Halloween is coming, let's make the entryway look festive!

Sharon, Lois and Bram: Picking Apples
Sharon, Lois and Bram: Picking Apples
The Paul Parent Garden Club, next trip is to Cuba


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The Northeast has the best fall color!

I think that I enjoy the fall season more than any other seasons, because it's Mother Nature's turn to show off all of her hard work. It's also the perfect time for us to add color to our yards by looking at the colors of the foliage around us. If you enjoy red flowers in your garden during the summer months, then why not plant shrubs and trees that have red foliage during the fall months?

Fall is a season for every color in the rainbow--from reds to pinks, gold, orange, and yellow. So look around you at your gardens and your friends' gardens as you drive around town or on the trip to the mountains for the fabulous fall foliage color. Then visit your local nursery and take advantage of their fall sales to add color to your garden during the fall months. Here are some of my favorite plants to add color to your yard this fall.

Let us start with the trees, because they form the canopy over and around our property and will give us the most color for our money. The color of the foliage will vary from year to year, depending on the rainfall during the summer months and during the early weeks of fall. Also helping to determine the color is the temperature during the color changeover and the health of the tree overall. The length of the color on the tree is also determined by the weather and all it takes is a big rain and wind storm and the show is over--but nice "Indian Summer" weather will extend the show of fall foliage for many extra days.

The Maple family: Has the best color in the fall and a wide selection of colors to choose from but there are many other trees just as beautiful to look at, so print this list when you go "Leaf Peeping."

Norway Maple: best shades of yellow to gold and even a bit of orange on the same leaf.
The Norway maple Hybrid 'Crimson King' has reddish purple leaves spring to fall.
Red Maple: Brilliant and the best reds, with splashes of orange and yellow mixed on the same tree.
Silver Maple: Yellow and orange blend with a splash of red on the same tree.

The Oak family: Known for shades of reds and deep green on the same leaf that will often develop later during the fall season and fade to reddish-brown. Some varieties hold the leaves well into winter.

The Birch family: known for bright golden yellow foliage and the wonderful white papery looking bark.

White Ash: known for the reds and purple shades mixed on the foliage.
Green Ash: known for superb yellow to gold foliage.

Beech family: known for bright yellow to golden brown to brown leaves that stay on the tree until winter.

Ginkgo: brilliant bright yellow for many days but all the leaves will fall from the tree at the same time.

Elms: shades of yellow with lines of green running thru it before turning brown and falling.

The Linden family: shades of striking yellow to gold foliage.

The Flowering Pear family: starts as a shiny yellow-orange then changes to red. Striking.

The Flowering Crabapples: shades of deep bright orange and red on the same leaf.

The Dogwood family: red to reddish purple and red to bright orange on the same leaves.

The Shadblow family: bright orange and very striking.

The Weeping Willow family: bright and shiny yellow foliage.

The Mountain Ash family: showy golden yellow foliage.

The Sourwood: begins yellow, then turns to shades of red and maroon foliage.

The Dawn Redwood: an evergreen needle that will turn orange-brown to reddish-brown and drop.

The Larch family: an evergreen needle that will turn bright yellow to gold and drop.

Here are a few suggestions for the best shrubs for fall foliage color for your yard and your gardens!Many of these shrubs also have beautiful flowers and fruit on them so the fall foliage is just an added benefit to the plant. Fall is for planting, so take advantage of the sales at your local nursery and get your yard landscaped this month and save money at the same time.

The Burning Bush is the KING of all fall foliage shrubs. In some states it has been removed from the nurseries and is not available for sale because these states overplanted them along the roadways and they have become invasive. These states will not agree with me but see for yourself when you drive along the highways how many are planted on the side of overpasses to prevent erosion, to give color to the highway and make the roadways look more beautiful during your many hours of traveling.

You all know the Burning Bush because of its wonderful bright fire-engine red foliage during the month of October. I Have several in my yard and have never seen seedlings develop around the plants, but because state horticulturists who overplanted them have passed a law preventing them from being sold, you are no longer able to purchase them in my state. If you have a Burning Bush in your yard please look around your property for seedlings and let me know if your plants have become invasive!

