Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for February 13, 2017

Design your new home at the Home and Garden Expo –

The 51st annual Home and Garden Expo is going on this weekend at the CenturyLink Center.

It runs:
Friday, February 10 – 11 AM to 9 PM
Saturday, February 11 – 10 AM to 7 PM
Sunday, February 12 – 11 AM to 5 PM

Tickets are $9 for adults, $4.50 for kids 5-12 and children under 5 are free.

The show will feature more than 600 vendors from around the country, including many local Omaha groups, showcasing the latest trends and features available for your home and outdoor living space.

Mike Mancuso, the show director, said this is a great chance to see what your home could be.

“The home is where we spend a lot of time and make a big investment,” he said. “We should make the right decisions.This is your chance to meet the experts and get questions answered and do things the right way the first time.”

He also said this is a chance to get to know that person that might be spending a lot of time in your home remodeling for you.

The show has everything from counter tops to cabinets, accent pieces and masterfully designed garden spaces.

Steve Nabity, a cabinet maker, said he’s seeing cabinet trends lean toward colors with blues, tans and browns.

“The world of colors can be big with your kitchen cabinetry,” he said. “And accents. Having accents lines, maybe a little rub down so two different finishes show through, but the painted finish is still a very nice look.”

If you’re trying to find a way to fit all your stuff inside that cabinet, the Shelf Genie will be at the Home and Garden Expo to give you new ideas about how to store all your favorite kitchen gadgets.

As far as counter tops, Nabity said granite is still the way to go. But he adds, it’s gotten cheaper in the past five years, meaning something that was once your dream may actually be a reality.

“Every mountain that a piece of granite comes out of is different than the other one,” he said. “There are hundreds of colors and selections of granite, very popular, long lasting versatile counter top.”

Nabity also said it’s possible to use something like Formica to top your counters, giving it a good look while still saving some money.

And while kitchens and baths continue to be the spot most people turn to for updates, some say there’s a third “room” that also needs a little TLC. Especially if you want a good resale value.

That’s your outdoor living space.

“It just brings a new element to the house,” Tyler Gaeta, owner of TMG Enterprises said. “It adds another room outside, so it’s adding square footage to your house in a sense.”

His company offers unique combination waterfalls and fire pits. Where the waterfall ends, the fire pit begins allowing you a clean look year round.

And if these ideas aren’t wowing you, don’t give up. With so many exhibits, something will catch your attention, or at the very least, make you rethink what a living space can look like.

For instance, one of the latest trends is to turn an outdoor gardening shed into an extra room. They’re called a “woman’s man cave.” Much like many men have their sports man cave, this gives the woman that gardens her own retreat.

If you do head to the Home and Garden Expo, vendors said to come with an open mind and ready with questions. They’ll help you come up with a design.

Just make sure to check the references and with the Better Business Bureau before you hire anyone.

Article source:

Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd

EAST HAMPTON, NY — Award-winning British garden designer Jinny Blom spoke this week to a sold-out audience at the fourth annual “Madoo in Manhattan: Robert Dash Garden Design Lecture,” according to a release.

The talk, “Changing Nature: Towards a New Landscape,” took place at a private club in New York and covered six projects which showed the broad scope of her projects.

Blom’s lush and contemporary gardens for private clients and public institutions run the gamut from therapeutic gardens to lavish estates in Europe, Africa, and the United States, the release noted.

Blom explained her working methodology and how she’s “pushed her creativity at each site while keeping her client’s wishes in mind. With a thorough knowledge of the evolution of British landscape design and keen plantsmanship ,Blum has continually moved the garden design canon forward. Blom alongside her highly-skilled crews, transform derelict spaces and fragile ecosystems into romantic flower-filled landscapes,” the release said.

Guests at the event included Janet Mavec, Miranda Brooks, Katie Ridder, Alexia Leuschen, Deborah Nevins, John Danzer, Leslie Close, Diana Elghanayan, Dominique Browning, Len Morgan, Angus Wilkie, Frances Palmer, Stan Stokowski, Melissa Ozawa, Bernadette Murray, Melanie Roy, Kendell Cronstrom, Martha McLanahan, Lucian Simmons, Bruce Bierman, William Secord, and Judy Ross.

