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Archives for May 16, 2017

Gardening tips from Stone Cross Garden Centre

The experts at Stone Cross Garden Centre reveal why there is so much to love about these often overlooked bedding superstars.

May is a special and colourful time at the Garden Centre, everywhere you look there are plants coming to bud. Everything from the large blooms of Geraniums, the small delicate flowers of Alyssum, colourful shrubs, roses, acer trees and of course beautiful perennials. May is the month to transform your garden.

One plant that is often overlooked, but is a favourite, is the bedding plant Gazanias. The “Frosty Kiss Mix” have fabulous giant star shaped blooms. They are easy to grow, can be planted earlier than other bedding as they are half hardy, drought tolerant and even sturdy enough to stand up to summer rain. Growing upto ten inches in height with grey and green foliage they add interest to mixed bedding displays especially when planted with Lobelia, Begonias and Cineraria.

May is and extremely busy month in the garden. The warmer weather means lawns need mowing weekly, weeds outstrip the speed of your plants growth and everything needs, more watering. It is best to do this early in the morning and in the evening as the water can penetrate the soil and get down to the plants roots where it is needed most. Watering in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest means lots of the water is evaporated, plus you risk getting water on the leaves which magnifies the sunlight and can then burn leaving you with unsightly brown and black spots.

Ceanothus often known as the Californian Lilac. There are different forms from the low growing “thyrsiflorus var. repens” that grows just three feet with a spread of unto eight feet, to the tree form “Trewithen Blue” that grows upwards of twenty feet with a spread of twenty-five feet.

They are evergreen and mainly have green foliage. The size of the leaves vary depending on the variety. There is also the “thyrsiflorus El Dorado” variety that has variegated foliage. All Ceanothus are hardy, love sun and can withstand all but full coastal winds. The real party piece of Ceanothus is that they are smothered in blue flowers in May and June! There is an exception. Ceanothus “Autumnal Blue” waits until August before bursting into bloom and these flowers last well into October.

Black Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, yellow flowers

Black Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, yellow flowers


May often has us all trying to predict the weather. There is a temptation to get planting but be careful of late frosts that can kill tender bedding and vegetable plants. It is a good idea to keep some fleece and cloches on standby in case frost is predicted.

As for plants not to miss out on herbaceous perennials are fantastic plants that can really give that cottage feel. They brighten evergreen shrub borders and can be grown in front of hedges to bring them to life. A few stand out perennials to consider and will make a difference in your garden are:

Astilbe “Fanal” – wine red fluffy plumes held on stems above serrated green foliage. They thrive in boggy moist soil.

Lamprocapnos, known as Bleeding Heart offers dainty heart shaped flowers with small tear drop bases. Keep well watered but also perfect full sun or part shade.

Erysimum “Bowles Mauve” known as an Everlasting Wallflower. It is a long flowering perennial with vivid deep mauve flowers that is great in full sun or partial shade.

Also why not plant perennials for autumn colour:

Agapanthus or African Lily – strap-like foliage with large globe trumpet blooms – July into September. It is best grown in a pot as if the roots are not confined it rarely flowers.

Japanese Anemone, great for adding autumn colour. Masses of cup shaped flowers flower into October. They spread quickly forming specimen sized clumps.

Rudbeckia is my favourite autumn perennial offering an abundance of daisy-like flowers with yellow petals and a black central heart. Planted in large clumps they breathe life into even the dullest of autumn days.

Stone Cross Garden Centre, Dittons Road, Stone Cross, Pevensey.

This first featured in the May edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.

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Gardening Tips: May 13, 2017

We are in the thick of planting season now! Tim Rundlett from Waukee’s Earl May has suggestions on plants that rabbits won’t eat, if there are any benefits to raised gardens when it comes to avoiding pests, when to split hostas and how to kill bull thistle. Get your answers in this video.

If you have a question please, click here and submit your question and hear Tim’s answer on a future Saturday on Today in Iowa.

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Eastern Idaho news in brief

Master Gardners Program fundraiser Saturday

This year’s Master Gardners Plant Promotion is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Jack R. Hamilton 4-H and Community Resource Building, 2925 Rollandet St.

