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Edition 10.28 Paul Parent Garden Club News July 15, 2010

Featured Quote:

featured quote

"There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling."
~Mirabel Osler


Come see Paul's Garden!

The garden tour is this Saturday! Come and enjoy 9 beautiful Kennebunk Maine Gardens and help the child abuse program in southern Maine. Hope to see you at my house, number 9 on the map. The 16th annual "Private Gardens of the Kennebunks" Garden Tour is 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. Advance tickets are $20.00 now through day of the event. Please call (207) 985-5975 or visit http://www.kidsfreetogrow.org for more information!

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Product Spotlight

EcoSmart MosquitoFogger

Now there is an organic insecticide that is safe to use around children and pets and won't harm the environment. EcoSmart Organic Mosquito Fogger is made from a patented blend of organic plant oils. It kills fast and repels mosquitoes and other nuisance flying insects for hours, without synthetic toxins or harmful residue. It's safe. It's effective. It's smart. Naturally.

Rose of Sharon

As the warm days of summer begin to encourage our shrubs to excite us with color, let us consider the Rose of Sharon plant for your yard and garden this year. The Rose of Sharon is considered an old-fashioned flowering plant and has been planted and grown around our home for many generations of gardeners. The Rose of Sharon is a unique summer flowering plant because it can grow as a shrub, a small tree or a hedge plant. The flowers begin to open in July and continue to bloom well into September. The flowers are funnel shaped and 4 to 5 inches across. If you have a Rose of Sharon growing on your property, look at your plant when it is raining outside, because the flowers will close to protect themselves.

The Rose of Sharon grows as a multi-stemmed plant, upright-growing on stiff branches. The leaves grow 2 to 4 inches long and the leaf has three lobes. The leaves are medium green and have no shine to them--they are almost dull in appearance. The leaves start almost at the ground and continue to the top of the plant. The flower colors will range from white, pink, red, blue and purple. Some of the new hybrids have double flowers resembling a carnation. Some of the new single varieties are two-toned with a darker center called a "flower eye." The flowers will last for over a week but when a flower fades, it's quickly replaced with other flowers, keeping the plant in continuous flower. The flowers come on the new growth made that spring, so if you can prune them in March or April, you will encourage new growth on the plant and more flowers during the summer.

Pruning the top of the plant will encourage the plant to grow wider and become fuller looking. The Rose of Sharon will grow 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide, but if you prune each spring the plant can be kept smaller--as low as 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. If you plant Rose of Sharon plants on 6 to 7 foot centers, they will fill in quickly, creating a thick hedge for privacy, a noise barrier, and a wind break. Prune plants yearly in the early spring when first planted-- even if they are only 3 feet tall at the time. If not pruned, the plant will grow like a column—tall and narrow. When the individual plants are pruned regularly, the individual branches become stronger and can handle snow during the winter better. Plant a row of Rose of Sharon on your property line instead of installing a fence this year. Allow the plant to grow to whatever height you want and both you and your neighbor will enjoy a privacy hedge full of flowers the entire summer.

Rose of Sharon will grow best in a full sun area but will also flower in partial shade. The plant will grow best in a soil with good organic matter, so be sure to use compost or animal manure when you plant. Fertilize in the spring with Plant-Tone organic fertilizer or Dr. Earth Bud and Bloom Booster to keep the plant strong and encourage more flowers. If the weather gets dry and hot, weekly watering will help keep the plant happy. Soil pH does not affect the flower production or growth of the plant. Insects and disease are rarely a problem, so the only real maintenance is the spring pruning. As the flowers fade, the plant will make many seeds that can fall to the ground and start new plants next spring. These new seedlings can easily be transplanted to your garden, where they will mature and grow strong in just a few years.


Morning Glories

The morning glory is the best-known summer flowering annual vine in the garden today. This twining vine is an old-fashioned plant that produces trumpet-shaped blooms in shades of violet, purple, blue, pink, red and white with a contrasting-colored throat. The blue is the most popular color, grown on light poles, trellises or arbors in the front of many homes today. The flowers usually come in clusters throughout the plant and when one flower fades, another bud is ready to open and replace it on the plant. The morning glory is also a wonderful plant to attract butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden. The flowers will grow 3 to 4 inches wide and resemble a trumpet with a different colored throat.

Morning glories originated in Mexico and Central America and seeds were brought to European gardens by early explorers where they prospered in English gardens. These flowers do best in full sun but will tolerate a bit of shade during the heat of the day. Plant in a well drained soil that is rich in organic matter such as compost, peat moss or animal manure. Soil moisture is important; dry soils produce fewer flowers on the plant. During July and August water weekly, to encourage flower buds to develop and to keep the plant in bloom. For bigger plants and more flowers,fertilize weekly with Miracle-Gro or Blooming and Rooting fertilizer.

Plant morning glories at the base of a trellis, arbor or post with supports such as string to help the vines climb and provide support to grow on. Prepare growing structures before you plant the seeds or plant seedlings in the garden. Morning glories will also do very well in window boxes or planter on a railing and you can allow them to cascade down to the ground creating a waterfall of color. I have also seen them planted in hanging baskets, where they develop twining branches that grow in all direction from a hanging bracket or plant hook. When planted in containers morning glories need more water and fertilizer, as they may dry up quickly during hot weather. Use Soil Moist Granules in all containers to help keep the moisture in the containers and plants strong.