Hailed by Architectural Digest as “One of the most sought-after talents in her field,” Blom is a self-taught garden designer who set up her design practice in 2000 and has to her credit an extensive range of commissions in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the United States.

The Madoo Conservancy is dedicated to the study, preservation and enhancement of Madoo, the ever-changing, horticulturally diverse garden with historic structures established in 1967 by artist, gardener and writer Robert Dash, in the Village of Sagaponack; at Madoo, the unique living tribute to the artistic imagination of its founder, “we seek to continually engage, educate and inspire our visitors in this entirely organic environment,” the release said.

Photos by Richard Lewin Professional Photography,

Reporting by Richard Lewin.

Photo Gallery

Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd
Photos: Acclaimed British Garden Designer Enthralls Crowd

Article source:

2017 home, garden show kicks off Friday in Grove

The unseasonably warm weather of the past few days may have many Grand Lakers starting to dream up ideas of landscaping, gardening and home improvement projects.

If so, then the 2017 Home Garden Show, sponsored by the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, may help homeowners turn paper dreams into a tangible reality.

The show, in its 19th year, officially gets underway at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, continues throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10, 11 and 12, at the Grove Civic Center, 1702 South Main, Grove.

Public hours for the show are from 3 to 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12.

This year’s offerings provides a mixture of returning favorites, as well as some new vendors, according to Lisa Friden, chamber president.

Many of the returning vendors have increased the size and scope of their displays, which Friden said, provides a bigger space to showcase their efforts.

Vendors will include professionals displaying the newest ideas and solutions to home and garden projects.

Friden said a new component to the show includes a vendor who is not only bringing in a selection of kitchen cabinets, but also hot tubs – something that has not been part of the show for several years.

“We’re fuller than we’ve ever been,” Friden said. “There’s lots of exciting things to see.

“We love to do this show every year”

In past years, Friden said between 1,500 and 2,000 people, most with home improvement projects in mind, visit the home and garden show each year.

The chamber holds the event in early February, as a way to kick off the season for outdoor-related businesses.

In fact, Friden jokes, the event often falls around Valentine’s Day – providing vendors and shoppers with a first date experience. Business owners have a chance to set up a display and talk to a large amount of people within a three-day period, while local residents are able to see what is available throughout the region.

Ultimately, though, the show has one primary purposes: connect area residents with home improvement ideas with vendors who can turn the ideas into reality.

“The gorgeous displays our vendors build will inspire, amaze and allow those wanting an expert’s touch to find the pros to make the difference,” Friden said. “Those that attend this event will find aisles of great products and services that will help create their dream home and garden – from the front door to the back yard.

“The aisles are always packed with the very latest ideas and trends in home building, remodeling, gardening, landscaping and decorating.”

Center court displays include those by local landscapers, which Friden said, which showcase gardens and room displays and are must-stop locations during the event.

The entry fee remains the same as in previous years: $3 for one day admission for adults or $5 for a weekend pass. Children 12 and under are free. The admission fee helps offset operating expenses.

As a secondary fundraiser, to offset expenses for the show, several vendors have donated items for a “silent auction” called the Prize Pool.

Participants will have the opportunity to purchase tickets, which can then be dropped into the buckets of the various items. The winning ticket for each item will be drawn at the close of the show on Saturday evening. Winners will be contacted, to allow the prizes to be picked up before the close of the show on Sunday.

Concessions will be available throughout the show. This year proceeds from the concessions will benefit a local traveling baseball team – which, Friden said, gives the community a chance to come out to support the youth of the community as an added bonus.

Additionally, volunteers from local nonprofits such as the Grand Lake ‘o The Cherokees Quilt Guild, the Grand Lake Audubon Society, and the “One Dog, One Vet, Two Lives Saved,” will be on hand to provide information about their groups to those in attendance.

Friden said it’s important to showcase nonprofits because it allows people to learn how the various organizations benefit the community at large.

