Friday, April 20, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - April 13, 2012

No doubt the freeze on Saturday morning, April 7th did a lot of wide spread damage. At the nursery, the low temperature was 27 degrees just before sunrise. Our frost covers blanketed our stock that had some tender new growth. These “breathable” covers will protect tender growth and flowers as much as 8 degrees below freezing. Other plants were under cover of our movable roof greenhouse that we closed at night in order to trap the previous day’s heat. Another aspect of our frost control is that we must drain our irrigation system to prevent any smaller above ground pipes on valves from breaking when the temperature falls below 30 degrees. How well I remember April 8th of 2007 when temperatures during the night fell to 19 degrees with 35 mile per hour winds after an unusual warm up in late March and early April. The nursery is just about set up now except for the perennial house and annual flower house that will be open at the end of April. Tomorrow is a big day with our seminar on Clematis that is back by popular demand. Debra Hardwick is our Clematis expert. She has more than 300 varieties and 900 plants in her garden in Delaware, Ohio. Debra attracts a big crowd as her presentation last year attracted nearly 80 participants. The cost of the seminar is $5.00 which includes refreshments with the talk beginning promptly at 11:00 am this Saturday. Be sure to bring lots of questions as Debra has the answers with her years of experience with this wonderful genus of plants. Don’t forget that today is the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, born in 1743. While Jefferson is known for writing the Declaration of Independence, support of public education and promoting freedom of religion, he was quite the farmer and gardener as well having planted over 1000 fruit trees at his home, Monticello, and his extensive perennial flower gardens. His hope was that America would be a land of largely self-sufficient farmers tending their crops on their own land. How so much has changed! Tom

Dayton "Dirt" - April 20, 2012

April 20th seems more like May 10th. I blame on that lousy, unusually warm March! The azaleas in the garden and all over the nursery are beginning to bloom making a spectacular show. I’m hoping again for a “good” rain of at least an inch as the soil is getting quite dry. How ironic after such a wet year last year! The perennial house opens tomorrow (Saturday) followed by the annual flower house on Wednesday. This year all of our product except flats of vegetables and flowers is our own production from our new greenhouse out back. The warm weather seemed to “push” things ahead in the greenhouses too so that we had to do some extra trimming. Some cold tolerant plants like the larger petunia that are tolerant of light to medium frosts were already taken outside but normally we don’t take them outside until May 1st! We’re keeping up with the weeds (I think) as several sprays of round up 2-3 hours a day to keep things in check. Soon our tea roses will be outside their protective cover but I’m afraid to bring them out just yet so I’m still anticipating some frost which could beat them up. I’ll see you at the nursery! Tom

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - April 6, 2012

So far the local orchards have escaped any devastating frosts and the temperature at which significant damage will occur is below 28ºF. The only downside of this scenario is that several more frosts will surely come through April and early May which may cause havoc for the orchard people yet.

At the nursery almost everything is out of winter storage with the perennial and annual houses to open in late April.

If you have not applied a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer on your lawn, do it quickly as it is starting to germinate and most of these pre-emergents will prevent the weed seeds from germinating and also kill very small seedlings of crabgrass.

The digging in Lake County is already done as many of the trees and shrubs cannot be dug with tender new growth although some will become available as soon as this tender growth hardens off.

With Easter this Sunday the greenhouse display is magnificent with blooming flowers radiating their beauty. As Jesus spoke, “Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin. Yet I tell you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these.”.”

I’m looking forward to the return of the Eastern Bluebirds to our nesting boxes but I must admit that I have not had time to even look for them! Be sure to take a peek at the redbuds in Wolf Creek Gardens before they go out of bloom soon to be followed by the florida type dogwoods.

It’s a beautiful spring for sure but it’s too early! Oh well, I guess it’s human nature to always complain about something!