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"When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, There is always the garden."
The perfect gift for your favorite gardener on Valentine's Day! Gardens require
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cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a heavy-duty D-ring binder. Includes free
- 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
Valentine's Day is only 12 days away, so order now to receive your copy in time!
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If you're a gardener that has a shady yard, consider yourself lucky--yes, lucky.
Why? Because you can grow many more unique plants than the gardener who has nothing
but direct sun all day, and the flowers you grow will do better than those grown
in full sun all day. Just because you cannot grow roses in your yard doesn't make shade
a bad thing. Learn to use the shade to your advantage. Appreciate the shade and
its benefits to you and your family. Think about this, are you more comfortable
relaxing in the shade on a hot summer's day? Consider that working in the garden
is a lot easier without the direct sun baring down on you--and your shady patio
or deck is a more peaceful place to relax on than in the hot sun.
All I want you to think about today is accepting the fact that living and
gardening in the shade is like having friends and not enemies. To determine how
to enjoy these friends you will need to know more about them. Begin by determining
the amount of shade you have in your gardens, because few gardens are in shade
all day long unless they are up against the north side of your house and your
yard is completely covered with trees. When you're spending the day outside working
in the yard is the best time to determine this.
This is what I want you to do. You will need a large pad of paper to draw
the individual gardens on, pencils, a kitchen timer and your watch. Begin by
drawing out the gardens on the pad of paper, go out into the yard at 8:00 AM,
and write on the paper what the light conditions are. If part of the garden is
in sun, make a line through the garden where the lights is at 8:00 am and mark
the time on the line. Do this for each garden. Set the kitchen timer for one hour and then check out the
garden again when the buzzer goes off and make a new line where the sun is at
Do this all day to determine where you are receiving morning or late in the
day sunlight in the garden and where it stays shady all day. The light map you
have created will help you select the right plant for each section of your garden.
If your shade is made by leaf trees, you will have to wait until the leaves develop
on the tree to be more accurate--but with evergreens, it can be done now while
you have time. During May is the best time to make this map, as the sun is higher
in the sky and will better represent the growing conditions of the summer. This
way you will know which plants to choose for the garden while the selection is
best at the garden center. You will discover that there are hundreds of trees,
shrubs, perennials, annuals and, yes, even some vegetables that will thrive
in your shady gardens.
The map you created will help you select the best plants for your shade gardens.
Plant material is expensive, so why guess and put the wrong plant in the garden
and have the plant fail to grow for you? This spring, as you're cleaning out
the gardens after the winter and preparing them for the spring, make this sun
map before adding new plants or moving old plants around the garden.
about what you cannot grow in your garden because of the quality of the sunlight.
Instead, learn what to plant and rejoice over what you can now grow in that
same garden. The place where you had little to no success in the past can now
become your showplace garden of the future. Here are a few things to think about
when you create a shade garden.
Here are some benefits of a shady garden:
Plants grown in the shade require
less watering all year long, no matter what your soil is like. These plants will
also require less fertilizer because they grow slower and less overall than sun
growing plants. These plants also require less maintenance and care to grow and
thrive in your shade garden. These plants will tolerate abuse and you're neglecting
them better than sun-grown plants.
Plants grown in the shade will have better
foliage color that is darker and never burnt out by the hot sun. The plants that
flower will have more vivid colors as the sun will not fade them. These flowers
will blossom longer and the flowers will stay on the plant at least an additional day, keeping
your garden more colorful.
Shade gardens have fewer weeds growing in them, as most weeds love the brightness
of the sun--especially grassy type weeds like crabgrass. In drought situations,
shade garden plants fare better with the heat and lack of rainfall; they also
recover faster when the moisture returns to the garden. If you're applying bark
mulch or compost to cover the soil to protect the plants roots during the year,
less will be needed, saving you money and the labor to apply it to the garden.
Plants grown in the shade have less winter damage or dieback on them when
spring arrives, because the temperature around the garden stays more even and the sun
is less likely to damage the foliage of evergreen plants. You also get less
wind damage to the plants in these gardens, because the plants are more sheltered
during the winter months and snow stays on the ground longer, acting like a blanket
to protect those less hardy plants in the garden. Fewer insects prefer the shade
to the sun garden and that means less spraying and care needed by you.
I want you to think about this carefully, because all perennials, shrubs and
trees only flower for a short time, usually 4 to 8 weeks--depending on the time
of the year and the temperatures outside. This is your opportunity to select
plants for the texture, color, form and shape of their foliage. Think about fruit
or berries on these plants and mixing the light and dark foliage for better contrast
in the garden. Shade gardens are the perfect place to add lighting fixtures to
help show off the branches of the trees overhead and create interesting shadow
patterns on the ground.
