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Edition 12.23 Paul Parent Garden Club News June 7, 2012

Featured Quote:

featured quote

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
~John Burroughs

Product Spotlight

Liquid Systemic Fungicide

Use on Lawns, Roses, Flowers, Trees, Shrubs and other ornamental plants.

Lawn Diseases Controlled:
Take All Patch, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose, Red Thread, Stripe Smut and Rust.

Rose and Flower Diseases Controlled:
Powdery Mildew, Black Spot, Rust, Ray Blight and Leaf Spot.

Tree and Shrub Diseases Controlled:
Scab, Rust, Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose, Needle Rust, Tip Blight and Leaf Spot.

For more information, visit the Ferti-Lome website.

Canadian Hemlock

To me the Canadian hemlock is the most beautiful evergreen tree that grows wild or under cultivation in all of New England. This is a "grand" native plant with soft evergreen needles on arching branches. The needle is 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and flat with a rounded tip, making it soft to touch. The top of the needle is dark green with a glossy finish. The bottom side of the needle has two silvery stripes running from end to end. When the wind blows, the underside of the needle becomes visible and makes the plant almost shimmer as it sways with the wind.

The Canadian hemlock grows in a rounded pyramidal shape. The new growth gives the tree a soft and almost feathery look. The plant is always thick and will hold inner foliage for many years, making it a wonderful privacy plant or noise barrier plant. The hemlock will also keep needles on the lower branches, right to the ground, unlike many evergreen trees as they mature and grow tall. When allowed to grow naturally and not pruned, the hemlock will grow to 70 feet tall and 25 to 35 feet wide.

Canadian hemlock looks great on your lawn as a single plant or in groups with underplantings of large-leaf evergreens such as holly, rhododendron and azaleas. When planted on 10-foot centers, these plants will quickly grow together, creating a wonderful hedge. Prune the front and back of the hedge to control the width of the plant but not the sides. This will help fill in the space between plants faster. Once they fill in, prune both the front and back. The height is up to you--from 6 feet to the clouds. To control height, prune during March or April before the new growth starts. This way the new growth will fill in any spaces you open up during pruning, and the new growth that develops will keep the plant soft-looking, even though you have cut the plant like a wall.

Hemlocks will grow in sun or shade but must have a soil rich in organic matter--like compost or peat moss--that is able to hold moisture. When planting in clay type soils, add organic matter to improve the drainage, and the plant will do well. Sandy soils, like those on Cape Cod, must be conditioned with organic matter and watered regularly to have a nice plant. Hemlocks prefer a soil that is acid so do not add limestone near the plants!

The Canadian hemlock will make a small brown cone 1/2 to 3/4 inches long on new growth, dangling down from the tips of the branches with the point at the bottom. When there are many cones noticeable on the plant, they look like Christmas ornaments decorating the tree. Birds of all types love this tree, as it makes a great nesting plant. During the winter, the birds that stay around can hide in the thick foliage and stay out of the fury of the storm. Planted in an area where you feed the birds, the hemlock is perfect, as birds can check out the feeding area for the neighbor's cat before they fly to the feeder.

When planting hemlocks, use plenty of peat moss or compost and water two time a week. Use a plant root stimulator like New Plant Thrive or Bio-Tone that contains mycorrhizia. This will increase root development much faster. Hemlock has one problem in Southern New England and south; that's a little insect called "wooly adelgid," that looks like small pieces of cotton and develops on the underside of the needles. Thanks to Bayer Lawn and Garden research, a product called "Tree and Shrub" applied to the base of the tree yearly will keep the tree insect free. It works systemically; just pour on the ground at the base of the tree and it will move right up to the top of the tree without spraying. Best of all, you can do it yourself--saving money. One application will last one year. Feed young plants yearly with Holly-Tone or Acid Adoring fertilizer. As you travel into northern New England, you will see the Canadian hemlock growing with pines, spruces, maples and oaks in perfect harmony. The cold winters keep the wooly adelgid away in Northern growing areas, or the forest would have some real problems with this insect. This is a GREAT plant for your property.

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The number one selling flower at the greenhouse is the impatiens, once called the "busy Lizzie" or "patient Lucy." This is because it will grow in the shade where color is difficult to find during the summer months--but if watered enough it will grow in part-sun gardens also. Impatiens have been around for a long time -- since the 17th century -- but were not widely grown until the 18th century. Then during the 1960's things changed to make the impatiens what it is today. The big change was the development of dwarf types of impatiens for the garden, which led to the discontinuation of the once 2 to 3 foot tall growing annual that fell over with heavy rain. The other problem was seed germination for the greenhouse grower because as the seed aged, the germination percentage declined by as much as 50%, making the plant cost more. Back in the sixties, the impatiens came only in white, salmon and pink but today red, orange, lavender, bicolor and even double-flowering types are available.

