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Archives for November 12, 2016

Garden Notes: Bulb presentation, study group and more

Posted: Saturday, November 12, 2016 12:00 am

Garden Notes: Bulb presentation, study group and more

By Jessica Rodrigo Tulsa World


Casey Hentges to talk about bulbs Sunday

The Tulsa Rose Society will feature Oklahoma Gardening host Casey Hentges on Sunday.


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    Hentges, former director of horticulture at the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City, will present an informative program on bulbs. She also worked for ValleyCrest Landscaping Cos., where she was responsible for the management of the landscape at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, and served as the Canadian County horticulture/4-H youth development educator for the OSU Cooperative Extension for five years.

    The program is part of the Tulsa Rose Society’s monthly meeting, starting at 2 p.m. at the Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 S. Peoria Ave. There is no charge to attend; free parking is available.

    Join the Let’s Talk Gardening study group for lunch Tuesday.

    The club will meet during the lunch hour at the Tulsa Garden Center ballroom, 2435 S. Peoria Ave., from noon to 1:30 p.m. The last November date for the study group is Nov. 29. For additional information, call 918-746-5125 or visit

    The Tulsa Audubon Society meeting Tuesday will feature a speaker from Oklahoma State University.

    Ashley Unger, research assistant at OSU, will present a program titled “Soundscape Ecology: The Science of the Auditory Landscape.” Unger studies the impact of energy development on grassland fauna and range ecology.

    The meeting will start with snacks and social time at 7 p.m. at the Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 S. Peoria Ave. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m.

    All are welcome to join Unger for dinner at Peppers in Utica Square at 5:30 p.m.

    Share your garden club’s information or garden-related event details by sending it to Tulsa World writer Jessica Rodrigo at


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      Simple pleasures: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on growing heathers

      There are lots of varieties to choose from, such as “Springwood White”, “Springwood Pink” and the deeper pink “King George”. 

      You’ll be surprised at their brilliance under wintry sun.

      Plant them with 6in or 8in between them and fill the gaps with spring-flowering crocuses, dwarf irises or miniature narcissi such as “Tete-a-Tete”, “Little Witch” and “Jenny”.

      Come the summer, when their flowers have faded, they will slip into the shadows until autumn returns and they take their place in the spotlight once more.

      Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and Tip Of The Day every weekday in the Daily Express. For more on his range of gardening products, visit

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      This week’s gardening tips: herbs to plant now, when to plant tulips, hyacinths

      Fall is the time to plant many popular hardy herbs. Parsley, for instance, is far more productive when planted in the fall rather than the spring. It’s also a great time to plant mints. Other herbs to plant now include lemon balm, thyme, oregano, chives, rosemary and lavender.

      Purchase tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the next few weeks and refrigerate them for six to eight weeks. Plant them in late December or early January. Plant all other types of spring-flowering bulbs now. They do not need to be pre-chilled.

      It’s time to make plans for protecting your tender tropical plants in the ground this winter. Decide what needs protection, how you will protect them and what you will leave unprotected (such as inexpensive, easily replaced tropicals).

      We are well into citrus season. Lemons, satsumas and kumquats are all ripe now. Oranges and grapefruits will mostly ripen in December. Citrus fruit stores well on the tree for weeks after it turns ripe, so there is no hurry to harvest.

      Warm weather has produced nice crops of fall tomatoes. As the weather gets cooler, fall tomatoes will not ripen as well. As soon as the fruit reaches full size, harvest it green and place it inside at room temperature until it turns red. Light is not necessary for ripening. Harvest all tomatoes if a freeze threatens.

      Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter. 

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      Popenoe: Tips for the perfect Mediterranean garden

      The Mediterranean diet and plants are a big trend right now. Why not combine them to make an edible Mediterranean landscape? Although Florida has a warm, wet summer and a cool, dry winter, and the Mediterranean has a warm, dry summer and a cool, wet winter, we can grow the same plants. Floridians may not see the same gardening results because our climate leads to more plant diseases.

