Friday, April 15, 2016

Cherry Blossom Festivals: Reminders of Friendship Between Two Nations

A reader was kind enough to send a link to this web site celebrating spring cherry blossom festivals and the friendship between Japan and the U.S. which they signify.

The Gift of Cherry Blossoms: Honoring the Friendship of Two Nations.

An interactive map will help you find a cherry blossom festival near you.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How should I take care of bare root plants until I plant them?

Hedera helix - bare root

 If I buy bare root plants from you, how should I take care of them until I plant them? How soon must they be planted?

You will receive your bare root plants from us in bundles wrapped with moist packing medium. When you receive your package, open it. Set the bundles upright in the box. Retain moist packing material around the roots. Avoid exposing the plants to sun, wind and freezing temperatures. Do not let the roots dry.

If you can’t get around to planting very soon, place the bundles upright in moist potting soil. Cover the roots with soil. Water well. Keep the roots moist until planting time. Plant sooner than later. Never let the roots dry.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Must-Have Plants: Sedum x 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum x 'Autumn Joy'

Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Sedum x 'Autumn Joy' or 'Herbstfreude', Hylotelephium telephium 'Autumn Joy', Showy Stonecrop.

Flower Color: Pink to copper.

Bloom Time: Summer to fall.

Foliage: Herbaceous, succulent.

Height/Spread: 15 inches to 24 inches x 24 inches.

Climate Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Sun Exposure: Full sun.

Soil Condition: Well-drained to dry, average to poor, pH 6.1 to 7.5

Features: Drought tolerant, deer resistant, low maintenance, attracts butterflies.

Uses: Xeriscaping, rock gardens, container gardens, ground cover, borders, butterfly gardens.

Comments:  Sedum x 'Autumn Joy', (aka 'Herbstfreude') also known as Hylotelephium telephium and Showy Stonecrop produces large clusters of pink blooms in summer which turn to coppery red in fall. Even when cold weather comes, the plant is beautiful, resembling a dried flower arrangement. Upright stems persist well with age. Mature height is 15 inches to 24 inches, spreading to 24 inches.

'Autumn Joy' thrives in full sun in USDA climate zones 3 to 9, tolerating a wide variety of soil types with pH ranging from 6.1 to 7.5. Space 18 inches to 24 inches apart. Sedum is great for perennial borders, rock gardens, container gardens, ground cover and butterfly gardens.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How many bugs can a purple martin eat? I want to get rid of mosquitoes.

How many bugs can a purple martin eat? I want to get rid of mosquitoes. 

I don’t know. Purple Martins are known to have insatiable, indiscriminate appetites for flying insects such as honeybees, mosquitoes, moths, flies, etc.  However, like the rest of us, some grow older, lose their appetites, and don’t fly so fast.

If you fear mosquitoes, I suggest you rid your home and garden of places where mosquito larvae can thrive. Are you catching rain water in buckets or barrels for irrigation? That sounds like a good idea, but mosquito larvae can thrive there. Stop collecting water, or treat the water with organic larvicide.

Don’t expect Purple Martins to rid your landscape of mosquitoes, but make homes for them, anyway. You’ll have lots of pleasure caring for them, watching their aerial acrobatics, and knowing they are doing good.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

National Garden Bureau Announces 2016: The Year of the Delphinium

Each year the National Garden Bureau selects one annual, one perennial, one bulb crop and one edible as their "Year of the" crops. Each is chosen because they are popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile. The National Garden Bureau announces 2016 as The Year of the Delphinium.

"Delphinium is a perennial favorite as the tall spikes of blue flowers in the background of a stately English or cottage garden.  The modern delphinium flower may be a single or double rosette in popular blue or red, pink, white, violet and yellow.  Many of the flowers have white or black centers known as 'bees.'

"Delphinium, a native throughout the Northern Hemisphere includes about 300 species in the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) Family.  The name 'delphinium' originated with the ancient Greeks who thought the shape of the new flower bud with spur resembled that of a dolphin’s nose.  Delphinium is often called by the common name 'larkspur' which is shared between the perennial Delphinium and the annual Consolida species.

