This week-end take your children blueberry pickin! 

I Get Around - The Beach Boys (HQ)
I Get Around - The Beach Boys (HQ)

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TurtleHead perennial flower are now in bloom!

We all enjoy the wildflowers growing on the side of the road, like the wild lupine in the spring time, the summer-flowering white daisies and Queen Ann's lace and in the fall the wild miniature flowering asters and goldenrod. Today, I want to tell you about one wildflower that you want in your garden because it is trouble free, it will grow almost anywhere and it will flower from late August into October. This very hardy perennial is called the turtlehead and it thrives from Manitoba to Newfoundland in Canada and south to Georgia and Arkansas.

The turtlehead gets its name from the flowers it makes, because they resemble the head of a turtle. The plant makes the flowers on the top of the stems and they develop as a spike flower much like the snapdragon flower. Each individual flower will grow from 1 to 1.5 inches long; it is tubular with a puffed end like the head of a turtle that will split open resembling its lips and mouth. The flowers open from the bottom of the spike and work their way up the spike slowly lasting for 6 to 8 weeks on the plant.

The flower color will range from white to pink and even shades of red. The plant will grow 2 to 3 feet tall as a single stem that develop from the base of the plant making it a wonderful cut flower for your home. The plant spreads with underground roots creating a thick clump of foliage and flowers in the late summer. Purchase the plants in pots from spring to fall and give them room to grow, as they will spread to 3 to 4 feet wide in just 3 to 4 years.

The foliage is deep green and the leaf is oval in shape, 2 to 3 inches long with tiny teeth along its edge. The foliage is also shiny and very clean looking compared to most perennials in our garden. The plant will grow very thick once established in your garden and this foliage is rarely troubled with insect and disease problems. The stems are very stiff and strong growing and seldom fall over with stormy weather; no maintenance needed to hold plants up like so many other tall growing perennials.

If you want to propagate the plant it is best to divide the plant in the spring time. Use a garden trowel or spade and split the plant into small clumps when the plant grows to 3 to 6 inches tall during May. These clumps will still flower for you in the late summer if you care for them during the growing season.

Turtleheads will grow in full sun to full shade garden, a bit taller in the shade. They love a rich soil and the better you prepare the soil the larger the plant will grow and produce more flowers for you. Condition the soil with compost, animal manure or peat moss and be sure to work it deep into the ground to stimulate a strong root system. If your soil is on the sandy side, be sure to add Soil Moist Granules as these plants love moisture, clay type soils and will even thrive in wet soils. Soil acidity is not a concern for this plant either.

This is the perfect plant for a garden in the shade and where water is a problem, as it grows wild near streams and river banks. If you have land where skunk cabbage and ferns are the only plants that grow, this is your plant to change the look of that area, but it will also grow in the average garden. It will soak up a lot of water in the ground, helping to change the character of your yard when planted as a wild flower. The foliage and flowers will add a lot of character to a wild fern growing area on your property.

Turtleheads love water, so remember that if the summer weather gets to be hot and dry, you will have to water them regularly--especially the first year you plant them in your garden--to encourage flower production in the fall. Fertilize in the spring only to help it get started properly and the plant will take care of itself the rest of the year without much care. Once the plants are established they are almost self-sufficient.

Plant turtlehead perennials this summer in your perennial garden for late summer to fall color. The plant will look great when planted along the edge of tall trees or along a wooded area. If you live near the ocean, a lake or beside a river edge, this is a wonderful plant because it will tolerate rough weather where wind is a problem. Turtlehead will tolerate winter temperatures to minus 30 degrees below zero without any type of winter protection. You can also plant turtlehead near drainage ditches, along the side of the road or in front of cattails as a border planting for summer color in places where it is difficult to grow flowers.

In the fall collect the seed pods from the plant once they turn brown and break them open so you can scatter the seeds in a meadow to add to the wildflowers already growing there now. Seedlings will flower the second year they are planted. The pink flowering types of turtleheads will flower the longest time in your garden or in the wild.

