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Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter


The earliest Mother's Day celebrations we know of were ancient Greek spring celebrations in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods; the ancient Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno. But those were in honor of one particular mother. England's "Mothering Sunday," begun in the 1600's, is closer to what we think of as "Mother's Day." Celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis started a drive to establish a national Mother's Day. In 1907 she passed out 500 white carnations at her mother's church in West Virginia--one for each mother in the congregation. In 1908, her mother's church held the first Mother's Day service, on May 10th (the second Sunday in May). That same day a special service was held at the Wanamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia, where Anna was from, which could seat no more than a third of the 15,000 people who showed up.

By 1909, churches in 46 states, Canada and Mexico were holding Mother's Day services. In the meantime, Ms. Jarvis had quit her job to campaign full time. She managed to get the World's Sunday School Association to help; they were a big factor in convincing legislators to support the idea. In 1912, West Virginia was the first state to designate an official Mother's Day. By 1914, the campaign had convinced Congress, which passed a joint resolution. President Woodrow Wilson signed the resolution, establishing an official national Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May.

Many countries of the world now have their own Mother's Day at different times of the year, but Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, and Turkey join the US in celebrating Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May. Britain still celebrates Mothering Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent--but they now call it Mother's Day. By any name, and at any date, it's a special day to honor a special person.

Having trouble thinking of a gift? Why not do something a little different this year? Instead of giving her a bouquet of roses, plant her a rose garden! If she already has a rose garden--add to it! If she lives in an apartment, consider a potted rose plant--many roses will do quite well in containers). And you can give her a Garden Journal to keep track of her roses!

Why give one bouquet that will soon fade away, when you can give years of pleasure from living roses instead?

A Tribute to Mom - One Heartbeat At A Time
A Tribute to Mom - One Heartbeat At A Time


May Flower Viburnum  


When I first started working in the nursery industry back many years ago, I always enjoyed opening the doors of big trucks full of freshly dug trees and shrubs in the spring. Opening those heavy doors of the truck was like unwrapping a present on my birthday; I could not wait to see what was inside.

One late April morning, as I opened the doors of a truck, I was greeted with the fragrance of a plant that I will never forget; the mayflower viburnum. I quickly climbed into the back of the truck to find where this incredible fragrance came from, and was greeted with several rows of snowball-shaped flowering plants.

I bent down to get a better smell of the flowers and yelled, "what is this plant?" My boss, Bob Kennedy at Kennedy's Country Gardens in Scituate, Mass., just smiled and told me, "that is Korean spice viburnum." I was hooked, and so will you be when you smell the flowers of this wonderful deciduous spring-flowering shrub.

I remember that we placed them near the front door of the garden center and that by the end of the weekend all the plants were gone. I was so disappointed because I never got the chance to purchase one that year, but the following year I got to choose first, for my mother on Mother's Day.

The fragrance of the mayflower viburnum is spicy-sweet; when planted in your yard, it will fill the yard with its fragrance. When planted near a window up against your home, be sure to open that window on nice days to let the fragrance inside for a real treat. The flowers are 2 to 3 inch diameter snowball-shaped flower clusters and the flower buds are red to pink in color. As the flower buds open, the flowers change to pure white; the flower cluster has all three colors at the same time.

The flowers develop on the tips of the branches. Each flower is 3/4 inches wide and trumpet-shaped. Each flower cluster can contain as many as 50 individual flowers in the cluster. When the flower buds first open, the flower is light pink color.

This wonderful viburnum will grow 4 to 8 feet tall and just as wide but if you prune the plant when the flowers fade you can control the size of the plant very easily without affecting the flower production for next year. Viburnums make the flower buds on the new growth made during June and July, so prune as the flowers fade to control the size of the plant. This also the best time to cut back plants that have overgrown their place in your garden.

When you prune your plants back, be sure to fertilize them to encourage new growth for next year's flowers. I like Plant -Tone or Dr. Earth All-Purpose fertilizer with Pro-Biotic especially in the spring time. If you do not have room for this big growing plant look for the compact variety called Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum,' found at larger nurseries only and it will grow only 2.5 to 3.5 feet tall and wide.

The foliage is 2 to 4 inches long, oval and almost rounded on the tip of the leaf. The leaf is a dull dark green, nothing exciting, until the fall, when it will turn bright red to wine-red, almost as nice as a burning bush/euonymus. The fall red leaf is also dull red, with no shine to it.

During the summer the plant will grow very thick and dense, making a wonderful plant for spring birds to build a home in. The branches and stems are soft gray, and the plant can make as much as a foot of new growth each summer. The branches grow in all directions, giving the plant an interesting shape during the winter months, and those branches are stiff looking. The plant is strong and can handle some heavy snow load, but not ice, so keep it away from any roof line with no gutters.

All viburnum varieties love a fertile soil with lots of organic matter it. They prefer a well-drained soil with no standing water,but will do great in a sandy soil if you can water during the heat of summer. Plant in full sun to half a day of shade. The plants will also do great under tall growing trees with high-limbed branches on them.

