Part of the Freedom Trail in Boston
Paul Parent is back on Boston Radio WBOQ 104.9 fm  
Sunday morning from 6-8am 

The Paul Parent Garden Club, next trip is to Cuba

Follow the link below for more information 

You can also click on the picture to view the information

Last chance to book - the last room
*How to print articles at bottom of newsletter.                                                                          

Growing Bay Leaf is easy, either indoors or outdoors

The bay leaf was much respected in Roman times, as it reflected the roots of the family. The Latin name means "praise" and "renowned." The bay leaf crown became the symbol of excellence for poets and their writings; for the athlete a crown of laurel leaves was a symbol of glory and wisdom during tournaments. The word laureate means, "crowned with laurels"-- bay leaves. The title "Poet Laureate" is the mark of an excellent poet. Even today, a wreath of bay leaves is still placed on the head of the winning athlete after a major sporting event.

The bay leaf plant was dedicated to the Greek god Apollo, the god of music, healing, truth, and light. The bay leaf was sacred to him, and his temple had its roof covered entirely with bay leaves to protect it against disease, witchcraft and lightning. Apollo's son Asclepius, the Greek god of Medicine, considered this plant a powerful antiseptic to guard against disease, especially the plague. During the 17th century, every home in Europe had a plant or branches of bay leaves in it, to protect against witches, the devil, and the damage caused by a thunder and lightning storm.

Also during Roman times, a wreath of bay leaves was thought to protect a person against lightning. Now you know why you see so many pictures of Roman emperors with bay leaf wreaths on their head--it was to prevent the gods from striking them dead with a lightning bolt for their bad deeds. During the holidays, it was customary to garnish the head of a boar with a wreath of bay leaves as a centerpiece during the Yuletide feast...and you thought it was just an herb for flavoring pasta!

Bay leaf is a wonderful evergreen plant that can be grown as a shrub or shaped into a small tree as a potted plant. Because it is native to Europe, it is not winter hardy for most of us in the Northeast. It does make a wonderful container plant and does very well outside during the summer months. The foliage is dark green, shiny and oval. Each leaf will grow 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. The tip of the leaf will form into a point; the edges of the leaf are a bit wavy and pale yellow. The center of the leaf midrib and the veins running off of it also have a yellow tinge to them, making them very noticeable; this gives the plant much character. These veins are also raised--when you rub the leaf, you will feel them.

The plant will flower in the spring, making small creamy-yellow flower clusters, like tight rounded buds. If the bees do their job, small purple-black berry clusters will form on the plant during the summer months. As the flowers begin to fade on the plant, new growth will begin to develop on the tip of every branch. Usually 3 to 5 new shoots will form to help keep the plant thick and bushy.

The new growth starts as yellow leaves with red veins and leaf edges, but these quickly darken as the leaves mature. The new stems are also red in color when young and darken to a rich brown when mature. Expect up to 6 inches of new growth each spring if the plant is well cared for and growing in a large container; pot-bound plants do not grow as quickly and can become almost stunted. When the new growth is developing on the plant, keep the plant indoors as frost or cold weather and wind can and will damage the new growth easily. New growth damage will resemble foliage that has been scorched by the sun; it will turn gray.

Bay leaf will grow best in a soil that is rich and fertile, so be sure to use a soil designed for potted plants like the Black Gold Potting soil--never your garden soil. The better the soil is, the better the plant will grow for you. Because you're eventually going to use these leaves for cooking, be sure your soil is OMRI certified as organic and does not contain waste products in it. This is why I am suggesting you use Black Gold Potting soils as they are all certified organic and registered with OMRI as such. Your soil should also be well-drained. When you put the plant outside for the summer months, put pots directly on the ground, deck or patio without a saucer under them. That way if you get a lot of rain and you're away from the house for a few days, the rainwater can drain freely without being trapped in the saucer and hurting the roots of the plant.

When you place this plant outside, say to yourself, this is a Mediterranean-type plant, and think sunny with a sheltered location from the wind. Plants can go outside when the threat of frost is over (mid-May if you live in New England and can stay out doors until the temperatures begin to drop to freezing, about the time the kids go back to school in September. While outside fertilize with Dynamite fertilizer pellets every 3 months or every other week with a liquid like the new Espoma organic grow liquid.  Keep the soil moist during the summer--especially during periods of high heat--but not wet.

