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Archives for May 20, 2014

Popular Educators Set to Retire

A popular and respected couple in Moore County education have announced their joint retirement at the end of the current school year.

West Pine Middle School Principal Candace Turk and her husband, Southern Pines Elementary counselor David Turk, are retiring after six years of service each to the school system. David Turk will end his duties in June, with his wife to follow in July.

“I have really mixed feelings about leaving Moore County Schools,” said Candace Turk, who assumed the principal’s position at West Pine in 2008. “I love the teachers, the parents and the children, and while I’m sad to go I feel really good about what’s happening here at West Pine Middle. I know that the staff will carry on and do an incredible job no matter who is in the principal’s position.” 

The Turks came to Moore County in 2008 after leaving Duplin County Schools, where Candace was the assistant superintendent for Human Resources and Operations for two years. Prior to that she was Duplin County Schools’ director of human resources, and served as the principal of East Duplin High School in Beulaville from 2004 to 2005. She was voted Duplin County Principal of the Year for the 2003-2004 school year.

“At the beginning of my career I wanted to be a teacher, and I worked in the classroom for awhile, but there came a time that because of what I saw in the schools that I knew I could make a bigger impact in administration,” she said. “I miss the classroom, and I will miss the one-on-one moments with students that I was sometimes able to do as principal.”

Turk said that she would like to return to a school environment part-time in order to assist first-year teachers in adjusting to what can be a “difficult and demanding” profession.

“One essential element that I think first-year teachers have to remember is that all decisions have to be based on what is best for the students, not the teacher,” she said. “Not only in the classroom, but everything associated with the school has to be for them.

“Most first-year teachers have a real passion for their jobs, but not all grasp this essential point. I would encourage those teachers to ask themselves questions, and to give themselves time. They should also remember that if they want their students to succeed, they need to get to know those students.”

David Turk described his work as a school counselor at Southern Pines Elementary School as the “fourth career” of his life.

“I am from a farming family in upstate New York and consider that as my first career, and later I became an ordained minister,” he said. “The ministry sent me to Greenville, North Carolina to coordinate activities, which is where I was living when I met Candace.”

The couple married in 1976, and after 15 years in the ministry David decided to make a career change.

“I worked on a dairy farm as a kid, and I thought that experience would translate to running a successful landscaping business,” he said. “Candace and I moved to the Burlington area and managed this until 1990, when we moved to Greene County and earned our advanced degrees at ECU. She obtained a doctorate in education while I received a master’s degree in counseling followed by an education specialist’s degree in the same field.”

Colleagues of the two expressed both sadness and well wishes about the couple’s pending departure.

“David is a quiet worker, someone who doesn’t seek fanfare for what he does, and he works quietly from the heart,” said Southern Pines Elementary School Principal Marcy Cooper. “He prepares the yearbook each time, he does a slideshow in our office, and wants to do what he can for everyone.

“We will miss him a lot, but hope he and and his wife have a great time in retirement.”

Barbara Levin, an AIG teacher at West Pine Middle School, expressed similar sentiments about Candace Turk.

“She has been wonderful to work for, and one of the great characteristics about Ms. Turk is that she believes in the potential of every student and every teacher here,” she said. “West Pine Middle School is a great place for a student to be, and Ms. Turk has done a fabulous job at creating a culture that is responsive to individual students’ needs in order to capitalize on that to bring out the best in everyone.

“She has also empowered the teachers here, in part by being a leader who is willing to advocate new ideas if there is a good rationale for doing so. I don’t forsee this culture that she has fostered going away, even after she has retired.”

The Turks “absolutely” have plans after retirement, Candace said.

“We have a fifth wheel camper waiting for us in upstate New York, and we are going to tour New England and then see our children, who are in Texas, Montana and Nicaragua,” she said.

David said that despite their travels, home will still be waiting.

“We anticipate having Moore County remain our home,” he said. “Having been raised on a farm, I’ll probably spend a lot of time outdoors. I probably won’t start another business, though. Since a business can run you, rather than the reverse, at 66 I’d prefer not having that kind of responsibility.”

