Be creative there are so many was to decorate your home

Jay Proctor (Jay & the Techniques) - Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie
Jay Proctor (Jay & the Techniques) - Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie
The Paul Parent Garden Club, next trip is to Cuba


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Snow Drops - Galanthus



After a long winter, the snowdrops are the first spring flowering bulbs to emerge from your garden, and it's a real treat to watch the flowers develop. Snowdrops appear when the weather is still bleak outside during late winter and into early spring. The grass-like foliage begins to emerge as soon as the snow melts from the cold ground and is quickly followed by beautiful flowers.

The short stem that forms holds a single pendulous, white, mildly-scented six-petal flower that develops in the shape of a lantern or street light. As the temperatures warm up, the flower stem grows taller until it reaches 6 to 8 inches tall--and so does the foliage. The flowers break open, revealing three inner short petals in the center of the flower that are green tipped on the end of each petal. The three outer petals are oval, 3/4 inches long and pure white. The bloom is translucent white and the outer petals resemble the wings of a bumblebee.

From the Greek language, Galanthus means "milk flower," and according to Christian legend, the snowdrop first bloomed to coincide with the Feast of Purification, held on February 2, known as Candlemas Day. To celebrate the arrival of spring, snowdrops must be planted in the fall, and they will do best in full sun or partial shade. The bulb will grow best in a soil that does not dry out during the heat of summer so if your soils are sandy, plant them in partial shade or under tall deciduous trees that have had lower branches removed to allow the sunlight in.

Plant the bulbs in groups of 2 or 3, in a hole 3 to 4 inches deep and wide. If your soil is good, the bulbs will produce seeds that will mature and increase the size of the clump, so add a handful of compost to the hole when you plant. I also add Soil Moist granules to help hold water near the bulb. The bulbs will do great in heavy soil as long as there is no standing water on them and prefer soils that are neutral, so add limestone on the areas you plant for better growth and more flowers.

Snowdrops are small bulbs and inexpensive to purchase when compared to tulips or daffodils. These bulbs are also not eaten by rodents, rabbits or deer and make a great plant to naturalize areas on your property where wildflowers grow. Once established, the area will thicken with flowers quickly. As long as you do not mow the foliage down before it has turned yellow, the plant will spread quickly.

The foliage needs time to ripen and uses the sun's energy to make food for the bulb for next year. If you plant in a grassy area, do not use a broadleaf weed killer or the bulbs will also die off. Plant bulbs in groundcover beds such as English ivy, pachysandra or vinca for wonderful early spring color before these plants make the new foliage in the spring. If you plant on the side of a hill, set them up on the top of the hill and watch the plants spread down the hill each year as the plant produces seed--almost like a stream of water running down the hill.

Fertilize in the spring when the flowers fade and again in the fall with Bulb-Tone and never use bone meal as a fertilizer or it will encourage animals to dig in your planting beds. The bulbs are hardy from Maine to Northern Florida, as long as there is a cold spell during the winter season.

You will like these bulbs better than crocus, because of the time of the year they flower, the hardiness of the bulb, and the fact that the bulbs are not eaten by animals; plus they are inexpensive, so you can purchase more bulbs for your money and get more flowers. Plant some snowdrops this fall and in the spring you will know why I love this bulb so much. Enjoy!
Andrea Bocelli with his Fiancee
Andrea Bocelli with his Fiancee "Les Feuilles Mortes'
(Autumn Leaves)"

  
Snowberry a wonderful plant for a sunny area 


Many years ago, on a crisp fall morning of exploration, I found a planting of white berries growing on a very steep hillside. I was thirteen and just beginning to find my love for plants. This plant was one I had never seen before. I carefully picked a small branch tip with leaves and berries on it and quickly took it home to show my mother. We took out the book of native plants of Maine, looked carefully for this plant and--to our surprise--we found it; it was the snowberry.

My mother and I walked back to the area where I found it growing so she could see the plant for herself To our surprise, we met the man who had planted them on the steep slope to help hold back the soil and prevent erosion. He told us he had planted several snowberry plants many years ago and they were highly recommended by a local nurseryman.

Snowberry would grow in the shade and would spread quickly to hold back the soil on his hill. Snowberry spreads quickly with suckers; he told us to come back in the spring and he would give us some to plant for our yard. We did and the snowberry became a wonderful part of fall color in our yard.

The snowberry will grow 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. The plant will grow bushy, with a rounded shape. It grows upright shoots that will droop over with the weight of the berries. When the foliage has developed, the plant is dense looking and filled with slim twigs that give the plant a solid mat appearance. The foliage looks like a miniature oak leaf, 1 to 2 inches long, dark blue-green, with no fall color. The flowers are pale pink and not very showy. However, the fruit is spectacular and deserves your attention.

The fruit is bright white, has a shiny skin and the center of the berry feels like popcorn. The berries grow to 1/2 inch in diameter and on the bottom of the berry are the remains of the flower, making the berry look much like the shape of a blueberry. These white berries grow in clusters on the tip of the branches and their weight makes the branches weep.

