"God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done."
~ Author Unknown
Come see Paul's Garden!
Join us for the 16th annual "Private Gardens of the Kennebunks" Garden Tour, July 17, 2010 from 10:00 - 4:00. SHINE OR RAIN. All proceeds benefit the prevention programs of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Maine. Tour nine lovely gardens throughout Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Advance tickets are $15.00 before July 1st; $20.00 July 1st through day of the event. Please call (207) 985-5975 or visit http://www.kidsfreetogrow.org for more information!
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America's first and most popular evergreen shrub is the boxwood. If you have ever traveled to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, where many of our
forefathers lived and worked, you would notice that many of the homes and the gardens contain boxwood, a beautiful and functional evergreen that
adapts well to many climates and is used for hedges, screens, foundation plantings and gardens all around the world. From coastal Maine to northern
Florida and beyond, there is a variety for your garden. In Europe, many castles and large estates have used boxwood for simple-to-very-complicated hedge
gardens. Why, you may ask? It is because when the flowers and vegetables were finished producing and winter arrived, the boxwood plant was still
beautiful and continued to give the garden character all year.
Boxwood is a broadleaf evergreen with foliage to 1 inch long, oval shaped and medium to dark green coloring, depending on the variety. The plant is
compact, growing in a mound or rounded shape and densely branched with foliage right to the ground. In the winter, the foliage does change color a bit
from green to bronze in cold climate areas, but like many other evergreens greens up when spring arrives. In milder climates, the color change is less
noticeable. The foliage color is different, depending on the variety, from light green to dark green and even with a bit of blue tinge to the foliage.
Some foliage is rounded and other varieties will have almost oval foliage coming to a point on the tip of the leaf. Plants living in a climate with mild
weather have more variation in the foliage, with variegated foliage of green and yellow to green with a white edge.
Boxwood will do best in a loamy soil that is well drained and loose. Heavy soils with clay in them are not recommended for growing boxwood, as they
hold too much water, especially during the fall and spring when rain is more frequent. Like many evergreens, the boxwood develops a root system close
to the surface of the soil; frequent cultivation is not recommended, as it will hurt the roots close to the surface. Boxwood will grow in full sun to
partial shade with filtered sunlight. The one thing to remember when planting it is to keep it out of a windy exposed garden especially during the
winter if it is in a sunny garden. When you plant be sure to condition the soil around the plant and the hole with compost or peat moss to help the
plant develop roots quickly. Bark mulch or compost two inches thick around the plant will help keeps the roots healthy during summer heat and winter
Boxwood has very few disease and insect problems. I have seen some minor problems with mealy bug (a white cottony material on the new growth), aphids
(a green insect in large numbers on the tips of the new growth), or psyllid (which causes the new growth to curl and makes the leaves look cup-like).
All these problems can be easily controlled with All Season Oil from Bonide Lawn and Garden or Tree and Shrub Garden Drench from Bayer Lawn and Garden.
If you should have a winter with little snow cover, the foliage could be almost yellow when spring arrives. This condition can be easily corrected with
a product called "Ironite". Fertilize in the spring and fall with Holly-tone or Acid Adoring from Dr. Earth.
Prune in the spring before the new growth develops, because when you prune you will cut into some of the foliage leaving half leaves on the plant.
These cut leaves will have a brown edge but when the new growth develops, this trimming is covered with new growth of whole leaves. Trimmed plants can
be easily kept at 12 to 15 inches tall or when not pruned, 3 to 4 feet tall. Boxwood is a wonderful small and slow-growing evergreen for your garden.
The Dahlia is one of our best summer flowering tubers with a long history that dates back to the Aztecs in Central and South America. Dahlias were
once grown as a fodder crop and medicine, but the flavor was not appreciated and soon people discovered the beautiful flowers. The dahlia of today is
the results of many years of cross-fertilization and selections of the varieties. Today's hybrids number over 20,000 cultivars divided into groups by
plant height, flower type, flower size, etc. New plant groups of dahlias are constantly being created along with new colors, flower size and flower
types. Today there is a Dahlia hybrid of any height you desire, flower color, flower color combination, flower type, foliage color and even some for
your container garden. Dahlias grow from 6 inches tall to 6 feet tall, so be sure you select the right height you desire for your garden or containers.
Dahlias are not winter hardy in your garden but can easily be overwintered in a frost-free place like a basement for the winter. Next spring, the
dahlia tubers can be planted directly into your garden during May, or started in your home in pots, during April for plants that bloom earlier.
