Friday, May 26, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - May 26, 2017

Contrary to last year, there is certainly no shortage of rain this spring.  Many customers coming into the nursery have been more aware of wet areas in the yard and are wanting ideas for plantings which might include the Buttonbush (Cephalanthus), Calycanthus (Carolina Allspice), Winterberry (Ilex verticilata), Variegated Dogwood (Cornus elegantisima or stolonifera), Variegated Willow (Salix integra ‘Nashiki’) or even elderberries (Sambucus canadensis).  For trees in wet areas River Birch (Betula nigra), Silver Maple (Acer saccharum) or Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) would work well.

Finally, many of the roses are coming into bud and bloom which will create a spectacular show especially for the final week of May!  Tea roses and floribundas must be sprayed weekly with a fungicide such as Bi-Carb to keep mildew and black spot at bay as soon after inoculation by these fungus organisms, the leaves will yellow and drop off which then will slow down growth and the resulting bloom.

With Memorial Day approaching, many folks will decorate the graves of loved ones in cemeteries as a sign of respect and memory of those who have passed before us.  The traditional Memorial Day was called Decoration Day and designated to be May 30th by the federal government to consolidate the date into one celebration after the multiple celebrations on different dates throughout the various regions of the country.  With so many war dead from most families resulting from the Civil War it was only natural that families would want to decorate the graves of those lost.

At the nursery, plantings of flowers will not go on until after the holiday weekend due to the busy time.  The greenhouse is at its peak with masses of color everywhere.  The mixed confetti hanging baskets that were a little small are now particularly beautiful as at least 25 different combinations are available. Confetti is a trademark name of the Dummen Orange Company that produces the “plugs” for the combination.

A little more sun and warmth now would be good for the garden but now we’ll have to wait and see.  Que sera sera.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - May 19, 2017

With the onset of warm days and more importantly warm nights, the planting of vegetable and flowers seems to be in full swing.  Even tropical plants that like plenty of sun and hot days will be planted outdoors in the ground and in pots for outdoors.  This weekend will finish up the late blooming lilac call Miss Kim while just the beginning is near for the Mountain Laurels that will “repair” the loss bloom from the lilacs and the already out-of-bloom evergreen azaleas.

In the perennial department, scads of late spring perennials are ready to bloom as well as hundreds of the Tiny lilies bred in Holland.  The bulbs were planted three to a pot in late February and early March and now are coming into a May bloom although the true bloom time would be mid-June to early July.

The growing houses in the rear of the property are finally clearing out as more and more of the product becomes ready to sell.  As always, the Calliope geranium hanging baskets have been a big hit as they do well in part shade or full sun.  The breeding of the plants is called interspecific since they are a cross between the vining geranium and what is known as the zonal geranium.

Wolf Creek Garden to the north is a riot of bloom with rhododendrons in varieties such as ‘Boule de Neige’, ‘Boursault’, English Roseum’, Yaku ‘Prince’, ‘catawbiense Alba’, ‘Scintillation’, ‘Nova Zembla’ and then some.  Next will come the bloom of the Maximum types along with delicate blossoms of Mountain laurel and Kousa Dogwoods.

It would be nice to get some weeding done but for now, it will have to wait.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - May 12, 2017

After the cold rain last Saturday and then the very cool, sunny, windy day on Sundayfollowed by two freezes at the nursery, the question really is “what’s next?”  As always, weather patterns vary widely from year to year mainly due to the winds of the jet stream.  Needless to say, there is no shortage of water here in Ohio and record snows and rains in California have ended the drought and alleviated the pressure from wild fires that have ravaged that state and the entire western part of the country.

In the greenhouse, the beneficial nematodes have kept the mostly destructive thrip insect in check while cutting down on spraying chemicals for insect control by almost one half.  It is difficult to manage insect control with all beneficial insects as many do not eat pollen from flowers to survive and then are left with nothing to eat.
Unfortunately, wind and rain have made weed control in Wolf Creek garden lack luster to say the least as the few sunny, less windy days customer service must take priority over weed control.
Things are looking up though as the forecast for next week appears to be for more “normal” weather for the latter half of May whatever “normal” is.

In a way it is strange that there is only one day to honor mothers as everyone knows that a mother is actually a keystone in a family raising children, preparing family meals, shopping, cleaning, tending the garden, canning and freezing the saying goes, “ a mother’s work is never done.”  It reminds me of my own mother and her mother which did so much and basically how much mothers are under appreciated.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - May 5, 2017

As the rains continue, so must the work at the nursery continue so that when the sun does decide to shine, everything will be ready for the normally busy May season.  Surprisingly, despite with weather, sales have been brisk especially with the opening of the annual flower house.
It is difficult though for folks to plant the garden even with the cool weather vegetables because of the somewhat saturated ground.  One of the worst concerns of a gardener is to walk around the garden when the soil is quite wet because of the resulting compaction.  I do remember speaking to a customer in 2011 when the spring rain never seemed to stop and even continued well into June.  She had been born and raised in the UK and related to me that the 2011 spring was like English weather.  When I asked her what the English do in the garden when the spring rains seem to go on and she replied “you just put on your “Wellies” and go out into the garden.  She of course was referring to the high Wellington boots that offer maximum protection from the wet and muddy soil.

With still a chance of frost in the air for May, it is still too early to plant heat-loving vegetable plants like tomatoes and peppers as well as impatiens and wave petunias.  However, many annuals can survive a light frost like other petunias, ageratum and a few others.

“Hope springs eternal” as written by the poet Alexander Pope and so is the hope for at least some sun this spring.