You can also plant the turtlehead as a ground cover to prevent soil erosion or on a steep slope where mowing could become a problem. This is just a nice plant for your garden with many uses, so get out this weekend and plant some. Enjoy.
Beach Boys
Beach Boys "Little Deuce Coupe"

Globe Thistle hardy summer flowering perennial

One of my favorite summer flowering perennials is the globe thistle. The flowers are steel-blue, a color rare to find in the garden during the summer. The globe thistle flower is in the shape of a blue ball one to two inches across and covered with hard-pointed flower buds silvery-green in color that open to reveal a deep blue flower. The flower is bristly--you would be wise to wear gloves to pick it for an arrangement for the kitchen table. As a cut flower, it will last for several weeks and in the garden for a month or two.

The foliage looks like a dandelion growing in a rosette around a central stem. The leaf is silvery-green, deeply cut with many indentations that are pointed. Some of these points are very sharp, so you will not have to worry that the kids next door will steal the flower from your garden for their mother.

The plant will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and produces many side branches that contain 3 to 5 flowers on each stem. When the flower go by, remove them and new stems will develop on the plant with more flowers. Globe thistles will bloom for several weeks, especially if the weather is hot and dry.

The plants almost look like weeds growing in your garden at first and like most of the plants growing wild on the side of the road. Once you plant it in the garden, it will not be mistaken as weed again, because of the unique foliage. The plants are tough and requires little care once established in your garden. They also require little to no fertilizer in your garden--if you feed too often, the plant will grow tall and flop over easily.

Feed them in the spring with compost and keep liquid fertilizer away from them. Plants are drought tolerant and the thick stems will hold the flower up without staking, even in seaside gardens exposed to wind and weather.

Plant globe thistles in a garden with plenty of sun, in a soil that is well-drained and not too fertile. Clay-type soil will rot the root system, especially in the springtime or during the winter. The root of the plant is a taproot that will grow well over a foot deep and because of this, they do not transplant easily. It is best not to try to divide or move them; if you like them, buy a new plant from your garden center.

Potted plants can be planted in your garden at any time of the year but you must water weekly until the plants have established their permanent roots. Try to keep the foliage of the plant dry when you water, as fungus disease can be a problem during a hot and humid summer. Keep plants away from flowerbeds that have sprinkler systems installed in them, because globe thistle really likes a dry soil to grow.

If you have a flower bed that is in full sun, hot, dry and nothing seems to grow there, than the globe thistle will thrive there. In rock gardens, near stone walls or groupings of large stones, this plant will do very well as it will tolerate the heat that the stone brings into the soil.

The globe thistle is unique and you will always remember this plant for blue flowers that form during the heat of summer. Butterflies love the flowers when they first open. In the fall, small birds like finches and chickadees will go crazy for the seed in the flower head.

You can cut the flowers when they are in full bloom and hang them from the rafters in your garage to dry. As a dried cut flower, they are wonderful and so is the foliage on the stem, as it also dries well--so do not remove the foliage when drying the plant.
Beach Boys - 409.wmv
Beach Boys - 409.wmv
Helens flower is great summer cut flower

My favorite tall-growing perennial daisy flower that blooms during the summer and well into the fall is the Helenium family. These plants are beautiful and treasured by gardeners for the daisy-like flowers they produce all summer long in such large numbers on the plant. The Helenium family is named after Helen of Troy, for her beauty. Helen of Troy never saw these plants, as they are native to North and Central America, but she would have loved them if she had seen them.

This family of plants has flowers with many colors from rich mahogany, burnt-orange, orange-yellow, gold, yellow and red. The flower head is a ring of long and narrow petals around a raised button-like cone covered with colorful flower florets. The flower stays small--about one to two inches across--but the number of flowers each plant produces is what the plant is known for. As the flower fades, the cone will fill with small seeds that will attract small finches and chickadees to your garden. The first flowers open during June and last well into the fall season. Because this family of plants has so many members, you will find early, mid-season and late flowering types--but all bloom into the fall.