Transplant them to the garden when the weather warms up in May. If the nights get cold, you will have to cover them with containers or blankets to
prevent freezing. Dahlias will flower nonstop during the summer and fall until you get a freeze in the flower garden. When the foliage turns brown, cut
the main stem to 2 inches above the tuber and store in a cool place like your basement. Cover the bulbs with damp peat moss and sheets of newspaper on
the floor to keep tubers cool and prevent drying up. Never divide the tubers until spring arrives and you're getting ready to plant them. Also, label
your bulbs in September with name, plant height and color on a string tag so next year you will know how the bulb will grow. This keeps the tall growing
tubers in back and shorter growing tubers in the front of the garden.
Dahlias need a full sun garden to grow their best and produce flowers. They will still grow in partial sun but will never live up to your expectations.
They will grow best in a rich loamy soil that is well drained and fertile. The dahlia, like most tubers, will not tolerate wet soils and will rot and
die. Dahlias love to be fertilized; if you are using a liquid fertilizer apply it weekly. Granular fertilizers should be applied monthly or use Osmocote
time-release pellets once during the season. I still use liquid feed with the Osmocote every 2 weeks for much bigger plants and more flowers. Water
dahlias as needed and more during those hot days of summer. Mulch on the ground 2 inches thick will help to keep the soil cool and minimize water loss.
Tall growing varieties should be strong enough to support the flower stems if well-fed and watered. When tubers first begin to grow, it's recommended
that you pinch them back once they have three to four sets of leaves on the main stem. Pinching encourages multiple stems to develop on the tuber and
more flowers will develop. Dahlias will grow wide, so space them properly or the plants will grow into each other, encouraging disease and insect
problems. Air and light circulation is the key to a clean-growing plant. Common insects are aphid and red spider mite, both easily controlled with All
Season Oil from Bonide Lawn and Garden.
Do not fear cutting flowers from the dahlia plant, because the more you cut, the more flowers will develop on the plant. Cut dahlias will last over a
week in a vase of fresh water. Enjoy!
My favorite flowering tree is the Kousa dogwood and when you read this, you will know why. The Kousa dogwood came from Japan and Korea where it is
native and grows wild. Introduced to the American gardener in the 1870's as a tree for the garden or Parks, the Kousa dogwood is a small tree growing
20 to 30 feet tall and wide. It was different from our Native American dogwood that grew from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas. The Kousa
dogwood could grow further north even to Maine and to the Mid-West.
The Kousa dogwood flowers during the summer, while the native dogwood flowered in the springtime. Kousa dogwood flowers are pointed on the tip, making
the flower look like a star, while the American dogwood is rounded. The American dogwood produces flowers on the tip of the branches before the leaves
develop in the spring. The Kousa dogwood flowers after the leaves cover the branches in the summer. It has an edible red fruit about one inch in diameter
that resembles a strawberry, which hangs on the tree from late summer to the fall, while the American is more like a jelly bean and shiny. The birds will
eat both types of fruit in the fall.
In the Spring, we are blessed with many flowering trees such as our fruit trees with white flowers, Flowering crabs in many colors from white to red,
magnolias from white to purple, flowering cherries with pink flowers, flowering pear with white flowers and more. During the summer months flowering
trees are rare and the Kousa dogwood will bring an elegant look to your home and garden. It grows upright when young and will round up and become a
broad-spreading tree as it matures. When young, the bark is gray and smooth but as it ages, it develops a mottled bark with shades of tan, gray and brown
often flaking on the branches like pieces of potato chips. The leaves are dark green, glossy and grow 2 to 4 inches long and oval with a pointed tip.
In the Fall, the leaves turn red and yellow.
The flowers begin as tiny green stars in early June, eventually covering the branches with creamy white, star-like flowers. The flowers, has 4 petals
growing to 2 to 3 inches wide with a green fruit in the center that turns red in the late summer. As the flowers fade, they become streaked with shades
of pink, and the green fruit turns red, lasting well into September or October.
The Kousa dogwood prefers a well-drained soil on the acid side and moist during the summer if possible. Moist soil during the summer extends the
flowering period, increases the flower size, and helps the plant to make more flower buds for next year. The Kousa dogwood is more adaptable to soil
types, temperature, weather and exposure than the American dogwood and flowers every year. When planting dogwoods, use compost or peat moss to the soil
and hold to help establish a better root system faster. I always add mycorrhizae when planting, so add Bio-Tone fertilizer or Dr. Earth Shrub fertilizer
with Pro-biotic. Look for the new liquid ycorrhizae called Plant Thrive and apply 2 times during the growing season for the first year. Water the tree
weekly until frost. Feed yearly with Plant Tone.
