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FISH-FRIENDLY PONDS | HUMMINGBIRD MAGNETS | PICTURE-PERFECT IN IDAHO

Bringing your garden to life

M /J May/June 2012

HOW-TO EASY TO GROW,

eony

HUNDREDS TO CHOOSE FROM PG 28

AFTERNOON PROJECT

steps to create a

5 PG 35

pretty topiary

BUILD A GARDEN THAT’S

made for rain PG G4 44 4

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28

44

38

features

ON THE COVER

COVER

GARDEN

28 The Allure of Peonies

38 An Artist’s Vision

May/June 2012 • www.gardeningclub.com

Gorgeous blossoms, handsome leaves, a tough constitution—there’s lots to love about these garden classics. BY NANCY ROSE AFTERNOON PROJECT

‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’ peony Photograph: La Pivoinerie D’Aoust

A gorgeous Idaho garden reveals the owners’ artistic sense, love of texture, and passion for rocks. BY MELEAH MAYNARD LANDSCAPING

35 Treat Yourself to a Topiary 44 Build a Rain Garden Take lush green ivy, a simple wire frame, a pot, and some dirt, and create a romantic heart topiary. BY ELIZABETH NOLL

Help the environment and beautify your yard by installing a rain garden to catch runoff from your roof. BY MARTY WINGATE

EDITORIAL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS Editors, Gardening How-To, 12301 Whitewater Drive, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343-9447 e-mail: editors@gardeningclub.com MEMBERSHIP OR CLUB QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS 800-324-8454 (Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central time) e-mail: memberservices@gardeningclub.com Gardening How-To (ISSN 1087-0083) is published Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, Summer, Fall, by the National Home Gardening Club, 12301 Whitewater Drive, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343-9447. To become a Club member, send $18 annual dues to: National Home Gardening Club, PO Box 3401, Hopkins, MN 55343-2101. For Canadian membership, please send $36 Canadian funds (including 5 percent GST) for annual dues. $15 of each year’s dues is for an annual subscription to Gardening How-To. Periodicals postage paid at Hopkins, MN, and additional mailing offices. Direct editorial inquiries to Gardening How-To, 12301 Whitewater Drive, Hopkins, MN 55343-9447. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Gardening How-To, PO Box 3401, Hopkins, MN 55343-2101. Canadian GST registration number R131271496. Canadian Post Publication Mail Agreement No. 40063731. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Gardening How-To, Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, Ont. N9A 6J5. E-mail: returnsIL@imex.pb.com. Copyright 2012, North American Membership Group Inc. All rights reserved. Produced in U.S.A. Volume 17, Number 3, Issue 94.

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what’s new

on the Web we’re on Twitter! Follow the National Home Gardening Club at www.

twitter.com/GardenMag. Find out what’s happening at the magazine, what fellow gardeners are tweeting about, and tips and ideas for your garden.

50

18

departments garden club 18 Garden Variety

6

Garden Talk

Read about hydrangea care, the blue-winged teal, the Sugar Moon rose, and more.

8

Member Letters

22 Site Specific

10 Garden Giveaway

Best hummingbird plants for your region

Win a garden cart or a power hose!

50 Backyard Wildlife

Answers to your questions about blueberries, magnolias, and more.

Learn how to make your water garden fish-friendly.

52 Garden Gear Check out some cool new products, including kids’ seed starter kits and moss rocks.

68 Up Close Guess this plant!

We have so much great gardening information it won’t all fit in the magazine. Go to www.

gardeningclub.com and sign up for the free Extra Dirt newsletter. r.

Your comments about GHT

13 Expert Advice 54 Member Garden This Arizona gardener found her senior apartment complex lacked one thing: a garden.

56 Photo Contest Snap a photo of your garden and win a great prize!

58 Member Tips

52

don’t let a week go by!

Members write about plants that give them the most for their money.

59 Member Tested Members report on a drip irrigation system, compost bin, fire pit, and more.

NYT says our iPad is tops! “Polished … with beautiful photography and interactive elements …” Gardening How-To iPad edition is one of the top three in the country, according to a recent New York Times gardening app roundup. Download the app for free at www.gardeningclub. com/ipad.

64 Home Grown Your best garden photos

2 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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Volume 17 • Number 3 • Issue 94

Editorial Kathy Childers, Editor

Production Erin Nielsen, Production Coordinator

Elizabeth Noll, Managing Editor Nancy Rose, Horticultural Consultant Karen Jackson, Administrative Assistant

Art Mark Simpson, Executive Art Director Jenny Mahoney, Art Director Jenny Kreitzer, Assistant Art Director Matt Sprouse, Senior Digital Art Director

National Home Gardening Club Kathy Childers, Executive Director Andrea Meester, Assistant Vice President, Member Services Ross Tanner, Manager, Product Testing Vivian Bernett, Marketing Manager Eddie Kelly, Marketing Specialist Michael Stern, Marketing Specialist Deborah Hannigan, Research Manager

Advertising National Advertising Sales Office Gardening How-To 12301 Whitewater Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343, 800-688-7611 Steve Clow, Senior Vice President, Advertising Grayle Howlett, Group Publisher ghowlett@namginc.com Mindy Bretts, Advertising Coordinator mbretts@namginc.com

North American Membership Group Michael Graves, President Kate Pope, Chief Financial Officer Betty Potasnak, Vice President, Human Resources Connie Schlundt, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing Rick Dow, Chief Branding Officer Chad Cox, Senior Director, Media Development

East Ellen Kamhi, 646-862-3908 ekamhi@namginc.com

Contact Member Services If you need help with your Club membership, please contact us.

Midwest

VISIT the Club Web site

Susanne Siegel, 312-346-0732 ssiegel@namginc.com

www.gardeningclub.com

E-MAIL the Club Michigan/Indiana Jay Gagen, RPM Associates 248-557-7490, jay@RPMAssoc.com West Mike Nelson, 503-968-2304 nelsonoutdoors@frontier.com Direct Response

memberservices@gardeningclub.com

CALL Member Services 800-324-8454 (Weekdays, 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. CDT, and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CDT)

WRITE to the Club NHGC PO Box 3401 Hopkins, MN 55343-2101

Smyth Media Group Stephanie Musella, 914-693-8700 stephanie@smythmedia.com STN12-2GHT42-100923-4

Randi Wisner, 914-693-8700 randi@smythmedia.com

Please include your member number when you write, e-mail, or call the Club.

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THE OFFICIAL DEFINITION of a gardener is, not surprisingly, someone who tends gardens. But gardeners are so much more than that! How about ingenious, inventive, resourceful, adept, and persistent? If you’ve got gardening in your blood, you’re going to find a way to practice what you love no matter the obstacles, even if you have no land. Consider the Homegirl Café in the heart of Los Angeles. The restaurant gives at-risk young men and women training in food service and culinary arts, including raising herbs and vegetables. Because they have no ground to till—the café is surrounded by a parking lot and sidewalks—they use what they have, turning the walls of the building into gardens. Member Marcia Greenshields At the Homegirl Café in Los Angeles, having understands the no land for gardens resulted in an innovative café’s challenge. alternative: growing herbs and vegetables When she moved on the walls of the restaurant. into an apartment, this lifelong gardener wasn’t about to give up her passion for growing things. There was a plot of land outside her window, and, even though she didn’t own it, she worked out an agreement with her landlord. Before long, she’d turned fallow ground into a vegetable and flower garden the whole complex enjoys. She shares her story on page 54. While having no land is a challenge, having too much can be equally confounding. When Paul Walker and his partner moved into their home, they were faced with making something of more than 40,000 square feet of neglected property. Their enduring vision of what it could be, combined with hard work, guided them over the years to create the gorgeous gardens they now enjoy. Read more about their efforts on page 38. No matter what your gardening challenges might be, we hope you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this issue to keep on growing!

Kathy Childers Editor, Executive Director | editors@gardeningclub.com

6 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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get tipsy

tipsy tower power I sure enjoy the National Home Gardening Club magazine. Lots of good ideas like the tower flower pots (“Get Tipsy,” July/August 2011, page 30). —Ken Linville,

Add a w himsical note to yo ur garden w tilted tow ith a flowers. er of

M

Palm Desert, CA

get serious about groundhogs In the article on groundhogs (Backyard Wildlife, January/February 2012, page 36), you blew it badly. Anyone who has gardened out East knows that they’re a disaster in the same category as deer (a.k.a., rats with hooves) and much worse than rabbits. To write that these voracious pests are cute is definitely the prose of someone who has never gardened near one. Groundhogs can be discouraged, but it’s hard work: Sharp gravel dumped down the burrow, an electric fence, a big trained dog, motion-activated sprinklers, and, if permitted, an accurate rifle are just examples of tools, insufficient alone but discouraging when grouped. —Herb Hess, Moscow, ID David Mizejewski responds: My column, Backyard Wildlife, is focused on either how to attract wildlife or how to best live in harmony with it when conflicts arise. Groundhogs can be problematic, and I offered some potential solutions— like sprays made of hot pepper, garlic, and eggs; scarecrows or plastic owls; and motion detector sprinklers—with the caveat that gardeners might need to adopt a level of tolerance if they want to share their property with wildlife.

or you could try garlic … The article regarding woodchucks was appealing because we had one sitting on our balcony steps last

30 JULY/AUG UST

UST 2011 | GARDENIN GCLUB.CO M

Making it Tipsy

ost gardener s grow up only when they run out of room to grow sideways. Here’s a fun way to make the most of that situation: flowerpot a tower. Thi s project has a small foot print, whi ch makes perfect for it any neglecte d corner of your garden. In you can turn about two hours, a dull squa re foot of space into a lush attention grab and light-hearted ber. Though the tower look about to colla s like it’s pse, it’s actu ally very sturdy. A piece of reba r threaded through the pots keeps them in place. Foll ow these step s to create your own tipsy flower tower. by Elizabe th photograp Noll hy by Tra cy Walsh

Planter.indd 30

year. I love animals, but he was a bit too much, so I sprinkled chopped fresh garlic into the opening under the wooden steps where he had been living. He disappeared I know not where, but at least he wasn’t feeding on our gardens! —Julia Hisey,

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deadheaders unite I just had to laugh at your page about wanting to undo mulch too close to plants (Garden Talk, Fall 2011, page 8). I have great difficulty in restraining myself from deadheading blooms in public places. My daughter-in-law knows about my “problem,” and one day outside a restaurant, she took my arm and said, “Just walk on; you can do it.” Maybe I should get a job deadheading the world, ha ha. —Carol Rine, Proctor, WV

WRITE TO US!

