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April 2013

Your guide to Great Lakes gardening

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perennials Foamflower profile An Asian-inspired garden plant focus Impatiens alternatives tree tips Lightning and how it affects trees feature Uncommonly beautiful and easy-to-prune clematis

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

contents April 2013


Where the season is

taking root. Spring Events TROY EVENTS Roses: Six Steps to Jump Start Your Roses for Spring Sat, April 6, 10am

Every Garden Deserves a Rose. Which one is right for Yours? Thursday, April 25, 6:30pm

Ready, Set, Grow! Sat, April 6, 11am

Outdoor Miniature Gardening Workshop Saturday, April 27, 10am

PERENNIAL GARDENING DAY Saturday, April 13 • New Perennials for 2013, 10am • Perennials for Shade,11:30am • Attracting Butterflies & Hummingbirds, 1pm

Herb of the Year: Elderberry Lecture Thursday, April 18, 6:30pm


Saturday, April 20 • New Annuals for 2013, 10am • High Impact Annuals for the Landscape & Containers, 11:30am • Annuals for the Cutting Garden, 1pm • Impatiens Alternatives: Dealing with Downy Mildew, 2pm • Annuals for the Perennial Border, 3pm

Alpine Trough Planting Workshop Saturday, April 27, 1:30pm Bonsai Workshop April 27, 1pm - $35 Getting to Know Dahlias Thursday, May 2, 6:30pm - FREE Dahlia Tuber Sale Saturday May 4, 9am - FREE


Saturday, May 4 • Container Gardening Class, 10am • Container Gardening Workshop, 11:30am • Herbs in Containers Workshop, 1pm Class fee $5 unless otherwise noted (materials not included). Registration required— Please call 248-689-8735.

Ask MG.......................................................................6 Healthy Lawns..........................................................8 Vegetable Patch.....................................................10 Clippings....................................................................11 To-Do List.................................................................12 Plant Focus: Impatiens Alternatives.............14 Advertiser Index....................................................19 Where to pick up Michigan Gardener...........20 Bulk Subscriptions................................................21 Perennial Perspectives.......................................22 Books for the Michigan Gardener................24 Weather Wrap......................................................25 Tree Tips..................................................................26 Feature: Clematis.................................................28 Calendar...................................................................30 Profile: An Asian-inspired garden.................34

Garden Wisdom I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden. —Ruth Stout Plant Patrol.............................................................. 37 Places to Grow......................................................38 Classified Ads........................................................39 Subscription Form...............................................39 Janet’s Journal.....................................Back Cover On the cover: Tulips are a welcome springtime sight to Michigan gardeners. Photo: Eric Hofley/Michigan Gardener

To Our Readers... After a relatively “normal” winter here in Michigan, we welcome another gardening season! Maybe the biggest news of the spring will be the situation with impatiens and downy mildew disease. This will be akin to, “Is the glass half empty or half full? Rather than focusing on the impatiens problem, we encourage local gardeners to experiment and try some new and different plants. To help with that process, we are publishing a special three-part series: “Impatiens Alternatives.” Look for Part 1 of 3 on page 14 of this issue. Please note that our E-Newsletter subscribers will be the first to receive this special report in the FREE Michigan Gardener E-Newsletter. Just another reason to sign up! Go to and simply enter your e-mail address. We appreciate all your kind and generous compliments about Michigan Gardener. We urge you to please share those comments with our advertisers—they make Michigan Gardener possible. Thank you!

SHELBY TOWNSHIP EVENTS Trough Making Workshop Sat, April 13, 2pm - $35 New Annuals for 2013 Sat, April 27, 10am New Perennials for 2013 Sat, April 27, 11:30am Every Garden Deserves a Rose, Which One is Right for Yours? Sat, April 27, 1pm

CONTAINER GARDENING DAY Saturday, May 4 • Container Gardening Class, 1pm • Container Gardening Workshop, 2pm


Publisher/Editor Eric Hofley Design & Production Jonathon Hofley Advertising Eric Hofley Circulation Jonathon Hofley

TROY 248-689-8735

Editorial Assistant Anna Kowaczyk

3301 John R–1/4 mile north of 16 Mile Rd.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP 248-659-8555

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4343 24 Mile btwn Dequindre & Shelby Rd.

HOURS: Please call or visit

Contributors Karen Bovio Cheryl English Mary Gerstenberger Julia Hofley Rosann Kovalcik Janet Macunovich Steve Martinko Beverly Moss Steven Nikkila George Papadelis Sandie Parrott Jean/Roxanne Riggs Jim Slezinski Lisa Steinkopf Steve Turner Joseph Tychonievich

16291 W. 14 Mile Rd., Suite 5 Beverly Hills, MI 48025-3327 Phone: 248-594-5563 Fax: 248-594-5564 E-mail: Website: Publishing schedule 6 issues per year: April, May, June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec. Published the first week of the mo. Subscriptions (Please make check payable to Michigan Gardener) 1 yr, 6 iss/$14 2 yr, 12 iss/$26 3 yr, 18 iss/$36 Back issues All past issues are available. Please send your request along with a check for $3.00 per issue payable to Michigan Gardener. Canadian subscriptions 1 yr, 6 iss/$22 US 2 yr, 12 iss/$42 US Copyright © 2013 Michigan Gardener. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or used in any form without the expressed, written permission of the publisher. Neither the advertiser nor the publisher will be responsible for misinformation, typographical errors, omissions, etc. contained herein. Michigan Gardener is published by Motor City Publishing, Inc.


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

ask mg

Have a question? Send it in!

No berries on hollies For 14 years, our holly bushes have been lush with fall berries, but not last fall. I think they got their fair share of water during the summer heat wave. Any thoughts? P.T. Think back to April 2012 and what happened with the late frost and freezing temperatures at the end of the month. Many of our beloved spring-flowering trees were heavily damaged at a critical time in fruit formation. The holly bushes were no exception. Even though the buds form in the fall of the previous year, April would have been the time these tiny flowers in the leaf base on male plants would have been opening. Many flowering shrubs and trees suffered great damage last spring due to the sudden cold temperatures. Michigan’s cherry and apple industries were significantly impacted by the cold snap. Although the holly plant is basically a male plant, their flowers and subsequent pollen are necessary for the fertilization of the flowers on the female berry-producing plants. If they aren’t there, the female flowers are not pollinated and there is no berry. Maintaining a


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consistent watering routine early in the summer as well as during drought periods will also prevent premature berry drop. Covering plants when a freeze is posssible can substantially decrease the loss of flowers and future berry production.

Plant for wedding favor At our upcoming wedding, we want to give a seedling or plant as a party favor. We need suggestions as to what tree or plants can be planted in Michigan in September. Since there will be about 500 guests, the price of each plant must be relatively low. K., Brown City Congratulations on using a plant as a wedding favor! One of the best choices for fall planting, and a Michigan native, would be a white spruce (Picea glauca) seedling. These strong conifers transplant easily, and tolerate a wide variety of soil types and sun conditions. They are used for windbreaks, lumber, and sometimes Christmas trees. They have a strong conical form and hold their limbs out horizontally. The dense branching provides shelter and food for birds and other wildlife. What a fitting long-term remembrance of your wedding. Understanding the large quantity, you want to deal with a local wholesaler/retailer that can offer a practical price. Consider Cold Stream Farm in northwest Michigan (www. Please remember that 500 seedlings will likely be prepared in bulk. You will have to separate them and individually wrap their roots in a moisture-retaining mulch and secure in a waterproof sleeve. Therefore, timing your order is important so that the seedlings are not stored indefinitely. Once received, you have approximately one week to separate, rewrap and distribute. Prepare a tag for each tree that tells guests to plant as soon as possible and the optimum soil and light conditions.

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We offer a large variety of the latest products at competitive prices. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help answer any questions that come up in your gardening adventures. We also offer a wide range of services such as full landscape design, installation and maintenance.

Training and pruning blackberries How do I trellis thornless blackberries? I have several 2- to 3-foot-tall plants that have many hard-to-tame shoots pointing in every direction. I planted them last spring and none had fruit last year. I wound the longest ones around the wire between the metal fence stakes, which are about 3 feet high. How and when do I prune? R.S., Traverse City Thornless blackberry primo canes tend to grow along the ground like a vine for the first two years after planting. They also do not produce a large crop the first season. Proper pruning and strong wire support are needed. For thornless blackberries, you need two wires at heights of 3 feet and 5 feet from the ground between posts 20 feet apart. Because of the vine-like nature of this bramble fruit, individual plants should be 10 feet apart. Now for pruning. Cut back the main trailing canes at the top by several inches in late winter to 4 to 6 feet. That would be roughly March, before bud swell. This pruning forces development of sturdier, more fruitful canes. Keep them tied to the upper wire. For wild lateral shoots, select only those parallel to the wires, trimming them back to about 12 inches. Guide and tie them to the lower wire. Remove cane shoots that go out perpendicular from the wire trellis. This forces the plant to concentrate its energy on the remaining canes for healthy growth and better fruit production. Make sure you prune out any damaged or weak, spindly canes. Proper pruning and trellising will bring your thornless blackberries to an enjoyable production level.

Shrubs for a fence line I am looking for a plant to go along a 6-foot high white fence. I would like flowering shrubs that get 3 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet tall. J.R., Portage, MI There are several possibilities that can be maintained to size with relative ease. Planting in front of a white fence reflects heat on the plant. That heat can accelerate flower production but also dry out the soil sooner. Flowering shrubs need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day and consistent watering. Use mulch to minimize water loss. The soil should be loamy and enriched with compost. Dwarf Korean lilacs (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) bloom mid to late spring with highly fragrant pink flowers. Shear after bloom to maintain the 3- by 3-foot dimension. The dark green glossy foliage provides a nice contrast to the white fence and can behave as a deciduous hedge. If you want a little height, arrowwood viburnums (Viburnum dentatum) have strong upright growth and flat white flowers in spring. Blue Muffin (‘Christom’) grows 3 to

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5 feet tall, with blue-black berries that persist if not eaten by birds, and shows orange to burgundy red foliage in fall. Like the lilacs, hand pruning and thinning after bloom will keep the height at the desired level every other year. Examine the wonderful single and double Knock Out roses. Introduced in 2000, they have become a mainstay in the summer garden, producing flowers continuously from spring until hard frost. Extremely hardy and disease-resistant, they live up to their name.

Growing honeyberry plants I am considering planting Haskap berries (honeyberries). Will these grow OK where wild raspberries or wild blackberries grow? L.R., west Michigan Haskap honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea var. edulus) are sometimes known as blueberried honeysuckle. They are deciduous shrubs growing 5 to 6 feet tall. The blue berry is an elongated, spindle-shaped drupe about 1/2 inch long. The flavor is variable, ranging from sour to sweet. They ripen roughly about the same time as strawberries. Honeyberries are native throughout the cool temperate Northern hemisphere, primarily in or near wetlands, and they can survive a fair range of soil acidity. They do require high organic matter, well-drained soils, and lots of sunlight for optimum productivity. Honeyberries, a term coined by One Green World Nursery in Oregon, do not favor Californian West Coast heat or deep cold like Alaska. The fruits have long been harvested for home and commercial use in China, Russia and Japan. The term “Haskap” actually refers to a name used in Japan for a subspecies of Lonicera caerulea. Because they contain high concentrations of antioxidants and vitamin C, honeyberries are becoming more recognized and more available in the U.S. for the healthconscious home grower. Honeyberries like the same soil and light conditions as raspberries and blackberries. However, if you are removing the latter from the prospective site, care must be taken to remove as much bramble root as possible. The aggressive nature of wild berries can overpower the new honeyberry shrubs as they establish. Amend the soil with organic matter before planting. You will need two compatible cold-hardy varieties for cross-pollination and fruit set. The plants may take 3 to 4 years to produce abundant fruit, which can be used in jams, pastries, and sauces as well as eaten fresh. Answers provided by Beverly Moss, owner of Garden Rhythms.

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

healthy lawns

The 2012 heat and its effects on your lawn this year

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I always wanted to know what it would be sia, Bermuda, and St. Augustine grasses are like trying to maintain a beautiful lawn down utilized because of their ability to survive in South under excessively hot and dry condihigh temperature climates. tions. Last year, we all found out. That heat How you can help your lawn this year and drought came right to our doorstep and Depleted nutrient levels are one scenario to allowed us to witness firsthand how difficult consider this spring. Never before has it been it would be. In 2012, with over 27 days in the more important to perform a soil test so you 90s and 3 days in the 100s, we truly experican determine your actual needs. enced a subtropical climate. Lack of frozen turf in February 2012 alSo without hesitation I can affirm how lowed some lawns to begin an early exit from happy I am to live here in Michigan where we dormancy and green grass was visibly evican enjoy the change of seasons that relieves dent in late February. Many lawns us from those sweltering days and were getting mowed 2 to 3 weeks the myriad of insects they bring. Steve earlier than anyone could rememLet’s hope 2013 resembles a normal Martinko ber, causing the grass to spend enyear! If you are wondering how last ergy quickly. year’s record heat will affect your With such a long growing sealawn this season, here are a few imson, those who fertilized on clay portant things to consider. and sandy soils noticed their typical The fact remains that if you 4-step fertilization programs just live in the South (like we did last weren’t keeping up and providing year!), you can’t grow cool season the aesthetic quality they had been turf grass perfectly, no matter how accustomed to. Many found the much you water and how well you need to apply extra applications. For those tend to its care. High temperatures limit the who benefit from rich topsoil, they still obgrasses’ survivability rate. So if you have served grass fading between applications. bentgrass, fine fescue, ryegrass, or Kentucky However, turf density didn’t suffer as combluegrass in your lawn (which most people pared to lawns on clay or sandy soils. have here in Michigan), you saw a decline in That soil difference might be a reason your turf quality with those cool season mixtures. neighbor’s lawn may have held up better than They can’t handle prolonged, excessive heat. your own. Also, if your lawn wasn’t as thick Tall fescue lawns held up the best and actuand healthy as it used to be, a 4-step fertilizaally thrived. tion approach may not be sufficient. On the other hand, as you travel south into So how can you help your lawn better Georgia and Florida, you see a transition: zoywithstand the heat? Address your soil. Anything you can do to improve the soil will help. All options should be considered as an investment into the future health of your lawn and landscape. Aerating, topdressing with organic soils, converting your mower to a mulching system, or installing rain barrels so you can water more effectively to help encourage earthworm populations are all valid attempts to establish a healthy lawn. 8600 Jackson Road Next month in the May issue, I will adDexter, Michigan dress fertilizer programs specifically, and how you can adjust a traditional 4-step program to help re-energize your lawn.


Steve Martinko is the owner of Contender’s Tree and Lawn Specialists in Oakland County, MI.