Plants seeds in pots on your windowsill indoors for a head start on the season. or buy plants at your favorite greenhouse. I have better luck starting seeds if I soak them in water overnight before planting them, as the seed coat is very hard and the soaking speeds up the germination. Because the morning glory is a vine, I recommend that you plant several seedlings around the post or at the base of the trellis or arbor. The plant does not bush out much, so it will take several plants to make the structure it is growing on look good. Do not plant in the garden until the nights are frost-free, as the plant will not tolerate cold weather. If the garden soil is cold, the plant will just stand still and not grow for you, so wait until it warms up.

Morning Glories do not flower early in the garden as most other plants do, so be prepared to wait until July to see flowers--but those beautiful flowers will last well into the fall or first frost. If you like flowering vines in your garden look into other plant varieties such as Black-Eyed Susan vine, orange trumpet flowers with a black center. Also nice is the balloon vine with greenish white flowers and fern-like foliage. The hyacinth bean vine has pinkish-purple flowers and maroon-purple seedpods. Even the scarlet runner bean vine is different--it has scarlet flowers and edible beans later on. Try something new in your garden this year.


Mosquito facts for the gardener

As gardeners, we all know how difficult it is to work in the garden when the mosquitoes are active in the yard. The best time for us to work in the garden is first thing in the morning or after supper, when the temperatures cool down a bit. Unfortunately, this is also the peak time for mosquito activity. I thought you would enjoy some information on mosquito life cycle and ways to better control them on your property. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. If you can eliminate or carefully monitor water in your yard, it will help to keep mosquito numbers down. Look for common sources of standing water, as these are mosquito-breeding sites. Examples are bird baths, flower pot saucers, clogged gutters, tires left near the tool shed outside, pet water bowls, buckets, garden pools and watering cans. These common areas can be more of a problem than small ponds or streams.

The mosquito life cycle has four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. If you can disrupt the sufficient levels of moisture that mosquitoes require to grow and develop, you can cut down the numbers that come into your yard. The larva and pupa stages need an aquatic environment to develop properly. The female adult will lay eggs in water, mud and tree crevices, as well as pools of standing water. Eggs need water to hatch and turn to the larvaewhich look worm-like and wiggle through the water. The larvae will move into a moist habitat with high organic matter before changing to a less mobile dormant stage, referred to as a pupa. The adult mosquito will emerge from the pupa in a winged form--ready to terrorize you and your family. The newly emerged adults can feed on plant juice or nectar. Only the female mosquitoes take blood as a meal. In Maine, there are estimates of roughly 40 mosquito species, according to the Maine Department of Conservation. Each species will show preferences for special blood hosts, time of the day to feed and requirements for blood for egg laying. The number of generations per year will depend on species, temperature and moisture around your home.

The adult mosquitos have common resting sites around your home, such as thick-growing shrubs, hedges, tall grass areas, shady gardens, under your decks, large tall growing perennial beds and areas where you spend time in the yard. These areas are where you should concentrate your applications of mosquito insecticides to control the adults. The application of pesticides on your property is more effective when applied at dawn and dusk, as this is when mosquitoes are most active. These products will last for only a few days but when applied regularly around your house, the mosquito population will be controlled more easily. Insect repellents help reduce the risk of mosquito bites, as do impregnated clothing, citronella candles and screening on porches. Mosquito plants or citronella geraniums sound good but do not work!

To help control the numbers of mosquitoes in your yard use Eco-Smart Mosquito and Tick Control hose end sprayer or Yard Fogger when you're planning to work in the yard or enjoy time on your deck or patio. All Eco-Smart products are natural and organic and this product is rated the top natural product by the State of Maine for mosquito control. Eco-Smart also has an organic insect spray for personal use. For more information on Organic Mosquito control products go to www.ecosmart.com. The more you know about mosquitoes, the better you can enjoy your yard and garden this summer.


trivia


This Week's Question:

Approximately how many flowers must a honey bee visit to make one pound of honey?

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.
Myco-tone


Last Week's Question:

What is the world's smallest flowering plant?

Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix

Last Week's Winner:
Kathy Lyons

Last Week's Answer:
Wolffia, aka watermeal.

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!


Asian Roll Lettuce Wraps

You will need at least 8 (10-inch) bamboo skewers for cooking the meat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 16 large lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup sliced radishes

  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together ground turkey, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 2 teaspoons ginger. Form into 16 meatballs and roll into ovals. Cover and refrigerate.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine rice with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  • Preheat the grill or broiler. Arrange rice, lettuce leaves, carrots, scallions, radishes and red peppers onto a serving platter or place each into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, and sugar. Divide among 4 small dipping bowls.
  • Thread two meatballs onto each 10-inch skewer. Grill or broil for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all sides. If broiling, line the broiler pan with aluminum foil and drain fat after 6 minutes.
  • To eat, place a leaf of lettuce onto the palm of your hand, spoon on a little rice, then a meatball, and a few of the vegetables. Roll up and dip in dipping sauce or spoon sauce over.

Yield: 4 servings

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

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