The event, organized by the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, is sponsored by Arrest Bank, Grand Country Pest Control, Grand River Abstract, Grand Savings Bank, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (REC), and T.H. Rogers Lumber Company.

For more information, persons interested may contact the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce at 918-786-9079 or visit

Article source:

Thousands look for ideas at home show

Thousands of people strolled past exhibits and met with expert craftsmen at The Old House New House Home Show at the Pheasant Run Resort and Convention Center in St. Charles over the weekend.

Update, renovate and revitalize were buzz words around some 300 exhibits that featured the latest for kitchens, bathrooms, basements, additions, windows, heating and air conditioning and landscaping.

Visitors had a chance to speak with sales representatives, sit in on workshops and peruse the latest in products and services.

Elgin resident Laura Schmuldt said she was interested in new siding for her house. “It’s the place where I can get ideas and cost estimates. The show also gets me out of the house on a winter day,” Schmuldt said.

IN BLOOM: Arkansas Flower and Garden Show set for Feb. 24

LITTLE ROCK — A touch of good-natured sibling rivalry will be at the heart of the 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show’s kick-off event, but what will really be on display is the fast-moving work of two of Central Arkansas’s best-known gardeners and landscapers.

Brothers Chris and Buddy Olsen will face off during the landscape challenge, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, just as the doors open to the public at the Statehouse Convention Center for the state’s largest flower and garden show. The two will have four hours to assemble their best gardening efforts against similar home front facades.

Krista Quinn, executive director for the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, said photographers will be creating a time-lapse video of the event, so that attendees will be able to watch the process throughout the run of the show, which concludes Sunday, Feb. 26.

“It should be really fun and inspiring to see how their plans come together and to see two different ways to landscape the same house,” Quinn said. “We’ll also be interviewing the owners and landscape designers from each of the companies during the construction process to discuss home landscaping.

“They’ll provide information about great plants for Arkansas landscapes, some tips for designing front foundation plantings, and plenty of info about landscape construction techniques,” she said. “We’ll take questions from the audience, as well, so this is a great opportunity to get advice from the experts.”

Chris Olsen, owner of both Botanica Gardens and Plantopia in Little Rock, said he plans to bring a landscaping approach to the competition that will make onlookers second-guess their assumptions about typical yard work and gardening.

“I don’t know what Buddy is doing, but what I always try to do is something that is totally out of the box,” he said. “Something that’s tasteful, but has a funky twist to it.

“That’s what the clients usually hire Botanica for — we just don’t do what everyone else does. One thing I often do is to use a lot of different plants — my goal is to introduce 10-15 new varieties of different plants into my design each year, so that I always stay ahead of my competitors,” Chris said.

Buddy Olsen, owner of Horticare Companies in Little Rock, said he plans to create a landscape masterpiece that was both eye-catching and accessible to the average gardener.

“Our goal is to make something during this challenge that you’d actually want to put in your own home,” he said. “We’re going to use some color, but we’re trying to get in some plants that most people would actually use in their yard — something they can take home with them and incorporate in their own design.

“We want to give people one or two ideas that will really help,” Buddy said. “Honestly, the yard used for the challenge is very small, and it’s hard to get too much in it.”

Buddy said that many gardeners often “over plant” their yards, failing to take into account the eventual growth and expansion of new plants.

“If you know a plant is going to be three feet wide and five feet tall, there’s no sense in putting another one two feet away from it,” he said. “Everything’s going to grow larger. And generally, your initial irrigation system won’t handle the plants once they take off and start growing.”

Buddy said the approaching competition has been a source of good-natured ribbing within the family for a few weeks.

“It’s been a topic of discussion at our family dinners here lately,” he said.

Single-day tickets to the 2017 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show are $10. Three-day passes are $15. Children 12 and younger get in free. To purchase tickets, see a full schedule of events and more, visit

Article source:

Lake Park Chamber recognizes members

LAKE PARK — The Lake Park Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet presented the expected awards to chamber members but the event also showed appreciation to the city police department and the fire department.

“Tonight is about honoring and backing up the red, white and blue and Lake Park knows how to take care of our police and fire department,” Mayor Eric Schindler said. “Because they do take care of us.”

