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Edition 10.34 Paul Parent Garden Club News August 26, 2010

Featured Quote:

"Nature does have manure and she does have roots as well as blossoms, and you can't hate the manure and blame the roots for not being blossoms."

~ Buckminster Fuller

Product Spotlight

Scotts Roundup Pump 'N Go Sprayer

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Fall-Blooming Japanese Anemones

As we near the end of August, is it almost time for the fall-blooming anemones to start flowering. These are perennials you should consider adding to your garden at this time. Check with your local garden center or nursery for them. These plants will grow in full sun to partial shade and love to grow in a soil rich in organic matter--almost a woodsy type soil. The soil should be well drained and stay moist during the heat of summer but the plants will not tolerate clay-type soil with standing water.

If you can keep them out of the wind and give them shade during the heat of the day, you are in for a treat this fall. If you have luck growing bleeding-heart, columbine, hostas or primrose this plant will do very well in the same garden.

Anemones are very hardy and should live in your garden for years, once established. The plants will grow as a clump and become larger each year. Do not divide them for at least 4 to 5 years once you plant them, unless they are spreading too fast.

Young plants are better planted during the spring but many nurseries will have mature plants available during the late summer or early fall to add to your garden now.

When you plant anemones, prepare the soil with a lot of compost, animal manure or peat moss and keep the plants moist until the foliage dies in the fall the first year. Anemones love a covering of compost or mulch over the roots and it should be applied each spring or fall season.

Fertilize them with a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote in the spring and again in the fall for stronger plants and more flowers. Fertilizers like Plant-Tone are also very good when applied during the early spring and again when they begin to bloom in the fall.

The roots of this plant are fibrous and not a bulb like the spring flowering varieties. Rodents will sometimes eat the spring blooming types (bulb) but will not bother the fall blooming types with their fibrous root system.

Japanese anemones will grow to 2 feet tall and produce clusters of 2 to 3 inch flowers on a slim strong stem that holds the flowers a foot or more above the foliage. The flower petals are flat, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Each flower contain six petals that grow around a center cone. This small green cone is surrounded by a halo of bright yellow-orange pollen sacks.

The flower petals look like a windmill and the plant gets its nickname "windflower" from this. The foliage is deep green, shaped like a grape leaf or fall-flowering mum and the unopened flower buds resemble the buds of the fall mum. There are also new hybrids that will produce semi-double and double flowers with many more flower petals. The flower color is in shades of pastel pink and white, some with shades of light to dark colors.

Anemones are very hardy, and will grow in gardens with winter temperatures getting down to 20 to 30 degrees below zero, if well mulched to prevent frost heaving of the plant.

I must tell you that if deer feed on your flowers and vegetables they will love this plant--so it may not be for you. If deer are not a problem, this is the perfect plant to start a woodland garden that gets half a day of sun. Enjoy!

Globe Thistle aka Echinops ritro

One of my favorite summer flowering perennials is the globe thistle. The flowers are steel-blue, a color rare to find in the garden during the summer. The globe thistle flower is in the shape of a blue ball one to two inches across and covered with hard-pointed flower buds silvery-green in color that open to reveal a deep blue flower. The flower is bristly--you would be wise to wear gloves to pick it for an arrangement for the kitchen table. As a cut flower, it will last for several weeks and in the garden for a month or two.

The foliage looks like a dandelion growing in a rosette around a central stem. The leaf is silvery-green, deeply cut with many indentations that are pointed. Some of these points are very sharp, so you will not have to worry that the kids next door will steal the flower from your garden for their mother.

The plant will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and produces many side branches that contain 3 to 5 flowers on each stem. When the flower go by, remove them and new stems will develop on the plant with more flowers. Globe thistles will bloom for several weeks, especially if the weather is hot and dry.

The plants almost look like weeds growing in your garden at first and like most of the plants growing wild on the side of the road. Once you plant it in the garden, it will not be mistaken as weed again, because of the unique foliage. The plants are tough and requires little care once established in your garden. They also require little to no fertilizer in your garden--if you feed too often, the plant will grow tall and flop over easily.

Feed them in the spring with compost and keep liquid fertilizer away from them. Plants are drought tolerant and the thick stems will hold the flower up without staking, even in seaside gardens exposed to wind and weather.

Plant globe thistles in a garden with plenty of sun, in a soil that is well-drained and not too fertile. Clay-type soil will rot the root system, especially in the springtime or during the winter. The root of the plant is a taproot that will grow well over a foot deep and because of this, they do not transplant easily. It is best not to try to divide or move them; if you like them, buy a new plant from your garden center.

Potted plants can be planted in your garden at any time of the year but you must water weekly until the plants have established their permanent roots. Try to keep the foliage of the plant dry when you water, as fungus disease can be a problem during a hot and humid summer. Keep plants away from flowerbeds that have sprinkler systems installed in them, because globe thistle really likes a dry soil to grow.

