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WEEKEND

GARDENER & HOME IMPROVEMENT GUIDE

SPRING 2016

8 SPRING GARDENING TIPS GARDENING HISTORY STAYING ON TOP OF TURF WEEDS ADVICE FROM THE PAST CONTAINER GARDENING CRAPE MURDER


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Contents

SPRING 2016

GARDENING

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Planting Roses in Spring Perhaps this is the year you’ll try a rose bush in the garden for the first time.

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Mulch Volcanoes How proper mulching can provide health benefits to trees and shrubs.

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Spring Plant Health Checklist A helpful guide to springtime’s most important plant health care tasks.

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Crape Murder How to maintain your Crape Myrtles and avoid overpruning and “crape murder”.

CONTAINER GARDENS

HISTORY

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Staying on Top of Turf Weeds Extension Agent Paul McKenzie shares spring tips for controlling weeds in your garden.

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Container gardening is an easy way to add color and life to both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Rufus Edmisten shares the rich history of gardening and plant cultivation.

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Gerald Adams answers the question “What’s a good tomato variety for containers?”

During a routine spring cleaning, Anne Clapp uncovers historical gardening tips.

Exploring Creekside at Bethpage, AV Homes’s newest 55-plus lifestyle community.

Discover Container Gardens

Container Tomatoes

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The History of Gardening

Advice from the Past

LIFESTYLE

Now, it’s Your Turn

SPRING 2016

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Contents

Advertiser Index

EVENTS

DESTINATIONS

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The North Carolina Symphony is back as UNC REX presents the biggest Summerfest yet!

NC State’s acclaimed garden showcases plants adapted for use in the Southeast.

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Researchers, commercial flower growers and other experts will attend this annual event.

Come explore some of North Carolina’s most captivating state parks.

Summerfest 2016

JC Raulston Arboretum

Landscape Color Field Day

100 Years of Timeless Wonder

FOR ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES CALL 919.573.0140 OR EMAIL DLEWIS@CURTISMEDIA.COM

Weekend Gardener magazine is published twice a year in a spring and fall edition.

New Ranch

Plans from

s!

the mid $200

Agri Supply...............................................Inside Front Bartlett Tree Experts ...............................................19 Black Kow ...................................................................10 Bonide ..........................................................................30 Campbell Road Nursery..........................................41 Creekside at Bethpage .............................................. 2 Custom Door & Gate ...............................................36 Deep River Sporting Clays......................................25 Enhanced Heating & Air ........................................32 I Must Garden ...........................................................21 Leaf & Limb Tree Service........................................14 Logan’s One Stop Garden Shop.............................17 Maids, The..................................................................... 7 Mow, Blow & Go ........................................................33 NC Shed Builders ......................................................21 NC State Parks...........................................................35 NC Symphony .............................................................. 8 NC Wine Festival ......................................................23 Permatill .....................................................................31 Raleigh Flea Market ................................................37 Seaboard Ace Hardware.........................................29 State Farmers Market.............................Back Cover Volebloc........................................................................27 Weekend Gardener Show........................................25 Wild Birds Unlimited ..............................................37 Witherspoon Rose ...................................................... 4 WPTF .................................................................... 33, 36 Wyatt Quarles ..................................................... 32, 37

Now, it’s your turn

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Recollections By MIKE RALEY

If anyone had predicted in 1985 that I would still be on the air at WPTF after 41 years of continuous service, or that I would be morning anchor for the storied North Carolina News Network, or that I would still be hosting a 31 year old gardening show, I would say they were crazy. No one could have predicted that! I had already spent ten years trying to learn a craft…the art and technical aspects of broadcasting from legendary figures like Hap Hansen, Bart Ritner, Gary Dornburg, Wally Ausley and Maury O’Dell, just to name a few. While I was not in the same league with them and I never will be, I did learn how to be a good broadcaster and subsequently, a decent gardener. Wally once gave me some advice that has served me well on the Weekend Gardener. He said to “sound like you know what you’re talking about!” This came from a Hall of Fame broadcaster who always sounded like he knew what he was discussing. In 1985, I knew a whole lot more about broadcasting than I did gardening. You see, just like my broadcasting career, I have had the best teachers you can find in the field of gardening. Most of them were trained in horticulture at North Carolina State University or through the state Master Gardening program. John H. Harris, the Tar Heel Gardener and my first gardening instructor, was the host for the show’s first 40 years. The original show ran only as a 15 minute segment with John responding to questions mailed to the station. North Carolinians have benefited from his many contributions to gardening in the state. I learned a lot listening to Professor Harris and working with him until he retired in January of 1985. Erv Evans was my first co-host and next gardening instructor. My current gardening expert and educator, Anne Clapp, has taught me the most. Since 1992 we have worked side-by-side most Saturday mornings. Anne, a retired N.C State University textile professor, is a Master Gardener and a great teacher! Of course incredible guests and friends of the show like Phil Campbell, Gerald Adams, Nelsa Cox, Pam Beck, Paul Mckenzie, the late extension agent Lewis Howe and many others have captured our imagination and taught us many things. Our loyal sponsors have kept us on the air for decades. Many thanks to our special army of listeners, who have called, questioned, corrected and contributed for over 30 years. They too have learned how fun it is to sneak away Saturday mornings and escape to the

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“living room of the WPTF Weekend Gardener.” Through all those Saturdays and some 1,560 shows, I have been along for the ride. I’ve met a lot of wonderful folks who listen to the show like William Friday and Charles Kuralt. Yes, I was told that Kuralt would occasionally listen to the Weekend Gardener and Tom Kearney’s old Saturday show when he was in Chapel Hill visiting his brother Wallace. He never called the show, but Dr. Friday was different. He did call the show or newsroom, with a gardening question. I don’t mean to brag, but he liked the program so much that he invited Anne Clapp and me to be on his legendary show North Carolina People in March, 2006. I have the VHS tape to prove it. Bill Friday was a giant in North Carolina history, but he was like all of the WPTF Weekend Gardener listeners we’ve talked to over the years; humble, generous and as nice a person as you would ever come in contact with. He loved his peonies and he would call me off the air each year to discuss his prized plants and other topics. Speaking of legendary characters…the “great Rufus Edmisten” was one of the last people I ever expected to be a gardener. The former North Carolina Attorney General, Secretary of State, Senate Watergate Committee Council and Honorary Secretary of Gardening for North Carolina, is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He also has an extraordinary knowledge of gardening. I have learned a lot from him about the unique plants he has on this historic property in Wake County and about the art of sharing plants with others. But you know it’s funny, I do find that with every succeeding year, I answer more questions and sound like I know what I’m talking about. Just like Wally Ausley and all the guys taught me to do. We have had a great time for over 30 years in the WPTF Weekend Garden. We have gotten out in the communities around the Triangle on remote broadcasts and made friends around the state. Hey we even spent two weeks in Hawaii with some of our wonderful listeners. We hope there will be more of those trips to come and more adventures on the WPTF Weekend Gardener.

