"In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.
The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful."
~Abram L. Urban
Come see the Private Gardens of the Kennebunks
Join us for our 17th annual "Private
Gardens of the Kennebunks" Garden
Tour, July 16, 2011 from 10:00 - 4:00. Tour eight lovely gardens throughout Kennebunk
and Kennebunkport. All proceeds from the 2011 Garden tour will benefit the prevention
programs of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Maine. Advance
tickets are $20.00 Please call (207) 985-5975
or visit http://www.kidsfreetogrow.org for
New This Year:
A special reception on Friday July 15th, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.
The Cape Arundel Inn is hosting a wine and appetizer event in a special garden
for exclusive viewing the night before the garden tour. Paul will be giving
a talk and a question and answer program. Only 60 tickets are available for $50
each. Call 207-985-5975 for information.
RESCUE!® Japanese and Oriental Beetle Trap
What it catches:
This trap catches the Japanese beetle, a destructive garden pest that infests
and destroys over 300 varieties of ornamental plants. Also catches the Oriental
beetle, which feeds on roots of turfgrass, nursery stock, greenhouse ornamental
crops and fruit.
How it works:
Unique features and benefits
The trap uses floral scents proven to be a natural attractant,
along with the beetle's natural sex attractant. The trap uses a scientifically
designed method to control the release of these natural floral and sex attractants
to lure both male and female beetles to the trap. The convenient plastic cone
design prevents the user from having to handle the actual attractants.
Click here for more information on the Japanese Beetle Trap
- Central attractant placement disperses pheromone in all directions
- New zippered bottom allows trap to be emptied and reused
- Catch capacity is four times larger than the competition
- Double-layer nylon bag is highly durable
- An all-in-one trap, with no accessories to buy
- Bright green panels and the bag are welded together to ensure the bag
If you are looking for a classic perennial flower to give your garden lots
of wonderful color, a little height, and long lasting flowers during the summer,
then I have the perfect plant for you --the delphinium. The delphinium is a must,
if you're planning a country or cottage style perennial garden for your yard
this year. If you want cut flowers from your garden, than this plant is the king
of all tall-growing perennials and will outlast most cut flowers in your home.
If I was to choose one word to describe the delphinium, it would be "glamorous."
Delphiniums will grow best where the summer months are moist; cool to warm
temperatures but not hot like the southern part of the country, and where the
winters are cold so the plant can go dormant and rest. The plants will grow best
when planted in a garden with full sun to a bit of light shade at the end of
the day. This plant needs room to grow so when you plant it in your garden, give
it two to three feet of growing area in your garden.
Let's start with the soil, because the better the soil is, the larger and
more productive the plant will be. Delphiniums prefer a rich, moist, and well-drained
soil and will not tolerate heavy clay type soils. If your garden soil is just "soil," you
will have to condition it before planting with compost, animal manure, or peat
moss or the plant will not thrive! If your soil is on the sandy side or has clay
in it, you can repair it to grow this wonderful perennial and your efforts will
pay off. Lots of organic matter and garden gypsum like Soil Logic's Soil Conditioner
will make any soil ready to grow this plant. A sweet soil will make for a better
plant, so add lime or wood ash every spring or fall to keep the soil from getting
Delphiniums can be planted in your garden from spring to fall if container
grown. They can be transplanted from your garden easily or established plants
can be divided in the spring of the year while the plants are still small and
the weather is cool. I have not had good luck moving plants in the fall season
here in Northern New England because the plants do not have enough time to get
established in the garden before the cold weather arrives . A two-inch layer
of compost or bark mulch on the garden around the plant helps with hot dry summer's
weather to keep the roots cool and moist. This layer of organic matter also helps
to keep out weeds and protects the roots during winters that are real cold and
when little snow cover is there to protect the plant.
Delphiniums are heavy feeders, so be sure to add compost and animal manure
when you plant, and apply around the plant each spring to promote strong growth.
I also suggest that you apply Soil Moist granules in the hole when planting,
to help hold extra moisture during hot summers. To speed up root development,
use a fertilizer that has mycorrhizae when planting, such as Bio-Tone or Dr.