And one more attractive feature: the Kousa dogwood is immune to Anthractinose, a disease that has destroyed many native dogwoods. What more can you
ask for in a tree: summer flowers, fall fruit, fall foliage, hardiness, and freedom from insects and disease. Plant the Kousa dogwood on the corner of
your house or plant a garden around it--you will love it.
Two beetles are very active right now in the garden: the Colorado potato beetle and the cucumber beetle. The Colorado potato beetle is about 1/2 inch
long and almost round in appearance, like your fingernail. The body is covered with black and yellow stripes from the head to the back of the hard shell
body. If you see them eating your plants, be on the lookout for clusters of bright yellow eggs laid on the underside of the plants leaves they are
eating. Pick and destroy these leaves. The Cucumber Beetle is ¼ inch long and slender looking. The body is also hard shelled and striped with yellow and
black stripes like the Colorado potato beetle. The eggs are laid on the soil, not the plant, and when they hatch feed on the plant's roots. To control,
spray plants with Spinosad insecticide, Captain Jack insecticide or Eight Garden Dust. Both insects are easily controlled in the garden if you apply
beneficial nematodes to the garden now to kill the larvae. Look for this pest on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes and vine crops. Go to
www.enviromentalfactor.com for more information on nematodes.
As the days warm up, so does the risk of powdery mildew increase! This disease is a white powdery growth that forms on the foliage, flowers, and buds
of the plant blocking the sunlight from the foliage and eventually killing the plant. Powdery mildew weakens the plant and is more of a problem when the
weather gets hot and humid or you irrigate the garden with an overhead sprinkler late in the day. Common on Vine crops like cucumbers and squash, it can
be controlled easily if you treat the plants starting now with all natural fungicide Serenade. Go to
www.serenadegarden.com for more information on powdery mildew.
As your tomatoes begin to produce fruit on the plant, think back about the problem we all had last summer with late blight. This disease destroyed
your plant by turning the lower leaves on the tomato plant yellow and then black in just a few days. Once infected, it moved right up the plant, killing
the leaves and the tomatoes in just a few days. This disease also infects your potato plants and is the cause of the Irish Potato Famine. Treat your
plants now with Actinovate fungicide to prevent reoccurrence again this year, and avoid watering the garden late in the day with overhead sprinklers. For
more information on late blight go to www.naturalindustries.com
If birds and animals are a problem in your garden, here are a few things to try to help keep them out of the garden. The oldest way to keep problems
down is with the garden scarecrow which will repel problems even better if it moves with the wind. Tie balloons, aluminum pie plates, strips of tin foil,
pinwheels or strips of bright colored ribbon--even small mirrors--from the scarecrow to the fencing. These items reflect the sunlight and move with the
wind to repel. Also try a garden owl mounted on a post that can be moved around the garden easily. If all else fails, my dad used a portable radio at
night before he went to bed. Be sure to set the dial on a talk radio station and the many voices will keep animals out of the garden. This works
especially well at keeping the raccoons out when your corn is ready. Also animal repellents that work on smell and taste are very good. Go to
www.deerscram.com for more information on repellents for the garden and yard.
If you have had problems with pollination on cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins here is a tip that will help. When these plants come into bloom to form
fruit, look at the flower: it's yellow and that is what the bees are looking for. Plant a row of marigolds in your vegetable garden or scatter them
around the garden to help attract the bees. I do this every year and it really helps get the bees in the garden. Also, never use garden insect "dust" on
vegetable gardens. Always use liquid insect control products because dust products can stick to the bees' feet and, carried to the hive, create problems.
This Week's Question:
Where is the heat located in hot peppers?
b. bottom half
c. top half near stem
d. stringy ribs
This Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
- Contains Myco-tone® mycorrhizae
- For all indoor and outdoor containers.
- In 4, 8, 16 qt., 1 and 2 cu. ft. bags.
Last Week's Question:
What pain-relieving plant was aspirin developed from?
Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
The bark of the willow tree
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!
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, halved
- 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast meat
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
Step by Step:
- In a large bowl, mix together the onions, carrot, red pepper, peas, chicken, cilantro and almonds. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce and dry mustard until smooth.
- Pour over salad mixture and toss until coated.
- Serve in pita pockets or on a bed of lettuce.