      Mediterranean gardens are drought resistant and prefer full sun. They are often created as a courtyard with a central focal piece such as a fountain or statue, but can be much less formal with an eating area and plants in terra cotta pots or even an arbor. Olives, figs, pomegranates, oriental persimmon, citrus, grapes, rosemary, oregano and basil can be used for an edible Mediterranean garden.

      Olive trees may not produce much fruit here, but they are lovely ornamental trees. If you get fruit, it must be preserved in brine or pressed for oil. The leaves can be used to make an anti-oxidant tea. Olive plants are available in local nurseries and form small trees. The cultivar arbequina is popular in Florida and does not require another cultivar for pollination.

      Figs are delicious straight off the bush or small tree. The fruit ripens in Florida between July and October. Leaf rust disease will usually cause the leaves to fall in autumn but will not kill the plant. The recommended cultivars for Central Florida are celeste, brown turkey and ischia.

      There are ornamental pomegranate cultivars as well as ones chosen for fruit production. Be sure to get a cultivar such as wonderful, purple seed or spanish ruby that is adapted to this area and will produce good fruit. The plants may be grown as a bushy shrub or trained into a small tree.

      Non-astringent cultivars of oriental persimmon can be eaten fresh and crunchy like an apple or soft and ripe like the astringent cultivars. Trees can reach heights of 20 to 30 feet if left unpruned. It is considered a Mediterranean fruit, but grows best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun.

      Currently, only muscadine grapes can be grown in Florida because of diseases. These are not the types of grapes grown in the Mediterranean, but the plants give the same visual effect and produce delicious edible fruit. Create a grape arbor to shelter a table and chairs or trellis the grapes to make a wall to divide a garden room. There are several recommended cultivars to choose from. Go to for details.

      Several herbs can be grown in your edible landscape, and clippings can be used to flavor many dishes. Rosemary can be used to make a short 2- to 3-foot evergreen hedge in a Mediterranean garden. Oregano can be used as a ground cover. Many different types of basil are now available, but sweet basil is the type used in the Mediterranean. Go to for details.

      Visit the Discovery Gardens and our plant clinic with your problems and questions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Lake County Extension Center, 1951 Woodlea Road in Tavares. Go for registration and class information.

      Juanita Popenoe is the director of the UF/IFAS Lake County Extension Office and environmental horticulture production agent III. Email

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      Va. Tech Extension offers tips on preparing garden, yard for winter …

      Posted: Friday, November 11, 2016 3:00 pm

      Va. Tech Extension offers tips on preparing garden, yard for winter

      Despite the mixed signals from warmer temperatures the past few weeks, shorter days and cooler nights are sending a message to plants that it is time to begin the process of dormancy for winter. Trees are adorned with their fall yellows, reds, and oranges and are dropping their leaves. Many vegetables, perennials, and annuals are slowing down or dying back altogether.

      If you haven’t already begun, now is the time to prepare the garden and your home landscape for the coming winter. As you take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and dwindling daylight, there are a few things to be thinking about and working on outside:

      Winterizing vegetable gardens – Now is the time to pull up any old vegetable plants and vines. Leaving them to rest on the soil surface allows insect eggs and diseases to overwinter and be ready to come back with a vengeance in the spring. At the end of the season, it is also a good idea to replenish the organic matter in your soil that the long season of growing has depleted. Organic matter creates good soil structure, can help retain water in the soil, helps to balance soil pH, and is a food source for the number of organisms that call your garden soil home. Leaves, straw manure, and compost are all great sources of organic matter to help replenish your soil. You can also break up and turn under any old vegetable plants that aren’t diseased or laden with insects and their eggs. All these materials will begin decomposing over the winter and help make for healthy plants come spring.

      Mulching – Mulch is a great way to protect plant roots, retain moisture in the soil, and reduce weed germination come spring. You can mulch garden beds with straw, mowed leaves, grass clippings, bark and wood chip mulch, and more.