Earth starter fertilizer with Pro-Biotic. Once the plant is established, use either
of these products in the spring and again in early September to keep plants well
fed and strong. If you planted new seedlings or transplants, use the new "Plant
Thrive" liquid fertilizer every month to develop strong roots.
The reason I have been promoting strong roots is because of the size of the
plant and its flowers. The foliage part of the plant will grow 2 to 3 feet wide
and just as tall. The flowers will grow on long stems on top of the foliage that
will reach 5 to 7 feet tall, so you will need strong roots to support the plant.
The plant cannot always hold the large flower spikes by itself, so be prepared
to stake the flower stems as they develop. If your garden is near a fence or
side of the house it will help protect the plant from strong winds but if in
the middle of your garden in an open area you will have to stake some of the
taller flower stems or cut them to put into a tall vase for the kitchen table.
Did you know that if you cut off the faded flowers or pick flowers from the plant
just above the foliage it will re-bloom for you? What will happen is new foliage
growth will develop at the base of the plant and in just a few weeks' new flowers
will form as long as you remove the old stem right to the ground as the new foliage
The foliage of the delphinium is deep green, resembles a little bit the
maple tree leaf, and grows 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The leaves grow up the stem
until the flowers begin to form, and each stem made by the plant will make flowers.
The flower stem is a tall growing, like a spike or spire covered with individual
1 to 1.5 inch rounded blossoms that are two-toned. Each flower also has a spur
in the back of the bloom for added character, and this flower develops off the
main central stem from a 2 inch stem.
The plant forms all the buds on these tall stems all at once but opens them
from the bottom first and slowly moves to the top. The flower stem resembles
a rocket with a 4 to 6 inch base of open flowers, while the tip of the budded
stem is almost pointed and narrower before the flowers open up. The flowers will
last on the plant for 3 to 4 weeks, and longer if the summer is cool. The flower
colors range from shades of blue, lavender, magenta, purple, pink, and white.
The flower is unique because each flower has a flower in a flower--and the inner
flower is usually a contrasting color; this is called a "bee." This
flower is filled with nectar, and butterflies and humming birds love it and will
be attracted to your garden.
Delphiniums look wonderful as individual specimen plants in your perennial
garden or in mass plantings. Just remember that they grow tall, so plant them
in the back of your garden or flower bed. To help hold large plant together I
use peony hoops to support the plant and its flowers. If you check with your
local garden center or nursery, they can help you select from the many new hybrids
plant varieties that will grow shorter in height. The Pacific hybrids will grow
4 to 5 feet tall, have huge double and semi-double flowers on them, and come
in many colors. Century hybrids grow just as tall--4 to 5 feet--but the flowers
are smaller and more delicate looking. There are some smaller varieties growing
to 3 feet. Also look for the Blackmore and Langdon hybrids with extremely large
flowers and mixed colors.
To avoid disease problems when growing the delphinium, give the plant plenty
of room to grow and prevent overcrowding in the garden. Good air circulation
around the plant will prevent possible disease problems and NEVER water the plant
from above the foliage. If you had disease problems with this plant in the past,
do not plant new ones in the same area, as the fungus problem can stay active
for up to 3 to 5 years in your garden. If disease problems develop on the plant,
use Serenade organic fungicide to control the problem.
If you have leaf miners or borers in the stems, use Bayer Tree and Shrub insecticide
to cure the problem and if caterpillars find the plant, use Spinosad, an organic
insecticide, to control them. This is a wonderful plant and every garden should
have this plant in it for spectacular summer color. Enjoy!!!
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Did you know that the number one selling hydrangea in the country is not the
blue hydrangea?r With all the talk and hype of the blue hydrangea, you would think
that it was, but the white flowering hydrangea called 'Annabelle' is the most
grown and planted hydrangea in America. The Latin name for this wonderful plant
is the Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle.' It belongs to a group of hydrangeas
known as "mop-heads."