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Planting Roses in Spring By SANDRA ZAZZARA

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hen spring arrives we celebrate by decorating our gardens with new plants. With so many enticing options to choose from, how do you decide which will be best for your garden? Perhaps this is the year you’ll try a rose bush in the garden for the first time. The decisions are easy, once you know a few things to get you started. Let’s begin with the garden space you have and what it can offer. Since roses prefer full sun, that is first and foremost basic requirement to establish. Then, there are a number of other things to consider. Think about your personal garden style. Do you prefer neat and tidy edges with the plants spaced just precisely right, for a more overall formal look to your garden? Or, are you the type of gardener who likes the reckless abandon of a garden that’s densely-planted and over-flowing with sprawling growth? Since roses are a large category of plants, from modern to old-fashioned, there’s no shortage of something to suit your needs. If fragrance and a long-lasting cut flower are important, then choose the modern hybrid tea rose. Typically known for their elegant long stems, hybrid tea roses offer the most fragrant beauty. Modern hybrid teas have a characteristic vase shaped growth habit, often more narrow in width and taller in height, offering you the opportunity to create a formal garden look. The fragrant ones are especially enticing with strong perfumes that fill a room from a single bouquet. It’s no secret that this particular class of roses prefer extra attention when you compare them against other rose classes or even more common ornamental shrubs. Some would say persnickety and others might say difficult to grow. They still desire water, just like all plants, and while there’s just a little bit more to do to keep them looking good, it’s worth the effort. As with anything else in this world, you’ll reap what you sow. Deadhead them, and they’ll give you more flowers. Fertilize them, and they’ll give you better overall growth. Deadheading, or the removal of the spent flowers, allows the energy of the rose to push out new growth

and new flower buds instead of focusing the energy on the seed production of the spent flower. All plants will behave that way when you redirect the energy flow. It’s why you remove all but one pumpkin growing on the vine to win the prize at the State Fair. The same principle applies, and by redirecting this energy you ask the plant to continue to produce flowers on a 35-40 day cycle. Roses are heavy feeders. A high energy plant such as the rose, who botanically-speaking is a flowering workhorse, is like the marathon runner who needs to stay energized with carbohydrates to maintain her pace. What that means is the more you give, the more they’ll produce. Whether you use a monthly feed or a slow-release feed, it’s important to choose the right one. It’s certainly best to fertilize with a specific fertilizer designed for roses, but general purpose fertilizers work also. Simply read the bag, follow the recommended instructions and be diligent with your monthly applications if that’s what you choose to use. Water is another key ingredient to growing successful roses. Build a raised bed area that allows the water to drain freely from the roots rather than allowing the roots to sit in moist soil. You’ll be able to water the roses frequently, which they’ll appreciate, without drowning them. What goes in that raised bed you build will make all the difference: starting with rich composted manure, that is well-rotted. Add lime, gypsum, and PermaTill® to round out the native clay soils of North Carolina and you’ve got the building blocks of the right mix underground. In addition to water, fertilizer and deadheading, the other aspects of caring for your roses are quite simple and easy to follow. Protect them from blackspot disease by frequently applying a fungicide according to label instructions. If left to proliferate, blackspot can cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off the plant and cause poor growth. Protecting your roses this way during the active growing season is the best way to ensure their growth and success in your garden. Winter care is a minimal, but important

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Pink Peace step to how your roses do year after year. A mild fall cutback in December will help prepare your roses for dormancy and ease any damage that may occur due to snow or ice; pulling up the mulch at the base of the plant to cover the graft is also important. Then, follow with a true spring pruning in February. Overall success to growing roses is a pleasurable labor of love, not taken lightly. With perseverance and a little know-how anyone can become a rose gardener! ▄

For 65 years Witherspoon has been enhancing the lives of others through the outstanding care of one of God’s finest creations, the rose.

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Discovering the endless possibilities of Container Gardens By JOSHUA M. LOGAN

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ontainer gardening is an easy way to add color and bring life to both indoor and outdoor spaces. There are unlimited combinations of plant colors and textures to choose from and they’re simple to change up to keep things fresh or if something didn’t quite turn out the way you imagined. You can even grow herbs and vegetables for a fresh home harvest. And just about anything can be a container from that beautiful ceramic flower pot, to a rusty watering can or an old pair of hiking boots. Once you’ve chosen your container, be sure to choose the right potting mix. This is one step where it doesn’t pay to be overly frugal. Keep in mind that success starts with your soil, and investing in a high quality potting soil will yield big results in the long run. I recommend a rich organic mix that includes compost rather than synthetic fertilizers. Organic compost creates the right biology in the soil to retain nutrients for steady long term growth, whereas the big name brand soils with fertilizers often produce quick growth spurts which fade off over time. For container gardening you definitely don’t fill your pots with soil from the garden which is usually too

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heavy and can also import bugs and weeds that may cause big problems down the road. Quality potting mix retains moisture, yet still allows for drainage of excess. It is generally light so it will not become compacted and is pleasing to touch. Once you place your hands in a high quality potting mix and give it the ‘touch test’ you’ll never want anything else. When it comes to choosing what to fill your containers with there are some simple guidelines that can be followed to turn your container garden into an eye catching ascent. But first things first… before choosing any plants, take time to study the daylight conditions in the area you intend to place your containers. Even a perfect container can leave you disappointed if the plants used don’t match your environment. Now about those plants… Here at Logan’s, we like to make sure that each container has something the THRILLS, something that FILLS and something the SPILLS. THRILLERS are the centerpiece of your container. Usually you are looking for something a little taller, and preferably something with a different texture or color than the rest of your container. An example of good thrillers would be a colorful Hibiscus or Mandeville during warmer months, or for year-round use a small evergreen or hardy ornamental grass. FILLERS are the plants that surround the thriller to give the container volume and a fuller look. In most cases these are low growing, colorful annuals plants which can be swapped out a once or twice a year to keep things looking fresh! (Some favorites for warm weather are vinca and impatiens, and during colder seasons pansies and violas) SPILLERS are those plants place along the edges of the pot to cascade over the sides and provide

a soft visual transition from plant to pot. English Ivy, Creeping Jenny, sweet potato vine, and trailing petunias are just a few examples of such plants. As a footnote, these same principles came be applied to edible container gardens as well. For an edible mixture try using your favorite Tomato as the thriller, some edible cutting greens or marigolds as filler. Now that we got the right soil & plants, it’s time to put it all together. First be sure that the container has some type of drainage hole and that it’s free of debris. Next up, fill the container with soil at little more than ¾ full and place your plants in for a final check to make sure that the

layout you have planned is going to allow plants plenty of space to grow. Overcrowded containers can turn into eyesores as plants mature, so we want to leave some nice space between plants. Now remove the plants from the pots, gently massaging their roots to make sure they are loosened up a little and ready to grow. At this point I always add an organic slow release starter fertilizer. My favorite is called BioTone Starter Plus made by Espoma. It contains something very special called mycorrhizae which are beneficial fungi that attach to the plant’s roots and help open up more places for water and nutrients to be absorbed by the plants. This helps the plants

grow bigger and faster, as well as causing them to be more stress resistant. For me, BioTone is a must use. Now that your plants are arranged and fertilized, all that’s left is to tuck them in with a final layer of potting mix and a good soaking with water to lock things in place. Container gardening is easy and offers flexibility, even with limited space, and the possibilities are limitless. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful plants, colorful blooms and maybe a fresh harvest for your family to enjoy. Remember, these are not rule, just guidelines… So go forth and create something wonderful! ▄

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10-pack lawn passes on sale now! Kids 1 2 under aand re

Opening Night TCHAIKOVSKY’S 5TH SYMPHONY

NC Symphony & DPAC Present BROADWAY AT THE BOOTH

SAT, MAY 28 | 7:30PM

FRI, JUNE 24 | 7:30PM

David Glover, conductor

Celebrate Memorial Weekend with the monumental Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony. Also, enjoy selections by Wagner and Smetana as “citizen musicians” perform with the North Carolina Symphony during Play with the Pros.

GERSHWIN & JAZZ with JOEY ALEXANDER FRI, JUNE 3 | 7:30PM

Join stars from the stage of DPAC for an evening of orchestral hits and Broadway showstoppers in the park.

THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE A MUSICAL ODYSSEY SAT, JUNE 25 | 7:30PM Brent Havens, conductor Randy Jackson, vocals

David Glover, conductor Joey Alexander, piano

Join conductor Brent Havens and a full rock band on a symphonic musical odyssey that explores the incredible range of David Bowie’s music including the hits “Space Oddity”, “Changes”, “Under Pressure”, “China Girl” and more.