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

vegetable patch Knowing and growing cool season vegetables

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It’s April and it’s time to get the garden going. A fairly wide variety of vegetables can be Asparagus crowns and planted outside this month. There are a numrhubarb roots should be planted ber of cold hardy plants to be considered. Those that are “very hardy” can withstand in early spring. However, they both hard frosts and freezing temperatures and still survive. “Frost-tolerant” plants are should not be harvested in a little different; they can handle a light frost, the first year after planting. but will need to be protected from hard frosts and freezing temperatures. Together, the They both need time to very hardy and frost-tolerant plants are referred to as cool season crops. They will not establish a strong root system. only germinate and survive in cooler temperatures, but will also grow and develop better and plant a few weeks before the last frost in the cool weather of spring or fall. The very date. Many of these can be planted again— hardy plants include: asparagus, broccoli, or have heat-tolerant varieties that can be Brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, kale, planted—in mid to late summer for a fall crop. kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, onion, parsley, peas, Most of these vegetable seeds germinate best potato, rhubarb, rutabaga, salsify, spinach, when the soil temperatures are 40 to 50 despring radishes, and turnips. Frost-tolerant grees F or higher. Use a soil thermometer to plants include: beet, carrot, cauliflower, measure the temperature of the soil. Using chard, Chinese cabbage, mustard, parsnip, clear plastic over the soil can raise temperaand later-maturing varieties of radish. tures at the surface by as much as 10 to 20 deIt is important to note that not all cool grees F. Just be sure to remove the season crops are grown the same. plastic when the seedlings begin to Some may be planted in early Mary Gerstenberger come up. spring and will mature as the cool Transplants of broccoli and early weather ends or may even tolercabbage (the cabbage needs to maate the heat of summer. Others ture before the heat of summer) will be planted later so that they can go out in the spring and again mature during the cool weather of in mid to late summer. Brussels fall. Some can be seeded directly sprouts should go out as transplants into the ground; others do better in early to mid summer so they will when set as transplants. Many can mature in the cool weather. Garlic be planted early season and again bulbs are best planted in fall, but late season for both spring and fall if the opportunity was missed, plant in very crops. early spring (March or April). Planting cool season crops Cold weather crops are a great way to exSo what cold hardy plants can go into the tend your growing season and add diversity garden in spring? Asparagus crowns and rhuinto the vegetable garden. As some of the barb roots should be planted in early spring. cool season crops die off, they can be replaced However, they should not be harvested in the with the warm season vegetables. As some of first year after planting. They both need time the warm season veggies die off, they can be to establish a strong root system. Limited replaced once again with cool season crops. amounts of rhubarb can be taken in the secCheck your garden centers and seed catalogs ond year after planting and limited amounts for varieties of cool weather vegetables. Don’t of asparagus in the third year after planting. forget to consider “days to maturity” with Horseradish crown divisions or root cuttings seeds, look for healthy transplants, and get can be planted in early spring and may be your garden growing! harvested any time after a hard frost in late fall. Potato “seed pieces” may also be planted Mary Gerstenberger is the Consumer Horin spring. ticulture Coordinator at the Michigan State Seeds of arugula, carrot, collard, leaf letUniversity Extension in Macomb County, MI. tuce, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek (seeds or For gardening information from MSU, visit sets), onion (seeds, sets, or transplants), peas, spring radish, spinach, and turnip can be sown in early spring. Beet, cauliflower (transCall the toll-free Michigan State University plants), chard, and parsnip, while frost tolerLawn and Garden Hotline at 888-678-3464 ant, won’t handle a freeze very well, so wait for answers to your gardening questions. | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


clippings Society hosts sustainable landscapes conference The Master Gardener Society of Oakland County is hosting a garden conference on Saturday, April 20 at the MSU Conference Center in Troy. Author and photographer Rick Darke will speak about the livable landscape. He will present strategies for making and maintaining beautifully functional gardens in sync with today’s ecology. Gardening expert Melinda Myers will discuss garden renovations. Laura Deeter, an Associate Professor from Ohio State University, will describe tips to reduce garden maintenance. Art Cameron, Director of the MSU Horticulture Gardens, will give a presentation called “Cultivating Creativity.” He will share ideas for creating an edible garden that stimulates the senses. For more information, visit and click on 2013 Master Gardener Conference.

MSU Horticulture Gardens celebrate 20th anniversary The MSU Horticulture Gardens have become a university landmark with beautiful displays of plants and garden landscapes, while also serving as an educational facility

to support teaching and research. To help celebrate this milestone, events throughout the season are planned. On April 27, 2013, the Horticulture Gardens will host a Spring Design Program, where top industry experts will share their techniques through captivating, hands-on presentations. On May 18, MSU hosts its annual plant sale. Then the popular Garden Day returns on August 2, with keynote presentations by Felder Rushing and Jane Taylor, a founder of the Horticulture Gardens. For more information, visit

Habitat for Humanity hosts Oakland County plant sale On May 10 and 11, 2013, Habitat for Humanity hosts a plant sale fundraiser at the organization’s headquarters in Pontiac. Master Gardeners will also be on hand to answer questions and conduct presentations on Saturday, including “Basic Landscaping and Design,” “Curb Appeal,” and “Gardening on a Budget.” The fundraiser also launches Habitat’s Women Build project—a home built entirely by women for a deserving family. Visit for more information or call 248-338-1843, extension 236.

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

to-do list General • On the first nice day, gardeners are tempted to begin cleaning up and tending to the garden. It’s best to wait until soil is loose and friable. Too much activity on damp soil can cause soil compaction, creating problems later. • To test your soil, grab a handful and squeeze. If it crumbles, it is OK to work in the soil. If it stays in a ball because it’s too wet, wait a little while longer. Another way to test the soil’s readiness is to use a soil thermometer to make sure the soil is 50 degrees before working in it. • If you can’t work outside, take this opportunity to plan. Review your notes from the last gardening season. Start seeds indoors, plant summer-flowering bulbs indoors, and decide which plants need transplanting and dividing. Check your tools—sharpen mower blades, pruners, spades, and shovels. Use a stiff wire brush to remove any rust on blades and use a light machine oil to help prevent further rust from starting. • Inspect the wooden handles on your favorite tools. Use sandpaper to smooth away any splinters or rough spots and apply boiled linseed oil to seal the wood. • When forsythias start to bloom, it’s time to start a variety of gardening activities, such as applying the first step of lawn fertilizer with crabgrass preventer, and removing winter protection on shrubs and roses. • An application of slow-release fertilizer in all garden beds will get plants off to a good start.

Perennials anything in our store

• Cut back ornamental grasses, sedums, black-eyed Susans, or any other perennials that were left for winter interest and weren’t cut back last fall. At the end of the month, put down an application of organic fertilizer around the perennial beds. • Many perennials will start emerging soon. Rake winter-blown leaves, mulch, and other debris off the crowns of plants to give them a neater start. Watch for low temperatures, and protect the crowns of your plants against frosts that are bound to happen. Use burlap, newspapers, or harvest guard to cover the plants whenever there is a frost to help keep plants growing and avoid cold damage.

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• Different varieties of clematis need to be pruned at different times. For summerblooming clematis, prune them back to 2 or 3 fat, healthy buds per stem. Wait to prune spring-blooming and repeat-blooming clematis until after they’ve finished blooming. • Other flowering vines will benefit from a good pruning to promote growth and full-

ness. Only take off 1/3 to 1/2 of the summerflowering vines, no more, or there will be too much green growth and too few flowers otherwise. • Monitor these plants for emerging new growth, and prune out any dead wood.

Spring-Flowering Bulbs • Daffodil, crocus, and tulip blooms are a sure sign that spring has arrived. Fertilizer is the key to healthy plants that will continue to bloom year after year. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer when leaves first emerge and then continue every week to 10 days until the foliage all dies back.

Fruit Trees • Consider adding a fruit tree to your garden this year. Plant fruit trees early in the season to reap a harvest the following year. • Most established fruit trees will benefit from an early fungicide treatment, before they’re in full bloom.

Roses • Once the forsythia starts to bloom, remove winter protection and prune roses. Always wait until spring for major pruning of roses. To improve air circulation, remove any crossing branches or any that grow into the center of the plant. Rose canes should grow away from the center. Apply a rose fertilizer at the end of the month.

Annuals • If you’ve planted impatiens in the past, this is a good time to decide what annuals you’ll choose to replace that popular variety. Due to downy mildew disease, many garden centers won’t be carrying impatiens this year, so start looking around for a substitute to fill in the color in your beds. Some great options for shady areas are New Guinea impatiens, begonias, or coleus. See the Special Report on page 14 in this issue for more information and options. • It’s too early for tender annuals, but there are many other options like pansies, primrose, cabbage, and kale that will withstand cooler spring temperatures. Plant them directly in the garden if the soil’s not too wet, or plant up containers for your porch or patio.

Vegetables • Some seeds, like peas, lettuce, spinach, and radishes, are cool season crops and can be sown directly into the ground this month. Plant a few rows now and another few rows in a couple of weeks to extend the harvest. Tomatoes and peppers should be planted when the ground is warmer, usually in mid to late May. For these warm-season crops, it’s best to plant transplants from the garden center, or start seeds indoors. | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


Feature Task: Clean up winter damage in your garden Months of little to no attention paid to the garden have probably created a substantial list of things to do. Once the piles of snow have melted, it’s time to begin, while being careful not to step on wet soil. Start with an initial walk around, inspecting areas and plants and making note of what needs to be done. Remove large branches that may have fallen on the lawn or garden beds. Cut or break them into smaller pieces, either for use in the fireplace, fire pit, or curbside recycling. Check garden beds and reposition any frost-heaved plants. Cut down perennials that were left up for winter interest. Prune branches that have died or become damaged over the winter. Prune crossing branches, rubbing branches, sucker shoots, or water sprouts. Do not prune maple trees; wait until the fall. Prune shrubs that bloom on new growth (i.e. later in the year), but don’t prune any spring bloomers, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, or lilacs— you’ll cut off the blossoms!

Trees & Shrubs • Apply a slow-release organic fertilizer to trees and shrubs throughout the garden. • For tender shrubs like hydrangeas and butterfly bush, wait until leaves emerge before pruning. You will better see where winter dieback occurred and be able to remove any dead branches. • Spring-flowering shrubs like azaleas and lilacs should pruned after they’ve finished blooming and before the 4th of July. Prune summer-flowering shrubs like spirea, potentilla, and rose of Sharon before the foliage emerges. Annual pruning promotes new growth and flowering.

Remove winter protection from garden beds and plants. Check ornamental trees and shrubs for animal browsing. Reapply repellents as necessary. Rake the lawn, removing any fallen leaves or debris. Clear out leaves from garden beds, or leave them to naturally decompose and provide nutrients to the soil. Re-cut bed edges and apply a top dressing of mulch. Mulching is an important ritual for a great landscape. It helps retain moisture, keep weeds down, and gives the landscape a finished appearance. It’s easiest to apply mulch before the perennials come up. This way you won’t damage the plants or have to “dust them off.” Make sure mulch is not more than 4 inches thick. You might need to just turn over existing mulch to enhance the color, and give beds a fresh look. Be sure to remove any weeds that overwintered. Start early before the weather warms up too much and new ones start to appear.

growing. The steps should be applied at 6 to 8-week intervals, usually around the holidays: Easter (Step 1), Memorial Day (Step 2), 4th of July (Step 3), and Labor Day (Step 4).

Houseplants • It’s a bit early to take plants outside, but they’ll enjoy the longer days of spring. Start fertilizing plants monthly and be observant as their water requirements change with the season and the temperature and humidity in your home. Provided by the professionals at English Gardens.

Evergreens • Prune any obvious winter damage. All damage may not yet be visible, so continue to prune as other damage reveals itself. Fertilize evergreens with an organic fertilizer.

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• Mow with a sharp blade to prevent bruised, ragged leaf tips. Remove only one-third of the leaf blade at a time. Avoid mowing when grass is wet. • There are three keys to a healthy lawn: fertilizer, water, and proper mowing. The easiest way to fertilize is a four-step approach with granular products specifically formulated for seasonal application. Step 1 should be applied this month before the forsythias finish blooming. This will prevent crabgrass from


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |



Ball Horticultural Company

These Divine New Guinea impatiens are seed-grown, which makes them one of the more costeffective replacements for regular impatiens.

A new disease has swept across the country and promises to change the way many of us will garden this year. Impatiens downy mildew has found a way to dethrone the most popular bedding plant in the U.S. Downy mildew first appeared in England around the beginning of the 21st century. It showed up in California in 2004 and limited areas of the South in 2009. Here in Michigan in 2012, impatiens that were thriving one week were defoliated and nearly dead a week later. Regular, seed-grown impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) are the victims of this rampant disease. In the early phase, the leaves yellow and curl. If you turn the leaves over, you will clearly see the downy mildew George (white powdery spores) on the underside. In the late phase, Papadelis plants completely defoliate within a couple weeks. The disease produces spores that can move in the air and overwinter in the soil. Even if you didn’t have downy mildew last year, it is very likely that you will have it this year. Growers can apply specialized fungicides that will protect impatiens for up to 6 weeks, but there is no cure once the plants are infected. It is unpractical for the home gardener to try treating the disease since these chemicals need to be applied frequently by a certified applicator. Many commercial growers have chosen not to offer regular or double impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) this season. The good news is that we have so many great alternatives, including New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), that can perform beautifully where we used to grow regular impatiens. We will discuss many alternatives in this special three-part series. Explore the first part below and you’ll see that this disease has created an opportunity for gardeners to try several interesting and potentially rewarding candidates.

Part 1 of 3 Impatiens

Ball Horticultural Company

Divine series New Guinea impatiens

New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) and their relatives are not susceptible to the impatiens downy mildew. We have 3 basic types of impatiens that we can still grow: Traditional New Guinea impatiens are grown from cuttings (i.e. vegetatively propagated). This type of impatiens will thrive in partial sun locations. In full shade, they will flower sparingly. In full sun, they will flower more heavily, but they will also require frequent watering in hot, dry weather. These are commonly sold in hanging baskets but they are also readily available in 4-inch pots. Some growers will be offering them in flats of 18 this spring. Plant these on 10- to 14-inch centers for good coverage in bedding applications. They come in an infinite range of colors. Like regular impatiens, they are selfcleaning and low maintenance. Divine New Guinea impatiens are seed-

grown New Guinea impatiens. Why does that matter? They are the only impatiens that might be available this spring at the lower cost of traditional impatiens. They perform similar to traditional New Guinea impatiens but perhaps with slightly less vigor. They grow 10 to 14 inches tall and can spread 12 to 14 inches. There are currently 6 individual colors and 5 different mixes. More colors will be available in 2014. SunPatiens are hybrids of traditional New Guinea impatiens with extraordinarily heattolerant leaves, petals, and root systems. The SunPatiens family consists of 3 distinct series. The Compact series (10 varieties) can grow 24 to 36 inches tall in beds or 18 to 24 inches tall in containers. Just like regular impatiens, more water and fertilizer will increase height. SunPatiens’ vigor is a bonus since fewer plants can be planted per square foot, and continued on page 16


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

continued from page 14 therefore less labor is required for the installation. These can be planted 14 to 20 inches apart to create floriferous, mass displays in either sun or shade. The Vigorous series (8 varieties) can grow 36 to 48 inches tall and equally wide. They are not recommended for containers. The Spreading series (5 varieties) can grow 30 to 40 inches tall and 32 to 36 inches wide in the garden. This one is a good choice for larger containers. SunPatiens are typically available in 4- to 6-inch pots, but some growers will be offering them in more economical flats. In terms of performance, SunPatiens are arguably the most effective impatiens replacement if your site can accommodate taller plants. Nicotiana (tobacco flower) prefers full to part sun but will also tolerate shade. These produce clusters of small, petunia-like flowers in colors including white, pink, purple, green, rose, and red. They are especially fragrant at night and are often considered one of the most desirable hummingbird plants. The ‘Perfume’ series has received several awards, boasts a broad color range, and produces relatively large flowers on plants growing 18 to 24 inches tall. The ‘Whisper’ series has even better heat tolerance, with flowers in pink shades growing 24 to 36 inches tall. The tall white nicotiana (Nicotiana sylvestris, 3 to 4 feet tall) and the tall lime-green nicotiana (Nicotiana langsdorffii) are great additions to annual or perennial beds. continued on page 18

SunPatiens Spreading Salmon

SunPatiens Compact Orange

A mix of colors in the SunPatiens Vigorous series.

Nicotiana langsdorffii

National Garden Bureau

Nicotiana sylvestris

SunPatiens Vigorous Magenta


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

Ball Horticultural Company

‘Lara White’ cup flower (Nierembergia)

George Papadelis

The smoky leaves of the fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister’ take center stage in this container planting that also contains phormium ‘Black Adder,’ coleus ‘Fireball,’ and golden creeping Jenny.

