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Archives for April 18, 2017

Young Ideal-ists: Capel Manor student grabs gold in gardening contest

Horticultural flair: the winning gardeners

Horticultural flair: the winning gardeners

Student Ollie Neaves has won a gold medal at the 2017 Ideal Home Show. Neaves, who is enrolled in Capel Manor’s Garden Design programme, bagged the award for his design of a front garden as part of the Young Gardeners of the Year competition at the annual design extravaganza.

The idea of the front garden competition is to create a garden, front door and a path to inspire homeowners and passers-by.

Neaves’s winning design ‘Garden Without a Boundary’ is intended to draw viewers through the garden on a journey to the front door, illustrating how a garden can brighten up a home and neighbourhood.

Neaves said: “I’m so proud to have been given the opportunity to produce an amazing garden design and installation for Capel with the assistance of the great team of horticulture and landscaping students.

“We are all so pleased with the end result and seeing my garden design come to life from initial design proposals, through to detailed construction drawings and management of the build team.  It’s been a great challenge for us all but the results speak for themselves – a well-deserved GOLD Medal for the whole team!”

Gold standard: the winning garden

Gold standard: the winning garden

Zephaniah Lindo, the horticulture lecturer leading the student team beamed in pride at his group’s accomplishments: “The students worked really well as a team, they overcame some tough problems and finished the garden to a very high standard. The garden attracted a lot of attention from the other colleges and organisers and it was said that it raised the standard for future entrants. On the opening day the team was eager to interact with the judges, public and press and they found the whole experience very rewarding.”

The Young Gardeners of the Year competition, now in its seventh year, offers students the opportunity to showcase their work and celebrate the best of young British talent in garden design and construction.

The award is organised by TV gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. This year’s Show Gardens were judged by an expert panel, including horticultural industry leaders, home and garden magazine editors and acclaimed garden designers.

Domoney said of this year’s competition: “I’m immensely proud to work with HRH The Prince of Wales and the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and to date we have given over 500 garden landscaping and design students the opportunity to build show gardens at a national event before they even leave the college gates.”

Capel Manor College, who have worked with Hackney City Farm as part of their outdoorsy programmes, offer a variety of degrees in horticulture, arboriculture, floristry, landscaping and garden design.

/ 18 April, 2017

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Virtual technology can make landscaping easier

  • This image provided by iScape shows a screen shot of the company's web site showcasing before and after views of landscaping changes using their mobile garden and landscape design application. (iScape via AP) Photo: AP / iScape



Just as virtual technology has become a common tool for anyone planning to repaint or redecorate a home, a growing array of apps can make landscaping easier too.

But know when to use them, and when it would be easier to pull out an old-fashioned pencil and a sheet of graph paper — or to seek out a professional.

“We’ve seen an increase in virtual interior design services within the last two years, so it’s only natural that this functionality would make its way to the exterior of the home as well,” said Stephanie Sisco, Real Simple magazine’s home editor.

A few of the more popular DIY gardening apps include Garden Designer ($9.99, from Artifact Interactive), Design your New Surroundings ($9.99, from Home Revivals), Garden Plan Pro ($9.99, from Growing Interactive), and Perennial Match ($4.99, from Harmony systems, Inc.).

“We have seen several hundred thousand downloads,” says Patrick Pozzuto, founder of the iScape app ($9.99, from Home Revivals LLC), aimed at both professional and home landscapers. Based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Pozzuto worked as a contractor before launching his app.

“Arranging plants using a touch screen is way easier than using your lower back to do it,” he says.

“But while the pros have been using apps for a long time now, home gardeners do encounter some hiccups sometimes,” he admits. “They don’t necessarily know what plant goes with what, and what areas it’ll grow in. And some people don’t have an artistic mind, and get into trouble.”

Dave Whitinger, executive director of the National Gardening Association, based in Jacksonville, Texas, warns that while some tech-savvy gardeners quickly get the hang of landscaping apps, the learning curve is steep, and they may be impractical for most home gardeners. The association, founded in 1971, helps put out the “Gardening for Dummies” book series (published by For Dummies) and hosts the website

“The reality is that while the virtual tools are great for a minority of gardeners, many more people find them far too confusing, and they get really frustrated,” he says.

