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Gardener News

February 2019

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping CommunitiesTAKE GARDENERNEWS.COM


No. 190

2019 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show

Rendering of the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show Entrance Garden. Convention Center in Philadelphia. The Flower Show Entrance Garden is a show-stopping Larger-than-life floral designs, celebration of “Flower Power,” Pop Art-inspired flowering bringing the awe-inspiring impact of sculptures, and a blooming meadow flowers to vivid, colorful life. Upon suspended from above will welcome entering, guests will be surrounded guests to the 2019 PHS Philadelphia by towering vine sculptures adorned Flower Show, “Flower Power,” on with artistic interpretations of March 2-10 at the Pennsylvania flowers, plants and butterflies.

By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor

Easy-to-view “pods” will display the spectacular floral creations of the FTD World Cup, the world’s most prestigious floral design competition. And from above, a sprawling meadow comprised of colorful wildflowers will float dreamlike over all the action. Visually, the Entrance Garden blends inspiration from the era of

Flower Power and Pop Art movement innovators Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Their influential techniques and iconic motifs – bold colors, thick outlines, Benday dots – will be used to reimagine traditional flower and garden imagery in unexpected ways. “This year’s Entrance Garden captures the (Cont. on Page 11)

2 February 2019

G a r d e n C e n t e r D i r e c t o r y

Thank you for a wonderful 2018 season. See you in March! The Biondi Family

Celebrating Our 72nd Anniversary

601 Union Ave. Middlesex, NJ

February 2019 3 Graphic Design | Printing | Mailing

Establis h e d 1978

(973) 635-1880

12 Center Street, Chatham, NJ 07928


908.782.4028 LIFE • PROPERTY DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE American National is a group of companies writing a broad array of insurance products and services. Products and services may not be available in all states. Terms, conditions and eligibility requirements will apply. Life insurance and annuity products may be underwritten by American National Insurance Company, Galveston, Texas. Property and casualty products and services may be underwritten by Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, Glenmont, New York. Form 11094 | 12.18


FLORIS 700 Springfield Avenue Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 Phone: (908) 665-0331 Fax: (908) 665-9804 email:

700 Springfield A Berkeley Heights, N Phone: (908) 66 Fax: (908) 665email: hallsflorist@ho www.hallsgarde

4 February 2019 It’s February. And in New Jersey, it’s pretty cold right now. At this point in our year, any evidence of warmer times does not appear to the eye. The ground is heaving from cold waves of Arctic air swirling around and putting a biting freeze on all they touch. Other than evergreens, what we see of plants now looks like evidence of them having shivered, withered and died. We know that’s not true. Because even with snow on the ground, there are always life forces taking place under our feet, preparing to re-emerge next season. While we have plenty of fun activities to engage us – sledding, skiing, hiking, building a woodfueled fire to sit around in this icy time – our minds, we must admit, start envisioning spring and all its magnificent splendor. This is the nature of the gardener and the agriculturalist. We cannot help but look at frozen ground, even snow-covered ground, and imagine what delights it will bring forth once the season changes. Here in the Northeastern United States, spring doesn’t so much burst forth into full, glorious color all at once as it does poke its NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture

Dreaming of the spring to come head out, little by little, testing to see if it is warm enough to brave its own elements. Sure, we may see a crocus, pansies, some daffodils, beginning to show up, even through any snow that may be around. They are like sentinels, scouts from an expedition, sent ahead to see just what awaits the full exploration party. But even their brave reconnaissance missions may not mean the immediate arrival of spring. Nature’s children – its flora and fauna – have a way of knowing to wait until the warmth is here to stay before exposing themselves to the potential for an abrupt about-face back to the cold. Let’s face it, all of us in the Northeastern United States have been fooled once or twice into thinking “spring has sprung,”

only to be shivering within a day or two. So those of us involved in the planting, tending, and nurturing of nature’s greenery – be it in a backyard garden or on hundreds of acres of farmland – tend to be a little measured in our responses to the first warm days of the new year. Think, for a moment, of what we in this region experienced last year. After making it through a March Nor’easter, we thought our troubles were behind us and that we could enjoy getting out there and making the world greener again. But nature had another plan. It seemed like no two consecutive days could pass in the early-spring of 2018 without some amount of rain – usually heavy – falling on us. In fact, by the time New Jersey hit September 2018, we

had already seen more rain than we normally see in a full year. With a large percentage of that rain falling in the spring, the ground many of us turn into our gardens, as well as the fields farmers turn into their livelihoods, was just too soggy. Farmers in particular were put weeks, if not months, behind their normal schedules by the swamps their fields had become. You don’t take several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of farm equipment and sink it into the mud. Heavy machinery stayed in the barn much longer than normal. The muddy mess also put a big crimp in spring plantings by home gardeners. The wet spring meant New Jersey’s nurseries and garden centers had greenhouses bursting with horticultural products, and landscaping contractors had crews waiting to

get out and work. Once the weather seemed to let up, the NJDA teamed with the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association to encourage people to get to work over the Memorial Day weekend to jump-starts their gardens. So, what’s to be in 2019? The old, reliable Farmer’s Almanac is calling for “rainier than normal” April and May this new year. But weather in the Northeast has become more unpredictable in recent years, so we’re hoping not to see a repeat of last year’s deluge. Let yourself dream a bit. Spring is coming. Editor’s Note: Douglas H. Fisher is New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture. He is the department’s executive officer, secretary to the State Board of Agriculture and a member of the Governor’s cabinet. Secretary Fisher fulfills executive, management and administrative duties prescribed by law, executive order or gubernatorial direction. He can be reached at 609.292.3976. For more info, please visit: http://www.

It’s bigger than just a hatchery: PDE, PENNVEST sign financial agreement investing in mussels for clean water projects Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) has taken a significant step in the promotion of clean water. Before the close of 2018, PDE signed a multi-million dollar funding agreement with the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) for the development and construction of a large-scale freshwater mussel hatchery and restoration center. This agreement is the culmination of two years of work with PENNVEST toward the Mussels for Clean Water Initiative (MuCWI). PENNVEST is investing up to $7.9 million for the planning, design, and construction of the hatchery, which is expected to break ground next year at Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia. The project also includes construction of facilities needed for raising mussels in ponds and streams to promote cleaner water. PDE will unveil plans for MuCWI at an information sharing event on February 19 at Bartram’s Garden, which will also be the kickoff meeting for a technical team that will help guide the project’s success. The facility may be the first of its kind in the world — a large-scale freshwater mussel hatchery ultimately designed for the promotion of clean water. Mussel beds provide many benefits, such as helping to keep water clear. Every adult mussel filters up to 10 gallons of water a day. However, native freshwater mussel species are some of our most imperiled animals. The decline

of natural mussel beds makes it that much harder to maintain a healthy ecosystem. “The hatchery will allow us to really see what mussels can do to make our rivers and streams healthier,” PDE Executive Director Jennifer Adkins said. “PENNVEST’s willingness to invest in such an innovative new approach to improving water quality is outstanding.” The goal of MuCWI is to restore freshwater mussel populations in rivers and streams to help filter particulate pollutants. This promotes water clarity and healthier waterways throughout the tristate area. “A healthy and robust bed of freshwater mussels is something to behold, and we’re now beginning to understand that natural mussel beds provide important benefits to ecosystems, fisheries and people — similar to the highly touted benefits that oyster reefs play in saltwater bays,” PDE Science Director Danielle Kreeger said. “Although there are still important scientific questions to resolve, investments in mussel beds in the right places should help us address clean water goals, promote ecological sustainability, and they might even help save money on water treatment.” While working with partners such as Bartram’s Garden and the Philadelphia Water Department, PDE aims to begin producing mussels at the new facility in 2023, with annual production rising to a half million mussels per year within a few years. Hatchery-produced baby mussels

will first be reared in nursery ponds and then relocated to appropriate restoration sites in the Delaware and Susquehanna watersheds. Specific locations and species will depend on funding, which still needs to be raised for post-construction activities. PDE and partners expect that the MuCWI hatchery will additionally serve as a new hub to support the Aquatic Research and Restoration Center, a collaborative working agreement announced in 2018 among PDE, Philadelphia Water Department, Fairmount Water Works, Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Independence Seaport Museum and Bartram’s Garden. Leveraged elements of the MuCWI are expected to include innovative research to advance the restoration of urban waterways. At the same time, the endeavor could engage students of all ages and community scientists. “In addition to the impact on our watershed, this is a wonderful opportunity to inspire the thousands of students who visit Bartram’s Garden each year,” said Bartram’s Garden Executive Director Maitreyi Roy. “Connecting our local youth with the daily work of scientific research and watershed health will allow them to imagine their own connection to the river and its future.” This initiative would not be possible

without the work by many other partners that have assisted with the Freshwater Mussel Recovery Program over the past 12 years. For example, for the past two years, PDE and partners Philadelphia Water Department, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Fairmount Water Works have operated a small-scale mussel hatchery as a public exhibit and research lab at the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia. This lab will continue to operate during and after construction of the larger production hatchery, continuing to demonstrate the importance of freshwater mussels for students and visitors. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a member of the Delaware Estuary Program steering committee and supports clean water goals consistent with this project’s objectives, per PDE’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Delaware Estuary (CCMP). PDE is extremely grateful to PENNVEST for its significant investment in the environment and looks forward to working with established and new partners to design and implement specific mussel restoration projects in the southeastern and southcentral Pennsylvania, and vicinity. For more information about the Mussels for Clean Water Initiative, please visit science-and-research/mussels-clean-waterinitiative-mucwi/. You may also visit PDE’s website at www.delawareestuaryorg

February 2019 5

Support NJ Agriculture JERSEY GROWN

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Sunflower Birdseed JERSEY GROWN



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Governor Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher

6 February 2019


Don’t Rely on Trowel and Error in Your Garden: Learn from the Experts at Rutgers Home Gardeners School Horticulture experts to offer a variety of learning opportunities for gardeners of all skill levels, including 40 workshops [16 new!] and hands-on demonstrations for a personalized day of learning Have the winter doldrums got you down? Get into the spring spirit today by making your plans to attend the 43rd Annual Rutgers Home Gardeners School! The program will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at the Rutgers University Cook/Douglass campus in New Brunswick, N.J. This year’s Home Gardeners School will consist of 40 individual workshop sessions that cover a wide array of horticulture topics. This format allows attendees to select the workshops that are most relevant to their gardening interests and create their own personalized schedule for a fun day of learning. Expert speakers from commercial horticulture and landscape design firms, as well as faculty and staff from Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE), provide attendees with the opportunity to learn from highly-respected professionals with a wealth of experience. These instructors will cover a whole host of practical topics designed to prepare participants and their gardens for the spring and beyond, including landscape design, common problems and solutions, annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs, bees, pruning, best management practices, freezing and canning techniques, and much more! With 16 new and two revised workshops, there are great options for both new and returning participants. The “Berrymania” session will appeal to those interested in berry planting and maintenance, while history buffs will appreciate the content covered in “Historical Uses of Everyday Plants.” A new hands-on session, “Creating a Living Frame with Succulents,” will provide attendees with the opportunity to create an attractive living masterpiece to bring home. Other new workshops include “Starting a Sustainable Small Farm in Your Yard: How to Grow from Here,” “Gardening for Winter Interest,” “Nativelicious: Gardening with Ornamental and Edible Native Plants,” “How to Use Aquatic Plants in Your Pond and Garden,” “Growing Herbs in Containers,” and so much more! The registration fee for this event is $90.00, but a special early registration discounted price of $75.00 is being offered through February 28, 2018. An additional discounted fee of $65.00 is available for Master Gardeners (certificate required) through February 28. Participants can purchase a convenient $14 box lunch when registering or bring their own bag lunch. Pre-registration is strongly recommended as some workshops do sell out in advance. Reflecting a commitment to giving back, the Home Gardeners School organizers invite attendees to bring food donations to the event. These items will be distributed to New Jersey families in need through Rutgers Against Hunger (RAH), a university-wide initiative working to address the issues of hunger across New Jersey. Participants are also invited to bring donations for Happy Paws Rescue, a 501(3)(c) organization focused on rescue and adoption in the New Brunswick area, and Scarlet Paws Rescue, a 501(3)(c) non-profit collaboration of Rutgers staff, faculty, students and community volunteers that rescues stray animals on the Rutgers campus. For more information or to register for Home Gardeners School, visit or call the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education at 848-932-9271.

From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director

NJAES Statewide Agricultural Research: Everything from Soup to Nuts

The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) is based out of the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus to fulfill the state university’s land grant mission. And while many are familiar with our statewide presence through our county Cooperative Extension offices, our research stations around the state may not be as well known, but their impact greatly benefits the state and beyond. My counterpart for the research arm of NJAES is Brad Hillman, director of research. Brad oversees the NJAES research that is conducted in the labs, greenhouses, and three research farms on our G.H. Cook campus in New Brunswick, in addition to those research centers located around the state. We do work literally on everything from soup to nuts and some of our centers serve as business incubators. Here is a sampling of what these facilities do and where they’re located. Let’s start with the soup: The Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) has facilities in Piscataway and Bridgeton (in addition to an on-campus analytical chemistry unit). These serve as business incubators and provide marketing, technical, regulatory, and manufacturing expertise to support a food business from concept to commercialization. Some established food businesses have used FIC’s services, and several new companies/products have been launched – you most likely have seen some of those products on store shelves, like First Field tomato ketchup. Skipping ahead to the nuts, our breeding program for disease-resistant hazelnuts is on the verge of launching a new agricultural industry in New Jersey. The production of hazelnuts, which is mostly “gobbled up” by the candy industry, is predominately in Turkey and Oregon, but New Jersey farmers now have the opportunity to enter this market. Our hazelnut research plots are located at several of our research farms, and are expanding to one many of you in north and central Jersey may be familiar with, Snyder Research & Extension Farm in Pittstown. This research farm is also open to the public, and through its teaching garden and educational events, Rutgers faculty, staff, and Master Gardeners offer science-based, factual information to home gardeners. Snyder Farm is most well-known for the all-time favorite annual Great Tomato Tasting in August. NJAES ag specialists, agents and staff conduct numerous research trials on fruit, vegetable, herb, grain – and hazelnut crops – which replicate agricultural conditions in the northern part of our state. If we get back to our soup-to-nut scenario, Snyder Farm would cover some beverages – beer and hard cider, to be exact. Field trials on hops, malt barley and hard cider apples are on-going at Snyder Farm. Heading down to the mid-section of the Garden State, we have Rutgers Fruit and Ornamental Research Extension Center in Monmouth County, where breeding is conducted on peaches, nectarines, apricots and beach plums, and field research on ornamentals and other crops. Also in Monmouth County is Rutgers Plant Science Research and Extension Farm, where our worldrenowned turfgrass breeding takes place. Researchers are investigating turf varieties that are tolerant to averse conditions, and grasses for bioenergy. The Rutgers EcoComplex in Burlington County is the state’s clean energy and environmental research, outreach and business incubation center. Located on the edge of the county’s landfill, the center addresses solid waste and energy recovery, and works toward a sustainable food supply chain in New Jersey and the region. Located deep in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens is the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension Center. Here, researchers study cranberry and blueberry pests, diseases, breeding, pollinators, and the extraordinary health benefits of these fruits – supporting two of New Jersey’s top agricultural commodities. Down at the southern end of New Jersey is the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center (RAREC) in Cumberland County. Just as Snyder Farm’s location is representative of North Jersey growing conditions, RAREC is located in the heart of South Jersey agriculture. Vegetable and fruit crop research are conducted, and the New Jersey Center for Wine Research and Education is located here, supporting the state’s burgeoning wine industry. Along the bay shore of Delaware Bay, Rutgers has facilities supporting our shellfish industries, especially oyster breeding, research, and production. The Aquaculture Innovation Center and the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory are contributing to the revival of the New Jersey’s once- booming shellfish industries. While NJAES research centers appear diverse from each other, they all share their connection to an interdisciplinary institution – one that benefits New Jersey’s residents, industries and environment in a multitude of ways. So, as we like to say, “We’ve got the state covered,” and when you take advantage of our educational and outreach programs through our county extension offices or Office of Continuing Professional Education courses, remember that the information is developed from a statewide web of university-based research centers. Editor’s Note: Brian J. Schilling, Ph.D., is Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics.


February 2019 7

Blue ‘Eyes’ for the Early-Spring Garden February is a fickle month. Some years, the month remains tightly bound in winter’s grasp, while other years bring moderating temperatures, allowing the early-spring bulbs or geophytes to start their much anticipated colorful chorus of flowers. A cheery blue-flowered bulb that more gardeners need to include in their spring symphony is Chionodoxa, very aptly named Glory of the Snow. Chionodoxa is a member of the Asparagaceae or Asparagus Family, with five to six species that are predominantly found in Crete, Cyprus and Turkey. The genus name stems from the Greek Khiōn, meaning “snow,” and Doxa or Doca for “glory” or “expectation.” The Swiss botanist and mathematician Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810-1885) penned this name after he and his wife, Franҫois Lucile Butini (18221849), were ascending the Turkish mountain of Tmolus

mons, today known as the Bozdağ, in June of 1842. As they approached the 7,000-foot mark, they saw a beautiful blue flower emerging through the snow. Its desire to emerge through the last snows of winter inspired the genus name, while the flower color reminded Boissier of his wife’s strikingly blue eyes. In 1844, he described and published this particular species as Chionodoxa luciliae in honor of his much beloved wife. Chionodoxa luciliae remains as one of the more popular species available today. The flowers consist of an inner ring of three petals and an outer ring of three sepals; since they look identical, they are called tepals, a modification that is repeatedly seen in the plant kingdom. The flowers are typically bright blue, with the basal one-third of the tepals colored white. However, there is also an attractive all-white form called “Alba.” The individual flowers are upwards of one and a half inches in diameter and are the largest of the genus. The flowers appear on branched stems or

racemes reaching four to eight inches tall with two to three flowers per raceme. The flowers cheerfully face upwards, which is one distinct difference between Chionodoxa and the closely related genus named Scilla, where the flowers typically face downward. The flowers also differ in the orientation and shape of the six stamens; those of Chionodoxa appear tightly clustered in the center, and the filaments, which are the stems supporting the anthers, are flat. In Scilla, the filaments are round and the stamens reflex outward, away from the center. The base of the tepals are also fused in Chionodoxa, while not so in Scilla. Despite the physical differences, the two are genetically very similar and intergeneric crosses can occur. Due to the genetic parallels, the Austrian botanist Franz Speta suggested reclassifying Chionodoxa under Scilla in 1971. Obviously, this has not yet met with universal acceptance! Another species that is the most widely distributed throughout Turkey is Chionodoxa

Little Chefs Help Make Fruit Soup to Celebrate Winter Solstice Preschoolers at the Rutgers Psychology Child Development Center at the Culture of Health Academy at the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) made a sweet and savory fruit soup to celebrate the beginning of winter solstice. IFNH Harvest Chef Ian Keith led the children’s cooking lesson preparing a soup of Granny Smith apples, Rutgers-grown yacon–a sweet root vegetable, white yams, Vidalia onions, vegetable stock and Muenster cheese. Harvest and the Center for Nutrition, Education, and Outreach at IFNH in partnership with New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative hosted the event. This food demonstration stimulated the senses of the 3 – 4 year olds on several fronts. The welcoming of the winter solstice with a hearty soup enhanced the connection of the comfort and nourishment of hot soup on a cold winter’s day; that soup can be savory or sweet; and most importantly, that healthy eating involves food preparation. “Teaching culinary skills to kids early in life is an important step to foster healthy and lifelong nutrition habits,” commented Center director Peggy Policastro. The children participated by making the diced Rome garnish for the soup. The other garnishes were minced turkey bacon, cubed day-old multi-grain bread and Muenster cheese–”sort of an apple grilled cheese soup,” explained Keith. The yacon that Keith used in the soup was grown at Rutgers as part of a research trial of this South American vegetable which is growing in popularity in the U.S. due to its health benefits. Keith is working on the culinary development of yacon as part of the research project. As part of the cooking lesson, Chef Keith also talked about five different varieties of apples: Macintosh, Red Delicious and Honey Crisp–eating apples, which all have different colors, flavors and textures, and two cooking apples, Granny Smith and Rome Beauty. After the food preparation and discussion, the children got to eat their creation. The response of the kids, said Keith, was “Thumbs up all around!” The Culture of Health Academy operates as a partnership between the Center for Childhood Nutrition Research (CCNR) and the Rutgers Psychology Child Development Center, and is located at the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health on the George H. Cook Campus. It is a focal point of the New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative, a program recently launched to achieve health equity for all children. The Center for Nutrition, Education, and Outreach explores the intersection of food preparation, nutrition and healthy lifestyles and runs in partnership with Rutgers Dining Services.

forbesii. It typically grows in pine and cedar woodlands on north-facing slopes at elevations below 1,000 feet. John Gilbert Baker (1834-1920) worked at the herbarium and library at Kew Gardens from 1866-1899 and in 1870 he described this species. The species epithet honors James Forbes (1773-1861), the gardener to the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey. Chionodoxa forbesii has flowers that are slightly smaller and more pointed than the previous species, with roughly 10 flowers per raceme that reach upwards of 12 inches in height. The flowers are very similar to Chionodoxa luciliae, leading to much confusion in the trade. Even Baker became confused and personally mislabeled a print in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in 1879. Regardless of the species, each bulb produces two or three, four- to six-inch long leaves that quietly go dormant in early-May. Full to partial sun in February through early-May, along with well-drained soils that mimic their mountainous origins, are the few simple needs required.