Bonneville County’s master gardeners hold the Plant Promotion fundraiser to benefit its programs. The fundraiser includes indoor and outdoor plants, gift cards, potting soil, gardening equipment and landscape items. Cash donations are accepted for all items. Master gardeners will also be on hand to answer questions, help with planting ideas and offer landscaping and gardening tips.

Anyone wishing to donate plants, seeds, tree starts, shrubs, gardening materials, etc., can drop them off at the Jack R. Hamilton building Friday.

For information, contact the Bonneville County Extension Office at 208-529-1390 or email

One of Star Valley’s oldest resident turns 106

Lloyd Baker turns 106 Wednesday. The public is invited to celebrate his birthday Saturday.

The party begins at 6 p.m. at the LDS church, U.S. Highway 89 in Etna, Wyo. The all-ages celebration will include refreshments and a program. A dance will begin at 7 p.m. with the Rockin’ A Team.

Veterans outreach May 24

A Bonneville County Veterans Services outreach will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 24 in Building Five, Room 515 and 516, of Eastern Idaho Technical College, 1600 S. 25th E.

Rick Poisel, Idaho State Service Officer, will be conducting the outreach. All veterans, family members and widows or widowers of veterans are encouraged to attend. He will be working with veterans one-on-one, answering questions on pension and compensation and assisting with the filing of all claims with the VA Regional Office in Boise.

In addition, he will be covering VA health care eligibility and will assist with the application process. He will also provide information on both of the local facilities which provide medical services to eligible veterans: George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Pocatello, Ammon and Salmon. His services are free of charge.

Contact the county veterans representative in your area or call Poisel at 208-235-7890 for information.

Shauna Berg retirement open house

An open house to celebrate Shuana Berg’s retirement will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 25 at Longfellow Elementary, 2500 S. Higbee Ave.

Berg has been teaching multiple-age groups locally for 34 years and is currently employed as a third-grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary.

All former students and colleagues are invited. Call 208-525-7648 for information.

Film on the effects of children’s trauma Wednesday

A free public screening of James Redford’s documentary, “RESILIENCE: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope,” a partnership between Optum Idaho, the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund, The Speedy Foundation and the Idaho Federation of Families, is being screened at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Events Center, 777 Bannock Trail in Fort Hall. There also will be a panel discussion, featuring local community health experts.

Redford’s film focuses on the fact that a child may not remember what happened in their early life, but their brain never forgets. It shows how researchers are exploring a biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood — called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The film demonstrates how the stress of these early experiences can trigger hormones that affect children’s’ brains and bodies, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time and early death.

For information, and to get a free ticket, visit

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10 outdoor ideas for boosting the value of your home – CBS News

Photo courtesy of Zillow

Spring is the season to get head outdoors and enjoy the smell of freshly cut lawns and blooming flowers. As many homeowners get ready to spend their time and hard-earned cash on improving their landscaping for a fresh start, it’s also a great time to think about which outdoor projects provide the best return on investment (ROI).

There are many outdoor features that can help owners enjoy living in their homes, but not all of them will add value for all future buyers. For example, swimming pools might be fun for families who aren’t afraid of consistent maintenance and added costs, but they could send some buyers running. Investing in curb appeal, however, almost always pays off.

“First impressions are everything,” said Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communications with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “Even in landscaping, we want to attract the homebuyer.”

These days, that initial impression often comes in the form of an online listing photo. According to a recent NAR report, viewing homes online is the first step for buyers, with the vast majority of people saying that photos were the most important part of their online research. If a home doesn’t have the most well-kept and well-photographed exterior on the block, online shoppers could be more likely to move on the next online listing.

Another part of keeping up with the Joneses, of course, is understanding the outdoor trends that are popular in a particular area.

“In Miami, homeowners want to live outdoors equally as they live indoors,” said landscape architect Deena Bell Llewellyn, president of Bell Landscape Architecture and president-elect of the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. In South Florida, where she works, Llewellyn said homeowners are looking to open their homes completely so that the line between interior and exterior is erased.

“Landscape architects really get into the ‘hardscape’ design for the exteriors,” she said. “Specific things clients really want are outdoor kitchens — very sophisticated outdoor kitchens that might have the same types of appliances they have indoors, outdoor televisions with full sound, and lighting outdoors and outdoor fireplaces or conversation pits that act as part of an outdoor living room.”

