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September/October 2013

MichiganGardener.com

Your guide to Great Lakes gardening

plant focus

Blue fescue grass vegetables Fall harvesting tree tips Oak tree problems perennials A fall combination for partial shade how-to Bring houseplants indoors in the fall

Please thank our advertisers in this issue


Plant Bulbs this Fall for

Spring Color

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• 132 varieties of tulips • 84 specialty varieties • 18 varieties of crocus NEW! Narcissus Jack Snipe

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• 12 varieties of hyacinths • 3 varieties of onion • California Garlic

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

contents September/October 2013 To-Do List...................................................... 6

AUTUMN

Vegetable Patch........................................ 10

R

IS

FU

Ask MG..........................................................8

.

RADIANCE

LL

O OF C

LO

Healthy Lawns............................................12

It’s a long way from freezin’… Come celebrate second season! At Telly’s, September marks the start of the second season. While the selection of plants at many garden centers is dwindling, we are stocked with plants to keep your garden looking great until the early days of winter.

Saturday, Sept 7 10am: Late-Flowering Perennials 12noon: Fall Container Gardening Saturday, Sept 14 10am: Gardening w/Ornamental Grasses Saturday, Sept 21 10am: Tips from a Professional Gardener 1pm: This isn’t your Mother's pesto Saturday, Sept 28 10am: Bites From the Herb Garden

Saturday, Oct 5 10am: Spring-Blooming Bulbs Saturday, Oct 12 10am: Adult Miniature Gardening Workshop ($5 fee plus materials used) 12pm: Children's miniature gardening workshop ($5 fee plus materials used) Saturday, Oct 19 10am: Overwintering bulbs and tender plants Saturday, Oct 26 10am: Succulent Container Workshop ($5 class fee plus cost of materials)

LATE SEASON PERENNIALS

Troy only: Sept 5-7, 8-9:30pm Our BEST sale of the year happens after hours—by flashlight! This 3-night event is open to everyone!

Perennial gardening means color and interest nearly year-round. Many plants just starting to give their best show: Japanese anemone, ornamental grasses, sedums and many more! All perennials now 20-50% OFF!

30-50% OFF Ceramic Pottery (sale excludes bonsai pots)

40% OFF Concrete Planters and Statuary Select Roses 50% OFF Giant Telly’s-grown mums 5 for $30

How-to: Bring houseplants indoors in the fall..........................................18 Calendar...................................................... 20 Where to pick up Michigan Gardener....................................22 Books for the Michigan Gardener.......23

FLASHLIGHT SALE…

ON SALE NOW…

Perennial Partners.....................................16

Advertiser Index.......................................22

Fall Events All classes are at Troy store. Pre-registration required. Classes $5 unless otherwise indicated. VISIT tellys.com for more info.

Tree Tips...................................................... 14

Weather Wrap..........................................23 Subscription Form....................................23 Places to Grow..........................................24 Classified Ads............................................25 Janet’s Journal.........................Back Cover On the cover: Blue fescue grass is a small ornamental grass with striking blue foliage. Pictured: ‘Beyond Blue,’ a new variety that will be available in 2014. Photo: Skagit Gardens

Garden Wisdom When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. —Author Unknown courtesy of Beverly Moss

COLD TOLERANT PLANTS… We offer an extensive selection of cold tolerant, fall flowering plants including pansies, calibrachoa, trailing verbena, petunias, creeping Jenny, ornamental cabbage and kale, marguerite daisies, and much more.

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

TROY

Editorial Assistant Anna Kowaczyk

3301 John R–1/4 mile north of 16 Mile

248-689-8735 SHELBY TWP

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Plant Focus: Blue fescue grass............................26

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 Rick Weller

16291 W. 14 Mile Rd., Suite 5 Beverly Hills, MI 48025-3327 Phone: 248-594-5563 Fax: 248-594-5564 E-mail: publisher@MichiganGardener.com Website: www.MichiganGardener.com 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 | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

to-do list Annuals

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• There are two approaches to fall flower beds. Clean them all at once, erasing all traces of summer’s beauty. This is good if you have this much time to devote to the task. If it’s all done at once, the beds are neat and tidy waiting for next spring. • Or wait and remove plants as they succumb to the chill. This piecemeal cleanup is often easier to fit into a busy schedule and you may enjoy flowers far later into the season. Neither way is wrong—do what works best for you. • Add compost to the beds as they’re cleaned out. Compost helps replenish the soil. Putting down a 2-inch thick layer of mulch will help keep next year’s weeds down, and prevent the soil from washing away.

Bulbs • Plant flowering bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, for a beautiful display of spring color. Tulips are the most popular variety, but also a favorite for squirrels and rabbits. If they’re an issue, try planting allium, crocus,

daffodil, fritillaria, grape hyacinth, hyacinth, scilla, or snowdrops. No plant is totally safe if the critters are hungry enough, but these will be the least attractive. • Bulbs should be planted in well-drained soil. They can be planted from late August until the ground freezes, usually late December. Bulbs like to be planted deep, rather than shallow. Plant as early as possible, after the temperatures drop below 60 degrees consistently. Early planting allows more roots to develop and enhances total performance. Most varieties like full sun. If you’re planting under trees, remember most trees won’t be leafed out when the bulbs are blooming, so they should receive adequate light. • Watering is one of the most important steps to ensure that bulbs get off to a good start. Since roots start to grow almost immediately after planting, make sure they receive sufficient moisture. Water thoroughly after planting. Then, water until the ground freezes whenever soil is dry 1-1/2 inches below the surface. • Fertilizing is important to keep bulbs

Feature Task: Refresh container gardens with a touch of fall Fall is a great time to spruce up your summer containers to reflect the season. Depending on your summer color scheme, you can add cold-tolerant plants, like pansies and violas, in the same hues to fill in bare spots. Or add a few touches of fall with mums in shades of orange, yellow and rust. Or include some perennial varieties, like sedums or ornamental grasses. Alternatively, it might be easier to completely replant containers with varieties that will last through a frost. There are a number of cold-tolerant plants available now, including pansies, cabbage, kale, mums, osteospermum, petunias, verbena, and nemesia. Add a few mini pumpkins, Indian corn, or dried wheat for a festive flair. When planting containers, be sure to follow these simple tips: • Select a pot with proper drainage. Excess water needs to flow through the planter rather than accumulate on the bottom. Select the proper planting medium. For best results, use a planting mix specifically designed for containers. Don’t use garden soil or topsoil; it’s too heavy and won’t drain properly. Maintain proportion: Plants should extend at least twice the size of the container. • For a dramatic look, use a single type of flower variety. • Create harmony in the container by selecting one color throughout and using various shades and texture. • To add contrast and interest, combine

flowering plants with foliage at a ratio of 3 to 4 flowering plants to one foliage plant to add contrast and interest. • Choose a variety of different flower and foliage textures that compliment one another. Our rule of thumb: use a “thriller” as the focal point; a “spiller” to cascade over the pot; and “filler” plants to provide texture. • Water containers frequently, even daily if necessary. Water-retaining crystals combined with the planting mix will help pots retain moisture. • Fertilize regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer to keep flowers blooming.

Plants for fall containers Thrillers: Anemone • Aster Turtlehead (Chelone) • Coneflower (Echinacea) Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium) Blanket flower (Gaillardia) • Garden mum Perennial sunflower (Helianthus) Coral bells (Heuchera) • Hibiscus Ornamental grasses • Russian sage Penstemon • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) Salvia • Sedum • Goldenrod (Solidago) Verbena Fillers: Argyranthemum • Aster • Bidens Strawflower (Bracteantha) • Euphorbia Flowering cabbage • Flowering kale Osteospermum • Pansies • Viola Spillers: Calibrachoa • Diascia • Helichrysum Nemesia • Lysimachia • Lamium Petunia • Phlox • Verbena


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener



blooming year after year. When planting, mix bone meal into the bulb hole. Fertilize twice a year: in the spring when new shoots begin to appear and then again in the fall. • Plant a mixture of bulbs with different bloom times so you’ll have a beautiful display of color from snow melt until June. Generally, the smaller bulbs are the first to flower. Larger bulbs produce larger flowers. Planting in clumps of 3, 5 or 7 will provide a more impressive display than planting in a row. • Dahlias and other summer-flowering bulbs should bloom until frost. If you want to overwinter them instead of treating them like an annual, dig up plants and cut off the top, at ground level. Let the plants dry for three days, then put them in a cardboard box or paper bag. Cover them with vermiculite or peat and try to keep them from touching. Keep them somewhere cool but not cold; a basement is good. Pull them out next March and pot them up for a head start on next year.

Lawn

Vegetables & Herbs

Perennials

• Keep harvesting. Continue to water, fertilize and weed vegetables. You’ll be surprised how long you’ll get fruits and vegetables. • Collect herbs and consider preserving some for the winter. Bundles of herbs, such as basil, oregano or sage, can be dried by hanging them upside down in a dry area. Once

• Maintain fertilizing, deadheading and watering to help plants survive the winter better. It may also be time to divide any overcrowded plants so you’ll have better blooms next year. Some plants like Stella de Oro daylilies need dividing every few years or their total bloom time will decrease dramatically.

dry, strip the leaves off the stems and store in an airtight container. Herbs can also be dried in the oven. Spread a layer of leaves on a cookie sheet and place in a 200-degree oven for an hour. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container. • Consider chopping up fresh herbs and freezing them in ice cube trays with a bit of water. Pop a few cubes into a soup or stew this winter. • Apply a fall fertilizer application in mid to late October before the temperatures dip below 50 degrees to help the lawn start the winter as healthy as possible. If you had a problem with annual bluegrass this year, use a crabicide treatment this fall to prevent it for next year. • Don’t put the mower away yet: The lawn is still growing and will need trimming. Continue to apply supplemental watering if there is a dry spell.

• Just like annuals, the timing of clean up can vary. Cut down plants that are disease-prone or might be suffering with powdery mildew: mums, phlox, bee balm, and asters. Don’t compost these leaves, as the disease may overwinter in the compost pile. • If you like a neat, clean look over the winter, do your fall cleanup after the first hard frost. Consider keeping plants with interesting seed heads intact for the birds to enjoy. • Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch to prevent frost heave this winter. Try to do this as late as you can. The goal is not to keep plants warm, but to keep them evenly cool.

are left in the water during a frost. • When it gets colder, cut the foliage off all hardy pond plants to get them ready for winter, and to prevent the foliage from decaying during the winter. • Have a pond heater and/or aerator ready to keep a patch of open water to allow pond gasses to escape, especially important to koi. Refresh the beneficial bacteria with a fall/winter formulation. Provided by the professionals at English Gardens.

Roses • Roses should continue to produce flowers until after the first hard frost. Stop pruning; letting roses form rose hips signals to the rose that fall is coming and it can prepare to go dormant. If you continue to prune late into the year, the new growth won’t get a chance to harden off before winter and it will be damaged.

Water Garden • Cover the pond with specially-made pond netting to keep most leaves from getting into the water. Remove floating plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce. These are annuals and will turn to mush if they

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

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Deterring deer Is there a mulch that would keep deer from eating plants and shrubs? The sprays I have used have not worked. D.G. If there is, it is a well-kept secret! You may need to vary what sprays you use and when since the effectiveness of different sprays can vary. You can augment your spray repellents with motion-activated sprinklers or sound emitters. Where possible, you can fence your garden beds using metal farm stakes and heavy gauge clear fishing line. Put about 3 three rows of fishing line, with the top line about 3 to 4 feet above the ground. Deer cannot see it and are confused and spooked by being touched. Deer become acclimated to the same smells, so a multi-prong defense is needed. If you have a very large area with strategically located trees, you can wrap the perimeter of the yard with the fine black netting that deer also cannot see. It is available at various DIY stores and comes in 8-foot widths. Examine what they are eating and where you have it planted. To discourage browsing, relocate preferred plant material closer to your house where there is more human activity. Deer do not like heavily-scented plants (lavender, mint), or plants with spines (sea holly, shrub holly) or fuzzy texture (lamb’s ears). Consider planting borders of these types of plants to deter them from entering an area you wish to protect. The caveat to any deer-proofing: if hungry enough, deer will browse or eat any plant and shrub supposedly not on their diet.

