This is a green lawn do you remember what it should look like, soon it will be this green again!


Twenty-nine days until spring!!!

*How to print article's at bottom of newsletter.
Winter flowering Witch Hazel


As you try to look out the window this week for the arrival of spring, do not get discouraged with all the ice and snow on the ground. The woodchuck from Pennsylvania did see his shadow even with the snow falling on Monday, and that means six more weeks of winter. Three cheers for us: Help us! Help us! Help us please, we have had enough !!!


Just remember that all this snow cover will protect our roses, groundcovers, broadleaf evergreens, and hydrangeas from winter damage. On the other hand, if we do not get sunshine soon we will all go crazy, we will not care about the weather, and we will all be singing, "They are coming to take me away, ho, ho, hee, hee, ha, ha. To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time..." Look at the seed catalogs and wait it out--it's coming! Think Positive. You will be mowing the lawn before you know it.


When the snow melts, let's plant some late winter-flowering shrubs that begin blooming during February, so we will have something to look forward for next winter if the snow gets as deep as this winter. Look for the following shrubs at your local nursery this spring or have them order them for you:

* Cornelian cherry/ winter-flowering dogwood (Cornus mas)
* Winter heather/winter heath
* Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis).
* Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium)
* Rhododendron mucronulatum 'Cornell Pink'


Cornelian cherry is a zone 4 plant that will tolerate 20 to 30 below. A member of the dogwood family, this plant will make clusters of bright yellow flowers during February. The flowers are frost proof and slightly scented. The plant is more shrub-like than the spring-flowering dogwoods we know. During the summer, bright red fruits, like cherries, will form where the flowers were during the winter and you can pick them to make jam or leave them to feed the birds.


Winter heath and heather grow all over southern New England, and as the snow begins to melt, it is not uncommon to see them in bloom during late February. Some varieties will flower from January to March, depending on the snow cover. Look for bell-shaped flowers that will be white, pink, or purple, with evergreen foliage. These plants will grow 8 to 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches wide.


Chinese witch hazel is hardy as far north as Maine and New Hampshire and will flower starting in late February, even if there is snow on the ground. The plant will tolerate 20 to 30 below zero temperatures, making it a zone 4 plant. The flowers are bright yellow. When the sun is out, they are very noticeable but when the sun goes down, the flowers fold up and seem to disappear. The flowers are also fragrant and long lasting.


Oregon grape holly will begin to flower during late February, with clusters of spike-shaped yellow flowers that will last well into April.The flowers are lightly scented when temperatures are warm, and they sit on top of the evergreen foliage that resembles a holly leaf. The plant is in the Barberry family, not a true holly. Honey bees looking for early flowers love this plant and, if pollinated, the plant will make purple grape-like fruits that will last to the fall season.


Rhododendron mucronulatum is one of my favorite early spring plants; it will take 10 to 20 below zero temperatures. The plant is unusual for rhododendrons, as this plant will lose its foliage in the fall, making it not evergreen. Fall foliage is yellow-orange before it falls from the plant. The flowers open during late February, often with snow still on the ground, and last into late March. The flowers are clusters of pale pink petals that resemble the flowers on apple trees.


All these plants are available from your local nursery but are not carried by some, because they flower so early in the season that most of us do not visit the nursery at that time of the year to see them in bloom. If you go to the nursery to pick up your vegetable or flower garden seeds, Black Gold potting soil, Espoma fertilizer, and bird food in the next couple of weeks ask them to order one or more of these plants for your garden.


If you're a casual observer of the garden at this time of the year these plants will help to change your attitude of winter gardening! Winter will be a time to stop and admire the splendor of winter flowering shrubs. Now, add plants to your yard that have berries on them during the winter like hollies, viburnum and alder. Also shrubs and trees with colorful bark and twigs that stand out with the white snow cover like willow, red twig dogwood, and birch. Think spring, but enjoy the garden during the winter months also. Spring is only 29 days away!! Enjoy!


They're Coming to Take me Away Lyrics
They're Coming to Take me Away Lyrics.  Sing along you will feel better!!! Maybe!

Fragrant Gardenia's for your home this winter

It's not very often that a tropical "flowering" shrub becomes a popular house plant in a non-tropical climate. Many tropical shrubs and a few small growing trees have become common foliage plants for those of us living in a cold climate. These plants cannot survive outside but have changed their growing requirements and have adapted to our indoor climates. Flowering tropical are very different, because they need very specific temperature and light changes during the year to produce flower buds--not possible in temperature-controlled environments like our homes. There are a few exceptions--and the gardenia is one of them.


