Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Tulips

Do you plant the potted bulbs you get for Easter?

All the tulips in the photo above were Easter gifts.

This year I received a lovely pot of purple tulips. When they began to fade, I cut off what remained of the blooms.
Dug a hole behind the existing Easter tulips.
Cut and teased the roots.

Put the entire pot full in the hole and refilled it with the soil and watered in.

They may not bloom next year but I hope they will do as well as the other Easter tulips in a few years.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


(Sanguinaria canadensis L.)

I completely missed the Bloodroot’s ephemeral bloom last year.

As I worked on garden cleanup on April 8, I spotted the buds among the leaves of another woodland plant.

It was in full flower on April 10.

By April 11 it had almost finished blooming.

The single leaved plants and seedpods (left in photo) are all that remained on April 23.

I hope I remember to look for this fleeting little beauty at the beginning of April next year.

Bloodroot is a native, spring wildflower that grows to be 10” tall, prefers rich, moist soil and grows best in shade. The roots are a reddish orange ribosome and give the plant it’s name.

The root was used by the American Indians for treatment of rheumatism and fever and today is being studied as a treatment for skin cancer. Its use in mouthwash and toothpaste to fight gingivitis and plaque has been approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the FDA, self-medication should be avoided because it could be toxic. It was also a source of red, pink and orange dyes by the American Indians.

(For more wildflowers see Clay & Limestone's "Wildflower Wednesday.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rodale Institute Volunteers

Would you like to work in a cutting-edge garden?

Rodale Institute is offering volunteer opportunities at the gardens and farm in Kutztown, PA.

Recognized for work in organic farming, global warming and nutrition research, Rodale offers workshops, courses, festivals and plant sales. It is well-known throughout the world advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.

According to Megan L. Kintzer, Director of Development, “We host volunteers on our farm place every Thursday starting at 9:00 am and lasting until the early afternoon. We meet at the Rodale Institute Visitors Center and Store - here is a link for directions:

“We have jobs for everyone, including:

- Feeding our new batch of chickens

- Getting your hands dirty in our gardens and greenhouse

- "Inside jobs" like stuffing mailings or assembling press kits

- Harvesting delicious fruits and veggies”

“Because our volunteer needs vary each week, it is always be a new adventure, but on Volunteer Days our staff members are on hand to work with our volunteers and provide the best learning experience possible.”

To volunteer contact Megan by email or by phone (610) 683-1443

What and exciting place to volunteer!

(I will be away until next week – sort of spring break. I hope you have a lovely holiday. )

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pre-emergent Herbicides

Control of annual grass weeds, like crabgrass, in the lawn is difficult. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent the seeds from germinating. Timing is important. Pre-emergent herbicides are used when the soil temperature is between 59 F and 65 F - or as the forsythia flowers begin to fade - which is just about now in the Lehigh Valley. Chemical pre-emergents provide a chemical barrier in the soil that prevents seed germination. There is a long list of products both with and without fertilizer. Organic corn gluten meal inhibits root development during seed germination, at least partially by desiccating the soil and reducing water uptake. Since pre-emergent applications do not discriminate among seeds, over-seeding the lawn can be done in fall. Whether you use chemical or organic pre-emergent treatment read the label carefully and follow directions. Information on “Chemical Weed Control” from Penn State Center for Turf Grass Science Corn meal gluten information from Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor,Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Late Spring

Not late spring as in - the end of May.

Late spring as in - late.

It seems to be taking forever to be spring this year.

Low temperatures, dipping to the 30’s at night, have slowed spring (and this gardener) considerably. I compared plants this year with some pictures from April 4, 2010.

Lilac 2011 – barely showing any color in tiny buds.

Lilac 2010 – opening nicely.

Hyacinths 2011 – struggle against the cold.

Hyacinths 2010 – in fragrant glory

Brunnera (Forget-me-not) 2011 – plants just visible.

Brunera 2010 – starting their blue profusion.

The forecast for the next week is considerably warmer. That should rock me out of my cold-induced stupor.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Lenten Rose Seedlings

Helleborus ‘Royal Heritage’™

In 2002 I planted 2 ‘Royal Heritage’ Hellebores – one on each side of the path. They were in bloom when I bought them. The colors are slightly different. They have grown well.

The Hellebore on the east side of the path is surrounded by hundreds of seedlings. Two are mature enough to bloom.

The Hellebore on the west side of the path (about 3 feet away) does not have any seedlings.

The no seedling site may get slightly less light and water. The soil may be slightly more acidic. It’s hard to measure a difference in microclimate.


Saturday, April 02, 2011


Chionodoxa forbesii

This happy little flower always makes me smile. The blue stars seem to sparkle as the gardening season begins.


In 1999, I planted 30 Glory-of-the-Snow bulbs on top of some tulip bulbs.


The tulip bulbs were planted 6 to 8 inches deep. I filled the planting hole with soil up to 3 inches from the top, added the Glory-of-the-Snow bulbs then added the rest of the soil on top. Over the years, the tiny bulbs have multiplied. They also moved around the front garden with transplants and new plants.


After blooming, the leaves fade away and the bulb goes dormant for the summer – to burst into blue abundance next spring.

I wish I had a hundred more.