Friday, April 30, 2010


In my travels around the internet, I found a wonderful page about Beneficial Insects. It is part of a blog written by Susan Littlefield of Essex, VT. It's worth a visit. Read and learn!


I told everyone at the seminar to wait until May first here in New Hampshire to plant their new growing materials. This morning I'm wishing I had told them JUNE FIRST! First we got nearly a foot of snow, and now it's back below freezing.
Yesterday I wasn't feeling great so my husband went out with the pruning saw and cut off those broken branches. He also propped up one of the trees that was pretty much at a 45 degree angle. What would I do without him? At any rate, I'm not planting ANYTHING for a week or so, that's for sure!
While I wait, I'm working a bit on the seminar. I think I'll approach a few businesses about a gardening seminar. People seem very eager to learn about gardening. So many younger people (I know-that's a relative term) have gone directly into careers from school that they are now feeling a bit lost when faced with a garden to tend in their spare time. They seem quite eager to learn anything that can help them.
I'm also working on a new book to assist in just that! It'll probably take awhile to get it done, but I hope to launch it as an electronic book. If that is successful, I'll think about publishing it in the usual manner. I've had such bad luck with my other book which has been at the publishers awaiting publication for the last 2 years. I don't think it's ever going to happen! So, with this one, I'll do it myself. Now if I can just figure out how that whole process works! Wish me luck?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Oh, my! A whole foot of white, sticky, heavy snow on the ground this morning. It continued coming down for most of the morning, finally turning to rain.
The bottom line was that all the newly leafed out tree branches collapsed under the snow. The daffodils broke off, and haven't yet appeared from under the snow. The only daffodils that look OK are those that were under a bit of shelter from tree branches.
Tomorrow I'll get myself into boots and trudge out with my loppers, saw and pruners. There are at least three big branches that splintered off trees. They will need to be removed.
There is a Mountain Ash that bent down to the ground. I'm hoping it will rebound and spring back up. If that doesn't happen, I'll brace it in such a way that it will straighten out.
But, the gardening year seems to have begun on a "repair" mode! I hope all of you, my readers have had a better result with the recent weather!

Monday, April 26, 2010


That was fun!
We had about 15 people. There were experienced, as well as new gardeners. The Hayloft Inn in North Haverhill (NH) was the perfect spot. The gardens are lovely and gave lots of points of comparison and examples of what we were talking about. After the hour long talk, we went out into the gardens for a guided tour Everyone received a lilac bush, and a few other plants found new homes as well.
I hope to be doing this again soon!
Check out my page about these seminars. Maybe you'd like to join us for the next one!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Look what I just found!
It's a site that gives all kinds of descriptions of WEEDS! It's a great site because it shows pictures. It also gives names, both common and latin. Once you know those names, you have a much better chance of dealing with these characters appropriately.
This guide is from Rutgers University. Rutgers is in New Jersey, which is relatively close to our New England area. Most weeds we will find here, are in NJ as well, so I'm sure you'll find your offending plants listed here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


They're BAAACK!
Oh, darn! I woke up and ran my fingers through my hair. There was a little "nubbin" on my scalp. It moved as a tick would, so I asked my husband to "check it out". He didn't have his glasses on, so I was on my own. I grabbed it and pulled, assuming I'd have a bit of a yank on my hands, but instead it came out without any pull at all. It had not attached itself yet... And of course, it WAS a tick.
They give me the willies, so I quickly ran with it to the bathroom and flushed it down the toilet. I usually recommend that folks generate a "tick farm" in a medicine jar filled with some alcohol. This way, should you have a tick bite issue, you can bring the "farm" to the doctor who will figure out if there's a problem. At any rate, that's what my nurse friend Marte, suggests I do.
This experience reminded me of two topics to mention here.

1) It's tick season! Start dressing appropriately. Long pants-tucked into your socks; long sleeves; and insect repellant sprayed where you're exposed. The other thing is that it takes awhile for these critters to attach themselves, so a shower after returning in the house will generally wash them off. For instance: My little tick hadn't imbedded and I couldn't have picked him up any time later than yesterday afternoon, which means he'd been crawling around looking for a good site all night. YUK!
Here is a link you can use for more information about TICKS. It's a write-up from North Carolina State University and one of the best descriptive sites I could find. It shows photos; it tells you how to remove them; and just about anything else you'd like to know about them.

2) Think MAY FIRST! That's the date here in northern New Hampshire we can assume there will be no more frost. If you can resist, don't plant your tender plants until then! I've had a number of folks tell me they'd lost their newly planted annuals.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I've been making notes on my Gardening Seminar on the Awakened Garden. I'm really looking forward to this presentation. It should be fun to help gardeners relax and feel good about their gardens and what they are doing there.
I think one of the most wonderful things to do in your garden is to relax and enjoy it. I accomplish this frequently by taking a walk from one end of the garden to the other. Depending on what I find to do there, it takes between 10 minutes and an hour. It's a time to reconnect and just deal with very tiny, little issues. I don't need to be in gardening togs. All I need to take along is my pruning shears, a trowel and my gardening gloves ON my hands. Although I must admit, often I take that walk without benefit of any of those. I always regret leaving them in the garage though because I come back with dirty hands, grubby fingernails and having had to leave some obvious little tasks for another time.
It's a time to see how everything is growing. Is there a broken branch on the lilac? Snip it off! Has a new weed sprung up between the daffodil leaves? Yank it out! Are the lilies coming up strong and prolific? Enjoy their presence!
I talk to my plants. I encourage them like a mom. I help them deal with small issues before they become large. I "neaten up" their environment. I watch the bees collect pollen. I enjoy the occasional hummingbird flitting around. I jump and then smile when a toad or snake surprises me. I am so happy to see them in the garden because I know they are among my biggest helpers. I am disappointed to see something there fail. When that happens I pull it out and go on.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Garden Zone Map

I just found the most wonderful garden zone map. All you have to do is hover your mouse pointer over your location and it tells you all about your zone.
Do go there and check the ZONES out! This wonderful map is generated by "All Season Plants".
I seldom "advertise" sites unless they contract with me to do it, but this one is worth a look see!


