September 12, 2007
Bricks And Stones...
Well, the weather we have so
patiently been waiting for has finally arrived. Yeah! Cool brisk
mornings and warm afternoons. Perfect fall weather for planting
and other projects. We are in the
midst of having our back patio re-worked. We have brought in 17
tons of Pennsylvania bluestone to mix in with the brick that is
already in place. The brick is great but
considering the very large size of the patio we felt
compelled to incorporate another
material. So, after having installed
the bluestone path on the South side of the house we liked it so
much that we decided to use it in the backyard too. It is coming
(photos) and as each day goes by and more is
accomplished you can really tell that things are going to look
great. Hats off once again to Cole Welch and his crew from
Tectonic. They have been great.
Very professional and efficient. A nice combination.
I have received
many emails expressing thanks for the pictures of my pots with
wilted flowers in them. I think that there were several of
you out there who could so relate! At
some point giving up on annuals is OK. They last for an entire
summer, make it through the unbearable temperatures of August
and then you tire of them. I never regret having spent money on
them. But I am a real four-season
gardener and it is now time to move on to fall plants.
I love this weather
but my nose does not. I suffer from severe allergies, ragweed in
particular and the count is presently sky-high.
A small price to pay to be outside.
Totally Tulips (Part 2)
One of the best ways to keep your spring garden flowering is
by planting tulip bulbs that bloom at different times.
Last week we recommended some tulip varieties that would
bloom toward the early part of spring. This week we focus on
those that will bloom after the early bloomers but just before
the late bloomers. Careful planning will pay off next spring
with a continuously blooming tulip garden.
Darwin Hybrid Tulips are highly prized for their large,
brilliant flowers. Flowers are available in shades of red,
pink, orange, and yellow. Blooms are borne on strong stems
which are up to 30 inches tall. Darwin hybrid tulips often
bloom well for several years, making them one of the better
Triumph Tulips produce cup-shaped flowers on strong,
medium-length stems. Average plant height is 10 to 16 inches.
This is the largest class of tulips and offers the widest range
of flower colors. Triumph tulips are excellent for forcing.
Parrot Tulips have deeply feathered, curled, or twisted
petals. Flowers may be single or multi-colored. Many
varieties have a green spot at the base of their petals.
Parrot tulips are sensitive to poor weather and should be
planted in a protected spot.
the late bloomers...
Mulch Ado About Trees...
Fall is a great time to plant a tree. Keeping it alive is an
all-season affair. Mulching is so important for new trees but
it's not as simple as dumping a bag of wood chips at the base of
a tree. Here are some tips to help you
avoid the most common mistakes:
pile mulch around the trunk. This keeps the trunk wet, which
can allow diseases and insects to invade. Keep the mulch at
least 6 inches from the trunk.
put on too little or too much. A 1-inch-deep layer doesn't do
the job. A settled depth of 3 to 5 inches gives you the full
benefits of mulch, including good weed control. Mulch depths
of a foot or two are excessive and may smother roots.
apply sour-smelling mulch. If it smells like a litter box it's
probably been stored on a waterlogged site. The ammonia that
builds in this situation can harm your tree. Sour mulch is a
rare occurrence, but your nose will give you a clear warning of
use freshly chipped chips. While the chance of disease
transmission is small it's easy to go zero-risk by aging
chips for six weeks or more before using them around your
In case you haven't noticed, mosquitoes
continue to be present in large numbers and will continue to pose
a threat right up until our first hard frost. Limiting their
breeding area is one of the most effective ways to keep their
numbers in check. Mosquitoes can breed in very small
amounts of standing water, sometimes even in water collected on a
plastic bag or under a small saucer under a plant. Change water
in birdbaths and pets water dishes regularly - at least twice a
Fall is here and that means we're planting perennials at our
house. By planting perennials now Savvygardeners will benefit
from the plant establishing a strong root structure during the
autumn months. This in turn leads to a bigger, healthier plant
are generally sold in pots or bare-root. Here are the steps to
follow when planting a bare root perennial:
the plant from its package, and carefully remove all loose
packing material (peat moss and sawdust are commonly used).
- Soak the
roots in a bucket of water for 5 to 10 minutes.
the root system, and trim away any rotted, moldy, broken or
elongated roots with a sharp knife or your pruning shears.
- Dig a
hole deep and wide enough to allow the roots to fan out from
the crown at about 45° angle. It sometimes helps to make a
cone-shaped mound of soil in the bottom of the hole and spread
the roots around it. Remember, the crown of most perennials
should be roughly level with the surrounding ground.
the roots with soil and press down firmly. Make sure all the
roots — especially those under the crown are in contact with
the plant well and add a layer of mulch.
Last week we told readers when to pick apples. This week
we'll share with you how long you can store them. Not
surprisingly some cultivars can be stored longer than others.
Some can be stored for as long as eight months and still be
tasty and crispy. The approximate length of time of those
that keep well under refrigerated conditions follows:
For best results:
only the best quality
Pick as they are first maturing
Avoid skin breaks, disease or insect
damage, and bruises on individual fruit.
Store in a plastic bag to help retain
moisture in the apples. The bag should have a few small
holes for air exchange. The bags of apples may be stored in
boxes to prevent bruising if they must be stacked or moved
from time to time.
Refrigerate at about 35º F.
Sort about every 30 to 40 days to remove
fruit that may be beginning to rot.
We got lots of great comments on the two
hummingbirds that have made our front porch their new hangout.
For those of you looking for plants that are likely to attract
hummingbirds consider these:
A Dandy Time to Stop
So, all summer long you've been battling a few (or a few
dozen) dandelions for control of your lawn. Well, they say the
best way to control dandelions and other broad-leaf weeds is by
maintaining a lush, healthy turf. But you've still got to knock
out those pesky weeds that just won't go away and fall is a great
time to do it. Options are many but generally the most effective
controls result with a liquid broadleaf weed herbicide sprayed
under these conditions:
moisture is plentiful (never in drought).
temperatures are between 60°
F (never above 80°
speeds are below 5 mph.
will not receive moisture through rain or irrigation for at
least 24 hours.
will not be mowed for several days before or after the
person doing the applying reads and follows herbicide label
weeds are actively growing.
"Show me your garden
and I shall tell you what you are."