Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 27, 2016

Delaware Botanic Gardens hits fundraising milestone

After enjoying an elegant dinner under a warmly lit tent at Good Earth Farm in Ocean View Sept. 15, 200 supporters of the Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek celebrated a major fundraising milestone.

Thanks to money raised by the annual farm dinner fundraiser, as well as individual donations and pledges, more than $500,000 for the garden project has been raised in the last nine months, meeting the match obligation of a Longwood Foundation grant that will provide an additional $750,000 to get the garden up and running.

“People say it’s rare for a public garden to be founded by a group of citizens or a private community,” said Sue Ryan, Good Earth Market owner and president of the project’s board of directors. “But it’s because of all [the people] under this tent and many, many others, that we have secured a beautiful 37-acre site for the garden, we’ve gotten a group of world-class designers, and we’re working quickly toward our permitting process and a groundbreaking in 2017.”

The initial $1.25 million will fund infrastructure costs and the first plantings, which are expected to begin next year on the 37-acre waterfront parcel on Piney Neck Road near Dagsboro.

“It is one of the most important and ambitious projects in Sussex County today,” Ryan said. “What makes a great public garden is its uniqueness and its authenticity. And we have a group working on this project that embraces that to the core. They are designing a garden that will celebrate our place: Sussex County, the coastal plain region and the habitat and what Delmarva is all about.”

The project will combine meadow gardens, woodlands, uplands and 1,000 feet of tidal waterfront views along Pepper Creek. Designers and architects with the project are aiming to make the gardens accessible to anyone, and the buildings and infrastructure as eco-friendly as possible.

“I believe this garden will be on par with some of the most spectacular gardens in this region,” said First Lady Carla Markell, who also serves as the chair of the gardens’ advisory council. “Keep at it, because I know you will never find a team like this again. The reality is the fantasy. The fantasy is the reality. How often does that happen in life?”

Now that the first fundraising hurdle has been climbed, there’s still a lot left to do, said Delaware Botanic Gardens Board Vice President Ray Sander. Todd Frichtman of Envirotech is working on the design of a wetland classroom for adults and children, and future phases of the gardens will include much more extensive, expensive and permanent buildings.

A master plan for the site is now underway, and will soon go before Sussex County Council for necessary approvals, Sander said. Landscape architect Rodney Robinson, of Wilmington-based Robinson Anderson Summers Inc., is spearheading those details. Also working on the gardens’ design are Texas-based Lake Flato Architects Inc., Bancroft Construction Company and world-renowned Dutch author and horticulturist Piet Oudolf, who designed the Gardens of Remembrance at Battery Park and the High Line in New York City, among others.

Sander said a soft kick off for the gardens is expected in late 2016 or early 2017, followed by a groundbreaking and spring plantings in 2017. Garden gates are slated to open to the public in spring 2018.

About 10 jobs will be created as the garden gates open, and when the project reaches completion during the 10-year plan, the attraction will provide more than 100 jobs, Sander said.

In the meantime, pledges and volunteers are still needed. For more information or to get involved, go to

Article source:

3 Ways to Experience Longwood Gardens During the Fall

Photo credit: Longwood Gardens

Whether you have the whole day, a few hours or just a free lunch break, we’ve got you covered. Here are three perfect plans to help you navigate the best of the Gardens this fall!

If you have one hour…

Running on a tight schedule? No worries. See the best of the Meadow Garden on your own time at your own quick pace.

12:00 pm: The Meadow Garden is the perfect escape from the daily monotony with an expansive 86 acres of ecological garden design. Behold the autumnal beauty of the changing leaves and venture through three miles of walking and hiking trails among scenic wildflowers. Explore the fields of Goldenrod, cross over the Hourglass Lake Bridge or stop by Webb Farmhouse – just grab a map and choose your own adventure! Access to the Meadow Garden is included in regular Gardens admission. (Take note of the available bird hikes to squeeze in on your next visit!)

On your way out, be sure to catch a quick fountain show at the Open Air Theatre. Set to music with 750 changing water jets, these five-minute shows run every hour on the hour!