Ball Horticultural Company

‘Lara Blue’ cup flower (Nierembergia) continued from page 16 Nierembergia (cup flower) is one of my favorite underused annuals, and is wonderful in pots or beds. It will grow in full sun or shade and produces a spreading mound of white or blue, upward-facing, “cup”-shaped flowers with tiny yellow centers. It requires no deadheading and has great heat tolerance. The best nierembergia is the ‘Lara’ series, which has ‘Lara White’ and ‘Lara Blue.’ They are propagated vegetatively and thus are typi-

Skagit Gardens

‘Firecracker’ cally sold in pots. They grow 8 to 10 inches tall and about the same width. Fuchsia. Most gardeners think of hanging plants when they think of fuchsias. There are hundreds of wonderful fuchsias that thrive in lower light conditions and cascade beautifully in hanging baskets or patio planters. But there are a few bedding type fuchsias whose upright growth habit makes them ideal for use in beds as well—in either shade or sun. The most common upright fuchsia is ‘Gartenmeister,’ which usually grows 2 to 3 feet

tall. Its purple-veined, reddish-brown leaves are beautiful and the orange, tubular flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. ‘Firecracker’ has tricolored leaves of pink to violet, green, and white with orange tubular flowers. It is fantastic all by itself but looks great with other companions. It is less vigorous than ‘Gartenmeister.’ ‘City Lights’ and ‘Electric Lights’ are award-winning, upright growers that flower in sun or shade all summer long. The ‘Lights’ series grows to about 2 feet tall and is very underused.

There are other upright fuchsias currently available, but these 4 cultivars have proved to offer the best performance in perennial beds, annual plantings, and containers. George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI. Editor’s note: Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of “Impatiens Alternatives” in the May and June 2013 issues, which will include begonias, coleus, and more.

2013 Elizabeth Sites Kuhlman Lecture


We help gardeners become professionals. Join us and we will show you how to make a living doing what you are passionate about!

by Jim Johnson

Based on the Curatorial Collections at the DIA, Jim will creatively interpret our Museum through floral arrangements. Lecture and Demonstration, Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Lecture & Floral Design Demonstration: $25.00 Luncheon, Rivera Court: $25.00 (optional) Doors open at 10 a.m. - Program 10:30 a.m. Luncheon to follow

Upcoming meeting:

High Impact Annuals, Including Impatiens Alternatives Wednesday, April 17, 6-9pm telly’s greenhouse: 3301 John R., troy, mi 48083

Tickets will go on sale March 1 for this sure to be sold-out event.

This presentation is developed for the professional gardener. George Papadelis, owner of Telly’s Greenhouse, will focus on introducing both new & old varieties of maximum performance annuals. George will also offer many suggestions for impatiens alternatives.

Sponsored by the Friends of Art & Flowers at The Detroit Institute of Arts 5200 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48202 Valet parking available at Farnsworth Street (south) entrance

Guest fee: $10. Please contact us for more information about our substantive lectures and programs, as well as membership. Web: Email: Phone: Sue Grubba at 248-375-9233



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Uncle Luke’s featuring


Soil amendments & Fertilizers t


Advertiser Index Abbott’s Landscape Nursery......................26 Abele Greenhouse & Gard Ctr....................15 Aguafina Gardens International................30 Arrowhead Alpines...........................................10 Assoc. of Professional Gardeners..............19 Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr.....................................13 Barson’s Greenhouse.......................................17 Beauchamp Lawn & Landscape..................11 Blossoms................................................................12 Bogie Lake Greenhouses................................31 Bonide.....................................Inside Back Cover Bordine’s....................................................... Page 3 Campbell’s Greenhouses.................................8 Contender’s Tree/Lawn Specialists.........21 Cranbrook House & Gardens......................25 Detroit Garden Works.......................................9 DIA Friends of Art & Flowers.......................19

English Gardens................Inside Front Cover Flower Day...........................................................30 The Flower Market...........................................25 Fraleigh’s Landscape Nursery.......................8 The Garden Company.....................................17 The Garden Mill..................................................12 Garden Rhythms..................................................6 A Garden Space.................................................27 Heavenly Scent Herb Farm...........................10 Hidden Lake Gardens.....................................25 Howell Farmer’s Market................................27 Huron River Watershed Council..................9 Matthaei Botanical Gardens.......................23 Meier Flowerland...............................................21 Michigan Nursery/Landscp Assoc...........15 Mike’s Tree Surgeons..............................23, 26 Milarch Nursery................................................27 Nature’s Garden Ctr............................................6 Organimax............................................................31 Orion Stone Depot...........................................27

Osmocote................................................................7 Piechnik’s Greenhouse.....................................11 Plantskydd............................................................24 Plymouth Nursery...............................................9 The Pond Source................................................15 Proven Winners Color Choice.......................5 Rice’s Garden Ornaments............................20 Sage Advice Nursery........................................13 Schuman Landscape Lighting.....................20 Specialty Growers.............................................17 State Crushing....................................................24 Sun Gro Horticulture.......................................27 Telly’s Greenhouse..............................................4 Thompson Everett Gard Services..............12 Tropical Treasures...............................................8 Tuthill Farms & Composting........................26 Uncle Luke’s Feed Store..................................19 The Weed Lady...................................................21 Wiegand’s Nursery...........................................17 Wildtype Native Plant Nursery...................13

t t

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MI Gardener 2005_1-4 pg


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

Look for H Denotes Michigan Gardener advertiser Allen Park • ACO Hardware Almont • American Tree Ann Arbor H Abbott’s Landscp Nurs • Ace Barnes Hardware • Downtown Home & Gard H English Gardens • HillTop Greenhse & Farms • Larry’s Mower Shop • Lodi Farms H Matthaei Botanical Gard H The Produce Station • Turner’s Greenhse/ Gard Ctr • Wild Bird Ctr • Wild Birds Unltd Auburn Hills • ACO Hardware • Drake’s Nurs H Haley Stone H Oakland Community College H State Crushing Belleville • Banotai Greenhse • Gardeners Choice • Hollow’s Landscp Supp • Pinter Flowerland • Zywicki Greenhse Berkley • Garden Central Birmingham • ACO Hardware H Blossoms • MT Hunter • Neighborhood Hardware H Plant Station • Watch Hill Antiques Bloomfield Hills • ACE Hardware • Coastal Outdoor Living Space Brighton H Beauchamp Landscp Supp H Bordine’s • Main’s Landscp Supp H Meier Flowerland Brownstown Twp • Ruhlig Farms & Gard Canton • Canton Floral Gardens • Clink Landscp & Nurs • Crimboli Nurs • Keller & Stein Greenhse H Wild Birds Unltd Chelsea • Heim Gardens & Florist H The Garden Mill • The Potting Shed Chesterfield • Van Thomme’s Greenhses Clarkston • ACE Hardware • ACO Hardware H Bordine’s • Country Oaks Landscp Supp I • Lowrie’s Landscp • The Birdfeeder

at these fine locations: H The Pond Source • Weingartz Clawson • ACO Hardware Clinton Twp • ACO Hardware H English Gardens • Michigan Koi • MSU ExtensionMacomb Cty H Tropical Treasures Clio H Piechnik’s Greenhse Commerce Twp • Backyard Birds @ ACE Hardware • Zoner’s Greenhse Davison H Wojo’s Garden Splendors Dearborn • ACO Hardware • Fairlane Gard Dearborn Hts • ACO Hardware H English Gardens Detroit H Detroit Farm & Gard • Detroit Gard Ctr Dexter • Bloom Gard Ctr H Fraleigh’s Nurs Eastpointe H English Gardens Farmington • ACO Hardware Farmington Hills • ACO Hardware • Farmer John’s Greenhse • Saxton’s Flower Ctr H Steinkopf Nurs • Weingartz Fenton H Gerych’s H Heavenly Scent Herb Farm Ferndale • Casual Modes Home & Gard Fostoria H Iron Barn Iron Work Fowlerville H Arrowhead Alpines Gladwin H Stone Cottage Gardens Grand Blanc H Bordine’s H The Weed Lady Grand Rapids • Meijer Gardens Grosse Ile H Westcroft Gardens Grosse Pointe • ACE Hardware • Allemon’s Landscp Ctr • Meldrum & Smith Nurs Grosse Pointe Shores H Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Grosse Pointe Woods H Wild Birds Unltd Hadley H Le Fleur Décor Hartland H Deneweth’s Gard Ctr Haslett H Van Atta’s Greenhse

Highland • ACO Hardware • Colasanti’s Produce & Plants H Fragments Holly H Rice’s Garden Ornaments Howell H Howell Farmer’s Mkt • Penrose Nurs H Specialty Growers Imlay City • Earthly Arts Lake Orion • Lake Orion Lawn Ornaments H Orion Stone Depot H Wojo’s of Lake Orion Leonard H Yule Love It Lavender Farm Livonia • ACO Hardware (5 Mi/ Middlebelt) • ACO Hardware (6 Mi/ Newburgh) • Bushel Mart • Superior Growers Supp Macomb • ACO Hardware • Altermatt’s Greenhse • Boyka’s Greenhse H Deneweth’s Gard Ctr • Elya’s Village Gard • Landscape Source • Manthey’s Greenhses • Olejnik Farms H Wiegand’s Nursery Madison Hts • Green Carpet Sod Midland • Dow Gardens Milford • ACO Hardware • Milford Gardens • One Stop Landscp Supp H The Pond Place Monroe H The Flower Market New Baltimore • Meldrum Bros Nurs New Boston H Gorham & Sons Nurs • Grass Roots Nurs • Mums the Word New Hudson H Milarch Nurs North Branch H Campbell’s Greenhses • Oldani Landscp Nurs Northville • Begonia Bros • Begonia Bros H Gardenviews Novi • ACO Hardware H Dinser’s • Glenda’s Gard Ctr • Tollgate Education Ctr H Wild Birds Unltd Oak Park • Four Seasons Gard Ctr Ortonville • Country Oaks Landscp Supp II H Wojo’s Greenhse Owosso H Everlastings in the Wildwood

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Spruce Needle Cast is rampant in our area…

Annuals Vegetable & Herb Plants



William Jacobi, Colorado State University,


Needle Cast is usually first noticed on lower branches and then works upward slowly. Second-year needles turn a purple or brown color and eventually fall from the tree. After several years of needle loss branches may die. In general, trees appear to die from the bottom upward. In some cases, however, infections start higher on the tree, giving the appearance of scattered dead areas. Another characteristic of needle cast is the microscopic rows of small black dots that displace the normally white spots (stomata) along the length of the underside of needles. If you suspect your tree is infected, call Contender’s as soon as possible. We are experts in diagnosing and treating Needle Cast.

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

perennial perspectives Something old, something new – a comparison of new cultivars with the tried-and-true Foamflower (Tiarella) With their demure white or pink flowers and distinctive foliage, foamflowers, once known only to native plant enthusiasts, have taken their place alongside popular plants like coral bells and ferns as favorite shade perennials. When I first started growing perennials in the 1970s, there were only two forms of foamflower commonly available to gardeners. They were referred to as Tiarella cordifolia and Tiarella wherryi, the first being a running, groundcovering form, and the latter having a clumping habit. Sorting out the differences in the genus has kept botanists busy Karen for decades, and there Bovio is still much confusion about the native Eastern U.S. tiarella species, forms, and varieties. The consensus now is that the correct name for the common running or Allegheny foamflower is T. cordifolia var. cordifolia, and the clumping type formerly known as T. wherryi should be called T. cordifolia var. collina Wherry, in honor of botanist and mineralogist Edgar Wherry. This form differs from T. cordifolia var. collina in that the Wherry form has lightly hairy, matte-textured foliage while the var. collina has glossy foliage. However, it is still commonplace to see these three Tiarella cordifolia forms referred to as though they were distinct species. Regardless of nomenclature, the original native foamflowers are beautiful and useful plants for the woodland garden. Because T. cordifolia is so variable in natural populations, the first horticultural varieties were selections from the wild, chosen for more pronounced burgundy blotches or striations, more floriferous habit, deeper pink flower color, or unusual leaf shapes (dissected, as opposed to the simple maple-leaf shape). Examples include ‘Brandywine’ and ‘Slick Rock,’ two running forms of T. cordifolia var. cordifolia, and ‘Oakleaf,’ a dissected-leaf selection from T. cordifolia var. collina Wherry. These varieties are still widely available and used in gardens today. Early hybrids made during the 1980s utilized T. cordifolia in all of its forms and variations. When the Western species T. trifoliata and its variants were added to the mix, the resulting gene pool was so large that a literal explosion of new hybrids emerged. Thanks to plant breeders Charles Oliver from the Primrose Path, Dan Heims from Terra Nova, and



‘Sugar and Spice’

‘Spring Symphony’

botanists/nurserymen like Sinclair Adam and Don Jacobs, scores of varieties are now available to gardeners—a far cry from the “running versus clumping” categories available to me as a new gardener in the 1970s.

forms can be found anywhere from Nova Scotia south to Georgia, and west to Wisconsin, with T. cordifolia var. cordifolia having the widest distribution. The collina and Wherry forms are native to the more southern range, but their hybrids have proven hardy and longlived over most of the Eastern, Midwestern, and Northwestern states. Foamflowers prefer moist but well-drained soils and are not well-suited to arid regions or sites with drying winds. They are more tolerant of high humidity than their cousins, coral bells (Heucheras), which makes them an ex-

Foamflowers today

Foamflowers now run the gamut from lush groundcovering forms, to small rock gardensized plants, to big brightly-colored glossyleafed specimens. There’s a tiarella for any gardener, and for any shaded to semi-shaded garden. In nature, the original species and

cellent choice for Midwestern and Southern gardens. It is hard to pick favorites among the many foamflower hybrids available, but you should first decide if you want a running or clumping habit. Among the running types, the American Trail series from Terra Nova and the River Series from Sinclair Adam are some of the best in the business. Look for names like ‘Appalachian Trail,’ ‘Oregon Trail,’ and ‘Cascade Creeper’ from the Terra Nova group. Plants in the River Series were named after rivers in | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


Matthaei Botanical Gardens

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1 APRIL 14: GREAT LAKES GARDENS OPENING Join us in celebrating the Great Lakes’ natural heritage, and visit throughout the year as the Great Lakes Gardens evolve with plantings of native orchids, ferns, wildflowers, and more. Opening day includes guided tours. Rain or shine. 2 PM.

‘Appalachian Trail’ the breeder’s native Pennsylvania and include ‘Susquehanna,’ ‘Delaware,’ ‘Lehigh,’ and the earlier selection ‘Brandywine.’ Choosing clumping foamflowers is perhaps harder because nearly all of the new hybrids feature fancy foliage: scalloped, lobed, dissected, marked with burgundy, and sometimes with excellent fall color. Plus they have larger, more profuse flowers that are more pink in many cases. You simply can’t go wrong with ‘Sugar and Spice,’ ‘Spring Symphony,’ ‘Pink Skyrocket,’ or ‘Candy Striper.’ There are some varieties, such as the beau-

tiful and extra long-blooming ‘Elizabeth Oliver,’ that are intermediate between the two growth habits. They produce a few short runners in late summer each year, resulting in a slowly spreading clump as years go by. Tiarella is a genus that has come a long way in my 30-plus years of gardening. If you are a shade gardener, you owe it to yourself to try some of these delightful plants in your garden this year! Karen Bovio is the owner of Specialty Growers in Howell, MI.

