FEATURED QUOTE :
"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies."
Is your favorite valentine a gardener? This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This journal, autographed personally by Paul, makes a great gift. The cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a heavy-duty D-ring binder.
- 8 tabbed sections
- 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags...
- Weather records page
- 6 three-year journal pages
- Insect & diseases page--3 project pages
- 3 annual checklist pages
- Plant wish list page
- 2 large pocket pages
- Sheet of garden labels
- 5 garden detail sheets
- 5 graph paper pages for layouts
- 5 photo pages, each holding four 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format
Click here to order online.
Reclaim your gardens from munching deer and rabbits!
A single deer can eat 5 to 10 pounds of vegetation in the course of one day! Multiply that by three or four times, as deer numbers continue to increase in suburban settings, and your prized garden could be ruined in one night! And while you might have treated your garden with other commercial deer repellants, deer are very resilient animals. Treatments that have worked in the past usually become ineffective after the deer have grown accustomed to the typical odors and tastes used in competing deer repellent products.
How it works
Deer Scram is your best deer repellent because it attacks a deer's sense of safety. Blended from selected organic components, Deer Scram will keep deer away of your landscape because, through their uncanny sense of smell, Deer Scram convinces deer that harm is nearby. Deer Scram deer repellant will change deer behavior. As they near the applied barrier of Deer Scram, deer actually alert to a sense of danger--even death! Its unique blend of all-natural organic ingredients targets a deer's remarkable sense of smell. As the scent of death reaches the deer, a genetic biological defense mechanism to flee from predators is triggered. Watch deer flee from the area or avoid it completely! Regular application of Deer Scram creates a barrier deer--and rabbits--will not cross to reach your plants--guaranteed!
All natural, biodegradable ingredients
Deer Scram is a fully organic and biodegradable granular deer-control product that contains no harmful chemicals or toxins that could hurt the animals, environment and, most importantly, you or your family. Regular application of Deer Scram on a 45- to 60-day rotation takes away the free meal ticket away from pesky deer. Keep deer away for good with Deer Scram!
Click here for information about how to order Deer Scram.
You all know that my favorite flowering tree is the 'Kousa' sogwood, but what tree do you think is number two? The number two tree is the sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum). It would be number one, if only more nurseries carried it. I first saw this tree growing in a yard in Cohasset, Massachusetts my first summer home from college. I stopped the car and got out to get a better look at this unusual-looking tree.
It was early July and the tree was covered with large clusters of white flowers. The flower cluster was different, because each stem of the cluster grew horizontal--not drooping like most plants. The small white bell-shaped flowers seem to hang from these ridged stems, evenly spaced on the stem. The flowers looked like lilies of the valley. The stems numbered 10 or more to make up the cluster and each stem had 6 to 12 flowers on it. The flower stems that held the flowers were also white--like the flowers.
The flowers opened from the middle of the flower cluster, working their way to the tips. When looking at the flower cluster I saw faded flowers with white pods, flowers in bloom and buds to open in the days to come. It was just beautiful; the foliage was shiny dark green and clean-looking like a flowering pear tree--this made the flowers stand out even more. Another quality for this tree was that the flowers were fragrant!
I went straight home, took out my books from school at University of Massachusetts, The Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and began to search for this tree. In my prized landscaping book, Dirr's Hardy Trees And Shrubs, I found it and read all about it. There were more qualities of this tree listed, and as the weeks passed I travelled to the tree to see those changes.
Those flowers faded, but the flower clusters seemed to stay just as beautiful as when they were in full bloom weeks earlier. I had to see what was going on, so I got out of the car again and walked to the tree. I found the faded flowers had changed to white pods, like tiny peas hanging from the stems. This tree was always in color starting in late June--and it was now August.
When September came, I headed back to school and talked to my teachers about this tree. They told me to go back home in early October and take a new look at this tree, as it would change again. I did, and my teachers were right--the beautiful sourwood tree was now covered with bright red leaves--almost like the burning bush.
