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C onstant G ardener Constant Gardener (ISSN #1234-5678), May 2012, Volume One, Number Five, Published by Desktop Publishing Co., Troy, MI 12345-6789. $12/yr. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Constant Gardener, 3028 Lush Drive, Birmingham, MI 123456789. Sarah Jazz Executive Director 987/ 654-3233 Dr. Fred Hughes Newsletter Editor 987/ 654-3210 Milton Kleets Art Director

By the Book: backyard garden

Big yard, little budget Director’s Letter By Sarah Jazz

Having a small budget to upgrade a garden doesn’t mean you have to buy cheap plants that won’t last a week or that you have to abandon your idea to have hanging baskets with running vines leading to your door. Cheap comes from not knowing what you want and trying to design while looking dumbfounded at the plants in your local grocery store. The best way to start a plan is to have a budget. How much are you willing to spend? What do you need? What do you want? Making a list will weed out ideas that are unrealistic and help you narrow your thoughts on what you can afford.Whether you are seasoned or just decided today,

start small when it comes to starting a new project. Spending a whole weekend tearing up your yard can be overwhelming as well as discourage you. Plus, it isn’t saving you money. Instead, pick out a small spot in the yard or pick up a few pots and decide to grow plants or flowers in containers. Educate yourself at the library or nursery to learn how to grow simple plants from seeds instead of buying expensive plants. Sunflowers and marigolds are easily grown during any season. By placing containers near your door or planting your second garden, help yourself by planning first and planting second. Contact Sarah Jazz at: 987/654.3222 or mjohns@gmail. com more info?: www.morrisjohns. com/articles/budget.htm

From the outside, In Inspiration

In the mood to design a garden with a brick foundation, fountains, and towering hydrangeas but don’t know where to start? Before spending time and money on seeds and concrete, consider your local garden shop, greenhouse, and reading up on landscape designs for creative ideas. Check with your neighbors to see what they have done as they may have people they have used in the past. They may be able to recommend places where you can save money as well as use in the future. From Jason B. Little, The Gardener’s Ring

As a new gardener, one may find it hard to tackle the biggest of all gardening; the backyard. While the front yard of most houses offer looks of elegance with white, pink, and yellow petals, the backyard is desolate and destined to be covered with children’s bikes and the BBQ grill. No need to worry! You can make a number of changes to quickly add new life to your backyard and make it more than a storage area. Consider a backyard that is bird-friendly, attracts butterflies or wildlife. Tina Allen of Monroe, MI transformed her backyard to attract cardinals by planting a natural choice of food like shrubs and trees that make berries and seeds. Another way you can make a backyard more appealing: provide plants that will offer shelter or grow thickets for hiding. If you are putting up birdhouses be sure to size the entry holes to keep out unwanted guests, such as starlings. Keep in mind that the front yard landscape usually centers on appearance and appeal while the back is for living

and entertaining while still keeping privacy intact. That means you can explore more architectural designs that are more unusual and creative than traditional designs. Perhaps you feel you can’t do much with your backyard based on the area that you have. There is still something you can do even if your backyard doesn’t provide the space to put in an oval walkway. Your best option would be to focus on detail and not to give in to over compensating with too much variety. Plants that are different in color, texture, size, and shape can be used to create the illusion of more space. Limit colors to two or three in addition to green. Also, colors within the same shade have more impact. For instance, use light pink through crimson. To create a sense of depth, put plants with darker colors and rough textures in the front of the planting area and put light colored, fine textured plants in the back. Smaller plants should also be in the front. Small space gardens can be a little more difficult to design than larger ones, but the possibilities are not limited.

Advertising For information about advertising in Constant Gardener, contact: Danielle Reynolds 987/ 654-3217 3028 Remarkable P.O. Box 1245 Berkley, MI 12345-6789 987/ 654-3210 987/ 654-3200 Fax Copy written and compiled by IADT alumni Elizabeth Hemmingway CONSTANT GARDENER Sources for text: gardenstyles/backyard.html Membership Use our full-service number. It’s a toll-free call and puts you directly in touch with us. Call 800/ 734-5861 for subscription service, change of address, billing questions, gift subscriptions, to place an ad, or to inquire about an item advertised. Or visit us on the internet: www.

Friendly Insects By Becky Lizak

When one sees a beetle crawling on their prized hyacinth, the immediate reaction is to grab the insecticide. Hold off on the chemicals! Many insects and mites perform functions that directly or indirectly benefit humans. Pollinating plants, contributing to the decay of organic matter, the recycling of soil nutrients and attacking other pests, insects, and mites are only a few offerings that friendly critters contribute to gardens, big and small. You can expect some type of insect pest to attack plants in your garden. After all, that’s nature. However, beneficial insects are a form of free pest control! To control insects, identify the kind of insect it is, what plant it favors, and what time of year to expect it. There are a number of websites, most notably the Cooperation Extension Service: Insect and Pest site that will provide you with information as well as photos to identify insects, in addition, the insect’s habits and cultural, natural, and chemical controls. After identifying non-friendly bugs, introduce garden-friendly insects. Make sure you give them time to work. Chemicals offer a quick result but beneficial insects will not work that fast. Beneficial insects will often stay if there is a readily available food supply.

