Thursday, June 16, 2011


What could possibly be more maddening than Poison Ivy? It itches enough to drive you right out of your skin. It looks awful. It oozes. It spreads. It's almost impossible to live comfortably when it afflicts you. But, WHAT is it? WHERE do we get it? And HOW do we avoid it? After we've gotten it, HOW do we get rid of it, or at least make ourselves comfortable.
I have a good friend who has managed to "catch" it. I feel badly for her and any others of you who are unfortunate enough to get it. So, let's talk about it.
What is it? Let's look at this website on POISON IVY and get a lesson in the basics.
Here's another link that explains some of the allergic reactions to Poison Ivy, Sumac or Oak as well as ways to treat it, or at least make yourself more comfortable. Remember to wash your skin thoroughly as SOON as possible after contact.
There is another way we can be exposed to these outrageous plants, and that's through our pets. They walk or run through it and pick up the wax on their fur. At that point they come in and smother us with affection, passing that lovely stuff onto OUR skin. If you know they've had contact with it, it might be time for a doggie bath. Just be sure to wear plastic gloves!!!
Here are some more pictures of the offending plants with additional information from the Virginia Extension Service.
The final question will be how to get rid of it. This article has some good information to help you in this most difficult of projects!
The problem here is that in order to work with the plant, you must really protect yourself VERY thoroughly. Be ready to throw the clothing, that might even touch it, into the trash! If you are serious about doing something, here is a pretty good technique, that I have used with great success. The problem is that you STILL will have to get rid of the plant. Be prepared to put it CAREFULLY into a large black trash bag. (Have pity on the trash man, PLEASE!)
Get a pair of pruners, on a VERY hot sunny day. Cut the main stem of the offending plant totally. PAINT a liquid, systemic, plant killer on the root side of the cut stem. The plant will be thirsty on this hot, dry day and will suck up that systemic herbicide...right down to the roots! Be sure to be generous. Try to get the upper, separated plant into that black plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash. Hopefully, the part of the plant still left in the ground will falter and get really SICK. You may have to do this a few times, in fact, maybe for a few years. But, it will definitely be worth it!
I hope these web-sites will be helpful. They tell the story so much better than I can. Good luck!

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I'm going to try something I have not done before. I'm going to review GARDENING BOOKS, and then give you the link to Amazon so you can get it if it piques your curiosity.
I'll start today by reviewing books I have and USE every day in my gardening. I use them to answer questions I get on-line. I use them for my own edification. AND I thought enough of them to actually BUY and use them in the first place.
The first review is one on a book I received as a gift many, many years ago when I built my very first garden. It was given to me by my mother, who was a wonderful gardener. She felt it was the best book she knew, and it sure was that for me. I have used that gift, and then updated editions for over 50 years!!! I have given it as gifts to my own children who also use it all the time with their own gardening.
The book is "The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening". Here is a link that will get you right to it at Amazon. Check it out!
What I love about this book is that everything is alphabetized, so it's EASY to find the information you need. If you know it by a different name, it will help you get where you want to go. The directions are clear and easy to follow. Like the encyclopedia it is, there is no index to confuse you. It's a book that will serve you well from Veggies to the most sophisticated espalier; from fertilizers to topdressing! Whatever you want to find out about? It's here... in ONE place! ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Well, today I had my first turtle rescue of the year.
Before the summer is over, I will probably have helped 4 or 5 of them to the other side of the road. This is the time of year they leave their usual digs, and head for a place to lay their eggs. They will often have to cross a road to get there. It is very important that you keep them heading in the direction you find them going, or they'll just turn around and cross the road again. They know where they are going. It's not up to us to decide for them!
Here is a link you can visit to read some more about this and how important it is to help these little guys!
And, while you're at it, if you'd like to identify the turtle you help, here's a link from Rhode Island with pictures and descriptions.