Katie, our beautiful Granddaughter turned One on Oct 11, 2016


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Fall flowering Crocus - Colchicum
Plant now and it will bloom in three weeks in your garden 

This week I want you to call your local nursery/garden center and ask them to order for you a fall-flowering crocus called Colchicum. Some stores will have them, and you will be in luck because this crocus not only flowers in the fall but it is a "giant" bulb with giant flowers. The bulb will be as large as a tennis ball with a point on top.

When I was in college, I asked one of my teachers why we need to know the Latin names of plants. My teacher told me because most plants have different names in different countries and many nicknames, but the Latin name was the same no matter where you lived. Here is the perfect example and you will love this, so use this name on your garden friends. Colchicum's nickname in Europe is "naked-lady," because it makes its foliage in the springtime, so when in bloom no foliage is present around the flowers--hence the nickname.

This fall-flowering crocus comes up in May with a cluster of leaves that resemble those of a hyacinth plant. The foliage grows six to eight inches tall and two inches wide in a clump eight to ten inches across. The foliage of the plant is deep green and shiny, and it will last for a month or more in the garden before turning yellow to brown and falling apart. Most of us have forgotten what we planted so we wait for color and nothing forms from the clump but foliage.

In the fall they flower, beginning to push their way out of the ground two or three at a time. The flowers grow 4 to 6 inches tall and resemble a crocus--but much bigger. The flower is goblet-shaped and made up of six flower petals, truly striking to see coming up in your garden with no foliage. As the flowers start to fade, the color changes from lilac-pink or rosy-purple to pale lavender. The flower slowly falls over on the ground and another bloom develops to replace it in the clump. In time, it possible to have as many as 30 or more flowers on the ground and straight up in the clump--almost like a bouquet resting on the ground of your garden.

Plant the bulbs in a well-drained soil in a sunny location out of the wind. I like planting them near a large shrub or statuary, so I do not accidently dig them up or cut into them when planting something else in the area. Dig a large hole, 6 inches deep, and condition the soil with compost or animal manure before planting.

If your soil is sandy, be sure to put in a pinch of Soil Moist Granules to help keep the plant well watered. The bulb should have four inches of soil covering it, and the bulb should be watered well after planting. Once the roots form, the flowers will develop in a couple of weeks. I also add a couple inches of bark mulch over the bulb for extra winter protection.

If you like different flowers try this with your Colchicum bulbs this fall: place the bulb point up in a shallow dish--like a Jell-O or pudding dish--and add one inch of water to the dish. Keep the water in the dish at all times. In just two weeks, the bulb will begin to send a flower out of the top of the bulb and it will bloom in the dish for two to three weeks. When the flowers stop, plant the bulb in the garden and the roots will form in the ground quickly. Next spring foliage will form and next fall the flowers will "magically" come out of the ground.

Fertilize in the spring and again in the fall with Bulb-Tone fertilizer  or  Dr Earth's bulb food and watch the flower numbers grow. The Colchicum is very hardy bulb and will thrive in the garden from northern New England to Georgia, even where temperatures get down to -40 degrees. If you do not disturb the bulb, it will last for many years and grow larger each year.

This bulb was originally found growing on mountainsides in Turkey, so it is very strong and makes a great plant for wildflower gardens, rock gardens, naturalizing or just a unusual flower for your garden that flowers in September and October. By the way, this flower is not actually in the crocus family--it is just called a fall crocus because it looks like one; actually it is closely related to the lily family. This bulb is worth the search to find and you will love it as I do mine. Enjoy!
Rosemary Clooney - Shine On Harvest Moon
Rosemary Clooney - Shine On Harvest Moon

Giant Allium plant now for spring color!
I am sure when you read the title of this story you said to yourself, "Paul, flowering onions, are you kidding me?" No, I'm not kidding you, because when you read this I am hoping that you will plant some of the many varieties available at your local garden centers and bulb catalogs on the Internet. There are over 700 varieties available for you to choose from, but most retailers will carry only a handful, because gardeners are just getting to know about this wonderful family of spring and summer flowering bulbs. I will tell you that once you see them in flower in the garden you will be hooked.

I'm sure that many of you have seen and even planted the most popular flowering onion in the garden world and never knew it was a flowering onion. The one I am referring to is called Allium giganteum. Now think about the flower that will grow on a thick stem about the diameter of your index finger. The stem will grow 3 to 5 feet tall and will hold a round dense ball-shaped cluster flower that will open up to 8 inches in diameter. The flower cluster is made up of countless small purple star-shaped flowers. If you ever saw a chives flower, yes the herb that you cook with, it looks just like it--but much, much bigger. By the way, chives are in the Onion family, just in case you did not know.

A few of the flowering onions, like garlic, chives, leeks, and shallots, are used in your kitchen but today I want you to know about the ornamental types. Let start with where would you plant these flowering onions. Some varieties will look great when planted in groups in-between shrubs, under flowering trees like dogwoods and flowering cherries to help naturalize these planting areas. Others will look great in perennial gardens, some of the smaller growing varieties will give your rock gardens unique texture and dimension.

