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Edition 11.37 Paul Parent Garden Club News September 15, 2011
Featured quote

Featured Quote:

"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view."
~ H. Fred Ale


Product Spotlight

Milorganite® Fertilizer

  • Non-Burning--Foolproof application. Use in the hottest weather! A great summer fertilizer.
  • No need to water in to activate--Apply now and Milorganite is ready to work when moisture comes later. Ideal for areas with water restrictions.
  • Slow Release, long lasting--Provides uniform growth and a well-established root system. Releases minerals and nutrients over a 10 to 12 week period.
  • Rich in non-staining iron Provides a rich green color and maintains it over periods of heat stress. Won't stain sidewalks or patios like other fertilizers.
  • Adds organic matter--Promotes beneficial microbial activity and improves the soil's ability to grow and nurture grass and plants. Ideal for sandy soils.
  • Great for vegetables--Encourages growth without interfering with flowering and fruiting. Meets U.S. EPA's "Exceptional Quality" standards--the most stringent safety regulations in the fertilizer industry.
  • ECO friendly--No need to worry about groundwater or well contamination. The slow release formula stays in the root zone, even on sandy soils and even with frequent watering.
  • Plant Available. Non-leaching Phosphorous--The slow moving phosphorus in Milorganite stays in the soil for the plants to use. University tests in the sandy soils of Florida show that Milorganite's phosphorous is available to the plants but does not move into the groundwater.
  • All purpose fertilizer--Use all season long on annuals, perennials, fruit,s ornamentals, trees, shrubs, and transplants.
  • Used by golf and turf managers for over 85 years

silver lace vine

The other day, while running a few errands, I decided to take a different road to get to my first stop and came across a wonderful vine that you should know about. The plant is called silver lace vine, and it blooms from July to late September. It's not a plant that most of us talk about, I think because it flowers so late in the season and it's one of those old fashioned plants our grandparents grew before all the new hybrid flowering vines were introduced. This is a plant that you should know about if you want privacy, if you want to cover an old chain linked fence, if you have a hill-side that is difficult to mow or too steep to maintain, or even a cliff you want to protect from erosion--the silver lace vine is for you!

The silver lace vine originated in western China and is cold-hardy to -30 degrees. If you live in Northern New England, New York, west to Minnesota and south to Georgia, this is a plant that can solve many problems for you while giving you wonderful color during the summer right up to early fall. No winter protection is necessary and wind, salt spray from the ocean and deep snow will not hurt this plant.

Silver lace vine is a deciduous vine loosing its foliage in early October with no show of color, as the leaves fall from the plant while still green. The leaves form on the plant with a tinge of reddish-bronze but quickly mature to dark green. They are fine textured, in the shape of an Indian arrow head, growing 1 to 2 inches long and shiny. The plant will grow very thick, with these leaves quickly covering the vine in the spring.

The flowers develop on the new growth made on the plant from May to August, and for most plants the new growth is 1 to 3 feet ,but not on this plant. Silver lace vine will grow TEN to FIFTEEN feet every summer; can you now imagine how many flowers are on this plant during the late summer months? These flowers are small--1/5 of an inch in diameter--and form on finger-like panicles/spikes by the hundreds. The flowers develop on the top of the plant's new growth and usually completely cover the plant, almost covering the foliage when in full bloom. The plant does have a bit of fragrance close up but is not known for it. The flowers are white in the sun to greenish-white in partial shade and they will last on the plant from 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the September weather.

The silver lace vine is a twining vine and does need something to grow on like a trellis, arbor, or fence. It will NOT climb up the side of a structure or building like the Boston ivy does, as it cannot cling to a surface without support. Give it support and it will quickly grow to the top. If you're going to train it to grow on a chain link fence for privacy, set out plants on every other section of fence as it will cover two sections of fencing in just two years. For arbors 6 to 8 feet tall and wide, one plant is all you will need.

Silver lace vines will grow in just about any type of soil--especially dry soil--once they are established in your yard. They do not like wet feet, so keep them away from areas where you will have standing water during the spring and winter ice. Plant them in a soil you condition with a lot of compost, animal manure, or peat moss before panting and if your soil is on the sandy to gravely side use Soil Moist granules also. The first year in your garden, silver lace vine should be watered weekly until it is well established, and during the summer months if the garden gets hot and dry. Once established, this plant does not need any help from you.

Fertilize every spring with Plant-Tone or Dr. Earth Shrub and Tree fertilizer with Pro Biotic. If you want to control the size of the plant, prune the plant back by as much as 75% every spring, before the new growth begins to develop--during March or April. If not pruned back, it will continue to grow, reaching a height of 20 to 30 feet high or long on a fence. This is a wonderful vine to plant at the base of a sparse-growing evergreen tree like spruce or pine; in just a couple of years it will fill in all the open areas on the plant, but won't kill the tree.

