Week 5 (4/28/06)
The beautiful weather of the past few days makes it hard to contain our enthusiasm for planting beautiful annual flowers. But Tuesday night’s frost reminds us that we have to wait just a little while yet. America’s Best Flowers has the perfect solution. Attend “Contain Yourself”, a workshop developed to help you create your own dazzling container, this weekend, April 29 and 30, anytime between 10 and 3. Choose your favorite container and plants from our huge selection. We will provide the soil and expert help to pot them. Container gardening is the fastest growing gardening trend today. It provides everyone from homeowners to apartment dwellers; kids to senior citizens; as well as those with physical disabilities the opportunity to garden.
Relief: What trees do in the spring.
This Week’s Success Tip for your Garden – Container Gardening
1. Decide what you are going to plant. Annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs, small trees, vegetables and water plants all make suitable plants for containers. Remember, “If it grows in the ground, chances are it’ll grow in a pot.” For best results, combine plants with the same light and watering needs.
2. Choose a container. The variety of containers available is almost endless; plastic, clay, resin, ceramic, etc. Any container will work as long as it is large enough to support the root system of the plants and has excellent drainage holes.
3. Use good soil-less potting mix. These mixes are composed of combinations of peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and/or ground bark. They are what we use in the greenhouse and are available for purchase.
4. Fertilize your containers. Use a slow release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, time-release feeding, and supplement with additional feedings of Miracle Gro, or other fertilizer of your choice, as directed on the package.
5. Water well. Remember, your plants depend on you to provide adequate moisture. There are many watering wands on the market to make watering easier. Choose one that allows you to adjust the flow so you can water without flooding.
Rubberneck: What you do to relax your wife.
TIP FROM THE EXPERT
Thursday evening, April 13, America’s Best Flowers was honored to have Jan Vergeer, of Langeveld Bulb Company, do a seminar on the use of bulbs in container gardens. We hope to have him back next year and encourage everyone to attend. Jan’s expert presentation was extremely informative and entertaining. One of his ideas I would like to pass along is how to plant a pot of gladiolus.
For a pot full of long-lasting color start with a bag of glad bulbs (about 30) and a 14” pot. Start out with a couple inches of drainage. Top with 3 inches soil-less potting mix. Place 1/3 of the glad bulbs on the soil. Cover with 3 inches of soil. Water and set in a warm location. When these first glads begin to emerge. Place another 1/3 of the bulbs on the soil and add 3 more inches of soil. Water and set in a warm location. Repeat one more time. The glads will continue to grow through the additional layers of soil. This planting method produces a pot of beautiful blooms over an extended period of time. Feel free to cut the bloom stalks when they begin to open to allow room for the remaining plants to bloom.
Tip: The best time to cut gladiolus is when the first one or two blossoms at the bottom open. When you cut them, trim the top 4 – 5 buds off the stalk. This will allow every other bud on the stalk to open fully. If left on, more of the buds will not open.
What do rabbits have that nothing else does? Baby rabbits.
“Rabbits are eating everything in my garden. Do you have something to stop them?” There are numerous products on the market to help deter these pesky creatures. Liquid Fence, Critter Ridder and Shake-Away are three that our customers have had success with. Used according to package directions, these products are safe and effective.
“What about deer? I just had them destroy my bulb garden. Is there anything that will prevent this?” In addition to trying the products listed above, you might try mulching the areas you would like to keep deer out of with cocoa bean mulch. Recent research suggests that they find the smell offensive. To keep the treatment effective, put down an inch or so of fresh cocoa beans every few days, especially if there has been a hard rain.
A GOOD MEAL
Lost on a rainy night, a nun
stumbles across a monastery
and requests shelter there. Fortunately, she's just in
time for dinner and was treated to the best fish and chips
she had ever tasted.
After dinner, she went into the kitchen to thank the chefs.
She was met by two of the Brothers.
The first one says, "Hello, I am Brother Michael and this
is Brother Charles." "I'm very pleased to meet you," replies
the nun. "I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful dinner.
The fish and chips were the best I've ever had. Out of
curiosity, who cooked what?"
Brother Charles replied, "Well, I'm the fish friar."
She turned to the other Brother and said,
"Then you must be....?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so -- I am the chip monk.
COFFEE ALMOND ICE CREAM TORTE
1 1/2 c chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (24 cookies)
1/4 c butter, melted
1 qt. (4c) Haagen-Daz Coffee Ice Cream, softened
1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 oz. semi sweet chocolate, grated
Lightly grease 8" spring form pan. In med. bowl, combine crumbs, and butter; mix well. Press in bottom and 1" up side of greased pan. Freeze about 15 minutes or until firm.
Spread softened ice cream evenly into crust. Sprinkle with almonds. Garnish top of torte with grated chocolate. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.
Just before serving, run knife around edge of pan. Cut into wedges.
Drizzle wedges of torte with hot fudge sauce and a dollop of whipped cream to make it special
Note: Save time by buying a pre-made chocolate cookie crust!
Selfish: What the owner of a seafood store does.
Plants to Ponder
This week’s pick is “Endless Summer” Hydrangea, one of the newest of the macrophylla varieties. “Endless Summer” is the first to bloom on both new and old wood for color all season long. This plant produces big, showy flowers – clear pink blooms in alkaline soil and blue blooms in acidic soils with the addition of sufficient aluminum sulfate. If spent flowers are removed, the plant will bloom from June until frost. Hardy well into Zone 4, “Endless Summer” grows three to five foot in width and height. This is an excellent choice for the partially shady border, as a foundation planting or as a backdrop for other flowering plants.