The number one thing about a shade garden is that you have the ability to
make more sun possible for the plants by pruning the lower branches on the trees,
making the sunlight stronger or increasing the duration of the sun. In a sun
garden, it is often difficult to create shade for the plants without planting
large and expensive trees, shrubs, or structures like trellises and arbors to
produce shade for the plants.
On the negative side, shade gardens develop more slowly in the spring unless
the shade comes from deciduous trees--evergreen trees definitely slow the
development of your spring garden. On the other hand, shade gardens are often
protected from the frost better and extend the garden appearance longer into
the fall season. More ground cover plants prefer the shade and this is the perfect
place to add a whole new family of plants to your garden with the many varieties
of ferns, which are not grown in the sun.
To me the most limiting factor of a shade garden is the roots of the large
trees around the garden and this is where you will need help from your local garden
center or nursery to select the right plants. Bring your plan, measurements,
the sun map, and pictures of the area along with a sample of your soil and you
will soon be on the right path to a beautiful "Shade Garden." Enjoy!
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Millions of years ago, when the mighty dinosaurs roamed the world, many of
them fed on the fern plants for food. Today, these dinosaurs are gone but there
are still thousands of varieties of fern that populate our planet. Believe it
or not, fern fossils were recently found in Antarctica--dating back 220 million
years. According to William Cullina, director of Horticulture Research of the
New England Wild Flow Society, the variety found growing in Antarctica is the
same fern found growing from Newfoundland Canada and south to Tennessee and South
Carolina. The fern is called "Osmunda claytoniana" and grows in damp
woodlands, meadows, and along shady roadways where moisture is present. You may
even have it growing in your garden right now.
The fern is well respected as a houseplant and is among the most desired
plants for the home gardener. In the garden, the ferns planted outside are another
story--with most gardeners, new or the seasoned, this plant receives
little to no respect (you could call it the Rodney Dangerfield plant). How could a
plant that has been around so long, and is so versatile in the ever-changing environment be so much a mystery to us gardeners? There is a fern for
every part of your property, no matter what the growing conditions are like. Not
many things bother the fern plant and the traditional problems that plague the
other plants in your garden like insects, diseases, animal damage--and even drought--well, the fern has developed ways to cope with them naturally.
I think that because ferns are so different looking from other traditional
garden plants we grow, we think that they are going to be difficult to grow and
will demand more of our time in the garden. In fact, they are easier to grow
and require less care than most other plants in our garden today. If you have
been trying to grow grass under tall trees with no success, think ferns. If you
have an area with moderate to dense shade and nothing will grow, think ferns.
If you have a shady area that stays wet most of the year, think ferns.
Ferns will grow wonderfully in your perennial flowerbeds and help to make your existing
perennials more delicate looking with the foliage they produce. If you're
tired of planting , impatiens every spring for color to
fill in those hard-to-grow areas, think about garden ferns for this spring. Hostas
are wonderful perennials and come in many sizes and colors. But just imagine
adding clumps of various types of ferns to the planting and how it would soften
the coarse and heavy looking hosta foliage.
Ferns also grow very well in rock gardens; they can be planted in cracks and
crevices in stone walls and will bring your water features to life. Ferns can
live right at the base of large trees where no other plant can survive the shallow
roots of the trees and thrive. Ferns also make a wonderful ground cover where
you want to keep the area natural looking and maintenance free. If you have a
well-established privacy hedge and the lower branches have died out, how about
planting small clumps of tall growing ferns? Plant the ferns in between the plants
and in just a few months they will fill in shrub bed, softening
those thick stems of the hedge and give you some added privacy at ground level.
Ferns will thrive inside privet hedges, large lilac clumps, and even overgrown
or yews planted around the foundation of the house, where no foliage will grow
at the base of the plant.
Most ferns will thrive in soil from neutral to acid; they are not fussy! What they
want for soil is one that has been prepared for before planting and conditioned
with organic matter such as compost, animal manure, peat moss or even well composted
seaweed. If this is not always possible, in the fall blend into the soil your
leaves and pine needles to supply the soil with the much needed organic matter,
just like the soil found in the woods where they live naturally.
The first year in your garden, fertilize spring and fall with a good organic
fertilizer such as Plant-Tone or Dr. Earth Perennial plant fertilizer with Pro
biotic. Water weekly to help the roots becomes established quickly before the
heat of summer arrives. During the summer water as the plant requires moisture.
If your soil is on the sandy side, be sure to use Soil Moist granules when planting
to help retain moisture around the roots until they are established. Soil moist
will last for several years and your ferns will love it--especially during the
summer months if the garden does get some direct sun during parts of the day.
In the fall, do not remove the dead foliage from around the plants, as it
will make a wonderful mulch to help protect the roots of the plant. In time,
it will break down into rich organic matter that will feed the plant naturally.