As the plant grows in size, check the roots every spring. If the soil ball is covered with roots, it's time to transplant to a larger size pot--usually 2 inches larger each time. You can use clay or plastic pots when re-potting--it does not matter--but make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. I like clay pots because if you tend to overwater your plants the clay pot is porous and moisture will escape through the sides of the pot preventing over-watering problems.

If your plant is growing thin, be sure to pinch back the plant when the new growth has made 5 leaves. Remove 2 of the 5 leaves and fertilize the plant again. There is a good chance it will produce additional growth in a month to help thicken the plant. Also, check the plant for a black sticky and dusty film on the foliage and stems, as this is the result of an insect common on bay leaf, called scale. This problem can be easily controlled with a washing of a mild soapy solution of Dawn dishwashing soap and water with a soft cloth and is necessary to keep the foliage clean and insect free. You will see the small bumps on the underside of the leaf or on the stems and they will come off easily with the soapy cloth.

During the winter months, keep the plant in a sunny window and cut back on the water so the soil dries out a bit--but not totally. I water my plants every other week unless the winter is bright and sunny. Misting the foliage often also helps the plant to thrive indoors during the winter. Fertilize monthly--not every other week as you do during the growing season. If you want to start new plants, the best way is to air layer in the spring. I have not had good luck with rooting cuttings unless I use heating cables under the containers and a rooting powder for hardwood cuttings that has a higher percentage of rooting hormone it. This spring, your best bet is to contact your local garden center early, and have them order small plants for you when they get in their herb order.

If you're going to cook with the foliage, be sure to cut leaves and allow them to dry out before using, as fresh leaves are very mild in flavor; leaves do not develop their full flavor until they have totally dried. It will take 3 to 4 weeks for the best flavor-- when the foliage has lost all of its shine and deep rich green color. Also, the fully grown leaves have the best flavor--not the new young leaves.

Josh Groban - February Song (Lyrics)
Josh Groban - 
February Song (Lyrics)

Spearmint                                                             Pepperment

Did you know that there are over 25 varieties of mint? But peppermint and spearmint are the most popular of all! Mints have been in gardens since gardening began, and their special taste, history and traditions make these plants a must for the herb gardener. Spearmint, for example, is native to the Mediterranean, and was introduced to the world by the Romans. Mint was found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1000 BC and the Japanese people have been growing many varieties of mint for at least 2000 years. Mint was brought to America by the settlers as an additive to clean their homes and to help make them smell good as well as for cooking. As monks traveled the new lands to spread the word of the Lord, mint was also planted around their new missions to use as a scent for their bath water and cooking. In the fourteenth century, mint was used as whitening for your teeth. Today you have mint-flavored toothpaste and mouthwash for a fresh breath.

In Greek mythology, it is said that two strangers were walking through the countryside and were being ignored by all. An elderly couple took pity on the tired looking travelers and invited them into their home for a good meal. They cleaned their dining table with mint leaves to freshen the table and cooked them a meal. The couple was rewarded by the strangers, as their home was turned into a beautiful temple. The strangers were the gods Hermes and Zeus...and from that day on, mint became the "hospitality plant."

Mint was used by the Greeks in their temples and in sacred ceremonies, also for food preparation for great celebrations. Today in the great "sport of kings," the greatest horse race in the world, the Kentucky Derby, is celebrated with the mint julep as a way to commemorate the event--hospitality at its best. Now think how many types of candy, gum, ice cream, desserts and foods are eaten with some form of mint flavor?

Mint is grown from seed or by dividing established plants to make new ones. Seed-grown plants do not have the same type of quality flavor as the same variety grown from division, so divide your plants for more flavor. You can divide your plants from early spring right through the growing season, and even in the fall when all the foliage has died back and the plant has gone dormant. Mint will grow best in a garden with a little bit of shade, unless you are able to water the garden often during the hot days of summer. In cooler climates like the Northeast they will do well in sun all day long. I recommend that you use Soil Moist Granules when planting if your soil is on the sandy side or your town has water bans every summer.