"Homeowners can begin their delphiniums from seed or as a plant from a garden retailer. They are very easy to grow in the northern climates with very little maintenance. As a perennial, they tolerate cool northern climates and overwinter with ease as a hardy perennial in Zone 4. Some misunderstanding about non-hardiness actually comes from hot and humid climates, which the plants cannot tolerate for long periods of time. Delphiniums act more like annuals in the southern climates.
"After the first flush of flowers, plants can be cut back and a second set of flowers will appear on shorter stems. Mulching is not recommended, because it can cause stem rot. After heavy frost, late-fall early-winter plants need to be cut back and cleaned up. Winter protection is not necessary, but plants can be covered with hay or leaves to protect the crowns. This protection needs to be removed very early in spring to maintain a healthy Delphinium in the garden. In natural snow-covered areas, no extra protection is needed.
Learn more about Delphiniums from the National Garden Bureau.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

The 81st Annual Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens

The 81st Annual Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens is just around the corner, running from Thursday, 31 March through Sunday, 3 April, 2016. “The Tour” is presented by The Women of Christ Church Anglican and the Historic Savannah Foundation in cooperation with Ardsley Park-Chatham Crescent Garden Club to benefit select charities.

You will enjoy “rare opportunities to enter some of Savannah’s finest private homes and experience the architecture, furnishing and collections that have been treasured by families for generations…but
seldom seen by the public. These properties have been meticulously restored, preserving the character of the space yet allowing for the enjoyment of modern amenities. Several incorporate more current design trends.”

Each day of “The Tour” features a different section of Savannah’s Historic Landmark District. Similarly, visitors can choose from wonderful seminars and events. Seminars include “Interior Design, Southern Style”, “Secrets of Preserving a City” and “Antique Furniture 101: The Basics”. Special events include a Welcome Reception, “Lafayette Fete” at the Isaiah Davenport House, Compline – Saying Good Night to God (Gregorian Chant by Candlelight) at Christ Church Anglican, a Tour of Bonaventure Cemetery – Savannah’s famous cemetary, and trolley tours of Savannah.

Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA

Now is the time to purchase early-bird tickets. Order online at

Note: Homes pictured may not be included in the tour.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum

Dr. Fay Hyland at the Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation

Trying to find a parking place to visit The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum - aka Fay Hyland Botanical Garden - on the campus of the University of Maine, Orono, is difficult. Trying to learn about the man is more so.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign! You’d think that after yesterday’s hippies gained control of universities, signs would have practically disappeared. Nope. There are more restrictions than ever.

I parked behind a fraternity house nearby. It was late morning. There was no apparent activity. I supposed the brothers were very studious and in class. I hoped my car wouldn’t be towed.

To learn something about the namesake, Fay Hyland, I had to search deeply. One would think that more information about him would be readily available in the online university web site. Not so. Perhaps Dr. Hyland seems irrelevant now.

According to, Fay Hyland was born March 10, 1900 in Portland, Michigan, the son of Mr. Charles Hyland and Lovinia Florence Crowell Hyland. Two of Charles and Lovinia’s children died in infancy. Lovinia was a Gold Star Mother, having also lost a child in war.

“Fay graduated from Portland High School, Portland, MI, and continued his education at Michigan State University, where he obtained his B.S. He continued his education at the University of Maine, obtaining his M.S. degree. Mr. Hyland did graduate work at Harvard University.

“During his career, he also participated in advance programs of the Brookhaven National Atomic Energy Laboratory, Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts. He also authored many scientific publications.

“Fay initiated and developed the Botanical Plantation of the University of Maine. He taught there for 50 years, from 1926 until his retirement in 1965. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Maine in 1965. Dr. Hyland died in 1984.”

Stillwater River, Orono, ME
The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum was established in 1934. It’s located along the Stillwater River - a side channel of the Penobscot - affording beautiful views upstream and down.  Many of the trees are tagged for identification. Undeveloped paths and remnants of old drives allow visitors to walk through the collection. The 1.8 mile Stillwater River Trail on the opposite bank follows an old rail line constructed in the 1860s which transported wood products to nearby Bangor and coal to the university. A few relics remain.

Whether one is interested in silviculture, botany, the environment, the man, local history, or a nice place to stroll outdoors, The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum is a great place to walk among tall trees.

Follow me to see what grows there.

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