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Edition 12.24 Paul Parent Garden Club News June 15, 2012

Featured Quote:

"God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done."
~ Author Unknown


Come See Paul's Garden!

Join us for the 18th annual "Private Gardens of the Kennebunks" Garden Tour, July 14, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. SHINE OR RAIN. All proceeds benefit the prevention programs of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Maine. Tour eight lovely gardens throughout Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Advance tickets are $15.00 before July 1st; $20.00 July 1st through day of the event. Please visit www.kidsfreetogrow.org for more information. This year you can also purchase your tickets online to save some time.

This year Paul will have many surprises for you to see in his garden, as well as many great ideas for you to add to your garden. And Paul will be there all day for you to talk to! Bring your friends and make it a day trip to enjoy the beautiful gardens in Kennebunk Maine.

Kids Free to Grow logo


Product Spotlight

Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Soil

Waterhold Cocoblend contains a combination of coconut fibers (coir) and Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss gives your outdoor container plants the advantage of water retention against constant exposure to heat, wind and sun. We add earthworm castings and pumice to make this a high-performance growing medium for all your gardening applications. Does not contain copolymer crystals (polyacrylamide), commonly found in other Waterhold potting soils. OMRI listed.

Applications:
Use in hanging baskets, container planting or high-heat planting areas for wonderful results.

For more information, visit the Black Goldwebsite.


Ten Wonderful Plants for a Shady Garden

1. Monkshood is a plant like a delphinium but much easier to grow. It is long-lived in your garden--and best of all, it is insect and disease free and the stem of the plant is strong enough that it will not need to be staked in your garden. The plant is also called Aconite, and the flower looks like a hood from a monk's garment. It is different from the delphinium, growing 3 to 6 feet tall. Its claim to fame is being able to thrive in a shady garden. They are slow-growing and the plants can take several years to reach maturity but when maturity is reached, you can just sit back and enjoy them for many years. They come in shades of blue, pink, and white, and flower during midsummer to late fall. This wonderful plant is also a great cut flower, and it can be planted in a mixed border, meadow garden or even in a woodland garden. Plants are hardy from Canada to Georgia, so there is no reason for you not to plant this flower in your garden.

2. Anemones are one of the best flowering perennials for a shade garden. The fall-flowering varieties are not to be confused with the bulb types that bloom in the spring. The fall-flowering varieties produce beautiful maple-like foliage with great texture for the garden and grow almost like a groundcover. In the late summer, the plant will begin to make tall stems of wispy flowers that hold surprisingly large daisy-like flowers on single stems. Properly cared for, they will flower heavily and make great numbers of flowers that sparkle in your shade garden. The flowers come in shades of white pink, red and purple and will last for 4 to 6 weeks in bloom. They grow 1.5 feet tall or larger, depending on the variety you select. The flowers are great for cut flowers, and the plants look great as a groundcover in the shade, in woodland gardens or in a mixed flower border. Plants are hardy from central Maine to Georgia.

3. Columbine is known for its dainty flowers. The stems of the flowers are thin but solid. They are strong and well able to hold up the many dangling flowers that move easily with just the slightest breeze in your yard. The flowers themselves are usually bicolor, with tubular flower petals that are surrounded with many sepals that are of different shades. The flowers come in shades of red, pink, maroon, purple, blue, yellow and white and they last on the plant from late spring to early summer, over a month on the plant. The back of the flower also has spurs on it, giving them extra character. If you do not pick off the faded flowers, they will mature and produce seed pods--and by the fall, new seedlings will appear all over your garden. They make great cut flowers, and do well in a mixed borders, meadow gardens, woodland gardens; the smaller varieties look great in rock gardens. The flowers will also attract butterflies and humming birds to your garden. Plants are hardy from Central Maine to Georgia, and these plants will also grow in a sunny garden.