When you plant, be sure to add lots of organic matter, Soil Moist if soils are on the sandy side, and mycorrhizae for fast root development and better than average growth the first spring and summer. Mulching around the base of the plant really benefits the plant during hot days of summer to help keep it cool, hold water around the roots, and keep weeds away from the newly forming roots.

Viburnum can be used as a single focal point plant in the back of a perennial garden for early color during the month of May; this would brighten up your perennial garden because not many perennials are showing color yet. If your windows are high off the ground, it will make a great foundation plant against your home. If your windows are less than 5 feet from the ground, you will have to prune every year to prevent the plant from covering up the bottom of your windows.

This is a great plant to plant along a tree line on your property or in tree clearings for early color. If you have a deck or patio that you use during May, this plant is perfect to enjoy on those warm afternoons, but it blooms too early for decks around swimming pools. You can also use several plants in a row for a privacy hedge during the summer to block off the neighbor's view into your yard, or plant and let grow without pruning to soften a large blank wall or side of a garage. I love this viburnum when you plant it near the spring flowering dogwood, especially the pink varieties

Insect and disease problems are minimal, so little to no maintenance is needed except for pruning to control the size of the plant. The plant will sometimes form small clusters of fruit during the summer that will turn from green to red then purple-black and are often eaten by the birds living in your yard. The berries are not very showy and because of the dense foliage not usually visible on the plants.

This mayflower viburnum plant is hardy to -20 degrees. It will flower every year if you fertilize it and water when the summers get hot and dry. Its main qualities are very fragrant flowers that last several weeks and the bright red fall color. It is easy to grow--and if your mother loves plants like lilacs, hyacinths, and roses for their fragrance, she will love this wonderful spring-flowering plant that will bloom on her special day--Mother's Day. This could be the plant that will make you her favorite and her garden extra-special. Enjoy.


This Sunday is Mother's Day. If you're looking for a nice hanging basket of flowers for your mother, I'll be listing a few of the best plants for you to consider. Hanging baskets are divided in two groups: sun- or shade-loving plants; both will need special care to keep them flowering. Follow these easy steps and your plant will keep flowering all summer long.

The first is watering, as the plant is grown in a container and relies on you for its needs. Hanging baskets dry out faster than plants in the ground ,so they must be checked daily. Just lift up on the pot and feel the weight of the pot; if it is heavy most likely it has enough water in the pot. You can also poke your finger into the soil a couple of knuckles deep and feel for moisture. Sun-loving plants will need more water than shade-loving plants--and the larger the pot is, the easier it is to keep it moist during the season. If you're a busy gardener, then I recommend that you add Soil Moist Granules to the container. All you have to do is take a pencil, poke 3 or 4 holes into the soil to the bottom of the pot and add a half a pinch of Soil Moist (no more) into the holes and fill with soil. These granules will swell to the size of your thumb and act as a sponge holding extra water for the thirsty plant. This will cut your watering by 25% and help to keep your plants alive on those hot and sunny days.

Next is fertilizer; where you purchase the plant will determine how often you will need to feed it. What I want you to do is lift the foliage and look for small pellets on the surface of the soil, these pellets are timed released fertilizer often used by greenhouses to give the plant a constant feed every time the plant is watered. Besides watering, feeding your plant regularly is second in importance to keep your hanging baskets healthy and flowering. If your potted plant has pellets on the top of the soil your plant should be all set for the next 60 days, then you will need to reapply the fertilizer pellets that will feed the plant until the fall or use a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. I recommend that when you purchase the plant purchase a container of Dynamite fertilizer pellets and add it to the hanging basket when you get home (if there are no pellets there already) and use this unique product in your window boxes, containers and the garden, as it will feed your plants for 9 months and you can forget about those every other week feedings--saving you much time for other gardening chores.

Cleaning of the plant is also important; if you can remove all faded flowers or seed pods that form on the plant you will keep the plant flowering all summer long. Your goal is to prevent the plant from making seeds. By removing the faded flowers you will do this and the plant will keep making more flower buds and flowers. Also remove any yellow or dead leaves on the plant to prevent possible disease problems. While you clean the plant also check for possible insect or disease problems and if you see anything suspicious, call the greenhouse where you purchased the plant for help. Don't ever feel that your question is a dumb question as it could save a plant in trouble if you act early before a problem gets out of control.


Here are some of the top selling plants to consider when you look for the perfect plant for a sunny location:

Ivy Geraniums The number one selling hanging basket and easiest plant to grow for either a first timer or experienced gardener. Ivy geraniums come in all colors like white, pink, lavender, and red. The foliage is a blue-green color and shiny. The flowers grow in a cluster and usually cover most of the plant. Disease and insect problems are few and this plant is forgiving if you get busy and forget about it for a day or two. It also requires less water that other hanging baskets. Just keep the dead flowers off and the plant will keep flowering right up into the fall season. When the weather get cold, bring it into your home and hang it in front of a sunny window for several weeks of flowers.

New Guinea Impatiens
These are becoming more and more popular because of the unique foliage and flowers. The foliage is usually multicolored, with shades of green and yellow or green and white banding stripes, also solid green leaves that are shiny and clean. The flowers are much larger than the common impatiens and flower color selection is also large, you can even find even two-toned blossoms. The unique foliage and flower color combination gives this plant much character. They will flower all year, right up to frost and are insect and disease free. The only thing to remember is these plants must be watered every day especially if they get sun all day long; use Soil Moist as described earlier to help with watering.

Petunias/ supertunias  New hybrids that are self-cascading and self-cleaning plants. Great clean looking foliage and a large flower color palate to choose from--white to red and everything in-between, also many bicolor flower combinations. Easy to care for plant that loves the sun and flowers nonstop all season long.

Million Bells
A fairly new plant from the Proven Winner line of plants that has a flower like a miniature petunia in shape. The color selection is endless and there are many new and unique colors to choose from including yellow, burnt orange and many bi-color. Plants are insect and disease resistant and, if well fertilized, will bloom all season long. When plants get to be overgrown and look tired, just cut the plant in half, fertilize and they will bounce back like crazy to their original look in just a couple of weeks.

Thunbergia/Black Eye Susan Vine
A wonderful vining plant with yellow or orange flowers with a black center. They love the sun and will flower all summer long, also will flower indoors for you during the fall season when the weather gets cold. Your Mom will love the unique colors for this hanging basket plant and it's easy to care for plant especially if the weather gets real hot and humid, needs less water than most plants also.

Scaevola Blue A wonderful blue flowering plant that will tolerate a windy location. Plants flower all summer long and love the hot sun but require less water than most hanging baskets. Flower looks like a fan in shape with deep blue petals with yellow edge; they also come in white. I love this plant and it's also great in window boxes.

Proven Winner Plant Assortment
I was at a wonderful greenhouse in Falmouth, Maine called Skillins Greenhouse, and they put together several of the new hybrid plants in the same hanging basket for great flower combinations, great color assortment and unique foliage. If you're looking for something unique and different this should be your choice for a sunny location. Easy to care for and just watch mom's eyes light up when she sees this gift.


Top-selling plants for the shade.

Great flowers with unusual shapes and wonderful color combinations. You will love the red and white or red and purple or even pink and white flowers on these plants-and there are many other combinations to choose from. Great deep green foliage color, that is clean looking and free of insect and disease problems. Hummingbirds and butterflies love the flowers, and the flowers are long lasting. When the flower falls from the plant, it will leave a seed pod. Pinch pods off to keep the plant flowering, and if it becomes too long cut back the plant and watch how fast it fills in again and flowers like crazy.

Non Stop Begonias
Wonderful hybrid begonias for baskets, with bright colors that flower (like the name) non-stop all summer long. Strong stems hold the large 2 to 3 inch flower and the foliage is shiny and clean looking. They will tolerate half a day of sun also and if you want color in a shady area this is your plant. Great for containers or window boxes in the shade and the plants are disease and insect free, a good choice for a new or experience gardener.

Angle Wing Begonias
Wonderful foliage that resembles an angel's wings--deep green in color and some spotted varieties --with no disease or insect problems. Flowers dangle from the branches that arch over the edge of the pots and are red or orange in color. I have had this plant in the past and brought it into the house for the winter and it flowered past Christmas in a sunny window.

A great plant for the shade with many colors to choose from--and it will flower all summer long. This plant is easy to care for on a porch or in front of the house on a bracket. If the plant becomes overgrown just cut the plant in half, fertilize, and in just a week or two it is back to its normal shape and full of flowers again. Easy to care for, but keep the water off the foliage when watering.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day, and remember Mom loves flowers all around her; enjoy!



"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of a garden. "

Thomas Jefferson



This recipe was one from my Mother-in-Law, Ruth Duncan from Watertown, MA that she made for me every year for my birthday.  She has since passed on but thought you would love this recipe.


GREEN PEA SALMON SALAD                             

14 oz. can of salmon
10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
6 hard-cooked eggs
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. green onions & stems
1/3 c. celery
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dill weed
Head of Lettuce for garnish and eating


Drain and remove skin and bones from salmon. Mix peas, 
onion and celery together with mayonnaise, lemon juice
 and dill weed. Add salmon blend together. . Chill for at
 least 1 hour before serving. Take lettuce and place on
serving platter.  Place mixture on top of lettuce, and decorate
around salmon and pea salad with sliced hard boiled eggs.  Enjoy!


                     Traveling with the Paul Parent Garden Club 

Join The Paul Parent Garden Club for The Grand Tour Of France July 31 through August 12, 2014. With special 70th Anniversary tours of the Beaches of Normandy and Monet's Garden.


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