If you have a flower bed that is in full sun, hot, dry and nothing seems to grow there, than the globe thistle will thrive there. In rock gardens, near stone walls or groupings of large stones, this plant will do very well as it will tolerate the heat that the stone brings into the soil.

The globe thistle is unique and you will always remember this plant for blue flowers that form during the heat of summer. Butterflies love the flowers when they first open. In the fall, small birds like finches and chickadees will go crazy for the seed in the flower head.

You can cut the flowers when they are in full bloom and hang them from the rafters in your garage to dry. As a dried cut flower, they are wonderful and so is the foliage on the stem, as it also dries well--so do not remove the foliage when drying the plant.

Juniperus chinensis

Mother Nature has made plants that will grow in every type of growing condition that we may have: every soil type, every climate and every exposure. One of these families of plants that are found everywhere is the Juniper family, which will thrive in your yard in full sun to partial shade, with or without your help.

This wonderful needle evergreen shrub is very durable and these Junipers will grow in many conditions that most plants just give up and die. The two varieties I have selected for you to consider are plants that will work well for you in your landscape as a screen, hedge, and single specimen in the foundation planting or used in a group for mass plantings. These two varieties are available at most nurseries and are among the most common varieties used in the juniper family today.

The 'Hetzii' is the larger growing of the two, with a spreading-upright growing habit. The foliage is unique because of its blue-green needle color and ability to make blue-green cones that resemble small 1/4-inch berries. The cones look like small wild-growing blueberries and are covered with a powdery blue dust that softens the dark blue fruit or cone. The foliage looks like small scales growing together along a stem.

The new foliage is soft and flexible but as the foliage matures, it will become sharp and scratchy to the touch. . The older foliage, especially inside and under the plant, will give you a rash when you do some pruning on the plant, so wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt. When I worked in the nursery and unloaded tractor-trailers filled with shrubs from the grower, I dreaded this plant and always put on a rain jacket to avoid the rash it gave me on my arms. This is one of the reasons no one would try to come across into your yard and through the juniper hedge after the first try--it is a painful experience.

The juniper 'Hetzii' will grow 5 to 10 feet tall but you can prune it to control the height in the spring. It will also spread just as wide but pruning will control the size of the plant. The branches of foliage, which grow in the shape of giant feathers, are graceful and give the plant a very soft appearance as they grow upright but weep down on the tips of the branches. When used as a hedge or in groups, plant the 'Hetzii' juniper on 6 to 8 foot centers. In 3 to 4 years they will fill in the open space between plants.

The juniper family does best in a sandy soil that is well drained and fertile. Plant junipers with compost, animal manure or peat moss; this will help the plant establish roots quickly in your yard or garden. Water two times a week for the first year; fertilize spring, and fall. I like Holly-tone or Dr. Earth evergreen food with pro-biotic because they feed the plant slowly for several weeks.

The juniper 'Pfitzeriana' is much like the 'Hetzii' juniper except that it is sage-green in color and more spreading than upright growing. This juniper will grow five to six feet tall and spread five to ten feet wide. This juniper is wonderful to plant on a banking to hold it in place, in foundation plantings, or in hedges that you can see over but can't get through--to keep people out. The 'Pfitzeriana,' often called 'Pfitzer,' is the more popular of the two.

The branches of the 'Pfitzeriana' are pendulous and soft looking--almost like waves breaking on the beach at the seashore. This plant does not make cones and the needles are not sharp--which means no rash on your arms. This plant has been around for a long time; it is hardy to minus 30 to 40 below zero and disease and insect problems are rare.

Junipers are still one of the most popular plants that demand very little from you, but keep giving you what you are looking for in an evergreen plant.

Ireland Tour

Join Paul Parent for a garden tour of the Emerald Isle!

Tour includes the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara National Park, Brigit's Garden, Muckross Gardens, Bantry House & Gardens, Kilravok Garden, Garnish Island, Annes Grove Garden, Lakemount Gardens, Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, Heywood Gardens, Powerscourt Gardens, Dublin Castle, Dillion Gardens and much more.

Click here for details.


This Week's Question:

To what plant family does the onion belong?

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:

What is the largest individual flower on earth--and why might you not want it in your garden?

Last Week's Prize:
Doreen Grabauskas

Last Week's Winner:
Jeanette Dominguez

Last Week's Answer:
The corpse flower (Rafflesia arnoldii). You wouldn't want it anywhere near you, because it smells like rotting flesh!!

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!

Barbecued Alaskan Salmon


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 salmon steaks (1 inch thick)


  • In a small saucepan, combine the first six ingredients for the butter sauce. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Meanwhile, grill salmon, covered, over medium-hot heat for 5 minutes.
  • Turn salmon; baste with the butter sauce.
  • Grill 7-9 minutes longer, turning and basting occasionally, until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings


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