Identifying and eradicating buckthorn

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I have these tree-like weeds that are growing rapidly through my rose bushes and apparently stunting their growth. They’re very hard to pull out and I don’t want to spray anything on them that may kill my roses. What can I do? S.C., Northville

Have a question? Send it in! Go to www.MichiganGardener.com and click on “Submit a question”

The tree-like weeds are seedlings of invasive buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) that are spread primarily by birds. Buckthorn produces luscious blue-black berries. Birds eat them and excrete viable seed. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources website and the Natural Features Inventory list identify it with pictures: tinyurl.com/mjbbmtm. The oval leaves, very fine serrated edges, and inch-long thorns protruding from twig tips are key identifiers. Unfortunately it was brought to the United States in the 1800s from Europe as an ornamental plant. Both common and glossy buckthorn (R. frangula) have extensive ranges, threatening native plants and destroying animal habitat. Their wide soil tolerance, rapid growth, extensive root colonies and quick maturation make them difficult to eradicate. Remove the mulch from around your rose and lift the root ball with a large shovel. Locate the yellowish roots invading the root zone of your rose. Pull them out carefully and replant your rose with compost and plenty of water to avoid shock. Where you can’t lift the rose, wear cotton gloves over latex ones and saturate the cotton glove with Roundup. Hand-baste or paint the buckthorn leaves. The herbicide will stay with the weed because it is a contact herbicide and will not harm the rose. The sooner you get to the seedlings, the less damage to your rose. Once you learn to identify the buckthorn, look around the perimeters of your property. Find the “mother plants” that are just starting to produce the fruit. Cut them down and paint the stumps with herbicide. Stay vigilant for re-infestation.

Removing mulch volcanoes and roots While re-landscaping our new home, our landscaper mentioned the mulch “volcanoes” around the existing trees were not a good idea. My husband tried to remove one, but it was full of roots. Now the exposed roots sprout new growth which I continually cut down. How can I prevent this new growth without harming the tree? It’s a white, spring-flowering tree, maybe a pear. K., Livonia Kudos to your landscaper for advising against mulch “volcanoes.” You now see the problem with mulch too high on the trunk. The tree’s response is to further establish itself with epicormic root development. Hopefully the mulch was removed to expose the




MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener

Our selection of beautiful well-tended perennials, hostas, and grasses can’t be beat!

Fungi growing in mulch In our garden, we have unusual growth areas, roughly 2 by 2 feet. They are filled with little round cups that are about 1/4 inch in diameter. They are beige until they open. When they open, they contain 3 to 5 small black seeds. Can you identify this growth? M.W., Ann Arbor It appears you have some nuisance fungi growing in your mulch. The pictures show the classic artillery mold (Sphaerobolus) with its petite cup and tiny round black spores within. Although molds in mulches are helpful in the decomposing process, some nuisance molds can be more dynamic than we would like. The artillery mold gets its name from its ability to shoot or expel those petite spores high in the air. They stick to whatever they hit—other plants and even hardscape such as house siding and brick. They resemble small tar spots and are difficult to remove from whatever they cling to. To prevent the spread of this fungus, carefully remove these areas with a shovel, keeping the infected mass of mulch as intact as possible to prevent the spores from taking aim and firing. Either bag it as yard waste or hot compost. Although not detrimental to the mulch or plants per se, it is a nuisance when the spores attach to something of value, such as house siding or a vehicle parked too close. Better to be proactive than dealing with a speckled house or car. Answers provided by Beverly Moss, owner of Garden Rhythms.

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My Japanese anemones are drying bit by bit, then die before flowering. What is causing this and what can I do to prevent it? W.B., Grosse Pointe Farms Considered a mainstay in the late summer and fall garden, Japanese anemones are hybrids of Asian cultivars and Anemone hupehensis. Although they are fairly resistant when it comes to pests and diseases, they are susceptible to powdery mildew if the conditions are optimum. Powdery mildew is common in summer due to heat and increased humidity. A nice late season bloomer, Japanese anemones like shade but will tolerate more sun than one would think. Their common name (windflower) is an indicator that the tall flowering stems move graciously in the breeze. The implication here is they need air circulation. If they are too congested where planted, then moisture is trapped and not evaporating. Fungal spores are minute and can travel easily with wind and rain. The solution is to prevent development of the conditions best for powdery mildew. Give the anemones more air circulation by thinning the plants themselves and other plant material around them. Water consistently at the plant base and avoid overhead watering. If planted under trees, thin the canopy so that more light penetrates to help keep leaf surfaces dry. Carefully remove infected plant material and keep the mulch fresh, as spores can linger on the surface. Practice good garden hygiene by removing debris and infected material out of the bed. Plants that are cut back will not rebloom this season. But remaining plants can be sprayed with a fungicide formulated particularly for powdery mildew. By improving garden maintenance methods, next year’s crop should do much better.

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root flare, which is the point where the roots “flare out” from the trunk. Continue to trim and pull off the excess roots and sucker sprouts at their point of origin. Do not over water and do not prune the canopy when it is in leaf. Pruning the canopy excessively or during active growth stimulates the tree to respond. Prune the canopy only when the tree is dormant, as in midwinter. Ornamental trees are often planted shallow by untrained labor. To stabilize the tree, a foot of mulch is poured on the base and up the trunk. The tree then roots into the mulch. It will take persistent sucker pruning, but the tree should respond by callusing the surface roots and starting to develop a deeper root system this season. There are products to spray on the cuts to prevent suckers, but be cautious about using that as your only solution. The mechanical method coupled with diligence is still the best way to retrain your tree to develop a proper root system.

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

vegetable patch Fall harvesting September seems to be the busiest part nips. In fact, the flavor of some vegetables is of the harvest season, as the warm weather enhanced by frost. Considered to have betcrops are finishing up and cool weather crops ter flavor after frost: Brussels sprouts, carare just becoming harvestable again. For rots, collards, kale, parsnip and turnips. If many new gardeners the question is, “How mulched heavily, beets, carrots and parsnips do I know when my vegetables are ready to may be harvested through the winter. harvest?” While the “days to maturity” listed Keep in mind that cucumbers and summer on seed packages will give a clue as to when squash should not be left on the vines past a vegetable may be harvestable, weather conmaturity or the plants will stop setting fruit. ditions and soil fertility can cause it to vary. Potatoes for storing will keep better if left in It is also important to remember that some the ground and harvested after the tops have vegetables are not cold tolerant and will need died down and the ground is dry. Eggplant to be harvested before first frost, while other should be harvested while still glossy. When vegetables require cold weather to eggplant becomes dull, the flavor Mary reach their peak flavor. becomes bitter. Gerstenberger Crops that should be harA reminder for any vegetables: to vested prior to first frost include: maintain quality, eat, store or prebeans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, serve as soon as possible after harmelons, New Zealand spinach, vest. Bruised or damaged vegetables okra, pepper, pumpkin, squash will not store well, so plan on eating (both summer and winter), and tothose first, as soon as possible. matoes. The rinds of winter squash For more information on harand pumpkins are damaged by frost vesting vegetables, check the and it will shorten their storage life. “Gardening in Michigan” website Green tomatoes picked after frost (www.migarden.msu.edu) for the will not ripen or keep very long. If tender vegVegetable Harvest Tip Sheet or try Guidelines etables cannot all be harvested prior to frost, for Harvesting Vegetables from the Cornell they will need to be protected from it. Cover Extension: tinyurl.com/n66yp65. the plants with newspaper, straw, plastic or Mary Gerstenberger is the Consumer Horeven old bed sheets to keep the frost off. Row ticulture Coordinator at the Michigan State covers can be purchased that will also protect University Extension in Macomb County, MI. plants from the cold weather. For gardening information from MSU, visit Crops that can withstand a light frost www.migarden.msu.edu. include: Beets, carrot, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, parsnip and potato. Those that can Call the toll-free Michigan State University tolerate a hard frost include: Broccoli, BrusLawn and Garden Hotline at 888-678-3464 sels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, for answers to your gardening questions. onion, parsley, peas, radish, spinach and tur-

Fall is a great time to maintain your Trees, Shrubs & Lawn! FALL FERTILIZATIONS AND MICROBIAL SOIL TREATMENTS

These customized deep-root soil treatments deliver essential nutrients, amendments, root stimulators, and organic material to the root zone of your trees and shrubs. Core aeration removes small cores of soil from your lawn to provide more oxygen to the root zone, decrease soil compaction, and increase root growth—all essential for healthier grass. Plus, fall is the best season to renovate a tired lawn. For a thicker and healthier lawn, call us today.

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Fairy Garden “Make & take” workshop Sept 14, 11am: We’ll get you started with a container, miniature plant, select accessories & instruction. Bring this ad for $5 oFF the $25 fee. Class size is limited, reservations required.

Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

healthy lawns Renovating lawns: Choosing between seed and sod

autumn harvest workshops Join us on Saturdays in October for a new series of FREE workshops. We’ll begin Sat, Oct 5, 11am with an apple tasting and discussion about the varieties grown in Michigan, led by a representative from Alber Apple Orchard in Manchester. Class size is limited, reservations required. Visit our website & Facebook page for details on these & other workshops.

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ow that we’ve made it through the of time (1 to 2 years), the adjacent grass will toughest part of the year, you may match well with your sod if you use the corbe planning on sodding or seeding rect seed. areas on your property. How do you know Sod is also a good choice on steep slopes and which is best for your given situation? in low-lying areas where standing water could Seed can be rewarding when well-planned temporarily collect. It only takes one surprise and done correctly. Yet unpredictrainstorm to ruin a seed job within 7 able rainstorms can wreak havoc days of the initial seeding. Steve with the best laid plans, so I recom- Martinko Establishing a lawn from seed mend reducing your risk of major once you have prepared the soil project failures. and planned your irrigation wisely One of the best ways to reduce can now move into the next phase: failure is to properly prepare the choosing your seed carefully. With soil, no matter which option you so many different types of seed availchoose. Long-term success relies able, I would recommend studying heavily on a soil that will allow a the bag’s label. This means delving 4-inch root system to establish easdeeper beyond the phrases “sunny ily. A soil mixture with 80 percent mixture” or “shady mixture.” sand and 20 percent topsoil is the Here’s an example of the grass best way to begin. Compaction is a difficult types you should expect to see on a label. problem to correct later after establishment, Note that perennial ryegrass and fine fescue and sand helps achieve proper drainage and can be included in both mixtures but should aeration. In situations where you are attemptbe at much different blends to meet the deing to grow seed on a slope, you may choose sired turf quality. Again, labels simply stating to select a 50/50 mixture of sand and soil. “sun” or “shade” can be deceptive. After you have considered the soil condi% of % of Sunny Mixture tions, it’s time to think about irrigation. The mixture germination water demands for new sod are tremendous. 80 90 Kentucky bluegrass New sod will require watering 2 to 3 times Perennial ryegrass 15 80 per day at 30 to 40 minutes per zone for its 5 75 Fine fescue first 10 days. Then water once a day for 30 to 40 minutes for the next 7 days, or until the Shade Mixture % of % of first mowing. This light yet frequent watering mixture germination reduces the risk of disease problems associ65 90 Perennial ryegrass ated with weak root systems. 15 80 Fine fescue When seeding, water 2 to 3 times per day Chewing’s fescue 10 80 at 15 to 20 minutes per zone for the first 7 to 10 75 Red fescue 10 days. Then water twice a day until the 14th day. This is will help ensure a large percentSeeding in shaded areas works best comage of your seed germinates on the first try. pared to sod because in shaded areas tree Once the seed is established it is important to root systems are usually inhibiting grass cut back to just once a day for 20 to 25 minroots from rapidly developing. Also, seeded utes until the first mowing. After the first lawns benefit you with quicker spring greenmowing, newly seeded lawns only need water ups compared to sod. This can be attributed 3 to 4 days a week. However, newly sodded to the grass plant’s crown set in soil versus lawns may need water 4 to 5 days per week sod where the crown is sitting above the soil for the remainder of the season until temperlevel in a layer of thatch. atures drop below 75 degrees. Although you may have more weeds to Sod and seed considerations contend with when planting seed, the savings There are many situations where sod plays in water consumption could fit your expectaa key role. You may choose to only sod certions without compromising aesthetic quality. tain areas near your driveway, such as along the driveway and sidewalks to prevent heavy Steve Martinko is the owner of Contender’s Tree rains from eroding the soil. In a short period and Lawn Specialists in Oakland County, MI.


