Friday, February 26, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - February 26, 2016

The 60º weather on Saturday with its high winds was more an April day then one in February. Narcissus shaded by evergreens are now popping out of the ground especially since the ground has not been frozen hard lately even with the cold temperatures of below zero on the 14th of the  month. The nice weather brought out the garden club members this past Saturday about landscape renewal; however, I think many in the audience yearned to be outside in the warm sunshine. Six years ago, the winter seminars were extended well into April on various educational topics. As the weather warmed and the daylight hours expanded, attendance waned. This year, the final seminar on March 19th will end with the “What’s New” subject that always draws a crowd.

Clematis in winter storage have seen a premature swelling of growth buds so that in early March they will have to be removed, trimmed and spaced before the rapid new growth that expands like magic might cause them to intertwine into one tangled mess. Today is the day that production in  the perennial house resumes and will continue at a fever pace at least until early April. The conditions this year are much more favorable for speedy work as large clumps of frozen potting mix and biting bitter cold, as was the care last year, are absent. Other than a severe attack by mice in only the one over-wintering house, the nursery stock has over-wintered quite well.

Next Tuesday is the first of March which looks as though it will come in like a lion. I wonder if it will go out like a lamb?


Friday, February 19, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - February 19, 2016

Enough of the Alberta Clipper especially after the below zero temperatures of last week. The cold was not quite enough to kill the flower buds on evergreen azaleas so that unless -10º F or an unusual warm up, then a severe cold snap ensues, the bloom on the plants should be spectacular this year.

Tomorrow’s seminar will be a program of renovating an existing landscape in the cookie-cutter category of shall we say, “boring”. Sometimes because of physical restrictions such as sidewalk locations or overhangs, it is nearly impossible to renovate an existing foundation planting so that only a “tear out” and replanting must be done. Last Saturday’s seminar by Greg Snowden on the subject of Wetlands was very well presented although it was not particularly well attended with  Saturday’s coldest day of winter. Educating not only the gardening public but the public at large about the importance of various ecosystems as they have to do with a healthy, clean environment is our goal.

In a week we’ll be hanging up hanging baskets that are now sitting on the greenhouse benches waiting for their final trim before they are hung up. Without a final trim the plants tend to be leggy and overgrown by Mother’s Day when many will be sold. Five years ago, I accidentally sprayed the baskets with a miticide and fungicide in order to keep the blooms vibrant but the combination of the two substances burned the open flowers so that the full bloom of the hanging baskets was compromised. Then, the next week the same hanging baskets literally exploded into bloom and so much so that some of the plant’s leaves were hidden by masses of colorful blooms!

So much work is ahead to get ready for spring and the “fun” is almost here.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - February 12, 2016

There’s no doubt about it now that winter has returned! Some of the coldest air of the season has arrived but at least it is accompanied by an insulating blanket of snow. At the nursery, the insulating cover called microfoam had to be pulled over the perennial plants as for the past 2 weeks it has been pulled to the side in order to allow for ventilation. Outside projects have now been placed in the “on-hold” mode with the cold weather although inside chores will prevail for the coming week until training sessions for the next week will commence before the production season begins at the tail end of February.

Last week’s seminar with Cynthia Druckenbrod of the Cleveland Botanical Garden was quite popular with the subject matter of container gardening. In fact, Cynthia mentioned several plants which we don’t normally stock but now the search begins to find them. One such plant is the Cardinal Vine that climbs up a trellis and blooms all summer with red tubular flowers that are a magnet for hummingbirds, Even shrubs such as hydrangeas and grape vines can be used. Tomorrow’s seminar is all about wetlands with our expert Greg Snowden of the Davey Tree Resource Group. Greg monitors constricted wetlands in order that they meet the standards for a wetland such as the presence of native plants, water quality, wildlife, etc. Greg now has 5 years of experience building on his Masters degree from Notre Dame College. He will discuss too the value of the wetlands to our environment and how they act as nature’s water filter. Hope to see you at the seminar.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - February 5, 2016

Even though it’s sad to go back to winter after a taste of spring, most gardeners know that too warm of a winter is as worrisome as a too cold of a winter as in the last two years. The breaks in the weather have made it possible to perform some necessary watering on the stored nursery stock that last year could not receive waterings because of the bitter cold of last February. Repair work on the greenhouse ebb and flow (self-watering benches) is complete which will finally save time,  work, money and water as opposed to long drawn out hand watering.

Last week’s seminar on people and trees by Chad Klink was more informative than I expected. Chad’s knowledge of trees in urban and non-urban settings was quite extensive as he detailed the causes of the declining tree canopy in the City of Cleveland and other cities around the country. Holden Arboretum and the City of Cleveland in addition to other partners do have a plan in place to address the declining tree “infrastructure” to eventually increase the canopy to about double of  what it is today. Chad spelled out the benefits of urban trees with the “tree calculator” which calculates actual monetary benefits of the trees. Now after this “wider view” seminar, Cynthia Druckenbrod of the Cleveland Botanical Garden will return to the backyard with her informative presentation on container gardening for year round interest.

See you tomorrow at the seminar!