Late summer flowering Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Guy Clark - Home Grown Tomatoes
Guy Clark - 
Home Grown Tomatoes
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The other day, while running a few errands, I decided to take a different road to get to my first stop and came across a wonderful vine that you should know about. The plant is called silver lace vine, and it blooms from July to late September. It's not a plant that most of us talk about, I think because it flowers so late in the season and it's one of those old fashioned plants our grandparents grew before all the new hybrid flowering vines were introduced. This is a plant that you should know about if you want privacy, if you want to cover an old chain linked fence, if you have a hill-side that is difficult to mow or too steep to maintain, or even a cliff you want to protect from erosion--the silver lace vine is for you!

The silver lace vine originated in western China and is cold-hardy to -30 degrees. If you live in Northern New England, New York, west to Minnesota and south to Georgia, this is a plant that can solve many problems for you while giving you wonderful color during the summer right up to early fall. No winter protection is necessary and wind, salt spray from the ocean and deep snow will not hurt this plant.

Silver lace vine is a deciduous vine loosing its foliage in early October with no show of color, as the leaves fall from the plant while still green. The leaves form on the plant with a tinge of reddish-bronze but quickly mature to dark green. They are fine textured, in the shape of an Indian arrow head, growing 1 to 2 inches long and shiny. The plant will grow very thick, with these leaves quickly covering the vine in the spring.

The flowers develop on the new growth made on the plant from May to August, and for most plants the new growth is 1 to 3 feet ,but not on this plant. Silver lace vine will grow TEN to FIFTEEN feet every summer; can you now imagine how many flowers are on this plant during the late summer months? These flowers are small--1/5 of an inch in diameter--and form on finger-like panicles/spikes by the hundreds. The flowers develop on the top of the plant's new growth and usually completely cover the plant, almost covering the foliage when in full bloom. The plant does have a bit of fragrance close up but is not known for it. The flowers are white in the sun to greenish-white in partial shade and they will last on the plant from 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the September weather.

The silver lace vine is a twining vine and does need something to grow on like a trellis, arbor, or fence. It will NOT climb up the side of a structure or building like the Boston ivy does, as it cannot cling to a surface without support. Give it support and it will quickly grow to the top. If you're going to train it to grow on a chain link fence for privacy, set out plants on every other section of fence as it will cover two sections of fencing in just two years. For arbors 6 to 8 feet tall and wide, one plant is all you will need.

Silver lace vines will grow in just about any type of soil--especially dry soil--once they are established in your yard. They do not like wet feet, so keep them away from areas where you will have standing water during the spring and winter ice. Plant them in a soil you condition with a lot of compost, animal manure, or peat moss before panting and if your soil is on the sandy to gravely side use Soil Moist granules also. The first year in your garden, silver lace vine should be watered weekly until it is well established, and during the summer months if the garden gets hot and dry. Once established, this plant does not need any help from you.

Fertilize every spring with Plant-Tone . If you want to control the size of the plant, prune the plant back by as much as 75% every spring, before the new growth begins to develop--during March or April. If not pruned back, it will continue to grow, reaching a height of 20 to 30 feet high or long on a fence. This is a wonderful vine to plant at the base of a sparse-growing evergreen tree like spruce or pine; in just a couple of years it will fill in all the open areas on the plant, but won't kill the tree.

Silver lace vine will grow faster in full sun than shade but it will do quite well in a part-shade garden. Disease problems are minimal and never a problem, but if you have a summer with many Japanese beetles in your yard, they may be a problem. Just spray the plant with Garden Eight from Bonide Lawn and Garden if there is a problem, or use Tree and Shrub systemic soil drench in the spring for year-long insect control.

Plant silver lace vine at the base of all types of fences and let it run across the top of the solid wood or vinyl fence for additional height to the fence and wonderful summer to fall color. Open wire fences like chain link will quickly become solid during the summer months but in the fall all the foliage will drop, letting light into your yard for the winter. This vine will give you quick privacy during the summer months around a pool, patio, or deck with little maintenance needed by you.