The gardenia originated in southern China and Japan and, like all plants we grow in our homes, was brought to this country by gardeners who saw them growing there and wanted one for their home here. This plant is considered an old-fashioned plant, because it has been around so long and it is so widely available at most greenhouses and garden centers. It's also very easy to grow, if you follow these easy steps.


Gardenias require bright light most of the year and direct sunlight during the winter months. You can put the plant outside during the summer when the temperatures stay above freezing, about the time it's safe to plant your tomatoes in the garden. At that time, choose a location with morning or late in the day sunshine but shade during the heat of the day (1 am to 4 pm). If you have azaleas growing in your yard, place the plants near them if this light requirement applies. If gardenias get full hot sunshine directly on them during the summertime, the foliage will get sunburned and fall from the plant.


Leave your plants outside until the weather changes in the fall and the threat of frost arrives. This cooling down period is what makes the plant develop flower buds, as the Christmas cactus does. If you can keep the plant outside until mid-October, the plant will make more flower buds than if brought inside early or kept indoors all year. If the weather calls for frost, bring the gardenia plant inside at night and back outside in the morning if the temperatures warm up. This cooling off period in the fall, with shorter days and moisture, like rain and morning dew on the foliage, will make many flower buds on the plant.


When you bring the gardenia plant inside for the winter, place the plant in front of a window or in front of a sliding glass door where drafts are not a problem. Drafty growing areas will cause bud drop on the plant! Room temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees are best for the plant to grow in.


Fertilize from the time you put the plant out for the summer to the time you bring it back inside in the fall. Use an acid-based fertilizer like Espoma holly-tone spring and fall. The rest of the year no fertilizer is needed, as the plant is not growing, it is preparing to flower for you and needs to stay dormant.


Water is important to the plant. It must be watered regularly spring to fall and less often during the winter. Never let the plant dry out or your flowers will turn yellow when they come into bloom--and you will lose much of the fragrance also. Now you know why some of your flowers have turned yellow rather than soft- powdery white in color.


Air moisture or humidity is most important to this plant if you want to enjoy the flowers on the plant during the winter and early spring. Gardenias will not grow very well in a home heated with forced hot air systems, wood, or coal stoves. These types of heat remove all the humidity in the air, and plants with flower buds will drop them just before they open. If you are trying to grow this plant, may I suggest that you keep the plant on top of a large saucer filled with small stones about the size of the width of the spread of the foliage? Add water to the saucer to the bottom of the pot every morning and watch it evaporate under the plant, creating moisture around the foliage to help it grow better. Also buy a misting bottle and mist the foliage and buds every time you walk by it. Wet the foliage, not the soil!


Re-potting the plant is necessary every spring when it has finished flowering or before you put it outside for the summer. Upgrading the size of the container by 2 inches every year will help the plant grow bigger and produce more flower buds. You must use a soil rich in organic matter, and it should contain about 50% compost or peat moss. If you're mixing your own soil, be sure to use a good potting soil as a base like Black Gold. Also NEVER add lime to the soil or the foliage will turn yellow and general growth will slow down greatly.


If the plant is getting too big for your house, the best time to prune is in the early spring when the flowering is finished but before the new growth begins.


One last thing for you, if you purchase a new plant and the pot that the plant comes in has straight sides, you have the original pot the plant was grown in from the grower. Pull the plant out of the pot and examine the root ball; if it looks like a mass of roots you MUST repot the plant at once. The plant is pot-bound, the soil the grower used will dry up very fast in your home, and the plant will struggle. If you are to do only one thing from what I tell you, do this! You can grow this plant in your home and enjoy the flowers and the fragrance if you follow these easy steps. Enjoy!

Are you ready for the arrival of spring? Are you kidding me!


If you can answer yes to the following questions you are ready:

  • Have you started your lawn mower and sharpened the blade yet? Now is the time to have it serviced before the waiting time becomes long.
  • How about the rototiller or weed whacker--do you have fresh gas ready?
  • Have you oiled your fertilizer spreader and cleaned it yet?
  • Have you cleaned and sharpened your hedge shears, pruners, loppers and the pole saw yet?
  • Is there air in the tire of your wheelbarrow?
  • Do you know where your garden gloves are?
  • Is your hose still frozen--but you know where the sprinkler and nozzle is?
  • Now, one last question: are you daring enough to put the snow blower in the back of the garage or tool shed and move the mower into the front? Are you ready, almost ready, getting there, anxious, thinking about it, or do you still need it? I DO and I am still almost ready, so get going and think positive!!!