They do well under deciduous shrubs and trees or interplanted into turf. Plants will naturalize slowly and I have found them to be fairly resistant to deer browse and the annoying burrowing of chipmunks. I have watched Chionodoxa luciliae grow since my childhood and reveled in the beautiful blue shades of Franҫois Lucile Butini eyes. More gardeners need to enjoy these carefree mountain gems and expand their colorful garden symphonies for spring! Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth; is the managing director of the Rutgers Gardens, a 180-acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum; an adjunct professor in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; regularly participates in the Rutgers – Continuing Education Program; and past-president of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Phone Directory Atlantic County Phone: 609-625-0056 Bergen County Phone: 201-336-6780 Burlington County Phone: 609-265-5050 Camden County Phone: 856 216 7130 Cape May County Phone: 609-465-5115 Cumberland County Phone: 856-451-2800 Essex County Phone: 973-228-2210 Gloucester County Phone: 856-224-8040 Hudson County Phone: 201-915-1399 Hunterdon County Phone: 908-788-1339 Mercer County Phone: 609-989-6830

Middlesex County Phone: 732-398-5260 Monmouth County Phone: 732-431-7260 Morris County Phone: 973-285-8300 Ocean County Phone:732-349-1246 Passaic County Phone: 973-305-5740 Salem County Phone: 856-769-0090 Somerset County Phone: 908-526-6293 Sussex County Phone: 973-948-3040 Union County Phone: 908-654-9854 Warren County Phone: 908-475-6505

8 February 2019

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February 2019 9

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

Now That’s Italian

I received a gift certificate to a restaurant called Hampton Junction in Hampton, N.J., from great friends. Where is Hampton, N.J.? I thought to myself. And the name of the restaurant threw me for a loop. It sounds like a town. My girlfriend and I traveled west on Route 78 to Route 31 north. We made a left onto East Main Street, then a left onto New Street. 23 New Street is a red barn-like structure that sits back from the road with just a couple of parking spaces in the front. I have to admit, I was a little worried about what we would find inside and what type of food we were going to have. The friends that gave me the gift certificate raved about the food. I trusted them. We walked up some funky stairs with a strange storm door onto a porch. I then opened up the front door to the restaurant and was totally blown away by the décor. There aren’t very many seats. It has a full length cooler at the back, like a convenience store, with an open kitchen that runs the full left side of the dining area. We were greeted by a very nice waitress, who showed us our table. As I turned around to let my girlfriend walk ahead of me, she was gone. Giselle was mesmerized by the dessert display cooler near the front door. I went back to see what she was looking at. There were fresh plain cannoli shells, fresh plain chocolate covered cannoli shells, a bowl of cannoli filling that looked fresh as well. I spotted tiramisu and then Giselle pointed out a big bowl of rice pudding. Wow! The coffee bar area was also breathtaking. We both headed back to meet the waitress. Our table had a sign that said, Ralph’s Corner, Military Vets and Guests Only. We were told that we are special guests. I smiled. Our waitress asked us if we like mussels marinara and calamari. We both said

yes. She was off. A few minutes later a very friendly and beautiful lady appeared; she was the owner. Her name is Linda Curcio. After a few minutes, I realized that I knew her from many years ago from a restaurant called Linda’s Firesite Inn that was in a town called Gillette in Morris County. I quickly put two and two together. I know her brother Tommy who owns the Stirling Hotel in Stirling, and the Stirling Tavern in Morristown, both in Morris County, N.J. The smell of fresh food was stimulating my senses. Garlic filled the air. Boom! Two perfectly plated appetizers of mussels and calamari were delivered to the table. I will admit that they were the best I’ve ever had. The homemade marinara sauce was out of this world. I dunked the best Italian bread that can be served in a restaurant until there wasn’t a drop of sauce left. The bread had a moist and absorbent interior with a little bit of a chewy crust. The fried calamari was light and as tender as tender can be. We ate it all. The waitress came back and wanted to know how much time we wanted to digest before the main course was presented. The appetizer portions were immense. After about 10 to 12 minutes went by, two hearty meatballs with the most incredibly tasting sauce were delivered to the table as Frank Sinatra music was playing in the background. As the main course was cooking, Curcio again stopped by the table. She presented for us to see, the largest loaf of homemade bread I’d had ever seen. The almost four-foot loaf was about to head into the oven. I was so impressed, I took a picture of it. The bread was the second batch of the day. Everything is freshly made at the Junction. Dinner is served. Giselle was presented with an incredibly large

crabmeat stuffed Portobello mushroom over spinach and I was presented with chicken franchise over home-made pasta. You have to see the pasta machine. The portions are incredible. Well, it took some time to eat. Every time we put our forks into our meals, both of us remarked on how amazingly good our meal was. As we were eating, Curcio stopped by several times with homemade cakes for us to see. I took pictures of them as well. This reminded me of eating dinner at my grandmother’s house years ago. Curcio is very proud of her food. And believe me, Giselle and I were very proud to enjoy it. I will admit, we couldn’t finish the entrees. Take out containers were promptly brought over to the table. We had a great waitress. The thought of dessert was tickling my brain. Giselle and I shared some rice pudding topped with cinnamon. OMG!!! It was the best I had ever had. It was rich and creamy to the last spoonful. I could not believe how soft the rice was. It was… ahhhhh, so good! Try not to tell too many people about this best hidden Italian treasure in Hunterdon County. There are only a few seats and reservations are a must. It’s a BYOB, and the menu changes regularly. Thank you, Linda Curcio, for your attention to delicious detail. I can’t wait to visit your exceptionally clean, authentic Italian delight again.

Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and



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10 February 2019

News from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Cape May County Horse Found to Have Rabies

A Cape May County horse was found positive for rabies. The horse, which was on a farm in a rural part of the county, was being treated at a referral facility and was tested for rabies because it showed neurologic symptoms. The 20-month-old colt was previously vaccinated as were all other horses on the property. The exposed surviving horses have since received a booster vaccination and are under observation for 45 days. Exposed non-vaccinated animals have been quarantined for 6 months. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health encourages everyone to speak with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals against rabies, if they are not already doing so. Vaccination of livestock and other domestic animals is the most effective strategy to protect animals against this disease and minimize the impact it may have on you and your animals. If unvaccinated livestock are suspected of having direct contact with a rabid animal or are suspected of contracting rabies, it may be necessary for the entire premises to be placed under quarantine. Rabies is endemic in New Jersey but is often detected in bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, cats and, to a lesser extent, domestic livestock. Transmission is almost always from the bite of a rabid animal. The virus is shed in the saliva several days before the onset of clinical signs. The disease is fatal once clinical signs appear. Suspect cases should be handled with care and isolated from other animals. Rabid animals of all species usually exhibit typical signs of central nervous system disturbance with owners first noticing their animal “doesn’t seem right.” As the illness progresses, nervous system impairment becomes more obvious. Affected animals may or may not show signs of aggression. Livestock often develops the “dumb” form of the disease which consists of slight depression, walking in circles, eating non-edible items, “star gazing,” or not acting normally. Potential cases of rabies in livestock, like other diseases affecting the neurological system, must be reported to the State Veterinarian at (609) 6716400 within 48 hours of diagnosis. The Animal Health Diagnostic Lab is available to assist with all your testing needs including pathology services. For inquiries, contact the NJ Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory. Phone: (609) 406-6999; Fax: (609) 671-6414; web: To report suspicion of rabies in species other than livestock, contact your local Health Department or the New Jersey Department of Health at (609) 826-4872.

Noble to Become State Leader for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education/ State FFA Advisor

New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher announced that Erin Noble has been named the new State Program Leader for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education/State FFA Advisor in New Jersey. Noble has been the State FFA Specialist for the last 11 years for the Department. “Erin’s experience, knowledge and passion for Ag Education and FFA made her an ideal candidate for this position,” Secretary Fisher said. “We know she will continue the high leadership standard that has guided and encouraged the FFA chapters in New Jersey to strive for excellence in all of their endeavors.” As the State FFA Specialist, Noble planned and conducted statewide FFA events, mentored and coached state FFA officers and provided technical assistance to FFA advisors. At the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in November, Noble won the Outstanding Executive Secretary Award. “I am extremely excited to shift my focus to providing leadership and coordination for the New Jersey Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education program and to creating professional development opportunities for ag teachers as well as providing resources for program improvement,” Noble said. “I look forward to being a part of a great future for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education and FFA in New Jersey.” New Jersey currently has more than 2,200 FFA members who engage in personal, career and leadership development activities that challenge them to excel as they develop agricultural skills and competencies for the future. Noble will also be assisting schools with developing CASE, the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education. CASE is an instructional system that provides intense teacher professional development and curriculum that is changing the culture of agriculture programs. For more information about New Jersey Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education and the state FFA program visit http://

