Browning or bleaching of evergreen foliage during winter occurs for four reasons:
1. Winter sun and wind cause excessive transpiration (foliage water loss) while the roots are in frozen soil and unable to replace lost water. This results in desiccation and browning of the plant tissue.
2. Bright sunny days during the winter also cause warming of the tissue above ambient temperature which in turn initiates cellular activity. Then, when the sun is quickly shaded, foliage temperature drops to injurious levels and the foliage is injured or killed.
3. During bright, cold winter days, chlorophyll in the foliage is destroyed (photo-oxidized) and is not resynthesized when temperatures are below 28° F. This results in a bleaching of the foliage.
4. Cold temperatures early in the fall before plants have hardened off completely or late spring after new growth has occurred can result in injury or death of this non acclimated tissue.
Foliar damage normally occurs on the south, southwest, and windward sides of the plant, but in severe cases the whole plant may be affected. Yew, arborvitae, and hemlock are most susceptible, but winter browning can affect all evergreens. New transplants or plants with succulent, late season growth are particularly sensitive.
There are several ways to minimize winter injury to evergreens.
The first is proper placement of evergreens in the landscape. Yew, hemlock, and arborvitae should not be planted on south or southwest sides of buildings or in highly exposed (windy, sunny) places.
A second way to reduce damage is to prop pine boughs or Christmas tree greens against or over evergreens to protect them from wind and sun and to catch more snow for natural protection.
Winter injury can often be prevented by constructing a barrier of burlap or similar material on the south, southwest, and windward sides of evergreens. If a plant has exhibited injury on all sides, surround it with a barrier, but leave the top open to allow for some air and light penetration.
Protecting evergreens from winter burn with a burlap screen.
Keeping evergreens properly watered throughout the growing season and into the fall is another way to reduce winter injury. Never stress plants by under or overwatering. Decrease watering slightly in September to encourage hardening off, then water thoroughly in October until freeze-up. Watering only in late fall does not help reduce injury.
Anti-desiccant and anti-transpirant sprays are often recommended to prevent winter burn. Most studies, however, have shown them to be ineffective.
If an evergreen has suffered winter injury, wait until mid-spring before pruning out injured foliage. Brown foliage is most likely dead and will not green up, but the buds, which are more cold hardy than foliage, will often grow and fill in areas where brown foliage was removed. If the buds have not survived, prune dead branches back to living tissue. Fertilize injured plants in early spring and water them well throughout the season. Provide appropriate protection the following winter.
Bringing Houseplants Indoors
Written by: Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
If you let your houseplants “vacation” on the back deck or front porch this summer, then by early September, it’s time to start getting them ready to move back inside for the winter.
Because conditions differ widely between the inside and outside of your home, a gradual reintroduction to the indoors is best.Sudden changes in temperature, light, and humidity can be traumatic to plants, resulting in yellowed leaves, dieback, wilting, and even death.
First, get them ready for the move indoors.Clean the windows--both inside and out--to ensure that plants will get adequate light this winter.If some of your plants will need repotting, make sure you have potting soil (not garden soil), containers, and the supplies you need on hand.
This is also the time to add ceiling hooks for hanging plants, or build that wide shelf in front of the window that you’ve always wanted.If you have a lot of plants that require high humidity, you might want to make the shelf wide enough to accommodate trays to group these plants together.Line the trays with waterproof material, add a layer of gravel, and place the pots on top.Keep the gravel moist.
You will need to bring your plants indoors before nighttime temperatures dip below 45 degrees (F).Most tropical plants will suffer damage at temperatures below 40 degrees, a few even below 50 degrees.
Inspect plants for insects and diseases, and treat as appropriate before bringing plants back inside.Soaking the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes will force insects out of the soil.If snails, earthworms, or other insects burrowed in the soil, you might want to repot the plants, placing a piece of wire screening over the drainage hole to keep them out next year.
If necessary, repot plants into larger containers.If plants have gotten leggy during their outdoor stay, remove from the container, and prune the top and roots in equal proportions.Scrub the pot, add fresh bagged potting soil (not garden soil which may have diseases), and replant.
This also is a good time to take cuttings of annual flowers, such as impatiens, begonias, geraniums, and coleus.They root easily in water or sand, and make attractive houseplants.This is a good way to overwinter them for planting in the garden next year. Or, you can just dig and pot a few annual plants, and enjoy their flowers for many more weeks indoors.
To prevent shock when you bring houseplants back indoors, expose plants gradually to reduced lighting.Usually, if they’ve been in bright light and you move them into much lower light, expect some leaves to fall off.However, new ones should form as the plants readapt to the lower light.It’s best if they’ve been outside in high light to put them in similar light indoors, like a south window or under plant lights on a timer for 16 hours a day.
Don’t overwater!Let the soil surface get dry to the touch before watering again.If in doubt, don’t water. Water succulents less often, when the soil is dry for several days.Don’t water if quite cloudy or rainy weather, as plants won’t get sufficient light indoors to dry out.
Finally, give your plants a boost of fertilizer, according to the directions on the product label.Plants that have been repotted with soil containing fertilizer will not need to be fed again for two to three months, or according to label directions.Keep in mind that often plants grow more in winter indoors, receiving more light between snow reflection and leaves off of trees.
Written by the people at: Jack Creek Farm / California
When you bring your pumpkin (or squash) home from a farm or store, display it out of the direct sun. This will prolong its color and its quality. It also should be displayed in an area where it is protected from frost. If you display it out in the open, and the temperatures are only a few degrees below freezing, a towel or blanket placed over it at night will do the trick.
It is okay to display pumpkins and squash that you will cook in a few weeks indoors. Inside a home is too warm for long-term storage. You should never place a pumpkin directly on a wooden table top or on the carpet. It can soften on the blossom end and weep pumpkin juice. Even if it doesn't weep, the moisture in the shell can damage wooden surfaces. A hard nonporous surface can cause your pumpkin to age prematurely. Ideally put a cloth or a circle of cardboard between your pumpkin and the surface you are displaying it on. A fabric placemat with a plastic placemat placed discreetly underneath works well.
Overwinter your favorite pumpkins, gourds and squash on a cool porch. It is covered to protect it from the sun, and adjacent to the house to protect it from frost. I really enjoy during the winter months, coming home on a gloomy day, and having cheery bright pumpkins greeting me.
If you are overwintering pumpkins in a barn or storage area, it is best if you can store them in a single layer on a surface that can "breathe" underneath them. Something like cardboard, wood or straw is preferable to cement or linoleum. If you have straw available, cover the pumpkins with a loose layer to protect them from below freezing temperatures. It is important to check them every week or two, and either immediately use or discard any that are starting to soften or mold. You also should keep an eye out for mice, as they love to eat pumpkins. More than once I've picked up a pumpkin to be surprised to find it hollowed out and a family of mice are living inside!
We overwinter pumpkins in the barn using the straw method, and usually have fresh pumpkins to feed our goats as late in the year as July. Most pumpkin varieties will store for at least 3 months. Some varieties will store successfully for 6 months or more. Today (as I am writing this) is June 15th. I still have several Jack-o-lanterns, a few butternut squash and some carnival squash displayed on my covered porch.
If your pumpkin starts to soften, you have several options. Cut out and discard any soft portions and prepare the pulp as detailed here. If the pumpkin flesh is soft (and not moldy), and the seeds are still firm, you can save them and eat them! Feed it to your goats or chickens, they won't mind a bit if it's old. (Note: don't feed it to your animals if it is moldy). Put it in your compost pile. Pumpkins provide necessary moisture to make a balanced compost. Next spring you will have some great compost to add to your veggie or flower garden. Bury it in your garden. If you bury it a foot or so deep, it will add rich amendments to your soil. If you bury it shallow, you will likely have a hole slew of pumpkin starts for next year. Save the seeds if it is NOT a hybrid (for more information on hybrids click here) to plant next year. Gently wash your seeds in warm water to remove any stringy residue. Place several layers of paper towels or newsprint in a shallow cardboard box. Place the seeds on top in a single layer and let them air dry. Depending upon the humidity of your home you may need to let them dry for several weeks. Once dry put them in a ziploc bag labeled with the date. Note: if your seeds aren't fully dry they can mold. If none of the above options work for you, sadly you may have to resort to placing it in your compost.
Attracting toads is the dream of many gardeners. Having toads in the garden is very beneficial as they naturally prey on insects, slugs and snails, up to 10,000 in a single summer. Having a resident toad keeps the pest population down and reduces the need for harsh pesticides or labor intensive natural controls. Let’s take a look at how to attract toads to your garden.
How to Attract Toads
Attracting toads to your garden mostly involves creating the right kind of habitat for toads. If you keep this in mind, you will have no problem getting a toad to take up residence.
Cover from predators – Toads are a tasty meal for many animals. Snakes, birds and the occasional house pet will kill and eat toads. Provide plenty of foliage and slightly elevated areas where toads can stay safe.
Moist cover – Toads are amphibians. This means that they live on both land and in the water and need moisture to survive. While toads are not as closely tied to the water as frogs are, they still need a moist place to live.
Toads make homes under boards, porches, loose rocks and roots of trees. You can provide moist hiding spots for toads to encourage them to stay. You can even turn a desirable place for a toad to live into a garden decoration by making a garden toad house.
Eliminate pesticides & chemicals – If you are using pesticides or other chemical in your garden, chances are it is too toxic to have toads in the garden. Toads are very sensitive chemicals and even small amounts can be damaging to their health.
Water – Toads may not live in water, but they need water to reproduce. A small pond or ditch that stays filled with water for at least a significant part of the year will not only help with attracting toads, but will help with ensuring future generations of toads.
Making your garden more toad friendly is all you need to do when looking at how to attract toads. Having a toad in the garden is a natural blessing to a gardener.
Prepared by Karen Russ, HGIC Horticulture Specialist, Clemson University. (New 12/04. Images added 09/07.) HGIC 1179
Hibiscus include a very wide variety of plants grown not only for their ornamental flowers but also as vegetables and fiber plants. Some are hardy perennials, while others are annuals, shrubs or tropical plants. This fact sheet covers perennial and annual hibiscus, as well as closely related plants commonly grown for ornamental purposes in South Carolina.
Mature Height/Spread: While dwarf varieties may only grow two to three feet tall, many varieties and species can attain heights of eight feet or more each growing season once established. Young plants are generally narrower than they are tall, but mature clumps will often spread as wide as their height.
Growth Rate: Perennial hibiscus generally reach mature height within two or three years, and return to that height each year. Best growth occurs when plants have ample moisture. Many hardy hibiscus are capable of blooming the first year from seed started in early spring.
Ornamental Features: Hibiscus are grown primarily for their strikingly beautiful and often amazingly large flowers. The foliage of many is often bold and remarkable as well, but is less noticed because the mid to late summer blossoms are so prominent. Hibiscus give a bold, tropical effect to a garden. They are also highly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
Culture: Many of the perennial hibiscus are natives of South Carolina and the Southeastern US. They prefer a sunny location and well drained soil containing plenty of organic matter. These conditions result in the most vigorous growth. Hibiscus will tolerate light shade and less desirable soils, but their vigor and flowering will be reduced. Plenty of water is necessary for the most abundant blooming. Water plants deeply and thoroughly, but allow some time between drenchings on established plants. Newly planted hibiscus will need more frequent watering, like other newly planted perennials. Some species and varieties will actually tolerate permanently damp soil and flooding.
Tall hibiscus should be sited where they are not exposed to strong winds to avoid breaking of the long stems. Stems that break can be shortened and new side shoots will grow and produce more blooms.
To encourage rebloom, either remove old flowers before they form seedheads or prune plants back by one third after a flush of bloom is finished.
Perennial hibiscus will freeze back to the ground each winter in all but the warmest parts of South Carolina. Old stems can then be cut back to the ground. New shoots emerge by mid spring.
Propagation: Hibiscus are easy to propagate by several methods, making them a common passalong plant, especially since some popular types such as Confederate Rose can be difficult to find in stores.
Cuttings: Cuttings can be rooted at anytime that new growth is available, although rooting is usually quickest in spring. Start with pencil thick, five to six inch long cuttings of firm new growth. Strip off lower leaves and insert the cutting in a mix of three parts sand and one part peat. Roots should form within four to five weeks. Once roots are formed plants can be moved into a larger container or transplanted to a permanent location.not usually tolerate fall division or transplanting.
ALL INFO is from:http://www.hollandbulbfarms.com/elephant-ears.asp
Towering over other plants in the summer landscape, the Elephant Ear bulb is a wonder to behold! The large leaves of some of the varieties can reach up to two feet across and three feet long, with stems topping out at eight feet tall! Adding a true taste of the tropics to full sun areas, elephant ears come in a variety of sizes and colors.
Elephant ears do best in hot and bright areas, looking great as a backdrop to a cutting garden or along a pool. Their sturdy stems and lush nature also make them great choices for outdoor as well as indoor containers. The bulbs themselves are quite large and can make a great project for a young child to plant and watch grow!
Planting Elephant Ears
1.Elephant Ear bulbs are typically planted during the spring season once the threat of frost has passed.
2.Choose a planting location that has well-drained soil and receives as much direct sunlight as possible.
3.Depending on the variety and size of the bulbs, space the elephant ears 24-48”apart (refer to specific variety instructions).
4.It is sometimes difficult to determine which end of an elephant ear bulb is the “pointed end”. When looking at the bulb, you will most likely notice one end is somewhat gnarly with small holes and divots. This is the end that will produce roots and should be planted downward in the soil. The opposite end of the bulb will be much smoother with distinct concentric rings around it. This smooth end will produce the sprout and should be facing up. Plant the bulb so that it is covered with 1-2” of soil.
5.Thoroughly soak the area with water once the tubers have been planted. Continue to water regularly throughout the growing season. Fertilize plants once per month if desired with a well-balanced water soluble fertilizer while actively growing.
6.Keep in mind that the Elephant Ear plant is native to area of extreme heat and a tropical climate. Therefore, it will require quite a bit of consistent warm weather to begin sprouting. This can mean sometimes taking a period of 6-8 weeks to sprout once the weather begins to warm in more northern climates. Patience may be required before initial growth is visible.
7.Allow plants to continue growing up until just before the first frost. This enables them to produce food for next year’s growth. If planted in containers, force the bulbs into dormancy by gradually withholding water at this point or move indoors so that it may continue to grow in the warmth.
8.Gently dig up the bulb. Cut what is remaining of the plant stalks within 6” of the bulb and gently rinse off the soil. Allow the bulbs to air dry for at least one full day. Place bulbs in a dry paper bag.
9.Store the bags for winter in a dry place which remains consisting below 55 degrees but does not freeze, such as a cellar, basement, or garage.
10.Replant in spring according to the above instructions.
All information is from BETTER HOMES & GARDENS at:
Gardeners in warmer Zones have long known that pansies can be planted in fall and continue to grow and bloom all winter and into spring. What isn’t as well known is that pansies can overwinter as far north as Zone 4, making them hardy even in parts of the northern United States and southern Canada. Many gardeners chafe at the idea of splurging for flowers that may not last more than a month in the ground. However, if planted in fall, pansies can last up to eight months, from September to April or
May, providing fall and spring color. That’s a pretty good deal.