Plan your garden to feed beneficial insects by choosing a variety of plants that will bloom as many months as possible throughout the year.

“You just can’t attack weeds with chemicals or pull it to death. That damages the soil and potential flowers. Planning has to be well thought out first,” says Jeanne Harlow, a fellow Mum.

In most sidewalks and every garden, it’s the dreaded nuisance that grows. It’s strung across the nooks of fences. Spray or pull, it’s back month after month. Crabgrass. Dandelion. Weeds. Is there any way gardeners can ever come to appreciate the weed? Is one person’s weed another’s wildflower?

Hardy’s plan of attack has been used by the club for the past five years and always results in stellar, prize winning gardens. It’s a method of cultivating and mulching. Her method, however, is to do it at night. With the cool air, the soil is moist and at a more uniform temperature to handle digging. Hardy suggests shallow cultivating when seeds are small which helps prevent spreading into other areas of a bed as well as prevent damage to the root systems of other plants. Large seeds need to be shoveled to be sure all roots are eliminated. Like flowering plants, there are annual (chickweed, crabgrass, thistles) and perennial (dandelion, blackberry, milkweed) weeds that require different cultivating strategies.

By Joyce Flair

You can encourage this by setting aside a place where perennials and wildflowers are prevalent or by using plants from the Umbelliferae family including carrots, celery, dill, and parsley. Provide a source of water, especially during dry weather. Small, shallow containers are best suited for this purpose: keep in mind thatstanding water also attract mosquitos. Change the water twice a week or place a mosquito dunk in the water to prevent mosquito breeding.

Gardening expert Mary Hardy, considered to be the Queen of Weeds in her gardening club, has come to appreciate the pest that is the weed. She has come to terms with tending to her weeds as she would her prized tulips or strawberry bush.

Another way to entice gardenfriendly insects into your garden is to avoid applying wide spread insecticides. Wasps, ladybugs, praying mantis, birds, and snakes come into your garden for shelter, water, and food (other insects, grubs, worms). Insects ingest the insecticide and when birds and other critters eat, they are targeted as well. Also, this is very harmful to birds as the lining on eggshells become thinner and will often break when parent birds sit on the eggs. You may also be killing the beneficial insects already in your garden. Finding an insect option that works within your garden will leave it healthy and vibrant for you, and the insects, to enjoy.

Mary Hardy: Queen of Weeds

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“Care should be taken when tending to weeds. Just as you cultivate and nourish flowering plants, you should take care to get rid of weeds in the same manner.” Hardy, a resident of Northville, MI, has been gardening since she saw a field of sunflowers when she was seven. “It was my first time that I appreciated colors. It was like seeing a yellow crayon more vividly,” Hardy said. Hardy, now 60, is the president of her neighborhood gardening club, Green Mums. When asked how she tackles weeds, her friends speak with the same attitude as does Mary; with respect.

Because of the nighttime cultivation, Hardy claims that keeping them on the soil to dry and wither is the best method (annual weeds may be added to the compost pile if they have not flowered). “People think a weed is out of place. In fact, it’s growing where people want to put something else. Weeds are people’s idea and not nature’s. It intends to stay regardless of you battling it all weekend. Come Monday morning, there it is in full and glorious bloom.” After the weeds have withered, Hardy’s next step is to mulch, which is a process that conserves soil, tempers moisture, prevents erosion, and prevents light from reaching seeds which are sprouting at soil level. Lack of light prevents seedlings from becoming established and most will die. The nighttime rituals have become so popular that landscapers get requests from clients. “I’ve never heard of such a thing. But if people want me to work at night, then I’ll do it. It seems to be working.” Chris Stafford, owner of Environmental Flowers of Roseville, says. Hardy, who began gardening flowers, has in the course of planting, began the process of weeding.

Royal Botanical Garden By Linda Black, Sprouting Travel

This year’s featured flower exhibition will be orchids. Immerse yourself in the beauty and fragrance of thousands of orchids dramatically displayed in the Thomas J. Briska Conservatory. Throughout the exhibition, informative signs and an audio tour make it easy to learn about this most coveted plant. You’ll also find a wide selection of orchids to choose from at Shop in the Garden. Set in pristine Farmington Hills, The Royal Botanical Garden is the backdrop for gardeners and photographers alike. Call 734/ 313-1248 for ticket information.

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