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Edition 12.07 Paul Parent Garden Club News February 16, 2012
featured quote

Featured Quote :

"I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Product Spotlight

The ComposTumbler

The original ComposTumbler

Make compost in the ComposTumbler in as little as 14 days.

The ComposTumbler is the world's best-selling, best-designed rotating bin composter.

With the ComposTumbler you can make a complete batch of compost, from start to finish, in just 14 days. Some gardeners have even finished batches of compost in as little as ten days!

The ComposTumbler really works. It works better than any other compost tumbler or barrel composter. And of course it works faster and better than a compost bin or compost pile, without the mess, pests and difficulty of hand-turning your compost materials. Here is why the ComposTumbler will make compost for you so fast and so easily.

There are four ComposTumbler models, a compost tumbler sized to fit every yard or garden. View the full line of compost tumblers here.


The leaves are large, hairy, medium green, and heart-shaped; the veins on the leaves seem to be sunken into the foliage, making them very noticeable and interesting. The leaves also have a slight sheen to them--and when the plant needs water, they will almost look dull and have no sheen. This will tell you it is time to water. The plant does drink a lot of water, because of the number and the size of the leaves on the plant. Some leaves can get up to eight inches across. The plant looks clean and seldom has disease problems on the foliage.

The flowers come in many styles, depending on variety. Look for single, semi-double, and double daisy-like blooms. The flowers come in clusters on top of the foliage and form small flower clusters from side branches. The daisy-like flower will be one inch or less in diameter. The center of the daisy starts off the same color as the flower petals and as it ages will turn yellow with pollen dust.

The flowers come in many colors and include some varieties with two-tone blooms. Look for shades of pink, shades of blue, shades of purple and shades of red. The new hybrids have a white stripe on the individual petals, creating a band around the flower. Some of the flowers may even have more white color than the original flower color. Each individual flower will vary between white and color, even on the same plant.

Place the plants in a bright window or room with a lot of light. Because there is so much foliage on this plant, keep the plant on the cool side--50 to 60 degrees. Hot sunny windows will shorten the life of the flowers and the plant will not bloom as long. Water as needed to keep the plant moist most of the time; again, because of all the leaves on the plant. But never keep them wet or standing in a saucer filled with water, or the roots will rot and the plant will die. If you have a wood or coal stove, keep them away from the hot room. If you heat with forced hot air, keep them away from the heating vents, or the leaves will dry up here and there on the plant.

Drafty windows will also chill the plant--like all other plants. I like to keep one on the table in the middle of the room where I can enjoy it more. Cinerarias are wonderful plants for you or as a gift. At this time of the year, when we all need a sign that spring is coming, this plant is wonderful for your mind and soul. Let the winter weather come, because I have a cineraria in my house and I don't care about the weather outside.

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If you like African violets, then you will love the gloxinia. At this time of the year, they are exciting to have in any plant window or in the middle of your kitchen table. The plant looks like a "GIANT" African violet--and it is its cousin, after all. The gloxinia plants are grown from seed buy the greenhouse growers for the gray days of winter. Gloxinias are considered annual plants; most of us will enjoy the flowers and then toss them out when the blooms stop. If you are patient and give them a rest period for 3 to 4 months they will come back and reflower--but never like the original bloom when you bought it.

The big buds are one inch or larger, and will burst open one at a time, creating a clump of velvety trumpets in the center of the plant. The individual flowers come on short stems two to three inches long, and when the velvety flowers open the top of the trumpet can be as wide as three inches. The trumpet is one inch wide and deep and filled with the flower's reproductive parts and interesting to look at.

Each flower will last over a week; the plant should bloom over 2 months with several flowers open at all times. When you purchase a plant, select a plant that has many buds and few flowers open so you can enjoy the plant longer. Keeping the plant on the cool side will also keep the flowers in bloom longer but the plant loves the sun best of all. It will do best in a room that has temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees. Water as needed and keep on the moist side at all times. Never wet the leaves or they will have brown spots on them. Always use warm water when watering.

