Saturday May 16 is American Armed Forces Day - Thank You!
   
Gene Simmons Military Tribute
Gene Simmons Military Tribute

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Redvein Enkianthus

 

 

You may not have heard of this plant before, but once you hear about it and see it at your local Nursery, you will want

one for your garden. The plant, called the Red-vein Enkianthus, has many desirable traits, making it a wonderful plant to enjoy as it changes during the season. I got to know this plant when I first started working in the nursery industry over 40 years ago. I was in college and during my first summer home, I worked at a nursery in Scituate, Massachusetts called Kennedy's Country Gardens. The owner of the nursery. Bob Kennedy. loved this plant, and every home he helped to design managed to have one. Enkianthus grows in the sun or the shade; it grows upright and narrow making it a perfect plant for small areas and flowers during June. In the sun, the bees love the flowers.

 

Enkianthus will grow 4 to 6 inches each year, sometimes more. The way it grows is interesting: 4 to 6 inches of smooth red stem and the foliage on the tip of the stem. The leaves are oval--nothing special--but arranged in a group like an umbrella on the tip of that stem. In late May, the flower buds develop under the leaves and open during June, lasting all month in your garden. The flowers are beautiful and resemble large lilies of the valley with creamy yellow, bell-shaped blooms with red veins running in stripes down the bell. Where the bell opens at the bottom of the flower, it is all red and the top of the bell is green. When in bloom, the plant has the appearance of small umbrellas sheltering clusters of colorful bells under them. It is not as showy as a rhododendron in full bloom but when it's in bloom you'll know it, and love the show it makes in your garden. You can also use the plant as an accent plant in a long perennial border or rock garden. Finding flowering shrubs for the shade can be difficult and a real challenge, but this one is a real find for your shady gardens.

 

Enkianthus will grow 6 to 10 feet tall, but can be pruned easily to control size and kept at any height you want. The plant will spread 3 to 4 feet wide when mature, but I have seen them wider, so prune to keep narrow. When you plant, be sure to condition the soil with compost or peat moss in the hole. Plants will do best if the soil is acidic, rich in organic matter, moist and well drained. When the Landscaping Crew at Kennedy's planted shrubs, all the plants had a handful or two of Milorganite fertilizer added to the hole and worked into the compost. This gave the roots a little push for better root development. Water weekly, for the first year right up until the fall season. Enkianthus will do better if you cover the soil around the plant with 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch. This helps to keep the soil cooler during periods of high heat during

the summer and once the ground freezes in the winter it stays frozen, preventing root damage.

 

In the fall, you will see changes happening to this plant and you will like it as the foliage changes from its blue-green

 color to yellow, then orange and finally to bright red. If the plant has more sun, it has more color, but in the shade it is less vibrant but still beautiful. Plant where azaleas, rhododendrons, mountain laurel and hollies are planted in your

 garden beds as they will require the same type of growing conditions. Fertilize with Holly-Tone or Acid Adoring fertilizer

 in the spring of the year.

 

When the plant begins to bloom, cut some of the long flower stems, place them in a vase of water and enjoy the flower

 in your home. As a cut flower, it will last for 2 to 3 weeks on the kitchen table when mixed with other flowers or all by itself. Enjoy!

 

 

The Golden Chain Tree with under planting Allium

 

  If you have a spot in your yard for a small flowering tree, look at the flowering Golden Chain tree. This unique tree will grow 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. During mid May to mid June, it develops golden yellow chains of pea-shaped flowers like grape clusters 6 to 10 inches long. The flowers have a slight fragrance, especially on a warm day with no wind. When most people see the Golden Chain, they think it is a yellow wisteria tree, as the flowers are quite similar and both plants bloom at the same time. This is a spectacular landscape tree for small areas on your property. The Golden Chain does best when planted in a sheltered area away from winds and bright winter sunshine.

