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Archives for March 6, 2014

4 gardening tips for this spring

By David Scott
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Posted Feb. 28, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

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Posted by Carol Stocker, Globe garden expert, who will answer your questions live on line Thursday, March 6, 1-2 p.m….UNCANOONUC MT. PERENNIALS NAMED A 2014 “EDITORS’ CHOICE, HOME GARDEN AWARD” WINNER BY YANKEE MAGAZINE

Goffstown, NH, February 26, 2014 – Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials is one of my favorite New England nurseries. Nettie Rynearson, Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennial’s owner, does an outstanding job. Now it has been recognized as a 2014 “Editors’ Choice Home Garden Award” winner in Yankee Magazine’s March/April issue. This exclusive designation recognizes Yankee’s editors’ favorite New England home garden shops, public gardens, garden ornaments furniture, garden accessories, and restaurant gardens.

“There are few better ways to welcome spring’s arrival than with thoughts of growing things that bring beauty and nourishment to our lives,” says Yankee’s editor, Mel Allen. “Yankee’s “Home Garden Awards” serves as a guide for both new and experienced gardeners.”

“We are honored to be one of the eight New England nurseries included in the BEST NURSERIES category. And to have been singled out for our roses is very exciting. Yankee Magazine called us a rose lover’s paradise,” said Rynearson. “You’re invited to come experience the beauty for yourself.”

For 34 years Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials at 452 Mountain Road, has been growing healthy, hardy, low maintenance, ornamental plants. For the 2014 season, over 900 carefully selected varieties will be available, of which almost 100 varieties are roses. A park-like setting, with extensive display gardens, a fountain, a formal rose garden and 2½ acres of stock beds and potted plants, there’s something for everyone, gardeners and non-gardeners alike, to enjoy. For more information, see their website:, find them on Facebook or email them at

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Garden Tips

by Jack McKinnon

What is a garden anyway? Why do gardens make so much difference in our lives and why do we fall in love, raise our children and grow old together in them so much better than if we live our whole lives indoors?

Jack McKinnon, garden columnist. Photo by Nicholas Wright.

Gardens provide us with several things. They give us work to do that is different than any other work. They give us discovery and wonder. And they give us unparalleled beauty. We feel different in gardens than anywhere else in our lives. We feel relaxed on a warm spring day. We feel stimulated by the chores we need to do. We feel pride in sharing with someone special a garden they have never seen before. And we feel empowered when we learn a new plant or discover something horticultural that we didn’t know before.

I can’t take you all out into a garden and show you these things nor would you want me to. They are there for you to experience and learn and share. What I can do is to point in directions that may be new or different in your garden or future gardens you may visit. I hope you visit many gardens.

Here are the tips:

1.Note new growth. Often buds open and leaves emerge and we see them only when they are mature. Notice flower buds forming and tendrils on vines, looking at how they face the sun or wrap around a nearby branch.

2. Look closely at the soil around the base of plants. See where it is in relation to the trunk of shrubs and trees and even ground covers. I see so many plants die because this relationship is out of balance. Remember that the flare of the roots is where the soil should start, not up the trunk. Rake it back with your fingers or a trowel if it is too high.

3. Look at lawns (either yours or others) and see what is growing there. Often there are many more species of plants than grass.

4. Stroll a few new gardens each month. Visit community gardens, public gardens and parks with simply strolling and looking as the goal. This may seem odd in this day and age; that’s why I am suggesting it.

5. Challenge yourself to learn a plant and its application that nobody you know can identify. There are thousands. Try Half Moon Bay Nursery on Highway 92 on the way to Half Moon Bay.

6. Grow a miniature garden alongside your big garden sort of like your own secret garden. Escape to it to challenge yourself and your imagination. Maybe even write a fantasy story involving your secret garden.

7. Grow something edible that you don’t usually buy in the market. Do some research on what that might be and how to use it. I just finished reading Michael Pollan’s new book “Cooked” and am now braising as a new way to cook. I am also making sauerkraut and will take up baking again, this time with herbs I grow myself for a savory nuance.

8. Count petals, anthers and florets as a habit. One of the keys to plant identification is closely looking at flowers and noticing what is unique. Start looking at flowers in a different way.

9. Grow some water plants, or visit a water garden, pond or stream and observe the life that is created with aquatic plants. Hakone gardens in Saratoga has an amazing pond.

10. Try growing a few species of air plants. Tillandsia is in the Bromeliaceae family and lives on the surrounding air. Make an arrangement of some in the low branches of a tree or on a fence. Spritz with water once in a while and they will grow for years with little additional attention.

Good gardening.