While it is easy to focus on the present, Police Chief James Breletic was honored former chief of police, chief of the fire department and former councilman Bert Rutland with a medal, a plaque and a badge.

Rutland had never previously received an award, Breletic said.

“I’ve been in law enforcement about 33-plus years and corporate security before that,” Breletic said. “One thing I learned … is that a man’s success is measured in law enforcement not by the number of friends he has, not the number of enemies he has, but the number of plaques you’ve got on the wall.”

After receiving the awards, Rutland told a short story about why soldiers receive medals.

“You can offer a man all the money in the world for something dangerous and he would not do it, but if you can give him just a little piece of tin with ribbon to hang to let everyone know what he’d done then he would walk through the fires of hell.”

Rutland began to tear up, calling the award beautiful and stated it “makes those years worthwhile.”

Businesses and individual chamber members received the following awards:

Tony Taylor Sr. won Board Member of the Year.

Roy Taylor Sr. with Jungle Jym’s Family Fun Center won Chamber Member of the Year.

Preferred Rental Company won Entrepreneur of the Year.

Raisin’ Can won Business of the Year.

Southern Occasions Flower Show won New Business of the Year.

Creative Gardens and Landscaping won Small Business of the Year.

James Brower won Volunteer of the Year.

Rutland won Citizen of the Year.

The following won Chamber Appreciation Awards: Brenda Huseman, Julie Wilbers, Bill Stripling with Chick-fil-A Lake Park, Dawn Cannon with Raceway store 6762, Larry and Paula Carter with Quail Branch Lodge, Deep South Sanitation and Milo Septic Thank and Portable Toilets. 

During Schindler’s speech, he spoke about how the police and fire departments are funded and how the departments work together with other agencies in the county and surrounding municipalities.

“That’s the way we do what we do in Lake Park,” he said. “Because we are small, but we have a big heart.”

Shcindler bragged about the fire department’s ability to act outside of the city limits.

“Let me tell you something about our fire department,” he said. “Because we are on the south end of the county, if there is an ambulance on the north end or they are very busy and you have somebody who has a stroke or a heart attack — whatever it might be, it could be up to 30 minutes before an ambulance arrives. Those are critical minutes — I’m a a nurse. I understand that and I’m sure a lot of you do, too.

“That is why it is so important for our fire department and police department to know what to do when they come upon one of our citizens who are having an event. They’ve done it. I’ve seen it.”

Schindler praised Breletic and described him as outspoken, friendly, well read, well traveled and a loyal law-enforcement officer; he has “really brought the police department together,” Schindler said.

He described the LPPD personable and worth getting to know.

“If you really take the time to get to know them — I know you don’t want to see the lights flashing in the rearview mirror — but if you take the time to know them, they are the best asset,” he said. “They are personable and we are really really proud to have them.” 

Jason Smith is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1256.

Article source:

Spring gardening tips

Garry Winwood of Stone Cross Garden Centre with tips on how to bring colour to your garden.

February is a month of change with the winter blooms of Viburnum, Mahonia and Sarcococca still producing much needed colour for this time of the year.

Violet and yellow multicolor Pansies outdoor in nature.

Violet and yellow multicolor Pansies outdoor in nature.

As the month progresses you will start to see the early signs of spring in the garden. Bulbs are emerging from the ground, seed potatoes are beginning to chit and the temperature and hours of daylight are rising. Now is the time to plan your spring garden, bring in colour and look forward to the new season.

If you haven’t already, this is also the

month to start planning your ‘grow your own’ garden.

I promise you once you have tasted your own produce you will soon start growing more.


– Plant hanging basket plug plants

– Chit potato tubers

– Prune winter flowering shrubs where the blooms have faded

– Cut back deciduous grasses

– Mulch soil with blended farmyard manure


Lonicera fragrantissima – Winter Honeysuckle

This is the perfect plant for this month.

It has tremendously fragrant creamy-white flowers from January to March. The flowers are borne on almost leafless branches and are often followed by red berries. The leaves are a rich green with a flush of purple. It is a semi-evergreen shrub and is suitable for pots or in borders close to pathways where its aroma can be fully appreciated.