Pansies aren’t attractive in the middle of the coldest winters. In fact, they can look downright pitiful (when they’re not buried under snow). But they’re just biding their time until spring, when they hit their stride. The bonus for keeping them around is that the spring bloom is usually much more robust when the plants have been in the round since fall. Overwintering Pansies Plant as early as possible. The more established the plants are, the better they’ll be able to withstand cold, desiccating winter conditions. That means planting in September, if possible. The farther south you are, the wider your planting window, and October may also be acceptable in warmer Zones. But in Zones 4-7, early planting is key Choose healthy plants. Healthy plants establish more quickly, rapidly growing the root system that’s so critical to winter
hardiness. Choose hardy varieties. Generally, varieties with medium-size flowers overwinter better than large-flowered types, but there are several exceptions. In any case, obtaining the very hardiest cultivars is only a concern in northern areas such as Zones 4 and 5. Varieties that have overwintered well for the Green Bay Botanical Garden in Wisconsin include the Sky, Delta, Bingo, and Accord Series. Icicle pansies (and violas) have been bred specifically for cold hardiness and also have tested well in Zone 4. Other pansies that are reported to grow well in the north are Crystal Bowl, Presto, Skyline, Universal, and Maxim. Ensure good drainage. Pansies are susceptible to saturated soil. They have been known to overwinter successfully, only to succumb to excessive moisture as the winter’s snow and ice begin to melt. Be sure they’re growing in a well-drained location. Be sure to read all the info at: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/flowers/annuals/how-toselect- and-grow-pansies/
The Best Summer Bulbs
Buy Now...Plant Later for a Colorful Garden
Check out your favorite bulbs at your local garden center NOW
before supplies dwindle and get ready for a colorful blooming
garden this year. Remember to but some bulb booster fertilizer
as well and follow directions on the package when you plant your
Summer Cheer Daffodil
All information below is from the GURNEY’S CATALOG (more info is available) at the following address:
Depth: 6” deep with the pointed end facing upward.
SUN/SHADE: Full sun to partial shade.
FOLIAGE: Strap-like green foliage.
BLOOMS: The first year planted, it will bloom in early Summer. After its first year, this daffodil will flower in Spring.
Form: Floriferous: usually three to eight blossoms on a strong stem, though 20 is possible. Petals, (perianth segments) are rounded and may be somewhat crinkled. Cup is very short.
FLOWER FORM: Fragrant double flowers of ivory-white with a trace of yellow.
Soil Requirements: Rich, moist, but well-drained soil.
PRUNING: Do not trim back the leaves until they die because they are feeding the bulb for next year’s blooms.
Size: 13+ cm. bulbs.
COMMENTS: The Tazetta are a special group of daffodils that are highly-suited for indoor forcing. They are very fragrant and a joy to have blooming in your house during the dark days of Winter. They have several blooms per stem with small flowers, short cups and rounded petal tips. Can be grown outdoors in milder areas. To grow indoors, plant bulbs 2” deep in early Autumn and plunge in a cold frame outdoors until roots appear. Bring into the greenhouse and gradually increase the temperature. Water freely and feed with weak high potassium fertilizer once a week. Bring into the house once flower buds appear. Forced bulbs are best discarded after flowering. Daffodils, natives of Europe, are immune to most diseases and pests including gophers and deer! They are easy to grow in semi-shade to full sun. Plantings are extremely long-lived in areas where they are suited. Almost all daffodils naturalize easily, although some varieties are especially noted for this characteristic. Plant lots of different types for continued bloom and mass color.
Roses can add a special touch to any room, as well as their beauty... fragrant roses add a wonderful aroma that is hard to beat. Whether the roses have been cut from your own plants in the garden or bought for you, you want to make sure they last as long as possible. Follow these guidelines taken from U.K. Florist website (noted above) to take care of cut flowers to make sure that you enjoy the beauty of your cut roses for as long as possible.
Submerged leaves can decay and create bacteria. Remove these leaves. Be careful not to damage the bark of the stem. Any damages to the stem can prevent uptake of water through the stem.
Hold the stems under water and cut about 2 cm from the bottom of the stem with a sharp knife or scissors. Keep this end moist and don’t let it dry before being placed in vase or container.
Immediately after the stems are cut, place roses in a deep vase of warm preservative solution (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Leave roses in a cool, dark room for a couple of hours before arranging. This gives the roses a little time to settle and adjust before being arranged.
Arrange fresh-cut roses in a vase with water that contains flower preservative. Bought flowers normally come with a packet and instruction on mixing it with water. Avoid water with other additives.
If you use a florist’s floral foam material for arranging the roses, make sure it is thoroughly wet with preservative. Use a vase large enough to keep the entire block of foam submerged. Insert the rose stems firmly in the foam so that they can absorb the preservative solution.
Roses are thirsty flowers. Check the container regularly and make sure there is plenty of water. Remember to add more preservative solution as you add more water.
Roses don’t like too much sunlight or extreme temperatures. Keep the rose arrangement in a cool area out of direct sunlight and drafts.
Roses can wilt if they cannot take up water and preservative through the stem. If fresh roses begin to wilt, it could mean that there is air trapped in the stem. Cut off the bottom of the stem. Check for any damage to the bark and cut the stem above this, if it is above the water level since it can cause air to get into the stem. Submerge the rose in warm water for about an hour and it can then go back in the arrangement.
Dusty Houseplant Cleaning houseplants improves their appearance and stimulates growth.Winter weather adversely affects growing conditions for houseplants. Proper care during the winter months can help insure the health of houseplants.
Most houseplants grow well with daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F and night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F. Temperatures below 50 degrees F or rapid temperature fluctuations may damage some plants. Keep houseplants away from cold drafts, radiators, and hot air vents. Also make sure houseplant foliage doesn’t touch cold windows.
Many houseplants prefer a humidity level of 40 to 50 percent. Unfortunately, the relative humidity found in many homes during the winter months may be only 10 to 20 percent -- a level too low for many houseplants. Humidifiers are an excellent way to increase the relative humidity in a single room or throughout the entire home. Simple cultural procedures can also increase the relative humidity around houseplants. Group plants together. The water evaporating from the potting soil, plus water lost through the plant foliage (transpiration), will increase the relative humidity in the immediate vicinity of the houseplants. Another method is to place the houseplants on trays (saucers) filled with pebbles or gravel and water. The bottoms of the pots should be above the water level.
Misting houseplants is not an effective method to raise relative humidity. Misting would have to be done several times daily to appreciably raise the humidity level and is simply not practical.
Plant species also affects watering frequency. Ferns prefer an evenly moist soil and should be watered relatively frequently. Cacti and succulents, on the other hand, should not be watered until the potting soil is completely dry. The majority of houseplants fall between these two groups. Most houseplants should be watered when the soil is barely moist or almost dry to the touch. When watering houseplants, water them thoroughly. Water should freely drain out of the bottoms of the pots. If the excess water drains into a saucer, discard the water and replace the saucer beneath the pot.
Dust and grease often accumulate on the leaves of houseplants. The dust and grease not only makes them unattractive, it may slow plant growth. Cleaning houseplants improves their appearance, stimulates growth, and may help control insects and mites.
Wash the foliage using a very mild solution of dishwashing soap and tepid water. Another method is to place the plants in the shower and give them a good “bath”. Be sure to adjust the water temperature before placing the plants under the shower head.
FALL COLOR & BIRD FRIENDLY...It’s the American Mountain Ash
•Great fall color, leaves turn orange and purple, orange berries in fall
•Showy white spring flowers
•Great Northern flowering tree
•Bird and wildlife friendly fruit
•Grows 10’ to 30’ with 15’ spread
•Zones 2 to 5
Sorbus americana is a relatively small tree, reaching 40 feet (12 m) in height. The American Mountain-ash attains its largest specimens on the northern shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior. It resembles the European Mountain-ash, Sorbus aucuparia.
Light gray, smooth, surface scaly. Branchlets downy at first, later become smooth, brown tinged with red, lenticular, finally they become darker and the papery outer layer becomes easily separable. Wood: Pale brown; light, soft, close-grained but weak. Sp. gr., 0.5451; weight of cu. ft., 33.97 lbs.
Dark red, acute, one-fourth to three-quarters of an inch long. Inner scales are very tomentose and enlarge with the growing shoot. Leaves: (see Leaf shape for explanation of terms) Alternate, compound, odd-pinnate, six to ten inches long, with slender, grooved, dark green or red petiole. Leaflets thirteen to seventeen, lanceolate or long oval, two to three inches long, one-half to two-thirds broad, unequally wedge-shaped or rounded at base, serrate, acuminate, sessile, the terminal one sometimes borne on a stalk half an inch long, feather-veined, midrib prominent beneath, grooved above. They come out of the bud downy, conduplicate; when full grown are smooth, dark yellow green above and paler beneath. In autumn they turn a clear yellow. Stipules leaf-like, caducous.
May, June, after the leaves are full grown. Perfect, white, one-eighth of an inch across, borne in flat compound cymes three or four inches across. Bracts and bractlets acute, minute, caducous.
Berry-like pome, globular, one-quarter of an inch across, bright red, borne in cymous clusters. Ripens in October and remains on the tree all winter. Flesh thin and sour, charged with malic acid; seeds light brown, oblong, compressed; cotyledons fleshy.
Soil preparation: Garlic will tolerate some shade but prefers full sun. While I’ve seen cloves sprout in gravel pits, garlic responds best in well-drained, rich, loamy soil amended with lots of organic matter. Raised beds are ideal, except in very dry regions.
Planting: To grow garlic, you plant the cloves, the sections of the bulb; each clove will produce a new bulb. The largest cloves generally yield the biggest bulbs. To get the cloves off to a strong start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in a jar of water containing one heaping tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Plant garlic in the fall.
Spacing: Place cloves in a hole or furrow with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, with each tip 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch, such as straw or dried grass clippings mixed with leaves. You’ll see shoots start growing right through the mulch in four to eight weeks, depending on your weather and the variety you’ve planted. They stop growing during winter, then start again in spring. Leave the mulch in place into spring; it conserves moisture and suppresses weeds (garlic competes poorly with weeds).
Watering: Garlic needs about an inch of water each week during spring growth. If you have to augment rainfall with the garden hose, stop watering by June 1 or when the leaves begin to yellow in order to let the bulbs firm up.
Scape Sacrifice: By mid-June, your garlic will begin sprouting flowery tops that curl as they mature and ultimately straighten out into long spiky tendrils. These savory stalks, known as scapes, should be removed to encourage larger, more efficient bulb growth. However, before adding severed scapes to the compost pile, try incorporating their mild garlic flavor into a delicious scape pesto, scape dip, or scape soup.
Fertilizing: Start foliar-feeding your garlic every two weeks as soon as leaf growth begins in spring (typically in March) and continue until around May 15, at which point the bulbs begin to form, says Darrell Merrell, host of the "Garlic Is Life" Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Merrell uses 1 tablespoon liquid seaweed mix and 1 tablespoon fish emulsion mixed into a gallon of water.
Harvesting Hints: When half to three-quarters of the leaves turn yellow-brown, typically in late June or early July (depending on the variety and the weather), it’s harvest time. Carefully dig up each bulb; do not pull, or you may break the stalk from the bulb, which can cause it to rot. Once it’s harvested, get it out of the sun as soon as possible.Tie the garlic together in bundles of 6 to 10 bulbs (label them if you’ve grown more than one variety) and hang them to cure for about four to six weeks in a shaded, dry, and preferably drafty area.When your garlic is thoroughly dry, trim the roots, taking care not to knock off the outer skin. Cut off the stalks about 1½ inches above the bulb if you plan to keep the garlic in bags. Recycled mesh onion bags are perfect for storage.
WE’RE ON VACATION
August is here and with it...many vacations have been planned. You’re at the shore or the mountains with plenty of sun and fun. You are taking in the local sights, enjoying the flavors of the regional restaurants and taking lots of photos of your trip. Back home... are your houseplants on vacation too? Here are a few tips to keep your houseplants happy while you’re away.
VACATION CARE TIPS: Making sure your plants receive enough water during your absence is the challenge. Cover the plants using a clear plastic bag that is large enough to accommodate each of them. Then place the enclosed plant in a shallow pan with pebbles and some water. This set-up should be sufficient for 7-8 days. For an extended vacation, ask someone to check on them regularly....or
DO JUST ONE THING by Eco-Expert Danny Seo Before tossing the empty bottle of vino into the recycling bin, think about upcycling it into a handy automatic water dispenser for your houseplants. Simply rinse out the bottle and fill to the top with cold tap water. Invert it right into the potted plant so the neck of the bottle is immersed into the soil. The set-up will give your plant a slow trickle of water. This is perfect if you’re planning a vacation and need to keep your plants hydrated – just use a large wine bottle for a large plant and a glass soda bottle for smaller plants.
SUMMER CARE Many people move their houseplants outdoors during the warm summer months. Often this helps reinvigorate them. Do not place them in direct sun. A north-side exposure or under a tree works well. It is best to introduce plants to a new location slowly. Begin this acclimatization by placing outdoors for just a few hours on the first day. Each day, increase the time. By the end of 1-2 weeks, these plants should be ready for their new spot. In the fall, bring them back into the house before the temperature drops. Repeat the acclimatization steps. Inspect them for insects and disease. Often it is a good idea to re-pot them into fresh potting mix before returning them indoors. Be aware that plants may be infected with disease or insects when moved indoors. Quarantine them from other indoor plants for 2-3 weeks to minimize this risk.
CLEAR POND WATER
Clear pond water can be achieved with proper plant balance. If the pond is in full sun, 50-70% of its surface must be covered with foliage such as Floating Heart, Water Hyacinth, Water Poppy, Water Lily, or Lotus.
Underwater grasses are essential to maintaining water clarity as they utilize the oxygen in the water, which helps prevent algae from accumulating in the pond. Following are some easy guidelines to know when trying to figure out how many grasses are needed:
1 clump of grass per 1 sq. ft. of surface area for ponds less than 25 sq. ft.
1 clump of grass per 2 sq. ft. of surface area for ponds greater than 25 sq. ft
Time to fertilize all Water Lilies and Lotus once a month to keep the plant blooming continuously throughout the season.
Lotus are great plants for container water gardens on a deck or patio. Whiskey barrels make a perfect container for these types of water gardens.
Tropical Water Lilies make a spectacular show of color for any water garden. Whereas hardy Water Lilies bloom only during the day, tropical varieties, include day and night bloomers. This makes it possible to enjoy the bloom in the late afternoon and evening. Day blooming tropical Water Lilies bloom heavier than hardy lilies. The flowers stay open longer each day and they bloom much later into the season. Night blooming tropical water lilies open their flowers at approximately 5 pm and do not close until the following morning around 9 am. This is perfect timing for those evening barbecues and parties.
Time to switch from spring fish food to summer fish food since water temperatures have risen above 70 degrees. At higher temperatures, fish metabolize at a faster rate, thus creating a need for a diet higher in protein, which the summer food contains.
DO JUST ONE THING
by Eco-Expert Danny Seo
Before tossing the empty bottle of vino into therecycling bin, think about upcycling it into ahandy automatic water dispenser for your houseplants.Simply rinse out the bottle and fill to thetop with cold tap water. Invert it right into the pottedplant so the neck of the bottle is immersedinto the soil. The set-up will give your plant aslow trickle of water. This is perfect if you’re planninga vacation and need to keep your plantshydrated – just use a large wine bottle for a largeplant and a glass soda bottle for smaller plants.
FLAVORTISM Flavor Favorites ..the best Herbs for Container Gardening
Basil a beloved Italian annual herb, grows best in full sun and fertile, moist soil. Once the root system is established,about six weeks after sowing, it tolerates short periods of drought. Basil is a good companion with parsley,thyme, and other herbs when grown in a pot that holds at least 5 gallons of soil. For small containers, choose acompact variety such as ‘Spicy Bush’.
