Weekly Blog entries
by Tom Dayton
"Going Green" Blogs
2008-2009 Blog Archive
2010 Blog Archive
2011 Blog Archive
2012 Blog Archive
June 14, 2013
Another blessing! A decent amount of rain without too much damaging wind was
just the ticket for bringing up the ground moisture that we so desperately
Our summer crops of trees and shrubs are doing well with the cooler
temperatures and the good quality of our irrigation water thanks to rain.
One crop that just became available is a fresh batch of Maples in the
varieties Tamukeyama, Crimson Queen, Virdis and a few others! So lush is the
new growth that we were planning to space them better but when we checked
the root systems of these earlier transplanted plants, the roots were almost
filling the container 1 month ahead of schedule!
Our My Bouquet series of roses are growing nicely and it looks as though
they will be ahead of schedule as well so that they will be ready for sale
by July 4th instead of August 1st as originally scheduled.
Transplanting of perennials, shrubs and ground covers is still going on as
the process is sandwiched between all other duties of selling, mowing,
weeding . . .
At the end of June, the market will be open in the Owl Barn beginning with
Marietta sweet corn and tomatoes before the transition to Seiberling sweet
corn and produce from the farm.
Let us all hope that the summer rains continue so that about one inch falls
every week which is ideal for lawns and gardens.
Got to go!
P.S. Don’t forget to treat squash and cucumbers for mildew with Bi-Carb
June 7, 2013
Yesterday’s rain was a real blessing in that as much as 2 inches of needed
rain fell most gently all day!
Our irrigation lake has been replenished with fresh water supplementing the
recycled water that has collected some salts from the fertilizer leached
from the plants. Another exciting piece of news is that more Paw Paws have
arrived with any coupons from our garden club newsletter still valid. The
back order of these 150 Paw Paws was quite a disappointment even though the
trees were ordered in October 2011 for delivery in mid April of 2013! The
varieties Overleese, Potomac, Atwood and Taylor are available. Some of these
named varieties have been bred and tested by the University of Kentucky for
such aspects as taste, vigor, production and quality of fruits and sometimes
the longevity of the ripened fruit after picking.
The perennial house is gorgeous with all the plants available now from our
early spring production. Especially gorgeous are the shade-loving Astilbe
with their feather-like blossoms in red, white, pink and peach colors. Other
interesting perennials will come on line in about 6 weeks as we ramp up
production for our summer program of perennials.
The perennial house too is decorated with beautiful hanging baskets of
verbena, lobelia, calibrachoa and petunias that add to the splash of color.
While the annual flower house is winding down, another crop of beautiful 2
gallon size geraniums just became available for those gardeners that are
geranium lovers of the color red.
I’ve got to go as there is trimming, fertilizing and weed pulling are
May 31, 2013
The killing frost was devastating last week for many gardeners and bigger
operations too. At the nursery the temperature dipped to 32º F at 6 a.m.
before it began to rise just a half hour later.
For the protection of the new growth of the plants outside our movable roof
greenhouse, a constant washing with water with the irrigation system saved
the day. The 20 HP electric pump at full capacity will move 670 gallons of
water per minute and deliver 50 lbs. of pressure to the highest sprinklers
which are at least 40 feet above the pump level. The water is distributed
throughout the property through a system of pipes and electronic valves that
one may compare to a spider web. The large delivery pipes of a six inch
diameter and four inch are secured by strategic placements of concrete where
the thrust of the water flow might break them apart even though they are at
least 30 inches under the ground.
Others not as fortunate to have an irrigation system and too much to cover
lost many tomato and pepper plants and will have to start over. The scenario
is not all dire though as there is plenty of time left to grow as it is
still May and not a later frost like that which occurred on June 15, 1972 in
many out laying areas.
The nursery has been very busy as the greenhouses still have plenty of nice
product except that the selection of plants is beginning to wane especially
in some varieties of the vegetable plants.
I am really learning to appreciate our new weed discs on many of the plants
as they have reduced weeding to a minimum compared to last year. I don’t
mind weeding but it sometimes can be overwhelming.
Pray for some soaking rain.