The fruits form during the summer and color up in late August, lasting well into November. If the weather does not get too cold, it will last through December, but cold weather with ice will turn the fruit brown and it will then fall apart quickly. The snowberry fruit is not eaten by the birds, but these beautiful fruit are enjoyed in the fall for their wonderful color.

Plant snowberry in the spring. I would suggest that you talk to your local Garden Center or Nursery to order them for you, as they are not readily available. The snowberry plant is an old-fashioned plant introduced to gardeners in 1879 and not readily available today but many plant catalogs that you get in the mail in the spring sell them. The plant will grow in most soils, even clay-type--as long as you lime the soil regularly to prevent acidity.

Plants will grow in full sun to moderate shade. Once the plant is well established, it will produce many suckers every year, which can easily be transplanted the following spring. If you have a steep slope, plant 3 feet apart in staggered rows and watch the plants fill in quickly--usually in just 3 years.

The better you condition the soil when planting, the faster the plant will get established and begin to produce suckers. Compost and animal manure will do a great job. If the soil is sandy be sure to use Soil Moist to help hold water in the soil on steep banks. This plant is great to prevent accidents where mowing is a problem.

Prune in the spring to control size and stimulate new growth that will produce many berries. Fertilize with Plant-Tone in the spring when you prune the plant or in Early May. The plant is very hardy, and it will grow from Nova Scotia to Virginia, where it is a native plant. If you're looking for a good hybrid with large fruit, and more fruit on the plant, ask for Symphoricarpos albus v. laevigatus.
 
Don McLean - 'American Pie' (Live)
Don McLean - 'American Pie' (Live)
Winter care of Summer flowering bulbs

What do we do with all of our summer-flowering bulbs during the winter months, if they are not hardy enough to stay in the ground? It's simple, we bring then into our basement for the winter, and this is how you will prepare them to keep them healthy.

Begin when Mother Nature produces a killing frost in your garden and your bulb plants turn BLACK. Now cut them down to the ground and dig them up. Shake as much of the soil off the bulbs as possible but do not wash them clean! Set bulbs in your garage or tool shed for a few days until the soil on them has dried completely. Once you have dug them up, do not leave them outside or any additional frost will kill the bulb by freezing it.

I want you to buy a general purpose Rose and Flower Garden Dust Bonide or FertiLome and dust all parts of the bulb before storage. This dusting of the bulb will help to keep it protected from any over wintering disease and insect's problems.

Glads are easy; just look at the bulb closely and you will see that there are now two bulbs piggy backing together. The top bulb is the one to keep and the bulb on the bottom was the original bulb that you planted and which has now transferred all of its energy to the new bulb on the top--it must be discarded. Dust the good bulbs and store them in a pair of old panty hose that you will hang from the rafters in the basement. The panty hose will breathe well and keep the bulbs healthy until you plant them in the spring.

Dahlias: the bulbs will look like a clump of potatoes and should not be divided until you are ready to plant in the spring. Dust the bulbs and store in boxes on the floor or in a crawl space where the temperature stays around 50 degrees. Place one inch of peat moss or compost in the box and set bulbs on the material, being sure that bulb clusters do not touch each other. Cover the bulbs with 2 inches of organic material and then cover with newspaper, never with plastic--plastic will sweat and wet the covering, causing rotting of the bulbs.

Tuberous begonias and callas: Clean any parts of stems still attached to them and make sure that where they were attached has dried well, with no soft spots. Dust well and store in a box of peat moss or compost kept on the floor. The floor will stay cold and that will help keep bulbs dormant better. Separate bulbs 2 inches apart and cover with newspaper.

Canna lilies: these will store best if put in containers filled with peat moss or compost standing up like it grew in your garden. If the plant grew in a pot, just cut the stems at the soil line and place the pot on the floor in the basement. Garden grown should be dusted before being potted in organic matter. Keep them as far away from furnace or heat source as possible, and do not water until you are ready to start growing in March indoors or directly in the garden in early May.

Elephant Ears: Dig bulb and clean of any leaf stems still attached to the bulb. Dust the bulb and store in a pot filled with peat or compost and place on the floor covered with newspaper. Make sure the bulb is dry before storing it for the winter and bulb faces up. Repot in soil during March for a jump start on the season.

Freesia, ranunculus and anemone: these should be cleaned of any stems and dried well in the basement before storage. This will take longer than the other bulbs to dry and harden. Ranunculus will look like a mini bunch of bananas about 1 inch long. Freesia and anemone look like a bunch of dried up raisins and are hard. These three can be stored in a small box on the floor with a bit of peat or compost mixed around them to keep them apart and from touching. Dust them by placing them in a small paper bag, add the dust, and shake to cover the bulbs. These three bulbs can be forced into growing indoors right after the first of the year by potting them and growing on the window sill. Flowers will form in April and May if they are potted, or you can wait and them plant in the ground in May for summer color in the garden. Enjoy!