Chives are grassy, clump-forming perennials with hollow leaves. Essentially tiny onions, chives are grown fortheir leaves and blooms rather than their bulbs. Their fragrant pink-purple spring flowers are also edible. Plantthem in well-drained potting soil that’s rich with organic matter. They can tolerate light shade but do best in fullsun. Chives grow well in container gardens. Because they’re hardy in Zones 3-10, you can leave them outdoorsyear-round.
Cilantro also known as coriander, can be used for its tangy leaves or its dried, ground seeds. Plant this annualherb in well-drained soil. Cilantro grows best in sun, although it tolerates some shade. Because it has a long taproot, place it in a container garden that is at least 12 inches deep.
Tarragon is a classic French herb used to season fish and many other foods. Its name is derived from the French word for little dragon, referring to the herb’s bold flavor. Plant it in full sun and well-drained potting mix. Ittolerates drought well and should not be overwatered. Tarragon grows in partial shade but does best in full sun.Zones 5-9
Lemon balm, an old-fashioned favorite that spreads freely and self-sows readily, is perfect for container gardensso it doesn’t take over the yard. Plant in partial shade or full sun and in moist, rich, well-drained potting mix.Zones 3-10
Marjoram, an oregano relative, has a sweeter, milder flavor and aroma than its cousin. Grow it in full sun andwell-drained potting mix. It’s perennial in Zones 8-10, so gardeners in colder areas can grow it in container gardensindoors over winter.Mint is such a vigorous plant that it will become invasive unless it is confined in a pot. Grow it in full sun or partialshade.
Mint can grow in many soil types and degrees of sunlight, but it produces the best leaves in rich soil. It’sa perennial, but its hardiness varies by variety, so check which type you are growing.Oregano is an essential ingredient in Mediterranean cuisines. The plant is a shrubby perennial that doesbest in full sun and well-drained potting mix. The more sun oregano receives, the more pungent the flavor of theleaves. It does not tolerate wet soil. Zones 5-10
Rosemary, a Mediterranean evergreen shrub, likes hot, dry, sunny spots. Quick-draining soil is the key to goodgrowth. It’s drought-tolerant. Keep the soil moist but never wet when grown indoors. Zones 7-10
Sage is a favorite for seasoning poultry. Best grown in full sun and moist, well-drained potting mix, sage is perfectfor adding structure to container gardens. Most, but not all, varieties are hardy in Zones 4-10.
Thyme comes in many varieties, but all grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. Thyme does not tolerate wetsoil, so avoid over-watering. Zones 4-10
TRILLIUM for your wildflower garden
Trilliums are low growing woodland flowers. Most are native to the U.S. and you will often stumble upon a patch of trillium while walking in the woods. Different species favor different areas. Some are more showy than others, but what they all share are 3 leaves, 3 petals and 3 sepals.
Once established, trilliums are not difficult to grow. However they are particular about their growing conditions and can be very slow to reproduce. Don’t be tempted to take a plant from the wild. Many species are protected and some are endangered. Luckily more trilliums are finding their way into nurseries and catalogs.
DESCRIPTION: Trillium are members of the lily family. Although they vary widely in height, form and color, they can be identified by their 3 leaves and 3 flower petals.
Trilliums spread by underground rhizomes and eventually can form a dense mat. During warm or dry summers, the plants may go dormant and die back to the ground.
LEAVES: can be oval, elliptical, lance or diamond shaped, in solid green, mottled or with red veining. The meet in a point, on the stem, and whorl out around it.
FLOWERS: Each flower has three petals. The flowers can be tubular or cupped shaped and may be held erect on a stem or stemless.
LATIN NAME: Trillium spp. and cvs.
DAFFODIL Division Codes
of the American Daffodil Society
There are thirteen descriptive divisions of daffodils.
Division 1 - Trumpet Daffodils, The cup is as long or longer
than the petals.There is one bloom per stem.
Division 2 - Large-Cupped Daffodils
The cup length measures more than 1/3 of, but less than equal
to,the length of the petals. There is one bloom per stem.
Division 3 - Small-Cupped Daffodils
The cup length measures not more than 1/3 of the length of the
petals. There is one bloom per stem.
Division 4 - Double Daffodils
Daffodils have a clustered cup and petals. There can be one
or more flowers per stem.
Division 5 - Triandrus Daffodils
Daffodils have blooms that hang like bells. There are usually
two or more blooms per stem.
Division 6 - Cyclamineus Daffodils
Daffodils have a wind-swept appearance. There is one bloom
Division 7 - Jonquilla Daffodils
Daffodils have small flowers with flat petals. There are usually
one to three blooms on a stem. They are very fragrant. The
foliage is narrow, reed-like.
Division 8 - Tazetta Daffodils
Daffodils have clusters of florets (usually more than three)
on a stem. The foliage and stem are very broad. These
flowers are very fragrant.
Division 9 - Poeticus Daffodils
Daffodils have extremely white petals and are noted for this
quality. The cup is a small, crinkled disc. Cups most often
have a green center, surrounded by yellow, with a red rim.
There is usually one fragrant bloom per stem.
Division 10 - Bulbocodium Hybrids
Daffodils in the “hoop petticoat” form.
Division 11 - Split-Cupped Daffodils
Daffodils have cups split at usually more than half its length.
Division 12 - Miscellaneous Daffodils
Daffodils not classifiable by the first 11 divisions. Many are
Division 13 - Species, Wild Variants, and Wild
Miniatures have the same descriptive
divisions as standards, only with smaller
blooms, usually less than 1½ inches in
DAFFODIL Color codes
used to describe the color of daffodils are as
W - White or Whitish
Y - Yellow
P - Pink
O - Orange
R - Red
ANTHURIUM PLANT CARE
Common Name: Flamingo Flower, Lady Jane, Cotton Candy
Scientific Name: Anthurium Species
Lighting: Moderate to Bright
Watering: Low to Moderate
There are many popular Anthurium plants that make great additions to your houseplant collection. The Anthurium is characterized by its shiny dark foliage with its heart shaped flowers available in reds, whites and pink variations. Most species will bloom year round adding extra beauty to your home. If the plant stops blooming for a long period of time, place it in a cool spot for about 5 weeks or try feeding it a blooming plant food.
The Anthurium prefers bright light, so try to place the plant between 5 and 8 feet from a window. This houseplant requires low to medium amounts of water. Let the soil dry out in between watering, but most importantly, the Anthurium requires proper drainage. Be sure your pot has drainage holes. You can also help the plant by putting 1 to 2 inches of pebble stone in the bottom of the pot. The Anthurium requires a slightly higher level of humidity so misting weekly will help the plant look and feel a lot better.
One common problem with Anthurium plants is that they usually come with gnats. By keeping the plants soil clean from dead foliage and not allowing water to sit in the drain tray. You may also try spraying with a soapy water mixture.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE AMARYLISS...THEY’LL MAKE YOU GREEN WITH ENVY!
• GREEN DRAGON
• GREEN GODDESS
• LEMON LIME
• CYBISTER EVERGREEN
GROWING AMARYLLIS IN STONES AND WATER:
These large bulbs will grow happily and bloom abundantly in nothing more than stones and water. To “plant” your bulb, begin by carefully placing river stones or pebbles to a depth of about 4 inches in our Hurricane Vase or Bulb Vase or your own clear glass planter. With scissors, trim off any roots on the bulb that are brown and dried*, but let the roots that are whitish and fleshy remain. Place the Amaryllis bulb, roots down, on top of the stones, then put the remaining stones around the bulb, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed. Finally, add water until the level reaches about 1in below the base of the bulb but no higher. If the base of the bulb sits in water, it will rot.
After planting, set the container on a sunny windowsill in a room where the temperature remains above 60°F. The warmer the temperature (70-80°F night and day is ideal), the faster the bulb will sprout and grow. Check the water level daily. Add water as needed to keep the level below the base of the bulb. A shoot will emerge from the top of the bulb in 2-8 weeks; you may (or may not) see thick white roots pushing between the stones before then. Rotate the container frequently to prevent the flower stalks from leaning toward the light.
WINTER! There is a plus to frost and cold. It makes certain vegetables just that much sweeter. You probably know that carrots enjoy a slight chill, but have you let your Brussels sprouts enjoy the wonders of frost?
It doesn’t seem like many gardeners grow Brussels sprouts anymore. Of course, it doesn’t seem like many people eat Brussels sprouts anymore. They are such an interesting plant, I think it would be easier to get children to try them if they saw how cute they are on the plant. Personally, I prefer my Brussels Sprouts almost raw. OK, I have been know to munch on them in the garden.
Brussels Sprouts are a long season crop and although they are a late harvest, they are a relatively long one. Because of their fondness for cool weather, Brussels Sprouts are a fall crop in warmer climates, so there’s still time for you folks to start planting. If your garden is done for the season, read how easy it is to grow Brussels sprouts anyway, and think about making some space for them next year. There’s even a red variety that you can at least enjoy looking at, if you’d still prefer not to eat them.
Composting leaves continued: Mixing other organic wastes with leaves is an important step in optimizing the decomposition process. High nitrogen materials, such as grass clippings or other plant wastes, animal manures, food scraps etc., can speed up the decomposition process and increase the nitrogen content of the end product, making it more suitable for use as a soil amendment. The high nitrogen component must be carefully controlled because the addition of too much nitrogen can result in the formation of ammonia, creating an odor problem. The rapid decomposition also uses up oxygen, causing further problems as the aerobic microorganisms are replaced by anaerobic microorganisms. Most all organic materials will decompose, but not all of these materials should be used in a compost pile. Some organic wastes attract rodents, dogs and cats, while weeds and pathogen-infected materials may survive the composting process. Cat and dog fecal materials, as well as cat litter should not be used in the pile due to potentially harmful health issues.
Grass clippings are high in nitrogen and can be added to the leaf pile. However, high moisture and high nitrogen content in the grass clippings require that they be mixed into the pile with other materials in order to reduce the anaerobic conditions that can occur from grass being “clumped together” in the pile. A mix of 2 to 3:1 (leaves: grass clippings) is generally considered optimum for decomposition in the compost pile.
However, as the materials decompose, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the desired leaves: grass ratio. After leaves are collected in the fall and wind-rowed, they undergo a substantial reduction in volume due to the burst of microbial activity that occurs within the first month of composting. By the time grass clippings are being collected the following spring and summer, the leaves may be reduced in volume by as much as 50 percent. If leaf/grass clipping mixes are to be composted, leaves collected in the fall should be stockpiled without turning until grass collection begins in spring. At that time, form a pile with the appropriate mix of stockpiled leaves and grass clippings. The leaf piles will likely be anaerobic and some short term odors may be generated when the piles are disturbed.
Leaves typically allow more oxygen into the pile to help maintain aerobic conditions. Grass clippings, because they are high in nitrogen and moisture, provide needed nitrogen to speed decomposition and restore vigorous composting activity to the pile. Again, experimenting with mixes is the best way to find the mix that works for a specific location.
It would be an ideal situation if all of the yard trimmings produced could simply be mixed together and composted. However, since woody materials, such as prunings, decompose so slowly this may not be advisable. Woody materials in the compost pile can also cause problems with the turning.
Another alternative in certain situations is to grind the woody wastes to mix with the grass and leaves. Woody materials should make up no more than one-third of the pile. Remaining ground woody materials should be kept separate to be used as a mulch, while the leaf/grass mix is used as a compost.
In late summer when the spring planting of sets and seedlings mature, the onion harvest is in full swing.As you pull your onions, you will probably notice that the stalks of some are thicker than others. Sometimes they are called thick-headed or bull-headed. When storing onions like these you will discover that they will not store as well as those with stalks that shrivel away completely.The best vegetable gardening advice is to use the thick stemmed or bull-headed onions first.If you want to store your onions in an open mesh bag, cut off the stalks about one inch or two above the bulbs when you pull them. Storing onions can also be easily done by braiding them so the bulbs can be hung in an airy place. If you want to braid them, do the braiding soon after digging because the stalks will still be relatively supple. Hang braids of onions on the north wall of a garden shed to prevent the sun from spoiling the bulbs.
It may seem intimidating, but you can figure it out. When selecting a fertilizer – whether it’s for annuals, vegetable gardens, trees and shrubs, perennials or lawns – the first question to answer is, “What analysis do I need?” The analysis is actually the three large numbers you see on every fertilizer label – put there by law – such as 10-20-10 or 10-10-10 or 18-46-0. These numbers represent the percentage (by weight) of the three major nutrients required for healthy plant growth, always in the same order: nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K). Each of these nutrients affects plant growth differently, and the formulation you select should depend on your specific gardening needs.
The first number is the percentage of nitrogen in the bag. So a bag of 24-8-4 has 24 percent total nitrogen. Nitrogen provides plants with the ability to produce more chlorophyll, which in turn allows plants to grow quickly. With each additional nitrogen application, plants will grow taller and develop a darker green color. So if you want a dark green lawn, use a lawn fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen – but then expect to mow more often.
The second number in the analysis is the percentage of phosphorus in the mix. For example, a bag of 24-8-4 would contain 8 percent phosphorus. Phosphorous aids in root development and increases flowering ability and bloom size. The fertilizer industry smartly markets high phosphorus fertilizer as “Bloom Booster.” High-phosphorous fertilizer should be used when plants are being established in your garden – when sowing a new lawn or planting a new tree, for instance.
The third number represents the percentage of potassium found in the product. A bag of 24-8-4 has 4 percent potassium in the mix. Potassium has many functions: It guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. It also serves a role in improving root development and helps in the process of photosynthesis. You might consider using a high-potassium fertilizer at the start of winter and summer to protect crops from temperature extremes or when insects and disease have caused damage to your plants.
Now, if you’re a left-brainer, you’ve probably noticed that the sum of the percentages don’t equal 100 percent. That’s because there are other nutrients and filler product in fertilizer mixtures. This filler helps to apply the nutrients evenly over an area. So no need to double-check the math.
An experienced gardener may recognize a plant’s need for fertilizer. For example, plants that are deficient in nitrogen may start turning light green or yellow. Similarly, purple foliage (on an otherwise green plant) is a telltale sign of phosphorus deficiency. The only true way to determine how much fertilizer a crop needs is to conduct a soil test. Most states offer soil samples through their Cooperative Extension Service at no charge (or for a small fee). A soil test ensures that the correct amount and type of fertilizer will be used on your plants.
Next time you’re in the garden center selecting fertilizer, don’t let the numbers on the package intimidate you. Just consider what your plants need and match their needs to the numbers. You, and your yard, will be fine!
CREATE A CERTIFIED WILDLIFE HABITAT Whether you have an apartment balcony or a 20-acre farm, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. By providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young; you not only help wildlife, but you also qualify to become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat®.
HOW TO CREATE A WILDLIFE-FRIENDLY GARDEN
Provide Food for WildlifeEveryone needs to eat! Planting native forbs, shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources.
Supply Water for WildlifeWildlife need clean water sources for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. Water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, oceans and wetlands; or human-made features such as bird baths, puddling areas for butterflies, installed ponds or rain gardens.
Create Cover for WildlifeWildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe fromGive Wildlife a Place to Raise Their YoungWildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring. Many places for cover can double as locations where wildlife can raise young, from wildflower meadows and bushes where many butterflies and moths lay their eggs, or caves where bats roost and form colonies.
Ready...Set...Certify!Once you have provided these essential elements to make a healthy and sustainable wildlife habitat, join the thousands of wildlife enthusiasts across the country who have earned the distinction of being part of NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat® program.
Plant tropicals with annuals for some high impact design...One nicely placed tropical plant will make your container pop with style.