Many home gardeners, he says, would be better off using a pencil and graph paper, with each square representing 6 inches, or whatever scale is appropriate for the particular garden.

Yet even for amateurs, he notes, the information on some online sites can mean the difference between failure and success with gardening and landscaping projects., for example, features a database for the entire country, searchable by zip code, to tell home gardeners what the frost dates are for their area, when to plant which vegetables and flowers, and what kinds of plants will encourage, say, certain varieties of butterflies or bees.

“Knowledge like that is crucial to whether a person’s gardening project succeeds,” he says. “Lettuce and spinach and tomatoes all have different dates when they should be planted for best results, and planting dates vary depending on where you live. Just because you see the plants for sale in the nursery doesn’t mean it’s the right time to plant.”

And even if you haven’t figured out all the features of the gardening apps, they can be a good way to show professional landscapers what you have in mind, Pozzuto says,

Richard Heller of Greener By Design, a firm in the New York area that uses 3-D software to help with both landscape design and communication with clients, says the software makes a huge difference.

“Three-D software is still not very common, and it gives us an amazing competitive edge. It allows people to see what’s not planted, so they start expanding on projects they have in mind,” he says.

“The software is accessible to anyone, but there’s a steep learning curve involved. And you need a high-end gaming computer to use it.”

Heller says home gardeners might want to check his company’s website which, for a small fee, allows you to create a landscaping “design book.” It’s a good starting point, but most home gardeners would still want to work with a professional who knows plants well, he says.

And there’s always graph paper and a pencil if the learning curve proves too steep.

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Design a garden for all the senses

Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:54 pm

Updated: 3:56 pm, Tue Apr 18, 2017.

Design a garden for all the senses


Gardens add visual appeal to a yard, but gardens also can appeal to individuals’ senses of smell, taste, touch and sound. Gardeners who want to create gardens that appeal to various senses can do so in the following ways.

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      Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:54 pm.

      Updated: 3:56 pm.

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      Immigration attorney and LCH CEO give Indivisible group ideas, encouragement