The youngest 2016 Grammy® nominee brings his jazz trio to play classics with the North Carolina Symphony; plus, the orchestra’s Gershwin favorites.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

CLASSICS UNDER THE STARS SAT, JUNE 4| 7:30PM David Glover, conductor

Enjoy your picnic under the stars with your favorite light classical music, including Vivaldi’s Spring, selections from Carmen, and more of your most beloved pieces.

JOHN WILLIAMS FESTIVAL FRI/SAT, JUNE 10-11 | 7:30PM Friday Concert Sponsor: Crabtree Valley Mall

MON, JULY 4 | 7:30PM David Glover, conductor Scott MacLeod, baritone

concert

Bring the kids, curl up on a blanket and relax under the pines as we honor the birthday of the USA with patriotic favorites, high-spirited classics and fireworks.

BEACH MUSIC with JACKIE GORE and NORTH TOWER BAND SAT, JULY 9 | 7:30PM Come out and shag! Beach music legend Jackie Gore is joined by a veteran touring band with sizzling brass and a wide-ranging repertoire to get the whole family dancing. The Symphony will not be performing at this concert.

Grant Llewellyn, conductor (Friday) Alastair Willis, conductor (Saturday) From a galaxy far, far away to the edge of Neverland, John Williams’ iconic scores have accompanied you on epic adventures—journey now with the North Carolina Symphony as we perform entrancing and exhilarating music by the most Oscar®-nominated man in history. Two unique summer nights perfect for music and film lovers of all ages.

BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL THUR/FRI, JUNE 16-17 | 7:30PM THURSDAY William Henry Curry, conductor Natasha Paremski, piano

FRIDAY David Glover, conductor Navah Perlman, piano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

ncsymphony.org | 919.733.2750

Our roving judge selects the best picnic spread before each concert to win gift certificates to Whole Foods Market of Cary. Or, leave the cooking to us and check out the Picnic in the Park program at boothamphitheatre.com.

Instrument Zoo

The North Carolina Symphony’s popular Instrument Zoo lets kids of all ages try out orchestra instruments.

Presented by

Instrument Zoo Sponsor

Picnic of the Week Partner

Hosted by

Dates, programs, artists and prices are subject to change.


Summerfest 2016

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ummer brings the North Carolina Symphony back to Cary as UNC REX Healthcare presents the biggest Summerfest yet! Enjoy eleven concerts over seven weeks from the Memorial Day weekend until July 9th, hosted by the Town of Cary and presented with the support of First Citizens Bank. The North Carolina’s outdoor concerts beside Symphony Lake in Cary began more than three decades ago. The Koka Booth Amphitheatre, nestled among 14 acres of hardwoods and pines, was built in 2000 as a home for the Symphony’s summer series. The stage was created by William Rawn Associates, who had previously designed a new stage for the world-renowned Tanglewood Music Center. Audiences of up to 7000 can enjoy the Symphony from the sweeping lawn or from a covered seating area behind it, with a view of the lake through the stage structure. To encourage families to come together and enjoy the beauty of music and nature, the Symphony admits kids 12 and under free for lawn seating at all Summerfest concerts, and brings kid-friendly activities including face painting and the MetLife Instrument Zoo to many of the performances. Attendees can bring their own picnics—and a really impressive spread might win a prize from Whole Foods of Cary as Picnic of the Week! Food is also sold at the venue, and the reserved seating on the Crescent offers table service. Each year, Summerfest’s Opening Night includes “Play with the Pros”—with local citizen musicians joining the Symphony on stage for part of the program. The concert’s centerpiece this spring, on May 28, is Tchaikovsky’s monumental Fifth Symphony. On Friday, June 3rd, piano prodigy Joey Alexander brings his trio to join with the Symphony for a program of Gershwin and jazz. Joey was this year’s youngest nominee for a Grammy® Award and the youngest ever in a jazz category. His performance at the Grammy ceremony got a standing ovation on the live broadcast. Though he didn’t claim an award this year, he has plenty of time to try again—his performance with the Symphony comes three weeks before he turns 13! After a concert program of Vivaldi and other classical favorites on Saturday, June 4th, the Symphony will present a pair of mini-festivals honoring composers who have had an incredible impact on music. First comes a pair of concerts featuring the most Oscar®-nominated man in history, composer John Williams. Music Director Grant Llewellyn will be at the podium on Friday, June 10 to lead the orchestra

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in stirring and dramatic scores including music from the Harry Potter films. On Saturday, guest conductor Alastair Willis will present an entirely different program with a Star Wars theme, featuring music from The Force Awakens. Costumed Star Wars characters from the local 501st Legion will be joining Saturday’s celebration. Both nights will have costume contests. The orchestra will be joined by two great soloists to perform music from the pen of the great Romantic, Ludwig van Beethoven. NC Symphony Resident Conductor and Summerfest Artistic Director William Henry Curry open the Beethoven festival; his Thursday, June 16 concert will feature Natasha Paremski for Piano Concerto No. 3, followed by the Seventh Symphony. On Friday, June 17, Associate Conductor David Glover will lead Piano Concerto No. 1 with Navah Perlman. The Friday finale will be the best-known piece in the classical repertoire: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. This year introduces collaboration between the Symphony and Durham’s nationally recognized DPAC for “Broadway at the Booth” on Friday, June 24. Stars from the Broadway stage will sing favorites from some of the best national tours that visit the Triangle. Saturday the 25th brings an all-new tribute to the iconic music of David Bowie, with the orchestra joined by a full rock band. Summerfest presents a free concert of stirring patriotic favorites as part of the Town of Cary’s Independence Day celebration on Monday the 4th—followed, of course, by a fireworks display over the lake. The festivities start early, with gates opening at 3:00 pm. After the holiday, Summerfest still has one more concert: the all-star North Tower Band and North Carolina legend Jackie Gore, who wrote and sings the classic “I Love Beach Music,” will take the stage to get the crowd dancing on the lawn as the sun sets. The Symphony will not be performing at this concert. This year’s Summerfest includes a special partnership with VisitRaleigh.com’s “Artify,” described by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau as “a convergence of arts organizations celebrating 100 years of parks, the art that happens in them and the art that is inspired by them.” Single tickets for all concerts go on sale April 12th, but the Symphony also offers flex lawn passes that can be used for any concert so families can plan ahead and change their plans however they like. All concert performances begin at 7:30 pm. Information and tickets are available online at ncsymphony.org or by phone at 919.733.2750. ▄

SPRING 2016

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2016

EVENT SCHEDULE Fri.-Sun., March 11th-13th Saturday, March 19th

Spring Craft Fair NC Arbor Day Celebration

Thursday, April 14th Saturday, April 23rd

Greenhouse Vegetable Day WPTF Weekend Gardener Show

Thursday, May 12th

Strawberry Day

Saturday, June 4th Thursday, June 16th

Crawfish Day Blueberry Day

Thursday, July 14th Thursday, July 28th

Peach Day Watermelon Day

Saturday, August 13th Saturday, August 20th Friday, August 26th

WPTF Weekend Gardener Show Honeybee Day NC Seafood Day

Saturday, September 10th Friday, September 16th Thursday, September 22nd Thursday, September 29th

Triangle Pottery Festival Grape Day Sweet Potato Day Apple Day

Saturday, October 1st Thursday, October 6th

WPTF Weekend Gardener Show DEcorated Pumpkin Contest

Fri.-Sun., Nov. 11th-13th Friday, November 18th

Fall Craft Fair Colossal Collard Day

December 1st-31st Friday, December 2nd Saturday, December 10th

Month of Giving Pecan Day WPTF Weekend Gardener Show

All dates are tentative. Please contact the Market for updates.  