Be sure to know the growing conditions (shade, partial shade or full sun) of your tropical plant and plant with similar annuals.
Consider these for your next container garden:
Bird of Paradise
and even Orchids
You can enjoy them year round if you pot up your tropical plant before the first frost.
You can grow almost anything in a container. A simple potted basil plant could be considered a container garden, but there are so many other possibilities. Gardening in pots and containers gives you the ability to insure great soil, experiment with color, move your garden with the sun and raise your garden to a comfortable working height. Maybe the best feature of container gardening is the ability to create a whole new garden every time. Here are some tips for success.
1. Establish the Size of Your Container Garden - Make sure there is enough room in the container for the plants and soil. Take into account the mature size of the plants and their growing habits. Upright growers will need a wide base for balance. Sprawlers will need a pot deep enough to drape over. As the plants grow, the root systems will fill the pot and the soil will dry more quickly. It’s OK to fill the diameter of the container with plants, but make sure there is plenty of room for the roots to move downward into soil.
2. Provide Good Drainage - Always have drainage holes or at the very least, a 1-2 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the container. If you are using a decorative pot without drainage holes, consider planting in a plastic pot with holes that is one size smaller than the decorative pot and using the plastic pot as an insert.
3. Soil Requirements for Container Gardens - Use a good potting soil mix, not garden soil. A mix with peat, perlite or vermiculite will retain moisture longer and yet be well draining. It will also be lighter and won’t compact as the season goes on. Using a chunky-style potting mix in container of 5 or more gallons will help the soil mix remain loose even longer.
4. Choose Plants with Similar Cultural Requirements - In a garden bed, you can select which plants need water and which to pass over. Not so with a container garden. Select plants that will be happy with the same amounts of water, sun, heat and food.Avoid aggressive spreaders that will compete with neighboring plants and consider dwarf varieties.
5. Favor Drought Tolerant Plants- Most container gardens are going to require daily watering in hot weather. Even so, there will be times when you potted plants are going to be baking in the sun. Give your container a fighting chance by favoring plants that can handle the intensified heat and dry soil of a container garden.
6. Balance the Size of Your Plants and Your Container - Container gardens look best when the plants are in balance with the container. Try to make sure your tallest plants are not be more than twice the height of the container and that the fullness of the plant material is not more than half the width again as wide.
7. Judging Sun Exposure - Try not to site containers in full mid-day sun. You may have chosen plants that say they require full sun, but container gardens heat up much more quickly and intensely than in the ground gardens. Most plants will welcome some relief from mid-day sun. On the other hand, when you must position a container in the shade, consider putting it by a wall that can reflect some light back. The plants won’t suffer from the extreme heat, but they will benefit from indirect light.
8. Watering Container Gardens - Lack of water can quickly kill plants in a container garden. Unlike plants grown in the ground, container plant roots can’t move down deeply in search of subsurface water. Check your containers daily for water needs. Check twice daily in the heat of summer and with smaller containers.
9. Fertilizing Container Gardens - Some potting mixes come with fertilizer already mixed in. Some don’t. Either way, container plant roots can’t spread out looking for additional food in the soil nearby, so you will need to replenish soil nutrients regularly. Good choices are a time released fertilizer mixed in when planting or a water soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks.
10. Keeping Container Gardens Fresh - Don’t be afraid to switch out plant material for the change of season. No plant can go on blooming for ever. When one plant starts to fade, look for another to take its place. This way you can start your container garden in the spring and go until frost. Longer in warmer climates. With container gardens, sequence of bloom is entirely within the gardener’s control.
How to Divide Spiderwort By Barbara Raskauskas, eHow Contributor
Some variety of spiderwort (Tradescantia) grows in most of the continental United States. Spiderwort is a perennial that grows 2 to 4 feet tall with leaves that reach up to 15 inches long and about 1 inch wide. Violet-blue flowers about 1 inch across appear from late spring into midsummer. Planted in the ground or containers, spiderwort is easy to grow and requires little care. Propagate spiderwort every two to three years through root ball division in the spring.
1. Watch for new growth in the spring to divide spiderwort. Thrust the shovel into the soil about 6 inches away from the base of the spiderwort plant. Dig a circle around and under the plant.
2. Lift out the root ball of the spiderwort plant. Lay the plant on the ground.
3. Using your fingers, sharp knife or hand pruners, separate the root ball into three sections. As a perennial plant ages, the center becomes less productive. Discard the center of the root ball clump.
4. Replant the divisions in the same sunlight level, full sun to part shade. Plant the divisions at the same depth as the initial plant. Space multiple plants 12 to 18 inches apart.
5. Water well. Spread 1 to 2 inches of mulch, like shredded bark, around the plant. Mulch helps retain soil moisture. Water two or three times a month the first year if there is no saturating rainfall. After that, rainfall alone should provide sufficient moisture.
About Flowering Quince
Facts on: Chaenomelesspeciosa
from: http://yardandgardenrescue.com Common flowering quince grows best in Zones 5-9 and will reach height and widths from 6-10 feet. They are deciduous shrubs that have an upright spreading form, and used in shrub borders, as hedges and specimen plants. They also require well drained soil. If you are looking for shrubs with bright flowers, then this shrub is a good choice. The flowers bloom from early spring and into early summer and will sometimes rebloom lightly in the fall. Flowers may be red, pink, orange, or white depending on the variety.New growth emerges reddish-bronze and matures to a glossy dark green. The dense, tangled branches are spiny. The plant seems to drop its leaves while it is still green. Its use should be restricted to more difficult sites. It is a great shrub to plant where pollution is a big concern as it is tolerant to pollution and urban conditions. The fruits of the quince can be harvested in October to make preserves.
Propagation: Cuttings may be taken in late summer and layered in spring. Pests and Diseases: Leaf spot can partially defoliate plants so be sure to clean up and destroy fallen leaves to eliminate overwintering disease site. To control scale, prune and destroy any infested parts. Spray remaining stems with horticultural oil. Aphids can be controlled by spraying regularly with a garden hose. Related Species to Consider
‘Cameo’has double peach-pink flowers and is nearly thornless. ‘Jet Trail’has 1" white flowers borne on nearly thornless plants. ‘Orange Delight’ has bright orange flowers on low-spreading plants. ‘Scarff’s Red’is an upright, nearly thornless plant with bright red flowers. ‘Texas Scarlet’ is an almost thornless dwarf with thornless orange-red flowers.
Houseplants may notice the longer days, and begin growing. You can begin feeding them again, but use a dilute 50% fertilizer mix until the growth is robust. Choosing a Fertilizer Which is the best houseplant fertilizer for you to use? This will depend on the types of plants being grown, cultural conditions and your schedule. In general, foliage houseplants appreciate fertilizers high in nitrogen while flowering plants respond best to those with higher phosphorus analysis. There are plenty of specialty houseplant fertilizers out there but do examine their labels. Often the difference is more in the packaging than in the amounts or proportions of nutrients supplied.
Purchase a water-soluble powder or liquid concentrate if plants are to be fertilized on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. If there will be long intervals between fertilizer applications, select time release formulations in either pelleted or spike forms. These can be applied at intervals from 2 to 9 months and will provide houseplants with a steady supply of nutrients.
Frequently houseplant lovers amass quite a collection of different plant species. Sometimes plants have specific fertility requirements but usually an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer could be applied to all plants. For example, a fertilizer where the three numbers on the package are equivalent or just about equal, such as a 20-20-20 or a 10-8-7.
When to Fertilize Houseplants respond to fertilizer during periods of active growth. This is usually from March until October. Reduced light and temperatures throughout the winter months often render a plant inactive and it is generally recommended that plants not be fertilized at this time.
The labels on most water-soluble fertilizers recommend monthly applications. Since these nutrients are easily leached from the potting mix, your plants may benefit from more frequent dilute pplications. If one teaspoon per quart of water is recommended for monthly feedings, you could feed bimonthly using only one-half a teaspoon per quart or weekly using a quarter teaspoon per quart. This gives the plant a steady, continuous supply of nutrients. This type of regime is often recommended for flowering plants like African violets.
When fertilizing houseplants always follow the directions on the label. More is not better and excess nutrients can harm roots and leaves. Always apply fertilizer to an already moist potting soil to avoid root damage.
Overfertilization Browning roots and leaf tips, wilting, poorly shaped leaves and a white crust on pot rims may indicate overfertilization. Excess nutrients in the potting soil will desiccate or burn tender roots. High concentrations of nutrient salts also prevent the plant from taking up water so wilting is observed.
Often leaching the potted plant with copious amounts of water will reduce excessive fertilizer salt levels. Be sure water can drain freely. Another solution would be to repot the plant, gently removing as much of the old potting mixture as possible, and replacing it with fresh medium.
Keep houseplants healthy and thriving by practicing good watering practices, meeting their light and temperature requirements and providing adequate nutrition through a regular fertilization program.
from: Fertilizing Houseplants
Prepared by: Dawn Pettinelli, Manager, Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory, University of Connecticut
Read the entire article at: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/factsheets/FertilizingHouseplants.html
Check in on your Stored Bulbs and Veggies Periodically this winter be sure to check stored onions, garlic, potatoes, winter squash, and other food items as well as stored tender flower bulbs like gladiolas, dahlias, and tuberous begonias. Some of these items will rot, shrivel or lose excess moisture. Remove and discard any of this damaged material. If you’re losing a great deal of these items, then it’s important to figure out the reason. Perhaps the area is either too warm or too cool. Or, maybe the items weren’t cured enough.
January...time to think about purchasing seeds for your garden. The following is a sampling from finegardening.com.The complete article is at:http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/ten-seed-starting-tips.aspx
1.Keep records to allow for better planning
An often overlooked aspect of plant propagation is the art of record keeping. Whether you are producing a few plants for your home flower and vegetable gardens or working at a larger-scale nursery, developing a propagation journal will prove indispensable. Here at the Center for Historic Plants, we record when seeds are sown, the germination date and success rate, and when seedlings are ready for transplanting each year. At the end of the year we evaluate the timing of our production schedule, noting what went right and what went wrong. These observations help us make adjustments for next year to ensure that we are growing our plants under optimum conditions. We also keep track of where we purchase seeds, as their quality and reliability may vary by source. 2.Store seed properly to maintain viability 3.Use wide, flat containers to avoidovercrowding 4.Tamp seeds down to make direct contactwith the soil 5.Prevent disease by providing air flow and drainage 6.Cover trays with plastic wrap to keep the moisture level constant 7.Keep seeds warm to encourage germination 8.Turn seedlings daily to keep stems strong 9.Feed them well 10. Acclimate seedlings to direct sunlight Have you checked out these website for the 2012 seed catalogs? https://www.highmowingseeds.com HIGH MOWING SEEDS http://www.burpee.com/ BURPEES SEEDS http://rareseeds.com BAKER CREEK
PEACHES…FROM PIT TO TREE If you take the pit from a peach and plant it, a peach tree may grow. It takes about three years for the tree to begin producing fruit. Remember, the fruit you get may look nothing like the peach the pit came from (you do not look exactly like your parents).It is interesting to plant pits from white fleshed peaches or from nectarines. Who knows, you may get an interesting new variety! Further Tips for Successful Peach Pit Growing Some peaches will not germinate no matter what you do...it depends on the parents. Some peach variety seeds germinate easily, some poorly, some not at all. Seed from early season varieties (Red Haven season and before) do not germinate readily, and the very early season will not germinate without laboratory culturing work called embryo rescue. So try pits from several different peach varieties. Store the seed in a plastic bag in a refrigerator. The seed should be nearly dry at this point. However, do not put them in the refrigerator if it has apples or banana. These fruit release a ripening gas called ethylene. Or simply store the pits at room temperature, but out of the sun. Planting seed outside: In the fall plant the pits about 3 inches deep. A successful gardener can advise you here. Mark where you put it so that you can watch for the sprout coming out of the soil in late spring. This system generally works if you live in the northern 2/3s of the United States where the soil temperatures get cold enough. Plant as many as you can of different varieties to increase your chance of getting a seed that will germinate. The orientation of the pit is not important--the roots and the sprouting top will sense the right way to grow. Ground squirrels have been known to tunnel and eat the seeds just as they start to send out roots, so be on guard. Planting seed indoors: Yes, you can plant pits directly in soil in your house. Good quality soil is important...a good balance of sand, silt & organic matter. The soil should be firm around the pit. The soil should be slightly moist to the touch. If you squeeze the soil in your hand and water drips out, it is too wet (unless you just watered). Again, the typical amount for good growth as a seasoned gardener can advise you. If the soil is saturated with water continuously, the pit tends to rot. A better approach to planting seed is to clean and dry the seed, store the seed until December and use a cold treatment to induce the seed to germinate. The method is as follows. Cold treatment (stratification): After the pits are removed from the peach, remove the flesh thoroughly, wash under tap water and dry them overnight.If they attract fruit flies, scrub to remove flesh of peach, wash in water, then dry them overnight again. Store the dried seed in a plastic bag with the opening slightly open and then into a refrigerator (don’t store with apples).If you don’t have a refrigerator without apples, then store the bagged seed at room temperature out of the sun.The seed should be nearly dry so that they do not mold.You should see very slight condensation on the inside of the bag.If the seed appear completely dry add a slight bit of moisture to the bag, shake, and then drain completely. Keep the seed like this until December or January. At this time, soak the pit in tap water for a few hours, then put the seed into slightly moistened soil, vermiculite, or perlite (available from garden supply store) in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator (temperature 34 F to 42 F). & start checking for germination after about 1 1/2 months. If you are fortunate, it will start to develop a root. At that time, transfer to a pot with soil and grow as a normal plant. Plant it outside in the spring when the chance for frost is past. Instead of working with a whole pit, you can use hand clippers to remove the hull from the pit before stratifying. This increases the chances for successful stratification and germination. However, it takes practice to avoid nicking the brown cover of the seed. Put the seed into a plastic bag with enough good quality soil, vermiculite or perlite to cover. The soil should be just barely moist. Put the zip lock bag in your refrigerator It will generally take 2 to 3 months to see growth. Transplant to a pot once the root is 1/2 inch or more in length.
WINTER HOUSEPLANT CARE Houseplants generally thrive during the spring and summer months, but the real challenge is helping them survive the fall and winter. Part of the problem is that indoor humidity levels drop considerably when homeowners fire up their heaters. Dry air can be devastating to houseplants, especially considering that most are tropical in origin and require a humid environment to thrive. Here are some tips to keep your houseplants happy.
Houseplant Care Tip #1: Mist Your Plants Ideally mist indoor plants with water once a day, but three times a day is even better. Although this can be time consuming, tropical houseplants benefit from the humidity. Alternatively, you can position houseplants near an indoor water feature, which will increase the humidity around the plants.
Houseplant Care Tip #2: Wipe Dust off Leaves and StemsAccumulated dust on leaf surfaces can plug up pores, making it difficult for plants to “breathe.” Wiping leaves routinely with a damp cloth will correct the problem.
Houseplant Care Tip #3: Give Plants Lots of Light The angle of the sun changes considerably during the fall and winter, which means plants that once received lots of light during the spring and summer may be getting only half as much now. Move plants that require bright light to a new location for the next few months if needed. Remember to rotate your houseplants every week or two so they receive light evenly on all sides.
Houseplant Care Tip #4: Don’t Fertilize Because houseplants slow their growth processes in winter, withhold fertilizing them until next spring.
Houseplant Care Tip #5: Wait Until Spring to Repot Plants Repotting will actually stimulate new growth.
