FEATURED QUOTE :
"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves."
~Mohandas K. Gandhi
Bobbex Deer Repellant
Bobbex Deer Repellent is an original, unique spray made from all natural and recycled ingredients. Readily diluted in water, it is applied directly on the surface of foliage to repel deer. Bobbex is environmentally compatible and harmless to all wildlife including humans, pets, humans, birds and aquatic life.
Bobbex is a safe and highly proven deer repellent. It safely disrupts the foraging patterns of deer and deters them from browsing on your property. Bobbex is effective in protecting your plants from:
- White Tail Deer
- Black Tail Deer
- Mule Deer
- Sika Deer
Bobbex can be sprayed on any ornamental or flowering shrub. Bobbex is long lasting, non-burning and will not wash off.
Bobbex will also help protect your plantings from reduced moisture content during periods of water-reduced weather conditions. In the winter, cold weather, blustery winds and frozen soils reduce a plant's ability to absorb the moisture needed to maintain vitality. Bobbex provides retention of moisture in the plantings through periods of frigid winter weather, and also reduces damage from a late spring or early fall frost. And in addition, it also decreases the desiccating effects of a hot summer day.
For more details, click here to view the Bobbex pamphlet or the Bobbex brochure (pdf).
The first tree we learned about in school as children is the birch! It was the tree used by many nations of the American Indians for transportation, shelters, storage containers, and even religious ceremonies.
It was easy to recognize because of the beautiful white bark on the tree all year long.
Did you know that the name birch means "shining white" and it shares its name with an ancient Irish goddess Brigid?
The German and Russian people refer to the birch as "The Lady in the Forest." The nourishing and caring birch is an image of the White Goddess, standing for motherhood and protection.
In a cool climate like New England it is considered the "Lady of the North American Forest."
Did you know that the original maypole was a tall birch tree brought into the village to celebrate the arrival of the spring season? The birch tree became the focal point of merry making, and it was said that in early February many children were born.
And you thought that the birch was just another tree--be careful when planting!
Birch trees love the New England weather and have adapted to its many climate changes.
They love the moist soil near the edge of a river or lake, where they grow in the wild and in a mixed forest of many hardwood trees.
The birch has also adapted to grow on sides of slopes in a stony to sandy soil.
The one main demand of the birch tree is that it must have an acidic soil.
If the soil pH is high, the leaves will turn pale green to almost yellow, resulting in growth problems and eventual death. If you have birches on your property be sure to keep limestone away from them, as they thrive in acid type soils.
Birch trees will do very well on your front lawn as a single tree or planted in groups.
It will grow in full sun but do just as well when shaded by large trees like oaks and maples for part of the day.
You will find that there are many varieties of birches to choose from.
Traveling in the mountains, you will see many paper or canoe birches growing in large groves.
This native type of birch tree will grow as a single stem tree reaching 50 to 70 feet tall.
The canopy of foliage will spread to 25 feet or more over the wonderful white bark which extends from the trunk to the tip of the branches. Birches grow almost pyramidal when young, and as they age will become oval or more rounded in shape.
isThis tree is resistant to birch borer; this trait should be remembered when you are shopping for a tree for your yard.
The best clump-type birch is the river birch.
It is resistant to birch borer, and the best type to tolerate heat during the summer.
This is important, as most of us plant clump-type birches in the front of the house in the middle of the lawn with full sun all day.
The river birch is also more appreciated for its character in a planting as a focal point tree.
When young, the bark will have a cinnamon color and the bark will peel back or exfoliate, making it more interesting.
As the tree matures, the color of the bark will begin to turn white and become more noticeable in front of the house.
The leaves of birches will grow from 2 to 4 inches long, and each variety looks different.
Look for the weeping birch called 'Youngii' for great character, or the new dwarf birch called 'Little King' that grows in clumps and only 10 feet tall.
I have a 'Little King' and love it! Use Tree and Shrub Insect Control in the spring to control leaf miner insect problems.
Fertilize in the spring with Tree-Tone Fertilizer to help keep the tree strong and healthy.
This family of evergreen plants is perfect for your home.
Cotoneasters have many wonderful qualities for your yard and garden, such as evergreen foliage, white flowers, red fruit, food for birds and, on some tall-growing varieties, a place for nesting.
You can grow this plant as a ground cover, low or tall hedges (depending on variety) and individual plants in the garden.
When taken care of properly, the cotoneaster will rival the holly plant in your garden.