February is a good month to tidy and prepare the garden for the spring – a big difference can be made this month. Pick a good sunny day and make a difference– your be amazed at the results.

Mulch your soil with blended farmyard manure – this will improve the goodness in the soil, suppress weeds, help to protect plant roots and retain moisture for the warmer days to come.

Mulch around alpine plants with grit to prevent stem rot. It will also showcase the plants better giving a beautiful display.

Prune faded winter flowers on shrubs. This will prolong their flowering period as energy can be diverted to new flower buds.

Plant dahlia tubers and lily bulbs in tubs in a greenhouse. This will give them a head start for the summer. Sow hardy seeds in greenhouses or windowsills such as dianthus, geum, salvia and sweet peas.

Divide clumps of snowdrops once they have finished flowering and prune hardy evergreen hedges.

Cut back deciduous grasses left uncut over winter such as miscanthus. Take root cuttings from verbascum and phlox.

Wisteria can be pruned but be careful to avoid removing the flower buds. Side shoots should be reduced to three buds.

The deadheading of pansies will prolong their flower displays.

You can still plant bare-root hedging plants so long as you soil is not saturated or frozen.

It is a good month for planting roses. By planting with multi-purpose compose, rose food and mycorrhizal fungi the roses will establish more quickly ready to bloom throughout the summer.

Prune group-three clematis. These are the varieties that flower in late summer and autumn.

You should prune back to a pair of strong buds. It is also advisable to feed and mulch the clematis at this time too.

Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs such as Cornus, Forsythia, Ribes and Escallonia.


February means you need to start to plan and buy your seeds. Let the growing begin!

Buy seeds to sow in propagators or once the weather temperature improves.

Chit potatoes. This will give them a head start when you plant them out in the garden in March or April.

Sow seeds undercover or in propagators such as broad beans, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage, cucumber and onions.

Cover vegetable growing areas with black polythene to supress weeds and warm the soil prior to planting


We don’t always take care of our houseplants, they are normally at the bottom of the list, but this month take the time to give them a feed and a top dress:

Planting a range of small houseplants together in a container will allow them to establish. This can then be given as a Mother’s Day gift.

Top dress the pots holding citrus plants with multi-purpose compost. This will help to keep them healthy and producing fruit.


After the last few cold and wet months, all lawns will not be looking their best and we often get asked about laying new turf.

You can prepare soil by raking it flat and levelling with top soil prior to laying new turf.

Remember though you should not lay turf if the soil is saturated or frozen.

Work from planks of wood so as not to compact soil.

A frequently asked question in the garden centre…

Q. What can be done to make areas of a garden with soggy soil look good?

A. This is a problem encountered by many gardeners, particularly at this time of the year.

Leaves on plants turn yellow, the plants roots become waterlogged and develop a sour odour, shoots die back and new growth is sporadic or dies back often as quickly as it came.

The first solution is to improve the soil. This will in time make the area as easy to garden as any other area soil type. It can be achieved by carrying out any of the following steps:

Avoid compacting soil by walking on it. This compounds the problem.

Digging the soil with a fork will loosen and aerate the soil allowing further rainfall to drain more easily.

On heavy sticky soils coarse grit or homemade composted green waste can be dug into the soil to improve drainage.

Although not a quick fix growing a tree such as a thirsty willow (Salix) will help to absorb some of the soil’s moisture and form a canopy preventing some of the rainfall from reaching the ground.

The rain also washes many of the soil’s nutrients from the ground. Applying a twice yearly feed of a balanced fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone will aid the growth of plants in this type of soil.

While improving the soil is beneficial, it is time consuming and sometimes costly too.

In addition, if environmental or location factors are not going to change you will encounter similar sticky sodden soil conditions again. This is particularly likely to be the case if, for example, the soggy soil is at the bottom of a steep bank as rainfall will still run down to the area.

In this case you may wish to take the easier option and simply choose to work with the soil conditions you have and grow plants that like these specific conditions.