At North Carolina State University in Fletcher, North Carolina, Dr. Thomas
Ranney has been working hard for many years to develop new hybrid colors of this
plant and after over 1000 crosses he has become the first nurseryman to develop
a true pink Annabelle-type hydrangea. Once it was a dream of nurserymen and gardeners
alike, but today it is a reality. This new hybrid is called hydrangea 'Invincibelle
Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' got its name this way. "Belle" was
taken from Annabelle, " invinci" and "spirit" came from the "spirit" of
women who have the "invincible" courage and determination to fight
breast cancer. The color of the flower is the color of the ribbon logo to fight
breast cancer. The American Nursery Association has joined forces with the Breast
Cancer Research Foundation, and has pledged to raise $1 million dollars for breast
cancer research. $1 dollar will be donated for every 'Invincibelle Spirit' sold
to help with breast cancer research in America.
If every gardener in America purchases just one plant, it will help researches
to prevent breast cancer and help find a cure in our lifetime for this terrible
disease. My grandmother died of breast cancer when my mother was just 6 years
old, so I never had the pleasure of meeting her. My wonderful Mother-in-law,
Ruth Duncan, died in 2005 after fighting breast cancer since 1969. You can bet
that my yard has the 'Invincibelle Spirit' hydrangea growing in the garden--and
so should yours.
Let me tell you about this plant and how easy it is to grow in your garden.
This hydrangea is hardy to minus 40 degrees below zero and it will grow from
Maine to Florida and west to Kansas. The flowers begin to form on the plant in
June but do not color up until July. They continue to develop on the plant until
a hard frost in October. The flowers emerge a dark, hot pink color, then mature
to a bright pink, and they even dry on the plant, keeping most of the pink color
so you can pick them and display them in a vase for the winter months without
any special treatment.
The rounded mop-head shaped flowers can grow from 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
Each flower is made up of up to a hundred small individual flowers
that are less than an inch wide. Each of these small flowers has four petals,
less than 1 inch in diameter and they are arranged to look like a delicate bouquet
sitting on top of the plant. This plant will continuously flower from early summer
right up until frost--something that few plants can do in your garden!
'Invincibelle Spirit' will grow 3 to 4 feet tall and just as wide in your
garden. The foliage is a dark green oval with a point to the tip of the
leaf, and small saw-like teeth on its edge. The leaves will grow 2 to 6 inches
long, and 3 to 4 inches wide. There is no sheen on the leaf and no fall color,
as the leaves fall from the plant green. The plant will grow in a loose mound
or clump and branches freely. The plant will grow fast even if you prune it to
the ground every fall or early spring to control the size of the plant. 'Invincibelle
Spirit' will easily reaches 3 feet tall by June and it will flower every year
no matter what you do to it. The flower color is not determined by the acidity
level in the soil like the blue varieties are.
Plant this hydrangea in a garden that is located in full sun to partial shade
exposure. Your soil will determine the size of the plant and the number of flowers
on that plant, so before planting be sure to condition the soil with compost,
animal manure and Soil Moist Granules. A rich soil that is well drained and acidic
is best for more and larger flower production. If you can cover planting bed
with 2 to 3 inches of compost or bark mulch when planting, it will help to hold
moisture in the soil during hot dry summers helping the plant to make more flowers.
The mulch will also control weeds and help keep roots protected during the cold
Fertilize in the spring, and if possible in the fall again, with an organic
slow release fertilizer such as Plant-Tone or Dr. Earth shrub fertilizer with
Pro-biotic. The first year I recommend that you 'use Plant Thrive with mycorrhizae
monthly to help the plant get well rooted in your garden.
Pruning is easy for this hydrangea, and like the Annabelle,' it will flower on
the new growth, blooms on new wood. Prune in the late fall when all the foliage
has come off the plant to control the height and to help thicken the stems. Because
the new growth is not strong, the plant will
fall over when the flowers are matured and large. Also heavy rain can easily
topple stems with large flowers on them. To prevent this, cut the plant back
in half and never to the ground. By leaving the old branches on the plant, they
will get stronger each year to better hold up the flowers on the plant. Less
pruning will give you fewer flowers on the plant but they will be larger,
while a hard pruning will encourage a lot of new growth and more smaller flowers.