  • Have you looked at the wooden handles of your long handle tools and the wheelbarrow yet? If the handles look a bit dried out, how about rubbing a bit of linseed oil on them to help them become more flexible and less likely to break. Spray all the metal parts of your tools with WD40 to keep them strong and rust-free. Spray all moving parts of your garden cart, wheelbarrows, spreaders, and cutting tools to keep them lubricated.
  • Check out the ends of the hoses--have you crushed them so they won't attach properly, how about washers in them--do they leak? Fix them now--before you need them.
  • How does the chain saw look--will it start, so you can use it to do a bit of pruning in the next couple of weeks? It's easier to cut branches now--without the leaves on them--and clear out winter damage.
  • How about the leaf blower--will it work to blow off all the sand from your driveway and clean the garden beds?

  • Does the garden patio furniture need to be repaired or painted for the season, or even replaced? Now is a great time to do this work, before you get busy with the lawn.
  • How about cleaning out the garage and getting things organized before the season begins. Many times, I cannot find the tool I need because it's buried under something else in the tool shed--and after I buy a new one I find it. Has this happened to you?
  • Do you have any leftover fertilizer, garden chemicals, soil conditioners, or grass seed in your tool shed; are they still good; can you read the labels? If you need these items, are they on sale now? If not, keep an eye out for the sales early in the season.
  • Check your pressure sprayer to see if it stills holds pressure; if not, most times it's just a gasket or washer, just pump it up and try it out now before you need it.
  • Did you use the electric extension cords for the Christmas lights and will you need them for the electric shears--where did you put them?
  • Check out the mosquito zapper or gas-fired insect killer, is it ready to go--do you have propane for your Mosquito Magnet, and will it start?

  • Have you planned out the layout of the vegetable and flower garden yet?
  • Are the tomato cages still good; do the trellises or arbor need to be fixed?
  • It's time to put out the bird bath, have you cleaned it yet?
  • How about the Gazing Ball--is it clean and can you find the bottom to put it on?
  • Check out the fountain: is it clean, and does the pump still work?
  • If you have awnings for the window, what type of shape are they in--is the fabric still in good shape? If they are moldy, get some Wet and Forget and spray them when you put them up to kill the mold and clean them.

Print this list and put it up on the garage wall so you can check things off as you do them. There is a lot to do to prepare for the arrival of spring, so begin now and do a little bit each week so it does not get ahead of you. All these things must be done before you even get out in the yard and start to work, so let's get started now. While you're out, how about picking up a few first aid items just in case: Ben-Gay, Extra-Strength Tylenol, and, yes, some beer to help you relax and enjoy all your work and accomplishments. Do you still like the arrival of spring? If you need some help, call me on Sunday morning; I will be there to answer all your questions. Enjoy! 


The Beach Boys - Kokomo (1988)

The Beach Boys - Kokomo (1988)

Ken and Daphne have you had enough snow!



"At the heart of gardening there is a belief in the miraculous

Mirabel Osler



New England Clam Chowder


                                     Homemade New England Clam Chowder


This clam chowder recipe is easy, and very tasty. Make it the day before or in the morning for supper and it will taste even better. This gives all the ingredients time to blend together to give your chowder even more flavor. I am giving you two options for clams and broth for the chowder. Option 2 will take a bit more time to make but the cost will be less and more flavorful. It's up to you and the time you have to make it but I like option 2 the best.




6 slices of bacon cut into half inch strips

2 cups of chopped sweet yellow onions

1 cups of chopped celery to 1/2 inch pieces

teaspoon of sea salt

teaspoon of dried thyme

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 cups of peeled and diced potatoes like Yukon Gold

If you use red skin potatoes do not peel, adds nice color to chowder

cup of all-purpose flower

3 cups of whole milk

1 bay leaf


Option 1} 6- 6 1/2 ounce cans of chopped clams, undrained

Option 2} 5 pounds of fresh steamers clams in the shell to produce 3 pounds of clams

Option 1} 4 -8 ounce bottles of clam juice

Option 2} Use a quart, 32 ounces of the clam broth from steaming the clams


1} Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven or large stew pot over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Save 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot and dispose the rest. Add the onions, celery, sea salt, thyme, pepper, and garlic to the bacon drippings in your pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until vegetables are nice and tender.