The Viburnum family: varying shades of reds to reddish purple and very showy.

The Witchhazel family: brilliant yellow to orange foliage.

The Enkianthus family: bright red foliage with a bit of yellow splash on the inner leaves of the plant.

The Sumac family: rich reds, scarlet, maroon and some new hybrids shades of yellow foliage.

The Shrub-type Dogwoods: shades of red foliage with colorful stems that are red or golden yellow.

The Fothergilla family: wonderful shades of yellow, orange, and red blended on the foliage.

Oakleaf Hydrangea: unusual shades of reds to purples on the foliage.

Rhododendron PJM: burgundy red fall color

Rhododendron mucronulatum: Deciduous variety with yellow fall foliage.

The Cotoneaster family: shiny bright red to reddish purple
.
Bridal wreath: orange and red combinations on the foliage.

Forsythia family: green and burgundy foliage

Kerria family: pale to medium yellow foliage
.
Blueberries: shades of yellow, orange and changing to bronze and red foliage.

The Leucothoe family: rich wine to burgundy evergreen foliage during the winter months.

There are a few vines and ground covers with good fall color that you should also look for at your local nursery. Most plants stay green or the foliage falls off the plant green in the fall season, but look for these two plants and you will not go wrong.

Boston ivy: bright reds, crimson and even new hybrids with yellow foliage, the best vine for fall color.

Euonymus Coloratus: my favorite ground cover will turn a plum-purple color from the first frost and last until the new growth develops in the spring before turning green again.

When selecting plants for your yard and garden it is always better to select plants that will provide you with more than one quality while in your care. The flowers are nice but they can only last for so long and if fall color is also available you have a plant with two qualities, not just flowers for 4 to 8 weeks a year. Enjoy!

I have one more suggestion for you for this fall. If you have family or friends who live in an area of the country where the foliage does not change colors in the fall, do this for them. Pick an assortment of colorful leaves and stuff a bag with them, then send them out to them where they live. I do this every year and take a large zip lock bag. Place a couple paper towels that are wet to cover the leaves and place in the bag. The leaves stay moist and hold their color until they get there. I use a Priority Mail envelop from the post office and it gets there in a couple of days for less than $10.00. It's a wonderful gift for people who have moved out of the area; it will bring back many memories for them. Great for the grandkids who live in the South where the closest thing to colorful plants is ORANGES on a tree.



Why Do Autumn Leaves Change Color?
Why Do Autumn Leaves Change Color?
  
New England fall flowering Aster

If you live in the country, you might have noticed a small daisy-like flower in bloom on the side of the road at this time of the year. The daisy-like flowers, half an inch to one across, cover the plant with white, blue or purple flowers. These native wildflowers are grown at many nurseries for fall color and will grow well in your perennial garden.

This wildflower will thrive from Northern New England to Georgia but only grows wild in New England. Ancient Greeks called asters "stars" and legends say that Astraea, goddess of the sky, wept when she saw that there were no stars on earth, and asters sprouted where her tears fell. This Greek goddess must have loved looking at New England, as she graced us with millions of these plants. They are everywhere you look as you travel in New England.

The flowers begin to open in early September and last well into October, surviving cold nights and frost. The flower is daisy shaped and the petals form like the spokes of a wheel, with a dense button-like center that is traditionally yellow in color. New hybrids come in violet, lavender, pink, ruby-red as well as the common white, blue and purple. The same plant can have single or double flowers on the same plant, making them very showy. In the wild, asters will grow 6 inches to several feet tall and spread just as much. These fall-flowering New England asters grow along the side of the road in front of my house. I mow the grass there but they still bloom at the height of 3 inches tall, a great weed.

Asters grow best in full sun but will tolerate a bit of shade. The plants prefer a well-drained soil, rich in organic matter like pine needles and rotted leaves. If you can keep the area well watered during the heat of summer, your plants will grow and spread quickly but they will also tolerate a dry soil and just produce smaller plants. If you find Asters growing on the side of the road, fertilize them with a regular lawn fertilizer in the spring to create a real show of flowers in the fall, in the perennial garden.

