Friday, June 10, 2011

June (mid June) Garden Talks

Hello again,

It has been more than a few days since my last typing of Garden Talks. The season (and our gardens) has exploded in Skillin's Country and that is very, very good.

I have spoken to so many of you and appreciate all your support for Skillin's. I hope your gardens are growing well and look forward to speaking to you soon again!

Now onto some Garden Talks:

*How to rid your flower garden of pesky cats? I am a cat guy myself but once the cats decide to use a space in your garden to "do their duty" they like to come back and back! One of the best ideas I have heard recently is to lay some chicken wire in the areas they are coming to. Cats will get annoyed trying to scratch through it and then will go somewhere else.

*Mike's Must Have Perennial Pick of the Week:

Let's go with the Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis). She is just breaking into form. The Lady's Mantle is very reliable and sends forth lime yellow flowers this time of year. These flowers match the healthy but rather light green foliage. Lady’s Mantle is an old-fashioned flower still popular today for it’s fuzzy, cupped leaves that hold water droplets after a rain and the frothy sprays of dainty yellow flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. Lady’s Mantle is also used in making lotions and soaps. Lady’s Mantle is a long-lived perennial flower that is fairly low maintenance. It thrives in part sun but can take mostly sun.

I like it because of it's reliability. I think the yellow flowers and lighter foliage can be quite striking--like a "Fair Lady". Lady's Mantle is a standout in any garden.

Lady's Mantle Planted at Skillin's in Falmouth. The Sun is Shining on the Lady's Mantle--note that it is planted just in front of a daylily! Great plant for nesting in a perennial garden!
*Stay on top of your weeding! Try to make a pass through your annual and perennial beds weekly if you can to keep those weeds at bay. "Clean" perennial beds can be mulched with compost or Fundy Blend by Coast of Maine. The compost will act as a mulch to hold weeds down and keep moisture in. Yet over time the compost will become integrated into your soil and bring great benefits to your soil.
*Remember to keep your lawn level high when mowing. This helps your grass stay lush into the summer longer. Also a grass canopy is a great natural way to keep weed seed from germinating in your lawn as successfully! Also do not bag leaf clippings. Let them lie in the lawn. They will quickly break down and return great organic matter to your soil. If you are feeding twice per year with a good organic lawn food then the grass clippings will really break down rapidly.
*Speaking of mulch: 2 inches of mulch or compost is PLENTY around your trees and shrubs.
*We have tomatoes and many other vegetables available. This is the PERFECT time to start your vegetable garden in Skillin's Country--let us show you how! Also remember to plant your tomatoes "deep"--bring the soil about halfway up the stem of the plant.
*Now is a great time to prune most trees and shrubs that are JUST finishing their flowering. (Lilacs, some rhodys, crab trees, etc.) Shape them to something smaller than you like them but with the same concept or shape. The new growth will fill in and grow up to the height you want. Most flowering shrubs should only be pruned within about a 2 week window of their dropping of flower petals.
Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
June 10, 2011

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