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Edition 15.18 H&H Gardening Newsletter April 30, 2015

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April

Mulch Matters
If you haven't already, apply a layer of mulch around flower beds and around trees and shrubs 2-3 inches around the base of plants. It reduces weeds, conserves moisture, and prevents disease.



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featured quote

FEATURED QUOTE :

In the spring, I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.
~Mark Twain

black forest
mother's day
Mother's day is just around the corner. We have beautiful color bowls, strawberry pots, fruit trees with fruit and gift cards in any denomination.
easy turf

Squirrels

While many of us spend much of our time trying to keep insects out of our garden, there are some species that we'd like to attract. Beyond being beautiful, butterflies are an important pollinator for your garden, and attracting them is easy if you have the right plants around.

Milkweed (Asclepias) is an important food source and habitat for the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, one of North America's most traveled and beloved species. It takes four generations, from egg through caterpillar to butterfly, for these intrepid creatures to complete one circuit of their migration from the northern US to Southern Mexico and back. There has been a recent movement across the country to make Milkweed widespread to provide habitat for these fragile travelers.

There are many other plants that will attract different kinds of butterflies to your garden. Some of them are preferred by butterflies for their nectar, such as heliotrope (Heliotropium), salvia, lantana, butterfly bush (Buddleia), marigolds (Tagetes), cape plumbago ( Plumbago auriculata), glossy abelia (Abelia grandiflora), and lilac verbena (Verbena lilacina).

Others are used primarily by butterflies to nurture their caterpillars, such as passionvine (Passiflora),  lupines (Lupinus), willows (Salix), nettels (Urtica), plantain (Plantago ), snapdragon (Antirrhinum), cabbage (and other members of the Brassicaceae family), dill (Anethum graveolens), and parsley (Foeniculum vulgare). Many of these have other uses as well, whether as herbs, vegetables, beautiful flowers, or, in the case of marigolds, to ward off pests. Most of these species can thrive even with caterpillars munching on them a bit.

If you'd like to see lots of butterflies around, consider sharing some of your garden to give them a place to rest and feed while they're around. Any of the staff at H&H would be glad to give advice on which species of plants will work well in your garden and keep your favorite butterflies coming back to say hello.

 
Designing a garden that will grow with you

It's always a challenge to come up with new and unusual gift ideas for Mother's Day. This year, why not plant a garden for her (either in the ground or in a container) that she will be able to use and enjoy year-round? Base the type of garden you plant on her interests.

Does your mother enjoy cooking? An herb garden might be the perfect gift. Many herbs stay, or can be kept, fairly small and compact and would be well-suited to a pot or window box; these include thyme, oregano, sage, basil and cilantro/coriander. If she has a favorite style of cooking (Italian, Mexican, Asian or Middle Eastern, etc.) you could plant a container with several of the herbs used in that particular style of cooking. If you have a sunny spot available for in-ground planting you could plant some of the larger herbs as well, like rosemary or bay.

Perhaps your mom is a nature lover. A garden to attract birds or butterflies would provide her with hours of enjoyment. Try planting a garden with plants that attract both, using plants such as butterfly weed (Asclepias), salvia, beard tongue (Penstemon), California fuchsia (Zauschneria), lavender, lantana (colors include white, lavender, red, orange, pink and yellow), butterfly bush (Buddleja) and columbine (Aquilegia).

If your mother enjoys growing her own fruit, a unique gift would be a fruit tree that has different types of fruits on the same tree. Citrus trees are available this way and usually sport five or six types of fruit per tree. These can be a combination of lemon, grapefruit, orange, mandarin, tangelo, or lime. Don't be too choosy about the combinations; what you are able to find will be based on the grower's availability and can change from year to year. Stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums, etc.) are also available as multi-grafted trees. By having fruit with different ripening dates on the same tree, you are able to significantly extend your harvest period.

For those moms who enjoy growing flowers to use in indoor decorating, a cutting garden would be ideal. Some great annual choices for the warm season are: celosia, cosmos, zinnias (tall types), or sunflowers. For perennials, plant Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), shasta daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum), pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria), cottage pink (Dianthus plumarius), sea lavender (Limonium perezii) or dahlias (taller types). If you have room, consider planting a focal-point plant to use for cut foliage such as pink breath-of-heaven; the foliage of this plant looks delicate and airy and lasts in a vase for up to two weeks.

