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Archives for March 1, 2014

Camellia Show March 1&2

Posted by Carol Stocker…Tower Hill Botanic Garden will host the 185th annual Massachusetts Camellia Show on March 1st and 2nd. During the show, which is sponsored by the Massachusetts Camellia Society, hundreds of beautiful camellia flowers at their peak will be on display at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Camellias are evergreen shrubs and small trees that can take six different flower forms. A native of Japan, China and Southeast Asia, Camellia flowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with bloom colors ranging from icy white and pink to coral and brilliant crimson. Camellias, which usually have rapid growth rates and thrive in temperate, humid climates, are also used to make tea and sweat seasoning and cooking oil.

The Massachusetts Camellia Society show is the oldest continuing exhibition of camellias in the United States. During the annual show, visitors will have the opportunity to view hundreds of flowers on Camellia trees featured in Tower Hill’s own collection, along with blossoms from a variety of private collections.

“The annual Camellia Show is the perfect way to escape the cold and experience the tropical greenery of Tower Hill’s indoor gardens,” said Kathy Abbott, new executive director of Tower Hill Botanic Garden. “The camellia is a wonderful and unique flower known for its beauty and commercial uses. We’re pleased to have on display this March such a diverse and beautiful collection of these special plants. It’s a great way to spend a winter day in New England.”

Massachusetts’ fondness for camellias dates back hundreds of years to the China Trade, when they were reportedly exported to the West by Chinese merchants who mislabeled them as tea plants to protect their market.

During the Camellia Show individuals will also have the opportunity to participate in several events at Tower Hill that are included with the price of admission, such as:

· A Tea Tasting with Upton Tea Imports from noon to 3 p.m. on March 1st and 2nd

· A discussion on The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Camellias and the History of Camellias in Boston at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 1st

· Walking Tour of the Camellia Show with Sandy Katz, president of the Massachusetts Camellia Society at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 2nd

Many of the camellia plants at Tower Hill originated as cuttings from the private collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner. Tower Hill was invited to preserve this collection in the summer of 1998 when the greenhouses that housed Isabella’s collection were dismantled.

The Massachusetts Camellia Show takes place at Tower Hill Botanic Garden on Saturday March 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 2nd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the Camellia show is included with regular admission to Tower Hill and is free for members.

For more information, please visit

Founded in 1986 by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, Tower Hill Botanic Garden is nationally recognized as one of the finest gardens in the Northeast. The Garden has experienced tremendous growth since its inception, and is now one of the leading cultural organizations in Worcester County with more than 80,000 annual visitors and 10,000 active members.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden, located at 11 French Drive in Boylston, is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Wednesday evenings through September, the garden is open extended hours until 9:00 p.m. Tower Hill is less than an hour away from Boston, Providence, Hartford and Springfield.

For more information, please visit

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Judi Lloyd: Gardening tips for the month of March

It appears that the worst weather is over for us; and what a winter it was. It will be very interesting to see what our landscape looks like in another month or so. The wintery conditions sure did not seem to play havoc with our flower bulbs as I see them coming up beautifully in my yard and all over town. The flowering apricot trees are also in full regalia.

My winter vegetable garden was a disaster this year. Last week I re-planted seeds for radishes, kale and carrots; and planted sugar snap peas. Hopefully, the heavy rains will not rot them before they have a chance to germinate.

Here are some tips you may find helpful for tending to your landscape in the month of March.

Trees and shrubs: Finish pruning crape myrtles, but avoid the temptation to cut them back severely. Only remove crossing or broken branches and cut off old seed pods. Apply slow release fertilizer around the drip line of trees and shrubs. Don’t trim hydrangeas even though their stems may look dead, as this spring’s flower buds are contained there.

Flowers: Prune roses. Begin a fungicide spray program for disease-prone varieties when new leaves appear or replace them with a hardier variety like Knockouts. Broadcast slow release fertilizer on perennial beds. You can divide perennials such as hostas, day lilies and phlox as soon as new growth appears.