Some will look wonderful when planted in ground cover beds, such as English ivy, pachysandra, and even ground cover junipers to help give these garden s color, flowers, and a little height that is unexpected from these common ground covers. Now the main reason I like to plant in-between other plants is because most of the flowering onions have terrible foliage and most of the foliage dies before the flowers come into bloom--but some have great foliage also.

Not all the flowers are shaped round, some are disk-shaped, rounded umbel, oval or spherical flower clusters at the top of the stem. The tall-growing varieties make wonderful cut flowers and they will last for two weeks or more in your favorite vase. If you can change the water in the vase every few days the flower will last longer and you will not have an onion smell from the flowers.

Plant allium bulbs in the fall, at the same time as you would plant tulips and daffodils. The allium family loves a well-drained soil and it will do better if the soil is not too rich, so no need to add soil conditioners like compost or animal manure to the soil before planting unless the soil is of poor quality. The onion family does not like fresh animal manure AT ALL. Use Dr Earth Bulb food or Bulb Tone as a fertilizer to encourage good root development and not attract rodents to your planting bed. Plant your bulbs at a depth that is equal to the height of the bulb, so a 2-inch bulb will need 2 inches of soil on top of it and a 4-inch bulb will need 4 inches of soil on top of it. Water bulbs weekly until Thanksgiving to encourage a good root system and then all you have to do is wait for spring to arrive for the wonderful flowers to emerge from the garden.

Here are some great varieties to look for this fall at your local Garden Center:

Allium atropurpureum
1.5 to 2.5 feet tall, dark, wine-red star shaped flowers that start as a tight round flower and as it ages the individual flowers grow on long stem making the flower resemble a big spider with long legs.

Allium christophii
I think it is the most exquisite ornamental onion for the garden. The flowers are large spherical clusters up to 8 inches in diameter and some of the flower cluster can have up to 100 star shaped violet flowers with a metallic sheen. It looks like fireworks and grows 2 feet tall, great cut flower or let it dry in the garden and use in a dried flower arrangement.

Allium fistulosum
Looks like a coarse chive plant but it blooms with flowers that are yellow-white. It will grow 2 to 2.5 feet tall blooms during May- June and the flowers and foliage are edible. This variety has great foliage also.

Allium 'Globemaster'
A new Hybrid with flower clusters up to 10 inches in diameter. The stalks will grow up to 3 feet tall and has violet flowers. The foliage is beautiful, and has large shiny deep green leaves like straps or your belt that holds your pants up. The bulb is bit pricey but worth the money for this bulb

Allium 'Molly'
Just beautiful small flowers those are yellow and easy to grow. The flower stems will grows 10 inch tall with 2-inch flowers and the foliage that is gray- green in color. Great bulb to naturalize in a sunny or light shade area, rock gardens and under small flowering trees.

Allium 'Mairei'
reat grass-like foliage with 8-inch tall flowers. Blooming in the late summer, the flowers are loose and wide open. The flowers are pink and look more like small bells. Great for naturalizing in rock gardens and can be used as wild flowers.

Allium meapolitanum
A wonderful bulb for planting as wild flowers and grows 8 to 16 inches tall. The flower cluster is made up to 30 or more star-shaped white flowers. It is offer used in Bridal bequest and it flowers in May- June.

Allium sphaerocephalon
Often called the "drumstick" allium; the flower bud is very dense and thick. The flower stalks will grow 2 feet tall; they are great for cutting during June -July. Red to purple flowers form a green bud and you will often see the red develop on top of the flower bud and work its way down the green sides of the flower, very unusual to have bi-colored flowers on a plant.

Allium tuberosum
Flower stems grow to 2 feet tall and develop at the end of the summer. The flowers and the buds are edible, scented and white in color. These bulbs will thrive in a rich, damp soil in a sunny spot.

Try some of these bulbs this fall and you will be in for a real treat next spring or summer. Nice plants if you are looking for unusual flowers for your garden. Enjoy!!!
Leaves That Are Green
Leaves That Are Green
Imperial Fritillaria one of the many varieties to choose from

In the past, I have told you about the Giant Fritillaria called the 'Crown Imperials,' and they are wonderful and magnificent to look at--but today let talk about the miniatures because they are perfect for naturalizing. These spring flowering bulbs grow naturally all over Europe as a wildflower. They begin to flower when the guinea hens return to wet pastures and open fields, to start the mating process and lay their eggs in the springtime. The closed flower buds are the size and shape of the guinea hen's eggs, hence the name "guinea hen's flowers."

The guinea hen's flowers are the most popular and most well-known spring flowering bulb all over Europe. In America, their popularity is growing quickly and once gardeners see them in a friend's garden they must have them in their garden too. If you can find the right spot in your garden and the plant is happy it will quickly and easily naturalize itself, spreading beautiful flowers all over your garden for many years to come.

They love a shady spot in the garden, and a moist soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained. When you plant Fritillaria in your garden, be sure to add a bit of compost, peat moss, or animal manure to condition the soil properly--do it right, and it will pay off in the long run. If your soil is sandy, conditioning the soil is a must. If your soil has clay in it, and stays wet during the winter and early spring, plant something else because the bulbs will rot in the wet soils.

