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Edition 12.36 Paul Parent Garden Club News September 6, 2012
Featured Quote

Featured Quote:

"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Product Spotlight

Bonide Lawn Seed Starter Fertilizer

  • Lawn Seed Starter 10-25-12.
  • Helps build a vigorous root system.
  • Contains premium slow release fertilizer.
  • Contains Vital-X micronutrients.

Uses:
Use whenever seeding a new lawn or over-seeding an established lawn. This special blend provides extra root-building nutrients that are vital to the early growth stages of turfgrass.

This fertilizer can be applied to all cool and warm season grasses; including bahia grass, ben grass, bermuda grass, bluegrass, buffalo grass, carpet grass, centipede grass, fescue, kikuyu grass, ryegrass, St. Augustine and zoysia.

For more information, visit the Bonide Website .


Three new viburnum hybrids

For those of you that live near the seashore or a lake, it is difficult to select plants that will tolerate the growing conditions and extreme weather conditions during all four seasons until now. One of my favorite families of shrubs is the viburnum, because of the flowers, the fall foliage, and the beautiful fall/winter berries--but now there is even more to encourage you to plant this family of plants in your garden. The original Arrowwood viburnum has been a standard for those growing conditions, so let's begin to talk about the plant.

The plant is very durable and will tolerate temperatures from 20 to 40 degrees below zero during the winter. The plant will grow in the shape of a large rounded mound with spreading branches that arch gracefully down to the ground. It will grow 6 to 8 feet tall; if your soil is good and the plant protected from the harsh wind, it can grow even taller--often reaching 10 to 12 feet tall if not pruned. The plant will spread 6 to 15 feet wide, depending on where it is planted. The foliage is glossy dark green from May to mid-September, then it will change to a beautiful red wine color as the colder weather arrives. The leaves will grow 2 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide, resembling rhododendron leaves. The plant is deciduous, so it will lose the foliage during October.

In May, delicate clusters of tiny creamy white flowers develop on the tip of the branches--almost covering the plant most years. The flower cluster range from 2 to 4 inches in diameter and the flower cluster is flat. The cluster is made up of many smaller flower clusters that resemble snowflakes on the plant, and they will stay in bloom from May into June most years. In July and August the flowers will form clusters of deep green round fruit and when the weather begins to cool off these berries begin to change to blue –black fruit under 1/2 an inch in diameter. When ripe, they become a favorite food of birds and often the plants are stripped of the berries very quickly because of their rich taste.

This is a great plant as a specimen in a full sun to part shade garden. Use the plant as a background for your perennials, annuals, or your rose garden. If you have a pine tree grove on your property, plant viburnum on the edge of the tree line or under the trees, if the branches have been pruned high off the ground letting sunlight hit the ground during the day. When in flower, the plant will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden for extra interest. The plants can be planted on the side of a steep bank to help control erosion problems, if you apply a 2 to 3 inch layer of bark mulch or pine needles around them until they are well established. They make a wonderful display as a mass planting or you can plant the shrubs 4 to 6 feet apart to create a thick privacy hedge and noise barrier. Because it is salt tolerant, it will even do well planted near the road; winter salt and sand will not bother this plant.

When you plant, be sure to choose a location with well-drained soil and a location with no standing water during the winter and spring seasons. The better you prepare the soil before planting, the better the plant will grow for you but it will still grow in a medium to average soil—just with less flowers and fruit. Add animal manure, compost, seaweed kelp or the new coir soil conditioners; if the soil is on the sandy side; add Soil Moist Granules to help hold extra water during the first couple of years as the plant is getting established in your garden. Once the plant becomes established, it will become drought tolerant if you cover the ground around the plant with bark mulch, compost, or pine needles 3 inches thick, and this will also keep out weeds from growing around the plant.

If the plant is getting too large, it should be pruned as the flowers begin to fall from the plant in June and at that time you can cut the plant back by back by 20% but you will lose the fruit for the fall. You can also prune in the early spring before the plant begins to leaf out and flower by as much as 1/3 to 1/2 but you will lose the flowers and fruit for that year--it's your choice. With both types of pruning, the flowers and fruit will return the following year.

Now, this is a nice plant--but the plant breeders have played with this plant and have developed THREE new hybrids available this fall at your local nursery or garden center.  All three are part of the Proven Winners collection, so you know they are good.

The first is called Viburnum Dentatum 'Blue Muffin'--and this plant is known for the feast it will create for your birds. This new hybrid is a compact selection and will only grow 5 to 7 feet tall and just as wide when mature. It is also the hardiest of the three, tolerating temperatures down to minus 40 degrees. 'Blue Muffin' is the plant you need in your garden if you want to attract birds to your garden. The fruit is good for birds (but not for humans) and is deer resistant. Because of its size, it is easier to add to your garden because, unlike other varieties of viburnum, it does stay smaller.

