Friday, February 25, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - February 25, 2011

The seminar tomorrow on water conservation will be of particular interest to me as the nursery uses up to 100,000 gallons of irrigation water on a hot summer day. The water from overhead irrigation is recycled over and over again. The resulting runoff is channeled through a series of ditches and holding ponds that are full of wetland plants that tends to remove sediments and unwanted salts from fertilizer use that would build up in the water and then burn plant roots.

Capturing rain water is another requirement of our water system to insure our supplies are adequate.

Sandy Barbric, an expert about water conservation at home will explain what any one can do to save and capture valuable water for use at home. I always have preferred rain water to a well or city water as it’s nearly pure state doesn’t contain the chlorine or fluorides in city water or the bicarbonates in hard water from a well that can damage plants over time by adversely increasing the ph too much.

Come join us at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 26th for this amazing program.

Enjoy the winter as it’s going to end soon. I remember years ago when I had a sever case of poison ivy. Dr. Snyder of Barberton would not give me a cortisone shot to alleviate the symptoms as he believed this steroid to be detrimental to long term health. His answer to me was to enjoy the malady and that it would seem to go away faster! So for those of you that are tired of winter, learn to enjoy it!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - February 18, 2011

I’ve been very busy studying for my presentation on February 19th about Japanese Maples. I thought I knew a lot already but did I get an eye opener on what is available today as breeders have been very busy ones the past few years.

It used to be that the standard upright Japanese Maple variety ‘Bloodgood’ was the standard along with either the red or green foliaged lace leaf type maple. Now there are those with huge palmate leaves to extra small leaves giving the plant a fine texture and petite stature.

Plant forms from small and upright, large and upright, spreading, weeping shaped and so on provide endless possibilities of using these unique species and cultivars.

I remember my friend and mentor, John Ravenstein showing me his freshly rooted Bloodgood Japanese Maples by pulling a group of them out of the propagation bed filled with sand and telling me to “look at the roots!” I believe that Mr. Ravenstein, now deceased, was so skilled that he could put roots on a piece of firewood! His grafting skills were legendary also in that laceleaf types of Japanese Maples will readily root but they never grow without a graft onto a seedling root stock of acer palmatum.

I’ll discuss the uses of several cultivars in the landscapes as well as a power point program. Although the program will highlight several Japanese Maple cultivars that are suitable for northeast Ohio, it will emphasize only those that are readily or somewhat available on the market today.

Remember February 26th at the nursery is water conservation with Sandy Barbie.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - January 21, 2011

I've been busy preparing for my seminar on dwarf conifers on January 29th.

This fascinating group with its diverse Genera and species gives a landscape a look of uniqueness in an otherwise cookie cutter world of the type colored suburban houses with the spirea and gold thread false cypress as highlights of the landscape.

The vast selection of dwarf conifers is not well known but to only a few who are probably members of the American Conifer Society.

The deserving adoration of these unusual plants is displayed first and foremost with vibrant colors of either the mature foliage or vibrant colors of the new growth.

Another aspect of interest is the myriad shape and texture of the plants from the extra long needles of the Himalayan Pine to the minute needles of some of the dwarf Hemlocks.

The ease of growing dwarf conifers is another good reason to implement them in a landscape.

Most are winter hardy to at least zone 5 and are well suited to the rigors of the harshest of Ohio winters.

The winter seminar series begins with dwarf conifers on Saturday, January 29th.

The cost is $5.00 each for garden club member or $10.00 each for non-members.

Hope to see you soon!


Dayton "Dirt" - January 28, 2011

With the end of January and the beginning of the end of the dark days of winter, our winter seminars series heats up.

Tomorrow on Saturday, January 29th is our first in a series of educational seminars about gardening beginning at 11 a.m. While we request advance registration in order to accommodate our guests as far as refreshments and seating, we usually have enough to satisfy those of you who want to walk-in on the spur of the moment.

I’m hoping that the program will create some interest in using some alternatives such as dwarf conifers as opposed to the “same old stuff” that is common now in every landscape. Much of the ordinary landscapes of new homes are the result of builders’ packages that include landscaping.

In the above scenario, landscaping takes a back seat to granite counter tops in the kitchen and luxurious bathrooms. The resulting landscape is then filled with Arborvitae, Spiraea and a few Stella D'Oro daylilies which are relatively inexpensive and yet are able to give the new home some curb appeal. Fortunately, some new homeowners reject the builder’s landscape package in favor of a cash rebate in order that they may plan and plant a landscape that incorporates their individual tastes.

Our program tomorrow will present ideas for new landscapes or renovation of existing landscapes that are out of the ordinary and exciting.

See you at the seminar.


Dayton "Dirt" - February 4, 2011

Tomorrow, February 5th our seminar will be on the Queen of flowering vines, Clematis.

Clematis always seems to create excitement in the garden due to their wide ranging colors and flower sizes displayed vertically on a trellis or other similar device.

Again, many of you expressed a desire in late April and May last year for us to conduct a clematis seminar when in fact we already had. I hope you won’t miss this one because Deborah Hardwick from Delaware, Ohio is quite the expert. She’ll explain in detail what it takes to make these marvelous vines thrive in your garden.

Ms. Hardwick’s knowledge comes from not only reading and studying about the clematis subject but by doing as well with over 300 cultivars and over 600 plants in her garden here in Ohio.

At the nursery, we grow quite an extensive pallet of clematis that are well established with large root systems that should give most of you the success with clematis you’re expecting instead of the relatively tiny pots and/or clematis in a box that frequently show up in the home improvement stores.

Join us at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 5th for Deborah Hardwick’s presentation. Don’t forget that our seminar on how to attract butterflies to your yard will be the week after that on February 12th.

On another note, this past January I’ve been noticing a fair amount of robins hanging around the nursery this winter as they have been sitting in the flowering crabapple trees eating the half-shriveled apples that normally fall off the tree in April. I can’t help remembering the words that Jesus spoke as written in the Book of Matthew in the King James version: “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.”


Dayton "Dirt" - February 11, 2011

Even though we still have a way to go with winter in Ohio, in a few days the average temperature will begin to rise at least according to the long time weatherman, Dick Goddard on the Cleveland news cast.

The daffodils and crocus are already peaking above the ground to add to Ohio’s spectacular display of spring.

The nursery seminars continue with Cynthia Druckenbrod’s program on attracting butterflies to the garden. I think all of us know the usual fare for attracting butterflies such as the Buddleias (butterfly bush) and Asclepsis (butterfly weed) but our guest will greatly expand your knowledge in the butterfly field.

If you remember from your high school days, butterflies belong to the insect order, Lepidopthera that has the four life stages of the egg, larva, pupa and finally the adult. In this scenario, the larvae stage of the adults we admire so much can strip the leaves from some of our most cherished garden plants!

One Lepidopthera insect species that is not so pretty is that of thrips that can attack a wide variety of flowering plants.

In the greenhouse, thrips can be difficult to control as they’re quite small and tend to hide in flowers hidden away from the reach of insecticide sprays or other predatory insects. This is one genus of Lepidopthera we can do without!

Have your questions ready as our guest speaker has the answers. See you at the seminar on Saturday, February 12th at 11 a.m.