May 24, 2013
Here we go again with the weather; hot and humid for a few days then cool
and cloudy with cold nights! Some rain has fallen but we still need a lot
The greenhouses are still well stocked with vegetable plants and flowers of
every size and description for the holiday weekend but then after that
supplies will start to run low.
The rhododendrons are blooming in the garden and in the sales area which
makes for quite a show. The perennial house is especially gorgeous at this
time of year as many of the plants are blooming their heads off. I
especially like the Summer series of Delphinium with the light blue, deep
blue, pink and white flowers on this gorgeous upright perennial.
Soon the sedum on the green roof of the Owl Barn will be blooming giving the
appearance of the coat of many colors.
Our next goal is to renovate all the landscape beds and plant flowers
everywhere for the summer. At least the flowers outside don’t require the
maintenance to keep the bugs and disease at bay as they do in the
greenhouse. I’m constantly looking for bugs and disease in order to decide
what action I have to take next.
Enjoy the holiday weekend and keep smiling.
May 17, 2013
The warmer days and nights has finally brought on planting time for heat
loving flowers and vegetable plants although vigilance is in order because
of the spector of a late frost.
The azaleas are at their peak of bloom in the garden and elsewhere in the
nursery resulting in a kaleidoscope of color across the land. The
greenhouses are a little too warm and sunny so that today we must put on
another layer of white shade compound in order to block and reflect the
ultraviolet rays that heat up the greenhouse. It’s so strange that only 30
days ago the sun was a welcome stranger especially after a cold, dark March.
It’s okay now to put down a weed and feed on the lawn as the weather has
pushed most broad leaved weeds into growth. Preen is also a good weed
preventer for the flower garden especially when just planting annual
flowers. After the Preen’s application it’s wise to mulch annual flowers
with a thin layer of Sweet Peet in order to keep the plants roots cool and
moist and additionally to feed the flowers. Sweet Peet is superior as a
mulch as it does not starve plants for nitrogen as mulch does when it
In the greenhouse our Calliope geraniums and New Guinea Impatien hanging
baskets are especially gorgeous. The New Guineas thankfully do not contract
the lousy downy mildew disease so that they work well in part shade as a
substitute for Impatien wallerianna.
Come on in and take a walk around and enjoy the spring show.
May 10, 2013
Mother’s Day is already approaching and the nursery is at peak inventory for
the most part.
May is the most beautiful month in Ohio as the
kaleidoscope of color from blooming trees, shrubs, and other flowers is like
one big parade marching along.
The azaleas are blooming everywhere in the sales area
and on the grounds at the nursery.
Another one of my favorites is creeping phlox that is
extremely winter hardy and drought tolerant.
The masses of color the phlox provide along the ground
are in contrast to the color show of 20 feet high put on by the flowering
Wolf Creek Gardens is coming into it’s prime too with
blooming azalea soon to be followed by at least 14 different varieties of
The azaleas I transplanted from my uncle’s house a few
years ago are spectacular with the fiery red blooms on the gigantic bushes
of 7 by 7 feet!
The sweet smell of the French lilacs and fragrant
viburnum is in the air lending to the ambiance of an Ohio spring.
Stop by the nursery and bring Mom too to walk around
but be prepared to linger for awhile as there is so much to see you may even
lose track of time which wouldn’t be a good thing if you’re on lunch hour at
May 3, 2013
With the arrival of May, it’s amazing how everything has
“popped” so quickly.
Many of our perennials and annuals that were somewhat
behind have literally exploded into growth so that the selection for this
weekend will be better then I had originally expected.
The Garden Treasure roses seem to be a hit as we did
force some bloom on the plants by placing them in the heated greenhouse.
I especially like the Pieces of Eight variety that
opens yellow and then quickly acquires a burning orange edge.
The azaleas are starting to show some color but it’s
strange that they seem ahead of the Redbud trees that are only just now
coming into bloom.
No doubt everyone will want to get started planting
annual flowers but, again, it’s very early for many flowers.
Even hanging baskets should be brought inside when
temperatures fall below 55 degrees or more at night.
Tropicals should be kept indoors too on cool nights as
most will “shut down” when temperatures fall too low.
Besides the cool weather, vegetable plants such as
potatoes, beans, sweet corn, peas and a few others can be planted as long as
the garden is well-drained.
Got to go.
How drôle is the weather?
