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Edition 10.26 Paul Parent Garden Club News July 1, 2010

Featured Quote:

"When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves."
— Ken Druse

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 for more information!

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Product Spotlight

Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew

Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island from an abandoned rum distillery in 1982. This unique bacterium was defined as a new species when it was discovered and it has never been found in nature anywhere else in the world.

Since being discovered, Spinosad has become a leading pesticide used in the production of organic produce by the agricultural world. Today, thanks to Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew, Spinosad is available to the homeowner.

Deadbug Brew kills bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, codling moth, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips and more!


Summer is here and so are Mother Nature's best flowers for your garden. One of my favorite flowers is the snapdragon because of its hardiness in the garden, along with the amount of time the plant stays in bloom. Snapdragons love the cool weather and are planted earlier than most annual flowers in the garden for early flowers during the summer that will continue to bloom well into the fall. I plant snapdragons early in the spring, about the same time as the cold weather crops such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Most other summer annuals will not tolerate the cold soil and air temperatures but snapdragons love it, so plant them early when time in the garden is less demanding. Also in the fall when most annual flowers are falling apart with the shorter days and cooler temperatures, the snapdragons come alive after the heat of summer with more flowers, and the plant will tolerate some frost.

Snapdragons have glossy dark green to chocolate colored foliage in the shape of an elongated oval coming to a point. The leaves grow in a whirl around the stems from the ground right up to the flower spikes. The individual flowers grow on a tall stem or spike in a whirl so individual flowers are visible all around the spike. The flowers resemble the head of an animal, and if you pull down the bottom half to view the inside of the flower it will snap back to its original position in a snap. The flower is tubular in shape almost like an open-throat and hummingbirds love it as well as butterflies.

Plant them in a garden that receives full sun most of the day--and the more organic matter in the soil the better. Slightly acid soil that is well drained and fertile is best. Snapdragons love fertilizer so be sure to feed them often with a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle Grow or the new Plant Thrive for more flowers. If you are growing the taller growing varieties, extra fertilizer will help produce stronger and thicker stems to support all the flowers. Tall-growing varieties will grow best when grown out of the wind and near a fence or building for protection; you may have to stake them in a more open garden. For the first 4 to 6 weeks water the plants by hand to keep moisture off the plant when possible, as fungus disease can cause the plant to wilt and die. Avoid overhead watering young plants from sprinklers, but once the plant develops and matures, overhead watering is O.K.

When you plant seedlings, it is best to pinch every shoot on the plant back on the tip to promote the plant to bush out and produce multiple stems rather than a quick single tall stem with flowers. This pinch will delay the bloom by 2 to 3 weeks but the plant will develop multiple flower spikes and much more color in your garden. The flower spike with its many individual flowers will open from the bottom first, making them look better as the flower matures. You can remove the faded flowers to keep the flower spike clean looking. Snapdragons make a wonderful cut flower and will last for a long time on your kitchen table.

Snapdragons come in all heights from the 'Floral Carpet' variety that is 6 to 8 inches tall to the 'Rocket' variety (my favorite) that can reach up to three feet tall. Some varieties have flowers that are more open and tubular looking, some are single or double flowering but all will cause excitement in your garden. No Insect problems and few disease problems make them easy to grow and trouble-free. Snapdragons come in every color in the rainbow and many multi-colored flowers are available, so plant some and enjoy.


During the summer, we spend a lot of time outside enjoying our yard and gardens around our homes. Make your enjoyment more colorful with a family of plants knows as the Spireas. Summer-flowering spireas will flower all summer and well into the fall, if you remember one thing: "deadhead" the flowers when the flowers fade! When you remove the faded flower, new flowers will develop and cover the plant again in just three weeks. It is possible to have three blooming periods--almost continuous blooms on the plant--if you keep the faded flowers off the plant.

The flowers are clusters of small individual blooms that can grow 2 to 6 inches wide on strong short or long stems, depending on the variety you choose. When removing the faded flowers from the plant it is best if you remove one to three inches of the stem with the flower. Side shoots will quickly develop from those cut stems and the flowers will form in just a couple of weeks. The flower clusters will last for 3 weeks or more on the plant. This pruning also keeps the plant more compact and encourages more foliage on the plant. In the early spring, before it starts to grow prune it back by as much as 1/3 to keep the plants under control so it does not outgrow its space in your flower or garden bed.

