Happy Mothers Day Mom and to all Mom's everywhere
Matthew, Jason, Patrick Parent

Carrie Underwood - Mama's Song
 Carrie Underwood 
 Mama's Song

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Fragrant Mayflower Viburnum 

When I first started working in the nursery industry back many years ago, I always enjoyed opening the doors of big trucks full of freshly dug trees and shrubs in the spring. Opening those heavy doors of the truck was like unwrapping a present on my birthday; I could not wait to see what was inside.

One late April morning, as I opened the doors of a truck, I was greeted with the fragrance of a plant that I will never forget; the mayflower viburnum. I quickly climbed into the back of the truck to find where this incredible fragrance came from, and was greeted with several rows of snowball-shaped flowering plants.

I bent down to get a better smell of the flowers and yelled, "what is this plant?" My boss, Bob Kennedy at Kennedy's Country Gardens in Scituate, Mass., just smiled and told me, "that is Korean spice viburnum." I was hooked, and so will you be when you smell the flowers of this wonderful deciduous spring-flowering shrub.

I remember that we placed them near the front door of the garden center and that by the end of the weekend all the plants were gone. I was so disappointed because I never got the chance to purchase one that year, but the following year I got to choose first, for my mother on Mother's Day.

The fragrance of the mayflower viburnum is spicy-sweet; when planted in your yard, it will fill the yard with its fragrance. When planted near a window up against your home, be sure to open that window on nice days to let the fragrance inside for a real treat. The flowers are 2 to 3 inch diameter snowball-shaped flower clusters and the flower buds are red to pink in color. As the flower buds open, the flowers change to pure white; the flower cluster has all three colors at the same time.

The flowers develop on the tips of the branches. Each flower is 3/4 inches wide and trumpet-shaped. Each flower cluster can contain as many as 50 individual flowers in the cluster. When the flower buds first open, the flower is light pink color.

This wonderful viburnum will grow 4 to 8 feet tall and just as wide but if you prune the plant when the flowers fade you can control the size of the plant very easily without affecting the flower production for next year. Viburnums make the flower buds on the new growth made during June and July, so prune as the flowers fade to control the size of the plant. This also the best time to cut back plants that have overgrown their place in your garden.

When you prune your plants back, be sure to fertilize them to encourage new growth for next year's flowers. I like Plant -Tone or Turf Trust professional tree and shrub fertilizer especially in the springtime. If you do not have room for this big growing plant look for the compact variety called Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum,' found at larger nurseries only and it will grow only 2.5 to 3.5 feet tall and wide.

The foliage is 2 to 4 inches long, oval and almost rounded on the tip of the leaf. The leaf is a dull dark green, nothing exciting, until the fall, when it will turn bright red to wine-red, almost as nice as a burning bush/euonymus. The fall red leaf is also dull red, with no shine to it.

During the summer the plant will grow very thick and dense, making a wonderful plant for spring birds to build a home in. The branches and stems are soft gray, and the plant can make as much as a foot of new growth each summer. The branches grow in all directions, giving the plant an interesting shape during the winter months, and those branches are stiff looking. The plant is strong and can handle some heavy snow load, but not ice, so keep it away from any roof line with no gutters.

All viburnum varieties love a fertile soil with lots of organic matter it. They prefer a well-drained soil with no standing water,but will do great in a sandy soil if you can water during the heat of summer. Plant in full sun to half a day of shade. The plants will also do great under tall growing trees with high-limbed branches on them.

When you plant, be sure to add lots of organic matter, Soil Moist if soils are on the sandy side, and mycorrhizae for fast root development and better than average growth the first spring and summer. Mulching around the base of the plant really benefits the plant during hot days of summer to help keep it cool, hold water around the roots, and keep weeds away from the newly forming roots.