It is cloudy and windy in the day and then clear and still at night only to
frost and freeze! The Magnolias took quite a hit and are starting to drop
their frosted blossoms. With the daffodils just about done, the early Darwin
tulips are in color just as the annual flower house is now open.
The question is: “Other than cold, hardy flowers and vegetable plants, is it
okay to plant other items now?” My answer is NO! When the ground warms and
nights that should be relatively warm in mid-May it would normally be okay
to plant warm-loving plants.
Tomorrow on April 27th the perennial house opens although all the varieties
will not be available because of the unusually cool weather of the past
several weeks. Many of you with coupons received them too early as the post
office mailed the newsletter with coupons to garden club members on the same
day the items were dropped off at the post office! Same service for third
class mail. The coupons are valid now instead of waiting for the May date
and as of now we should have adequate supplies of the coupon items.
I especially like the bright colored blooms of the Garden Treasure miniature
roses that sit on the plants like gemstones. Concerning the annual flower
house, you’ll notice that not all the hanging baskets are fully grown and
that is because we planned them to be primo for around Mother’s Day instead
of grown out and then overgrown later.
Be sure to take a look at our recommendations on what to do about the downy
mildew problems now facing impatiens. Better weather lies ahead with
sunshine and blue skies tempered with a little rain once in awhile is my
April in the temperature department is fluctuating wildly with
highs in the seventies and then back down for the weekend frost!
Next week the annual flower house opens and the perennial house that makes
for a hectic pace to get everything ready for the “big” day next Friday. The
opening date of April 25th is early for the annual house and yet customers
are anxious to plant even items sensitive to cold. Planting cold hardy
vegetables and flowers is one thing but tomatoes, peppers, impatiens and the
like would definitely be foolish.
The nursery is golden now with waves of daffodils and forsythia blooming
everywhere. Especially bright is the north end of the parking area that
features a 200 foot hedge of forsythia showing off in a bright yellow cloak.
Next will be the thousands of tulips in early May.
Be sure to stop by and see the show!
It was a wild ride this past Wednesday as at least 80 mile per
hour winds whipped through the nursery taking plastic off some of the
overwintering structures, toppling plants and blowing trash everywhere! I
have not seen a wind like that since July 11, 1992 when many of the trees in
the woods lost their tops and the big Maple next to the house lost a huge
branch that cracked through the roof of the old house creating a foot square
After almost a whole day of clean up, our “regular” chores started again to
set up the nursery and greenhouses for spring sales. Unseen to our
customer’s eyes are the thousands of hours that are spent to display plants,
place signs, tag, clean, trim, fertilize and in general create an atmosphere
The perennial and annual flower houses are always the site of some
controversy as some customers are anxious to enter before we are set up. To
“set up” the houses for sales, the plants must be “ready”, pricing must be
finished as well as signage, a few insecticide and fungicide sprays must be
performed and the greenhouses have to be cleaned of debris so that they are
safe for the public to enter.
It’s turning out to be a “quirky” spring for us as it’s in the 30º’s and
40º’s for weeks with very cold nights and suddenly sun and 70º’s and 80º’s.
We’re all glad that at least it rained and let us all hope for the spring
rains with some sun.
Has spring finally sprung?
I hoped for a slow warm up so that the repeat of last year would not happen
of too warm weather and all of it’s ensuing problems but this has been too
The perennial house may open later this year as the cold cloudy days makes
for a slow rooting of the plants so that they cannot be sold until later.
The few days of sun lately though have jump started the annual flowers in
the greenhouse as they’re growing like weeds. More transplanting is still
going on with the potting of even more roses, trees and shrubs that will be
available later this summer. Remember to do your transplanting of
perennials, trees and shrubs this week or next while the plants are still
Finally I’m seeing some growth on the flower bulbs I planted last November.
Last year in Holland, Michigan, the tulips were nothing but stems the first
week of May because of the warm weather. This year, the question is will
they be in bloom the first week of May? We’ll see.
March 29, 2013
It seems so strange to experience the flip side of a cold spring as compared
to the hot dry March last year! Finally, some taste of spring has sprung and
just in time for Easter. Normally crocus flowers are popping out of the
ground but I haven’t seen one yet although a bright side to the cold weather
is that the aggressive non-native weed, garlic mustard is not proliferating
as it was last year as we fought to keep it in check.