4. Astilbes are one of my favorite shade perennials; if you can grow hostas, you will love these plants. The deeply-cut fern-like foliage grows in a clump that emerges from the ground in the early spring and lasts well into the late fall. The flowers look like beautiful feathers of tiny flowers that cover the plants for 4 to 6 weeks in your garden. Each plant will produce several flowers on long strong stems that give the foliage the appearance of holding a bouquet of flower stems. The flowers come in shades of red, pink, salmon, magenta, purple, cream and whites. I don't cut all the stems for arrangements because when the feathery flowers dry on the plant, they make wonderful winter color in the garden and will still be there when the new foliage develops in the spring. Besides as cut flowers, Astilbes will do very well in borders, mass plantings, rock gardens and woodland gardens. There are many varieties that will grow from 2 to 4 feet tall, so there is a plant for all of your gardens. Plants are hardy from Central Maine to Florida in a shady garden. Plants also do great in large containers but must be sheltered during the winter in a cold climate, such as a tool shed, garage or under your deck.

5. Lily-of-the-valley, with its strong 6-8" long stems covered with small white bell-shaped flowers, is a must for a shady garden or planting under tall tree. Every gardener knows this plant and it is loved by all for its ability to spread quickly and naturalize shaded areas. The plant will produce 2 to 3 oval leaves that are dark green. In the center of the foliage will emerge an arching flower stem that contains half a dozen or more bell-shaped flowers. This is a plant that must be planted in groups--or better still in a mass planting--to show its beauty, as it will make a wonderful groundcover, with its wonderful spring flowers. New hybrids have now given us pink flowers and variegated foliage on these new plants, so look for them this spring at your local garden center. The flowers will last for about 3 weeks in the garden and just as long in a small vase of water on your windowsill. Plant in rock gardens, woodland gardens, as an edging along walkways--and they will also do very well on slopes and wet areas. Hardy from Canada to North Carolina in a rich, well-drained soil.

6. Bleeding hearts have been one of the most popular flowers for a shade garden for early color and unique flowers. I can remember my grandparent having these plants at their home garden in Bangor, Maine when I first began to notice flowers. This plant is easy to grow and once established it will last for many years, growing large each year in the garden. The plant will grow in most soils as long as the soil is well-drained. The foliage is attractive, fern-like, and deeply cut; it grows in a mound as it develops in the early spring. By early June, the flower stems poke up through the thick foliage with long strong stems of flowers that grow in a row along them. The flowers are unique--nothing looks like them in the plant kingdom. These flowers look like tiny miniature red hearts hanging from the stem in a row. As they mature, the bottom of the heart will crack open and a small white tear-like flower will develop, making this flower unmistakable and one the gardener will never forget. There are two types: the dwarf that will grow to 18 to 24 inches tall and wide and the standard that will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Look for the pink, white and red flower varieties. This plant is very hardy, growing from central Maine to North Carolina.

7. Foxgloves are the perfect cottage garden plants, with tall spikes of funnel shaped flowers on stems that resemble skyrockets when in bloom. The foliage is a cluster or rosette of foliage that almost hugs the ground in a mound of beautiful clean textured leaves. The flower spike will begin to rise from the foliage in early summer. The stem is strong and able to hold fifty or more tubular flowers that point downward. These flowers often have spotting on the inside of the flower that is a darker shade of the flower color itself. The flowers open from the bottom of the stem working their way upward and this helps to prolong the flowering time on the flower stock by many days. Each flower stem will last 3 to 4 weeks on the plant and can grow 2 to 5 feet tall, depending on the variety you choose for the garden. The flowers come in shades of yellow, cream, pink, red, and they will grow in full sun to partial shade. Hummingbirds will be in your garden if you plant the foxglove plant. They are hardy from southern Maine to Georgia.

8. Houttuynia is one of my favorite spreading deciduous groundcovers because of the foliage. The plant runs on the ground with short upright stems that are heart-shaped. Each leaf will have several colors on it during the season, often with shades of green, yellow, red and purple all at the same time. The flowers are attractive and white in color but the foliage is the show-stopper. The plant will grow up to a foot tall but spread vigorously where planted. If you have a rich soil that tends to stay moist to wet and are having trouble growing plants there, this is your best choice to cover the ground quickly. Use Houttuynia as a ground cover, in a woodland garden, in a water garden or in wet areas for great colorful foliage from May to October. If the shade is dense, the plant will not flower as much but will spread faster. Dry soil is not recommended, as the plants will tend to thin out unless it is shaded.

