It is official Summer is here, does your garden look like this!
A Classic 60's TV Show Dance Party
A Classic 60's TV Show Dance Party

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One of my favorite perennials for a sunny flower garden is the evening primrose--and it's not even a member of the Primrose family, it's just the plant's name. I will always remember the first time I saw this plant because it started my love for gardening.

I was on my way home from the corner store with a loaf of bread for my mother when I noticed one of my neighbors working in her garden doing a bit of weeding. I went into her yard to say hello, when I noticed several large clumps of bright yellow flowers in her garden. I asked her the name of those flowers, told her how beautiful they were and remembered saying that my mom would like some for her garden, too.

We talked a bit about her garden, until I remembered that my mother was waiting for the loaf of bread, so I said goodbye and headed home. As we finished supper that night, there was a knock on the screen door and there was my neighbor with a container filled with evening primrose plants she had thinned out of the garden for my mother. She said to my mother, "Paul thought you would like some of my evening primroses for your garden, so I dug a few plants for you." My mother had a big smile on her face, and soon the three of us were in the garden planting those evening primrose plants I had admired in the neighbor's garden.

Let me tell you about this plant, and why you should have it in your garden. Evening primroses are easy to grow and love the sun, but will also grow with a bit of light shade. The plants love a well-drained soil--even a soil on the sandy side will do. I will tell you that once they are established in your garden they will tolerate dry soil and are quite drought-tolerant. I have some plants in a garden bed where the soil is not very good and often gets snow dumped there with road salt and they do just fine--real tough plants. They will not tolerate wet spots at all, though; every time I planted them along the side of the house every plant near a gutter downspout quickly died.

Evening primroses, contrary to their name, flower during the day time, not at night, but I have been told that there are some varieties that do flower at night. These plants open up their buds at sunrise and close at sunset, each flower lasting only one day, but the plant will produce flowers for 6 to 8 weeks in a well-kept garden. The flower buds are 1 to 1.5 inches long, resemble a closed umbrella in shape--long, and narrow--and are a soft red. When the flower buds open, you're in for a real treat because the flower petals are bright yellow, look almost like silky sateen, with a bit of sheen to them and in the shape of the poppy flower. Each flower has 8 petals and the center is filled with bright yellow pollen sacs, making this 1 to 2 inch flower very unique looking.

The foliage of the evening primrose is lanced-shaped, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, with a point on the tip of the leaf. The leaf closely resembles the leaf of the zinnia garden flower and it does have a bit of sheen to it as long as there is moisture in the soil; when the soil is dry the sheen fades.

The new growth will have a bit of red on the stems and foliage when it first develops. If you rub the mature leaf you will feel a slight fuzzy hair growth on it also. The plant will grow 12 to 24 inches tall, depending on your soil and available moisture. The plant will spread with its fibrous roots very easily, so it can be divided in the spring or fall for friends and family. The plant also starts new seedlings with the many seeds pods the flowers produce during the summer months. When you plant evening primroses in your garden, give them room to grow as they will spread from 1 to 2 feet wide.

The evening primrose is very hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to 30 degrees below zero. If you can apply a thin layer of bark mulch or compost on the garden bed 1 to 2 inches thick the plant can grow almost anywhere in the country. Your soil quality will determine the height of the plant and the amount of flowers on the plant during the summer, so prepare it properly before planting. If you can add compost, animal manure or peat moss with Soil Moist granules when conditioning the soil, your plants will thrive and the flowers will continue to develop from late June right through August.

Fertilize spring and fall with Flower-Tone. When the plant is in bloom fertilize every other week with Espoma Bloom fertilizer to encourage bigger and more flowers on the plant. The plant is drought tolerant but if the weather gets hot and dry watering weekly will help keep plant more productive and in constant flower.

Insect and disease problems are rare and the plant is usually pest and insect free all year long, a real plus. In the fall cut the foliage of the plant to the ground and if it's beginning to get out of control, dig up and remove what you do not want. Fall is also a great time to transplant or divide the plant for friends and family. Pick the seed pods from the plant in the fall and place them in a paper bag to dry. As the pods dry they will explode, ejecting the seeds, and the paper bag will catch the seeds. Scatter the seeds in open fields to create wildflowers living in the tall grasses. Honey bees and butterflies love the flowers and they will be drawn to the garden all summer long. Also some varieties of the evening primrose are fragrant.