Send your comments about the magazine to: Member Letters, Gardening How-To, 12301 Whitewater Dr., Hopkins, MN 55343, or e-mail letters@ gardeningclub.com. Please include your name, address, phone number, and member number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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EXPERTADVICE

answers to your questions about blueberries, squirrels, and more The most important requirement for successfully growing blueberries is having the proper soil. It should be acidic, with a pH level between 4.5 and 5, to grow healthy plants that develop fruit. Check with your local universtiy extension service for inexpensive testing. If your soil isn’t right, take a year or two to amend it before putting plants in the ground. There are several types of cultivated blueberries to choose from. Highbush blueberries will probably do best where you live. Although you don’t need to plant two different varieties for cross-pollination, you’ll get more and bigger berries if you do. Talk to someone at a local garden center about all of your options before buying plants. And check out what’s available online, where you’ll find a much wider selection than your local nursery. My top four recommendations for mail-order plants are Hartmann’s Plant Company (www.hartmannsplantcompany.com), Miller Nurseries (www.millernurseries.com), Harris Seeds (www. harrisseeds.com), and Stark Bro’s (www.starkbros.com). — Meleah Maynard, garden writer and master gardener

tame wild violets? I purchased a bag of topsoil that had wild violet seeds in it, and now they’re growing everywhere. How do I get rid of them without killing other flowers?

—Kathy Fotherby, Sterling Heights, MI

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I’d like to grow blueberries. Can you give me some tips on what conditions they require and where to buy them? —Joe Stephenson, Jeffersonville, IN

Blueberries take a bit of extra work, but they’re wonderful to grow. Get a good reference book about growing them, such as The Fruit Gardener’s Bible by Lewis Hill and Leonard Perry (Storey Publishing, 2011) or Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy (Sierra Club Books, 2010).

Wild violet (Viola sororia) is a native perennial that’s loved by many, but it can become an unwelcome weed in shady gardens and lawns. Once the plants get established, they multiply quickly and are difficult to eradicate. They have an extensive root system of thick, underground rhizomes, and they reseed prolifically. Most herbicides are not effective on them because a waxy coating protects their leaves. In flower gardens, the most effective way to get rid of them is to dig up the clumps. Use a sturdy shovel and make sure you get all of the roots. Fill in the hole with topsoil, and cover the area with mulch. Repeat as often as necessary. It will take time to completely eliminate the plants, but it can be done. — Kathleen LaLiberte, garden writer and green industry consultant

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Hernando, FL Magnolias bloom best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil; the more sun, the better. Because your tree is already very tall, it likely receives lots of sunlight. However, if it’s shaded much of the day, it won’t produce as many flowers as it would in full sun. Magnolias are typically rather slow-growing. If yours is adding a lot of height each year, it might be getting too much nitrogen, perhaps from frequent fertilizing of the surrounding lawn or from fertilizing the tree itself. Nitrogen is needed for healthy growth, but too much promotes leafy growth instead of flowers. Excess nitrogen can reduce flower bud production and even cause flower buds to wither and die before opening. If the tree is surrounded by a lawn that you fertilize regularly, try replacing the turf directly under the tree with a large circle of mulch. — Deb Brown, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota Department of Horticultural Science

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I have two weeping cherry trees about 13 or 14 years old, spaced about 15 feet apart. I want to put a shade garden between and around them. I was going to cover the entire area with cardboard to kill the weeds and grass, and then cover it with composted horse manure and topsoil. Will the trees still get enough water and air if I do this? —Russ Watkins,

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To answer your question, I enlisted the help of other master gardeners, as well as a professor of horticulture who does tree-related research. The consensus was that it’s okay to use the cardboard layering method you mention beneath mature trees as long as you keep the area well-watered. Roots of mature trees already struggle to get enough moisture because the tree’s canopy often blocks rainfall. Add cardboard to the equation, and you could wind up with a pretty parched environment if you’re not careful. Before laying down the cardboard, wet the ground thoroughly. Then wet the cardboard you’ve laid out. Spread the manure and topsoil, cover it with a 3-inch layer of wood mulch, and wet that too. Keep the cardboard and mulch about 6 inches away from each tree trunk to prevent pest and disease problems. And don’t spread more than 2 inches of manure and topsoil, because tree roots are located primarily in the top few inches of soil and need access to air and water.

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14 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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deterring ground squirrels I have chicken wire protecting my vegetable garden, but ground squirrels still get in and eat everything. Is there anything I can do besides killing them?

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It will take about a season for the cardboard to decompose. During that time, you may need to water the area several times, depending on rainfall. If you’re concerned about keeping up with the watering, you could instead layer a few sheets of newspaper rather than cardboard. You install it the same way as cardboard, but you’ll likely need to water less over the season. —M.M.

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—Linda Sudduth, Sylmar, CA Unlike tree squirrels, California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) live in underground burrows that can be up to 30 feet long with several access points. A dozen or more of them may live together in a single burrow. Feeding typically occurs within a 75-foot range of the burrow, and, though ground squirrels primarily eat leaves and grasses, there are few foods they like better than cherry tomatoes, peas, melons, and berries. Ground squirrels are responsible for millions of dollars of crop damage each year. Farmers have found that poison baits, lethal traps, and burrow fumigation are the only reliably effective controls. As a backyard vegetable gardener, however, there are several ways you can discourage them. Start by removing brush piles and other easy hiding places. Look for the 4-inch-diameter holes that lead to their burrows, and dig up or block these openings. Surround vulnerable plants or individual garden beds with a scent deterrent such as fox urine, or cover them with wire mesh or garden fabric. A perimeter fence is the best longterm solution, but since ground squirrels can climb, jump, and dig, an effective fence must be buried 2 to 3 feet deep and stand 3 to 4 feet tall. — K.L.

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Take cuttings from a clematis vine in late spring or early summer, when the vines are no longer completely green and flexible, but are just starting to get harder and woodier. • Choose a healthy, robust-looking stem, 2 to 3 feet long, and cut it into several smaller portions, each with two sets of leaves or leaf buds. Remove the lower set of leaves from each, so that you can identify that end as the one to plant in the rooting medium. • Remove one of the upper leaves from each cutting and cut the remaining leaf in half if it’s large. Be very careful not to injure the buds when you remove the leaves. • Pot the cuttings individually or spread them out in a large container. Use fresh, moist potting soil. Make holes in the soil with a clean dowel or perhaps the handle of a piece of kitchen cutlery. • Dip the base of each cutting into rooting powder, which will help roots form; flick each stem gently to remove excess powder (too much can actually interfere with rooting). • Place the stems in the holes in the potting soil. (Don’t push the stems into the soil; doing so will remove most of the rooting powder.) Position each cutting so the lower buds are buried below the soil surface, firming the soil gently around them. • Cover the container with clear plastic to help keep the environment humid, but keep the plastic off the cuttings with stakes. • Place the container in a brightly lit location, out of direct sunlight. Check the soil regularly and add water as needed to keep it moist. Rooting usually takes one to two months. You can tell that roots have formed if you feel resistance when tugging gently on a cutting. — D.B.

©2012 Federal Process Corporation. All rights reserved.

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e ! im w d T No ite Act Limfer– Of

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USING THE RING SIZE CHART Place one of her rings on top of one of the circle diagrams. Her ring size is the circle that matches the inside diameter of the ring diagram. If her ring falls between sizes, order the next larger size.

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PHOTO: ROB CARDILLO

how to care for a hydrangea

Their large, lacy blooms make it hard to resist buying hydrangeas, even if you know nothing about them. If you’re a bewildered new parent (or just need a refresher), here are a few basics: • Hydrangeas of all kinds love moist feet. They thrive in full sun to partial shade (except for panicle hydrangeas, which need full sun). Beware, though: If they get too much shade, they won’t flower as well. • Bigleaf hydrangeas are the ones that turn color—other hydrangeas don’t have the pigmentation to do this. In strongly acidic soil, the flowers will be blue. In weakly acidic or alkaline soil, flowers will be pink. But the exact color also depends somewhat on the cultivar: You may get purple instead of blue, or rosy red instead of pink. • The most common garden hydrangeas are bigleaf hydrangea (H. macrophylla, Zones 6 to 9); smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens, Zones 4 to 9); panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata, Zones 3 to 8); and oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia, Zones 5 to 9).—Elizabeth Noll

18 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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GARDENVARIETY

plant pick

History and botany meet on the plains at LAURITZEN GARDENS, a 100-acre site in the middle of Omaha, Nebraska. Among more than a dozen themed gardens —including a rose, an herb, and a model railroad garden—is the enchantingly eccentric Hitchcock-Kountze Victorian walled garden, which was built and decorated with salvaged architectural remnants from the city. At its center is a sunken area with a reflecting pool and formal plantings; the perennial beds at the perimeter get a little wilder. For more information: Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center, Omaha, NE, 402-346-4002, www.lauritzengardens.org. —E.N.

feathered facts

The elegant, pure white, 5-inch blooms of the Sugar Moon hybrid tea rose (Rosa ‘Wekmemolo’ Sugar Moon) will catch your eye. But what makes this variety stand out from the crowd is its sweet citrus fragrance. Superior disease resistance, continuous bloom, and long stems just add to the attraction. Grows 2 to 4 feet tall. Zones 6 to 9. Source: Edmunds’ Roses, Randolph, WI, 888-481-7673, www.edmundsroses.com. —E.N.

blue-winged teal

The handsome and diminutive blue-winged teal ducks, which weigh a pound or less, inhabit shallow wetlands, marshes, and ponds across the U.S. and Canada in summer. They fly fast, darting erratically as they travel, probably as a defense against avian predators. Called

puddle ducks because they tip their rear ends up and dabble for plants and seeds in shallow water, bluewinged teals are fair-weather visitors, arriving in spring and heading back to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America by September. LOOK for the drake’s (male’s) slate-blue head with a pure white crescent on each cheek. The rest of his feathers are an intricate scrollwork of tans, grays, and black. The hen is mottled brown and gray. Both sexes have pretty, powder-blue wing patches and black bills. LISTEN for the blue-winged teal’s miniature quack—it sounds like a miniature mallard with a cold! Blue-wings also make low peeps and whistles. OBSERVE blue-winged teal on shallow, grassy marshes and wetlands in summer as they paddle and dabble along next to the safety of shoreline vegetation. DID YOU KNOW that blue-wings have been recorded traveling from Alberta’s northern border to Venezuela in less than a month? —Tom Carpenter