Article source: http://www.thepilot.com/news/popular-educators-set-to-retire/article_9bd69dd6-e02b-11e3-953a-0017a43b2370.html

Dead wood? Officials consider new uses for cut-down trees

Gone but perhaps not forgotten — that’s the root of an idea under consideration by Tree Board.

Following removal of towering trees that lined the driveway into Longshore Club Park in January, the question was raised by some members of the last Tree Board about where that wood was going to go.

Now the board, which has new members appointed by First Selectman Jim Marpe, are joining with recently named Tree Warden Bruce Lindsay to consider options for repurposing the logs. One suggestion from Lindsay is to seek ideas from a business that creates furnishings and other objects from the wood of historic and noteworthy trees.

“City Bench is a company based in Higganum, Connecticut, that builds hand-crafted furniture and other art objects from revered trees,” said Susan LeDonne, the board’s new chairwoman. “These guys are artisans.”

While she stressed that discussion is in its early stages, the hope is that wood from some of those trees could not only be given to townspeople for firewood or other uses, but that some pieces could be crafted into benches or other objects. These, in turn, could be displayed in town buildings, or possibly auctioned to help raise money for the town to purchase new trees.

“We still have a lot of details and we’d still like to figure out a lot of things, (but) I think it’s a great idea,” LeDonne said.

“It’s really recycling when you come down to it,” she said, noting that if a tree is not particularly noteworthy it could be made available as firewood, while “where it’s really an important tree, and people want in some way to remember it or memorialize it, people can have it made into something.”

“Although the Tree Board cannot fund the purchasing of hand-crafted furniture, it is investigating opportunities to gain funding through private donations, etcetera,” she said.

Following the removal of trees along Main Street at the end of 2012, the part-time tree warden and town came under fire. Part of the issue was the apparent failure to follow procedures by the Downtown Merchants Association in moving forward with the project.

That, in turn, led the Tree Board and then-First Selectman Gordon Joseloff to seek extra funds for the Department of Public Works budget to expand the tree warden position to full time. Lindsay was named to the post last November.

As the newly named Tree Board members move forward, part of their mission is to address concerns that engulfed municipal tree care — or lack of it — in recent years.

“We have many amazing programs that the Tree Board and my office are working on,” said Lindsay. “Most of them are in their infancy, though, and we don’t have a lot of data to support our efforts yet.”

“Bruce, the new tree warden, is really on top of things,” said Ed Picard, vice chairman of the Tree Board.

“There’s been a lot of criticism about trees that were taken down in the past,” he said. “Bruce’s goal is to plant 100 new trees this year,” he said, and the board intends to try to help find funding to make that happen.

“It’s about keeping Westport green,” Picard said.

“He’s going to do a lot of positive, good things,” LeDonne said of Lindsay. “I think instead of all this negative stuff that’s been going on these last few years, this is a chance to turn it around.”

Article source: http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Dead-wood-Officials-consider-new-uses-for-5491306.php

Local small-business owners share ideas to build their businesses

In honor of National Small Business Week, Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked owners to share what federal, state or local government officials could do to make it easier for them to start or run a small business. This is what they said.

• “They need to partner with larger companies in an effort to provide local publishable events that are free for entrepreneurs and small businesses (and) are a catalyst for professional knowledge sharing, nonmonetary partnerships and education,” said Michael Georgiou, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Imaginovation, a website and software development and design firm in Raleigh. “In turn, this collaboration of talent and services will grow every business, even the large companies that government officials partner with for each event.”

• “Most small businesses have unique challenges that vary by industry and/or by revenue size but do not have the luxury of lobbyist support,” said Kimberly Lewey, co-owner of Lewey Landscaping LawnCare, a residential and commercial landscaping company in Raleigh. “A panel or committee of the typical North Carolina small-business owners meeting with local and/or state legislators would help keep the focus directed on small businesses rather than who is making the most noise.”

• “In 2012 and 2013, as a small business we were able to benefit greatly from the Small Business Tax credit,” said Danielle Thompson, chief executive officer of Thompson Digital Holdings, a short message marketing, mobile app and website development firm in Cary. “In 2014 this has expired and makes it harder for a small business to grow and invest based on the new tax changes. … Seeing this tax credit return in the future would greatly benefit us as a company.”

• “If North Carolina has a healthy arts budget, then my arts-based business is more likely to succeed. I’ll see more opportunities in programs, grants and services,” said Alice Osborn, owner of Write from the Inside Out, a Raleigh business that provides editing, writing and speaking services. “As an arts educator who works with many local and state nonprofits … it’s important that I advocate with local and state legislators for a fair N.C. Arts Council budget. After all, we are the ‘Creative State’ and strong arts funding produces smarter students, skilled jobs and cultural tourism.”

Article source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/05/19/3869577/local-small-business-owners-share.html

Great nurseries on Long Island

Johanna Saltiel, 3 of Plainview, takes in some(Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Johanna Saltiel, 3 of Plainview, takes in some spring flowers at Hicks Nurseries on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 in Westbury.

Originally published: May 19, 2014 11:45 AM
Updated: May 19, 2014 2:37 PM

These Long Island nurseries have everything from healthy shrubs and pretty perennials to gardening supplies and backyard decor.

Van Bourgondien Nursery


(Credit: Van Bourgondien Nursery via Facebook)

833 Deer Park Rd., Dix Hills

Started by a family with roots in Holland horticulture, Van Bourgondien Nursery has grown into a full-service nursery and garden store with a unique supply of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and soils. They also sell gifts, pottery, garden decor and supplies for gardening and ponds.
More on Van Bourgondien Nursery

Dee’s Nursery


(Credit: Dee’s Nursery)

69 Atlantic Ave., Oceanside

Family owned since 1958, Dees is a great place to pick up flowers, gardening supplies and vegetables, which include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, a full selection of herbs and more. You can also shop for your garden at home using the nursery’s online store.
More on Dee’s Nursery

Peconic River Herb Farm


(Credit: Peconic River Herb Farm via Facebook)

2749 River Rd. Calverton

The specialty retail plant nursery and scenic 14-acre riverfront gardens features herb, vegetable, and flower seedlings; trees, shrubs, herbs, spice blends, and hot sauce. The garden shop sells unique decor and refurbished vintage garden and home furniture.
More on Peconic River Herb Farm

Hicks Nurseries


(Credit: Hicks Nurseries, Inc. via Facebook)

100 Jericho Tpke. Westbury

Selling a huge selection of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, water and bog plants, gardening supplies, tools, home decor and outdoor furninture, Hicks Nurseries also commemorates the seasons with special events, beginning with its annual Flower Garden Show every March. The 10-day show attracts hundreds of visitors daily and features temporarily erected garden vignettes, cooking demonstrations, gardening lectures and presentations and special appearances. Visitors also can bring soil samples for testing by master gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County; the master gardeners also are on hand during the show to answer questions and offer advice.
More on Hicks Nurseries

Bloomin Haus Nursery


(Credit: Bloomin Haus Nursery via Facebook)

816 Waverly Ave., Holtsville

This expansive nursery encompasses both sides of Waverly Avenue. It has home-grown vegetables, a wide variety flowers, more than an acre of perennials and entire greenhouses dedicated to specific plants. It is also home to a garden shop, petting zoo, gazebos and waterfalls.
More on Bloomin Haus Nursery

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Atlantic Nursery



(Credit: Barbara Alper)

250 Atlantic Ave., Freeport

Family-owned and operated since 1929, Atlantic Nursery is a full-service nursery and garden shop with 2.5 acres of trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and tropical plants. They also sell gardening tools, gift baskets and garden decor and offer landscaping services.
More on Atlantic Nursery

Martin Viette Nurseries



(Credit: Martin Viette Nurseries)

6050 Northern Blvd. East Norwich

This full-service garden center offers landscaping, indoor and outdoor plants, gardening tools and accents on its 42 acres. They also host lectures and workshops for kids.
More on Martin Viette Nurseries

Dodds Eder



(Credit: Proven Winners)

11 Bridge St. Sag Harbor and 221 South St. Oyster Bay

Dodds and Eder is stocked with annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and is staffed by knowledgeable garden consultants. They also have landscaping services, garden ornaments and statues, gardening tools, bird feeders, patio furniture and more.
More on Dodds Eder (Sag Harbor); More on Dodds Eder (Oyster Bay)

Article source: http://long-island.newsday.com/shopping/great-nurseries-on-long-island-1.8067833

Photo by David Speckman

If you’re renovating in or relocating to Northern Michigan and need a little outdoor inspiration, there are two words for you: Bob Drost. Drost, Northern Michigan’s landscaping legend, teamed up with his family, his crew and a slew of longtime colleagues, to build this Northern Michigan home for the ages on the shores of Lake Charlevoix.  The following home profile was first featured in the April 2014 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.


Charlevoix homeFor the sixth year in a row, Petoskey-based landscaper Bob Drost brought home a Grand Award from the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association industry competition in January. His first place entry, for the “design and installation over $30,000” category, was a rock vignette that encompasses a rock garden and a steamy rock pool that sits below a fireplace set into the rock wall. It all blends into the landscape naturally; as if a glacier melted and left it behind.

This emphasis on rock in landscape design is Bob’s signature style. He’s been enamored with rocks as long as he remembers—an innate fascination fostered by his childhood in Charlevoix, a town famous for its mid-1900s whimsical stone homes designed by local architect Earl Young. The first time, years ago, that someone told Bob that one of his stone designs was reminiscent of Young’s style, Bob recalls nearly busting a button. Since then, Bob has gone on to hone his own style manifest in man-made streams, gardens, outdoor fireplaces and elaborate outdoor living areas—all set into some of the finest properties in Northern Michigan.

NHC0414_DROST-18Not surprisingly, the handsome home Bob and his wife, Diane, built for themselves on Lake Charlevoix has an emphasis on stone—300 tons of it. “That’s 30 truckloads,” Drost says, with a trace of awe in his voice. From two fireplaces crafted from massive Lake Huron boulders and built by the Drosts’ son Dustin to the foundation, to the rock slabs that lead to the breakwall, rock stars in the Drost home.

While Drost acted as his own contractor, he and Diane hired Mapleridge Construction to do the framing, siding and trim. The couple turned to Jill Rowley of Glennwood Custom Builders and Interiors to design the home. Since Bob and Jill have worked together on a number of projects, the Drosts knew she could help them capture the feel they wanted of a venerable, early 1900s cottage. The finished product is a tan-trimmed-in-black shingle-style home with Craftsman accents. In keeping with the lot size, the home is not massive—though anchored in stone and rising three levels, it feels very substantial.

On the interior, elements like carefully crafted woodwork, oiled white oak floors with a French bleed accent and formal cabinetry combine to parlay the feeling of a fine cottage with Victorian and Craftsmen influences. The home exudes careful detail, right down to old-fashioned cast iron pipes the Drosts opted for because of the way they block the sound of water rushing through them.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the construction process was the way Bob’s longtime friends in the Northern Michigan construction business took a personal interest in the home. Builder and woodworker Andre Poineau made it a point to drop by from time to time to check on the process, following up with suggestions for Bob. Jeff Collins of Glennwood Builders provided guidance and painting. The couple found a deal on the stunning cabinetry thanks to a tip. “It was exactly what I’d wanted,” says Diane.

Click the images to enlarge; press “Escape” on the keyboard to exit full-screen:

The rest of this home’s story is about how Bob’s talented landscaping crew (that includes his son Dustin) did a large part of the actual homebuilding. Bob still marvels at the way his crew managed complicated tasks like installing the 100 galvanized pilings that the home sits on and fashioning a barrel vault in the ceiling of the master bedroom to mimic the shape of a window that arches over a picture-perfect view of Lake Charlevoix.

The Drosts have been in the home for two years—time filled with small, daily luxuries like going to sleep in a bedroom that feels as if it’s floating over Lake Charlevoix; Sunday breakfasts at a table situated so that the waterscape seems to pour out across the window; watching the annual Boyne Thunder high-performance boating event from their balcony. It’s probably no surprise that a home created by a cast of people who have mostly spent their entire lives around Lake Charlevoix embraces its setting in such a comfortable, classic way. This home built on rock, lives very well indeed.


