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Edition 12.26 Paul Parent Garden Club News June 28, 2012

Featured Quote:

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
— Abraham Lincoln

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 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

Dramm Rain Wands

Rain Wands

Dramm has been making professional watering tools for nurseries, greenhouse growers and avid gardeners for over 65 years. Dramm strives to produce products that save time and energy while providing quality products that will last a lifetime.

The Dramm Rain Wand™ is ideal for watering flowerbeds, gardens and shrubs. It utilizes the original 'soft-touch' 400 Water Breaker™ nozzle, which has been used by professional growers and nurserymen since 1945.

With the Rain Wand™, you are able to apply large quantities of water quickly at the plant base, where it soaks deep into the soil.
The fingertip shut-off valve reduces overall water consumption by applying water where and when you want it.
Roots grow deep, and the plant is protected from water stress while it receives the constant nutrition it needs.

Dramm Rain Wand™ brand watering tools are available only at the best lawn, garden and nursery centers.

Click here for more information about Dramm Rain Wands.


This summer, I want you to look at one of the longest flowering shrubs for your garden, the potentilla. This plant will flower from June to frost and will survive in cold climates, windy areas, near lakes and by the ocean--it will thrive even in sandy soils. This is a hardy shrub with top ratings that will grow almost anywhere--even in a traffic island on a busy highway. Even if the temperature drops to 40 or 50 below zero during the winter, when spring arrives the potentilla will develop green foliage and the plant will be covered with flowers by June. This is one tough plant; it will make your garden better-looking with less work all season long.

The potentilla is a small shrub growing from 1.5 to 4 feet tall and just as wide. The foliage is composed of three to seven leaflets--almost like a rose bush leaf. The dull dark green foliage completely covers the plant, turning it into a green mound early in the spring. In June, the buds begin to form and quickly open to a five-petaled flower much like a pansy bloom. The flower is flat, about one inch in diameter, with a yellow center on all color varieties. Flowers come in yellow, white, pink, red and orange. For the best flowering plant, select colors in the order I have mentioned; yellow has the most and orange the least flowers per plant. The red and orange varieties have flowers that will fade or bleach out to yellow if the weather gets hot.

Plant potentilla just about anywhere in your yard where the soil does not stay wet for long periods. Plants are extremely adaptable; potentilla will grow well in sandy type soils but not in heavy clay type soils. Plants must have full sunshine for the best flower production. If you condition the soil when planting with organic matter like compost, peat moss or animal manure they will grow even better. Keep well watered during the first year so the plant can get well established in the garden; once established, it will take care of itself. Fertilize in the spring with an organic shrub fertilizer such as Plant-Tone or Dr Earth All Purpose Fertilizer with Pro-Biotic. Soil acidity is not a factor with this plant and it will not affect the blooming cycle.

Potentilla is so strong it will grow near the water's edge at your cottage on the lake and tolerate the winter winds coming off the frozen water during the winter. If you live near the ocean, it will do as well and even the occasional flooding high tide will not prevent the potentilla from growing and flowering. I have seen potentilla growing side by side with the wild-growing beach rose known as the Rosa Rugosa with very little care and doing quite well. When planted in traffic islands, the plant will tolerate road salt, sand and exhaust from trucks and cars. Potentilla will show little to no damage from these terrible growing conditions.

Plant as individual plants near the foundation of your house or in groups in large planting beds. If spaced on four-foot centers, they can be pruned and used as a low flowering hedge. Potentilla can also do well when planted on sandy slopes to help control erosion, if they are planted in a pocket of good top soil to get established first. Mulch the slopes with bark mulch or wood chips and enjoy the summer color. This plant has no problems with insects or disease, and as long as you get it off to a good start and give it lots of sunshine it will thrive and flower. So enjoy the summer color.

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Rose of Sharon

As the warm days of summer begin to encourage our shrubs to excite us with color, let us consider the Rose of Sharon plant for your yard and garden this year. The Rose of Sharon is considered an old-fashioned flowering plant and has been planted and grown around our homes for many generations of gardeners. The Rose of Sharon is a unique summer-flowering plant because it can grow as a shrub, a small tree or a hedge plant. The flowers begin to open in July and continue to bloom well into September. The flowers are funnel shaped and 4 to 5 inches across. If you have a Rose of Sharon growing on your property, look at your plant when it is raining outside, because the flowers will close to protect themselves.

The Rose of Sharon grows as a multi-stemmed plant, upright-growing on stiff branches. The leaves grow 2 to 4 inches long and the leaf has three lobes. The leaves are medium green and have no shine to them--they are almost dull in appearance. The leaves start almost at the ground and continue to the top of the plant. The flower colors will range from white, pink, red, blue and purple. Some of the new hybrids have double flowers resembling a carnation. Some of the new single varieties are two-toned with a darker center called a "flower eye." The flowers will last for over a week but when a flower fades, it's quickly replaced with other flowers, keeping the plant in continuous flower. The flowers come on the new growth made that spring, so if you can prune them in March or April, you will encourage new growth on the plant and more flowers during the summer.

