Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - November 25, 2011

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to get in the swing of the Christmas season. Our poinsettia crop turned out better than expected with almost all of the varieties having large colorful bracts of red, white, marbled and pink.

I am so thankful too that our Christmas tree grower is very fussy about quality as he hires extra labor to harvest the trees late in November in order that they remain fresh for our customers. In the past two years I have inspected the cut trees at some of the home improvement stores and was shocked that they would ever sell as most of the trees were so dry! In fact, I was in one of the stores buying plumbing supplies on Christmas Eve two years ago when a young couple with a baby bought one of the last three cut Douglas Firs for $5.00 in which the bottom one third of the needles had fallen off!

I will be doing my inspection of at least 5 stores this year to see if the quality has improved at least in the freshness department but I’m not setting my expectations very high. Cutting your own tree can be a fun family experience which will sure insure that your tree is fresh but if you don’t want to bother with cutting your own, we’ll have the next best thing which is a ready-cut fresh tree from Ohio.

Wreaths, roping, greens and our grave decorations that we’ve been making for almost thirty years are ready for pickup or delivery. We can even custom decorate the blankets to fit your own personal taste.


P.S. Don’t forget that you can tag your cut tree if your not ready for it and then pick it up or get it delivered when your ready. Keep in mind that we will even set it in the stand for you if you prefer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving, the holiday that President Lincoln proclaimed should be celebrated on the last Thursday in November, is upon us.

At the nursery, we’re still collecting branches for our different styles of grave blankets and tomorrow we bring up our poinsettias we’ve been growing in our rear greenhouse as they are now showing lots of color. The variety Polar bear is a gorgeous pure white that benefits polar bear preservation when this variety is purchased.

Live wreaths, white pine roping and greens will be ready on Saturday afternoon as well as all styles of our grave decorations.

Other things going on at the nursery are a general clean up, propagation of geraniums for our spring crop and the finishing of construction of our new greenhouse for the production of perennials.

In Wolf Creek Gardens we’ve planted more Hemlock, White Pine and Dogwood varieties in order to enhance this ever expanding botanical garden display. Another chore I’m tiring of is having to erect a 6 foot windbreak on the west side of the rhododendron-azalea portion of the garden. The Norway Spruce screen that was planted 4 years ago should be big enough to do the job in another 2-3 years so that the windbreak job will be no more!

Next week our cut Christmas trees come in from southern Ohio of which the varieties will include Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine, White Pine and Douglas Fir. I’m impressed especially with the Fraser Fir as Frasers do not like to grow too far out of their native range which is the Appalachian Mountains at elevations of 2200 ft. and up! In fact, our Frasers from southern Ohio are superior to the normal North Carolina Frasers as they are so much fresher!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - November 11, 2011

On this Veteran’s Day of November 11th, we remember the Americans that are both dead and living who have secured our freedom and the freedom of our friends and allies around the world.

Unfortunately, the armistice that was signed on November 11, 1918 that ended World War I was suppose to be the finish of the war to end all wars.

November’s weather is still overall quite pleasant enabling many of us to finish yard work such as raking leaves, planting flower bulbs and mowing the lawn one last time. Below is a brief list of garden chores in November:
1 Take a soil test and apply lime if necessary to the lawn or garden to elevate the ph to 6.5 - 7.0.
2. Apply the last fall feeding of the lawn to insure a quick green up next spring to crowd out weeds.
3 Dig and store any tropical bulbs such as Dahlias or Cannas.
4 Finish planting any spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and such.
5. Water shrubs deeply under house overhangs to prevent winter burn or death of the plants due to dry soil.
6. Protect valuable plants from deer browsing or rabbit gnawing by spraying them with liquid fence.
7. Erect wind screens on the west side of broadleaf evergreens that are susceptible to winter wind burn.
8. Plant the tree now that you have been thinking about planting in spring so that the tree can root in this fall and very early spring.

I was relieved that we finished planting and mulching our blueberries last week as the planting would normally have been completed a little earlier this fall but was delayed because of the wet October. While tilling in the sphagnum peat for the blueberries, the nursery’s 37 year old walk-behind rototiller finally “died” when its Wisconsin engine had a bearing failure.

Many of our cascading grave blankets and pillows will be ready for delivery or pick-up this weekend with our spruce decorations ready toward the end of next week. Don’t waste the weekend as the weather will be sunny and mild.

Enjoy November.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - November 4, 2011

The weather has been almost perfect this past week which has given us the opportunity to plant our blueberry plants.

The blueberry field is just on the east side of the irrigation lake on high ground and will be a future patch for a pick-your-own type of operation. The varieties include the old time favorite Bluecrop, along with Patriot, Elliot and the early type called Duke. It may seem strange to some of you to plant in November but as I have been preaching for years, fall is for planting.

We’ve harvested are first batch of pine branches for our cascading grave blankets and pillows and we’ll harvest the blue spruce branches we need about a week from now so that they remain fresh when we store them outside.

Again, tress and shrubs for planting are still available with some of the trees at a good buy on the 50% off sale until mid-November.

Other happenings at the nursery include the installation of a new roof on our store building, the replacement of our worn out main sidewalk and the continuing construction of our new movable roof greenhouse for producing more and higher quality perennials.

So it’s been a busy November!