The first thing you will notice is the bark of the tree, which is smooth and olive-green. The younger branches are almost shiny and olive-green. As the tree ages, the color darkens and loses its shine. The Golden Chain grows upright when young and does not spread out until it has been in the ground 5 years or more. The foliage is as unique as the leaf and is classified a trifoliate that develops in three segments. The foliage is blue-green right up until fall, with little fall color change. The Golden Chain does best in a cool climate where summers seldom stay in the nineties for a long period. Extremely hot summers will discourage flower bud production.

 

The Golden Chain will grow best in a soil with good drainage and on the sandy side. When planting, be sure to add lots of organic matter such as compost and peat moss. If the soil is sandy add a bit of "Soil Moist" in the hole to help hold moisture during hot and dry spells. Soil moist is a product designed to retain water and hold it for the plant use. For the average tree, add 2 to 3 tablespoons in the hole when planting--when it gets wet, it will swell 200 times in volume and hold water for the new roots that develop. This product will stay active in the soil for 3 years, helping new roots that develop grow quickly.

 

Small growing trees traditionally have a small root system. To encourage a larger root system to eliminate seasonal stress, add a little bit of fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae microbes when planting. If the tree is already planted, use the new Protilizer by Natural Alternative fertilizer that contains the first powdered mycorrhizae for established plants in your gardens and planting beds. Just water the soil around the plant and in just 30 days the the root system of the tree will double in size. When trees develop these oversize roots they will develop more flowers for spring bloom and stay healthier.

 

In the Northeast, plant the Golden Chain called "Laburnum-Vossii" for a better form, a more dense growing habit, and bigger flower clusters that can reach up 12 inches long. Like other small trees, when planted it should be staked for the first year to prevent the wind from moving the tree top and breaking new roots that form in the ground. Water the tree 2 times a week for the first 3 to 4 months. Fertilize spring and fall with Plant Tone organic fertilizer. Protilizer by Natural-Alternative fertilizer should be applied every spring when in flower to help make more buds for next year.

 

When planted in the lawn, the Golden Chain tree should have a mulch bed to grow in. Keeping the grass away from the trunk of the tree helps prevent damage to the trunk by your lawn mower. Two to three inches of bark mulch also help to keep moisture around the plant from evaporating during hot weather. Plant summer annuals around the tree in the mulch bed for great color all summer long. When you fertilize the flowers, the tree is also fertilized, making it even stronger.

Enjoy!

 

God Bless the USA - The Texas Tenors

God Bless the USA

 The Texas Tenors

 
  
Sweet Woodruff a wonderful herb and ground cover

 

 

Last year I was looking for a different ground cover for a shady spot under pine trees in my back yard and came across Sweet Woodruff. I remembered the name as a type of herb, but could not remember what its uses were. I liked the foliage and the flower so I purchased a few plants to try them. I set the plants in the garden about 18 inches apart in early May and pampered them, as you should for the first season in a new garden. Sweet Woodruff is a perennial plant but like most perennials, it dies to the ground in the fall and redevelops in the spring. When spring arrived this year, I could see that they had a great winter rest and were developing quickly in the area where they were planted. By mid May, the five plants that I had planted 18 inches apart were now all connected and literally had become one clump. I had selected the perfect ground cover for that area and it was a charming plant to look at.

 

Sweet Woodruff is a low growing perennial plant 6 to 8 inches tall. The stems come out of the ground in April and quickly develop a whorl of elongated leaves like tiny umbrellas on the tip of this short stem . Most stems have seven or more leaves 2 to 3 inches, long to each whorl. The stems do not branch out making new growth like most plants; they are all individual. In May, the delicate looking flowers begin to develop and they will last on the plant until July. The flowers come in clusters, each cluster containing many small white star shaped tubular flowers. The flower clusters are small--about 3 inches wide--and fragrant. Most ground covers are heavy, dense, thick and coarse looking; but not the Sweet Woodruff; it is delicate and airy and it will soften your garden floor with its foliage and flowers.