      Soil tests – Gardens and lawns should have their soil tested every three years. Once samples are sent into Virginia Tech, you will receive a report listing nutrient amendments and/or pH adjustments your lawn or garden needs to remain productive and healthy in the coming years. Tests can be picked up at any Virginia Cooperative Extension office as well as at Roanoke Public Libraries.

      Garden equipment cleaning – Taking some time to go through and care for your garden tools and equipment will make sure they are in good shape and ready to go come the spring. Equipment care includes: cleaning and disinfecting any tools that have come into contact with diseased plants, removing soil, plant material, and/or rust from tools, and sharpening blades.

      Need more advice or have questions about preparing your garden and yard for winter? Stop by or call your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office. Master Gardeners staff our Help Desk and are there to answer your questions alongside our Horticulture Technician and Agriculture Agent.

      Submitted by Kathleen Reed

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      Friday, November 11, 2016 3:00 pm.

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      Last minute garden tips before winter | The Chronicle Herald

      Just when you think you’ve gotten rid of the endless leaves and cleaned up your land and gardens, there are chores that are often forgotten. Here are a few of them:

      Make mulch from shredded leaves for next growing season

      If you shredded leaves with a mower, bag some of it to make mulch for next growing season. But it’s also useful in late autumn for insulating root and stem crops, such as carrots, beets, leeks and parsnips for winter harvesting.

      Drain and store hoses

      Don’t make the mistake of failing to drain outdoor hoses and store them in your garage or tool shed. In past seasons I forgot to take care of this task and wound up dragging sections of the hose through a foot of snow to my garage, where tying them was a tedious and lengthy process. It’s particularly aggravating if you have good hoses and nozzles, because you risk damaging the hoses if left outside through the winter.

      If done before first snow, it’s best to extend all the hoses once their disconnected from the spigot so they can completely drain. Once drained, coil and tie them, and store them on wall hooks.

      Clean outdoor pots and store them for winter

      This is another simple task that is often left for the last minute or forgotten. It may take some elbow grease pulling out the root-bound plants before the pots can be cleaned. Most importantly, you don’t want expensive ceramic or terra cotta pots to crack and break. Once the plants are pulled from the pots, I try to save them. The perennials are planted in the garden and the annuals are brought inside. Don’t expect to save all of them, but if you’re careful, you’ll likely save several.

      Make sure your burn pile is at a safe distance from your home

      Remember, this is dried twigs, rotted wood and fast-burning pine that burns aggressively and quickly. Make sure you burn on a safe and windless day, determined by local burn rules. And take all necessary safety precautions, such as have a hose handy and wear work gloves and boots. If you’re pile is huge, don’t do it alone. Get a friend to help you control burning should the fire get out of hand.

      And don’t be upset if you fail to get everything done. Every season I manage to forget something. A good way to avoid missing something is to compile a list of all the things that need to done before winter roars in.

      Cut down spring-blooming perennials such as irises and peonies

      Once they’re cut back and cleaned, they should grow again in the spring.

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      Garden bounty finds its way into expert’s floral design

      If you can’t get rid of your cast iron plant no matter how many times you try to dig it up, take heart: Floral designer and educator René van Rems has innovative ideas for using its foliage as well as other often-overlooked plant materials to create stunning flower arrangements.

      The internationally known designer will share his insights at a series of events over the coming week during Longue Vue House and Gardens’ “Essence of Style Design Symposium.”


      René van Rems, AIFD, floral designer


      The Dutch-born designer will lecture and sign books at a luncheon Friday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Audubon Tea Room. On Saturday, Nov. 19, he’ll present two workshops at Longue Vue from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

      For information and tickets, go to or call (504) 293-4722.

      “The morning after I get to town, I plan to hop on a golf cart with Amy (Graham, chief horticulturist) and we’ll tour the gardens at Longue Vue to find plant materials to use at the Saturday workshops,” said van Rems.

