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Your guide to Great Lakes gardening a August 2012 a

plant focus

Astrantia to-do list Creating a garden journal perennials Ligularia plant patrol Black spot on roses vegetables Saving seeds this year— and the plants that result next year

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August Events In-store Presentations

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FREE In-store Presentation Preserving the Harvest

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Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

contents August 2012

We’ll help you end your summer with a bloom. At Telly’s, there is still plenty of summer left. From roses to perennials to annuals and beyond, we truly are a summer gardener’s paradise. Come in for a visit and let us make your season really bloom.

Clippings.....................................................................6 To-Do List...................................................................8 Ask MG.....................................................................10 Vegetable Patch.....................................................12 Tree Tips...................................................................16 Where to pick up Michigan Gardener............17 Advertiser Index....................................................17 Calendar....................................................................18 Weather Wrap.......................................................18 Subscription Form................................................19 Classified Ads.........................................................19 Places to Grow......................................................20

Over 50 varieties of selected hostas now 50% OFF!

Hosta of the Year..................................................21 Perennials: Ligularia............................................22 Books for the Michigan Gardener................23 Plant Patrol..............................................................27 Janet’s Journal.....................................Back Cover On the cover: Astrantia brings color to woodland areas and partial shade gardens.

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

Plant Focus: Astrantia..........................14

Photo: Eric Hofley/Michigan Gardener

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TROY 3301 John R–1/4 mile north of 16 Mile 248-689-8735 SHELBY TWP 4343 24 Mile btwn Dequindre & Shelby Rd. 248-659-8555 AUGUST HOURS: TROY: Mon-Sat: 9am-8pm Sun: 10am-5pm SHELBY: Mon-Sat: 10am-7pm Sun: 10am-5pm

Circulation Jonathon Hofley Editorial Assistant Carrie MacGillis

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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 7 issues per year: April, May, June, July, August, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec. Published the first week of the mo. Subscriptions (Please make check payable to Michigan Gardener) 1 yr, 7 iss/$15 2 yr, 14 iss/$28 3 yr, 21 iss/$37 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, 7 iss/$22 US 2 yr, 14 iss/$42 US Copyright © 2012 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 | August 2012 |

clippings Moross Greenway Project set to give Moross Road a facelift Moross Road, on Detroit’s Eastside, will undergo a major facelift thanks to the efforts of the Moross Greenway Project, a newly-formed volunteer coalition which has announced the kick-off of its project to transform and landscape the eight islands between the I-94 expressway and St. John Hospital. The Moross Greenway Project, a not-for-profit organization, is a historic collaborative effort of volunteer residents from the City of Detroit and its suburban neighborhoods. The Project partners include not only the contiguous Eastside communities bordering Moross Road, but also local churches, garden clubs, and civic, industrial, and commercial organizations who are working together across city and political boundaries to enhance Eastside living. WO OMEN and a The beginning of 2012 marked the start of Phase II of the Project, a fundraising campaign • Garden Consultations with a goal of nearly $600,000 for the planting • Landscape Design, of more than 115 trees, 500 shrubs, and 9,700 Planting, Maintenance, perennials in the fall of 2012. This will provide a Restoration & Pruning sustainable landscape by including native plants • Seasonal Container Plantings and an irrigation system to ensure that they will • Rain Gardens thrive. The first phase of the Project’s beautification effort was launched in June 2011 with • Garden Lighting the planting of 191 trees along Moross Road in • Walks, Walls & Patios partnership with The Greening of Detroit. More information can be found about 248-891-0548 the Moross Greenway Project at www. TWOwomenANDaHOE.COM






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Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

to-do list Annuals

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• Regular water and fertilizer is the key to keeping annuals looking good. This summer’s heat and low rainfall will stress plants if they’re not given supplemental water. • Be sure to deadhead (remove spent blooms) and pinch back plants to help maintain their shape. With proper care, annuals should look great until the first frost.



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• Enjoy fresh-picked produce from your garden. Your hard work pays off if the critters don’t beat you to it. If you’re being robbed by furry thieves, don’t despair, there are new repellent products available that keep critters away but aren’t harmful to you. • Keep watering deeply but infrequently. There are a few problems, like blossom end rot, that show up during periods of uneven watering. It’s important to continue weeding. Weeds can grow very quickly and rob your vegetables of needed nutrients.

Perennials • Perennial beds require little maintenance this time of year. They need basic care like weeding and deadheading. Continue to wa-

ter deeply but infrequently, which encourages deep root growth. • Fill in bare areas with some perennials for extra fall color, such as ajuga, asters, anemones, black-eyed Susan, coneflowers, coral bells, plumbago, sage, sedum, sweet flag, and wall flower. • Fall is a great time to divide perennials to keep them healthy. Take note of which flowers need to be divided, so this can be accomplished as the foliage starts to die back.

Trees and Shrubs • Trees and shrubs should only need basic maintenance: weeding and watering. Prune only if absolutely necessary because the resulting new growth may not have time to harden off properly before frost. • When watering newly planted trees and shrubs, be sure water reaches depths of 10 to 12 inches. The soil should dry out 1-1/2 to 2 inches down before watering again. • Hand weed around trees and shrubs, so you don’t cut the bark with weed whacker damage. A layer of mulch will reduce weeding, but do not pile it on too deeply; 2 to 3 inches is enough. • Give spring-blooming trees and shrubs a

Feature Task: Creating and using a garden journal The best time to plan for next year’s garden? This year! And the best way to do it is to keep a garden journal. If you haven’t already, start a journal or scrapbook to remind you of the garden’s million details. The journal doesn’t have to be fancy, just a place for photos and notes. A three-ring binder with clear plastic sheet protectors works great. If you’re computersavvy, a digital record is great, complete with photos throughout the seasons. Organize the journal any way that works for you. The most common is monthly. Start by taking photos of the landscape, individual garden beds, and even individual flowers and weeds. Label and date the photos and place them in the journal. Make notes of what’s blooming well or anything you’ll want to move, divide or “donate to another gardener” later in the season. If you planted anything that month, add the plants’ color picture tags so you’ll have the exact variety names. You can keep a list of tasks that need to be done in the garden that month, and record when fertilizing, pruning and dividing was completed. It will be a handy reference for next year. If you have a hard time remembering

what’s a weed and what’s a desirable plant, you can create an entire section devoted to weeds. Use your journal to reference what weeds show up when and you’ll never be left wondering if it should be pulled or not. Weeds can be photographed and added to the journal. Or take a sample of the weed, slip it between the pages of a phone book, and leave it there to dry. After a few weeks, pull the pressed weeds out and slip them into the sheet protectors. It’s not really necessary to label each weed by type. Simply label the page, “May weeds.” This is a great way to catalog your plants. Place a slip of paper with the name of your plant and where it’s planted. If you know when you bought it and have your receipt, slide that info in too. Knowing when you bought a plant helps you know when it will need dividing. Keep the color picture tags in the scrapbook for perennials and shrubs as well as annuals. Make notes through the season like “great performer” or “fabulous color.” Check through your notes next winter when planning next year’s garden. It’s fun to look back over the years and see how the garden has progressed. Leafing through the journal is a great way to get inspired during the long months of winter. | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener

fertilizer treatment to help with flower production next year. Check the formula and use a high middle number (phosphorous) of the three fertilizer numbers to promote flower growth. Woody ornamentals, such as rhododendrons, azaleas and lilacs, are starting now to form the buds for next year’s flowers, so don’t prune them or you’ll cut off next year’s flowers.


prints are visible after you’ve walked across it. • If grubs are a problem this year, prepare for a second treatment. If you haven’t had a grub problem, simply keep an eye out for the beetles.


• Don’t trim or fertilize evergreens this month. Wait until late fall after the plant goes dormant. Any new growth that occurs now won’t have a chance to harden off before winter. • Continue to water, particularly anything that’s been planted this year. Evergreens don’t show damage from lack of water until it’s too late.

• Roses don’t like the heat of August. Be sure to keep their roots cool with a good layer of mulch, and water the roots, not the leaves. Roses like at least an inch of water a week. Too little water reduces the blooms they’ll produce. • Continue to follow a regular fertilizer and preventative spraying program to help keep roses healthy and blooming. • Japanese beetles are still out this month, so spray roses to keep them away. Also install Japanese beetle traps to lure them away from plants.


Water Gardens

• Houseplants love being outside in the warm temperatures, but they don’t like their roots to be dry day after day. Be sure they receive adequate water during the summer heat. Move them to a shadier spot if you find yourself watering too often. • Check if any plants are rootbound and need transplanting. Carefully remove the plants from the pots. If you see only roots and minimal soil, it’s time to re-pot into the next size container. Don’t plant in too large a pot, or the plant will spend all its time growing new roots to fill its home, stunting the growth above. • The pot should have drainage holes. If not, use it as a pot cover, not something in which a plant will grow. After transplanting, water thoroughly. • The use of a systemic insecticide will prevent insects from making their homes in your plants. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions.

• Everything’s in full bloom in the water garden. • During hot weather, algae can grow a lot. Be sure to have adequate pond plants to help keep the algae down. At least 75 percent of the water’s surface should be covered by water plants, such as water hyacinths, water lilies, and water lettuce. Cleaning the filter on a regular basis and testing the water to keep the balance correct will also help keep algae under control. • Water lilies are heavy feeders and need fertilizer every two weeks during August. Use a tablet-form fertilizer, specifically made for pond plants. • Keep the water clean of leaf debris. Re-apply a fresh dose of beneficial bacteria to help keep the pond healthy and water clear.