The clusters of white pods were now drooping clusters; as the berries filled out, the weight made the clusters droop down, so they were no longer horizontal on the plant. As the cold weather came, the color of the pods changed to brown and they lasted most of the winter on the tree. The leaves were oval--4 to 8 inches long, and stayed bright and shiny even when they changed from dark green to red in the fall.
The sourwood will grow to 25 to 30 tall and up to 20 feet wide. It loves to grow with evergreen trees in the background for winter protection and to show off its color. Like the dogwood it will grow best in partial shade. If you think you would like this tree, visit your local nursery during the winter and see if they can order it for you.
When we bought our first house, I planted a sourwood tree on the end of the house in place of a dogwood. The neighbors loved it and were jealous that they did not have one.
If you like African violets, then you will love the gloxinia. At this time of the year, they are exciting to have in any plant window or in the middle of your kitchen table. The plant looks like a "GIANT" African violet--and it is its cousin, after all. The gloxinia plants are grown from seed buy the greenhouse growers for the gray days of winter. Gloxinias are considered annual plants; most of us will enjoy the flowers and then toss them out when the blooms stop. If you are patient and give them a rest period for 3 to 4 months they will come back and reflower--but never like the original bloom when you bought it.
The big buds are one inch or larger, and will burst open one at a time, creating a clump of velvety trumpets in the center of the plant. The individual flowers come on short stems two to three inches long, and when the velvety flowers open the top of the trumpet can be as wide as three inches. The trumpet is one inch wide and deep and filled with the flower's reproductive parts and interesting to look at.
Each flower will last over a week; the plant should bloom over 2 months with several flowers open at all times. When you purchase a plant, select a plant that has many buds and few flowers open so you can enjoy the plant longer. Keeping the plant on the cool side will also keep the flowers in bloom longer but the plant loves the sun best of all. It will do best in a room that has temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees. Water as needed and keep on the moist side at all times. Never wet the leaves or they will have brown spots on them. Always use warm water when watering.
The foliage is beautiful to look at, because the leaves are eight to twelve inches long, six inches wide and, like the African violet, covered with a fine fuzz or hair. The average plant will be fifteen to twenty four inches wide when you purchase it for your plant table. It will grow twelve inches tall or more when in bloom. Placing the plant in a heavy-looking pot will give the leaves a softer look. The ends of the leaves will curve under, showing you the delicate veining in the center of the leaves. The leaves feel soft and delicate to your touch but they are strong and give the plant a lot of character.
The flower color will range from white to red and shades of pink, blue and purple. Some flowers are solid colors, while many of the new varieties are bi-colors. These plants make a great gift for friends, elderly and--yes--even yourself. Keep out of drafty areas or the leaves will be chilled and turn brown. You will like this houseplant.
In late January or early February when you are sure that spring will never get here, there is one plant that has a surprise for you! The surprise is that this plant will begin to flower in winter, and the flowers will last until March.
The witch hazel is a winter garden surprise for those of us with cabin fever at this time of the year.
One of the hybrids, 'Arnold Promise,' will have yellow flowers, and its sister 'Diane' will have red flowers. 'Arnold Promise' was voted Plant of the Year just a few years ago. This hybrid was introduced to gardeners at Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts, where it was developed, hence its name.
The flowers of witch hazel are either in pairs or two pairs together. When the bud opens, four petals will develop and they will resemble straps about one inch long and often slightly twisted. If you're able to get to the plant in the snow cover in the garden, you will be in for a second treat--it is fragrant. Plant this shrub close by, so you can see and smell it during the long days of winter.
On days that the weather is cold and windy, the flowers just coil up like New Years horns. Blow on a flower and it opens; stop and the horn will roll back in place. This keeps the petals lasting longer. The leaves appear in May and are dark green and two to four inches long.
Plant witch hazel in a full sun location for the best flowers--but I have seen them growing in partial shade and they looked good. They love a rich soil, so when planting be sure to add plenty of organic matter such as peat moss, compost and animal manure.