PHOTOS: GARDEN SPOT, LAURITZEN GARDENS; PLANT PICK, WEEKS ROSES; FEATHERED FACTS, RON AUSTING

lauritzen gardens

sugar moon rose

garden spot

20 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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SITESPECIFIC

hummingbird magnets What’s growing in your region—and how to care for it.

pacific northwest exclaiming this when they see the Lobelia tupa (Zones 8 to 10) and California fuchsia (Zauschneria ‘Bowman’s Hybrid’, Zones 7 to 11) in my garden. These tube-shaped flowers are humming with activity all summer long. Lobelia tupa produces spikes of beaked, coral-colored flowers that the hummers can’t resist. At 5 feet tall and wide, it’s big enough to be a shrub but is actually an herbaceous perennial that blooms from July until the first frost. California fuchsia, which isn’t really a fuchsia at all, blooms from late summer to early fall. The cultivar ‘Bowman’s Hybrid’ has red-orange flowers coming off narrow, gray-green stems. This small shrub (2 feet high and wide) is a bit tender, so I grow it in a pot on the patio up against the house where it gets extra protection. For both plants, provide full sun and well-drained soil. Once established, neither plant needs supplemental water unless grown in a container. In that case, water large pots weekly during dry spells. —Marty Wingate, Seattle, WA

around the garden • Cut back lungwort (Pulmonaria), leaves and all, when it’s finished blooming. It will flush out with new growth that’s less likely to succumb to powdery mildew. • Protect the new foliage of hostas from slugs and snails by applying an organic bait (for example, Sluggo). • Prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, kerria, and deutzia just after they finish blooming; this gives them time to set buds for next year.

Sources

Lobelia tupa

Lobelia tupa: Digging Dog Nursery, Albion, CA, 707-937-1130, www.diggingdog.com Lobelia and Zauschneria: Joy Creek Nursery, Scappoose, OR, 503-5437474, www.joycreek.com; Sweet Nectar Nursery, Battle Ground, WA, 360-624-4901, www.sweetnectarnursery.com

PHOTOS: LOBELIA TUPA, MARK TURNER; BLACK CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD, RON AUSTING

TOTALLY TUBULAR! It’s easy to imagine hummingbirds

22 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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7 22/  722/

inin 7$/. 7$/. ! s a g LAS VEGAS e Las V 2012 National Hardware2012 Show National Hardware Show May 1-3, 2012 May 1-3, 2012 Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas Convention Center

See thethe Latest Gardening Tools and Products See Latest Gardening Tools and Products The National Home Gardening Club brings you the BEST of the National Hardware Show this May! National Home Gardening Club brings BEST of the National Hardware May! TwoThe lucky Club members—offi cial guests of theyou Clubthe and sponsors—will be getting theirShow handsthis dirty at the Two lucky Club members—offi cial guests of the Club and sponsors—will be getting their hands dirty show as Top Tool Testers. You can join in the fun from the comfort of your home. at the show as Top Tool Testers. You can join in the fun from the comfort of your home.

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midwest/mountain WHILE VISITING a local botanic garden, I disturbed

nearly 20 hummingbirds nectaring in a flowerbed of Cuphea. Ever since, I always recommend cultivars of this old-time favorite for attracting hummingbirds. Cigar plant (Cuphea ignea), also known as firecracker plant, has been around for years but is enjoying a comeback. The orange-red tubular flowers have a purple tip that inspired its common name. You can also find cultivars of tiny mice or bat-faced cuphea (Cuphea llavea), looking like the name implies, at most independent garden centers. Cuphea is easy to grow. Place in full sun to partial shade, keep the soil evenly moist, and fertilize as needed. You can overwinter Cuphea indoors. Grow in a brightly lit location; water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. —Melinda Myers, Milwaukee, WI

Sources

Cuphea llavea ‘Flamenco Samba’

Sweet Nectar Nursery, Battle Ground, WA, 360-624-4901, www.sweetnectarnursery.com; Zone 9 Tropicals, Houston, TX,

• Wait until air and soil warm to plant annual flowers and vegetables. • Use floating row covers to protect new plantings from frost, speed establishment, and reduce the number of days to harvest.

713-863-0708, www.zone9tropicals.com

PHOTO: ROB CARDILLO

around the garden

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northeast HAVE YOU EVER SEEN a hummingbird do a U-turn? When they zoom through the garden and catch sight of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ (Zones 5 to 9), they can’t help but hit the brakes. The plant’s brilliant, scarlet red flowers grab their attention. ‘Lucifer’ gives mid- to late-summer gardens a jolt of color and its 3-foot-tall, swordlike foliage looks attractive all season long. Other cultivars are slightly shorter and less hardy, but most have larger flowers. ‘Star of the East’ has mango-colored blossoms, and ‘Gerbe d’Or’ and ‘Solfaterre’ both sport yellow flowers and bronze foliage. Like gladiolus, crocosmias grow from flattened corms that are planted in spring. For best effect, plant them in groups of a dozen or more in a sunny, protected spot. In cold climates, protect the root zone with leaves or straw. —Kathleen LaLiberte, Richmond, VT

PHOTO: BILL JOHNSON

around the garden • Plant arugula early and enjoy it before warm weather arrives. Sow more seeds in late summer for a fall harvest. Broad-leaved varieties like ‘Astro’ are tender and relatively mild. Traditional Italian types, such as ‘Sylvatica’, have thicker stems and a spicier flavor.

Sources

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

McClure & Zimmerman, Randolph, WI, 800-883-6998, www.mzbulb.com; Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, NC, 919-772-4794, www.plantdelights.com

GARDENINGCLUB.COM 25

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Lobelia cardinalis

Impatiens capensis

southeast

southwest

A NATIVE SUMMER ANNUAL with a talent for self-sowing,

HUMMINGBIRDS AND I have something in common:

spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is listed among the five top native hummingbird plants by South Carolinabased Operation Rubythroat. Each morning at my house, they’re the first flowers to be visited by hummingbirds, and the birds often return in the evening. The upright, semi-succulent plants can grow more than 4 feet tall in moist, semi-shaded sites. Plants shed seeds that burst from their pods, earning jewelweed the common name of spotted touch-me-not. The easiest way to start a colony is to adopt a seedling and allow it to shed seeds. These seeds sprout and grow the following spring. To grow spotted jewelweed from seed in containers, chill planted containers in the refrigerator for three weeks before moving them outdoors. —Barbara

We both favor cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis, Zones 2 to 9). These bog plants grow 2 to 4 feet tall and their brilliant scarlet flower spikes are dramatic companions to the silver-gray foliage plants in my high desert gardens. Cardinal flower blooms in mid to late summer, so it adds a burst of color just when the rest of the garden is looking a bit worn out. My cardinal flowers are perfectly happy in a raised bed under the light shade of a covered patio. I dig in compost and mulch heavily. Runoff from rain helps give them needed moisture—as bog plants, they do like lots of water. For best results, place the plant in rich, loamy soil with light to partial shade and water consistently. Dig and divide plants every two to three years. —Stephanie

Pleasant, Floyd, VA

Hainsfurther, Albuquerque, NM

around the garden around the garden • Keep mulching to help plants survive the tough conditions of midsummer. • Add annuals to your containers and border edges. • Pinch back spent blooms on come-again perennials. • Start watering trees deeply, every other week.

Sources Look for spotted jewelweed seedlings at native plant nurseries. Seed is available from: American Meadows, Williston, VT, 877-309-7333, www.americanmeadows.com; Circa Plants, Logan, OH, 740-603-6139, www.circaplants.com; and Smartseeds, Claremont, CA, 909-576-6206, www.smartseedstore.com

Sources Forestfarm Nursery, Williams, OR, 541-846-7269, www.forest farm.com; Santa Rosa Gardens, Gulf Breeze, FL, 866-681-0856, www.santarosagardens.com

PHOTOS: MARK TURNER

• Plant warm-season vegetables like bush beans, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers. • Even if you already have basil plants growing, sow a few seeds every few weeks to make sure you have fresh plants coming in late summer.

26 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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‘Coral Charm’

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allure of

peonies

PHOTO: NANCY ROSE

BY NANCY ROSE

It’s hip to be oldfashioned when it comes to peonies. Their colorful blooms and dramatic foliage provide season-long interest and unrivaled dependability year after year. Just ask your grandmother.

G

orgeous blossoms, handsome foliage, a hardy nature—these outstanding qualities are the hallmarks of peonies (Paeonia spp.) and the reason they’re perpetually popular with gardeners. Herbaceous peonies are long-lived perennials (some have surpassed 100 years) with lush, puffy blooms in a rainbow of colors; many also have a strong, sweet fragrance. They’re hardy in Zones 3 to 8, and coldclimate gardeners will be pleased to know that peonies perform best in the cooler parts of that range. Whether you’re a peony newbie or a long-devoted fan, consider adding a few to your garden this year. GARDENINGCLUB.COM 29 GARDENINGCLUB.COM 29

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‘Coral Sunset’

There are hundreds of peony cultivars to choose from, with a range of bloom times, flower forms, and colors. By selecting from early-, mid-, and late-season bloomers, you can have peonies in bloom for a good six weeks in spring to early summer. Peonies can be classified by flower form as single, semi-double, double (including the spectacular “bomb” types like ‘Raspberry Sundae’), or Japanese. Single and semi-double peonies feature central clusters of bright yellow stamens, but in Japanese peonies the stamens

have been replaced by even showier narrow, petal-like structures called staminodes. Classic peony flower colors range from white and cream to many shades of pink and red. Coral peonies—a fairly recent color break-through by breeders— have become quite popular; look for cultivars like ‘Coral Charm’, ‘Coral Sunset’, and ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’. Yellow, a long-sought-after color, has finally become available thanks to the intersectional (or Itoh) hybrids, which are crosses between tree and herbaceous peonies that retain the herbaceous

‘Garden Teasure’

Peonies add a romantic touch to any bouquet. Their silky petals and luscious colors make them especially popular for weddings. Cut garden peonies in the morning and immediately place the stems in a bucket of lukewarm water. Use a floral food solution in the vase and change the solution daily. If kept fairly cool and out of direct sun, peony bouquets will last up to a week.

peony bouquets

pick a cultivar

‘Raspberry Sundae’

PHOTOS: ‘CORAL SUNSET’, ‘GARDEN TREASURE’, LA PIVOINERIE D’AOUST; ‘BARTZELLA’, ADELMAN PEONY GARDENS/CAROL ADELMAN; ‘RASPBERRY SUNDAE’, HOLLINGSWORTH PEONIES

‘Bartzella’

30 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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plant form. Though somewhat expensive, it’s hard not to fall in love with sunny beauties like ‘Bartzella’, ‘Garden Treasure’, and ‘Yellow Emperor’. Even after the flowers are gone, peonies command the garden with their mass of dark green, deeply divided leaves. This foliage makes a nice backdrop for lower-growing, later-blooming perennials planted in front. Some rock garden peonies, like ‘Earlibird’ and ‘Little Red Gem’, have more finely dissected foliage, and the foliage of fernleaf peony (P. tenuifolia) is so finely cut it looks like an asparagus fern.