The garden impatiens has rounded or lanced shaped foliage, dull green when matured, bronzed colored when first developing on the plant. New hybrids have variegated green and white leaves. The soft green, fleshy stems are filled with water and not very strong but are more than able to hold up the beautiful flowers. Impatiens are related to jewel-weed, a native weed (or wildflower, depending on your point of view). The flowers have 5 flat-faced petals, with a small hole in the center of the petals. Showy flowers 1 to 2 inches across continually develop on the plant from spring to a frost in the fall. On the back of the flower is a spur that will develop into a seed capsule that, when fertilized and ripe, will explode and send seeds flying all over your garden. This explosion of seedpods also gave it the name "touch me not" before impatiens. It is not uncommon to find new seedlings developing at the base of established plants. In the fall, dig up seedlings and bring them indoors for the winter on a sunny windowsill.

Impatiens will grow best in a rich soil that is well drained and kept evenly moist at all times. If the soil dries out, the plant will wilt and the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. It will recover when watered, but some of the beauty is gone. The plants need fertilizer every other week when using a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Gro, as they require heavy feeding to stay in bloom. I use Osmocote pellet slow release fertilizer when planting as it will continue to feed the plant all summer long, even when I forget to feed. I still use Miracle Gro for the extra push of color. At the time, you set plants out into the garden, do yourself a favor and add a pinch of Soil Moist to each hole. Soil Moist will expand and hold 200 time its volume in water for the plant. It will last all summer and helps keep plants strong during those days when you cannot get water to the plants fast enough.

Impatiens will not tolerate cold weather, so set plants out when frost date is safe and nighttime temperatures stay in the 50'S. Water your plants in the morning rather than at night as powdery mildew and leaf spots can be a problem if leaves stay wet all night long. If possible, keep plantings away from in-ground lawn sprinklers systems, as they tend to give plants too much water.

Impatiens is a great plant to invite butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinator insects into your yard. Try planting among shade loving perennials like hostas, bleeding hearts and ferns, just to name a few. Impatiens will make a great plant for edges of walkways, on your terrace, in window boxes, and planters and they do great in hanging baskets. Try them in mixed planters with lobelia, wax or tuberous begonias and coleus. Enjoy.

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The RAIN has finally stopped, so get ready to get back into the garden!

This week brought us heavy rain, cool temperatures, and not much sunshine--a real plus if you just planted shrubs or trees on your property. But if you planted seeds in the garden, you may have to replant when the ground dries out this weekend. The southern part of New England received 3 inches of rain-- but the northern part broke records with 6 to 8 inches of rain early in the week. My gardens in Kennebunk, Maine won't have to be watered for many days, with the 7-plus inches that I received. The heavy rain also woke up thousands of weeds that were not there before the storm, so that means several hours of weeding ahead.

What to look for this week around your gardens:

New weeds in your gardens will have to be removed and the gardens will have to be cultivated--but wait until the ground dries out and the sun comes out again to help dry out the ground and the weeds you disturb. Keep out of the gardens or you will compact the soil around the plants and slow root development and plant growth. If you had standing water in your gardens, it's a sign of heavy soil or clay preventing proper drainage. Apply Garden Gypsum at the rate of 50 pounds per 500 to 1000 sq. ft. of garden to help open up the soil and improve drainage or use Soil Logic Liquid "Gypsum" according to directions. Apply gypsum products when the garden dries out over the weekend to prevent root rot problems.

With all that rain, you will have to fertilize again as most fertilizers have been washed out of the soil. Organic fertilizers or time-release plant foods should be OK but they will have to be reapplied in the next 3 to 4 weeks, late June as some of the power has been washed away. Liquid plant fertilizers and granular chemical plant foods like 10.10.10 or 5.10.5 have been washed out of the soil totally with all the rain and should be reapplied once the ground dries out next week. Lawn fertilizer has also lost some of its power and I would apply the summer fertilizer in late June this year--not middle to late July as in most summers.

Your biggest challenge will be cleaning up the flowers in your annual and perennial gardens. Plants like petunias and geraniums have lost all their flowers due to the weather and they should be pinched off the plant to prevent gray mold from spreading to the new flower buds. Also pick off all the yellow leaves, if possible, to prevent future disease problems. When the sunny weather returns, spray all your plants with Serenade organic fungicide or Bonide Copper spray to destroy disease spores on the plants.