Lawns: Don’t water dormant lawns except during extended spells of warm windy weather or if the soil becomes powder dry.  March is the last window to kill cool season weeds before green up. You might want to visit Williams Farm and Garden or Trent Hardware for advice regarding cool season weed control. Wait until late May to fertilize established lawns.

Vegetables:  Set out small cabbage, swiss chard, kale, broccoli an bok choy plants. Continue sowing lettuce and radish seeds every few weeks for a steady salad supply.

Fruits: Fertilize fruit trees, grapes and berries with a slow release product.

If you keep on top of these tasks, taking care of your yard will not become overwhelming.

This month’s topic for the third Saturday workshop at the Craven County Cooperative Extension Office is “Plants That Succeed.” It will be on March 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. It sounds like a very informative topic, so don’t miss it. March 17, also, begins the third Monday garden tours in the demonstration gardens there. The one hour tours, beginning at 5:30 p.m. are open to the public.  Each month Tom Glasgow discusses different plants that thrive in the local landscape. These events are free. I hope to see you there.


Judi Lloyd lives in River Bend and can be contacted at



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4 gardening tips for this spring

By David Scott
More Content Now

Posted Feb. 28, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

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Oriole Park groundskeeper to give tips at Home & Garden Show

The Maryland Home and Garden Show is underway at the Timonium Fairgrounds, giving people all over a chance to get ideas for projects this spring.

Several free seminars this year offer do-it-yourself ideas, including tips for keeping lawns looking as good as the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Mobile users tap here for video.

Camden Yards head groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen said her job is a dream come true.

“I love it. I love coming here every day. It’s a beautiful ballpark, first and foremost, but to be able to leave a mark on the field and let those players play every day, it’s pretty amazing,” McFadyen said.

She started out studying turf grass science at University of Delaware and followed a path that, for the past eight seasons, has kept her busy maintaining Oriole Park. She said Maryland’s weather can make it quite stressful.

“It’s very stressful, especially when you have different weather conditions. You can get 100-plus degrees or days like today, where it’s 19 degrees,” McFadyen said.

This weekend and next weekend, she’ll be at the Home and Garden Show to offer tips on how to make gardens and lawns look good.

“Hopefully give homeowners tips that could help prevent their grass from dying or stressing out,” McFadyen said. “Just proper maintenance practices that they need to take, and hopefully they’ll walk away with some good ideas.”

The show in Timonium will feature dozens of vendors and do-it-yourself seminars to help people jump-start their spring projects.

One tip McFadyen has is that just because your grass may be brown doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

“Grass, typically in Maryland, is full-season grass, and it goes dormant in the summertime. So when it turns brown, it really is just sleeping, like a self-defense mechanism to get through the heat. So, they shouldn’t really stress too much about their grass being dead or dying,” McFadyen said.

She said she’s looking forward to meeting people at the fairgrounds and sharing her passion as one of only two women in Major League Baseball to be in charge of a field.

“Not a lot of people think that you can have a college degree in turf grass science or do this for a living, and I think being a female also, it kind of sparks interest in younger girls that maybe are looking for a career outside,” she said.  

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Winter garden tips

By Katie Marks

Posted Feb. 20, 2014 @ 10:40 am

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Alan Titchmarsh tips for gardening after the wettest winter on record

Far better is blood, bone and fishmeal (or blood, fish and bone) which is an organic fertiliser containing all three elements. Soil bacteria must break it down before it can be absorbed and so are encouraged in a way that is absent when using other all-purpose fertilisers.

But if fertiliser provides the vitamins, it is well-rotted organic matter that offers the “meat and two veg”. Stable manure, farmyard manure, spent mushroom compost, spent hops and the like are all bulky and can be dug into the soil now to improve its structure. On heavy clay soil they will improve drainage, and on light sandy soils they will help to hold on to moisture (even though it sounds as though one statement ought to contradict the other).

Work in as much as you can on bare ground, and in beds and borders, lay it as a mulch (a 2in thick layer) between plants. Apply two handfuls of blood, fish and bone to each square yard of soil and fork it in before laying mulch on top. Gradually, the worms will take it into the soil, but while lying on the top it will seal in moisture and help keep down the weeds.