Monica D. Wood, Marketing Specialist – NCDA & CS State Farmers Market • 1201 Agriculture St. • Raleigh, NC 27603 Phone (919) 733-7417 • Fax (919)-733-9932 www.statefarmersmarket.org • www.facebook.com/StateFarmersMarket • monica.wood@ncagr.gov North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Steve Troxler, Commissioner


The History of Gardening Brought Home By RUFUS EDMISTEN

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s the season warms and my garden is starting to show signs of the coming Spring, I’ve been thinking about how my parents and grandparents timed their garden activities to the changing seasons. This awareness of their seasonal chores started me thinking about the history of gardens and plant cultivation in general, and I would like to share some of the historical gardening facts I found with all of you. It is thought that the practice of cultivating plants emerged as nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes began to settle into permanent communities some twelve thousand years ago. The original purposes of cultivation and animal husbandry were, of course, to provide sustenance, but as these communities became established, the practice of creating gardens for pleasure and contemplation began to emerge. The civilizations that took root in Egypt on the banks of the Nile River and on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia offer us our earliest glimpses into the nature and forms of pleasure gardens who's modern versions continue to enrich our lives today. Records of ancient Egyptian gardens

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WEEKEND GARDENER

are found in the stylistic illustrations in tombs, indicating the importance that society placed on garden retreats. While these records tend to mirror the lives of the nobility, it is apparent that all members of the community enjoyed pleasure gardens, whether as servants of the wealthy, or as participants in ceremonies in temple gardens, or as citizens in public gardens. The same practices are found in the ancient Persian societies that developed in Mesopotamia, and tend to reinforce the notion that ornamental gardens, graced by architectural elements of walls, pavilions, and courtyards advanced the cultural aspects of early civilizations. As the ancient Greeks emerged as a force in the ancient world and engaged in conflicts with the Persians and Egyptians, they began to incorporate gardens into their temple and palace communities. The word “paradise” is derived from the Greek translation of the Persian word padres, meaning park. This tradition of private and public padres continued and spread throughout the ancient world as the Roman empire extended its conquests across Europe and into the British Isles. The breakup of the Roman Empire

Virginia Dare Elizabethan Gardens did not measurably slow gardening traditions — early Christian monasteries across Europe were centers of garden cultivation for food and medicinal plants, and the gardens of Moorish Spain were famous for their beauty. As the Renaissance took root on the Italian peninsula, the art of landscape architecture as an important component of the entire architectural ensemble inspired some of the most iconic public spaces in the Western world. Many of these were products of the rise of the merchant


“Twenty-first century North Carolina offers all of us a wonderful selection of all these historic garden traditions.”

class, and continued to evolve and spread throughout Europe through the eighteenth century. These grand gardening traditions came to the New World during the European settlement, and adapted to the climate and societies that settled here. Williamsburg saw translations of English garden practices settle there, while early New York (then New Amsterdam) reflected the heritage of the Dutch settlers there. The walled gardens of Charleston provided pleasure in the dense settlement of that harbor city,

while the iconic gardens of Monticello still demonstrate Thomas Jefferson’s scientific curiosity that combined so gracefully with his classically-inspired architectural designs. Twenty-first century North Carolina offers all of us a wonderful selection of all these historic garden traditions, from the Virginia Dare Gardens on the Outer Banks, to Biltmore in Asheville, to the wonderful Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill and the fabulous J.C Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. I sincerely hope that all my gardening friends across the

state have many opportunities this year to enjoy our state’s outstanding gardens, and, while they are doing it, give a thought to the ancient gardeners who launched us on this green path. While I know that my little two-plus acres of gardening effort does not rise to the horticultural and architectural splendor of these historic gardens, I do like to think of it a complement to the accomplishments of all the gardeners who came before me. And I hope that each of you are rooted in the past as you move to the future. ▄

SPRING 2016

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Mulch Volcanoes The Mt. St. Helens of Tree Problems By BASIL CAMU

P

icture the following: decorative mulch neatly piled high around the base of an Autumn Blaze Maple. If you are like many people, you may find yourself admiring such tidy landscaping. This pile of mulch is often referred to as a mulch volcano. Believe it or not, it is very harmful to a tree – and bad for shrubs too! Unfortunately, it is prolific in the suburban landscape. The concept is fairly simple: trees and shrubs have different parts that serve specific purposes, and each part has adapted to certain conditions. To be specific, the roots of a plant are designed to grow in the soil and soak up moisture. The trunk, in contrast, is designed to grow above ground where conditions are dry. But piling mulch around the base of a tree or woody shrub keeps the trunk moist, thereby suffocating cells due to water saturation. This harms the cells of the trunk. As the cells become damaged, they are not able to perform their duties, which include gas exchange and moving food through the plant, just to name a few. Furthermore, a mulch volcano provides an opportunity for the tree’s roots to grow around the trunk. As the roots elongate over the years inside of the mulch volcano, they encircle the trunk. This is called girdling. The girdling action literally strangles the tree and deprives roots and canopy of necessary resources. But the story gets worse. As the tree declines in health, it becomes more susceptible to attack from pests, diseases, and harmful fungi. To give an analogy, a human with a weak immune system is more vulnerable to catching colds, the flu, and other sicknesses.

Similarly, a tree with these underlying health issues is more susceptible to “sicknesses”, i.e., pests, disease, and harmful fungi. The good news is that the issue is fixable. For trees that have recently received a mulch volcano, simply rake the mulch away from the trunk then re-install the mulch properly as follows: • Install the mulch around the tree to a depth of 2 to 4 inches. • Extend the mulch to the outer edge of the tree’s canopy if possible. • Make sure there is no mulch within 3 to 6 inches of the base of the tree. • All of this applies for shrubs as well. Proper mulching provides outstanding health benefits to trees and shrubs, such as helping retain soil moisture, regulating soil temperatures, and improving soil conditions. The list goes on. For the tree with a long-standing mulch volcano and existing girdling roots, the remedy is more complex. You must use an air tool to remove the mulch volcano. The air tool will move the dirt without harming the roots. Then you must carefully prune girdling and otherwise threatening roots. This is a complex task that requires expertise and may require several years of calculated pruning decisions. Without proper training, it is best to avoid this task. Otherwise you may kill the plant. Our objective is to imitate what occurs in nature. When walking through the woods, you will not see a tree or shrub with a buried root collar. Instead, each tree will have a visible root flare that spreads gently into the surrounding grade. In a perfect world, all our suburban trees will have this visible root flare at the base of the trunk.

Basil Camu is co-owner of Leaf & Limb Tree Service, a tree care company based in Raleigh, N.C.

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Suggested Varieties for Vegetable Gardens PROVIDED BY: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and North Carolina State University

Seed or Plants

Amount Per Person Per Year

Suggested varieties

Suggested Planting Dates1

Distance Planting between Depth plants (in.) (in.)

Approx. No. Min. Soil of seeds per Days to Temp.(F) ounce maturity

ASPARAGUS (CROWNS)

10

Mary Washington, Jersey Gaint, Jersey Gem

Nov. 15-Mar. 15

15

6

-

-

2 years

BEANS, SNAP

1/4 pound

Tenerette, Harvester, Astro, Roma (flat), Derby, Dandy

Apr. 15-July15

3

1

60°

100

50-55

BEANS, POLE

1/4 pound

Kentucky Wonder 191, Blue Lake Stringless, Romano (flat), Kentucky Blue

Apr. 15-July 1

6

1

50°

100

65-70

BEANS, BUSH LIMA

1/2 pound

Fordhook 242, Bridgeton, Early Thorogreen

May1-July 1

6

1.5

65°

703

65-80

BEANS, POLE LIMA

1/2 pound

King of the Garden, Carolina Sieva (small)

