the person who listened to my Dad that one day and made the phone call to his connections at DHL. He is also the person who started the organization "Citizens for Soldiers in Service." Without him, I would not be writing this email today and sending you the pictures of the soldiers receiving the trees. He is a true friend.
  4. And last, but certainly not least, Cathy O'Reilly. She is the unsung hero who doesn't get enough credit. Cathy and her staff at DHL, really do all the hard work. Cathy works tirelessly to make sure all these trees and packages are sent to the proper units within the US Military. The work it takes her and the staff to get these things sent into a war zone still amazes me. I am proud to know her and consider her my friend. If anybody deserves accolades, she is the one. I also know that without the generosity and hard work of her company, DHL, then this wouldn't happen.

Over the years the media attention for this event has been tremendous. It is something that my family and I had felt very uncomfortable about because we never want people to feel that we are doing this for the glory. I made mention of this to General Colt of the US Army the 3rd year our group was sending the trees over, and he told me to never feel uncomfortable about getting attention for such a great cause. He said he wanted Trees for Troops to be seen all over the country, so not only will the Military know we are supporting them but also their families. General Colt felt that if people across the country saw what we were doing, it would make others join in and participate. He said it was great for morale and a call to action for all US Citizens to do something to support the men and women who serve our great Nation. After that conversation, I felt different about the cameras at our store.

For all of you reading this email that has participated in any way over the years, please enjoy the pictures of your hard work. Without you, this may never have happened. I also want to thank our first responders who help us every year at this event. Members of the NYPD, Port Authority Police, FDNY, Nassau County Police Dept, and Local Police Forces and Oceanside Fire Dept help every year in this great cause and we know you are the first line of defense for our country.  As you look through the pictures, you will see all of us smiling and having a great time--which we certainly did. We must not forget that there are many men and women who are in harm's way every day as they serve our country. Let's keep this in perspective--and keep them in our thoughts as we enjoy our holiday season at home with our families.


Posted on Leave a comment

The History of Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentine’s Day originates back to the Catholic church; where Saint Valentine was martyred.  Saint Valentine was a priest whom served in the 3rd century in Rome.  It was Emperor Claudius II that decided a “single” man made a better soldier than someone who had a wife and a family.  He then went on to outlaw marriage for young men who would be a solider.  Saint Valentine realized that this was not appropriate and began to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.  When it was found that Saint Valentine was doing this, he was ordered to be put to death by Claudius.

A Valentine greeting dates back as far as the middle ages. Although a written Valentine did not appear until the late 1400’s.  One of the oldest known Valentines known to exist today is a poem that was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415 while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  It is believed that several years later, King Henry V had commissioned a writer to compose a Valentine’s Day Note to Catherine of Valois.

Today we carry on the tradition of Valentine’s Day through cards, flowers, romantic gifts and special dinners.  This year let your Valentine know how much you love him/her with a very special gift of love!

Get in good with flowers at Dees’ Nursery & Florist.

Posted on 1 Comment

The History Of Mother’s Day

The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations we know of were ancient Greek spring celebrations in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. But those were in honor of one particular mother. England’s “Mothering Sunday,” begun in the 1600’s, is closer to what we think of as “Mother’s Day.” Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent, “Mothering Sunday” honored the mothers of England.

In 1907 Anna Jarvis started a drive to establish a national Mother’s Day. In 1907 she passed out 500 white carnations at her mother’s church in West Virginia — one for each mother in the congregation. In 1908, her mother’s church held the first Mother’s Day service, on May 10th (the second Sunday in May). That same day a special service was held at the Wanamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia, where Anna was from, which could seat no more than a third of the 15,000 people who showed up.

By 1909, churches in 46 states, Canada and Mexico were holding Mother’s Day services. In the meantime, Ms. Jarvis had quit her job to campaign full time. She managed to get the World’s Sunday School Association to help; they were a big factor in convincing legislators to support the idea. In 1912, West Virginia was the first state to designate an official Mother’s Day. By 1914, the campaign had convinced Congress, which passed a joint resolution. President Woodrow Wilson signed the resolution, establishing an official national Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May.

Many countries of the world now have their own Mother’s Day at different times of the year, but Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, and Turkey join the US in celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. Britain still celebrates Mothering Day on the 4th Sunday of Lent — but they now call it Mother’s Day. By any name, and at any date, it’s a special day to honor a special person.

The most popular flower for Mother’s Day is the classic Rose. How classic a beauty is the Rose? It is delicate and fragrant like Mom, remember that sweet smell when she kissed those “boo-boos” or leaned over to hug you goodnight? Roses are tough too, just like Mom…don’t mess with her offspring! Most of all they are beautiful and admired for their strength and endurance. Maybe that is why the rose is the symbol of Mother’s Day! It exemplifies Mom in so many ways.

We are at the peak of our flowering season and what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than presenting Mom with a beautiful blooming Rosebush!

Posted on Leave a comment

The History of Mistletoe

Kissing under the mistletoe dates back to England during the 16th Century and a sprig of it hung over a doorway remains one of the Christmas Seasons most cherished traditions. The Druids in Celtic Britain worshiped its spiritual and healing powers and was often hung from ceilings or doorways to drive off the evil spirits and also to insure fertility.

