Friday, March 22, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - March 22, 2013

At last it’s spring and the weather is back to “normal” compared to last year. On March 24th of last year while we were unloading 3½ truckloads of nursery stock, temperatures soared to near 90ºF in the one trailer as it was the last to be unloaded that day with the outside temperature of an unheard of 85ºF! Surprisingly no damage was evident on any of the plants even days after they experienced the “sweat box”. This past week we’ve been receiving stock and pulling nursery stock from our storage houses at a feverish pace. Another operation in full swing is the potting of roses, perennials, trees, shrubs and young plants in the greenhouse that we rooted from cuttings this past month. I have to say that all of us at the nursery are under less stress than last year because of the cooler weather as it keeps customers at bay until we are able to properly display our “wares” and enables us to do the production chore in which timing is so critical. I must admit, I am tired of winter. A few days of 40º - 50º would have been nice and wouldn’t have pushed out the plants too far ahead. Que sera sera. Tomorrow on “Ready, Set, Grow” will be Eric Hessel of the Landmark Company that markets and sells Sweet Peet and other innovative garden products. I have used the Sweet Peet product myself and have had excellent results but I must confess that I know little of the other products that the “Sweet Peet” people make. I’ll be sure to grill Eric on the program about their new things. Start enjoying the spring and remember, April is only 10 days away! Tom

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - March 8, 2013

The lawn seminar was packed with old and new information thanks to Mark Laube of the Oliger Seed Company of Akron. Mark’s knowledge of lawns is amazing and he was able to present lawn care in a rather simple organized fashion that almost anyone can understand and perform. The focus today is on practices in the home that are sustainable and lawns are certainly an area that in the past have not contributed to sustainability due to multiple applications of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides. To me, it was refreshing that Mark addressed some of these unsustainable practices. Although we’ve been open a week and the store is not really busy with sales, there’s a flurry of activity behind the scenes in the planting of annual flowers, thousands of perennials and bare-root roses. We’ve even received a truck load of balled and burlapped trees and are looking forward to the big ship week of March 18th that is an unloading affair all day! Our last seminar for the winter series is tomorrow with the topic of “what’s new”. There is not enough time to discuss all the new plants for 2013 even if the photos were scrolled through at a rate of one per minute for 2 hours! There will be a “juicy” door prize for someone if his or her name is drawn out of a hat. Remember, only 13 days left until spring! Tom

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - March 1, 2013

Since it’s only 3 weeks until the vernal equinox (spring), it will be depressing to some when the late winter cold and snow sets in. Well do I remember the early spring of 1982 when we started to set out our nursery stock only to get hammered by deep snow and cold starting the 5th week of April! Even as recent as 2005, April 28th saw the deposit of four inches of snow. Conversely, the weather that opened spring of 2012 was quite a disaster in that the growth and blooming of plants was forced out too early and, lest we forget, the lack of poorly needed rainfall. Cynthia Drukenbrod’s program “Made in the Shade” was more informative than her usual wonderful presentation as it included solutions to the demise of shade impatiens due to the nasty disease downy mildew. Cynthia is a spokesperson for the Cleveland Botanical Garden that is well known for its theme gardens, huge conservatory and educational programs all in the heart of what I call the knowledge circle of the east side of Cleveland because of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art . Tomorrow’s program will be on lawn care with Mark Laube of Oliger Seed Company of Akron. Mark has been in the turf grass management for years after graduating from the Agricultural Technical Institute in the early seventies. Join us at the nursery on Saturday, March 2nd at 11 a.m. for a glimpse at the “secrets” of affordable lawn care. Tom