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Duvall Nursery Tour: Wed, Sept 11, 4-7pm • 9950 N. Dixboro Rd., South Lyon, 48178 Back by popular demand, Andy Duvall, professional propagator and nurseryman, offers us a private tour of his gardens and nursery. Highly regarded throughout our industry and discoverer of Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘American Spice™’, Andy will share his insights on the propagation of trees and shrubs. His relaxing demeanor combined with over 4 decades of horticultural knowledge makes this trip to Duvall Nursery a must for the professional gardener.

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

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

tree tips Oak tree concerns Learn how to help prevent two lethal oak problems

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O

ne of the more interesting aspects of being an arborist is that things are always changing and evolving around us. As new insect and disease pressures come and go, and weather patterns dictate the growing seasons (good or bad), we have to keep learning and observing how it all affects our plants and what we can do to help them.

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Based on my observations this season, oak tree problems are widespread. The most serious ones I encountered were two cases of oak wilt caused by summer pruning. In both cases, the tree climbers used climbing spikes to ascend the tree, causing Steve Turner wounds all the way up the trunk. They pruned off just a few lower limbs, and this was all it took to attract the sap beetles that spread the oak wilt fungus. Within weeks the trees began to lose leaves and thin out. The leaves showed the typical browning pattern associated with wilt. Since all the trees affected were red oaks and in both cases were surrounded by other red oaks, the prognosis was not good or inexpensive. Oak wilt is always fatal in red oaks, but white oaks can be treated. Red oaks can only be treated preventably (before they are

exposed to the fungus). The infected trees are going to die, and because oak wilt also spreads by root grafts underground, all the other surrounding oaks are in jeopardy as well, including the neighbors’ trees. The protocol for oak wilt is to treat all the surrounding trees in range of root grafting with a systemic fungicide. Next, dig 2 trenches 3 feet deep that encircle the infected trees in order to severe all root grafts to the healthy trees. And lastly, remove the infected tree. If you cut the tree first, the hydraulic pressure in the tree is lost and the infected sap will transfer through the root grafts to the healthy trees. It is vital to follow this protocol to avoid causing an outbreak in your area. It is so important to get this step right, I often consult with Dr. Dave Roberts, a Plant Pathologist from Michigan State University, to establish the treatment areas and to map out the placement of the trenches. He is our state expert and one of the country’s best on oak wilt disease. He is a wealth of information to us arborists on this topic and others as well. He recommends that no oaks be pruned in the warm months: they should only be pruned when the temperature is consistently below 40 degrees, which is generally November through late March.

Sat. & Sun., Oct. 5-6, 10 am-4:30 pm

– Celebrate our natural heritage – Choose from a selection of native plants grown onsite—great choices for our region. Also, 1 guided tours of the Great Lakes Gardens at Matthaei 1 live music with Joe Reilly, Sun., Oct. 6. Free admission. 10% Matthaei-Nichols member discount. Not a member? Join & save. University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor 734.647.7600 mbgna.umich.edu

Steve Turner

Summer pruning caused this oak tree to become infected with oak wilt and decline quickly. Oak trees should only be pruned from November through March.


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener

Dr. David Roberts

This oak tree exhibits symptoms of two-lined chestnut borer damage. Following that simple advice can save your trees and your money, as both of the above remediation projects cost thousands of dollars to fix. There is a chance that more might have to be done next year if more trees contract oak wilt. If you include the work required and also the value of the lost trees, the total losses can easily be tens of thousands of dollars. Both tree care companies in these cases can be held liable for the damages, but time is of the essence. Often the homeowner will have to carry the upfront burden of the trenches and treatments and get reimbursed later.

Two-lined chestnut borer The other issue with oaks I have been seeing this year is the native two-lined chestnut borer, which feeds on both white and red oaks. I brought Dr. Roberts out to another site that had several declining oaks, each with dif-

Don’t Look.

15

ferent symptoms, including branch dieback, yellowing foliage, wilting or brown leaves, thin canopies, and general decline. Not all the trees showed all of the same symptoms. In general, the closer to the house they were, the worse they looked. Due to all the variances, I wanted another opinion and knew Dr. Roberts would be helpful. When he saw the trees he immediately suspected two-lined chestnut borer. We looked for exit holes and inspected the logs from a recent removal for galleries (tunnels in the wood under the bark). Sure enough, we found plenty of evidence to support his theory. I was still a little surprised he thought they were the primary cause and not a secondary one as has been typically believed. His reasoning is that when there are significant numbers of stressed oaks that are supporting enough borers, then they will begin to attack the healthier oaks around them. Judging by the wide variety of symptoms we were seeing, it makes sense. Now that I am more familiar with the symptoms, I am seeing two-lined chestnut borer all over Metropolitan Detroit. Dr. Roberts is concerned that this problem is more common than is being diagnosed and not enough attention is being paid to it. He would like to see more public awareness of the problem so more could be done to save infested trees. The treatments are the same as we use to save ash trees: systemic insecticides either applied through trunk injection or soil drench at the base of the trees. When a tree gets infested it will usually take a few years to see decline, but if a tree is already weak the decline could happen much faster. The borers will be attracted to the weakest trees first. Construction-damaged trees are prime candidates for attack. Watch the trees closest to the house, as they tend to be the most compromised during construction. Also pay attention to trees with altered grades: look for good root flare at the base of the tree. For more information you can check out Dr. Roberts’ website to learn more about these tree issues and others (treedoctor.anr.msu.edu). Steve Turner, Certified Arborist, is from Arboricultural Services in Fenton, MI.

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

perennial partners A classy combination for partial shade in the fall garden Japanese anemones (Anemone japonica, Anemone x hybrida) are a picture of elegance in the fall garden. Their tall stems rise above mounds of low-growing foliage, bearing clusters of satiny flowers that dance and sway in the breeze. They are often used as a focal point in the autumn garden, carrying it through the sparse months of September and October. The single flowers are saucer-shaped, with pink or white petals surrounding a cluster of stamens in the center. The white variety ‘Honorine Jobert,’ which dates back to the Civil War era, is still one of the best, and is probably the most widely planted Japanese anemone. Single pink varieties include ‘September Charm,’ ‘Max Vogel,’ and ‘Prince Henry.’ Karen Semi-double to fully double types Bovio are quite popular. The flowers have a somewhat shaggy appearance, and while not quite as refined as the singles, they are lush and dramatic. ‘Whirlwind,’ a semi-double white, is stunning at 4 to 5 feet tall. Despite its height, it does not need staking when grown in sun. ‘Queen Charlotte’ is a very large-flowered, semi-double light pink, with flowers nearly 3 inches across on 3-foot stems. ‘Pamina’ is shorter at 30 inches, with deep rose flowers. Fully double, medium pink flowers adorn ‘Party Dress,’ a more recent introduction. Japanese anemones do well in a wide range of conditions, but prefer moist, welldrained soil for best performance. Position them in sun or partial shade, but avoid hot, dry, or windy locations. Amend the soil with compost or organic matter and water during periods of drought. A layer of shredded leaves is recommended to help keep soil moist and serve as a winter mulch. Fall monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii) adds an air of mystery and intrigue with its dark purple hooded flowers and stately coun-

tenance. Its alternate names of “wolfbane” and “aconite” conjure images of its use as a poison throughout history. All plant parts are poisonous, so it is recommended to wear gloves or wash hands after handing the tuberous roots, and do not allow sap from cut stems to enter open wounds or scratches. Despite these warnings, fall monkshood is a dramatic perennial that deserves wider usage. The dissected dark glossy foliage, which emerges early in the spring and looks good all summer, is reason enough to grow it. The stems elongate throughout the summer and culminate in fall with clustered heads of stunning royal purple flowers. Monkshood’s cultural requirements are somewhat exacting, but the plants can be very long-lived when sited properly. Since they resent transplanting, serious consideration should be given when choosing a site. Monkshoods prefer partial shade but do quite well in full sun if the soil is rich and moist. Good drainage is essential, as the thick roots will rot in damp or compacted soil. A moist, deeply worked soil, enriched with compost or leaf mold is ideal. They need cool soil, so plant them where they will not be exposed to hot afternoon sun or reflected heat from buildings, and use a thick layer of organic mulch. Aconitum carmichaelii is one of many species of monkshoods and is the last to bloom, making it an ideal companion for the Septemberand October-blooming anemone and toad lily. Toad lilies (Tricyrtis hirta, T. formosana, and hybrids) lend an exotic look to this combination. The curious flowers are best appreciated up close since they are not large—generally one inch or so across. Their coloring tends to be subtle, and the flowers so intricately shaped that they beg closer inspection. Toad lilies bear their flowers both at the tips of the arching

stems, and all along the stems in the leaf axils. They are white to pale lavender and often speckled with purple or red. Because of the arching nature of the flowering stems, position them where the curved stems can be viewed easily, such as along a pathway or entrance. Many hybrids are available, both naturally occurring and man-made. Depending on the cultivar, the plant habit can be either clumpforming or stoloniferous (creeping), with most varieties reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet. This trio works well together in the garden because of their similar cultural requirements of partial shade and moist, welldrained soil. The contrasting flower colors and shapes, and differing plant habits play well against one another, with the pink and white anemones complementing the dark purple monkshood, and the toad lily providing subtle highlights. Karen Bovio is the owner of Specialty Growers in Howell, MI.

www.PerennialResource.com

Fall monkshood flowers

www.PerennialResource.com

‘Honorine Jobert’ Japanese anemone

At a glance Japanese anemone (Anemone japonica and hybrids) • Satiny, saucer-shaped flowers in shades of pink or white • Flowers may be single, semi-double, or double • Branched 3- to 4-foot flower stalks rise from clumps of basal foliage • Grow in sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil Fall monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii) • Purplish blue, helmet-shaped flowers • 4- to 5-foot tall plants, suitable for back of border • Glossy, dark green leathery foliage on stiff stems • Grow in sun to partial shade in cool, humus-rich soil

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‘Lightning Strike’ toad lily

Toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta, T. formosana, and hybrids) • Intricately-shaped, orchid-like flowers; usually speckled • Clump-forming to spreading plants, 2 to 3 feet tall • One of the latest-blooming of all perennials • Grow in shade to partial shade in loamy soil


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18

Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

how-to Bring houseplants indoors in the fall In the fall, indoor plants that summered outdoors, such as clivia (photo 1), need to be brought inside before cold can hurt them. The plants were exposed to many insects but probably resisted trouble because they had great light and cleansing rains. If you aim in fall for clean plants with maximum energy your indoor garden will have few, if any, pest problems. Here’s how to do that. About a month before bringing the plants inside, begin preparing them by rinsing the foliage more often and clipping back plants that have grown too large for their winter space. Bring the plants into a shady spot and spray the foliage with soapy water: two tablespoons of oil-based soap or two teaspoons of dish soap to a quart of water (photo 2). Let the soap solution sit on the leaves for 15 minutes (photo 3), then rinse the plant with a forceful spray of clean water (photo 4). The detergent

loosens grime that reduces the leaves’ ability to process sunlight, and also flushes away many pesty insects, eggs and fungal spores. For plants that have a tendency to harbor scale and whitefly during winter, you might apply other pesticide(s) Steve Nikkila at this time. However, that is usually unnecessary since most plants that are growing well outdoors are also producing their own defenses against fungi and insects. Before using a pesticide, identify the specific problem and make the applications on a schedule geared to that pest’s life cycle. Keep in mind that the eggs of many insects are impervious to insecticide. After spraying to control adult insects, it’s essential to wait long enough for eggs that were on the plant to develop and hatch before you do a follow-

up spray. The interval and follow-up varies by insect. For instance, wait 4 to 5 days between each application to control whitefly, and make 3 to 4 applications in order to kill each new generation before it can reproduce. It is also a good time to repot plants that have become potbound (rootbound). Check the plant’s root ball if you are unsure of the roots’ condition. Support the plant as you remove it from the pot (photo 5). Check the roots for health, especially for rot due to slow drainage or standing water. Slice about an inch off the whole bottom of a rootbound plant. You can use a saw (photo 6). Then cut and/or rough up the outside edge of the root ball. Make several vertical cuts along the sides and rough the roots up (photo 7).