Use compost, animal manure or a balanced fertilizer to feed asters. Apply it in the spring to help build a bigger plant for the fall. Because the plants can get quite large, I recommend that you pinch them in early July like your mums, tall-growing sedum and Montauk daisies to control the size of the plant. If your New England fall asters grow along the side of the road like mine do, do not mow them when the plants are in bloom, but when the plants turn brown, mow them down with your lawn mower as this will spread the seed to make more plants for next year.

This fall-flowering perennial is a wonderful plant to attract bees and butterflies to your garden, as they are rich in pollen for food for these insects. This fall aster will make a great cut flower for your home and will last for 2 weeks or more in a vase of water. Use them in perennial gardens, wildflower gardens, woodland gardens, in a mixed border.

Plant in the back of the garden as they will get tall and you may have to stake the plants or you cut back in early July to control the height of the plants. At this time of the year, plant with mums, sedum, flowering cabbage and flowering kale.

When you clean the garden in the fall and the plant has turned brown, shake the plant on the ground to spread the seeds for next year. This plant will make a great filler plant for your flowerbeds and wildflower or meadow gardens. If you started with hybrid plants, they will stay true to color and form. The new seed-grown plants will look different due to pollination from the wild or native varieties growing along the side of the road, but still very nice. If you clean the garden late in the fall, many small birds like finches and chickadees will feed on the seeds produced on the plant. Enjoy!
Autumn Colors
Autumn Colors
 
Flowering Cabbage and Kale!


The first time you hear of flowering cabbage and kale you think, vegetables used in the flower garden--are you crazy! Well let me tell you that these vegetables will look wonderful planted around your home and in your fall garden with mums and New England asters.

Right now, most of the plants are colored blue green to light green, but this will change when the weather begins to get cold. As the temperatures dip down to the thirties and forties the foliage will begin to change color from the center of the plant and will quickly spread to all the leaves. Look for white, pink and purple shades to form during late September and increase during October.

What you will like about this plant is that, when all your garden plants have given up and gone dormant for the year, this plant will just be beginning to show color. It is not uncommon to see the flowering cabbage and kale in your garden as late as February unless the plants are covered with snow. When I lived in Massachusetts, I remember that one year we had snow for the holidays but warm weather returned and melted the snow, revealing the cabbage and kale in the garden--and they lasted for many more weeks.

The flowering cabbage will actually have a small head of cabbage that will form in the center of the plant, growing two to four inches in diameter. The foliage is broad, wide, coarse, thick and leathery. It will grow six to twelve inches tall and wide. The leaves grow in a whorl around the center of the plant and can spread 12 to 15 in wide, like a regular cabbage. Flowering kale grows as a clump of leaves like a head of loose-leaf lettuce. These leaves grow as large as the cabbage plants, but are ruffled on the tip of the leaf or margins.

Some new hybrid varieties grow in the shape of a coarse and thick feather, with the edges of the leaf ruffled with multi-colored foliage. The foliage will grow 2 to 4 inches wide and 12 to 15 inches tall, forming a wonderful-looking plant that will grow 12 to 15 inches tall and wide. Both types of plants begin to color up with cold weather and the color begins in the middle of the plant working its way to the edges.

These plants are started from seed during July and August, while the weather is warm, to help develop foliage, as cold weather stops the plants from growing. Like all cabbage and kale plants, cabbage loopers and foliar worms are a problem while growing from seedlings to mature plants. This problem is easily controlled today with the new organic Spinosad or Captain Jack insecticide. When the weather gets cold these insects die, due to the cold weather.

Plant in a sunny garden, as the sun and cold temperature combination will give you the best color. Cabbage and kale will also do very well in window boxes, planters and pots. On the ground, they seem to hold more of the foliage on the plant, as it is easier to keep them watered. So if your plants are in containers, be sure to water a couple times a week and fertilize them a couple of times after you plant them to give the plant better color. Use a liquid fertilizer such as Neptune Harvest's fish and sea or Blossom Booster every couple of weeks until the ground freezes.

