Thursday, August 28, 2008


It's getting close to time to plant bulbs. I've started to get advertisements from gardening centers about ordering bulbs. If you haven't started thinking about doing that, it's time.
Hopefully you remember a bit about where you had blank spots in the garden in the spring. Those empty areas are where you want to plunk a few bulbs.
This is also the time when you can dig up some bulbs, separate them, and plant them in other areas. Why not generate some areas with more daffodils that YOU propogated?
Living out in the "boonies" I tend not to plant tulips which are often quickly consumed by critters. They also tend to get smaller each year, so I'd prefer different types of daffodils which proliferate. You can also get early, mid-season and late varieties. That way you can have daffodils on the table or in the garden for a very long spell come spring. It's such a welcome sight!

Dutch Gardens, Inc.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Here's an article from the past on this blog about bagworms. I'm seeing them all over the place and thought maybe it would be good to run this blog entry again. I hope you don't mind a repeat. It's a novel solution, so hey? Why not?

OK, they've moved into a tree near me! Not only that, it's at the TOP of the tree! I can't reach it and it's driving me crazy. What to do?
Much to my delight, I found an article that talks about just this problem. It also says that we can help ourselves by planting various forms of plants in the ASTER family (Asteraceae) close to the trees that are affected! The daisy-like blossoms attract little ichneumonid wasps. These little wasps don't bother people at all, but they parasitize BAGWORMS!
The happiest part of that little equation is that it's aster season! Even the wild asters are blooming all over. So, beg, borrow or buy some very attractive asters for your garden. Then plant them relatively near the afflicted trees and hope the little wasps find your garden, and hence your bagworm laden trees.
I've copied part of the article for you so you can get the straight skinny from the original source!

"Plant Daisies to Fight Bagworms

The bagworm (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) is a common pest of many coniferous and deciduous trees in the eastern U.S. This moth’s larvae spin unsightly baglike shelters in tree canopies and can cause serious damage through defoliation. Typical control methods include mechanical removal of the bagworm shelters (when feasible) and the application of pesticides. However, the bagworm has a number of natural enemies —in particular, parasitoid insects, such as ichneumonid wasps—and research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has shown that bagworm control by these insects can be enhanced by planting certain flowering plants near trees and shrubs that are susceptible to bagworm infestations. The flowering plants used in the UIUC research were all members of the Asteraceae, or aster family, which includes many species with daisylike blossoms known to attract parasitoids. Among them were a shasta daisy cultivar (Leucanthemum × superbum ‘Alaska’), a cultivar of the Newfoundland aster (Aster novi-belgii ‘Professor Anton Kippenburg’), and the treasure flower (Gazania rigens), a South African native. The bagworm host plant was an arborvitae cultivar (Thuja occidentalis ‘Woodwardii’). In one trial, surrounding host plants with flowers led to a 70 percent increase in the parasitism of bagworms. In another trial, attacks on bagworms by parasitoid insects increased by a factor of three when host plants were surrounded by a high density of daisy flowers. Many plants in the Asteraceae are native to North America."

Source: J.A. Ellis et al., “Conservation Biological Control in Urban Landscapes: Manipulating Parasitoids of Bagworm (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) with Flowering Forbs,” Biological Control 34(1), July 2005, 99–107 (Elsevier Science, 6277 Sea Harbor Dr., Orlando, FL 32887).

Dutch Gardens, Inc.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Fall is definitely coming.
As I go outside and wander around the garden there are wild blueberries that are wonderfully ripe and plentiful. They keep me vitalized...I keep wandering back to that heavily laden bush! Why is it that in order to get lots of berries on my cultivated blueberry bushes I have to prune them in the spring, yet the wild ones that are totally ignored yield prolifically?
The amaryllis that I sank into the garden is looking beautiful. I hate to dig up the pot and begin to dry it out so it dies back. It somehow seems sad to do that. However, I know that in order for me to have those wonderful blossoms at Christmas time, I have to do it.
The daylilies are needing constant dead-heading. Oh, well.
Yesterday when I was out there I saw a tiny little snake. He was black and less than a width of a pencil. He was no longer than a pencil either. Actually, he was pretty cute. No way I would catch him but I enjoyed watching him slither across the stones. At the same time there was a little tiny toad hopping almost under my feet. I love seeing all these little guys! They are helpful in the garden eating up nasty bugs. I'm happy they are here!
Gardener's Supply Company

Monday, August 18, 2008


My response to that is "DON'T".
Sometimes we look at those spent blooms and all we want to do is take them off. Sure, you can do it with a great deal of care. BUT, I think unless you are VERY sure of what you are removing, don't do it. The bud for next years flower sits right under the spent bloom. If you break (or cut) it just a tad too far, you've lost next years flower. I have decided that it's worth looking at a few spent blooms in order to save the glorious show of next spring!
Now, having said that, if you let the plant put out it's new shoots, and THEN deadhead, you'll probably be safe. So, be patient (the definition of a gardener!) and put off the deadheading until you see those new branches.
There are those that say that if you don't deadhead, next years bloom will be less spectacular. I have never found that to be true...but, perhaps that's just an "old gardener's tale"...who knows.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Unusual Role for Trees

"Advocating an Unusual Role for Trees" was the headline for a most interesting article I read in this mornings (8/11/08) New York Times about Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I knew you'd be interested in it. I am quoting from the artilcle, but I have not included the entire article. It is about
"...She favors what she terms a bioplan, reforesting cities and rural areas with trees according to the medicinal, environmental, nutritional, pesticidal and herbicidal properties she claims for them, which she calls ecofunctions.