Viburnum can be used as a single focal point plant in the back of a perennial garden for early color during the month of May; this would brighten up your perennial garden because not many perennials are showing color yet. If your windows are high off the ground, it will make a great foundation plant against your home. If your windows are less than 5 feet from the ground, you will have to prune every year to prevent the plant from covering up the bottom of your windows.

This is a great plant to plant along a tree line on your property or in tree clearings for early color. If you have a deck or patio that you use during May, this plant is perfect to enjoy on those warm afternoons, but it blooms too early for decks around swimming pools. You can also use several plants in a row for a privacy hedge during the summer to block off the neighbor's view into your yard, or plant and let grow without pruning to soften a large blank wall or side of a garage. I love this viburnum when you plant it near the spring flowering dogwood, especially the pink varieties

Insect and disease problems are minimal, so little to no maintenance is needed except for pruning to control the size of the plant. The plant will sometimes form small clusters of fruit during the summer that will turn from green to red then purple-black and are often eaten by the birds living in your yard. The berries are not very showy and because of the dense foliage not usually visible on the plants.

This mayflower viburnum plant is hardy to -20 degrees. It will flower every year if you fertilize it and water when the summers get hot and dry. Its main qualities are very fragrant flowers that last several weeks and the bright red fall color. It is easy to grow--and if your mother loves plants like lilacs, hyacinths, and roses for their fragrance, she will love this wonderful spring-flowering plant that will bloom on her special day--Mother's Day. This could be the plant that will make you her favorite and her garden extra-special. Enjoy.
Lonestar - Let Them Be Little
Lonestar - Let Them Be Little

Happy Mother's Day to two of the best Mothers we know Christina Parent(Michael's Mom) and Kristen Parent(Katie's Mom)

Our Grandchildren Michael Parent who is 2 years old and his Cousin Katie (Katherine Ruth)Parent who is 6 months old

The Queen of flowering vines

In 1968, I planted my first of many Clematis vines at a nursery in Scituate, Massachusetts, called Kennedy's Country Gardens. We received 200 two-year-old seedlings and my job that day was to pot these new plants in 2 gallon size pots. I had just finished blending rich top soil, peat moss, and cow manure together making a wonderful potting mixture for the new plants to grow in. My teacher at the nursery was a wonderful woman from England named Janet Burnett; she taught me how to plant and grow this plant. Janet told me many stories about how well this plant thrives in England and showed me many pictures of her gardens. One picture had clematis growing in the middle of a garden --what she called her clematis tree. I told her that I thought that clematis was a vine and could not believe that it grew into a tree.

What Janet had done was plant several clematis plants of different colors and flowering times at the base of an old apple tree that had died several years earlier and used the tree as a trellis for the plants to grow on. I can still see that clematis tree today in my mind, just beautiful. So if you have a small dead tree about 15 feet tall, don't cut it down--use it to grow clematis on. Janet told me that in England where she lived, the soil had layers of lime running through it and that was why her plants grew so well.

I had potted about 25 seedlings before Janet arrived to show me how to do it properly and she said to me how much lime did you put into each container you planted? I told her none but I had done an extra good job preparing the potting mixture. Janet had me dump all the plants out and start over because each pot had to have a cup of lime added to the potting soil mixture because clematis "LOVED" a sweet soil and only "LIME" made the soil sweet. After that experience, I always asked questions before starting the job! Janet was a wonderful teacher, and I will share with you what she taught me about clematis .

Clematis is the showiest perennial vine you can plant in your garden. They are among the easiest vines to grow in the garden, and their wide range of colors and flower size will please everyone. With over 1000 varieties to choose from and more new hybrids coming out each year, the clematis is quickly becoming the most popular vine for today's gardens. Clematis originated in the Orient about 500 years ago and has now spread all over the world because of hybridization to fit particular climates.

Janet showed me that the clematis plant does not produce tendrils nor do its stems twist around other plants. The leaf stalk, called the "petiole," will twist around any type of support from wire, string, wood, or vinyl lattice to even small tree branches for support. All you have to do is to provide something for the plant to grow on and it does the rest all by itself. Clematis can be trained to climb fences, archways, or trellis and can even scale the wall on the side of your house as long as you provide them with some type of support to climb on. You can also plant one on top of a retaining wall and watch it climb over it and cascade down to display its beautiful foliage and flowers or even let it run on the ground as a wonderful ground cover where you have outcroppings of ledge.

Clematis prefers to grow vertically, making this plant perfect for even the smallest flower garden or on your light pole at the end of your walk way. They do not take much room in your garden, so place a pole or trellis here and there for a bit of vertical height in your garden. Enjoy these pillars of clematis flowers poking out of your once horizontal growing garden as the clematis vine reaches for the sky. This is a great vine for a more natural looking garden; train it to grow where you want it to grow but let this plant do what it wants and don't prune it heavily. Grow the clematis vine like a rambling rose, let it surprise you with all its flowers and enjoy how unpredictably it will grow in your garden.

Plant clematis in a garden that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunshine; some varieties like clematis paniculata 'Sweet Autumn' will adapt easily to partial shade garden, so check at the nursery about special light requirements. This garden should also have good air circulation around it so the foliage can dry off quickly after long periods of rain fall. Avoid overhead watering in the evening hours to keep foliage dry and prevent disease problems. Water early in the day so the sun can dry foliage quickly and keep disease problems away. Water clematis plants regularly, especially during the summer months if the weather gets hot and dry. The roots of the clematis are strong and grow deep so be sure to water s thoroughly, especially when the plant is in bloom or the flowering period will be shorter.

Clematis vines will grow best in a rich soil that is well drained and never has standing water. Always condition the soil before planting with compost, animal manure, or peat moss. To help hold water around the roots of the plant in the summer months always add Soil Moist granules when planting. Clematis is a heavy feeder and will do much better when planted if you also add an organic fertilizer like Bio-Tone with Mycorrhizae or Natural Alternative plant food to encourage quick root development.

Your soil pH is very important, and one of the determining factors of a healthy plant. The sweeter the soil is, the better the plant will grow for you, so be sure to add Limestone, or Lightning lime or lots of wood ash to the soil before planting. Also yearly application of these products will keep your soil sweet if you live in areas where pines and oak trees are native. I use 2 handfuls of wood ash every spring around my plants and they just love it. Fertilize spring and fall with Plant-Tone or Natural Alternative plant food to keep plant actively growing.

Root and stem protection is also a determining factor for the clematis vine and it is very important to grow a ground cover or perennials around the plant to shade the soil to keep it cool during the summer months. Also place an evergreen plant--or stand up a brick or cobble stone on end--in front of the vine, facing south, to shade the bottom 6 to 8 inches of the vine during the winter months. This shading of the stem keeps it cool during the summer months and stabilizes freezing and thawing during the winter months.

If you suddenly get foliage that turns brown or black on the plant, remove it quickly and the plant will form new growth from the base of the plant to replace it. Pour a bit of bleach on pruner blades before and between cuts to prevent moving disease problems from branch to branch; bleach will sterilize the pruners. When weeding or applying fertilizer to the plant, always use your hand and never use cultivating tools, as you can damage the roots of the plant. Bark mulch around the plant is encouraged at a depth of 2 inches to keep out weeds and help cool the soil.

Pruning is always a question with the clematis vine, when and how? If you see dead or damaged growth on the plant, remove it at any time you find it. As the clematis vine begins to age you will notice that fewer flowers form on the vine, usually after 4 to 5 years. The stems are getting tired, so these older stems should be cut back to within 18 inches of the ground in the early spring and before the new growth starts on the plant, during March early April. This will encourage new stems to develop from the roots of the plant in late April and these stems will flower the same year on the plant.

If your plant looks like a tangled mess of live and dead stems wrapped around your light pole or trellis, it is time for a major pruning of the plant. Try and save as much of the new and fleshy looking growth as possible but remove the older looking vines of the plant in the early spring.

If you have never grown a clematis vines before, this is the year for you to plant one in your garden. The vine has wonderful flowers that will last for many weeks, the flowers come in many colors, and the flower size varies from less than one inch in diameter to over 6 inches wide. Try one this summer, and next year, once the plant is established in your garden, you will thank me over and over again. Enjoy!
Trace Adkins - Then They Do
German bearded  Iris great for Mom's Garden

I love the Greeks because they have a god or a connection to a god's name for everything that grows on this planet called Earth. The Greek goddess "Iris" is said to have created the rainbow, a bridge to connect heaven and Earth. The Iris plant family, which has hundreds of colors and many varieties, was chosen to carry her name by the elders in the heavens. Because of this accomplishment, the elders gave Iris a magic potion that when poured on the Earth would produce a flower garden of rainbow color flowers.

She was so eager to begin her new task of creating a flower garden of colorful flowers that she forgot to empty the entire vial. The few drops that remained in the vial were reds and that is why that today we have no true red flowers in our garden. It goes to show that even the gods were not perfect.

Iris plants have been growing in gardens around the world for over 4000 years. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all grew these plants for their flowers and for medical remedies. Pottery and art found from those periods have pictures of these flowers on them in a garden setting and its use to treat fever, chills, and coughs with its dried tubers, not recommended today as the plant is considered poisonous. So if you have iris plants in your garden or are thinking of purchasing them to add to your garden, remember this story to tell your fellow gardeners, because these are plants with a story behind them.

Because there are hundreds of varieties of iris to choose from, I have chosen the bearded iris today to tell you about, as they have the most colorful flowers and the most color combination of flowers in the iris plant family. The bearded iris is also the most popular and I think the best one for you to start with and grow in your perennial garden today. Iris plants will catch your eye when in bloom, they are easy to grow in your garden, require minimum care, and they multiply quickly and are easy to divide and make new plants. Also the foliage, no other plant has foliage like the iris.

The bearded iris will grow best in a well-drained soil that has been conditioned before planting in it. The richer the soil, the larger the plant will grow, the larger the flowers will be on the plant and the more flowers will form on the individual stems. The better prepared soil will also hold more moisture in it without being wet! This will also help the flowers last longer when in bloom.

Heavy, clay type soils or a garden that get watered daily from a sprinkler system will create problems for the plant, so keep plants out of wet areas or your plants will rot easily. Dry soils are best for this plant to grow in. If your soil is sandy or a light loam, set the rhizome in the garden and just barely cover the rhizome with a bit of soil over it. If your soil is heavy or has clay in it, be sure to just barely cover the rhizome with soil; when watered it should be completely visible and sitting on top of the ground. Plants prefer a full sun location but will tolerate a bit of late day shade.

What is an iris? An iris is a plant that grows from a horizontal growing rhizome. A rhizome is a fattened, creeping stem with grass-like foliage at one end and roots that grow underneath this stem. If you care for the plant properly, this original rhizome will make two new rhizomes at the end of each year. One new rhizome will develop on each side of the plant and the old rhizome will transfer its energy to the two new plants and die at the end of the season. The foliage is grass-like, but very wide at the base near the rhizome, 1.5 to 2 inches, and slims down to a point at the tip. The foliage will grow from 12 to 18 inches tall each spring and has a blue green color to it. This foliage will grow in the shape of a fan and spread as wide as 12 inches in the early summer. The plant looks like a foot sitting on the surface of the soil with a fan of foliage on the heel of the plant.

Plant irises in the late summer or early fall after they have finished flowering. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart between plants. Work compost, animal manure or fresh garden soil together to create a soil that will be 8 to 12 inches deep for planting. Mix in organic fertilizer and mycorrhizae before planting. Each plant should be a single rhizome with a fan of foliage at one end.

