Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lilies that mean Something

I had mentioned my friend Ed Karlsson last year on one of my posts entitled the Lamium Man. Ed is now teaching a horticulture program at the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. The Hort program is helping those with developemental disabilities.

I was excited when he called me this year and said that the students had grown Asiatic Lilies. The students planted the bulbs in late Winter in #1 containers. They planted close to twenty different varieties. To help out the students I purchased several hundred of their lilies. These lilies are available for sale from us now. I had my sister Denise hold one of the lilies up so you could see how large the flowers are on these lilies. The fragrance is outstanding too!

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Westfield in Bloom Update

I apologize for the lack of blog post frequency lately. I've been putting in quite a bit of time to updating the blog, and getting ready for the Judges from America in Bloom.

Here are the links to some of the posts that were made this week. There is some pretty cool things going on for the competition. Visit to see all of the posts.

Westfield in Bloom Concert

Welcome the America in Bloom Judges and Kick of the Summer with some Sweet Sounds Downtown!
Michael Craig Band
Thursday July 2nd 6:30 PM - 9 PM
North Ave Train Station,
Westfield NJ

Poll Results - How Much More work has to be done in the garden?

With all of the rain that we've had this June I was wondering what percentage of the garden was finished. The poll just closed, and here are the results. Maybe the rain will start to taper off now that Summer is about to begin.

I was astonished to see that more people haven't started then those that have finished.

I'm completely done pots and beds.
3 (6%)
I still have to Plant my Pots.
9 (20%)
I still have to Plant my Beds.
6 (13%)
I'm half way done.
7 (15%)
I have to fill in a few items.
25 (56%)
I'm just getting started.
6 (13%)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Be Still My Astilbe

I've always thought that the perennial Astilbe was an OK flower. It just never grabbed me in that way that makes me want to put them in my garden. I since changed my tune completely. Driving down East Dudley in Westfield there is the most stunning display of Astilbe that I've ever seen. It made me covet them for my garden. The Astilbe are color coordinated with the house, and it compliments it perfectly. Sometimes we try to put so many different things into our garden we forget that a large simple mass of one item can be even more effective.

For those that don't know, an Astilbe is a perennial that has deeply lobed, almost fern-like and airy foliage. It's flowers are feathery plumes that are born on tall stalks above the foliage. Flowers come in shades of white, pink, and red. Flowers stay in bloom several weeks and slowly fade in color as they dry.

They prefer partial shade and they generally are disease and insect free. Even when they're done blooming, their flowers will dry on the plant, and will still look attractive for several months.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mom's Job is the Hardest

In the back of the nursery we have a small field where we plant out tomatoes. For over fifty years, we've been having snapping turtles lay their eggs in the field. It generally happens near the full moon. This Spring has been particularly wet and muddy, so this time Mom the snapping turtle got herself extremely dirty. Snapping turtles get their name from their powerful jaws. I remember my dad telling me the story of how one actually bit through a shovel handle.

It will take approximately 90 days for the eggs to hatch!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Water Wise Urns at Mindowaskin Park

One of groups that I volunteer for is the Friends of Mindowaskin Park. Several times a year I plant the overlook at the front of the pond. One of the more frustrating parts of this task is that whatever I plant in the urns is subject to the whims of mother nature. I've planted them up before, and after a week of Summer weather, I'd return to find crispy plants.

This year I decided to work with what nature has to offer and plant them with plants that are normally used in xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is the use of plants that require little or no external watering. In the urns this year I used three different agaves. I tried an Agave in my container at home last year. I watered it once when I planted it May 16th, and it grew, and didn't require any watering for the rest of the Summer. For those that are familiar with Tequila, I'm sure your aware that they are made from agaves. The varities that I used in the urns are related, but are way to small to be used for Tequila. There's a closeup of Agave Happy Crown. The smaller agave in the third picture is Agave ' Victoria-Reginae'.
Along with the Agaves I planted a few Desert Rose which are in the Aeonium family. They look like giant hens and chicks, but have a longer stem.
The complete list of varieties are:
Aeonium arboreum atropurpurium
Aeonium arboreum
Agave 'Victoria-Reginae'
Agave 'Happy Crown'
Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' - This is the large center piece of the urns
Aloe 'Silver Ridge'
Graphtopetalum paraguayense- Ghost Plant
Kalanchoe thyrisflora 'Flapjacks'
Sedum nussbaumerianum - Golden Sedum
Sedum hispanicum 'Aureum'
None of these should require water, and the urns should be happy until its pansy season in the fall.
I should also mention that these plants are look but don't touch. Although they don't have thorns like cactus do, they still have sharp points at the edge of their leaves. Its part of the plants natural protection that keeps them from being eaten by the animals.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

In Bloom Now - Kousa Dogwood

I was at my son's Science fair last night and snapped a few pictures of the dogwood that was blooming.
The dogwood that's flowering now is called the Korean Dogwood. Its botanic name is Cornus 'kousa'.
They are more disease resistant than the traditional dogwood. They look quite a bit different since they flower after the leaves are out. (the traditional Cornus florida flowers before the leaves open)

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Finally Got my Garden Planted

I'm a firm believer of the shoemaker's kids have no shoes...Generally my garden is one of the last to get done. I finally took a day and planted the front yard, and did my containers.

The white flowers growing in the front are a new variety of Gardenia 'Frost Proof' that is supposed to be winter hardy. I am a bit skeptical about its hardiness, and I'm testing it out, and will know better by next Spring. This will be a true test, since its in an area that gets afternoon sun, which is a true test for any broad leaf evergreen.

I'll be posting info on my containers and their progress later on.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Poll Results - Hanging Baskets

Begonia - Dragon Wing
2 (4%)
Begonia - Nonstop
1 (2%)
10 (20%)
7 (14%)
1 (2%)
2 (4%)
Million Bells - Calibrachoa
5 (10%)
4 (8%)
7 (14%)
0 (0%)
0 (0%)
7 (14%)
2 (4%)

Peonys Envy - Her Garden Wins Hands Down

The phone rang last Saturday with a call from my friends Dale and Dave. They asked if I wanted to visit Peony's Envy in Bernardsville. Peony's Envy is a Nursery & Display Garden owned by Kathleen Gagan (pictured). Peony's Envy is the second largest peony grower in the United States. What a delight. Peonies as far as the eye could see. I took a bunch of pictures to share with you. The garden officially closes on June 15th, so if you want to visit you have to hurry up. There were still plenty of buds to open last weekend, and the cool weather we've had this week will mean there's still many to go.

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