This is the arrangement our son Jason Parent did  to take 3rd place at the North East Florist Expro 2016   We are very proud of him.

The Paul Parent Garden Club, next trip is to Cuba


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Last chance to book - the last room
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Pansies are a sure sign that spring is right around the corner

When the winter season comes to its end and the spring season arrives, the pansy family of flowers is more than ready to show us their happy faces in our gardens. Pansies hold a special place in my heart--and for most gardeners-- because of the cheerful flower faces that welcome the new season. Some years, the weather does not cooperate and we are surprised with a blanket of snow after planting them, but the pansy family does not care; it just keeps smiling until the snow melts. No other flower can tolerate the type of weather that they can; cold and wet growing conditions are not a problem. For your own peace of mind plant pansies, violas and Johnnie jump ups this spring.

The pansy family comes from the mountains of New Zealand and got its start in America from a Dutch grower who brought seed to Massachusetts, where the gardeners could not get enough of them. Before long new pansy hybrids developed to bring cheer to a cold spring gardens. The pansy is the floral emblem of Rhode Island and the state flower of New Jersey and Wisconsin.

The Violas were named for a lover of the God Zeus, and even Shakespeare mentioned them often in his works. Napoleon, banished to Elba, said he said he would "return with the violets." When he did return, Josephine was dead. He picked violets for her grave before going into exile again to St. Helena. When he died, a locket found on him contained a lock of her hair and violet flowers.

The pansy family has many names and I thought you would like to know just a few of them: Tickle-my-Fancy, Kiss-her-in-the-Pantry, Three-Faces-in-a-Hood, Love-in-Idleness and Heartsease. This flower has five petals that are arranged on a short stem, with two petals on top, one on each side and one larger one on the bottom. The center is most always yellow, even in solid darker colored flower types. The foliage is medium green, the leaves are I to 3 inches long, and the shape is oval to heart shape. The plant grows in a clump 4 to 8 inches wide and 4 to 8 inches tall. The plants are easy to grow and are very hardy in all types of weather. Plant pansies in partial shade where summers are hot. Pansies will also grow in a sunny or shady spot in your garden or even in containers or hanging baskets. Select a location with a humus-rich soil for the best results, though they will also grow well in a moist well-drained soil.

If you want to grow pansies from seed, you must plant them 8 to 10 weeks before the first frost, usually during mid January. Once the seed germinates, keep the new seedlings in a cool room or they will grow fast, stretch and grow tall, often falling over in the garden. All greenhouses, nurseries and garden centers have plants available now, ready to face the changing weather where you live. The flowers will last until the heat arrives when planted in the sun, so transplant them into a shaded garden in late June for summer flowers. If you like pansies, look for the new fall-blooming pansies available in September. These plants will bloom until the snow covers them in November or later. Many of them survive the winter and reappear the following spring.

When planting add a bit of "Soil-Moist" to the planting hole: it will help them save water during hot days. Feed them every other week with Dynamite or Espoma organic Super Blossom Booster fertilizer once planted. The "BIG" secret is to pick off the faded flowers so the plant does not make seeds. The more you clean them, the more they will flower. When you pick off the faded flowers, crush the seed pods and throw them into the garden, where some of the seeds will germinate and spread. 

Smile with the Happy faces of Spring!
Andy Williams - Younger Than Springtime
Andy Williams -
Younger Than Springtime

 
Are you ready for the arrival of Spring?


If you can answer yes to the following questions you are ready:

Have you started your lawn mower and sharpened the blade yet? Now is the time to have it serviced before the waiting time becomes long.
How about the rototiller or weed whacker--do you have fresh gas ready?
Have you oiled your fertilizer spreader and cleaned it yet?
Have you cleaned and sharpened your hedge shears, pruners, loppers and the pole saw yet?
Is there air in the tire of your wheelbarrow?
Do you know where your garden gloves are?
Is your hose still frozen--but you know where the sprinkler and nozzle is?
Now, one last question: are you daring enough to put the snow blower in the back of the garage or tool shed and move the mower into the front? Are you ready, almost ready, getting there, anxious, thinking about it, or do you still need it? I DO and I am still almost ready, so get going and think positive!!!

Have you looked at the wooden handles of your long handle tools and the wheelbarrow yet? If the handles look a bit dried out, how about rubbing a bit of linseed oil on them to help them become more flexible and less likely to break. Spray all the metal parts of your tools with WD40 to keep them strong and rust-free. Spray all moving parts of your garden cart, wheelbarrows, spreaders, and cutting tools to keep them lubricated.
Check out the ends of the hoses--have you crushed them so they won't attach properly, how about washers in them--do they leak? Fix them now--before you need them.
How does the chain saw look--will it start, so you can use it to do a bit of pruning in the next couple of weeks? It's easier to cut branches now--without the leaves on them--and clear out winter damage.
How about the leaf blower--will it work to blow off all the sand from your driveway and clean the garden beds?

Does the garden patio furniture need to be repaired or painted for the season, or even replaced? Now is a great time to do this work, before you get busy with the lawn.
How about cleaning out the garage and getting things organized before the season begins. Many times, I cannot find the tool I need because it's buried under something else in the tool shed--and after I buy a new one I find it. Has this happened to you?
Do you have any leftover fertilizer, garden chemicals, soil conditioners, or grass seed in your tool shed; are they still good; can you read the labels? If you need these items, are they on sale now? If not, keep an eye out for the sales early in the season.
Check your pressure sprayer to see if it stills holds pressure; if not, most times it's just a gasket or washer, just pump it up and try it out now before you need it.
Did you use the electric extension cords for the Christmas lights and will you need them for the electric shears--where did you put them?
Check out the mosquito zapper or gas-fired insect killer, is it ready to go--do you have propane for your Mosquito Magnet, and will it start?

Have you planned out the layout of the vegetable and flower garden yet?
Are the tomato cages still good; do the trellises or arbor need to be fixed?
It's time to put out the bird bath, have you cleaned it yet?
How about the Gazing Ball--is it clean and can you find the bottom to put it on?
Check out the fountain: is it clean, and does the pump still work?
If you have awnings for the window, what type of shape are they in--is the fabric still in good shape? If they are moldy, get some BioSafe Mold  & Mildew Control and spray them when you put them up to kill the mold and clean them.

Print this list and put it up on the garage wall so you can check things off as you do them. There is a lot to do to prepare for the arrival of spring, so begin now and do a little bit each week so it does not get ahead of you. All these things must be done before you even get out in the yard and start to work, so let's get started now. While you're out, how about picking up a few first aid items just in case: Ben-Gay, Extra-Strength Tylenol, and, yes, some beer to help you relax and enjoy all your work and accomplishments. Do you still like the arrival of spring? If you need some help, call me on Sunday morning; I will be there to answer all your questions.
Spring is Here Song
Spring is Here Song

This is how you start caladiums bulbs in doors



It's time to look at the calendar, not out the window! If you planning to have tender bulbs in your summer garden, NOW is the time to start planting them in your home. Visit your local garden center and pick up such bulbs as tuberous begonias, cannas, calla lilies, caladiums, and dahlias--just to name a few. If you can start them during March in your home and transplant them to your garden in early May, these plants will bloom earlier and longer in your garden for you!

In the past, many of you have planted these summer flowering bulbs directly into the garden--and that is OK! But if you start them this month in your home, it will motivate you, encourage you, and excite you that spring is really coming. Please try it--you will feel better!

Some of you have stored these bulbs in your basement for the winter. It's now time to bring them upstairs, wake them up, repot them, and watch them come to life. These bulbs have been hibernating all winter, like you, and NOW is the time to get moving! Are you getting the message yet? It's time now!

All you will need is a good sterile potting soil mix like Black Gold potting soil or the  Espoma super potting soil with microbes. Use new pots or wash your old pots with bleach before adding soil to them and then you're ready to plant. I use one cup of bleach to a gallon of water to sterilize the containers. You can reuse them year after year. Brush off any soil stuck to the pots and dip the pot in this mixture for 30 seconds. Allow them to dry and you're ready to plant--so let's clean those pots now.

Here are suggestions for pot size; tuberous begonias use 4 to 6 inch pots, cannas use 6 to 8 inch pots, calla lilies 4 to 6 inch pots, caladiums 4 to 6 inch pots, and dahlias will depend on the size of the bulbs types. Dahlias that grow 1 to 2 feet tall - use a 6 inch pot, 2 to 3 foot tall growing--use an 8 inch pot, and 3 to 6 foot tall growing--use a 10 inch pot.

When you purchase these bulbs for the first time, ask the sales person to show you what side of the bulb is up. Please do not be embarrassed to ask for help, this is new to you and you want to do it right the first time!

Planting depth is easy, usually, as most bulbs need to be covered with one inch of soil in your container. Once the bulbs have been planted, give the soil around them a good watering and place the containers where it is warm in your home. These bulbs do not need light until they begin to emerge from the soil; warmth is more important to wake them up and get them growing.

The soil should be kept moist while these bulbs develop so poke your finger into the container and feel for moisture before you water again. Until the roots form, your soil will not dry up so be careful not to over-water. Once the plant pokes through the soil, give it a good drink of water and fertilizer such as Neptune's Harvest fish and seaweed fertilizer. This is a great fertilizer for root development and flower production on all flowering plants--especially bulbs.

Once the bulbs begin to grow move them to a sunny or brightly lit window where they will stay until they are ready to go into your garden. I spin the container every week, sometimes more often if I notice they are bending towards the light. This will keep them growing straight. If at all possible, choose a room that stays cool to keep the stems short and thick; if they are growing fast and thin, move them to another window that is not as hot.

Two weeks before you're going to plant them in your garden, put them outside during the day and back in the house at night to get them acclimated to the outside temperatures. Do this the first week and the second week move the plants into your garage or tool shed for the night time. If the weather is stormy during the day leave them in the tool shed or garage as they need to prepare for the move outside.

Start with just a few bulbs the first year and see how you make out. This is just another area of gardening you must learn how to do. You may fail, but you could also succeed and this is a great learning experience for you. When you succeed, pat yourself on the back and call me on Sunday to tell me all about it. If you're having problems, call me. I will be there for you. Enjoy.
When It's Springtime In The Rockies - Sons Of The Pioneers
When It's Springtime In The Rockies - Sons Of The Pioneers
 

"Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, he for a life time, Teach him to garden and the whole neighborhood get tomatoes, and squash, and cucumbers, and ....."

DeepSouthDish.com
           
                          
 Spaghetti Bolognese

One of my favorite meals is Spaghetti and Meatballs but every now and then, I like a change and this recipe will wake up your taste buds.  Spaghetti Bolognese is bit more work than opening a jar of your favorite sauce to add to your spaghetti for dinner but well worth the effort.  So don't go out for Pasta make it yourself and enjoy the wonderful taste, your family will love it!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 slices of bacon diced
1 pound of ground sirloin or 90 percent ground beef
One can, 14 ounces of diced tomatoes, that contains fresh Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 bottle of a good red wine, cup for the sauce and the rest for dinner
3 mounded tablespoons of tomato paste
A 1-pound box of uncooked spaghetti
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
 
Directions:
1} Heat your oil in a large skillet.  Add your onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add your garlic, carrots, celery and diced bacon and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown.

2} Add your ground beef and cook over high heat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the beef has browned, stir to brown the meat evenly.  Add your tomatoes, oregano, and red wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

3} Stir in the tomato paste and season to your taste with salt and pepper.

4} Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil.  I add a bit of salt and some olive oil to prevent the spaghetti from sticking together.  Add your spaghetti, return to boil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender with a bit of bite to it.  Drain well and rinse with hot water to remove the pasta sediment.

5} Add your cooked pasta to your serving dishes and ladle the Bolognese sauce over the top.  Toss to mix well.  Garnish with your parsley and serve.  I also love to add some fresh shaved parmesan cheese to the plate of pasta and the remaining red wine to glasses to complete the meal. Enjoy!

Day to look forward to:

Daylight Saving day March 13 only 3 days away

St. Patrick's Day March 17 only 7 days away

Spring arrives March 20 only 10 days away

Easter Sunday March 27 only 17 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!

 

 
My name is Matt Parent and I am doing the Dark Side Challenge in April. The Dark Side 
Challenge is a 10K run on April 16th and a half marathon on April 17th. I am raising money
 to pay for me to participate. The Noah's Light Foundation is an organization who is trying
 to help cure pediatric cancer. This is something close to my family as I lost a cousin to
 brain cancer. So help me help them find a cure!  Please take sometime to click on the link and make a donation. 

Noah's Light Foundation - Donate

Matt's Darkside Challenge Race for the Light! supporting the Star Wars™ Half Marathon - 
The Dark Side 2016 campaign Good day everyone. As you know I like to run
 now it's time for me to put my legs and stamina to a good cause. 
I am raising money for Noah's Light Foundation. They help with pediatric brain Cancer.



This is our Oldest son  Matthew who is trying to raise money for 
Noah's Light foundation.  Thank You to anyone who would like to donate.
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