These plants are unique and will give your plantings a lot of character for many weeks to come. If you do not get a centerpiece for Thanksgiving, cut one of the plants from your garden and use it as an centerpiece. If you get tired of the look and want to decorate for Christmas, cut the plants at the soil line and bring them inside the house to cook, as both plants are very tasty. They are great in cold salads and make great garnish for special meals. Great plants for fall color around your home or your next meal--the flowering cabbage or flowering kale. So pick some up this weekend when you are visiting your favorite nursery or greenhouse. You will like these plants as much as I do, so enjoy!

"I perhaps owe having becoming a painter to flowers"

Claude Monet
Drink Up the Cider-Makem & Clancy 8/10
Drink Up the Cider-
Makem & Clancy 8/10

 

 

The Allium family from giant to drum sticks varieties !


I am sure when you read the title of this story you said to yourself, "Paul, flowering onions, are you kidding me?" No, I'm not kidding you, because when you read this I am hoping that you will plant some of the many varieties available at your local garden centers and bulb catalogs on the Internet. There are over 700 varieties available for you to choose from, but most retailers will carry only a handful, because gardeners are just getting to know about this wonderful family of spring and summer flowering bulbs. I will tell you that once you see them in flower in the garden you will be hooked.

I'm sure that many of you have seen and even planted the most popular flowering onion in the garden world and never knew it was a flowering onion. The one I am referring to is called Allium giganteum. Now think about the flower that will grow on a thick stem about the diameter of your index finger. The stem will grow 3 to 5 feet tall and will hold a round dense ball-shaped cluster flower that will open up to 8 inches in diameter. The flower cluster is made up of countless small purple star-shaped flowers. If you ever saw a chives flower, yes the herb that you cook with, it looks just like it--but much, much bigger. By the way, chives are in the Onion family, just in case you did not know.

A few of the flowering onions, like garlic, chives, leeks, and shallots, are used in your kitchen but today I want you to know about the ornamental types. Let start with where would you plant these flowering onions. Some varieties will look great when planted in groups in-between shrubs, under flowering trees like dogwoods and flowering cherries to help naturalize these planting areas. Others will look great in perennial gardens, some of the smaller growing varieties will give your rock gardens unique texture and dimension.

Some will look wonderful when planted in ground cover beds, such as English ivy, pachysandra, and even ground cover junipers to help give these garden s color, flowers, and a little height that is unexpected from these common ground covers. Now the main reason I like to plant in-between other plants is because most of the flowering onions have terrible foliage and most of the foliage dies before the flowers come into bloom--but some have great foliage also.

Not all the flowers are shaped round, some are disk-shaped, rounded umbel, oval or spherical flower clusters at the top of the stem. The tall-growing varieties make wonderful cut flowers and they will last for two weeks or more in your favorite vase. If you can change the water in the vase every few days the flower will last longer and you will not have an onion smell from the flowers.

Plant allium bulbs in the fall, at the same time as you would plant tulips and daffodils. The allium family loves a well-drained soil and it will do better if the soil is not too rich, so no need to add soil conditioners like compost or animal manure to the soil before planting unless the soil is of poor quality. The onion family does not like fresh animal manure AT ALL. Use Seaweed Kelp Meal as a fertilizer to encourage good root development and not attract rodents to your planting bed. Plant your bulbs at a depth that is equal to the height of the bulb, so a 2-inch bulb will need 2 inches of soil on top of it and a 4-inch bulb will need 4 inches of soil on top of it. Water bulbs weekly until Thanksgiving to encourage a good root system and then all you have to do is wait for spring to arrive for the wonderful flowers to emerge from the garden.

Here are some great varieties to look for this fall at your local Garden Center:

Allium atropurpureum
1.5 to 2.5 feet tall, dark, wine-red star shaped flowers that start as a tight round flower and as it ages the individual flowers grow on long stem making the flower resemble a big spider with long legs.

Allium christophii
I think it is the most exquisite ornamental onion for the garden. The flowers are large spherical clusters up to 8 inches in diameter and some of the flower cluster can have up to 100 star shaped violet flowers with a metallic sheen. It looks like fireworks and grows 2 feet tall, great cut flower or let it dry in the garden and use in a dried flower arrangement.