‘Earlibird’

You can plant container-grown peonies any time, but spring or fall is ideal. The best time to plant new bare-root peonies is early fall (September in most regions). That’s also the perfect time to dig, divide, and replant existing plants. Pick a site that receives full sun (in warm zones, a spot that gets light afternoon shade may be better) and is away from competing tree roots. Peonies prefer fertile, moist, but very well-drained soil and a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH (6.0 to 7.0). Most become sizable plants—typically 2½ to 3½ feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide—so give them plenty of room to grow. If your space is limited, consider rock-garden peony cultivars, which grow only 15 to 20 inches tall. Peonies grow from a crown at the top of a mass of thick roots. The plump buds (known as eyes) that will produce next year’s growth can be seen poking up from the crown. When dividing, try to keep at least three to five eyes per division. Planting depth is critical. In northern areas, the crown should be no more than 2 inches below the soil surface; in southern areas, set the crown just ½ to 1 inch below the soil surface. Peonies won’t flower well if the crown is planted too deeply.

PHOTO: MARK TURNER

plant in the sun

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fragrant peonies Peonies vary in fragrance from having almost no scent (or even a slightly off smell) to being very sweetly scented. If you want a strongly fragrant peony, try one of these cultivars.

‘Seashell’

PHOTOS: ‘PINK HAWAIIAN CORAL’, ‘MYRTLE GENTRY’, AMALIA OLSON’, LA PIVOINERIE D’AOUST; ‘SEASHELL’, TRACY WALSH; ‘VIVID ROSE’, DUCHESS DE NEMOURS’, ADELMAN PEONY GARDENS/CAROL ADELMAN; ‘SWEET MELODY’, ‘MISS AMERICA’, HOLLINGSWORTH PEONIES; ‘MOONSTONE’, WWW.SONGSPARROW.COM

‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’

‘Duchesse de Nemours’

‘Vivid Rose’

‘Sweet Melody’

‘Moonstone’

‘Myrtle Gentry’

‘Miss America’

‘Amalia Olson’

GARDENINGCLUB.COM 33

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Plant peonies individually or in groups; they mix well with just about everything else in the garden, including other perennials, ornamental grasses, late spring bulbs, annuals, and flowering shrubs. Because of their large size and persistent foliage, peonies can be used like small shrubs in foundation plantings and along walkways or driveways. If you select an especially fragrant cultivar, plant it near your main entry so you can enjoy the sweet scent as you pass by.

tree peonies

deadhead and prune

Nancy Rose is the horticultural consultant for Gardening How-to.

‘Amber Moon’

‘Yachiyo-Tsubaki’

‘Shichi-Fukujin’

Unlike herbaceous peonies, tree peonies (P. suffruticosa and hybrids, Zones 4 to 8) have woody stems that don’t die back in the fall. They’re slow-growing, eventually forming an open shrub reaching 3 to 5 feet tall with an equal or greater width. They bloom in spring, usually a week or two before herbaceous peonies, and put on a spectacular show. Flowers are huge, often 6 or more inches wide, with ruffled petals in gorgeous shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, coral, and white. High-quality tree peonies are a bit pricey (roughly $70 to $150) because much effort is required to produce them, including specialized grafting and several years of nursery growing.

Sources Adelman Peony Gardens, Salem, OR, 503-393-6185, www.peonyparadise.com; Hidden Springs Flower Farm, Spring Grove, MN, 763-218-4540, www.hiddenspringsflowerfarm.com; Hollingsworth Nursery, Maryville, MO, 660-562-3010, www.hollingsworthpeonies.com; Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery, 800-553-3715, www.songsparrow.com; La Pivoinerie D’Aoust, Hudson Heights, Quebec, Canada, 450-458-2759, www.paeonia.com; Old House Gardens, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-995-1486, www.oldhousegardens.com

PHOTO:S ‘AMBER MOON’, BILL JOHNSON; ‘YACHIO-TSUBOKI’, MARK TURNER; ‘SHICHI-FUKUJIN’, JERRY PAVIA

Peonies are tough, low-maintenance perennials that have relatively few problems. To keep plants tidy, deadhead flowers as they fade. The only other pruning needed is cutting back and removing dead foliage in late fall; this is especially important if the foliage had any signs of disease during the growing season. They like fertile soil, but peonies shouldn’t be overfertilized, especially with nitrogen, since it encourages lush foliage at the expense of blossoms. Yearly top dressing with compost will add nutrients and help hold soil moisture. Once established, peonies can tolerate moderate drought, but they’ll grow best if given occasional deep soaks during dry periods. Peonies generally don’t have a lot of disease problems, but there are several fungal diseases that can affect flower buds and foliage, especially during very rainy seasons. Sanitation is often the best control, so remove and destroy infected plant parts as soon as you notice them. Check with local experts for additional control measures. Insects rarely attack peonies. Don’t worry about ants clambering on buds—they neither help nor hurt the plant; they’re just attracted to the tiny beads of nectar that sometimes ooze from the buds.

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Add a romantic touch to your patio with a quickly crafted ivy heart.

treat yourself to a

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By Elizabeth Noll Photography by Mike Anderson

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opiaries—plants trained to grow around a frame—always bring a smile. They’re lovely to look at, and, much like a sculpture, they add visual interest to patios or other garden settings. You can purchase them in nurseries for a fairly hefty price, but a cheaper proposition—and one that’s lots more fun—is to make your own. The ivy heart shown here can be created in about an hour with readily available materials. Ivy’s a perfect plant choice because it’s tough and low-maintenance, and it grows fast—it will cover the wire frame in no time and look lush and green all season with very little effort. The topiary’s sweet, romantic look is just right for the luxurious first days of summer.

1 Cut a length of coated wire about 4 feet long. Bend a divot in the middle.

materials • about 4 feet of coated heavyduty garden wire • one decorative pot, 8 to 10 inches high • 1 bag of potting soil for outdoor containers (5 to 10 pounds) • 4 to 6 ivy plants with long, trailing stems • masking tape • trowel • wire snips • gloves • scissors • twist ties

2 Bend each side so it curves down and forms a heart shape. Leave about 6 inches of wire on each end to straighten into tails.

growing tips • As the ivy plants grow, twine new stems and leaves around the wire. Prune wayward stems to maintain the shape. • Place the pot in part shade. • Keep the soil moist but not soggy. • The topiary looks attractive on a patio, but it could also be a houseplant.

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3

Fill the pot about half to two-thirds full of potting soil. Twine the tails together, tape them together with masking tape, and push them into the middle of the pot.

5

4 Nestle ivy plants into the potting soil, close to the wire frame. If the plants are in a large clump, gently tease them apart and use the ones with the longest stems.

Twine the longest stems, one by one, around the wire frame. It’s possible the stems won’t be long enough to reach the top of the heart, but they’ll grow fast. If stems tend to slip off, secure them with twist ties. To create a tidy heart shape, you can trim off some of the short stems.

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vision A retired photographer and his partner combine rocks and plants for a picture-perfect garden. BY MELEAH MAYNARD | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JERRY PAVIA

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aul Walker is 84, but you’d never guess it. When spring comes, he heads out to the gardens at his home in Hayden, Idaho, and often becomes so engrossed in planting, pruning, weeding, and watering that he forgets to eat all day. His longtime partner, Richard Corsini, who is 27 years younger, keeps a much more relaxed schedule. “Richard is happy to help me when I need it, but he’d rather play tennis, while I can garden for hours every day,” says Paul. There’s plenty to keep him busy. Their 40,000-square-foot lot is a lush landscape today, a stark contrast to what they found when they bought the house 13 years ago—the yard was strewn with deadwood and debris.

P

Above: Paul Walker (right), spent years creating a beautiful, whimsical rock garden with the help of his partner, Richard Corsini. Left: Near the front door of the house, a weeping blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus libani ssp. atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’) spreads its arms over a garden brimming with Japanese cinnamon ferns.

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garden at a glance Size of lot: Approximately 200 feet x 200 feet Size of garden: Most of the property Years in house: 13 Hours spent daily in the garden: 6 (Paul; Richard helps when needed) USDA Hardiness: Zone 6b Average annual precipitation: About 26 inches Watering technique: Overhead sprinkler system Soil amendments: Compost, mulched leaves, wood shavings, livestock pine shavings Mulch: Compost, homemade mixes of organic matter Fertilizer: Compost, ammonium sulfate, Milorganite Most persistent pest: Aphids Favorite tree: Japanese maple First plants Paul tended: moss rose and four o’clocks with his mom Best advice for a beginner: Always work on building good soil with amendments like compost

“It didn’t look like much, but it was on a slight hillside and there were native pines along the perimeter on three sides and a golf course on the fourth,” Paul recalls. “I’m a retired photographer, and I could visualize how we could make something of it.” He was right. But turning that vision into a reality was more work than they thought it would be. In order to clear the lot, they took truckloads of debris to the dump. “Once we reached 20 loads of things like old railroad ties and dead shrubs in the back of my pickup truck, we stopped counting and just kept hauling,” says Paul. Next, they had to get rid of several old fruit trees that were in terrible shape. Then they found the plastic. Layers and layers, in all shapes and colors, had been laid down in several parts of the yard to keep weeds at bay. By the time Paul and Richard were finished, the only plants left were two trees: one pear

The main deck, at the back of the house, is shaded by a Japanese-inspired pergola. While they were creating the garden, Paul and Richard also added bay windows and sliding glass doors to the house so they could enjoy many views of the garden.

and one apple. They enjoy these more for their form than their fruit. “We keep them trimmed to the point where they’re almost like bonsai,” says Paul, laughing over how they got just two apples and four pears from the trees last year.

a fresh start Before planting, Paul and Richard had 400 yards of topsoil hauled in to create a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing slope in the backyard. It wasn’t practical to amend all the soil on their double lot, so they spread a thick layer of organic matter only in areas where they were going to plant. “We’re always adding more, but we have pretty good loam soil now,” says Paul.