Fertilize with Holly-Tone or Acid Adoring Evergreen Food.
The cotoneaster is extremely vigorous and, depending on variety you select, it will do exactly what you want it to do in your garden.
The spreading or creeping types are among the most popular.
When planted 3 to 4 feet apart, the plants will fill in to a solid carpet in just 3 to 4 years.
Their growing habit is low--spreading 1 to 2 feet tall, with ridged arching branches that resemble a series of small mounds of foliage.
The foliage is small--1/4 to 1/2 inches long--and dark green in color.
Most varieties are evergreen, unless you have a very cold winter and little snow cover.
If this should happen, the leaves will fall from the plant and be replaced with new leaves the following spring.
The flowers are pink on these varieties and not very showy.
However, the red fruit on the plant, about 1/4 inches round, is showy.
The fruit will last on the plant well into the winter months.
These varieties will grow in full sun or partial shade.
The cotoneasters do prefer a well drained soil and will not tolerate standing water.
If your soil is acidic they will do quite well.
Cotoneasters will grow well on slopes, and make a great framing plant in front of large evergreens like rhododendrons and hollies or as a mass planting all by themselves.
The taller growing varieties that reach 2 to 3 feet tall tend to have more noticeable flowers.
The flowers are pure white and can become profuse when the plants are well-fed in the spring.
During May, the plants will be covered with many flowers; the arching branches resemble a waterfall.
The flowers have 5 petals and grow from 1/3 to 1/2 inches in diameter.
The bees love them; when they are in full bloom you will hear all the buzzing sounds of the bees.
The results of their work will be clusters of rounded fruit about 1/4 inches diameter.
Taller varieties need to be pruned yearly to keep them neat looking.
These taller varieties make great natural looking hedges along walkways or on the side of a hill, and look fine by themselves.
The Cotoneaster family also has upright spreading varieties that will grow to 5 to 6 feet tall and just as wide.
These varieties are extremely vigorous and make a great informal hedge when not pruned.
When pruned I like them better than privet hedges as they are evergreen during mild winters and stay green from the ground to the top of the plant during the summer.
These are great plants to screen air conditioners or other equipment installed around the house.
Cotoneaster also has a dwarf type called "Tom Thumb" that will grow like a piece of carpet.
It's a great looking plant when used in a rock garden or water feature.
Most cotoneaster plants will have a rich red winter color that will turn green in the spring.
Cotoneaster fruit will attract waxwings, finches and robins during the fall or early spring.
The flowers will also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.
This family of plants will be greatly enjoyed by you in your garden!
Spring is just around the corner now and if you are looking for a flowering plant for the house that can be transplanted outside later look at the primrose.
The primrose is a perennial flowering plant that is among a handful of flowers that bloom early in the spring gardens outside.
Its Latin name, Primula vulgaris, implies earliness and means "early." Because it flowers early naturally, the primrose can be forced to bloom even earlier in the greenhouse for your enjoyment in your home at this time of the year.
The foliage is a ground-hugging rosette of shinny green leaves that are medium to dark green in color.
The leaves are 4 to 6 inches long and only about an inch wide.
The leaves have a rough look to them, as they seem wrinkled or puckered, with small teeth on the edges of the leaf--and a bit hairy.
Once you see the rosette growth habit, you will always be able to distinguish this plant from all the rest of the perennials in your garden.
As soon as the frost is out of the ground, the leaves begin to emerge from the ground, and before you know it the flowers pop out of the center of the foliage.
The plant will grow 4 to 6 inches tall and spread to about 8 to 10 inches wide.
Growth will start in most gardens during March if the snow has melted and the weather has begun to warm up.
The flowers come on short stems, 3 to 4 inches tall, and hold clusters of flowers.
Each flower has five petals and the bloom resembles a shallow trumpet.
The flower colors are BRIGHT, in shades of yellow, red, blue, purple and white.
All the flowers have a bright yellow center, like a "bull's eye." The flowers will last from March to May in the garden outdoors and for 4 to 6 weeks indoors, if you can keep them cool.
The best temperature indoors is 50 to 60 degrees; keep them out of south-facing windows where they get sun all day.
The primrose will grow best in a soil that is well-drained, and rich in organic matter like compost and peat moss.
Grow them in your garden as a border plant up front and in groups of 3 to 5 for the best show of color.
Primroses also will grow well in shaded gardens, rock gardens and wall plantings.
