Monday, June 9, 2008

Tantalizing Timely Tips

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

There are just not enough hours in the day to do all that I have to do especially try to win at Spider Solitaire. Worse yet, one of my favorite television shows of the past is now a must see movie….will Carrie and ‘Mr. Big’ actually marry? I use to joke ‘sleep is over-rated’ but unfortunately, sleep takes over shortly after the sun sets.

Early to bed/early to rise is not making me healthy, certainly not wealthy and heaven knows, not wise. With the first chirp of a bird in the AM, I vow to jump from the cocoon that is my bed. Do I? No………..

As a ‘professional’ gardener, my passion lies in the work and results, not the scores of paper work that is the side effect. The saint that helps with my taxes spent the better part of this past Saturday installing a program that will enable him to generate my invoices; I just need to supply him with all receipts and the number of hours I spend with each client. Easier said than done. If I could do that I think, I would do my own billing.

If I’m not working in the dirt, I’m either thinking about it, writing about it or thinking about writing about it, So Instead of my assignment of gathering invoices and data I decided to share some gardening thoughts with you while still fresh in my jumbled mind.

Things to do now:

Plant golf tees. While this will not produce a lawn to rival a putting green it will help you locate dormant bulbs long after the foliage has disappeared. Not sure, about you but many a time I started digging a hole for a new or trans-plant only to find I’ve disturbed bulbs. I now ‘plant’ tees surrounding any new bulbs. For older bulbs, I merely press in a tee w/my thumb along side the still visible foliage. Later when you decide to fill the space you know you are in bulb territory when you spot a tee.

Purchase plants to hide disintegrating foliage. Most know that with tulips, daffodils, hyacinths so on and so forth, it is best to let the foliage die a slow, natural death. This can be painful for those wanting a well-groomed garden full of life. Camouflage is key. Recently the Skillin’s newsletter shared a tip from DK stating he plants daylilies next to his tulips. Other plants that work well, hosta, Sedum, such as Autumn Joy, Neon or Brilliance, Shasta Daisy, Stokes Aster. Look for plants that offer lush mounding foliage that is flourishing the same time the leaves of our spring bulbs are fading. Companion planting such as this also helps hide fading foliage of bleeding heart and alliums.

Feed and Deadhead Azaleas & Rhododendrons. It is also time to prune.
· Cut them back immediately after flowering. When removing dead wood...dip or spray your pruning shears with alcohol or 10% Clorox between every cut.
· Look for borer holes, cut back until the stems are whole.
· Deadhead by simply and carefully removing spent blooms by hand.
· Feed with an acid based fertilizer. Espoma’s Hollytone is excellent.
· For drier locations, add thin top later peat blend compost.

Pinch back any perennials that may become leggy, such as New England Aster or Chrysanthemum's. Pinch them again, every 6 inches or so, as they grow.

Container Gardening & Add color with Annuals: All threat of frost is over for now. Knock your self out and the sock off of all your neighbors!
The following is more of a shopping list. Keep these products on hand. Use according to manufacturer’s directions.

Messenger. Use every 3 weeks on peony, roses, and this year I am trying on Hydrangea and selected perennials.

Coast of Maine Penobscot Blend or Jolly Gardener Shrub & Tree as a planting mix for new and transplants.

Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care.
Bondide Plant Starter
All purpose water-soluble plant food.

That’s all for now-----I’m already late for where ever it is I have to be!

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
June 9, 2008

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