The foliage is also different looking and is coarse to the touch. The edges of the leaf are serrated like the teeth of a saw; the shape is more oval, larger growing that the original plant and glossy green. You will also notice many lines or horizontal veins running from a center vein in the center of the leaf. The fall color is also different and can range from shades of yellow-orange to burgundy-purple on the plant. The unique character of this plant is that each plant can be different in the fall for color, so if leaf color is important to you, choose the plant in the fall when it has begun to color up with the cooler weather.

The flowers are a flat cluster of small creamy white flowers; each flower cluster is made up of small individual flower clusters like the original plant but they tend to grow wider and more open. When the berries form on the plant, they form in groups of 10 to 15 dusty blue berries that are less than 1/4 inch in diameter, like a pea. There can be as many as 5 to 10 fruit clusters that will make up the main berry cluster, making the plant showier. If this variety is planted with other varieties of viburnum, you will have more flowers because of cross pollination between the plants.

This plant will grow in most soils as long as they are well drained and away from standing water. Soil pH is not a problem with this plant for flowers and berry production and it will also grow in heavy clay-like soil. Of all the viburnums available today, this is the most durable! Prune the plant in the summer when it has finished flowering to control the size and shape of the plant. The flower buds form on old wood so prune any branches that have no berries on them so you can enjoy the fruit in the fall. Fertilize every spring with a slow release organic fertilizer like Plant Tone or Dr. Earth Shrub Fertilizer with pro-Biotic to encourage new shoots that will develop at the base of the plant and help to thicken the body of the plant.

Like the original, use for privacy hedges, noise barriers, and individual plants in a natural or wild setting for its flowers during early summer, dusty blue flowers in the fall and unusual fall color. Also, the flower does have an unusual smell and is a great source of nectar for butterflies. The small berries are perfect for attracting songbirds. No garden is complete without at least one!

The next hybrid is called 'Brandywine' viburnum. This plant produces berries that are considered the most beautiful berries in the plant kingdom. This is also another hybrid that will stay smaller than the original plant--growing 5 to 6 feet tall and just as wide. It is not quite as hardy, but will tolerate 20 degrees below zero. The berries will grow up to 1/2 inch in diameter, and the plant will produce large clusters filled with many brightly colored berries. The fruits begin with a deep green color during July and August but as the weather cools off they quickly change to shades of vivid pink and then a deep dusty blue. The fruit looks like a blueberry, with its dimple on the tip of the fruit and best of all, it will have both pink and bright blue berries on the plant at the same time for extra beauty. The skin of the berry does have a dusty look to it while parts of the berry are shiny looking giving a wonderful contrast to the fruit.

'Brandywine' viburnum will flower in April and May--a bit earlier than other varieties--and the flowers are also creamy white in color. The flower cluster is more rounded, grows 2 to 4 inches wide, and the flower is showy and fragrant. The flowers have a lot of nectar to them, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds when in bloom. When plants are well established, the plant can be almost covered with these wonderful flowers. This plant will set fruit without another variety of viburnum in your yard area--a plus for smaller gardens and yards.

The foliage is like the original plant; long and narrow like a rhododendron leaf and very shiny. The leaves will grow up to 4 inches long and are deep green with some raised veins on them for contrast. In the fall the showy glossy green leaves will change color to a wonderful maroon-red color and stay on the plant well into October--giving the plant a "WOW" factor. The berries will remain on the plant even after the foliage has fallen from the plant--and some years these berries will remain on the plant well into the winter. They are eaten by song birds but during the winter months provide you with excellent winter color.

No insect or disease problems with this variety and little to no maintenance is needed, except for occasional pruning to control the size and shape of the plant in your garden. You can use this viburnum in foundation planting around your home, in a perennial and shrub border, privacy hedges, noise barriers, and it will do very well when planted along the road, as it will tolerate road salt and windy areas. The plant will do best in a well-drained soil but will tolerate moist soil or even boggy planting conditions--unlike other varieties.

Fertilize in the spring, prune when the flowers finish flowering to control size, and in cold climates, cover the base of the plant with bark mulch or pine needles to control weeds and help retain soil moisture during hot, dry summers. If you were to rate this plant it would get 5 stars for all it will do in your garden.

The third new variety, 'Cardinal Candy' viburnum, is known for its heavy crop of shiny scarlet fruit in late summer that lasts into the fall. This hybrid is very hardy; it will tolerate minus 30 degrees and will do very well near the ocean or lake with lots of wind on the plant. It does grow larger than the other two hybrids--6 to 8 feet tall and just as wide. But you can prune the plant to control the size easily. Prune after the flowering cycle or early in the spring if the plant needs a major haircut to control the size of the plant. The plant will grow very dense and is freer branching and bushier growing. It also tends to grow more upright but does keep its rounded shape on the top of the plant.