 

Plant Sweet Woodruff in partial to full shade, even deep shade. It will grow in full sun if you water the garden regularly and does not get too hot during the day where you live. The plants will do best in a sandy or light soil that is well drained; these plants will not tolerate a heavy clay type soil or a wet spot in the garden. Plant Sweet Woodruff with compost and a bit of Soil Moist granules to keep the moisture available near the roots of the plant for the first year. I use a fertilizer that contains mycorrhizae bacteria to encourage root development such as Bio-Tone or new Protilizer from Natural Alternative. Water 2 times or more each week if it does not rain. I also liquid fed my plants several times during the summer with Neptune's Harvest fish and sea weed fertilizer the first year or Fertilome blooming and rooting fertilizer. Now that the plants are established, little to no care is needed and the plant will continue to spread at a moderate speed.

 

If plants get out of their designated area, dig them up and divide them to relocate to other areas on your property. They divide easily and that is the best way to propagate them for friends and family. Once established, the flowers will make seeds that fall to the ground and start new plants. The plant is not invasive, but it is strong growing and can choke out less vigorous perennial plants by overrunning them like a wave of water at the seashore. Sweet Woodruff will do well under trees, shrubs and large growing perennials like Hostas or Hellebores. You can also plant in flower beds that have spring flowering bulbs planted in them as the spring flowering bulbs will grow right through the foliage of the Sweet Woodruff.

 

I fertilize them once a year now in the spring and feed them after I clean the perennial flowerbeds during March and April. If it gets hot and dry and the plants begin to wilt, water the garden and they will quickly recover with little stress. One last positive aspect of the Sweet Woodruff is that it has few to no disease or insect problems, so enjoy them in your garden. Enjoy!

 

 


"The soil is a wonderful thing. Treat it like a good old friend."
 
Fred Streeter
 
Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)

Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)  -

 Toby Keith

 

 

 

 

 

Time to plant the cucumbers
 

When the heat of summer arrives, the vegetable that activates my taste buds is the cucumber. Cucumbers are great all year long, but during the summer months, their flavor is unmatchable. A fresh picked cucumber from the vegetable garden or container has a unique flavor that the winter market cannot match. I like picking the cucumbers from the garden and feeling the tiny burs on the skin, a protective device to protect them from animals when young. In addition, the lack of paraffin wax covering the cucumber that helps to keep it fresh, as cucumbers are mostly water. The season may be short for this long green vegetable but when they are producing, I cannot get enough of them.

 

Here are a few things to remember about growing cucumbers. The roots of the plant are very shallow growing and if your soil is not prepared with compost, peat moss or animal manure, the plants will not produce as many cucumbers. The growing season for the plant will be shorter when the real heat arrives during mid to late August if you are not faithful with your watering. Lack of "regular" watering will give you odd shaped and bitter tasting cucumbers. To help keep the cucumbers productive be sure to add Soil Moist, a wonderful, water-holding crystal, to the ground when planting. If you have not done so, it is not too late to help the plant. At about 18 inches from the plants, punch several holes in the ground 6 to 8 inches deep, and put in a pinch in each hole and cover with soil. Remember Soil Moist expands 200 times, holding water for the roots when the plant needs it, so do not overuse this product.

 

Fertilize every couple of weeks if you are using a liquid feed like Neptune's Harvest, fish and sea fertilizer or Fertilome blooming and rooting fertilizer and apply it on the foliage as well as the ground. Kelp or seaweed applied to the ground when planting or as a liquid soil and foliar feed will help keep the plant flowering and produce more fruit. If you are using a granular food, apply as a band around the base of the plant 18 to 24 inches from the stems and do this monthly. I have always found that vine plants need more fertilizer than a bush plant because the plant has to work harder to get the food to the growing tips. Because the tips keep growing longer, the food has to travel further each day. Liquid foliar fertilizer really helps the plant because the food is where it is needed. The new mycorrhizae fertilizer "Protilizer" from Natural-Alternative is a liquid plant stimulator developed to double the root system of the plant. Just remember the cucumber roots are shalllow and when water gets scarce the cucumber gets bitter, so feed the plant a product Like Protilizer that develops a bigger root system.

