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Edition 12.31 Paul Parent Garden Club News August 2, 2012
featured quote

Featured Quote:

"Don't wear perfume in the garden--unless you want to be pollinated by bees."
~Anne Raver


Product Spotlight

Bayer Advanced™ DuraZone Weed & Grass Killer

  • One treatment creates a continuous-action weed and grass barrier for up to 6 months
  • Kills all types of existing weeds and grasses
  • PLUS prevents new weeds and grasses from emerging for up to 6 months
  • For use on driveways, sidewalks, patios, along fences and foundations, and around walkways and mulched areas
  • Refill Ready-To-Use bottles with Concentrate formulation--refillable system is more economical and generates less plastic waste
For more information, visit the Bayer website.

Two More New Hydrangea Paniculata
Hybrids that Won Royal Horticulture Society Awards

In 2008, the Dutch plant industry created excitement around the world with the new hydrangea hybrid they named 'Limelight,' and today it is available at your local garden center. This is not just another new hybrid from the traditional Peegee hydrangea of your grandparents but a plant that is truly unique. 'Limelite' hydrangea has unique bright green blooms in mid-summer that soften up to a wonderful linen-white color during late July to mid-September before changing color again to flower petals with a rich pink with reddish purple spotting all over them. Also, even with all these color changes, some of the flower petals stay a beautiful soft lime green color from July to October.

Let's begin with the flowers, because they will grow from 6 to 12 inches tall and with the strong stems that are held upright on the shrub, create a nice-looking plant filled with flowers. Once you see this plant growing in the garden you will describe it as a "fantastic" plant with rich dark green foliage, long-lasting and ever-changing flower color--and it's virtually maintenance free. Mine are in bloom now on my split-rail fence that runs in front of the house and many of the neighbors have stopped by to see what type of plants they are, because some are in full sun and a couple get more than half a day of shade--and they have the same amount of flowers on them.

The flowers can be cut and will last in a vase of water on your kitchen table for up to SIX weeks, making great arrangements all summer long. Or you can pick them in the fall when the colors begin to develop on the flowers and hang them upside down in bunches in your garage or tool shed to dry and use them as a dry flower arrangement that will last for years. You can even make a hydrangea wreath with the dry flowers for your front door.

The thing I like best about this plant is its hardiness, as it will grow from Canada to Georgia and west to the Rockies. Zone 3 hardiness means up minus 40 degrees below zero, and they flower every year no matter what the weather is like. You can prune the plant in the fall or early spring to control the size of the plant and to encourage the plant to grow thicker--especially when young. The plant makes its flowers on the new growth made in the spring, so don't worry about dieback and flower loss like the blue hydrangea has a tendency to. What I do recommend is that you remove all the faded flowers in the late fall or when they turn brown ,so if we have an ice storm or heavy snow the flowers are off the plant and there will be less stem breakage on the plant. If you prune the plants hard--by as much 1/2 or 1/3--your plants will produce fewer flowers but they will grow much larger in size that summer.

Your plants prefer a good soil that has been conditioned with peat moss, compost, seaweed kelp or the new coconut fiber products called "coir." Keep the plant well watered for the first 3 months and then it's on its own because it is not as water dependent as the blue hydrangea varieties. The plants, once established, will tolerate drought and still flower. The one thing I noticed is that if you have a sprinkler system, keep the water off the flowers if it should run during the day, especially if it is hot out, or the heat will brown the white flower petals, so water early in the morning while temperatures are still cool.

You can fertilize every spring with a good organic slow release fertilizer, so your plant will develop deep green foliage and produce large numbers of large flowers on that will last from summer to fall. Use Plant Tone or Dr. Earth shrub fertilizer with Pro Biotic. Insect and disease problems with this plant are minimal and most years they are maintenance free. IN autumn, the foliage will turn yellow and sometimes have a reddish-purple fall color.