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Above: A large granite sculpture in the backyard serves as a tribute to 9/11. The bright green Irish moss beneath the sculpture contrasts with the burgundy of the nearby Japanese maples. Below: Paul and Richard use decorative pots to add a sculptural element, a bit of color, or a note of whimsy.

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Every other fall he picks up bales of livestock pine shavings from local farmers (animals used them for bedding) to spread in the garden. Preferring a trial and error approach rather than following a plan, Paul and Richard began by creating garden beds in the middle of the backyard. “Who knows why?” Paul says with a laugh. From there, they worked up the hill and around to the front yard. At the same time, they added to the house two decks, eight sliding-glass doors, two bay windows, and a pergola, to ensure they could enjoy the view. “You could hardly see out of the house when we bought it, there were so few windows,” Paul explains.

the artist’s eye Visitors who stroll through Paul and Richard’s gardens often comment on the artistic sensibility behind everything, from the plantings to the winding paths of rainbow-colored pebbles. “I don’t like cookie-cutter landscapes where everything looks the same,” Paul explains. “I think like a photographer, so I want everything to be picture-perfect, and if it isn’t, I change it.” Over the years Paul and Richard have added 30 Japanese maples to their property—each one kept carefully pruned and clipped—as well as an assortment of Colorado blue spruce, dwarf Alberta spruce, ‘Sunburst’ honey locusts, succulents, ferns, irises, Irish moss, and hostas. Their goal is to create an interesting palette of colors and textures rather than have a gallery of hotshot plants. “I don’t know many plant names and I don’t need anything exotic,” says Paul. “If it looks good and I like it, I buy it, because it’s not what A simple basalt fountain brings the sound of running water to this seating area along the side of the house.

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Not far from the main deck, a fountain serves as a relaxing centerpiece for a colorful garden that includes Japanese maples, Sunburst honey locust, Colorado blue spruce, variegated hostas, and sword ferns.

you’ve got, it’s what you do with it.” Exotic or not, their plants are often upstaged by Paul’s intricate rock arrangements. Laid out flat or turned up on their sides in patterns that often resemble mosaics, multicolored rocks of varied shapes and sizes mark the entrances to each of the eight different areas of the gardens. Paul has been an avid collector of rocks for years, and he works hard to clean and weed around all of his arrangements to keep them looking their best. “Every year I remove them a load at a time and pick out the debris and clean them,” he explains. “It’s a big job, but it’s worth it.”

japanese maples Keeping 30 Japanese maples in picture-perfect shape is no easy task. Paul and Richard do it by keeping to a fixed schedule of pruning and trimming. “I get in underneath and work from the inside out about three times a year,” Paul explains. He also plucks any leaves that don’t fall in autumn, so that wet snow doesn’t pile up on them and snap the delicate branches.

Much of the landscape is visible from the main deck at the back of the house, including a peaceful spot where colorful gardens surround a diminutive cement fountain. Not far away, along the side of the house, is a favorite sitting area, which includes a basalt fountain and a custom-built pergola. “We really like the sound of water, so the only regret I have is that we didn’t put in a waterfall

that comes all the way from the top of one of the mounds down to the path,” says Paul. After a short pause, he adds: “Well, you know, we still could do it.” Meleah Maynard is a writer and master gardener in Minneapolis. She’s the co-author, with Jeff Gillman, of Decoding Gardening Advice: The Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations (Timber Press, 2011).

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build a

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Rain gardens help filter pollutants out of our water supply. They’re also pretty and easy to make. BY MARTY WINGATE

GARDENERS NEED WATER, but we don’t think of

ourselves as caretakers of water. In fact, within our gardens we have the ability to help improve the quality of our local streams, rivers, lakes, or bays. Here’s how: When rain runs from your roof directly across the sidewalk or driveway and into street drains, it flows directly into sewers, taking with it pollutants like oily residue from roofs and driveways and air particulates (which are tiny bits of material that may contain carbon monoxide or sulfur). From there these pollutants head straight to our natural waterways.

Rain gardens—depressions in the landscape that contain permeable soil and plants—intervene in this process. Rain is channeled to the depression, which has been designed to allow water to move into and through the ground rather than run over the top. The soil and plants in the rain garden filter the water, helping remove pollutants before the water finds its way to the water table. Building a rain garden isn’t just environmentally friendly, though—it’s also a great way to add a lowmaintenance bit of beauty to your yard, and it’s easy.

PHOTOS: OPPOSITE, MARK TURNER; THIS PAGE, REBECCA RICE

Left: Rain gardens like this one in Swarthmore, PA, can be as beautiful as they are functional when properly built and planted. Below: Guide rainwater from a downspout into a rain garden with a small channel. This one in Minneapolis, MN, runs underground, beneath the sidewalk.

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Rain garden basics A rain garden is shaped like a saucer. In the center, it’s usually about 4 to 10 inches lower than the surrounding area. The bottom is flat and the sides slope gradually. It can be shallow and large, or deep and small, depending on your desires and conditions. Water from your roof’s downspout is typically directed into it by a rock-filled channel or underground pipe. Before building a rain garden, you need to determine how big it should be, where it will be located, whether your soil will need amending for proper drainage, and what kinds of plants to put in it.

The size of the rain garden is largely dependent upon the area of your roof from which you want to divert water. It can also be influenced by the amount of rainfall you want to capture; generally, you should plan to capture 50 percent of the water from the surface. Many local agencies (city, county, state, or extension services) can help you figure out the size; they often have developed their own standard calculations. Some city websites even have a rain garden calculator—you simply enter your address and property information to get the size. Other agencies have methods that are based on the amount of area you have in impervious surfaces (roof, driveway, patio, etc.). Still others are more complicated calculations that involve multiplying pervious and impervious surfaces with coefficients that reflect a runoff value. The city of Springfield, Missouri, offers an easy way to calculate a rain garden size: It should be about one-third the square footage of the runoff surface. Here’s a sample calculation: Runoff surface: Roof Size: 200 square feet Rain garden size: About 67 square feet (one-third of the roof area)

Determine location When you choose the spot to build a rain garden, look for a well-drained, sunny location near the downspout but at least 10 feet away from your home or garage and situated on a level area away from tree roots and underground utilities. If there’s a gentle incline that will guide water from the downspout toward the rain garden, that’s perfect; but if not, you can build a rock- or tile-filled channel that directs the water.

Check drainage, prepare soil Once you’ve decided on a location, test to make sure the soil drains in a timely fashion to accommodate the water from a rainfall. Dig a hole about 1 foot wide by 1 foot deep. Fill it with water, and time how quickly it soaks through. If the level goes down at least an inch an hour, you have good drainage. If it drains well, you only need to excavate about 10 inches deep, remembering to slope the sides gradually at an angle no greater than 45 degrees. Add a few inches of compost to the bottom

PHOTOS: WESTERN SWORD FERN: PHYTOPHOTO; BAJA FAIRY DUSTER, DWARF FOTHERGILLA: BILL JOHNSON; BUTTERFLY WEED: SAXON HOLT; NEW ENGLAND ASTER: JANET LOUGHREY

Calculate size

Western sword fern

Baja fairy duster

Dwarf fothergilla

Butterfly weed

New England aster

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plants for rain gardens Native species are the champs here, because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re adapted to the rainfall pattern where you live. Here are some choice selections for various regions. The zones refer to those of a rain garden, not hardiness zones (see pg. 48, Go Native, for further explanation).

Zone 1: lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), deer fern (Blechnum spicant), twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) Zone 2: redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea), Western sword fern (Polystichum munitium), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) Zone 3: low Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa), red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) Red-flowering currant

Southwest Zone 1: prairie acacia (Acacia angustissima), Wrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beebrush (Aloysia wrightii), indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa)

Zone 2: Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica), superb penstemon (Penstemon superbus), trumpet bush (Tecoma stans) Zone 3: bladderpod (Cleome isomeris), desert rose mallow (Hibiscus coulteri), prairie zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora)

xxxx Prairie zinnia

Southeast Zone 1: boltonia (Boltonia asteroides), blue flag iris (Iris versicolor), smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum)

Zone 2: false indigo (Baptisia spp.), inkberry (Ilex glabra), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Zone 3: dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Blue flag iris

Northeast Zone 1: cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) Zone 2: blue star (Amsonia tabernaemontana), threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), American cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum) Zone 3: butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum) American cranberry bush

Midwest Zone 1: swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum), meadowsweet (Spiraea alba) Zone 2: New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) Zone 3: rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis), heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)

Rattlesnake master

PHOTOS: RED-FLOWERING CURRANT: JANET LOUGHREY; PRAIRIE ZINNIA: MARK TURNER; BLUE FLAG IRIS, AMERICAN CRANBERRY BUSH, RICHARD DAY/DAYBREAK IMAGERY; RATTLESNAKE MASTER, BILL JOHNSON

Pacific Northwest

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A rain garden is shaped like a saucer to capture water that’s directed into it and to allow the water to drain slowly through the soil. There are four keys to building one: Locate it 10 feet or more from the runoff surface, size it correctly, make sure the soil drains adequately, and choose native plants that can tolerate the varying moisture levels.

of the garden. If your soil drains poorly, dig down another 10 inches and replace some of the original soil with a 60-40 mix of sand and compost. Don’t add sand alone to heavy clay soils because you’ll end up with concrete. If you have sandy soil, add some compost.

aware that some municipalities reverse these numbers (so that Zone 1 is dry and Zone 3 is wet), and others use “wet, medium, dry” instead of numbers. For a list of some suggested plants, see “Plants for Rain Gardens” (previous page).