If you have three hours…

Spend some time with a few classic floral fixtures in the four-acre Conservatory.

12:00 pm: Bright bursts of red, yellow and orange aren’t just for the fall leaves outside. Indulge in the South American-style beauty of the Cascade Garden, an indoor garden filled with serene pools, vibrant plants and – you guessed it – cascading water features. Travel down the curved path and learn more about bromeliads and philodendrons.

Head next door to the beautiful Rose House, a must-see for flower fanatics and a Longwood staple for more than 80 years. Filled with rows upon rows of colorful blooms, the greenhouse also features Chinese hibiscus plants and flowering tropical vines.

1:30 pm: Travel through the East Conservatory to see a range of exotic plants like you’ve never seen. From the pastel pink Cane-like Begonias to the bright orange of Trumpet-bush, every flower deserves a double take. The Oval Basin in the center of the garden is a tranquil spot to unwind and take a break in your busy day before heading to your next stop.

2:30 pm: Another noteworthy highlight, the Waterlily Display is a gorgeous outdoor garden, boasting aquatic plants from all over the world. More than 100 types of tropical day-blooming and night-blooming water lilies peek out from five large pools. Stop by this spectacular display before the end of October.

If you have all day…

If you’re not a regular Longwood Gardens member, purchase your tickets in advance for the Nightscape extravaganza to grant yourself all-day access!

11:00 pm: Step back in time with a visit to the Exhibition Hall. With its sunken marble floor and dreamy bougainvillea-spun pillars, the hall still rings with 1920s glamour and grandeur. Typically flooded with a few inches of water to reflect the floral displays, the floor is drained before performances. (Check their schedule to catch a show!)

12:00 pm: Just steps away, don’t miss the legendary Chrysanthemum Festival throughout the Exhibition Hall, East Conservatory and l’Orangery. With more than 16,000 chrysanthemums on display, the Longwood experts have the flowers crafted into crazy and complicated shapes you’ll have to see to believe. The highlight? The Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum with more than 1,500 arranged flowers on one plant – the largest of its kind outside of Asia.

1:30 pm: Grab a bite to eat in the 1906 Fine Dining Room. With colorful menu items that rival the beauty of the outside flora, this sophisticated dining experience will have you asking for seconds. And you MUST try the mushroom soup, made with locally delicious Kennett Square mushrooms. It’s just a rite of passage.

3:00 pm: No squirrels allowed! Feel like a kid again in the Birdhouse Treehouse. The tallest treehouse in the Gardens, you’ll get an unmatched view of the landscape from atop. See and hear the wildlife like never before, until you reach…

3:30 pm: Lookout Loft – this rustic treehouse on Forest Walk has fun, handcrafted copper “sound horns” that allow you to listen to the drifting sounds of nearby Meadow Garden and the surrounding forest.

4:00 pm: The gorgeously historic Peirce-du Pont House was originally built in 1730. Home to the Longwood Heritage Exhibit with a collection of photos, artifacts and movies, this is the perfect place to brush up on the history of the Gardens. The house (naturally) features an indoor garden filled with Franklinia and glory-of-the-snow.

6:00 pm: Take a load off in the new Beer Garden featuring Victory Brewing Company. Enjoy signature Longwood Gardens brews or any of the beers on tap alongside tasty pub treats like warm pretzels and bacon sour cream dip, pulled pork sandwiches or BBQ pork nachos. As an added bonus, you can relax with live music played every Thursday night!

8:30 pm: The peak of your all-day Gardens’ visit should be the ever-popular Nightscape. Once the sun sets, the light and sound experience transforms the Gardens into ethereal projections set to classical music by local performers. Give yourself at least two hours to explore the after-dark, upside-down dream world of Nightscape. Wednesday through Saturday evenings, now through the end of October, indoor, outdoor, rain or shine, the show goes on.

Click here to purchase tickets for Nightscape.

Article source:

Perennial Garden Design – WKBW

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) – It’s not just about the color.  Consider the form and texture when planning your gardens.

Let’s look at the elements in this garden that make it work.

