Friday, April 24, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - April 24, 2015

For Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 24, I think its fitting to honor President Theodore Roosevelt who served from 1901 with the assassination of President McKinley to 1908 and is widely remembered for his sweeping reforms of land use, land and wildlife preservation and his role in the formation of National parks covering millions of acres for all Americans then and of today.

Therefore, I think its fitting to print his address to the school children of the United States about Arbor Day in 1907:

Theodore Roosevelt
The White House
April 15, 1907
To the School Children of the United States:
Arbor Day (which means simply “Tree Day”) is now observed in every State in our Union — and mainly in the schools. At various times from January to December, but chiefly in this month of April, you give a day or part of a day to special exercises and perhaps to actual tree planting, in recognition of the importance of trees to us as a Nation, and of what they yield in adornment, comfort, and useful products to the communities in which you live.

It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the Nation’s need of trees will become serious. We of an elder generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted.

For the Nation as for the man or woman and the boy or girl, the road to success is the right use of what we have and the improvement of present opportunity. If you neglect to prepare yourselves now for the duties and responsibilities which will fall upon you later, if you do not learn the things which you will need to know when your school days are over, you will suffer the consequences. So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal, whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.

A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless; forests which are so used that they cannot renew themselves will soon vanish, and with them all their benefits. A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it were, a factory of wood, and at the same time a reservoir of water. When you help to preserve our forests or to plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forests, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - April 17, 2015

As tax day approaches many timely chores in the garden can be accomplished such as the putting down of crabgrass preventer and feed on the lawn, transplanting of perennials, planting cool weather cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts and the transplanting of trees and shrubs time is quite short in that the plants are starting to break dormancy which then will end transplanting until fall or next spring. Certain plants such as Japanese Maples, Dogwoods and most Magnolias only like to be moved just before growth begins while most can be moved spring or fall.

At the nursery this past week the jamming open of a side vent on the west side of the production greenhouse as a major storm approached caused great concern. With wind gusts threatening, a large open vent on the west side would allow a severe storm to take off the roof of the structure and even bend steel supports such is was the case in a microburst in July of 2000. Fortunately, Ron of the Orasko Greenhouse company came to the rescue and solved the problem before the storm hit with its full fury only a couple of hours later. Then there was the case of a leak in a four inch water line 3 feet under the ground that was excavated and repaired before the storm filled the hole with water! All of this “excitement” was all the more increased with the unloading of a tractor trailer full of heavy balled and burlapped trees and helping customers.

By this weekend almost all trees and shrubs will be available but not the perennials in which most like the annual flowers will not be done “cooking” until the tail end of the month. So much work to do in so little time!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - April 10, 2015

Finally, we’re able to empty our winter storage huts and bring out plants although our shipments from Lake County won’t arrive until next week due to delays of wet fields that prevented digging. Even now, potting of a wide variety of trees, shrubs and perennials still goes on at a feverish pace to ready plants for late spring, fall and even next year sales. The roses potted in early March seem to be right on schedule in that they should be available by Mother’s Day which will include our new addition of the old-fashioned, very fragrant David Austin roses.

Some of the daffodils in the garden are beginning to pop into color and the thousands of emerging tulips received their spray of deer repellent as the deer, by evidence of tracks, have already been eyeing them for a meal. Finally, I have seen the hawks out in force to scoop up small and hopefully larger rodents such as rabbits that caused some damage from their eating in one of our storage huts.

The sun and longer days have greatly accelerated growth in the production greenhouse as the plants are growing like weeds! Several hanging basket varieties on the greenhouse benches have needed a severe trimming in order to create a full, compact basket for the month of May. The stock plants of Calliope geraniums were cut to small nubs in early March before transplanting them into much larger pots and now have at least tripled in size! Spring is here, however; snow is still a likely event!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - April 3, 2015

It seems only yesterday that cold nights below zero and a heavy blanket of snow was the norm. With the arrival of April, better weather has come and still the emergence of spring flowering bulbs and the buds swelling on trees and shrubs is slow due to the cold and wet ground.

The “set up” of nursery stock at the nursery will be delayed about a week this year so that the week of April 15th will be our goal to get ready for sales which is a result of not trusting the weather to ‘behave” as we pull out container plants from winter storage that are somewhat advanced from the warmer temperatures of the winter storage huts. The annual flower greenhouse has been heated up to start filling up with plants from the growing greenhouse in the rear of the property and tropical plants that will arrive from Florida next week. This section of the greenhouse including the tropicals will be closed until about May 1st as that is the time much of the flower and vegetable plants will be ready although it is too early to plant.

With Easter this Sunday, we will finish up our Easter flower deliveries and then will go “whole hog” to set up the greenhouse for sales in May. So many new hanging baskets and potted plants are growing that the problem will be of where to display everything! Just this past week, another 62 flats of tomato seed was sown representing 40 varieties of hybrid and weird heirloom types. Potting, trimming and tagging plants is the norm in the greenhouse these days!

Happy Easter!