9. Lamium is a family of wonderful shade-loving perennial groundcovers. They are fast growing and when planted en-masse at a space of two foot centers they will fill in together in just 2 to 3 years. The foliage is wonderful and comes in many different color combinations with shades of green, silver, gray, pink, white and even gold. The flowers come in shades of white, pink, purple, lavender, and gold. The foliage is in the shape of a heart about 1 to 2 inches across, and the plant grows like a carpet of green from spring to fall. Each plant can and will grow 10 to 15 inches tall and can spread up to two feet in diameter in just a year or two. This plant will also grow in full sun but is more colorful in partial to full shade. The flowers will last on the plant for 3 to 4 weeks and are clusters of small trumpets growing in a cluster on top of the plant. I have five varieties in my garden and each variety looks different, giving the garden much character during the summer months. This plant is hardy, growing from northern Maine to Georgia. Disease and insects problems are minimal.

10. Forget-me-nots really are a plant you will never forget, because of the abundance of tiny sky-blue flowers from mid-May to mid-June. Remember that a blue--especially a true blue--flower is rare to find in the perennial garden. You can also find white and soft pink varieties at your local garden center or purchase a packet of seeds and sow them in the garden during June for starter plants that you can transplant to other gardens in the fall. This is an old-fashioned flower--and if you have shade, it must be part of your garden because it will get better every year. The plant will grow 6 to 8 inches tall and just as wide and the flowers develop on top of the new growth, giving it an additional 6 to 8 inches of height. The flowers grow on 6 to 8 inch long stem and the flowers open slowly over a month's period in the garden. This is a great plant to sow by seed on a slope to prevent erosion; you can also plant seeds in shaded woodland areas and in wet areas where other plants have trouble growing. The first time I saw a mass planting of forget-me-nots, I was at a wedding in Canada and the background for the outdoor ceremony was a hillside covered with these plants in full bloom. It was just incredible to look at--almost distracting during the service.

Don't think of a shade garden as a problem garden, because it is easier to grow plants in the shade than in the sun during years when rainfall is low and your town has water bans. Shade garden bloom longer, and they require less care and maintenance. Don't let the moss grow under your tall trees. Plant a garden with summer flowers, and enjoy those hot summer days sitting in the garden in your favorite chair enjoying the cool shade your tree are making. Do your research and plant a shade garden this summer, you will not be sorry. Enjoy!

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To Do in June

1. If slugs and snails are getting you down, there is a great way to keep them away from your plants without the use of chemicals or baits. Go to a Blue Seal store, pick up a bag of crushed oyster shells, and sprinkle a handful or two in a circle around your plants. The crushed oyster shells are sharp, and these two pests will not cross the barrier you made around your plants for the rest of the year--no matter how much it rains. At the end of the year, in October, work the shells into the soil and the calcium in the shells will help to sweeten the soil in your garden to help plants grow better next year; calcium helps to neutralize the acidity in your soil. Go to www.bluesealstores.com for more information and store locations.

2. We all know that a small shallow container filled with beer will attract and kill many slugs...but did you know that a great trap to attract these creatures is to use an upturned eaten grapefruit half or melon half placed on the soil surface near your plants. Check daily and dispose of the slugs or snails that were attracted to these fruit traps--just shake them off and reuse your traps.

3. If you're beginning to see small whitefly insects in your garden, here is another great trap to use to catch the adults. Take a piece of yellow-painted wood or stiff yellow plastic 10" by 10" and attach it to a garden stake; now cover it Vaseline and place it near the plants with the whiteflies. The insects will be drawn to the yellow-colored structure and will stick to the Vaseline when they land on it--never to come off. This is a great way to eliminate the adults and control the problem without the use of pesticides.

4. If you have any variegated shrubs, trees, or perennials and part of any plant is beginning to lose its variegation to all green foliage, it's now time to remove the all-green portions of the plant. Your plants are beginning to revert to the original plant and if you do not remove the all green foliage, you will lose all your variegated foliage in the years to come. Green foliage is more aggressive and stronger than variegated, so if you like variegation, remove the all-green foliage now!

5. Vining plants like roses, sweet peas, clematis, silver lace vines, trumpet vines and honeysuckle should be tied up to their trellis or fence to help keep them off the ground and help train them to where you want them to grow. This will also spread out the foliage and help increase the airflow around the plant, minimizing possible disease problems later. When the plants feel secure, they also produce additional growth during the summer months and increase the flower buds on the plant for the following year. Fertilize them once they are attached to the structure, and--where needed--spray the plant with a good fungicide like Serenade, Infuse from Bonide or Liquid Systemic Fungicide from Fertilome.