Go native

Have an overflow path for your rain garden in case you have a lot of rain in a short period. You don’t want excess water filling up the rest of your garden or yard and seeping back toward your house. An overflow channel should be directed to the street drains. When it’s completed, your rain garden will help keep the environment cleaner, and it will offer delight and interest in all seasons. Marty Wingate is a garden writer in Seattle, Washington. Resources U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service: www.plants.usda.gov, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s plant database: www.wildflower.org/explore, A consortium of rain garden information: www.raingardennetwork. com, City of Springfield, Missouri: www.springfieldmo.gov/stormwater/ pdfs/rain_gardens.pdf

ILLUSTRATION: GARY HITTLE

When you’re selecting plants for a rain garden, choose native species. They do best in rain gardens because they’re accustomed to local rainfall patterns and should only need supplemental water during an extended drought. Select and place plants according to how much water they can tolerate around their roots over certain lengths of time. To help you figure this out, rain gardens are divided into three zones, which refer to how wet the soil may be for the few days it takes for water to drain through. Zone 1: the bottom of the depression. Choose plants that can tolerate standing water from a few hours up to a couple of days. Zone 2: the middle layer. Plants in this zone must tolerate the extremes of either wet or dry soil. Zone 3: the top, or rim, of the garden. This area is the driest, and plants here should be drought-tolerant. Be

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BACKYARDWILDLIFE

a cozy place for fish Turn a pond into a paradise for fish by creating the proper environment. BY DAVID MIZEJEWSKI

Koi and goldfish can survive a cold winter in an outdoor pond, as long as the water is deep enough.

Check depth. Water depth is critical to fish survival. For goldfish, a pond should be at least 3 feet deep; for koi more than 10 inches long, make it 4½ feet deep. The proper depth allows ample unfrozen water for fish to survive should temperatures drop below freezing. A

deeper pond also means the water stays cooler in warm weather, which is good for the fish because cooler water holds more oxygen. If your pond water gets too warm, your fish can suffocate.

Put in a filter. A pump is necessary to filter the water; otherwise, waste can accumulate and foul the water, which endangers the fish. Consider using the pump to create a waterfall feature. Not only does it add a pleasant sound, it helps oxygenate the water, attracts birds, discourages mosquitoes, and delays the formation of ice in colder temperatures.

PHOTO: TRACY WALSH

IMAGINE WATCHING KOI dart around your water garden on a lazy afternoon. It’s a scene that’s both riveting and relaxing, and it’s one that you can create. Whether you already have a pond or are planning to build one, take these steps to provide the perfect environment for fish.

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Plant hiding places. Providing cover for fish is critical, to protect them from falling victim to wading birds such as herons and egrets, raccoons, snakes, and even large bullfrogs. Deeper water provides shelter, and you can use vegetation or a multibranched limb to create hiding places. If your water garden is big enough, you can also stack rocks to build caves in which fish can hide.

PHOTO: JANET LOUGHREY

Feed them. Plants provide habitat for bugs, which are a natural source of food for your fish. However, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to supplement their diet with commercial fish food designed to be used in water gardens. Look for it at garden centers, pet shops, or wherever you purchase your fish. Keep them in the pond. Exotic species are those that have been introduced by humans into places where they were not naturally found. Often such exotics pose a threat to native species because they lack predators and parasites that exist in their native habitat. They can also spread new diseases to native species. Never release into the wild fish (or frogs or snails or plants) that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve purchased, because chances are they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t native to your area and could become a major ecological problem in the future.

Choose the right fish In most cases, the easiest fish to care for are goldfish and koi (pictured here). They are hardy, can survive in confinement, and tolerate relatively low oxygen. When deciding on how many fish to have, keep in mind that both species can live a long time (koi can live decades), and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get larger as they age: A goldfish can get well over a foot long, and koi get even bigger. Native pond fish, such as sunfish or bass, are more camouflaged than goldfish or koi, which gives them an edge against predators. However, it also makes them harder for you to see. In addition, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need a larger water garden. Contact your state wildlife agency for more information.

David Mizejewski lives in Washington, DC, and is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation.

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GARDENGEAR

diminutive delights Improve your summer garden with these small, simple finds

Keep a soft, fuzzy bit of green by your side all day long with a Moss Rock: a round, polished rock crowned by living moss. Comes in three sizes and four colors. Moss Rocks, Moss and Stone Gardens, $14.99 to $39.99, 919-622-4150, www.mossandstonegardens.com Up to 98 percent of kids who grow vegetables, eat vegetables. Growumsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;veggie and herb starter kits in kid-friendly packagingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;help get that cycle started. Growums Garden Kits, Growums, $9.99, www.growums.com

Lacking time and space to create your dream garden? Try doing it in miniature. Use tiny plants, tiny tools, and tiny garden furniture to create the world you imagine. Assorted items, Miniature Garden Shoppe, 773-234-6464, www.miniaturegardenshoppe.com

Prevent standing-water stains on your deck or patio by using SurfaceSavers plastic rings or feet under your containers. Black or terra cotta color in four sizes. SurfaceSavers, In Green Company, $3 to $9, 415-294-7799, www.ingreencompany.com

52 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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25 to Lim 00 th it re e f ed sp ir on st de nt s

Spectacular Treasure from Mount St. Helens

The Beauty in the Beast F

or almost a hundred years it lay dormant. Silently building strength. At 10,000 feet high, it was truly a sleeping giant, a vision of peaceful power. Until everything changed in one cataclysmic moment. On May 18, 1980, the once-slumbering beast awoke with violent force and revealed its greatest secret. It was one of nature’s most impressive displays of power. Mount St. Helens erupted, sending a column of ash and smoke 80,000 feet into the atmosphere. From that chaos, something beautiful emerged… our spectacular Helenite Necklace. Produced from the heated volcanic rock dust of Mount St. Helens, this brilliant green creation has captured the attention of jewelry designers worldwide. Today you can wear this 6½-carat stunner for the exclusive price of only $129! Your satisfaction is guaranteed. Our Helenite Necklace puts the gorgeous green stone center stage, with a faceted pear-cut set in gold-layered .925 sterling silver. The explosive origins of the stone are echoed in the flashes of light that radiate as the piece swings gracefully from its 18" gold-plated sterling silver chain. Today the volcano sits quiet, but this unique piece of natural history continues to erupt with gorgeous green fire.

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0512_Gardening_Full Page Ads.indd 53

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MEMBERGARDEN

apartment gardening A nearby patch of dirt yields a bounty of flowers, vegetables, and gratitude. BY MARCIA GREENSHIELDS

IN NOVEMBER 2006, I moved into one of 29 single-

level senior apartments in Payson, Arizona. Such complexes usually lack space for gardening, but I lucked out. My apartment was at the end of a row and next to a space of dirt about half the size of a football field and extending to the rear of the complex. Nearby was a mound of dirt the size of a large dumpster. The following spring, the apartment manager, Peggy, found out what a gardening fanatic I am! With a large bucket and a dolly, I had transferred most of the mound to make a 9-foot x 24-foot front yard that was terraced along the edge. Fortunately, Peggy let me keep the soil in place.

WHAT’S YOUR GARDEN STORY? Send your 500-word essay to: Member Garden, Gardening How-To, 12301 Whitewater Dr., Hopkins, MN 55343 or e-mail elizabeth@gardeningclub.com. Please include your name, address, daytime phone number, member number, and at least one clear color photograph (not photocopy) of you in your garden. We’ll pay $200 for stories we publish. Sorry, we can’t acknowledge or return submissions.

PHOTO: ANDY TOWLE

Member Marcia Greenshields planted a vegetable garden, wildflowers, and a cherry tree in an empty space in her apartment complex.

Because the soil wasn’t great, I amended it with several bags of topsoil. Then I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and wildflowers (all from seed), and I added a round table and two chairs. During the second spring, I moved the furniture closer to my door and added more vegetables. The third spring I added a Stella cherry tree to one side. Last spring I took composted soil I had made next to a nearby fence and built a 12-foot x 15-foot terraced garden along the side of my apartment. Here I grew zucchini, Brussels sprouts, green onions, Swiss chard, and more cucumbers. I also grew flowers in the gardens, and they attracted birds. Eventually I filled a trench along the fence with more compost and more soil from a mound by a nearby dog park. I spread rocks over the top of the trench so that critters wouldn’t start digging up the area (raccoons had eaten the pumpkin plants I planted). Gardening lends a sense of security. It grounds me (excuse the pun), satisfies my craving for fresh vegetables, and gives me many beautiful plants to observe. The plants also bring joy to others here, who show admiration for my efforts and gratitude that I share some of my bounty. While several other seniors grow flowers in their small front areas, I consider myself blessed to have the space to grow pretty much what I want.

54 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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Enter the

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eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for your

Ant on peony bud, 2011 first place winner, Life Member Matthew Pomajbo, Butler, PA

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best garden photos:

1st Prize: Stok Quatro 4-burner liquid propane gas grill, www.stokgrills.com. Value: $399

plant portraits, borders and beds, garden structures and ornaments, and other favorite scenes from your garden. Photos will be judged on

2nd Prize: Wingscapes Birdcam 2.0, www.wingscapes.com. Value: $199.95

composition, sharpness and focus, unusual and creative perspective, interesting subject matter, and appealing color and texture.

Deadline: July 1, 2012 For official rules, visit www.gardeningclub.com and click on contests, or scan this code with your smartphone.

3rd Prize: Worx 20V GT trimmer, www.worxtools.com. Value: $119.85

Honorable Mention: Gardenerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Supply Company gift card, www.gardeners.com. Value: $50

56 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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• Send no more than three photos per member. • We accept color slides (original 35 mm or larger), high-quality prints, and digital images. • With each print, slide, or digital image, please include your name, address, daytime phone number, and member number. Describe the people in the photo (if any) and their relationship to you, and provide common and botanical names (if known) for all plants. Please label each slide or print clearly: Do not tape them together. • Photos must be of your own garden (not public parks or gardens) and must be taken by you. • Send entries, postmarked before July 1, 2012, to:

UPCLOSE answer delicious rainbow This multicolored tall bearded iris (Iris ‘Rainbow Candy’) is aptly named: It seems to contain the most mouth-watering colors of the rainbow, from cotton candy pink standards to grape-violet falls to tangerine beards. It’s also fragrant. Grows 24 to 36 inches tall. Zones 3 to 8. (For the question, see page 68.)

PHOTO: TRACY WALSH

Submissions

Watering Tools

National Home Gardening Club Garden Photo Contest 12301 Whitewater Dr., Hopkins, MN 55343-2138 To submit digital photos, go to www.gardeningclub.com/photoentry and follow the instructions. • We regret that we cannot return any materials or acknowledge receipt of entries.