You can plant hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' in perennial flower beds, as a
focal point shrub in front of your home, in masses or groups in your plant beds
or as a hedge planting when spaced on 6 foot centers. If you
want to get away from all the work that a formal hedge requires along a driveway,
a walk way or along the sidewalk, this is your plant. This plant will even recover
if a snow plow takes it down to the ground during a rough winter with a lot of
If you remove the faded flowers as they dry up on the plant during the summer
months, the plant will continue to produce more new flowers right up until the
fall. Cut some of the flowers off your plant during the summer months to put
in a vase of water for your kitchen table and the plant will be stimulated to
Disease and insect problems are few on this plant, as with the original 'Annabelle'
hydrangea variety. This is a great plant that anyone can grow in their garden,
no matter what their gardening skills are or how much time they have to work
out in the yard.
This is a wonderful plant for your garden, as a gift for a friend who would
just appreciate all that went into developing this new plant or for someone who
is in a fight of their life against this terrible disease. Look at the flowers
on this plant and you will see why 'Invincibelle Spirit' is the perfect name
for this plant. Enjoy!
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One of my favorite perennials for a sunny flower garden is the evening primrose--and
it's not even a member of the Primrose family, it's just the plant's name. I
will always remember the first time I saw this plant because it started my love
I was on my way home from the corner store with a loaf of bread for my mother
when I noticed one of my neighbors working in her garden doing a bit of weeding.
I went into her yard to say hello, when I noticed several large clumps of bright
yellow flowers in her garden. I asked her the name of those flowers, told her
how beautiful they were and remembered saying that my mom would like some for her
We talked a bit about her garden, until I remembered that my mother was waiting
for the loaf of bread, so I said goodbye and headed home. As we finished supper
that night, there was a knock on the screen door and there was my neighbor with
a container filled with evening primrose plants she had thinned out of the garden
for my mother. She said to my mother, "Paul thought you would like some
of my evening primroses for your garden, so I dug a few plants for you." My
mother had a big smile on her face, and soon the three of us were in the garden
planting those evening primrose plants I had admired in the neighbor's garden.
Let me tell you about this plant, and why you should have it in your garden.
Evening primroses are easy to grow and love the sun, but will also grow with
a bit of light shade. The plants love a well-drained soil--even a soil on the
sandy side will do. I will tell you that once they are established in your garden
they will tolerate dry soil and are quite drought-tolerant. I have some plants
in a garden bed where the soil is not very good and often gets snow dumped there
with road salt and they do just fine--real tough plants. They will not tolerate
wet spots at all, though; every time I planted them along the side of the house
every plant near a gutter downspout quickly died.
Evening primroses, contrary to their name, flower during the day time, not
at night, but I have been told that there are some varieties that do flower at
night. These plants open up their buds at sunrise and close at sunset, each flower
lasting only one day, but the plant will produce flowers for 6 to 8 weeks in
a well-kept garden. The flower buds are 1 to 1.5 inches long, resemble a closed
umbrella in shape--long, and narrow--and are a soft red. When the flower buds
open, you're in for a real treat because the flower petals are bright yellow,
look almost like silky sateen, with a bit of sheen to them and in the shape of
the poppy flower. Each flower has 8 petals and the center is filled with bright
yellow pollen sacs, making this 1 to 2 inch flower very unique looking.
The foliage of the evening primrose is lanced-shaped, 3 to 4 inches long and
1 inch wide, with a point on the tip of the leaf. The leaf closely resembles
the leaf of the zinnia garden flower and it does have a bit of sheen to it as
long as there is moisture in the soil; when the soil is dry the sheen fades.
The new growth will have a bit of red on the stems and foliage when it first
develops. If you rub the mature leaf you will feel a slight fuzzy hair growth
on it also. The plant will grow 12 to 24 inches tall, depending on your soil
and available moisture. The plant will spread with its fibrous roots very easily,
so it can be divided in the spring or fall for friends and family. The plant
also starts new seedlings with the many seeds pods the flowers produce during
the summer months. When you plant evening primroses in your garden, give them room
to grow as they will spread from 1 to 2 feet wide.