1 APRIL 20 & 21: ANN ARBOR ORCHID SOCIETY FESTIVAL Celebrating the Society’s 20th anniversary. With tropical and hardy orchids for sale and on display, orchid raffle, orchid-growing supplies, and related items. Also, free educational talks, photo opps, demonstrations both days, and more. Sat. & Sun., 10 am-4:30. U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens: display gardens, natural areas, children’s garden, year-round conservatory, wedding venues, education programs, gift shop, meeting spaces, and more.

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants, An Illustrated Guide by Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz Midwestern gardeners and landscapers are becoming increasingly attracted to noninvasive, regional, native wildflowers and plants. The Midwestern Native Garden (Ohio University Press, 268 pages, $26.95) offers viable alternatives to both amateurs and professionals, whether they are considering adding a few native plants or intending to go native all the way. The authors provide a comprehensive selection of native alternatives that look similar or even identical to a range of nonnative ornamentals. These are native plants that are suitable for all garden styles, bloom during the same season, and have the same cultivation requirements as their nonnative counterparts. Plant entries are accompanied by nature notes that describe the specific birds and butterflies the native plants attract. This book will be a welcome guide to gardeners whose styles range from formal to naturalistic but who want to create an authentic sense of place with regional natives.

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Fast, Fresh Garden Edibles (Creative Homeowner, 176 pages, $14.95) sets out to solve two problems for many home gardeners. It shows those gardeners without large yards how to grow vegetables in the smallest of spaces, including turning a small, mostly paved courtyard into a bountiful garden and how to make use of window boxes, containers, and hanging baskets to produce healthy and tasty fresh vegetables. And for those who want results without waiting all summer to start harvesting, this resource provides planting and growing techniques that help produce vegetables quickly. In addition, the book focuses on those vegetables that are known for short growing seasons. The author provides sound advice for sowing, growing, and harvesting techniques. Over 270 photographs help the reader determine where they can grow a garden, how to get ready to plant, and how to pick the best vegetables for their space. A gardener without much space will appreciate the wide variety of ideas and inspiration offered.

Concrete Garden Projects: Easy & Inexpensive Containers, Furniture, Water Features & More by Malin Nilsson & Camilla Arvidsson Concrete features add style and sophistication to a space, but the price tags can be discouraging. One solution is to make your own concrete projects. Concrete Garden Projects (Timber Press, 132 pages, $19.95) provides a variety of ideas for durable and weatherproof fixtures that add year-round interest to a garden. The book offers detailed instructions for stepping stones, large planters, tea light votive holders, benches, miniature ponds, birdbaths, and more. The authors also provide ideas for expressing your own personal style through your garden art by adding color and artistic qualities. The first section of the book showcases many photos of projects you can make. Next are instructions on how to work with concrete and make specific shapes and containers. Some additional creative ideas are offered, including guardian angels, flowery cakes, natural leaf and plant impressions, and functional items as well, such as shoe scrapers and address numbers. | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


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Precipitation February 2013

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Monthly 2.02 1.48 1.47

Actual Monthly 2.83 1.56 1.78

February 2012 Deviation from Normal +0.81 +0.08 +0.31

2013 Year to Date: Jan 1 - Feb 28

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Yr. to Date 3.98 3.11 3.12

Actual Yr. to Date 6.28 5.46 5.22


Monthly 2.02 1.48 1.47

Actual Monthly 1.91 1.84 1.59

Deviation from Normal -0.11 +0.36 +0.12

2012 Year Total: Jan 1 - Dec 31

Deviation from Normal +2.30 +2.35 +2.10

Normal Yr. to Date 33.47 31.37 31.77

Actual Yr. to Date 29.12 30.85 28.41

Deviation from Normal -4.35 -0.52 -3.36

Temperature February 2013

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February 2012

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. High 35.2 32.8 32.6

ACTUAL Avg. High 33.4 32.7 31.9

Deviation from Normal -1.8 -0.1 -0.7

ormal N Avg. High 35.2 32.8 32.6

ACTUAL Avg. High 39.3 38.1 37.7

Deviation from Normal +4.1 +5.3 +5.1

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. Low 21.0 16.9 15.4

ACTUAL Avg. Low 21.0 16.9 17.5

Deviation from Normal 0.0 0.0 +2.1

Normal Avg. Low 21.0 16.9 15.4

ACTUAL Avg. Low 25.9 23.9 23.4

Deviation from Normal +4.9 +7.0 +8.0

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Data courtesy National Weather Service


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

tree tips Lightning and how it affects trees


hey say it rarely strikes twice in the same spot, but I’m sure there are some big, mature trees that will argue differently. Lightning strikes the earth millions of times each year, and trees are one of the favorite targets. The right tree in the wrong spot might be hit more than once in its lifetime. While it is impossible to predict where and when lightning will hit, there are some factors that can increase the likelihood of it hitting your tree. Height, species, and location all come into play. Lightning takes the path of least resistance. If a tall object that is more conductive than air comes into its path, it will jump to it in an effort to reach the ground faster. While wood itself is not more conductive than air, the water in the vascular system of live trees is. Plus, when there is lightning, there is most likely rain. Even the water on the outside of a tree can be a draw. So, in theory, a large tree on a hill, a solitary tree in a field, or the tallest tree in a group will be the most prone to a strike. Other scenarios that increase the odds are

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trees over water, metal buildings, or Steve metal roofs. Open water, including Turner pools and ponds, is more of a draw than trees, but if a tree happens to be in the way, it will probably get hit as well. The last factor to consider is a tall tree’s proximity to structures. If a tree is nearby and gets hit, the lightning can jump to the building as well. The general rule is 25 feet or closer can be affected from the energy entering the wet soil around the tree. Tall trees like pines and spruces are often struck, as well as trees common in open areas like oaks and cottonwoods. In my experience, cottonwoods seem to be one of the most hit trees in our area. The combination of their size and water-holding capacity seems to make them a good target.

The effects of lightning So what happens when many millions of volts of electricity hit a tree, instantly creating temperatures over 50,000 degrees? One of three things.

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The worst-case scenario is that the intense heat causes any cell with water in it to turn to steam and explode. The more water, the greater the explosion and damage. This is where decay and cavities come into importance. The tree’s interior heartwood is dead and normally contains little moisture. If, however, the wood is compromised with decay, it can be waterlogged and a prime site to attract lightning or be the fuel for an explosion if the tree gets hit. The second, and most common, scenario is when a strip of bark is blown off the tree from the point of contact all the way down the trunk to the roots or soil. The energy might stay just in the cambium layer and peel the bark, or it can cause fractures in the wood from the outside inward and, in severe cases, split the tree in half. The third, and best result you can hope for, is that there is lots of rain and the energy never enters the tree but instead travels down the wet bark and causes no or minimal damage.

The aftermath The aftereffects can be as varied as the initial strike, but they can be summarized in two parts: health and structure. The strike can kill all or part of the tree instantly, or it can happen slowly over the rest of the growing season. The general rule of thumb is to wait to assess the tree the next spring after it leafs out, to survey the full extent of the damage. It will be difficult to determine right away how extensive any root damage may have been. As for structure, we want to make sure the tree is still stable and can support itself. The trunk and main scaffold branches should be carefully inspected for cracks. Their depth into the wood will be considered in determining the potential for failure. After deter-

mining what can stay and what has to be removed, you can decide if the remaining tree is still a viable asset or should just be removed. After assessing the structure, keep in mind that we still have to see what the health impacts will be to the tree. Structurally sound branches might still die and require more work in the future, so it is advisable to just remove the damaged, dangerous portions of the tree at first and wait until the next season to do a final trimming. There is no need to spend a lot of money on a tree that might not survive until you know the final outcome and can make an informed decision.

Protecting trees So is there anything you can do to reduce your tree’s lightning risk? Yes. Just like tall buildings are fitted with lightning protection, trees can be too. Although it is not inexpensive or easy, it does work. The laborious process includes stringing solid copper wire throughout the tree, attaching it to metal rods fitted at the tips of branches, running the copper wire down the trunk to the ground, burying the wire in a trench away from the tree, and then connecting it to a metal rod where the energy will disperse safely into the earth. This is mostly done on heritage and historical trees, or on other trees of high value, but it can also be used for trees in close proximity to a house or a specimen tree that is a focal point of the landscape. It is a wise decision to have any tree struck by lightning inspected by an arborist to ensure there are no hidden dangers and to establish a health program that includes a watering schedule to help give the tree the best chance for recovery. Steve Turner, Certified Arborist, is from Arboricultural Services in Fenton, MI.

Lightning strikes are a reminder of nature’s power

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The worst lightning strike I have seen was a huge white oak between two houses that were both occupied at the time. I lived about a quarter mile from the tree and actually heard the strike that night like it was right next door. When I got the call to come out and see it the next day, I was amazed to see the entire top half of the oak upside down on the front lawn, without so much as a torn shingle on either house! Neighbors were coming over, bringing small pieces of wood and bark that had blown hundreds of feet away to their yards way down the block. I stood there in awe trying to imagine the force necessary to blow apart such a massive portion of this tree and throw it 30 feet out onto the lawn. It was an eye-opening lesson in nature’s power. There were three people inside the homes directly under the canopy—two were sleeping in bedrooms and one was watching TV in a sunroom next to the tree. Miraculously, nobody even got a scratch. The remaining portion of the tree was still sound, so we just cleaned up the damaged areas. As far as I know, that tree is still standing 15 years later, albeit much shorter.


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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

uncommonly beautiful

clematis Different than the usual hybrid varieties, consider these easy-to-prune clematis for your garden


ention “clematis” and most gardeners will call to mind their favorite large-flowering hybrid variety, gorgeous flowers and all. Their second thought will probably relate to the pruning confusion seemingly inherent to this genus: When to prune and how much? Then there would be the last thought—what about disease resistance? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were clematis that were reliable, begged off the pruning question, and didn’t suffer from clematis wilt? Well, there are. Known as “herbaceous erect” types, cultivars of Clematis integrifolia and C. heracleifolia could not be easier to maintain. They also introduce some Cheryl less common but uncommonly hardy plants to your English perennial garden. The term “herbaceous erect” is derived from the fact that these plants die back completely, in most cases, with all or most of the viable new growth coming from an increasingly larger woody crown. Few C. integrifolia varieties and none of the C. heracleifolia cultivars “vine” the way most clematis do, by using their leaf stems to wind around a support, be it another plant, a trellis, or other structure. What makes these plants so garden worthy? Well, first and foremost, they are probably the easiest clematis to prune. Virtually all new growth comes from the crown, making it easy to just prune out last year’s growth come spring. Additionally, C. integrifolia varieties are known for their long bloom periods, with maturing seed heads often appearing in concert with blossoming flowers and developing buds. C. heracleifolia cultivars tend to look their best late in the season, when the garden is starting to get a bit bare of flowering beauties. Because new growth comes from the crown, whether they are pruned or not, these plants don’t suffer from the “bare

legs” syndrome associated with some clematis. They successfully fill the lower levels of the garden, often serving as small to rather sizable sub-shrubs. C. integrifolia (and the largest C. heracleifolia) varieties may be allowed to sprawl as a groundcover, mixing comfortably with neighboring plants, or they can be encouraged upward by training them through an obelisk. All are also quite hardy, thriving in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. Their very “unusualness” makes for an arresting focal point in the garden—especially C. heracleifolia varieties, as they look so little like the clematis with which most gardeners are familiar. If you let these plants sprawl, remember that their reported height translates into twice that in diameter along the ground. As with most clematis species, the flower colors found in C. integrifolia tend to be in the white-bluepurple-pink range. This species, native to central and Eastern Europe, was introduced into cultivation in Britain in 1573 and the Latin name refers to the fact that the leaves are “entire,” or have a smooth, unbroken margin. Ranging in height from 2 to 6 feet, I have allowed the shorter varieties to sprawl through groundcovers. The stems pop up to bear their flowers, which start out by rising straight up from their stems, only to tip over and form a lovely bell as they open. The relatively small scale of these plants also makes them suitable for container cultivation; just be careful not to crowd them since, like all clematis, they are heavy feeders. Some varieties are touted as being fragrant. C. heracleifolia flowers occur exclusively in tones of blue or purple, occur in small clusters (unlike most other clematis species, in which the flowers are borne singly), and look very much like the blossoms found on flowering hyacinths. Named for their leaves’ resemblance to those of cow parsnip (Herac-

leum maximum), a much larger plant native to North America, many C. heracleifolia varieties are also relatively fragrant—another plus for the species. Don’t be put off by the smaller size of the flowers in these varieties—most are so floriferous that they more than make up for the scale of their individual blossoms! a P h oto g r a p h s by D o n S c h u lt e

Cheryl M. English owns Black Cat Pottery and gardens professionally in Detroit, MI. As an Advanced Master Gardener and Master Composter, she speaks on numerous gardening topics. Working in a typical urban lot with over 50 varieties of Clematis and almost 200 species of native plants, she opens her garden to the public twice a year. She also hosts an annual Clematis Pruning Workshop (April 27 for 2013). Contact Cheryl to speak at your next meeting or event: cenglish@blackcatpottery. com. Follow Cheryl’s blog at and follow along at Don Schulte is an avid gardener and enjoys interpreting Michigan wildflowers and other garden favorites through his photography. His work with advertising and corporate photography has spanned three decades. Don and Cheryl have been working together to document the Clematis, other traditional garden favorites, and dozens of native plants in her garden since 2007. See more of his work at various locations around Michigan, at NotableGreetings. com and | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener

Choose the perfect clematis for your garden C. integrifolia ‘Alionushka.’ Easily topping 5 to 6 feet once it settles in, this is a plant that genuinely benefits from a tall obelisk to show it off to best advantage. Some growth may appear on the previous year’s stems, but cut everything back to encourage new, vigorous growth in the spring. C. integrifolia ‘Blue Boy.’ Although sources describe this plant as reaching as much as 5 to 6 feet, it’s always been a manageable two feet in my front yard. Tepals (segments of the flower’s outer whorl) are mid-blue with a silvery sheen, complemented by white filaments and yellow anthers. I really enjoyed how this plant would pop up in my pachysandra when I was using that plant as a groundcover. C. integrifolia Gazelle. Developed by prolific clematis hybridizer Raymond Evison and made available to the trade in 2003, Gazelle is a large, vigorous plant, topping out close to five feet. The numerous pure white, nodding flowers give way to showy, persistent seed heads. Said to be fragrant, I have never been able to detect any scent on the plant in my garden. C. integrifolia ‘Hakurei’ is another near white selection, introduced from Japan. C. heracleifolia Alan Bloom (’Alblo’). This rugged clematis works well as part of a mixed border or as a specimen in a large container. If content in its aspect, it can throw off numerous babies, which can either spread into a sizable colony or be relatively easily dug out (and gifted to a favored gardening friend). One of the most richly-colored of the heracleifolias, the flowers start out dark blue and become more mauve with time. C. heracleifolia ‘China Purple.’ A smaller variety of C. heracleifolia quite suited to the front of the border despite claims to the contrary, it has never reached more than two feet in my garden. Makes a great late season companion for Flore Pleno poppy (Papaver atlanticum ‘Flore Pleno’), the mid-blue perfectly complementing the poppy’s orangesicle warmth. C. heracleifolia ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon.’ A true giant amongst the herbaceous clematis, this plant is the undeniable star of my front yard. Everyone wants to know what it is, which is why I encourage it to grow through a small obelisk near the front of the border, where it then cascades through a mixed planting of great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and beard tongue (Penstemon digitalis). The flowers are tiny but so numerous that the plant more than holds its own with its native companions. The inviting mock-orange scent only adds to its lateseason allure. A reliable show-stopper. Don’t be afraid to prune her down to the ground; she reliably returns in all her glory every year.