Visit us soon so we can help you get your Mother's Day garden off to a good start. Mom will love it!

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Things to do in May

1. Plant irises, canned roses, tropicals and tuberoses.
2. Transplant potted bulbs into the ground.
3. Replace cool-season bedding flowers with summer-season flowers.
4. Plant zinnias and other heat loving flowers.
5. Plant morning glories.
6. Plant warm-season lawns.
7. Continue to plant summer vegetables.
8. Replace parsley if you haven't already done so.
9. Plant a giant pumpkin for Halloween.
10. Purchase, plant, and transplant succulents.
11. Stop pinching fuchsias if you did not do so last month.
12. Thin out fruit on deciduous fruit trees.
13. Pinch dahlias back when the plant has three sets of leaves; tie the plant up as it grows.
14. Continue to pick and deadhead roses.
15. Divide and repot cymbidiums that have outgrown their containers.
16. Cut off bloom spikes from cymbidiums after flowers fade.
17. Prune camellias if you have not already done so.
18. Clean and prune azaleas.
19. Divide and mount staghorn ferns.
20. Prune winter- and spring-flowering vines, shrubs, trees and ground covers after they finish blooming.
21. Continue to tie up and sucker tomatoes.
22. Remove berries (seed pods) from fuchsias after flowers fall.
23. Pinch back petunias when you plant them.
24. Continue to prune and train espaliers.
25. Feed citrus trees, avocado trees.
26. Feed fuchsias, azaleas, tuberous begonias, water lilies.
27. Feed roses, ferns, flower beds, camellias after they bloom.
28. Fertilize lawns.
29. Side-dress vegetable rows with fertilizer.
30. Feed all container-grown succulents with a well-diluted complete liquid fertilizer.
31. Fertilize peppers when flowers first show.
32. As the weather becomes drier, be sure to water most garden plants regularly.
32a. Do not water succulents.
32b. Taper off watering those California native plants that don't accept summer water.
33. Control rose pests and diseases.
34. Spray junipers and Italian cypress for juniper moths.
35. Control mildew.
36. Control pests on vegetables.
37. Control weeds among permanent plants by mulching or cultivating.
38. Control weeds among vegetables and flowers by hand-pulling.
39. Keep bamboo from running into your neighbor's garden.
40. Harvest vegetables regularly.

Unwanteds

The Unwanted Trio: Powdery mildew, rust, and blackspot. For rose growers, these three characters are hard for us to avoid. Morning and evening air moisture will get us every time, no matter how careful we are about giving our plants the best cultural environment that we can. Oh sure, there are others! But we'll start with these three guys.

Powdery mildew appears as a superficial white or gray powdery substance over the surface of leaves, stems, flowers, or fruit of affected plants. These patches may enlarge until they cover the entire leaf on one or both sides. Young foliage and shoots may be particularly susceptible. Leaf curling and twisting may also occur with this fungus. Severe powdery mildew infection will result in yellowed leaves, dried and brown leaves, and disfigured shoots and flowers. Although it usually is not a fatal disease, powdery mildew may hasten plant defoliation, and the infected plant may become extremely unsightly. On roses, uncontrolled powdery mildew will prevent normal flowering on highly susceptible cultivars.

Some powdery mildew, especially those on roses, is favored by high humidity. This can happen in our gardens when we have plant overcrowding; shading will keep plants cool and promote higher humidity. These conditions are highly conducive to powdery mildew development.

Rust is another fungus presenting problems in our gardens. It first appears on the undersides of leaves and other plant parts as orange powdery "pustules." As these pustules develop, they become visible on the upper leaf surfaces as orange brown spots. Rust can develop when temperatures are 65 to 70 F, and moisture is continuous for two to three hours.

It is very important to remove and destroy the infected foliage containing rust. Wear gloves that can be washed afterwards and clean any tools used in the removal. This fungus is easy to spread. That is why it is important to also clean up any foliage that has fallen to the ground under the infected plant. Replace any mulch present with new mulch. Don't try to "wash" the rust away from the foliage! This will only help it to spread further in your garden.