Plant seedlings in the spring with animal manure and compost, as plants will respond to the extra care you give them. Because the plant grows so large, I like to add Soil Moist water retention granules when planting. This will help retain water around the plant when the weather gets dry. The better the soil, the larger the plants will grow and the more flowers the plant will make. The garden soil should be well drained and free of clay.

During the summer, keep the plants well watered--especially if the weather gets hot and dry--or plants will grow smaller. Plants will tolerate a moist to wet soil, as long as they do not sit in standing water for long times.

In the spring, add a bit of compost as a mulch cover around the plant for a bit of extra energy and help keep the roots cool. Fertilize the plants in the spring with a fertilizer that contains mycorrhizae microbes in it, as this will help generate a strong root system and increase the number of flower buds. Be sure to work it into the soil well around the plants; do not just sprinkle it on top of the soil or the microbes will not work as well.

The foliage is dark green, oval with a point on the tip of the leaf and has small teeth around the edge of the leaf like a saw. Some varieties will have hairy leaves also. The stems are strong and some of the varieties have a unique characteristic that resembles a wing growing on the stem--very similar to the burning bush shrub.

In the spring, when the plant reaches 15 to 24 inches tall, cut back the plant by about 3 to 4 inches and the plant will double the amount of branches it will make --that means double the flowers. The helenium plants will grow 3 to 5 feet tall before they begin to develop flower buds and spread 2 to 3 feet wide, so give them room to grow in your garden. In a windy area, you may have to stake the plants if not protected from strong winds.

In some parts of the U.S., the plant is also called sneezeweed--but it will not make you sneeze. Unfortunately for the plant, it is in bloom when most allergy plants, like ragweed, are in bloom. If you have delicate skin, this plant may cause an allergic skin reaction on some people. Like many other plants in your garden, it is poisonous if eaten, so keep it out of your salad. Butterflies, bees and other pollinators love the flowers and are constantly in your garden, so it might be a good perennial flower to plant near a vegetable garden to help draw the bees to it.
"Some people grumble that roses have thorns; i am grateful that thorns have roses."
Alphonse Karr

                                                  Summer Pickling Cucumber Soup                                         

I love cold soups during the Summer months and here is my favorite. This chilled soup will make a great starter for those warm nights when you do not want to heat up the house any more than it is already. It's easy to make and ready in just 30 minutes or less, so make it in the morning and refrigerate until you serve it for supper. I always double the recipe because a cup of this soup is not enough, a bowl is better! Serves 5.

1 pound of small pickling cucumbers, peeled, sliced the long way and seeded, then cut into inch slices. They are more tasty than large cucumbers and never bitter, but you can still use large cucumbers if you pick them when they are young and still have the little barbs on them.
teaspoon of sea salt
1 cups of plain yogurt
1 green onion, coarsely
1 Garlic clove, minced
4 teaspoons snipped fresh Dill
Additional chopped fresh dill and green onions for garnish

1} In a colander set over a bowl, toss you cucumbers with the salt and let stand for 15 minutes. Squeeze and pat dry with a dish towel.

2} Place the cucumbers, yogurt, onions and garlic in a food processor: cover and process until smooth. Stir in the chopped Dill. Serve in "CHILLED BOWLES" and garnish with additional onion and Dill. All you need now is a fresh from the garden salad, with a bit of sliced chicken, chunks of tuna or shrimp and a glass of white wine. Enjoy!

Days to look forward Too!

August 7 - Friendship Day
August 7 is also National Lighthouse Dad
 August 10 - National S'mores Day
August 19 - National Women's Day
 August 26 - National Dog Day
 August 30 - National Toasted Marshmallow Day

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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