C. heracleifolia var. davidiana. Sporting icier blooms than the species proper, this variation is quite fragrant, so much so that the leaves emit scent as the plant goes dormant in the autumn. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, so you may not get seed as you do with other varieties of C. heracleifolia. Produces the strongest scent in a sunny aspect. C. x ‘Rooguchi.’ A hybrid of C. integrifolia and C. crispa, C. x ‘Rooguchi’ takes its vining habit from its C. crispa parent. Lovely purple bells are borne through most of the summer. Its vigorous but loose habit makes it a lovely companion grown through roses or smaller hydrangeas. Unlike either parent, it is prone to powdery mildew, so plant it in a well-ventilated area. C. x ‘Durandii.’ A hybrid of C. integrifolia and hybrid favorite C. x ‘Jackmanii,’ ‘Durandii’ takes its habit from its non-vining C. integrifolia parent. A 19th-century introduction, this is a hardy, strong-growing plant with single, semi-nodding, indigo flowers that open flat. Composed of six tepals, the flowers are complemented by a lovely tuft of golden yellow anthers in the center. Its long bloom period makes it an excellent addition to any garden.

Clematis integrifolia ‘Blue Boy’

Clematis heracleifolia ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’

Clematis integrifolia ‘Alionushka’

Clematis x ‘Rooguchi’

Seed head of Clematis integrifolia Gazelle

Clematis x ‘Durandii’




Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |



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April Hardy Plant Society Meeting Mon, Apr 1, 7pm, Birmingham. By Hardy Plant Society at Congregational Church of Birmingham. Rick Lazzell shares landscape design tips & disasters to avoid. 248-6930334. H Critter Control Wed, Apr 3, 7pm, Metro-Detroit. At 7 English Gardens stores. Register: H Pre-School Series Wed, Apr 3, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn and play. $8/child. $6/Friends of HLG. 517-431-2060,



Bowling for Flowers Fundraiser Fri, Apr 5, 7-10pm, Allen Park. By Taylor Conservatory at Thunderbowl Lanes. Eagle Scout Trail restoration fundraiser. Spaghetti dinner, drink ticket, unlimited bowling. $30. 888-383-4108. H Novi Home Improvement & Garden Show Fri, Apr 5, Novi. See demonstration of an oak tree injection. H Garden Party Weekend Sat, Apr 6, Metro-Detroit. At 7 English Gardens stores. Gardening & decorating seminars. www.EnglishGardens. com.

IT’S TIME… to get your garden, pond, and water features ready for 2013. Contact us to see how we can help.

H Growing & Cooking with Herbs Sat, Apr 6, 10am-10pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $26.75. Learn tips from Steve Matthews on growing & incorporating herbs into cooking. 810-629-9208. Earth Day Tales Sat, Apr 6, 10-11am, Ann Arbor. At Leslie Science & Nature Ctr $2/child. Caregiver reqd. Earth Day tales, seed planting & recycled item art project., 734-997-1553. Early Spring Wildflower Walk Sat, Apr 6, Noon, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Nature Society at Tenhave Woods. Park at Lexington/Marais lot & meet at Lexington entrance. Composting in a Community Garden Sat, Apr 6, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science and Nature Ctr. FREE. Learn different methods of hot & cold composting. Register: www.

2629 Orchard Lake Rd. Sylvan lake, MI 48320 248-738-0500 Starting April 20: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm M-59

Te PONTIAC le gr ap h . Rd Rd . ke La ard ch r O

Intro to Gardening Sat, Apr 6, 10-11:30am or 1-2:30pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $10. Intro level class will help develop your green thumb. H Create a Hypertufa Planter Part 1 Sat, Apr 6, 10am at Lake Orion, 9am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. $35. Create your own rustic stone-like planter from hypertufa. Register: www.

H Re-Potting Party Sat, Apr 6, 10am, Farmington. At Steinkopf Nursery. $5. Bring your root bound houseplant & Lisa Steinkopf will show you the correct way to re-pot it. steinkopfnursery@gmail. com. H Enchanting Fairy Gardens Sat, Apr 6, 1pm, White Lake. At Bogie Lake Greenhouse. Part of Spring Seminar Series. www.bogielakegreenhouse. com, 248-887-5101. H Garden Party Weekend Sat, Apr 6, Ann Arbor, Clinton Township, Dearborn Heights, Eastpointe, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield. At all English Gardens stores. Free presentations, expanded selection., 1-800-335-GROW. H Ready, Set, Grow! Sat, Apr 6, 11am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www. Register: 248-689-8735. H Roses: 6 Steps to Jump Start for Spring Sat, Apr 6, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Learn how to jump start your roses for this growing season. Register: 248-689-8735. Container Gardening Mon, Apr 8, Noon, Mount Clemens. By Mount Clemens Garden Club at Mount Clemens Library. $3/non-member. A to Z on container gardening. Register: 586-263-4891. Using Your Gourd! Mon, Apr 8, 1pm, Royal Oak. By The Royal Oak Garden Club at Royal Oak Public Library Auditorium. FREE. Judy Reed, Oakland County gourdologist, shares ideas for using gourds. Year Round Container Gardens Tue, Apr 9, 4-5:15pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Get the most value & enjoyment from your container gardens. $15. 616-975-3155. The Deer Resistant Garden Tue, Apr 9, 7–8:15pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Look at your garden in a whole new way: from the deer’s perspective. $15. 616-975-3155. Wildflowers for the Home Garden Tue, Apr 9, 5:30–6:45pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Discover easy-to-grow natives for both sun & shade. $15. 616-975-3155. Bees & The Honey They Make Wed, Apr 10, 7pm, Warren. By Warren Garden Club at Warren Community Ctr Cafeteria. FREE. Gardella Apiaries will share their experiences as beekeepers. 586-758-1238.

Rd. Square Lake

Ave. Woodward

d. ke R s La Cas


Middlebelt Rd.



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Join us for our

Spring Open House April 27, 9am-5pm & April 28, 10am-5pm See NEW varieties for 2013! • Refreshments

Spring Seminar Series Enchanting Fairy Gardens – April 6, 1pm

Succulent Containers Thu, Apr 11, 7pm, Ferndale. By Ferndale Garden Club at Kulick Community Ctr. 248-541-6427. Gardening in the Shade Thu, Apr 11, 1–2:15pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Discover a wide variety of plants that thrive in shady gardens. $15. 616-975-3155. Rhododendrons & More Thu, Apr 11, 2:30–3:45pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Learn to grow beautiful rhododendrons & their relatives. $15. 616-975-3155. Pruning Trees & Shrubs Thu, Apr 11, 4–5:15pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Learn techniques that will help you prune with confidence. $15. 616-975-3155. Arranging Garden Flowers Thu, Apr 11, 1pm, Shelby Twp. By Shelby Gardeners Club at Burgess-Shadbush Nature Ctr. FREE. Speaker Jan Kennedy, Professional Flower Arranger. Gardening Questions answered by Dean Krauskopf Thu, Apr 11, 7:30-9pm, Dearborn. By MGAWC at U of M-Dbrn. Host of The Gardening Show on 760 WJR. www. 734-786-6860. H Containers & Cocktails at Campbell’s Fri, Apr 12, 7-9pm; Sat, Apr 13, 7-9pm, North Branch. At Campbell's Greenhouses. Sharpen your planting skills. $15 plus materials cost. Register at 810-688-3587. H Season for Spheres Sat, Apr 13, 10:30am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. FREE. Steve Matthews will show you how to enliven your garden using metal spheres., 810-629-9208. Square Foot Gardening Sat, Apr 13, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Ctr. $10/person. $15/couple. James Lee, Certified SFG Instructor. Register:

H Conifers in Containers Sat, Apr 13, 9am-noon, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $100/person. Grow practical & ornamental conifers in containers. Register: H What Happened to My Impatiens? Sat, Apr 13, 1pm, White Lake. At Bogie Lake Greenhouse, Inc. Part of Spring Seminar Series., 248-887-5101. H Blooming Anticipation New Member Mixer Sat, Apr 13, 9:30am-noon, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House & Gardens. FREE. New member mixer. Discover the benefits of membership. Register: gardens@cranbrook. edu. H Spring Open House Sat, Apr 13, Sat & Sun, 10am-4pm, Plymouth. At Plymouth Nursery. Giveaways, demonstrations & seminars. www., 734-453-5500. H Perennial Gardening Day Sat, Apr 13, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. New Perennials for 2013 at 10am, Perennials for shade at 11:30am, Attracting butterflies & hummingbirds at 1pm. Register: 248-689-8735. H Trough Making Workshop Sat, Apr 13, 2pm, Shelby Township. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $35. Register: 248-659-8555.

Spring Wildflower Walk Sun, Apr 14, 2pm, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Nature Society at Tenhave Woods. Park at Lexington/Marais lot & meet at Lexington entrance.

H Natural Lawn Care Sat, Apr 13, 12pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. How to have a healthy, productive, weed, drought & disease resistant lawn.

Honeybees: What’s the Buzz all About? Sun, Apr 14, 10am, Macomb. Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Learn what Honeybees do for us.

H New Products & Annuals for 2013 Sat, Apr 13, 1:30pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. Join local garden writer, Nancy Szerlag, for a look at what’s new for 2013.

H A Healthy Soil: Working from the Ground Up Sun, Apr 14, 11am, Macomb. By Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Creating healthy, living soil with Lisa Grant, Dr. Earth.

H A Cut Flower Garden With Janet Macunovich Sat, Apr 13, 3pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Janet shares her secrets on the best methods to cut, dry & arrange your garden flowers.

H Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens Sun, Apr 14, 12pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Janet Macunovich shares what you need in your yard to be a gracious host.

H Terrarium Class - Adults & Children Sat, Apr 13, 10am (adults); 1pm (children), Farmington. At Steinkopf Nursery. $5. Glass containers, plants & accessories available for purchase or bring your own., 248-474-2925.

Saturday will begin with the basics of container gardening, including container choice, plant selection & general planting ideas. Sunday will emphasize unique ideas in container gardening.


1525 Bogie Lake Rd. White Lake, MI

1-1/2 Miles S. of M-59, Across from Lakeland H.S.

April Hours: Mon-Fri 8-6 Sat 9-5 Sun 10-5

MDA Annual Tuber Sale Sun, Apr 14, 1:30-4pm, Ann Arbor. By Michigan Dahlia Assoc at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Room 125. DVD Presentation of Growing Dahlias. 734-429-5796.

New Gardener Shindig Sun, Apr 14, 11:30am-2:30pm, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Ctr for Independent Living. Introducing new gardeners to community gardening & Project Grow. Register:

H Spring Container Garden Sat, Apr 13, 12pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Linda Billings can inspire & educate you to build your own unique container masterpiece.

Hands-on Container Gardening Weekend – April 20 & 21, 1pm

H Spring Fair Sat, Apr 13, Sat, 9am-5pm & Sun, 12-4pm. At Detroit Garden Works. Open house features many local nurseries & growers. 248-335-8089,

H Garden Ready for Spring Sat, Apr 13, 9am, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. Shrubs, trees & ground cover beds will benefit from these early spring tips.

H Create Living Art Sat, Apr 13, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. $30. Create a hanging wall unit made of living plants. Register:

“What Happened to My Impatiens and What Are My Options This Year?” – April 13, 1pm

H Worm Composter Class Sun, Apr 14, 1pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. $25. Make your own worm composter, complete with the worms. Includes all materials. H Dividing Perennials With Steve Nikkila Sun, Apr 14, 3pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Learn which plants need to be divided, which don’t & what precautions to take. H Great Lakes Gardens Opening Sun, Apr 14, 2pm, Ann Arbor. At Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Opening day includes guided tours of the Great Lakes Gardens. Rain or shine., 734-647-7600. continued on next page

Re-Energizes Gardens & Potting Soil Organimax is a unique combination of ingredients tested and certified by the U.S. Composting Council: • Composted leaf waste • Humic acid • Kelp • Slow-release fertilizer • A micronutrient package • A carbohydrate package • A bacteria & mycorrhiza package • An amino acid profile

New & Improved Formula! Mix 1 part Organimax with 3 parts soil. Makes 25% more soil mix than the previous formula. Ask for Organimax at your local independent garden center!

For more information: 248-760-9342 or


Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

continued from previous page H Fairy House Living Roof Sun, Apr 14, 11am, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. $50. Fairy house has a plantable roof to plant with succulents. Bring pruners. H Attracting Birds to Your Yard Sun, Apr 14, 1:30pm, Macomb. At Ray Wiegand’s Nursery. FREE. Basic birding techniques for attracting birds & keeping them fed all year. MGWWC Dining to Donate Fundraiser Tue, Apr 16, Canton & Allen Park. By MGWWC at Applebee’s. 10% of your bill will go towards grants, scholarships & special garden projects for local communities. www. H High Impact Annuals Wed, Apr 17, 6-9pm, Troy. By APG at Telly’s Greenhouse. $10/Guest. George Papadelis introduces new & old varieties of maximum performance annuals. suegrubba@ H From Dust till Dawn Thu, Apr 18, 11am-1pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House. Travel back in time with the staff & explore the role of the ‘help’. $30. Includes lunch. gardens@cranbrook. edu, 248-645-3149.

H Spring Garden Expo Sat, Apr 20, 9am-5m, Rochester Hills & Brighton. At Bordine’s. FREE. Breathtaking displays, seminars, drawings, garden experts & family fun. H Ann Arbor Orchid Festival Sat, Apr 20, Sat & Sun, 10am-4:30pm, Ann Arbor. By Ann Arbor Orchid Society at Matthaei Botanical Garden. FREE. Exotic orchid plants, exhibits & informative talks. www. H Annual Gardening Day Sat, Apr 20, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. New Annuals for 2013 at 10am, High Impact Annuals at 11:30am, Annuals for the Cutting Garden at 1pm, Impatiens Alternatives at 2pm, & Annuals for Perennial Border at 3pm. www. Register: 248-689-8735.

H Greenhouse Tour Sat, Apr 27, 10am, Ortonville. At Wojo’s Greenhouse. FREE. Learn how & where plants are seeded, grown, & cared for. 248-627-6498.

Hardy Seedling Sale Sun, Apr 21, 11am-5pm, Novi. By Project Grow at VegFest.

Pulling Together – Garlic Mustard Removal Sat, Apr 27, 9am-noon, Dearborn. At UM-Dearborn Environmental Study Area & Henry Ford Estate gardens. Wear long pants & closed toe shoes. Register: www.

H Children’s Stepping Stone Sun, Apr 21, 1-2pm, North Branch. At Campbell's Greenhouses. Adult & child will build garden stepping stone. FREE to children 12 & under. Register at 810-688-3587.

H Spring Open House Fri, Apr 19, Fri & Sat, 8am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm, Rochester Hills. At Auburn Oaks Garden Ctr. New products & drawings. 248-852-2310.

What’s New for 2013 Mon, Apr 22, 7pm, Troy. By Metro Detroit Hosta Society at Telly’s Nursery. Presented by George Papadelis, owner of Telly’s Greenhouse.

Elements of Design for Sustainable Landscapes Sat, Apr 20, 8am-4pm, Troy. By Master Gardener Society of Oakland Cty at MSU MEC Conference Ctr. Conference & garden market. 248-770-0524,

H Fairy Garden Class Mon, Apr 22, 7pm, Saline. At Nature’s Garden Ctr. $23. Create a fairy garden to take home. Register: 734-9448644.

David Stark Book Presentation Sat, Apr 20, 11am-1pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Fleur Detroit. Celebrity floral designer, David Stark, presents his book “The Art of the Party.” $50. Includes book copy. Register: 248-953-3840.

Vegetable Gardening 101 Wed, Apr 24, 6-8:30pm, Waterford. By MSU Extension at Oakland Cty Executive Office Bldg. $15. Learn basics of vegetable gardening.