For now, our efforts involve getting rid of moisture, but in the summer we need to keep as much of it around plant roots as we can. Act now to make sure plants recover from the winter and, hopefully, enjoy a summer that will make up for it.

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and every day in the Daily Express. For more information on his range of gardening products, visit

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Garden Show set for Castle Gardens debut

Celebrating its 10th birthday, Northern Ireland’s premier gardening event this week launched its 2014 programme in the show’s stunning new venue, Antrim Castle Gardens.

Running from May 9 to 11, an expanded new look Garden Show Ireland will be packed full of all things gardening including appearances by Channel 4‘s River Cottage team, Alys Fowler from BBC Gardeners’ World, Ireland’s world-renowned plantswoman and broadcaster, Helen Dillon, and much more.

With thousands of specialist plants ready for spring planting, great garden shopping, garden designers and expert plantsmen, show gardens, a craft village, a free design clinic, artisan food stalls, live music, garden gourmet, challenges for community groups to create a garden, a dedicated kids zone and more, the event promises to be the ultimate garden show experience for gardeners of all ages and experiences.

Following the completion of the largest ever historic garden restoration undertaken in Ireland, the 400-year-old gardens at Antrim Castle are an historical gem and provide the perfect new backdrop as Garden Show Ireland Director, Claire Faulkner explained: “We are delighted to be launching the 2014 Show in our new home at Antrim Castle Gardens. The Show has grown and has many new elements this year. These gardens offer great space and superb facilities and the central location makes it accessible to a wide catchment area. The restoration work is simply breathtaking and we are excited and privileged to be working in partnership with Antrim Borough Council to present our 2014 Show in these stunning surroundings.”

Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Roderick Swann, added: “Hosting the garden show within Antrim Castle Gardens is a perfect fit and the beginning of what we hope will be a long partnership between Antrim Borough Council and Garden Show Ireland.

“This prestigious event will not only attract many visitors to the Borough from across Ireland, but will also provide an ideal opportunity to celebrate the restoration of this historic place.”

Reflecting the rise of the kitchen garden movement this year’s show will focus on ‘Grow your Own’ and the big attractions for 2014 will include a gardening double bill as BBC Gardeners’ World and kitchen garden expert, Alys Fowler will be on hand alongside world-renowned plantswoman, writer, lecturer and broadcaster Helen Dillon. Plus, River Cottage Head Chef and Head Gardener will share their passion for home grown produce and their drive for improving the eating habits of a nation as they host numerous demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Show Gardens will once again be a centre piece of the weekend and the introduction of a UTV Magazine Show Garden Design Competition is set to raise the bar for this year’s event.

The Show will also witness the debut of a specialist Garden Design Clinic organised by GLDA (the Garden Landscape Designers Association) offering free garden design ideas for visitors from qualified professional designers.

In addition, children of all ages will be encouraged to get involved with a dedicated Little Green Fingers zone for the youngest gardeners, Allianz Scarecrow Square created by primary schools from the integrated sector, the Edible Containers Competition for Primary School children and the Allianz Schools Garden Challenge for Secondary Schools.

The Team Challenge supported by The Enkalon Foundation will be encouraging community groups, charities, groups of friends and work colleagues to get their gardening gloves on and design and build a garden in a day. Green-fingered or beginner gardeners alike can enjoy browsing the many exhibitors’ stalls for creative gardening ideas and outdoor purchases.

Home-baked treats, fresh coffee, strawberries and cream and fizz on the lawn can all be enjoyed whilst listening to the Martello Jazz band and more.

Eddie Rowan, Events Manager at Northern Ireland Tourist Board, said: “NITB is pleased to sponsor Garden Show Ireland in its new home at Antrim Castle Gardens.

“I have personally attended the event in previous years and have always enjoyed the experience and the professional organisation of the show. We wish the organisers every success for 2014 and beyond at this stunning new location.”

