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Garden Ramblings, Issue #048
August 15, 2008


August 2008

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene


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.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos.


In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Beautiful Flowers
- Landscape Gardening - Selecting Rose Bushes
- The Longest Blooming Flowering Tree?
- Just How Dangerous Are Pesticides?
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece




Welcome to the August issue of Garden Ramblings. This month there are again three articles all by guest authors.

When choosing articles for this newsletter I look for interesting subjects, but also for a well written piece. So it is not surprising that particular authors tend to reappear on a regular basis. Jonathan Ya'akobi is one these and this month he writes about roses. Although the full title is "Landscape Gardening - Selecting Rose Bushes For A Dry Mediterranean Garden" his advice is relevant to all types of garden.

Next there is a shorter article by Jessica Wells who explores the delights of the Crape Myrtle. She discusses the different varieties and explains how you can enjoy blooms from spring to fall.

My third guest author is Vera Pappas who has a cautionary tale about the dangers of pesticides. It's no bad thing to be reminded from time to time that we need to take the proper precautions if we have to use these chemicals.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

The video this month is just called Beautiful Flowers - great photography and calming music.

Enjoy the issue.




Beautiful Flowers



*********************************************************** Landscape Gardening - Selecting Rose Bushes For A Dry Mediterranean Garden
by Jonathan Ya'akobi

From a landscape gardening point of view, roses, traditionally known as the "Queen of the Garden", are still unmatched in the color design options they provide. For magnificent flowers and a powerful color composition, rose bushes are still number one. Although there are many cultural requirements to consider while selecting rose bushes, it is worthwhile to be clear from the outset, as to the design role they are meant to play in the garden. A group of roses should either fit into the garden's color scheme, or be the starting point, perhaps the focal point from which the other plants and garden elements take their cue. If a hot or warm color theme were wanted, then the reds, oranges, and deep yellows are suitable. Alternatively, a blotch of crimson or Bordeaux flowers in a garden that is predominantly pastel, would probably strike a discordant note. Randomly throwing colors together is simply poor taste and can never create a satisfying composition.

The intensity of the sun light either enhances or dissipates the quality of different colors. The pastel colors like sky blue, pink and pale lemon for example, look at their best in the soft light of Britain or Ireland, but weak and insipid in the harsh, fierce sun light of a Mediterranean or Southern Californian summer. If roses could be successfully grown in the shade or even filtered sun, then pastel colored flowers might be fine, but as they need a good six hours a day of direct sun, the hot colors tend to be more effective in such climates.

Roses are classified into a number of groups, which not only indicate the size of the bush itself, but also the form and shape of the blooms. Hybrid tea roses, such as the varieties, Chrysler Imperial, Papa Meilland, or Peace, typically have large individual flowers. They are best close to entrances and walkways, where the architectural wonder of the flower's form can be appreciated. Many of course are highly fragrant as well.

The individual flower of the floribunda group is far less noteworthy than those of the hybrid teas, but as they produce massive quantities of flowers, the actual color effect of floribunda roses is often more spectacular, if used wisely, than their hybrid tea, or grandiflora counterparts. They are best planted therefore in larger groups, preferably in front of a wall or fence, which supply a quiet background to the rose bushes. The famous Iceberg variety is one example of a white flowering, floribunda rose, while Goldilocks, and Ginger sport yellow and orange blooms respectively.

Two other design uses of roses are as climbers on pillars and arches, or grown as espaliers trained horizontally on a wall. The great advantage in both cases is that the plants look passably good all year round, and not only when in flower. However, when in full bloom, they really come into their own. I particularly love the dramatic contrast of the dark red flowers of Don Juan on a whitewashed wall. A harmonious composition on the other hand would involve pale yellow flowers on a wall painted in ochre. Although such a combination might be less suitable in the bright, severe, Mediterranean light, it is quite a sumptuous thought nonetheless!



About the Author My name is Jonathan Ya'akobi. I've been gardening in a professional capacity since 1984. I am the former head gardener of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden, but now concentrate on building gardens for private home owners. I also teach horticulture to students on training courses. I'd love to help you get the very best from your garden, so you're welcome to visit me on or contact me at [email protected]


The Longest Blooming Flowering Tree?

by Jessica Wells

If you were to ask, most people will probably tell you that the best thing about Crape Myrtle trees is the flowers! That heavy canopy of thick, richly colored flowers just can't be compared with. But what people may not realize is that in addition to having some of the most beautiful blooms of any flowering tree, Crape Myrtles. also have one of the longest bloom periods of any tree! Your average flowering trees - take for example the flowering cherry - will bloom from four to eight weeks, depending on how the spring goes. Crape Myrtles on the other hand bloom for 3-4 months continuously throughout the summer months.