For example cornus (Dogwood) loves damp soils and various varieties produce a profusion of colourful stems that glow in the winter light. As examples there are the red stemmed Sibirica the yellow stemmed Flaviramea and the beautiful orangey-red stemmed Midwinter Fire. Other plants that love wet soils include leycesteria, lobelia Queen Victoria, physocarpus, astilbe, equisetum, hosta, sambucus, sorbaria, symphoricarpus and bamboo Phyllostachys.

Stone Cross Nurseries, Dittons

Road, Stone Cross, Pevensey.

This was first featured in the February etc Magazine, pick up your copy now.

Article source:

Tips on planting, maintaining hydrangeas

If you are thinking about a spring purchase of that hydrangea you’ve always wanted or just wondering about how to improve the health of the one you already have, here are some how to’s that will help.

How to select the right location: Maybe you have an empty spot in your garden that you want to fill, but will your hydrangea like it there? Most hydrangeas prefer morning sun and some afternoon shade. They prefer soil rich in organic matter, slightly acidic and well drained. Hydrangeas like water, but not constant wet feet. If you are in doubt about soil quality, do a soil test. The kits can be obtained at the Penn State Extension office in Beaver.

Also, your chosen site needs to allow room for growth since many hydrangeas at maturity may reach 4- to 10-feet high and wide; unmanaged they may grow larger. It’s better to allow the shrub to attain its natural beauty than to take on another pruning job.

Zone tolerances vary. Bigleaf Hydrangea, is zoned 6-9 and may suffer freeze damage and not flower in a harsh winter/spring. A solution can be to locate it on a northern or eastern slope or under tall conifers to protect it from temperature fluctuations. Another choice would be to select a hardier variety. Panicle Hydrangea is hardy for zone 3-9 and Oakleaf for 5-9.

How to choose the variety: Once you have selected the right location, it’s time to think about species and cultivar. Take some time to research via internet or gardening manuals. There are many wonderful extension articles that can help you decide what is best for your landscape. Consider a flower color, leaf texture and size to complement or contrast your garden. Hydrangea flowers range from pinks, blues, whites and some that open green and fade to pink or white. Some leaves are smooth, some rough and some oak-leaf shaped. Every year, new hydrangea varieties are introduced that increase selection of flower color or size. For example, Bobo, which grows 2 to 3 feet in size, and Little Quick Fire with deep pink flowers and red stems.

Here is a brief description of each species:

Hydrangea macrophylla, common name Bigleaf Hydrangea, blooms pink or blue, in mophead or lace-cap style. There are cultivars that will rebloom — Endless Summer and Nikko Blue. Next year’s buds form on “old wood” after current year bloom.

Hydrangea quercifolia, common name Oakleaf Hydrangea, has three-season interest with excellent fall color and peeling bark. Flowers are conical, open pale green and fade white to pink. Again, buds form on old wood after bloom.

Hydrangea arborescens, common name Smooth Hydrangea or Wild Hydrangea, is very reliable and colonizes by underground stems. Cultivar Annabelle, presents enormous flower clusters up to 12 inches in diameter. Buds form on new wood in spring.

Panicle Hydrangea, Pee Gee, produces conical flowers opening white and fading to pink, purple. Buds form on new wood in spring. Some cultivars are Limelight and Quick Fire.

Hydrangea serrata, a smaller version of H. macrophylla, blooms pink or blue and buds form on new and old wood.

Climbing Hydrangea, H. anomala petiolaris, can grow 60 to 80 feet with support. It has creamy white, flattened flowers and takes time to get established.

How to plant: Make sure the pot is well watered the day before planting. Wait to plant in the shade of the day or early evening. Dig the hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball. Amend the soil with compost by working it into existing soil. Fill the hole half full of water; allow it to drain. If the hole is slow or doesn’t drain, choose another site. Turn the pot over to remove the root ball. Knock off loose soil and use your fingers to loosen roots. Position the root ball in the hole and back fill as needed so the surface of the root ball in level or slightly above surrounding soil. Continue to back fill and firm down the plant as you go. Water deeply. Add mulch, but don’t heap it against the plant trunk.