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Lawn • Keep the lawn looking its best with regular watering and mowing. In the heat, it’s best to mow with the blades as high as possible, and never take off more than 1/3 of the grass height at any one time. Short blades expose the crown of the grass to sun, causing sunburn and stress. • A less-stressed lawn is less likely to have insect or disease issues and is better able to fight weeds. • Maintain a watering schedule if the lawn is green and lush, providing supplemental watering if the lawn doesn’t receive at least an inch of rainfall each week. If the lawn has gone dormant from lack of moisture, water deeply only when the grass wilts or when foot-


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Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

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Summer lawn care This is an unusually hot year and our lawns are suffering. Is it wise to follow the usual “4-step” lawn fertilizer program considering the heat and drought? C.W. The mantra of Ron Calhoun from MSU’s Turf Management department is, “If it’s dry, skip July.” Even if you have an irrigation system and you water daily, lawn turf goes dormant in heat and drought. It just sits there. Periodic watering will keep the roots from drying out, but will not increase turf growth. Our Michigan turf blends are cool season grasses. Their growth periods are spring and fall. The only things benefiting from summer fertilization are the weeds. The 4-step application program (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving) is a general guideline for fertilizer application. Half-doses are recommended for the July and Labor Day applications. As fall approaches and late summer rains tend to come as the season changes, the lawn goes out of dormancy and begins to rebuild itself. Instead of a half-dose of fertilizer for Labor Day, you can choose to apply a full dose. The November application helps the turf store food going into winter. Timing on mid-fall fertilization is important because if the soil is too cold, soil microbes will not be as active and fertilizer nutrients won’t be released. Definitely read the application directions on the product before applying to your lawn.

Selecting colors and positioning plants

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Have a question? Send it in!

My backyard patio has small flower beds right next to it, and a wider border around the yard’s perimeter (about 9 feet wide). I am planning to put in some new plants in the far corner of the yard. Which colors look best from a distance and which look better when planted close by? E.M., Troy, MI The farther away a plant is from the viewer, the brighter, bolder and taller it can be. Choose strong tones of red, yellow, orange and purple. White also serves to contrast and unite a strong color palette. A corner is perfect for a small tree like a paperbark maple (Acer griseum) with great exfoliating bark year-round and rich fall color. With a vertical centerpiece, choose shrubs and perennials to flank and surround it. Think four-season interest and define your permanent infrastructure first with that in mind. “Color” can be found in bark and leaves too. Early (April-May) colorful shrubs for limited space include dwarf fothergilla and PJM

rhododendron. In mid-season (June-July-August), look for showy structure and leaf color, as in hydrangeas (both mophead and panicle) and smokebush (Cotinus). Plant a large-flower clematis if there is room for a vine. Fill in with flowering bulbs and perennials that bloom from spring into fall. Shop reputable nurseries where staff is trained and plants are tagged for light, water needs, and bloom time. Place tall perennials to the back of the bed and shorter ones as you near the edge closer to your house. Perennials and shrubs planted close to your viewpoint can be softer in tone but can mimic the distant color palette. Because you will see details, choose plants with unusual leaf or flower structure and patterns. Look for dwarf varieties and plants with fragrance that will entice the viewer closer. Beds immediately adjacent to patios are excellent for annuals where they can be easily watered and deadheaded to maintain re-bloom.

Dealing with shrubs and snow loads What shrubs can handle occasionally being dumped on by snowstorms? I am considering barberry, dwarf purple leaf sand cherry, or dwarf red-tipped dogwood. My west wall is where I want to plant. Winter storms occasionally dump drifts of snow 2 to 3 feet deep on that area. I am concerned that the shrub I choose may not have strong enough branches to withstand this onslaught of heavy snow. D.H., Sterling Heights, MI Of the three shrubs, the stiff structure of the barberry will handle snow drifts the best, the dogwood (Cornus pumila) a weak second, and the sand cherry (Prunus x cistena) the least of all. Up against a west-facing wall, strong sunlight year-round demands a shrub that can take it and the dried out soil conditions that go with it. The dogwood can take the western exposure and it can handle the extra moisture of snowmelt. But its branch infrastructure will be compromised by snow load. The sand cherry is a hybrid of two other species, one of which comes from the warm climate of the Middle East. Its branching is fragile even though it will handle sun when consistent moisture is provided. This said, consider locating a vertical “wall shrub” between the barberries on either end. A well-groomed firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) will keep branching vertical and away from snow load. The fall berries continue through winter, offering unexpected color and interest. Another option is a trumpet | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener

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vine (Campsis radicans), whose nectar-filled blossoms are sought out by hummingbirds and pollinators. Both these vines mature into woody stems that provide vertical interest in winter and get the plant above any potential snow damage. If you choose all shrubs, you may need to invest in a permanent snow shield that stakes in the ground and covers both top and sides of the plants with heavy canvas duck cloth. It will bear the bulk of the snow weight when the drifts move in.

Squirrels chewing on bark I have a 35-year-old yew in my front yard and the problem is the squirrels around my house are tearing the bark off the plant in some large patches. I have masking tape over the bare spots now. What can I do to deter the pests? Is there something I can mix up to apply on the bare spots? M.P., Southgate, MI At age 35, the yew is probably not in any danger of dying despite the large patches of missing bark. Tree squirrels are primarily vegetarians, feasting on seeds, tree buds, nuts and fruit. They can eat tree bark but more often use it to line their nests. Grey squirrels are more apt to eat it than the larger Eastern fox squirrel, who prefers nuts and fruits, or the smaller red squirrel that likes it for nesting. They have two litters: one in spring and one in late summer. Unfortunately the early Michigan spring accelerated not only plant cycles by a good month but animal breeding cycles as well. In midsummer this season, the squirrels are probably working on their second litter. As long as the squirrels do not girdle the branches, there is no need to tape over the areas or apply any protectant. They will only go to another spot on the trunk. The tree will seal any exposed areas internally. If you leave the tape on, moisture or insects could collect under it and end up causing more serious issues. There are organic deterrents, available at your local garden center, to spray on the bark to discourage them. These products inhibit chewing through taste or noxious smell and will not harm the tree or the squirrel. Once the mating and nesting rituals are done, the squirrels will lose interest in the bark.

Growing healthy lilies I have oriental lilies on the side of my house. Last year and again this year some are blooming just fine and others put up leaves and stalks and show flower blos-

soms but then the blossoms and some of the top leaves turn brown. What is causing this and why is it happening to just some of them and not all? M.C., Redford, MI Oriental lilies (Lilium), as well as Asiatic lilies, are true lilies, unlike daylilies which belong to the Hemerocallis genus. They come in a wide variety of colors and are often fragrant. Their strong stems and strap-like foliage give vertical color punch to the summer garden when many plants are wilting in the sun. When blossoms become inconsistent, it may be time to lift the bulbs, divide and respace them. Lilies reproduce with offshoot bulblets from the original bulb. Dividing, thinning and replanting in groups of 3 to 5 with bulbs about 8 to 12 inches apart will relieve the congestion. Lilies can be planted in the spring or fall. They like well-drained, moist soil and detest water-saturated beds. Fertilize the soil each spring with a phosphorus-rich formula such as 5–10–10. Slow-release fertilizers work the best. Deadhead the blossoms as soon as they start to fade but do not cut back the stalk or foliage, as it continues to feed the bulb for next season. Deadheading prevents seed production and gets more nutrition to the bulb itself. Keep the base of their stems shaded with mulch. Check your watering practices and make sure you are watering early in the day and only at the base of the plant during periods of drought. Overhead watering and watering at night can increase chances for developing botrytis blight. Make sure the overhead tree canopies have not matured so that they are now shading the lilies, which need at least eight hours of sun a day.

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Upcoming Meetings – Please join us! Tour of Gee Farms and their extensive arboretum Thursday, August 16, 2012, 10am The Gee Farms arboretum has been a work in progress for over 12 years. The 8-acre arboretum contains thousands of different and hard-to-find conifers, trees, and perennials, all of which have an identification label. You can see specimens of plants that Gee Farms carries or has carried, as well as plants that they are testing for hardiness and landscape value. Located at 14928 Bunkerhill Road, Stockbridge, MI, 49285.

Guest fee: $5. Please contact us for more information about our substantive lectures and programs, as well as membership. Web: Email: Phone: Gail Morrell at 248-828-2978


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Did you try a new vegetable variety in your will have the genetic code of both varieties. garden this year? When we try a new variety Hence, next year’s plant may yield produce of of a favorite vegetable, we often find that we a slightly different flavor, texture or appearreally like it and decide to save the seeds for ance. The cross-pollination may not even be next year. We save the seeds and plant them, from varieties in the same garden. After all, fully expecting to enjoy the same taste and insects and wind carry pollen, so your neightexture in our produce. But somehow those bor’s zucchini may be providing the pollen for plants did not produce anything like what we your yellow squash. You will get the yellow expected. What happened? squash expected this year, but the seeds from Was the parent plant you originally colthat squash may produce something a bit diflected the seeds from a hybrid? If it was, the ferent next year. seeds will definitely not produce a Unless you’re a gardener who replant identical to the parent. Hybrids ally knows your stuff when it comes Mary are the result of crossing two differ- Gerstenberger to plant pollination, you may want ent parent varieties that will proto stick with buying your seed or duce a plant with characteristics of transplants from a reputable dealer. both parents. This is usually done to That will guarantee that the vegetaproduce seed that will have the best ble you plant has the characteristics characteristics of the parents, resultyou want in the food you harvest. If ing in a plant that may be stronger, you are the adventurous sort, save more disease resistant, or better tastyour seed and see what you get. Afing. Unfortunately, when the seeds ter all, whether the home gardener of those hybrid plants are sown, that or the commercial producer pronext generation will not have the vides the seed, something new and same characteristics. It’s a genetics thing. delicious is just a planting season away. But what if your parent plant was not a Mary Gerstenberger is the Consumer Horhybrid? Did you have any cross-pollination ticulture Coordinator at the Michigan State going on? Frequently, plants in the same University Extension in Macomb County, MI. family can cross-pollinate. In other words, For gardening information from MSU, visit the pollen from one variety comes in tact with the stigma in the flower of a different variety, allowing the fruit to develop and Call the toll-free Michigan State University the new seed to form. While this year’s fruit Lawn and Garden Hotline at 888-678-3464 will still have the quality and characteristics for answers to your gardening questions. expected, the seed produced for next year

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Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

plant focus



Astrantia is beautifully incorporated in this red and pink vignette.

