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Garden Ramblings, Issue #025
September 15, 2006
September 2006


Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

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If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend. ***********************************************************

In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Plant of the Month
- Plan Your Spring Bulb Garden Now
- How To Create A Butterfly Garden
- Special Offers
- Useful Resources

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Hi

Welcome to the September issue of Garden Ramblings your monthly window on what's going on in the world of gardening.

This is the 25th monthly issue of Garden Ramblings which means that it is now entering its third year. Throughout this time the layout has remained the same, so I think that it is time for a change. My only problem is that I have received so little feedback from you, my readers, that I have no idea whether you like things the way they are or how you would like them to change. The one time that I did elicit a response was to my email apologising when I managed to send you five copies by mistake. On that occasion I received several polite replies all assuring me that they did not mind and they understood that computers do strange things from time to time.

I keep reading that video is the next big thing, so this month I've included some videos. Please do let me know whether you think this is a good idea or if you hate it. Also do tell me if there are any subjects you would like me to cover in future articles. I would love to hear from you.

If you want to keep up with all the news in the gardening world, you can read my blog Garden Supplies News.

Enjoy the issue.

Hugh

PS If you are reading the text version of this email you will need to go online if you want to see the videos.

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Plant of the Month

Name: Chrysanthemum

Description: Hardy herbaceous perennial with deeply lobed dark-green leaves growing 3-5 feet tall. Large flowers are borne in August and September in a wide range of colors from white, yellow, pink, red and bronze to violet.

Origin: Native to Asia and Northeastern Europe.

 

Cultivation: Plant from September to April in a sunny position in well-drained fertile soil. Every third year lift, divide and replant in March or April. Propagate by taking 2-3 inch long basal cuttings in March and plant out when well rooted. The large-flowered florists' varieties require greater care to produce the spectacular blooms.

 

 

Pests and diseases: Chrysanthemum eelworm, leaf and stool miner, capsid bugs, aphids, caterpillars and cutworms can all cause damage. Diseases include gray mould, powdery mildew, leaf spot, root rot and rust as well as virus diseases.

 

Folklore: Chrysanthemums were cultivated in China as long ago as the 15th century BC. Until recently they were the flowers of the noble Chinese; commoners could not grow them in gardens. The flowers are associated with old age and wisdom. A legend tells about Keu Tze Tung who fled to the Valley of the Chrysanthemums after offending an emperor. When he drank the dew from the petals he became immortal.

 

Later the chrysanthemum reached Japan and in 910 AD it became the county's national flower. The Chrysanthemum Throne is the common name given to the imperial throne of Japan.

 

The chrysanthemum arrived in Europe in 1688. Linnaeus was the man who named it the chrysanthemum, from the Greek words for golden flower. It did not become popular until Victorian times.

 

Chrysanthemum Day is a holiday in China celebrated on the ninth day of September. Traditional activities on this day include climbing the hills, wearing dogwood and drinking chrysanthemum wine as a way to avoid evil spirits and misfortune.

 

To bring us right up to date, the chrysanthemum was recognized as the official flower of the city of Chicago in 1966.

 



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Plan Your Spring Bulb Garden Now

 

For many people Spring is the best season of the gardening year. All those signs of new life as the green shoots appear after the cold and dark of winter are eagerly awaited by all keen gardeners. And what better way to start the new year than with a display of spring-flowering bulbs? The beauty of it is that you only need to spend a couple of hours during the fall to plant your bulbs and then let nature take its course.

With a little planning you will be able to enjoy a succession of flowers from March until May. In the list below you will find a selection of plants divided into four categories. Choose one or two from each group and you will be assured of a good succession of flowers. Although the onset of spring will vary depending on where you live, the bulbs will bloom in succession starting whenever winter ends.

 

Very Early Spring
Chionodoxa (Glory-of-the-snow)
Winter aconite
Scilla siberica (Star of Holland)
Snow crocus
Iris reticulata (reticulated iris)

 

Early Spring
Crocus
Early daffodil
Emperor tulip

 

Mid-Spring
Species tulip
Hyacinth
Daffodil
Muscari (grape hyacinth)
English bluebell
Fritillaria imperialis (crown imperial)

 

Late Spring
Allium
Dutch iris
Iris pumila (dwarf iris)
Late tulips
Leucojum aestivum (summer snowflake)

 

Here's a planting scheme suggested by Kathy LaLiberte of Gardener's Supply Company using bulbs from the Dutch Gardens catalog. It includes 195 bulbs for just under $90, and in most locations it will give you a nice variety of flowers for at least eight weeks.