If you have a woodland or shaded wildflower garden, this plant is a must.
Remember the primrose flowers early; if you are looking for early color to motivate you to get you out in the garden early, this is the plant with all the excitement!
As a houseplant, the primrose makes a great potted plant, all by itself.
You can mix it with other flowering or foliage plants.
I pick the faded flowers from the stems as they fade; when the stem has no more buds I remove the entire stem right above the foliage at the base of the plant.
This prevents the plant from making seeds and the energy stays in the plant, so you can transplant it into the garden in mid to late April.
No fertilizer is needed in the house, but once you plant in the garden use compost and a product like Flower Thrive, Bio-Tone or Dr.
Earth Starter Fertilizer, as they contain microbes and mycorrhizae for a quick start to the root system.
The new garden technology in fertilizer will astound you because it is a reproduction of what lives in your soil already--and plants love it. Treated with this technology, plants grow better, faster, healthier, bloom more and need less care.
Enjoy indoors now and plant outside for years of enjoyment in your garden outside.
If you are looking for the hardiest perennial vegetable for your garden, look no further than the rhubarb! Rhubarb is a plant native to Siberia, Russia.
It was first grown for medicinal purpose but quickly became used for food.
Because there were no early fruits available in April, the rhubarb plant filled the need for a fruit substitute.
The stems of the rhubarb are tart and can be eaten raw when lots of white sugar is used.
When cooked, it is delicious added to sweetened sauces and desserts, and is wonderful mixed with strawberries in a pie.
It was very popular 50 years ago, but today many berries and fruit are shipped into this country from all over the world, and rhubarb has lost its appeal.
Today it is an acquired taste--and those gardeners who dare to taste it love it.
I like the looks of the giant leaves in the garden as much as the taste of the red stems.
Remember one thing: the leaves of the rhubarb are poisonous so remove them and add them to your compost pile.
If you notice that large stems with white flowers develop from the center of the plant, remove them as they will steal the energy from the plant to make seed.
Rhubarb should be planted in your garden during April or May.
Start with a big hole filled with compost or well rotted animal manure.
Rhubarb is a heavy feeder and needs to be fertilized during the summer, when the harvest is over.
Summer fertilizer helps the plant to rebuild itself for next year.
Select a location in your garden with full sun all day.
Loosen the soil and add organic matter like compost if your soil is clay base.
Rhubarb will grow better if the soil is neutral to acid.
If you have a compost pile, spread fresh compost around the plant every spring to get it off to a good start.
Rhubarb will be in your garden for a long time and it needs space to grow, so be sure you allow at least a 3' square space for it to grow.
The large arching stems with large fan-like leaves will fill in that space in no time at all.
Also, do not pick the rhubarb for the first year.
The plant will need all the energy it makes to become established in its new home--your garden.
When the plant is ready to be harvested, just twist the stems at the base and pull up.
Never pick more than half of the leaves from the plant during the season.
You must leave some stems so the plant is able to make food to replace the stems you harvested.
Rhubarb is good for you and contains vitamins C and K.
It is also a good source for magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese.
If you need fiber, this plant has that too.
Rhubarb is relatively problem-free--an occasional hole in the leaf now and then is not a problem.
Keep the plant healthy by feeding in spring and during the summer.
Water rhubarb often during the hot days of summer! If your soil is on the sandy side, water your rhubarb more often.
Now you are ready for years of enjoyment.
This Week's Question:
Now that seed-starting time is coming up, what does "planting by the moon" mean?
This Week's Prize:
One bottle of Vacation.
Last Week's Question:
Why are some hydrangeas known as "nature's little soil tester"?
Last Week's Prize:
One bottle of Vacation.
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
If the soil is acidic the hydrangea will be blue and to the degree of acidity. If the hydrangea remains pink the soil is alkaline in pH.
One winner per question - we choose winners from the list of those who answer correctly. Winners must be newsletter subscribers. We'll ship you your prize, so be sure to put your address in the form in case you win!
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- Whipped cream
Step by Step:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon together until crumbly.
- Press ½ of the mixture into bottom of a 9-inch square-baking pan.
- Mix sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and clear, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Toss rhubarb and strawberries together gently.
- Place tossed fruit over the crumb mixture in the prepared pan.
- Pour cornstarch mixture over fruit and top with remaining crumbs.
- Bake approximately 1 hour or until crisp.
- Serve with whipped cream.
Yield: 8 servings