      By Richard L. Gaw
      Staff Writer

      Two guests invited to Indivisible KSQ’s fifth meeting, held on April 15 at the Kennett Friends Meeting House, merged the pressing concerns of the local Hispanic population with the more than 100 volunteers who are pledging support to the community as it struggles to retain normalcy during a stepped-up national effort to find and deport undocumented citizens.
      Alisa Jones, the CEO and president of La Communidad Hispana (LCH), connected the many programs and services LCH provides with the current climate of fear that is pervading throughout the local Hispanic population. She said that LCH is often the first stop for the members of the Hispanic population in southern Chester County who seek social, personal and legal assistance — as well as education — but in light of current events, the numbers of those seeking these services has multiplied. 
      Since the presidential election last November, for instance, enrollment in English language programs and civics classes at LCH has quadrupled, she said. However, the numbers of those who tap LCH’s job match program, which links potential employers to potential employees, has dwindled rapidly in recent months.
      “Before the election last November, LCH had 212 people looking for a job. Today, we have 16 people looking for jobs,” she said. “On a weekly basis, employers come into the office.  Two weeks ago, we had an employer who runs a landscaping company tell us, ‘I lost 17 of my 19 guys. I need 17 people and a minimum of 13 people just to start spring clean-up.’
      “He told us, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. What are you going to do? I told him, ‘We don’t grow brown people. This is an economic impact of a political action. You as a owner, you as a voter, you as a resident, you as someone who contributes to the economic vibrancy of this region, you need to talk about your economic needs.
      “We are the result of the decisions, and the result of the decisions have economic impact for small employers in this area, and they need to speak up about not being able to run businesses and not have an economic livelihood without a population of labor who wants a job.”
      Fear has become widespread throughout the entire Hispanic population, Jones told the audience. She said that it has become routine at LCH to see children coming into the center complaining of head aches and stomach aches and not wanting to go to school, as a result of their internalizing their stress, due to the current political environment. Further, she said that LCH has seen an uptick of calls from the Hispanic community who are afraid to even come out of their homes and drive to LCH. 
      “There is a level of stress and anxiety,” she said. “They tell us, ‘I don’t want to get on the roads. I am going to be found. There are checkpoints.’”
      A portion of Jones’ presentation involved a back-and-forth idea forum. She approved of the suggestion  to have KSQ members provide transportation/escort services for the Hispanic community. She also applauded the suggestion that KSQ members reach out to local political leaders in order to illuminate the plight of the local Hispanic community. In recent weeks, Jones said that no politicians have reached out to provide LCH with assistance.
      Jones said that Pennsylvania State Rep. Eric Roe of the 158th District, who had been a volunteer in the LCH’s civics program as an instructor, has not contacted LCH since being elected last November.
      Several members of the Indivisible KSQ group told Jones that they were planning to attend upcoming meet and greets that Roe has scheduled throughout Southern Chester County, and asked her to suggest some talking points they can bring to Roe.
      While prefacing that LCH has no political connection, Jones said, “As a person, I would say that we need to support comprehensive immigration reform that allows a path to citizenship for people who are contributing economically and socially to this country. We need to provide a path to citizenship for those who have children who are U.S. citizens, who cannot go and make a life in any other country. We need to provide awareness of the economic impact that immigrants have in this community. There are individuals who want to to work and there are employers who ant to employ them.
      “Without that partnership, we are a weaker community from an economic perspective,” she added.
      “In this situation, there has been a lot more attention on the lives and the experiences of Latinos in this area, but we have to think that we have been living this experience for decades, and we will be here for decades to come,” Jones said. “This is a time that has unique challenges, but we see ourselves grounded in what we’re here to do and how we do it, for a long time.”
      Immigration attorney Lindsey Sweet of the firm Sweet Paciorek, LLC pointed out that although the immigration laws have been on the books for the past 20 years, there is a large gulf of difference between how those laws were enforced during the Obama administration, and how they’re being followed during the Trump administration.
      “It was a more humane way of exercising the laws on the books,” Sweet said, referring to the Obama administration. “What’s changed is that element of discretion has been taken away.  The law is being followed to the letter of the law, as opposed to discretion being exercised.”
      The flip side of increased deportation efforts, she said, will be seen in the log jam of individual case paperwork in the immigration court system.
      “If you’re in removal proceedings, a case can take anywhere from 18 months to two years,” Sweet said. “If all of these people are all actively in removal proceedings, these cases could take as long as five to seven years, and I think that’s an unintended consequence that the Trump administration has not thought about – that these people may still be in removal proceedings even after he’s out of office.”
      Sweet suggested that Indivisible KSQ members talk to law enforcement officers about their relationship with ICE, and encourage them to not cooperate with ICE agents in the tracking down of undocumented citizens. She also suggested that the group support non-profit legal agencies who are working with detained immigrants – such as Nationality Service Center in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Immigration Resources Center.
      Her third suggestion was to continue KSQ’s support of the local immigration center, by helping them develop emergency plans, providing them with information, and writing character reference letters that can help the community in the case of deportation efforts.
      “If someone is detained and needs a letter saying that they’ve been a great neighbor for the last 15 years, it can go a long way in allowing them to be released on a lower bond, because you’ve said that they have been a good neighbor,” Sweet said.
      Both Jones and Sweet discouraged the audience from spreading what Jones called “Facebook facts,” currently being seen on social media, that have incorrectly reported the presence of ICE officials at various checkpoints in southern Chester County. Jones said that one false posting said that ICE was stopping people on the corner of Route 202 and Route 1. Jones told the audience that she subsequently drove to the busy intersection, remained in her parked car for 90 minutes, and did not see any ICE checkpoints.
      Sweet also recommended that Indivisible KSQ members should avoid any aggressive behavior toward ICE officials, such as attempting to intimidate them by driving behind their vehicles.
      Indivisible KSQ co-founder Meghan Bushnell challenged those in the audience to apply their willingness to help the Hispanic population on a broader level.
      “If we really and love and support this community, we need to think about the whole history, and slow down on the emergency stuff,” she said. “What I’m hearing is that there is more fear than what is really happening, and that there are some fundamental ways to support that are not about ICE, but those who are underrepresented and underpaid.
      “This is a time to engage, and a time for our community truly express the love that we have for each other. That’s my dream for this horrible Trump era – that we as a people cross comfort zones and become more loving and connected to each other.”
      “I hear you saying, ‘We are standing on the side of love,” Jones told the audience. “I hear you saying, ‘We are standing on the side of inclusion.’ So that means that when you see a Latino family at Giant, you don’t look down or at your phone. You say, ‘Hello,’ or  ‘Hola,’ or you just smile and connect, instead of ‘I don’t see you because you’re brown and poor.’
      “Rather, you say, ‘I see you and I’m so happy you’re here shopping at Giant.’”
      To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail .

      Article source:

      Creativity Works: Push for the exceptional idea

      In 2004, I was working as a creative director for an advertising agency called R.M. Squared. One of our clients was Plantique, a high-end landscaping company in Allentown. We were asked by Plantique’s president at that time, Michael McShane, if we could come up with something in support of the company’s decision to become a sponsor of Musikfest that year.

      I remember thinking that whatever we come up with should be something that would entertain as well as inform.

      I also believed that people who were there to see a show would react more positively if the commercial blended those two elements seamlessly. From those insights, an idea sprouted.

      I happened to casually mention one day to John Mulder, R.M.’s production director at the time, that I thought it would be so cool if former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant would play Musikfest, and that Plantique would be the perfect sponsor for the show.

      Michelle Branch, Buddy Holly, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, Guns Roses, and of course, Robert Plant.

      All it needed was a way to tie it all together. I gathered the team, and we started the process. After some serious investment in time coming up with taglines, it began to feel like we had hit the wall. The connection to the band names and the Plantique name was established. What was not clear was how to tie the whole concept back to Musikfest.

      I remembered in that moment a quote by Bob Kuperman, former president and chief executive officer of New York advertising firm DDB, who said, “Don’t settle for the acceptable idea, always push for the more exceptional one.”

      After several hours, I was ready to put an end to it, when editor Tony Zaino blurted out in complete frustration, “It’s like music is in their nature, and great landscaping is in Plantique’s.”

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      EDDIE SEAGLE: Bedding plants add color and beauty

      “The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”

      A.W. Tozer

      “Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.”

      Watchman Nee

      “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”

      — Billy Graham

      As we celebrated Easter Sunday, it’s half-past April and we are given the opportunity to enjoy some great spring weather. Enjoy this day and prepare to get back out into the great outdoors this week as your landscaping ideas continue to develop.

      Creative and effective landscaping with curb appeal completes the outdoor environment at your home. Everyone seeks to have a beautiful and attractive landscape that is functional, inviting and appealing. These spaces provide an area for you to enjoy with family and friends while experiencing an outdoor environment filled with fresh air and fragrant plants during the different seasons of the year.

      Bedding plants add color and beauty to the landscape. Plants that are tolerant of summer heat include salvia, torenia, wax begonia, coleus, and ornamental pepper, as well as herbs such as basil, Mexican tarragon and rosemary. Keep a lookout for harmful insects such as thrips, scale and mites on ornamental plants.

      Additional plants that offer various color qualities which help to beautify the landscape and grounds throughout the season and year include the following.

      EverLast dianthus is double-flowered and characteristically mounded which earns its name from its ability to continuously flower throughout the season. This hardy dianthus blooms with vigor from early spring season to late summer season and is available in many colors including white, burgundy blush, lavender, lilac, and orchid. Plant them in full sun as they reach a height and width of 12 inches. EverLast dianthus work well in beds with lambs’-ears.

      Electric Wizard hibiscus has swirling blooms which add a mystic, tropical touch to porches, patios, decks and gazebos. This new, hardy hibiscus produces 9- to 10-inch wide clear pink flowers with a dark red throat boasting in red streaks and purple foliage shaped like maple leaves. This drought tolerant hibiscus makes a great landscape addition and grows 3 feet tall. Its small physique and large blooms make it a spectacular container planting. Grow it in full sun and it looks great planted or positioned near roses. Hibiscus is also called rose mallow.

      Midnight Marvel hibiscus has huge, deep-red flowers (8- to 9-inches wide) with dark purple maple-shape leaves. It flowers from midsummer until frost and is a prolific bloomer in the heat of summer. Midnight Marvel prefers full sun to partial shade, will reach a height and width of 4 feet and makes a fabulous border planting. It looks great growing alongside turtleheads (Chelones).

