Friday, April 25, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - April 25, 2014

It’s been a rush at the nursery to get ready for the opening of the perennial house and annual flower greenhouse. As always I have reservations about opening the flower and veggie house so early; however, many customers have small greenhouses to get an early start on spring. Tea roses and more hydrangeas are coming along nicely although they are a little behind schedule with the cooler temps. This year perennial hibiscus will not be available until the end of May as the bareroot plants could not be dug out of the field in Holland, Michigan because of snow and frost in the field until early April. Normally we plant the hibiscus in late March to be ready by mid-May. With both the perennial and flower house open on Saturday, April 26th there will be plenty to look at although not everything will be ready and again it is because of the previous cold dark weather. Three times this week we have covered shrubs with new growth so as to prevent the growth from frost burn which would decrease the saleability of the plants. Even now, plantings of new product are still being processed for which the product will be available in July and August. I think garden club members will find our selection of specials to their liking and it seems we are well stocked this year instead of last year when we had some last minute “hiccups” because of the non performance of one of our vendors. May Day is more in sight and we can only hope some consistently warmer weather will come with it. Daytime temperatures of 60-70º F and nighttime temperatures of no lower than 45º F in early May would be nice. Wishful thinking maybe as we’re not living in Camelot. Tom

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - April 11, 2014

The warm up this week is pushing flower bulbs out of the ground with crocus starting to bloom their heads off and daffodils budding up for just maybe a peak of “yellow sunshine” this weekend. Even so, many plants are still behind their “normal” schedule to pop. An old photograph that I took with a Kodak instamatic 104 camera from April 14th of 1972 shows a whole host of blooming daffodils almost at peak bloom. Our nursery stock is coming out of our winter storage huts for two reasons: 1. We want to start selling them. 2. The extra heat in the huts because of limited ventilation will force the plants into growth early which is not desirable because of future frost damage to new growth. The planting of the greenhouse product is almost done with tropical plants arriving this past week. Now comes the one week delay of being able to sell the tropicals because of the two insecticide sprays that we like to apply before selling them. Although no “bugs” are visible, the plants after all are from Florida where “bugs” seem to be the state motto instead sunshine state. The greenhouse will open at the very end of April with a limited number of perennials available now along with pansies and violas. So much to do with so little time! Tom

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - April 4, 2014

The spring warm up has finally begun in earnest although I’m sure there will be some backtracking of the weather in the temperature and/or snow department. Even now it is a rush to get everything done since many of the scheduled projects could not go on because of the continued cold. Normally we pick up our bare-root trees and shrubs to be potted the last week of March. However, calls from the various growers to delay pickups resulted because of frozen soil last week. The warmer temperatures and rains have finally broken the deep frost so that we were able to pick up plants just yesterday so that they may be prepared and then potted this weekend. The annual greenhouse attached to the store has now opened for the growing of hanging baskets and other plants that must be spaced for growing on. Even with the much warmer temperatures, the plants in the greenhouse must grow with temperatures about 65º F or they will not develop in time when the greenhouse must be open for sales in early May. Fortunately, almost all the older greenhouse heaters of only 67% efficiency have been converted to those of 80% and even 93% efficiency with those that are the first stage to heat the greenhouse. A time lapse film would be interesting of the growth of plants in the greenhouse as the cold, cloudy and short days of winter seem to hold the plants in limbo with longer days and more sun start a sudden acceleration. No doubt, spring will not be as glorious as it normally would be with severe winter damage on various trees and shrubs but as we all know, it’s happened before. Tom