The evening primrose is very hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to
30 degrees below zero. If you can apply a thin layer of bark mulch or compost
on the garden bed 1 to 2 inches thick the plant can grow almost anywhere in the
country. Your soil quality will determine the height of the plant and the amount
of flowers on the plant during the summer, so prepare it properly before planting.
If you can add compost, animal manure or peat moss with Soil Moist granules when
conditioning the soil, your plants will thrive and the flowers will continue to
develop from late June right through August.
Fertilize spring and fall with Flower-Tone or Dr. Earth Flower fertilizer
with Pro-Biotic. When the plant is in bloom fertilize every other week with Fertilome
Blooming and Rooting Soluble Plant food 9-59-8 or Miracle Gro 20-20-20 to encourage
bigger and more flowers on the plant. The plant is drought tolerant but if the
weather gets hot and dry watering weekly will help keep plant more productive
and in constant flower.
Insect and disease problems are rare and the plant is usually pest and insect
free all year long, a real plus. In the fall cut the foliage of the plant to
the ground and if it's beginning to get out of control, dig up and remove what
you do not want. Fall is also a great time to transplant or divide the plant
for friends and family. Pick the seed pods from the plant in the fall and place
them in a paper bag to dry. As the pods dry they will explode, ejecting the seeds,
and the paper bag will catch the seeds. Scatter the seeds in open fields to create
wildflowers living in the tall grasses. Honey bees and butterflies love the flowers
and they will be drawn to the garden all summer long. Also some varieties of
the evening primrose are fragrant.
Plant evening primroses in rock gardens or as perennial borders, use as edging
along a walk way, as a ground cover in soils that are not rich or thick in depth,
and in containers. If you have a sloping hillside and are having a problem with
erosion, plant evening primroses every 18 inches and apply bark mulch 2 inches
thick. In just a couple of years the plants will fill in the area and your hillside
will not move again, and you have the bonus of yellow flowers all summer long.
Don't forget they will tolerate road salt, so plant them along the road for a
unique roadside garden flower.
The Latin name of this family of plants is Oenothera fruticosa--common sundrops,
not to be confused with the common garden primrose called Primula. This is one
of the reasons that all plants have both a Latin name and English name, to prevent
confusion, as the same plant can have several common names depending on where
Evening primroses have many new hybrids available today and your local garden
center will have pink, white and yellow colors available in their perennial flower
section or you can purchase seeds from seed catalogs or on the internet. Plant
the seeds directly in the garden in the early spring, and most of the time they will
flower the first year, even in infertile soil. You must try this plant. Enjoy!
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Are you looking for a great gift for a gardener (or yourself)? This garden
journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This journal, autographed
personally by Paul,
makes a perfect gift for gardeners. The cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a
heavy-duty D-ring binder.
- 8 tabbed sections
- 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags...
- Weather records page
- 6 three year journal pages
- Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
- 3 annual checklist pages
- Plant wish list page
- 2 large pocket pages
- Sheet of garden labels
- 5 garden detail sheets
- 5 graph paper pages for layouts
- 5 photo pages, each holding four 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format
Click here to order online.
This Week's Question:
Every August, the small Spanish town of Buñol hosts a festival called "La Tomatina." What happens at this festival?
This Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Seed Starter Mix
- Contains Myco-toneŽ mycorrhizae
- For all seedlings and cuttings.
- Promotes Root Growth.
- In 8 and 16 qt. bags.
Last Week's Question
What genus are ladybugs?
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Seed Starter Mix
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!
- 1/3 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mango chutney
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves--cut into strips
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped mango
- 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
- 8 cups torn romaine lettuce
- In a small bowl, blend vanilla yogurt, lime juice, mango chutney, rice vinegar, honey, cumin, coriander, and paprika.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place chicken, ginger, and garlic in the skillet. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
- Mix mango, red bell pepper, and green onions into the skillet. Cook about 5 minutes, until pepper is tender and mangoes are heated through. Stir in the vanilla yogurt mixture. Spoon over romaine lettuce to serve.
Yield: 4 servings