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Purple Leaf smoke bush
Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter
Come meet Paul Parent this Saturday June 21, 2014 at:
Osborn Farm and Garden Center - Hooksett Agway
343 Londonderry Turnpike
Hooksett New Hampshire 03106  -
Phone: 603-627-6855

9am to 1pm





Sweet Mock Orange



Are you looking for a plant that does best when neglected, you heard right, neglected after it is established in your garden? Well if you have a spot in your garden that is not a show place, but you want some color there during June to early July, I may just have the plant for you. A location on the side of the garage maybe, a spot that needs to be covered--like the trash barrels storage area, the gas or electric meter on the side of the house or even the hideous pipe that vents out the gases from your leaching system.

The plant is called sweet mock-orange, and it will grow most anywhere from a soil with heavy clay to sandy loam. Your soil can be anything from a very acidic soil with moss growing on it, to a soil well-limed and very sweet. The location can be full sun to half a day of shade--and once this plant is established and growing well in the garden, it does not need to be fertilized and only very rarely watered by you.

In the last couple of weeks I have even seen mock-orange growing in traffic islands in the middle of a parking lot, in a planting bed 18 inches wide growing up against the side of a Wendy's restaurant with a sidewalk in front of it and in a planting bed near a supermarket with stone mulch covering the bed. All these planting areas had no irrigation, the plants looked wonderful, and they were covered with flower buds. Then I remembered that I have had several questions in the past enquiring about why "my plant, the mock-orange, does not flower?" I guess I found out the answer, you aren't neglecting it enough!

Mock-orange is a wonderful flowering plant at this time of the year. The flowers are 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter; the flower has only 4 petals, almost like your flowering crabapples, but pure powdery white. The center is filled with bright yellow pollen sacks.

The flower is fragrant in most varieties, but before you purchase a plant smell the flowers to make sure the plant you have selected is fragrant. The flowers come in clusters, not individually on the plant, and some new hybrids also have double flower petals growing up to 2 inches in diameter. The flower can have a citrus to pineapple scent to them and can be very sweet smelling.

The foliage is not impressive but a nice green color, oval, with deep lines of veins that look to be indented in the leaf; there is no fall color as the leaves fall from the plant while still green. The leaf will grow 1.5 to 3 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. You can also find some varieties with green and white foliage, called 'Variegatus,' or green and yellow foliage, called 'Aureus,' but they are better suited for warmer climates from southern New England and south.

The plant will grow in a rounded shape when mature but when young it will be more upright; as the branches mature they will arch over, often making the plant look straggly, if not pruned after they finish flowering in July. The plant will grow fast--usually over a foot a year, and even more if you fertilize it in the spring. The mock-orange can grow 6 to 8 feet tall and just as wide but if you prune the plant every year after it finishes flowering, you can keep the plant smaller--4 to 6 feet in height and width.

I recommend that you prune the plant to control the size because it can overpower other plants in your planting bed unless you space the plants properly when planting. You can also use mock-oranges as a hedge planting, because the plants do grow thick and dense when mature. Just remember the green leaf types have no striking leaf qualities--just a plain green leaf--and tend to blend into the landscape.

Purchase plants in bloom from a nursery, to better select flower type (single or double) and to smell the flowers for their fragrance. Plant the mock-orange in a well-drained soil that has been conditioned with compost, animal manure, or peat moss so that the plant can get established quickly in your garden. Plants will not tolerate standing water at any time of the year. If your soil is sandy, add Soil Moist granules to help retain moisture during hot and dry periods during the summer months. Mycorrhizae powder from Natural Technology or Bio-Tone from Espoma will help speed root development and encourage more flower production on the plant.

If you remove older branches from the plant that are becoming hard and woody every few years, it will help the plant to produce more new growth and flowers. The new growth is more productive and it should be pruned to control the plant's size when the flowers fade on the plant. The root system of this plant is very strong when established and that is why I am telling you not to feed the plant after it is established in your garden. It is perfectly capable of growing without your help but occasional pruning is recommended.

This is an old-fashioned plant that was grown in the gardens of your grandparents, and has little to no problems with insects and diseases. When gardening became more complicated with the introduction of new hybrid plants that required more care, the mock-orange became less popular because we gave them too much care and they grew too fast and produced fewer flowers. So remember this, if you have a mock-orange and it is not flowering well, it needs less maintenance, less care, no fertilizer once established in your garden--and only water the plant when it begins to wilt!

Stress makes the plant grow better; if you have areas in your garden where nothing seems to grow this might just be the plant for you. If you like flowering plants in your garden but have little time to care for them this might just be the plant for you. If you like fragrant flowers on shrubs that will grow anywhere this is the plant for you! Enjoy.