Garden coach Jack McKinnon can be reached at 650-455-0687 (cell), by email at Visit his website.

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Tips for manure use on home gardens

If you are making plans to amend garden soil with manure prior to spring planting, be aware of safety recommendations for manure. The key point is that fresh manure should not be applied to fruit and vegetable gardens during spring. If fresh manure is used, only apply it during fall.

Animal manures often contain microorganisms that are harmful to humans, such as Salmonella and E. coli. For this reason, the use of fresh manure is not recommended in vegetable gardens, especially during spring, where microorganisms could contaminate food as it is grown and harvested.

Composted or aged manure, which has been allowed to sit and begin to break down for at least one year, is a better choice for vegetable gardens. If fresh manure must be used, do not add it to garden soil within 120 days of the next harvest.

On vegetables with soil contact (carrots, beets, potatoes), fresh manure applications need to be made at least four months prior to harvest. On other fruit and vegetable crops, fresh manure applications should be made at least three months prior to harvest.

Horse, cow, sheep, or poultry manure is fine to use, but do not use swine manure because of the higher potential for contaminants. When manure is used as a garden soil amendment, always wash hands after working in the garden and wash all produce prior to eating it.

Other disadvantages of manure include potential for salt build-up in soil, weed seed introduction, and possible burning of roots and foliage due to high ammonia. Burning is more likely with fresh manure, especially poultry manure, which should not be applied to gardens in spring. Following this safety rule will reduce the risk of burning.

Repeated or heavy applications of manure can lead to a salt-build-up in soils which can harm plant growth. Salt content may be high in fresh manure but will decrease over time with exposure to rains and irrigation which leach salts. Feedlot manure is often high in salts since a salt additive may be used in the livestock diet.

To help avoid salt problems, limit applications to one inch of composted manure per year tilled six to eight inches deep in the soil. If manure will be used as an amendment on a regular basis, test the soil for salt content before adding large amounts. Avoid use of manure on soils that are already high in salts.

Weed seeds will be introduced into the garden through manure. If weeds are well managed in a garden, and not allowed to go to seed, this should not be a major issue. If manure is composted prior to use, don’t assume weed seed will have been killed by this process. Weed seeds will only be killed if all seeds in the pile have been subjected to compost temperatures above 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

In place of manure from a local farm, bagged and composted manure is now available at garden centers. While more costly, composted and bagged manure has fewer odors. It may be easier to haul and store, and the composting process used for commercially bagged manure may be more likely to kill weed seeds.

However, salts can become concentrated during composting as moisture is lost and volume is reduced. Many bagged manure products can still be high in salts. Also keep in mind the nitrogen in composted manure is in an organic form that will be slowly released to plants. This is also true of aged manure right off the farm.

Source: Colorado State University Extension CMG Garden Notes 242.

Kelly Feehan is a UNL extension educator-horticulture. She can be reached at (402) 563-4901 or by email at

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Veggies to plant in the garden now: This week’s gardening tips – The Times

into your South Louisiana garden this month (frost-wary gardeners can wait until mid-March to start planting): cantaloupe, collards, corn, cucumbers, cucuzzi, lima beans, mustard, mirliton, pumpkin, radishes, snap beans, Southern peas, summer squash, Swiss chard, watermelons, winter squash. Plant transplants of the following: eggplant (late March), kohlrabi, peppers and tomatoes. Mirlitons are planted using…

Greater New Orleans

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Plant seeds of the following vegetables into your South Louisiana garden this month
(frost-wary gardeners can wait until mid-March to start planting):
cantaloupe, collards, corn, cucumbers, cucuzzi, lima beans, mustard,
mirliton, pumpkin, radishes, snap beans, Southern peas, summer squash,
Swiss chard, watermelons, winter squash. Plant transplants of the
following: eggplant (late March), kohlrabi, peppers and tomatoes.
Mirlitons are planted using the entire fruit with the sprouted end
buried in the soil about 3 inches deep.

More gardening tips:

  • Clean out your aquatic garden. It is advisable to do this if there is a thick layer of gunk on the bottom. It is best to get this done while the weather is cool, the plants are dormant and the fish are less active. Pond cleaning is the best time to divide and repot water and bog plants that are dormant or semi-dormant. Do not divide those in active growth, such as Louisiana irises and calla lilies.
  • Continue to plant roses purchased in containers. Bare root roses available at hardware stores, garden departments of chain stores and supermarkets should have been planted last month. They should be planted immediately at this point.
  • Make notes on your spring-flowering bulbs over the next few weeks while they are blooming. Record when they bloom, how well they performed and other relevant information. This will help you plan for planting this coming fall.