Repetition of color, form and texture and massing of plants creates a pleasing flow to the garden.

Using more of fewer species increases the visual impact and decreases your workload.  You’ll have fewer seedlings to discern from the weeds and less maintenance know how needed.

The big round flowers of the allium are bold elements in the garden that grab your attention.  The repeated use helps guide you through the garden.

The vertical spikes of the salvia peak out through the grasses adding a seasonal splash of color.

The mix of tall and short plants is not rigid but rather designed so all plants add to the overall visual impact of the garden.

And the finer texture of the sedges and ornamental grasses makes a nice backdrop.

Article source:

Payne County Master Gardeners host garden tour Sunday

The Payne County Master Gardeners are hosting a garden tour sure to inspire people with green thumbs, people with the dreaded, plant-killing black thumbs, basically anybody who has thumbs and likes plants.

Payne County Master Gardener Mickey Wolff says it’s something larger Master Gardeners groups do regularly as an outreach and public education program.

It’s all about understanding your site and not being afraid to fail.

“Lots of things don’t work,” Wolff said. “You just yank them out and buy something else.”

Analyzing your site, knowing your soil by having it tested, knowing your light and understanding water needs all contribute to successful gardening.

Although most of Wolff’s perennial flowers aren’t at peak bloom right now, she says having a garden tour in the early fall lets people enjoy the gardens in beautiful weather and lets them see beauty can be found in the landscape year-round.

“You need four seasons,” she said.

Many of her annuals are holding on and she’ll add decorative elements and seasonal items like pumpkins to fill out her planting beds.

Wolff said she thinks most beginning gardeners grossly underestimate how much time it takes.

They need to study the characteristics of their sites and the needs of the plants they want to grow. That’s easier now that people have access to online resources.

“When I started, I just had to read seed packs and plant labels,” she said.

Even with access to all that information, sometimes you have to accept that you can’t grow everything everywhere. Wolff said she was raised in Virginia and her favorite plant is the Azalea.

“But I can’t grow one (in my yard) to save my life,” she said.

She’s settled for an oak leaf hydrangea, her second favorite plant, that produces masses of white blooms and has broad leaves that turn a deep bronze.

Wolff has enjoyed developing her landscaping over time, tearing out grass to make large planting beds and watching her trees grow and mature.

This home is the first one where she’s been able to do that because she was a military spouse at one time and had to move every few years.

Now her yard has large islands of plantings that make the most of shade and partial sun, a large section in her backyard with an elegant simplicity and Asian feel and more planting beds in the style of an English cottage garden, overflowing with flowering plants designed to attract birds, butterflies and bees.

It gives her a lot of pleasure, making the screened-in porch one of her favorite areas in her home.

She hopes people will be inspired by the different landscapes and take advantage of the chance to learn how to create a peaceful oasis of their own.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

Article source:

Gardening Tips: Plan now to prevent winter damage

I know gardeners don’t want to hear the ‘W’ word, but considering the Farmer’s Almanac prediction for a tough winter, it’s time to do some planning!

Although wrapping and covering should wait until we get consistently cold weather in late October or early November, you should gather supplies now so you are prepared when the weather turns.

If you have broadleaf evergreens such as rhododendrons, holly, euonymus and boxwood, they need a good blanket of snow to insulate foliage for the winter.

Low-lying varieties usually do well in our area, but growth that sticks up above the snow can be harmed by cold winter temperatures. You can prepare now to help prevent this damage.

Burlap screen
Before the ground freezes, put some stakes around vulnerable plants. Have burlap or Arbortex on hand to wrap around the stakes to provide winter insulation. Burlap has been the traditional choice, but Arbortex has a better insulating value.

It is a white, felt synthetic blanket that can be re-used year after year. Unwrap on an overcast day next spring and then simply rinse Arbortex off, hang it to dry and fold it up for storage. You can also keep it on hand for covering tender plants from spring frost.

Most evergreens won’t need to be wrapped if you have chosen hardy varieties, but Dwarf Alberta Spruce tends to easily burn above the snow line. A wrap of Arbortex will help prevent this problem.