More Northern Home Cottage

Article source: http://mynorth.com/2014/05/charlevoix-home-with-stunning-stone-landscaping/

Letter: Spreading the word about desert landscaping

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Article source: http://www.desertsun.com/story/opinion/readers/2014/05/20/letter-desert-horticultural-society-mary-silverman/9313739/

Gardening: Tips for high yields in a small or thirsty garden

How can you get the most yield from a garden where space is limited, and water is too?

Plant smart, and pay attention to the soil.


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“Your garden is only as good as your soil,” says David Salman, chief horticulturist at High Country Gardens, a Santa Fe, N.M., catalog that specializes in native and low-water plants.

Find out what nutrients your soil has — and what it’s missing — with a soil test, available through local cooperative extension offices at a nominal fee (home soil-test kits are less reliable, according to the Colorado State University Extension).

Encourage plant health by fertilizing with natural, organic fertilizers, which include fish emulsion and liquid seaweed, says Salman. Limit the use of chemical fertilizers because they don’t help build the soil.

“You will have more nutritionally complete vegetables if you have healthy soil,” he promises.

One trick Salmon recommends, especially for gardeners living in new housing developments, is adding a soil inoculant called mycorrhiza, a beneficial fungi. It’s found naturally in healthy soil, but often needs to be added to a new garden.

“New gardens in new subdivisions, their soil is scraped off as part of construction,” says Salman. “You need to put beneficial fungi back in.”

Peas, beans and soybeans could benefit from legume inoculants, which are species-specific (a soybean inoculant cannot be used to improve peas’ growth). Read product labels carefully or ask your gardening center for assistance.

“Your beans will do OK (without it), but if you really want to crank out the beans, you can do that with the inoculant,” says Salman. “It’s kind of a ‘grandma’s secret’ to growing great beans.”


Plants that can offer high yields with low watering include leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach; beans, snow peas and sugar snap peas; and some varieties of cucumbers and squash, he says. Plant vining beans and peas if you have space or can grow them up a fence or trellis; plant bush beans and peas in large pots if space is limited.

Sarah J. Browning, an extension educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggests planting radishes, carrots, peppers, zucchini and summer squash for summertime bounty. Peppers grow well in dry conditions, says Browning, and root crops such don’t need frequent watering.

“If you watered them well and then mulched them, I think you could get a crop with fairly small amounts of water input,” she says.

Plant radishes early in the season or in part shade, and mulch them and other plants to retain moisture and combat weeds.

Browning recommends the cherry tomato cultivar Sun Gold and the slicers Big Beef and Celebrity as great-tasting high producers. Also look for disease-resistant tomato varieties, which are easier to grow. Browning refers tomato lovers to Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences Extension’s “Tomato Report 2011,” which lists the best varieties in its tomato trials.

Melissa Ozawa, a features editor for gardening at Martha Stewart Living magazine, recommends growing okra and Swiss chard; both are heat- and drought-tolerant. Melons also can handle less water once established because of their deep root systems, she says.

Not all vegetables grow well in all regions, so read seed packets, matching days to maturation to your region’s growing season, Salman advises.

“One of the big problems with horticulture in this country is everyone tries to be one-size-fits-all, and this is just too big of a continent to do that,” he says. “You don’t want to grow a 120-day watermelon in Denver. They can grow those in Texas, but the maturation period in Denver is much shorter.”

Prolific, water-wise herbs include basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary, says Browning.

Salman offers space-saving planting tips for herbs: Plant lavender and oregano along the dryer edges of your garden, since they’re the most heat-tolerant, and plant Greek oregano and dill, plus annual herbs such as basil and cilantro, among the root vegetables.

Try growing perennials such as rosemary, English thyme, tarragon and lavender in your ornamental beds. They don’t require your vegetable garden’s mineral-rich soil, says Salman.

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Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment2/57962393-223/says-soil-garden-salman.html.csp

Tips on growing your own tea garden

Master Gardener Ellyn Pelikan shares some advice for aspiring tea gardeners:

Mints: Shade to semi-shade, loose moist soil. Mints are rampant growers, so consider growing them in pots.

Lemon Verbena: Shrub grows to 5 feet. Likes sun, light, well-drained soil. Makes a nice hot or iced tea.

Pineapple Sage: Likes sun or semi-shade and drier soil. It’s not fussy and grows to 2 feet tall. Produces red blossoms. Great for iced tea. Add a spear of pineapple and a tall iced tea spoon.