The flowers are creamy white and showy, producing large large rounded flower clusters up to 6 inches wide and tall on the tip of most of the branches. The flowers will last on the plant for 4 to 6 weeks, like most other viburnums, and the flower stems are thick and strong to hold the fruit upright on the plant. The flowers are fragrant and filled with nectar-attracted butterflies and hummingbirds while in bloom in your garden. The plant flowers from May into June.

When the flowers fade in late June the plant will produce large quantities of bright red berries. The number and quality of the berries that this new hybrid makes is remarkable. The berries will last long into the fall until the birds eat them--but they are not edible by humans. The individual fruits are under 1/2 an inch in diameter but the fruit cluster is up to 6 inches across in a mound, making the plant very showy and lasting on the plant well after the foliage has fallen from the plant. Some years, if birds are not active in your yard, the fruit can last until spring on the plant. This hybrid does not need a second plant as a pollinator to produce fruit like the 'Blue Muffin' does.

The foliage is a broad-oval shape and is much wrinkled with many rows of sunken veins on the leaf. It is also dark green and has coarse teeth like a saw blade on the edges. In the fall, the leaves turn a bright russet red color, making the plant very visible in your garden like the "Burning Bush," almost, except that it has large clusters of bright red shiny fruit all over the plant.

The 'Cardinal Candy' will grow best in a moist soil that is slightly acidic but it will grow in most soils if they are conditioned before planting. The more organic matter like animal manure, compost, seaweed kelp, or garden coir you add to the soil, the better the plant will do in the garden. Fertilize in the spring with a slow release organic fertilizer like Plant Tone or Dr. Earth Shrub and Tree fertilizer with Pro biotic. The plant is easy to grow as long as the soil is well drained and it is planted in a location in your yard with full sun to a bit of late-day shade. Always add 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch, compost or pine needles around the plant as a much to help keep moisture in the ground during hot, dry summers and to control weeds.

The plant is very strong and has no serious insect or disease problems. 'Cardinal Candy' is also very deer resistant, even when planted in a woodland-type garden. You will love this plant in your shrub border with evergreens like holly and rhododendrons, because of the flowers and bright red fruit it produces. Use this plant in your foundation planting for color from spring through fall. If you're looking to create a privacy screen or hide your neighbor's yard, this is your plant when planted in a row like a hedge. Also a great plant to use to kill road noise, to divide property instead of using a wooden fence and to create a background for a perennial or rose garden.

If you live on a wooded lot and want color, this is your plant; if you want winter color in your garden, this is your plant--and if you want a plant that looks like it just belongs there, no matter what time of the year it is, this is your plant. Enjoy!

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New Double Rose of Sharon Gives You More Than Double the Pleasure

One of the things I love about shrubs and tree is the unique quality of giving you more for your money--such as flowers and berries or flowers and fall color--but this new plant in the Proven Winners collection gives you even more for your money. The new plant I am referring to is a new Rose of Sharon with double pink flowers, along with variegated foliage and flower buds. There have been other variegated Roses of Sharon before--but they seldom flowered. Not this new plant called Sugar Tip Hibiscus syriacus 'American Irene Scott.' This is a shrub worth looking at this month, as it begins to flower in June and lasts until frost. The Rose of Sharon is one of the best summer-flowering plants that we can add to our yards at this time of the year.

This Rose of Sharon has light pink double flowers and a true double flower that will grow 3 to 4 inches across. The petals will change color from pale to light pink petals as they mature on the plant. The center of the flower has a burgundy colored throat, which is not easily seen until you're up close to the plant due to the number of petals in the flower. The clusters of inner petals are also pink but smaller in size and these delicate petals give the flower a frilly appearance. The one thing you will notice is that the stamen is less prominent than with other varieties of Rose of Sharon because of all the small inner flower petals.

Another characteristic you will love is that the flower buds come in clusters on the tips of almost every branch and every flower bud is deep green and white just like the foliage. The two-tone buds and flowers together give this plant a very beautiful look, almost like a bouquet of flowers that covers the plant. If you're looking for a plant to soften your garden, think about this: variegated foliage, variegated flower bud clusters of 7 to 12 buds and soft pastel double pink flowers 3 to 4 inches in diameter that look like an old fashioned heirloom rose. This fantastic plant will give your garden charm from June to October--that's almost 5 months of colorful flowers.