‘Rose Symphony’ shows off its rich, rose-pink flowers.

n the shady perennial garden, we have through the macro lens of a camera. The so many wonderful plants from which plants are never completely covered with to choose. For foliage, we have ferns, flowers, but the reliable blooms make a great hostas, some perennial grasses, a few groundaccent to any shade-loving companion plant. covers, and some gorgeous vines. For flowers, The flowers last for at least a month and, if cut the list goes on and on: from the first hellebore and dried properly, dried flowers can last for blossoms of late winter and early spring to the years. last blooms of the anemones, yellow wax bells, The leaves are usually dark green and and fall-blooming crocus. lobed. The long-lived plants are disease-free One of the longest-blooming peand rarely require any mainterennials for shade is Astrantia, with nance. The plants at your favorite George the somewhat unflattering common garden center might only have a Papadelis name of masterwort. Like astilbe, lafew flowers, but once established in dy’s mantle, and several other shade the garden, plants produce a more lovers, astrantia can tolerate as substantial display. much as full sun if kept adequately The most readily available varietmoist. Its long-lasting blossoms can ies are those grown from seed. Seedbegin as early as May and continue grown ‘Primadonna’ has flowers thru July and often longer. that range from purple to rose. ‘Rose The flowers are usually about Symphony’ is a symphony of flowers an inch across, but upon closeranging from purple to red to pink. up examination, you can see that ‘Ruby Cloud’ has the deepest color, one “flower” is actually an umbel (cluster) blooming in variations of red to purple. composed of several tiny florets bunched toOver the years, several cultivars have been gether. The white to pink to red flowers are selected for their noteworthy characteristics. incredible when viewed up close, especially These are clones of one another, so the variation is greatly reduced. ‘Hadspen Blood’ has stunning blood-red flowers held by dark, nearPhotos by eric hofley / michigan gardener ly black stems above dark foliage. Flower and stem color are more intense when grown in more sun. ‘Claret’ has deep rose to pink flowers and ‘Ruby Wedding’ has deep red flowers that are likely to repeat bloom in the fall. As if these beautiful flowers weren’t enough, we also have two cultivars with variegated leaves. ‘Sunningdale Variegated’ has pale pink to white flowers above green leaves splashed with gold. This one seems less available than years past, mostly because we have many good flowering astrantias. One that I am most eager to see is brand new. ‘Vanilla Gorilla’ has brightly variegated green and white leaves topped by silvery pink flowers in June and July. This one should be more available in 2013. Astrantia can be divided in spring to produce new plants. Flowers will produce some seed that can also create new astrantias for your garden. To eliminate reseeding, deadhead (remove) the faded flowers. This will also encourage your plant to create more, new flowers. Astrantia “flowers” are actually clusters of several tiny florets.

George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI. | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener

Astrantia Botanical name: Common name: Plant type: Plant size:

Astrantia (ah-STRAN-tee-ah) Masterwort Perennial 12 to 30 inches tall and wide, depending on variety Habit: Clump-forming Hardiness: Zone 4 Flower color: Shades of pink, red, smoky purple, and white Flower size: 1-inch clusters of tiny florets Bloom period: Midsummer Leaf color: Green; variegated green/ yellow/cream Light: Shade to part sun Soil: Average to moist, well-drained ‘Hadspen Blood’ Uses: Woodland areas, shady borders Companion plants: Hostas, astilbes, ferns, hellebores, yellow wax bells, other shade-loving perennials. Remarks: Great filler plant for shady areas. Deadhead flowers to prolong bloom period. Can tolerate more sun if soil is moist. Very good for both cut and dried flowers. Astrantia combines well with other plants in the perennial border.

‘Buckland’ softens the edge of this stone path.

‘Sunningdale Variegated’ has striking variegated leaves.



Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

tree tips Diseases on conifers Diseases of evergreen trees have always been a concern of arborists trying to protect the delicate needles from damage or loss. Conifers differ from deciduous trees in that they hold their foliage for multiple years instead of a single season, which means any loss can affect the tree for up to 3 years or longer if you cannot get control of the problem quickly. In recent years the number of problems conifers are experiencing has been on the rise.

Blue spruces The most problematic of all the conifers is the blue spruce. This plant has always struggled with cytospora canker, a fungal disease responsible for the death of its lower branches. This reduces its value as a screening plant, which is often its purpose. They are now also being decimated by up to 3 needle cast diseases caused by fungal pathogens. The most prolific one is rhizosphaera, which attacks the older needles, causing them to fall off much sooner than they are supposed to, often leaving thin, scraggly trees with minimal landscape value if treatment is not started promptly. Even then, treatments can’t always save every tree. Researchers have been looking at different methods and timings to try to get a handle on this problem. Some techniques are showing good results, but trees will need to be treated yearly with preventative sprays each spring in order to give them the best chance of remaining a valuable landscape plant. As such, you may want to consider different plant options to use so you can avoid trying to keep existing, marginal blue spruces healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Many landscap-

ers and nurseries have already started moving away from blue spruces because of their many problems. Other types of spruces can be infected with needle cast, but it rarely has the impact that it does on blue spruces. Other spruces can, however, be subject to other problems, including phomopsis canker, which can cause the death of new growth tips, and rust diseases, which can also affect new growth.

Pines Pine trees have their own host of recent problems, the most serious being pine wilt, which attacks non-native pines like Scotch and Austrian and is always Steve fatal. The only way to protect trees Turner is to inject them with a preventative treatment before they are infected. Pine wilt is similar to Dutch elm disease in the way it clogs the vascular system and the tree dies rapidly. It is easily spread to the pine trees around them if left unmanaged. Removal of dead and infected trees is critical to control as they are the source of infection for healthy trees. Pine bark beetles leave diseased trees and carry the nematode that causes the infection with them into healthy trees. Typical management plans remove all dead and suspect trees and treat the remaining ones to prevent infection. Treatment provides 3 years of protection but will not cure trees already infected. Austrian pines have a few other problems besides wilt, the most common being diplodia tip blight, which kills the new growth shortly after it emerges in the spring, leaving persistent

brown tips full of spores to infect again next spring, thus repeating the cycle. Dothistroma is another fungus that attacks the older needles, causing them to brown and fall off. It is not uncommon for the tree to have both problems at once, making it thin and weak and very attractive to the bark beetles that spread pine wilt. Scotch pines can also be infected by both pathogens, but not as severely in most cases. Both of these pathogens can be controlled with properly timed fungicide treatments in the spring. One thing all these fungal diseases have in common is that they need cool, damp weather to infect their hosts. Hot, dry springs like we had in 2012 will limit their spread, but cool, wet springs like 2011 let fungus problems explode. In irrigated landscapes, these ideal conditions are often unknowingly created by allowing overhead sprinklers to spray directly on the needles and keeping them moist, allowing the fungus to infect. Whenever I’m asked to look at conifers infected with a fungal pathogen, I always look for sprinkler heads. Where they hit the plant is often the worst area of infection. Junipers seem to be one of the worst plants at tolerating repeatedly wet needles. Phomopsis tip blight will infect them and cause them to turn brown. White pines, although a native plant, have a problem in our area called white pine decline. While not a specific pathogen, it is a collection of conditions made up of environmental, insect, and disease problems that together cause the slow decline of the tree. The symptoms include thinning needles, yellowing, and dieback. The main problem is that they are sensitive to air pollution, particularly sulfur, a common emission of coal and diesel fuels. This weakens the trees, setting them up for attack from other pathogens that the plant normally would be able to fend off.

Instead, the plant slowly declines. Any treatment plan must include trying to improve the health of the plant through soil amendments and proper watering or you will continue to treat one symptom after another with little or no improvement. This problem seems more prevalent in newly planted or younger trees more so than older, mature trees.

Other conifers Firs, cedars, hemlocks, and larches don’t have persistent or life-threatening diseases as do pines and spruces. However, the one thing they all share is their susceptibility to drought, especially hemlocks. As hot and dry as this summer has been, providing extra water will be crucial to the survival of some trees, especially new ones, and it will help reduce stress on others. In fact, don’t stop with just the conifers— water all your trees once a week if we don’t get significant rain. A telltale sign that your trees need water are drooping leaves or changing color and then dropping. That is the tree trying to reduce its leaf surface area that is losing moisture in the hot sun. If the tree can’t draw enough water from the soil to keep up with the loss from the leaves, it has to shed them in order to preserve moisture and prevent the whole tree from drying up. Your lawn sprinkler will not provide enough water for your trees. Use a hose placed inside the tree’s drip line. An easy formula to use: apply 10 gallons per inch of trunk diameter. At normal water pressure, your hose turned down to a medium flow should produce roughly 2 gallons of water a minute. So, a tree with a 5-inch trunk needs 50 gallons of water, so placing the hose under the tree for 25 minutes on medium should do the trick. Moving it around the tree a couple times is even better. Steve Turner, Certified Arborist, is from Arboricultural Services in Fenton, MI.