Houseplant Care Tip #6: Back off on Your Watering Schedule The most important thing is to change the way you water your houseplants. Don’t water them during the winter as often as you did during the spring and summer. Because their growth rate is considerably slower, houseplants don’t need as much water in the fall and winter. In fact, you may find that you can cut back on the frequency of your watering schedule by half or even two-thirds. For example, cacti and succulents may only need water once a month.
Overwatering is the number one cause of houseplant demise. It’s easy to avoid, so instead of watering your houseplants every Wednesday or Saturday, water them only when they need water. To check this, stick your finger into the soil to a depth of two inches. If your finger comes out dry, the plant needs water. When you water, use water that’s slightly tepid, rather than cold, because plants don’t like a cold shower.WINTER HOUSEPLANT CARE is from: www.hgtv.com
The leaves of one large shade tree can be worth as much as $50 of plant food and humus. Pound for pound, the leaves of most trees contain twice as many minerals as manure. For example, the mineral content of a sugar maple leaf is over five percent, while even common pine needles have 2.5 percent of their weight in calcium, magnesium, nitrogen and phosphorus, plus other trace elements.
Since most trees are deep-rooted, they absorb minerals from deep in the soil and a good portion of these minerals go into the leaves.
Actually, these multi-colored gifts from above are most valuable for the large amounts of fibrous organic matter they supply. Their humus-building qualities mean improved structure for all soil types. They aerate heavy clay soils, prevent sandy soils from drying out too fast, soak up rain and check evaporation.
A lawn sweeper is a good machine to use for collecting leaves. Using a sweeper is much faster than hand raking, and a better picking-up job is done. Neighbors will be happy to have you sweep up their leaves—and you will add to your supply of leaves.
Composting Leaves Some people complain to us that they have no luck composting leaves. “We make a pile of our leaves,” these people say, “but they never break down.” That is indeed a common complaint. There are two things you can do that will guarantee success in composing leaves:
1. Add extra nitrogen to your leaf compost. Manure is the best nitrogen supplement, and a mixture of five parts leaves to one part manure will certainly break down quickly. If you don’t have manure—and many gardeners don’t—nitrogen supplements like dried blood, cottonseed meal, bone meal and Agrinite will work almost as well. Nitrogen is the one factor that starts compost heap heating up, and leaves certainly don’t contain enough nitrogen to provide sufficient food for bacteria. Here is a rough guide for nitrogen supplementing add two cups of dried blood or other natural nitrogen supplement to each wheelbarrow load of leaves.
2. The second thing to do to guarantee leaf-composting success is to grind or shred your leaves. We will deal with this in detail later on, but let me tell you right now that it will make things simpler for you in the long run. A compost pile made of shredded material is really fun to work with, because it is so easily controlled and so easy to handle.
A compost pile can be made in almost any size, but most people like to make rectangular-shaped piles, because they are easier to handle. It is a good idea to put the material in the heap of layers. Start with a six-inch layer of leaves, either shredded or not shredded. Then add a two-inch layer of other organic material that is higher in nitrogen than leaves. Try to pick something from this list: manure, garbage, green weeds, grass clippings or old vines from your garden. You can add low-nitrogen things like sawdust, straw, ground corn cobs or dry weeds if you put in a nitrogen supplement such as described above. It is important to mix leaves from packing down in a dry mat. Keep the heap moist, but not soggy.
Turn the heap every three weeks or sooner if you feel up to it. If you can turn it three or four times, before late spring comes, you will have fine compost ready for spring planting use.
You can make compost out of leaves in as short of time as fourteen days by doing these things: 1. Shred or grind the leaves. 2. Mix four parts ground leaves with one part manure or other material liberally supplemented with nitrogen. For the complete article, go to: http://compostguide.com/using-leaves-for-composting/
*Save seeds from favorite self-pollinating, non-hybrid flowers by allowing the flower heads to mature. Lay seeds on newspaper and turn them often to dry. Store the dry seeds in glass jars or envelopes in a cool, dry, dark place. Supplies needed for seed collecting: Scissors Paper bags or envelopes Sharpie or other fine tipped marker to label your seed containers. A box or bag to carry all the other equipment. Seed collecting: Always harvest your seeds when it’s dry; around mid-day or early afternoon on a sunny day is ideal. Try not to collect them when they’re damp. If you can’t avoid it, lay them out separately on newspaper to dry out before putting them together in paper bags. A great way to get seed down to such low levels of moisture is to use a desiccant with your seed packets and seal them together in an airtight jar. A Kraft mayo jar, for example, is perfect for a new wide-mouth canning lid and ring. Hellman’s and Best Foods mayo jars or standard canning jars will take a regular size canning lid. Add silica gel to the jar, add the seeds, still in their packets, to the jars, and seal. Small seeds will dry down to 8-10% moisture overnight, while large seeds may take several days. You can then recycle the silica gel and process more seeds with it, sealing the dry seeds into a new, dry jar and putting them in the freezer. Now, if you want to store your seed for a year or two, shoot for the coolest, driest part of your home. Humidity is generally a greater enemy of viability than temperature, but both are important. Most vegetable seeds have a natural longevity of about 3-5 years under these conditions. Seed Moisture Condition: 4-8% Too dry for seed viability. 10-12% Satisfactory to store most seed. Store in paper bags, envelopes, cloth bags or other moisture-resistant containers. 14-16% Molds (fungi) may grow on and in seeds in open storage and on seeds in cloth bags or sealed containers. Harmful to seeds of many plant kinds. 18-20% Seed may heat because of seed respiration and microbial activity. Seed declines rapidly in viability and vigor. 24-60% Seeds may rot.
40-60% Germination begins. More info at Sierra Vista Garden Club
PLANT BULBS NOW! Posthumously from: Googie Emmet
September is the time to think about fall bulb planting!We tend to overlook what Elizabeth Lawrence called “the little bulbs”. Plant 25 to 50 of scilla siberica, chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) and /or Muscari(grape hyacinths) ina spot where you don’t have to mow too early and you will be greeted next April or May with a small ocean or drift of brilliant blue, blue and white, or violet blue respectively. All three of these will spread out and seed themselves in years to come as long as you plant them in reasonably good soil where the sun shines in spring.They are inexpensive and require only the initial effort of getting them in the ground.And they require a minimum of digging as they need only 3-4 inches of soil above them.
ENTERING HORTICULTURE IN THE FLOWER SHOW CHOOSING PLANT MATERIAL:well-grown, well-groomed plants
Read the schedule carefully noting the rules and policies Know the procedure for correct botanical names (see accompanying article) Specimens should be prime maturity, peak of perfection Substance should be firm, turgid, color fresh and pure Stem and foliage should be firm and in proportion to the specimen The quality of flowers, fruit or cones should be ideal for the specimen Specimen should be free of dust, blemishes and insects
CONDITIONING PLANT MATERIAL Cut specimens the day before the show in the early morning or late afternoon. Place in tepid water in a cool dark place. The day of the show remove spent blossoms and any unnecessary or damaged foliage. Check for insects, brush away any dust, including the undersides of leaves. When entering, make sure there is no foliage below the waterline Wedge plant inconspicuously for optimum “pose” Repot container grown plants a week ahead of the show. Container should be a neutral color, clean and appropriate in size to the plant Double potting and topdressing are permitted unless prohibited by the schedule. Finally, groom and inconspicuously stake plants if necessary.
GCA HORTICULTURE BOTANICAL NOMENCLATURE
SPECIAL JULY 2011
Water Garden Care •Clear pond water can be achieved with proper plant balance. If the pond is in full sun, 50-70% of its surface must be covered with foliage such as Floating Heart, Water Hyacinth, Water Poppy, Water Lily, or Lotus.
•Underwater grasses are essential to maintaining water clarity as they utilize the oxygen in the water, which helps prevent algae from accumulating in the pond. Following are some easy guidelines to know when trying to figure out how many grasses are needed:
•1 clump of grass per 1 sq. ft. of surface area for ponds less than 25 sq. ft. •1 clump of grass per 2 sq. ft. of surface area for ponds greater than 25 sq. ft. •Time to fertilize all Water Lilies and Lotus once a month to keep the plant blooming continuously throughout the season.
•Lotus are great plants for container water gardens on a deck or patio. Whiskey barrels make a perfect container for these types of water gardens.
•Tropical Water Lilies make a spectacular show of color for any water garden. Whereas hardy Water Lilies bloom only during the day, tropical varieties, which are considered annuals in this area, include day and night bloomers. This makes it possible to enjoy the bloom in the late afternoon and evening. Day blooming tropical Water Lilies bloom heavier than hardy lilies. The flowers stay open longer each day and they bloom much later into the season. Night blooming tropical water lilies open their flowers at approximately 5 pm and do not close until the following morning around 9 am. This is perfect timing for those evening barbecues and parties.
July, (or perhaps earlier this year given the excessive heat we have been having), is a prime time to start pruning annuals and some perennials as they start to get leggy. To keep plants bushy, prune to a set of leaves or a node. As with shrubs, you can either give them a complete haircut by a third, or cut back one long stem at a time each week. Perennials that benefit from pruning in July include salvia, catmint, tall sedum varieties, New England asters and garden phlox. According to the UVM, they will still bloom although a little later in the season, be somewhat shorter in height and thus probably won’t require staking. Helen Davies
JUNE 2011 The BUZZ: from Googie Emmet Mark Your Calendars for the Great Bee Count on July 16th! Sat, 05/07/2011 Greetings citizen scientists! I know that some of you who live in warmer climates are already sending in your 15 minute observations and others will be doing so throughout the year.This year, however, we would like everyone - even those of you who haven’t sent in observations – to make the effort to join the Great Bee Count of 2011 on July 16th. The best way to sample is to sample every other week but if you only count bees once this year, make it on July 16. More info at: www.greatsunflower.org
ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE The Asian Longhorned Beetle (anoplophora glabripennis) or ABL is an invasive pest from Asia that came to the US concealed in solid wood packing material, pallets and crates used to transport goods from overseas. This insect is a serious threat the many species of deciduous hardwood ( all species of maple, elm, willow, birch, horse chestnut, ash and poplar).The ALB bores deep into a tree’s hardwood.This tunneling eventually kills the tree.The ALB threatens shade trees, recreational and forest resources and various industries.
Adult ALB is a large distinctive looking insect measuring1 to 1.5 inches long, not including its antennae. These antennae are as long as the body in females and twice as long in males.The body is shiny black with white spots; the antennae are banded in black and white.During the summer months adult beetles can be spotted on walls, outdoor furniture, tree limbs and branches.
To report sightings of ALB or for more informationgo to www.aphis.usda.gov/contact_us/ppq.shtml or call the ALB Program 508-799-8330 or 866-702-9938
Lifecycle of the ALB The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) spends most of its life as a larva inside a hardwood tree. The adult female ALB chews a depression or egg site into the bark and lays a single egg beneath the bark. Egg sites are visible on the bark of the tree. They can be oval or round in shape or small slits depending on the tree species and thickness of the bark. With a lifespan of 14-66 days, a female ALB can lay 30-60 eggs in her lifetime.
When the larva emerges from the egg, it initially feeds on the tree’s living tissue directly beneath the bark. The mature larva moves deep into the tree and feeds on the woody tissue. This feeding and burrowing causes the tree to weaken and eventually die. The larva becomes a pupa inside the tree.
About one year after the egg was laid, the adult beetle breaks out of its pupal casing and chews its way out of the tree, creating perfectly round exit holes that are about 3/8” in diameter. Adult beetles emerge in July and August. They feed on leaves and small twigs and then mate, continuing the life cycle with the female beetles laying more eggs in the tree. Female beetles tend to lay eggs on the same tree every year until the tree dies.
Spot the Beetle. Stop the Beetle One of the most important ways you can help stop the ALB is to look for it and report it. Adult beetles are most active during the summer and early fall. They can be seen on trees, branches, walls, outdoor furniture, cars, and sidewalks. While the ALB may appear threatening, it is harmless to humans and pets. With these unique characteristics, it’s easy to identify the ALB:1 to 1 ½ inches in length.Long antennae banded in black and white (longer than the insect’s body) Shiny, jet black body with distinctive white spots Six legs - May have blue color on feet
Favorites trees of the ALB Ash, Birches, Elm, European Mountain Ash, Hackberry, Horse Chestnut, London Planetree, Maple, Mimosa, Poplars, Willow and Katsura.
Signs of Infestation While it can fly, the beetle tends to lay eggs in the same tree from which it emerged as an adult. The eggs hatch and the larvae burrow and feed just under the bark. By the late summer and fall, the caterpillar-like larva tunnels deep into the tree. The following summer, the ALB drills its way out of the tree as a mature beetle. It bores through the tissues that carry water and nutrients throughout the tree, eventually starving and killing it. In addition to looking for the beetle, you can search for signs of infestation, including: Shallow divots in the bark where the eggs are laid and sap seeps from wounds in the tree. Dime-sized(1/4” or larger), perfectly round exit holes in the tree .Sawdust-like materials, called frass, on the ground or on the branches.
“Gear-Up for the Garden and Prepare to Prune in Lilac Park!” Caligari’s Store in lenox is offering LGC members 50%off a pair of garden gloves.Get your pair today....Let’s see a show of brightly colored gloved-hands at The Lilac Park Clean Up Day!Many thanks to Calligari’s! Margaret Lindenmaier
The Flower Show Committee would like to see all LGC members participate in the Then and Now Flower Show. Buy a plant before March 15, 2011 to qualify for the six month ownership and you too can enter. Full details in our flower show schedule on the LGC web site. If you have questions: Call MaryEllen at 413-229-3025 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the perfect time of the year to do some serious pruning of certain shrubs and trees. When the newly shaped specimens bud out in the spring you'll be very happy you spent that cold afternoon outdoors in February! Almost all woody shrubs benefit from trimming every three years. Trees and shrubs that flower in early spring should be pruned immediately after flowering. But, trees and shrubs that flower in the summer or fall always should be pruned during this dormant season. With the BBG Winter lecture in mind, if you are interested in thehow-to, check out Margaret Roach's website in reference to this subject at: http://awaytogarden.com/pondering-a-bout-of-mid-winter-pruning Barb May
Houseplants-dust on the foliage can clog the leaf’s pores; so clean them up a little with a damp cloth, or a quick shower under the tap. Actively growing plants will benefit from a shot of liquid plant food. On very cold nights, it is a good time to close the curtains or blinds between the window and your houseplants. Make certain that your plants have sufficient humidity, by setting them on a tray filled with clean pebbles, and a little water, or by simply setting a cup of water nearby.
How did your garden look this fall?We seem to have longer autumns with frosts coming later and so let’s take a look at a few of the many plants that can make the garden look better longer.
Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ sports long-flowering white flowers that are frost-resistant and especially effective against a dark green background.There is also a pink-flowered variety.The plants take a few years to really settle in and then will gently spread.
Colchicums are fall-blooming bulbs beginning in September with large lavender to hot-pink tulip-like flowers that are spectacular growing in a vinca bed or at the front of a border.David Burdick has an especially good variety.
Hydrangea quercifolia,(oak-leaf hydrangea) a native shrub, has large white flower trusses in July and its foliage turns a rich, dusky purple and, depending on the variety, often a good cherry red.
Holly (ilex meservae hybrids) are evergreen and bear red berries effective all fall and winter.Remember: you need one male plant for these shrubs are dioecious.They can be pruned to almost any size and even if the deer nibble at them, they do recover.
Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’ is a large shrub (with time) that bears white flowers in June, and wonderful fruits that start out white in late August, then change to alovely dark pink and finally to blue.Often you get all three colors at once.This shrub looks especially good in fall with:
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’.Limelight’s flowers are white with a green tinge in August.Then, with the first cool nights, the flowers turn russet-pink.