      Hypnotic hibiscus offers colorful blooms and colorful leaves as well. This hardy hibiscus has 11-inch diameter white flowers which are veined with rose pinstripes. In addition to its blooms, its characteristic purple, maple-shape leaves are most fascinating. It prefers full sun and will grow 3 to 4 feet tall and makes an outstanding landscape plant. It looks great growing near roses.

      Crystal Ball hibiscus has 11-inch wide deluxe white flowers and it will reach a height of five feet. This hardy hibiscus is bred with increased pest tolerance. It prefers full sun and looks great in a mass planting and with roses.

      Heartthrob hibiscus has 8- to 10- inch wide, dark red flowers and its canopy is compact and well-branched. This 4-foot tall hibiscus is a prolific bloomer in mid- to late summer and looks great in the landscape. Heartthrob is deer-resistant and prefers full sun to part shade. It looks great growing with asters.

      Pardon My Purple monarda (also called bee balm) highlights fancy, nectar-rich flowers that attract such pollinators as butterflies and bees. Its fuchsia-purple flowers bloom in midsummer as it grows to a height of 12- inches. This tiny perennial is ideal for placing in the front of a flower border as dazzling edging. It prefers full sun and grows well with the butterfly bush.

      Mercury Rising coreopsis is a brilliant red cultivar (most coreopsis varieties are yellow), blooming from early summer through early fall. Its small, wine-red flowers feature a golden button center and it looks awesome in beds and borders. Mercury Rising will reach 18 inches in height and prefers full sun, and it looks great planted near perennial geraniums.

      Phenomenal lavender is very hardy and flowers in midsummer. It forms a mound of silvery foliage with long spikes of purple-blue flowers growing vertically from within its canopy. It works great in fresh bouquets and in dried arrangements. The lavenders prefer well-drained soils in full sun. Phenomenal will grow to 32 inches in height and looks good with roses.

      Gone with the Wind belamcanda looks like an exquisite tall, yellow iris that reaches upwards to six feet tall. This blackberry lily flowers all summer followed by the production of clusters of blackberry-like seed in the fall. It is a cross between the dwarf iris ‘Hello Yellow’ and the taller wild blackberry lily, which has orange flowers. This plant meets its southern exposure limitations in this area and prefers full sun. It looks good with coreopsis.

      Remember, Earth Day is April 22 and Arbor Day is April 28 — so plan on doing something favorable for the environment at home or the office, whether planting a single tree or a bed of landscape plants.

      Continue to think in terms of native and sustainable plants in the landscape rather than those with invasive characteristics. Keep your hanging baskets and potted plants refreshed with water and food. Remember to feed and water the songbirds, and give your pets the care they need. Also, be on lookout for children playing and bicyclists riding along the streets and roadways throughout our communities as the weather continues its warming trend. And remember to safely share the road with motorcycles. Drive alert and arrive alive. Don’t drive distracted or impaired, and don’t text while driving. Help the homeless every chance you get. Let’s keep everyone safe while enjoying this spring season! Happy Easter!

      Many thanks to all who read this column which is an effort to provide each reader with timely and useful information. It is a small contribution on my part in “paying it forward” to my readers. In keeping with this thought, many of you know that we are planning our annual mission trip to the Peru this summer. We are currently raising funds to help finance this mission trip (discipleship journey). If you feel led to do so and would like to donate to this cause, please make a check payable to Heritage Church and mail to Eddie Seagle, Peru Mission Team, 108 Tallokas Circle, Moultrie, GA 31788. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey as well, and many thanks to each of you.

      “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25.