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Look for 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 Tiffany Florist Watch Hill Antiques Bloomfield Hills ACE Hardware Coastal Outdoor Living Space Brighton H Beauchamp Landscp Supp H Bordine’s H English Gardens H Grasshopper Gardens 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 H Garden Mill The Potting Shed Clarkston ACE Hardware ACO Hardware H Bordine’s Country Oaks Landscp Supp I Lowrie’s Landscp The Birdfeeder H The Pond Source Weingartz Clawson ACO Hardware Clinton Twp ACO Hardware

at these fine locations: English Gardens 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 Dexter Gard H Fraleigh’s Nurs Eastpointe H English Gardens Farmington ACO Hardware Farmington Hills ACO Hardware Farmer John’s Greenhse H Steinkopf Nurs Weingartz Fenton Gerych’s H Heavenly Scent Herb Farm Ferndale Casual Modes Home & Gard Green Thumb Gard Ctr 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

Advertiser Index Abbott’s Landscape Nursery..........17 Abele Greenhouse & Gard Ctr.......21 Aguafina Gardens Intl.........................12 Assoc. Professional Gardeners.......11 Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr........................21 Blossoms....................................................13 Bogie Lake Greenhouses.....................5 Bordine’s...........................................Page 3

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 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 Olejnik Farms H Wiegand’s Nursery Madison Hts Green Carpet Sod Midland H 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 Van Thomme’s Greenhses 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 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 Plymouth Backyard Birds Lucas Nurs H Plymouth Nurs Plymouth Rock & Supp Rock Shoppe H Saxton’s Gard Ctr Sideways Sparr’s Greenhse Pontiac H Goldner Walsh Gard/ Home

Contender’s Tree/Lawn Spec..........7 Eckert’s Greenhouse.............................6 English Gardens........Inside Frt Cover The Flower Market................................12 The Garden Mill......................................17 Garden Rhythms.....................................11 A Garden Space.......................................9 Gordon’s Landscaping........................12 Haley Stone Supply................................11 Heavenly Scent Herb Farm.................5

Ray Van’s Valley Grenhse Redford Pinter Flowerland Seven Mi Gard Ctr Rochester Casual Concepts H Fogler’s Greenhse H Haley Stone Sherwood Forest Gard Ctr Rochester Hills ACE Hardware ACO Hardware H Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr H Bordine’s Bordine’s H English Gardens Patio Shop Shades of Green Nurs Wild Birds Unltd Rockwood H Marsh Greenhses Too Romulus H Kurtzhal’s Farms H Schoedel’s Nurs H Schwartz’s Greenhse Roscommon The Greenhouse Roseville Dale’s Landscp Supp World Gardenland Royal Oak ACO Hardware Billings Lawn Equip H English Gardens English Gardens Frentz & Sons Hardware La Roche Manus Power Mowers H Wild Birds Unltd Saginaw H Abele Greenhse & Gard Ctr Saline Junga’s ACE Hardware H Nature’s Gard Ctr Saline Flowerland Shelby Twp Diegel Greenhses Eden Gard Ctr H Hessell’s Greenhses Maeder Plant Farm Potteryland H Telly’s Greenhse Third Coast Garden Supp South Lyon ACO Hardware Hollow Oak Farm Nurs Southfield 3 DDD’s Stand ACO Hardware H Eagle Landscp & Supply Lavin’s Flower Land Main’s Landscp Supp Southgate H Ray Hunter Gard Ctr St Clair Shores ACE Hardware ACO Hardware (Harper/13 Mi) Greenhouse Growers Hall’s Nurs Soulliere Gard Ctr Sterling Hts ACO Hardware Decor Statuette H Eckert’s Greenhse Flower Barn Nurs

Hidden Lake Gardens..........................13 Hodges Subaru......................................10 Iron Barn Iron Work..............................17 Nature’s Garden Ctr.............................13 Oakland Cty Farmers Market..........8 Orion Stone Depot................................13 Piechnik’s Greenhouse........................9 The Pond Source......................................5 Rice’s Garden Ornaments..................6 Specialty Growers................................10

Prime Landscp Supply Stockbridge Gee Farms Sylvan Lake H AguaFina Gardens Interntl H Detroit Garden Works Taylor H Beautiful Ponds & Gard H D&L Garden Ctr H Massab Acres H Panetta’s Landscp Supp Tipton H Hidden Lake Gardens Trenton Carefree Lawn Ctr Keck Hardware Troy ACO Hardware Maeder’s West H Telly’s Greenhse Telly’s Greenhse The Home & Gard Shop Tom’s Landscp Nurs H Uncle Luke’s Feed Store Utica Dale’s Landscp Supp Stone City Weingartz Warren H Beste’s Lawn & Patio Young’s Garden Mart Washington Landscape Direct Miller’s Big Red Greenhse Rocks ‘n’ Roots Waterford ACO Hardware Breen’s Landscp Supp Jacobsen’s Flowers Waterford H Merrittscape Wayne Artman’s Nurs West Bloomfield H English Gardens H Planterra Whole Foods Westland ACO Hardware Artman’s Westland Nurs H Barsons Greenhses Bushel Stop Joe Randazzo’s Nurs Panetta’s Landscp Supp White Lake H Bogie Lake Greenhse Mulligan’s Gard Ctr Sunshine Plants Whitmore Lake H Alexander’s Greenhses Williamston H Christian’s Greenhse Wixom Angelo’s Landscp Supp Brainer’s Greenhse Ypsilanti Coleman’s Farm Mkt Lucas Nurs Margolis Nurs Materials Unlimited Schmidt’s Antiques

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Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

calendar August / September / October Precipitation June 2012

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Monthly 3.52 3.07 3.45

Actual Monthly 1.31 0.83 1.89

June 2011 Deviation from Normal -2.21 -2.24 -1.56

2012 Year to Date: Jan 1 - June 30

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Yr. to Date 16.06 14.06 15.02

Actual Yr. to Date 13.04 15.01 13.11

Normal Monthly 3.52 3.07 3.45

Actual Monthly 0.94 2.29 1.85

Deviation from Normal -2.58 -0.78 -1.60

2011 Year to Date: Jan 1 - June 30

Deviation from Normal -3.02 +0.95 -1.91

Normal Yr. to Date 16.06 14.06 15.02

Actual Yr. to Date 20.67 22.90 20.05

Deviation from Normal +4.61 +8.84 +5.03

Temperature June 2012

June 2011

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. High 79.0 77.7 78.1

ACTUAL Avg. High 84.0 82.9 81.9

Deviation from Normal +5.0 +5.2 +3.8

ormal N Avg. High 79.0 77.7 78.1

ACTUAL Avg. High 80.4 79.3 77.9

Deviation from Normal +1.4 +1.6 -0.2

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. Low 58.9 54.6 54.3

ACTUAL Avg. Low 60.6 55.5 57.6

Deviation from Normal +1.7 +0.9 +3.3

ormal N Avg. Low 58.9 54.6 54.3

ACTUAL Avg. Low 62.9 59.0 59.5

Deviation from Normal +4.0 +4.4 +5.2

Data courtesy National Weather Service

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H Denotes Michigan Gardener advertiser H Garden Day Fri, Aug 3, 8am-4pm, East Lansing. At MSU Horticulture Gardens & Veterinary Medical Center. $85 by 7/22, workshops, keynotes, lunch, materials, marketplace, plant sale, more., 517-3555191, x1339. Art, Diamonds & Orchids at Twilight Fri, Aug 3, 6-9pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House & Gardens. Stroll gardens, tour greenhouse, visit Thistle Shop, refreshments. $20. Tickets: www.housegardens., 248-645-3149. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Aug 4, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. H Sunrise in the Garden Sat, Aug 4, sunrise, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Tour, collect plants, propagation tray, $100.517-431-2060, H Entertainment in the Gardens Sat, Aug 4, 1:30-3pm, Gladwin. At Stone Cottage Gardens. Mid-Michigan Area Story Tellers & Main Street Misfits, a local music group will entertain. Come early to visit gardens., 989-426-2919. H Arranging Garden Flowers Sat, Aug 4, 10am, Metro-Detroit. At four English Garden locations. FREE demo. 11:30am: make it & take it workshop. $29.99. Advanced Healing Herbs Sat, Aug 4, 10am, Highland. At Colasanti’s Market & Greenhouse. $35. Register: 248-887-0012. H Writers in the Garden Sat, Aug 4, Leonard. At Yule Love it Lavender. www., 248-628-7814. H Make a Bird Bath Kid’s Workshop Tue, Aug 7, 10am, Metro-Detroit. At all English Garden locations. $5, ages 3-12, register: www.EnglishGardens. com. Urban Food Gardens Tour Thu, Aug 9, 4:30pm, Flint. By “Edible Flint” at Flint Farmers’ Market. FREE., 810-244-8547. Windsor Native Plant Tour Fri, Aug 10, 10am-noon, Windsor. By Detroit Garden Center at Ojibway Prairie Provincial Park. 313-259-6363, Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Aug 11, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Farmington Garden Walk Sat, Aug 11, 10am-4pm, Farmington. By Farmington Garden Club & Steinkopf Nursery. $10 donation, rain or shine. 248-477-3854,

For information about Public Gardens, please visit Click on "Resources" then "Public Gardens." H Attracting Birds & Butterflies Sat, Aug 11, 10am, Metro-Detroit. At seven English Garden locations. FREE. H Children’s Garden Day Sat, Aug 11, 10am-4pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Nature crafts, food & fun. 517-431-2060, H Fairy Gardening Tue, Aug 14, Saline. At Nature’s Garden Center. Kids: $12.99, Adults: $22.99. 734-944-8644. Learn to Make Jam & Jellies Tue, Aug 14, 5:30-7pm, Flint. At MSU Extension Office. $15. Register: 810-244-8512. Master Gardener Training Classes Tue, Aug 14, 4:30-8:30pm, Wayne. At MSU Extension Office. 13 week class, $25 application fee+$300 registration/ materials fee., 734-729-3632x103. Heritage Park Nature Walk Tue, Aug 14, noon, Farmington. By North Farmington Garden Club at Heritage Park Nature Center. Walk led by naturalist, Ashlie Simons. Register: 248-661-5337. H Gee Farms Tour Thu, Aug 16, 10am, Stockbridge. By Association of Professional Gardeners at Gee Farms. 8-acre arboretum, thousands of plants, $5., 248-727-2978. Cobblestone Bench/Table Class Sat, Aug 18, 10am, Davison. By Garden Angel Art Works at Wojo’s Splendors Greenhouse. Register: 248-6589221, Watergardens & Ponds Sat, Aug 18, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Ypsilanti Garden Tour Sat, Aug 18, 12-5pm, Ypsilanti. By Ypsilanti Garden Club at Ypsilanti Heritage Festival. H Preserving the Harvest Sat, Aug 18, 10am, Metro-Detroit. At seven English Garden locations. FREE. The Art of Pickling Sat, Aug 18, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science Center. $10., Eating Fresh from the Garden Mon, Aug 20, 6:30-8:30pm, Novi. By MSU Extension Oakland County at MSU Tollgate Education Center. www., 248-858-0887.

