Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Formosan Termites

This morning I got one of those e-mails from a friend proclaiming that the world was ending and our houses would soon be destroyed by Formosan Termites that are being shipped all over the USA in wood mulch. It appears there is a major infestation in the south, particularly New Orleans. We all know they are busily chipping up all the downed (and drowned) trees and it is being purchased by companies that make mulch out of it, and sell this product all over. Now, if it's full of termites that are ready to gobble up your house, you'd better be aware of it and be VERY afraid!
Anyway, I didn't know if this was true, or just another internet panic story. So I googled it, and by goodness...there it is! A HUGE problem in New Orleans and other southern states. The Extension Services are cautioning folks about purchasing it and to avoid cheap mulch that may be coming from Lousiana.
My question about all of this is whether Formosan Termites can survive our New England winters? I will continue to research this topic. If you know anything about it, let me know!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Our eldest son is getting married this weekend, so we're off to party!
In case you're curious, the roof is patched in bright blue. The repair work will begin next month and we hope all the other trees stay put!
Be back soon...

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Do you believe this? This is what we spent yesterday resolving! We had a dreadful wind storm here in Northern New Hampshire!
I had just decided to go to the grocery store and was checking my list when I realized the wind was really blowing HARD! I went to the door you see under the tree and looked out just in time to see it begin to fall...right toward ME! I ran to the back of the house shrieking all the way that a tree was falling. By time I got to the room my husband was in, the tree hit. It was a HUGE sound and it shook the house (and us) to our roots!
I knew it had come into the house because when I went into the living room I could smell pine. There it was, over the stairs, three holes with branches plugging them. No leaks, no drafts...just corks made up of branches.
Needless to say, the insurance company was called; our friend with some HUGE construction equipment was contacted and I did a lot of "hand wringing". Anyway by the end of the day the tree had been dragged into the woods and we had a LOT more space for lawn. The only good thing about this is that all of a sudden I have a lot more light in the garden!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


It's that time of year when potential new Master Gardeners begin to think about signing up for the program. If this is something you have thought about, now is the time. Let me give you the links for each of the New England University Extension Services. If you're interested, go to the web-site find an answer to any question you might have about the program!
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained", as the saying goes! Why not give it a whirl?

Here they are!

University of Connecticut Master Gardener Web-site
University of Maine Master Gardener Web-site
University of Massachusetts Master Gardener Web-site
University of New Hampshire Master Gardener web-site
University of Rhode Island Master Gardener Web-site
University of Vermont Master Gardener Web-site

Sunday, February 12, 2006


The rest of New England is being HAMMERED by a snowstorm, while we, up here in Northern New Hampshire are looking at grass and forest floor. What gives?
The birds are keeping me cheered up though. This weekend is when New Hampshire does it's Backyard Bird Count. I've been busy trying to count Red Polls. There is a whole flock of about 20 or 30 that refuse to sit still long enough to be counted!
Then yesterday I received an e-mail from my fellow Master Gardener, Laura Richardson. She wrote this wonderful piece about a Blue Jay that was unfortunate enough to fly into one of her windows. It is both a sad and unusual story about death and wild-life. She calls it "Crashing the Blue Jay's Wake." Go there and see what you think!

Friday, February 10, 2006


It snowed again last night. Hurray!
I'm glad because the lack of snow means that the frost levels sink to VERY low depths in the garden, and of course, everywhere else. That will NOT be good for ANY of the plants. This is when roots get heaved, blubs freeze and the garden in general is abused by winter. So, SNOW on! Get DEEP! Be a blanket for the garden.
Actually, that works for pipes as well. This is when pipes freeze and burst. Definitely NOT a good thing for us here in the North Country!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I've had a little "back and forth" with fellow Blogger, the Urban-Agrarian. I had given her a suggestion about using an Espalier for some fruit trees she wanted to plant. Her space was pretty limited. She has since written a piece at her web-site about that process, including a photograph. If you're interested in reading and seeing something about Espalier, try going to that link, above.
I also have an article on Espalier from Ohio State University Extension.
There is a lot of information there so read, enjoy and learn!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Last night I went to a New Hampshire Master Gardener's meeting. The program was very good. There was a talk, with slides on "Landscape Plants with Winter Interest" given by the Horticulturist at Plymouth State University, Steve Sweedler. He has some photo's on line if you'd like to see them.
Some of the specimens that really caught my eye were: Aronia arbutifolia "Brillianitissima or "Brilliant Red Chokeberry". It has bright red foliage in the fall that easily competes with Burning Bush. It is nice to have an alternative to Burning Bush which is considered invasive...at least here in NH.
There was a photo of "Sorbus alnifolia" or "Korean Mountain Ash" blessed with pinkish, coral colored fruit which hangs on for quite awhile into the colder months.
Another beautiful, unbrella shaped tree was the "Malus Louisa" or "Louisa Weeping Crabapple". It was just very pretty.
There were lot's of others as well, I just won't mention them all here.
Then we looked at the plans which the Grafton County Master Gardeners have pulled together for a Beautification Project at the Grafton County Complex here in New Hampshire. They sure have done a lot of work. Their charge was to design a landscape plan for the use and enjoyment of the employees of the complex, as well as the folks who live at the Nursing Home there.
Some of the garden projects they have laid out are for: a White Birch Garden; a Memorial Garden; Sensory Gardens; Raised beds by the Roadside; as well as expanding and improving the existing Lilac bed.
Once this is implemented, it should be both beautiful, and a real addition to the Grafton County Complex and the community of Haverhill in which it lies.

Saturday, February 04, 2006



Bring home some wonderful blooming flowers to enjoy around the house!

Look around the garden (if it isn't covered by snow) and be sure none of your perennials have been heaved out of the ground by frost. If they have, press them back down.

Remove any heavy snow from the evergreens.

Are you ordering from those catalogues? This is the time to plan on making your dreams come true! At least in the garden.

Keep those bird feeders full.

Any questions about February?

Friday, February 03, 2006


Water is a critical component of gardening. Here are some suggestions for keeping your plants "hydrated"!

• If possible, having the water source close to the garden beds eliminates the need for hoses, which can create a hazard to walking or wheel chairs.
• Otherwise, a LONG hose with handy wands is oh, so helpful! You can also leave sections of hose right in the garden where needed.
• Sprinklers in the garden make the watering chores MUCH easier!

This is a short post. I'm hoping some of you readers might have something to add to this. Surely you must have some good watering tips that make the gardening easier to deal with!