The plant will grow 6 to 8 feet tall and just as wide as it matures, making a wonderful specimen plant for your garden, around a pool, deck, or patio where you spend time outside during the summer. With spring pruning you can keep the plant smaller if you want. You can also plant them in a row with spacing of 5 to 6 feet apart and use them as a privacy hedge, noise barrier or plant them in groupings for mass color in shrubbery planting beds. If you have large containers like a whiskey barrel, plant this hydrangea in it instead of annual flowers and enjoy the show all summer long. Once planted with this hydrangea you will never have to plant again with costly annuals and that will save you money every year. If you have a cottage or camp on a lake or by the ocean and are not always there to care for the plants, this is the plant for you.

A new hybrid of the 'Limelight' hydrangea has just been released--for those of you who do not have the room for large-growing hydrangeas but love the plant for its colorful summer to fall flowers. It's called 'Little Lime' hydrangea and it has all the qualities of the 'Limelight' hydrangea except that it is a dwarf. 'Little Lime' will only grow 3 to 4 feet tall and wide but it has giant 8-inch flowers on the plant. The flowers also have the unusual light lime green color and the fall colors like its counterpart with pink and reddish--purple flowers. The plant is just as hardy and it will do very well in gardens from Canada to Georgia.

You can also use the 'Little Lime' hydrangea as a specimen plant in your perennial garden, as a foundation plant around your home in groups for mass color during the summer months and when grown in a row 4 feet apart, it will produce a wonderful small flowering hedge along the edge of your property or along a walkway.

'Little Lime' will also grow in full sun to partial shade and with regular watering it will grow 4 to 6 inches a year, compared to over a foot for the 'Limelite' hydrangea. The flowers are also great for cuttings and will last for over 3 weeks in a vase of water. They dry well for arrangements and wreath making also. You can also grow them in containers for color where you spend time during the summer. When planted in a shady environment the flowers will have more of a light lime green color than white. Both the 'Limelite' and the 'Little Lime' will do very well in a woodland garden where summer color is hard to find.

Both plants will grow best in a rich soil that stays moist--and the pH of the soil or acidity does not affect the color of the flowers as it does with the blue hydrangeas. I have seen potted 'Little Lime' hydrangeas planted in containers and placed on the ground near the front door steps for great accent color. They also do well in a whiskey barrel on the front of your driveway entrance. Like the 'Limelite' hydrangeas, they are also quite tolerant of drought conditions.

These two plants are wonderful plants for summer color and they require no maintenance except a bit of pruning in the fall to remove the faded flowers and a pruning in the spring to motivate a thicker growing plant with more flowers on it. So if you live north of Cape Cod (or even south of Cape Cod and north of Florida), these two plants are for you--get some color where summer color has been hard to find in the past. Enjoy!

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A dozen quick jobs to start the
month of August that will keep your garden productive!

August is a wonderful month for gardening--and if you do the following, your yard will stay colorful and productive. Don't let the hot sunny day drive you into the house to sit in the air-conditioning--get out into the yard early in the morning and then enjoy time at the beach, by the pool or even at the golf course. These twelve easy chores will keep your neighbors wondering where you got all your gardening skills this summer...and they may even ask you for advice.

#1 If you have any of the summer-flowering Spiraea like 'Anthony Waterer' with pink flowers, 'Gold Flame' with golden foliage and pink flowers or even 'Little Princess' with its wonderful mound of small pink flowers--and they have finished flowering for you, it's time to wake them up for a second flowering period. The summer-flowering Spiraea for most of you has finished flowering by late July, but if you take your hedge shears and cut them back by about 3 inches, remove all the faded flowers from the plant and feed them with Dr. Earth Shrub Fertilizer with Pro Biotic or Plant Tone, they will come back into bloom in about 3 weeks and have as much as 75% of the flowers they had during the early summer. Prune them now for great late summer color.

#2 Butterfly bush is another plant that will bloom all summer and right up to frost if you keep removing the faded flowers from the plant. The first flowers made will grow up to 10 inches long before they fade, but if you remove them, the plant will make two new flowers to replace the one. Within a couple of weeks a flower bud will form on each side of the bud you removed and they will grow to 6 to 8 inches long. When they fade, remove those two faded flowers and 4 new flower buds will form in their place. They will be smaller 4 to 6 inches but there will be 4 of them to keep your plant colorful and attracting butterflies to your garden. Just keep removing the faded flowers and the plant will keep flowering.