Guidelines for digital photos • Digital photos must be shot at the highest resolution possible, using a 2.5 megapixel camera or higher, and formatted as a JPEG. • If you print out digital photos, use high-quality photographic paper. Print photo 5 X 7 inches or larger. • If you send a CD, please label CD and case. • Do not send digitally compressed or “zipped” photos. • Do not e-mail photos. To submit digital photos, go to www.gardeningclub.com/photoentry

Photo guidelines and tips • Gardens photograph best in early morning, late afternoon, or on hazy days. Avoid shooting in bright sunlight. • Use a tripod for sharp focus. • Don’t include distracting elements, such as stray garden hoses or garbage cans, in the photograph. • Don’t use special effects or shapes in cropping, and make sure your camera’s time/date stamp is turned off.

Professional Quality for Life www.dramm.com

available at independent garden centers & online retailers

GARDENINGCLUB.COM 57

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MEMBERTIPS

best bang for your buck Members share what plants give them the most for their money.

stalwart moss rose The only annual plant I will buy is moss rose. Six plants cost less than $2, and you can get any number of colors. They grow in full sun and last until the first frost. They’re usually very low-maintenance and can withstand our hot summers. —Diana Prollock, Del City, OK

eye-popping poppies In our perennial beds, we want bold, bright accent colors, and oriental poppies deliver. —Kenneth Clemenich, Alexandria, PA

long-lasting tomatoes For less than $3, I get 30 Jelly Bean tomato seeds. I raise five to six plants a year, and they give me tomatoes from the 4th of July to at least Halloween. I eat them daily. I also freeze them. In midwinter I just toss them, slightly thawed, into a salad or stew or on top of homemade pizza. —Elizabeth Kanoc, Hamilton, NJ

butterfly and bee bonanza I purchased Jupiter’s beard for $5.99 when I started my garden 10 years ago, and it has since been divided into all six flower beds and graces my girlfriends’ gardens, too. But its real value is that it attracts bees and, best of all, butterflies. —Judy Hanson, Mt. Hood, OR

culinary delight

FOR OUR FALL ISSUE: What’s the worst invasive plant in your garden? Send responses to Member Tips, Gardening How-To, 12301 Whitewater Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343, e-mail tips@gardeningclub.com, or visit the Club website at www.gardeningclub. com. Deadline is July 1, 2012. Please include your name, address, daytime phone number, and member number. Sorry, we can’t acknowledge or return submissions. Responses may be edited for length and clarity. Tips are member ideas and are not tested by Gardening How-To. Members whose tips appear in this issue will receive a $25 Burpee gift card, www.burpee.com.

Rhubarb is a long-lasting perennial that can produce for 20 years with little care. Cooking the stems, adding sugar or honey in the process, makes a terrific sauce for freezing or for pies. I continue the tradition by sharing my rhubarb plants with new neighbors. —Caroline Angell, Camden, NY

a real knockout While all of the Knock Out roses are remarkable, one of my favorites is Pink Knock Out. I love to pair it with Goldmound spirea. The combination of the bright pink blooms against the creamy yellow leaves of spirea makes this combination a real “knockout.” —Steve Aegerter, Denver, CO

PHOTO: ALAN & LINDA DETRICK

Margarita Strawberry moss rose

58 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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MEMBERTESTED 6,349 National Home Gardening Club members tested products valued at $65,431 for this issue. ROSS TANNER, PRODUCT TEST EDITOR

hose holder Woodstream Corp., 800-800-1819, www.avantgardendecor.com MEMBER RATING: 8.1

BEST FEATURE: APPEARANCE

The CobraCo Round Hammered Hose Holder ($111.25) is designed to hold up to 150 feet of garden hose. Its unique, hand-hammered design and powder-coated copper finish make it perfect for decks, patios, or the garden. Holes allow leftover water to drain out. “From its design and construction to its durability, I love everything about this product! I’ve gotten several positive comments on it.” FRED RAPCZYK, COLLEGE STATION, TX “The CobraCo Hammered Hose Holder does an excellent job of keeping the hose contained.” DONNA PATE, FITZGERALD, GA

fertilizer application system Garden Pro System, 800-451-6628, www.gardenprosystem.com MEMBER RATING: 8.5

BEST FEATURE: EFFECTIVENESS

The Garden Pro System ($599) is a portable application system that fertilizes plants, flowers, and vegetables. Used by professional growers, the system features an easy-to-maneuver cart, a 5-gallon bucket with lid for storing concentrates, 10-inch no-flat tires, and a spray wand. It connects to a garden hose to mix a perfect solution of fertilizer each time. MARTHA GARTNER, NEWTON, KS “The Garden Pro System evenly covers a large area without damaging plants. It’s easy to set up and use.” SHELMA LEWIS, SAVANNAH, GA “The tires are wide enough to prevent sinking into soft or wet soil. It’s easy to store and dramatically shortened application time.”

This seal is awarded to the products on these pages, which our testers recommend to fellow Club members.

See the Deals & Discounts section of www.gardeningclub.com for special offers from these companies.

ABOUT THE TESTING PROCESS These products were tested and recommended by fellow National Home Gardening Club members. The Member Rating is based on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest. To become a product tester, you must complete a Product Test Profile form, available at www.gardeningclub.com or by calling Member Services at 800-324-8454. GARDENINGCLUB.COM 59

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MEMBERTESTED

fire pit Woodstream Corp., 800-800-1819, www.avantgardendecor.com MEMBER RATING: 8.7

BEST FEATURE: APPEARANCE

Entertain family and friends with the CobraCo Round Cast Iron Fire Pit ($170). Its 22-pound cast-iron bowl is supported by a durable steel frame and four stylized steel legs. The hand-crafted bronze finish and decorative wire screen complements any outdoor living space. It’s easy to assemble and comes with a protective vinyl cover. “I love that the CobraCo Round Cast Iron Fire Pit is easy to move, yet sturdy and solid. It’s easy to clean up as well.” LISA CHAVIS, LIVONIA, MI “From its overall look to its actual performance, this takes the cake. I’ve already used it many times, and it still looks brand new.” BOBBI WIELHOUWER, CEDAR SPRINGS, MI

patio lantern plant food The Schawbel Corp., 866-753-3837, www.thermacell.com

Dino-Mite Plant Food & Minerals, 801-820-2295, www.dinomiteplantfood.com

MEMBER RATING: 8.0 BEST FEATURE: APPEARANCE

MEMBER RATING: 7.5 BEST FEATURE: EASE OF USE

ThermaCell’s Patio Lantern ($24.99) functions as both light and bug repellent. It creates a 15-foot x 15-foot bug-free zone by repelling up to 98 percent of mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums. Portable and DEET-free, it’s perfect for gardens, backyards, decks, camping, and more.

Dino-Mite All-Natural Mineral Plant Food ($14.99/8 pounds) combines inorganic minerals, micronutrients, and trace elements for a plant food that stimulates roots. Dino-Mite works without the use of chemicals and is ideal for household plants, gardens, and lawns.

“Within minutes of turning on the ThermaCell Patio Lantern, the mosquitoes and gnats were gone!” DIANA MARTIN, TROUTVILLE, VA “It gives off a peaceful light, and the design fits nicely into most decors.”

“There wasn’t a quick growth spurt with the Dino-Mite plant food, but the emerging leaves were fuller and healthier.” ROSE REITZZ, WAYLAND, IA “I could see some improvement in the color of the leaves in a couple of days.”

VICKY STALEY, FITCHBURG, WI

ELAINE MASSA, HEBRON, CT

compost bin Clean Air Gardening, 888-439-9101, www.cleanairgardening.com MEMBER RATING: 8.9

BEST FEATURE: EFFECTIVENESS

Made of 100 percent recycled plastic, the Spin Bin Compost Tumbler ($129) has a 60-gallon capacity and is molded in the U.S. Its dark color absorbs light and heat, which then heats the contents, boosting the composting process. The Spin Bin features 20 ventilation slots, four compost thermometer ports, and steel legs. HEATHER LACEY, PHOENIX, AZ “It was easy to assemble and is a great heavy-duty compost bin. The lids stay secure to keep pests away.” LYNN JACKSON, PORT ARTHUR, TX “I like how the Spin Bin Compost Tumbler spins, making it easy to keep the compost turned without a great deal of effort.” 60 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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automatic drip irrigation system NDS/Raindrip, 877-301-5241, www.raindrip.com MEMBER RATING: 8.1

BEST FEATURE: WATER SAVINGS

The Raindrip Automatic Drip Watering Kit ($39.99) is a modular and easyto-use 3-step system that takes the guesswork out of converting to a drip irrigation system. It connects to an outdoor faucet with pre-assembled parts and is expandable to accommodate all landscape sizes. No need for specialized irrigation knowledge or equipment. Installation is designed to be quick, simple, and completely tool-free. A pop-up sprayhead conversion module is also available. SUE FRAZIER, CHANDLER, AZ “The Raindrip Automatic Drip Watering Kit was easy to install, and its flexibility allowed us to cover many areas.” JAN JOHANSON, SEATTLE, WA “It has really helped lower my water bill. When using this drip system, water reaches roots and isn’t lost to evaporation.”

insect killer Woodstream Corporation, 800-800-1819, www.saferbrand.com MEMBER RATING: 8.2

BEST FEATURE: EASE OF USE

Safer Brand Tomato & Vegetable Insect Killer ($8.20/32 ounces) combines pyrethrins and the potassium salts of fatty acids to kill bugs on contact without harming plants. The organic gardening-compliant insect killer can be applied every 7 to 10 days when insects are present and directly to fruits and vegetables until the day of harvest. It’s effective for defense against aphids, asparagus beetles, bean beetles, cabbage loppers, caterpillars, cucumber beetles, diamond-backed moths, flea beetles, imported cabbageworms, leafhoppers, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. “The Safer Brand Tomato & Vegetable Insect Killer kills bugs immediately. I like that it’s environmentally responsible, allowing me to use it up to the day of harvest.” TERRY HOEHN, YORK, NE “In the past, I’ve had problems with beetles defoliating my bush beans, but not this year. The insect killer was effective, safe, and easy to apply.” LOIS HOLDEN, HOWARDSVILLE, VA

slow-release plant food Lebanon Seaboard Corp., 800-233-1067, www.greenviewfertilizer.com MEMBER RATING: 8.6