May1-June 15

6

1.5

65°

703

75-95

BEETS

1/4 packet

Ruby Queen, Early Wonder, Red Ace, Pacemaker II, Emperor

Mar.15-Apr.15; July 15-Aug.1-15

2

0.5

50°

1,600

55-60

BROCCOLI

15 plants

DeCicco, Packman, Premium Crop, Green Duke

Mar.15-31; July 15-Aug.1-15

18

0.5

45°

9,000

70-80

BUSSELS SPROUTS

25 plants

Long Island Improved, Jade Cross Hybrid

July 1-15

20

0.5

45°

9,000

90-100

CABBAGE PLANTS

25 plants

Round Dutch, Early Jersey Wakefield, Red Express, Red Rookie, Sweetbase

Feb.1-Apr.1; Aug 1-15

12

0.5

45°

9,000

70-80

CANTALOUPE

12 plants

Classic, Magnum 45, Ambrosia, Honey Brew

Apr. 20-June 1

24

1

70°

1,000

85-99

CARROTS

1/4 packet

Danvers Half Long, Spartan Bonus, Little Finger, Thumbelina, Scarlet Nantes

Feb 15-Mar 1; July 1-15

2

0.25

45°

23,000

85-95

CORN, SWEET

1 Packet

Silver Queen, Senneca Chief, Honey 'n Pearl, How Sweet It Is, Bodacious, Merit

Apr.15-June 1

12

1.5

50°

150

85-90

CUCUMBERS, PICKLING

1/4 Packet

Carolina, Calypso, Liberty (mtns.), County Fair '83

Apr. 20-May 15; Aug 1-15

10

1

65°

1,000

40-50

CUCUMBERS, SLICING

1/4 packet

Poinsett, Sweet Slice, County Fair '83, Salad Bush, Fanfare

Apr. 20- May 15; Aug 1-15

10

1

65°

1,000

40-50

EGGPLANT (PLANTS)

2 plants

Florida Highbush, Special Hibush, Iciban, Rosa Bianco

May 1-31

24

0.5

70°

6,000

80-85

LETTUCE (LEAF)

1/4 ounce

Grand Rapids, Salad Bowl, Buttercrunch, Red Sails, Romulus

Mar 1-Apr 1; Aug 1-Sept 1

6

0.25

45°

25,000

40-50

LETTUCE (HEAD)

15 plants

Great Lakes, Ithaca

Feb 15-Mar 15; Aug 15-31

10

0.25

45°

25,000

70-85

ONIONS (SETS OR PLANTS)

50

Ebenezer, Excell, Early Grano

Feb 1- Mar 15; Sept 1-15

4

-

-

-

60-80

OKRA

1/4 packet

Clemson Spineless, Lee, Annie Oakly, Burgundy

May 1-31

12

1

70°

500

60-70

PEAS (EDIBLE-PODDED)

1/2 pound

Sugar Snap, Mammoth Melting Sugar, Snowbird, Sugar Bon

Jan. 1- Mar.1

1

1

40°

2003

60-70

PEPPERS, SWEET (PLANTS)

4 plants

California Wonder, Yolo Wonder, Pimento, Mexi Bell, Jingle Bells, King Authur

May 1-31

18

0.5

65°

4,500

75-80

PEPPERS, HOT (PLANTS)

2 plants

Red Chili, Cayenne, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Super Chili, Super Cayenne, Mitla

May 1-31

15

0.5

65°

4,500

75-80

POTATOES (IRISH)

10 pounds

Kennecbec, Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, Superior

Feb 15- Apr 1

10

5

40°

-

95-120

PUMPKINS

1/4 packet

Autumn God, Howden's Field, Spookie (small), Baby Bear, Connecticut Field

Apr. 15- June 15

48

1.5

70°

110

115-120

RADISHES

1/4 packet

Early Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle, Snowbells, White Icicile

Feb 1-Apr 1; Aug 15-Sept 15.

1

0.5

45°

2,000

25-30

SPINACH

1/4 packet

Hybrid 7, Dark Green Bloomsdale, Tyee Hybrid

Feb 15-Mar. 15; Aug 1-15

6

0.5

45°

2,800

50-60

SQUASH, SUMMER

1/4 packet

Seneca Prolific (yellow), Zucchini Elite (green), Sun Drops

Apr. 15- May 15, Aup 1-15

24

1.5

60°

300

50-60

SQUASH, WINTER

1/4 packet

Sweet Mama, Early Butternut, Spaghetti, Cream of the Crop, Table Ace, Lakota

Apr. 15- May 15, Aup 1-15

24

1.5

60

300

50-60

SWEETPOTATOES

75 plants

Porto Rico 198, Jewel, Pope

May 15- June 15

10

-

70°

-

95-125

TOMATOES (PLANTS)

15 plants

Whopper 5, Mt. Pride, Celebrity5,Better Boy5, Husky Gold, Patio, Big Beef5

Apr. 20-Jyly 15

18

0.5

60°

10,000

75-85

TURNIPS

1/4 ounce

Purple Top White Globe, Just Right, Tokyo Cross Hybrid, White Egg, All Top

Feb 1-Apr 15; Aug 1-31

2

0.5

60°

13,000

55-60

WATERMELONS

1/2 ounce

Congo, Sweet Princess, Golden Crown, Yellow Doll, Tiger Baby

Apr. 15- June 1

60

1.5

70°

2503

90-100

For more information please go to www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag-06.html

16

WEEKEND GARDENER

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Spring Plant Health Care

E

Don’t rush to prune back browning foliage. Let the plant initiate new growth and then prune branches and stems that are obviously dead.

SPRING PLANT HEALTH CARE CHECKLIST

18

˔˔

Cut back herbaceous plants.

˔˔

Any remaining winter interest perennials can be cut back now.

˔˔

Remove dead plant material, dead leaves and dead branches.

˔˔

Edge planting beds in preparation for new mulch.

˔˔

Apply new mulch – about a 3-inch layer away from woody plants’ root collars.

˔˔

Scout for early spring insects.

˔˔

Prune plant material that blooms on new wood.

˔˔

Plant trees and shrubs but if you live in an area experiencing a drought delay planting until fall.

WEEKEND GARDENER

arly spring is best to make needed changes to your landscape and is a great time to plant or transplant trees and shrubs or divide perennials. If a shrub is overgrown and requires renovation, it’s best done in late winter just prior to new growth. Winter was extremely harsh in many areas. Many evergreens and species that are marginally hardy experienced foliage browning and branch dieback. Don’t rush to prune back the affected areas. Let the plant initiate new growth and then prune branches and stems that are obviously dead. Now is also a good time to have large trees thoroughly inspected for dead and broken branches, cracks in stems and branches and other problems caused by winter storms. For plants that leaf out slowly or exhibit other signs of stress, have the soil tested for nutrient and organic matter content and soil pH. To help maintain vitality and promote growth, routine fertilization is fine for healthy trees and shrubs, but prescription soil treatments based on soil analysis is best on plants that are in poor health or damaged by winter storms. Other remedial treatments include proper mulching and irrigation during periods of low rainfall. Many defoliating insects including gypsy moth, winter moth, tent caterpillars and cankerworms appear in early spring just when leaves emerge. Monitoring and treating to prevent damage from these pests are also critical to maintaining or improving plant health. Article provided by BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS.