Nat King Cole - Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer
Nat King Cole - Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer


Fresh pickling cucumbers 


When cucumbers are fresh picked from the garden, I don't think that there is a better tasting vegetable. I love picking cucumbers first thing in the morning while they are still cool from the evening temperatures. Did you know that they will keep better and longer if they are cool when you put them in your refrigerator for storage?

This summer, if you pick your cucumbers during the heat of the day, drop them in your sink filled with cold water before placing them in the refrigerator. The taste will be better and they will firm up, with the cold water slowing down on water loss through the skin. Cucumbers will keep well in your refrigerator for up to a week but the best taste is to eat them the same day you pick them. That why when you buy cucumbers during the winter in the supermarket they are covered with wax to help hold internal moisture in them and prevent them from getting soft and bitter.

I also love the feel of the tiny spines on them as you grab them and twist them free from the vine; no other vegetable feels that way. Can you feel them in your mind? The cucumber has no smell until you peel it; think about that. With cucmbers "bigger isn't better" because smaller cucumbers are tastier, crisper, the seeds are much smaller and there are fewer seeds in them for you to burp. Pick your cucumbers daily to prevent them from overgrowing and becoming bitter and pithy. To enjoy the best tasting cucumbers pick them while they are all green as the summer heat will make them grow fast and over ripe. Over ripe cucumbers will have a yellow underside, or yellowing on the tip where the blossom was! Over ripe cucumbers should be removed from the plant and tossed into your compost pile. If you allow the cucumber to grow large, the plant will produce seeds and less fruit will form on the vine in the future because the plant has achieved its goal, which is to make mature seeds. So pick often for more fruit per plant.

Cucumbers will grow best when you soil temperature reaches 70 to 80 degrees or warmer, so never rush to get the seed or plants in the ground early, especially when Spring weather is cool. To help warm up the soil I use a landscape fabric on the ground and cut a hole in it to plant the seeds. This fabric also keeps out weeds that steel much needed moisture and food for the plant, plus prevents the sun and wind from drying up the soil. This fabric also keeps out slugs, keeps the cucumbers clean and prevents rotting if the weather gets stormy and wet.

Cucumbers take up also of space in your garden, so last year I built a trellis with 4 by 4 timbers and galvanized wire for the vine to grow on, saving a large growing area for other vegetables to grow on. The result was fantastic because I could see all the cucumbers on the vine and I had very few that over-grew. The cucumbers were easier to pick, I never stepped on small cucumbers or hurt the vines they grow on and I had more cucumbers than ever. The cucumbers always grew straight; the flowers were more noticeable on the vine making it easier for the bees to pollinate the plant, making more cucumbers for me.

Cucumbers also love a good garden soil, so before you plant add compost, animal manure, or peat moss to help retain water and provide nutrition to the plant. I always add Soil Moist granules, a good fertilizer that contains mycorrhizae and sea kelp to the soil before planting. If you grow cucumbers and when the summer gets hot your plant produces cucumbers with a small shrunken end like a nipple on a baby bottle, you have a plant with small roots.

Water and nutrition will determine the amount and the quality of the cucumbers produce on the plant. That is why I use both Soil Moist and mycorrhizae when planting. These two ingredients will double the size of the root system, helping the plant to collect what it wants from the soil to keep it productive even when the weather gets hot and dry. When the plant begins to flower, you must water heavily and often right up until the fall or the plant will stop producing cucumbers or they will grow like baseballs, round, yellow and bitter tasting.

The one thing that will happen early-on when you grow cucumbers is that the plant will produce many male flowers on the plant to attract the bees into your garden and few female flowers. Do not panic; its natural and soon the female flowers will develop as the plant matures and grows larger. Now for a quick "Sex Education tip" The female flower has a tiny cucumber behind it and the male does not. If you want to help the bees and speed up cucumber production pick off a male flower, remove the outer yellow flower petals and rub the pollen sacs on the inside of the female flower. You are now doing the same thing the bees do to the female flower and soon you will have cucumbers, the same principle works with all squash, melons, and pumpkins.

Cucumbers will get a white film on the leaf if the weather is hot and humid or you use overhead watering in the early evening causing Powdery Mildew problems. Water early in the day, never at night and if it begins to develop treat the plant with a wonderful organic product called "Garden Serenade" or "Organocide," an organic fungicide/ insecticide combination. If holes develop in the leaf it is likely to be the striped cucumber beetle, which is easily controlled with the new Organic Beetle Killer from Bonide Lawn and Garden which uses pyrethrum made from chrysanthemum flowers. Great companions in the garden are bush beans, cold weather crops like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and lettuce, stay away from potatoes!!!