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When you repot, add a layer of fresh potting mixture at the bottom of the pot, then set the root ball on it and add potting mix around the sides. Don’t overpot, which is a recipe for root rot. Use a pot just one size larger. Don’t worry about the loss of roots or foliage from your potting or pruning. The plants have a month to develop new shoots and roots and have lots of solar energy to work with. Once the plants are back inside, they may suffer from the dimmer light. They may need supplemental light to be as healthy as possible. Provide adequate humidity to help stave off possible disease problems. Take care of your plants and you can admire their beauty through the winter ahead. Text and photos by Steven Nikkila, who is from Perennial Favorites in Waterford, MI (E-mail: hortphoto@gmail.com).


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener



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Uncle Luke’s Beautiful fall-blooming mums Seasoned firewood t LARGE selection of BIRD FEED & feeding equipment t Deer feed AND deer repellents t Complete pet & animal food lines: Taste of the Wild • NutriSource Canidae • Solid Gold • Iams • Wysong • Innova • California Natural Wellness • Eukanuba • Chicken Soup • Natural Balance • Fromm t t

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

calendar September / October / November H Denotes Michigan Gardener advertiser

September H Master Gardener Class Tue, Sep 3 through Dec 3, 5pm-9pm, Wayne. By MSU Extension. $300. Class will prepare you for MG certification. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events, callen12@anr.msu.edu. H Brenda’s Butterfly Habitat Tue, Sep 3 through Sat, Sep 7, 10am-2pm, Westland. At Barson’s Greenhouse. Butterfly life cycle & native host & nectar plants. www.ButterfliesInTheGarden.com H Preschool Series Wed, Sep 4, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn & play. $8. 517-431-2060, conleyj9@msu.edu. Declining Butterflies of the Midwest & Michigan Wed, Sep 4, 7:30 pm, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Nature Society at Royal Oak Middle School. Dr. Emily Saarinen presents current population trends. naturesociety@ ci.royal-oak.mi.us. Growing Hope Center Tour Wed, Sep 4, 5-6pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Center. Tour the 1.4 acre urban demo farm. Register: www.growinghope.net, 734-786-8401. Farmers Market Vendor Highlight Series Thu, Sep 5, 6:30-8:30pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $15. Tips from growers from Ypsilanti Farmers Markets, Nightshade Army Industries & Dyer Family Organic Farm. 734-786-8401. Rose Propagation Seminar Fri, Sep 6, 7:15pm, Troy. By Metropolitan Rose Society at Polish Century Club of Detroit. FREE. Guest Speaker will be Master Rosarian, Sharon Kardos. 586-268-7338. Growing Hope Fall Plant Sale Fri, Sep 6, 1-7pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. Cold season seedlings, gardening supplies, season extension kits, animal control kits, soil, compost, & more. www.growinghope.net. 66th Annual Dahlia Show Sat, Sep 7, 12-5 pm & Sun, 12-4 pm, West Bloomfield Twp. By Southeastern Michigan Dahlia Society at Orchard Mall. FREE. 100’s of blooms & arrangements on display. hye3@att.net. H Fall Composting Sat, Sep 7, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. How to get started, methods & what types of containers work best. Register: www.wojos.com. H Diamonds at Twilight, Stars at Night Sat, Sep 7, 6:30-10pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House & Gardens. See the diamond motif of the Sunken Garden & the Conservatory Greenhouse. 248-645-3149. H Basics of Landscape Design Sat, Sep 7, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. Learn the hints for creating an exceptional landscape with tips from the professionals. www.englishgardens.com. Fall Rose Show Sat, Sep 7 & Sun, Sep 8, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE. www.meijergardens.org. H Detroit Then & Now Sat, Sep 7, 8:30am-4:30pm, Detroit. By MSU Extension. $45. Coach tour departs from MSU Extension Office. Stops: Earthworks Urban Farm, East Riverwalk, Milliken

For information about Public Gardens, please visit MichiganGardener.com. Click on "Resources" then "Public Gardens." State Park, lunch at Eastern Market, Greening of Detroit Project, North Corktown & Brush Park. 248-219-6437, www.mgsoc.org. Annual HomeGrown Festival Sat, Sep 7, 6-10pm, Ann Arbor. At Ann Arbor Farmers Market pavilion. Locally grown food, drink, music & fun. homegrownfestival.org. 17th Annual Daylily Plant Sale Sat, Sep 7, 7am-noon, Midland. By Central Michigan Daylily Society at Midland Farmer’s Market. Wide color & type selection. Come early for best selection. www. daylilies.me. H Autumn Stained Glass Tree Sat, Sep 7, 10am-12:30pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $89.75. Create an inspirational piece of art for your garden. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. H Late-Flowering Perennials Sat, Sep 7, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H Fall Container Gardening Sat, Sep 7, Noon, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. Composting 101 Sat, Sep 7, 10am-12:30pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $10. Hands-on composting presentation & demo for beginners-intermediates. Register: www.growinghope. net, 734-786-8401. Garden Art Mon, Sep 9, Noon, Mount Clemens. By Mount Clemens Garden Club at Mount Clemens Pub. Library. $3. Soulliere Garden Center presents garden art for your yard. 586412-9084. Faerie Gardening Mon, Sep 9, 7pm, Royal Oak. At Royal Oak Public Lib Auditorium. FREE. M.E. Stanley, Master Gardener presents plant selection & set-up instructions. 248-398-4996. H Essentials of Blanching & Freezing Tue, Sep 10, 5:30-7pm, Flint. By The Genesee MSU Extension at the Extension Office. $15. Preserve your harvest using the blanching & freezing method. http://events.anr. msu.edu. H Duvall Nursery Tour Wed, Sep 11, 4-7pm, South Lyon. By APG at Duvall Nursery. $10. Andy Duvall speaks on the propagation of trees & shrubs during the tour. www.associationofprofessionalgardeners.org. Exploring the Detroit Garden Center Wed, Sep 11, 11:45-2pm, Troy. By Troy Garden Club at Big Beaver United Methodist Church. $7. Includes lunch. Take a virtual tour of the Detroit Garden Club. Register: 248-593-6182. What’s New for 2014? Thu, Sep 12, 7pm, Ferndale. By Ferndale Garden Club at Kulick Comm. Ctr. Presented by Kim Normand of Eckert’s Nursery. 248-398-6283.

Promote your events! Send us your information! Website: Go to MichiganGardener.com and click on “Garden Event Calendar” E-Mail: calendar@michigangardener.com Upcoming Issues & Deadlines: Issue

Deadline

November/December 2013 October 15, 2013 April 2014 March 15, 2014




MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener

H Hypertufa Head Planter Sat, Sep 14, 10-11:30am, Ortonville. By Garden Angel Art Works at Wojo’s Greenhouse. $50. All materials are included. Dress for mess. Register: info@gardenangelart. com, 248-887-0012. H Advanced Garden Design 4-5-6 Sat, Sep 14, 3-day workshop (9/14,9/21,9/28), 9am-1pm, Waterford. By MSU Extension at Oakland Co. Exec. Office Conference Ctr & Cranbrook Gardens. $125. Advanced elements of design. Master Gardeners earn 12 credit hours. Register: 248-858-0887. Harvest Home & Garden Luncheon Sat, Sep 14, 9am-2:30pm, Hanover. By Hanover-Horton Area Historical Society & Hanover-Horton Garden Club at The Heritage Park Event Ctr. $30. Register by Sep 6. 517-563-2772. H Hypertufa Jack O’ Lantern Sat, Sep 14, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $56.75. Create a whimsical 9” hypertufa pumpkin for your porch. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. H Fall Lawn Care Sat, Sep 14, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. Tips on keeping your lawn healthy through the winter into spring. www.englishgardens.com. H Exotic Plant Show & Sale Sat, Sep 14 & Sun, Sep 15, 10am-4:30pm, Ann Arbor. By MI Cactus & Succulent Society, SE MI Bromeliad Society at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Large selection of cactus, succulents, & bromeliads. 248-380-7359. Herb & Gourd Fest Sat, Sep 14 & Sun, Sep 15, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Fee included with admission. www.meijergardens.org. H Fairy Garden “Make & Take” Workshop Sat, Sep 14, 11am, Chelsea. At Garden Mill. $25. Includes containers, miniature plant, select accessories & instruction. www.thegardenmill.com. H Gardening with Ornamental Grass Sat, Sep 14, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H Hydrangea Wreath Wed, Sep 18, 6:30-8pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $68.75. Create a whimsical 9” hypertufa pumpkin for your porch. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. Chef Series: Scrumptious Summer Veggies Thu, Sep 19, 6:30-8pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $15. Demo cooking class with Mary Wessel-Walker, founder of Harvest Kitchen. Register: www.growinghope.net. Chrysanthemums & More! Fri, Sep 20 through Oct 27, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meier Gardens. Display, tram rides & children’s activities. www.meijergardens.org. North Rosedale Park Home & Garden Tour Sat, Sep 21, Detroit. By N. Rosedale Park Civic Assn. at N. Rosedale Park Comm. House. $15. 4 historic homes & 6 gardens. 313-531-3881, northrosedalehometour.org. H Demystifying Plant Names Sat, Sep 21, 2-4pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $20. Register: hiddenlakegardens.msu.edu. 8th Annual Perennial Exchange Sat, Sep 21, 9:30am-noon, Washington. At SS. John & Paul Church. Please label any perennials, herbs, shrubs or trees for exchange. 586-781-9010. H Fall Lake Fish Day Sat, Sep 21, 1-2pm, Milford. At The Pond Place. Stock your lake or pond with Perch, Bluegills, Catfish, Bass & Minnows. Advance order, bring buckets or coolers. www.pondplace.com H Fall Color in Containers Sat, Sep 21, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. Freshen up your containers with new varieties of coldtolerant annuals & perennials. www.englishgardens.com. H Fall Porch Pot Sat, Sep 21, 11:30am. At all English Gardens locations. $79.99. All plants & materials included. Select your own mum colors. Register: www.englishgardens.com. H Tips from a Professional Gardener Sat, Sep 21, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H Not Your Mother’s Pesto Sat, Sep 21, 1pm, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. Arboretum in Early Fall Sun, Sep 22, 2pm, Royal Oak. Royal Oak Nature Society at Royal Oak Nature Society Arboretum. Come see the fall wildflowers in the developing arboretum. naturesociety@ ci.royal-oak.mi.us.

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Chefs in the Garden Sun, Sep 22, 5-8pm, Ypsilanti. By Project Grow at Project Grow Ctr. $65. Local chefs dish up seasonal fare during this dinner party series. chefsinthegardenaugust.eventbrite.com. All About Hostas Mon, Sep 23, 7pm, Birmingham. By Metro Detroit Hosta Society at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham. Presented by national speaker, Don Rawson. Hgold2843@ comcast.net. Accessible Community Garden Seminar Thu, Sep 26, 9am-3pm, Ann Arbor. By MDRC at Ann Arbor Ctr for Inclusion. $15 lunch fee. Chance to win 1 of 4 $500 mini-grants to make your garden more accessible. stemenl@yahoo.com. History of Monastic Gardens-Part 1 Fri, Sep 27, 9:15am, Rochester. By Meadow Brook Hall Garden Club at Meadow Brook Family Garage. $5. 248-364-6210, www.meadowbrookhall.org.

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H Halloween Hayrides Fri, Sep 27 through Oct 27, Fri & Sat, 7-11pm & Sun, 7-10pm, Grosse Ile. At Westcroft Gardens. Additional hayrides on Oct 28-30, 7-10pm. www.westcroftgardens.com.

H Spring Beauties: Bulbs Sat, Sep 28, 10:30am-noon, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $15. Bulbs for the SE Michigan gardener. Register: hiddenlakegardens.msu.edu. Growing with Master Gardeners Conference Sat, Sep 28, Dearborn. By MGAWC Volunteers at U of MDearborn. For environmentalists & gardeners of all levels. 2 keynotes, classes, shopping, lunch. www.mgawc.org. H Hand Painted Scarecrow Gourd Sat, Sep 28, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $49.75. Paint a scarecrow onto a gourd as fall decoration. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. H Kid’s Workshop: Planting Bulbs Sat, Sep 28, 11:30am. At all English Gardens locations. $5. Create a spring garden that will bloom indoors. All supplies included. Register: www.englishgardens.com. H Planting Spring-Flowering Bulbs Sat, Sep 28, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. Plant bulbs now for spring color. Basics of planting, care & design. www.englishgardens.com.

September 27 thru October 27 Fri & Sat: 7-11pm / Sun: 7-10pm Plus October 28-30: 7-10pm

Westcroft Gardens Plant Nursery

Come visit the oldest farm in Michigan still owned and operated by the same family, established 1776

Mum Fest Sat, Sep 28, Barberton, OH. At Lake Anna Park. FREE. 20,000 chrysanthemums create a rainbow of color at the 23rd annual Mum Fest. Activities for the family. 330-848-6653. H Autumn Jewels: The Science behind the Scenery Sat, Sep 28, 1:30-3pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $15. Presented by Instructor Cheryl English. Register: hiddenlakegardens.msu.edu.

Halloween Hayrides!

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Dexter, Michigan

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Call us to reserve our gardens for your wedding, party or special event

21803 West River Rd. Grosse Ile • 734-676-2444 www.westcroftgardens.com

Orion Stone Depot Your one stop to beautify your home!

H Bites from the Herb Garden Sat, Sep 28, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H Bonsai Beginning Techniques Sun, Sep 29, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. 3 demonstrators will show techniques for beginners. Experienced members BYO. www.fourseasonsbonsai.com, 248-689-8735. Advanced Healing Herbs Sun, Sep 29, 11am, Highland. By Garden Angel Art Works at Colasanti’s Greenhouse & Market. Make a body/massage oil, salve, making a tincture, & body wash teas. info@ gardenangelart.com. Revolutionary Gardens: Past, Present & Future Sun, Sep 29 through Oct 2, Lake Leelanau. By Botanic Garden Society at Fountain Point Resort. Speaker event will benefit the developing Botanic Garden. info@fountainpointresort.com.

October Master Composter Class Tue, Oct 1, 6:30-8:30pm, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow. $49. 6 week class through Nov 5. Includes materials & manual. www.projectgrowgardens.org. H Preschool Series Wed, Oct 2, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn & play. $8. 517-431-2060, conleyj9@msu.edu. Growing Hope Center Tour Wed, Oct 2, 5-6pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Center. Tour the 1.4 acre urban demo farm. Register: www.growinghope.net, 734-786-8401. continued on next page

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Look for H Denotes Michigan Gardener advertiser Allen Park • ACO Hardware Almont • American Tree Ann Arbor H Abbott’s Landscp Nurs • Ace Barnes Hardware • Dixboro General Store • Downtown Home & Gard H English Gardens H HillTop Greenhse & Farms • Larry’s Mower Shop H Lodi Farms H Matthaei Botanical Gard • The Produce Station • Turner’s Greenhse/ Gard Ctr H 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 H Pinter Flowerland H Zywicki Greenhse Berkley • Garden Central Birmingham H Blossoms • Neighborhood Hardware • Plant Station Bloomfield Hills • ACE Hardware • Coastal Outdoor Living Space Brighton H Beauchamp Landscp Supp H Bordine’s • Leppek Nurs H Meier Flowerland Brownstown Twp • Ruhlig Farms & Gard Canton • Canton Floral Gardens • Clink Landscp & Nurs • Crimboli Nurs • Keller & Stein Greenhse • 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 H The Pond Source • Weingartz

Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

at these fine locations: Clawson • ACO Hardware Clinton Twp 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 • ACE Hardware H Detroit Farm and Gard • Detroit Gard Ctr Dexter H Bloom! Gard Ctr • Dexter Mill H Fraleigh’s Nurs Eastpointe • Ariel’s Enchanted Garden H English Gardens • Semrau Garden Ctr 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 • Allemon’s Landscp Ctr • Meldrum & Smith Nurs Grosse Pointe Shores • Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Grosse Pointe Woods • Wild Birds Unltd Hadley • Le Fleur Décor Hartland • Deneweth’s Gard Ctr

Advertiser Index Abbott’s Landscape Nursery....................................15 Abele Greenhouse & Gard Ctr.................................15 Aguafina Gardens International...............................11 Assoc. of Professional Gardeners...........................13 Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr...................................................11 Barson’s Greenhouse...................................................10 Beauchamp Lawn & Landscape................................5 Blossoms.............................................................................12 Bogie Lake Greenhouses.............................................17 Bonide.................................................Inside Back Cover Bordine’s....................................................................Page 3 Detroit Garden Works....................................................7 Eckert’s Greenhouse.................................................... 14 English Gardens............................Inside Front Cover

Haslett • Van Atta’s Greenhse Highland • ACO Hardware • Colasanti’s Produce & Plants • Fragments Holly H Rice’s Garden Ornaments Howell H Howell Farmer’s Mkt • Penrose Nurs H Specialty Growers • Wilczewski Greenhses Imlay City H 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 • Deneweth’s Gard Ctr H Elya’s Village Gard • Landscape Source • 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 H Meldrum Bros Nurs New Boston H Gorham & Sons Nurs H 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 (near downtown) H Gardenviews H Willow Greenhses Novi • ACO Hardware • Glenda’s Gard Ctr • Tollgate Education Ctr • 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 • Sideways • Sparr’s Greenhse Pontiac • Goldner Walsh Gard/ Home Redford H Pinter Flowerland • Seven Mi Gard Ctr Rochester • Casual Concepts • Fogler’s Greenhse H Haley Stone • Sherwood Forest Gard Ctr Rochester Hills • ACE Hardware • ACO Hardware H Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr H Bordine’s H English Gardens Patio Shop • Shades of Green Nurs • Wild Birds Unltd Rockwood • Marsh Greenhses Too Romulus H Kurtzhal’s Farms H Schoedel’s Nurs H Schwartz’s Greenhse Roseville • Dale’s Landscp Supp • World Gardenland Royal Oak • ACO Hardware • Billings Lawn Equip H 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 H Saline Flowerland Shelby Twp H Diegel Greenhses H Hessell’s Greenhses • Maeder Plant Farm • Potteryland H Telly’s Greenhse South Lyon • ACO Hardware • Hollow Oak Farm Nurs Southfield • 3 DDD’s Stand • ACO Hardware H Eagle Landscp & Supply H 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

The Flower Market.......................................................20 Fraleigh’s Landscape Nursery..................................21 The Garden Company................................................... 6 The Garden Mill...............................................................12 Garden Rhythms............................................................... 9 A Garden Space.................................................................7 Haley Stone Supply........................................................13 Hidden Lake Gardens...................................................10 Howell Farmer’s Market..............................................12 Iron Barn Iron Work........................................................21 Lavin’s Flowerland...........................................................15 Matthaei Botanical Gardens.................................... 14 Michigan Nursery/Landscp Assoc........................ 8 Mike’s Tree Surgeons...................................................10 Milarch Nursery...............................................................19 Oakland Cty Market......................................................17

• ACO Hardware • Decor Statuette H Eckert’s Greenhse • Flower Barn Nurs • Prime Landscp Supply Stockbridge • Gee Farms Sylvan Lake H AguaFina Gardens Interntl H Detroit Garden Works Taylor H Beautiful Ponds & Gard • D&L Garden Ctr H Massab Acres H Panetta’s Landscp Supp Tipton H Hidden Lake Gardens Trenton • Carefree Lawn Ctr • Keck Hardware Troy H Telly’s Greenhse • The Home & Gard Shop H Uncle Luke’s Feed Store Utica • Dale’s Landscp Supp • Stone City • Weingartz Warren H Beste’s Lawn & Patio • Garden Center Nurs H Young’s Garden Mart Washington • Landscape Direct • Miller’s Big Red Greenhse H Rocks ‘n’ Roots Waterford • ACO Hardware • Breen’s Landscp Supp • Jacobsen’s Flowers Waterford H Merrittscape West Bloomfield H English Gardens • Planterra • Whole Foods Westland • ACO Hardware H Barsons Greenhses • Bushel Stop • Joe Randazzo’s Nurs • Panetta’s Landscp Supp White Lake H Bogie Lake Greenhse H Mulligan’s Gard Ctr • Sunshine Plants Whitmore Lake H Alexander’s Greenhses Williamston • 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

Orion Stone Depot..........................................................21 Piechnik’s Greenhouse.................................................. 6 Plymouth Nursery...........................................................17 Rice’s Garden Ornaments..........................................13 Schuman Landscape Lighting...................................13 Specialty Growers............................................................ 9 State Crushing...................................................................19 Steinkopf Nursery............................................................ 8 Stone Cottage Gardens..............................................20 Telly’s Greenhouse..........................................................4 Tropical Treasures..........................................................17 Uncle Luke’s Feed Store.............................................20 The Weed Lady.................................................................11 Westcroft Gardens.........................................................21 Wiegand’s Nursery......................................................... 9 Wojo’s.....................................................................................5

continued from previous page “It’s A Circus” GCA Flower Show Thu, Oct 3, 10am-7pm, Grosse Pointe. By The Garden Club of Michigan at The Grosse Pointe Club. FREE. www. gardenclubofmichigan.org. H Preparing Your Garden for the Winter Sat, Oct 5, 9am at Lake Orion, 11am at Ortonville & 2pm at Davison. At All Wojo’s locations. FREE. What perennials to cut back & how to do it. Register: www.wojos.com. H Kid’s Club Leaf Art Sat, Oct 5, 10am, Davison, Ortonville & Lake Orion. At all Wojo’s locations. FREE. Learn how to use leaves to create a beautiful piece of artwork. Register: www.wojos.com. Fall Bonsai Show Sat, Oct 5, Sat-Sun, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Fee included with admission. www.meijergardens.org. H Fall Foliage Festival Sat, Oct 5, 11am-3pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. See our stunning display of fall colors. hiddenlakegardens. msu.edu, 517-431-2060. H Native Plant Sale & Fall Festival Sat, Oct 5 & Sun, Oct 6, 10am-4:30pm, Ann Arbor. At Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Great selection of native plants, guided tours, live music on Sun. mbgna.umich.edu. H Plant Care: Tips on Dividing Sat, Oct 5, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. We’ll tell you what needs to be done before winter sets in. www.englishgardens.com. H Autumn Harvest Workshops: Apple Tasting Sat, Oct 5, 11am, Chelsea. At Garden Mill. FREE. Part of a month-long Sat morning series. www.thegardenmill.com. Register: 734-475-3539. H Spring Blooming Bulbs Sat, Oct 5, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. Mushroom Gardening Sat, Oct 5, 10-11:30am, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $10. The Detroit Mushroom Company shares growing & preparing techniques. Register: www.growinghope.net. What’s Going on in your Autumn Garden? Thu, Oct 10, 7pm, Ferndale. By Ferndale Garden Club at Kulick Comm. Ctr. Presented by Heather Glenday of Bordine’s. 248-541-6427. H Perennial Gardening 101 Sat, Oct 12, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. Our experts share our list of best garden performers. www.englishgardens.com. H Adult Miniature Gardening Workshop Sat, Oct 12, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5, plus materials. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H Children’s Miniature Gardening Workshop Sat, Oct 12, 12noon, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5, plus materials. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H African Violet Show Sat, Oct 19, Ann Arbor. By Michigan State African Violet Society at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Growing seminar at 11:30am. Experts on hand. LynnAllen0413@comcast. net. Giant Pumpkins at Michigan’s Farm Garden Sat, Oct 19, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Fee included with admission. Pumpkins weighing in at 100’s of lbs. www.meijergardens.org. Lily Bulb Sale Sat, Oct 19, 9am-2pm, Bloomfield Hills. By Michigan Regional Lily Society at Birmingham Unitarian Church. 10:30 talk by Julia Hofley: Protecting Lily Bulbs From Critters. 313-492-5665. H Putting Your Garden to Bed Sat, Oct 19, 10am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. We’ll tell you what needs to be done this fall so you’ll be off to a blooming start in the spring. www.englishgardens. com. H Overwintering Bulbs & Tender Plants Sat, Oct 19, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5. www. tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. Kimchi Krazy Sat, Oct 19, 10am-noon, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $15. Learn about lacto fermentation methods for your extra Chinese cabbage & radishes. Register: www. growinghope.net.