H Caring For Tropical Plants Sat, Apr 20, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. Bring your struggling tropical plants for a hands-on rejuvinating demonstration. Register: H Hands-on Container Gardening Weekend Sat, Apr 20, Sat & Sun, 1pm, White Lake. At Bogie Lake Greenhouse. Sat will begin with basics of container gardening & Sun will emphasize unique ideas. 248-887-5101.

Planting Your Own Healing Herb Garden Sat, Apr 27, 10am, Highland. By Garden Angel Art Works at Colasanti’s Greenhouse & Market. Each student will receive 8 medicinal herb seeds & planting, harvesting & drying instructions. Register:

H Fairy Gardening Sat, Apr 20, 10am-12noon, North Branch. At Campbell's Greenhouses. Learn how to make your own fairy garden. $5 plus materials cost. Register at 810-688-3587.

H Containers & Cocktails at Campbell’s Fri, Apr 19, 7-9pm, North Branch. At Campbell's Greenhouses. Sharpen your planting skills. $15 plus materials cost. Register at 810-688-3587.

Spring Wildflower Walk Sat, Apr 20, 10am, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Nature Society at Tenhave Woods. Park at Lexington/Marais lot & meet at Lexington entrance.

Plant Sale Sat, Apr 27, 11am-5pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. Wide selection of seedlings & garden products. www.

H Wojo’s Spring Garden Party Sat, Apr 27, 10am-4pm, Ortonville, Davison & Lake Orion. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. New & favorite plants, refreshments & fun. 248-627-6498.

H Barson’s Open House Sun, Apr 21, Westland. At Barson’s. Pond opening tips at 11am, organic vegetable gardening at 1pm & native butterfly gardening at 3pm., 734-421-5959.

Spring Care for Roses & Hydrangeas Sat, Apr 20, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. Tips & advice on growing the best roses & hydrangeas., 734-284-2500.

Spring Kickoff Mini-Workshop Day Sat, Apr 27, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $10. A whole day dedicated to 45 minute mini-workshops on a variety of gardening topics.

Residential Animal Farming: Beekeeping Sat, Apr 20, 10-11:30am, Ypsilanti. By Growing Hope at Growing Hope Ctr. Learn the basics of caring for & housing bee colonies at your home.

Water Conservation for Backyard Gardeners Thu, Apr 18, 6:30-8:00pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $10. Learn sustainable practices for water conservation in your garden & yard.

H Spring Show & Plant Sale Sat, Apr 20, Sat, 9am-6pm & Sun, 10am-4pm, East Lansing. By MSU Horticulture Club at Plant & Soil Sciences Bldg.

Society at Tenhave Woods. Park at Lexington/Marais lot & meet at Lexington entrance.

H Every Garden Deserves a Rose Thu, Apr 25, 6:30pm, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Discover which rose is right for your garden. www.tellys. com. Register: 248-689-8735. Cultivating Creativity in the Garden Fri, Apr 26, 9:15am, Rochester. By Meadow Brook Hall Garden Club at Meadow Brook Family Garage. $5. 248364-6210, H Spring Design Program Sat, Apr 27, 8am-4:15pm, East Lansing. By MSU Horticulture Gardens at Plant & Soil Sciences Bldg. Janet Macunovich & MSU professors Dr. Bob Schutzki, Dr. Art Cameron & Dr. Norm Lownds share their expertise on garden design. Marketplace & lunch included. $79 until Apr 17. $89 after. Register:, 517355-5191 x1339. Vegetable Gardening Tips Sat, Apr 27, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. Learn tips & tricks on raising the biggest & best vegetables this summer! 734-2842500. Spring Wildflower Walk Sat, Apr 27, 1:45pm, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Nature

H Wildflowers for Your Garden Sat, Apr 27, 10am-noon, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $20. Learn to select wildflowers & grow them in several landscape settings. Register: www.hiddenlakegardens. H Organic Gardening Basics Sat, Apr 27, 1pm-3pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $20. How to garden with nature using environmentallyfriendly methods. Register: www.hiddenlakegardens. H Spring Open House Sat, Apr 27, Sat, 9am-5pm & Sun, 10am-5pm, White Lake. At Bogie Lake Greenhouse. New varieties for 2013 & refreshments., 248887-5101. H Outdoor Miniature Gardening Workshop Sat, Apr 27, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Register: 248-689-8735. Alpine Trough Planting Workshop Sat, Apr 27, 1:30pm, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Register: 248-689-8735. H Bonsai Workshop Sat, Apr 27, 1pm, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $35. Register: 248-689-8735. H New Perennials for 2013 Sat, Apr 27, 11:30am, Shelby Township. At Telly’s Greenhouse. Register: 248-659-8555. H New Annuals for 2013 Sat, Apr 27, 10am, Shelby Township. At Telly’s Greenhouse. Register: 248-659-8555. H Every Garden Deserves a Rose Sat, Apr 27, 1pm, Shelby Township. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Discover which rose is right for your garden. Register: 248-659-8555. H Forest Workshop Sun, Apr 28, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse., 248-6898735. Artful Containers Tue, Apr 30, 7pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer

Gardens. Paula Hayes will speak about her art terrariums & outdoor garden planters. 616-957-1580.

May H Pre-School Series Wed, May 1, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn & play. $8/child. 517-431-2060, H Cranbrook Gardens Open for the Season Wed, May 1, through Oct, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House & Gardens. Enjoy the gardens all summer long with a season pass., 248-645-3149. H Floral Art: Flowering the World Wed, May 1, 10am, Detroit. By the Friends of Art & Flowers at The DIA. $25. Jim Johnson will creatively interpret the Museum through floral arrangements. Optional luncheon to follow. H Getting to know your Dahlias Thu, May 2, 6:30pm, Troy. By Telly’s & Southeastern Michigan Dahlia Society at Telly’s Greenhouse. FREE. Dr. Keith Berven presents seminar on growing dahlias. 248-689-8735. H Ladies Night Fri, May 3, 7-9pm, Ortonville. At Wojo’s Greenhouse. Shopping, music, & demonstrations including using herbs for teas, oils & vinegars. 248-627-6498. H Faerie Festival Sat, May 4, Sat, 10am-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Storytelling, dancers, parade, May Pole celebration, $1. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm. com, 810-629-9208. Seed Planting Program Sat, May 4, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. 734-284-2500. Plant Exchange Sat, May 4, 9-11am, South Lyon. By Four Seasons Garden Club of South Lyon at Witch’s Hat Depot Museum parking area. Rain or shine. 248-437-0154. Hypertufa Leaf Bowl Sat, May 4, 10am, Highland. By Garden Angel Art Works at Colasanti’s Greenhouse & Market. All materials included. Dress for mess. Register: info@gardenangelart. com, 248-887-0012. H Container Gardening Class Sat, May 4, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At All Wojo’s Locations. $25. Includes a 12” container, 4 plants, soil, advice & ideas. H Kid’s Club Hanging Basket Sat, May 4, 10am, Davison, Ortonville & Lake Orion. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. Decorate a hanging basket then plant to take home & grow. Register: H National Herb Day Sat, May 4, 11am-3pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Cooking demonstrations, plants & products for sale, & hands on fun. H Dahlia Tuber Sale Sat, May 4, 9am-1pm, Troy. By Southeastern Michigan Dahlia Society at Telly’s Greenhouse. 100’s of show quality tubers & cuttings for sale. Expert growers advice available. H Container Gardening Day Sat, May 4, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Container Gardening Class at 10am, Workshop at 11:30am, Herbs in Containers Workshop at 1pm. Register: 248-689-8735. H Container Gardening Day Sat, May 4, Shelby Twp. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. Container Gardening Class at 1pm & Workshop at 2pm. www. Register: 248-659-8555. | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener

H Gardening Gone Wild! Landscaping with Native Plants Sun, May 5, 2pm-4pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $20. Learn how to add native plants to your property. Register: H Organic Vegetable Gardening Tue, May 7, Novi. By MSU Extension at MSU Tollgate Education Center. Soils, fertility, nutrition, vegetable varieties, organic pest management & weed control. www.oakgov. com/msu. H DIY Container Gardening Tue, May 7, Tue & Wed, 6-8pm, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Brighton, Grand Blanc. At all Bordine’s locations. $20. Tips, suggestions & soil. Purchase plants of your choice. Register: Container Gardening Thu, May 9, 7pm, Ferndale. By Ferndale Garden Club at Kulick Community Ctr. 248-541-6427. Annuals & Perennials of 2013 Thu, May 9, 1pm, Shelby Twp. By Shelby Gardeners Club at Burgess-Shadbush Nature Ctr. Speaker George Papadelis, Owner of Telly’s Greenhouse. FREE. Plant Sale Fri, May 10, Fri, 3-8pm & Sat, 9am-5pm. Master gardeners on hand to answer questions & conduct gardening presentations on Sat. Outside the Habitat for Humanity of Oakland Cty headquarters. Plant Sale Fri, May 10, 2pm-8pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. Wide selection of seedlings & garden products. www. Chelsea Spring Plant Sale Sat, May 11, 8am-noon, Chelsea. By Chelsea Area Garden Club at Downtown Chelsea. 1000’s of plants & flowers from local gardens. 734-475-9748, Michigan All State Bonsai Show Sat, May 11, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Headlined by Ryan Neil. Handmade bonsai pots, large specimen trees & affordable trees. 616-9571580. Spring Garden Tour & Plant Sale Sat, May 11, 11am-3pm, South Lyon. By Great Lakes Chapter of the NA Rock Garden Society at Duvall Nursery. Perennial Plants Program Sat, May 11, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. 734-284-2500. Plant Exchange & Sale Sat, May 11, 9-11am, Southgate. By MGWWC & News Herald at The News Herald parking lot. Plant sale proceeds fund grants, scholarships for local communities. H Vegetable Gardening Sat, May 11, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. All about vegetable gardening from Bill Pioch. Register:

H 41st Annual Spring Plant Sale Tue, May 14, Tue, 10am-7pm & Wed, 10am-2pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House & Gardens. FREE admission. Native plants & wildflowers, perennials, greenhouse plants & heirloom tomatoes, orchids, herbs, vegetables, annuals & more. 248-645-3149. H Flora & Fauna Water Color Painting Wed, May 15, 10:30am-1:30pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $94.75. World famous artist Peggy Abrams will assist you in creating an old world botanical collage. Lunch included. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm. com, 810-629-9208. H Putting Pizzazz in Your Perennial Garden Wed, May 15, 7-9pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $20. Add pizazz with flowering bulbs, annuals, tropicals & ornamental grasses. Register: www.HiddenLakeGardens. Meadow Brook Plant Sale Thu, May 16, Rochester. At Meadow Brook., 248-364-6210. Eight Months of Color Fri, May 17, 9:15am, Rochester. By Meadow Brook Hall Garden Club at Meadow Brook Family Garage. $5. 248364-6210, Spring Plant Sale Fri, May 17, Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 9am-1pm, Waterford. By Waterford Garden Club at Waterford Senior Center. Nonprofit proceeds support civic enhancement efforts. Spring Plant Sale, Garden Market & Garage Sale Fri, May 17, Fri, 10am-3pm & Sat, 9am-1pm, Dearborn. At The Henry Ford Estate. Perennials, wildflowers, shade loving plants, herbs, annuals, & more. H Campbell’s 30th Anniversary Fri, May 17, Fri & Sat, 9am-6pm, Sun, 10am-5pm, North Branch. At Campbell’s Greenhouses. Sales, drawings, music, food & more., 810-688-3587. H MSU Plant Sale Sat, May 18, 7am-2pm, East Lansing. By MSU Horticulture Gardens at Plant & Soil Science Bldg. Perennials, grasses, annuals & more. All proceeds benefit the gardens.

Plant Sale Sun, May 19, 11am-5pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. Wide selection of seedlings & garden products. www. H 47th Annual Flower Day Sun, May 19, By Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Association at Eastern Market. 100’s of growers on over 15 acres of annuals, perennials, foliage, shrubbery, trees, exotics, tropical plants, flats, hanging baskets & more. H Verticle Gardening Wed, May 22, 6:30-8pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $165.75. Learn to plant a vertical garden & receive a GroVert form & wood frame., 810-629-9208. Junior League Gardeners Flower Show Thu, May 23, 10am-4pm, Grosse Pointe Farms. At Grosse Pointe War Memorial. FREE. Iris Show Sat, May 25, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Old favorites to new hybrids, grown by local iris enthusiasts. Free children’s art activity 1-4pm both days. 616-957-1580. Pruning Flowers & Shrubs Program Sat, May 25, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. 734-284-2500. H Wildflower Walk Sat, May 25, 11am-noon, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $5. Walk through wildflowers that adorn the natural areas of Hidden Lake Gardens. Register:

June H Hypertufa Head Planter Sat, Jun 1, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $88.75. Dress for mess as you create a round planter out of hypertufa. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm. com, 810-629-9208. Flowering Perennials Sat, Jun 1, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Ctr. Learn to grow beautiful flowering perennials.

MDA Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 18, 10am-2pm, Dexter. By Michigan Dahlia Association at Dexter Mill. Dahlia plants & tubers will be available. 734-429-5796.

Perennial Plant Exchange Sat, Jun 1, 8:30am, Clarkston. By the Clarkston Farm & Garden Club at Village Parking Lot. Plants should be potted & labeled., 248620-2984.

H Stained Glass Tree Class Sat, May 18, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $92.75. Create a piece of art for your garden using copper wire, pipe, glass & beads., 810-629-9208.

H Hypertufa Head Planter Part 2 Sat, Jun 1, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. $25. Learn to plant the containers you created at the April 6th session. Register:

Annual Plants & Planting Program Sat, May 18, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. 734-284-2500.

Hardy Plant Society Meeting Mon, Jun 3, 7pm, Birmingham. By Hardy Plant Society at Congregational Church of Birmingham. Socialize with fellow gardeners & bring some special plants for an auction. 248-693-0334.

H Plant Sale Sat, May 11, 10am-2pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Wide selection of choice plants reflecting the collections of the garden.

Heirloom Tomato, Herb & Flower Sale Sat, May 18, 9am-1pm, Wayne. By MGWWC at RESA/ MSU Extension. Over 35 varieties of heirloom tomato plants, herbs, flowers & peppers.

Michigan’s Farm Garden 10th Anniversary Sun, May 12, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Celebrate the horticultural heritage of Michigan & plant a seedling to take home. Hardy Plant Society Meeting Mon, May 13, 7pm, Birmingham. By Hardy Plant Society at Congregational Church of Birmingham. Ruth Vrbensky presents utilizing native plants in smaller urban gardens. 248-693-0334.

H Wildflower Walk Sat, May 18, 11am-noon, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $5. Walk through wildflowers that adorn the natural areas of Hidden Lake Gardens. Register: Flower Market Field Trip Sun, May 19, Dundee. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club. Carpool to The Flower Market in Dundee to check out their bonsai selection. Bring cash.

H Pre-School Series Wed, Jun 5, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn & play. $8/child. 517-431-2060, H Indoor Pest Control Thu, Jun 6, Novi. By MSU Extension at MSU Tollgate Education Ctr. How to control unwanted indoor pests. www. H Faerie House Sat, Jun 8, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $86.75. Build your own faerie house for your garden., 810-629-9208.