Rosemary: Likes sun and loose soil. Requires little water once established. Shrubby and very hardy. Great winter tea with a splash of milk, honey and crushed fennel seeds.

Tea garden tips

Try mixing different herbs together. If the scents mingle well, so will the flavors.

A splash of fruit juice turns an herb tea into an herb punch.

Perfect cup of tea

1. Fill a kettle with fresh clean water and begin to heat.

2. Pour hot water into a china, stoneware, or glass teapot to preheat it.

3. Once the pot is warmed, pour hot water out and add herbs of your choice.

4. When kettle comes to a rolling boil remove from heat, pour over herbs in teapot and let steep 3-7 minutes or to taste.

5. Stir tea in pot before pouring. Add honey, sugar and milk to taste. Don’t use cream as it can curdle some brews.

The tea table

Cover your table with a crisp pretty cloth and add a small vase of flowers. Use your best cups, plates and silverware, including a sugar shell, sugar tongs and tiny milk pitcher.

BEST PLANTS FOR AN HERBAL TEA GARDEN

Master Gardener Janet Barocco offers her choices:

Mints (Mentha spp): spearmint, peppermint, chocolate, orange, apple, “Mojito,” Kentucky, Bergamot. Mint can be invasive. Best to grow in containers.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): If allowed to flower, reseeds freely in garden.

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) Frost tender; dies back in winter but re-emerges in spring (in Sonoma County) if mulched well. Good in containers, too. Makes great hot or iced tea.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus): Frost tender. Best grown in pots and taken indoors in winter.

Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita): Dry the daisy-like flowers.

Anise hyssop (Agastache Foeniculum): Licorice flavor/ leaves. Pretty blue flower attracts bees.

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana): Sweetener. Frost tender. Grow in pots and move to protected area in winter.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans): Leaf has fruity flavor

Rosa spp: Rose petals, fresh or dried. Dried rose hips add color, tartness and Vitamin C.

Violets (Viola odorata)

Lavender (Lavanduala spp)

Ginger (Zingiber): Can grow in containers, but needs heat and is very frost tender. Buy organically grown and use it fresh.

Article source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140516/lifestyle/140519727

Garden Tips: Keep spring flowering shrubs blooming with pruning

Last weekend, I took advantage of the weather to prune my forsythia that was crowding plants. I hadn’t pruned it much for the past two years, and it was becoming unruly. It put on a beautiful show of blooms this spring, but I knew that if I didn’t remove some of the old wood, it probably would not have as many flowers next year.

My approach was to remove one-third to one-fourth of the older (thickest stems with side shoots) stems down to the ground. A healthy forsythia is a vigorous shrub that sends up new stems each year that bloom the following spring. Removal of the oldest stems should be done after flowering because the buds for next spring are formed on the new wood by early summer. Pruning later in the season or in winter will reduce the flower display the following year.

A weigela was one of the plants being crowded by the forsythia. I planted it in early summer two years ago, and initially it benefitted from the shade the forsythia provided, but now it needs more light. I also have two mature weigela shrubs elsewhere in my landscape.

One of these weigelas is Wine and Roses, with dark burgundy leaves and dark pink flowers. It has prospered, but now it has become bedraggled, and there are dead twigs and branches throughout. Since weigelas are prone to winter dieback, this may have been caused by the cold snap last fall. The dieback could also be related to the increasing amount of shade provided by two trees on that side of the yard. Weigelas do best in full sun and will become straggly if planted in shade or crowded by other plants.

Perhaps I should remove it and plant a more shade tolerant shrub, but I think I will see if I can revitalize it first. As soon as it is finished blooming, I will prune out the thickest, oldest stems along with any of dead branches and twigs. To shape it, I will prune back any overly long stems to a side branch, being sure not to remove more than one-third of the stem.

Most other multistemmed spring-flowering deciduous shrubs are also pruned after flowering. This is because they too flower on wood produced the previous growing season. These shrubs include forsythia, weigela, lilac, viburnum, honeysuckle, mock orange, Nanking cherry, flowering quince, white-flowered spireas, beautybush and deutzia.