Mum Day Sun, Oct 20, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Walking tours led by horticultural staff. www.meijergardens.org. Chefs in the Garden Sun, Oct 20, 4-7pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Center. $65. Local Chefs Brandon Johns of the Grange & Sweet Heather Anne dish up seasonal fare. chefsinthegardenoctober.eventbrite.com. The Master Lecture Series Tue, Oct 22, 7pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Speaker Alexandra Fuller. www.meijergardens.org. H Holiday Decorating Wed, Oct 23, 6-9pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $26.75. Kathy Mathews demonstrates how to create magical trees & mantels. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. Growing Community: Intro to Group Gardening Wed, Oct 23, 6-8pm, Ypsilanti. At Growing Hope Ctr. $10. Workshop covers types & benefits of community gardens, tips & principles of organizing. Register: www. growinghope.net. History of Monastic Gardens-Part 2 Fri, Oct 25, 9:15am, Rochester. By Meadow Brook Hall Garden Club at Meadow Brook Family Garage. $5. 248364-6210, www.meadowbrookhall.org. H Holiday Decorating Tips Sat, Oct 26, 10am. At All English Gardens locations. FREE. Learn about the seasons hottest decorating trends. www. englishgardens.com. H Kid’s Event: Holloween Party Sat, Oct 26, 11:30am. At all English Gardens locations. FREE. Come dressed in costume & bring a pre-decorated pumpkin for judging in our annual contest. www.englishgardens.com. H Succulent Container Workshop Sat, Oct 26, 10am, Troy. At Telly’s Greenhouse. $5, plus materials. www.tellys.com. Register: 248-689-8735. H Pumpkin Carving Event Sat, Oct 26, 10am-4pm, Ortonville. At Wojo’s Greenhouse. Artist John Bradshaw will demonstrate pumpkin carving. www.wojos.com. H Advanced Bonsai Refinement Sun, Oct 27, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Demonstration & discussion. www.fourseasonsbonsai.com, 248-689-8735. Bonsai Mon, Oct 28, 7pm, Birmingham. By Metro Detroit Hosta Society at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham. Presentation by Bill Struhar. Light refreshments. Hgold2843@comcast.net.

November H Holiday Open House Sun, Nov 3, Noon-5pm, Birmingham. At Blossoms. www. blossomsbirmingham.com, 248-644-4411. H Preschool Series Wed, Nov 6, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn & play. $8. 517-431-2060, conleyj9@msu.edu. H The Year in Review Thu, Nov 7, 6:30-9pm, Farmington Hills. By APG at the Spicer House. $10. www.associationofprofessionalgardeners.org. H Herbal Advent Wreath Sat, Nov 23, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $31.75. Create an herbal advent wreath. Bring garden clippers. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. H Bonsai Pots Sun, Nov 24, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Demonstration & discussion. www.fourseasonsbonsai.com, 248-689-8735. H Christmas Open House Fri, Nov 29 through Sun, Dec 1, 10am-5pm & Sun, 11am5pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Various styles of tree collections. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com. H Preschool Series Wed, Dec 4, 10-11:30am, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Bring your child to learn & play. $8. 517-431-2060, conleyj9@msu.edu. H Fresh Holiday Wreath Sat, Dec 7, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $48.75. Create a 14” wreath for holiday decor. Bring scissors & garden clippers. www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com.


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener



23

Precipitation July 2013

Normal Monthly 3.37 3.32 2.84

Detroit Flint Lansing

Actual Monthly 4.14 1.74 1.75

July 2012 Deviation from Normal +0.77 -1.58 -1.09

2013 Year to Date: Jan 1 - July 31

Why Grow That When You Can Grow This? by Andrew Keys Traditional plants like lilac, Callery pear, and pachysandra have been the belles of the horticulture ball for generations, many for good reasons. But for some of us, these beloved plants will always be too much trouble, not right for our climate, or just plain predictable. There is good news for the gardener who digs a bit deeper. In Why Grow That When You Can Grow This? (Timber Press, 336 pages, $24.95), Andrew Keys shares dozens of unique plants like bald cypress ‘Shawnee Brave’ and European ginger that have long been understudies to old-fashioned favorites. This guide will provide gardeners with more drought-tolerant, longer-blooming, more fragrant, and generally showier options for their garden. Keys’ book is fully illustrated with photographs and showcases a variety of plants destined to become new garden classics.

Put ‘em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton Succulent summer fruits can make an appearance on your dinner plate year-round when you fill your pantry with fresh preserves straight from the garden. In Put ‘em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Guide & Cookbook (Storey Publishing, 277 pages, $19.95), Sherri Brooks Vinton turns her preserving and cooking talents to fruit, offering 80 recipes for canning, refrigerating, freezing, drying, and infusing. The range of possibilities includes preserves both sweet (Orange Curd, Pear and Honey Preserves) and savory (Peach BBQ Mop, Meyer Lemon Gastrique). To ensure that your jars, bottles, and freezer bags are promptly opened and enjoyed, Sherri also provides 80 creative recipes for using preserved fruits in everything from Rhubarb Fool and Sautéed Duck Breast with Cherry Reduction to Spiced Chicken Salad made with Apricot Habanero Salsa. This book will teach you how to find, cook, and preserve local, seasonal, farm-friendly food while also providing full-color photos straight from the dinner table.

Fine Foliage by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz It’s not just about flowers anymore. The big idea for containers and gardens today is foliage combinations— creating the perfect marriage of foliage colors, textures and shapes for year-round enjoyment. In Fine Foliage: Elegant Plant Combinations for Garden and Container (St. Lynn’s Press, 140 pages, $16.95), garden designers Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz showcase more than 60 inspired plant partnerships. Each combination is given a two-page spread with color photographs of the grouping and the individual plants within it. Chapman and Salwitz provide a recipe for each design, starting with a descriptive “Why This Works.” Plant details include sun or shade requirements, seasons, zones, soil preference, and plant characteristics and care. The unique, often quirky, personalities of these foliage designs are shown in their names. Easy-to-use instructions allow gardeners of all skill levels to bring elegant, expert design and style to their gardens and patios.

Normal Yr. to Date 19.43 17.38 17.86

Detroit Flint Lansing

Actual Yr. to Date 25.00 23.01 28.15

Normal

Actual Monthly 3.67 3.55 1.75

Monthly 3.37 3.32 2.84

Deviation from Normal +0.30 +0.23 -1.09

2012 Year Total: Jan 1 - July 31

Deviation from Normal +5.57 +5.63 +10.29

Normal Yr. to Date 19.43 17.38 17.86

Actual Yr. to Date 16.71 18.56 14.86

Deviation from Normal -2.72 +1.18 -3.00

Temperature July 2013

July 2012

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. High 83.4 82.0 82.1

ACTUAL Avg. High 82.5 83.3 81.6

Deviation from Normal -0.9 +1.3 -0.5

ormal N Avg. High 83.4 82.0 82.1

ACTUAL Avg. High 89.6 89.2 90.0

Deviation from Normal +6.2 +7.2 +7.9

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. Low 63.6 59.1 58.4

ACTUAL Avg. Low 65.6 62.7 61.6

Deviation from Normal +2.0 +3.6 +3.2

ormal N Avg. Low 63.6 59.1 58.4

ACTUAL Avg. Low 68.4 63.1 65.5

Deviation from Normal +4.8 +4.0 +7.1

Data courtesy National Weather Service

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24

Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

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

Lapeer

Imlay City

Flushing Lennon

Port Huron

Dryden Metamora

Altermatt Greenhses Boyka’s Greenhse Deneweth’s Garden Ctr H Elya’s Village Gardens Landscape Source Joe Randazzo’s Nurs Olejnik Farms Wade Nurs

Lakeport

Hadley Grand Blanc

Flint

Bancroft, Owosso

macomb

Emmett

Almont

H Wiegand’s Nursery 47747 Romeo Plank Rd. 48044 586-286-3655 www.wiegandsnursery.com Fenton

Oxford

Ortonville

madison heights

Addison Twp.

Orion 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

Troy Sterling Hts.

Southfield Oak Park Ferndale

Eastpointe

Ypsilanti

Taylor

Saline

Tecumseh

Romulus Brownstown Twp.

Southgate Trenton Grosse Ile

Rockwood, Monroe

Grosse Pointes

H Denotes MG Advertiser addison twp H Yule Love It Lavender Farm 960 Yule Rd., MI 48367 248-628-7814 www.yuleloveitlavender.com

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 www.EnglishGardens.com H HillTop Greenhse/Farms H Lodi Farms H The Produce Station Turner’s Greenhse/Garn Ctr H Wild Bird Center Wild Birds Unltd

Drake’s Landscp & Nurs H Haley Stone 3600 Lapeer Rd., MI 48326 248-276-9300 www.haleystone.net

birmingham H Blossoms 33866 Woodward Ave, MI 48009 248-644-4411 www.blossomsbirmingham.com

H State Crushing

Plant Station Tiffany Florist

bancroft

brighton

Grand Oak Herb Farm

bay city H Begick Nursery & Garden Ctr 5993 Westside Saginaw Rd., MI 48706 989-684-4210 www.begicknursery.com

belleville

Banotai Greenhse Gardeners Choice H Pinter Flowerland H Zywicki Greenhse

berkley

Garden Central Westborn Flower Mkt

bloomfield hills Backyard Birds

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

H Westcroft Gardens

dearborn heights H English Gardens 22650 Ford Rd, MI 48127 313-278-4433 www.EnglishGardens.com

detroit

H Detroit Farm and Garden 1759 21st St., MI 48216 313-655-2344 www.detroitfarmandgarden.com H Eastern Market

H Garden Mill 110 S. Main St., MI 48118 734-475-3539 www.thegardenmill.com The Potting Shed

chesterfield

Van Thomme’s Greenhses

clarkston

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

clinton twp auburn hills

grosse ile

Allemon’s Landscp Ctr

chelsea

Dearborn Dearborn Wayne Heights

New Boston Tipton

Clinton Twp.

Westland

Belleville Manchester

New Baltimore

Detroit

Dexter

Ann Arbor

The Weed Lady 9225 Fenton Rd., MI 48439 810-655-2723 www.theweedlady.com

Macomb

Utica

Livonia Redford

Canton

H Bordine’s

St. Clair Berkley Roseville Shores Madison Royal Oak Heights Warren

Plymouth

Cement City, Chelsea, Jackson, Stockbridge

Shelby Twp.

Auburn Hills

Sylvan Lake Commerce

Ray

Rochester

Pontiac

Milford

Washington

Oakland

grand blanc

H English Gardens 44850 Garfield Rd, MI 48038 586-286-6100 www.EnglishGardens.com Michigan Koi H Tropical Treasures

clio H Piechnik’s Grnhse & Gdn Ctr 13172 McCumsey Rd, MI 48420 810-686-9211 www.cliogreenhouse.com

columbiaville

dexter

H Bloom! Gard Ctr Dexter Mill H Fraleighs Landscape Nursery 8600 Jackson Rd., MI 48130 734-426-5067 www.fraleighs.com

eastpointe

Ariel’s Enchanted Gard H English Gardens 22501 Kelly Rd, MI 48021 586-771-4200 www.EnglishGardens.com 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

Hilltop Barn

flushing

brownstown twp

commerce twp

canton

davison

H Flushing Lawn & Garden Ctr 114 Terrace St., MI 48433 810-659-6241 www.unclelukes.com

Bruce’s Pond Shop Ruhlig Farms & Gard

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

cement city

Hallson Gardens

Backyard Birds Zoner’s Greenhse H Wojo’s Gard Splendors 7360 E. Court St., MI 48423 810-658-9221 www.wojos.com

dearborn

Fairlane Gardens Westborn Flower Mkt

fowlerville H Arrowhead Alpines 1310 Gregory Rd., MI 48836 517-223-3581 www.arrowheadalpines.com

gladwin

H Stone Cottage Gard

grosse pointe

Allemon’s Landscp Ctr Meldrum & Smith Nurs

grosse pointe woods Wild Birds Unltd

hadley

Le Fleur Décor

hartland

Deneweth’s Garden Ctr

haslett

Christian’s Greenhse Van Atta’s Greenhse

highland

Colasanti’s Produce/Plant Fragments Highland Garden Ctr One Stop Landscp Supp

holly

H Rice’s Garden Ornaments

howell

Green Carpet Sod

manchester

McLennan Nurs

mason

H Wildtype Nurs

metamora

Gilling’s Nurs

milford

One Stop Landscp Supp Milford Gardens H The Pond Place

monroe

H The Flower Market

new baltimore

H Meldrum Bros Nurs

new boston

H Gorham & Sons Nurs H Grass Roots Nurs Mums the Word

new hudson H Milarch Nurs 28500 Haas Rd., MI 48165 248-437-2094 www.milarchnursery.com

north branch

H Campbell’s Greenhouses Oldani Landscp Nurs

northville

H Howell Farmer’s Mkt Dwntn Howell @ State & Clinton St., MI 48843 517-546-3920 www.howell.org/19.html