The timing of the storm was devastating to peonies, poppies, lupine, iris, and many more perennials, as they were in full bloom at the time. You wait a year for the flowers to develop and with one storm the flowers are destroyed ,so cut back the plant and clean them up so the plant can make new foliage and work on developing flower buds for next year. Plants that were flattened by the rain should also be staked up so the foliage can stay disease-free. Also...slugs and snails will become more numerous now so apply bait around plants that slugs love to feed on like hostas, lettuce, spinach, kale, marigolds, and dahlias.

The rose chafer beetle has arrived also and is quickly chewing the foliage of many trees, shrubs, and flowers. Look for a small silver-gray hard shell insect, less than a 1/2 inch long, usually found in groups on the foliage and flowers chewing away. Use Eight Garden Spray or Beetle Killer as soon as possible, as they are also mating at this time of the year. The rain has washed off all non-systemic products you have applied to your plants before the storm; systemic products like Tree and Shrub insecticide should be still active on your plants.

Check your 'Annabelle' hydrangea also, as a caterpillar type insect called a leaf roller is actively stitching several leaves together near the tip of the plant. Once the leaves are stitched together, the caterpillar will eat the flower buds of the plant--but all you have to do is pull the leaves apart to free the flower bud and kill the caterpillar. No spraying is needed and once you free the leaves, this insect is finished for the year.

Another insect you will begin to notice with all the rain is called the spittle bug; it is a hard-shelled beetle type of insect that lives in a cluster of bubbles that look like spit on the foliage of your plants. This insect is sucking energy from your plants and blowing bubbles with some of the liquid as a form of camouflage from predators. A good rose spray will control this insect in your flower garden and stop the damage.

If you have fruit trees or berry plants, be sure to reapply your fruit tree spray as they have been cleaned of their protection by the rain. Make sure your spray has a fungicide included to prevent leaf spot and black spot fungus or your leaves will become infected. Also if you have flowering crabapples trees be sure to treat the foliage with a good fungicide like Serenade or Garden Copper or they will be infected with this same problem that will spot the foliage and cause them to turn yellow and fall from the plant during July. This spraying is very important right now and should not be skipped!

On the positive side, this rain also did a lot of good for our gardens; when the sun does come back out, you will notice a lot of new growth on all your plants. This time of the year, our plants are very actively growing--and we are so busy planting we do not notice it. The extra moisture will help push additional new growth on your trees, shrubs and garden plants--and the summer-flowering shrubs will be benefited, with additional flower buds on them along with the new growth. The extra moisture will help establish your new plants faster in your gardens and your established trees and shrubs that have already flowered will have an easier time making flower buds for next year. Fertilizer applied to them right now will go a long way to increase next spring's flowers.

Look at your roses and perennials, as they will have grown very quickly with all the moisture, so expect extra flowers from them in the weeks to come. Your ground cover plants will also benefit from the extra moisture, as the underground runners have been stimulated and will produce extra new growth to thicken up the plants in the garden. Your spring flowering bulbs that have finished flowering like tulips and daffodils should be better next year, as they can now go dormant for the year with the extra moisture they so needed.

Yes, it was wet--and yes, it will mean extra work for us in the days to come but the extra rain was very beneficial to our garden at this time of the year. Now...if we could only schedule 2 to 3 inches of rain during July and August, we could have gardens and lawns like we have never had before. Always look on the BRIGHT side--the season is still young and we have a lot of enjoyment ahead of us this year!

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This Week's Question
What can thermogenic plants do that other plants (and many animals) can't?


This Week's Prize:
Liquid Plant THRIVE

Soil Conditioner & Mycorrhizal Root Stimulator--perfect for seedlings and growing plants of all types.

The hottest gardening product for 2012! From existing plants to seedlings--THRIVE helps plants get off on the right "root." The beginning is often the most important part of your plants' lives. Maintaining soil quality for them to grow is imperative. Liquid Plant THRIVE contains a concentrated dose of the microbes already found in nature that will ensure a strong root system, require less watering and help you do your part for the environment.

For more information, see the THRIVE website.

Last Week's Question:

Who was the American plant breeder who developed over 800 strains and varieties of plants, including the Shasta daisy and freestone peach?

Last Week's Winner:
Eleanore Cirigliano

Last Week's Answer:
Luther Burbank.

Last Week's Prize:
Liquid Plant THRIVE

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!

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.

Easy Vegetarian Spaghetti

What You'll Need:

  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step by Step:

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the onion, celery and garlic powder in oil until tender.

Add the spaghetti sauce, beans, tomatoes, sugar, salt, oregano and bay leaf.

Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove and discard bay leaf.

Drain spaghetti; top with sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 6 servings


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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