Thinking of taking the plunge on an outdoor improvement this year? Check out these 10 projects that could add value to your home today and in the future.

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Bleeding hearts bring grace to spring gardens

Posted on Addison County
  • Goshen
  • Featured
  • gardening
  • By Judith Irven

    Everyone loves Bleeding Hearts, with their delicate flowers — each reminiscent of a little pink heart with a tiny drop of blood dripping from it — that are perfectly complimented by mounds of dainty fern-like leaves. They bloom in mid-spring, once the weather is settled and winter’s chill is out of the ground.

    There are actually several kinds of Bleeding Hearts and their near relatives — all of which make delightful plants for the spring garden.

    Fringed Bleeding Hearts

    Exquisite plants from the mountains of Appalachia

    The diminutive Fringed Bleeding Heart, Dicentra eximia, which also goes by the odd name of Turkey Corn, is a North American native found along the spine of Appalachian Mountains, from Southwestern Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

    Since it thrives where the soil is acidic and summers are moist, Fringed Bleeding Hearts are also quite at home in our Vermont gardens (with the possible exception of those along the limestone ridges where the soils are likely to be more alkaline).

    It may come as a surprise to discover that, although the Fringed Bleeding Heart is usually considered a springtime flower, it actually blooms on and off all summer long. So plant it where you can appreciate its dainty personality throughout the season.

    Native to Vermont

    The Fringed Bleeding Heart also has two lovely relatives that belong to the same Dicentra genus, which are native to Vermont. These are Squirrel Corn — Dicentra canadensis — and Dutchman’s Breeches — Dicentra cucullaria. Each spring I see both just above our house in the forest, which is part of the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area.

    Dicentra canadensis, with heart-shaped flowers clustered atop short stems, is a bit like a white version of Dicentra eximia. But I have no idea how it came by its peculiar name, Squirrel Corn. Maybe squirrels do indeed enjoy feasting on those knobby little roots.

    The plants of Squirrel Corn are fairly compact and apparently readily self-seed. So, squirrels notwithstanding, in the wild one usually finds several plants growing near one another.

    By contrast, a single plant of Dutchman’s Breeches will eventually become a substantial colony with many flowering stalks above mounds of feathery leaves — always a delightful sight.

    I imagine, in times past, those small white flowers dangling from the stem reminded people of a row of sailor’s pantaloons drying on the wash-line — hence their quaint name Dutchman’s Breeches.

    Both Squirrel Corn and Dutchman’s Breeches would make great additions to a woodland garden. But it important to note that, unlike the Fringed Bleeding Heart, Squirrel Corn and Dutchman’s Breeches are spring ephemerals meaning that, as soon as they have flowered and set seed, the plants will go dormant for the remainder of the summer.

    New varieties

    Plant hybridizers are always seeking the opportunity to make new and better varieties by crossing closely related plant species.

    And, in the case of the Dicentra genus, they experimented with crossing our Eastern bleeding heart, Dicentra eximia, with its Western counterpart, Dicentra formosa, as well as with a related plant from eastern Asia — Dicentra peregrina.


       DUTCHMEN’S BREECHES ARE a kind of bleeding heart native to Vermont.

    The results are some lovely, cultivated varieties that thrive in the shade — collectively called Fern-leaf Bleeding Hearts — including Burning Hearts, Fire Island, King of Hearts and Red Fountain. It should be noted, Fire Island also prospers in the sun.

    Best of all, the Fern-leaf Bleeding Hearts bloom for most of the summer, with flowers about 12-18 inches high above a circle of delicate leaves.

    Good ol’ fashioned

    Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts are perhaps the most well-known type of Bleeding Heart and certainly the longest in cultivation. You may remember them gracing your grandmother’s garden.

    Their dainty pink and white flowers hang from their stems like charms along a necklace, making a beautiful contrast above the mounded leaves. The robust plants eventually grow to about 30-inches high and wide.

    There are also several lovely cultivars, including White Bleeding Heart, the more compact Valentine and Gold Heart, which has golden leaves. Try combining two or more of these together for some interesting effects.