      Eddie Seagle is a sustainability associate, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland); agronomist and horticulturalist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International); professor emeritus and honorary alumnus, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and associate editor of The Golf Course, International Journal of Golf Science. Direct inquiries to

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      Home & Garden Show takes over Fairgrounds this weekend

      It wouldn’t be spring without the The Union’s 32nd Annual Spring Home, Garden Lifestyle Show, April 22 and 23 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley! Talk to the home improvement pros and take advantage of special show pricing, let the kids — and adults — paint a flower pot or build a birdhouse, and so much more! Check out the special Nevada County Bonsai Club exhibit in the Sugar Pine Lodge.
      Over 175 amazing vendors will be on hand presenting everything from the latest in window coverings, landscaping materials, flooring, decking and solar panels to home furnishings, art, spas, gutters and cleaning products and services — and so much more!
      This event is dog friendly! Bring your behaved dog on a leash, and if you’re one of the first 50 each day, you’ll receive a “doggie wag bag,” courtesy of Incredible Pets.
      The food this year is some of the best we’ve ever had. Joining us for the first time are Cousin’s Maine Lobster Truck and Kaliko’s Hawaiian Kitchen. Another six options including Vietnamese, Mexican, Barbecue, seafood and good old American food round out the choices.
      Enjoy great live music from noon to 3 p.m. on the Pine Tree Stage, with “Sons of Boogie” on Saturday and “Razzvio” on Sunday. Hourly demonstrations inside the Northern Mines Building on topics such as The Aromatic Garden, with world renowned author Kathi Keville; The Modern Farmhouse Design and Decorating tips, with Emmy-award winning Lisa Quinn; and 10 Ways to Get Kids Stoked About Gardening, by Susan Gouveia, founder of The Society of Garden Goddesses.
      Other topics include Landscaping Tips and Tricks, Bokashi Composting, Homegrown Tomatoes and Easy DIY Home Improvement tips.
      New this year are extra prizes to win and a “Better Gnomes and Gardens” contest. Attendees will want to be sure to visit each building this year, because we have special prizes in each building that you must enter to win in their respective buildings. Enter to win an Electric Fat Tire Bike, retail value $1,700, in the Simply Country booth in the Northern Mines Building. In Ponderosa Hall you can enter to win a four-pack of Sierra Vintner’s Wine Trail Season Tickets (two sets available at $320 value per set) as well as a day’s worth of tractor service from Ben’s ZapHaul Tractor, a $600 value. Enter to win a long list of prizes at The Union booth just inside the Main Street Center building.
      While you are enjoying the show, if you come across a special Gnome we have placed around the show grounds, you can win a $50 gift card from A to Z Supply in Grass Valley if you snap a photo of the Gnome and upload it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag “#unionhomeshow.” There will be a drawing from all eligible entries.
      Show hours are 10 to 5 on Saturday, April 22, and 10 to 4 on Sunday, April 23. For more information visit

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      CLC horticulture teacher promotes ‘resurgence’ of suburban vegetable gardens

      Deb Denison is ready to start the 12-step program — 12 steps to vegetable gardening, that is.

      Denison, a Lindenhurst resident, learned about the step system from Rory Klick Monday during an Earth Week presentation at the College of Lake County on edible landscaping, i.e., how to grow your own fruits and vegetables.

      Klick, department chair for horticulture and sustainable agriculture at the college, told Denison and others wanting to get tips on edible landscapes that “it’s simple,” and you don’t need a lot of space. A couple of containers, a sunny spot in your back yard, some good soil and proper watering are all it takes.

      “You can have just a few square feet and still grow your own food,” she said.

      Gardening Tips: Early spring is the time for dormant pruning

      One of the most frequently asked questions at the garden centre is how or when to prune a particular tree or shrub. Pruning done at the wrong time or in the wrong way can really damage a plant. There are some general guidelines to follow to be successful as well as some very specific tips for certain trees and shrubs.

      Right now is the time to do dormant pruning. Removing some of last year’s growth before new growth begins encourages health, bushy shrubs. The general rule of thumb is to remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the previous season’s growth. For example: if your Spirea shrub grew 12″ in height and width last year, use pruning shears to remove four to six inches from the top and sides of the shrub. Try to follow the natural shape of the shrub tapering slightly out towards the base. By angling your shears down and out, the base will be slightly wider than the sides. Sun will hit all the foliage, resulting in a nice full bush. If you angle your shears inwards when pruning, the base will be narrower than the top and sunlight will not reach bottom branches. Leaves may die out and resulting in a shrub with a bare bottom!

      Most summer and fall blooming shrubs benefit from dormant pruning. Those to avoid are early spring bloomers such as azalea, rhododendron, serviceberry and forsythia. They should be pruned a little later in the spring, once flowering is finished.

