Friday, March 25, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - March 25, 2016

For sure spring is here but you wouldn’t know it from the snow and cold on its first full day. With the vernal equinox now past, the duration and brightness of light will continue to grow resulting in the life giving warmth of yet another Ohio spring. This past week has pretty much worn everyone out on 5 tractor trailer loads of nursery stock arriving along with more bare root trees and shrubs. Still the potting of perennials goes on and numerous annual flowers which will culminate in the opening of the perennial and annual flower houses at the end of  April. I remember a few years ago when on Sunday morning in early May a customer was observant enough to notice a somewhat anxious look on my face after the greenhouse filled with customers within 10 minutes of opening. I explained to this observant man that I was quite nervous about our salespeople to adequately handle and serve such a crowd. He explained to me that I needed to expect such a rush in that there are so many pretty things at the nursery that people just want to come and see them.

With Easter so early this year, it has been a challenge to fill the greenhouse with color as bulbs, lilies and a few other colorful perennials have to be forced along with more heat than normal. Then there is the opposite problem outside of the heat forcing the season somewhat early!

Our last seminar of “What’s New” finishes the winter seminar season and even now one interesting speaker has been lined up for next spring on a specific topic about herbaceous perennials. Whatever goes on here at the nursery, advanced planning definitely helps.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - March 18, 2016

While the expected March winds arrived with a wallop this past week, a general cool down for the next few days is in store and will serve as a brake to the roaring spring that we’ve had so far with the soaring temperatures that are more like mid-April than mid-March.

At the nursery, more annual flower plugs, bare root shrubs and trees as well as thousands more perennials are arriving in abundance. The trouble with all of these plants arriving at once is that each of these legs of production must be performed quickly as the plant groups mentioned cannot sit for long as they are quite perishable in the bare root or small plug stage.

A bright spot in the work this spring is that the work crew is excellent especially when compared to last year in that when necessary, the workers will join forces as a cohesive unit in order to quickly accomplish every task.

Tomorrow is the last of our winter seminars on the always popular topic, what’s new? Oodles of new perennials, trees and shrubs will be “on the shelves” this year.

Then on April 20 at 6:30 pm, which happens to be Earth Day, the Summit County Farm Bureau is sponsoring an informational seminar on raising backyard chickens. While this program is free for farm bureau members, the general public is welcome also for free or long as you register in advance by calling the farm bureau at 330-456-4889. Seating is limited and refreshments are provided.

Such is a busy spring and only to get ready for April and May…


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - March 12, 2016

With the weather this past week and the forecast next week it looks as though spring is on a rapid march in March! Looking longer term, cooler temperatures would definitely “work” better as early warming will cause new growth and early flowering of many plants only to be nipped by frosts. One hopeful aspect of the unusually warm temperatures is that at least there is some rain and the ground is not beginning to crack from dryness such as was the case in 2012.

This weather now reminds me of the year 1973 when temperatures like now were very warm at the tail end of February and early March with the warm up ending the 17th of March with a 1 foot snowfall. Afterwards, the warm up was then gradual resulting in a beautiful spring albeit that May was extremely rainy.

Work at the nursery is speeding up too with operations in full swing on multiple fronts such as in the greenhouse perennial potting, rose potting, the receipt of some balled and burlapped nursery stock and the clean up of perennials in the over-wintering huts.

Two more winter seminars are scheduled including one by Judy Semroc who will present The Life and Decline of the Monarch Butterfly. The good news this year is that the Monarch is on better footing with the “luck” of more favorable weather during their migration and over-wintering in  Mexico. The bad new’s is that the Monarch is still below the numbers needed to have a stable population that would not be wiped out from a severe “hit”.

Let’s hope for somewhat of a cool down so that spring will arrive slow and easy instead of coming in like a lamb and going out as if it were the month of May!


Friday, March 4, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - March 4, 2016

Mark Langan from the Mulberry Creek Herb Farm was so informative about the world of miniature gardening that the audience was almost uneasily silent as they seemed to listen intently to Mark’s every word. The display of miniature plants on tables was quite fascinating and was helpful in visualizing the scale of these miniature plants. Tomorrow’s seminar is “Root to Stalk Cooking” with Tamara Mitchell that will guide us on the use of the garden’s bounty.

The Witch Hazel in the garden is blooming beautifully with shades of bright yellow from ‘Arnold’s Promise’ and the coppery-orange blossoms from the variety called ‘Jelena’. So many varieties of this genus called Hamamelis are available today that one could state that these exists in a literal smorgasbord of colors. This genus is quite strange blooming in February in that the blossoms are quite resistant to all but the most severe freeze when the plants are in full flower. At the other  extreme are evergreen azaleas in which just a touch of frost in May when they are in full bloom will render the blossoms shriveled and lifeless with the hope of next year of a frost-free mid May. Perennial plugs (as the young plants are called) are now arriving by the thousands from Holland, Michigan to be potted quickly into pots for growing to a larger size before being sold. An arrangement of a mobile bin to hold potting soil and a series of roller conveyors makes for a look of an assembly line when potted plants roll down the conveyor to be tagged, fertilized and then taken off the conveyor to be placed in the greenhouse to be watered in well. This spring, 30,000+ perennials will be processed this way with another almost 20,00 coming out of winter storage. The  perennial production is only one facet of the spring operations as the season rolls along. Come get a peak of  “What’s new in Perennials” with the final seminar on March 19th. Hope to see you there.