    However, if we have another hot summer like last year, expect these Old Fashioned charmers will become dormant by mid-July.

    For the record

    Because of the similarity of their flowers, Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts (with a Latin name of Dicentra spectabilis) and Fringed Bleeding Hearts (such as Dicentra eximia) were always considered to be part of the same Dicentra genus.

    But attempts to create hybrids between Dicentra spectabilis and other members of the Dicentra genus, have proven elusive, indicating they are probably not that closely related after all.

    So, just for the record, botanists have recently moved the Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts into their own genus and given them a new name: Lamprocapnos spectabilis, which is now used on many websites.

    But, whatever their formal name, we gardeners still love them!

    Growing Bleeding Hearts

    All types of Bleeding Hearts, as well as their relatives Dutchman’s Breeches and Squirrel Corn, would make lovely additions to your garden. You can purchase many of the varieties I have mentioned here at Rockydale Gardens in Bristol, and American Meadows in Shelburne carries all but Squirrel Corn.

    Since Bleeding Hearts are woodland plants, choose a spot that will be partially shaded throughout the season. Loosen the soil and then add plenty of decayed leaves (leaf mould) or other organic matter from your compost pile to mimic their natural habitat.

    Remember that some of these beautiful plants, especially the Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts as well as the Dutchman’s Breeches and Squirrel Corn, go dormant in summer. So, while they look lovely in springtime, it is nice to grow them among other shade-loving plants, like ferns and hostas, that will fill in the gaps for the remainder of the season.

    Since the Fringed Bleeding Hearts are quite short (less than 18 inches) be sure to plant them at the front of the border, perhaps near the door or alongside a walkway, where you can enjoy them each time you step outside. And while the old fashioned Bleeding Hearts are somewhat taller it is still nice to grow them where you can enjoy their delicate flowers up close.

    Plant some Bleeding Hearts now and each year they will return to tell you “spring is here to stay.”

       Nestled alongside the huge leaves of Astilboides, this clump of delicate Fringed Bleeding Hearts in Judith’s Goshen garden continues to bloom for most of the summer in Judith’s Goshen garden.

    Photo by Dick Conrad

    Judith Irven and Dick Conrad live in Goshen where together they nurture a large garden. Judith is a Vermont Certified Horticulturist and teaches Sustainable Home Landscaping for the Vermont Master Gardener program as well as Landscape and Planting Design at Vermont Technical College. You can subscribe to her blog about her Vermont gardening life at Dick is a landscape and garden photographer; you can see more of his photographs at www.northcountryimpressions.

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    In the garden: Planting containers for sun and shade! (And Succulents!)

    This weekend saw me running three gardening workshops at the New Sudbury Shopping Centre. We were building planters for sun, for shade and succulents. 

    At 6 a.m., my partner and I were hauling bags of rich potting soil and flats of riotous begonias into the empty mall. We were ready for the day, but what we didn’t expect was the excitement of unsuspecting shoppers who had happened upon our set up. When we reached capacity, which we did for each session, I began with this: 

    You only need to remember three words when planting a pot for sun or shade: Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers. 

    Thrillers are the drama of your planter. It’s what gives your planter some height. We planted a tall sedge for the sun, which had a lovely lime green edge that curled as it grew. 

    For the shade planter, I introduced the dramatic Pegasus begonia hybrid with deep mahogany and silver overlay on its spiky leaves. These thrillers were placed in the centre of each pot, a bold statement to ground the arrangement. 

    Next we move onto the Fillers. These are the little beauties that will grow in and create mass. For both, I offered wax-leaf begonias. These are oldies but goodies, and with varieties for both full sun to partial shade, and leaves in the brightest green to deepest burgundy, you really can’t go wrong. 

    Depending on the size of the pot, you’ll want to plant them with enough space so they don’t overcrowd and then wither. You want them to fill the pot, but only to touching slightly. It’s tempting to shove too many into place for an immediate effect, but this will only cause problems later. Patience is key and so waiting for them to fill in is a must. 

    Finally, we add Spillers. These crawlers will cascade over the sides of your pot. I tend to plant spillers in threes, so you get a balanced look from any perspective. For the sun planter, we used Lysimachia, or Creeping Jenny, a delightful bright green spreader that is also a useful perennial groundcover. 