Before you plant ferns in your garden do your research, as some varieties have
a clump-like growing habit but others will spread rapidly with underground roots
and rhizomes and quickly choke out everything around them. Some varieties will
make beautiful, tall-growing fertile fronds that will turn dark chocolate brown
in the fall, giving your garden additional character during the winter months.
There are so many good hardy ferns you can also consider planting a shade
garden that features ferns as the primary theme plant. Just remember ferns come
in hundreds of colors, textures, heights--some will climb up your large trees,
and some can even be grown for a wonderful spring crop known as "fiddlehead ferns." Fiddlehead
ferns are picked in the early spring, steamed like fresh-picked spinach, and
seasoned with melted butter, salt and pepper and a bit of white vinegar. I cannot
get enough of them when they are in season.
Here are some of my favorite varieties to look for this spring at your local
The Osmunda Family:
Has the cinnamon fern that grows to four feet tall and
just as wide. It has brown cattail wands growing out of the center of the clump
in the early spring, which are as nice as the flowers on any plant in your garden.
The foliage arches from the center and in the fall turns bright golden yellow.
In addition, the royal fern is in this family. It will thrive in sun to light
shade in a moist to wet soil. It will grow 2 to 4 feet tall and just as wide.
This fern looks spectacular (some say "regal") in a wet soil with full
sun. This is wonderful plant to use near ponds and streams. If you have a water
feature, it's almost a necessity.
The Adiantum Family (commonly known as maidenhair ferns):
If you want unusual texture and character, this is your plant. The plant is very delicate looking
and low, usually growing under 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. It loves moist soil and
will grow in acid soils. The plant will grow in a clump with foliage that resembles
arching fingers that grow around a semi-circle of foliage. They are a wonderful
ground cover but can become invasive if they like where they're growing. Think
"delicate and classy" when you consider this family of ferns to plant in
a shady garden.
The Dennstaedtia Family ( Better known as the hay-scented-fern):
This is the
best and hardiest of the ferns that I like, and they will tolerate moist to dry
soils. They will also tolerate very acid soils. If you want to quickly cover
an area, this is your plant. It is also a wonderful fern to plant under tall
trees or to create a wild, natural, wooded look in your yard. This fern is wonderful
traditional looking plant with light green foliage that when crushed or bruised
will release a wonderful smell of fresh cut hay, giving it its name.
The Athyrium Family:
Another favorite fern family, because of the unusual colors
of many shades of green and gray in the foliage on the same plant. Also known
as the "Painted Fern" that (to my surprise) is very hardy in my garden in Kennebunk,
Maine and has done very well planted under large pines with low-growing branches
just a couple of feet over them. Great color when planted with other ferns or
evergreen ground covers in the same garden. Enjoy!
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If you like change, this wonderful tropical plant is for you. When the plant
is young, the leaves will be in the shape of a heart, but as it matures, the
foliage begins to change noticeably. The older growth will always stay heart
shaped, but the new growth becomes more arrowhead-like in shape, with a deep
lobe near the stem. When young, it will grow more like a clump or bush shape,
making a wonderful potted plant for the windowsill or on a plant table. As it
matures, it will begin to produce strong main stems or vines and the plant will
begin to climb if provided with a stake or slab of wood to attach itself to.
But if you put it in a hanging basket, the strong stems will begin to cascade
over the side of the pot giving the plant much character. The plant resembles
the common philodendron vine in growth but is more rigid growing--and the running
stems are much thicker and stronger. The plant also requires more sunlight to
grow than the philodendron; there is a reason for this. The leaf of the arrowhead
plant is variegated--and when plants have variegated foliage, there is less green
in the leaf, so it requires more light to grow properly.
I mentioned leaf change earlier...as it grows, additional changes begin to happen
to the color of the leaf. The new growth is deep green with a creamy white streaks
running through it like veins of color at first, but the white areas expand and
soon the white and green colors are equal on the leaf. The leaves are very showy
and bright looking. As it matures, the deep green color slowly begins to fade
but it now begins to blend with the white giving the leaf a soft green look with
some veins of darker green streaking. If you can keep the plant out of direct
midday sun, some of the leaves will lose all of the green streaking and turn
a solid soft white with a tinge of green. What is so unique is that all these
changes are happening to the plant at the same time and no two leaves will look
the same in shape or color.
Also, as the plant matures and begins to grow larger on the vine-like stems,
the individual leaves begin to have longer stems and the plant will lose its
compact growth and become more vine-like in appearance. If you want to keep the
plant like a bush in shape, with compact growth, you can prune out the shoots
that develop. This is a wonderful plant to add to a large container with a plant
that has lost its lower foliage and looks old and tired. The arrowhead plant
will quickly begin to send out its shoots and, with a bit of help, they will
attach themselves to the naked lower branches in the large plant in the container
and quickly cover the leafless stems with foliage. This gives the large plant
much character and renewed interest.