"October gave a party: the leaves by the hundreds came. The chestnuts, oaks, maples, and leaves of every name. The sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand. Miss  Weather, lead the dance, Professor Wind, lead the band."
George Cooper

Fiddler on Fire: Gabby Smith; 7 Apple Cider Polka
Fiddler on Fire: Gabby Smith; 7 Apple Cider Polka

 

 

Winter berry - Ilex Verticillata

The leaves have begun to fall from out shrubs and trees and now those leaves are very colorful but soon these colorful plants will look baron. For the next several months, our landscape will look drab with gray or brown tree trunks, branches and stems, but there are plants that actually look better when the foliage falls from the plant.

My favorite shrub is large-growing and will thrive in a moist to wet soil--even boggy. During the fall and early winter it will be the talk of your garden. Most of us know it as winterberry and we have seen it growing on the side of the road where water seems to collect, boggy areas where in the spring you can find pussy willows growing wild, and on the edge of ponds and lakes.

This plant--the winterberry--is in the Holly family and known as Ilex verticillata, just in case you go looking for it at your favorite nursery. The first thing you should know about this plant is that it will drop all its foliage during October; that is called a deciduous plant.

The beautiful holly plants we are accustomed to growing in our yard are evergreen, and we adore them for the beautiful dark green foliage as well as the fruit. This plant is hardier than many of our evergreens, as it will grow from Canada to South Carolina and tolerate winter temperatures to minus 30 to 40 degrees below zero. If you're looking for a plant to add to your landscape that will give your property a natural appearance and require no maintenance from you, this is your plant.

Winterberry will grow 6 to 8 feet tall and just as wide, but some of the new hybrids will stay smaller, without pruning, about 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. The plant will grow oval to round, with a dense growing habit of branches that are fine and twiggy looking. Branches are dark gray and smooth looking but, grow with an unruly appearance, twisting and turning in all directions.

The leaves are one and half to three inches long, oval and, unlike the evergreen varieties, has no sharp thorns on the edges of the leaf. The foliage is dark green, shiny and has visible lines or veins running thru the top of the leaf. In the fall, the leaf changes to yellow-purple before falling from the plant.

In the spring, white flowers will develop on the new growth. These flowers are white, made up of five petals arranged in a circle with an indented center like a small trumpet. The flower is 1/4 inch wide and forms in a cluster, all around the stem of the plant, on the tip of the branches and before the leaves develop.

If you have grown holly before, you will know that unlike most plants, the holly needs male and female plants to make fruit; this is also true with this variety of holly. Only female plants make fruit, but both male and female plants make flowers and you need both to have fruit on your plants. Now the good news, all you need is one male for every 5 female plants to make berries in your garden, so purchase large female plants and smaller male plants for more fruit in your yard.

Choose a sunny location with fertile soil that is moist and acid. Plant with compost and fertilize every spring with Holly-Tone or Acid -Adoring fertilizer. The winterberry will look great all by itself but in groups or mass plantings it will be eye catching all fall and early winter. When the snow begins to fall make sure there is a plant nearby so you can enjoy the red fruit that covers this plant when the ground is covered with white snow.

The birds love the 1/4 inch red fruit and will feast on them in February. It is not too late to plant now, as these plants are very hardy. Winterberry produces the same red berries you will see at your local garden center or nursery this winter, cut into bunches to be used to decorate for the Christmas holidays. Winterberry is truly a wonderful plant for all seasons--enjoy.


Fresh from the garden: Apple- Raspberry Crisp 

Sunday afternoon after the radio program my wife Chris and I along with her sister-in-law Jo-Ann went apple picking. The apple crop this year is still plentiful and the apples are larger than normal also. We picked an assortment of 7 different types of apples for cooking and fresh eating. I ate my share of smaller size apples while picking to taste the flavor and they were good. As we prepared to check out we noticed some people picking fresh raspberries across the street, so we left our apples to one side and went Raspberry picking also. So we came home with fresh apples, fresh Raspberries, apple cider, some assorted winter squash and a bag of homemade apple cider donuts. The day was capped with the Patriots winning their football game in Dallas. Here is a recipe I found in my apple book and made it Monday night. With two fresh fruits you cannot go wrong. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
6 large apples assorted varieties; I used Cortland, Macs, and Northern Spy, peeled, cored, and sliced.
cup of all-purpose flower.
cup brown sugar packed and divided.
1 mounded cup of Raspberries
cup of apple cider
teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter cut it up small pieces.

Directions:
1} Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2} Mix apples, 1 tablespoon of flower, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and Raspberries in a large bowl. Raspberries added last so not to break them apart, so mix everything together then add raspberries and gently fold together.

3} Spoon your fruit mixture into a shallow, buttered 2 quart baking dish. Pour apple cider over mixture

4} Mix the remaining flower, remaining brown sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Cut up the butter with a pastry blender until crumbly and mix. Sprinkle over the apples

5} Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until apples are tender and the top is browned. Cool on a wire rack.

6} serve warm or at room temperature with a big scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Refrigerate any leftovers and it should serve 8 people. Enjoy!

p.s.(from Chris) It was delicious!

 


      

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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