H Rhubarb Leaf Fountain Sat, Jun 8, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $99.75. Create a 15” leaf shaped concrete fountain. Dress for mess., 810629-9208. Home & Garden Tour Sat, Jun 8, 10am-6pm, Southwest MI. A tour of splendid, professionally designed homes & gardens in SW Michigan. Tickets:, 312-6601344. H Perennial Gardening Sat, Jun 8, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. How to grow a perennial garden that has interest all year long. Register: H Kid’s Club Plantable Paper Sat, Jun 8, 10am, Davison, Ortonville & Lake Orion. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. Make your own paper with seeds embedded. Register: Special Program with Janet Macunovich Thu, Jun 13, 1pm, Shelby Twp. By Shelby Gardeners Club at Burgess-Shadbush Nature Ctr. Janet Macunovich, author, educator & garden designer. Required reservations & fee TBA. H Garden Design with Robert Schutzki Thu, Jun 13, Novi. By MSU Extension at MSU Tollgate Education Ctr. Special lecture with Dr. Robert Schutzki, MSU Department of Horticulture. Garden Walk Sat, Jun 15, Trenton. By The Moonglow Garden Club of Trenton. Contact Glenda Albright: 734-281-6504. Garden Walk & Market Sale Sat, Jun 15, 10am-6pm, Milford. By The Milford Garden Club at 6 Milford gardens & Milford’s Central Park. $12/ day of, $10/advance., 248-684-2149. H Caring for Roses Sat, Jun 15, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. Bob Filter will guide you through the care & culture of roses. Register: www. Grosse Pointe Garden Tour Fri, Jun 21, Fri & Sat, 10am-4pm, Grosse Pointe. By Grosse Pointe Garden Ctr, Inc. at 7 private gardens in the Pointes. $12/pre-tour or $15/tour days. 313-881-7511. H Silver Anniversary Garden Party Sun, Jun 23, 11am-4pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Celebrating 25 years of business. Free party & lunch. 20% off all purchases., 810-629-9208. Master Gardeners Garden Tour Sun, Jun 23, 10am-6pm, Genesee County. By MMGA Genesee County Chapter at 7 Genesee County gardens. H Canning Jams Wed, Jun 26, 6-9pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $58.75. Learn to make an herbal infused strawberry jam., 810-629-9208. 2013 Lakeside Garden Walk Sat, Jun 29, 11am-5pm, Lakeside. By Lakeside Association at 9 unique gardens. $35. Proceeds benefit the Scholarship Fund for area seniors. H Bonsai Club Annual Show Sat, Jun 29, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Bonsai master Jim Doyle demonstrates tree styling. Exhibit, raffles & sale. www.fourseasonsbonsai. com, 248-689-8735.


Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

A tranquil Zen garden greets visitors with raked, white granite representing water and rocks posing as a mountain with smaller islands, along with a weeping white pine for elevation.

Rita and Larry Cohen’s garden offers peace and tranquility to both the owners and their visitors


ou can’t miss the peaceful Zen garden by the entrance to Rita and Larry Cohen’s ranch-style home in White Lake, Michigan. This is a clue to the Asian-inspired garden that lies behind the house. The Far East influence has also flowed into their home furnishings, Rita’s hair salon, and her fabric art as well. Rita explained, “The front area was built in 2008. We came up with the Zen garden to add a simple entrance garden with a lot of punch. It keeps weeds down and when the white granite is raked into ripples it looks awesome. Of course the granite represents the Asian version of water. The large rock P h oto g r a p h s by S a n d i e Pa r r ot t

symbolizes the mountain and the two smaller rocks are islands. We added the weeping white pine for greenery and elevation, and a wonderful purple wisteria that I can see from my bedroom window.” Back in the 1970s, Rita got serious with Larry and Rita Cohen pose on a bridge purchased in the Amish country in Indiana. Larry extended the bridge to 20 feet, removed the original railing, and made new PVC railings. Rita loves the crooked pine tree, which was twig-size when planted. In the spring, she prunes off the “candles” (new, elongated bright green growth on the branch ends) to keep the tree small and full. She plants pansies underneath to bloom in the off seasons— even through the snow on a sunny day.

Sandie Parrott | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


Rita Cohen’s Gardening Tips

Their living moon gate, as Rita calls it, flowers most of the year with several vines: Akebia or chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), silver lace vine (Polygonum aubertii), and reseeded morning glories.

This driveway garden was planted to block the view of the house. Variegated maiden grass (Miscanthus) was added first, the clay tiles add a contemporary interest, succulents make watering less of a chore, lowgrowing junipers stay green, and a Scotch pine was added and trimmed for an Asian look.

Fences aren’t allowed in their subdivision, so Rita Cohen borrows the view from her neighbor for a seemingly larger garden. The blue weeping spruce (Picea pungens ‘Pendula’) was added recently and drapes nicely over the waterfall from a structure her husband Larry built. houseplants. “It was a great hobby. One of my hair customers gave me a philodendron and that started me off. I researched and learned how to divide plants, air layer, and start seeds indoors. I built terrariums, had plant parties, and lectured about houseplants to my friends.” The Cohens purchased their 1960s-style house in 1977. “We liked the fact that it sat high off the street. It had an open floor plan

and we could fix it up to our taste. I have always been an indoor gardener and having 1/3 of an acre gave us the opportunity to create a wonderful outdoor garden,” recalled Cohen. Several classes from the Michigan School of Gardening, garden lectures, the Waterford Garden Club, HGTV programs, and many visits to botanical gardens provided ideas for the Cohen’s garden over the years.

The outside garden started with neighbors giving the Cohens plants. Rita remembered, “Then we bought a small pond liner. Larry built a box I designed to elevate the liner. The following year I was taking classes and our septic field needed replacement. Larry asked me if we should seed the area or start a garden. I scribbled a plan on a piece of paper and that got us started. We added a walkway with slag

• Rita believes that “soil is a living organism and has to be nourished every season.” Every two years, they spread a combination of three inches of leaf mold and mulch over the whole garden. Their property doesn’t have enough leaves, so they purchase the mulch to create enough mix. For azaleas, rhododendrons, and lilies they use bone meal and Epsom salts turned into the soil. • Sometimes the Cohens will wait for a tree to grow and sometimes not. The weeping white pine in the front garden was bought full-sized, but the redbud and a willow tree were grown from branch cuttings. Both have survived and thrived; the willow is now over 15 feet tall. Rita soaks the branches in water and fertilizer until she sees new growth. She pots them up in clay pots and buries them in a protected area outside through winter. In spring they are removed from the pots and transplanted to their permanent locations, with a few prayers for survival. • Critters are a constant source of wonderment and annoyance for the Cohens. “Our biggest challenges are the wildlife that feed on things we obviously don’t want eaten. I have found that human hair helps some. Since I am a hairdresser, I use the hair from haircuts, tucking it around the plants. Groundhogs are tough to get rid of. I have used a mixture of cayenne pepper with soapy water, but it washes off when it rains,” Cohen lamented. sand because I saw it in a botanical garden and liked it. Larry loves creating the gardens and ponds for me. Each year we have added more. We will keep adding because our love of gardening has grown to be a wonderful hobby.” Rita talked about what her gardens mean to her. “The gardens are very healing to me. Larry and I try to incorporate the simplicity of Asian garden themes. I am a hairdresser and one of my clients is an 85-year-old Japanese woman. I love her dearly and she has had a great influence on Larry and me over the years she has been my client.” Cohen continued, “During my recuperation from two recent surgeries, the best medicine for me was watching nature and the sounds of the waterfall.” Asian elements that the Cohens have incorporated in their design include crooked rock paths (which block evil spirits because they get lost in the turns), water and stones (the yinyang of the garden to complement and complete each other), and a red bridge over water that represents a path to paradise and immortality. Painting it red is borrowed from tradicontinued on next page


Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

continued from previous page tional Chinese temples and considered sacred. Cohen said, “Before my surgeries, every extra minute I was working in the garden. I loved planting, weeding, and researching. I tried to plan something that would be in bloom each season. Larry loved planting trees and building the pathways, ponds, waterfalls, bridge, and Zen gardens. Larry has been a big help. Now, twice a month I have a woman who gives me a few hours of help, dividing and moving plants around.” Cohen admitted, “We have made many mistakes along the way. If a garden center showed an interesting plant or tree, we thought we could grow it. We spent lots of money thinking the plants would survive and they didn’t. My suggestion to gardeners is to only buy plants that will survive in your (hardiness) zone climate. Also, where you put the plants (sun or shade) and the type of soil they need to grow best is very important.” Moon gates are popular in Chinese architecture. By some cultures, it is believed to be good luck for newlyweds to cross through the gate. Rita described her “living” moon gate: “The deck and arch were there when we purchased the house. I started planting vines in the late 1990s. The akebia vine was the first (Akebia quinata, known as the chocolate vine for its scented flowers) along with a silver lace vine (Polygonum aubertii). Morning glories and Boston ivy were added later. I kept weaving the vines together. Larry shaped the vines to create the moon gate. My favorite place to sit is on the deck, looking through my living moon gate at the waterfall, gardens, and spectacular views!”

The pond and waterfall are surrounded by conifers, various plantings, part of a gazebo used as a sculpture, and the daylily walk as a backdrop.

Sandie Parrott is a freelance garden writer, living and working in Oakland County, Michigan.

This old-timer is a hardy perennial water lily that is no work after establishment. It is rooted in the bottom of the pond. Rita used to cut off the leaves in the fall; now she doesn’t even do that. It offers a nice contrast to the adjacent rough branch.

V Website Extra Go to and click the “Website Extras” department for additional photos of Rita and Larry Cohen’s garden

Above: Cranes (“tsuru” in Japanese) are a symbol of good fortune and longevity for the Japanese. The Buddha meditates under the colorful Japanese maple, grasses separate this small garden, and the creeping thyme creates a carpet for the area. Right: These posts were custom built by a neighbor originally from Ukraine. He normally builds fancy birdhouses and mailboxes. Larry asked him to design something special for them. | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


plant patrol Mugo pines and European pine sawfly


he most common needle-eating pest for the mugo pine (Pinus mugo) is the pale green larva of European pine sawfly (photo 1). These insects are not native in North America but naturalized wherever European pines such as the mugo pine grow. The larvae feed on pine’s mature needles, which disfigures the plant but is usually not a life-threatening problem (photo 2). Despite the name, sawflies aren’t flies; they are the larvae of tiny, non-stinging wasps. They have one generation per year. The eggs overwinter in slits along the needle, hatch in April and May, and begin feeding. The caterpillar-like larvae are pale green with stripes. They tend to be in groups that eat the old needles from tip to base, migrating through-

out the plant until mid-June (photo Steve 3). The larvae often rear up in a synNikkila chronized, distinctive way when they sense motion nearby. Gardeners often describe this reaction in more detail than the pest itself (photo 4). The mature larvae migrate to the ground and create cocoons in the soil duff layer; some may pupate on the plant. Adults emerge in late August through September, mating and laying eggs. Females lay 6 to 8 eggs per needle on up to a dozen needles. The scar from the egg-laying can be seen after a hard frost turns the scar’s color to yellow-brown (photo 5). Most people overlook sawflies until they’re



large, when many needles have already been eaten. If you watch closely for them in the last half of May, you can knock them off before they’ve had time to thin the foliage. Cultural controls include pruning off infected branches and discarding them, and applying a hard spray of water, which can kill sawflies if sprayed when they are tiny. If you’re not too squeamish, another option is just squishing a group of them by hand. Timing for control of sawflies is important, so don’t time it by the calendar, or pay a pest management company that operates that way. Use the calendar only as a guide. Begin

checking the plant a week or two ahead of the average time, ready to begin your control measures whenever the plant’s growth begins. Attacking the sawflies while they are young is the easiest way to control them. Be aware that tactics involving chemical sprays—even natural chemicals such as pyrethrum and neem oil—will also kill natural predators such as ladybug larvae, parasitic wasps, rove beetles, and lacewing larvae that are timed to hatch along with their prey. A reduction in predator numbers often leads to an increase in pest problems over time. Text and photos by Steven Nikkila, who is from Perennial Favorites in Waterford, MI (E-mail:





Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

A collection of stores and gardens to shop and visit. Please call ahead for hours, as they may vary from season to season.

Columbiaville, Davison

Bay City, Clio, Gladwin, Midland, Roscommon, Saginaw

North Branch


Emmett Imlay City

Flushing Lennon

Port Huron

Hadley Dryden

Grand Blanc


Bancroft, Owosso



grosse ile


grosse pointe


H Westcroft Gardens


Allemon’s Landscp Ctr Meldrum & Smith Nurs

grosse pointe woods H Wild Birds Unltd





Addison Twp.

Clarkston Hartland

White Lake Highland

Holly White Lake Waterford

Howell East Lansing, Fowlerville, Grand Rapids, Haslett, Lansing, Mason, Williamston

West Bloomfield

Walled Lake Wixom Brighton

Rochester Hills

New Hudson South Lyon

Whitmore Lake

Novi Northville

Bloomfield Hills Birmingham

Farmington Hills Farmington

Sterling Hts.

Southfield Oak Park Ferndale

Ann Arbor

Dearborn Dearborn Wayne Heights




H Denotes MG Advertiser addison twp H Yule Love It Lavender Farm 960 Yule Rd. 48367 248-628-7814

auburn hills

Drake’s Landscp & Nurs H Haley Stone 3600 Lapeer Rd. 48326 248-276-9300 H State Crushing

ann arbor

Grand Oak Herb Farm

H Abbott’s Nurs Ace Barnes Hardware Downtown Home/Gard H English Gardens 155 N. Maple Rd 48103 734-332-7900 HillTop Greenhse/Farms Lodi Farms H The Produce Station Turner’s Greenhse/Garn Ctr Wild Birds Unltd

Southgate Trenton Grosse Ile

Rockwood, Monroe


American Tree

Brownstown Twp.

bancroft bay city

H Begick Nursery & Garden Ctr 5993 Westside Saginaw Rd. 48706 989-684-4210


Banotai Greenhse Gardeners Choice Pinter Flowerland Zywicki Greenhse


Garden Central Westborn Flower Mkt

bloomfield hills Backyard Birds

birmingham H Blossoms 33866 Woodward Ave 48009 248-644-4411 H Plant Station Tiffany Florist


H Beauchamp Landscp Supp H Bordine’s Brighton Farmer’s Mkt Cowbell Lawn/Gard H Meier Flowerland

brownstown twp

Elegant Environ Pond Shop Ruhlig Farms & Gard


Canton Floral Gardens Clink Nurs Crimboli Landscp/Nurs Keller & Stein Greenhse H Wild Birds Unltd

cement city


Grosse Pointes

chelsea H Garden Mill 110 S. Main St. 48118 734-475-3539 The Potting Shed

Taylor Romulus

New Boston Tipton



Belleville Manchester

Clinton Twp.

Westland Canton

New Baltimore


Livonia Redford



H Hallson Gardens


Van Thomme’s Greenhses



Allemon’s Landscp Ctr H Detroit Farm & Garden 1759 21st St. 48216 313-655-2344 H Eastern Market 2934 Russell St. 48207 313-833-9300


Bloom Gard Ctr H Fraleighs Landscape Nursery 8600 Jackson Rd. 48130 734-426-5067


Ariel’s Enchanted Gard H English Gardens 22501 Kelly Rd 48021 586-771-4200

H Bordine’s Country Oaks Landscp I Lowrie’s Landscp H The Pond Source

Semrau Gard Ctr

clinton twp

Angelo’s Landscp Supp Farmer John’s Greenhse Loeffler Stone Ctr H Steinkopf Nurs

H English Gardens 44850 Garfield Rd 48038 586-286-6100 Michigan Koi H Tropical Treasures

clio H Piechnik’s Grhse & Garden Ctr 13172 McCumsey Rd 48420 810-686-9211


Backyard Birds

farmington hills


H Gerych’s Flowers/Gift H Heavenly Scent Herb Farm


Casual Modes Home/Gard Green Thumb Gard Ctr


Hilltop Barn

H Flushing Lawn & Garden Ctr 114 Terrace St. 48433 810-659-6241

commerce twp


columbiaville Backyard Birds Zoner’s Greenhse H Wojo’s Gard Splendors

H Arrowhead Alpines 1310 Gregory Rd. 48836 517-223-3581




Fairlane Gardens Westborn Flower Mkt

H Stone Cottage Gard

dearborn heights

H Bordine’s

H English Gardens 22650 Ford Rd 48127 313-278-4433

grand blanc H The Weed Lady 9225 Fenton Rd. 48439 810-655-2723


Gilling’s Nurs


hartland haslett

H The Flower Market

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Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

Janet’s Journal continued from back cover 600 coppice workers. Now coppicing is on the rise and wattle with it, just in time to fit in with new attitudes about yard waste and inplace recycling.