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Now, it’s your turn AV Homes, Inc.’s newest 55-plus lifestyle community

C

reekside at Bethpage is AV Homes, Inc.’s newest 55-plus lifestyle community currently underway in the popular Brier Creek area of Durham. The 650-home active adult neighborhood development sits on 325 acres of land convenient to the area’s robust business landscape and lifestyle offerings. “Creekside at Bethpage is a master-planned community that has been meticulously designed to engage 55 and older homebuyers who want to live amid resort-style amenities in a sought-after location convenient to the broader Triangle area,” said Bill Kiselick, President of AV Homes’ Carolinas Division. “We know retirees are not only seeking a beautiful home, but a place that allows them to make lifelong friends and live the next chapter of their lives the way they’ve always envisioned.” Buyers 55 and older have the option to choose from 14 expertly organized ranch home plans in three style elevations— Craftsman, Carolina Farmhouse and Traditional. And All Creekside at Bethpage lots offer homebuyers surrounding views

20

WEEKEND GARDENER

of a pristine landscape, thoughtfully developed to preserve the natural foliage and scenery. Home plans range from 1,320 to 2,600 square feet with prices of approximately $242,000 to $390,000. “Many of our residents are empty nesters and retirees seeking a home in which to settle down and enjoy all that lies ahead,” said Marie Lorimer, Vice President of Marketing for AV Homes’ Carolinas Division. “These homes showcase quality craftsmanship, a number of finishing details and options for further personalization that buyers want and demand.” The well-appointed homes feature open floor plans with gourmet kitchens crowned with granite countertops, walkin pantries, separate laundry rooms and ample storage. Buyers can select from spacious two or three bedrooms homes with optional sunrooms and screened porches and additional flex space available in some plans. Exterior design elements available on Creekside at Bethpage homes include covered front porches and patios; stone, brick and side overhangs; two- and three-

car garages; and professionally landscaped lawns and shrubbery beds. The Creekside at Bethpage community is brimming with luxurious lifestyle amenities and weekly activities to bring homeowners together for new learnings and fun interactions. Homeowners will have access to the 13,000-square-foot Creekside Recreation Center with offerings including a fitness center with yoga studio, computer center, an art and pottery room with kiln, a billiards game room and more. On the community grounds, residents will delight in a resort-style pool and outdoor kitchen, community garden and athletic courts for tennis, pickleball, bocce and shuffleboard. A fireplace gazebo and open-air amphitheatre round out the special offerings. The neighborhood development also offers a full-time Community Director who plans and implements activities, events and social clubs for homeowners. From Zumba and couple’s cooking and gardening classes, day-trips to local vineyards and geocaching, residents will always have something to do if they choose to participate.

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Crape Murder By ANNE CLAPP

E

22

ach spring I vow to maintain my cool when I am asked about pruning Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemania indica). It probably comes from too many years of watching gardeners around town “whacking back” the plants in yards or on roadway medians. The yardman that introduced the “hat rack” style should be serving a term in Central Prison for “Crape Murder”. The few stems that are left on the plants usually don’t produce stems large enough to support the weight of the blooms so the new limbs will break. It’s my guess the problems started when the plants outgrew their allotted space by the front walk. The easiest cure for the problem is to remove the original plant and replace it with a cultivar that will not outgrow the available space. Crape Myrtle plants come in so many heights, shapes, bloom colors and bark styles that there should be a perfect plant for your yard that will bloom for the traditional “100 days of summer”. New plants will be more successful if they are planted in early spring when the soil and air are warm. Plant them in as much sun as possible. Too little sun invites powdery mildew and significantly reduces flowering. The plants must be well watered during their first year in the ground. Once established the plants are drought tolerant but they will have difficulty recovering from prolonged drought. A layer of mulch will prevent some of the problems. The Natchez crepe myrtle in our front yard has been there for 40 years. It’s close to 25 feet tall. At one point it had multiple trunks but they have grown together and I can no long reach all the way around the tree trunk. The blooms are a beautiful red but I think the prettiest part of the plant is the bark. The

WEEKEND GARDENER

new bark is the color of cinnamon. As the tree grows through the year the cinnamon bark turns white and begins to peel off. Many a problem around our neighborhood has been solved by leaning against the tree and pulling off old bark. As an owner, I’ve done my share of leaning against the tree, but others in the neighborhood have borrowed it – and even peeled off bark. Crepe myrtles need very little pruning to remain healthy. You remove suckers and winter-damaged wood then prune to accentuate the natural shape of the plant. Some plants have a natural multi-trunk shape but as the plant ages you may need to remove trunks that are misshapen or damaged. Consulting with a certified arborist may be helpful to get information about which limbs to remove to allow the branches to drape and allow the blooms to cascade nicely over each other. “Hat racked” plants can be rejuvenated but it takes patience. If main trunks are 3 inches or more in diameter and badly disfigured with knots and knuckles it is probably best to saw them off at ground level. The new growth will start quickly, so make the decisions about which growth will be kept and which will be removed. Most gardeners will choose 3 to 5 trunks to develop into a new plant. It will take about 3 years to produce a plant with an attractive shape. Remove limbs that grow to the center of the plant and retain the well-formed stems that grow to the outside. The trunks will have a small bump in their silhouette but it will become less noticeable as the plant gets older. Let’s stop “crepe murder” in Wake County. It is not horticulturally correct! ▄

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MAY 28, 2016

North Carolina’s largest and longest-running wine festival... 16TH ANNUAL NORTH CAROLINA WINE FESTIVAL AT TANGLEWOOD PARK IN CLEMMONS, N.C. SECOND FESTIVAL ADDED! THIS FALL JOIN US IN RALEIGH - DATES WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON. WINE TASTINGS FROM THE BEST OF NORTH CAROLINA VINEYARDS. LIVE ENTERTAINMENT BY KEN KNOX & CO. (FORMER MEMBERS OF CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARD), 120 MINUTES, THE PLAIDS, AND KASEY TYNDALL.

ncwinefestival.com WP TF.C OM

SPRING 2016

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JC Raulston Arboretum The JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) at NC State University is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants adapted for garden use in the Southeast. Plants especially suited to the Piedmont of North Carolina are collected and evaluated in an effort to find superior plants for use in southern landscapes in an effort to diversify the American landscape.

T

he JCRA began as an evaluation garden 40 years ago under the direction of Dr. J. C. Raulston, widely considered one of the most influential plantsmen of the 20th century. Since its beginning in 1976, the Arboretum has grown to 10.5 acres, has evaluated over 20,000 types of plants, and currently displays more than 6,500 different plant selections. Included among the plantings are two nationally accredited collections—redbuds and magnolias. Other groups of important plant collections include agaves, oaks, daffodils, anise trees, and boxwoods. Perhaps most significant is the Japanese maple collection with about 170 different types scattered throughout the grounds. A maple should be visible to you no matter where you stand in the garden. The plants are displayed in garden settings throughout the Arboretum making it the perfect place to take a stroll. Colorful flower borders, a serene Japanese garden, winter garden, rock and rooftop gardens are just a few of the many areas to explore when you visit. Children love the shady nooks and wildlife filled fountains and pools to be found in the gardens and even the most knowledgeable gardener will discover new plants. Ephemeral art like bamboo sculptures and mirrored tree stumps reflect the ever changing and constantly evolving nature of the JCRA. The JC Raulston Arboretum isn’t just about the plants in the collections, though. Education and outreach have always been an important piece of the mission. Adult programming has traditionally been the JCRA’s strength with interesting lectures, educational tours, handson workshops, and in-depth mini-courses providing guidance for all levels of gardeners. In recent years, the Arboretum has developed significant children and family programming as well with summer camps, school activities, and hands-on learning designed to instill a love of nature in the next generation of gardeners.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 31

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WEEKEND GARDENER

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SPRING 2016

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Staying on Top of Turf Weeds by PAUL MCKENZIE

I

dentify the pest before you spray, whether weed, insect or fungus. Extension Agents like me share that important message every chance we get. It can save you time and money and cuts down on unnecessary pesticide applications. However, when it comes to turf weeds, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. But first, a biology lesson. Weeds can mostly be grouped into two categories; weeds from the broadleaf plant group and weeds from the grass group. Weeds in the grass category are easy because their leaves look like, well, grass leaves. In other words, they tend to be long and narrow. Common examples include crabgrass, wiregrass and

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Japanese stiltgrass. Although not necessarily weeds, other plants in the grass category include corn and bamboo. If you look closely at the leaf of a grass plant, you will notice that the veins run parallel all the way from top to bottom. Weeds in the broadleaf category have leaves of all different sizes and shapes. They include plants like dandelion, chickweed, henbit and clover. Other non-weed plants in the broadleaf category include tomato, rose, azalea and maple (i.e. most of the plants in your landscape). If you look closely at the leaves of a broadleaf plant, you’ll see that the veins go in all different directions, connected together in a network. When it comes to lawn care, I get lots more questions about broadleaf weeds than grass weeds. I suspect they are much more abundant, and are also more noticeable (especially when they put out their often colorful flowers!). And that brings me to the secret. With weeds in the broadleaf category, there is a “one size fits most” approach to select-

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ing a herbicide. The “one size fits most” approach is to select an herbicide that meets the following criteria: • It is suitable for application to lawns, and to your turf species in particular. • It is suitable for control of broadleaf weeds. • It contains a mix of three active ingredients. It won’t be hard to find such a herbicide, as long as you bring your reading glasses to the store (to read the fine print on the product label). In fact, you will likely find two or three different options and can select based on price or brand or the color of the bottle if you like.