The Easter flowers in the greenhouse are a hint of what’s in store for us
later in April and May with the spectacular spring show about to begin. The
cold March reminded me of the photographs of the old house at the nursery of
May 10, 1923 which shows children standing just north of the house in their
coats and boots with about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Another photo
that my neighbor Mrs. Aura Diehm had shown me 20 years ago was that of her
inlaws house across the street from the nursery farmhouse in May of 1924
with at least 6 inches of snow on the roof!
I’m not looking to have a snowy May but you never know. Surprisingly, the
flowers in the greenhouse keep marching along even with the long stretches
of cloudy cool weather. In less then a month the greenhouses will open with
all the colors of the rainbow blazing!
March 22 2013
At last it’s spring and the weather is back to “normal”
compared to last year? On March 24th of last year while we were unloading 3½
truckloads of nursery stock, temperatures soared to near 90ºF in the one
trailer as it was the last to be unloaded that day with the outside
temperature of an unheard of 85ºF! Surprisingly no damage was evident on any
of the plants even days after they experienced the “sweat box”.
This past week we’ve been receiving stock and pulling nursery stock from our
storage houses at a feverish pace. Another operation in full swing is the
potting of roses, perennials, trees, shrubs and young plants in the
greenhouse that we rooted from cuttings this past month. I have to say that
all of us at the nursery are under less stress than last year because of the
cooler weather as it keeps customers at bay until we are able to properly
display our “wares” and enables us to do the production chore in which
timing is so critical.
I must admit, I am tired of winter. A few days of 40º - 50º would have been
nice and wouldn’t have pushed out the plants too far ahead. Que sera sera.
Tomorrow on “Ready, Set, Grow” will be Eric Hessel of the Landmark Company
that markets and sells Sweet Peet and other innovative garden products. I
have used the Sweet Peet product myself and have had excellent results but I
must confess that I know little of the other products that the “Sweet Peet”
people make. I’ll be sure to grill Eric on the program about their new
Start enjoying the spring and remember, April is only 10 days away!
March 15, 2013
The “What’s New” for 2013 was well attended with curiosity
running high about the new Paw Paw varieties that will be available in early
May as well as all the new perennial flowers.
With a little break in the weather, we’ve been able to pull shrubs out of
some of the polyhouses in the protection of the covered house with the
movable roof we call the Cravo House. As always, the shrubs in pots that
must go outside will not come out until the first week of April to guard
against a sudden severe cold snap in early April which has happened many
The greenhouse is popping with life and some color as the days get longer
and are sprinkled with some sun. Our greenhouse transplanting of the small
plants that we rooted from cuttings in January and February will be done in
about 2 weeks which will result in a wide variety of product in small pots,
large pots and hanging baskets.
March and the first two weeks of April are our preparation time for the busy
selling season that begins about April 15th. It’s quite a relief that the
weather has been more toward it’s normal range as compared to last year when
the weeds and especially the hairy bittercress went wild!
Lawn care time is coming up soon and I strongly suggest that those of you
who have not performed a soil test on the lawn or garden in more than 3
years do so now. The kits are available in our store and are then sent off
to Penn State University Soil Testing Lab.
Get going as the cold weather won’t last.
March 8, 2013
The lawn seminar was packed with old and new information thanks to Mark
Laube of the Oliger Seed Company of Akron. Mark’s knowledge of lawns is
amazing and he was able to present lawn care in a rather simple organized
fashion that almost anyone can understand and perform.
The focus today is on practices in the home that are sustainable and lawns
are certainly an area that in the past have not contributed to
sustainability due to multiple applications of fertilizers, herbicides and
insecticides. To me, it was refreshing that Mark addressed some of these
Although we’ve been open a week and the store is not really busy with sales,
there’s a flurry of activity behind the scenes in the planting of annual
flowers, thousands of perennials and bare-root roses. We’ve even received a
truck load of balled and burlapped trees and are looking forward to the big
ship week of March 18th that is an unloading affair all day!
Our last seminar for the winter series is tomorrow with the topic of “what’s
new”. There is not enough time to discuss all the new plants for 2013 even
if the photos were scrolled through at a rate of one per minute for 2 hours!