Begonia Brothers Gardenviews Glenda’s Gard Ctr Stone City Wild Birds Unltd H Willow Greenhouses

Penrose Nurs

oak park

H Specialty Growers 4330 Golf Club Rd., MI 48843 517-546-7742 www.specialtygrowers.net

imlay city

H 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 559 S. Lapeer Rd, MI 48362 248-690-7435 www.wojos.com

lapeer

H Iron Barn Gard Ctr

lasalle

Fowler’s Gift Shop

Four Seasons Gard Ctr

ortonville

Country Oaks Landscp II H Wojo’s Greenhse 2570 Oakwood Rd., MI 48462 248-627-6498 www.wojos.com

owosso

H Everlastings in Wildwood

oxford

Candy Cane Xmas Trees Oxford Farm/Gard

plymouth

Backyard Birds Graye’s Greenhse Lucas Nurs H Plymouth Nursery 9900 Plymouth Rd., MI 48170 734-453-5500 www.plymouthnursery.net

lennon

Krupps Novelty Shop

Plymouth Rock Rock Shoppe Sparr’s Greenhse

livonia

pontiac

Bushel Mart Superior Growers Supp Westborn Flower Mkt

Goldner Walsh Gard/Home

ray

Van’s Valley Greenhse


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener



redford

H Pinter Flowerland Seven Mi Gard Ctr

rochester

Fogler’s Greenhse Sherwood Forest Gard Ctr

rochester hills Auburn Oaks Garden Ctr 3820 West Auburn Rd 48309 248-852-2310 www.auburnoaksnursery.com H Bordine’s H English Gardens Patio Shop H Haley Stone 3975 S. Rochester Rd., MI 48307 248-852-5511 www.haleystone.net Shades of Green Nurs Wild Birds Unltd

rockwood

Marsh Greenhouses Too

romulus

Block’s Stand/Greenhse H Kurtzhals’ Farms H Schoedel’s Nurs H Schwartz’s Greenhouse 30705 Sibley Rd., MI 48174 734-753-9269 www.schwartzgreenhouse.com

roscommon

The Greenhouse

roseville

Dale’s Landscp Supp World Gardenland

royal oak

Billings Lawn Equip H English Gardens 4901 Coolidge Hwy, MI 48073 248-280-9500 www.EnglishGardens.com Wild Birds Unltd

saginaw H Abele Greenhouse & Garden Ctr 3500 Wadsworth Rd., MI 48601 989-752-5625 www.abelegreenhouse.com

saline H Nature’s Garden Ctr 6400 E. Michigan Ave., MI 48176 734-944-8644 www.naturesgardencenter.com H Saline Flowerland

shelby twp

H Diegel Greenhses H Hessell’s Greenhse Maeder Plant Farm Potteryland H Telly’s Greenhouse 4343 24 Mile, MI 48316 248-659-8555 www.tellys.com

south lyon

Hollow Oak Farm Nurs

southfield

3 DDD’s Stand H Eagle Landscp/Supp H 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 34075 Ryan Rd., MI 48310 586-979-2409 www.eckertsgreenhouse.com Flower Barn Nurs Greenhouse Growers Prime Landscp Supp

stockbridge Gee Farms

sylvan lake H AguaFina Gardens International 2629 Orchard Lake Rd., MI 48320 248-738-0500 www.aguafina.com H Detroit Garden Works

taylor H Beautiful Ponds & Gardens 20379 Ecorse, MI 48180 313-383-8653 www.skippysstuff.com D&L Garden Ctr H Massab Acres H Panetta’s Landscp Supp

white lake H Bogie Lake Greenhouses 1525 Bogie Lake Rd., MI 48383 248-887-5101 www.bogielakegreenhouses.com H Mulligan’s Landscp & Gard Ctr Sunshine Plants

whitmore lake

H Alexander’s Greenhses

williamston

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 Sell Farms & Greenhse

25

Classified Ads SAGE ADVICE NURSERY - Perennials, Herbs, Groundcover and Organic Produce. See Margaret Thele Thursdays and Saturdays at the Oakland County Farmers Market and Sundays at the Armada Flea Market. Nursery open by appointment, call 248-622-6527. 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 & Insured. Poison Ivy Control of Michigan. 248-842-8095. www.poisonivycontrolofmichigan.com. NEED A HAND? Call “The little gardener that could.” 15 yrs experience at Botanical Gardens. FREE Estimates. Pat: 586-214-9852, agardenspace.com. ADVERTISING SALES REP Michigan Gardener has a part-time opportunity available. Advertising sales experience is preferred. Please forward your resume to: publisher@MichiganGardener.com.

DON’T LOOK. Oops, you looked. And so will 70,000 potential customers. Advertise in Michigan Gardener. Call 248-594-5563 or e-mail publisher@michigangardener.com. MICHIGAN GARDENER E-NEWSLETTER Sign up for our free e-newsletter! We send out a few each year, and there are contests to win prizes as well. Go to www.MichiganGardener. com and simply enter your e-mail address. DO YOU ENJOY SCRAPBOOKING? Then pick up a copy of Michigan Scrapbooker magazine. It’s free! Visit MichiganScrapbooker.com for more info and to sign up for the free Michigan Scrapbooker e-newsletter. Join the conversation at facebook.com/MichiganScrapbooker. Michigan Gardener Classified Advertising is a cost-effective way to promote yourself and your business. Need help? Have help to give? Have a big event coming up? Have some items to sell? Let our readers know! Go to MichiganGardener. com and click on “Classified Advertising.”

Gardens to Visit ann arbor

www.

.com

Carefree Lawn Ctr

H Matthaei Botanical Gardens/ Nichols Arboretum 1800 North Dixboro Rd., MI 48105 734-647-7600 www.mbgna.umich.edu

troy

bloomfield hills

• The area’s most comprehensive calendar of garden event listings

dearborn

• Sign up for our FREE E-Newsletter

tecumseh

Mitchell’s Lawn/Landscp

trenton

H Telly’s Greenhouse 3301 John R Rd., MI 48083 248-689-8735 www.tellys.com

H Cranbrook Gardens Arjay Miller Arboretum at Ford World HQ Henry Ford Estate

• Check out Website Extras, bonus material to our print magazine features

H Uncle Luke’s Feed Store 6691 Livernois Rd., MI 48098 248-879-9147 www.unclelukes.com

detroit

• Submit your garden event listings

dryden

• Subscribe to Michigan Gardener

utica

east lansing

• Find your county MSU Extension contact info in “Garden Help”

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 Miller’s Big Red Greenhse H Rocks ‘n’ Roots

waterford

Anna S Whitcomb Conservtry Seven Ponds Nature Ctr H MSU Horticultural Gardens W.J. Beal Botanical Gard

emmett H Sunny Fields Botanical Park 5444 Welch Rd., MI 48022 810-387-2765 www.visitsunnyfields.org

flint

Frederik Meijer Gardens

grosse pointe shores

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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

The blue festuca grass ‘Elijah Blue’ is enjoying this well-drained, gravelly soil.

George/Kellie Papadelis Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

Blue festuca grass makes a simple planting that shows off this container to the fullest.

Festuca grass helps control erosion in this creative planting at the San Diego Zoo.

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener www.PerennialResource.com

Left: In early summer, wheat-like seed heads are produced on tall, spiky stalks. Right: The flowers and stems mature to tan in summer.


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener



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plant focus

Blue fescue grass O

rnamental grasses have skyrocketed in popularity the last decade or so. It seems as though gardeners are incorporating an ornamental grass in nearly every landscape bed. This incredibly versatile group of plants offers us hundreds of options. Heights can range from 2 inches to 15 feet tall, some are tolerant of full sun, some prefer shade, and some will even tolerate poor soil. The colors and textures are nearly endless. One of the most valuable features of ornamental grasses is their ability to provide winter interest. While most herbaceous plants (annuals or perennials) die flat to the ground in winter, most ornamental grasses leave a showy, upright mass of dead leaves and George “flowers” to enjoy all winter long. Papadelis There are also a few grasses with foliage that stays alive all winter long. These evergreen grasses have leaves that maintain the same color and texture throughout all four seasons. This smaller group of grasses includes blue oat grass (Helictotrichon), monkey grass or lilyturf (Liriope), mondo grass (Ophiopogon), many sedges (Carex), and today’s plant focus: blue fescue (Festuca glauca). Blue fescue has soft, narrow, gray to blue leaves that radiate from the plant’s crown to form tidy clumps about 8 to 12 inches tall and wide. It produces thin flower stems and wheat-like flowers in early summer. The flowers and stems mature to tan in summer and look messy, thus necessitating their removal for the plant to look its best. Once the flowers are removed, the beautiful foliage will last through summer, fall, and winter. Some leaves will discolor during winter, so blue fescue should be sheared or groomed in spring. This will allow the emergence of fresh, vibrantly colored leaves. While the crowns of most ornamental grasses expand year after year to produce larger, fuller plants, the crowns of blue fescue expand ever so slowly. After a year or two in the ground, the mature size will be reached. After several years, the center may begin to brown. When this occurs, your blue fescue is ready for dividing. In spring or late summer, simply lift the entire plant and divide it into equal sections (perhaps 2 or 3 inches wide) for replanting. Grow blue fescue in full sun where soil is dry and well-drained. Poorly drained, wet soil will shorten its lifespan. Blue fescue is very hardy (Zone 4), especially when grown in well-drained soil.

Blue fescue grass Botanical name:

Festuca glauca (fes-TOO-cah GLOK-ah) Plant type: Perennial Plant size: 9 to 12 inches tall and wide Habit: Clumping grass Hardiness: Zone 4 Leaf color: Powdery blue Light: Sun Soil: Very well-drained Uses: Front-of-the-border plant, edging for full sun beds, rock gardens, containers, stone troughs. Companion plants: Sedum, thyme, lamb’s ear, salvia, veronica, catmint, lavender, and other full sun perennials with a small stature. Remarks: This evergreen, ornamental grass is an easy-to-grow, striking plant. Well-drained soil is important. Will tolerate drought.

Skagit Gardens

‘Beyond Blue’ is a new variety coming in 2014 that is slightly bluer, and maintains its blue color longer into the season.

The species Festuca glauca and a few of its varieties are grown from seed. Years ago, when growers were rushing to provide customers with ornamental grasses, this plant was available everywhere. Unfortunately, this festuca had some flaws: plants would occasionally reseed, the foliage was less blue in color, and plants would require more frequent division. Today, we have some superior options that flower less and rarely, if ever, produce viable seed. ‘Elijah Blue’ has powdery blue leaves and boasts both durability and longevity. ‘Boulder Blue’ is slightly more compact at 8 to 10 inches tall and produces very blue foliage. In 2014, a new extra blue cultivar called ‘Beyond Blue’ will be available. It grows 9 to 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches wide. It is touted as a cultivar that maintains its foliage with minimal browning. The thin blue foliage of blue fescue is unique and therefore

contrasts with a broad range of perennials. Pair it with the bold foliage of other sun-tolerant perennials such as sedum, lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), some coral bells (Heuchera), or lamb’s ear (Stachys). Or try it with the finer foliage of thyme, perennial geraniums, salvia, veronica, catmint (Nepeta), or lavender. The latter 4 of these may also produce blue flowers that look beautiful against blue fescue’s blue leaves. Boxwood, euonymus, and conifers are woody plants (shrubs) that can also serve as wonderful companions. Early fall is a great time to appreciate ornamental grasses. Explore this diverse group of plants and enjoy all of the wonderful features they can provide. George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI.


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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

of plants. On the Internet, search in “image” mode for a plant name and its pests, such as “rose pest insects.” If you divined the insect’s modus operandi, include it: “rose pest insects eat buds.” From the responses, select agricultural extension sources (sites with “extension” or “.edu” in the address). There you will find a pest name (it’s so much more powerful to curse a pest by name!). Then research it and you’ll also learn a scientific approach for controlling it.

Everything I’ve planted in this spot dies. Can a soil test tell me what’s wrong?

Compare your unknown insect to the returns from an Internet search in “image” mode. Hover over each to read its source, and favor those from Extension and .edu sites.