The foliage is beautiful to look at, because the leaves are eight to twelve inches long, six inches wide and, like the African violet, covered with a fine fuzz or hair. The average plant will be fifteen to twenty-four inches wide when you purchase it for your plant table. It will grow twelve inches tall or more when in bloom. Placing the plant in a heavy-looking pot will give the leaves a softer look. The ends of the leaves will curve under, showing you the delicate veining in the center of the leaves. The leaves feel soft and delicate to your touch but they are strong and give the plant a lot of character.

The flower color will range from white to red and shades of pink, blue and purple. Some flowers are solid colors, while many of the new varieties are bi-colors. These plants make a great gift for friends, elderly and--yes--even yourself. Keep out of drafty areas or the leaves will be chilled and turn brown. You will like this houseplant.

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Growing herbs can be as simple as planting a few seeds in a pot of soil, right now! All you need is a sunny or brightly lit window to grow the secret ingredients for the winter salad or special pasta sauce.

Herbs love the sunlight and the warmer the sun is, the better they love it. Just think of the fragrance of a new pot of basil, chives or parsley will give your kitchen window. Crush the leaves with your fingers, roll the foliage in the palm of your hand and place it into a fresh bowl of salad greens.

Your family will ask you what you did differently to the salad--and believe me it's not the taste of the tomatoes during the winter! Herbs are easy to grow and will do better if you don't put a lot of time with them. Water, fertilize and pick often to encourage new growth. After all, the new growth has more fragrance and taste than older growth.

Your local garden center has now received its new seeds for the spring. So get out of the house, brave the cold and select some herb seeds to grow in your kitchen.

All you need are 4 inch plastic pots, fresh potting soil and a little love. Most herbs will germinate in 7 to 14 days if kept warm after planting. I start mine on top of the refrigerator because of the heat on top and because there are no cold drafts up there to cool the soil.

Once they germinate, move them to the windowsill. If your windowsill is warm, you can start them right there! I also cover the pots with Press and Seal plastic until they germinate, as this keeps the moisture and humidity in the soil. Jiffy products also makes a small windowsill greenhouse, which is a solid container to hold the soil and a clear dome to hold the moisture in. Just transplant to pots when large enough or start seeds in a Jiffy 7 pellets for easy transplanting to pots.

Growing herbs from seed will change your outlook and your relationship with the plants. The flavor you grew did not come from a bottle; it came from your enjoyment of inviting Mother Nature into your home this winter to grow the plants. So get out the bottle of seasoning you use most and read what it contains for herbs--then grow your own ingredients.

Just use a few seeds now and save the rest for the garden in the spring. The spring seedlings can be started later on during the winter. Those seedlings can be transplanted later right into the ground during May. The seeds you plant now are for use now.

If your time is short and you want instant results, your local greenhouse may have fresh plants--or try the vegetable section of your local supermarket. All you have to remember is to water as needed and feed every 2 weeks and pick often--but take time to smell the foliage. Bon Appétit!

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The laboratory building at the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Gardens, England

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 Mevagissey, Stonehenge, the Wilton House Garden Centre and more.

Click here for details.


Trivia will be returning soon.

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.

New England Clam Chowder

What You'll Need:

  • 3 8 oz. bottles of clam juice
  • 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 slices of bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 10 oz. cans of whole baby clams or minced clams
  • 1 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step by Step:

  • Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add bacon and cook until it begins to brown.
  • Add onions, garlic and celery, bay leaf. Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 6 mins.
  • Stir in flour and cook 2 mins. (don't let flour brown).
  • Gradually whisk in the bottles of clam juice.
  • Add potatoes, clams with the juice, half and half and hot pepper sauce.
  • Simmer chowder for 5 mins. to blend flavors, stirring frequently.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6


Contact Information:

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

(207) 985-6972

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

Regular Phone Hours:
Mon.-Sat. 8 AM to 6 PM
Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM

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