Dahlia Care Dig up the Dahlia Bulb in Fall Dahlia tubers are not hardy, and must be adequately protected from winter frost, if you want them to produce blooms again. The best time to dig up the dahlia bulb is in the fall, after the first frost of the season has started affecting the leaves of the plant. If you dig out the tubers any earlier, they may still be green, and susceptible to rot. Leaving them in the ground longer will result in frozen, unusable tubers. Cut the plant down and use a garden fork to dig the soil at a distance of about one foot all around the plant. Dig deeply, to about one foot depth, so that the soil is loose and the plant can easily be pried out. Prepare the Dahlia Bulb for Storage After you gently dig out the dahlia bulb, carefully remove the excess soil around the tubers. With the garden hose, gently wash the dahlia bulb. It is advisable to divide the tubers before storing them. If you store the whole bulb as it is, you will lose all the tubers if the bulb rots during storage. Divide the Dahlia Bulb The dahlia bulb consists of several tubers. The plant and flowers are developed from the eyes on the tuber. First, store the healthiest tubers that have eyes. The “mother” tuber is the central tuber from which the plant sprouted this year. It is best discarded, even if it looks healthy and has eyes. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut out the tubers. Make sure that each division includes a portion of the stem, with no excess parts that will induce rotting. Store the Tubers Keep the tubers in a dark, cool, frost-free, ventilated environment. You can keep around six tubers in a pierced plastic bag. Add some peat or shredded paper, which will absorb excess moisture. Keep the bag covered in a container. Regularly check on the tubers for signs of dryness or rotting. Rotting tubers must be promptly discarded. Do not let the tubers dry out and die, a small sprinkling of water is enough to provide required moisture.
READ more at: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/dahlia-bulbs-and-tubers--planting-and-care
GOURDS are members of the cucumber family (Cucurbita Pepo Ovifera),the yellow-flowered gourd grown in the northeast. They should be fully ripened on the vine and cut off with a few inches of stem. Gourds are brought in after cutting and washed with a mild disinfectant and then dried. They can be waxed with any floor paste wax. Good Luck, Sue Dunlaevy
POLLINATOR GARDEN Hummingbirds, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths and all the pollinators search for and thrive on flower nectar and pollen.Native plants should always be your first choice when creating a pollinator garden.Make sure that you garden site receives plenty of sun at least 5-6 hours and your garden has a water source.Many pollinators such as butterflies like to gather sips from mud puddles, and birdbaths. Use as many native plants as possible…many of the pollinators depend on native plants for their very existence.
A complete list of available native plants maybe seen at: http://www.projectnative.org/pages/plants.html Project Native 413-274-3433 or email email@example.com.
GARDEN SHOP 342 North Plain Road (Rte. 41) Housatonic, MA 01236 Just 4 miles north of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
OPEN Thursday- Tuesday (Closed Wednesday) APRIL - OCTOBER
LAMB'S EARS AVAILABLE The Hort Committee wants to find your unneeded plants a new home, and hopes to bring you some plants you’ve yearned for. We’ll try to have an offering in each newsletter.Let me, or MaryEllen, know what you have to offer or want.For example, this month, I have a quantity of Stachys byzantina ‘Helene Von Stein’ (common name Lambs Ears). Helene is a choice plant, well behaved with fuzzy silver grey leaves. She grows well in most soils, in full sun to about 10 inches.She doesn’t blossom like the common lambs ears and stays neat looking throughout the summer.Call me for the details and I will even dig them for you. Please call 413-637-0451 or email at:firstname.lastname@example.org. Susan Dana Hort Chair
Stachys byzantina (syn.Lamb’s-ear or Lamb’s Ear) is a species of Stachys, native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.It is cultivated over much of the temperate world as an ornamental plant, and is naturalised in some locations as an escape from gardens. Plants are very often found under the synonym Stachys lanata or Stachys olympica.
Lamb’s Ear flowers in late spring and early summer, plants produce tall spike-like stems with a few reduced leaves. The flowers are small and either white or pink. The plants tend to be evergreen but can “die” back during cold winters and regenerate new growth from the crowns. In warmer climates they may grow year-round, but suffer where it’s hot and humid. They are easy to grow, preferring partial shade to full sunlight and well-drained soils not rich in nitrogen. From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys_byzantina
RED LILY BEETLE In order to take control of the Red Lily Beetle, you need to know your adversary. STEP 1 IDENTIFY The red or scarlet lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is a leaf eating insect. They will also consume stems and buds of lilies both Asiatic and Oriental, along with fritillia species. You must properly identify the bug. The Red Lily Beetle (3/8 - 1/2 “). Is bright scarlet color the large abdominal area and the small thorax with black legs and antennae. STEP 2 MONITOR Once you have identified the adult pest, you should begin to check all your lilies for insects, larvae and eggs. The eggs are small, laid in clusters and orange in color and generally found on the bottom sides of the affected plant leaves. Larvae are more difficult to spot. Initially they may only appear as insect droppings. The young larvae have voracious appetites for your lilies and use there waste to cover their bodies to make themselves unappealing to predators. They can decimate a lily plant in no time. The larvae grow and eventually fall to the earth where the will pupate for 2-3 week. Adults emerge and for several weeks will mate, lay eggs (female beetles can lay as many as 450 eggs each)and keep the cyclical process in motion. STEP 3 TAKE ACTION Daily inspection is best. Crush adult beetles; larvae can be wiped off leaves with a damp paper towel and disposed of properly. Insecticidal soap may be applied. Vigilance and manual removal will pay off. According to the on line resource, Wikipedia, “University of Rhode Island experimented with release of European parasitoid wasp, Tetrastichus setifer, in Massachusetts from 1999 to 2001 to control for the lily leaf beetle population. The experiment had shown reduction of the beetle population. Population decline was also observed at another experiment site in Rhode Island. In 2003, another parasitoid, Lemophagus errabundus, was also released in Massachusetts and is now established in the region. Similar attempts of parasitoid release have been made in Boston with positive results”.
Fertilizing Potted Veggies Early to bed, early to rise; Work like hell: fertilize. ~Emily Whaley
I. A BIT OF BACKGROUND If you are not familiar with how to buy fertilizer, here is a quick tutorial on what you are looking for. There are 3 numbers on the front of every bag or bottle of fertilizer. They are always in the same order and stand for the percentage by weight of the N-P-K or Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium contained the fertilizer. Each is necessary for healthy plant growth and development. For example: First number represents (N) Nitrogen = overall plant health. Second number represents (P) Phosphorous = root maker Third number (K) Potassium = Stem growth/overall plant vigor. II. ROADMAP 1- Decide which type of fertilizer to use on which plants. Recommended is using 5-10-10 fertilizer for beans, broccoli, celery, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes. 2- Also recommended is 10-10-10 fertilizer for spinach, onions, lettuce , Chinese cabbage. Buy one or both types of fertilizer depending on the veggie selection. 3. “National Gardening Assoc. recommends fertilizing most types of vegetables about once every three weeks, although onions and rhubarb only need fertilizer once a year. Spinach usually only requires fertilizer when it is first planted. Amount of fertilizer varies, so rule of thumb, when they are growing slowly, fertilize more… and less when they seem to be growing quickly.
III. MISCELLANEOUS TIPS A) WATERING – The frequent watering necessary to keep the soil moist in the pot, but washes out the nutrients, so container vegetables must be fertilized on a regular schedule to replenish the nutrients. B) ORGANIC VS CHEMICAL- When adding fertilizer to potted plants use organic blends. Organic fertilizers are just as effective as chemicals, will not burn, and they supply the required macronutrients plus a large amt of minerals. a) It is a good idea to water and fertilize vegetables at the base of the plant rather than pouring or fertilizer solution over the entire plant. This type of watering prevents fungi problems. b) Using leaf mold (last years leaves) should be put at the bottom of the pot. It really retains the water and is a good mulch base. C . POTTING MIX - Do not use 100% garden soil (often clay soil) which is too heavy, dense, and compact. It dries out rapidly, may be too acid or too alkaline, and may contain fungal pathogens, weed seeds and disease organisms. a) SOILLESS MIX (eg. Jiffy Mix, Bacto, Promix). These mixes are made up of peat moss, vermiculite and either course sand or wood products. Vermiculite holds several times its weight in water and nutrients, and keeps container mixes moist. The soilless mixes are lightweight and may be the best choice if the container is to me moved frequently. b) SOIL MIX is often made up of one part sphagnum peat moss or compost, one part pasteurized soil, one part vermiculite or perlite, and some composted cow manure. Soil tend to hold water better than soilless mixes. D) How many of you are familiar with Soil Moist? Soil moist is made of plastic. Therefore, you may wish to consider this fact before using it. For a tomato plant, plant a fish under it… it is full of most of the nutrients necessary for healthy tomatoes. Don’t throw out bananas. Bury them deep.. Great source for Potassium, Phosphorous, and some Nitrogen. Submitted by, Jeanie Fenn
MAY 2010 Chocolate and Honey – Dessert in the Garden How tantalizing are those first days of Spring in New England.One day we are whipped by icy winds and rain or snow and the next we are taking off layers and basking in sunshine.As soon as the snow has melted and the earth softens we rush to see what little green miracles are pushing up in secret places.
One of the sweetest early harbingers is genus Leuocjum in the family Amayllidaceae (what a mouthful).Leucojum is a genus of about ten species of bulbous perennials which thrive in a variety of habitats from woodlands, shaded hillsides, wet areas, dunes and rocky grasslands.Leucojum vernum (Spring snowflake) has erect, strap shaped glossy dark green leaves to 10”.In early spring it produces thick, leafless stems with usually one, sometimes two, bell-shaped green tipped white flowers 1” long.The bulbs, planted in autumn, are hardy in zones 4-8.
A later, more robust variety is the Summer Snowflake (Leuocjum Aestivum).This larger bulbous perennial also has glossy, strap-shaped dark green leaves to 16”.In spring, leafless stems bear up to 8 bell-shaped, white flowers faintly chocolate-scented. (Yum, think of white chocolate) They are ¾” long with white tips.
Gravetye Giant is a robust variety thriving in zones 3-9 in full sun to partial shade in rich moist soil.It is critter proof and moisture-tolerant with a long-lasting flower.It’s hanging white bells begin blooming in early spring and continue for many weeks.It blooms in a sunny flower border as well as in a damp, shady spot.When it is happy it spreads itself around, but, both Leucojum Aestivum and Leucojum Vernum need reliably moist, humus-rich soil.
Other sweet late winter to early spring bulb is the Snowdrop of the genus Galanthus, also in the family Amaryllidaceae.One article I read states that the best time to plant Snowdrops is in the early spring when the leaves of these bulbs are still green but the flowers have finished.This is known as “planting in the green.”The February flowing Galanthus “S. Arnott” is a vigorous bulbous perennial with large (1-1 ½”) honey scented white flowers with an erect stem and splayed gray-green leaves.Like all Snowdrops it favors well drained, humus rich soil and a shady location.With the fragrances of chocolate and honey in early spring both our eyes and olfactory senses are blessed.
Submitted by Wendy Philbrook
April is the ideal time to think about bulbs for next spring. Keep an eye out for the places where the snow melts first on your property preferably from your house windows. Usually, south-facing slopes or other protected spots where the sun strikes boldly are the best. Don’t worry if these spots are shaded in summer. The bulb foliage will have ripened by the time the tree or shrub leaves unfold.
These are perfect places for crocus, snowdrops, early daffodils, chionodoxa (glory of the snow), iris reticulata, aconites and grape hyacinths. All except daffodils will seed themselves about if happy. Do not be stingy when ordering these! You will get a discount from most mail-order nurseries if you order before July which will make you feel thrifty. Try to order at least 25 of each variety and picture the ocean of blue, or white, or yellow that you’ll see next spring when the snow melts.
Looking for ideas? Drive over to the Berkshire Botanical Garden and view the early bulbs blooming there – especially the cloud of crocus planted in memory of our own Gertrude Burdsall.
By: Googie Emmet
MARCH 2010 Book Review: The Life Cycles of Butterflies From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 CommonGarden Butterflies By Judy Burris & Wayne Richards, Storey Publishing, 2006 ISBN 978-1-58017-617-0 (paperback)
Butterfly lovers of all ages will mesmerized by the spectacular photos in The Life Cycles of Butterflies.The authors, sister and brother team, Judy Burris and Wayne Richards have been captivated by butterflies since they were children.Instead of collecting them in nets or peeling them off truck radiators as they did back then, today they catch them in photos. In exquisite detail with amazing close-ups and clear readable text, the authors chronicle all the stages of 23 common species as they may appear in your garden. Butterflies undergo complete metamorphosis progressing from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis in a few weeks, “a rare and wonderful achievement.”And each stage may have several stages—a tiger swallowtail caterpillar changes from brown and white to grayish green to bright leaf green and back to brown before it even develops its chrysalis.Seeing that caterpillar munching your sweet bay magnolia you may forget that left alone it will develop into a spectacular male butterfly yellow with black stripes or a female, sometimes brown with iridescent blue splotches. Each of the butterfly species is presented in photos with informative descriptions and profiled in field notes as to its breeding ranges, its wingspan, life cycle season and its preferred host and nectar plants.Gardeners will also find the chapter on “Butterfly Habitat Gardening” extremely helpful in establishing their own backyard paradises and attracting these magical, honored guests. Jacqueline Connell LGC Horticulture Committee
Looking for the ultimate companion to sit in front of the fire place with you on these cold dark February nights? With Valentine's Day fast approaching, consider getting your hands on this hunk of a book! The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, (Brickell, Zuk. ISBN 0-7894-1943-2) is a New York Times Best Seller and rightfully so. For me, it was love at first sight. Stay curled up at home and find it on Amazon.com or venture off to Borders for a gardeners play date in the stacks. Either way, be sure to treat yourself to a gift that promotes the growth of your "inner gardener" NOW. Margaret Lindenmaier
Arm Chair Gardening...Catalogs on line Google Seed Catalogs and see what's available:
Wreaths from Native Plants Late November and early December are the perfect time to make a holiday wreath constructed from native plant material. When collecting a few rules to remember. Start collecting greens by pruning your own evergreen trees. If you don’t have many good candidates on hand, think about planting several in the spring so you can provide your own collection of greens. Conifers to consider that create varied texture and color include Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine) abundant, local and can often be found as windfalls, Juniperus virginiana, (Eastern Red Cedar), actually a juniper with wonderful blue cones (berries) brownish green textured foliage, and the beautiful Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) with cute miniature cones lovely soft forest green foliage. These suggestions should provide a background of greens that vary in texture, color and fragrance. When constructing your wreath, start with a commercially made evergreen wreath that you purchase from the local garden center. This will minimize the amount of material that you need to collect. These native greens will enhance the traditional balsam wreath with texture, color and will give your wreath a natural and native look. Next…Embellish your wreath with additional nuts, berries and dried plant material. For the red accents on your wreath consider Ilex verticillata (Winterberry), Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac) and Cornus sericea (Redtwig Dogwood). These berries, fruiting bodies and twigs have various shades of red, and add interesting shape and structure. For brown accents (remember brown is a color, too!) consider the fern seed fronds of Matteuccia struthiopteris, Onoclea sensibilis (Ostrich and Sensitive ferns), seed pods from Asclepias (Milkweed), cones from pines and even a turkey tail shelf fungus add character to a wreath. A nice finishing touch is a broad leaf evergreen especially Kalmia (Mountain Laurel). Never harvest Kalmia from the wild, just purchase it from the local garden center. Have Fun! Akki Martens
Martagons:Plant the bulbs now for gorgeous show in June by: Martha Erwin-Booth
Martagon lily, also referred to as Turk’s cap lily, have been in cultivation since 1596, and originate in Eurasia, with lots of color and height variations along the way.The individual blooms aren’t gigantic like modern hybrids, but there are many of them on a stem, often 12 to 15.Stems can rise from four feet up to head height. The best thing about martagon is their adaptability.They are wonderful in a sunny flower bed or in a woodsy-looking shade garden.They do need good filtered light so they bloom well,not suited for deep shade.The whorled leaves that ring the stem at regular intervals are beautiful and they are sturdy as well.The martagons work especially well among both shrubs and other perennials.