The arrowhead plant originated from South America and plant breeders have changed it
dramatically by growing it from tissue culture rather than cuttings. This method
of plant propagation keeps all the good plant traits that they want and they
are able to remove the negative ones, creating a new and improved plant. This
method has made the plant more disease resistant--which was a real problem earlier.
The plants are now more colorful and they have become easier to grow in your
home--even with forced hot air heat and low humidity in the air. But best of
all...because they are easier to develop, the plants are now less expensive to
purchase and more available to your local greenhouse or florist shop.
The older leaves that are heart shaped are 2 to 2.5 inches long and wide but
as the new growth develops, the newer arrowhead shaped foliage will begin to
grow larger and can reach 3 to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. The end of the
mature leaf has a more rounded point and the leaf is more elongated. If you want
to start a new plant from the mature plant you have, just remove the long stems
from the plant by taking cuttings 3 to 4 inches long. Each cutting should have
four leaves on it and you should make the cut, just before the leaf stem. Then,
remove the first leaf where you made the cut and dip the end of the cutting in
a rooting hormone that can be purchased from your local garden center. Fill a
4-inch pot with a rich potting soil that has a lot of organic matter added to
it like the new "Black Gold" potting soil for houseplants. Place 3
to 5 cuttings in the pot to create a full-looking container quickly. The new
plant can stay in that container for up to a year before it will need to be transplanted.
The plant loves humidity, so keep it away from a room with a wood or coal
burning stove and away from forced hot air vents. If you notice that some of
the leaves are beginning to shrivel and fall, mist the plant and place it on
a larger saucer filled with small stones that you can add water to every morning
for additional humidity. Standard oil forced hot water heat will not be a problem.
Plants do best in a house with temperatures 60 to 70 degrees and they can go
outside for the summer on a shaded porch or breezeway.
For the best growth and foliage colors, fertilize every 2 weeks spring to
fall and monthly during the winter months. Use Osmocote fertilizer pellets every
4 months or liquids fertilizers like Miracle-Gro or Blooming and Rooting fertilizer
for the best growth. Keep the soil moist at all times, but don't over-water or
the lower leaves will begin to turn yellow. Poke your index finger into the soil
and feel for moisture is the best way to determine if it needs water. Happy plants
can stay in the same pot for up to two years before being transplanted to a larger
pot (2 inches larger). It is best to transplant your foliage plants in the early
spring as they begin to grow again after the long dormant period during the winter
The arrowhead plant is a wonderful plant to use if you're making a dish garden
with several other plants in the same container like philodendron, dieffenbachia,
English ivy and dracaena. They can grow together for several years if fed and
watered faithfully in this container, as all these plants require the same amount
of light, water and care to thrive.
The arrowhead plant constantly produces new growth. If you should notice that
some of the new growth turns brown before opening, your soil is too dry. Cut
off the damaged leaves and water more often. If the leaves all appear to be light
green and you do not have a variety of different colored leaves on the same plant,
it could be that the plant is getting too much light. Keep the plant in an east-
or west-facing window and never in a south window with sun all day.
As with most plants, insects can be a problem so examine the plant when you
water or fertilize it to catch the problem early and prevent damage. This plant
is sensitive to chemicals but a soft cloth with a warm soapy mix of dishwashing
detergent will do a great job of removing the problem.
Look for the new hybrids with much more color such as 'White Butterfly,' with
white overlay on a green background, 'Emerald Gem,' with many shades of green
or 'Pink Allusion,' with metallic pink highlights. Enjoy!
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A Customized Gardening Tour of England and the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show
Paul Parent hosts a tour that includes the Wisley Gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show, Tower of London,
Roman Baths & Pump Room, Riverford Organic Farm, Garden House, Rosemoor Gardens,
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Village of Megavissey, Stonehenge, the Wilton House
Garden Centre and more.
Click here for details.
Trivia will be returning soon.
What You'll Need:
- 4 pounds rump roast (make sure it will fit in
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
- 1 (12 ounce) can or bottle dark beer (stout recommended)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 French or hoagie rolls
- Approx. 2 tablespoons butter
- Optional: sliced provolone cheese
Step by Step:
- Trim any excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker.
- Add the broth, onion soup, garlic powder, salt, pepper and beer (tip: if you don't
have stout or want a deeper flavor, add some browning sauce--like Kitchen Bouquet).
- Cook on low for 8 hours. (Cooking time may vary depending on crockpot.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Split the rolls, and spread with butter (and/or cheese).
- Bake until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls.
- Put sauce in bowls for dipping.