"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."
Don't Forget the Garden Tour! And have a Maine lobster, while you are here!
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.
Dramm Rain Wands
Dramm has been making professional watering tools for nurseries, greenhouse growers and avid gardeners for over 65 years. Dramm strives to produce products that save time and energy while providing quality products that will last a lifetime.
The Dramm Rain Wand™ is ideal for watering flowerbeds, gardens and shrubs. It utilizes the original 'soft-touch' 400 Water Breaker™ nozzle, which has been used by professional growers and nurserymen since 1945.
With the Rain Wand™, you are able to apply large quantities of water quickly at the plant base, where it soaks deep into the soil.
The fingertip shut-off valve reduces overall water consumption by applying water where and when you want it.
Roots grow deep, and the plant is protected from water stress while it receives the constant nutrition it needs.
Dramm Rain Wand™ brand watering tools are available only at the best lawn, garden and nursery centers.
Click here for more information about Dramm Rain Wands.
This past weekend, I spent time on beautiful Cape Cod doing a live radio broadcast
at Snow's Home and Garden in Orleans, and I was just overwhelmed with all the
beautiful blue hydrangeas growing at most homes all over Cape Cod. I can remember
that just over 10 years ago the blue hydrangea was the plant that everyone talked
about when they came back from a Cape Cod vacation...and they just had to have
one in their garden. Along the coast north to Boston they did beautifully (if
the winters were not too severe) but if you lived inland and north the plant grew fine
but flowers were few on the plant. The reason was that the best variety at that
time, called the 'Nikko Blue' hydrangea, only made flowers on the "old wood," the
branches on the plant that were made the previous summer. If the winter was severe,
the plant had much die-back of the old wood, so flower production was minimal.
In the late 1990s, Bailey Nurseries in Minnesota found an unusual blue hydrangea
plant and started growing it in the nursery's trial gardens. Dr. Michael Dirr
from the University of Georgia was visiting the nursery and spotted this unusual
plant; he took cuttings back with him for further research and testing. Thanks
to Dr. Michael Dirr and Bailey's, we now have this new plant for our gardens.
This new blue hydrangea is called "Endless Summer," because it was
able to flower on old wood like the 'Nikko Blue' Hydrangea but, unlike the 'Nikko
Blue,' it is also able to make flowers on the new growth made during the summer
months. This made the plant a true perpetual-flowering hydrangea--the first of
The original hydrangea, 'Nikko Blue,' flowered from late June to middle or
late August. This new hybrid made new growth all summer long so it was able to
flower until frost in late September, or early October in warmer climates. This
gave the plant 8 to 10 weeks of additional flowering time. This new hybrid could
also thrive in colder climates, zone 4 to 9, and was hardy to minus 20 to 30
degrees below zero. The 'Endless Summer' hydrangea will grow from southern New
Hampshire, Vermont, and Central Maine south to Florida, with some protection
in colder locations.
The first thing to remember about blue hydrangeas is to NEVER Prune them in
the fall of the year. Pruning the plant in the fall when it becomes dormant will
cause problems with every branch you prune, because it has an open wound that
will lose moisture all winter and the branches you cut back will slowly dry up
and die. In the spring you can cut them back a bit to control the height of the
plant and encourage new growth to form from the root system. If you cut back
the plant to the ground, you are removing all the flower buds on those branches
and the plant will not flower. Remember, old wood has flower buds on it and
if you remove all that old growth you are removing the potential flower buds for
the coming summer. In the spring the branches look like dead sticks but they
are alive; leave them alone!
The new 'Endless Summer' hydrangea loves to be pruned lightly in the spring
to control height and spread. If you can prune faded flowers on the plant during
the summer, you will encourage additional flower buds to form on the new growth
made during the remaining weeks of summer. Do not be scared to cut branches filled
with flowers from the plant and put them in a vase of water for your enjoyment.
This selective pruning will stimulate new growth on the plant, and in just a
few weeks new flowers will form on the new growth being made on the plant.
The 'Endless Summer' blue hydrangea will grow 3 to 4 feet tall and just as
wide and in just 2 to 3 years, once planted in your garden. Once the plant has
matured and has become well established in your garden, winter protection is
less required. The flowers of this new blue hydrangea will grow 4 to 8 inches
in diameter, and like all mop head type hydrangeas, 3 to 6 inches tall. Each flower
is made up of fifty plus individual flowers about one inch wide; the flowers
have five petals arranged in a circular form with a flat center. The flowers can
be cut for your favorite vase, dried when in peak color by removing the branch
from your plant, stripping off its foliage and hanging it upside down in your
garage to dry for a couple of weeks. Dried cut hydrangeas will last inside your
home all winter long in a vase or when used to make a wreath.