Blackspot , also a fungus, appears like its name. It also develops during warm but wet weather. Unfortunately, it can overwinter in the leaf buds and canes or on fallen leaves not cleared away from your roses. Lots of sun, good air circulation and healthy soil will increase your rose plant resistance capabilities. As with rust, it is very important to remove and clean up infected foliage. Remember to clean your tools between cutting on infected plants.

Before using fungicides you should attempt to limit powdery mildew and rust by following good cultural practices.

  • Purchase only top-quality, disease-free plants of resistant cultivars and species--we sell only the best.
  • Prune out diseased terminals of woody plants, such as roses during the normal pruning period. All dead wood should be removed. Remove from the surrounding soil all dead leaves that might harbor the fungus.
  • Keep plants healthy. Plant where the plants will obtain a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily (especially roses), space for good air circulation.
  • Water thoroughly without over-watering. Don't use overhead watering/sprinklers, which wet the foliage. Don't water in the late afternoon or evening when the foliage will not have time to dry.

Fungicides may become necessary to achieve acceptable control. For best results with fungicides, spray programs must begin as soon as mildews are detected. Ask one of us which of the fungicide products are best suited for your needs. There is a range of products available on our shelves.

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Squirrels

Squirrels are a very common nuisance animal and, as cute as they appear, can cause a number of different conflicts with homeowners. Grey squirrels and tree squirrels will steal fruit from fruit trees and food from bird feeders, while ground squirrels will eat all of your flowers, damage vegetables and dig up lawns looking for food. Worse yet, squirrels have a unique desire to live inside of buildings where they can create fire hazards from chewing up wiring and bringing in nesting items.

There are two ways to deal with squirrels. You can either repel them from your yard by making your garden undesirable as a food source, or by trapping and removing them. NOTE: you cannot use poison to control squirrels. There is no registered effective legal (or humane) poison that will eliminate squirrels.

The first method involves spraying a non-toxic, bad tasting repellent on your non-edible plants. The squirrels will associate your plants with a foul taste and eventually leave. For vegetables and fruits, you can use a predator repellent to scare away the squirrels. These usually contain coyote, fox or mountain lion urine.

The second method is to trap the squirrels with a humane trap. These traps have spring-loaded doors with sensitive triggers to make safe, secure and sensitive catches. The easiest way to trap squirrels is to place unshelled peanuts, sunflower seeds or pieces of fruit inside the trap.

One or more of these traps should be set and placed in areas frequented by the squirrels you wish to catch, or along paths they commonly use. If you opt for live release, captured squirrels should be released far away, some say as far away as seven miles, in order to ensure they do not return. For the sake of your fellow gardeners, please try to release them in the wild, not next to someone else's home.

Remember that there's no point trapping squirrels in any place where there is a consistent food source such as bird feeders or vegetable gardens because replacements will soon arrive attracted by the source of food. Squirrels re-produce rapidly so don't delay; embark on a squirrel control strategy today!

Garden Primer

How do I get sweeter fruit on my fruit trees?

Answer:

First, fruit trees need a minimum of at least half a day of sunlight each day during the growing season. The more sun, the sweeter your fruit will be. If your trees are in a bad location, consider transplanting when they are dormant in winter.

That said, many times the fruits on trees are not as sweet as they could be, because the soil they are planted in is lacking phosphorus and potash. It is important to apply a fertilizer to the soil around your trees in November and again in January to provide these vital nutrients.

During the growing season, feed once after the blooms are finished, again in June and one more time in September with a complete fruit tree food. Make sure not to overwater, either. Allow the soil to dry out a little between waterings.

Established fruit trees respond best to deep and infrequent watering.

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Green Bean Casserole

What You'll Need:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup (for variety, or if you don't like musrooms, you can also use other "cream of" soups like cream of celery, cream of potato, etc.)
  • 4 cups cooked green beans
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/3 cups French fried onions (split)

Step by Step:

  • Mix the soup, milk, soy sauce and pepper in a 1.5 quart casserole dish.
  • Add in beans and 2/3 cup of the fried onions, and mix well.
  • Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Remove from oven and stir again.
  • Top with the remaining 2/3 cup fried onions.
  • Return to oven and bake until the onions are golden brown--about 5 minutes.
Serves 6

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