Friday, August 30, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - August 30, 2013

Today is the first day of our annual fall sale which tends to put an end to the summer doldrums. Fall, as I have written before, is a great time to plant almost anything as the root system of plants expand into the cool moist soil in order to establish themselves before a long winter. The stock that you’ll find “on sale” is quite diverse and I think of such quality that you’ll find is not “worn and tired” looking due to the fact that our irrigation system renders sufficient water and the fact that the stock is supplemented with our own fertilizer mix of fast and slow release fertilizer that we blend in a cement mixer. As a “thank you” for any purchase, the cashier’s will be handing out a coupon for six ears of Seiberling sweet corn to be found in the Owl Barn for free and for which there is no need to buy anything else. The times are limited in the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday though in order that we have time to stock fresh corn and do not have to overstock with not-so-fresh sweet corn. Igloo mums are ready now in 3 new varieties that are different in color and/or flower form. Igloos are dependably winter hardy and tend to bloom twice each year; that is, in early summer and again in fall if the plants are trimmed back by mid-July. Asters too are now showing some rich color in shades of blue, purple, pink and white which supplement the color schemes of the Igloo and “regular” mums. Although we have been feverishly potting new perennials all summer, more are still on the way from Holland, Michigan to be placed in larger containers to root in before winter. Astilbe, garden peonies, Itoh peonies and a new type of primrose with huge flowers in electrified shades of red, blue, yellow and pink will be arriving through September and then will be ready to sell next spring. One of our upcoming capital improvement projects is the installation of a new filter for the irrigation system to the tune of $8500 for just the filter alone. This filter has a larger and finer screen area than our present filter and will rid the irrigation water of particles that are greater than 400 microns in size which tend to clog sprinklers and other filters that we use in the greenhouses. This new filter as with our present filter will wash off the clogged filtering screen when a pressure differential builds up and causes a sensor to operate a small motor that powers spinning jets of water to free the screen of debris. Water certainly is the key to a nursery operation and so much so that we collect it (rain water and irrigation runoff), filter it, and chlorinate it in order to maintain the health of the plants offered for sale. On a final word of note. Come early to the sale as many items are sold out or picked over on the first day especially if the weather is agreeable. disappear quickly as the sale progresses. The sales listing is not updated everyday. On Friday, August 30th, the nursery will open early at 7:30 am rain or shine with plenty of good looking stock available for the sale. Join us in the Owl Barn Market for some free coffee, tea and other refreshments if you like. Don’t forget your planting instructions on your way out! The sale list will be available on our website the afternoon of August 29th. The sale will be available to all garden club members only through Monday, Sept 2nd after which the sale is open to every eon. Garden Club members will then get the first pick of the on sale items! Se you at the big sale! Tom

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - August 16, 2013

On a recent getaway to Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania, I stumbled on a hiking trail called the Rhododendron trail and marveled not at the rhododendron which were far and few between but at the massive Canadian Hemlocks with a few of them up to 5foot in diameter at chest height! One tree that had fallen and had been saved up to clear the trail had a 30" diameter trunk with at least 120 growth rings! I deducted them that some of the much larger living trees must be 200 to 250 years old so that some of them were just youngsters even before there was a United States. Later at the campground, I was talking excitedly about the old growth Hemlock’s in Cook Forest when the campground host related to me that at a meeting this spring with the park officials the inevitable has happened in that the invasive insect, the Hemlock adelgid, originally from Europe has entered the forest on the old growth trees. After this small insect saps the tree for 6-10 years, they will die leaving a decimated landscape where once the great trees grew. Long ago the American chestnut suffered a similar fate and now Hemlock. Black Walnuts, American Beech, Oaks and now possibly Maples are or will come under attack from non-native insects and diseases. On a lighter note, the bridge construction that has caused the closure of Cleveland-Massillon Road just north of the nursery will be finished August 22nd making navigation a breeze when south bound on the road. The grasses in the perennial house are plentiful with additions of some more varieties of varying heights and colors such as Pennisetum ‘Burgundy Bunny’ and Panicum ‘Prairifire’ that has a red blush on the otherwise blue-green foliage. The small Garden Treasure miniature roses have really flushed out saturating the small leaved plants with flowers of red, white, magenta, yellow, amber, orange and a yellow and orange bicolor call Pieces of Eight. The Seiberling sweet corn is still coming on with that oh-so-sweet quality. Finally the market has sported the small but so delicious doughnut peaches that just explode with flavor with just one bite. Just another reminder. . . time is running out to use your Dayton Dollars! Tom