Your soil should be as rich as possible, so condition the garden before planting with animal manure, compost, or seaweed kelp. Mint is a perennial and will return every spring so condition the soil properly the first time--it's easier than digging up the plant and starting over the following spring. Mint can also be easily grown in containers that are 12 inches or larger in diameter on patios or decks for people with limited garden space or no garden at all.

Fertilize your plants with an organic fertilizer like Espoma Vegetable Garden-tone or Natural Alternative garden food in the spring time. These plants are very strong and one feeding in the spring is all that is needed with good soils. The most important need to this plant is water; water will determine the size of the plant, the quality of the flavor in the foliage, and the plant's ability to spread and grow in your garden.

The foliage will vary from variety to variety but leaves are oval in shape with a blunt tip on the end. The leaves will grow 1 to 2 inches long and about one inch wide. Some mint plants will be all green; but some will have a second color like white, red, yellow, or even purple streaks in the leaves--and even the stems. Some varieties are smooth and shiny while others are dull and almost hairy. Each plant is unique and each plant has its own wonderful scent from the oils in the plant. Just crush or roll a leaf with your fingers and smell before purchasing the plant, that way you know what you're getting for your garden.

All mint plants have wonderful white, lavender to lilac-pink flower clusters on the tip of the branches during mid to late summer. When mint is in flower in your garden you can expect to see butterflies and bees of all types in the garden, a real treat.

Water mint early in the morning to prevent possible disease problems and keep plants away for automatic watering systems in your lawn. Mint rust can be a problem on the leaves and it is best to remove any spotted foliage if it should develop on the plant. If this is a real problem in your garden, do this: in the fall when the plant has died back to the ground and the foliage has dried up, burn the foliage to the ground; this will kill all the spores in the ground and sterilize the soil at the same time.

Mint IS aggressive and, if not supervised, it will take over your garden in just a few years and choke out everything growing around it. Each spring, or in the fall, use your garden spade or shovel and cut around the plant and remove what you do not want. Give it away to friends or--better still--plant it in an area where other plants have had problems growing in the past and watch it quickly take over and fill in those sore spots around your yard. It's also great for erosion control on sloping hillsides to prevent washouts caused by heavy rainfall.

Here is what I do in my garden to control the problem. I take a 5 gallon bucket and cut off the bottom. Now dig a hole in your garden and place the bucket in it so 3 inches of the bucket is sticking out of the garden. Fill the bucket with the soil to match the rest of the garden but leave the 3-inch lip empty and plant the mint plant in the center. The 3-inch lip that is sticking out of the ground will prevent runner stems from spreading all over the garden and the sides of the bucket underground will prevent roots from spreading underground and coming up everywhere. This is the best way to control the size of this plant and prevent it from taking over.

This spring visit your local garden center and look for other flavors of mint like Pineapple, Ginger, Apple, Lemon, Chocolate, Corsican, Moroccan, and even Orange--to name a few. When it's time for the big Derby and you cannot be there to see the race, make your own fresh Mint Julep for the garden. Enjoy!
SECRET GARDEN - Song For A New Beginning(Winter Poem)
SECRET GARDEN - Song For A New Beginning(Winter Poem)

Rosemary is a beautiful evergreen herb that will grow as large as a shrub if you live in a warm climate and do well grown in a container and moved inside for the winter months in a cold climate. The foliage is narrow, like a needle evergreen, and leathery in appearance. This foliage is used for seasoning all types of meat and poultry. When added to vegetables, it will create wonderful flavors for your dishes. Rosemary originated in the Mediterranean, near the seashore and is grown in gardens and containers all over the world for its magical foliage.

Before I tell you how to grow this wonderful herb, I think you would enjoy knowing about its history, traditions, folklore, legends, myth, and early uses. Let's begin with its name, as it came from ancient Latin and the name means "Sea-Dew" or" Dew of the Sea," because the plant always grew near the seashore and the flowers on the plant gave it a dew-like appearance from a distance.

Rosemary is a symbol of fidelity and remembrance and is often used in weddings and funerals. The wedding couple often each wore a sprig of rosemary as a sign to each other of fidelity to begin their new life together. Rosemary is still used in a wreath worn on the head of the bride or used in the bouquets she carries down the aisle on her wedding day. Old records also say that small sprigs of rosemary were thrown into the grave during a funeral as a symbol of friendship and love to departed family members and friends.

The wonderful fragrance of the plant was said to protect the home against evil spirits when planted in a garden near the home. Small branches of rosemary were often placed under pillows to prevent bad dreams and to protect the home during the evening hours as the family slept. During the sixteenth century, and still today, the eosemary plant was used as an air freshener. Herbalists often prescribe this herb for treatments of depression, headaches, and muscle problems. Just crush the foliage and smell your hands and in no time at all, your headache will decrease.

Just think how many bath lotions are available today that contain rosemary in them to help you relax in that warm bath. If you're feeling tense after a hard day at work or in the garden cut a couple sprigs from your rosemary plant and run a bath. As the water fills the tub pull the leaves from the branch and crush them with your hands and slowly add them to the water. Hop in, soak, and enjoy the wonderful fragrance as you begin to relax in your homemade bath balm. Be sure to smell your hands and rub them on your sore muscles too.

It has been said that the flowers of the rosemary plant were always white, giving it that morning dew appearance. According to legends, that all changed when Mary was fleeing from Herod's soldiers to Egypt with the Christ child. Mary spread her wet cloak on some rosemary plants to dry and hide from the soldiers. When the soldiers passed, she removed the cloak from her hiding place and all the flowers had turned blue in her honor and remain blue today. And one final story is that rosemary will grow for only 33 years-that is the time that Christ lived on this earth--and then the plant will die.

Rosemary is an evergreen plant, rare for most herbs today. It will grow as tall as 3 to 5 feet and just as wide in your garden, if you select the hardiest variety for your area, or grow it in a pot to bring inside during the cold days of winter. The top of the leaf is deep green while the underside will have a bit of gray cast to it. The leaf will grow about an inch long but less than a 1/4 inches wide and the edges of the leaf will curl slightly under. This leaf is leathery looking and a bit hairy on the underside where the fragrance is most strong.

The rosemary flowers, lavender and pale blue in color, are numerous if the plant is cared for properly. The flowers develop in clusters along the branches of the plant where the leaf is attached to the stem. These flowers are 1/2 inch in diameter and resemble miniature orchids with deep veins of color running through the flower petals, giving them wonderful character. The flowers develop in the early spring and last until early summer on the growth made by the plant the previous year. When the flowers fade the new growth will begin and new foliage will develop on the plant.

Rosemary can grow 6 to 10 inches in one growing season if you care for it properly. So begin by selecting a site in your garden with a lot of sun or a southern exposure. If you live in a cold climate, that location should be protected from the winter winds with a fence or stone wall behind it or even some large evergreens. Remember I told you that rosemary grew at the seashore in the Mediterranean region-well, if you want your plant to grow best, condition your soil so it is growing in a light soil that is well drained and on the sandy side. Your plants will develop deep roots once established, and they do not like to be moved around your garden once planted, so select the right place the first time.

Rosemary will thrive in a drier growing condition than most other herbs you may be growing, so keep plants away from sprinkler systems that run regularly each week. When you plant into your garden be sure to add limestone to keep the acidity level from becoming too low and restricting the plants growth and flower development. Organic matter like compost is very beneficial to help get the plant off to a good start. And covering the garden with an inch or two will help to control weeds and help retain moisture in the soil during the hot days of summer. This mulch will also help protect the plant roots during the winter months in a cold climate.

Fertilize spring and late summer with an organic product like Vegetable Tone or Neptune's Harvest fish and seaweed fertilizer. Don't be scared to pick sprigs of rosemary all year long. The new growth will be more fragrant and richer with the natural oils in the foliage. If you go to a farmers market and are able to purchase large bunches of rosemary inexpensively, buy it because it freezes wonderfully for use during the cold days of winter. The oils will become stronger when frozen, so use less when cooking with frozen sprigs.

Rosemary is one of the most powerful herbs for flavor so use sparingly until you become accustomed to its ability to flavor foods. Use it when cooking all types of meat, chicken, or fish as well as most vegetables. I love it on potatoes, and in all types of tomato dishes and sauces. Take a few leaves with a bit of olive oil and rub down your salad bowl before making your salad to give it extra bang. When I cook on the charcoal grill I will also drop a sprig or two on the hot coals to make what I'm cooking smell and taste better.