Spirea will grow best in full sun all day but will also tolerate a bit of shade late in the day. Spirea will look beautiful in foundation plantings around your home, in perennial flower borders and wonderful in groups or in mass plantings. Some of the low growing varieties are also be used as ground covers on embankments. Plant in a garden and condition the soil with organic matter such as compost or animal manure. A loose, well-drained soil is best. The plant will not tolerate a heavy clay soil that stays wet for long periods. If the summer should be hot and dry, watering the plants regularly will help to keep them flowering. As with many plants, heat and dry weather can put them into dormancy for a short period of time, so water them as needed. To help the plants get off to a good start, add Bio-Tone fertilizer or the new Plant Thrive food with mycorrhizae to stimulate the roots and produce more flowers.

Spirea varieties will differ in height and will grow as short as 6 to 12 inches tall and as high as varieties growing 4 to 6 feet tall. Most varieties will spread from 4 to 6 feet wide but both height and width can be controlled with annual pruning in the spring. Fall pruning is not recommended, as harsh winter weather can cause plant dieback. Spirea can grow in climates with winter weather that gets down to 30 below zero without hurting the flower buds. No special protection is needed like with some other summer flowering plants.

The foliage is oval, 1 to 4 inches long and narrow, with smooth or tiny teeth on the margins of the leaf. The leaf color is traditionally green, kelly green to dark green, and some of the new varieties are gold to yellow. If the weather is cool, the color will be more intense. Some of the varieties have new growth that begins as russet-orange to bronze red before turning green. In the fall, the foliage turns red to copper in color, making the plant stand out in your garden. Insects and disease are not a problem with this plant--another reason to plant spirea in your gardens. I like to fertilize in the spring to help get the plant off to a good start and make a lot of foliage. The flowers begin to develop in early June. Remember if you keep the faded flower off the plant; the flowers keep coming all summer long ,well into the fall. Fertilize with Plant-Tone fertilizer or Converted Organics shrub and flower food for slow continuous feed all spring and summer long.

Garden Mainenance


Weeds are quick to develop when the soil warms up, so try to keep up with the newly developing weeds in the garden. Crabgrass, carpetweed and chickweed are the big three to prevent from developing in the garden. Hand pulling the weeds is a great form of relaxing after a long day in the office or traveling on the road. A cold drink, a bit of music and before long the garden is all weeded. When the garden is weeded apply a product called "Start and Grow" from Fertiloam Lawn and Garden and your plants will be fertilized and the product will also control both grass and broad leaf weeds in your garden for up to 4 months. For more information and dealer near you go to

In the lawn, the crabgrass is now growing faster than the good grass and it is more visible to you. Look for pale green grass in the lawn that has formed in thin areas or along the edge of walkways or the driveway. Now is the best time to kill the crabgrass plant so the good grass can fill in the holes in the lawn. Bayer Lawn and Garden has a new product call "Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer," in a liquid form that comes with a built in sprayer for easily application. Just screw to your hose, turn on the water and spray, no mixing needed. It works best on a sunny day with warm temperatures. Go to for more information on lawn and garden weed control products.


If you have noticed holes in the leaves of the lilies in your garden, you have also noticed a small red beetle on them eating away. The red beetle will also lay rows of yellow eggs on the underside of the leaf. These eggs are the next generation of Asiatic Lily Beetles and when they develop, they become more destructive. Look for clusters of brown waste slime like material on the leaf. This is the insect, covered with waste to protect it from predators. Like the red beetle, it will eat foliage but when it matures, it will eat into the stem of the lily, dig down the stem of the plant to the bulb in the ground and destroy it. Treat NOW with Tree and Shrub insecticide at the rate of one ounce per gallon of water. One gallon of product will treat 10 to 15 lilies when you apply to the soil as a drench and wet the foliage. One application will last all season long.

Mosquitoes are everywhere now and a real problem when trying to enjoy the outside on the patio or deck. Mosquitoes live in tall grass, wooded areas, shrubs and plants planted around the house and in areas sheltered from the wind. A new Organic product from "Eco-Smart" will control the problem. This Natural Mosquito killer called "Mosquito and Tick Killer" was tested and researched in the Maine woods with the help of the State of Maine Disease Control board. The product is made with natural oils and no chemicals and it works. Go to for more information on safe mosquito control.