Use this wonderful vine as a ground cover in problem areas where nothing else will grow. This vine will quickly cover unattractive gravel slopes, piles of rocks or where garden debris has been disposed of. I have seen it planted on the top of a steep slope, and as it runs down the hill it will root on the ground and quickly cover the soil and protect it from erosion problems. Just set the plants out in 2 foot by 2 foot pockets of good soil to help them get established and watch them take over the problem area with a blanket of green foliage and white flowers during the summer.

In June, prune back a few 6 to 8 inch tip branches from the plant and dip them in rooting powder like you would use for rooting geraniums or coleus plants. Pot 3 cuttings in a 6 inch pot filled with fresh potting soil and keep in a shady location until they root (in just a couple of weeks). Keep them moist with plenty of light but no direct sun until they root. You can make new plants that easily--or if new shoots develop around the plant, just dig them in the spring before the foliage develops and set them out.

When you prune them in the spring, wrap the long vines around a container to make a wonderful looking twig wreath for your front door. Winding the vine in and out of the wreath will give it extra character also.

The house I saw the other day had planted morning glories at the base of the plant and the blue trumpet flowers look wonderful with the small white flowers of silver lace vine wrapped around them. If you want fast coverage and flowers, no other vine can do what this plant does! Enjoy.
  
Beautiful pyracantha fruit for fall and winter color



Right now we are all enjoying the beautiful fall foliage but soon the magical colors will disappear and our garden will begin to look a bit drab! Unless...you planned ahead by planting shrubs and trees that not only flower but make beautiful fruit or berries for the fall and winter months. When most gardeners think of plants with berries, they think of holly--but there is so much more for your garden and there is no better time to learn about these berries than now when they are on the plants. Plants that make berries come in two categories, summer and winter types. Because it's fall, let me tell you about the winter types of berry plants for your garden.

Let's begin with the wonderful trees that produce clusters of fruit in many colors and shapes to feed our birds during the fall and winter months. Yes, the berries are beautiful to look at, but their main purpose is to provide food for birds and wildlife during the winter months when most native plants are dormant or covered with snow. My favorite is the European Mountain Ash because of the wonderful white flower clusters in the spring and large clusters of bright orange fruit that develop during September.

I planted an 8 foot tall tree at my parents' house in the late 70's and today it's well over 40 feet tall. I would often watch the birds pick the berries from the tree around the Thanksgiving holiday. One Thanksgiving morning, my grandfather and I were having coffee and watching the birds from the kitchen table, when he told me this story about the Mountain Ash tree. My grandfather's name was Romeo Parent but everybody called him POP. I always called him "The Fisherman" because he loved nothing more than going fishing--and he often took me along. When I got older, it was my turn to take him fishing and we spent many wonderful hours together fishing--but let me tell you the story he told me about the Mountain Ash tree.

POP lived in the days of Prohibition, when beer and liquor were outlawed but POP and his friends used to pick the berries from the wild Mountain Ash trees growing in Maine to make homemade wine with them. Despite the law, almost everyone he knew made their own alcohol with wild berries and fruit like apples, pears, and peaches. POP told me that his favorite homemade wine was from the Mountain Ash tree and every time I see the Mountain Ash Tree I think of my Grandfather. If you're looking to plant trees with wonderful fruit go to your local nursery and ask to look at the following trees:

The Flowering Crabapple family: Not all varieties make fruit, so be sure to ask for ideas from the nurseryman and for his suggestions. Some of my favorites are.
Japanese Flowering Crabapple: with yellow to red fruit.
Tea Crabapple: with golden fruit with a red blotch.
Sargent Crabapple: with red fruit.
Donald Wyman: with glossy red fruit.
Harvest Gold: with glossy gold fruit.
Zumi: with golden yellow fruit.
Red Jade: red fruit
Weeping Candied Apple: with cherry red fruit.
Spring Flowering Dogwood: with jelly bean shaped red fruit.
Kousa Dogwood: with a raspberry shaped red fruit.
Magnolias: red to pink fruit in a pod that will break open to reveal the fruit.
Sourwood: white early, then turning to brown.
The Flowering Pear family: green to yellow.
The Hawthorn family: Glossy red to reddish purple fruit.
Red Cedar: powdery blue fruit.
Russian-Olive: silvery green fruit.
Autumn- Olive: burnt orange to red fruit.
If your yard has no room for trees, here are a few wonderfulshrubs with unique fruit for both evergreen and deciduous plants. Here are some evergreen plants with much to offer your garden.