...Wafer ash, for example, could be used in organic farming, she said, planted in hedgerows to attract butterflies away from crops. Black walnut and honey locusts could be planted along roads to absorb pollutants, she said.

...What trees do chemically in the environment is something we’re only beginning to understand.”

...Trees also absorb pollutants from the ground, comb particulates from the air and house beneficial insects.

...Some studies support a role for trees in human health. A recent study by researchers at Columbia found that children in neighborhoods that are tree-lined have asthma rates a quarter less than in neighborhoods without trees. The Center for Urban Forest Research estimates that each tree removes 1.5 pounds of pollutants from the air. Trees are also used to remove mercury and other pollutants from the ground, something called phytoremediation. And, of course, trees store carbon dioxide, which mitigates global warming.

...Trees are a living miracle,” Ms. Beresford-Kroeger said. “Leaves can take in carbon dioxide and create oxygen. And all creatures must have oxygen.”
Gardener's Supply Company

Sunday, August 03, 2008



Make some notes on what you need to add to next years garden while
you can see what's blooming!

Dig potatoes after the tops have died down.

Prune off those strawberry runners to keep your strawberry bed orderly.

Buy fall mums.

Water any newly planted shrubs and trees.

Stop pruning shrubs.

Don't fertilize anymore until the leaves begin to change color. If you fertilize late in the summer, it causes a flush of growth which will probably be "nipped" by frost. So, hold off a bit.

Water evergreens thoroughly during dry weather.

Sow forget-me-not seed. The make an attractive carpet planting
for tulip beds

This is also a good time to sow poppy seeds! August sown seed gives richer-colored flowers, so give that a try.

Cut off foliage of bleeding heart, which has probably become unsightly.

Apply fertilizer around peonies and scratch it into the soil. If you want to transplant or divide them, this would be the time.

Treat for Powdery Mildew. Try this recipe: 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda, 1 gallon of water and 2-3 tablespoons of horticultural oil. Spray it on all the susceptible plants every other week or so.

Plant colchicum's and fall crocuses.

Order your bulbs if you haven't already!

Cuttings from English Ivy now will produce good house plants for

Are you remembering the lawn mower should be set at 2 1/2 to 3 inches to help the grass stay hydrated? Cutting the grass lower will be very stressful!

If you have an amaryllis outside, now would be the time to think about
bringing it inside.

Still time to sow lettuces and greens, carrots, beets and turnips (don't worry about how big they get...they ALL taste wonderful while still immature!) Then of course, there are radishes. Be sure to keep all of these well watered, also, a bit of mulch will keep the tender roots cool. As far as avoiding early frosts, a row cover will help there!

Get some netting over the blueberries! Remember the birds and small animals are great at crawling UNDER and THROUGH the netting. Try staking it so they can't reach the berries from the outside. If they get in, you'll live to regret it. Talk about a mess!!!

Have you got Hosta's? Are there slugs chewing them? Try this solution, if you haven't already.
Combine 9 parts water to 1 part common household ammonia and spray it on the hosta just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!

Your plants in hanging baskets and containers have been roaring through the nutrients in their soil. It's time to give them a trim and a good feeding to help them continue to flourish.

It's a good time to plant perennials, shrubs and trees. This will allow them to establish some good roots before the ground freezes.

Any questions about August?

Saturday, August 02, 2008


This morning as I went to get my mail at the post office, I passed a local nursery. There was a big sign outside that the plants were all on sale!
This is good time to go in and check for bargains. Try to get perennials though. It's too late to put in annuals, unless it's fall bloomers like chrysanthemums. Isn't it too bad that we used to be able to expect the mums to come up year after more. Very few chrysanthemums are perennial. Don't even begin to ask has something to do with they way they are now propagated.
Anyway, look for perennials that are on sale. Buy them and bring them home. Once you've got them home, you can do one of two things. You can plant them right away, being SURE to keep them well watered until they are established; or you can sink the pot with the perennials in them into the soil under a nice sheltering shrub. It's possible you'll have to water them if it gets dry, but they might appreciate being held over until it gets a bit cooler. In a few weeks, or a month, pull up the pot and plant them where you want them to remain. You'll save a little money and gain a few more perennials.
Be sure that the plants that you pick look healthy and then KEEP them that way!
Dutch Gardens, Inc.