Weaving wattle We began weaving wattle regularly not to keep livestock in, but to keep little feet out of the gardens we built and tend at the Detroit Zoo. Unconsciously, we repeated history as we began and developed our craft out of necessity and then refined it for beauty. We needed an edging that was pretty, sturdy and safe, to let the public enjoy those gardens while preventing inadvertent trampling. It had to be inexpensive, and also provide some fun and learning for the gardeners—the only coin we seek in return for our volunteer labor. Ground-level demarcation failed. The log sections we placed along the edge were not only easy but probably inviting to hop over. A fence of simple sticks and string was also a failure. Even that small percentage of children who will act on the urge to pull up stakes and use them as light sabers is a force to be reckoned with, given thousands of visitors each day. We improved the situation by forgoing the string, criss-crossing the stakes and using many more of them. Then, when swords were drawn, at least enough fence remained to indicate the edge. Since the fencers generally dropped their weapons nearby, we could reclaim them and close the gaps. Yet we worried about little people who might stumble and fall, and in that case being jabbed by those upright stakes. We decided to bend the tips and tie them back in. That not only created a safe, smooth upper edge, but made it pretty much impossible for someone to extract any individual cane from the ground. Thus began our weave, a pattern we have presumed to name—the Ziggy Zoo—but which we know cannot possibly be new in a craft so old. I developed a second pattern for the volunteer gardeners at Michigan State University’s Tollgate 4-H Farm in Novi. That’s the Tollgate Twist. (Go to www., then Departments > Website Extras to see diagrams and instructions to build the Tollgate Twist.) The basic wattle pattern is a line of posts pounded in the ground and withes (flexible branches) following that line in a back and forth weave. The wattler bends the cane to go in and out between the vertical posts as a rodeo contestant rides a horse in and out through a line of barrels. Some weavers alternate every branch, some weave two or more in the same

Coming to terms with wattle words Wattle: noun (WAHD-ul); A fabrication of rods or poles interwoven with slender branches, withes, or reeds, and used especially formerly in fencing and building construction; We can make a quick shed with wattle and daub: wattle sections plastered with mud. Wattle: verb; To form or build with wattle; to interlace to form wattle; to enclose with wattle; enfold; Will you wattle that pigpen this year? Coppice: noun (CAHP-iss); A thicket, grove, or growth of small trees that are cut on a short rotation; copse; wood cut from a coppice growth: brushwood; The presence of a regularly harvested coppice was once a big selling point for a property, since every household had an ongoing need for sturdy, flexible wooden canes.

The most primitive wattle: Withes roughly aligned and stacked between paired vertical posts. This is a good way to use clippings not suitable for weaving, such as these seven son shrub (Heptacodium) branches. They were not long enough or flexible enough for weaving but such a pretty light color and so durable that it seemed a shame not to use them.

Coppice: verb; To regularly cut down young growth arising from the base of a tree or shrub thereby giving rise to numerous vertical shoots; Farmer Brown is out coppicing the hazels; he’ll be back soon with a bundle of new stakes for the picket fence. Withe/Withy: noun (WITH/WITHee); plural: withes/withies; Slender flexible branch or twig, especially one used for binding. The native witherod viburnum warns you in its name that if you cut it back it hard it will quickly produce many long, straight shoots or withies. Hurdle: noun (HUR-duhl); A portable panel of wattled twigs used for fencing in land or livestock, reinforcing a wall or breastwork, or spanning a bog or ditch. Wattle fence may be woven in place around vertical posts sunk into the ground, or created as distinct panels: hurdles. The posts for a hurdle are set into sockets drilled into a log lying on the ground, or otherwise held temporarily in vertical position until the woven withes themselves lock the posts into alignment. When the goats forced a gap in the hedge, we brought a hurdle to block it.

The basic weave in wattle is bending flexible horizontal wands in and out between upright stakes.

Osier: noun (OHZ-ur); Any of various willows or dogwoods whose pliable twigs are used for furniture and basketry. Let’s cut the red osier dogwood and weave the twigs into a basket.

V Website Extra Go to and click the “Website Extras” department for: • More wattle wisdom and photos • Step-by-step drawings and instructions to make the Tollgate Twist wattle pattern

Wattle’s life expectancy varies with material, method of construction, and the wear it experiences. We replace the wattle at our Detroit Zoo garden every two years but in a place with less traffic it might last 3 or 4. These arcs of redtwig dogwood and willow wattle will eventually fade to brown but for a few months their colors will add to the garden’s appearance. | April 2013 | Michigan Gardener


Wattle you grow? Trees and shrubs worth weaving These plants will supply you with the material you need to wattle

Yellowtwig and redtwig dogwood canes ready to become wattle. We cut branches before leaves bud out, so we do not have to strip leaves as we weave. We weave the new wattle a week or so later when the ground and our fingers are workable.

I’m weaving with weeping willow that had already budded out. We could strip all the buds but decided that effort wasn’t worth the return. The new leaves and flower buds will brown and drop off over the next few weeks but are not so large that they will be much of a visual distraction. pattern and then switch. Some leave side branches in place on the withe, allowing them to project upward and become additional vertical threads in the weave. Withes bent in an inverted U can be placed so their legs become additional verticals and the arch rises above the rest of the fence. Most of these moves can be combined. A completed wattle fence or section of fence called a hurdle can look very fine and complex but keep in mind that it was built up from that simple in-out weave. At the zoo, we weave through angled sticks and bend aggregated loose ends down where we can weave or tie them in as a smooth, no-poke top rail.

The essence of homegrown, handmade art So it can go in your own garden. Start with

a simple weave and let it develop over a few wattling periods. We replace the fences at the zoo every two years. Where traffic and wear are less intense, or with different wood they might last 3 to 5 years before becoming too brittle to serve their purpose. Pull up the old fence, snap it into pieces or accordion fold it and tie it in bundles to send it to the composting site. Better, chip or crumble it for mulch and re-reuse it. Any of these disposal tactics will take less force and the end product will occupy less space than it would have done when the branches were fresh. Years of drying and shrinkage see to that. Even before a wattler develops his or her own pattern, each fence will have its own look because of the type of wood(s) involved, and the choices made regarding loose ends—to let them be, weave them in or tie them, and with

Almost any woody plant can be a source of withes for wattle but those in this list are especially good for a variety of reasons. Some produce very straight new growth very quickly, others have great durability or flexibility, and many are quite colorful (although most eventually dry to gray or brown). Perhaps most importantly, all of these tolerate the cuts, even being stubbed to the ground year after year without developing the stress that can open the door for problems. Missing from this list are shrubs that do produce well since they can be cut down every year, but yield canes too short or too thorny for most wattle work: Chief examples are barberry, dwarf spireas, potentilla, and rose. Here are trees and shrubs that can be cut to the ground every year to harvest a crop of withes 3 feet or longer: • Willow shrubs and trees of all kinds, including pussy willow, arctic blue willow, tricolor/dappled willow (Salix integra

‘Hakuro Nishiki’), golden willow, weeping willow. • Dogwood shrubs, especially redtwigs and yellowtwigs (Cornus alba, C. sanguinea and C. sericea). • Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica) • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) • Beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis) • Butterfly bush (Buddleia varieties) • Purple bush clover (Lespedeza thunbergii) • Smoke bush (Cotinus) • Ural false spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia) • Witherod viburnum (V. cassinoides), arrowwood (V. dentatum) and other smooth-stem viburnums. (Some with downy new growth may irritate the skin of the handler.) • Hazel/Filbert* (Corylus) • Linden* – European littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata); basswood (T. americana) • Birch* (Betula) • Alder* (Alnus) *Cut these on a longer rotation of 2 to 5 years to harvest wood suitable for tall vertical posts.

Four different people wove this wattle, each tying into the next one’s section. All practiced deliberate randomness as they worked from a supply of mixed redtwig and yellowtwig dogwood. what material. We mix materials at our zoo garden out of necessity but do not try to make a pattern with the differences. With a team of weavers, it’s simpler to aim for deliberate randomness. We weave in ends where we can, and tie where necessary. We use many kinds of string, our only stipulation being that it is not plastic, so it will decompose. If it lasts one growing season, that’s enough, as the ends it tied into place will usually stiffen and dry into position by the time the cord disintegrates. If the wattle fence must serve to include or exclude small animals, a tight basket weave is probably best, or you can line the inside of the fence with wire mesh of an appropriate size. For longer life and greater strength, stake the fence at intervals with longer stakes of wood that resists rot, such as juniper and arborvitae, or incorporate that wood throughout the fence.

Sources of withes and coppicewood right under your nose You may have all the wood you need for wattle on your own property or you can acquire it from non-wattling friends. Some plants can be cut every year and look best if handled that way—dogwoods and willows chief among them. Others might only need to be chopped every 3 or 4 years—common examples are rose of Sharon, lilac, and mock orange. These yield wood at the time of chopping and probably half that amount the following year when the shoots that arose from the cutback can be thinned. Trees can contribute to the wattle works when they’re trimmed, if you can put yourself into place to intercept and collect from the limbs with flexible young shoots before continued on page 42


Michigan Gardener | April 2013 |

Beyond apples and logs: There are many more uses for other tree parts Survival instincts led people to find uses for every bit of a tree. Fruit and nuts are tree produce you know about, and also lumber and firewood. Yet bark, roots and twigs have lots of uses too. For instance: Birch bark can be pieced together to make canoes. Native American birch bark canoes are so strong and light, they remain the canoeing world’s gold standard. Spruce roots, debarked and split, become rope strong enough and with enough shrink-swell tolerance to hold a canoe together. continued from page 41 they go into the arborists’ chipper. I’ve used all kinds of wood when it presented itself, including Japanese maple, crabapple, and brambles. If it’s flexible and fairly straight with few side branches, I’ll give it a whirl. My collecting forays are only disappointing if they begin with promise (“We’re going to cut back a whole redtwig dogwood hedge”) and end with my finding that all the wood is useless for anything but primitive wattle because it’s been repeatedly sheared rather than cut low at intervals. What’s sheared repeatedly becomes too stiff, brittle, and twiggy to weave. What makes my wattling glands begin to drool is to see something being cut that has been cut hard before, or never cut. If I need wood for wattle, I keep an eye out for someone getting ready to pull out old junipers and arborvitaes that have been allowed to become overgrown. Then I ask to help cut up the shrub for disposal in exchange for my pick of the branches.

Larch roots are so flexible and longlasting, they were used to lash the rudder to the Viking longship. A cork oak’s bark is not only thick and watertight but naturally fungus-resistant, so of course it’s perfect for plugging bottles. The linden’s inner bark or “bast” is on par with linen for making durable cloth, paper, and, lately, pressboard used in home construction. Twigs and small branches are supple enough to form an intricate and watertight weave in baskets that can last centuries. Although the best canes come from shrubs and trees that have been coppiced regularly since their youth, almost any shrub or tree can be coaxed into good production in 2 or 3 cutting cycles. That is, if you have only an old pussy willow that has been sheared at its tips but never coppiced, you may have to cut it back to the ground twice over 3 or 4 years before its stump produces strong, straight new canes in quantity. However, once it is in that state, a coppice worker can keep it productive for the rest of its life. How many withes you need to complete a fence varies with the height and density of the wattle. Our Ziggy Zoo wattle requires about 20 withes for an 8-foot section of fence. We coppice about that much each year from one redtwig dogwood. Janet Macunovich is a professional gardener and author of the books “Designing Your Gardens and Landscape” and “Caring for Perennials.” Read more from Janet on her website

Left: It’s a condition of membership that all volunteers in our Detroit Zoo group weave some wattle. The usual first reaction is “I can’t do that” but dozens now know how, well enough to conduct hands-on training for newcomers. Right: “I did that!” they say an hour later.

Wattle gets much of its strength from the myriad connections each withe has to others and to the ground. So even though each vertical withe in this fence is pushed only a few inches into the ground, the fence stands firm.

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| April 2013 |

janet's journal

Weaving wattle into your landscape W

hen two cousins from Russia came to visit many years ago, we spent a month learning about their lives in a small village near Minsk while they took a look at how we live. One day, we watched a lawn crew at work. A man using a small mower with a bagger drew their attention as he stopped at intervals to empty clippings into a trailer. “What is he doing?” they asked, miming the dumping motion. (Charades were vital in our relationship, given our common vocabulary of about 30 words.) I explained. “Where will that trailer go?” I described our disposal system, sketching a landfill operation and the incinerators then handling most of southeast Michigan’s trash. (This exchange took place before yard waste recycling became the standard.)

P h oto g r ap h s by St e v e n N i k k i l a unless otherwise indicated

Wattle: How flexible twigs My cousins shook their heads in our become unbeatable fence established “you guys are crazy” mime. Wattle is an Old English word but the “Do you have grass? How do you take care practice and product it describes might of it?” I asked them. predate that and most other languages. We “Let it grow, then cut it for the animals!” know from art and the written word that they replied. medieval Europeans were weaving, Twenty years later, we’re Janet bundling, and twisting branches to wasting less here because Macunovich make fencing and barriers. Those yard waste is now carted off to practices, however, were almost composting sites. Yet Kolya and certainly refined from older crafts. Sergei would still shake their The original wattler was the heads, and I’m joining them. person who noticed that a tangle The average American of branches or stems could block landscape is overplanted, so that the progress of wayward livestock most of us have at least a few and started deliberately piling such shrubs and perhaps 1 or 2 small plant material where it could do the trees that must be pruned hard most good. Geography dictated what and often to be kept under control. that person had on hand, so that European Consequently, we bag or bundle and drag to wattlers built their craft on forest branches the curb a good deal of brush. while Egyptians used reeds. The simplest Here are ways to make use of at least some wattle patterns commemorate that ancient of your pruning “debris” as practical, beautiful pattern—heaped twigs braced against and products called wattle.

between stout posts. Over time, wattle makers became more efficient with their materials, more clever in weaving for strength, and more inclined to include beauty and self-expression in their objectives. Conquerors and traders brought inspiration from Egypt, Persia, Southeast Asia, and the Far East so that forest-based European wattlework was probably influenced by what those others did with reed, rattan palm wicker, and bamboo. Wattle had its glory days, but waned as industrialization and the age of plastic made low-cost fencing widely available. The decline is apparent with a look at coppicing (cutting shrubs back to ground level) as an occupation in the UK, since forest coppices provided wattlers with their raw materials. In the 19th century, up to 20,000 coppicers were managing 100,000 acres of British woodland. By the 1960s that number had fallen to only Janet’s Journal continued on page 40

Different ways to use wattle You may be only now learning its proper name and history, but you have probably noticed wattle if you’ve visited gardens from colonial times, such as Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Darl Slentz

This section of wattle breaks up the traffic lane that might otherwise form here and compact the soil.

Darl Slentz Darl Slentz

A little bit of wattle fence protects plants from those who would cut the corner.

Wattle holds straw insulation against the north side of a season-extending cold frame.

April 2013  

Perennials: Foamflower, Profile: An Asian-inspired garden, Plant Focus: Impatiens alternatives, Tree Tips: Lightning and how it affects tree...

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