#3 Do you have blue hydrangeas that are getting too tall for the garden? Well, now is the time to cut back any of the non-flowering branches to a height you would prefer. If you cut back the plant now--even by as much as 1/3--it will help to control the height of the plant and encourage additional new growth for next year's flowers. The newer varieties like 'Endless Summer' will also make additional flowers for early fall for you on the new growth they will be making. So get out the hand pruners and reshape your plants--one branch at a time.

#4 Rose of Sharon is one of the best summer-flowering plants we have but if the summer gets hot and humid, it is possible your plants could develop a problem with "spider mites," insects that will prevent some of the flower buds from opening. Early in the morning before it gets too hot out, spray your plant with Bonide All season Oil or Mite-X spray or Fertilome Triple Action Plus or Spider Mite spray. Do it now and your summer will stay colorful and problem free!

#5 If you're noticing a lot of Japanese beetles flying around your garden and your lawn is in full sun this is the time to think about applying Grub-X down to prevent possible grub problems this fall. Japanese beetles will lay 50 to 100 eggs each in a nice sunny lawn and these grubs will eat only the grass roots, not the weeds like crabgrass, clover, dandelions--just the good grass you have worked so hard to grow and keep green all year. Get it down now, and water it in to activate the product so it will kill the grubs.

#6 August is the month to start planting your fall vegetables like peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. As soon as you pull out your spent vegetables replant for a wonderful fall crop that will last into October. Keep fertilizing your peppers, tomatoes, squash and root crops as August heat will help produce wonderful produce and help the crop ripen more quickly.

#7 By mid-August, pinch back every tip of your tomatoes to stop them from growing and encourage the plant to ripen what it has growing on the plant at that time. Any new fruit that forms on the plant after mid-August will not have time to grow and mature in time to ripen (if you really like green tomatoes, you can wait a bit longer). Keep the water on the plants to prevent the tops of your tomatoes from cracking from the hot and dry weather. Also be on the lookout for tomato hornworms, as they are due any day now. Treat plants with the new organic and natural Spinosad insecticide, it works like a charm, and it will keep your plant from being eaten by these big green worms that will grow to 4 inches long in just a few days.

#8 Now is the time to cut down all your Japanese bamboo to the ground along with its energy source, the foliage. The plant will now develop all new foliage and make small clusters of white flowers to signal that all the reserve energy is now being used to replace the foliage and begin the flowering cycle. When you apply a product like Kleen-up, Kills-All or Round up to the foliage and flowers at the end of the month the plant will not be able to block the chemical from getting down to the roots and you should expect to kill as much as 75% of the plant this year. Next year repeat the process and you should be able to destroy it permanently. Two applications a week apart should do the trick.

#8 August is also the best time of the year to spray your Canadian hemlock to protect them against the "woolly adelgid," a small insect found under the new growth of the plant near its tips. This white cottony-looking pest is laying eggs now for next year and the fall applications of Tree and Shrub or Bug be-Gone will keep your trees safe for the next year. These pesticides are systemic and are mixed in a watering can and applied to the base of the plant. Use one ounce of product per inch of circumference of the tree at chest high and this pest will die out.

#9 This is also the "best" month to kill poison ivy and poison oak growing on your property. Use those nice sunny days of august, when there's no rain in the forecast, to apply Kills All, Kleen-up, or Roundup to wipe out this toxic weed in just a few days. In large established areas, check back in a week or so and add a second application to plants not killed by the first application. Bittersweet is another vine that can take over quickly but the same application will destroy this plant before it climbs to the top of your trees and kills them.

#10 Roses need to be fertilized and treated for insects for the last time this month. Roses should never be fertilized after August. This will help the plant prepare for the arrival of fall weather in September. No food in September will toughen up the plant for the winter ahead of us and keep the plant strong. Use Bayer All-In-One Rose and Flower care products early in the month.