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Garden designers bring home the gold

Earlier this month, viewers enjoyed manicured lawns, multicolored garden spaces and internationally sourced antiques inside Music City Center at the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville.

Now, for the first time in the show’s 24-year history, the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville has presented several designers with the Garden Awards.

The awards honor the local designers who created the gardens at this year’s show: Anne Daigh, Phillipe Chadwick, Todd Breyer, Josiah Lockard and design teams from Poise Ivy and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.

From contemporary designs with clean lines and modern pieces to fanciful outdoor rooms with glass table waterfalls and twinkling lights, the designers offered various perspectives on interior design and landscape architecture during the three-day event.

Kathi Gilleland and Brian Gilleland of Poise Ivy took home the Outdoor Living Award as well as the People’s Choice Award with their garden, which had a garden-to-table theme. The pair combined three distinct rooms: a growing room, a cooking area and a space to entertain and eat, staged with bottles of wine and centerpieces.

Kathi Gilleland described her take on gardening and design, saying, “A garden is the purest form of joy, nourishing the soul and body, and inspiring one to live simply, live healthy … live well.”

Landscape architect Anne Daigh earned the Bryant Fleming Award for Best of Show with slick design elements, blending horticulture and ingenuity.

“We created The Modern Scalene. In this garden, the juxtaposition of modern, streamlined shapes and forms against soft, weathered and whimsical elements work together to create an alluring destination of peace, harmony and balance,” Daigh said.

Cheekwood is a beneficiary of the show, so its garden was for exhibition only and was not eligible for awards.

Since its founding, the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville has raised $5.5 million for Cheekwood, as well as many Nashville charities supported by the Economic Club of Nashville, such as Big Brothers of Nashville, Fannie Mae Battle Home for Children, Martha O’Bryan Center, the W.O. Smith Music School and the YWCA of Nashville.

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THE FRAGRANT GARDEN: Designing a garden to share with neighbors – Austin American

When we walk and drive the streets of our small towns, or even outlying areas, many of us notice when our neighbors have made an effort to share their gardens with us. It might be as simple as a vine on the mailbox, an arbor over the entrance to the front walk or unobstructed views into the garden itself.

I am working with a couple, new to the area, who live in the burned area off SH 71 near McAllister Road, east of Bastrop. Fortunately their home and all but the back 30 feet of their nearly one-acre lot was spared from the fire, but much of the landscape has suffered greatly in the recent drought. I am working with them to restore the Post Oak Savannah landscape to its former glory (and more), and with an eye on creating a garden both they and their neighbors can enjoy.

They do not have sidewalks in their locale, but we have made an attempt to dress up the area along the road as an “offering to the street.” There will be three Parsley Hawthorne (Crataegus marshalii) trees, native to the Post Oak Savannah (which do well in an under-story setting) scattered along the driveway at the road to driveway entrance. In spring, their white apple-blossom like flowers will show against the existing Post Oaks and Yaupon and their small parsley-like leaves will turn red/orange/yellow in fall.

Across the rest of the front 180 feet, we will add a mix of American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) shrubs and Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus drummondii) under the existing trees for blooms from spring to fall and brightly colored berries in autumn. At the other end of the front property line, we’ve place a double wide parking pad of gravel edged with limestone blocks. Surrounding the pad will be planted Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and Mexican Feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima) and it will continue to adorn (at intervals) the flagstone in sand pathway that climbs to the front door. We are also adding a couple of Sour Gum or Tupelo trees (Nyssa sylvatica) to provide shade and autumn color over the parking area. These are native to the Post Oak Savannah, but need a little supplemental water here in the heat of summer.

The next feature that will provide a connection with the homeowners and the passing road is a roughly circular small patio at the connection of this (distant parking pad) pathway and the pathway from the driveway to the front door. It won’t be large; only big enough to fit a small round table and a few chairs, but allow the clients to see (and be seen) by those passing by. Many old Texas farmhouses had large front porches, but they are seldom seen in more modern stone abodes such as this one. This was our solution to the problem.

In a small town or city setting, providing shade trees over the sidewalk is a neighborly thing to offer those walking by. It also creates a more favorable climate for any plantings in the parking strip, which can often be insufferably hot and dry otherwise. Another option that will allow for plantings that can show to the street is to set the fence and gate back a few feet from the property line or sidewalk. Here the fence may be lower, perhaps only 2-feet high, allowing views to more extensive plantings close to the house. In my 1910 California bungalow in Menlo Park, I planted some low/cascading shrub roses in front of a low white picket fence as an offering to the street.