Plant the blue 'Endless Summer' hydrangea in full sun to partial shade garden
for the best flower production on the plant. The plant will grow best in a sandy
soil that is well drained; keep the plant out of wet areas or where water
tends to collect after heavy rains. This type of garden will form ice and the
plant will have a lot of winter dieback during the winter months. If your soil
has a bit of clay, be sure to blend peat moss, animal manure or compost to break
up the heavy soil before planting. If your soil is very sandy use the same products
to help hold moisture in the soil in the root growing area, along with Soil Moist
Because the plant has large leaves and uses a lot of water, it will
wilt easily on hot sunny days until it is well rooted in its new home in your
garden. Mulching around the plant in your planting bed 2 to 3 inches thick with
bark mulch, compost, pine needles or shredded leaves will also help hold moisture
in the soil and control weeds during the summer months.
This type of mop head hydrangea is the ONLY plant whose flower color can be
changed by controlling the acidity of the soil it grows in. If you keep the soil
with a pH of 5.5 or lower, your flowers will range from a clear blue to deep purple,
depending on acidity of the soil. This can be accomplished
by using aluminum sulfate fertilizer at the rate of one tablespoon per gallon
of water applied to the plant every couple of weeks.
If the flower gets to be too deep of a blue color--or even purple--apply a couple
of handfuls of limestone or wood ash every spring and fall. If you want to make
them more pink than blue, add heavy applications of wood ash or limestone several
times during the growing season to raise the soil pH to 6.0 or higher. If you
use a high phosphorus fertilizer, it will block out the aluminum fertilizer in
the soil from entering the plant, helping to keep the plant on the pink side
Fertilize spring and fall with an acid-type fertilizer such as Holly-Tone
or Dr. Earth Rhododendron food with Pro-Biotic to encourage uniform growth and
flower bud production. When planting new plants in your garden be sure to water
every week during the summer for the first two years as plants are slow to get
established in your garden. All I want you to remember is that if you live where
the winter months are cold, always select the 'Endless Summer' blue hydrangea
and never the 'Nikko Blue,' if you want flowers during the summer months. The
extra $5.00 will insure that you always have flowers on your plant. Enjoy!
Click to print this article.
As the summer weather begins to warm up and the soil begins to dry out, is
your perennial garden beginning to wither away and lose all of its early color?
If you live in a town that always has a water ban, if your soil is on the sandy
side and watering is a problem, then I have a great perennial plant for you...the
daylily. Daylilies love the sun and because of thick fibrous roots that can store
water for long periods, are the perfect drought resistant plant for you. Daylilies
are so easy to grow that they are today one of the most popular plants to grow for summer color.
Daylilies are not true lilies and the flowering stem has no leaves.
The flower stem is round, strong, smooth and tall, often raising the trumpet-like
flowers well above the grass-like foliage. All the foliage is at the base
of the plant and grows in the shape of a fan. This foliage is grass-like, growing
12 to 18 inches tall and less than an inch wide. It is deep green in color; the
center of the leaf blade is pleated to create the perfect gutter-like system
to catch and move rainfall directly to the base of the plant.
As the plant matures the fans of foliage will thicken and produce a thick
clump of soft foliage that weeps over on its tip and sways back and forth
with the slightest breeze. Each fan of foliage is capable of producing multiple
stems of trumpet-shaped flowers from June to September, depending of the variety
you select. Most varieties will bloom for a 4 to 6 week season, but there are
new hybrids that will rebloom on and off for most of the summer. Each of these
flower stems can produce 6 to 10 flower buds, with only one flower blooming at
a time; as one flower fades a new bud will open, keeping the stem in bloom for
many days. The flower stems develop at different times on the plant, creating an
almost continuously flowering plant for many weeks. This truly amazing flower is
shaped like a trumpet 3 to 6 inches in diameter.
The best growing daylilies live in a soil that is well conditioned with peat
moss, animal manure, or compost before planting. This will keep the plant's roots
growing evenly in a soil that is moist most of the time and allowing the plant
to produce more flower buds during the summer season. I always add Soil Moist
granules and use a fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae when planting. Look for
Bio-Tone made by Espoma or Dr. Earth Flower Fertilizer with Pro-Biotic. When
the weather gets hot and dry be sure to water once a week for a very productive
plant. The plant does love the sun but if the garden can get a bit of late day
or midday shade for a couple of hours, the plants will flower longer during the
There is one garden task that all daylilies need, and that is to remove any
seed pods that develop on the end of the flower stalks. When that stem is
finished flowering, please remove it to the base of the fan of foliage. The seeds
that are produced in these pods will not produce seeds that are the same color
flower as the plant is. Also, if you allow the seeds to mature in the pod and
the pod ripens and explodes scattering the seed in your garden, the new seedlings
that develop will not be the same color and they could choke out the hybrids
you were growing there.
If you have the wild orange daylilies growing near your garden, the bees can
carry the pollen from the wild plant onto the hybrid growing in your garden.
If this happens, the wild pollen is stronger than the hybrid and orange plants
will develop, quickly choking out your hybrids. Most of the daylilies will drop
the faded flowers without making a seed pod, so pick off the faded flowers or
let them fall from the flower stem, but be sure to remove any seed pods that do
If you want new plants, divide them in the early spring or in the fall of
the year when they finish flowering. To make a new plant, divide the clump of
foliage into single fans of foliage; each fan will make a new plant identical
to the clump it originally came from.Space fans of foliage 12 to 18 inches apart;
cut back the foliage by one third from the top and plant in a conditioned soil
that you will keep moist for several weeks until you can see that the plant is
well established. Cover the soil with 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch or compost to
keep weeds out and the coil cool and to better hold water around the roots of
I think that most of us have seen the wild-growing orange daylilies growing
on the side of the road. A lot of us have seen the dwarf yellow flowering hybrid
daylily called 'Stella de Oro' planted in every parking lot where a big box store
is located. This year look for the new varieties of hybrid daylilies at your
local garden center; they com in every color but blue and true white. You will
also find some double-flowering varieties, many two-tone varieties and even some
that are fragrant. If you're worried about not finding what you're
looking for in color, do not get worried, as there are over 40,000 cultivars
to choose from and more new plants each year.
When you look for daylilies here are the four things you will need to know:
Number one, there are three types of daylilies: the old fashioned daylilies,
the hybrid daylilies called "tetraploid," with thicker, larger flowers
in brighter colors that are stronger growing than the old fashioned daylilies.
And the reblooming /recurrent types that bloom more than just the normal 4 to
6 weeks; they will flower all summer long.
Number two, daylilies bloom at different times of the year from June to September,
so try to select early, midseason or late blooming varieties for continuous color
in your garden.
Number three, always ask for plants that are hardy for your planting zone when
you order on line or the internet, as some varieties are better suited for heat
and some for a colder climate.
Number four, ask about the height of the plant and flowering stems. Example--dwarf
plants will grow under a foot tall; low will grow 1 to 2 feet tall, medium 2
to 3 feet tall and tall over 3 feet tall.
Plant daylilies in perennial flower beds, along a walkway as a border plant,
near spring-flowering bulb that will go dormant as their leaves turn brown in
June, and they are wonderful when used in plantings on steep banks to replace
grass that could be hard to mow. You will love daylilies because they have very
few problems with insects or disease and because they grow so strong any damage
on the plant is quickly replaced with new foliage in just a few weeks. Daylilies,
especially the wild orange varieties, will do well when planted on the side
of the road to control erosion problems and will tolerate road salt.
One last thing to know about daylilies is that they are loved by butterflies
and hummingbirds, so place a hummingbird feeder in the garden and sit back to
enjoy the show as these unique creatures dance in your flower garden this summer.
Click to print this article.
Have you ever picked a daisy from your garden and said: She loves me, she
loves me not, and she loves me? According to folklore it all began in ancient
Wales when maidens wanted to test the fidelity of their love and they, like you,
gently pulled off one individual white flower petal at a time until all that
remained was the yellow center of the flower. Let’s hope that most of the
time it came out positive for you.
Daisies suggest innocence and simplicity; in Latin the word for daisy means “beautiful
," and the Old English name for daisy was "Day’s eye," referring
to the way that the flowers open and close with the sun. The daisy flowers open
at sunrise and close at sunset on some varieties and our ancestors noticed that,
as they had no watches to tell the time of day. The Ox-Eye daisy, an early relative
of the Shasta daisy, came to America with the colonists, to be planted in their
gardens and seeded in their fields as one of our first imported wildflowers.
The Greeks tell this story of the daisy’s origin: One morning the wood
nymphs decided to dance on the edge of the forest, where the orchards began.
The god of the orchards, spying them at their games, drew close to watch. One
nymph in particular stung him with her beauty, and he fell instantly in love
and rushed at her. But she and her sisters vanished, taking refuge in the form
of the daisy, growing on the edge of the forest.
Daisies must have a well-drained soil to thrive and spread in your garden.
If your soil is heavy or wet they will grow but struggle during the year, usually
not returning after the first winter. Well-drained soil during the winter months
is very important, as standing water will cause root rot. If your soil is heavy
and you want to grow daisies you will have to condition the soil with the coarse,
sharp, mason type of sand, peat moss, and compost to improve drainage. Planting
in raised flower beds will also help to improve drainage in wet soils--or plant
on the side of a hill or sloping garden. Wet soil is the number one reason that
Shasta and other types of daisies do not survive in your garden.
The Shasta daisy loves to be planted in a full sun garden but it will tolerate
some late day shade. In a partial shade garden, the plant will grow taller, have
fewer flowers, those flowers will grow smaller, and flower for a shorter period
with fewer repeating flower buds during the summer...but they are still worth
all the effort to grow them. The plant will tolerate a sandy soil and will tolerate
some dry growing conditions but if you can condition the soil before planting
with lots of organic matter like compost and animal manures, they will thrive in
The flower of the Shasta daisy is a flat-growing flower on top of a strong
stem. This is actually a flower in a flower, as the bright yellow center is comprised
of hundreds of tiny yellow flowers with a ring of delicate white 1 inch elongated
flower petals circulating it. The flower resembles the shape of the sun and it
will brighten up any garden in your yard. As the sun begins to set, the white
daisy flowers will resemble stars in the sky--and just think what a field of
wild daisies would look like when planted as wild flowers during a full moon
evening. The daisy flower is loved by honey bees and butterflies, as they can
just sit on the flower and feed from them.
The foliage is deep green, growing 2 to 3 inches long and only 3/4 of an inch
wide, with an edge that resembles a saw with tiny indentations, like teeth. The
leaves grow up the flower stem but are spaced one to two inches apart, keeping
the plant open and airy looking. The plant grows from individual stems and seldom
branches out; each stem makes only one flower. The flowers will last on the
plant for about 4 weeks if you can keep it well watered during the heat of summer.
The flowers are wonderful for cutting and will last for many days in a tall
vase of water on your kitchen table. As the flowers begin to fade on the plant
remove the flower back to the top set of leaves and the plant will make new buds
on that set of leaves, keeping it in bloom right up until frost in most gardens.
Dead-heading is very important if you want continuous flowers all summer long
so always bring a pair of scissors with you when you visit the garden to cut
flowers for the house and for cleaning the plant.
The plant can be propagated by dividing it into sections in the early
spring or fall season. You can also allow some of the flowers to fade on the
plant and dry up to turn brown. Once this happens, break up the flower head with
your fingers and sprinkle the seeds in the flower head in your garden. These
seeds will germinate and grow very easily making new plant that will flower the
following summer in the garden.
Fertilize in the spring and again in the fall with a good organic slow release
fertilizer like Flower-Tone or Dr. Earth Flower food with Pro-Biotic. When the
buds form on the plant fertilize with a liquid plant food like Miracle Grow or
Fertilome Blooming and Rooting Fertilizer to increase the size of the bloom
If you have a tall-growing variety of Shasta daisy that requires staking
when in bloom, you can cut back the plant in mid-May, when the plant reaches
12 inches tall, to 6 to 8 inches to help keep the plant shorter. This pinching
or cutting back of the plant will also encourage new shoots to form at the base
of the plant, resulting in more flowers during the summer, keeping the plant
height under 3 feet tall and less likely to topple over.
Adding bark mulch or compost as a mulch around the plant will prevent weeds
from developing in the flower bed and help keep the soil moist around the plant
during the heat of summer. Insects and disease problems are less likely if you
give the plants room to grow in the garden and don't let them get overcrowded
with other plants around them; air circulation around the plant is key.
Grow Shasta daisies as a cut flower; they are wonderful in mass plantings,
mixed borders, a must for the cottage garden look, and they will look incredible
if you line a walkway with them for color. Visit your local garden center and
look at the wonderful selection of Shasta daisy hybrids.
Shasta daisies will grow from 2 to 4 feet tall, have flowers 2 to 5 inches across,
and some semi-double and double flowering types are also available--something to fit
every garden need. Plants will grow 2 to 4 feet wide, depending on the hybrid you choose.
Always ask questions before purchasing so you can space the plants properly for good air
circulation and plant them in the right spot in the garden so they will not shade other
plants in the garden. Enjoy!
Click to print this article.
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:
Did you know that Maine has an official State Berry? What is it?
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
Every August, the small Spanish town of Buñol hosts a festival called "La Tomatina." What happens at this festival?
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
It's a festival where everybody throws tomatoes at each other.
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!
You will need at least 8 (10-inch) bamboo skewers for cooking the meat.
- 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
- 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