Small Trees and Shrubs that are Colorful Throughout the Seasons
by Helen Davies
This is an ideal time of year to plant shrubs and small trees.There are many reasons to select a particular shrub or small tree - they are the right size for a particular location, have beautiful flowers, have leaves that are attractive throughout spring, summer and fall and are disease resistant. Those that have beautiful berries and attract birds make them especially desirable.
Now that it is mid-September, I am looking at one small tree and three shrubs that fit the bill.
The Kousa Dogwood tree, Cornus Kousa has beautiful white flowers in the spring.The dense foliage in the summer provides an ideal nesting spot for birds.We had a nest of cardinals this year.We could not see the nest but we saw the parents flying in and out of the tree for weeks until the babies were able to fly away.Now the tree has dramatic red, spiky spheres of fruit the size of large raspberries.The shiny, dark green leaves will soon turn red to maroon.
Vibernum , particularly the dilitatum species, is another three-season winner.We have three cultivars of this species that date back to the 1970’s.They all have beautiful white flowers in the spring, similar to the hydrangea, handsome leaves throughout the summer and beautiful red berries in late summer.The leaves turn spectacular colors in the fall and are disease resistant.
·‘Erie’ has conspicuous red berries that droop and turn coral-pink by winter, and thick, medium green leaves that turn an incredible shade of red, orange and yellow in the early Fall.
·‘Iroquois’is known for its exceptional foliage and fruit.The leaves are thick, leathery and dark green in the summer, turning orange red to maroon in the fall.It has bright red berries.
·‘Catskill’is a dwarf with compact growth, has berries similar in color and size to the ‘Iroquois’, dark, glossy green leaves that are thinner and more rounded than the ‘Iroquois’ and which turn a blend of yellow, orange and red in the fall.
You can’t go wrong with any of these shrubs.You will have beautiful and interesting displays of flowers, leaves and berries from spring into early winter.
Start by Selecting Good Quality Garlic Seed Heads You’ll find it much cheaper to plant your own garlic, and fortunately this vegetable is easy to grow, requires very little care, and is virtually untouched by insect pests. The perfect crop, even for beginner gardeners! The timing of your fall planting is critical. Your objective is to time the fall garlic plantings so that the cloves have a few weeks to establish good root development before freezing weather conditions set in. Yet you don’t want to plant the garlic seed so early that the seed cloves have time to send up above ground leaf shoots before cold temperatures halt the plant’s growth. A good rule of thumb is to plant the garlic seed about four to six weeks before the ground is subject to freezing in your growing region. Plant the garlic in a prepared raised bed that has been loosened and had a layer of compost, mushroom soil, or an organic fertilizer incorporated into it.
SEPTEMBER 2009 by MaryEllen O'Brien
Now is the time to think about moving your houseplants indoors for the cooler weather is ahead of us. 1. Clear and ready a space in your home for the returning plants. 2.Make sure that you have an adequate supply of new clean pots for those that will need to be transplanted. 3. Bring in your houseplants before outside night temperatures dip into the mid 40’s.Most tropical plants will suffer damages in temps below 40 degrees. 4. Inspect plants for insects and disease.Check the outside of the pots for pests and if snails and earthworms have gained entrance you may want to repot your plant. 5. Trim plants as needed.This may be an opportunity to take cuttings and start new annual plants for instance…Geraniums and Coleus. 6. To prevent your plant from the shock of the move indoors reduce the amount of light it receives prior to moving it inside.Place it in a shady porch to accustom its place indoors. 7.Don’t over-water your plants when they return inside.They will require less water since they will be receiving less sunshine. 8.Lastly, your plants will love a shot of fertilizer.Follow product instructions for best results.Soil containing fertilizers will not need to be fed again for 3-4 months after their transplant.
AUGUST 2009 Late Blight on Tomato and Potatoes forwarded from Carolyn King
Garden retailers and landscapers should be aware of Late Blight caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans – a very destructive and very infectious disease that kills tomato and potato plants in gardens and on commercial farms in the eastern U.S. Late blight is the same disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s. It has been in the US for over a century, but it has never occurred this early and this widespread. It not only threatens home gardens, but also the thousands of acres of commercial potatoes and tomatoes that are grown in Massachusetts and across New England. The disease has been diagnosed on tomato transplants throughout the Northeast. Infected plants were distributed throughout the region by several plant retailers this spring. It is believed that the pathogen is not seed borne however, it is exceptionally contagious, and can spread to tomato plants on retail shelves not involved in the original and initial source of the inoculum. Humans cannot get sick from eating fruit or tubers frominfected plants. Late blight, affects both potato and tomato crops. It produces spores very rapidly and these move very easily from one garden or field to others, because the spores are easily carried in wind currents to infect susceptible plants in even the most remote area in our region. All tomato and potato plants grown in home gardens and in commercial fields are susceptible to late blight! The most common early symptoms on tomato transplants are brown lesions on stems, with white fungal growth developing under moist conditions. Symptoms appear as large (at least nickel-sized) olive- green to brown spots on leaves with slightly fuzzy white fungal growth on the underside when conditions have been humid or wet. Sometimes the lesion border is yellow or has a watersoaked appearance. Leaf lesions begin as tiny, irregularly shaped brown spots. Brown to blackish lesions also develop on upper stems. Firm, brown spots develop on tomato fruit. Late blight can be confused with early blight and Septoria leaf spot, two common diseases found in home gardens. If the lesion has a yellow border and is occurring on the bottom of the plant, it is likely due to infection of either early blight or Septoria leaf spot. Photo gallery of what to look for: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/department/Facilities/lihrec/ vegpath/photos/lateblight_tomato.htm http://blogs.cornell.edu/hort/2009/06/26/late-blight-a- serious-disease-killing-tomatoes-andpotatoes-this-year/
Management If symptoms are already appearing on plants, remove plants, place in a plastic bag, seal and discard in the trash or completely bury plants deep enough under ground so plants decompose and will not re-sprout. Do not put the plants in a compost pile as spores will still spread from this debris. To manage late blight with fungicides, treat before symptoms appear. Use a product that contains chlorothalonil listed as the active ingredient on the label. There are ready- to- use formulations available. Fungicides are only effective if used before the disease appears and should be reapplied every 5-7 days if wet weather persists. Chlorothalonil is a protectant fungicide, with no systemic movement in the plant, so thorough coverage is necessary. For organic farmers and gardeners, the options are very limited, since only copper fungicides can be used, and copper is not very effective on late blight. Even with fungicide applied every week, there is no guarantee of success, especially if the rainy weather continues. For more information, see: http://www.umassvegetable.org/index.html
Things to look forward to on our Garden and House Tour! Maria Nation’s Good Dog Farm features a robust perennial boarder. Echinacea, Canna, Lilium, Iris, Solidago, and Ligularia are among some of the wonderful plants that you will see as you tour her garden. Bring your handy pocket guide because there will more to look up as you stroll her wonderful property!
This newsletter (The link below) is issued by the UMass Extension. Itused to be by subscription only, now it is free. LGC members need only to bookmark the link to be connected and to see very important state data. http://umassgreeninfo.org/landscape_message/lm_welcome.html The LANDSCAPE MESSAGE helps Master Gardeners and others identify pests in the landscape, become aware of their development, and offer management strategies. Each LANDSCAPE MESSAGE includes valuable information from sites throughout Massachusetts: growing degree day accumulation, soil temperature, precipitation amounts, and plant phenology. Detailed reports on the status of insects, diseases, and weeds are featured in each edition.
UMass Extension Landscape/Nursery/Urban Forestry Program French Hall, 230 Stockbridge Rd., Amherst, MA01003 Tel. (413) 545-2685- Fax. (413) 577-1620 www.UMassGreenInfo.org
Have you ever heard the Police term….APB or BOLO? Well there is anAll Points Bulletin….. Be On the Look Out for these pesty insects. Winter Moth flight last November/December was substantially more prevalent than it has been in Massachusetts for several years. This is a strong indicator that the numbers of caterpillars this spring will be up considerably for the first time in 3 years, and serious damage to trees, apple crops, and blueberries may occur. Winter moth caterpillars hatch early (approximately 20–50 GDD or about mid April) and wriggle into swelling buds where they feed and harm leaf and flower buds. Dormant oil sprays for fruit tree crops (apple, blueberry) may be prudent. Once the foliage is open, these caterpillars then feed freely and can be managed with Bacillus thuringiensis Kurstaki (B.t.K.), while they are still small, OR with a product that contains spinosad, OR with a registered pyrethroid product. www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/winter_moth.pdf http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/wm_id_man.html http://www.hort.uconn.edu/Ipm/general/biocntrl/wintermoth.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Moth Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is rebounding from the significant winter mortality it experienced in 2005 in Massachusetts. Monitor for the new egg masses that are appearing now. Once the weather is conducive to apply dormant oils, take advantage of this option where the numbers of HWA are increasing. Later, HWA can be managed with oil sprays at the summer rate OR with systemic applications of imidacloprid.
Submitted by, Carolyn King
Hort Short... AHHHH...SPRINGTIME March is an Ideal Month to Transplant House Plants As we become impatient to dig in our gardens outside, March is an ideal time to dig in the dirt inside. If your houseplants have been in the same pot for several years, are root bound, or in soil that smells moldy (J. Lynn Cutts, PhD, HomeownerNet Columnist), since plants are semi dormant in winter, March is a great time to give them fresh soil and a clean home. This will also save you time in the Spring when most of us are extremely busy cleaning up and planting our outside gardens
Jacqueline Connell tells us about this upcoming event you won’t want to miss. “NATIVE KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE” from the folks at ….PROJECT NATIVE http://www.projectnative.org/ Saturday, April 25, 2009 10 AM – 4:30 PM MonumentMountainRegionalHigh School Great Barrington, MA 10:00 – Registration 10:30 – 12:00 – Douglas Tallamy 12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch 1:00 – 2:00 - William Cullina 3:00 – 400 – Breakout Sessions a. Native Edibles b. Ecological Landscape Design c. Invasive Plant Removal d. Managing Your Forest Landscape Save time and resources by registering Online at www.projectnative.org Don't have internet access? Call 413-274-3433 General Admission $25 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:
DOUGLAS TALLAMY & WILLIAM CULLINA Douglas W. Tallamy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.Tallamy has confirmed through extensive research there is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife.When native plant species disappear, or are replaced by alien exotics, the insects disappear, thus impoverishing the food sourcefor birds and other animals.Fortunately, there is still time to reverse this alarming trend, and gardeners have the power to make a significant contributiontoward sustaining biodiversity.Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home- How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens shows home gardeners the way.
William Cullina, nationally recognized speaker, writer, and expert on native plants, has been working in plant propagation and nursery production for over twenty years.He is the plant curator for the Coastal Main Botanical Gardens and was director of horticulturalresearch for the New England Wildflower Society.His most recent book, Understanding Perennials is due out this spring.As open land disappears, so too do many of the native plants that once flourished on this continent.Gardeners may be their last resort.Cullina sees gardens not just an extension of our houses but a habitat we share with plants and the animals that depend on them for food and shelter.
LGC Peach Tree Project Proposal Initiative to help GCA celebrate 100 years The project will educate our members on peach tree cultivation, using an outstanding peach tree cultivar hardy in BerkshireCounty. This tree was originally grown from seed by Margery Wilde, many years ago, of High Lawn Farm in Lenox. The tree produces very tasty and juicy fruit without spraying, is fully hardy and ripens in early September. The project will deal with its historical significance, its need for preservation and its sustainability. Workshops, programs, field trips will be some of the educational tools used. You will hear more about this at the Gardner's Breakfast and will be asked to approve the project.
Hort Short...Arm Chair Gardening
January is a great time to snuggle down on the couch with your seed catalogs for Spring planting. The good ones: - FEDCO SEEDS or FEDCO TREES for a great selection of heirloom apple trees for bare root Spring planting -ST. LAWRENCE NURSERIES email@example.com another great resource for very hardy fruit trees... they come small, bareroot but are super hardy and catch up fast! -JOHNNIES (tel.: 1-877-564-6697) of course is the king of seeds for your vegetable garden but good also for flowers and herbs. Finally a favorite for the budget conscious: -PINETREE firstname.lastname@example.org they sell wonderful mini-packs for $0.95 a real bargain and plenty of seeds for the average family garden. On the Houseplant front:
Spider mites become problematic by this time so you can compliment your pest control regime by spraying Listerine on the plants to control spider mites. Also a weekly shower helps. Just put the whole pot in the shower for 3-4 minutes with warn water. Make sure that the underside of leaves is washed because that is the favorite hiding place for the little mites.
Hort Short...Got the Winter Blues? Turn your Blues into GREENS ...Make a garden and enter the Go GREEN flower Show!
Gardens (Classes 27-29) Classes 27-29TERRARIUMS AND CONTAINER GARDENS(No larger than 16" diameter- Key Card Required for Plant Identification and location in the container) 27.Terrarium (2 week plant ownership) 28.ContainerGarden (3 month ownership) 29.SpringGarden (2 week plant ownership)
Hort Short...Amaryllis Bulbs In preparation for our Spring Flower Show, Go Green II, you may have just what they're looking for! If you buy or are given an Amaryllis bulb for the holiday, consider delaying the potting for another couple months. To have it bloom by show time (April 12-15) you need to know that it usually takes 2 to 8 weeks after planting to see it flower. Cooler temps in our homes this winter may give us the 8 week lead time. That would mean planting around Valentine's Day. Keep in mind that warmer temps (over 70 day & night) produce results sooner. Best of luck, &please let me know if you have one for the show. Barb May
HORT SHORT...How to Make a Cornucopia 1) At a craft shop, purchase a ready-to-fill cornucopia. 2) Collect autumn leaves and place on a tray. 3) Fill the cornucopia with straw or raffia as filler to support the fruit/vegetables and place on top of tray. 4) Add the gourds, pomegranates, small apples, mini pumpkins, peppers, artichokes and dried ears of Indian corn and allow them to spill out over fall leaves. 5) Cover with a variety of nuts and hardy berries (ie. cranberries) to fill in the spaces. 6) Lastly, tuck in more colorful leaves in the cornucopia ..and Voila!
Enjoy the following Thanksgiving quiz....