Oregon Grape Holly: clusters of dusty bright blue fruit.
The Holly family: clusters of bright shiny red and some gold fruit.
The Skimmia family: clusters of bright red fruit.
The Ilex family: shiny black fruit.
The Cotoneaster family: bright red fruit.
The Evergreen Euonymus family: red to pink fruit that will break open and reveal orange seeds.
The Daphne family: red fruit.
The Inkberry family: dark blue to black fruit.
The Pyracantha family: My favorite shrub with bright orange to orange-red fruit clusters, and also yellow.
Here are some wonderful deciduous plants with wonderful fruit clusters. Fruit is showy with and without foliage on the plant. With snow on the ground they are spectacular.

The Viburnum family: This is the largest family of fruit bearing plants; they vary in many shades of red to reddish-purple, blue, and black. If you want birds you will need the Viburnum family on your property.
Bayberry family: Dusty blue fruit.
Barberry family: Oval red to yellow fruit.
Snowberry; beautiful white fruit clusters.
Burning Bush: red to pink fruit that will break open to reveal orange seeds.
Privet Hedges: with wonderful blue black fruit clusters.
Rosa Rugosa: Bright orange fruit that changes to red.
The Beautyberry family: white, pink, and purple fruit clusters. A must-see plant in the fall.
Winterberry family: My favorite deciduous plant, with shiny red fruit clusters that cover the new growth on the plant. Winterberry is often sold during Christmas to put in window boxes outside for the winter with greens.

***During the fall season many of us will go to pick dry weeds and wild flowers for dry arrangements. Bittersweet is wonderful and the many dry pods found in fields and forest areas work well in your arrangements, but be careful not to pick silver gray berry clusters that grow on a vine along the ground or on the side of a tree. POISON IVY makes a nice silver gray berry often confused with Bayberry shrub. Before you pick, smell the plant for the Bayberry fragrance on the branches! If there is no fragrance it could be Poison Ivy and as you pick it and hold the branches in your arms, you will be in for a surprise the following morning!!! Look first, think and then pick your wild plants and berries. Enjoy!!!
 
Raspberries Strawberries
Raspberries Strawberries
by the Kingston trio


Just because the season has changed, it does not mean "pack it up and go inside." Fall is a wonderful time to get back into the garden and finish your planting. During the heat of this summer, especially this year, the temperatures made planting almost impossible-and, besides, summer is the time to enjoy your spring planting and the family. Now the kids are back to school, vacation time is over for most of us and it's time to do what you enjoy again; for many of us that is working in the garden. Right now, the soil is still warm and when you plant new shrubs and trees they will get established faster than when planted in the early spring when the ground is wet and cold.

Fall planting does have many advantages--including the price of the plant material, as many of the nurseries and garden centers are having sales on their plants. Here is what I want you to look for when planting in the fall of the year. First, look over the plant material and check the quality of the plants on sale. If the plants look good, the root ball is nice and firm; the root ball has a good covering of burlap on it or is in a container that is not damaged, you're on the right track to continue looking around. Look at the foliage of the plant--is it green and healthy looking? Look at the condition of the branches--do they look good or are there many broken or dead branches on the plant?

Many times fall sales are caused by bad weather during the prime season, leaving plant material that did not sell when it was at its best, due to the weather. For example, most flowering plants sell when they are in bloom; if the weather was bad when they were in bloom, many people don't shop for plants at that time. The plant finishes flowering and people lose interest until next year when they see them flowering again and the weather is good for planting. The plant is still perfectly good but because you do not see the flowers, you lose interest in the plant and it sits in the nursery. The smart nursery keeps the plants looking good and cares for them properly---and in the fall, the smart gardener takes advantage of the bad weather during the spring and purchases that plant on sale. Look at the nursery itself and how it has been kept up during the summer months; if the place is clean and well-kept it is a signal that the plant material was well kept also. Now is the time for you to act and save money on plant material you would like in your yard, and when spring arrives next year your flowering plants are already planted and ready to flower no matter what the weather is. If your soil is acidic use Lighting Lime from Espoma.