This lightning bug came as we pruned, and is drinking the moist, starchy fluid from suddenly-exposed cambium. The insect appeared immediately after the cut, probably drawn by the wood’s scent. In some cases, an insect’s arrival at this point would be bad news—rose cane borers bedevil roses and raspberries, while a picnic beetle’s feet can carry spores of oak wilt or elm blight. However, the lightning bug falls into the category of beneficial insects because it’s responsible as a youngster for the deaths of dozens or even hundreds of smaller, planteating insects. As an adult it may not eat at all or feed only on sap, nectar and pollen. Janet’s Journal continued from back cover bad guy and verify that it is chewing on, stinging, sucking, laying eggs on, boring or scraping the plant. Then, estimate the amount of damage being done overall. If more than 20 percent of the leaf surface is being lost, the plant may suffer. In that case you should move on to method two. A plant with only 20 percent damage (80 percent of its total leaf surface is okay) is probably not in trouble. It can tolerate that loss and may even benefit, stimulated by the attack to produce natural pesticides that fend

Do you suspect toxins? If you know what harmful chemical(s) might be present, your local health department may be able to refer you to a specialty lab. However, there is no practical way to test for an unknown. Fortunately, you probably don’t need to test for toxins. If anything is growing or has grown in that spot, including the lawn or weeds you cleared to make it a garden, it’s unlikely that a mystery chemical is the culprit. As for the traditional soil test through an agricultural soil testing lab such as at Michigan State University (contact your county’s Extension office), it does not look for toxins. It measures the amounts of essential elements and the relative acidity or pH of the soil. The results tell how much nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) the soil already has so you can know whether fertilizer is needed and which one provides the most appropriate N-P-K ratio. The soil test might also indicate that sulfur or calcium should be added to modify the pH so roots can more easily absorb the nutrients. The problem is that nutrient deficiencies don’t usually kill plants outright, so it’s un-

likely that a standard test will help you solve this mystery. A soil drainage test may offer answers. It measures whether water and air move well or slowly as they move down through the soil. Poor drainage is often a killer. To test drainage, dig or drill a hole 18 inches deep. Fill it with water and note how long it takes for the water to drain completely away. If there is any water left in the hole after 24 hours, install a drain or make a raised bed there to lift your plants’ roots above that soggy soil. Check every site assumption to be sure that plants you choose have a chance to thrive. Low light, drought, heat and cold all can kill. Full sun species need six hours or more of cast-a-shadow light each day. Even drought tolerant plants need regular watering to get established, and will fail as quickly in soil that’s dry because it’s full of other roots as in a spot where rain and irrigation don’t reach. Finally, don’t lump losses if a variety of plant species and seasons are involved. Each failure may have had a different cause, from initial plant quality to gardener error in reading a hardiness rating. Discuss the most recent loss with another gardener who can look at the site with you, and make a list of potential causes. Then consider each previous loss separately. Maybe a pattern of causes will emerge.

This plant is doing very poorly but I just planted it this year. Can I move it? Grab a spade and get it to a better spot. It’s a common worry that “it will be too much for the plant” if it’s moved too soon after installation. Yet every day in an incompatible spot makes a plant weaker, so there is no better relocation time than now.

Plant-eaters tend to occur in larger numbers than beneficial insects, birds, toads, and other predators. Yet one hunter can make a big dent in a herd—in one day one ladybug can dispatch several dozen of these stem-sucking aphids. By feeding well, such a predator insures its species’ continued, beneficial presence. off further damage. Leaving some pests in place also provides food for birds and predatory insects, insuring the continuing presence of the pests’ natural enemies. The second way to identify and deal with a pest insect is to look up the plant name in a garden pest book or on the Internet. This method capitalizes on the fact that most troublemaking insects are specialists that feed on only one plant species or one related group

When growing conditions are good, it’s not unusual to see an inch of new roots form in just a few days. Look how much these roots grew in 12 days from planting (left) to re-digging (right). If you move a new plant that seems to be flagging, take the opportunity to look at its roots and make changes based on what you see. Roots that are pot-bound should be cut off or teased out to spread wide. Root tips rotted after a sojourn in soggy soil should be trimmed to ward off chronic fungus infection. A plant set too low or high needs readjustment.


MichiganGardener.com | September/October 2013 | Michigan Gardener

29

Above: Plastic sheet mulch on strawberry fields in California. Sheet plastic used as mulch in farming is removed regularly so the soil can be renewed. It can’t be efficiently reused so is sent by the acre to landfills, adding to solid waste disposal problems.

Left: This crabapple stump has been gradually breaking down for 10 years. At first, the gardener wished for a speedy end. She drilled holes and applied a stump disintegrator. Above: Later, she recognized the remains as a bit of natural art. Stumps are also living science labs for kids. These are mushrooms of the wood-rotting fungus, dead man’s fingers. Cool, huh?

Can’t we use plastic or rubber mulch? Use whatever you wish as a mulch but rate its performance against these standards: • Mulch blankets the soil, saving water by increasing absorption and slowing evaporation. • Mulch blocks light from weed seeds so they don’t sprout. • Good mulch is initially free of weed seeds

and invasive root bits. • Mulch prevents rapid soil temperature changes that could kill roots. • It should be aesthetically pleasing. • It should either contribute carbon and humus for soil renewal or not block the return of those critical components from other sources. • It may be long-lasting or decompose quickly. Those that decompose quickly are better for enriching the soil. Some cautions: Wind-blown soil, seeds, and plant matter eventually sift between the particles in a stone, rubber or other “permanent” mulch. Weeds begin to grow there. Chemicals that prevent seed germination can then be added regularly to reduce the number of weeds that become established in the mulch. Such chemicals cannot prevent all weeds and although they are meant to work in soil to stop seed-sprouting without affecting established plants, they can accumulate and harm desirable plants. An additional clean layer of mulch can be added over the top of the first but when the blanket becomes too deep, plant growth is affected. So a soiled, non-decomposing mulch must eventually be removed and replaced. Organic mulch such as bark and shredded leaves rot, contributing to the soil by storing water and nutrients. Rubber, stone and plastic don’t contribute even when they mix into the soil through the action of soil animals, plantcontinued on next page


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Michigan Gardener | September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

During its 80-year run, a maple’s flare roots increase in girth and raise the surrounding grade. Removing the stump of this venerable maple would have meant lifting all the perennials and shrubs to replant at a new lower, grade. Instead, we opted to keep the stump and build a rock garden to maintain the grade change. continued from previous page ing and weeding. Some are problematic in the soil, releasing toxic gas when buried. Plastic and fabric meant to separate inorganic mulch from soil also prevent soil animals from traveling between leaf layer and soil. The soil loses its natural aerators and nutrient distributors.

I need something to make a stump disintegrate but it has to be safe for kids and dogs. Drill holes in wood, then keep it wet, and it will rot. This formula works with or without adding a magic potion. It’s not quick, either way. For instance, the instructions that come with one stump dissolving product state “... will take 4-6 weeks to work. After the 4-6 weeks, the stump may be burned or left to decompose naturally.” The active ingredient in stump rotting products—potassium nitrate, a fertilizer also known as saltpeter—isn’t terribly toxic but is a clue to the process for anyone who’s worked a compost pile. We recognize the formula: Organic matter plus water plus nitrogen plus time equals decomposition. The dangerous part of a chemically-assisted de-stumping is the optional burning stage, which involves fuel oil or kerosene plus matches. Why not simply look at the stump as a temporary seat or plant stand? If speed is essential, rent a stump grinder or hire someone to grind the stump for you.

I planted some things and can’t remember what they are. What’s the best way to figure out what something unknown is? Take photos that show the leafy stem as well as the flower. Show them to your gardening circle or local garden center, or post them on a

gardeners’ forum such as forum.GardenAtoZ. com. Be prepared to check back in and answer follow-up questions, such as, “Is it herbaceous like a daylily or woody like a tree? What month does it bloom?” Otherwise, examine the mystery plant’s flower—not the arrangement of the whole flower cluster or spike but an individual bloom. Note the number of petals, pistils (seed-producing parts), and stamens (the pollen-bearing parts), and how the parts fit together. Match that pattern to a flower you do know—perhaps it resembles a lilac floret. Then use a plant encyclopedia or the Internet to determine what family that flower belongs to—lilacs are in the olive family, Oleaceae. Finally, turn to that family’s part of the plant encyclopedia or search the Internet in “image” mode (“Oleaceae flowers”) to browse photos of flowers in that family until you find a match. If the plant family is a big one—the aster/ daisy family (Compositae) and the bellflower family (Campanulaceae) each have hundreds of members—settle in for the long haul. Not your idea of fun? Return to option one. Many of us love the challenge!

Four years later, the top of the stump is still a great level surface for potted plants.

When you look at a flower for clues to its family, don’t look at leaves or how the flowers cluster on a stem. Check the number of petals, stamens and pistils. Notice the similarity between hosta (left) and daylily (right)? Both are in the lily family, Liliaceae.

When will this landscape be done, so it takes care of itself? It never happens. The simplest care comes by starting with clean beds, planting lots of groundcovers and shrubs well-suited to the site and spaced to grow to full size, then doing a thorough weeding and mulching each spring and/or fall. A landscape is a living thing, always changing! 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 www.gardenatoz.com.

Once the forsythia and ivy filled their spaces in this bed, a thorough weeding in spring and/or fall and deadwood removal from time to time has been all they need from us.


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| September/October 2013 | MichiganGardener.com

janet's journal

Funny you should ask Answers to some popular gardening questions

There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” So goes the adage meant to encourage curiosity. In writing Q&A columns on open forums for 25 years, I’ve seen the saying proven thousands of times. Every serious question seriously answered returns value to both parties, no matter how often the exchange occurs. For instance, just about everyone mulches beds and tends lawn. Thus a pundit’s question log will include many versions of, “Which Janet mulch is best?” and Macunovich “When should we plant grass seed or sod?” Every time, the asker nets answers. (Finely shredded bark such as pine fines or soil conditioner. Late August and early September). Likewise, the person composing the reply can come away with details revised and previously unseen aspects explored. (Some pine fines are darkened by adding compost, so test a mulch for weediness unless you know the compost source is top notch. Kentucky bluegrass germinates well in late summer’s cool weather, but a native alternate such as buffalo grass needs summer’s heat to sprout). I hope what you read in these examples frees you to voice questions without worrying how others rate them. Likewise, I pray you’ll answer the offbeat inquiry without eyerolling. Responding to queries such as those in this article has netted me great and unexpected value. May you come away richer for the experience too.

P h oto g r a p h s by S t e v e n N i k k i l a

Curiosity helps us grow, so questions are important from the minute we begin to garden. It’s easy to forget this applies to veteran gardeners too, and that each question has value for both the originator and the one who develops an answer.

Why did my tree die? Obviously, there are many, many reasons trees perish. One of the most heart-breaking—because it is preventable—is girdling. Various cords of one sort or another are often forgotten and left wrapped around trees. In a year or three this makes a rift or “girdle” in the critical paper-thin layer just under the bark, breaking the downward flow of starch to the roots. The next spring, the tree can leaf out but the leaves can no longer feed the roots. Roots die, so water can’t make its way into the trunk. Soon, the tree’s entire canopy suddenly wilts and dies.

The girdled tree may try to regenerate by suckering from the trunk base, but typically the tree is lost and must be removed.

I found bugs on my shrubs. How do I get rid of them? First, identify the insects and act only against those that are doing harm. Many insects do little real damage to plants. Quite a few are not plant eaters but hunters of other insects. Others are pollinators essential to the production of fruits and vegetables. The neutral and beneficial insect species outnumber the pest species.

Tie something that won’t rot around a tree’s trunk and it can kill the tree, because the trunk must increase in diameter each year but the cord prevents expansion all the way around the trunk. A young tree can be killed by an overlooked plastic tie-wrap, the cord that once cinched the burlap wrapping, an encircling price tag or, as here, the wires meant to stake it. Older trees can be killed too, by anything from Christmas light cords to hammock ropes and yellow ribbon. The last, left on a large maple even after the soldier’s return from war, caused the tree’s death five years later. That said, pests may appear more numerous. They’re like plant-eating animals, found in herds, while the various species that hunt them run in small packs. Two methods are helpful in telling good bugs from bad. The first method is to watch a suspected Janet’s Journal continued on page 28


Sept / Oct 2013