1) What vegetable was NOT on the Pilgrims menu? a) Watercress b) Berries c) Pumpkin d) Potatoes e) Corn
2) What meat was probably NOT on the Pilgrims menu? a) Beef b) Fish c)Lobster d) Fowl e) Venison Happy Thanksgiving! Jeanie Fenn Answer: 1-d, 2
OCTOBER 2008 COLORFUL FALL FOLIAGE IN A PERENNIALGARDEN A major challenge in a perennial garden is not only to have a selection of plants with blossoms and foliage that fit in with the color scheme and design of your garden, but also whose foliage holds up well throughout the three seasons and after the blossoms have gone. As we enter the fall season, here are some suggestions of perennials whose foliage does just that and turns beautiful shades of orange/red or pink/red in the Fall. PEONY – ‘Karl Rosenfeld’ (deep crimson blossoms) EVENING PRIMROSE, sun drops - Oenothera Fruticosa (yellow blossoms). (The stalks of some of the other Evening primroses, including those with light pink or white blossoms, are not as rigid, nor are their leaves as colorful as this one in the Fall). JAPANESE ANEMONE – either ‘Robustissima’ with delicate pink blossoms or ‘Honorine Jobert’ with white blossoms. AZALEA – “Royal Pink’ (‘May Queen’). (A shrub with delicate pink flowers).
SEPTEMBER 2008 Time to think about fall bulb planting!We tend to overlook what Elizabeth Lawrence called “the little bulbs”. Plant 25 to 50 of scilla siberica, chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) and /or Muscari(grape hyacinths) ina spot where you don’t have to mow too early and you will be greeted next April or May with a small ocean or drift of brilliant blue, blue and white, or violet blue respectively. All three of these will spread out and seed themselves in years to come as long as you plant them in reasonably good soil where the sun shines in spring.They are inexpensive and require only the initial effort of getting them in the ground.And they require a minimum of digging as they need only 3-4 inches of soil above them.
AUGUST 2008 Kooky Spooky Make plans to enter your potted plants in Kooky Spooky Flower Show at Ventfort Hall on October 30-Nov 2, 2009.Bring your Creepy Crawly Trained Plants, your Scary and Frightening Cacti, and all your Happy Halloween Plants to a Horticulture Halloween Happening Fun Time! GCA Club Flower Show
JUNE 2008 GREAT GARDEN PERENNIALS More info available at:http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gardening/ The workhorses of a great garden are perennials — those stalwarts like daylilies, peonies, iris and astilbe that come back year after year. You can save a lot of money by sowing perennials from seed rather than putting in young plants bought at a nursery. Most perennials take a couple of years to get established, especially when started from seed. But these plants below will bloom the first season: Sow the seed in early spring and enjoy the rewards this summer! Maltese cross. Butterflies adore this plant. The fiery flowers of maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) appear in early summer. Sow in a sunny location in most, well-drained soil. Deadhead to prolong bloom. USDA Zones 3-10. Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) also blooms the first year. Tickseed coreopsis. A native perennial wildflower, tickseed coreopsis thrives where soils are dry to average. This coreopsis typically blooms in late spring to early summer, but deadheading will prolong flowering. 'Baby Sun' and 'Sunray' are compact varieties that don't sprawl like the species does. 'Sunfire' and 'Sternthaler' bloom until frost. USDA Zones 3-8 Verbascum (mullein) is another favorite for the perennial garden. Like many other varieties, 'Southern Charm' blooms the first year after seeding. In following years, expect bloom in the spring, a dormant period in summer where summers are hot, and a re-bloom in the later summer and fall. A short-lived perennial, verbascum typically lives three years or maybe a bit more, and many types (but not 'Southern Charm') reseed. Tolerates poor, dry soil and prefers neutral to alkaline conditions.
NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE THE POWER OF PLANTS We have been told that frontiersmen and hunters in the prairies of the MississippiValley discovered a sunflower plant, Silphium laciniatum, whose leaves accurately indicate the points of a compass.Some plants, unable to find nitrogen in swampy land, obtain it by devouring living creatures. There are more than five hundred varieties of carnivorous plants, eating any kind of meat from insect to beef, using endlessly cunning methods to capture their prey, from tentacles to sticky hairs to funnel-like traps. The tentacles of carnivorous plants are not only mouths but stomachs raised on poles with which to seize and eat their prey, to digest both meat and blood and leave noting but a skeleton. or so it says in "The Secret Life of Plants" by Tompkins and Bird... Jeanie Fenn
DAFFODILS According to Jennifer Brown, American Daffodil Society (ADS) Judge, “daffodil” and “narcissus” are used interchangeably, daffodil being the English name and narcissus the botanical name.In England they are affectionately called “daffydowndillies.” The ADS, like England’s Royal Daffodil Society, classifies daffodils into 13 divisions, principally by the characteristics of each cultivar’s corona (cup) and perianth segments (petals).“Jonquils” are technically the daffodils of Division 7 only, the Jonquilla and Apodanthus Daffodil Cultivars.They are characterized by having one to five flowers to a stem; perianth segments spreading or reflexed, flowers usually fragrant.Within each division, each cultivar is also given a specific color code.For example, 1 W-Y is a trumpet daffodil with white petals and yellow trumpet; 2Y-YYO is a large cupped daffodil, all yellow except for an orange rim.
Daffodils are among the oldest of cultivated plants.They are thought to have originated in Spain and Portugal but spread themselves around the Mediterranean in prehistoric times.Tazetta daffodils (Division 8) were brought by man to China and Japan.By the 1400s Englishmen described 24 different daffodils; by 1600s there were more than 90.Daffodils were brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadores.Today worldwide, there are 26, 000 named varieties of which 2000 are currently available. For more info, contact the ADS at www.daffodilusa.org Jacqueiline Connell
MARCH 2008 PROPAGATING SUCCULENTS When a succulent plant begins to grow tall and lanky… you have a couple of options. You can remove the lower leaves and plant it deeper or you can do what I did. I first removed the lower leaves and set them aside to dry for about three days in bright (but indirect) light. The reason we do this is because we have to let the cuts callous over to prevent rot. The second thing I did was cut off the top and also set it aside to dry for three days. What you're left with is just the "stump" of the original plant but even that you should keep because it will send out new leaves and plants that you can cut off and also root later. After the three days you can simply set your leaf cuttings on a pot of soil and wait for them to root. The top portion that you removed can also be inserted into soil and rooted. The "stump" we created should be kept somewhere shady and not watered much if at all until new growth appears.Voila!New Plants!
DORMANT CARE OF DECIDUOUS TREES AND SHRUBS! As the plants go dormant, it is a good time to remove dead branches, and collect fallen leaves to reduce over wintering inoculum (the resting structures of leaf spot, blight and canker fungi). Remove this debris so fewer of these disease fungi will be present in the area to initiate infections next spring. In addition, if leaf spots and blights are recurring, unsightly problems, resistant varieties, or other plants better adapted to the site may be available to replace them. Reported by Dan Gilman of the UMass Ext. Service. Thanks, Carolyn King
START DREAMING OF SPRING! I’m huddled inside at 4 degrees below zero with thoughts of how to improve our gardens and surrounding woods for 2008. One possibility that intrigues me was reinforced by Claire Sawyers of the Scott Arboretum. She suggests that we cultivate “a sense of the wild” by celebrating imperfection. What can we add to reflect the essence of the location of our garden and create a sense of the wild? One thing that comes to mind is the beauty of the irregularity of the base of trees and tree stumps. Around our house we have kept maple and black locust tree stumps. The stumps themselves are beautiful, new trees have grown out of them, and we have enhanced their beauty with small additions of native plants that self seed. Ferns and Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are two plants that do well around trees and tree stumps and they enhance the beautiful texture of tree bark. What might you add to your garden to enhance and celebrate the wild beauty of an imperfect tree stump? Best regards and Happy New Year, Helen Davies
MAKE YOUR SALT WORTH IT! As we all know, the deicing salt we use in the winter is harmful to soil and plants, and corrosive to roads and walkways.And it is only effective above about 15 degrees F. What are the alternatives? Calcium, potassium, and magnesium chloride are effective to -5 degrees F or lower, but are much more expensive.And while they are somewhat less toxic to plants, they will corrode concrete and metals.General fertilizers are often recommended for ice control, but they are only effective in large amounts that may damage plants.Sand and granular kitty litter don’t melt ice and snow, but they can be used for traction.Fifty pounds of sand mixed with one pound of salt is effective and less damaging to plants and soil.Liquid deicers are generally more effective than dry ones.You can make your own by dissolving one part magnesium chloride in two parts water.Common sense says to use the smallest amount of the least damaging materials, and use them when they will be the most effective.The best time to apply is after the snow/ice event has finished and the shoveling is done.A handful per square yard is all that is needed (if you can feel salt crunching under your feet, that’s too much!).If you only need traction, apply a thin layer of sand.And pay attention to the temperature, it can be just too darned cold for the deicers to work!
NOVEMBER 2007 DAHLIA STORAGE Tubers should be kept in the dark at a steady, cool temperature so they stay firm without rotting, shriveling or sprouting prematurely. The storage place should be dry and safely above freezing but below 50 degrees. Aim for 40 to 45 degrees. An old fashioned root cellar is perfect. Consider an unheated basement, attic, crawl space, attached garage or even a refrigerator. Tubers may be packed in a plastic bag with holes punched in it, or in a loosely closed plastic bag, or in a closed cardboard box or paper bag. Surround the tubers with milled sphagnum peat moss, dry shavings, coarse sand, coarse vermiculite, or newspaper to both insulate and separate them. The tubers should not touch each other. They must be kept dark. Check the tubers periodically during storage. If they begin to shrivel, mist with a little tepid water. If there is condensation, allow to air dry a bit. Remove any rotting tubers. Most problems seem to be related to storing damaged tubers which are prone to rot, and to unsuitable storage temperature. Check the temperature range inside the storage container with a min-max thermometer.
OCTOBER 2007 HORT SHORTS...UPRIGHT PAPERWHITES Cocktail time for bulbs! This tip keeps your blooming paperwhites from keeling over and looking sad, by stunting their growth (but not their blossoms) with alcohol. Plant the bulbs amid pebbles, aquarium gravel or whatever material you usually use. Add water until it touches the bottom of the bulbs. After about a week, when the roots begin to grow and the green shoots one or two inches tall, pour off the water. This is a bit tricky, so pour over a sieve or colander to catch any stones that fall out. Replace the water with water to which you have added alcohol: the solution should be one part alcohol to 7 parts water if you use gin (40% distilled spirit), but rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol, 70% distilled spirit) is much cheaper and it should be used in a ratio of 1 part alcohol to 10 or 11 parts water. Continue to use the water/alcohol solution for the duration of the bulbs' blooming cycle.
SEPTEMBER 2007 GARLIC SEASON Plant garlic NOW for harvest next summer. Purchase garlic sold specifically for planting, or buy organic garlic. Commercial, non-organic, supermarket garlic may have been treated to inhibit sprouting. Break the garlic head into individual cloves, keeping the largest ones for planting. Use the small cloves for cooking. Plant cloves about 3 inches apart with the pointed side up. Try some different varieties to see which you prefer. Mulch the bed well with straw. Harvest next summer.
AUGUST 2007 BEES AND BUGS Even More Bugs...What a great motif for the BBG flower show! They sparked our imagination and our attention to this amazing group of animals. Whether you love them or loathe them they are here to stay, in our homes and in our gardens. After all, the flowers bloom for them, not for us. I find them all endlessly fascinating, their various forms, their life cycles and life styles, their social organization, even their influence on human history. My longtime favorites are the bees. How did they learn so much math and science? They use the beautiful hexagon for their building, the nearest thing to the strong circle which will tesselate. No waste space, no collapse. We know now that the honeybees prefer flowers with radial symmetry, the daisy and sunflower, while the bumblebees prefer bilateral symmetry, the snapdragon and orchid. Haven't you ever seen one bumbling down inside a foxglove? The wonder and questions about the "wanton queens" has led to recent research about their promiscuity, mating with forty or more males on their nuptial flight. In this way they improve the gene pool in the hive, leading to stronger structures, more productive foraging, and longer life for the hive. They even "understand" genetics. Awesome! No wonder honey is so seductive!
JULY 2007 VOLES AND MOLES Have the voles, moles and mice made a better underground subway system in your garden than the NY Transit Authority ever envisioned? A friend passed this tid-bit along to me and it really works….MOUSE TRAPS WITH PEANUT BUTTER!
JUNE 2007 TOMATO HORNWORM The next time you smile at the sweet little hummingbird hovering in your garden, take a closer look. You just might be looking at a Hawk Moth (aka Sphinx Moth or Hornworm.) Unfortunately, these charming creatures lay eggs that develop into Tomato Hornworms - large, green caterpillars that cling to the underside of leaves. They are virtually impossible to see, and will chew through your tomato, eggplant, potato, and pepper plants before you even know they are there. So how do you prevent these little guys from devouring your veggies? Check the ground beneath your plants. If you see tiny droppings, you’ve got hornworms. Examine the plant carefully, and you will hopefully find the culprits. What you do to them is up to you. Happy gardening.
MAY 2007 DAHLIAS For better blooming Dahlias…Soak the tubers in a solution of Peter’s for one hour before planting.
APRIL 2007 BIRDS If Darwin found penguins had evolved to survive at the equator in the Galapagos (found no where else except the poles)...why then has the blue-footed boobie not adopted to thrive in the Berkshires?? Well, just a thought to get your attention! ...But while watching for the signs of spring, and smelling the signs of spring, what about listening for the songs of spring. The birds are plentiful and their songs are numerous, and confusing you say?...no!.. It’s really very easy to identify birds by their song.. Behold, it is all in the rhythm. Many of you already know the white throated sparrow sounds like "Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody" and the Carolina wren sounds like "teakettle, teakettle, teakettle". What about the Barred Owl?...he sounds like "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all". I love the American Goldfinch.. His is "po-ta-to chip, po-ta-to chip"! One of the easier ones is the red-eyed vireo. His song is "Here am I, where are you?" His is easy for one simple reason.. He has been known to sing it up to 22,197 times in one day from sunrise to sunset. (No doubt the chap counting wasn't gardening that day) If there is a whinny in your garden, it may be a robin... and for those who want something really easy, listen for "Chicadee-dee-dee" and "Phoebe" and "Killdeer". They come as advertised! Enjoy your spring labors!
MARCH 2007 PLANT SALE Loosing patience with that plant that won’t bloom for you?Give someone else the chance and contribute it to the June Plant Sale.Do you have too many pups and want to give them to a nice home?Pot up your Bromeliad pups for the June Plant Sale.Do you have a lot of cuttings rooting in water? It seemed like a good idea at the time…but what to do with them now? HINT: The June Plant Sale.Are you an impulsive buyer? It looked great at the nursery center, but when you got it home, it didn’t fit into your garden design – Put it up for adoption at the June Plant Sale.
FEBRUARY 2007 CONTAINER GARDENING If you like container gardening (and who doesn't?) why not do a window box-without a window. An abundant box on the top rail of a porch or deck railing can add another dimension to that area, and enhance your relaxing time. Some tips: securely brace the box to keep it from tipping, determine the light (sun/shade) before choosing plants, have well drained soil, water and feed regularly, groom as needed. More spectacular if only two or three varieties; big leaves and trailing habits make for a showy effect. And surely less strenuous than a long border!
JANUARY 2007 AMARYLLIS Caring for your Hippeastrum (Amaryllis): to have it re-bloom, according to the BerkshireBotanical Garden: While the plant blooms, keep it cool but in bright light to prolong blooming. Water thoroughly with tepid water, then allow the surface to dry out before the next watering. After the flowers have gone, continue watering and feed lightly once a month. When the weather warms up, set the pot outside in full sun. Continue watering and feeding at the same rate until the middle of August. When frost threatens, move the plant inside to a sunny window. Although the plant may look bedraggled, and the leaves may start to die, do not allow the plant to dry out. New flower spikes will start to appear about the end of January. The trick to making your Hippeastrum flower repeatedly is to encourage the plant to produce as much foliage as possible, as the leaves produce food for the plant through photosynthesis.