 

If your plant is making a lot of flowers but few fruit, a couple of things could be causing this. Cucumbers produce many male flowers early as they grow to encourage bees to come to pollinate the plant. Female flowers will come when the plant is well rooted and able to get what it needs from the soil to make the fruit. This is why well fed cucumber plants produce earlier. Cloudy, cold, and wet weather prevents the bees from doing their job in the garden--and that is pollination. Flowers last just a few days on the plant and then fall if not pollinated. If you see that the weather pattern is calling for a rainy spell, here is what you can do to increase the cucumbers on the plants. Female flowers have a tiny cucumber behind the flower and the male flower does not. Before the weather changes, pick a couple of male flowers from the plant and rub them on the female flowers front to front. This will move the pollen from the male to the female flower just like the bees do and the plant will make cucumbers even when the weather is bad. Plant yellow marigolds near all vine vegetables to encourage bees to visit the garden.

 

Sometimes, cucumbers make fruit faster than you can eat it. Pick them and place them in your refrigerator or give them to the neighbors. If you allow them to turn yellow or orange, they begin to make mature seeds and the plant will stop producing. The goal of the cucumber is to make seeds and if you allow this to happen, the plant has done its job; it will rest and make leaves, so pick often. The best time to pick cucumbers is first thing in the morning as they are full of moisture and firm. Once the plants get hot, they lose moisture to the heat, soften, loose some flavor and do not keep as long in the refrigerator.

 

Grow cucumbers on the ground like most vine crops or on a trellis to save room in the garden. Trellis cucumbers will grow straighter as they dangle from the plant and flowers are more visible to insects in the area. Cucumbers have few insect problems and Eight garden dust will control them. Finally, avoid watering the garden late in the day, as wet foliage will encourage powdery mildew, a white powdery dust that if not controlled will kill the plant. If it starts to form on the foliage, use "Bayer" Natria organic fungicide control to keep plants clean and productive. All you need now is salt and pepper! Enjoy!

 

 

 

                                 

Canadian Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

I am always looking for a new recipe to use up my Rhubarb and now that it is growing quickly and will soon be ready for harvest I found something you will love. It is you basic Rhubarb with a meringue top crust. The sweet meringue top crust will give your Rhubarb a new a wonderful taste just like it does to a Lemon Meringue pie. Use fresh picked Rhubarb when you make this pie as the flavor is much better.

Pie Ingredients:

1 -9 inch pastry shell Homemade or Pillsbury

3 mounded cups, packed of coarsely chopped and pealed
 To 1 inch pieces of fresh Rhubarb

 1 mounded cup of granular sugar

3 tablespoons of all-purpose flower

2 tablespoon of cubed butter

2 jumbo egg yolks, beaten

 

Meringue:

2 jumbo egg whites

teaspoon of cream of tartar

cup of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of water

teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

teaspoon of salt

 

Directions:

1} Lightly flower your pastry shell and place in your pie plate and shape to your pie plate with wavy finger like edges.

2} In a large bowl, stir together your chopped rhubarb, sugar, flower, and butter. Stir in your beaten egg yolks and blend well, and pour into the pie plate shell. Bake on a lower shelf in your oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake until the filling is bubbling and the rhubarb is tender, for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool to lukewarm.

 

Meringue Directions:

1} In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff, moist, and shiny peaks form. Very gradually add the sugar and beat. Add the water, vanilla, and salt while beating and mixture becomes until very stiff.

2} Spread the Meringue over the lukewarm pie, be sure the meringue is spread evenly until you touch all sides of the bottom pie crust edges. Swirl the meringue with a butter knife to create swirls and small peaks, to decorate.

3} Bake the pie at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until the peaks of the meringue are golden brown. Let the pie cool to room temperature before serving.

4} No Ice cream is needed because of the meringue but French Vanilla Ice cream can be add to the side if you have a sweet tooth. Enjoy!

 

 

 


      

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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