Japanese Beetles are beginning to arrive in your garden--I have seen them here in Maine this week. Japanese Beetles will eat several times their weight in foliage each day and quickly destroy your garden. Look for Eight Garden Insecticide at your local garden center made from Bonide Lawn and Garden. Eight is safe to use in all gardens, vegetables to flowers alike and will not hurt the beneficial insects like bees. Stay away from an insecticide called Seven, because it will hurt bees. Seven, once the best product for Japanese Beetles, was replaced with Eight several years ago because it lasts longer on the plant, and will not hurt beneficial insects on your plants. Seven lasts seven days, while Eight will last for 3 weeks on the plant. I prefer the liquid Eight to the powder, as the plant stays clean of dust, and the liquid is much cheaper to use and easier to apply. Go to for more information and a great insect identification web site.

Keep a close eye on your cold weather vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale for holes in the leaves. The caterpillar-type insects called Cabbage Loopers will get very active now that the days are getting warm. The caterpillars can be difficult to find because they are able to change their body color to match the foliage of the plant they are feeding on. The holes in the leaf resemble the damage done by slugs but it is the Cabbage Looper. The best way to control them is with Spinosad, a natural insect control. Spinosad is a disease of caterpillars and other insects found in your garden. It was found in the Caribbean a couple years ago and the best natural product to kill caterpillars and worm-like insects in your garden. You can spray and eat the same day. Look for Spinosad Garden Spray or Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew.

Check your Canadian hemlock for the possibility of small clusters of white cotton-like growth on the underside of the needles near the tips of the branches. This insect, the Wooly Adelgid, is an insect that can kill your hemlocks in just 2 to 3 years. The insect sucks the energy from your plants like mosquitoes feed on your blood but it happens 24 hours a day. The best product to use is Tree and Shrub Systemic Drench. No spraying needed; just mix in a watering can and pour around the plant to be treated. The product will move up as high as 75 feet high in a tree and last for one year in the plant, unaffected by rain or weather. One application is all that is needed and it works fast, but examine your trees now and apply the product only if you have the problem!


Along with the heat and humidity, disease problems will also arrive to your garden in the form of Powdery Mildew and Black Spot on the foliage! Perennial tall phlox, lilacs, roses and most of your vine vegetables can get both. Treat the foliage NOW, before the problems starts. If you had problems in the past, prepare the plants before the problem has a chance to get started in your garden. Serenade all Natural and Organic Fungicide was developed for the Tomato Industry and works well on most of our garden plants. Stop the disease problems before they start and treat your plants now. For more information on Serenade, go to

Tomato Care

Tomatoes are pollinated by the wind, not insects. If you can gently shake your plants each morning the pollen will fall from the top of the flower and insure that you will have early and more tomatoes this year. If the daytime temperatures exceed 90 degrees, the pollen will die and fruit will not set. That is why you sometimes have fruit clusters with few or no tomatoes. So shake those flowers now while the air temperature is cooler, and when the heat arrives, the tomatoes will grow and mature. Feed tomatoes every 2 weeks with Miracle-Grow, Liquid Feed fertilizer or Fertiloam Blooming and Rooting (a 9-59-8 plant food), and for a stronger plant apply plant Thrive fertilizer with mycorrhizae a couple times a year. I use mycorrhizae and the plants are so strong I have to use a shovel to dig them out of the garden. Go to for more information on mycorrhizae microbes.



This Week's Question:
Johnny Appleseed is an American legend, but unlike John Henry and Paul Bunyon, he was a real man. What was his actual name?

Espoma Organic Potting Mix

This Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix

  • Contains Myco-toneŽ mycorrhizae
  • For all indoor and outdoor containers.
  • In 4, 8, 16 qt., 1 and 2 cu. ft. bags.

Last Week's Question:

Why did British sailors earn the nickname "Limeys"?

Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix

Last Week's Winner:
Dave Leigh

Last Week's Answer:
The British sailors were dubbed "Limeys" because they ate limes at sea to help prevent scurvy, a deadly disease.

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!

Big Fat Greek Salad

What You'll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into 1 inch ribbons
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup cucumbers, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 (15 ounce can) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 20 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 cup herbed croutons

Step by Step:

  • Whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add lettuce, carrots, cucumber, tomato, beans, and feta; toss.
  • Either divide into 4 small bowls or keep in one large one.
  • Top with olives and croutons.

Yield: 4 servings


Contact Information:

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(207) 985-6972
(800) 259-9231 (Sunday 6 AM to 10 AM)

(207) 985-6972

Paul Parent Garden Club
2 Blueberry Pines Dr
Kennebunk, ME 04043

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