Allium fistulosum
Looks like a coarse chive plant but it blooms with flowers that are yellow-white. It will grow 2 to 2.5 feet tall blooms during May- June and the flowers and foliage are edible. This variety has great foliage also.

Allium 'Globemaster'
A new Hybrid with flower clusters up to 10 inches in diameter. The stalks will grow up to 3 feet tall and has violet flowers. The foliage is beautiful, and has large shiny deep green leaves like straps or your belt that holds your pants up. The bulb is bit pricey but worth the money for this bulb

Allium 'Molly'
Just beautiful small flowers those are yellow and easy to grow. The flower stems will grows 10 inch tall with 2-inch flowers and the foliage that is gray- green in color. Great bulb to naturalize in a sunny or light shade area, rock gardens and under small flowering trees.

Allium 'Mairei'
reat grass-like foliage with 8-inch tall flowers. Blooming in the late summer, the flowers are loose and wide open. The flowers are pink and look more like small bells. Great for naturalizing in rock gardens and can be used as wild flowers.

Allium meapolitanum
A wonderful bulb for planting as wild flowers and grows 8 to 16 inches tall. The flower cluster is made up to 30 or more star-shaped white flowers. It is offer used in Bridal bequest and it flowers in May- June.

Allium sphaerocephalon
Often called the "drumstick" allium; the flower bud is very dense and thick. The flower stalks will grow 2 feet tall; they are great for cutting during June -July. Red to purple flowers form a green bud and you will often see the red develop on top of the flower bud and work its way down the green sides of the flower, very unusual to have bi-colored flowers on a plant.

Allium tuberosum
Flower stems grow to 2 feet tall and develop at the end of the summer. The flowers and the buds are edible, scented and white in color. These bulbs will thrive in a rich, damp soil in a sunny spot.

Try some of these bulbs this fall and you will be in for a real treat next spring or summer. Nice plants if you are looking for unusual flowers for your garden. Enjoy!!!

Fresh from the Garden Vegetable Lasagna



This Lasagna is real easy to prepare and with all the fresh vegetables in it, you will not miss the usual meat found in Lasagna. Garden -fresh vegetables in generous portions makes this Lasagna go well with a fresh toss salad and warm crusty bread for a hearty meal. If you're a meat lover like me this Lasagna will change your mind on Vegetarian dishes. This is great for the evenings you're watching Football and better than Nachos and cheese or salsa. A family pleaser or for when the guys come over for a bit of Football.

Ingredients:

2 (12 ounce) packages of lasagna noodles
2 pounds of ricotta cheese
4 extra-large or jumbo eggs
1 mounded cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of fresh chopped parsley
2 mounded teaspoons of fresh chopped basil
Fresh ground black pepper to your taste
˝ cup of olive oil
1 ˝ mounded cups of chopped onions
1 mounded cup of grated carrots
1 large green bell pepper cleaned and chopped into ˝ inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper cleaned and chopped into ˝ inch pieces
1 pound of fresh Broccoli florets, a large head, and dispose of the large stems
3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce, chunky -style
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions:
1} Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and pat dry on a towel. 
 
2} in a large mixing bowl, combine the Ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and fresh ground pepper. Stir well to blend, set aside.

3} Heat your oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the carrots and sauté for about 2 minutes. Stir in the green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and the broccoli florets. Stir all the vegetables together, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 

4} Add the vegetable mixture to the Ricotta cheese mixture and combine and blend well.

5} Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and ladle 1 cup of your spaghetti sauce on the bottom and spread evenly. Place your lasagna lengthwise in the dish on top of your sauce. Spread about 4 cups of your vegetable filling over the pasta and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese over the filling.

6} Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used up. Cover the top of the Lasagna with the rest of the sauce. Bake in your preheated oven for about 1 hour. Let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes to firm up before serving.

7} Cut into 3 to 4 inch square pieces and serve. If you have some extra Mozzarella cheeses add it as a topping. If you have any left, it will freeze well for another night, or make two and freeze one for later. Don't forget the salad and the crusty bread and butter. 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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