Plant evening primroses in rock gardens or as perennial borders, use as edging along a walk way, as a ground cover in soils that are not rich or thick in depth, and in containers. If you have a sloping hillside and are having a problem with erosion, plant evening primroses every 18 inches and apply bark mulch 2 inches thick. In just a couple of years the plants will fill in the area and your hillside will not move again, and you have the bonus of yellow flowers all summer long. Don't forget they will tolerate road salt, so plant them along the road for a unique roadside garden flower.

The Latin name of this family of plants is Oenothera fruticosa--common sundrops, not to be confused with the common garden primrose called Primula. This is one of the reasons that all plants have both a Latin name and English name, to prevent confusion, as the same plant can have several common names depending on where you live.

Evening primroses have many new hybrids available today and your local garden center will have pink, white and yellow colors available in their perennial flower section or you can purchase seeds from seed catalogs or on the internet. Plant the seeds directly in the garden in the early spring, and most of the time they will flower the first year, even in infertile soil. You must try this plant. Enjoy!
The Twist - Chubby Checker
The Twist - Chubby Checker

Shasta Daisies where my Aunt Ruth and My Mother-in-law Ruth Duncan favorite flowers!

Have you ever picked a daisy from your garden and said: She loves me, she loves me not, and she loves me? According to folklore it all began in ancient Wales when maidens wanted to test the fidelity of their love and they, like you, gently pulled off one individual white flower petal at a time until all that remained was the yellow center of the flower. Let's hope that most of the time it came out positive for you.

Daisies suggest innocence and simplicity; in Latin the word for daisy means "beautiful ," and the Old English name for daisy was "Day's eye," referring to the way that the flowers open and close with the sun. The daisy flowers open at sunrise and close at sunset on some varieties and our ancestors noticed that, as they had no watches to tell the time of day. The Ox-Eye daisy, an early relative of the Shasta daisy, came to America with the colonists, to be planted in their gardens and seeded in their fields as one of our first imported wildflowers.

The Greeks tell this story of the daisy's origin: One morning the wood nymphs decided to dance on the edge of the forest, where the orchards began. The god of the orchards, spying them at their games, drew close to watch. One nymph in particular stung him with her beauty, and he fell instantly in love and rushed at her. But she and her sisters vanished, taking refuge in the form of the daisy, growing on the edge of the forest.

Daisies must have a well-drained soil to thrive and spread in your garden. If your soil is heavy or wet they will grow but struggle during the year, usually not returning after the first winter. Well-drained soil during the winter months is very important, as standing water will cause root rot. If your soil is heavy and you want to grow daisies you will have to condition the soil with the coarse, sharp, mason type of sand, peat moss, and compost to improve drainage. Planting in raised flower beds will also help to improve drainage in wet soils--or plant on the side of a hill or sloping garden. Wet soil is the number one reason that Shasta and other types of daisies do not survive in your garden.

The Shasta daisy loves to be planted in a full sun garden but it will tolerate some late day shade. In a partial shade garden, the plant will grow taller, have fewer flowers, those flowers will grow smaller, and flower for a shorter period with fewer repeating flower buds during the summer...but they are still worth all the effort to grow them. The plant will tolerate a sandy soil and will tolerate some dry growing conditions but if you can condition the soil before planting with lots of organic matter like compost and animal manures, they will thrive in your garden.

The flower of the Shasta daisy is a flat-growing flower on top of a strong stem. This is actually a flower in a flower, as the bright yellow center is comprised of hundreds of tiny yellow flowers with a ring of delicate white 1 inch elongated flower petals circulating it. The flower resembles the shape of the sun and it will brighten up any garden in your yard. As the sun begins to set, the white daisy flowers will resemble stars in the sky--and just think what a field of wild daisies would look like when planted as wild flowers during a full moon evening. The daisy flower is loved by honey bees and butterflies, as they can just sit on the flower and feed from them.

The foliage is deep green, growing 2 to 3 inches long and only 3/4 of an inch wide, with an edge that resembles a saw with tiny indentations, like teeth. The leaves grow up the flower stem but are spaced one to two inches apart, keeping the plant open and airy looking. The plant grows from individual stems and seldom branches out; each stem makes only one flower. The flowers will last on the plant for about 4 weeks if you can keep it well watered during the heat of summer.

The flowers are wonderful for cutting and will last for many days in a tall vase of water on your kitchen table. As the flowers begin to fade on the plant remove the flower back to the top set of leaves and the plant will make new buds on that set of leaves, keeping it in bloom right up until frost in most gardens. Dead-heading is very important if you want continuous flowers all summer long so always bring a pair of scissors with you when you visit the garden to cut flowers for the house and for cleaning the plant.