Now for fun facts about cucumbers: if you feel tired in the afternoon put down the soft drink and peal up a cucumber because it is a great source of B vitamin and carbohydrates that can provide a quick pick-me-up and last for hours. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you will need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. If you're looking to fight off afternoon or evening hunger and keep on your diet, eat a cucumber. Cucumbers were used in Europe by trappers, traders and early explorers to thwart off starvation.

Cucumber slices can be used to shine up your shoes if you have no polish, and the chemical reaction with the leather will help make it repel water. If you drank too much at that party, before going to bed eat a few slices of cucumber and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, Vitamin B and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, thus avoiding both hangover and headache--give it a try, and let me know.

If slugs are ruining your flower beds, place a few slices in a small aluminum pie plate in your garden. I have been told the chemical reaction of the cucumber and aluminum will produce a scent that is undetectable to humans but drives garden pest crazy...and they will leave your garden.

If you're out of WD-40 and have a squeaky hinge, rub a cucumber slice on the problem and the squeak is gone. If you have bad breath and don't have a mint or gum, place a slice of cucumber on the top of your mouth and hold it in place with your tongue for 30 seconds to kill the bacteria in your mouth.

If your children have used crayons on your walls slowly rub a cucumber slice on the decorations and watch the cucumber erase the markings. One last thing...if you like cucumbers with the skin intact or partially removed, eat them all you can this summer while they are fresh. The ones in the supermarket with the waxy covering are all you will be able to get during the cold days of winter, so enjoy the fresh picked ones while you can!!!





   Viburnum Tomentosum
Double File Viburnum

The month of June is filled with beautiful flowering shrubs and trees and if you had to pick just one plant to add to your garden this year, it would be a difficult choice for most of us to make. I want to make a suggestion of a plant for you to consider if you're making such a choice. The plant that I know you will love to add to your garden is called the Doublefile Viburnum, and for just one reason, because every year it will get more beautiful! This Viburnum, when young, has no real appeal, no pizzazz, but in just a couple of years in your garden it will quickly become your favorite. This plant has it all, and in just a couple of years in your garden, you will see flowers, fruit, fall color, and growth characteristics most plants would die for. There is only one word for this plant, "WOW!"

As the Doublefile Viburnum makes its new growth in the spring, the new branches that form will grow horizontally, and they are graceful because when the wind blows in your yard they will move like waves on the water. The plant will make foliage and flowers at the same time during May. The foliage is beautiful. Each leaf will grow from 3 to 5 inches long; they are shiny and clean looking, the shine on the leaf will last from spring to fall. The shape is oval, 2 inches wide near the stem but narrows to a point on the end, and along the edge of the leaf is a row of small teeth. The leaf is covered with a unique network of sunken veins, like stitchery. In the fall these leaves will gradually change from the deep green summer color, to rich red wine colored foliage that the plant will retain for several weeks. When the color changes occur to the foliage, the sunken veins become even more pronounced and the leaf seems to almost glow.

The flowers form on 2 inch stems placing them above the new foliage, like a pedestal. The flowers that form are unique because this flower cluster has two types of flowers in the cluster: a small fruit-bearing and a large sterile type of bloom. The inside of the cluster is filled with 25 or more fertile small, 1/4 inch, white, 5 petal flowers, and not showy. But around this flower cluster are 5 or more sterile, large, 1 inch, very showy, 4 petal white flowers. The flowers combine to make a wonderful 4 to 5 inch in diameter flat flower that will cover the entire stem of the plant from the main stems to the tip of every branch. The flowers will last on the plant for 4 to six weeks depending on the temperature and frequency of heavy rains. Bees and butterflies seem to flicker from flower to flower like in a dance around the Maypole. There are so many flowers on the branches they will bend with their weight and the lower branches will touch the ground. If you're able to enjoy a full moon night outside in your garden the plant will almost glow from the light the moon sends into your garden.

The fruit, "O the fruit," that this plant makes is wonderful to look at on the plant. You know those wonderful small fertile white flowers in the center of the flower cluster you enjoyed in May to early June have now become shiny, 1/4 inch, oval, bright red fruit. Each fruit cluster is 3 inches in diameter and the 25 or more fruit in the cluster lie flat on their stems above the foliage. The rich shiny green foliage below makes the fruit stand out just as wonderfully as the flowers did on the plant earlier in the season. The fruit ripens in July to early August and then without a notice turns bright shiny black in late August telling the birds that supper has been served. All of a sudden, all the berries are gone and the plant can now prepare for the fall by making flower buds for next spring and slowly change the foliage to the rich red wine color.