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Sept/Oct 2012 Nov/Dec 2012

August 15, 2012 October 15, 2012 | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener

Classified Ads NEED A HAND? Call “The little gardener that could.” 15 yrs experience at Botanical Gardens. FREE Estimates. Pat: 586-214-9852,

H Owl Prowl Tue, Aug 21, 7:30-9:30pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $12/adults, $10/children. 517-431-2060, www. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Aug 25, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. H Dahlia Show Sat, Aug 25, 11am-5pm, Grand Rapids. Displays, floral arrangements, Q&A., 616-957-1580. H Plants for Screening Sat, Aug 25, 10am, Metro-Detroit. At seven English Garden locations. FREE. Tree & Shrub Pruning Class Sat, Aug 25, 10am-noon, Detroit. By Detroit Garden Center at Belle Isle Conservatory’s Lily Pond Garden. Instructor: Janet Macunovich. Reservations: 313-259-6363, H Bonsai Show Sat, Aug 25, Monroe. By Ann Arbor Bonsai Society at The Flower Market. 734-269-2660, H Summer Herb Faire Sat, Aug 25, Sat, 10am-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Lunch, Q&A, greenhouse, artisans, for all ages, $2. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm. com, 810-629-9208. Bonsai Auction Sun, Aug 26, 2pm, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club of MI at Telly’s Greenhouse. Plants, pots, tools, lunch. www. Deadline for Fall Conservation Stewards Program Fri, Aug 31, Oakland County. By MSU Extension at Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center (2100 Pontiac Lake Rd, Waterford) & field sessions in Bloomfield Hills, Clarkston, & White Lake. $300. www., 248-858-0887. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Sep 1, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Dahlia Conference Sat, Sep 1, Sat, 12-5pm & Sun, Sep 2, 10am-4pm, Ann Arbor. By Michigan Dahlia Association at Morris Lawrence Building. Sale: Sun, 3pm. 734-753-5336. Essentials of Blanching & Freezing Tue, Sep 4, 5:30-7pm, Flint. At MSU Extension Office. $15. Register: 810-244-8512. Rhubarb Leaf Concrete Bowl with optional Fountain Class Sat, Sep 8, 10am, Ortonville. By Garden Angel Art Works at Wojo’s Greenhouse. Register: 248-627-6498, www. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Sep 8, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Dahlia Society Show Sat, Sep 8, 11am-5pm & Sun, Sep 9, 12-4pm, West Bloomfield. By Southeastern Michigan Dahlia Society at Orchard Mall. Displays, Q&A, FREE. Homegrown Festival Sat, Sep 8, 6-10pm, Ann Arbor. At Farmers’ Market pavilion. Food, kids activities, market, demos, panel discussions, auction, music. Fall Rose Show Sat, Sep 8, 1-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE. Entries accepted Sat, 8-10am., 616-975-3155. Heirloom Tomatoes Sat, Sep 8, 1-4pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE w/admission. Demos, family activities, samples, vote for your favorite., 616-975-3155.

Bromeliad/Cactus & Succulent Show & Sale Sat, Sep 8, 10:30am-4pm, Ann Arbor. By SE MI Bromeliad Society & MI Cactus & Succulent Society at Matthaei Botanical Gardens Greenhouse 3. FREE lectures & demonstations at 1 & 2:30pm. 248-380-7359, pgoff@ Create a Backyard Bird Habitat Mon, Sep 10, noon, Mt. Clemens. By Mt. Clemens Garden Club at Mt. Clemens Library community room. Presentation by English Gardens, $5. Register: 586-436-0700.

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POISON IVY – We get rid of it! That’s all we do. Call us—we are experts at identifying and removing poison ivy from your property, from single homes to large parks. Licensed and Insured. Poison Ivy Control of Michigan. 248842-8095. www.poisonivycontrolofmichigan. com.

Need a cost-effective way to promote your business? Need help? Have help to give? Big event coming up? Have some items to sell? Use Michigan Gardener Classified Advertising to let readers know! Go to and click on “Classified Advertising.” Deadline for the September/October 2012 issue is August 23.

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Attract Butterflies to Your Garden Tue, Sep 11, 7:30pm, Milford. By Huron Valley Audubon Society at Kensington Park Nature Center. H The Chicken & The Egg, a Cooking Class Wed, Sep 12, noon-1:30pm, Leonard. By Yule Love It Lavender at White Horse Inn. Register: 810-678-2150.

Find a garden in your mailbox.

Introduction to Honey Bees & Beekeeping Thu, Sep 13, 6:30-8:30pm, Novi. By MSU Extension Oakland County at MSU Tollgate Education Center. www., 248-858-0887. Land & Water Preservation Open House Thu, Sep 13, 6:30pm, Pontiac. By Six Rivers & Clinton River Watershed Council at Goldner Walsh Nursery. Chrysanthemums & More! Fri, Sep 14, 9am-5pm, through 10/28. Display, tours, more. 616-957-1580,

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Watergardens & Ponds Sat, Sep 15, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Rosedale Park Home Garden Tour Sat, Sep 15, 10am-4pm, Detroit. At North Rosedale Park Community House. Tour & luncheon: $25 Tour only: $15., 313-835-1103. Herb & Gourd Fest Sat, Sep 15, 10am-5pm & Sun, 12-5pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE w/paid admission. Displays, demos, samples., 616-975-3155.

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Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Sep 22, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. H Farmgirl Revival Sat, Sep 22, Leonard. At Yule Love It Lavender. www., 248-628-7814. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Sep 29, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Beginning Bonsai Techniques Sun, Sep 30, 2pm, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club of MI at Telly’s Greenhouse. 3 demos for beginners, experienced, bring-your-own. Fall Bonsai Show Sat, Oct 13, 9am-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE w/paid admission. Display, vote on trees, hands-on discovery cart., 616-975-3155. Prodigious Pumpkins Sat, Oct 20, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE w/paid admission. Giant pumpkins, scavenger hunt for families. Cooking demos at 1:30 & 3pm., 616-975-3155. Pine Presentation Sun, Oct 28, 2pm, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club of MI at Telly’s Greenhouse. Bonsai Winter Protection Sun, Nov 18, 2pm, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse.





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Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

Columbiaville, Davison

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

North Branch


Emmett Imlay City

Flushing Lennon

Port Huron

Hadley Dryden

Grand Blanc


Bancroft, Owosso






Addison Twp.

Orion Clarkston Hartland

White Lake Highland

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

Holly White Lake Waterford


West Bloomfield

New Hudson South Lyon

Whitmore Lake

Novi Northville

Rochester Hills

Auburn Hills Bloomfield Hills Birmingham

Sterling Hts.

Southfield Oak Park Ferndale

Detroit Dearborn Dearborn Wayne Heights


Taylor Belleville

Saline New Boston


Clinton Twp.



Ann Arbor


New Baltimore


Livonia Redford



St. Clair Roseville Shores Madison Royal Oak Heights Warren


Cement City, Chelsea, Jackson, Stockbridge

Shelby Twp.


Farmington Hills Farmington





Walled Lake Wixom Brighton



Sylvan Lake Milford




Romulus Brownstown Twp.

Southgate Trenton Grosse Ile

Rockwood, Monroe


Grosse Pointes Davison H Wojo’s Gard Splendors Dearborn Fairlane Gardens Westborn Flower Mkt Dearborn Heights H English Gardens 22650 Ford Rd, MI 48127 313-278-4433 Detroit Allemon’s Landscp Ctr H Detroit Farm & Garden 1759 20th St., MI 48216, Enter on 21st 313-655-2344 Dexter Dexter Gardens H Fraleigh’s Landscp Eastpointe Ariel’s Enchanted Gard

A collection of stores and gardens to shop and visit. Please call ahead for hours, as they may vary from season to season. h Denotes MG Advertiser Addison Twp H Yule Love It Lavender Farm Almont American Tree Ann Arbor H Abbott’s Nurs Ace Barnes Hardware Downtown Home/Gard H English Gardens 155 N. Maple Rd, MI 48103 734-332-7900 HillTop Greenhse/Farms Lodi Farms H The Produce Station Turner’s Greenhse/Garn Ctr Wild Birds Unltd Auburn Hills Drake’s Landscp & Nurs H Haley Stone H State Crushing Bancroft Grand Oak Herb Farm Bay City H Begick Nursery & Garden Center 5993 Westside Saginaw Rd., MI 48706 989-684-4210