Of course, selecting a herbicide is not the end of the story. The biggest mistake I see with broadleaf weed management is applying too late. You should apply the herbicide sometime between December and February. That’s right, it should be applied over the winter. The reason for this is that the most common broadleaf weeds in our lawns have a cool season life cycle. They germinate and start growing during the winter months. And that’s when we need to control them, since that’s when they are young and tender and easy to kill. By the time you see a sea of purple (or yellow or white) flowers in your lawn, they are tough and mature and have likely begun to set seed. If you call me in April and ask me

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SPRING 2016

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Landscape Color Field Day & Specialty License Plates Sitting on 10 acres a stone’s throw away from I-440, the J.C. Raulston Arboretum is a quiet oasis in the ever-changing urban landscape of Raleigh. Traffic on the beltline is a quiet hum, and aside from the twice daily Amtrak train, you hardly notice you’re in the second-largest city in the state...

W

hile the arboretum is peaceful, researchers at the adjacent Horticulture Field Laboratory are busy as bees overseeing trial plots, determining best practices for disease and pest management, and breeding new varieties of plants to help grow the state’s floriculture industry. All of their hard work will be showcased during Landscape Color Field Day, June 29, 2016. The annual event, co-sponsored by the N.C. Commercial Flowers Growers Association and N.C. State University, hosts dozens of professional landscapers, garden center operators, farmers and gardening enthusiasts each year. Zach Mussler, a floriculture marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, works with the Commercial Flower Growers and says the event is a must-attend for green thumbs across the state. “Whether you’re a 25-year professional or a hobby gardener, Landscape Color Field Day is a great event to learn about new varieties, best practices and research to help you improve,” Mussler said. The event includes presentations from university researchers, commercial flower growers and other gardening experts on a variety of topics from optimizing flowering to pest management. In addition, the event provides attendees a chance to explore the trial plots at the Horticulture Field Laboratory. “The trial plots have more than 350 varieties of bedding, hanging and garden plants,” said Mussler. “It’s also a chance to learn more about new cultivars of bedding plants coming to market.” Mussler adds that events like Landscape Color Field Day are important for vitality

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of the state’s floriculture industry, which is still recovering after the recession. Fortunately, Mussler says, there is a lot of growth in the industry right now. North Carolina’s floriculture industry now accounts for $223 million in wholesale value, and is a significant part of the state’s $76 billion agriculture and agribusiness industry. The state ranks third nationally for production of bedding and garden plants according to the 2014 USDA Floriculture Crops Summary. In addition to sponsoring events like Landscape Color Field Day, the N.C. Commercial Flower Growers Association is also in the process of producing a N.C. Gardening license plate that homeowners and professionals can purchase to show their love of flowers. The association is currently looking for backyard gardeners, landscapers and flower lovers to apply for the specialty license plate, which will feature a variety of brightly colored flowers that are all grown in North Carolina. The initial fee for the license plate is $20, with an extra $30 fee collected by the DMV for those wishing to add personalized text to the plate. The association needs 500 participants in order to be able to petition the N.C. General Assembly to introduce a bill authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles to print the specialized plates. Once the plate is approved, participating drivers will be assessed a $20 fee annually by the DMV to keep the license. Those interested in the program, can sign up on the association’s website at www.nccfg.org. The website also has information on the 2016 Landscape Color Field Day and directories you can use to locate greenhouse and garden centers near you.

Attendees tour trial plots during the 2015 Landscape Color Field Day.

Supertunia Picasso in Burgundy is one of the new varieties introduced at Landscape Color Field Day

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JC Raulston Arboretum Continued from page 24

As part of NC State University’s Department of Horticultural Science, the Arboretum also provides opportunities to serve as a living laboratory for students in a variety of disciplines from horticulture to plant biology, forestry, entomology, and more. The JCRA provides an avenue to showcase some of the important research being done at NC State from University’s first green roof to new plant introductions from our world-class plant breeders. As part of the University’s Extension Service, the JCRA works closely with nurserymen and landscapers to move superior plants into the industry. The new selections growing in the Arboretum today will be at your local garden center in the future. The Arboretum’s support, plant introductions, propagation research, and expertise has contributed an estimated $10.5 million to North Carolina’s green industry and plants from the Arboretum can be found in gardens in almost every state in the United States and around the world. The vibrant research, meaningful education, and especially the beautiful gardens make the JC Raulston Arboretum one of the top spots in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area for both out-of-town visitors and local residents. The garden is free and open to the public almost every day of the year during sunlight hours. Whether you are looking for garden inspiration, a bit of peace in a busy world, or just to revel in the beauty of flowers, the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University has something for you.

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Turf Weeds Continued from page 27

what to do about all the purple flowers that cover your lawn, I reserve the right to suggest you borrow Dr. Who’s time machine. With turf grass, and especially Tall Fescue, it’s important to understand that the things you do in the fall and winter have a huge impact on how your lawn looks in spring and summer. The plus side is that you can sit on the deck in May watching your silly neighbors struggle with weeds, wondering how you have such a great looking lawn when all you do is sit on the deck. Applying the right product at the right time can lead to long-term benefits as well. Initially you may have to spray the whole lawn. But in future years you may find that weed populations in your lawn are declining

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and you can get by with spot sprays of selected areas, saving you time and money. Of course, occasionally you will discover a weed that doesn’t respond, and your County Extension Center is the place to call for help with identification and herbicide selection. Also keep in mind that certain weeds, like nutsedge, or bermudagrass in a tall fescue lawn, require specialized approaches. Keep in mind that proper mowing height has a huge effect on weed populations. Mowing at the recommended height for your particular turf species helps the lawn stay healthy and vigorous and more competitive against weeds. Lastly, be sure to read all the instructions before you use a herbicide, or any other pesticide. For all the details, contact your County Extension Center, or simply type “NCSU lawn calendar” plus the turf species you have into any web search engine (e.g. NCSU tall fescue calendar).


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100 Years of Timeless Wonder

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ut the TV remote down. Put on your Fitbit tracker, your tennis shoes or hiking boots and get out there! Out in the open air and far from the electronics and advertising overload that has become far too common in our daily lives. Breath-taking vistas, fun activities, exploration opportunities and memorable experiences await you. And they’re all within our North Carolina borders. North Carolina’s beauty has long been a source of great inspiration and a frequent subject of photographers, songwriters, poets, painters and interpretative dancers. So if you’re longing to relax and looking to hit your reset button, if you’re searching for the perfect sunrise or sunset, have an insatiable urge to explore all that nature provides, or if you’re just chasing adventure at its fully-amped best, there are a host of amazing destinations at every turn in the Tar Heel State. At the heart of all that beauty is our remarkable State Parks and 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the N.C. State Parks system. Throughout this calendar year we celebrate the places and wonder that these parks provide; and we thank the groundbreaking contributors who, with remarkable foresight, put these parks under state management to ensure that future generations could venture out and find them. Many of the state parks we enjoy today were initiated by local citizens with a strong preservation ethic. This tradition of grassroots conservation in North Carolina is reflected in the state’s mandate that these precious natural resources be readily available to all citizens. Fees, which are so small they’re barely worth mentioning, are kept to a minimum. Today, the parks system encompasses more than 230,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas, attracting more than 17 million visitors each year. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. North Carolina State Parks is the destination for some very unique experiences, such as exploring the grasslands that are home to the Venus flytrap, native to the wetlands in North and South Carolina (Carolina Beach State Park) or hiking by the oldest known long-leaf pine tree found at the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. Take