There will be a “juicy” door prize for someone if his or her name is drawn
out of a hat.
Remember, only 13 days left until spring!
March 1, 2013
Since it’s only 3 weeks until the vernal equinox (spring), it will be
depressing to some when the late winter cold and snow sets in. Well do I
remember the early spring of 1982 when we started to set out our nursery
stock only to get hammered by deep snow and cold starting the 5th week of
April! Even as recent as 2005, April 28th saw the deposit of four inches of
snow. Conversely, the weather that opened spring of 2012 was quite a
disaster in that the growth and blooming of plants was forced out too early
and, lest we forget, the lack of poorly needed rainfall.
Cynthia Drukenbrod’s program “Made in the Shade” was more informative than
her usual wonderful presentation as it included solutions to the demise of
shade impatiens due to the nasty disease downy mildew. Cynthia is a
spokesperson for the Cleveland Botanical Garden that is well known for its
theme gardens, huge conservatory and educational programs all in the heart
of what I call the knowledge circle of the east side of Cleveland because of
Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art .
Tomorrow’s program will be on lawn care with Mark Laube of Oliger Seed
Company of Akron. Mark has been in the turf grass management for years after
graduating from the Agricultural Technical Institute in the early seventies.
Join us at the nursery on Saturday, March 2nd at 11 a.m. for a glimpse at
the “secrets” of affordable lawn care.
February 22, 2013
Today marks the 281st birthday of George Washington, surveyor,
military man, statesman (president) and farmer. I just marvel when I think
that if Washington had his way, he would have loved to spend all his time at
his home Mt. Vernon to farm after the war. Washington did experiment with
crop rotation and composting manure as he was wise enough to know that the
soil needed tending to be productive.
Farmers today know the importance of caring for the land as they now
routinely rotate their crops and are active in planting cover crops in order
to build the tilth of the productive soil.
Lately, the farms in western Ohio along the Maumee River basin are thought
to contribute up to 40% of the nutrient pollution to Lake Erie which is
right up there with the overflow of the Detroit sewage treatment. It seems
that the runoff from the larger than average Ohio farms contains nutrients
which contribute to algae bloom in the Lake. The state government is now
working with farmers to reduce the runoff that results from applying
chemical fertilizer and manure on the fields frozen over in wintertime.
Runoff from the urbanized areas is also to blame for major pollution of
creeks, streams, rivers and lakes and hopefully will not escape the
reduction of runoff needed from these areas too.
As always, Carol Zeh’s program on Hummingbirds was a smash hit. Just what is
it about these amazing creatures by which most of us seemed to be entranced?
The wonders of the natural world are all around us that we normally take for
granted. Taking time to learn about these wonders and time for reflection
would for sure serve us all well.
February 15, 2013
The “magic” date is finally here; that is the date in which the average
daily temperatures begin to rise signaling the beginning of the end of
winter and the anticipated commencement of spring.
I’m thankful that at least so far we have had somewhat adequate snow and
rain and the temperatures have not been overly warm or too cold placing
stress on trees and shrubs as had happened last year with the too warm
winter followed by a too warm and dry spring.
Things are popping in the greenhouse full of annual flowers from cuttings we
have been taking from stock plants since December and from the cuttings of
flowering plants that we had shipped in from Costa Rica and Guatemalan
The light levels of the February sun are increasingly brighter channeling
energy to the plants and the longer day length is starting to have a drastic
Last week’s seminar, Whimsy in the Garden, was well received with the
largest attendance in our seminar series so far this year. Michelle Riley,
the speaker, demonstrated a variety of ways to accomplish the Whimsey aspect
of gardening from the extreme and expensive, to the more suttle and
inexpensive, utilizing everyday articles that any homeowner might have on
hand that would normally end up in the landfill.
Tomorrow will be our most entertaining speaker, Carol Zeh, with her program
on Hummingbirds. Last year we had to refuse last minute requests for some to
attend due to overcrowding. Please call before coming to the seminar as many
are already signed up and we may fill the limit again this year by today or
early Saturday morning.
See you at the seminar at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Last Saturday, the presentation given by Denise Ellsworth
generated a number of questions from the audience and so much so that the
seminar could easily have gone on for another hour!