When the flowers open they resemble small lanterns or inverted cups. In parts of Europe they are also called frog-cups or Lazarus bells, but to make it easy, call them Fritillaria hybrids. The foliage looks a bit like the foliage of tulips but smaller in size and a nice deep green color. Depending on the variety you select these hybrids will grow from 8 to 18 inches tall and the flowers will stay in bloom for many weeks, March to May.

I also want to tell you that the variety name (meleagris) means "a spotted coat of feathers " like that of the guinea hen. Many of the flowers have very unusual markings that resemble a checker board--no other flower family looks like this. The flower colors range from white, through purple, green, red, yellow, violet, mahogany, and many bi-colors.

Plant the bulbs as soon as you receive them, as they will dry out if kept in storage for a long time. Always dig your hole three times as deep as the bulb is tall, so the bulb has twice as much soil on top of it to grow in. Example: if your bulb is 2 inches tall, dig your hole 6 inches deep so twice as much soil covers the bulb. I suggest that you use Bulb Tone as a fertilizer when planting to help the roots develop more quickly. When the flowers fade in late May, feed them again with Neptune's Harvest fertilizer to help the bulbs divide underground and make more flowers for you next year.

Stay away from bone meal as it will encourage rodents to dig them up. They will not eat the bulb but they will dig them up because of the smell of the bone meal. Plant your guinea hen flower bulbs in groups of 5 or more per hole, spacing them 3 to 4 inches apart between bulbs for the best show of color when spring arrives.

The Fritillarias will make noticeable seed pods, green and filled with seed. Do not cut the seed pods from the plant; allow them to ripen, and once the pods turn brown, they will crack open and drop the seed around the existing plant. In 2 to 3 years these seeds will have grown into bulbs and your clump will become larger, producing more flowers for you. These wonderful bulbs will do very well in perennial gardens, rock gardens, in shrub beds in-between shrubs and also under small trees like dogwoods and flowering crabs. If you have a garden on a sloping hillside, plant them near the top and watch them spread down the hill in the years to come.

Here are some great varieties to look for at your local garden center or on the internet.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Checkerboard': with wonderful soft purple and white squares on the flowers. They grow 8 to 10 inches tall with flowers 1 to 2 inches tall and wide. This is the number one seller.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Alba': a wonderful white version on the checkerboard also growing 8 inches tall. The flowers have no markings and they look wonderful planted in a clump of just white or mixed with the checkerboard variety for great color contrast.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Artemis': Purple and green markings on the flower make it look almost grayish, and it almost glows. Taller growing 12 to 18 inches flower stems.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Aphrodite': This bulb will make larger white flowers that will grow 8 to 16 inches tall. Look for the unusual green markings inside and outside on the flower.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Jupiter': This bulb has the largest flowers. The checkerboard markings are deep red and white and the plants grow 8 to 1`0 inches tall, Very eye-catching.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Mars': wonderful large dark purple flowers that are solid with no markings and grow 8 to 14 inches tall.

Fritillaria Meleagris 'Pink Eveline': A new hybrid with light pink flowers that will change color to white and grayish pink. They have wonderful checkerboard markings on the outside of the flower and grow 18 to 24 inches tall.

Fritillaria michailovskyi: A newly discovered variety found in Turkey in 1983. It will grow 8 inches tall with flowers that are very attractive and unique. The flowers are solid red-purple with a yellow lower edge and a yellow inside as well. The flower looks like a lily-of-the-valley bloom.

Fritillaria persica: a large flower variety from Turkey that can grow up to 5 feet tall! The flower is spike-like in appearance, almost resembling a Delphinium with bell-like flowers that are dark purple, almost black, hanging bells. This flowering bulb is very different looking from the other varieties of Fritillaria and it makes a great cut flower also.

Try this family of bulbs this fall for unique flowers next spring. Tulips and daffodils are nice but your garden will be the one your gardening friends will be talking about.

Ever since we took a trip to France and discovered fritillaria it has been my wife's favorite spring flowering bulb because they look like an upside down tulips. Enjoy!
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them "

John F Kennedy
      Sautéed Peaches over Ice-cream with Peanut Brittle topping

With the Peach season coming to an end and a real shortage of peaches this year due to a spring frost that destroyed 80% of the flowers on the tree all over the Northeast from Maine to Pennsylvania, try this recipe. Your family will never think of Peaches the same way they did again and so will you.


2 Large ripe peaches with a bit of give to them not hard, cut into wedges, not peeled
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 cup of peanut brittle broken up into small pieces and some crushed
4 large scoops of Vanilla ice-cream


1}Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add your Peach slices and sprinkle with brown sugar. Stir gently and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the peaches are hot and the peaches begin to soften.

2}Take 4 soup bowls and place a large scoop of vanilla Ice cream in the center. Divide the peaches and place on top over Ice cream. Sprinkle the crushed peanut brittle and add the small pieces on top. Serves 4 Enjoy!

Days to look forward

Saturday, October 22 - Make a Difference Day
Sunday, October 30 -  National Candy Corn Day 
Monday, October 31 -  Halloween

Click here on picture and it will take you to our national park's trip!
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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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