Upright juniper and cedar are prone to splaying open when we get loads of heavy, wet snow. Use an open mesh called Winter Wrap, for pulling foliage in tightly. It will prevent this type of winter damage.

There is also a green shrub-guard available that is more rigid plus perforated to allow for good air flow. Use this product if you have an evergreen in a spot that may get a very heavy snow load.

If you have a problem with deciduous shrubs having similar damage in winter, you can always use twine to pull the branches together. Once the branches are well secured, they will help support each other.

If you like to use a wooden teepee to cover evergreens, you have to use one large enough to allow for a six inch space between the wood and foliage.

Foliage that touches the wood will freeze and thaw numerous times over the winter as sun warms the wood and condensation forms on the inside. Be sure to increase the size of the teepee as evergreens grow.

If you have a hedge that is exposed to cold north winds or salt spray from a major roadway, set up a burlap or Arbortex screen. Pound tall stakes into the ground about a foot in front of the hedge. Staple protective fabric to the windward side of the stakes to create a barrier.

Tender roses, such as Hybrid Teas, Grandiflora and Floribunda varieties, need protection from northern winters. In late fall, place a rose collar around the plant, secure it in place and fill it full of compost or soil.

The soil will freeze solid and stay frozen until spring. (It is the repeated freezing and thawing that kills tender roses.) Hardy shrub roses don’t require winter protection.

If you have a hybrid climbing rose, cover as high on the canes as you can and prune away the remaining length. Exposed canes will die over the winter.

White spiral tree guards should be put around the trunks of tender young trees to prevent rodents from chewing tasty bark in winter. However, don’t leave the tree guard on over the growing season! It provides a perfect haven for insects to hide.

If you have a young tree that may get frost cracks, wrap the trunk from the ground up to the first set of branches with Tree Wrap or strips of Arbortex. Many maples are prone to this injury. In early spring, on a sunny day, sap rises from the roots.

As the sun sets, temperatures fall quickly and sap freezes, expands and vertical cracks develop in tender bark. Wrap insulates the trunk from temperature swings.

Article source:

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips for deterring deer from …

Editor’s note: How Does Your Garden Grow is a series the Gazette will feature again this growing season, provided by master gardener Ken Oles of Wrentham. He will discuss various backyard gardening topics, and answer your gardening questions.


Q: Are there any steps that I can take to prevent deer from ruining my vegetable garden and causing damage to low-hanging tree branches and shrubs?

A: White-tailed deer are native herbivores that cause much damage to plants and continue to be a problem in our New England gardens in the city as well as in the country.  Their numbers have dramatically increased over the past decades due to a lack of natural predators, fragmented landscapes (think of local farmland that has been developed), and changing social values about hunting.  

White-tail deer may use a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and marshy areas, but they are opportunists and suburban development with its mixture of trees, shrubs and lawns provide a safe, predator-free environment.

In suburban gardens and backyards, landscaping provides excellent deer forage and growth of deer herds is unchecked, resulting in unrecoverable damage to our gardens, shrubs and trees. 

In our forests, overgrazing by deer alters natural habitats and affects other wildlife while contributing to the rampant spread of invasive plant species.  Barriers and some repellents are effective, but in a severe natural food dearth, they may not prevent foraging.

While some plants, such as hostas (often referred to as “deer candy”) are preferred and are regular fare, other plants are never touched.  In vegetable gardens, the best deterrence is a tall fence.  I have witnessed deer bounding over a 7-foot high fence from a standing posture!  The most effective repellents have rotten eggs and garlic as part of their ingredients and will need to be applied every two weeks or sooner during the growing season if there is heavy or extended precipitation. 

When choosing ornamentals for your landscape, choose deer-resistant varieties and protect them during severe deer pressure.


Ken Oles is a Wrentham resident and a life member of the URI Master Gardener Association ( He is also the coordinator for the Harvests from the Heart community garden in Wrentham that produces fresh produce for the Wrentham Food Pantry. Ken is a member of the board of directors and co-president of Masschusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. He can be reached at





Article source: