A Dad and his son planting a tree for Father's Day!
Happy Father's Day to all the Dad, New and old.
Happy Father's Day to Patrick Parent on his first Father's Day

Dad, You're My Hero - Tribute from a daughter to her father
Dad, You're My Hero - Tribute from a daughter to her father

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Day Lilies are great for summer color in your garden

As the summer weather begins to warm up and the soil begins to dry out, is your perennial garden beginning to wither away and lose all of its early color? If you live in a town that always has a water ban, if your soil is on the sandy side and watering is a problem, then I have a great perennial plant for you...the daylily. Daylilies love the sun and because of thick fibrous roots that can store water for long periods, are the perfect drought resistant plant for you. Daylilies are so easy to grow that they are today one of the most popular plants to grow for summer color.

Daylilies are not true lilies and the flowering stem has no leaves. The flower stem is round, strong, smooth and tall, often raising the trumpet-like flowers well above the grass-like foliage. All the foliage is at the base of the plant and grows in the shape of a fan. This foliage is grass-like, growing 12 to 18 inches tall and less than an inch wide. It is deep green in color; the center of the leaf blade is pleated to create the perfect gutter-like system to catch and move rainfall directly to the base of the plant.

As the plant matures the fans of foliage will thicken and produce a thick clump of soft foliage that weeps over on its tip and sways back and forth with the slightest breeze. Each fan of foliage is capable of producing multiple stems of trumpet-shaped flowers from June to September, depending of the variety you select. Most varieties will bloom for a 4 to 6 week season, but there are new hybrids that will rebloom on and off for most of the summer. Each of these flower stems can produce 6 to 10 flower buds, with only one flower blooming at a time; as one flower fades a new bud will open, keeping the stem in bloom for many days. The flower stems develop at different times on the plant, creating an almost continuously flowering plant for many weeks. This truly amazing flower is shaped like a trumpet 3 to 6 inches in diameter.

The best growing daylilies live in a soil that is well conditioned with peat moss, animal manure, or compost before planting. This will keep the plant's roots growing evenly in a soil that is moist most of the time and allowing the plant to produce more flower buds during the summer season. I always add Soil Moist granules and use a fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae when planting. Look for Bio-Tone made by Espoma or ProTilizer by Natural Alternative.  When the weather gets hot and dry be sure to water once a week for a very productive plant. The plant does love the sun but if the garden can get a bit of late day or midday shade for a couple of hours, the plants will flower longer during the season.

There is one garden task that all daylilies need, and that is to remove any seed pods that develop on the end of the flower stalks. When that stem is finished flowering, please remove it to the base of the fan of foliage. The seeds that are produced in these pods will not produce seeds that are the same color flower as the plant is. Also, if you allow the seeds to mature in the pod and the pod ripens and explodes scattering the seed in your garden, the new seedlings that develop will not be the same color and they could choke out the hybrids you were growing there.

If you have the wild orange daylilies growing near your garden, the bees can carry the pollen from the wild plant onto the hybrid growing in your garden. If this happens, the wild pollen is stronger than the hybrid and orange plants will develop, quickly choking out your hybrids. Most of the daylilies will drop the faded flowers without making a seed pod, so pick off the faded flowers or let them fall from the flower stem, but be sure to remove any seed pods that do develop.

If you want new plants, divide them in the early spring or in the fall of the year when they finish flowering. To make a new plant, divide the clump of foliage into single fans of foliage; each fan will make a new plant identical to the clump it originally came from.

Space fans of foliage 12 to 18 inches apart; cut back the foliage by one third from the top and plant in a conditioned soil that you will keep moist for several weeks until you can see that the plant is well established. Cover the soil with 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch or compost to keep weeds out and the coil cool and to better hold water around the roots of the plant.

I think that most of us have seen the wild-growing orange daylilies growing on the side of the road. A lot of us have seen the dwarf yellow flowering hybrid daylily called 'Stella de Oro' planted in every parking lot where a big box store is located. This year look for the new varieties of hybrid daylilies at your local garden center; they com in every color but blue and true white. You will also find some double-flowering varieties, many two-tone varieties and even some that are fragrant. If you're worried about not finding what you're looking for in color, do not get worried, as there are over 40,000 cultivars to choose from and more new plants each year.

When you look for daylilies here are the four things you will need to know: 

Number one, there are three types of daylilies: the old fashioned daylilies, the hybrid daylilies called "tetraploid," with thicker, larger flowers in brighter colors that are stronger growing than the old fashioned daylilies. And the reblooming /recurrent types that bloom more than just the normal 4 to 6 weeks; they will flower all summer long. 

Number two, daylilies bloom at different times of the year from June to September, so try to select early, midseason or late blooming varieties for continuous color in your garden. 

Number three, always ask for plants that are hardy for your planting zone when you order on line or the internet, as some varieties are better suited for heat and some for a colder climate. 

Number four, ask about the height of the plant and flowering stems. Example--dwarf plants will grow under a foot tall; low will grow 1 to 2 feet tall, medium 2 to 3 feet tall and tall over 3 feet tall.

Plant daylilies in perennial flower beds, along a walkway as a border plant, near spring-flowering bulb that will go dormant as their leaves turn brown in June, and they are wonderful when used in plantings on steep banks to replace grass that could be hard to mow. You will love daylilies because they have very few problems with insects or disease and because they grow so strong any damage on the plant is quickly replaced with new foliage in just a few weeks. Daylilies, especially the wild orange varieties, will do well when planted on the side of the road to control erosion problems and will tolerate road salt.

One last thing to know about daylilies is that they are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, so place a hummingbird feeder in the garden and sit back to enjoy the show as these unique creatures dance in your flower garden this summer. Enjoy!

Daddy's Hands - Holly Dunn
Daddy's Hands - Holly Dunn

Time to walk through the garden

We are now half way through June, and so far the season has had its ups and downs--but the best of the ups are still ahead of us, and you should be excited about what's happening around you! The plants in your garden will make more growth in the next couple of months than they have so far all year. The flowers, the vegetables, the herbs, the berries and the fruit are now preparing for their special season in your gardens.

Try to explore your gardens every day if possible, because things are happening so fast now you will miss the changes. Today's walk through my gardens showed me that flower buds are now forming ocn my lilies, some of my daisies and on my delphiniums. The strawberries are beginning to turn pink and will soon be ready for picking, while the blueberries are growing larger on the plant but still need time and maybe a little extra fertilizer to help them grow larger and juicier.

Because of my garden walk, I noticed that my 'Annabelle' hydrangea are having a problem with a caterpillar type insect that has "stitched" the new leaves on top of many branches together, creating a bag look to the new growth. I pulled them apart to separate the leaves and found a small 1/2" long green caterpillar inside, preparing to eat the young flower buds. These small green caterpillars weave the leaves together and create a weatherproof home for themselves while they feed on your flower buds.

I took a few minutes and opened up each leaf cluster to free up the flowers so I would not lose them to the insect and then sprayed the plant with Spinosad organic insecticide or Captain Jack to destroy the caterpillars and prevent future damage. The plant looks great now, the foliage will continue to grow normally, and I will soon enjoy all those flowers on the hydrangea that would have been lost if I did not walk through my garden this morning.

With all the rain and cool temperatures, I was looking for a bug that is common at this time of the year called the "spittle bug." This unique creature can be found on many perennials, roses, and some evergreens--if you look at your garden you will see him right now. This insect resembles a tiny grasshopper about 1/4" long and pale green. To protect himself from predators, he will take the extra moisture on the plant and blow bubbles around himself. This bubble cluster looks like "spit" on stems of your plants and makes it easy for you to find him. As the weather dries up, all you will find is his damage--holes in the foliage. But right now he is easy to find, so just squeeze the spit-like formation on the plant to remove him, and then crush him. If you have many, use Garden Eight, or Bayer Complete insect killer to control them or they will riddle the foliage with holes in that garden in just a few days.

I noticed that in the vegetable garden my cold weather crops like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are growing like crazy with all the rain and look wonderful, but while in the garden, I did notice several small dull white moths about an inch in diameter flying from plant to plant. This small moth is laying eggs on these plants that will in a couple of weeks hatch to become the cabbage lopper that will eat holes in the foliage. There is not much you can do right now but as soon as I see small holes in the foliage I will use Spinosad or Captain Jack to eliminate the problem naturally. Seeing the moth has given me a warning of the problem to come and time to prepare for when it arrives.

My tomatoes now have yellow flowers on them, so it might be time to give them a boost with a bit of liquid fertilizer to help them make fruit faster. Also tomatoes are wind pollinated--not pollinated by bees--so I gently shook each plant to help make the pollen airborne for better pollination. Give your plants a shake every time you're in the garden to help them make more fruit if the weather becomes calm, so shake, shake, shake your tomatoes.

My peppers are also making flowers and now is the perfect time to give them a bit of Epson Salt in water to help them make bigger peppers. I dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom Salt to a gallon of water and give each plant about a quart of the mixture and you will not believe what it does for the plant. This was a garden tip from my Grandfather many years ago that stills work today.

I looked at my roses as the flower buds are just about ready to burst open and noticed some of the lower leaves had been skeletonized and had a white tinge to them. I found some small one-inch long pale green caterpillars eating away--a bit of Captain Jack or Spinosad takes care of them, and the damage will stop. All I want you to do is look at your plants regularly, so you can spot the damage on the plant before it gets out of hand and ruin your hard work in the garden.

Clematis is now growing fast and now is the time to train it, and tie it up on your trellis or arbor so you can better enjoy the flowers on the plant. Remember clematis loves a sweet soil so if you want your plants to grow better, be sure to use limestone or wood ash around the plant every year. If your plant is in full sun, place a brick or cobble stone standing up on the ground, on the south side of the plant about 2 to 3 inches from the stems. This will create shade on the stems as they develop from the base of the plant and prevent sun damage during the summer and winter months. Keeping the bottom six inches of stems cool during the summer and protected from the sun during the winter is the most important tip that I can give you for growing clematis.

If you're growing fruit trees, be sure to re-apply your fruit tree spray as soon as possible as all the rain has washed off the protection you put on the earlier. If you want to stay organic with your fruit tree, look for a wonderful product call "Agri-fos" a disease control product developed for the citrus growers in Florida, which works great on all your fruit trees and berry plants. If you want clean fruit, you must apply this product every 10 to 14 days just like the orchards do--more often if you get heavy rain.

If you planted lettuce, Swiss chard or spinach by seed, it may be time to thin your planting bed or do a bit of transplanting while the weather is still cool. Give your plants room to grow and you will have better and more productive plants in your garden. Clean around your onions, leeks and shallots, as crabgrass is now beginning to grow in the garden--I know it is in my onion patch.

If you grew garlic for the first time and want larger bulbs and more garlic cloves on that bulb in the ground, look closely at your plants now for the flower bud that is forming on top of the plant. This flower bud looks like an arrow; it's a pointed bud. It looks like a garden gnome hat that grows by twisting and curling on its long stem. When this twisting begins to happen, remove the flower stems right down to the closest leaf on the plant and all the energy will go to the bulb--or you could leave it on the plant and it will make seeds for next year. I remove mine and use some of the flowers or "scapes," as they are called, for use in flower arrangements--cool looking with cut flowers in a vase. You can also steam them like you do asparagus and they taste wonderful with a bit of butter, salt and pepper. Try them this year if you never have before; they have a mild flavor of garlic. Enjoy!
Heartland ~ I loved her first
Heartland ~ I loved her first
Hardy perennial - Black-eyed Susan!

This perennial flower is the queen of the summer garden, with its golden-yellow petals and dark brown to black, cone-shaped centers. These perennials come in many flower sizes, heights and foliage texture but are unmistakable in your garden. The Black-eyed Susan can grow almost anywhere as long as the location is sunny. This is a plant native to North America and I am sure you have seen it growing in open fields or even along the side of the road, along with other wildflowers.

In your perennial border, the Black-eyed Susan will bloom profusely for up to 3 months and provide you with an endless supply of cut flowers. If you do not cut all the flowers for the house, the butterflies will have a field day in your garden, along with the bumblebees.

In the late fall and early winter, the seeds in the black cones will attract hungry birds like finches and chickadees. When you see the birds on the black cones, you know it's the best time to remove some of the cones and break them apart to scatter the seed in your garden. In the spring, new seedlings will develop where you scattered the seed heads, giving you free plants for your gardens.

Black-eyed Susans will grow in almost any soil, as they are native to dry fields where the soil is not rich and fertile. They must have a well-drained soil and a sunny location but will tolerate partial shade. In a partial shade garden, you will have to stake plants, as they will stretch for the sun. The plant will produce fewer flowers in partial shade but is still worth the effort.

Cutting flowers for the house will also stimulate the plant to make more flower buds and continue to flower. Removing some of the mature black cones on the plant will do the same and you can crush up those cones for seeds for your garden. Just sprinkle them on the ground, as it is not necessary to cover the seed. You can plant seeds in the spring or fall but fall-planted seeds have a better chance to flower the following summer. You can also divide the plant in the spring to make several new plants.

The foliage is dark green and oval, coming to a point; it has a small hair-like growth on the leaf. This hair-like growth is found on the stems of the plant also. The leaf texture and size will vary from variety to variety. The plants will grow from 24 to 40 inches tall and spread 12 to 24 inches wide, depending on the variety. The plant will spread in your garden as it matures and drops seeds that the birds do not eat, but it will not become invasive.

Insect and disease problems are minimal but if you water the garden at night, powdery mildew can become a problem on the foliage. Powdery mildew can be controlled with a couple of applications of Agri-fos fungicide at the first sign of development on the plant. Plants do much better in gardens WITHOUT irrigation, so remember wildflower conditions, hot, sunny and dry.

The rudbeckias or Black-eyed Susans are also great for mass plantings, perennial gardens, cut flower gardens, and in meadow or open field plantings as a wildflower; you can even plant them in large containers like whiskey barrels for summer color. Feed plants in the spring with a granular organic fertilizer like Natural Alternative garden food. For bigger plants, apply ProTilizer in May and June to build a stronger root system. In the fall, after the birds have cleaned the cones, cut the plants right to the ground. I consider this perennial one that you must have in your garden.Enjoy!
"My father use to play with brothers and I in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, you're tearing up the grass. We are not raising grass, Dad would reply We are raising boys"
Harmon Killebrew
Minnesota Twins

Jim Nabors - O My Papa (as Gomer Pyle)
Jim Nabors - O My Papa
 (as Gomer Pyle)
                                                                               Cold Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup

Now that the strawberries and Rhubarb are coming in fresh from the garden let's make soup. On those warm evenings let's start the main meal with this wonderful seasonal cold soup for your friends and family. Garnish the bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and a whole strawberry on top and let the compliments begin!

3 cups of Rhubarb, cut into inch pieces
3 cups of cold water
cup of granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup of fresh Strawberries cut in half
1/3 cup of dry white wine

1} Bring Rhubarb, water, sugar and orange peel to a boil in a sauce pan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. Your Rhubarb will fall apart and thicken.

2} Cool and then add half of the mixture into a blender and add your strawberries. Blend on high until smooth.

3} Add this mixture back into the sauce pan with your soup and add your wine and mix thoroughly. Chill and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and fresh strawberry on top. This will serve 4 people, so just double the recipe if you're serving more people. Refrigerate any leftovers if you have any. Enjoy!

Day to look forward to:

June 16th - Paul's Birthday is Today
June 19th - Father's day is 3 days
June 20th - First Day of summer - 4 days
July 4th -  Independence Day is 19 days

Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


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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