Before planting be sure to squeeze the rhizome and feel it all over to make sure it is firm all around. Soft rhizomes should be discarded as they could have an insect problem: an insect called a "borer." If you have them in your rhizomes as a soft spot cut, them out and dispose of the infected rhizome. When you re-plant your garden bed, add Bonide Lawn and Garden Eight Granules insecticide to prevent future problems in your planting bed.

The flowers emerge from the fan of foliage on a tall growing, pencil-thick, strong stem during June. Each stem can produce 3 to 5 elegant flowers that will last for up to a week each, depending on the weather and outside temperature during the flowering time. Cloudy and cool temperatures will extend the flowering time while sunny, hot weather with wind can decrease the flowering time of each flower to just a couple of days. The iris will open just one flower on the stem at a time and as one fades a new bloom will begin to open.

Each flower will grow 4 to 6 inches tall and wide. Each flower has 3 lower petals in the shape of your tongue that will hang down with a small beard of tiny hairs running vertically in the center of the petals. Also on the flower you will find 3 upper tongue-shaped flower petals that will grow upright together like the petals of a tulip; they have no beard-like growth on them, making the overall flower very unique looking. The top and bottom flower petals can be the same color or the top petals can be one color and the lower petals another color. No other plant can produce flowers this way or with so many color possibilities.

Fertilize each spring with compost around the rhizome but not covering it. Mycorrhizae is best for the plant when blended with an organic fertilizer, and will encourage more growth and flowers.Try the new plant simulator called Protolizer from  Natural Alternative. When the flowers fade in late June, remove the flower stem to the base of the rhizome to prevent seed production and encourage new rhizome development. In the fall cut the foliage in half and remove any dead foliage present on the plant.

If you have had problems with borers in the past remember that the borer moth will lay the eggs on the foliage of your irises in the late summer or early fall. The eggs overwinter on the old foliage and emerge in the spring as a caterpillar type insect and eat their way into your new foliage. As they mature they will eat their way down into your rhizome and grow to 1 to 2 inches long. Soon they will pupate in the surrounding soil and emerge as a moth a few weeks later starting the cycle anew.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to remove all the foliage from the rhizome in the late fall once the ground has frozen. By removing the foliage you remove the problem, and the plant will replace the missing foliage in the spring. An application of Bayer Systemic Tree and Shrub insecticide will also control the borer in your rhizomes when applied in the spring or fall season. Keep the plants clean at all times and dispose of dead or dying foliage, faded flowering stems and infected rhizomes. Iris plants should be divided every 2 to 3 years and checked for borers every year. By dividing every 2 to 3 years your plants will grow better and have more flowers on them.

Imperial Chicken 

If you love chicken and fresh vegetables, there is no better way to cook them together than in a wok. Cooking time is about 10 minutes and this high heat fast cooking seals in all the natural flavors while keeping the vegetables firm and tasty. Great for a night you get home late and want something fast for the family. 

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 chicken breast skinned and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons of corn flower
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
1 green or red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
bunch of spring onions" scallions" chopped
2 to 4 dried chilies chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
2 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine
4 tablespoons soy sauce
cup of chicken stock
I cup of whole cashews if you do not have nut allergies!!!

1} Heat your oil in a walk, until smoking! Toss the chicken in cornflower, shake off excess and fry quickly in your hot walk until golden brown.

2} Add your onions, peppers, spring onions, and chilies, and then the garlic slices. And stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

3} Add the rice wine, reduce, then add the soy sauce, cashews and chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

4} Serve in deep bowls with a side of white Rice or over your white rice. 

5} You can also add a cup of chopped celery, fresh mushrooms, pea pods or even green beans when you cook the vegetables, it's up to you! Enjoy
Day to look forward to:

May 8th - MOTHER'S Day is 3 days
May 21st - Armed forces day is 16 days
May 30th - Memorial Day is 25 days

36 Garden Journals left Paul found another case


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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