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Summer blooming giant Dahlias
Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter
  

Enjoy your Tropical Hibiscus year round

 indoors and outdoors

 

The tropical hibiscus is the number one selling flowering plant grown in southern Florida and California for gardeners across the country. Hibiscus will grow only in a climate where temperatures seldom dip down below 40 degrees, as it is not frost-hardy. The plant will not flower if temperatures routinely drop below 50 degrees, so if you want hibiscus for your home or as a potted plant on your deck, it will require special care to grow. This magical plant is well worth all the work and effort you put into it for its unique flowers. Here are a few things to know about growing hibiscus plants where you live.

In the southern or western part of the country, the hibiscus plant is a woody shrub that is evergreen and flowers all year long. So all you have to do to grow this plant where you live is copy their climate and light conditions. First of all, let me tell you about this plant because it originated in tropical Asia and it was brought to this country by gardeners, who like you, loved its flowers.

The foliage is dark green, and the leaf is shiny as long as it has enough water, but when the plants begins to dry out the shine will fade, making the foliage dull green. The leaf is oval, with large indentations or teeth on the edge of the leaf margin. The leaf will grow up to 6 inches in length, depending on sunshine, watering, and fertilization of the plant by you.

The flower resembles a flared trumpet that will grow from 3 to 8 inches in diameter, depending on the variety you choose and how it is cared for, again: sunlight, water, and fertilizer. The flower colors will range from red, orange, yellow, and pink; you may also find many new hybrids with two or more colors on the same flower and many new, semi-double, double-flowering and ruffled hybrid varieties.

The number one requirement is temperature, as the plant requires a warm location; after all it is a tropical plant. If you want lots of flowers, you will have to provide a location with temperatures that stay between 60 and 90 degrees all year. When you put the plant outside in early June and when you bring it back indoors in mid-September, expect the plant to lose leaves with the move. Even the slightest change will cause leaf drop, but the plant will quickly replace the fallen foliage.

As I said earlier, if the temperature drops below 50 degrees, the plant will stop flowering until it warms up again, so don't panic if that happens. Also expect that the flower size will decrease with cooler temperatures. In the middle of the winter, just keeping it alive is a challenge but I will help you. If you have the plant outside in a container on your deck for the summer and the forecast is for temperatures above the mid 90's, move the plant into the shade until the heat spell passes or the flower buds will drop due to the high heat.

Number two requirement is watering, as this plant requires a steady source of moisture, especially during the hot days of summer. Water the plant every day from June to September unless it rains, because the plant has a lot of foliage and flowers and they require lots of water. Never place the plant with a saucer under the pot as the soil needs to drain freely after watering. If you're away and it rains, the saucer will fill up with water quickly, forcing all the air out of the soil and root rot will quickly develop--killing the hibiscus. Always water according to the weather, less if it's cool and wet, and more if it's hot and dry.

To help hold water in the soil add Soil Moist Granules when repotting the plant. If it is a new plant for you, make several holes in the soil ball with a pencil 3/4 of the way down in the pot and add a good pinch of product in the hole. Soil Moist will retain 200 times its volume in moisture in the soil, so check direction to determine the amount needed for your container, and never use a container without drainage holes in the bottom. When the temperatures cool, cut back on the watering, as the plant will require less water and-again--wet roots will cause root rot!

Number three requirement is fertilizing the plant to keep it healthy and flowering. Because most of us are busy, we will forget to fertilize this plant so I encourage you to use a time-release fertilizer like Dynamite pellet fertilize. During the summer months especially, the plant is growing fast and flowering heavily with the hot weather, so give the plant extra fertilizer every week; I like Dr Earth Flower fertilizer with probiotics. If the plant stays well fed, the foliage will stay deep green and the plant will flower all year long.