#11 This is also time to apply step 3 of your fertilizer program to help keep the grass strong during the heat of summer. Water it in well to activate the product and raise the height of your lawnmower blade to help relieve stress on the grass and help keep it green. Keep the lawn mower blade sharp so the cut grass has a nice clean and sharp edge to it to prevent lawn disease problems.

#12 August is also the best time to fertilize your fruit trees, and other flowering trees as they are now making flower buds for next year color and fruit. Rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, along with forsythia, lilac and bridal wreath are also making flower buds, so feed them now and do not prune them, as the flower buds are made on the new growth made this year--do your pruning when the flowers begin to fall from the plant in the spring.

#13 Sit back in your favorite yard chair with a cold drink and enjoy your yard, it's August and the summer is getting short now. Get out and enjoy it!

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Common? Milkweed

Butterfly weed is commonly used in butterfly gardens--but if you love the Monarch butterflies, you might want to let some wild milkweed grow in your garden as well. They even have rather pretty little flowers.

Did you know that the wild milkweed that grows around our homes is poisonous to most caterpillars--except the Monarch butterfly? The eggs of the Monarch butterfly are laid on the leaves of the plant and a multicolored caterpillar will emerge during the summer, feeding on the foliage. The leaves are bitter, and contain cardiac glycosides; the caterpillar absorbs the bitterness and the glycosides into his body, keeping birds and predators away. Any predator feeding on this now-poisonous caterpillar will regret it.

Butterfly weed is in the same family as milkweed but does not have the milky white sap found in milkweed. If you find a Monarch butterfly caterpillar eating the foliage on your butterfly weed plant, it is O.K. to pick it up and move it to one of the wild milkweed plants growing around your home. Its descendants will thank you.

Listener and reader Amy Petersen sent an email a few years ago, regarding an article about butterfly weed, a in which we mentioned wild milkweed. She said:

"Just finished reading this week's newsletter and what you said about the butterfly weed being in the same family as the milkweed. I was wondering if anyone has ever related to you that during World War II, we little kids in rural area one-room schools (mine was in Minnesota) were given US Government gunny sacks and asked to fill them up with all the milkweed pods we could find. Our soldiers needed them, we were told, and we all wanted to do our part for our soldiers. I had no problem filling my sack as our farm had a big man-made ditch running through the land and there always were plenty of milkweeds growing there. Just thought you might like a little trivia."

Some fascinating trivia, indeed. Thank you! A bit of research on the internet gives a bit more. About 29 states east of the Rockies--along with parts of Canada--were involved. Amy was part of an effort that collected an estimated 11 million pounds of milkweed fluff during the war. It was used as a substitute for the fluff from the kapok tree, which was used in life jackets and flight suits. The kapok tree is native to Indonesia, and our supplies of kapok had been cut off by the Japanese (who were occupying Indonesia). Like the kapok fibers, the milkweed fibers are both waterproof and bouyant.

Milkweed was also used in pioneer days to stuff quilts, and the Native Americans used it to insulate moccasins. It is still used, with goose down, in some pillows and comforters. Seems to me that our "common" milkweed has been, and is, an uncommonly useful plant--for us as well as the Monarch butterflies.

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trivia

This Week's Question
Some plants that grow on other plants are non-parasitic--and some are parasitic. Which of the following is parasitic?

  1. Bromeliads
  2. Mistletoe
  3. Orchids
  4. Spanish moss
  5. Staghorn fern
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:

In Shakespeare's Hamlet an herb is said to be "for remembrance." What is it?

Last Week's Winner:
Cindy Bolan

Last Week's Answer:
Rosemary (Ophelia said, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies. That's for thoughts.")

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.


Quinoa Tabouleh

What You'll Need:

  • 4 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (1 cup dry)
  • 2 cups chopped parsley (2 bunches)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (1 1/2 bunches)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (1 pkg)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Directions:

  • Mix all the above ingredients together and let sit at least 4 hours (but it's better if it sits for 12 hours).

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

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