      “I have a big order of flowers arriving, and I like to combine them with local materials to demonstrate what is possible. My workshops help people see what’s around them through a different lens, to open their eyes.”

      And this is where that cast iron plant comes in. In van Rems’ opulent 2007 book on flower arranging, “René’s Bouquets,” the designer uses an aspidistra leaf to wrap the stem of a single pink gerbera daisy, stiffening it and holding the blossom aloft above the vase.


      ‘Rene’s Bouquet’s’


      The leaf is one of many commonly available materials whose use is championed by van Rems.

      “Materials don’t have to be expensive or exotic to create a beautiful arrangement,” he said. “What’s important is a combination of the right mix of color, form and texture in the right vase.”

      Although van Rems lectures frequently to large gatherings of commercial florists at conventions, he relishes the opportunity to work with small groups, as he will at his Longue Vue workshops.

      “At industry conventions, I work with a big screen and a headset, but not for my Longue Vue workshops. These will be hands-on, and I will be able to interact with everyone,” he said.

      “It sounds simple, but one of the most important techniques I plan to teach is how to cut a flower stem correctly so that it will take up water and nutrients to help the flower last. It requires a 45 degree angle cut with a sharpened and sterilized paring knife to avoid crushing the stem.”


      A flower basket from ‘René’s Bouquets’


      If the stem isn’t recut, damage to the plant tissue from the first cut can cause cells to break down and become clogged, prohibiting the uptake of water.

      “Some people in my workshops are scared they’ll cut themselves with the paring knife, so I bring Band-Aids to protect their fingers,” van Rems said.

      Van Rems is a true believer when it comes to adding flower food to the water to ensure longevity of cut flowers.

      “You know those little packets that come with the flowers you buy at the grocery store? Some people think they’re a lot of hocus pocus, but they aren’t: They’re important,” he said.

      “They are perfectly mixed to provide the right nutrients and adjust the water to the right pH to maximize the life of cut flowers. Aspirin or bleach or some other substitutes don’t work and can do more harm than good.”

      Photos in “René’s Bouquets” demonstrate the correct stem-cutting technique and show how damage to the stem will limit water and nutrient uptake. More importantly, they illustrate several dozen luscious floral arrangements and how to make them.


      Twigs, leaves and blossoms create a multi-textured floral arrangement in ‘René’s Bouquets.’ Stems are cut with a very sharp paring knife at a 45-degree angle.


      According to the text, handsome arrangements depend on a combination of mass, line, filler and form flowers, plus botanical materials such as twigs, berries, buds and pods.

      Used for volume, mass flowers include roses, hydrangeas, sunflowers and chrysanthemums — all easily available locally.


      Containers of twigs hold blossoms and greenery in ‘René’s Bouquets.’


      Line flowers break up the surface of a mounding bouquet, making for an airy feeling, the book says. Line flowers include larkspur, tulips, tuberose and snapdragons.

      Filler flowers may be as ordinary as baby’s breath or as exotic as dill.

      Form flowers have distinctive shapes and may include Oriental lilies, orchids, heliconia and bird of paradise. Diverse textures and moods can be achieved by the addition of botanical materials including Pyracantha berries, grasses, bee balm seed pods and viburnum berries.

      Van Rems’ floral career began when he was 13 and still in Holland. He studied the art for six years before moving to the United States as an exchange student in 1978. His business, René van Rems International, is based in San Diego.

      “People are happy when they are working with flowers,” he said. “The goal of the upcoming workshops is to provide tips and tricks to those who are doing it for pleasure. Some people look, others see. My job is to help them see.”

      R. Stephanie Bruno writes about homes and gardens. She can be reached at


      Essence of Style Design Symposium

      WHEN: 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19

      WHERE: Longue Vue House and Garden

      7 Bamboo Road, New Orleans

      INFO: or (504) 293-4722

      Article source:

      GARDENING: Design your garden to reduce effort and pain

      Last week, I talked about gardening with back pain and what you can do in practise to keep doing the hobby you love without causing any further damage.