New Jersey Agricultural Convention & Trade Show and the 2019 Annual State Agricultural Convention coordinated by the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, New Jersey Blueberry Growers Association, Garden State Wine Growers Association and the New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station, Rutgers University February 5-7, 2019 Harrah’s Resort & Waterfront Conference Center Planning for the 2019 Annual State Agricultural Convention and the New Jersey Agricultural Convention and Trade Show is well underway. This partnership offers more opportunities for delegates and guests to learn about issues and the latest technologies, agricultural practices and opportunities throughout the industry. If you are attending the 2019 State Agricultural Convention, please feel free to come on Tuesday and attend both the trade show and the educational sessions. If you are attending the New Jersey Agricultural Convention & Trade Show, please feel free to attend the State Convention sessions as well. The trade show and VGA educational sessions will open on Tuesday, February 5,at the Harrah’s Resort & Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The show will feature exhibits and displays from many of the industry’s suppliers and business associates. In addition, a wide variety of educational sessions on topics ranging from growing crops to food safety, from the latest ideas in agricultural practices and much more will be offered. Please make it a point to visit each of the trade show

exhibitors. The 2019 State Agricultural Convention will open with its regular business session on Wednesday, February 6 and continue on Thursday, February 7, 2019. The meeting will focus on developing and setting a policy agenda for the industry over the coming year through the resolutions process. The listening sessions, as well as presentations, are also an important part of the convention. This year’s sessions will highlight On-Farm Fire Safety Inspections from the Division of Fire Safety (during a joint session with the Vegetable Growers), addresses from NJDEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe and NJDOL Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo about their Departments’ interactions with and views of agriculture, and a report on Climate Change and its Impact on Agriculture by the State Climatologist’s Office. For additional convention information including registration and event schedule, please visit

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2019 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show (Continued from p. 1)

enormous impact of flowers on our lives in a visual story combining familiar artistic elements from the past with extraordinary floral creations of today,” explained Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events. “We wanted to set the tone for the magical, inspiring experience that awaits visitors throughout the Show.” Over 1,000 feet of aluminum will be used to construct artistic vine sculptures embellished with 600 preserved flowers and mesh interpretations of flowers and butterflies. The meadow, comprised of 18,000 floral and grass stems, will be suspended 25 feet in the air over 1,200 square feet of the Show floor. Within the Entrance Garden, the stage will be set for the FTD World Cup 2019, in which floral designers from 23 countries will compete live in full view of Flower Show attendees during the opening weekend. Their breathtaking creations will be on display in pods throughout the Entrance Garden for the duration of the Show. Held approximately every four to six years in a different location, the FTD World Cup 2019 returns to the U.S. for the first time since 1985. Over the course of three days, the talented designers will produce breathtaking, larger-than-life floral creations from both predetermined themes and surprise packages of materials. Example challenges include creating a hand-tied bouquet demonstrating the relationship between color and light; and, fashioning a table setting for two embodying the transformative power of love through flowers. “PHS is honored to have the FTD World Cup and this group of inspiring, talented designers at the Philadelphia Flower Show. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the universal language of flowers conveyed in such imaginative ways,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of

Shows & Events. A total of five design tasks will occur within the Entrance Garden on the Flower Show floor. Preliminary rounds of competition will take place March 1 and 2, with a private reception held on Saturday evening to announce the 10 semi-finalists. The semi-final round will be held on the Show floor, where competitors will complete a surprise package design task. A private event on Sunday night will feature the five finalists in a design competition on stage followed by judging and a trophy presentation to the Interflora World Cup champion. The competitors’ awe-inspiring floral creations will remain on display throughout the Show’s duration. Aspiring and experienced gardeners will find a host of hands-on workshops and demonstrations in the new “Home Gardener’s Hub,” including a lively “Potting Party” held daily at the Gardener’s Studio and sponsored by Subaru. Activities and exhibits throughout the Hub will address a wide range of topics and challenges that home gardeners face, while providing valuable advice and solutions they can employ in their own backyards. Special evening events and daily attractions will pay tribute to the “Flower Power”-era and the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival. Tickets are on sale now for the fabulous black-tie Preview Party, PHS’s elegant fundraiser featuring dancing and dining among the gardens on March 1, the night before the Show opens to the public. On Saturday, March 2, the musical group “The Beat Tells” will bring a ’60s vibe to the dance floor at Flowers After Hours, the Show’s opening night dance party. Each day, guests are invited to enhance their Flower Show visit with popular experiences, including Early Morning Tours, (Cont. on Page 21)

Options for Farmland Assessment on Woodlands Back in 1963, New Jersey’s governor and legislature recognized the serious loss of open space to development and amended the state constitution to allow for farmland to be assessed at a rate more applicable to farm use. Regulations implementing the constitutional amendment were enacted in 1964, and since then, the loss of open space has been drastically slowed. Owners of private woodlands also have benefitted from Farmland Assessment and the citizens of the state continue to enjoy clean water and fresh air as a result. Farmland Assessment on woodlands has undergone various changes over the past several decades. Originally treated as farmland, wooded properties had the same annual income requirement of $500 as did agricultural lands. Later, the regulations were changed to require a Woodland Management Plan

for woodlands under Farmland Assessment, and the income requirement became $500 for the first five acres and $.50 for each additional acre. When the income requirement for agricultural lands was increased to $1,000 under the “Beck Bill,” the New Jersey Forestry Association lobbied the legislature to keep the income requirement for woodlands at $500 per year. The legislature agreed and the $500 income requirement has been maintained on woodlands (wooded property with five acres or more of cropland must still meet the $1,000 income threshold). “Tree farms” differ from traditional agricultural farms in that the crop cycle for trees is 100 to 150 years, whereas typical farm crops tend to have a one-year cycle. Trees cannot be harvested annually like corn or hay. But to maintain Farmland Assessment, owners of forested properties have to generate income from the sale of forest products. As a result, landowners have been harvesting trees before they are

mature just to meet the income requirement. This has had a negative impact on forest health and vitality and has not allowed for effective forest stewardship. To address the premature cutting of trees and to promote sound forest management, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Forest Stewardship Act in 2008. Under regulations that went into effect in December 2017, owners of private woodlands now have the option to manage their forests without an annual income requirement. To do so, however, the landowner must have a Forest Stewardship Plan prepared by a state approved consulting forester and they must follow the prescriptions for forest management included in the plan. A Forest Stewardship Plan is more comprehensive than the prior Woodland Management Plan, specifying what activities will take place each year over a 10-year period, and the landowner is required to establish and maintain records of the activities performed and to monitor the effects of

those activities on the forest health. The goal of the Forest Stewardship Plan is to manage and maintain the forest in perpetuity. A third option for woodland owners falls somewhere between the traditional Woodland Management Plan and the new Forest Stewardship Plan. Guidelines have been established by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for stewardship plans on private woodlands with the goal, again, to practice sound forest management and effective forest stewardship. An NRCS plan must be prepared by a consulting forester (Technical Service Provider) approved by NRCS and the NRCS plan will be more comprehensive than the traditional Woodland Management Plan. Under an NRCS plan, the landowner still must meet the annual Farmland Assessment income requirements, but many of the activities prescribed in this plan can be undertaken with cost-sharing funds provided by NRCS. This encourages the landowner to be more

pro-active in the management and stewardship of his or her woodland. The goal of each of the three options available to woodland owners is to ensure that New Jersey’s forests continue to provide fresh air and clean water for the people of the state, and that the forests exhibit health and vitality for years to come. An added benefit, of course, is that healthy and managed forests provide homes for the many species of wildlife that call the forest their home. Private woodland owners practicing effective forest stewardship have a profound effect on humans and non-humans alike. Special thanks to NJFA President Andrew Kimm for his assistance with this article. Editor’s Note: Lori Jenssen has been the Executive Director of the New Jersey Forestry Association since 2005 and holds a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Administration from Rutgers University. She can be reached at or by calling 908-832-2400.

12 February 2019 AmericanHort HortScholars Program Now Accepting Applications The 2019 AmericanHort HortScholars program is now accepting applications through March 1, 2019 from enthusiastic students in horticulture-related degree programs of any degree level. Students wishing to apply may do so online at HortScholars is a seven-day program that sets students in horticulture on a path to success by exposing them to the breadth of the horticulture industry, its opportunities, and its leaders at the industry’s leading trade show - Cultivate. The program offers a beyondthe-classroom experience, insight and awareness of the industry, and professional development via education sessions, networking, and working with industry mentors. In 2018, AmericanHort received a record number of applications from students across the nation in toplevel horticulture programs. Each year, the student’s applications show passions as vast as the horticulture industry. HortScholars’ majors have ranged from Horticultural Plant Production to Sustainable Plant Systems and from Landscape Architecture to Genetics. Why should you become a HortScholar? To spend seven days in Columbus, Ohio prior to and during Cultivate’19 with paid-for meals, lodging, and an allaccess pass to Cultivate, as well as a one-year membership with AmericanHort. HortScholars experience the behindthe-scenes logistics of readying the Columbus Convention Center for Cultivate and have exclusive opportunities for in-depth discussions with industry leaders, including the AmericanHort Board of Directors. These meetings provide HortScholars with insights into the industry and valuable contacts for their professional networks moving forward in their careers. Daniel Greenwell, a 2017 HortScholar, highly recommends the program. “The HortScholars program connected us with important figures in the industry which helped me build my confidence in networking with new people. More important than anything, in my fellow 2017 HortScholars, I gained five amazing new friends and peers from very diverse backgrounds that I would never have met otherwise.” Daniel has now graduated and gone on to become the Horticulture Program Director at Piedmont Technical College. Interested in applying? Simply visit AmericanHort. org/Scholars to complete your application by March 1, 2019. AmericanHort’s GenerationNext Community Connectors will evaluate the applications, then choose twelve finalists who will provide a short video on why they want to be a HortScholar. The six 2019 HortScholars will be chosen from those finalists. “HortScholar alumni have become valued members of the horticulture industry,” said AmericanHort VP of marketing & member engagement, Mary Beth Cowardin. “Whether they are running their own business, making new strides in crucial research, or pushing the limits of how horticulture products are marketed and shared, HortScholar alumni are the upcoming movers and shakers of the horticulture industry.” Questions about the 2019 HortScholars Program? Contact Katie Gustafson at for more information.