 

 

Very Early Spring
Snow Crocus Mixture icon
1 bag (50 bulbs) $10.95

 

Early Spring
Glory of the Snow icon
1 bag (50 bulbs) $8.95

Segovia Daffodil icon
1 bag (10 bulbs) $8.95

 

Mid-Spring
Muscari icon
1 bag (25 bulbs) $6.95
Attila Tulip icon
1 bag (10 bulbs) $8.95
Geranium Daffodil icon
1 bag (20 bulbs) $13.95

Late Spring
Zurel Tulip icon
1 bag (10 bulbs) $11.95
Maureen Tulip icon
1 bag (10 bulbs) $8.95
Royal Acres Tulip icon
1 bag (10 bulbs) $9.95

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Butterfly Gardening Video

 

 

 

This video was produced by Tom Terrific of Butterfly Gardening.org where you can find the remaining videos in the series.

How to Create a Butterfly Garden

 

By Kathy Anderson

 

People who love to garden also tend to enjoy watching butterflies flitting about. After all, butterflies are just as pretty to look at as the flowers that they visit. Gardeners can entice even more butterflies to visit their gardens by creating gardens specifically for butterflies.

It’s quite easy to create a butterfly garden. You may even find that you already grow some flowers that attract butterflies. With just a little effort you can create a beautiful haven for these lovely winged creatures, and the butterflies will appreciate your efforts.

If you’re starting from scratch and will be creating a new planting bed for your butterfly garden, you’ll first want to learn how to properly create a planting bed for your plants. You can find information on preparing raised planting beds at http://www.freeplants.com

When deciding where to locate your butterfly garden, choose a spot that is not isolated from other plants. Butterflies will be more likely to find your garden if there are other flowers nearby to lead them to your butterfly garden. But if your butterfly garden is the only patch of flowers in a vast sea of grass, butterflies won’t have much reason to be in the area. If you have a border of flowering shrubs and other butterfly-enticing plants are scattered around your yard, the butterflies are much more likely to spend time in your garden.

The butterfly garden should include a variety of plants that attract butterflies, and those plants should be in a variety of colors and heights. Consider planting azaleas, rhododendrons and lilacs for height. Fragrant ‘James McFarland’ lilacs seem to be especially attractive to butterflies. Weigela, with its flowers like dainty trumpets, is another good shrub for attracting butterflies.

No butterfly garden should be without Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Not only will the bright orange blossoms attract many butterflies, but the plant will also provide food for caterpillars. Without the caterpillars there would be no butterflies. Dill and parsley also provide food for butterfly caterpillars. If you’re lucky, you may even have Monarch butterflies laying their eggs on the milkweed and you can watch the entire life cycle, from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

Many other commonly grown flowers will attract butterflies, including hollyhocks, purple coneflowers (Echinacea), Black-eyed Susans (rudbeckia), cosmos, huechera, zinnias, beebalm and cleome. Buddleia, also known as butterfly bush, is a must in any butterfly garden. If you have room for this large plant, Mexican sunflower (tithonia) will attract many butterflies and hummingbirds with its sunny orange blooms.

Plan your butterfly garden so there are blooms all season long. The rhododendrons, azaleas and lilacs will provide a spring snack for butterflies, followed by summer-blooming plants such as the buddleia and asclepias. In the fall, butterflies will sip nectar from asters and ‘Autumn Joy” sedum.

In addition to providing food for butterflies, your butterfly garden should also provide a resting place along with shelter from the wind and cold. Include flat rocks in your garden where the butterflies can sun themselves. It’s even better if the rocks have shallow depressions where water will puddle and provide a place for butterflies to gather for a drink.

A small log pile will provide shelter from the weather for butterflies. You can also purchase butterfly shelters that look rather like tall, narrow birdhouses with several slots for entrances. These may attract butterflies, but in my experience wasps tend to move in, discouraging any butterflies from entering.

One final thing that every butterfly garden should include is a comfortable bench placed where you can sit and admire the beautiful butterflies. After all, you’ve created this garden not only for the butterflies but also for your own enjoyment.

Kathy Anderson has been an avid gardener for many years and has grown tomatoes by the acre, along with many other vegetables, flowers and landscape plants. Kathy recommends http://www.freeplants.com as a great place to learn more about gardening.

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Special Offers

 

 

 

Last month Brecks Bulbs were promoting their "Not Every Day" Lilies but this time it really is a Day Lily offer. This collection features nine exceptionally beautiful prize daylily varieties. And as a special gift to thank you for placing your reservation promptly, the’ll include a very special daylily – the Daring Deception Daylily, absolutely FREE. All for just $19.95 which is 68% off the regular price of $63.91.

 

THis time Gurneys have gone for the Buy One Get One Free approach. Take a look at the offers on Spring-flowering Bulbs, Strawberries and Sweet Peas, among others.

Gardener's Supply Company still have some items in their End-of-Summer-Sale and by using this link you get an extra 10% reduction when you spend $50 or more.

 

Dutch Gardensicon have come up with the supreme labor saving idea with their Bulb Bed Planting Tray Collection. No need to plant the bulbs one by one. Just dig a hole, place the tray and cover with soil. Ever so easy and all your bulbs are in perfect position.

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Useful Resources

Not so much useful as just something to continue the video theme. Here are two ladies giving a tour of their gardens. The quality is not great, but they are quite amusing all the same.

My Garden July 2006

Garden

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Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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