At this time of the year, go to your local garden center or greenhouse and purchase a small pot for your kitchen window sill. When you get the winter blues, pick up the pot and hold it close to your nose; the fragrance will help you relax and think of spring. Enjoy.
Secret Garden - Poéme
Secret Garden - Poéme

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty and generally taking the time to soak up a piece and serenity"

Author unknown
New England Boiled dinner

Winter is almost over, I hope! When the days are cold you need a nice comfort meal to eat, how about a New England Boiled Dinner. Growing up this was one of my favorite meals and the vegetable assortment was wonderful and tasty. Best of all there will always be leftovers, for another day. I will always remember my dad bringing a large bowl of the vegetables and broth to my Grandfather "Pop" so he could mix the vegetables together, chop them up and make patties which he fried for dinner the next day. How my grandfather loved that combination? It's so easy to make you must try it if you have never had this hearty Meal.

4 to 6 pounds of corned beef
1-pound bag of carrots
1-6 to 8-inch diameter turnip
6 large white potatoes
3 to 4 large onions
6 sticks of celery
1 to 2 -8 inch green cabbages
2 Bay leaves
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
6 ounces of either beef base concentrate or vegetable base concentrate

1} Place your corned beef in your largest pot. My mom used her canning pot as there was 5 of us kids to feed and we loved leftovers. Cover the meat with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 50 minutes per pound. Add your beef or vegetable base concentrate to water and blend before cooking.

2} Peal your carrots and cut in half. Peal your potatoes and cut in quarters. Peal the skin and waxy covering off your turnip and cut in 6 to 8 pieces. Peal your onions do not cut in pieces. Clean your celery and cut in half. Cut your cabbage into quarters.

3} About 45 minutes before your meat is ready add all your vegetables except the green cabbage. Cook together for the next 25 minutes and the last 20 minutes add your cabbage.
4} When ready place the vegetables in a large serving platter and serve. Cut the corned beef against the grain in ˝ inch slices and serve. Fill your gravy boat with the juices from your pot, serve and enjoy!

5} I like white vinegar and yellow mustard on my cabbage. Crush your potatoes and turnip up in your plate and add broth so you can enjoy the flavor of the broth.

6} You can also use a smoked shoulder in place of Corned beef. Place your smoked shoulder in the pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Dump the water as this will pull out all the salt from the meat. Place the smoked shoulder back in the pot cover with water and follow directions of original recipe. Every now and then when baby back spare ribs were on sale my Mom would add a rack of ribs cut into quarters to the pot when she cooked the corned beef, for extra flavor. 

Refrigerate any leftovers Enjoy! Serves 8 to 10 people.

Day to look forward to:

Daylight Saving day March 13 only 17 days away

St. Patrick's Day March 17 only 21 days away

Spring arrives March 20 only 24 days away

Easter Sunday March 27 only 31 days away



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!


Don't forget to get ready for the stormy weather ahead of us.  Make sure to get your Ice Melt it is organic and safe for plants, pets and Children.
Mention Paul Parent Garden Club and save 10% and get free shipping. 

  Call 1-(888)-546-5941 don't forget to tell them Paul sent you.

*How to print article's from our Newsletter -  Constant contact does not allow us to print articles one at a time


Do not use the "Print" icon unless you want to print the whole web page or email. Instead, follow the next steps.

Select the text you want on a web page where there is a story, paragraph, or a few lines that you want to print. Left-click on the mouse at the beginning and drag across to the end of the text you want and release. While the text is selected (highlighted), go to the top menu line and click "File" / "Print", in the print window that shows.  click on "Selection," and then click the OK or Print button. Some printers need you to select apply .

Do the same for emails. If you want to print a joke or article that you receive, do not click the Print icon. Select the text as above and use the "File" / "Print" menu and click "Selection", click OK or "Print".

Try another way to do a print job for text only. This involves selecting the text you want as above; then right click, copy and right click, paste to a word processor or even Wordpad (located in "Start" / "Programs" / "Accessories" / "Wordpad") and print from there. This method will produce a copy with no extra information. 

(855)660-4261 Sunday
Morning(6AM to 10AM)
Regular Phone Hours:

Mon-Sat  9AM to 5 PM
Sunday:12 pm to 5 PM