Dog Safe Gardens We have a new family member, and he sure is keeping us on our toes. Even though we’ve had many pets over the years, Joey is the most curious, rambunctious, little ball of energy, mischief and mayhem that we’ve ever had. We had our beautiful sheltie/lab mix, June, for 13 wonderful years and never worried that she would ingest something that might do her harm. Following her stay with us, we acquired two sheltie pups at 10 weeks of age. We had our boys (brothers) for 12 loving years where they had the run of the house and grounds, and again, we never worried about them ingesting toxic plants. I do recall having purchased Monkshood bulbs at the Philadelphia Flower Show, planted them in an out-of-the-way place, but knowing how deadly they were despite their beauty, got rid of them for fear our June girl would accidentally chomp on them. Likewise, I was “floored” when our vet informed me during an appointment with our sheltie boys, Rocky and Jazz, that one bite of Foxglove is lethal to dogs. Ever since, as much as I adore Foxglove, I’ve never been tempted to have it in my gardens even though I always grew it seemingly with no pet casualties. We acquired our new pup, Joey, on November 1 at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in North Branch, as my husband was determined to have another rescued dog like our June. We actually found June at St. Hubert’s back in 1994, when she was 8 months old. We “lucked out” again with finding Joey, a cockapoo, at 6 months old. He is a love bug and adapted very readily to his new home. We have a huge, fenced-in back yard, and he exults in exploring every nook and cranny. The difference with this little guy and our prior pets is he thinks nothing of chomping on everything he comes across. It seems he just throws caution to the wind and has at this plant or that bush with abandon. He also delights in showing us what he has and a merry chase ensues. Knowing that I may have planted some things that are considered toxic to pets, I did a little research online to make sure our backyard is a safe environment for our cockapoo. My initial investigation gave me pause, as we had two large azalea bushes by the house and that is one plant species that can cause death. They are now history. I still have azaleas out in the front yard, but am not willing to chance that Joey might have tried his teeth on the ones in his yard. In researching more toxic plants for this article, I went on the ASPCA’s website of Harmful Plants to Dogs/Cats/Horses, and here is a sampling. I did focus my research specifically to dogs as that alone identified 410 toxic plants and wasn’t even a complete listing. You can research all this information yourselves on different websites, so I’ll just list a few of the “deadly” plants so that you can keep your pets safe. The most toxic plants in no specific order are: Rhododendron, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Daffodils (especially bulbs), Andromeda (Pieris Japonica), Nicotiana, Oleander, Laurel, Vinca (Periwinkle), American Yew, Castor Bean, Monkshood, Foxglove, Larkspur, Sago Palm, Sweet Pea, Milkweed (yes, my friends, very toxic), Brugmansia, and Hops. If in doubt, don’t plant it where your pets can easily access it. There are many plant species that cause vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, and other symptoms, so just be forewarned. One does wonder why deer seem to be immune to these toxic plants. I believe that some animal species are smarter than others in avoiding lethal plants. A friend who raises sheep, for instance, has told me that they have to keep milkweed out of their fields for sheep will eat the milkweed with toxic results. Another thing to keep in mind is that pets will eat grasses, and if you spray your lawn with a weed-killing solution, you may be endangering your pet’s health unwittingly. I haven’t even gone into what plants you may encounter when you walk your dog that could prove toxic. I just have to cross my fingers with this one because it’s my husband who takes Joey for two-mile walks on various trails in parks in our area. The good news is that Bob says Joey absolutely flies over the trails. He’s quite an amazing dog (a cocker spaniel, miniature poodle mix), and we are extremely fortunate to have this enthusiastic bundle of energy in our midst. Adopt a pet; butterflies will do.

By Jeannie Geremia Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: Jeannie Geremia is The Garden Club of New Jersey President Elect, GCNJ Wildlife Habitat Chair, and is a National Garden Clubs, Inc. Master Judge for the GCNJ. Jeannie is a member of Neshanic Garden Club, The Raritan Township Historic Committee and the Raritan Township Board of Health. Jeannie’s email address is:

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14 February 2019

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16 February 2019

Garden Hoses: How to Beat the Did you disconnect your garden hose, or is it still connected to the hose bib on the house? With the freezing cold weather setting in and more potential freezing cold weather on the way, Chuck De Torres, owner of King George Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in Green Brook Township, Somerset County, N.J., recommends that you disconnect your garden hose immediately, if you haven’t done so already, and to make sure that the water supply pipe (behind the handle) that runs into your house, has not split. DeTorres says that if you leave your garden hose attached to the bib all winter, you’re asking for trouble. Garden hoses left outdoors, and still connected, may still be filled with water from the most recent use. Garden hoses with nozzles or other water flow devices at one end and connected to open bibs are particularly hazardous to your plumbing, as water pressure created by ice formation in the hose may back into the home’s water supply, resulting in split pipes. DeTorres also says that if you have a split pipe, call in a licensed plumber immediately before the outside temperature warms up and the pipe has chance to thaw out. If this happens, water could flow back into the house, depending Tom Castronovo/Photo on the type of bib you have. It is also important Chuck DeTorres, owner of King George Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in Green Brook to turn off the inside shut-off valve that is Township, Somerset County, N.J., looks over a frozen garden hose in front of a residential connected to the outside bib, then open the bib house. so it has a chance to drain properly. Most older homes have house bibs without frost protection. The new hose bibs have a built-in vacuum breaker/check valve which prevents water from draining back into the house. Basically, this particular bib prevents water from remaining in the unheated, unprotected end of the outdoor water supply line. A freeze-proof bib, ranging from four to 24 inches in length, extends back into the house, and its valve seat—where the water stops when the bib is off—is all the way inside. So once the handle is turned off outside, the water never makes it farther than the warm side of the wall; any water trapped in between just drains out the bib. It is also very important to have one these newer hose bibs installed on your house if you use a garden hose to apply any type of liquid fertilizer, fungicide, herbicide or pesticide to your lawn or landscape. You don’t want anything draining back into your home’s water supply. DeTorres also recommends knowing where the house emergency water shut off valve is, and that all exposed pipes in your basement, under your home, on outside walls or in attics are insulated. While you are outside checking on the garden hose, DeTorres also recommends checking your sump pump drain pipe. He says to make sure it is free of frozen leaves and mulch. Storing garden hoses inside can extend their life, DeTorres concluded. DeTorres became a licensed plumber in 1983 and Tom Castronovo/Photo started his business after being honorably discharged Frozen solid garden hose with a spray nozzle still attached. from the United States Air Force.

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Freeze and Protect your Home

Tom Castronovo/Photo Chuck DeTorres, owner of King George Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in Green Brook Township, Somerset County, N.J., inspects a hose bib on the side of a residential house.

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18 February 2019 Farms in the United States have always been on the cutting edge when it comes to creative forms of energy production and use. As agriculture has developed here in the United States over the past three centuries, so too have the ways in which energy was procured, harnessed, used, and even turned into a profit center. In fact, one could even argue that our energy production is just as diverse as our farms. Food, clothing and shelter were the immediate needs of America’s first farmers. And as these initial needs were met, farmers had to concern themselves with keeping warm through the long winters here in the New World. At first, this should have been relatively easy, as the Eastern U.S. was heavily forested. This byproduct of clearing the land for farming became a natural first choice for a heat and cooking source for the early settlers. While the better quality lumber could be used for buildings, the lesser quality wood found its way into wood stoves and fireplaces. Wood was still used in our part of New Jersey right up into the early 20th century. While most of the The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Farms and Energy

landscape then was open fields with hardly a tree in sight, many farmers kept “wood lots,” which were parcels of land that were maintained solely for the purpose of growing and harvesting these hardwoods for both lumber and fuel. But as agriculture progressed, so did energy production. Water was used, if it was available, to power mills that ground grain into feed. Wind was used to power small windmills, which were usually used to pump water out of wells. Even something as simple as the placement of farm buildings took solar energy into account. Most buildings that were used to house animals were located so that they could take full advantage of the sun to warm them during the winter months by facing them

towards the sun and away from the frigid prevailing winds. In many areas of the country, as new energy sources were discovered, they, in many cases, supplanted agriculture as the dominant industry. In quite a few instances however, agriculture and energy production have been able to coexist side by side. In Texas, it is common to see beef cattle ranches that are also home to oil wells. In the western part of Pennsylvania, while farming was going on above ground, coal was being mined below ground. And recently with the advent of fracking technology and improvements in natural gas production, large swaths of the United States have been opened up to this new type of energy production. And despite what the left wing extremist

environmentalists might be saying, farming and energy production have for the most part been able to get along just fine. As farms have gotten bigger, their energy needs have gotten bigger as well. With that being said, farmers are always searching for ways to generate their own energy or at the very least, conserve their own usage. Many large types of farm buildings lend themselves well to the installation of solar panels. Farms that have a relatively large contiguous acreage and suitable winds have gotten together and put up gigantic arrays of wind turbines. Some farms which generate a lot of manure have installed methane digesters to convert that manure directly into electricity. There are even greenhouses built near landfills to take advantage of the methane that

New Jersey Native Orchids? Part 2 By Hubert Ling A question you might have is, if there are 54 species of wild native orchids in New Jersey, where and when can I see them? This is a good question, since those of us who know must regretfully restrict location information; I personally know of four cases where only holes remained after visitors saw blooming orchids. I will release two locations, which are well policed and have severe penalties for damage or removal of orchids: these are Cheesequake State Park, Matawan, N.J., where you can see the impossibleto-transplant pink lady’s slipper on Mother’s Day, and Mt. Cuba, Hockessin, Del., where you can visit numerous yellow lady’s slippers also in bloom around Mother’s Day. Other orchid sites will remain undisclosed until you can build up trust

as a responsible plant conservationist. So, join us on field trips with the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, or the Torrey Botanical Society, or the Philadelphia Botanical Club, and you will gradually be introduced to a number of wild orchid locations. As an alternative, you can grow your own orchids. Several of our native orchids have been successfully cultivated. Three species have been reported as relatively easy to grow. These include nodding lady’s tresses Spiranthes odorata “Chadds Ford,” Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens the large yellow lady’s slipper, and Cypridedium reginae, the showy lady’s slipper. The Chadds Ford spiranthes was found by Dick Ryan in a wet ditch near Bear, Del., around 1960. Today, that habitat has been completely destroyed by tract homes. This plant has a beautiful fragrance which reminds people of jasmine or vanilla. It grows from

one to three feet tall, with small quarter-inch yellowwhite flowers which spiral up a slender stalk. This plant variety is considerably more vigorous and easier to grow than most other varieties of spiranthes. Chadds Ford likes to have wet feet and grows well in full sun or partial shade in acid soil. If you have successfully grown bog plants, such as pitcher plants or sundew, you should have no trouble at all. Actually, I have trouble growing bog plants; I suspect that they don’t like our chlorinated city water. Orchid growers recommend using well water, rainwater, or distilled water. Several growers have Chadds Ford for sale at $10$30 for blooming-size plants. All plants of the Chadds Ford variety are propagated, so you can be sure that you are doing nothing to harm future survival. The large yellow lady’s slipper is the most expensive and most sought after native plant in New Jersey. The

flowers are three to four inches in diameter with a bright yellow lip and the other petals (tepals) yellowmaroon. It looks very much like a delicate corsage orchid. Mature blooming sized plants are 1½-2 ½ feet tall and range in price from $40-$100, although adventurous gardeners could try raising a tissue culture seedling, which costs less than $10 but must mature four to seven years before blooming. Generally, you must order the plants a year or more in advance since growers often run out of stock. The blooms last about two weeks in May. Make sure you buy only plants produced from tissue culture or nursery propagation beds and thus are not contributing to the extinction of this beautiful plant in the wild. There are reports that happy plants can double in extent within a year; this must not be the normal sequence of events, since the cost of completely propagated plants remains

is being emitted. On our farm, we have been taking advantage of our renewable resource, wood. Or firewood, to be more precise. After our fruit trees have passed their prime, we cut them down and sell them as firewood. We are also continually clearing back hedgerows or clearing new ground so we harvest and sell this wood as well. We do have some woodland that has to be maintained also. The nice part about it for us, is that, unlike our perishable fruits and vegetables, we can cut, split and market our firewood during the winter months, which is normally our slow season. Stay warm! Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is currently a Tewksbury Township Committee Member. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.