The plant can be propagated by dividing it into sections in the early spring or fall season. You can also allow some of the flowers to fade on the plant and dry up to turn brown. Once this happens, break up the flower head with your fingers and sprinkle the seeds in the flower head in your garden. These seeds will germinate and grow very easily making new plant that will flower the following summer in the garden.

Fertilize in the spring and again in the fall with a good organic slow release fertilizer like Flower-Tone or Natural Alternative garden food. When the buds form on the plant fertilize with a liquid plant food like Neptune's Harvest fish and sea or Espoma bloom fertilizer to increase the size of the bloom

If you have a tall-growing variety of Shasta daisy that requires staking when in bloom, you can cut back the plant in mid-May, when the plant reaches 12 inches tall, to 6 to 8 inches to help keep the plant shorter. This pinching or cutting back of the plant will also encourage new shoots to form at the base of the plant, resulting in more flowers during the summer, keeping the plant height under 3 feet tall and less likely to topple over.

Adding bark mulch or compost as a mulch around the plant will prevent weeds from developing in the flower bed and help keep the soil moist around the plant during the heat of summer. Insects and disease problems are less likely if you give the plants room to grow in the garden and don't let them get overcrowded with other plants around them; air circulation around the plant is key.

Grow Shasta daisies as a cut flower; they are wonderful in mass plantings, mixed borders, a must for the cottage garden look, and they will look incredible if you line a walkway with them for color. Visit your local garden center and look at the wonderful selection of Shasta daisy hybrids.

Shasta daisies will grow from 2 to 4 feet tall, have flowers 2 to 5 inches across, and some semi-double and double flowering types are also available--something to fit every garden need. Plants will grow 2 to 4 feet wide, depending on the hybrid you choose. Always ask questions before purchasing so you can space the plants properly for good air circulation and plant them in the right spot in the garden so they will not shade other plants in the garden. Enjoy!
Martha & the Vandellas - Heatwave
Martha & the Vandellas - Heatwave
Summer flowering perennial Delphinium 

If you are looking for a classic perennial flower to give your garden lots of wonderful color, a little height, and long lasting flowers during the summer, then I have the perfect plant for you --the delphinium. The delphinium is a must, if you're planning a country or cottage style perennial garden for your yard this year. If you want cut flowers from your garden, than this plant is the king of all tall-growing perennials and will outlast most cut flowers in your home. If I was to choose one word to describe the delphinium, it would be "glamorous."

Delphiniums will grow best where the summer months are moist; cool to warm temperatures but not hot like the southern part of the country, and where the winters are cold so the plant can go dormant and rest. The plants will grow best when planted in a garden with full sun to a bit of light shade at the end of the day. This plant needs room to grow so when you plant it in your garden, give it two to three feet of growing area in your garden.

Let's start with the soil, because the better the soil is, the larger and more productive the plant will be. Delphiniums prefer a rich, moist, and well-drained soil and will not tolerate heavy clay type soils. If your garden soil is just "soil," you will have to condition it before planting with compost, animal manure, or peat moss or the plant will not thrive! If your soil is on the sandy side or has clay in it, you can repair it to grow this wonderful perennial and your efforts will pay off. Lots of organic matter and garden gypsum will make any soil ready to grow this plant. A sweet soil will make for a better plant, so add lime or wood ash every spring or fall to keep the soil from getting too acidic.

Delphiniums can be planted in your garden from spring to fall if container grown. They can be transplanted from your garden easily or established plants can be divided in the spring of the year while the plants are still small and the weather is cool. I have not had good luck moving plants in the fall season here in Northern New England because the plants do not have enough time to get established in the garden before the cold weather arrives . A two-inch layer of compost or bark mulch on the garden around the plant helps with hot dry summer's weather to keep the roots cool and moist. This layer of organic matter also helps to keep out weeds and protects the roots during winters that are real cold and when little snow cover is there to protect the plant.

Delphiniums are heavy feeders, so be sure to add compost and animal manure when you plant, and apply around the plant each spring to promote strong growth. I also suggest that you apply Soil Moist granules in the hole when planting, to help hold extra moisture during hot summers. To speed up root development, use a fertilizer that has mycorrhizae when planting, such as Bio-Tone or Protilizer starter fertilizer with microbes . Once the plant is established, use either of these products in the spring and again in early September to keep plants well fed and strong.