Believe it or not, mistletoe is considered a parasitic plant. It sends its roots into the bark of trees and draws water and nutrients from it. Mistletoe is grown in the eastern United States from New Jersey to Florida and west toTexas and Illinois. Mistletoe has evergreen leaves that feel leathery to the touch. It grows in a ball shape and usually has white berries. New batches of mistletoe are found during the Winter Solstice.

Mistletoe has many herbal uses. It has been used to help with high blood pressure, anxiety, headaches and even to treat cancer. There are also many myths and magical tales surrounding mistletoe. People hung it in there house all year long to protect their home from fire and evil energy and also placed it over baby’s cribs to protect the baby from goblins.

For Christmas, mistletoe is a symbol of peace, joy and love. It should be the first decoration you put up and the last to come down. In the 18th century it was believed that people who kissed under the mistletoe would marry. Today the mistletoe kiss can be about romance, friendship or fun. Hang it in a doorway and when people who walk under it are expected to kiss. This is always a huge hit at parties and can even lead to some interesting or embarrassing situations.

Mistletoe led to the creation of the kissing ball. The kissing ball is a fresh or artificial ball of evergreens decorated with ribbons and ornaments. People who walk under a kissing ball can not refuse a kiss. Stop down toDees’ and grab some mistletoe and let’s get the smooching going. For all the ladies reading this posting, we provide free testing of the mistletoe before you leave.

Posted on Leave a comment

Amaryllis Tips

Amaryllis is the easiest bulb to bring to bloom. The amaryllis originated in South America’s tropical regions and has the botanical name HIPPEASTRUM. The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide. The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red,white, pink, salmon, and orange. There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Planting period: October until the end of April
Flowering period: Late December until the end of June
Flowering time: 6-8 weeks
Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place, between 40-50 Degrees F.

The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours. Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them; store them at a cool temperature, between 40 – 50 degrees F.

Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light, since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68-70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.

Bulbs will flower in 6-8 weeks as a general rule. In winter the flowering time will be longer than in the spring. Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind. To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home and garden.

After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again. Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering and when the stem starts to sag. Cut it back to the top of the bulb. Continue to water and fertilize as normal, doing this until the leaves begin to show some yellow. At this point, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb, and remove the bulb from the soil. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 degree F.), dark place such as the crisper of your fridge for a MINIMUM OF 6 WEEKS.

Posted on Leave a comment

History Of The Christmas Wreath

Perhaps the most popular holiday decorations is the Christmas Wreath. Christmas Wreaths are used in many different ways and in different settings. It is common to see them on the stairway, hanging on walls or doors, or even as a centerpiece on a table. From homes to large offices, Christmas Wreaths are a pleasant sight throughout the holiday season.

The term “Wreath”, is linked to our word “Wrist”, with both terms forming a continuous physical circular shape. It also came from Middle English’s “wrethe”, meaning a twisted band or ring of leaves or flowers in a garland.

Wreaths have been used symbolically for centuries. The circle or ring shape is symbolic of eternity or eternal life, the shape has no beginning or end. In ancient Rome, this symbol became so powerful that people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory. Many believe that this is where the hanging of wreaths on doors came from.

Putting plants into the symbolic circular shape symbolizes the strength of life overcoming the forces of winter. Wreaths and other decorations during long winters often were made of whatever natural materials looked good during this bleak time of year. People would use candles, fires, evergreens, hollies, berries, and forced blossoms to decorate their wreaths.

The ancient Druids were the first society in history to have worn sprigs of holly and mistletoe. These priests believed that holly, with its glossy, shiny prickly leaves of green adorned with red berries, remained green all year due to their magical properties. The Druids considered Holly very sacred. Many believe the holly berries have given us our green and red colors of Christmas.

Combining the symbolism of the wreath with the believed magical powers of Holly, Romans exchanged Holly Wreaths as gifts. When Christianity took hold in Rome, Holly Wreaths became Christmas Wreaths as part of the holiday decorations, but mistletoe was considered “pagan” because of its mystic properties. In fact, in 575 A.D., a German Catholic Bishop forbade all Christmas greens and condemned them as “dangerous and heathen”. Churches did not see their likeness again for centuries.

In the 16th century, the word “Holly” appeared in writing for the first time, used by Shakespeare. By the 17th century, holly had become a much larger part of Christmas celebrations, the Christmas Wreath. The shape of the wreath symbolized the crown of thorns put atop the head of Jesus and the as well resurrection. Christmas Wreaths came to stand for peace & joy.

Colonists would use pomegranates and other colorful fruits to decorate a Christmas Wreath. Pomegranates, indicated wealth. Other things used to decorate Christmas Wreaths included: seashells, pinecones, and other imported items. The colonists celebrated the Christmas for 12 consecutive days; hence, the “12 Days of Christmas”. At the end of the 12th day, on January 5th, people would take down their Christmas Wreaths and other holiday decorations. They removed the fruit and added them to the holiday feast, enjoying the bounty of summer in the heart of winter.