      Lilacs are NEVER pruned in the spring. They set flower buds on the ends of their branches immediately after blooming. These are the full, plump buds at the ends of the stems. If you prune in spring or fall, you are removing the potential for flowers! Their ideal pruning time is immediately after blooming.

      Shrubs that are grown mainly for interesting foliage rather than flowers can be pruned in the spring when dormant, e.g. Dwarf Burningbush, Dappled Willow, dogwood, Golden and Diablo Ninebarks. Deciduous hedges are shaped in the spring as well: Peashrub, Alpine Currant, honeysuckle and privet. Be sure to prune hedges a bit wider towards the base as mentioned above. This pruning method ensures a nice full hedge right to ground level.

      When pruning deciduous trees, look carefully at the structure before you begin. First remove any dead and broken branches, those touching buildings and lower branches that are a hazard when walking next to the tree. Next look for branches that tangle or cross. One branch rubbing on another will result in bark damage that allows insects and disease spore to enter the tree. Decide which of the two branches is in the better position for good growth and remove the other. Also remove suckers that grow from the base of a tree and waterspouts that grow straight up from a side branch. They will eventually cause a tangled mess. Avoid pruning the leader of a tree. You will end up with a cluster of weak branches competing for dominance at the top of your tree.

      Caution: avoid getting close to any overhead lines. If you see a problem branch in a tree near wires, call the appropriate company to deal with the situation!

      Never prune maples in the spring! Sap is running and they will bleed excessively when cut. Maples should be pruned after the leaves have fully formed.

      Some evergreens can be pruned lightly now to correct shape. Cedar, yew, juniper, boxwood, euonymus and hemlock fall into this category. Their main pruning time is early June, once spring growth is complete.

      Pines are pruned once the new growth has finished extending upwards, at what’s called the ‘candle’ stage. Cut 1/3 to 1/2 the candle length. Mugho pines are an exception to this rule. Two-thirds of the candle growth should be removed so they stay tight and well shaped.

      Spruce are pruned after the new growth has finished, in early June. This encourages more bud development for next year, resulting in a full, bushy plant.

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      Spring tips for a healthy yard and garden

      Spring Fever − Do you have it? I sure do. Especially having just come back from the south where there are flowers everywhere! It makes me want to get out there and work in the yard. But beware − If you’re like me, you’ll be busy “putzing” in the yard and pretty soon you won’t be able to move. I always over do it the first day. Be sure to do some stretching exercises first, and take a break every so often to appreciate what you have accomplished. If you plan to do any raking, be gentle. The grass roots are very fragile this time of year and easily ripped out of the ground. This is not the time to aerate the soil. Most weeds are annuals, meaning they reseed every year. Aerating the soil now opens the door for the weed seeds to find fertile ground and germinate.

      Pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass should be applied when temperatures are steadily over 50 degrees. A natural substitute for synthetic pre-emergence herbicides is corn gluten meal. Apply in late April or early May at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Water to activate. This is effective for five to six weeks.

      You should not be trimming oaks anymore this season as this will leave them susceptible to the fungus that causes oak wilt. Flowering shrubs should be pruned after flowering. Trim back no more than a third to avoid stressing the plant. If you plan to move a shrub or larger plant this summer, push your spade down around the perimeter of the plant to cut the roots. Leave the plant in the ground for a few weeks to give it time to develop new shorter roots. This will make it easier for the plant to adjust to its new location when you are ready for it to be moved.

      New mulch always looks fresh and clean, but remember to put mulch around trees in a donut rather than a volcano. Mulch should not come in contact with the bark as it promotes girdling roots which eventually kill the tree.

      As soon as the soil is workable, plant seeds for cool-season crops such as radishes, peas, kale and other greens. My dad always used to say you should plant potatoes on Good Friday. This year that would actually be good advice! Other years not so much. Don’t be in a big hurry to go shopping for flowering plants. This area can get frost until mid-May. If you just can’t help yourself, keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to cover the tender annuals that you plant. Don’t worry if you forget, though. The garden centers will love you.

      Happy Gardening!

      Rosanne Busch, Rice County Master Gardener

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