One fact that I found fascinating was Denise’s statement about honeybees and
their communication. It seems that a worker bee that finds a particular kind
of nectar and pollen will communicate with her sisters who in turn seek out
the same. For example, in an orchard of multiple types of fruit trees in
bloom at the same time, one particular group of bees might work the apple
trees only with another group working the pears and so on. The exchange of
pollen between flower of a particular species is so important that without
insect cross pollination, one third of the foods that are so popular today
would simply disappear.
It reminds me of one of my professor’s statements in Agronomy class at ATI
that without spiders helping to control insects, scientists estimate that
food production would drop by one third!
I’m looking forward to this Saturday’s seminar on Gardening with Whimsy by
Michelle Riley as Michelle will yet reveal a whole different dimension to
the garden and the landscape that will give even more pleasure to the human
Come join us at 11 a.m. in the Owl Barn on February 9th for Michelle’s
See you soon!
The first seminar of the winter series seemed to go on without
a hitch. The invasive species that I did speak about was more than enough to
fill the two hour time slot but so many more I would have presented only if
there had been more time.
Greg Snowden of the Davey Tree Company was on hand to elaborate especially
on the question of invasive plants as he is an inspector of wetlands
monitoring these constructed wetlands to be sure that they comply with the
federal standards before they may be sold to an entity needing credits to
offset the destruction of a wetland area somewhere else. Greg did mention an
invasive species of grass called phragmites australis that is extremely
aggressive to the point that shoots will come up through a four inch layer
of freshly laid asphalt! In order to check out this monster grass you only
have to go to the Interstate 76, Barber Road exit where you’ll see it
growing in abundance.
Tomorrow our honored speaker will be Denise Ellsworth, Honeybee and Native
Pollinator Program Director of the Department of Entomology at Ohio State
University. Denise has addressed many audiences including the Master
Gardeners of Summit County about a wide variety of subjects. The subject at
the Owl Barn tomorrow at 11 a.m. will be Pollinators - what some of them are
and their importance in the natural world and our own lives.
The rooting of cuttings and subsequent transplanting of all kinds of annual
flowers just goes on and on especially right now with geraniums and New
I had stated in earlier blogs, Impatiens are going to be a puzzle because of
the high incident of downy mildew that caused the collapse of many plants
late last summer and fall. Part of the answer to planting Impatiens in flats
(Impatiens walleriana) instead are the Sun Harmony Impatiens that are
resistant to downy mildew. Unfortunately the Sun Harmony Impatiens are more
expensive as they must be grown from cuttings instead of a seed like
Impatien walleriana. The bright side is that the Sun Harmony grow’s well
when planted farther apart such as 18 inches on center which would make them
more economical then one would think.
Dress warmly and come to the seminar tomorrow!
This past week has been a flurry of activity at the nursery in
preparing for the cold blast of winter!
Watering in the plant storage houses is the biggest factor in preparing as
some of the plants (especially evergreens) tend to dry out more then the
deciduous ones because the evergreen foliage still transpires water.
Almost 35 years ago I remember a conversation with my mentor, Mr. John
Ravestein, about working at Klyn Nursery in Mentor, Ohio more than 45 years
ago when he observed that his boss watered a storage hut with young Ohio
plants before a severe cold snap but neglected to water plants at the far
end of the hut because he ran out of hose. Mr. Ravestein observed that the
next spring all the plants that were watered lived and those on the dry side
that were not watered all died!
Tomorrow the upcoming seminar is on invasive species especially insects that
are ravaging our forests, farms and backyards. Hopefully the seminar will
illuminate everyone’s mind just how serious the problem is and how it
affects all of us. Some of the subjects covered will be the Viburnum Leaf
Beetle, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, Ambrosia Beetles and
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. There will be a segment on past plagues that still
exist today such as the American Chestnut blight and Japanese Beetle. The
seminar begins at 11 a.m. with an intermission for refreshments.
Hope to see you there!
After the wild ride of spring temperatures late last week, it’s a relief to
have the return of the cold weather. Well do I remember the unusually warm
temperatures in the early part of the winter of 2006-2007 only to have the
temperature fall quickly to below zero with 40 mph winds and no snow cover.
The damage to the nursery stock in containers became apparent early that
spring as tender new roots growing all winter were suddenly freeze-dried by
the severe, sudden cold.