Number four requirement is insect control, and on hibiscus you will have two insects--aphids and red spider mites--on the new foliage and on the flower buds. Both can be easily controlled with a systemic insecticide such as Tree and Shrub insecticide or Systemic Granules applied every 4 to 6 weeks. If problems develop, spray the plant with All Season Oil--a natural product that will smother the insects on the plant--and repeat applications 2 times, spaced 7 to 10 days apart. Always turn the plant upside down and spray under the foliage as well as on top of the leaf, as insects tend to hide under the leaf.

During the winter months, it's important to keep the plant as warm as possible at all time and ALWAYS avoid drafts. Hibiscus is a tropical plant that will do very well in a northern climate if you keep it warm--always above 60 degrees in your home. If the weather gets cold, especially at night, pull the plants away from the windows and move them to the center of the room to keep them warm. If your windows are a bit drafty, keep them back 3 feet from the glass on those cold and windy days. Keep plants away from doors that open and close often, so temperatures stay uniform and warm.

During the winter months, water as needed and keep plant moist but not wet. Poke your finger into the pot as deep as you can and feel for moisture. If it's moist, leave it alone as plants will do better indoors during the winter a bit on the dry side--but never let plants wilt. Always use warm water when watering the plant, never cold or you will chill the root system and hurt the roots, causing leaf drop.

Fertilize with time-release fertilizer when you bring the plant inside for the winter and repeat every 2 months. When the plant comes into bloom, also use a liquid food like Miracle-Gro every 2 weeks; food equals flowers! The more direct sunlight the plant receives, the more it will flower.

Every week spin the plant around so the front of the plant now faces inside the room and the back faces the window. This sequel sunshine will keep all the foliage on the plant , not just the foliage on the front of the plant. Once the plant is in place do not move it from its location or you will have additional leaf drop. It should stay there until spring arrives and you're ready to put it outside again.

One more thing, repot in the spring when you put the plant outside for the summer, as the plant will grow faster and need repotting. Increase the pot size by 2 inches when you change the pot size. Always use a good potting soil--never cheap stuff--or the roots will suffer and so will the plant, giving you fewer and smaller flowers.

Oh, yes, one more thing...pruning. Prune to control the size of the plant especially when you bring it indoors for the winter. Prune 1/3 of the branches every two weeks until all the branches have been all pruned , that way you do not lose your flowers and the buds. Pruning will stimulate growth; I also prune the plant when I put it outside in the summer the same way. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Where have all the flowers gone? Live
Where have all the flowers gone? Live
                                 
Summer DayLily for your Garden

 

As the summer weather begins to warm up and the soil begins to dry out, is your perennial garden beginning to wither away and lose all of its early color? If you live in a town that always has a water ban, if your soil is on the sandy side and watering is a problem, then I have a great perennial plant for you...the daylily. Daylilies love the sun and because of thick fibrous roots that can store water for long periods, are the perfect drought resistant plant for you. Daylilies are so easy to grow that they are today one of the most popular plants to grow for summer color.

Daylilies are not true lilies and the flowering stem has no leaves. The flower stem is round, strong, smooth and tall, often raising the trumpet-like flowers well above the grass-like foliage. All the foliage is at the base of the plant and grows in the shape of a fan. This foliage is grass-like, growing 12 to 18 inches tall and less than an inch wide. It is deep green in color; the center of the leaf blade is pleated to create the perfect gutter-like system to catch and move rainfall directly to the base of the plant.

As the plant matures the fans of foliage will thicken and produce a thick clump of soft foliage that weeps over on its tip and sways back and forth with the slightest breeze. Each fan of foliage is capable of producing multiple stems of trumpet-shaped flowers from June to September, depending of the variety you select. Most varieties will bloom for a 4 to 6 week season, but there are new hybrids that will rebloom on and off for most of the summer. Each of these flower stems can produce 6 to 10 flower buds, with only one flower blooming at a time; as one flower fades a new bud will open, keeping the stem in bloom for many days. The flower stems develop at different times on the plant, creating an almost continuously flowering plant for many weeks. This truly amazing flower is shaped like a trumpet 3 to 6 inches in diameter.

The best growing daylilies live in a soil that is well conditioned with peat moss, animal manure, or compost before planting. This will keep the plant's roots growing evenly in a soil that is moist most of the time and allowing the plant to produce more flower buds during the summer season. I always add Soil Moist granules and use a fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae when planting. Look for Bio-Tone made by Espoma or Dr. Earth Flower Fertilizer with Pro-Biotic. When the weather gets hot and dry be sure to water once a week for a very productive plant. The plant does love the sun but if the garden can get a bit of late day or midday shade for a couple of hours, the plants will flower longer during the season.

There is one garden task that all daylilies need, and that is to remove any seed pods that develop on the end of the flower stalks. When that stem is finished flowering, please remove it to the base of the fan of foliage. The seeds that are produced in these pods will not produce seeds that are the same color flower as the plant is. Also, if you allow the seeds to mature in the pod and the pod ripens and explodes scattering the seed in your garden, the new seedlings that develop will not be the same color and they could choke out the hybrids you were growing there.

If you have the wild orange daylilies growing near your garden, the bees can carry the pollen from the wild plant onto the hybrid growing in your garden. If this happens, the wild pollen is stronger than the hybrid and orange plants will develop, quickly choking out your hybrids. Most of the daylilies will drop the faded flowers without making a seed pod, so pick off the faded flowers or let them fall from the flower stem, but be sure to remove any seed pods that do develop.

If you want new plants, divide them in the early spring or in the fall of the year when they finish flowering. To make a new plant, divide the clump of foliage into single fans of foliage; each fan will make a new plant identical to the clump it originally came from.Space fans of foliage 12 to 18 inches apart; cut back the foliage by one third from the top and plant in a conditioned soil that you will keep moist for several weeks until you can see that the plant is well established. Cover the soil with 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch or compost to keep weeds out and the coil cool and to better hold water around the roots of the plant.

I think that most of us have seen the wild-growing orange daylilies growing on the side of the road. A lot of us have seen the dwarf yellow flowering hybrid daylily called 'Stella de Oro' planted in every parking lot where a big box store is located. This year look for the new varieties of hybrid daylilies at your local garden center; they com in every color but blue and true white. You will also find some double-flowering varieties, many two-tone varieties and even some that are fragrant. If you're worried about not finding what you're looking for in color, do not get worried, as there are over 40,000 cultivars to choose from and more new plants each year.

When you look for daylilies here are the four things you will need to know:
Number one, there are three types of daylilies: the old fashioned daylilies, the hybrid daylilies called "tetraploid," with thicker, larger flowers in brighter colors that are stronger growing than the old fashioned daylilies. And the reblooming /recurrent types that bloom more than just the normal 4 to 6 weeks; they will flower all summer long.
Number two, daylilies bloom at different times of the year from June to September, so try to select early, midseason or late blooming varieties for continuous color in your garden.
Number three, always ask for plants that are hardy for your planting zone when you order on line or the internet, as some varieties are better suited for heat and some for a colder climate.
Number four, ask about the height of the plant and flowering stems. Example--dwarf plants will grow under a foot tall; low will grow 1 to 2 feet tall, medium 2 to 3 feet tall and tall over 3 feet tall.

Plant daylilies in perennial flower beds, along a walkway as a border plant, near spring-flowering bulb that will go dormant as their leaves turn brown in June, and they are wonderful when used in plantings on steep banks to replace grass that could be hard to mow. You will love daylilies because they have very few problems with insects or disease and because they grow so strong any damage on the plant is quickly replaced with new foliage in just a few weeks. Daylilies, especially the wild orange varieties, will do well when planted on the side of the road to control erosion problems and will tolerate road salt.

One last thing to know about daylilies is that they are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, so place a hummingbird feeder in the garden and sit back to enjoy the show as these unique creatures dance in your flower garden this summer. Enjoy!

 


Summer to-do list

 

It is summer and the vegetable gardens are wonderful, so how do we keep them that way until the fall? Here are a few simple things to do to keep your garden productive right to the end.

If you planted peas this spring they'll probably be finished producing around the end of the month, but you'll still have time to plant a new crop though early August. Peas will take from 60 to 90 days to mature; they are cold tolerant and should mature for you during September to mid-October, so get the new crop in the ground in time. Leaf lettuce and spinach will also mature for a great fall crop of fresh greens if planted around the beginning of August. Radishes come up quickly, so keep planting as they mature--about every 30 days.

Broccoli will make small 1 to 2 inch florets of flowers that will keep coming until frost if you clean the plant of yellow leaves and fertilize every 2 weeks with Dr. Earth vegetable food . I pick the florets every couple of days and store in a poly storage bag in the refrigerator until I have enough to cook or use in a salad. Feed them regularly, pick often and the plant will continue to produce for you.

Brussels sprouts will get bigger with the heat and moisture of summer. As they grow, remove some of the lower leaves to make space for them to mature. Pick in September when the weather gets cooler for better taste--but the best tasting sprouts will come after a frost. Do not pull the plant out of the ground in the fall, as you can pick sprouts in Southern New England until Christmas--and I did when I lived on the South Shore of Boston. Fertilize them now if you haven't in the last 30 days with Liquid Dr. Earth. If your plants are getting tall, you may have to stake them to keep the sprouts off the ground and clean.

Peppers love the heat, so keep feeding them now; the heat of summer is the most productive time for them. When the fruit matures, harvest it so the plant can keep making more fruit. Eggplants also love the heat so keep them well watered and feed for mature fruit earlier and a second crop in the fall.

Summer and zucchini squash will keep producing until first frost, as long as they have enough water and are fertilized regularly. Pick the squashes when they are small so seeds do not have a chance to mature and the plant will keep making more for you. Keep the plant clean and remove yellow leaves as they begin to go by. Use a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks on the foliage of the plant as well as soaking the soil at the base of the plant to keep the roots strong. If leaves begin to turn powdery white, spray foliage with Agri-foss from Monterey Lawn and garden to control powdery mildew and keep plant productive.

Vine squash like butternut, blue hubbard, acorn and other winter squashes will continue to make fruit well into September if you can water and fertilize regularly. Watch for powdery mildew and the possibility of deer or woodchucks moving into the garden  feed.  To control If they begin to show signs of feeding, create a barrier protection with deer and other animals use Bonide deer repellent or Repels-all   .

Tomatoes will begin to mature this month and next, so you can make your famous spaghetti sauce, salsa, piccalilli and relishes. Keep the plants healthy by watering regularly in the morning (when possible) and fertilizing every 2 weeks with Dr. Earth liquid vegetable fertilize. Remove the yellow leaves, and, if needed, use Agri-foss to keep foliage green and productive.

Around the beginning of August, you should cut back your tomato your plants a bit. I prune the tomato plant to the last fruit made by the plant; this sends all the energy made by the plant to the maturing fruit and helps mature larger fruit faster. I only remove about a foot of the new growth so the plant can concentrate on maturing the existing fruit, stop getting larger and stop making new flower buds that will not have time to mature. Fertilizing them with Dr. Earth vegetable food every 2 weeks will speed maturing fruit.

If you have a large freezer, did you know that you can freeze whole red tomatoes in the fall and thaw them during the winter for great tomato soups? Freeze washed tomatoes in freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Thaw the night before, dip in boiling water to help remove skins and you're ready for a great base for tomato or vegetable soup.

Cucumbers will stay productive longer if you keep feeding and watering the plants. When cucumbers start to look like a baby's bottle with a nipple on the end of the cucumber, it means your watering is not regular enough and the plants are running out of energy, so feed them every 2 weeks now with Dr. Earth vegetable food . Spray the foliage of the plant as well as the soil because Dr. Earth vegetable food -can be absorbed through the foliage as well as through the roots. When your plants stop producing, it means you are back to waxed cucumbers until next June, so do not give up too soon.

 

Mosquito facts for the Gardener

 

As gardeners, we all know how difficult it is to work in the garden when the mosquitoes are active in the yard. The best time for us to work in the garden is first thing in the morning or after supper, when the temperatures cool down a bit. Unfortunately, this is also the peak time for mosquito activity. I thought you would enjoy some information on mosquito life cycle and ways to better control them on your property. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. If you can eliminate or carefully monitor water in your yard, it will help to keep mosquito numbers down. Look for common sources of standing water, as these are mosquito-breeding sites. Examples are bird baths, flower pot saucers, clogged gutters, tires left near the tool shed outside, pet water bowls, buckets, garden pools and watering cans. These common areas can be more of a problem than small ponds or streams.

The mosquito life cycle has four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. If you can disrupt the sufficient levels of moisture that mosquitoes require to grow and develop, you can cut down the numbers that come into your yard. The larva and pupa stages need an aquatic environment to develop properly. The female adult will lay eggs in water, mud and tree crevices, as well as pools of standing water. Eggs need water to hatch and turn to the larvaewhich look worm-like and wiggle through the water. The larvae will move into a moist habitat with high organic matter before changing to a less mobile dormant stage, referred to as a pupa. The adult mosquito will emerge from the pupa in a winged form--ready to terrorize you and your family. The newly emerged adults can feed on plant juice or nectar. Only the female mosquitoes take blood as a meal. In Maine, there are estimates of roughly 40 mosquito species, according to the Maine Department of Conservation. Each species will show preferences for special blood hosts, time of the day to feed and requirements for blood for egg laying. The number of generations per year will depend on species, temperature and moisture around your home.

The adult mosquitos have common resting sites around your home, such as thick-growing shrubs, hedges, tall grass areas, shady gardens, under your decks, large tall growing perennial beds and areas where you spend time in the yard. These areas are where you should concentrate your applications of mosquito insecticides to control the adults. The application of pesticides on your property is more effective when applied at dawn and dusk, as this is when mosquitoes are most active. These products will last for only a few days but when applied regularly around your house, the mosquito population will be controlled more easily. Insect repellents help reduce the risk of mosquito bites, as do impregnated clothing, citronella candles and screening on porches. Mosquito plants or citronella geraniums sound good but do not work!

 Summit Mosquito Dunks® are America's favorite biological mosquito control because Dunks kill mosquitoes before they're old enough to bite®. The active ingredient in Mosquito Dunks® is BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a bacterium that's deadly to mosquito larvae but harmless to other living things. Just float biodegradable Mosquito Dunks® in ponds, birdbaths, fountains or wherever water collects to kill mosquito larvae for up to 30 days. Mosquito Dunks® are organic and approved for use in fish habitats and animal watering troughs. Mosquito Bits® contain the same active ingredient as Mosquito Dunks®, and they are approved for the control of fungus gnats in container gardens and potted plants. Summit Year-Round® Spray Oil is an OMRI-approved horticultural oil that kills a wide range of insect pests. Summit Biological Caterpillar & Webworm Control contains 100% natural BTK, which kills caterpillars and webworms but has no effect on birds, earthworms, or beneficial insects such as honeybees and ladybugs. For more information visit www.summitresponsiblesolutions.com or call(800) 227-8664.

 

 

Blueberry Crisp

 

 

FRESH PICKED BLUEBERRY CRISP

 

Filling:

 

5 to 6 cups of fresh picked blueberries, washed and cleaned
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Topping:

 

3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flower
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cups uncooked oatmeal
1/4 cup cold butter cut up small slices

 

Sprinkle I tablespoon white sugar over topping for extra sweetness.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spread the blueberries evenly onto bottom of a lightly
Greased 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish.
Mix lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl,
Sprinkle evenly over blueberries.

 

In a bowl, mix all the toppings ingredients. Sprinkle
Evenly over blueberries.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Serves 8

 

"A Good Gardener does not expect miracles"

Jules Oravetz, Sr.

 

              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. 

 To Order call 207-985-6972

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $25.95! Limited supply!!


 
  
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  Written by Paul Parent                         Produced by Christine Parent


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