Pruning the top of the plant will encourage the plant to grow wider and become fuller looking. The Rose of Sharon will grow 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide, but if you prune each spring, the plant can be kept smaller--as low as 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. If you plant Rose of Sharon plants on 6 to 7 foot centers, they will fill in quickly, creating a thick hedge for privacy, a noise barrier, and a wind break. Prune plants yearly in the early spring when first planted-- even if they are only 3 feet tall at the time. If not pruned, the plant will grow like a column—tall and narrow. When the individual plants are pruned regularly, the individual branches become stronger and can handle snow during the winter better. Plant a row of Rose of Sharon on your property line instead of installing a fence this year. Allow the plant to grow to whatever height you want and both you and your neighbor will enjoy a privacy hedge full of flowers the entire summer.

Rose of Sharon will grow best in a full sun area but will also flower in partial shade. The plant will grow best in a soil with good organic matter, so be sure to use compost or animal manure when you plant. Fertilize in the spring with Plant-Tone organic fertilizer or Dr. Earth Bud and Bloom Booster to keep the plant strong and encourage more flowers. If the weather gets dry and hot, weekly watering will help keep the plant happy. Soil pH does not affect the flower production or growth of the plant. Insects and disease are rarely a problem, so the only real maintenance is the spring pruning. As the flowers fade, the plant will make many seeds that can fall to the ground and start new plants next spring. These new seedlings can easily be transplanted to your garden, where they will mature and grow strong in just a few years.

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Rudbeckia/Black-Eyed Susan

This perennial flower is the queen of the summer garden, with its golden-yellow petals and dark brown to black, cone-shaped centers. These perennials come in many flower sizes, heights and foliage texture but are unmistakable in your garden. The Black-eyed Susan can grow almost anywhere as long as the location is sunny. This is a plant native to North America and I am sure you have seen it growing in open fields or even along the side of the road, along with other wildflowers.

In your perennial border, the Black-eyed Susan will bloom profusely for up to 3 months and provide you with an endless supply of cut flowers. If you do not cut all the flowers for the house, the butterflies will have a field day in your garden, along with the bumblebees.

In the late fall and early winter, the seeds in the black cones will attract hungry birds like finches and chickadees. When you see the birds on the black cones, you know it's the best time to remove some of the cones and break them apart to scatter the seed in your garden. In the spring, new seedlings will develop where you scattered the seed heads, giving you free plants for your gardens.

Black-eyed Susans will grow in almost any soil, as they are native to dry fields where the soil is not rich and fertile. They must have a well-drained soil and a sunny location but will tolerate partial shade. In a partial shade garden, you will have to stake plants, as they will stretch for the sun. The plant will produce fewer flowers in partial shade but is still worth the effort.

Cutting flowers for the house will also stimulate the plant to make more flower buds and continue to flower. Removing some of the mature black cones on the plant will do the same and you can crush up those cones for seeds for your garden. Just sprinkle them on the ground, as it is not necessary to cover the seed. You can plant seeds in the spring or fall but fall-planted seeds have a better chance to flower the following summer. You can also divide the plant in the spring to make several new plants.

The foliage is dark green and oval, coming to a point; it has a small hair-like growth on the leaf. This hair-like growth is found on the stems of the plant also. The leaf texture and size will vary from variety to variety. The plants will grow from 24 to 40 inches tall and spread 12 to 24 inches wide, depending on the variety. The plant will spread in your garden as it matures and drops seeds that the birds do not eat, but it will not become invasive.

Insect and disease problems are minimal but if you water the garden at night, powdery mildew can become a problem on the foliage. Powdery mildew can be controlled with a couple of applications of Garden Serenade fungicide at the first sign of development on the plant. Plants do much better in gardens WITHOUT irrigation, so remember wildflower conditions, hot, sunny and dry.

The rudbeckias or Black-eyed Susans are also great for mass plantings, perennial gardens, cut flower gardens, and in meadow or open field plantings as a wildflower; you can even plant them in large containers like whiskey barrels for summer color. Feed plants in the spring with a granular organic fertilizer like Dr. Earth Flower fertilizer. For bigger plants, apply Plant Thrive in May and June to build a stronger root system. In the fall, after the birds have cleaned the cones, cut the plants right to the ground. I consider this perennial one that you must have in your garden.

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This Week's Question
What did the great rivals John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both do on July 4, 1826?


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:

The inside of a ________ on the vine measures as much as 20 degrees cooler than the outside air on a warm day.

Last Week's Winner:
Bill Cunniff

Last Week's Answer:

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.

Happy Independence Day

Big Fat Greek Salad

What You'll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into 1 inch ribbons
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup cucumbers, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 (15 ounce can) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 20 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 cup herbed croutons

Step by Step:

  • Whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add lettuce, carrots, cucumber, tomato, beans, and feta; toss.
  • Either divide into 4 small bowls or keep in one large one.
  • Top with olives and croutons.

Yield: 4 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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