How to maintain: The first year, it is important to water deeply once a week until the ground freezes in the fall. Allow dead stems and flowers to remain on the plant through winter. Dried flowers and stems are attractive in snow and provide shelter for over-wintering insects and small animals. Continue to water the following spring and summer during dry spells until the plant is established.

In spring, general pruning is good for all types. Remove winter kill dead wood. If unsure, scrape bark with a knife; if not green underneath it is dead. For older plants (5 years), remove very old stems by cutting off at the base. This will rejuvenate and stimulate new growth. Deadhead.

If you purchased a new plant, be sure to read and keep the label for reference as to species, cultivar, and bud development on new or old wood. No pruning is better than the wrong pruning and should be done only if necessary to reduce size. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood bloom before July and then form buds August to October. If pruning is essential, prune before August. Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood develop buds in spring so they can be cut back in late winter to early spring before growth begins. These will bloom later in summer.

Different hydrangeas have different fertility needs. If desired, a balanced 10-10-10 general purpose fertilizer may be applied several times from spring through early fall. However, hydrangeas, once established, will grow and bloom with little attention from the gardener.

How to troubleshoot: Pests and disease are rare for hydrangeas and if present may indicate an underlying health problem. Some diseases may be leaf spots, blights, wilts and powdery mildew. Pests may be aphids, leaf tiers, rose chafers, oyster scale and red spider. A soil test will help to diagnose fertility and soil issues.

If your hydrangea doesn’t bloom, the problem can be late winter/early spring bud freeze; incorrect pruning from not knowing the species bloom habit; too much shade; excessive nitrogen.

I hope my how-to list has been of interest to you. It’s a product of my love of hydrangeas, a beautiful addition to any garden, vase or dried arrangement.

Laura Murphy is a Master Gardener with Penn State Extension – Beaver County.

Article source:

RIDEOUT: Early spring garden tips

March is a great month for gardeners because there is so much to be done outdoors. But if you are like me, you may sometimes have difficulty in deciding where to start. I hope the following tips will help you get started.

Monkey grass (Liriope) needs to be cut back each year. Old growth is prone to the fungus anthracnose, which can leave unsightly dead spots on the leaves. Liriope can be cut back to 1 or 2 inches using scissors, hedge shears, string trimmers or even a lawn mower. The key is to avoid scalping the ground, which will destroy the plants growing point.

Ornamental grasses can create winter interest when left uncut, but for best re-growth you should cut these back this month also. You can cut grasses back just above the crown of the plant, usually 4 inches from the ground, with hedge shears or a trimmer with a metal blade. To make clean up easier, use string to tie the mass of leaves into bundles before you make your cuts. Then, you will have a nice sheath of grass to toss in your compost bin, instead of picking up blades for the rest of the day.

Pansies need an application of liquid fertilizer to help strengthen them for spring blooms. You can still plant pansies in the spring, but keep in mind that the summer heat, which the pansies can’t tolerant, will soon be here. Start making plans for summer annuals.

Certainly not a gardener’s favorite activity, but pulling young weed seedlings from flower beds now before they go to seed can eliminate potential problems.  Since the soil is damp and temperatures are cooler the job should be a little easier.

Effectively avoiding problems with crabgrass and goosegrass begins with pre-emergence herbicides. There are many brands available for control.  You should be aware that not all of these are recommended on lawns that were seeded last fall or that have been cut less than four times since seeding. Read the label before you make your purchase or you could damage your newly seeded lawn. Combination fertilizers and pre-emergence herbicides are available and do save time but again check the label.  Some pre-emergence herbicides recommend two applications for best control. The first application is usually in March but the second may not be needed until May. Why is this a problem? On tall fescue lawns applying fertilizer after April increases your risk of Brown Patch disease. If you use a combination product this month, you may want to switch to a pre-emergence herbicide without fertilizer for your May application.