Doublefile Viburnum loves a soil that is moist, rich, and fertile; if planted in a dry, sandy soil it will not perform very well for you. Condition the soil before planting with lots of compost or seasoned animal manure. I always add Soil Moist granules when planting new shrubs to insure the roots stay moist as the new roots develop in your garden. Mycorrhiza has shown me how wonderfully Mother Nature's microbes work in the soil and I will never plant anything again without using this product..

Water the plant weekly or more often during warm weather to motivate plant growth. Fertilize in the spring with Plant-Tone or Dr. Earth shrub fertilizer with Probiotic each spring to encourage good growth during the summer months. Place 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch or compost around the plant to control weeds around the plant and to help hold water in the soil during the summer months. Lots of moisture around the roots will result with more, bigger, and brighter fruit during the summer months on the plant.

Doublefile Viburnum will grow in full sun to partial shade in your garden. The flowers and berries will do as well in either growing locations. Just make sure the location you choose is well drained and has no standing water, especially during the winter. Give the plant room to grow as this plant needs room display the flowers and berries during the year. This plant will grow 8 to 10 feet tall and will spread its beautiful branches 10 to 12 feet wide. You can prune the lower branches on the plant as it matures and create a small tree-like plant with multiple stems.

This Viburnum will make a great plant to grow under tall trees that had the lower branches pruned out to let daylight in under them as an understory plant. If you want to create a tall growing privacy hedge along your property line or cut back the traffic noise from your patio during the summer this is your plant, space plant 10 feet apart. You can also use it as a vocal point or specimen plant in your yard or large planting of mixed plants like Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Mountain Laurels. If you have a Japanese Garden this plant will make a great specimen flowering plant near a pond or small stream. Plant this Viburnum on the side of a hill to prevent erosion and to create a background of color all summer long with its beautiful flowers and berries. If you have bird houses or bird feeders this plant will ensure that the birds stay from season to season and because of its dense foliage and horizontal branching it also makes a great plant for the birds to build nest in.

The flower closely resembles the flower of the climbing hydrangea; many people think that this plant belongs to the hydrangea family but it does not. And best of all, no insect or disease problems with this plant and once established, it needs little to no maintenance. Look for it at your local nursery; you will not regret purchasing this wonderful shrub, the Doublefile Viburnum. You will enjoy it!!!

Asiatic Lily Beetle

Gardeners beware! The beetles have invaded America again! Not the singing Beatles from Liverpool, England, but this time the beetles that are native to Europe and Asia have entered the United States from Montreal, Canada. These beetles (also known as scarlet lily beetles and lily leaf beetles ) were first spotted in gardens in Montreal in 1945; quietly they moved south until they were spotted in a garden in Cambridge, Mass in 1992. Today they are everywhere and if your love lilies as much as I do, be prepared for the invasion. This is a tough insect because it will thrive in a climate where winter temperatures drop as cold as -20 to -30 degrees.

The adult Asiatic red lily beetle is bright red, and at first sight it is often confused with the common ladybug. This small beetle will grow 1/4 to 3/8 inches long and has a hard shell covering its body. The head, legs, antennas, and the undersurface are all black. The body is more rectangular in shape than rounded like the lady bug. It is also a very strong flyer and can move quickly when you try to pick it while it is feeding on your plants. It can hide in small cracks and crevices in the foliage of your lilies when startled.

The adult will lay rows of yellow to orange-red eggs on the underside of the lily leaves from March to June. Some times as many as 30 or more eggs can be found on the underside of the leaf where they hide undetected. When they hatch in 7 to 10 days, they develop into a rather unpleasant looking slug-like creature 3/8 inches long that can be brown, yellow, or orange with a black head. You may not notice the color of this BEAST, because to help protect itself from predators (including you) it will cover itself with its own excrement. This is known as fecal shield, and from talking to many of you--it works. Many of you are reluctant to pick them off your plant at this stage but this is the most destructive time in the pest's life.

This larval stage will last 2 to 3 weeks, and it will eat its weight in foliage every day. It will begin with foliage and when all of that is eaten, it will move to the flower buds. It will then drop to the garden soil where it will pupate, rest, and emerge from the soil in about two weeks as an adult beetle, ready to start the cycle again. When the weather gets warm in mid-summer, the adults will dig their way back into the garden and sleep in the soil and plant debris until the following spring. The following spring they will emerge looking for food and a mate and start the cycle of destruction all over again.

This beetle, if uncontrolled, will destroy your lily plants in just one season. The destruction cycle begins early, as the beetles begins the feeding and mating frenzy on the fritillaria - that wonderful orange or yellow flowering bulb from Holland. Other native plants are also attacked, but when the lilies emerge from the garden in April this beetle quickly moves to them. All lilium species are eaten, including the Asiatic, Oriental, tiger lily, and the Easter lily. The beetle will not bother the daylilies in your garden, as they are a different family of plants and not a true lily. If you have Solomon's Seal in your garden, check it also, as the beetles will feed on its foliage. Turk's cap lilies are eaten as well, and some varieties of nicotiana, known as "flowering tobacco," a wonderful annual flowering plant.

Controlling the Asiatic red leaf beetle can be easily accomplished by handpicking the beetle from the plant every day as you see them. The adult beetle will squeak if squeezed gently, but I recommend that you squeeze hard and crush this pest! Or pick them off your plants and drop them in a container of soapy water and flush down the toilet--a great ending for them. If you only have a few lilies in your garden it will not be a problem if you stay vigilant and check the plants daily. But if you have many plants in the garden, natural or chemical control products will have to be used.

A natural product such as neem oil can kill and repel the adult beetles from your garden if you apply it a couple times a week to your plants. Neem oil is natural but, like all natural products, will break down quickly with rain and bright warm sunshine on the plant. Neem oil is a bio-pesticide, and is extracted from the seed of the neem tree, found growing in southeast Asia. Neem oil will control both the adult and the larval forms of the Asiatic red lily beetle. If used regularly on your lily plants, it will also work as a repellent for egg-laying adult beetles. Neem oil is available at your local garden center or nursery. Mother nature has not provided any known predators for this insect.

Chemically this insect is best and more effectively controlled with a product called "Tree and Shrub, " which is available at your local garden center or nursery. The active ingredient is imidacloprid insecticide; once it is absorbed into the plant's sap systems it will protect your plants for a full year. It is best applied as a soil drench around the new lily shoots as they emerge from the garden or when you first see the beetles on the plant. It will also control other leaf and flower eating insects that threaten the plant during the growing season in your garden. Applying the product as a soil drench will also reduce the chance of drift to non-threatened plants in your garden and prevent harm to beneficial insects in your garden. Tree and Shrub was developed by Bayer Advanced and one application will protect the plants for the entire year. If your time in the garden is limited, this is the best way to prevent damage to your plants.

A new product just released from Bonide Lawn and Garden is called "Beetle Killer" has pyrethroids as active ingredients. This product will also kill Japanese beetles, the stink bug, and the Asian lady bug that will soon arrive to your home and garden.

Whichever product you decide to use, follow the recommendations on the label and get the product on the plant or in the soil early, now. This beast will destroy all your lilies in just one year if do not act now.

George and Barbara Hampson
New England "Quahog Chowder "

Some call it "Clam Chowder" others"...Quahog Chowda" (Maine)'s all the same, except in the making... and we all have our "secret recipes"...



18 quahogs

1 pound bacon cut up in one inch pieces

3 med. red skinned potatoes unpeeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes

2 med. red chopped onions.

˝ tsp. ground pepper.

˝ tsp. thyme.

Save a Pint or more clam liquor.(add to taste later) .

 A pint to quart Half and half....(milk.) to taste later.

Wonder flour to thicken clam liquor



Clams need to be scrubbed with fresh water to clear shells of sand and grit. You can always leave the living clams purge themselves overnight in a bucket of clean salt water. Keep out of the sun and heat... cool garage or fridge will do.


"Cooking and opening clams."

Heat 2 inches of water in a Dutch oven on the stove top until it begins to boil. Add a pinch of thyme seasoning Bring to boil and add larger clams on bottom and then medium size. Reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes until the clams "pop open." Note: do not overcook Clam meats will shrink. Remove the Quahogs from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in large plate to cool, and save liquids in pot. Scrape open clam meat from shells, with clam knife and also scrape out mussel meat.

Finely chop clam or use meat grinder old fashion grinder.


Sauté bacon-drain well, and set aside.

Use small amount bacon dripping to sauté onions till golden -set aside.

Use the clam liquor you used to cook Quahog in to cook chopped potatoes till just soft -set aside.



Putting it together .. add chopped clams, and add all other ingredients and bring to slow heat for 15 minutes or more to taste in the pot that contains potatoes and Quahog broth.  

Lastly....add only warm "half and half" to taste to the hot chowder so the chowder will not curdle.

Always keep separate until you need to add.


Serving size ... amount 4-6 .


"The only thing different about having a green thumb is that you don't get discouraged by failure. When something doesn't work, you try again ."

Beth Weidner


              Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

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