2} if you're using {option 1} drain the chopped clams and save the liquid. Add the clams, potatoes, clam juice, and the bay leaf to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Discard the Bay leaf.


{Option 2} Place your uncooked Steamers clams in a separate large pot, Add a can or bottle of your favorite Beer or Ale to the pot and cover. Cook the clams on a medium high heat until the liquids begin to bubble and steams over the clams. Open the cover of the pot about ways to prevent the liquid from spilling over onto the stove and cook for about 5 minutes or until the clams open up. Remove from the heat and dump out clam broth into bowl, and save. Let the clams cool and open shells and clean the clam of its black beard and put aside. Use your clam broth in place of bottled clam juice. Now continue with the recipe.


3} Spoon your flower into measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine the flower with milk and stir with a whisk until smooth. Add the flower mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add the cooked bacon during the last 2 minutes of cooking and you're ready to serve. I like to let it sit on the stove and cool of on unheated burner, then refrigerate to serve later. When you reheat the clam chowder heat slowly on medium heat and stir often to prevent burning the chowder, about 10 to 15 minutes. This will serves 6 big bowls of chowder or 12 cups of chowder. In New England we pronounce it {Clam Chow-da}. Enjoy!






               Limited Cabins available - don't miss out on this wonderful trip




Monday July 27 - Boston, MA -
Depart on your overnight trans-Atlantic flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

Tuesday, July 28- Prague, Czech Republic
Settle into you hotel, Hilton Praguea,for the next two evenings. Explore Prague at your leisure.

Wednesday-July 29 -
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, and a free day to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Musem: sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; stroll along the Vltava River(B)

Thursday- July 30
After breakfast at the hotel, you will have time to discover Prague's treasures. You will depart your hotel in the early afternoon to embark on the Avalon Visionary in Nuremberg (approx.. 3 hour drive) Welcome Reception and Dinner onboard (B, D)

Friday - July 31 - Nuremberg
Today, choose from an included guided sightseeing tour and marvel at this 1,000-year-old city's medieval fortifications. Extraordinary gothic churches, and Kaiserburg(Imperial Castle) or join a more specialized Nuremberg Rally Grounds Tour. Enjoy a tranquil afternoon of cruising. Take in an interesting onboard lecture about the engineering marvel that is the Main Danube Canal (B,L,D)

Saturday, August 1- Regensburg
Some of today's highlights during your guided wall will include Altes Rathaus (old Time Hall), Porta Pretoria and 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge). Enjoy an included snack at historische Wurskuche, one of the oldest restaurants. Before Dinner, join us for a beer tasting of some of Germany's most famous beers.(B,L,D)

Sunday, August 2 - Passau-Linz, Austria
This morning, dock in Passau uniquely located where the INN, Ilz and the Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian Baroque architecture, house one of the world's largest church organs with 17, 774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included guided walk. Then sail to Linz, Austria's 3rd largest town, which lies on both banks of the Danube (B, L, D)

Monday, August 3 - Melk-Vienna
This morning enjoy a included guided visit of Melk's magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey, which houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. During lunchtime, cruise through Wachau Valley a UNESCO world Heritage site. Arrive in Vienna this evening.(B, L, D)/p>

Tuesday, August 4 - Vienna

Your included city tour with your local guide includes sites such as the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace Complex, the Neo-Renaissance Vienna Opera House, and St Stephen's Cathedral. Spend some time in the delightful pedestrian Karntnerstrasse to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel Depart for Budapest. (B, L, D)

Wednesday, August 5 - Budapest, Hungary
On your guided sightseeing tour, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion & 11th century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian menarches. Be sure to take note of the city's 8 bridges - many famous sites in and of themselves which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with pest on left bank. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridgebuilt in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B, L, D)

Thursday August 6 - Budapest (disembarkation)
After breakfast you will be transferred to your hotel. The day is free to explore Budapest at your leisure (b).

Friday, August 7 - Budapest to Boston
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you prepare for your transfer to the airport and you flight home.

For more information :
Largay Travel Inc.
625 Wolcott Street
Waterbury, CT 06705



Garden Journal

        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 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!


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