Belleville Banotai Greenhse Gardeners Choice Pinter Flowerland Zywicki Greenhse Berkley Garden Central Westborn Flower Mkt Bloomfield Hills Backyard Birds Birmingham H Blossoms 33866 Woodward Ave, MI 48009 248-644-4411 Plant Station Tiffany Florist Brighton H Beauchamp Landscp Supp H Bordine’s Brighton Farmers Mkt Cowbell Lawn/Gard H English Gardens 7345 Grand River, MI 48114 810-534-5059 Grasshopper Gardens H Meier Flowerland Brownstown Twp Elegant Environ Pond Shop Ruhlig Farms & Gard

Canton Canton Floral Gardens Clink Nurs Crimboli Landscp/Nurs Keller & Stein Greenhse H Wild Birds Unltd Cement City H Hallson Gardens Chelsea H Garden Mill The Potting Shed Clarkston H Bordine’s Country Oaks Landscp I Lowrie’s Landscp H The Pond Source Clinton Twp H English Gardens 44850 Garfield Rd, MI 48038 586-286-6100 H Tropical Treasures Clio H Piechnik’s Greenhouse Columbiaville Hilltop Barn Commerce Twp Backyard Birds Zoner’s Greenhse

H English Gardens 22501 Kelly Rd, MI 48021 586-771-4200 Semrau Gard Ctr Farmington Backyard Birds Farmington Hills Angelo’s Landscp Supp Farmer John’s Greenhse Loeffler Stone Ctr H Steinkopf Nurs Fenton Gerych’s Flowers/Gift H Heavenly Scent Herb Farm Ferndale Casual Modes Home/Gard Green Thumb Gard Ctr Flushing Flushing Lawn/Gard Fowlerville H Arrowhead Alpines Gladwin H Stone Cottage Gard Grand Blanc H Bordine’s H The Weed Lady 9225 Fenton Rd, MI 48439 810-655-2723 Grosse Ile H Westcroft Gardens Grosse Pointe Allemon’s Landscp Ctr Meldrum & Smith Nurs Grosse Pointe Woods H Wild Birds Unltd

Hadley H Le Fleur Décor Hartland H Deneweth’s Garden Ctr Haslett H Christian’s Greenhse H Van Atta’s Greenhse Higgins Lake The Greenhouse Highland Colasanti’s Produce/Plant H Fragments H Highland Garden Ctr One Stop Landscp Supp Holly H Rice’s Garden Ornaments Howell H Howell Farmer’s Mkt Penrose Nurs Howell H Specialty Growers 4330 Golf Club Rd, MI 48843 517-546-7742 Imlay City Earthly Arts Greenhse Jackson The Hobbit Place Schmid Nurs/Gard Lake Orion Lake Orion Lawn Orn H Orion Stone Depot H Wojo’s of Lake Orion Lapeer H Iron Barn Gard Ctr Lennon Krupps Novelty Shop Livonia Bushel Mart Superior Growers Supp Westborn Flower Mkt Macomb Altermatt Greenhses Boyka’s Greenhse H Deneweth’s Garden Ctr H Elya’s Village Gardens Landscape Source Joe Randazzo’s Nurs Wade Nurs H Wiegand’s Nursery 47747 Romeo Plank Rd., MI 48044 586-286-3655 Madison Heights Green Carpet Sod Manchester McLennan Nurs Mason Wildtype Nurs Metamora Gilling’s Nurs Milford One Stop Landscp Supp Milford Gardens 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 Greenhse Oldani Landscp Nurs Northville H Gardenviews Novi H Dinser’s Greenhse Glenda’s Gard Ctr Stone City H Wild Birds Unltd Oak Park Four Seasons Gard Ctr Oakland Goodison Farms Daylilies

Ortonville Country Oaks Landscp II H Wojo’s Greenhse Owosso H Everlastings in Wildwood Oxford Candy Cane Xmas Trees Oxford Farm/Gard PlymoutH Backyard Birds Graye’s Greenhse Lucas Nurs H Plymouth Nurs Plymouth Rock Rock Shoppe H Saxton’s Gard Ctr Sparr’s Greenhse Pontiac H Goldner Walsh Gard/Home Ray Van’s Valley Greenhse Redford Pinter Flowerland Seven Mi Gard Ctr Rochester H Fogler’s Greenhse H Haley Stone Sherwood Forest Gard Ctr Rochester Hills H Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr 3820 West Auburn Rd, MI 48309 248-852-2310 H Bordine’s H English Gardens Patio Shop Shades of Green Nurs Wild Birds Unltd Rockwood H Marsh Greenhouses Too 31820 W. Jefferson, MI 48173 734-379-9641 Romulus Block’s Stand/Greenhse H Kurtzhals’ Farms H Schoedel’s Nurs H Schwartz’s Greenhse Roscommon The Greenhouse Roseville Dale’s Landscp Supp World Gardenland Royal Oak H Billings Lawn Equip H English Gardens 4901 Coolidge Hwy, MI 48073 248-280-9500 H Wild Birds Unltd Saginaw H Abele Greenhse Saline H Nature’s Gard Ctr 6400 E. Michigan Ave., MI 48176 734-944-8644 Saline Flowerland Shelby Twp Diegel Greenhses Eden Gard Ctr H Hessell’s Greenhse Maeder Plant Farm Potteryland H Telly’s Greenhouse 4343 24 Mile, MI 48316 248-659-8555 South Lyon Hollow Oak Farm Nurs Southfield 3 DDD’s Stand H Eagle Landscp/Supp Lavin’s Flower Land Main’s Landscp Supp Southgate H Ray Hunter Gard Ctr St Clair Shores Hall’s Nurs Soulliere Gard Ctr Sterling Heights Decor Statuette H Eckert’s Greenhouse Flower Barn Nurs Prime Landscp Supp Stockbridge Gee Farms Sylvan Lake H AguaFina Gardens Intrntl H Detroit Garden Works

Taylor H Beautiful Ponds & Gardens 20379 Ecorse, MI 48180 313-383-3853 H D&L Garden Ctr H Massab Acres H Panetta’s Landscp Supp TecumseH Mitchell’s Lawn/Landscp Trenton Carefree Lawn Ctr Troy Maeder’s West H Telly’s Greenhouse 3301 John R Rd, MI 48083 248-689-8735 Tom’s Landscp Nurs H Uncle Luke’s Feed Store Utica Dale’s Landscp Supp Stone City Walled Lake H Suburban Landscp Supp Warren H Beste’s Lawn/Patio Supp Garden Ctr Nurs Young’s Garden Mart Washington Landscp Direct Rocks ‘n’ Roots Waterford Hoffman Nurs H Merrittscape Wayne Artman’s Nurs West Bloomfield H English Gardens 6370 Orchard Lake Rd, MI 48322 248-851-7506 H Planterra Westland Artman’s Westland Nurs H Barson’s Greenhse Bushel Stop Panetta’s Landscp Joe Randazzo’s Nurs White Lake H Bogie Lake Greenhse Mulligan’s Gard Sunshine Plants Whitmore Lake H Alexander’s Greenhses Williamston H Christian’s Greenhse Wixom Brainer’s Greenhse Angelo’s Landscp Supp Milford Tree Farm Ypsilanti Coleman’s Farm Mkt Lucas Nurs Margolis Nurs Materials Unlimited

Gardens to Visit Ann Arbor H Matthaei Bot Gard/Nichols Arb Bloomfield Hills H Cranbrook Gardens Dearborn Arjay Miller Arboretum at Ford World HQ Henry Ford Estate Detroit Anna S Whitcomb Conservtry Dryden Seven Ponds Nature Ctr East Lansing H MSU Horticultural Gardens W.J. Beal Botanical Gard Emmett H Sunny Fields Botanical Pk Flint Applewood Grand Rapids Frederik Meijer Gardens Grosse Pointe Shores H Edsel & Eleanor Ford Hse Lansing Cooley Gardens Midland H Dow Gardens Novi Tollgate Education Ctr Royal Oak Detroit Zoo Tipton H Hidden Lake Gardens | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener




Selection! Selection! Selection! 2000+ varieties of Annuals, Perennials, Vegetables, Trees & Shrubs!

2012 Hosta of the Year Tom Micheletti


Excellent quality at low, northern prices! Come relax and enjoy spring by our waterfall with a free bag of popcorn!

Your Outdoor Pleasures Await at

Tropical Treasures

New LOWER prices on Fish & Plants! Many SALE items as well! In-stock items only

Complete Line of Pond Supplies Firestone EPDM Liners Energy Efficient Pumps • Filters Medicines • Lighting • UV’s Food • Kites & Windsocks Bonsai Trees & Supplies Wide variety of pond fish including: Japanese Koi, Chinese Goldfish

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Wadsworth Rd.


Janes Rd.


11-inch long by 10-inch wide leaves emerge in the spring with 2-1/2-inch wide gold margins that become creamy white during the growing season. The leaves have heavy substance, thus providing greater slug resistance. Pale lavender flowers open in mid-July on 40-inch scapes. ‘Liberty’ is a sport of the 2000 Hosta of the Year ‘Sagae.’

Outer Dr.

Since 1996, the American Hosta Growers Association has selected a hosta based on outstanding merit. This hosta must be distinctive, grow well in gardens throughout the country, and be readily available. The selection for 2012 is ‘Liberty.’ ‘Liberty’ forms a large, vase-shaped mound 26 inches high by 52 inches wide. Its


Holland Ave.

3500 Wadsworth Rd • Saginaw 989-752-5625 At the corner of I-75 & I-675 Open 7 days a week


High quality plants & service for your garden success since 1964.

Evergreens • Shrubs • Trees Perennials • Garden Art Fertilizers • Mulches & More!

Pond Critters: Turtles, Tadpoles, Snails & Clams

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Pond Plants: Marginals, Lillies, Lotus & Oxygenators

Bring in pictures of your area, and let our trained staff help you. We also have on-site appointments available.

