Monday, June 8, 2009

Garden Talks June 8--Cleome and Peonies; Broccoli and Lettuce; Perennials!

Hello again,

Wow! What a beautiful run of weather we have had!

I want to just "line item" some quick thoughts that I have--mostly as a result of talking to many of our customers who are fine gardeners.

Cleome is one of my favorite annuals. It is a tall flower needs at least half a day sun to do well. But once it begins to flower in early summer; watch out! The colors of the cleome are ELECTRIC! As the plant grows and clumps it you get more and more flowers and the cleome fast becomes a standout in your garden. One customer I spoke to plants her cleome right around her peony plants. Peonies flower in the latter part of June; they are brilliant but then they are done for the year. As the peonies complete their flowering and the peony foliage starts its decline the cleome really "turns it on" and earnestly starts to become its "showy" self. So pair up peonies and cleome. Sounds like fun!

Gardening friend and guru Paul Parent reminded listeners the other day to cut the broccoli florets when they are small and young and tender. Yummy! Store the small florets in a zip lock baggy in your refrigerator. The sooner you cut the more florets you will get. Just keep adding little florets to the baggy and use them when you want. Young is when they are the most tender as well! Good timely advice as my broccoli is ready to cut now! Paul Parent can be found at

Speaking of cutting vegetables I highly recommend the planting of leaf lettuce. About the time I planted my broccoli I planted Red Sails leaf lettuce and the plants are bearing many juicy lettuce leaves now. Very very good tasting!

Many of you know I absolutely recommend the application of the all natural Four Step Lawn Program by Organica. I started to use the Program last year and I am elated by how good my lawn seems this year. My turf is pretty thick and the weeds are under control. NOW is the time to apply Step #2--the Kelp Booster; this product supplies much needed calcium and natural beneficial microbes to your soil. Put that Kelp Booster down and really improve your soil. (Kelp Booster can also be applied to your garden. Calcium is extremely beneficial to all plants--especially vegetables!).

I love my perennial beds. Tom Atwell--a great friend of local Maine gardening--wrote a terrific article about Must Have Perennials in this weeks Home and Garden Section of the Maine Sunday Telegram. I highly recommend you read his piece and I don't think he or his supervisors would mind me giving you the link:

I agree with all the names on his list and I soon will write about a few more Must Haves for you. And what the heck I challenge my good friend KCB to do the same!

More Garden Talks soon....

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
June 8, 2009

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