BEST FEATURE: EASE OF USE

GreenView with GreenSmart All-Purpose Plant Food (7-7-7) ($10.99/8 pounds) is a unique blend of conventional and organic fertilizer. It feeds plants up to 12 weeks with slow-release nitrogen and has a dust-free, uniform-grade texture that provides essential nutrients in every granule. These granules boost growth and root development and help grow bigger plants. “I like that the GreenView All-Purpose Plant Food is dust-free and has low odor. The grains are easy to add to indoor plants without making a mess.” BRENDA CHILLCOTT, CHINA GROVE, NC “My houseplants showed immediate response after use and grew like crazy.” FRANCES COFFILL, GASTONIA, NC

GARDENINGCLUB.COM 61

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MEMBERTESTED

bird feeder Woodstream Corportation, 800-800-1819, www.birdfeeders.com MEMBER RATING: 8.4

BEST FEATURE: APPEARANCE

Feed and water birds with the Perky-Pet Copper Sip & Seed Bird Feeder ($47.07). Its unique double-silo design is made of durable, heavy-duty glass and features an antiqued copper-finish. The presence of water invites more bird species than just seed alone. It holds about 18 ounces of seed or 22 ounces of water. “The Sip & Seed feeder is very sturdy, and I like that I can close off the water or seed before turning over after filling.” AMANDA HODGES, CHARLO, MT “There is less waste of seed with this design. It’s easy to fill, and the copper color is attractive in my garden.” LINDA SKEIE, ROBBINSDALE, MN

bell pepper seeds Urban Farmer Seeds, 317-493-1077, www.ufseeds.com MEMBER RATING: 6.6

BEST FEATURE: EASE OF USE

Urban Farmer Pepper California Wonder Seeds ($2.95/packet) are considered the best of class when it comes to bell peppers. The sweet peppers, which mature in 75 to 80 days and are rich in vitamins A and C,, are dark green to red with a four-lobe shape. JUDY MOLENAR, LITTLE RIVER, SC “It’s the fastest germination I’ve ever seen, with every seed growing into a beautiful plant. In spite of severe drought and extreme heat, the plants were strong and healthy.” DIANN BROWN, COTULLA, TX “The seeds were easy to plant, and my family enjoyed the taste of the peppers.”

water-saving nozzle K-CO Products, LLC, 949-276-5252, www.kco-innovations.com MEMBER RATING: 9.1

BEST FEATURE: PERFORMANCE

Made from solid brass, the powerful and water-efficient Little Big Shot Super Nozzle ($9.99) uses 40 percent less water than the classic pistol nozzle. It quickly turns your standard garden hose into an outdoor cleaning device for second-story eaves and windows, rain gutters, window screens, outdoor furniture, and more. The nozzle is equipped with a space-age Perma-Washer that won’t corrode, loosen, or leak. You can adjust the water flow from a powerful sweeper to a gentle spray. PAM WILSON, MESA, AZ “It was easy to put on my hose and did a great job washing down my patio without leaking.” PATRICIA BENSON, QUEEN CITY, TX “I’m very impressed with the small size and the power it produces. The performance is great across all settings.” 62 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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tests in progress FERRY-MORSE’S BLUEBERRY LIME JAM CONTAINER COMBINATION ($4.99) has easy-

to-handle, multiseed pellets that are specially formulated to deliver a balanced mix of Sophistica Lime Green and Dreams Midnight Petunias. Ferry-Morse Seed Company, 800-283-3400, www.ferry-morse.com.

GET THE

FREE Gardening How-To iPad Edition Today!

The AMPLIFI HOSE POWERING SYSTEM ($199) transforms your garden hose into a powerful outdoor cleaning and watering tool. It features an electric motor and pump, and a five-setting spray nozzle with Detergent-on-Demand capability. Briggs & Stratton, 800-743-4115, www.amplificleaning.com. Regardless of soil type, PIGEON PEA SEEDS (Cajanus caja) ($6.75) grow into a 4-foot to 7-foot shrub. Seeds germinate in about 15 to 20 days and plants flower in about 70 to 105 days. The pea pods grow to full maturity in about 150 to 160 days. Pigeon Peas can be eaten as garden peas or lentils. MRC Seeds Company, 877-810-4176, www.mrcseeds.com. The REBLOOMING DAYLILY COLLECTION ($30/15 bare root plants) are some of the most adaptable landscape plants; depending on the species and cultivar, they grow in all USDA plant hardiness zones. Includes Going On, Mardi Gras Prade, Melon Mist, Pardon Me, and Shy Maiden. Gilbert H. Wild and Son LLC, 888-449-4537, www.gilberthwild.com.

FERRY-MORSE ORGANIC MESCLUN MIX SEEDS ($2.79) produce a delicious mix of

The May/June iPad edition of Gardening How-To takes the content you love from the print magazine and adds videos, slide shows and more.

AND THERE’S A BONUS: a special section brought to you by the Home Depot. It’s packed with gardening tips and project ideas to help you get the most out of the season.

lettuce and mustard greens. The unique mixture contains mustard greens, oak leaf lettuce, green and red leaf lettuce, and more. Ferry-Morse Seed Company, 800-283-3400, www.ferry-morse.com. ®

Add safety and security to your home with an I-LIGHTING LED LANDSCAPE LIGHTING SYSTEM (25 percent discount for National Home Gardening Club Members). i-lighting, LLC, 888-305-4232, www.i-lightingonline.com.

DOWNLOAD IT AT: www.gardeningclub.com/ipad ®

Member Tested.indd 63

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HOMEGROWN Members give us a peek into their gardens. Piper, a beagle, loves to lean over into Member Anne Zeneski’s Raleigh, NC, pond to see what the fish are up to. 1

2

1 2

Life Member Jean Fountain,

of Fairhope, AL, is particularly proud of the tromboncino squash she grew from seed.

3 3 Life Member Penny Nantell, Newberry, MI, inherited these

bearded irises from her husband’s grandmother. 4 When Life Member Geri Coleman, from Valentine, NE, found this cecropia moth

(Hyalophora cecropia) in her house, she carefully relocated it to a hazelnut bush in her yard.

4

5

5 The granddaughter of Life Member Mary Kaye Huecker, Sidney, OH, was headed for her

annual ballet recital when she made this quick stop in the garden to mimic the statue. 6 Life Member Marian Jarvinen, Manistee, MI, grows Asiatic lilies

behind a fence, where the deer can’t eat them. 7 Life Member Ramona RomoGarza’s purple sage bush in her Albuquerque, NM, garden attracts

wonderful bees all summer long! 6

7 We love to see what’s growing in your garden. Send sharp, clear photographs (not photocopies) with your name, address, phone number, member number, and the names and relationship of anyone pictured to Home Grown, Gardening How-To, 12301 Whitewater Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343. We can’t acknowledge or return submissions. Members whose tips appear in this issue will receive a patio lantern and refill pack from ThermaCell, www.mosquitorepellent.com.

PHOTOS COURTESY MEMBERS

PHOTO CALL!

64 MAY/JUNE 2012 | GARDENINGCLUB.COM

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Gardening Classifieds_F-03-06-Inside 4/4/12 8:03 AM Page 65

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unscented fragrance additives n Elsa (VA) â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have had quite a year using Athena Pheromones! Men at work gather around and LIKE me very much. I am now about to be married to a wonderful man... and he won't know the secret of my initial attraction to men! Thanks, Doctor, for your discovery and for bottling it!â&#x20AC;? nJoseph (MI) â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was shocked at how well 10X worked. You have a fabulous product! I am married and with my wife only. Well, within 5 days, it was amazing. The affection level went up 20 fold! I am so grateful to you, Dr. Cutler.â&#x20AC;?

Protect your GARDEN from rabbits and small critters.

NEW! Plantskydd ÂŽ Granular Created by Winnifred Cutler, Ph.D. in biology from U. of Penn, post-doc at Stanford. Co-discovered human pheromones in 1986 (Time 12/1/86; and Newsweek 1/12/87).

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www.athenainstitute.com Vial of 1/6 oz. added to 2-4 oz. of your fragrance lasts 4 to 6 months, or use straight. Effective for 74% in two published scientific studies. Contains human synthesized attractant pheromones. Not guaranteed to work for all; body chemistries differ; will work for most. Cosmetic products; not aphrodisiacs. No animal testing. Not in stores. Send to: Athena Institute, Dept GHT, 1211 Braefield Rd. Chester Springs, PA 19425 Free US Shipping Please send me__vials of 10:13 for women@$98.50 and/or___ vials of 10X for men @$99.50 for a *total _____ by: K money order, K check K Visa,M/C,Disc.______-_______-_______-_______

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MEMBERSONLY Take a look at a few of the great benefits you enjoy as a National Home Gardening Club member!

manage your account online It’s easier than ever to manage your club membership. Visit gardeningclub.com, log in, and click on My Account. You can enroll in the product test program, register for Garden Giveaway, make payments, or get yourr gardening questions answered on one of the member forums.

win great garden products! Check out Garden Giveaway on page 10 to see the prizes featured in this issue’s drawing! Enter online at gardeningclub.com/contests. To enter by mail, please send a 3-inch x 5-inch postcard with your name, member number (if applicable), address, birth date, and phone number to: Garden Giveaway, CRID #3934, P.O. Box 3428, Hopkins, MN 55343. Don’t miss your opportunity. Log on now! You could be the next winner!

member help CONNECT WITH THE CLUB If you need help with any aspect of your Club membership, please contact us.

VISIT the Club Web site www.gardeningclub.com

E-MAIL the Club memberservices@gardeningclub.com

WRITE to the Club NHGC PO Box 3401 Hopkins, MN 55343-2101

CALL Member Services 800-324-8454 Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central time

Please include your member number when you write, e-mail, or call the Club.

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UPCLOSE

can you name this plant?

This familiar garden flower comes in many sizes and colors. The genus name means rainbow in Greek and is also the name of a Greek goddess, and “rainbow” is also in the name of the cultivar pictured here. For the answer, see page 57.

PHOTO: TRACY WALSH

delicious rainbow

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Gardening How-To - May/June 2012  

The Gardening Club is a community of gardening enthusiasts sharing tips & advice on gardening, vegetable gardens, perennials, seeds & more.

Gardening How-To - May/June 2012  

The Gardening Club is a community of gardening enthusiasts sharing tips & advice on gardening, vegetable gardens, perennials, seeds & more.

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