      This week, I’m looking at how you can design your garden to minimise effort and pain. This isn’t just for back pain sufferers, but for anyone with joint problems, arthritis or any condition that makes demanding physical labour difficult.

      Sorbaria has lovely leaves and cream flowers.

      They’re also good tips for non-gardeners who want a decent-looking plot, but want to spend a lot of time on it.

      Here’s four ideas to reduce time and bending;

      1. Layout: Avoid leaving bare soil, which will need weeding. Use low-growing ground cover plants to suppress weeds. Mulch the surface with chipped bark, well-rotted manure or old growbags. This helps to retain moisture, saving on watering.

      Cut bending by using raised beds and keep them narrow so you can reach the centre.

      Ground cover plants, such as Arabis and golden marjoram, suppress weeds.

      Avoid having a lawn – it’s labour intensive and hard work.

      2. Tools: Use hand tools, such as forks and trowels, with long handles. Pruners and loppers with a ratchet system makes cutting easier and saves putting pressure on the back and shoulders.

      Put secateurs in a holster attached to your belt, saving you having to bend down to pick them up.

      Use hoses on reels or an automated irrigation system in your garden, not heavy watering cans.

      3. Plants: Slow-growing shrubs are easier to maintain than annuals, herbaceous perennials and vegetables, but these can be grown in pots, where they are easier to reach.

      Courgettes, potatoes and lettuce will grow well in containers. Choose fruit trees grown on dwarf rootstocks so you can pick the fruit at a comfortable height or train them as espaliers against a wall or as stepovers.

      4. No-dig method: Spread manure, compost and fertiliser over the surface of a bed in late autumn. This gives the soil a chance to settle down before planting in spring and allow worms to take the organic material down into the soil for you.


      As the gardening year winds down, work according to what the weather will let you do. If you’ve fallen behind, you probably still can do some of them.

      Shrubs normally pruned hard in spring – such as Buddleja davidii, Cornus alba and Lavatera – can be cut back by half now, to prevent wind rock.

      You can still order and plant container trees and shrubs, and large semi-mature specimens for planting later in the winter.

      Tree and shrub seeds and berries can be harvested and sown, once they are ripe.

      Garden hygiene is vital to help control and prevent disease. Rake up and NEVER compost infected leaves, such as black spot on roses, or scab on apples and pears.

      Toadstools are often visible now, especially honey fungus. The toadstools appear on, or at the bases of, affected trees. Similar toadstools in beds or lawns are more likely to be harmless fungi which live on dead material and pose no threat.

      Lift and divide overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials, or leave them until spring.

      Ornamental grasses and bamboos can be cut back and tidied up.

      Root cuttings can be taken now and through winter. Papaver (perennial poppies), Verbascum (mullein) and Phlox are examples.

      Digging the soil will expose pest larvae and eggs to birds and frosts, as well as clearing weeds and improving soil structure.

      Around ponds, remove last of the dead foliage. You can still divide hardy waterlilies and cut back overgrown marginal plants.

      Tender plants should already have been brought into a frost-free greenhouse, until the risk of frost has passed.

      Cover borderline hardy perennials, such as Euphorbia wulfenii, red-hot pokers and Gunnera with fleece sacks to protect them from the worst of any winter weather, especially if still young plants.


      For more on these topics, plus cook what you grow, traditional recipes, North East information, environmental news and more, log on to (now smartphone friendly),, follow me on Twitter @MandyCanUDigIt or you can like me on Facebook at Mandycanudigit

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      Ilkley garden designer celebrates most successful year (From …

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      GILLS TREE SERVICE – Ad from 2016-11-11

      Saint Louis, MO



      Partly cloudy.


      Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low 36F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.

      Updated: November 11, 2016 @ 4:53 pm

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