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Edition 11.28 Paul Parent Garden Club News July 14, 2011

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


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 more information!

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.


Kids Free to Grow logo
Product Spotlight

Dramm Rain Wands

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.


blue and pink hydrangea

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 its type.

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 granules.

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 also.

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!

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daylilies

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 season.

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 develop.

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 the plant.

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. Enjoy!

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Sansevieria

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 your garden.

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!

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Garden Journal

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.

Also included:

  • 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.


trivia


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.
Myco-tone

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:
Bill Byrnes

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!


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

Fax:
(207) 985-6972

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

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Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM


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