34190 S. Gratiot (14-1/2 Mile) • Clinton Township 586-791-6595 August hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm Sat 9am-8pm Sun 9am-5pm

3820 West Auburn Rd (2 blocks E of Adams) • Rochester Hills • 248-852-2310 Mon-Fri 8-7 Sat 8-6 Sun 10-5


Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

perennial perspectives Something old, something new – a comparison of a new cultivar with the tried-and-true Ligularia Ligularia is a genus frequently recommended for moist or wet soil, poorly drained sites, rain gardens, and pond and stream edges. Because they love moisture, ligularias are good problem-solving plants for these situations. Best in partial shade, they often wilt in full sun, but perk up again when the sun moves away. Ligularia consists of about 80 species, but the most common garden selections are from L. dentata and L. stenocephala. L. dentata, big-leaf ligularia, is characterized by large, rounded, rubbery-textured leaves on long petioles, and golden yellow,

daisy-like flowers. Many people Karen consider the foliage to be ligularia’s Bovio best ornamental feature, and thus remove the flowers when they appear. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference, and the golden flowers, which appear in August, do add color at a time of year when color is scarce in shade gardens. Older varieties include ‘Desdemona’ and ‘Othello,’ which have dark green foliage with purple undersides, and grow 4 feet tall when sufficient moisture is provided. Probably the best and best-known of this group is the cultivar ‘Britt-Marie Crawford,’ which has dark,

nearly black foliage and a more compact habit, achieving a symmetrical vase-like shape when grown in semi-shade (no more than 4 to 5 hours of sun per day). In my experience, one of the best features of this variety is that it does not require as much moisture as older cultivars, performing quite well in average soils that are only periodically watered. The most well-known variety of the species L. stenocephala (narrow-spiked ligularia) is ‘The Rocket.’ The name is descriptive of the tall, spike-shaped inflorescence. It has large, dark green, arrowhead-

shaped leaves, and can reach 5 or 6 feet tall if sited properly. This is a good choice for a consistently wet location; it wilts quickly when the soil dries out or if it receives any direct sun. Breeding efforts have produced several better varieties which are more compact and less prone to wilting. Look for ‘Little Lantern,’ ‘Little Rocket,’ and the new ‘Bottle Rocket,’ all of which have a more compact habit with larger and more prolific flowers on dense spikes. They provide plenty of color in shade to partial shade during July and August. New varieties My favorite new ligularias are from the Osiris Series, bred by Serge Fafard of Quebec,

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener


‘Britt-Marie Crawford’

‘Bottle Rocket’ | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener

Canada. These hybrids, the result of crosses involving several species, are uniquely different from anything else on the market. They are characterized by thick foliage, interesting leaf shapes including jagged edges and undulating waves, unique color combinations, and a much more compact habit (only 20 to 24 inches tall). The first of the series is ‘Osiris Fantaisie,’ which has thick-textured leaves, dark green on top and burgundy beneath, with deeply serrated edges. The variety ‘Osiris Café Noir’ emerges dark and transitions to bronze and finally dark green by summer’s end. The plants may bear leaves of varying colors depending on the time of the year. The habit is upright and a bit larger than ‘Fantaisie.’ These

two cultivars do well with half-day sun and are not as prone to wilting as older varieties. The newest members of this series, ‘Osiris Evolution’ and ‘Osiris Pure Fantaisie’, are still a bit hard to find, but promise to be worth the wait. ‘Evolution’ starts the spring season with round, light yellow leaves veined in red, darkening to olive green as the season progresses. ‘Pure Fantaisie’ is a variegated form of ‘Fantaisie,’ with the same wonderful undulating leaf shape, streaked and flecked with white. The burgundy color of the petioles radiates out from the stems onto the base of the leaf blade. Karen Bovio is the owner of Specialty Growers in Howell, MI.


Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates by Debbie Lonnee, Nancy Rose, Don Selinger, and John Whitman This book is designed for Northern gardeners seeking the perfect woody plants. This updated edition provides information for selecting trees and shrubs ideally suited to our area’s growing conditions. Gardeners with new yards, landscapes under renovation, or just a flower bed that needs updating will find this resource helpful. In the encyclopedia-type first half of the book, a five-star rating system helps the reader choose the best plants, including selections for multi-season interest and plants with edible fruits and berries. Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates (University of Minnesota Press, 448 pages, $39.95) also provides information on when, where and how to prune. It offers ideas for handling pests, transplanting, plant care, propagation, and special uses. There are color photographs throughout the book to aid readers in choosing the appropriate plant for their situation.

Landscaping for Privacy: Innovative Ways to Turn Your Outdoor Space into a Peaceful Retreat by Marty Wingate

‘Little Rocket’

Darwin Plants

‘Osiris Fantaisie’

Common problems such as nosy neighbors interrupting outdoor relaxation, unsightly views out windows, and loud vehicles driving by can diminish the enjoyment of our beautiful gardens and yards. Landscaping for Privacy (Timber Press, 155 pages, $19.95) aims to address these situations by offering ideas for sound buffers, preventing trespassing, keeping out wildlife, creating windbreaks, and reducing pollution. There are more than 100 color pictures and step-by-step ideas for creating a more private outdoor space. Creative planting, incorporating art and structures, and building barriers and buffers are some of the ideas offered. Specific instructions for how to build berms, brick fences, screens, gates, living fences, children’s play areas, and shelters are all included, using a wide variety of materials. Useful plant lists, divided by type and with descriptions, are included to help the reader decide which plants will be most useful for specific situations.

Small Plot Big Harvest: A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Fruits & Vegetables in Small Spaces by Lucy Halsall

‘Osiris Café Noir’

Darwin Plants

‘Osiris Evolution’

This guide is for gardeners who want to grow their own crops, at home or in a shared community plot, but have limited space. It provides clear and simple procedures to define your growing space, choose crops for every season, and determine what will fit. This resource covers how to nurture 50 vegetables and 15 fruit crops and includes galleries of different varieties to help you choose reliable vegetables and fruits that grow well and taste great. Small Plot Big Harvest (DK Publishing, 256 pages, $21.95) helps the reader plan a garden with diagrams for a variety of needs: easy-to-grow, family plot, and gourmet garden. The author covers each vegetable and fruit separately with step-by-step, illustrated instructions. Timeline and planting charts are also included. A chapter on solving problems covers how to tackle pests, diseases, weeds, and fertilizing organically.


Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

Janet’s Journal continued from back cover plants to your sister’s retirement home in South Carolina, then rate them next year. So, in this pleasant peninsula, we have a larger plant palette than latitude would suggest. We can grow the zone 5-6 stewartia tree that’s only a dream for our latitudinal peers in Sioux City, pairing it with snapdragons and other lovers of cool summer air that melt down in the South.

Blessed ground To the fine weather, add good soil. Michigan didn’t receive the yard-deep black loam that brought droves of sod-busting pioneers into southern Illinois and out along the wagon trails west of St. Louis. However, what we do have is decent, fertile stuff. Sure, we have some challenging soils. Yet they are not the norm and nothing like the clay I’ve seen in Hamilton County, Ohio or the acres of wannabe cement in Sparks, Nevada. While it’s true that the Upper Peninsula’s uppermost peninsula has soil only four inches deep over bedrock, I have seen a Vermont landscaper treat dynamite as a “standard” supply. Some of the ground we break in southeastern Michigan has been packed down hard, but it can be loosened. Add compost every year and the sand in counties along Lake Michigan’s shore grows wonderfully.

Shore easy to overlook Speaking of shoreline, some Michiganders have a forest-for-the-trees blind spot about

water. We have it, pretty clean stuff, in abundance, but we overlook or forget how very unusual that is. I hope that in my lifetime people will stop wasting it through poorly aimed sprinkler heads. It would be marvelous to see it respected in all ways, including directing roof run-off to earthen filtration systems such as rain gardens rather than allowing it to roil along in gutters acquiring filth on its way back to a lake. For today, I’ll settle for recognition of water as a major component in the Michigan gardener’s blessings package. Then, let’s include a single, orange sugar maple leaf in the package so we don’t lose sight of another very special aspect of our environment. It may require speaking with gardeners from other countries to appreciate the marvel of fall color. You’ll take it to heart when an Irish gardener asks you directly, “What can I grow to get that color?” because he’ll pronounce “color” with reverence and hang on your answer. When you reply, break this news gently: If you don’t already have it, you probably can’t. The autumnal snap in night temperatures that piggybacks on a change in day length is what brings out the best in leafy pigments. Neither effect can be created by mere mortals. Celebrate the State’s best. Make fall color a basic selection criteria from now on. Collect all the hues, in species both early and late to make their change. Take photos or collect fallen leaves, then send them to autumndeprived friends. Keep a few pressed in a book to remind you of the proper answer when friends try to talk you into moving out of Michigan for the sake of golf in December.

Speaking of day length, being at the western end of a time zone can also be a “plus.” Whenever I go to work in the gardens I tend in Massachusetts, I’m befuddled by a mini jet lag. Although the day is the same length, if one goes by the clock, the sun rises and sets earlier. To enjoy the same long gardening day in Boston as at home, ignore the clock’s hands and go by the bird’s song for a wake-up call—no one fools a robin! Begin work at 6 a.m. in Boston to be on par with the Michigardener beginning at 7.

southeast Michigan 30-45 days +86˚F

Atlanta 60-90 days +86˚F

Savannah 90-120 days +86˚F If we discuss summer sunlight striking the ground 10 percent closer to straight on in Georgia than in Michigan, my Atlantan buddies may reply, “So what?!” So, there’s 10 percent more light concentration and heat potential. That translates into all kinds of things, including more break down of the pigment in a Japanese maple leaf. In other words, “Nyah, nyah, my tree’s more purple than yours is!”