Also, don’t forget to deadhead the spent flowers or seed-heads from the stems you don’t remove. This will give the shrub a tidier appearance and allow its energy to go into plant growth rather than seed development.

— Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/05/16/5156143/garden-tips-keep-spring-flowering.html

Tips for high yields in a small or thirsty garden

How can you get the most yield from a garden where space is limited, and water is too?

Plant smart, and pay attention to the soil.

“Your garden is only as good as your soil,” says David Salman, chief horticulturist at High Country Gardens, a Santa Fe, N.M., catalog that specializes in native and low-water plants.

Find out what nutrients your soil has — and what it’s missing — with a soil test, available through local cooperative extension offices at a nominal fee (home soil-test kits are less reliable, according to the Colorado State University Extension).

Encourage plant health by fertilizing with natural, organic fertilizers, which include fish emulsion and liquid seaweed, says Salman. Limit the use of chemical fertilizers because they don’t help build the soil.

“You will have more nutritionally complete vegetables if you have healthy soil,” he promises.

One trick Salmon recommends, especially for gardeners living in new housing developments, is adding a soil inoculant called mycorrhiza, a beneficial fungi. It’s found naturally in healthy soil, but often needs to be added to a new garden.

“New gardens in new subdivisions, their soil is scraped off as part of construction,” says Salman. “You need to put beneficial fungi back in.”

Peas, beans and soybeans could benefit from legume inoculants, which are species-specific (a soybean inoculant cannot be used to improve peas’ growth). Read product labels carefully or ask your gardening center for assistance.

“Your beans will do OK (without it), but if you really want to crank out the beans, you can do that with the inoculant,” says Salman. “It’s kind of a ‘grandma’s secret’ to growing great beans.”

Plants that can offer high yields with low watering include leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach; beans, snow peas and sugar snap peas; and some varieties of cucumbers and squash, he says. Plant vining beans and peas if you have space or can grow them up a fence or trellis; plant bush beans and peas in large pots if space is limited.

Sarah J. Browning, an extension educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggests planting radishes, carrots, peppers, zucchini and summer squash for summertime bounty. Peppers grow well in dry conditions, says Browning, and root crops such don’t need frequent watering.

“If you watered them well and then mulched them, I think you could get a crop with fairly small amounts of water input,” she says.

Plant radishes early in the season or in part shade, and mulch them and other plants to retain moisture and combat weeds.

Browning recommends the cherry tomato cultivar Sun Gold and the slicers Big Beef and Celebrity as great-tasting high producers. Also look for disease-resistant tomato varieties, which are easier to grow. Browning refers tomato lovers to Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences Extension’s “Tomato Report 2011,” which lists the best varieties in its tomato trials.

Melissa Ozawa, a features editor for gardening at Martha Stewart Living magazine, recommends growing okra and Swiss chard; both are heat- and drought-tolerant. Melons also can handle less water once established because of their deep root systems, she says.

Not all vegetables grow well in all regions, so read seed packets, matching days to maturation to your region’s growing season, Salman advises.

“One of the big problems with horticulture in this country is everyone tries to be one-size-fits-all, and this is just too big of a continent to do that,” he says. “You don’t want to grow a 120-day watermelon in Denver. They can grow those in Texas, but the maturation period in Denver is much shorter.”

Prolific, water-wise herbs include basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary, says Browning.

Salman offers space-saving planting tips for herbs: Plant lavender and oregano along the dryer edges of your garden, since they’re the most heat-tolerant, and plant Greek oregano and dill, plus annual herbs such as basil and cilantro, among the root vegetables.

Try growing perennials such as rosemary, English thyme, tarragon and lavender in your ornamental beds. They don’t require your vegetable garden’s mineral-rich soil, says Salman.

Drought-tolerant flower varieties include coneflowers, hummingbird mint, salvia and blanket flowers, according to Ozawa. Other cutting-garden winners are cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers and larkspur, says Salman. His favorite late-season bloomer is the Mexican sunflower.

“If there’s a bee or butterfly in a 10-mile radius, they’ll find that Mexican sunflower,” he says.

Article source: http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/lifestyles/article_04f12f8e-dd34-11e3-973b-001a4bcf887a.html