high and plant stocks have been limited for decades. The showy lady’s slipper is about as easy to grow as the yellow lady’s slipper and is two to three feet tall. The flowers are about the same size, but showy lady’s slippers have a pink and white lower lip with the other tepals being completely white. Totally propagated mature plants are $40-$80. Both yellow and showy lady’s slipper do best in partial shade with ample water and drainage in a neutral soil pH 6.2-7. If you are financially solvent, adventuresome, have the right conditions, and are patient, you can take a stab at raising our rare and endangered orchids; the Itasca Ladyslipper Farm has these propagated native orchids for sale. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is the Horticulture Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at

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20 February 2019 The Super Bowl is held in early-February, just around the corner once this issue of Gardener News comes out. Who will win the Super Bowl? The Eagles (I hope!), the Patriots, Da’ Bears? (Well, we now know it won’t be the Bears). Even if your team does not make the Super Bowl, will your lawn have what it takes to have a winning season? Have you ever travelled to Punxsutawney, Penna., in early-February, home of the world famous ground hog Punxsutawney Phil? The legend goes like this: In earlyFebruary the Punxsutawney Ground Hog Club meets at Gobbler’s Knob around 7:30 a.m. Punxsutawney Phil is supposed to emerge from his burrow. When he emerges and sees his shadow, he will be frightened by it and return to his burrow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, then spring is on the way. Do you want to rely on old traditions to obtain a great lawn? Or modern-day thoughts? The real calendar spring I recently attended the ninth annual New York Produce Show. This four-day event hosts a trade show, tours, and several days of seminars. It attracts industry members from all over the world. I always enjoy attending, and the experience keeps me current about industry challenges, issues and innovations. One of the seminars I attended, “Foundational Excellence,” was a series of lectures presented by various Cornell University professors. It was designed to give attendees an overview into the operations, issues and trends facing the produce industry. One presentation I found particularly interesting, was “Amazon and the Food Industry.” Given by Professor Ed McLaughlin, the discussion focused on the online giant Amazon and their entrance into the retail grocery market. In the online world, groceries currently account for 3 percent of a category share. Amazon’s relatively recent purchase of Whole Foods indicates their seriousness in entering this industry. The 3-percent share reflects that while American consumers will buy virtually anything online, when it comes to food, they still like to personally select what they eat. Hence, the challenge for online retailers. As I listened to the discussion about Amazon’s logistical system in getting Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

What it takes to have a winning season

starts on March 20, so you still have a little time before you need to get your spreader out. What will you do differently this year to achieve a better lawn? Don’t let your past mistakes affect your future; define your present and future. Even Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Did you notice some of your neighbors have a betterlooking lawn than you? Did you ever ask them what they did to their lawn in the past that you are not doing? Was crabgrass a bigger problem than usual last year? If so, it’s probably because of the delayed spring weather and excessive rainfall that leached early

pre-emergent application controls, rendering them somewhat useless. Consider delaying applications until the soil temperature is around 50 degrees; remember I said soil temperatures, not air temperature. Visit for soil and air temperatures in your area. Apply these crabgrass controls later in spring to extend the length of control into summer months. Did you take a soil test to see if you have any deficiencies? We’ve talked about this many times. If you never have, there’s no better time than now while the soil laboratories are quiet. Your soil quality is the life blood of growing a successful lawn. Do you have a low pH value? Perhaps that is why you are having trouble

growing a good lawn and weeds are winning the battle. Be sure to address these problems with a plan, apply calcium carbonate-based products in the spring if your soil pH level is below 6.2. When you rake up your yard of debris each spring, it’s not uncommon to find some winter damage to your lawn. Have you been using “bargain brand” grass seed mixtures? They’re called “bargain brands” because of their price, but with that reduced price come reduced results! Do you look for a bargain brand car or a quality car? Use quality grass seed mixtures designed for the region you live in and its environmental conditions. With all of the rain last year, consider using organic lawn foods this year on your

NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

The Original “Amazon”

products to the customer, I had a sudden revelation; my family was doing this decades before Amazon was even a thought. Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, primarily as on online way to sell books. Today, it sells virtually everything. Murray’s Market was founded in the early 1900s by Alfred W. Murray as a butcher shop. As the business progressed, it later incorporated groceries. Amazon employs tens of thousands of workers in more than 90 worldwide fulfillment centers. We had one “fulfillment center,” on the corner of Oakland Avenue and Merchant Street, that employed five people. When an Amazon customer places an online order, a fulfillment center employee’s handheld scanner receives a ping. The scanner then directs the employee to the location of the items. The employee scans the item, and places it in a tote. After the order is completed, the tote is placed on a conveyor belt, where it goes to the

shipping area for final preparation and ultimately is placed on one of Amazon’s trucks. When a customer at Murray’s Market placed an online order, that “online” was a phone line. My aunt, who also served as cashier, would answer the phone and write down the order. Because the town is only a mile square, most of the time the customer’s first name, or even nickname would suffice. The orders would wait until our fulfillment center employee, (me) would get home from school. There, I would pick a suitable cardboard box from a pile and begin to walk around the store filling the order. (Grocery stores always had cardboard boxes lying around. Who knew by re-purposing them, we were being so “green?”) Since our store was only three aisles wide, there was no need for a handheld device (despite the fact they weren’t invented yet) to direct me to the proper item. I never had problems finding items, because when I wasn’t delivering

groceries, I was stocking shelves. Once the order was filled, it was taken to our transportation fleet for immediate delivery. There, the transportation coordinator, (me) would load the box onto a 1940s-era black Schwinn bicycle with a giant metal basket protruding from the handle bars. Unlike Amazon, who charges shipping and handling, and a “Prime” service if you want oneday delivery, Murray’s Market offered free, same-day shipping. The only “prime” we offered was found in the meat section. This process would repeat itself until the entire day’s orders were delivered. Nothing ever stopped deliveries. I peddled, and pedaled, in rain, snow, sleet and ice. My only major challenge was a neighborhood dog who liked to take a nip at my calf. For my efforts, management, (my father) paid a dime per delivery. Customer tips were what made this venture “lucrative.” Usually, I could expect a quarter, while 50 cents was generous. And if I was

lawn. They contain a high level of water insoluble nitrogen and feed the lawn gently and slowly. By using organic lawn foods, you can help reduce fertilizer run-off that releases quickly and is not absorbed by the grass plants. Organic lawn care costs more than traditional fertilizers, but maybe it’s time for you to try this new method of lawn care. Is your spreader old and tired? If you have noticed some burning or spots and streaks in your lawn, it’s time for a new spreader. Do you need a pH tester, rainfall gauge or soil thermometer? These are the tools that it takes to have a winning lawn this year. I hope your favorite team wins the Super Bowl and that there are no groundhogs ruining your lawn, happy spring! Editor’s Note: Todd Pretz is Vice President of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast. For more information, please visit: given a dollar, I felt like I hit the lottery. Another area where we topped Amazon was our generous same-day return/replace policy. Upon arrival, I would bring the delivery around to the back door. The customer would direct me to place the contents onto the kitchen table. There they would inspect the order. If the bananas were too yellow, or the tomatoes too green, I would be immediately dispatched back to our store to bring out a new selection. After a while, I would learn the nuances of each customer’s preferences and return trips became fewer and fewer. That delivery job was tough, but I learned a lot from it. After writing this, I think I’ll check out Amazon to see if they carry old Schwinns. Editor’s Note: Al Murray is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Established in 1781, the Society is New Jersey's oldest organization whose purpose is to advocate, educate and promote on behalf of New Jersey's agricultural industry. Mr. Murray previously spent his entire career at the NJ Department of Agriculture, serving as the Assistant Secretary. He can be reached at

February 2019 21




LATE SPRING Apply Green-Up Weed & Feed to feed the lawn and kill over 250 broadleaf weeds like dandelions, chickweed, clover, and oxalis.

Apply Green-Up Crabgrass Preventer to feed the lawn and provide season-long crabgrass prevention.


Available at garden centers and hardware stores in your area.


Apply Winter Survival Fall Lawn Food to feed the lawn and help prepare it against the long, harsh winter ahead. Early fall seeding works best, apply Winter Survival Fall Lawn Food the same day before applying grass seed.


NEW Mag-I-Cal Plus

to adjust soil pH, loosen hard soil and activate the soil microbial life.

Ask for a free copy of our guide.


2019 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show (Continued from p. 11)

Butterflies Live, and Garden Tea, and create their own floral crown in the Make & Take. The Flower Show also brings together thousands of plant lovers who compete for blue ribbons in the Hamilton Horticourt. Their contributions to the Show, together with thousands of volunteers who help create this beauty in the middle of winter, are what make the Philadelphia Flower Show an attraction without peer. These efforts and ticket proceeds support the PHS mission to connect people with horticulture and create beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities ABOUT THE FLOWER SHOW The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and longestrunning horticultural event and features stunning displays by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. Started in 1829 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show introduces diverse and sustainable plant varieties and garden and design concepts. In addition to acres of garden displays, the Flower Show hosts world-renowned competitions in horticulture and artistic floral arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations, special events, and the citywide Bloom Philly pre-Show celebration.