No wonder Southerners find the American Horticultural Society’s Heat Zone map useful. Even an ocean-cooled community like Savannah has 2 or even 3 days over 86 degrees F for every one such blisterer in Michigan. | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener

More greatness than one mitten can hold You get the picture, but let’s punch up the color, mat it, frame it, and enjoy its sparkle. Do that by recognizing these additional Michiblessings: Varied terrain and ecosystems. We don’t have the tidal flat to mountaintop variety of northern California, but we’re no pancake State—and with 76 different ecosystems in our Natural Features Inventory (http://mnfi.anr., there’s a great deal to see. The natural landscape is so varied that a county may have a dozen nature interpretive centers and each one unique. Attractive, low cost mulch in abundance, thanks to the State’s forestry industry and compost perspective. You laugh? Do this: Fill a baggie with your favorite mulch that can be purchased by the truckload. If there are two


or three kinds you like at your local landscape supply, fill two or three baggies. Show those around the next time you take a trip to another State and visit a botanical garden. Put a notch on your mulch fork for every oo, ah, and wistful sigh. Great growers, nurseries and garden centers. Sheer good fortune a century ago gave Michigan excellent growers with a tradition of cooperating with other growers. That atmosphere attracted others of like mind, elevated the whole industry and is still influential today. This is not the norm. (I can increase my last report in the July, 2004 “Janet’s Journal” to 20 and 5: “My count is now 18 States and 5 countries shopped, yet Michigan’s nurseries remain top on my continued on next page

Our geographical blessings are almost on an order of having the cake and eating it too. We can grow what would be tender if our winter wasn’t water-warmed by the Great Lakes, yet we have enough heat and sun in summer to deliver a decent tomato, to the envy of maritimely moderated but more northerly Brits and cloud-crossed Pacific Nor-westers.

Some Michiganders claim they can supply a pottery with soil removed in making their garden. Those folks need to take a lesson from a southern Ohio gardener where blue clay actually is quarried as stepping stones. Or they should put in just one hour on a pickaxe in hard scrabble soil in Kentucky or tackling the rock-like caliche layer in one of the high desert States.

Give up winter entirely? No way! It takes 1,000 hours below 40 degrees F each year for most lilacs, peonies, and crabapples to develop a decent bloom. Midwesterners transplanted to Florida and southern California only wish they could still grow their childhood sights and smells.

In an article about blessings, jealousy and mud slinging should have no part. So please consider this is an honest question: How is it that Iowa ended up with 25 percent of all the topsoil in the U.S., like the rich earth shown here?


Michigan Gardener | August 2012 |

continued from previous page list, with equals but no betters.”) Michigan gardeners should be appreciative, since it nets us phenomenally good plants and horticultural advice. Farmers’ markets. Michigan has a strong farmers’ market system supported by county governments. In every city you’re likely to find at least one such market and buy directly from local growers. Just one more thing Michigardeners take for granted... until they move away! A very friendly and helpful gardening community. Sure, that’s simply the gardener’s nature. Yet not every place has a strong network to link one to another. In Michigan the fabric of that network is woven from programs such as Extension Master Gardeners and Detroit Zoo Adopta-Garden, by groups including botanical garden volunteers and garden club outreach committees, and unique entities such as the Association of Professional Gardeners and the Forum Moderators at It’s a grand support system. Canadian neighbors showing us options. Pop across the long and beautiful border to attend garden walks, visit public parks, or tour botanical gardens and you will see gardens and techniques based on traditions that differ from your own. In much of the U.S., it’s a rare thing for a gardener to easily compare notes with people who read gardening books and follow trends that are “foreign.” Good things come from varied perspectives. That’s that! It’s been fun, from this end—a topic worth mulling over while drinking lemonade in a cool place. Next time you visit a gardening friend outside of Michigan, be sure

What a great State that can be precisely mapped, any time, any place. Pity the gardener in a square State, who can only hope that words will accurately convey just where it was she saw a stand of native wildflowers in bloom or visited a great nursery. to spread the fun by asking, “What makes your State a great place to garden?! 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

Be prepared for those who say, “But we have dumb ol’ alkaline soil; nothing grows in high pH soil.” Sure, much of Michigan’s soil is alkaline, because it’s derived from the limestone bedrock. Yet that’s been no barrier to the State’s native plants, including the oaks and maples which abound. Perhaps oaks and maples missed class the day it was written into the textbooks that their species “grow best in acid soil.” More likely, plants tolerate a wide pH range if other factors are right.

People who see a Great Lake for the first time are blown away by the immensity. “It’s like an ocean!” Michigardeners too often take all that water for granted. | August 2012 | Michigan Gardener


plant patrol Black spot on roses Black spot on roses isn’t just one player in a list of potential problems for roses, it is roses’ most common and important leaf disease. Commercial growers and home gardeners alike have to deal with this disease. It is widespread and affects all rose species and cultivars. Some types show more resistance, while others, such as some hybrid teas, are very susceptible. Black spot does just what its name implies: it creates black spots on the leaves. These spots, caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae, usually develop on the upper surface of the leaves in late spring. The fungus overwinters Steve in affected canes and Nikkila foliage. In the spring, once the temperature is around 65 degrees and the spores have been damp for 7 hours or so, they begin to sporulate (germinate) and spread in water, splashing between the new leaves and stems of the rose. The spread of the disease is somewhat inhibited when temperatures are above 85 degrees. The spores do not live in the soil. The developing black spot is often round but can be irregular and up to 1/2 inch in diameter, with a “fringed” border and a yellow halo around it. Eventually the entire leaf goes yellow and drops off. A severe infection will involve the canes, which will develop purple lesions that gradually turn black. Black spot will cause a general weakening of the plant so that there are fewer and fewer blooms and more sensitivity to other rose problems. Good gardening practices are essential in trying to control this disease. Plant the roses in full sun, don’t overcrowd them, allow for vigorous air circulation, and avoid overhead watering unless the situation allows the foliage to dry very quickly. Maintain good sanitation: quickly remove and discard any infected leaves, clean up and discard any fallen leaves, and prune out and discard any infected canes. Use resistant varieties, but be aware that a rose rated “resistant” in one region may be more or less so in another. You might consider applying fungicide for disease prevention. There are many fungicides listed for use on black spot but few of them are available to the home gardener. Any program involving fungicide must begin before budbreak and continue throughout the growing year because fungicides do not kill fungi. At best, they simply prevent infection. Read and

This leaf has the typical black spot: a round, fringed edge and a yellow halo around the spot.

This rose has black spot mainly on its lower leaves, which have yellowed.

As the disease progresses, leaves like this fall off and provide an overwintering home for the black spot fungus.

The leaves that have fallen off the rose must be picked up and discarded if the gardener wants to have any chance of controlling black spot. follow the label directions, as you must with all pesticides. One special precaution in this case involves rugosa roses and their hybrids, which should not be sprayed with fungicide because it can damage the plant. Text and photos by Steven Nikkila, who is from Perennial Favorites in Waterford, MI (E-mail:

The black spot on this rose isn’t a heavy infestation but the leaves with the spots should be removed and discarded to slow down its spread.

| August 2012 |

janet's journal

Take a look at the USDA’s hardiness zones as they play out across the middle of the continent. They spell out “Advantage, Michigan.” Notice the zone that slices through Kansas and Missouri, and how it suddenly leaps up to include much of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Now look at the broad zone that lays across the north central States like a thickly muscled arm, claiming the Dakotas and Minnesota. See how the Lakes stop that arm so it ends in Wisconsin, with its fingers grasping but unable to reach the shore. Map courtesy USDA

Why gardening is better in Michigan When times get tough, it helps to count your blessings. This year Ma Nature has delivered some particularly low blows, horticulturally speaking. It’s discouraging to even the most resilient people. Several unshakable optimists have said to me, in essence, “This year I’m just giving up. What survives, survives, and I’ll sort it out after this _______* spell ends.” *(Insert an adjective descriptive of the given month’s extreme weather.) So let’s review the Michigan gardening situation in order to celebrate items on the “plus” side of the review. P h oto g r a p h s by S t e v e n N i k k i l a

The basics or, well, duh!

only one link, it’s a mild day.” Janet One of our greatest blessings is That’s us: fair-haired child of Macunovich our peninsular nature. A tomato the water gods, treated to Topekan plant can be set out early and grown winters when we should be later in fall if it’s surrounded by a shivering with the Bismarckians. wall of water-filled tubes (or by a The Lakes can’t change sun cordon of water-filled plastic jugs). angle, however, so our day length The Great Lakes serve Michigan as and light intensity remain equal a year-round wall of water, giving us to other north border States. That a milder winter and longer growing means we enjoy a longer summer season than other places that day than States to the south. As I occupy the same lines of latitude. write, in July, Detroit’s sunriseWe also escape the mid-continent prairie to-sunset day was 47 minutes longer than winds—blasts responsible for the Dakotan Atlanta’s. In addition, every square foot of directions for constructing a windsock: “Nail Michiganian ground is cooler than Georgian a chain to a post. When the chain stands out earth, for being lit by solar rays arriving at a

gentler angle. In the Great Lakes, the same number of photons that beat on an Atlanta garden are spread over at least 10 percent more ground. Another thing about light angled steeply or gently is that we perceive color differently in the two situations. Intense light makes some colors bothersome that are pleasing in gentler light. This effect can cause gardeners in the South to limit their summer palette, intentionally or unconsciously. Meanwhile, Michigardeners design with less restraint. To test your own perception of this effect, transplant some of your black-eyed Susan Janet’s Journal continued on page 24

August 2012  
August 2012  

To-Do List: Creating a garden journal / Perennials: Ligularia / Plant Patrol: Black spot on roses / Vegetables: Saving seeds this year—and t...