Friday, April 29, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - April 29, 2011

The weather has been really depressing with the cold and non-stop rain.

It seems though that things are looking up with the sunny forecast this weekend.

Our perennial house and annual flower greenhouse are loaded with lots of the old and lots of the new.

In perennials, we have over 100 new varieties as well as new annuals and tropicals in the annual flower house.

The outside sales yard is overflowing with trees and shrubs but many of our tea roses and climbers are not due to the extreme weather of the past month.

Without a doubt our selection of new Japanese Maples and dwarf conifers is astounding.

Maggie, our perennial expert, is in the perennial department while Melody is in the annual flower house.

Sometimes the people that work in each section don’t see each other for days so that its like working in 2 parts of the United States!

Our new greenhouse for flower production is in full swing now so that this “factory” is rolling out the flowers from 4” pots to large hanging baskets.

Come on over and take a walk around.

The tulips we planted last fall and winter are just starting to bloom and I think it will make you feel as you have just stepped into Holland!

Hope for some sun with rain once a week….


Dayton "Dirt" - April 22, 2011

It’s strange that Easter is this Sunday on April 24th in that it seems incredibly late and nearly time to plant annual flowers and heat loving vegetable plants like peppers and tomatoes.

The greenhouse of annual flowers and vegetable plants will be open tomorrow on April 23rd but please don’t expect everything to be ready as you must remember that it’s still too early in the season.

Much of flower production is aimed to mid-May availability as it should be because of the increased likelihood of favorable weather. I hope you like our new display of Easter flowers and tropicals in the first bay of our greenhouse as it was time for a change.

Don’t forget today is Earth Day as it’s been celebrated every April 22nd since the first Earth Day in 1970. Earth Day is a reminder that if we don’t take care of our environment, it won’t take care of us.

In the book Wilderness Warrior about Theodore Roosevelt, it’s quite amazing that one of our most fascinating President’s was able to set aside vast tracts of land for future generations of Americans as he swept aside a landslide of dissent because of mining, logging and numerous other commercial interests. In the early 20th century, he was truly the environmental President. To celebrate Earth Day, planting a tree for you and future generations to enjoy is a capital idea.

While in the news it is popular to discuss environmentally friendly ways for more energy production it is less common to hear that the planting of trees is a method of combating all kinds of environmental ills from excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, soil and water erosion, flooding, destruction of wildlife habit and declining clean water supplies.

For more about the benefits of trees you have to check out the Why Trees Matter Program that Jim Chatfield , the Ohio State University specialist has championed. The poem that begins “ I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree” by Joyce Kilmer is figuratively and literally true.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - April 15, 2011

The mid point of April is usually so nice even if it is D-day or the last day to file individual income tax returns on time.

We’re just about set up now with all our outside stock and very soon the perennial and the annual houses will be open for your inspection. Traditionally we have opened the annual flower and vegetable house not before the first of May which even is too early except for the cool season vegetable plants and flowers like violas and pansies.

This year if the upcoming weather period looks decent we’ll actually open the annual flower house a week earlier than normal as many of you are ready to plant already. If anyone asks in our greenhouse if it is safe to plant out tomatoes, peppers and all the flowers our answer will be an emphatic NO! The only reason the greenhouse will be open earlier is that many customers have demanded it even though it is against our better judgement. Well do I remember talking to my mentor John Ravenstein about certain plants that I thought should not be sold because of their lack of sufficient hardiness or difficulty in growing. His reply to my concern was that “Who are you to determine what the customer should have or shouldn’t have?”

Later, I’ll see you in the greenhouse.


P.S. Remember to put traditional crabgrass preventer on your lawn this week and an organic weed & feed plus crabgrass preventer such as Espoma’s brand this week too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - April 8, 2011

We’re just now starting to pick up and to receive shipments of trees and shrubs from Lake County, Ohio. This huge nursery belt exists because of good soil and the effect that Lake Erie tends to moderate sudden and quick changes in the weather. The cool lake in spring slows down the plant’s growth so that there is a longer period in which to dig and harvest the plants and new growth is usually not sacrificed to hard frosts as Lake Erie’s effects on preventing or mitigating spring frosts is effective from the lake shore inland 2 to 5 miles.

This area of Ohio is placed in a climatic zone 6 instead of the colder zone of 5 like the rest of northern Ohio. For most part, we should be set with most of our nursery stock by April 15th although you never know what the weather is capable of in early April.

The thousands of daffodils are blooming everywhere around the nursery so be sure to come check them out. Take a virtual tour of the nursery from the photos that we took of the nursery and blooming grounds last spring as the virtual tour will give you an idea of what you will see (plus the additions we made since then) if you walk around the nursery.

Come on down!


Dayton "Dirt" Green Blog - April 2011

The concept of an edible landscape is not new as it has been an American tradition since Colonial times.

As time passed on from the Colonial era, more emphasis was placed on the ornamental value of plants in the landscape other than their value as a potential food source.

Today, the concept of an edible landscape is making a comeback as food prices rise and public concerns about food quality and safety continue to grow.

In suburban areas of homes with large lots, there is ample land for gardening and the planting of edible landscapes. However, in urban areas with small lots, edible landscapes are still possible with the more limited space of a city lot.

One advantage of an edible landscape is that members of the tree, shrub and herbaceous perennial groups, which are food sources, are permanent members of the landscape so that they do not have to be planted year after year such as the case with the popular heat-loving vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers.

Another advantage of many of the edibles is that they have excellent ornamental qualities as well.

One example is Cornus mas, or the Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, with its glorious golden yellow flowers of early spring followed by bright red fruits later in summer that can be used to make jams and jellies.

Another tree of merit is Amelanchier laevis, or Allegheny Serviceberry, that blooms prolifically with white blossoms in late April here in northern Ohio followed by blue-black berries in June that are a favorite of birds. The berries of this North American native can be used in pies, as the inhabitants of the Appalachian Mountains have done for years.

Vaccinium species, or blueberries, are fascinating North American plants that grow over a wide geographic range.

The two northern species are the highbush type, Vaccinium corybosum, and the low bush type, Vaccinium angustifolia.

In fact, crosses between the two above species have resulted in the creation of the half high types that grow between 1½ and 3 feet and are ideal for use in the landscape.

The bright white flowers of spring, handsome summer foliage and gorgeous colors of fall make a feast for the eyes.

The most important reason to plant blueberries though are for the delicious, healthful berries that are high in antioxidants and anthocyanins. The uses for the berries are quite numerous which include jams, jellies, pies, cobblers, fresh eating, baking and juice.

Other edible landscape plants include rhubarb, elderberries, currants, quince and flowering crabapples.

An edible landscape provides food for wildlife, beautifies the environment and provides wholesome, nutritious berries and fruits for its owner.

What a supplement for the family’s diet in addition to the traditional vegetable garden!

Happy Planting,