The reason I have been promoting strong roots is because of the size of the plant and its flowers. The foliage part of the plant will grow 2 to 3 feet wide and just as tall. The flowers will grow on long stems on top of the foliage that will reach 5 to 7 feet tall, so you will need strong roots to support the plant. The plant cannot always hold the large flower spikes by itself, so be prepared to stake the flower stems as they develop. If your garden is near a fence or side of the house it will help protect the plant from strong winds but if in the middle of your garden in an open area you will have to stake some of the taller flower stems or cut them to put into a tall vase for the kitchen table. Did you know that if you cut off the faded flowers or pick flowers from the plant just above the foliage it will re-bloom for you? What will happen is new foliage growth will develop at the base of the plant and in just a few weeks' new flowers will form as long as you remove the old stem right to the ground as the new foliage forms.

The foliage of the delphinium is deep green, resembles a little bit the maple tree leaf, and grows 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The leaves grow up the stem until the flowers begin to form, and each stem made by the plant will make flowers. The flower stem is a tall growing, like a spike or spire covered with individual 1 to 1.5 inch rounded blossoms that are two-toned. Each flower also has a spur in the back of the bloom for added character, and this flower develops off the main central stem from a 2 inch stem.

The plant forms all the buds on these tall stems all at once but opens them from the bottom first and slowly moves to the top. The flower stem resembles a rocket with a 4 to 6 inch base of open flowers, while the tip of the budded stem is almost pointed and narrower before the flowers open up. The flowers will last on the plant for 3 to 4 weeks, and longer if the summer is cool. The flower colors range from shades of blue, lavender, magenta, purple, pink, and white. The flower is unique because each flower has a flower in a flower--and the inner flower is usually a contrasting color; this is called a "bee." This flower is filled with nectar, and butterflies and hummingbirds love it and will be attracted to your garden.

Delphiniums look wonderful as individual specimen plants in your perennial garden or in mass plantings. Just remember that they grow tall, so plant them in the back of your garden or flower bed. To help hold large plant together I use peony hoops to support the plant and its flowers. If you check with your local garden center or nursery, they can help you select from the many new hybrids plant varieties that will grow shorter in height. The Pacific hybrids will grow 4 to 5 feet tall, have huge double and semi-double flowers on them, and come in many colors. Century hybrids grow just as tall--4 to 5 feet--but the flowers are smaller and more delicate looking. There are some smaller varieties growing to 3 feet. Also look for the Blackmore and Langdon hybrids with extremely large flowers and mixed colors.

To avoid disease problems when growing the delphinium, give the plant plenty of room to grow and prevent overcrowding in the garden. Good air circulation around the plant will prevent possible disease problems and NEVER water the plant from above the foliage. If you had disease problems with this plant in the past, do not plant new ones in the same area, as the fungus problem can stay active for up to 3 to 5 years in your garden. If disease problems develop on the plant, use Agri-fos organic fungicide to control the problem.

If you have leaf miners or borers in the stems, use Bayer Tree and Shrub insecticide to cure the problem and if caterpillars find the plant, use Spinosad, an organic insecticide, to control them. This is a wonderful plant and every garden should have this plant in it for spectacular summer color. Enjoy!!!
"The perfect sunny day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken "
James Dent


                                                 Fresh Picked and Stuffed Spring Snow Peas

This is a wonderful finger food to ring in the arrival of summer and as long as you have fresh peas to pick from the garden, your friends and family will love them. Say good bye to carrot sticks and other fresh ve
getables with a dip, this is better. Serve on a platter with fresh strawberries, on a bed of lettuce, chilled.

One package of cream cheese softened, 8 ounces
2 teaspoons fresh chives minced
1 teaspoon of fresh basil minced
1 garlic clove minced
teaspoon of Caraway seeds
teaspoon of fresh dill weed
teaspoon of lemon-pepper seasoning
3 dozen fresh snow peas, about a quarter of a pound cleaned. Hand pick the best pea pods!

1} In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except or the peas. Cover and let sit overnight in your refrigerator.

2} The next morning, remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, to soften.

3} In a medium sauce pan bring to 6 cups of water to a boil. Add your cleaned snow peas, cover, and boil for about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately place peas in Ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

4} Gently split the top of the peas open, do not remove the peas in the pod.

5} Place your filling in a quart size lunch bag and cut a small opening in the bottom corner, the size of a pencil. Gently squeeze the filling into the opened pea pod, and fill with about 1 teaspoon of filling per pea pod. Place on your lettuce or green and lightly dust with Paprika for added color.

6} Add your fresh Strawberries around the peas and serve when everything has been chilled. This will serve six or more if you're expecting a crowd make a double recipe and refrigerate anything leftover for the Midnight raid to the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Day to look forward 

July 4th -  Independence Day is in 12 days
July 7th - Chocolate Day is in 15 days
July 17th - National Ice Cream Day is in 25 days
July 27th - Take Your Plants for a Walk Day is in 35 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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