Silver lace vine will grow faster in full sun than shade but it will do quite well in a part-shade garden. Disease problems are minimal and never a problem, but if you have a summer with many Japanese beetles in your yard, they may be a problem. Just spray the plant with Garden Eight from Bonide Lawn and Garden if there is a problem, or use Tree and Shrub systemic soil drench in the spring for year-long insect control.

Plant silver lace vine at the base of all types of fences and let it run across the top of the solid wood or vinyl fence for additional height to the fence and wonderful summer to fall color. Open wire fences like chain link will quickly become solid during the summer months but in the fall all the foliage will drop, letting light into your yard for the winter. This vine will give you quick privacy during the summer months around a pool, patio, or deck with little maintenance needed by you.

Use this wonderful vine as a ground cover in problem areas where nothing else will grow. This vine will quickly cover unattractive gravel slopes, piles of rocks or where garden debris has been disposed of. I have seen it planted on the top of a steep slope, and as it runs down the hill it will root on the ground and quickly cover the soil and protect it from erosion problems. Just set the plants out in 2 foot by 2 foot pockets of good soil to help them get established and watch them take over the problem area with a blanket of green foliage and white flowers during the summer.

In June, prune back a few 6 to 8 inch tip branches from the plant and dip them in rooting powder like you would use for rooting geraniums or coleus plants. Pot 3 cuttings in a 6 inch pot filled with fresh potting soil and keep in a shady location until they root (in just a couple of weeks). Keep them moist with plenty of light but no direct sun until they root. You can make new plants that easily--or if new shoots develop around the plant, just dig them in the spring before the foliage develops and set them out.

When you prune them in the spring, wrap the long vines around a container to make a wonderful looking twig wreath for your front door. Winding the vine in and out of the wreath will give it extra character also.

The house I saw the other day had planted morning glories at the base of the plant and the blue trumpet flowers look wonderful with the small white flowers of silver lace vine wrapped around them. If you want fast coverage and flowers, no other vine can do what this plant does! Enjoy.

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lamium

If you have a shaded yard and you are trying to grow ground covers, it can be expensive, and usually they are slow to fill in the area planted--until now. Sure, myrtle, pachysandra, and English ivy are nice, but it will take 3 to 5 years for them to fill in so thick that weeds are not a problem, and they require a lot of care by you those first few years. I want you to consider lamium as a ground cover for those shaded areas in your garden, under your trees--even those wet spots in your yard. If you like colorful foliage and flowers, this is the plant for you.

Lamium will grow just about anywhere in your yard; in the Northeast, it will also do well in full sun if you can water regularly if the summer gets real hot and dry. It does prefer part to full shade for the best performance, and a soil that stays moist most of the year. If you have an area where moss is growing and no matter how hard you try to grow grass, it still will not grow there for you...it's time you plant lamium hybrids.

Lamium is a creeping plant that spreads with underground stolons/ stems. When new branches or stems from above the ground touch the soil, they will also root, making the plant very strong and thick growing. These qualities make this plant an excellent weed-smothering ground cover. Each plant can spread 18 to 24 inches in all directions, so if you're planting a large area it will take fewer plants to cover the area. A good example: you would space English ivy every 6 to 8 inches apart in staggered rows, pachysandra every 6 inches and myrtle every foot in staggered rows.

Lamium is aggressive, so if you want a formal planting, this is not your plant but if you want a quick-growing ground cover in a natural setting with interesting foliage and flowers in the spring time--this is your plant. If you have a large planting bed of evergreens like rhododendrons, azaleas, or mountain laurel under tall trees that you have covered with bark mulch and you want more color, plant lamium between some of the shrubs. If you have an area that is shaded by your house or the garage and all that will grow is moss, plant lamium there and watch it bring that area back to life.

If you live on a wooded lot and you want to keep it simple--but you want color and no maintenance--plant lamium here and there under the trees to make it look like a wildflower garden. It can be difficult to grow flowers under large pines, oaks, and maples because of the many roots, but not lamium--it will adapt and thrive. Once the plants get established in a couple years and you like what you see, think about extending this shade garden. In the spring, dig up some of the plants and pull them apart with your hands, making several plants from the one you have dug. I did this several years ago for a friend and made 6 to 10 plants with each plant I dug up.

When you plant lamium, remember that they love a soil that is well drained but stays moist during the summer months, so be sure to condition the soil with compost, animal manure, or peat moss. If the soil is sandy it's OK, just add some Soil Moist Granules with the soil conditioners to help them get started. When you plant under the trees, the leaf canopy will help to keep the plants from drying out during the summer.