In May, the foliage begins to develop on the plant, as all Roses of Sharon are late to leaf out compared to other garden plants. But when the foliage does begin to form, you're in for a great treat because it is deep green with irregular shaped wide edges that are creamy white, and no two leaves look alike on the plant, giving it additional character. The plant will spread 3 to 5 feet wide, and the foliage is very thick on the plant from the ground to the tip of the plant. If not pruned, this plant will grow 8 to 12 feet tall but you can control the height of the plant by pruning in May before the foliage begins to form on the plant. This pruning will not affect the flower count on the plant, as the flower buds form on the new growth made during the spring--a real plus for you.

Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon will grow best in full sunshine but will also tolerate a bit of light shade during the end of the day. This plant is also very hardy; it will grow all over New England, because the plant will tolerate temperatures down to minus 20 degrees, making it a zone 5 plant that is hardy south to zone 8. The plant will grow best in a well-drained soil; it will not tolerate standing water or heavy clay-type soil, so be sure to keep its feet dry and away from water. If your soil is sandy, condition the soil with animal manure, compost, or the new garden coir conditioner before planting. So if you live on Cape Cod with its sandy soil to the stony soil of Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont, conditioning is the secret to success.

Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon is also reasonably drought tolerant once it is established so keep it well watered for the first year and if your soil is sandy or on the stony side, be sure to add Soil Moist Granules when planting to help it get through those dry summers in the future. I have found that if you add 3 to 4 inches of bark mulch, compost, or pine needles as mulch around the plants, they seem to do better when the weather gets hot and dry--and it helps the plant during those cold winters when the temperatures fluctuate a lot. The mulch also helps to control the weed growth around the plant, and if it's planted as a specimen plant in your lawn, mulch helps with the maintenance when mowing.

Also, something I have noticed is that when a plant develops yellow leaves it is usually too much water rather than too little, so keep it away from downspouts. Fertilize every spring during May to help develop lots of new growth on the plant and extra flowers on the branches that form. Feed the plant Plant-Tone fertilizer or Dr. Earth Shrub fertilizer with Pro-Biotic. The plant does grow quickly 12 to 18 inches a year so to control the size of the plant prune before the growth starts in May. Prune the plant to create the shape you want or to help rejuvenate an older plant that has slowed down on the amount of buds it produces.

Use a single plant of Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon as a specimen plant in your garden; create a very unique looking ornamental hedge for privacy, as a border between properties or as a noise barrier along the road. You can even train this multi stem plant to a single stem to develop a tree like appearance to give it extra character. This wonderful plant is loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, so be sure to plant one or more near your patio, deck--or even your pool where you spend a lot of time during the summer--so you can enjoy the show.

The flowers have no fragrance but who cares, as Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon is a plant of 3 seasons for your garden from May to October, with its colorful foliage, variegated flower buds, and pale pink flowers. The Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon has one other quality you will love. Most other types of Rose of Sharon produce hundreds of seed pods and every spring seedlings develop everywhere in your garden-- but not this new hybrid, as the seeds are sterile and you avoid the major nuisance of seedlings growing everywhere from the garden to your lawn.

The Rose of Sharon is deciduous, so it does lose its foliage during the winter and is usually not bothered by deer unless we have a winter with a lot of snow and food becomes scarce. This is a wonderful plant to have in the same garden as a butterfly bush and your perennial rose mallow, as they all look so unique together with their pastel flowers and their ability to blossom for many weeks from early summer to mid-fall. The unique foliage, flower bud color and the flowers will give your garden a tropical look--and the plant also works well when placed in the back of your perennial garden for extra color. Rose of Sharon has no major diseases or insect problems and makes a great plant for the beginner gardener or expert, so visit your local garden center or nursery and check out this plant.

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Alaska trip
Paul Parent will be hosting a tour that includes:
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Butchart Gardens--55 acres of floral display!
  • Cruising the Inside Passage:
  • Ketchikan
  • Icy Strait Point
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Hubbard Glacier Cruising
  • Seward
  • Scenic Drive to Anchorage
  • Denali National Park
  • Fairbanks City Tour, a tour of the Gold Dredge # 8 and a cruise down the Chena river on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler.

Click here for more information.



trivia

This Week's Question
What is the popular name for the Antirrhinum genus of plants?



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 is the world's oldest botanical garden that is still located on its original site?

Last Week's Winner:
George W. Hadley

Last Week's Answer:
Orto Botanico di Padova in Padua, Italy - founded in 1545.

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.


Aloha Quick Bread
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple

Step by Step:

  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in banana, milk, orange peel and extracts.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture just until moistened.
  • Fold in the coconut, nuts and pineapple.
  • Transfer to a greased 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack

Yield: 12 servings

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Kennebunk, ME 04043

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