They will do best in a moist soil that is well-drained and never has standing water.
Fertilize spring and fall with Plant Tone fertilizer for the first couple of years to get off to a good start. After the plant is established, fertilize once a year to help it make flowers for the next year.
Sunny locations that are hot, dry and exposed will slow down the growth of the plant and give you fewer flowers. So give them a little shelter with evergreens as a background and the flowers will be more noticeable.
Wichhazel will grow 10 to 20 feet tall and as wide, so I prune them to control the size in April before the foliage develops. That way the plant has time to make new growth and flowers after you prune it. If you see new shoots that grow quickly straight up, remove them, as they are suckers and will not flower.
In the fall, another treat for you--the foliage will turn to a rich yellow to orange with some red. I love this plant when it has the ground around it covered with English ivy or Pachysandra and the flowers appear. Like the background effect, the flowers become more visible with a ground cover.
Great for a wildflower garden, Japanese garden, or a spot in the yard where you can see it from the kitchen window during those long days of winter--it will help you cope!
Are you looking for a flowering perennial that can be used as a ground cover? Here is one for you! The perennial you are looking for is called pulmonaria or lungwort. This plant will grow anywhere you plant it--and it will love its new home. Plant it in full hot sun to a cool shaded garden. Select a garden with plenty of sun, humus, organic matter and moisture and you will have the best foliage of all.
It will have more flowers if you give it a bit of shade during the heat of summer. Never plant it in a garden soil with a lot of clay in it or where water tends to collect after a good rain. When you first plant the pulmonaria in your garden, water the plant twice a week for the first month and then as needed. Fertilize every couple of weeks with Miracle-Gro during the summer. The following spring, I use Plant Tone Fertilizer and that will carry the plant for the year.
Pulmonaria spreads slowly with creeping roots. You will notice that the clump is getting bigger but it will not take over the flowerbed as other plants do. You can keep it in that spot for three to five years without much care. However, after five years you should divide it or the flowers will get fewer and fewer each year.
The clump will grow to 12 to 15 inches across. Dig it up with a pitch fork and pull it apart with your hands; it will make 3 to 5 new plants easily. When replanting, space them 15 inches in between plants; give them room to grow. Dividing is best done in the fall or after they finish flowering in the spring.
Pulmonaria will grow 10 t0 15 inches tall, with the most beautiful foliage in your garden. The leaves are one to three inches long and oval-shaped. The leaf color is medium green in color with a noticeable pleat or line running down the center of the leaf. Its botanical name is saccharata which means "sugar-coated." You will notice the spotting or mottling on the leaf, which is silver-gray, like frosting.
The flowers resemble small trumpets--pink to purple in color, opening to pink or blue. The flowers are an inch in length and come in clusters on short stems that develop on ends of the new growth. These flowers bloom in early to late spring and the length of bloom will be 3 to 4 weeks.
The combination of flowers and mottled foliage will make this early blooming perennial one of your favorites. You can use them in perennial borders, rock gardens and mixed borders. They look great in woodland gardens.
I have two varieties in a shade garden and they bloom at the same time as bleeding hearts and ground phlox. During the summer it is the foliage with those frosted spots that I like in my garden. No bug problems and, if you keep the foliage dry, no disease problems.
Do not plant where you have sprinklers set up to water the lawn or gardens, or it will have powdery mildew problems when the weather get hot and humid, like tall phlox does.
This Week's Question:
What is the most popular vegetable (eaten--not necessarily grown in our gardens) in the United States?
This Week's Prize:
One bottle of Vacation.
Last Week's Question:
What's the main ingredient in guacamole?
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Last Week's Answer:
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- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 cup onions, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into chunks
Step by Step:
- Combine broth, potatoes, onion, and spices.
- Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender.
- Smash a few of the potato cubes to release their starch for thickening.
- Reduce to low heat.
- Add cream cheese.
- Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.