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - August 9, 2013

This past week has been nothing but rush, rush and rush with the potting of Cool Wave Pansies, Daylilies, Hosta, German Iris and sundry perennials all for next spring sales. The German Iris do need a little more prep work in that they must soak in a 10% bleach solution for about 20 minutes and then left to dry in the sun for 1 day before they are potted. The bleach solution kills bacteria that cause the thick rhizomes to rot. The iris will be placed for winter storage in the same overwintering hut as the creeping phlox. This hut has roll up sides for maximum ventilation and will let the winter sun shine on the plants in which many fungal problems in storage are burned off by the winter sun. Early last spring, we had problems with some of our roses dying back after coming out of winter storage due to downy mildew. After speaking to well known rosarian Peter Schneider of Mantua, Ohio, I was intrigued by his solution of getting rid of downy mildew: spray the plants with water of a temperature of 140ºF! It seems the mildew organism likes cool damp weather and cannot survive a splash of the somewhat hot water. The Seiberling sweet corn is going well in the market and I must say that the white corn Chuck Seiberling gave me to try was even sweeter than the yellow or bicolor varieties! I asked him the name of the cultivar; however, he stated that it only had a number instead of a name. Seiberling’s Sweet White might be a fitting name. The Bloom-a-Thon azaleas that we may introduce in a limited quantity next year, were blooming their heads off until we cut all the flowers off earlier this week! The lavender, white, pink and red flowers are massive with pronounced ruffles that seem too heavy for the young plants. Bloom-a-Thon is rated to be winter hardy to climatic zone 5 and is a repeat bloomer very similar to the Encore brand of azalea. The new Igloo mums will be ready soon as well as our Kickin series of hardy asters and the new hardy cool wave pansies. Don’t forget to use your Dayton Dollars as they expire at the end of this month. Happy gardening, Tom

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - August 2, 2013

While the nursery has slowed in the sales department other areas are a flurry of activity with the propagation area still going strong along with potting up perennials and some shrubs for next year. Sedums, Heucheras, Vinca minor, Phlox subulata, Dianthus, Leucanthemum are some of the favorite genuses for fall potting. Then, another new plant we will have available about mid-September is the Cool Wave Pansy in mixed colors that is winter hardy to -20ºF! Each plant spreads to a diameter of up to 30 inches and if planted in the fall will continue to bloom until a hard freeze. Then in spring, this new pansy will return back again with spectacular bloom until it fades out again when temperatures climb into the eighty degree mark or more. Finally, the My Bouquet brand of roses is starting to show decent color with the biggest show of color from the variety called First Impression which is a true double yellow. Normally in tea roses the color yellow is considered a weak grower; however, in the My Bouquet series, the yellow in these shrub roses is quite strong. I just love the fact that the plants are on their own roots making the extraordinarily winter hardy and disease resistant. The hydrangeas just keep blooming on and on making for a colorful display. This past week our new crop of Mountain Laurels became available and are the best looking plants we ever have offered. One interesting note are the six turkeys that roam the nursery property. The birds decided to start digging along side the blueberry plants so that every time I see them near the patch I run them off so that they take wing and fly away. For a species that had an estimated population of 30,000 for the entire United States in 1970, the birds are becoming so common that they are multiplying like rabbits! It looks as though they may be another nuisance to deal with like the white tailed deer. Que sera sera Tom