Creating a wide walkway, and planting the sides with a variety of low shrubs or perennials, will lead visitors (both visually and transitionally) to the front door. Providing landscape lighting (soft and somewhat hidden … not the airport landing pad variety) will welcome visitors at night. Fixtures should be placed evenly so that there are no light/dark areas and both young and elderly will find a safe path to the doorway.

Finally, planting the foundation and area to the sides of the entrance will draw the eye to your door and perhaps provide a fragrant experience for those passing by. Shrubs such as Myrtle (Myrtus spp.), Roses, White Mistflower (Agaratina havenense), Honeysuckle bush or vine (Lonicera spp.), Cherry Sage (Salvia greggii cvs.) or perennials such as culinary herbs can provide fragrance in flower or foliage on the way to the front or side door. With a little thought in terms of landscape design, the exterior of your home can be a pleasure to both you and your neighbors.

Please address any questions or suggestions you might have for me by visiting my website and clicking on the “CONTACT” tab.”

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14th Annual Lakes Area Home and Garden Show perfect for homeowners

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Anyone who’s been thinking of sprucing up the home as spring approaches should head to a long-running event in White County the weekend of March 8 and 9.

The 14th Annual Lakes Area Home and Garden Show will be held at the Best Western Plus Brandywine Inn Suites in Monticello. The event is free and open to the public.

More than 90 businesses will be on hand to help homeowners with ideas ranging from landscaping to construction.

When appearing on News 18 This Morning, Ashley Baker of Best Western Plus Brandywine said attendees can enter to win a grand prize of a fire pit and patio set.

The home and garden show is sponsored by WMRS Radio. WMRS spokeswoman Brandi Page said visitors may be surprised at how elaborate some of the vendors’ booths are.

The event is Saturday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can find more information here.

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Fishing for ideas

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New home and garden show coming to Hutto

The City of Hutto recently announced a new event in Hutto this spring: the Central Texas Home and Garden Show. Mark your calendars for May 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when downtown Hutto will have vendors offering products and services as well as new ideas and general information related to home, gardening, remodeling, and home décor.

Hutto Downtown Manager Kim McAuliffe said the event was planned to benefit new homeowners with features to enhance their new homes. Existing homeowners will also get new ideas for landscaping with native plants and new decorating items.

“The city thought with so many new homeowners in our region, they might enjoy a show with features to enhance their new homes. Plus, with the rich agricultural background of Hutto and the many groups in the area that have knowledge on how to improve the landscape of a home, we thought it would be nice to give them and other businesses a chance to share what they know with the public,” McAuliffe said.

Master Gardener Patsy Bredahl has been arranging speakers. Trained volunteers from the Texas Master Gardeners association of Williamson County, Williamson County Native Plant Society and Williamson County’s Good Water Chapter Master Naturalists will present educational sessions and demonstrations.

Possible topics include “From the Ground Up” by a Native Plant Society member about starting a garden beginning with the soil. “Butterfly Talk,” “Attracting Birds to your Backyard,” and “Wildlife habitats” will emphasize how landscaping and feeders can attract interesting birds and butterflies to your yard.

Speakers will also tackle rainwater harvesting, composting, home safety and home management.

All educational programs are free and inside one of the buildings on East Street. There are also plans for a children’s activity area with hands-on activities.

“It is our hope that they will enjoy learning about different techniques and recommendations for improving their home or garden. Plus, with the farmers market kicking off on the same day, it makes for an excellent change to get fresh produce, plants and foods grown locally in our region,” McAuliffe added.

The weekly farmers market will also kick off its season at 9 a.m. on May 10. Local farmers and gardeners will bring fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, and plants to sell. It is an opportunity for people to market the bounty of their gardening efforts or to buy nutritious and fresh grown produce.

“The event is free and open to the public. With the generous support of our sponsors and the vendors that participate we are able to keep admission and the educational sessions free. The vendors and shops will be selling merchandise which provides the perfect time to find some of the unique items you want for your home and garden,” McAuliffe continued.

Applications for arts and crafts, and food vendors, are available online at

This is a juried show for products related to home and garden only. It will be an ideal place to shop for home décor, kitchen and bath, birdhouses and gardening items. In addition, stores in Hutto will be open with their home décor and antiques.

Mother’s Day is May 11, providing event attendees the chance to shop local and support Hutto’s business community. This event is expected to attract visitors and shoppers to downtown Hutto.

If the event is successful it could become an annual event.

“We would like to invite the entire community to come enjoy the day in beautiful downtown Hutto. We hope you learn a lot, shop to support our local small businesses and enjoy the day. Stay up-to-date with day-to-day details by ‘liking’ the Downtown Hutto Facebook page,” she said.

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