    The shade planter hosted a staunch German ivy, or Delairea, which thrives in lower light conditions. It can also be treated as a perennial climber. With each planter, I chose plants that had similar watering requirements. 

    The succulent planter was also a success. Succulents are becoming more sought out, since they require less care than other varieties. They come in an amazing array of shapes, sizes and colours. 

    From deep rose, to pale green, to cool blue, the combinations are really endless. We used a saucer-shaped pot, since depth is not an immediate requirement. In fact, planting succulents in a variety of vessels is part of the charm of cultivating them. 

    From tin cans, to chipped china tea-cups, these cute as a button plants can thrive in small containers. They look great planted in groups, or as singles. They require little water and a good deal of light. They’ll tell you when they’re thirsty as their skin with wither like a dried grape. Another tell-tale sign of thirst is a deepening of colour. 

    We had such a successful day at the New Sudbury Shopping Centre that we’re already planning the next workshop. This time, we’re thinking fruits and herbs. Hope to see you there!

    Gardener Anne Boulton takes you outside to expand your gardening knowledge or pick up a few helpful hints or ideas with In the Garden,’s monthly gardening column. Anne is the owner of Greenboots Gardens, a landscaping company in Greater Sudbury. For a free estimate, call 705-507-6851 or email Visit her website for more information.

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    Sandy’s Garden … Landscaping

    I returned home on a bus recently.

    Travelling by bus affords the opportunity to look over walls and hedges into other folks’ gardens by virtue of not having, as a driver, to be ever-vigilant in the interests of safety and to avoid so-called ‘traffic calming’ obstructions.

    I realised how many front gardens are now devoid of any form of cultivated plant life. Having recently had artificial turf installed in front of my own house, I am not being critical; I am merely observing that the term ’landscaping’ seems to have taken on a different meaning for the present generation.

    The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines ‘landscaping’ thus: “to make (a garden or other area of ground) more attractive by altering the existing design, adding ornamental features, and planting trees and shrubs.” Please notice ‘adding ornamental features, and planting trees or shrubs.” Now let’s look at some contemporary advertising by local companies which undertake landscaping projects, taken entirely at random from the internet. The first states that, “We undertake both hard and soft landscaping work including driveways, turfing, patios, paving, steps, walling, fencing, monoblock and decking. We are fully insured and all work is guaranteed.” Of all the features on offer, only turfing could be described as soft landscaping, and then only if it was carried put with real turf. All the others are examples of what is called hard landscaping, for obvious reasons.

    Here is a second, random example. “We provide a collection of garden landscaping services for you to choose from ranging from a simple patio or driveway, a variety of garden walls, decking, gravelling and turfing to a full landscape design and build service.” Again, the emphasis is very much on hard landscaping. But here is an example of a company which offers more traditional landscaping services. “Planting is at the heart of our business. Whether you have problematic border or you want your whole garden addressed we can create a unique planting plan perfect for you and your garden. We will always choose healthy and appropriate plants and ensure they are planted properly to give them the best chance as well as giving maximum impact. Planters can add impact to the garden and we can provide a style to suit your garden along with the appropriate plants to complement them.”

    The word ‘landscape’ came originally, so the OED assures me, from Middle Dutch lantscap, from land ‘land’ + scap … equivalent of ‘-ship’… and entered the English language in the late 16th century. Sixteenth and seventeenth century Netherlanders were fascinated by the appearance of towns and of the countryside both at home and overseas; and they were enthralled with seascapes, insisting that their artists depicted both the ships and their environment with photographic accuracy. Indeed, one could make a good case for arguing that the Dutch artists were expected to do better than a modern photographer would, because the artists were free to improve the landscape or the seascape by removing any imperfections from reality and/or by adding attractions which were not present in real life. (One might say that they pioneered ‘photoshopping’). And this urge to present their native land in the most favourable light resulted in reality copying art as Dutch landowners added attractions which did not occur naturally to their farms and their estates; in short, they invented landscaping, a technique seen by British seafarers and travellers and imported into the United Kingdom.

    Changing lifestyles and changing expectations have brought about a recent change in landscaping, from ‘soft’ to ‘hard.’ You, gentle reader, must decide which you prefer.

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