The Dynamite is an ultra popular red Crape Myrtle. that is considered a number one best seller for just about any vendor in zones 6-10. Part of its fame may be due to its astounding bloom period: a full 120 days! From spring and right on through fall, you'll enjoy those beautiful red blooms.

The Muskogee and Natchez Crape Myrtles are two traditional varieties that bloom from 110-120 days per year. Other Crape Myrtles with bloom times comparable to that are the Sarah's Favorite and Miami.

There are, in addition, several varieties of Crape Myrtle that bloom from 70-100 days out of the year. These are generally more traditional varieties that may not have quite as much adaptability to cold hardiness as the ones mentioned above. However, all Crape Myrtles are beautiful and easy to care for so long as they are appropriate for your zone.


About the Author My name is Jessica Wells, and I am a plant and tree enthusiast. I enjoy writing about the various plants and trees of which I have knowledge.


Just How Dangerous Are Pesticides?
by Vera Pappas

Pesticide is a general term for Weed, Insect and Disease Controls. The following is a true story.

A good friend of mine, from my landscaping days is a Pesticide Applicator. He is licensed by the state. Last June, he was applying an Insecticide in granular form. He was wearing a respirator to keep the dust out of his lungs, short sleeves and pants, but it was hot. It was over 90 degrees that day and he was sweating. The dust stuck to his sweaty clothes and absorbed into his skin through his open pores. Before he knew it he was unconscious on a customer's front lawn and was rushed to the hospital. Thank goodness they were home. He spent the day in the hospital on IV, having fluids pumped into him to flush out the poison in his system.

This year, it was time to apply insect control again. He took the same precautions, and wore long sleeves to cover his skin. It was not quite so hot this year, in the low to mid 80's. It just happened to be time for his regular check up, and his Blood work came back irregular. High Blood Sugar. The doctor sent him for more tests. His pancreas was not processing insulin fast enough. This left him with periods of high blood sugar. He was of course very upset. This is a guy who is in generally good shape, a healthy weight and diabetes does not run in his family. At only 40 it was quite a shock.

The doctor just wanted to monitor him for a few weeks before putting him on any kind of medicine. He went for regular Blood Sugar Testing. After he had been done applying the insecticide for a few weeks, his blood sugars were back to normal. The insecticide had caused the problem. When the body is sick, whether it is from a virus or a toxin, the rest of the body slows down so it can eradicate the illness. This is what happened to my friend.

Think of all the chemicals we put on our lawn and plants, all the cleaning supplies we pour down the drains that ends up in our own bodies and our waterways. Overexposure to one chemical for a few weeks, almost poisoned my friend, just think what those chemicals constantly being applied all around us can do to fish and wildlife. Not to mention our children and pets.

How many of us have applicator's come apply 6 or 8 chemical treatments to our lawns annually? Usually a little flag is left on our front lawns. If we are not aware, it is easy to let the dog out after work, or tell our kids to go out and play, not realizing the potential danger that lurks in our own backyards.

Or maybe you apply your own chemicals. Most of us don't own respirators or even wear dust masks when applying fertilizers or control products.

Chemicals are generally not good. They cause disease in the body. Whether it is chemicals in our foods, cleaning products, or pesticides and fertilizers they can all cause problems with our health. A hundred years ago, people ate what they grew, there were no growth hormones for livestock and farmers used natural products like manure and compost to feed their plants. There were not nearly as many diseases as there are today. This is why living an organic lifestyle is so important. Get back to basics, simplify and teach your children to do the same. Our health, our planet and our future depend on it.



About the Author This article was written by Vera Pappas, Owner of Green Nation Gardens, suppliers of unique and eco-friendly garden supplies. Visit Today!


Special Offers


With one exception it's still too early in the year to find sales of gardening products or special bargains so there is little to report this month.


Gardener's Supply Company are running a Summer Sale where you can save up to 60% on over 125 items. Click the banner and look for Summer Sale.



Gardener's Supply Company



Dutch Gardens have finished their Spring Sale but you can still save $25 when you spend $50 as shown on the banner.



Dutch Gardens, Inc.





Nothing special at Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co this month, but as you see from the banner you can still save $20 when you spend $40 or more.



Shop at for your vegetable and flower seeds!





This month Nature Hills Nursery are offering savings of at least50% on over 200 clearance items.









Single Origami Flowers


Single Origami Flowers - More bloopers are a click away



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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