If you're looking at trees for your home for shade or color--even fruit trees--fall is a great time also. Follow the same rules I just gave you but add one more thing to look at, and that is the trunk of the tree. Make sure there are no major scrapes on the trunk or missing bark. Small nicks and scrapes are not a problem and in just a year or two they will disappear. Grab the trunk of the tree and move it around to make sure it is firmly attached to the root ball--if it moves like a straw in a glass of water, leave it there, as the plant could have root damage that cannot be repaired.

Look at the foliage on the tree, how does it look? Make sure the branches look good with little to no breakage. Now, with your thumbnail, scrape a small scratch near the tip of some of those branches to make sure that there is still green under the bark; if you see green the branch is healthy, if brown there is a problem, So walk away. Large trees should have a wire basket around them unless they are potted. When you plant that tree ,leave the wire basket on the root ball; it will rust away in just a few years and the spacing of the wire will not affect the roots that will develop in the future. AGAIN--keep the wire basket on the root ball! The one thing that must be removed is any rope that is wrapped around the trunk of the tree, especially if it is plastic. Plastic rope will not rot in the ground and can create a girdling effect on the trunk and prevent growth from developing properly. What will happen is that as the trunk begins to grow the rope stays in position, while the wood fibers grow around it but are restricted. The top will grow and get bigger until a good wind or snow storm comes and then the girdled area that is the weak point on the plant will break--and you lose your tree. One more thing--any tree over six feet tall MUST be staked to the ground in the fall to hold the plant firmly in the ground for a year so the roots can form properly!

If you're planting evergreens in the fall, especially broadleaf evergreens like holly, boxwood, rhododendrons, azaleas, etc. , I would treat the foliage with an anti-desiccant spray such as Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop around Thanksgiving to protect the foliage from wind damage and dehydration. Spray the underside of the foliage first and do a good job and get every underside of every leaf covered, as that is where the moisture escapes from the plant. Then do the top of the leaf; it's a small investment with a real positive effect on the plant, especially if we have a winter with little snow cover, lots of sunshine, wind, and little rainfall. An investment of less than $2.00 per plant can save a $50.00 plant from a tough winter. I would recommend that all broadleaf evergreens be treated--even those planted in the spring--for the first year in your garden. Be safe, not sorry in the spring.

I don't recommend planting roses in the fall of the year. I do recommend that you mulch all roses after Thanksgiving with bark mulch or straw--not any earlier, or mice will move into the mound of protection and eat your plant during the winter. If you live in New England, mulch and use Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop especially if rose plants are less than a year old. Not every winter will be like last year with mild temperatures. If you have potted roses, put them in your garage or tool shed for the winter out of the weather when they lose all their foliage--or around Thanksgiving. No heated buildings, and water well before putting the plant away for the winter.

All deciduous plants--plants that lose their foliage during the winter months--can be planted in the fall with great success and need no special protection during the winter except for a good layer of bark mulch or compost around the base of the plant. This mulch helps to keep the heat in the ground longer, giving the plant extra time to develop a god root system and prevents the ground from freezing and thawing during the winter hurting the new roots.

If you're planting hydrangeas this fall, I would recommend that you remove all the flowers from the plant by Thanksgiving to prevent heavy wet snow from damaging the plant with the weight of the snow on the flowers and breaking the branches of the plant.

This fall, get back into your garden and get a jump on next spring's planting. Fall is for planting and planning the garden to enjoy for next year.

"Gardens are not made by sing, "OH, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade"

Rudyard Kipling

 

The Seekers Ill never find another you (live)
The Seekers - Ill never find another you (live)

 



Colchicum giant fall flowering crocus

This week I want you to call your local nursery/garden center and ask them to order for you a fall flowering crocus called Colchicum. Some stores will have them, and you will be in luck because this crocus not only flowers in the fall but it is a "giant" bulb with giant flowers. The bulb will be as large as a tennis ball with a point on top.