6. If you have a hot sunny deck and are having problems with your plants, how about planting a container or two with different types of hens and chickens/sempervivums this spring? These wonderful perennial plants are very drought tolerant and come in different colors, sizes, textures and shapes. These plants will give your deck or patio a bit of Southern or Desert look with their many shapes and textures. Add a potted jade plant or several cacti for a real fun-themed summer enjoyment area around your home. You can even fill a large ceramic pot with water and add a small pump to give you a trickling sound of running water splashing.

7. If you have a fruiting plum or cherry, now is a great time to cut back the plant if it is getting out of control or it made a lot of new growth this spring. You can remove up to 1/2 of the new growth to help encourage more flower bud development during the summer months and control the size of the plant at the same time. If these two plants are pruned during the winter months, it could encourage fungus problems where the cuts were made. This is the best time to develop a nice shape with your plants, so get out the pruners. When you're finished pruning, it's a good idea to fertilize the plant with Plant Thrive, with its wonderful Mycorrhizae fungi for a stronger root system.

8. Before all the seeds are sent back to the grower, be sure to purchase seed for your fall garden. Peas, lettuce, cauliflower, radishes, cabbage, kale, collards, spinach and green or yellow beans, will all do well when planted in late August for a fall crop during September and October. Store your seeds in your house--not the garage or tool shed as I did last year--or the chipmunks will eat them. I had nothing to plant for a fall crop.

9. If you have hollyhocks, check the underside of the foliage right now for the possibility of a fungus problem called "rust." Look for several small bubbles or blisters developing that in time will burst open and release a coppery black powder called spores that will spread all over your plant and others in the garden, killing all the foliage. Treat the plant now with Fertilome liquid systemic fungicide or Bonide Infuse to prevent this real problem with this plant. Don't wait--do it NOW!

10. If you have Japanese Bamboo, make sure you keep cutting the plant's new growth off right back to the ground every week to keep the plant replacing its foliage and burning up its stored energy. In August stop cutting back the plant and then allow it to grow and form delicate white flower buds. When the flower buds begin to open, spray the plants every week for 3 weeks with Kleen-up, Kill-zall or extra strength Round-up and the product will be absorbed into the foliage and taken down to the roots where it will do much damage to the existing root system. Most of the time you do this you can destroy up to 75% of the plant and the following year following the same steps your Japanese Bamboo could be completely destroyed.

11. Flowering Tropical Hibiscus growing in pots on your deck or patio MUST be fertilized every week if you want them to stay flowering all summer long. Use Blooming and Rooting fertilizer or Miracle-Gro fertilizer at full strength and your plants will stay nice and dark green, no yellow foliage and lots of flowers nonstop right up to frost or bring the plant indoors for the winter and place it in front of a large window or sliding glass door. Keep an eye on the new growth for aphids, which can be easily controlled with rose and flower sprays or--better still--systemic insecticides.

12. Cut flowers from your garden every week and bring them indoors to enjoy. Cut your flowers early in the morning before it gets too hot outside and they will adapt to the vase of water more easily and last longer in your home. Keep them out of the direct sun when indoors, and make sure the leaves are never in the water or you will encourage fungus problems in the water and your flowers will not last as long indoors. If the temperatures get very hot, add Ice cubes to the vase of water every morning to help the flowers last longer. Pick your fresh vegetables early also and often. Remember smaller vegetables taste better and the seeds in them are small for easier digestion--also, vegetables have more flavor and vitamins in them when picked young.

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trivia

This Week's Question
The genus Lithops has an interesting adaption of a sort more often found in the animal kingdom than in plants. What is it?


Plant THRIVE

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:

What can thermogenic plants do that other plants (and many animals) can't?

Last Week's Winner:
Andy Renzullo

Last Week's Answer:
Raise their temperature above that of the surrounding air.

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.


Almond Chicken Salad

What You'll Need:

  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, halved
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground dry mustard

Step by Step:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the onions, carrot, red pepper, peas, chicken, cilantro and almonds. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce and dry mustard until smooth.
  • Pour over salad mixture and toss until coated.
  • Serve in pita pockets or on a bed of lettuce.

Yield: 4 servings

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

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