The Philadelphia Flower Show has been honored as the best event in the world by the International Festivals & Events Association, competing with events such as the Kentucky Derby Festival, Tournament of Roses Parade, Indianapolis 500 Festival, and other international celebrations. For more information about the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show and to purchase tickets, visit ABOUT PHS The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1827, whose programs connect people with horticulture and together creates beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities. PHS brings together people from diverse backgrounds to engage in horticultural projects that advance social equity, environmental sustainability, and urban livability. PHS’s best known activities include the Philadelphia Flower Show, street tree planting and maintenance, community gardening, public beautification, and the PHS Pop Up Gardens. PHS is supported by Show proceeds, individual members and supporters, foundations, partners and government grants. For information and to support our work, visit

Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

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22 February 2019

News from the New York Department of Agriculture State Agriculture Commissioner Announces More Than $42 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects through the Regional Economic Development Councils 81 Agricultural Projects Identified as Key to Growing the Agricultural and Food and Beverage Industries and Advancing Local Economies Across 10 Regions More Than $391 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects Since 2011 New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced that more than $42 million awarded through Governor Cuomo’s 2018 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative will support the growth of the New York’s farms and food and beverage industries across the State. The REDC awards were announced by the Governor on December 18, with more than 80 agriculture-related projects identified as key to advancing the State’s ten regional economies. Commissioner Ball said, “We have a dynamic and diverse agricultural industry in New York State and some of the best food and beverage businesses in the world. These operations are driving our economy and creating jobs, especially as we look toward high-tech innovations that are helping these businesses increase capacity and ensure environmental sustainability. I thank Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development and the Regional Councils for recognizing the importance of agriculture and for investing in the future of this industry.” Since the Regional Councils were implemented in 2011, more than $391 million has been awarded to 544 agricultural projects. Awards were made this year to projects supporting farm operations and expansions, food storage, packing and processing facilities, promotion of the State’s agri-tourism destinations, craft beverage production, farmers’ markets, commercial kitchens and incubators, agricultural training programs and marketing opportunities. A snapshot of the projects awarded in Round 8 of the REDC initiative includes: Western New York – $498,600 was awarded to AgriAmerican Fruit Products to support the purchase of equipment for a revitalized former grape juice factory in Chautauqua County, the largest grape-producing county in New York. The project will allow the company to manufacture and store different strength juices made from locally grown grapes for distribution to multiple markets. It will result in job growth in the fruit farming, distribution, construction, and retail sectors. Finger Lakes – $2 million was awarded to Yancey’s Fancy to provide capacity for the company to expand cheese production. Southern Tier – $320,000 was awarded to Tiberio Custom meats (TCM). The company will establish dual USDA-certified meat processing facilities to better meet the needs of NYS agricultural producers and NYC-based markets. TCM will provide direct marketing services for producers, and custom processing and access to locally raised meats to NYC retailers, restaurants and consumers. Central New York – $1 million was awarded to WoodBayr Farm to develop a new state-of-the-art organic dairy facility, which is being designed as a Smart Building and will include a bedding pack barn utilizing high efficiency ventilation, lighting, and ultramodern robotic feeding, milking and cleaning systems. The project includes installation of renewables combined with an existing solar array, for Net Zero energy performance. The facility will have an educational center for meetings and seminars to train 4-H and other agricultural groups on modern organic dairy farming. Mohawk Valley – $5 million was awarded to Empire State Greenhouses, which will construct the world’s most sophisticated

controlled-environment food growing technology. The 290,000 square feet of vertical greenhouses and packing space will be constructed on land adjacent to SUNY Cobleskill’s campus, with energy requirements met by solar and a biogas digester. North Country – $40,025 was awarded to the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT). TILT will begin a planning phase to assess and develop plans for the revitalization of the Dairy Barn at Zenda Farms Preserve and create land-use plans for the surrounding campus. The goal is to develop a community space that provides opportunities for agricultural exhibits and demonstrations and supports environmental and agricultural programming. Capital Region – $945,662 was awarded to the Capital Region BOCES. The project will provide a Shared Food Service program to component districts under the direction of a central Food Services Supervisor (FSS). The FSS will be responsible for annual federal and state compliance for free and reduced-price lunches, menu development, nutrition analysis, central kitchen preparation, cooking, and delivery for the partner districts. Mid-Hudson Region – $361,000 was awarded to Arrowood Farms for its brewery expansion project, which will expand production capacity, reduce product costs, and implement a marketing plan that will bring additional visitors to the farm. This will allow the business to meet increased demand, expand distribution and create new jobs. Long Island – $400,000 was awarded to the Town of East Hampton. The municipal hatchery and nursery facilities will be consolidated to one site adjacent to their existing nursery system in East Hampton. New York City – $122,500 was awarded to Square Roots, an urban agriculture and technology company, to expand its Brooklyn location by constructing a 7-unit farming cluster. Using state of the art equipment and the latest techniques in hydroponic farming, this project will create new jobs and continue the company’s mission to bring local, real food to people in cities by empowering next-generation leaders in urban farming. About the Regional Economic Development Councils The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After eight rounds of the REDC process, more than $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit

February 2019 23

News from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Winners of the Spotted Lanternfly Calendar Contest The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced the winners of the Spotted Lanternfly calendar contest. Selected from more than 700 entries, a drawing of the Spotted Lanternfly titled “Lousy Lanternflies” has been named the grand prize winner of the contest for Pennsylvania students. “These calendars are a creative way to remind ourselves of the year-round need for vigilance in fighting the Spotted Lanternfly. Students across the state took the time to use their talents to bring awareness to the threat the Spotted Lanternfly poses,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The winners represent a phenomenal cross-section of the entries received. We thank all of the students who entered, and for their teachers for encouraging them to use their creativity for good.” The Grand Prize entry, drawn by Bella Santos, an eighthgrader at Governor Mifflin Middle School (Berks County), will be featured on the cover and inside the calendar. Other winning entries include: Miriam Buchanan, grade 2, Alloway Creek Elementary, Littlestown (Adams) 1st in grades 1-2; Hudson McKain, grade 3, Moore Elementary, Bath (Northampton) 1st in grades 3-4; Elijah Barsoum, grade 5, Reiffton School, Reading (Berks) – 1st in grades 5-6; Austin Carson, grade 1, Lampeter Elementary, Lancaster (Lancaster) 2nd in grades 1-2; Gabrielle Kraatz, grade 4, Penn Bernville Elementary, Bernville (Berks) – 2nd in grades 3-4; Nicole Cassell, grade 6, Ephrata Mennonite, Ephrata (Lancaster) – 2nd in grades 5-6; Direla Dedic, grade 8, Wilson Middle, Carlisle (Cumberland) – 2nd in grades 7-8; Layna Brothers, grade 2, Home Schooled – 3rd in grades 1-2; Abigail Fickley grade 4, Moore Elementary, Bath (Northampton) – 3rd in grades 3-4; Audrey Wieand, grade 5, Lampeter Elementary, Lancaster (Lancaster) – 3rd in grades 5-6; and Alina Hernandez, grade 7, Upper Merion Middle, King of Prussia (Montgomery) – 3rd in grades 7-8 The contest was open to students in grades 1 through 8, and entries were evaluated on creativity and effectively communicating the ways Pennsylvanians can identify and help eliminate Spotted Lanternfly. The finalists will appear in the 2019 calendar, produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and made available for free at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show. Find out more about Spotted Lanternfly at www.agriculture.,,

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from Gardener News

Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Replacing the Swiss Cheese in Your Garden Over the past couple years, there has been an influx of pathogens and insects setting their sights on destroying your garden spaces. Starting with Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, there has been Impatiens Downy Mildew, Basil Downy Mildew, Sudden Oak Death (SOD), Emerald Ash Borer, Boxwood Blight and most recently Spotted Lanternfly. And there has been one disease that has caused considerable foliage damage to one of New Jersey’s most popular foundation plants. Common cherry laurel, or English laurel, has long been susceptible to “Shot-hole disease, a combination bacterial infection (Xanthomonas prunii) and fungal disease (Blumeriella gaapi)” shot-hole-disease/. While there are other bacteria, fungi and abiotic stresses that can attack cherry laurel, it is Shot-hole that creates circular holes in the leaves, eventually joining to make even larger holes. The leaves can look “like a shotgun was aimed at the plant” (Manual of Woody Landscape Plants 5th Edition). It is these holes that have been likened to that of Swiss cheese. Leaves which appear to be eaten away by disease, a ragged and certainly unkempt appearance remains. Well, fortunately for gardeners today, improvements have been made and more resistant varieties are now available. Great news, and just in time, as boxwoods will be fading fast from New Jersey residential landscapes, leaving a vacancy for the next best evergreen to set against your homes’ foundation. Cherry laurel are popular in New Jersey landscapes because they are an evergreen that flowers. Bold plants with lustrous dark green leaves, English laurel also flower white in April and May. Flowers are roughly three to five inches long with nearly inch-wide racemes. However, some find their scent offensive as they dwindle down. Incidentally, the genus

name from Latin means plum or cherry tree. The specific epithet means laurel cherry and refers to its laurel-like evergreen leaves and cherry-like fruit. With nearly 30 cultivars listed today, the two most popular in my nearly 30 years of retail experience are “Otto Luyken” laurel, “Prunus laurocerasus” Otto Luyken’and Schipka or Skip laurel, Prunus laurocerasus “Schipkaensis.” “Otto Luyken” has a compact habit that seems to do well in sun or shade. Perfect for foundations, “Otto Luyken” grows three to four feet tall and about six to eight feet wide. A German introduction by Hesse Nurseries in 1968, this cultivar has been around most neighborhoods for quite some time. Schipka laurel, many don’t know, is a form found in 1889 near the Shipka pass in Bulgaria. Many landscapers and homeowners use this form against a home’s foundation only to find that it quickly grows eight to 10 feet tall and four to six feet wide. Both cultivars, while widely popular, are susceptible to Shot-hole. Alas, there are some new cultivars resistant to this problem, maintaining similar structure in your garden. “Chestnut Hill” cherry laurel, Prunus laurocerasus “Chestnut Hill,” is an improved selection to replace “Otto Luyken.” More compact, also with glossy foliage, this selection has a refined look on what appears to be a vase-shaped form. Stalks of fragrant white flowers appear in the spring and this cultivar is suitable for foundations as well as a low hedge. Additionally, its projected growth, while similar in height to “Otto Luyken,” is only about half its width. Hardy to Zone 6, “Chestnut Hill” should also prove useful in urban gardens, mass planting and coastal exposures. All this and showy black drupes (fruit) are evident mid- to late-summer lasting into the fall. “Jade Enchantress,” Prunus laurocerasus “Jade Enchantress,” is another cultivar akin to “Chestnut