When I was in college, I asked one of my teachers why we need to know the Latin names of plants. My teacher told me because most plants have different names in different countries and many nicknames, but the Latin name was the same no matter where you lived. Here is the perfect example and you will love this, so use this name on your garden friends. Colchicum's nickname in Europe is "naked-lady," because it makes its foliage in the springtime, so when in bloom no foliage is present around the flowers--hence the nickname.

This fall-flowering crocus comes up in May with a cluster of leaves that resemble those of a hyacinth plant. The foliage grows six to eight inches tall and two inches wide in a clump eight to ten inches across. The foliage of the plant is deep green and shiny, and it will last for a month or more in the garden before turning yellow to brown and then fall apart. Most of us have forgotten what we planted so we wait for color and nothing forms from the clump but foliage.

In the fall they flower, beginning to push their way out of the ground two or three at a time. The flowers grow 4 to 6 inches tall and resemble a crocus but much bigger. The flower is goblet-shaped and made up of six flower petals, truly striking to see coming up in your garden with no foliage. As the flowers start to fade, the color changes from lilac-pink or rosy-purple to pale lavender. The flower slowly falls over on the ground and another bloom develops to replace it in the clump. In time ,it possible to have as many as 30 or more flowers on the ground and straight up in the clump--almost like a bouquet resting on the ground of your garden.

Plant the bulbs in a well-drained soil in a sunny location out of the wind. I like planting them near a large shrub or statuary, so I do not accidently dig them up or cut into them when planting something else in the area. Dig a large hole, 6 inches deep, and condition the soil with compost or animal manure before planting.

If your soil is sandy, be sure to put in a pinch of Soil Moist water retention granules to help keep the plant well watered. The bulb should have four inches of soil covering it, and the bulb should be watered well after planting. Once the roots form, the flowers will develop in a couple of weeks. I also add a couple inches of bark mulch over the bulb for extra winter protection.

If you like different flowers try this with your Colchicum bulbs this fall: place the bulb point up in a shallow dish like a Jell-O or pudding dish and add one inch of water to the dish. Keep the water in the dish at all times. In just two weeks, the bulb will begin to send a flower out of the top of the bulb and it will bloom in the dish for two to three weeks. When the flowers stop, plant the bulb in the garden and the roots will form in the ground quickly. Next spring foliage will form and next fall the flowers will "magically" come out of the ground.

Fertilize in the spring and again in the fall with Bulb-Tone fertilizer and watch the flower numbers grow. The Colchicum is very hardy bulb and will thrive in the garden from northern New England to Georgia, even where temperatures get down to -40 degrees. If you do not disturb the bulb, it will last for many years and grow larger each year.

This bulb was originally found in Turkey growing on mountainsides so it is very strong and makes a great plant for wildflower gardens, rock gardens, naturalizing or just a unusual flower for your garden that flowers in September and October. By the way, this flower is not actually in the crocus family--it is just called a fall crocus because it looks like one; actually it is closely related to the lily family. This bulb is worth the search to find and you will love it as I do mine. Enjoy!

Betsy K's overnight French Toast


Everyone loves French toast no matter how you make it. I add a bit of Maple flavor extract to my egg mixture before cooking. Some use Texas toast bread, an extra thick bread for added flavor, while others use multigrain bread for that nutty flavor. Here is a new way to enjoy French toast that you will love and so will your family and guest. 

Ingredients:
8 slices of French bread sliced of an inch thick
4 jumbo eggs
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons of orange juice
teaspoon of vanilla extract, the god stuff
cup of butter divided
Powdered sugar

Directions:
1} Place the sliced bread in a 13 by 9 by 2 inch container with cover.

2} In a medium mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, salt, juice, and vanilla. Beat these ingredients well. Pour over the bread and turn the slices to coat evenly. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

3} Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and add 4 slices of your French bread and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining 4 slices. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. Some of you might like to add the real Maple syrup from New England or Canada.

Make it Saturday night for breakfast on Sunday morning when you listen to the Garden Program. Serves 2 adults or 4 children 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!        Supplies are now limited!

 

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