Some timely “to do’s” coming up are to spray weeds with glypsophate
(roundup) when the temperature rises to just above freezing. Taking action
at the next thaw will alleviate massive weed problems in spring such as
those caused by having hairy bittercress, sow thistle, henbit and, if your
unlucky enough to have it, the “invasive” garlic mustard.
Another chore to do is to overseed the lawn when the ground is frozen so
that the seed will germinate in spring when April arrives. Frozen ground is
the key word as walking on wet ground on the lawn or garden will compact the
soil while walking on hard frozen ground with no snow in order to sow grass
seed will have no compaction problems of the soil.
Now is the time to plan the vegetable garden in order to ready for spring.
Seriously think about trying at least one new vegetable to break up the
monotony of beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.
Greens such as collards, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens are great
supplements to anyone’s diet as they are loaded with nutrients and lack the
empty calories of sugars and starches. Most ‘greens’ flourish in cool
weather so that they may be planted in early spring, late summer and early
fall and extend the garden season beyond the heat loving tomatoes and
Get going as winter is flying by.
This past week of entering the so called “depth of winter” has
been more like spring which at least will aid the birds and other animals to
search for food.
How many times I have watched the birds
pick at the small fruit of the flowering crabapples and flowering pears
around the nursery.
While watching the bird activity, the thought came into
my mind that we humans tend to slow down in winter with the cold
temperatures and short days and thus require less food and less calories.
On the other hand, birds and other wildlife would
require more food and calories in winter then spring and summer because of
their body’s heat loss from the cold temperatures.
Its vitally important to think about birds and other
wildlife in the planning of any landscape for winter wildlife food.
Just a few of the trees and shrubs that have berries
and/or seeds that are a benefit to the wildlife would be oaks, flowering
crabapples, deciduous holly, flowering pears, chokeberries, tulip poplar,
certain viburnums and so on.
Many of the wildlife friendly trees and shrubs have
ornamental qualities as well which add interest to an otherwise “dead”
landscape in winter.
All seasons of the landscape must be considered if one
is to maximize the pleasures of nature throughout the year.
As the daylight hours slowly increase, the magic time
of February 15th will be here soon in which the average
temperatures begin to rise to finally open into a beautiful and life giving
Hope spring’s eternal.
With the snow and cold this past week, deer food must be in short supply as
trails of deer tracks are everywhere at the nursery from the north garden,
between the winter storage huts and even around the old house.
Last Friday I began inspecting the property
for signs of feeding in which I found a few bites taken out of some of the
Over the past two years,
the animals seemed to prefer feeding on one of the most winter hardy
evergreen azaleas called ‘Herbert’ but this time all of the varieties had to
endure a taste test.
The garden was sprayed
with Liquid Fence around November 20th but apparently has worn
off enough with the result of deer feeding.
Luckily around noon last
Friday, the temperatures rose to just above freezing with a moderate wind so
that I was able to apply 5 gallons of Liquid Fence solution to the foliage
and stems of the rhododendron, azalea, mountain laurel and fragrant
In about another week,
another application of Liquid Fence will do well to prevent more feeding for
at least another month.
Liquid Fence is the
answer to prevent deer feeding on tulips as they shy away from the foliage
that has been sprayed with the product when the foliage emerges out of the
ground about 3 inches in spring.
Another chore at the
nursery has been the protection of some of the perennials and other plants
from extreme cold.
Even with temperatures
of 0 degrees and a light wind, a single layer of white polyethylene plastic
will maintain a temperature of 20 degrees inside a quonset type storage hut.
For most plants in pots,
20 degrees inside the house is fine except for evergreen azaleas which are
only hardy to 27 degrees as far as the roots are concerned.
The other plants that
may not fair well in extreme cold are various perennials, excluding hostas,
daylilies, creeping phlox and German iris.
In order to mimic the
perennials and azaleas being planted in the ground instead of above ground
in pots an additional layer of cover called microfoam is rolled over the
plants to insulate them from the extreme cold which could be deadly to the
Even though extreme cold
may cause problems for everyone, it may cause the death of some of the
insects that had survived the mild winter last year.
There is a cloud with
the silver lining even when a cold winter is upon us.