Yesterday I wrote about the fact that perhaps spring really has arrived. Well guess what? This morning I woke up and there was SNOW coming from the sky and the garage roof had a light coating of white stuff. Enough already!
I hope that by time my Gardening Seminar is on tap at the end of the month, spring WILL have really arrived. I'll cross my fingers. That seems to work as well as any science where weather is concerned! :-)

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Well, I won't hold my breath... but it appears that spring has really arrived!
Yesterday, I went out and did a little mulch spreading. I really can't do too much as I get too winded, but it sure does make the garden bed look 100% better!
Remember that huge pile of mulch we got a few weeks ago? Well, it's still there. But, it is getting smaller for sure. At least I know I have enough to go around. I do wish that some people in my neighborhood would come and get some!
The other day I pulled down all the bird-feeders. I left the thistle feeder up for the Goldfinches though. It's so high there's no way the bear can reach it. Now I have to clean them. Check out the Audubon website which gives some good suggestions for carrying out this chore.
My daffodils are still not blooming. They are definitely about to "pop", so I'll be patient. My scylla are out and giving their best show. I love that!
The Post Promotion
One of the other things we did was to put the pads on our deck furniture. It makes everything look fit for spring. If you're needing a new set, or some replacement parts for your outdoor furniture, check out The Cast Aluminum Patio Sets. I think you'll find that their variety is good. There are many things to choose from and they should all hold up pretty well in your garden. Give it a click!

Saturday, April 03, 2010


It's too early! But then, beggars can't be choosers right?
My husband stopped to talk with the ASPLUNDH (SP?) crew that was disposing of trees that had come down in that terrible wind storm a few weeks ago. He asked if they'd like to dump some chips at our house. Chipping crews are usually all too happy to get rid of chips so they don't have to stop work to deliver chips miles away.
Mind you, we ONLY ask for chips when they are dealing with downed trees. NEVER ask for chips from trees that are being removed from someone's yard because they are dying (or dead). Chances are that wood will be full of disease which you DO NOT WANT IN YOUR YARD!
Anyway, we usually get a very nice, manageable pile of chips. This time, they had a HUGE truck. They dumped a pile of wood chips about 20 feet long; 10 feet wide, and probably about 6 feet tall!!!!!!!!! How will we EVER get rid of it?
That brings me to my "too early" mulch topic. My husband talked with the young man who helps us with yard chores. And yes, he could come to help. So yesterday, he appeared. That meant the perennial beds had to be raked so he could put the debris in the compost bin. Unfortunately, as I approached the "Black Gold" portion of my compost, it was FROZEN! So, I had to give up that good stuff this year.
Then the mulch is being applied to the newly raked beds. It's too early. The ground is still frozen. Now it will stay that way for much longer since it will have a heap of insulation on top. Oh, dear. Well, as I said, beggars can't be choosers! If I were 20 years younger, I'd be doing this all myself so the timing would be right. Now, I can't, so I'll go with the flow.
But, you happy gardeners are probably young enough that you can do your own raking and composting and mulching. SO-wait until the frost is out of the ground before you put that mulch on your garden!

Thursday, April 01, 2010



This is a good time to get that soil tested. Then there will be time to amend it before the season gets into full swing!

Edge your flower beds to rid yourself of invading lawn rhizomes. Toss the edgings from this into the compost.

Rebar, the steel bars used to reinforce concrete and masonry, make great garden stakes. They're inexpensive, strong and durable and they come in a variety of sizes. You can find them in any building supply store.

Start up your lawn mower so you know it doesn't need a trip to the repair shop before grass cutting time. Also be sure the blades are SHARP.

Sharpen your other tools while you are at it!

The lawn would appreciate a good fertilizing at this time.

Avoid working in the garden unless the soil breaks up in your
hand if you squeeze a lump of it.

Instead, turn your compost (assuming it is no longer frozen!)

Hummingbirds begin to appear this month in some places. Clean
the feeders and hang them for the "early birds"

Sow peas in the ground as soon as the frost is gone

Continue with the tree pruning. Get rid of dead and diseased limbs

As soon as your shrubs are done blooming, prune them as well.

You can prune your berry bushes

This is a good time to pull out weed trees and old bramble branches. They tend to yank out easily because the soil is still soft and moist.

Remove mulch from strawberries

Put your trellis systems and peony supports into place.

Pansies and other cold weather annuals can now be planted outside

It is the time to divide and plant perennials as well as cutting any of last years remaining growth away. It's known as good housekeeping in the garden!

If you have any bare root plants going into the garden, soak them overnight before planting. also be sure to trim off any super long or broken roots.

If you winter mulch your garden beds, begin to remove mulch when forsythia and daffodils bloom.

Try planting scented flowers near walks!

It's probably a good time to remove bird-feeders to discourage those bears!