Lamium will grow 4 to 12 inches tall, depending on the variety you select--but let me tell you about the foliage. The foliage is incredible because every variety is different looking. The leaf will range from 1 to 2 inches long and 1 inch wide and the shape can be oval, rounded, elongated-oval, and even heart -shaped. The edge of the leaf can be smooth, finely toothed like a saw blade or deeply cut like a Japanese maple leaf.

Now the colors of the foliage and flowers are very different, depending on the variety you choose. Consider the following: Deep green leaf with paint brush-like strokes of silver covering half of the green leaf, and yellow flowers called 'Hermann's pride,' Silvery green leaf with deep purple flowers called 'Purple Dragon,' Pale green with deep silver covering on the leaf and white flowers called 'White Nancy,' Green and silver variegated foliage with pink flowers called 'Beacon Silver,' How about chartreuse-green and yellow variegated colored foliage with mauve flowers called 'Anne Greenway,' beautiful silvery foliage with shell pink flowers called 'Cosmopolitan'--and there are many more to choose from.

When the flowers finish blooming in 4 to 8 weeks and more, I want you to take your lawn mower or weed whacker and cut the plant back to 3 inches tall!!! That's right--cut the plant back to 3 inches and this will stimulate the plant to bush up and spread out even more. Your plant will look a bit rough at first but in just 2 weeks it will come back like it was on fire and grow like crazy but stay more compact, and thicker- growing. The flowers begin to bloom on the plant in April and last to early August on some varieties.

When you have cut back the plants, sprinkle a generous amount of Flower-Tone or Dr. Earth flower food with Pro Biotic around each plant and water well. Unless it gets dry during the summer, this is all you have to do for these plants the rest of the year. The foliage will stay beautiful well into October--even November if they are sheltered from cold winds.

If you have a wet summer, slugs can be a problem but the plant grows so fast that new leaves will quickly replace the eaten ones. Plants do not do well in areas that are irrigated with a sprinkler system on a regular basis; they will do better with dry foliage than wet. They are so hardy that you can even grow them in Canada, where temperatures reach 30 to 40 degrees below zero.

This is a good plant for areas where you cannot get anything to grow, it requires minimal maintenance and care--and the wonderful foliage and flowers and will make you a very happy gardener. This fall or next spring, plant several varieties to make your yard the talk of the neighborhood. Enjoy!

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Customised Gardening Tour of England

Tour includes the Wisley Gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show, Tower of London, Roman Baths & Pump Room, Riverford Organic Farm, Garden House, Rosemoor Gardens, Lost Garden of Heligan, Village of Megavissey, Stonehenge, the Wilton House Garden Centre and more.

Click here for details.


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:

An epiphytic plant (or epiphyte) grows on ______?

This Week's Prize:
Bug Beater® Stink Bug Trap by Bonide Lawn and Garden

Protects homes and gardens from the "population explosion" of stink bugs around the country.

  • Use indoors or out
  • Attracts and captures stinkbugs
  • Lasts up to 4 weeks
  • Attracts ALL stink bug species
  • Protects your home and garden
  • Comes with 3 disposable traps
  • Non-toxic
  • Odorless
trap image

Last Week's Question
Which animal is responsible for the most human deaths around the world?

Last Week's Winner:
Salvatore Chines

Last Week's Answer:
The mosquito.

Last Week's Prize:
Bug Beater® Stink Bug Trap

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!


Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

Finding gluten-free--and tasty--desserts can be a challenge. Here is a no-bake chocolate almond cheesecake that is yummy and decadent (but safe for celiac disease sufferers).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups finely ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 packages (24 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour (or other gluten-free flour)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 8 squares baking chocolate, melted

Step by Step:

  • On a baking sheet, toast almonds at 325 degrees F for 3 minutes (or until golden brown). Remove from pan and cool completely and grind into a fine powder.
  • Combine ground almonds, dark brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon, mixing well.
  • Press mixture into a parchment lined 13x9 inch pan (you may also line pan in foil if desired). Coat parchment or foil with nonstick spray.
  • Bake crust at 325 degrees F for 14-18 minutes (or until pale golden color). Cool completely.

  • In a mixing bowl beat softened cream cheese, sugar, rice flour, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth.
  • Add slightly cooled, melted baking chocolate and fold into smooth cheesecake filling.
  • Carefully spoon cream cheese into cooled almond crust.
  • Refrigerate at least 3 hours, until set.
  • Before serving, sprinkle with slivered almonds and chocolate curls.

Yield: 4 servings.

Recipe courtesy of "Cooking for Pleasure" by Jeanine Harsen.

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

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Coming information on a trip to the Chelsea England Flower Show, in the Spring of 2012.


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