Hill.” Similar hardiness, height and attractiveness to birds for winter shelter, the only noticeable difference, I see, is that the overall structure of “Jade Enchantress” is slightly smaller. It too, seems to possess improved disease resistance. “Majestic Jade,” Prunus laurocerasus “Majestic Jade,” should replace Skip laurel. A selection from renowned horticulturalist Michael Dirr and part of the Gardener’s Confidence Collection®, “Majestic Jade” grows six to eight feet tall and five to six feet wide. Lustrous dark green leaves, this cultivar’s improved disease resistance is an ideal selection for a natural or clipped evergreen hedge. Camellia, privet, hydrangea and ivy are also susceptible to Shot-hole. Sanitation seems to be the best way to control the disease and keep it at bay. Clean up contaminated leaves from under the plant and spray with an “over the counter” fungicide if you are not ready to replace your existing laurels. Avoiding cleanup of infected leaves only contributes to the problem, as rain and watering can perpetuate the problem forcing the disease back to the plant by splashing. Useful tricks for growing cherry laurel successfully include; avoid heavy soils and standing water, prune immediately after flowering, avoid excessive fertilization and overhead watering. In the end, new cultivars are available today to rid your landscape of the Swiss cheese in your garden. Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.

24 February 2019

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1/17/2019 12:05:13 PM Here in New Jersey, we never know what the weather will bring us, but we do know we will likely get at least one significant snowstorm over the winter. Your landscape needs to be protected to avoid plant injury and problems with hardscaping. Although it is late in the season, it’s not too late to make sure your landscape stays shielded. Of course, YOUR safety should ultimately come first, so lets just remind you of a few tips to keep you safe. Make sure you do a few stretches before heading out to shovel. It is, after all, a workout, and you need to prepare your body. Try to choose a shovel with a curved handle and make sure the length of your shovel is correct for you. Lift with your legs and don’t try to throw the snow over your shoulder. A full shovel can weigh up to 25 pounds! If you use a snow blower, remember to keep hands and feet away from the blades at all times. Most of all, pace yourself, and if you feel any pain at all, stop! Now, how can we protect our landscape? Hiring a professional who will mark out your property

February 2019 25 The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Director of Operations

Keep Your Landscape Safe from Snow and Ice

to avoid edges of driveways or your planting beds, as well as have the correct tools to work with paver driveways (including rubber plow edges), is my first choice. Make sure you or your snow professional do not pile snow on or against the shrubs and trees on your property. Heavy loads of snow on the grass is also not ideal, as the turf may become stressed, but many times cannot be avoided. If a plow happens to pull up a chunk of grass, simply put it back into place as quickly as possible. Use a large push broom or a leaf blower for dustings, which will quickly and effectively clean off surfaces. Try to clear away the snow earlier than later, if you are doing it yourself. Heading out twice to shovel is much easier

than doing it once when the snow has hardened and weighs too much. Most of us use some type of de-icing product to avoid slips and falls on our property, which is very important. But there are also ways to avoid salt damage to your landscape. Try not to plant anything that is easily affected by salt near sidewalks and roadways. Try to use calcium, magnesium or potassium chloride-based products when possible to alleviate damage. Add some sand to your de-icer to provide traction and reduce the amount of “salt” you are putting down. If you have time during the snow, gently brush the snow off your trees and shrubs. But never shake branches, which could cause them to break. Some shrubs need to be wrapped in

burlap prior to a storm to avoid breakage. Snow acts as a blanket to your grass, so a nice layer is actually good for it! Don’t use salt on pavers. It can corrode the face of the pavers, as well as cause flaking and discoloration. Try to stick with products that don’t use salt in them and/or sprinkle sand for traction. In general, calciumbased products are best for pavers. Use a plastic shovel on paver areas to avoid scratching the stonework. Having your contractor apply a sealer before the winter will provide extra protection. In the spring, when temperatures rise, give your pavers a good cleaning to remove any chemicals left from de-icers. A final option is to have heat cables installed under your pavers

(and yes, it can be done after your pavers are already installed). There are many options when it comes to de-icers today, from salt brines to traditional rock salt, products that are safe for pets to beet juice brines and so many more. Speak to your landscape professional to decide which type is best for your property and hardscape, as well as your family. Have a great month and remember, spring is only a few weeks away! Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott is the Director of Operations for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She was presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview for her assistance in leading the 9-11 Memorial Park project and the Legislative Champion of the Year award from the Federation of Employers and Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee Chair on the National Association of Landscape Professionals International Certification Council.

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The FrelinghuysenArboretum Suitable for Framing: A Woman’s Place in Botanical Art Sunday, Feb 10* • $12 Fig Trees: Care and Maintenance

Learn how to care for these wonderful trees from Bill Muzychko. Sunday, Feb 17* • $20 • 1.5 CEU’s

The State of Invasives in New Jersey

Michael Van Clef gives an update on ecology and management of invasives. Tuesday, Feb 26* • $20 • 1.5 CEU’s

Ninth Annual Community Garden Conference Barbara Pleasant from Mother Earth News is the Keynote Speaker for this full day event. Other speakers include Shaun Ananko, Ann Fahey, Matt Mattus, Peter Nitzsche, Nick Storrs, and a roundtable of experts. Saturday, March 2* • $60 • 5.0 CEU’s Bus Trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show Flower Power is the theme of this ever popular event. Tuesday, March 5 (register by Feb 15)* • $85 Great Speaker Series: Dan Hinkley Take Two: Making Windcliff The famed plant explorer and creator of Heronswood talks about his new garden. Don’t miss this event! Sunday, March 17*• $40 • 1.5 CEU’s

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February 2019 27

Perfect Pergolas, Mesmerizing Metals and More: The Top Landscape Trends of 2019 The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) announces its official list of the top lawn and landscape trends of 2019. Drawing upon the expertise of the industry’s 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals, NALP annually predicts trends that will influence the design and maintenance of backyards across America in the year ahead. “Homeowners yearn for beautiful outdoor spaces without the hassle of upkeep. With the rise of multifunctional landscape design and automated processes, consumers can spend more time enjoying their landscapes than ever before,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “This year’s trends reflect current lifestyle preferences as well as innovations happening in the industry that are transforming landscapes across the country.” In 2019, NALP predicts the following five trends to influence outdoor spaces: •Two-in-one landscape design. Functional elements are no longer a perk, but rather a necessity in today’s landscapes, as consumers desire stunning outdoor features that have been cleverly designed to serve a dual tactical purpose. An edible vertical garden on a trellis that acts as a privacy fence, a retaining wall that includes built-in seating for entertaining, and colorful garden beds that divide properties all combine function and style. •Automated lawn and landscape maintenance. The latest technology and equipment allow tasks to be more streamlined and environmentally efficient than ever before. Robotic lawn mowers continue to rise in popularity among both homeowners and landscape professionals, and programmable irrigation systems and advanced lighting and electrical systems are a few ways outdoor spaces are becoming extensions of today’s smart homes. Homeowners relish knowing that these technological advancements afford them with more time to relax and enjoy their outdoor spaces. •A staple of landscape design for years, pergolas constructed of wood or composite material are now becoming more sophisticated with major upgrades, including rolldown windows, space heaters, lighting and sound systems. When paired with a luxury kitchen, seating area or fire feature, pergolas can become the iconic structure for outdoor sanctuaries. •Pretty pink. Pops of coral and blush are anticipated to add a more feminine touch to landscapes this year. With Living Coral named the Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems and an influencer on interior and exterior design, landscape professionals predict that this rich shade of pink could bring fresh blooms of roses, petunias, zinnias and hibiscus to flower beds. Experts also anticipate light blush tones to become “the new neutral” and another option for hardscapes and stone selections. •Mesmerizing metals. Whether homeowners want a bold statement or whimsical touch, incorporating metals can bring new dimensions to landscape design. Used for decorative art, water features, or furniture and accessories, creative uses of metals including steel and iron can make for lovely accents or entire focal points. The voice of the landscape industry, NALP develops its trends reports based on a survey of its members and by drawing from the expertise of landscape professionals representing various regions of the U.S. who are at the forefront of outdoor trends. NALP’s trends support Americans’ growing passion for evolving the tried-and-true elements of landscapes: well-maintained lawns, outdoor living spaces, fire features and more. Along with industry insight, the landscape trends are influenced by broader lifestyle and design trends. For more information, visit About NALP NALP represents an industry that employs nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment.

Full Moon, February 19, 2019 Eastern Daylight


If you purchase Valentine’s Day roses from a big-box store or a supermarket, squeeze them where the petals meet the stem. This is a sure way to tell whether they are still fresh. When you’re examining them before making your purchase, gently squeeze them at their base, where the petals come together at the stem. If it feels loose and squishy, the roses are old, and you should avoid them. If it feels firm and taut, the roses are fresh. When caring for cut roses, always use warm (100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) clean water as most flowers take in warm water more efficiently than cold. The actual quality of water used in a vase plays a major role in a flower’s life cycle. Commercial Fresh Flower Food will increase the life of cut flowers and should always be used. Always use a sharp knife or clippers rather than scissors to cut them, as this will avoid crushing the stem and therefore the vascular system. The slanted cut opens more stem area for hydration and prevents the end of the stem from resting directly on the bottom of the vase impeding water flow. Cutting stems underwater helps to keep them fresh by preventing air from entering the bottom of the stems. Leaves that will be below the water line in the container must be removed. Leaves sitting in water will deteriorate and rot. Do not remove all leaves along the stem length, the flowers require the leaves as part of their hydration process. Check the water level daily and replenish as needed. If the water becomes cloudy, it should be completely changed. And, always use a sparkling clean container.

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28 February 2019

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Gardener News February 2019  

Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping and Nursery Communities

Gardener News February 2019  

Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping and Nursery Communities