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flight at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, where visitors can fly a kite or hang glide on the tallest living sand dune along the U.S. Atlantic coast. Gorges State Park, the western most park, offers hikers the opportunity to experience a temperate rain forest supporting a collection of waterfalls rising 2,000 feet in a span of just four miles. Fort Macon and Fort Fisher State Parks provide glimpses into North Carolina’s part of the Confederate and Civil War conflicts along the eastern coast. Find a slower gear for a relaxed family picnic on the lawn of a Rockefeller family members’ southern retreat at Carver’s Creek State Park. Or, explore nature with your kids, hosted by a ranger, at Hanging Rock State Park. After 100 years in the making, each NC state park will celebrate the centennial by hosting events commemorating their heritage and recognizing their significant role in the state parks system. Events will include bluegrass, folk and beach music concerts, 5K to triathlon racing events, fishing tournaments, military appreciation events, sunset ceremonies, and flag raising. Four parks will host Signature Events. Fort Macon State Park Battle Observation Fri.-Sun., April 22-24 Mount Mitchell State Park Heritage Days Fri.-Sun., August 26-28 Mayo River State Park Reunion Sat., October 8 Crowders Mountain State Park Earth’s Last Stand March Sun., October 30 The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two Science museums, three aquariums, Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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Advice from the Past By ANNE CLAPP

The “file” book was my copy of “Raleigh Gardener’s Sampler” complied and published by the Wake County Medical Society in 1977.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Peperomia plants on display, fire ant bed, pink camellia flower, meadow vole, Iris germanica, Tony Avent

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White, red and pink begonias

I

t has come to that stage of life when removing some of the clutter collected in our house of 45 years is being given away or put in the recycling bin. Several years ago at a remote at Triad Equipment Company one of our listeners brought me a hand-written recipe for fire ant control; I “filed it” in one of my gardening books. The directions were to combine 5 pounds of white corn meal, 3 cups of sugar, 1 package of cherry Jello and 3 tablespoons of acephate in a glass or plastic container that could be sealed. The instructions for using it were to sprinkle that “concoction” in a ring around the fire ant bed. We never had a problem with fire ants on our own property but lots of gardeners called the Weekend Gardener for the recipe. The “file” book was my copy of “Raleigh Gardener’s Sampler” complied and published by the Wake County Medical Society in 1977. It might be time to start working on the second edition. One of the contributors to that first book was a junior in horticultural science at NCSU, Tony Avent, who told us about begonias and peperomias. Begonias are often grown as house plants. The roots are quite fine so take care watering them. The plants should not stand in water and the soil should be allowed to dry between waterings. Tony’s father, Garland Avent, contributed a two-page article on iris. His advice to plant both deep red and brown toned cultivars in an area with afternoon shade has been passed along on Saturday morning for many years. Dr. Bob Harper, a Raleigh psychiatrist, contributed six pages of information on growing azaleas and camellias. His advice to plant azaleas in beds, not individual holes, is as sound today as it was 40 years ago. You are able to amend the soil with organic material to improve drainage and retain the moisture needed for the fine root system of the plants. It also helps to have the level of the beds above the level of the surrounding ground. With some of the rodent problems we have in our area,

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many of us are also adding products like Permatil to deter mice, moles and voles. Organic mulch such as pine straw or composted wood chips or bark may be used to dress the beds. Keep the mulch away from the base of the plant to help control moisture and insect problems. I’m glad I hadn’t read his article before I planted the camellias in our yard. He digs a hole 3 to 4 feet wide and twice the depth of the rootball. The center of the hole is about 2 inches less than the depth of the rootball and is dug to effectively leave a moat around a center pedestal. That raises the rootball just above the adjacent soil and allows roots to grow down below the depth of the rootball. In clay soils that might provide better drainage and plant stability as the plant grows taller. The fill dirt is a mixture of half composted-mulch and half native soil dug from the hole. Since my camellias are planted on the side of a hill I haven’t been too worried about drainage but I do amend the native fill-dirt with composted manure and cotton seed meal for plant nutrients. Voles seem to be quite fond of camellia roots so products like Vole Bloc and Permatil or sharp gravel help deter their snacking. One of our listeners suggested I try planting camellias in wire baskets, leave the tip of the wire cage just above ground and use pebbles or sea shells as a one-inch deep mulch around the plants. It seems to have worked. Several plants have prospered for almost 20 years. Providing gardening information during the Weekend Gardener show has worked well for people on both sides of the telephone connection for over 25 years now. There are lots of days that I think I have learned more about gardening from our listeners than they have learned from me. Your friendships on the phone, at remote broadcasts, or a chance meeting at a garden center have meant the world to me. As John Harris used to say – “Keep ‘em Growing”.

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Tomatoes for Containers One of the most frequent vegetable gardening questions I’m asked is “What’s a good tomato variety for containers”. Until recently I have not had a good answer for that question. By GERALD ADAMS

O

40

ne of the most frequent vegetable gardening questions I’m asked is “What’s a good tomato variety for containers”? Until recently I have not had a good answer for that question. Many home gardeners don’t have a sunny area for a vegetable patch or even raised beds. A deck, patio or balcony is their only option. Many home gardeners get wilt disease like southern bacterial wilt which can live in your soil for three years. Either situation leaves you with the only option of growing tomatoes in some type of container. Unfortunately many of the gardeners that first try growing traditional tomato varieties in containers have poor results because they do not use a large enough container. Better Boy, Sun Gold, Cherokee purple etc… will not thrive in 3, 5, or even 7 gallon containers. They are just too small resulting in a stunted plant with few smallish fruit. One half of a whiskey barrel might work but it is difficult to handle or move this large of a container filled with soil. Last year I was sent vegetable seeds for trial by Vegetalis. (www.vegetalis.

WEEKEND GARDENER

co.uk) This company specializes in breeding dwarf vegetable plants suitable for containers. I was pleased with several of their tomato varieties. Big League, Mega Bite, Rambling Red Stripe & Sugar Gloss were more than acceptable. Any of these varieties work great in a 5 gallon container. I also grew 8 varieties last year from the “Dwarf Tomato Project”. Raleigh’s own Craig LeHoullier and Australian Patrina Nuske-Small started this tomato breeding project in 2006. Over 100 volunteers in the northern and Southern Hemisphere are involved. The seasons are opposite in these hemispheres so volunteers grow out plants this summer in the northern hemisphere then send the saved seeds down under in order for them to be grown out during our winter (their summer). This enables 2 growing seasons in 1 year. It takes 5-6 growing seasons to establish if the varieties crossed have been stabilized. The main goal of this project has been to develop dwarf tomato plants that are tasty. Plant sizes rang from 2-4 ½ ft. with many of the varieties producing 6-12 oz sized

fruit. This size plant can easily be grown in a 5 gallon container. Another big plus is that all varieties are open-pollinated. I was especially impressed with “Rosella Purple” it looked and tasted like a slightly smaller version of Cherokee Purple. “Chocolate Lightning” was very good and I discovered an odd sport of this plant that was completely different with purple coloring and green stripes. I’m calling it “Gerald’s Lightning” and hope to stabilize this variety as I continue growing out new generations of this seed. There are some unusual names that have been released from the dwarf tomato project like: “Kookaburra Cackle”, “Loxton Lass”, “Uluru Ochre”, “Adelaide Festival” etc… I guess this is to be expected when you have tomato enthusiasts from all over the world working on a project. This year I’m growing 25 of the 60 varieties released from the dwarf tomato project thus far. I’m certain I will discover some more great tasting tomatoes. It feels great finally being able to give a good answer to: “What’s a good tomato for growing in a container”? Email Geraldadams9941@gmail.com

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