The 2014 Garden Show Ireland will run from May 9-11 at Antrim Castle Gardens and is open daily from 10am to 6pm with parking adjacent. Admission for adults is £10 (concession £8) and the event is free for children under 16. There is a reduced rate for online booking. For more information visit

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Fine Living: Inspiring ideas in Sunset’s new ‘Western Garden Book’

Click photo to enlarge

NEED SOME FRESH garden inspiration? You can find some in Sunset’s latest edition of “Western Garden Book of Landscaping: The Complete Guide to Beautiful Paths, Patios, Planting and More” (416 pages, Oxmoor House, $29.95).

As with most Sunset publications, it’s replete with provocative tips and ideas, and cool designs augmented with excellent photographs. The gardens in this edition are especially bold and dramatic.

They range in locales as different as beach and desert, mountain and valley, with a Hawaiian island thrown in, and design elements seen in them include stylish fireplaces and fire pits, colorful walls, arbors and trellises, paths, patios, pools, sheds and tool storage.

“We designed this book to showcase the West’s hottest garden design today as well as to inspire and empower gardeners to create their outdoor dream spaces,” says Kathleen Brenzel, Sunset’s garden editor, in a press release, noting that a similar effect can be achieved by either a talented DIY-er or landscape professional.

There are three main components that set this edition apart from previous ones, including the last edition released six years ago:

• A focus on earth-friendly garden design highlighting permeable paving, use of recycled materials, recirculating water features, water-wise and native plants, and low-voltage lighting.

• Expert tips from both established and emerging garden professionals.

• Ideas and secrets from first-time gardeners who share their lessons from recent landscape remodel.

But then there is that Sunset sensibility of practicality and awareness that runs through every design. You can see it in the city sanctuary, an urban backyard retreat done on a small budget; a front-yard veggie garden; a simple Zen-like garden; a backyard meadow; a beachfront getaway that stands up to the winds and salt spray; small rooftop gardens; larger outdoor living “rooms” and a shade-producing Turkish-inspired lounge.

What’s new at Sloat

Every year, Sloat Garden Center has a winter get-together at its Kentfield store where new and established vendors set up display tables.

There’s always a taco bar and fun beverages to sample as staffers and local journalists browse the tables to see what’s in store for spring.

“It’s like a mini-convention,” explains longtime Sloat marketing manager Scott Peterson.

It allows store managers and team members from Sloat’s nine Bay Area stores to speak directly to many of the manufacturers, growers, designers and distributors of the products sold at Sloat.

Here are four new items soon to be on Sloat shelves:


DriWater: DriWater is a time-release gel pack that breaks down in the soil and percolates down to a plant or tree’s root zone at a consistent rate for a healthier plant. “They take the guesswork out of watering,” Peterson says. DriWater is made up of 98 percent water and 2 percent food grade ingredients, and one gel pack provides up to 30 days of constant watering. It’s ideal for houseplants when you’re away on vacation. A twin pack will cost about $5.


Environmental Factor Grub Nematodes: “This is a great, natural way to battle grubs in the lawn,” he says. “The nematodes have long-lasting effects and replace the need to use heavy synthetics that bad for our waterways.” The spray-on product is sprayed also claims to take care of flea infestations in the yard. $24.99.


Ecoscraps compost: “This is a great all-natural compost from (mostly local) fruits and veggies,” Peterson says. “A lot of customers are opposed to having manure in their compost and the guys behind the company have the right idea by recycling and reusing produce scraps. We throw away so much food in this country.” The compost costs $7.99 for a 1-cubic foot bag.


Epic Gopher Scram: “Gophers have become a problem in the Bay Area, destroying ornamentals, edibles and lawns,” he explains. “Many of our customers don’t want to trap them, which is our top recommendation, or poisoning them. “Epic Gopher Scram is organic, does not kill gophers but rather acts as a strong repellent that causes gopher food to taste bad, and their tunnels and surrounding soil to smell bad, but not to humans,” he says. It costs $21.99 for 3.5-pound container.

PJ Bremier may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at

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