Watch your evergreens (spruce, pine, junipers, hemlock and arborvitae) for spruce spider mite activity in March and April. This cool season mite over-winters on host plants and will begin hatching soon. Early detection is critical for control. Often the yellowing and bronzing of needles are the first signs of a problem. To check for spruce spider mites, place a white sheet of paper under a branch and shake the branch over the paper. If mites are present, they will be the size of walking periods. If 10 or more are present per sample, treatment is recommended. Some non-chemical treatments that can keep spider mites under control in the landscape include a forceful jet of water from a hose. This dislodges the mite while maintaining natural predators. An organic control option includes beneficial predators that can be purchased and released (lady beetles, lacewings, and predatory mites) to feed on spruce spider mites. In heavy infestations, miticides such as Kelthane and horticultural oils can give a quick knock-down but excessive use can lead to resistance. Heavy attacks that go unnoticed may result in branch dieback or death of the plant, so monitoring is important.

It you plan on planting a vegetable garden, now is the time to order seeds from your favorite supplier. Many varieties are available at local lawn and garden retailers also but often sell out quickly. The 2017 Home Gardening Guides are in if you have questions about when or how to plant your garden. Stop by the office and pick one up.

Taking time to clean up and plan a little now will greatly reduce the workload later this spring as well as reduce disease pressures a little. Give us a call at the Henderson County Extension Office if you have questions; we are happy to help!

Contact Andy Rideout at the Henderson County Extension Office at, at 270-826-8387 or stop by the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Service at 3341 Zion Road, Henderson, KY for more information.

Article source:

5 garden tips for the week starting Feb. 11

Spread the wealth

This week is Valentine’s Day, so here’s a friendly reminder to share your love, not only with chocolates but also with produce from your garden. And, just for the fun of it, look around your yard for the annual weed that I always call the “I-Love-You Plant.” It has low feather-like leaves close to the ground and wiry upright 20-inch flower spikes sporting lots of seed capsules that look like little hearts. To me, it’s amazing that this plant only grows around Valentine’s Day. The real name is “shepherd’s purse” (Capsella bursa-pastoris), and it is a member of the mustard family, with edible leaves when young, good raw in salads or cooked as greens. But all those little seed capsules are truly heartwarming.

Berry, berry good

Strawberry season is here at last. Picking the ripest ones every day or two will prolong the harvest season. Don’t let them spoil on the plant, or your plants will stop producing early. Remember to feed periodically with balanced plant food to encourage growth, flowers and fruit. Oh, and maybe you can create your own chocolate-dipped strawberries for an extra fun and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Feeding time

In Inland Valley areas and elsewhere, if not done already, apply the first of four annual feedings for mature citrus trees this week. Subsequent feedings should be done about six weeks later in late March, mid-May, and late June. Each feeding should contain about a half-pound of actual nitrogen. Here’s the formula to figure out how much to use, based on the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer (I use 16-16-16 fertilizer, which has 16 percent nitrogen plus other ingredients): actual nitrogen needed (0.5 lb.) divided by percent of nitrogen in plant food (16/100) X 2 cups per pound. So that’s [(0.5/.16) x 2], which equals 6 1/4 cups of 16-16-16 fertilizer per mature tree each time I feed. For other types of fertilizer, just enter the percentage of nitrogen into the formula to find how many cups of plant food you should apply and use this number each time you feed your trees.

Camellia, azaleas, etc.

It’s also time to feed camellias, azaleas, gardenias, roses and other shrubbery. All plants require nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for growth, listed on the plant-food label as a three-number formula showing the percentage of each element by weight. In general, nitrogen promotes leaf development, while phosphorus develops roots, flowers, fruits and seeds, and potassium permits plants to make optimal use of these nutrients and other minerals. Flowering and fruiting plants need a fertilizer blend with a higher percentage of phosphorus, while green shrubbery needs less phosphorus, but a higher amount of nitrogen.

Natural ally

Hate the messy fruits dropped by olive trees, or those stickery seed balls on liquidambar or sycamore? Ethephon (Florel Fruit Eliminator), a natural plant hormone, prevents the formation of unwanted fruit on just about any leafy ornamental tree. Sprayed at blossom time, it works on carob, carrotwood, elm, maple, oak, pine, podocarpus and more. Purchase from many garden centers and home improvement stores.

Article source: