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Tall growing perennial Hollyhocks'
Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter


Fall Blooming Japanese Anemones

As we near the end of August, is it almost time for the fall-blooming anemones to start flowering. These are perennials you should consider adding to your garden at this time. Check with your local garden center or nursery for them. These plants will grow in full sun to partial shade and love to grow in a soil rich in organic matter--almost a woodsy type soil. The soil should be well drained and stay moist during the heat of summer but the plants will not tolerate clay-type soil with standing water.

If you can keep them out of the wind and give them shade during the heat of the day, you are in for a treat this fall. If you have luck growing bleeding-heart, columbine, hostas or primrose this plant will do very well in the same garden.

Anemones are very hardy and should live in your garden for years, once established. The plants will grow as a clump and become larger each year. Do not divide them for at least 4 to 5 years once you plant them, unless they are spreading too fast.

Young plants are better planted during the spring but many nurseries will have mature plants available during the late summer or early fall to add to your garden now.

When you plant anemones, prepare the soil with a lot of compost, animal manure or peat moss and keep the plants moist until the foliage dies in the fall the first year. Anemones love a covering of compost or mulch over the roots and it should be applied each spring or fall season.

Fertilize them with a slow release fertilizer like Dynamite in the spring and again in the fall for stronger plants and more flowers. Fertilizers like Plant-Tone or Dr. Earth flower food are also very good when applied during the early spring and again when they begin to bloom in the fall.

The roots of this plant are fibrous and not a bulb like the spring flowering varieties. Rodents will sometimes eat the spring blooming types (bulb) but will not bother the fall blooming types with their fibrous root system.

Japanese anemones will grow to 2 feet tall and produce clusters of 2 to 3 inch flowers on a slim strong stem that holds the flowers a foot or more above the foliage. The flower petals are flat, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Each flower contain six petals that grow around a center cone. This small green cone is surrounded by a halo of bright yellow-orange pollen sacks.

The flower petals look like a windmill and the plant gets its nickname "windflower" from this. The foliage is deep green, shaped like a grape leaf or fall-flowering mum and the unopened flower buds resemble the buds of the fall mum. There are also new hybrids that will produce semi-double and double flowers with many more flower petals. The flower color is in shades of pastel pink and white, some with shades of light to dark colors.

Anemones are very hardy, and will grow in gardens with winter temperatures getting down to 20 to 30 degrees below zero, if well mulched to prevent frost heaving of the plant.

I must tell you that if deer feed on your flowers and vegetables they will love this plant--so it may not be for you. If deer are not a problem, this is the perfect plant to start a woodland garden that gets half a day of sun. Enjoy!



Lynn Anderson -- Rose Garden
Lynn Anderson -- Rose Garden
Tall Growing, fall flowering - Sedium

As summer ends, let us prepare to enjoy our fall-flowering perennials. If your garden does not contain fall-flowering perennials let me give you some suggestions. MY favorite family of tall fall-flowering perennials is the sedum family--and for several reasons. They are low maintenance all year, drought resistant, and they are so strong they will grow anywhere in your sunny garden.

I love the tall growing varieties and their unique foliage and flowers. If you are looking for special traits, you will find what you need, as this family has over 400 members and each is unique. I love the fleshy foliage--often up to 1/8 of an inch thick-- and they belong to the succulent plant family, which loves the heat and will tolerate hot and dry weather.The leaves are oval, 1 to 2 inches long, with a rounded tip. They grow opposite each other on strong stems that will mature to up to 3 feet tall.

If you cut back the plant in half on the 4th of July, your plant will stay shorter and mature at 18 to 24 inches tall. This pruning also encourages the plant to bush out, and most years the plant will almost double in size. Pruning also gives the plant a spreading shape like a mushroom cap, rather than upright and tall with minimal character. The plant will make more flowers when pruned; the flowers will be smaller but the plant will not fall over with the weight of the flower, a real plus for this plant.

When you prune the sedums in July, save these cuttings and plant them in your garden using a bit of rooting powder to help develop roots and watch them grow. I do not know of any other plant that propagates that quickly and easily in the garden. Remove the bottom 2 sets of leaves, dip in rooting powder and push into the ground in groups of 3 to 5 cuttings. Keep moist all the time and in 2 weeks you will have new plants.

Sedum is very hardy and will tolerate winter weather with temperatures -30 to -40 degrees. They love a well-drained soil and if you can add plenty of organic matter like compost or animal manure they will reward you with many strong stems covered with beautiful five-petal star shipped flowers.

The flowers on the sedums develop during August and last well into mid-October. During the summer months, they require half the amount of water that most of your perennials need--a real plus for busy gardeners.

I fertilize sedum in the spring only, with a good organic fertilizer such as Flower-tone or Dr. Earth flower fertilizer with Pro biotic. That's all they will need for the rest of the year. In the fall, cut back plants to the ground when they are finished flowering. In the spring, you can split the plant in two or more clumps to divide and make new plants from them. One other thing to consider is that the flowers will attract butterflies and bees to your garden in the fall.

Here are my favorite varieties:
* The number one selling tall-growing sedum is called 'Autumn Joy,' with pale green foliage and large clusters of dark pink star shaped flowers 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The flower will mature to a red-brown color and last on the plant well into the spring if the plant is not cut back.
* I also love the 'Atropurpureum,' with purple red leaves all year and red flowers in the fall.
* I also planted 'Frosty Morn' because of the variegated green and white edged foliage and pink flowers.
* One last one I love is 'Mediovarigatum,' with variegated green and yellow edged foliage and pink flowers.

I love variegated foliage because the foliage gives the garden color all year, even before the flowers arrive in August. The purple-red foliage is a real bonus to the garden and it just jumps out at you. Look for these sedum this fall and bring color to the garden all year. Enjoy!




Things to do in the garden in the month of August


August should be the most productive month in your vegetable and flower gardens, so be sure to visit them every day. Pick the vegetables while they are still young and tender, and do not forget to keep a vase full of flowers on the kitchen table and on your desk at work. Your summer type squashes like zucchini and various types of yellow squash will produce like crazy this month, so if you cannot eat it all give the surplus away to friends and neighbors, they will love it and you have just shown them YOU ARE A GARDENER. To quote my wife Chris, "I'm all grown up now and I have had enough squash this summer;' I am not going to eat any more, so give it away." "Yes, Dear!"

Winter squash like Hubbard, acorn, and butternut are always slow to get started but this month they should produce many squash for you if you can keep watering the garden regularly and fertilizing every week or two with Dr Earth Liquid plant food. August is not the time for slow release fertilizer; it's time to push the plants with fast acting plant food, the Blue Stuff. Winter squash is ready for harvest when the stem from the vine to the squash turns BROWN, not when its green, or it will not keep as long during the winter months.

Keep picking your green and yellow beans while they are small and the seeds are just beginning to become visible on the pods. When the plant is finished producing, do not pull it up; cut it at the soil line and leave the roots in the soil as they are covered with small nodules that are full of nitrogen that the plant made during the summer. By leaving those in the soil, future plantings will benefit from the fertilizer made by peas and beans. If you have open areas in your garden, plant new bean and pea seeds for a fall crop that will be ready in just 60 days--that's late September to early October--for fresh produce from your garden.

Broccoli will continue to form 1 to 3 inch florets of flowers that I think are better tasting than the big first head of flowers you picked in June. Pick often and store these small florets in a storage bag in the refrigerator until there is enough to eat for the family. If you get busy and the flower head begins to turn into yellow flowers, pick them and toss them into your compost pile. The more you pick, the more the plant will produce for you, as long as you water regularly and feed every week or two with the blue stuff. Broccoli will continue to produce for you right until early October if you water and feed the plants.

Pepper plants will continue to grow if you remove the mature peppers as they ripen from the plant. When the color is right, cut the pepper from the plant--never twist it off or you could damage the branch it is growing on, preventing future pepper production. Like every other vegetable, water and fertilizer applied regularly will mean extra vegetables at the end of the season. At the end of August, select the best pepper plant with the most fruit on it and dig it up from the garden to pot it up in a large pot to bring into the house for the winter. All you will need is a sliding glass door or south-facing window for the pepper plant to grow in front of for the winter. When flowers form on the plant inside your home tickle the flowers with a small artist's paintbrush and you will have fresh peppers all winter long. Then in the spring, plant it back in your garden.

August is a great month for tomatoes, so keep picking as they ripen and the plant will keep producing right up until frost. Mid-August pinch the tips off all the branches to stop the plant from growing larger.

This pinching will send the energy to the green tomatoes and help them grow larger and ripen faster. August is usually hot and dry, so be sure to water the plants regularly or you will begin to notice that the top of the tomatoes will begin to crack due to water stress in the plant.

If your tomatoes start to ripen too fast for you and you can't use them all right now, here is what I do with them. Wash them well under the faucet with cold water to clean them, and then place them in a freezer bag to go into your freezer until the cold days of winter come. All I do is take the tomatoes out of the freezer and drop them into a pot of slow boiling water to crack the skin of the tomato and remove it. You now have a wonderful base for fresh tomato soup, so just add vegetables and a bit of pasta to slow cook for those cold days. Your kitchen will smell wonderful and your family will love it.

Your onions will be ready as soon as the greens begin to flop over. Pull them out of the garden and let them dry out in the sunshine until the roots are all dried up and the stems begin to wither away. Cut the stems to one inch of the onion bulb and continue to dry until all the green that remains turns brown and store in your basement for the winter. If you should start to notice onions making flowers on top of the plant, pick those plants and use as soon as possible, as the plant is trying to make seed; it's all done growing and will not keep well over the winter.

Your cabbages are growing bigger every day now, so begin to pick them and use them while they are not too large. How much coleslaw can you eat at a time? Smaller is better, but cabbage will keep for several weeks in a cool basement or garage in the fall season.

When the weather begins to get cold, the Brussels sprouts will taste better so do not pick those until we have had a couple good frosts on the plant. If the plant freezes solid, do not worry, as the small sprouts will have even more flavor. I eat most of mine during October, November December! I dig them out of the snow and all I need is a bit of butter, salt and pepper and forget the beef--I'm happy.

Now is the time to plant fresh seed in your garden for fall vegetables. The following vegetables will have plenty of time to mature if you plant in the next couple of weeks: peas, beans, radishes, spinach, leaf lettuce, and Swiss chard. So fill in those empty spots where you have finished harvesting in the garden now with fall vegetables.

At the end of the month, you should be able to find fresh garlic bulbs for planting. Pull off the outside row of garlic cloves and plant them 3 inches deep; space them 6 inches apart in a soil that has been conditioned with compost or animal manure. They will grow to 6 to 8 inches tall before the ground freezes for the season and this fall planting of garlic will give you 2 to 4 inch garlic bulbs by late July next year. In New England and the Northeast you must start garlic in the fall if you want big bulbs the next year. Always use fresh garlic bulbs, NEVER grocery store bulbs, as they have been treated to not sprout while in storage. Also use the inner cloves of bulbs for garlic butter or cooking, as the outer cloves will produce better bulbs in your garden.

If you live near the seashore and go to the beach at the ocean be sure to bring an empty trash bag with you to collect that wonderful seaweed that has washed ashore. Seaweed is better than peat moss for your garden because it is full of all the nutrition from the sea. Bring it home fresh for your compost pile, or just dry it out in the sun to spread over the garden. You're helping to clean the beach and condition your soil at the same time.If you're picking flowers from the garden, the morning is best, because the plant is still cool and the flowers will adjust faster to a vase of water. Be sure that no foliage goes into the vase of water or it will speed up bacteria buildup in the water, shortening the time these flowers will stay fresh. If the weather gets hot inside your home be sure to add a few ice cubes to the vase each morning to cool down the flowers and they will last longer for you. Enjoy! 


Hens and Chickens for rock garden and containers


Did you know that hen and chicks are native to Europe? Did you know that hen and chicks were grown to prevent lightning damage to homes and buildings? Did you know that the two gods of Lightning, Thor, and Zeus, are associated with this garden perennial? And did you know that hen and chicks can grow in the worst soil in your yard and thrive even if the winter temperatures drop below minus 30 degree below zero.

Hen and chicks are low growing evergreen succulents that will thrive in a cold climate, like cold-tolerant cactus type plants for the north. These plants grow in clusters or like a mat of plants all interconnected covering the ground. The plant has foliage that grows in a rosette form; the individual leaves are thick and filled with a jelly-like fluid that helps keep the plant actively growing in the worst types of growing conditions.

The individual leaves are oval with a point on their tips, and grow up to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. This foliage develops on the plant similar to the way a rose bud opens to become a wonderful rose flower in a vase of water. The older leaves are larger and spread out flat on the ground as new foliage develops in the center of the plant from a tight bud of newly emerging leaves. Depending on the variety of the plant, each rosette can spread out to be 4 to 6 inches in diameter and grow 3 to 5 inches tall.

This is a large family of plants and the foliage can come in many colors and shades of those colors to create much interest in your garden. The newer foliage is usually darker and brighter in color than the older foliage and each clump can have plant in all stages of live and plant sizes. A mature clump of hen and chicks can spread up to two feet or more in diameter or width. The plants are slow growing, so it will take several seasons for clumps to grow this large. Plant potted clumps 12 to 15 inches apart for rapid cover or transplanted rosettes in the spring 3 to 5 inches apart.

The plant is grown for it interesting foliage, which can be in many shades of green, red, yellow, gray, purple, and many mixtures of colors on the same plants. Some new hybrids also have interesting string-like growth or silk-like hair that covers the rosette like a spider web on the plant. In the early morning this silky fiber is covered with droplets of morning dew, making the plants truly unique looking until the sun dries them off.

The many hundreds of varieties will also vary in the size of the rosette and leaf size, with many miniature rosette types growing less than one inch in diameter. Some of the foliage can be flat spreading while others can be curled like a tube. The best color and shapes are on plants grown in full sun because shade or partial shade will force plants to have more of a green color to the foliage and less detail.

Now let me tell you how the plant got its name, hen and chicks. This thick mat of plants in the shape of rosettes will spread evenly on the ground until the older plants mature. When the plants mature the rosette of foliage will stop producing foliage and in the middle of this rosette, a tall thick, 6 to 12 inch flower stem will develop. On top of this stem, a cluster of small one-inch star-shaped flowers will form and they will be brightly colored in shades of red to purple. This mature plant is called the hen and when the flowers fade the rosette of foliage will die and be replaced with new small rosettes of foliage, the chicks.

Hen and chicks are among the easiest plant you can grow in a sunny garden, no matter what your soil is like, as long as it is well drained and you never have standing water. This plant will grow in gravel, sandy or stony type soil and is often found growing in cracks of large rocks with no soil at all. If you have a lot of ledge on your property and want to grow something on it to cover the stone, just add a couple inches of top soil and plant right on top of the ledge.

My mother set up a row of concrete cinder blocks on the edge of the driveway where nothing grew, filled them with top soil and planted hen and chicks in them. In just a couple years you could no longer see the concrete blocks, just beautiful rosettes of colorful foliage. She fed them a couple times a year with a granular fertilizer, watered occasionally and they spread so fast, they even came up in the cracks of the driveway.

All she did was to pull the small rosettes from the main clump in the spring with short stems attached to them (and most of the time no roots) and just pushed them in the ground. She watered a couple times a week until they developed roots and fertilized with Miracle-Gro every other week. She soon had enough for all our neighbors and friends--it's that easy.

In the days of thatched roof all over Europe and still today in many places, including Ireland where thatched roofs are still found, I saw hen and chicks planted in the thatched roofs. Folklore said that if your roof was planted with hen and chicks, it would protect against lightning-induced fires, due to the association with the two gods of lightning: Thor and Zeus. If a fire started in your roof and you had hen and chicks planted in it, the fire was slowed down because of all the thick fluid in the foliage of the plant and because it grew so thick, often covering all the thatch. So yes, these plants are fire resistant and they do slow down the spread of fire-- folklore is right!

If your hen and chicks are in bloom now, you will soon have many new chicks to transplant to a new garden in the spring next year. Enjoy the flowers and when the foliage dies remove it from the cluster so the new plants can form more quickly.

Hen and chicks will grow in containers as long as they are well drained, especially during the winter months. They will make wonderful plants when used as a ground cover, especially if you mix several colors and leaf shapes together in the same planting bed. Use in rock gardens to form an edge planting or in planting beds where pea stone or gravel is used in the place of bark mulch. If you build a stone wall on your property, add a few plants between the rocks you use to make the wall for wonderful special effects. Steep sloping hills where erosion is a problem is the perfect place to plant hen and chicks also.

Because of the many hybrids of this plant be sure to ask your local garden center or nursery for hardiness of the plants you select the plants in your garden. If the plants are in the nursery perennial flowers display it should be hardy but if it is the greenhouse it is most likely an indoor variety and will not survive the winter if your climate is cold. If you order unusual varieties on line, be sure to check the plant zone map for hardiness and stay with plants that are hardy from zone 1 to 5 and not 5 to 10. Enjoy!



"Fortunately for man, the insect world is divided against itself.  Far more than half the insects prey upon other insects. "

Edwin Way Teale




Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake


1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of softened butter, not margarine
1 cup of white granulated sugar
2 extra large or jumbo eggs
1/4 of 2% or whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 3/4 cups of all- purpose flower
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


1 cup of fresh picked raspberries
3 tablespoons powdered sugar


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flower a 13"X9" inch baking pan.


Beat cream cheese, butter, and granulated white sugar
In a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy.
Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla until smooth.


In a small bowl, mix baking powder, baking soda, salt and
Flower. Now slowly add to cream cheese mixture and beat
On a low speed blender until well blended and smooth.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Top with dollops of slightly
Mashed fresh raspberries and swirl with a knife.


Bake for about 30 minutes or when cake begins to pull away
 From the sides of the pan.


Cool slightly in the pan, randomly place and push slightly into cake
 So they will stay in place 1 cup of whole raspberries on top of
Coffee cake, point facing up and Sprinkle with Powdered sugar.
Cut Into squares and store in refrigerator Until ready to serve.



              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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