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Lilacs - A Sure Sign of Spring
Lilac is the legendary, fragrant, flowering shrub that inspires festivals and poetry, and heralds in the springtime. Lilacs receive special recognition at botanical gardens and county fairs. Common Lilac or 'Syringa vulgaris' is rich in history, evolving from Eastern Europe to become much loved by our nation. Many famous people have included their experiences with lilacs in their writings, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and T.S. Eliot.

The oldest growing lilacs in North America are most likely on the Governor Wentworth estate in Portsmouth, NH, planted in the mid seventeen hundreds. Common Lilacs are so hardy and drought tolerant that they have often outlasted the settlers who planted them and their homesteads, to be found thriving among the ruins.

Lilacs make a wonderful specimen plant in the landscape, standing out in the spring, full of bloom and fragrance. Lilacs are densely branched and can be thick enough to block any view for privacy. Because of the many varieties, a row of lilacs can make a hedge of almost any height. The consistent green of a lilac hedge throughout summer will add contrast to perennials and make a good backdrop for your garden.

Most Lilacs need winter chill and a definite dormancy for plentiful bloom. Encourage this dormancy by tapering off on watering near the end of summer. Common Lilac can eventually reach 20 feet high with an almost equal spread. Lilac suckers are vigorous and should be controlled, especially on grafted plants, so the suckers do not overtake the shrub. Lilacs need two to five years to grow full size flowers of true color. Lilac flowers are in shades of pink, lavender, dark purple, white and variegated flowers with white edges.

There are hundreds of varieties included in S. vulgaris, including French hybrids. These hybrids flower a little later in the season and have larger clusters of single or double flowers in a wider range of color. Some French hybrids such as Lavender Lady, Blue Skies and Dark Night won't need a long winter chill and can be grown in milder climates. Other available cultivars include Syringa hyacinthiflora and Syringa laciniata crosses between S. vulgaris and other Syringa species that offer variety in size, structure and especially bloom time; so that a careful selection of these varieties can extend bloom time in your garden.
Lilacs need a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day to properly set flower buds. Lilacs like well drained neutral soil. Plant specimen shrubs ten to fifteen feet apart, for a hedge plant them two to three feet apart. Give lilacs plenty of room, planting at least five feet from buildings, so that their roots do not damage the foundation.

Yearly pruning is not necessary, but cutting faded blooms once they are spent will encourage more bloom and discourage seeding. If you need to prune more severely to shape or rejuvenate you shrub, wait until just after flowering, as this will ensure buds for the next season.

High nitrogen fertilizers should be avoided, as they which will encourage green leaf but no bloom. Master Nursery Rose and Flower Food (5-10-5), applied in spring should encourage abundant bloom for the next season. A good layer of much will help hold water in the summer and reduce heat stress.

If you grew up with a lilac in the garden possibly nothing will smell more like spring.

Get Yourself Ready for Springtime Gardening
by Keri Bither-Barnes, DC, DACBN, Shasta Family Chiropractic, Anderson
& Sherry Rosen, Marketing Director, Wyntour Gardens Nursery, Redding
As winter draws to an end, the days get longer and the smell of spring is in the air. Folks begin to look around the yard and dream about summer barbeques, friends and fun. They look closer at the yard, notice that the weeds have taken over, and there is an overwhelming feeling of despair at the work in front of them.

That first sunny Saturday you enter the weed zone armed with gloves, shovels, and rakes.you bend, stretch, stoop, and reach all weekend hoping to make a dent in the mess. Sunday night you go to bed with a sense of achievement. On Monday morning, you reach for the snooze button, and realize that you can't move.Your back is throbbing, your arms hurt, and your legs can't hold you up.What happened? You felt great while you were gardening - a little out of shape, but great. You never dreamed you'd hurt like this.

Dr. Keri Barnes, chiropractor and board eligible neurologist in Anderson, hears this same scenario every spring from weekend gardening warriors. They come in hunched over and wincing in pain. They receive their treatment, and leave the office relieved, spouting how they will “never do it again". They promise to take proper precautions next year. The next sunny weekend they return to the yard, and then Monday morning comes bringing the same memorable aches and pains.They come back to the office, hurting once again.

Let's break the cycle. Although “Gardener’s Back” is great business for chiropractors, they hate to see people in pain.Here are some simple tips on training for the “sport” of gardening.

As in any sport, train before the big day.Two to four weeks before the season, begin an exercise program to prepare your muscles. Focus on exercises that target strengthening thigh, butt, back and abdominal muscles. Stretch before, after, and during gardening. Five minutes of stretching, can save you a couple of days in pain.

Use proper body mechanics while working in the garden. Bend and lift from the knees and upper legs, holding heavy objects close to the body and keeping the back as straight as possible. Use tools like wheelbarrows when moving objects.

Invest in ergonomic tools. Red Bluff Garden Center in Red Bluff offers several ergonomic hand-held gardening tools including trowels, cultivators, and pruning sheers with handles designed for a more comfortable grip. Felco’s new swivel handled pruners are preferred by many people who spend a lot of time pruning. Red Bluff Garden Center also carries Bond ratchet pruners which are beneficial for those with carpal tunnel, by adding strength to the closing action of the tool.

Use a circle hoe for weeding and a long handled water wand to reduce the amount of bending. Water soluble systemic fertilizers, such as Bayer All in One Rose Care, can be watered into the soil, again reducing the amount of bending.

Keep fruit trees pruned to a low canopy, so the fruit can be harvested without a ladder. This is a helpful tip for folks with balance issues.

Get your spine healthy before you challenge it. Visit your chiropractor before gardening. Studies show this type of maintenance saves pain and money. You need far fewer chiropractic adjustments to prevent an injury than the amount of visits it takes to fix one.

Dr. Keri Bither-Barnes , Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, of Shasta Family Chiropractic, is a graduate of Life Chiropractic College West and the Carrick Institute of Neurology. Her Anderson office offers treatment of balance disorders, chronic pain, neuropathies, movement disorders, low back and neck pain, as well as offering wellness and preventative care.

Red Bluff Garden Center Nursery in Redding wants the gardening community to have a beautiful gardening experience. In addition to the huge selection of gorgeous plants they carry, their ever-increasing line of ergonomic tools and products will hopefully add to the enjoyment.

Hopefully these tips find you in time to save you the usual discomfort, and inspire you take care of your body during the coming gardening season.

The Benefits of Plant Diversity
If you are aiming for a healthy garden you should consider using a wide variety of plants. By mimicking nature, growing an array plants that provide nectar at different times, and flowers and foliage of different shapes and sizes, you invite a diversity of creatures into your garden and establish natural pest control. A garden with varied structural complexity in all plant types including, flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs, and ground covers will encourage beneficial fungi and bacteria which have the ability to attack and control more destructive diseases and discourage overgrowth of detrimental plants and diseases.

A diverse garden is easy to design. You can look to nature or to your neighbors for ideas. A varied garden will open the door to underutilized plants. Our environment benefits by preservation of wild flowers and other natives. Most of all you will enjoy your garden more with a rich pallet of color and texture. You will expand your garden experience and learn more. Here is a partial list of underutilized plants we recommend for our area:

Salvia Clevelandii Allen Chickering ( is a hybrid of a California native, Sage. Salvia Clevelandii is a shrub that grows 3-5 feet high with blue-purple spikes of bloom throughout the summer. It is drought tolerant and likes full sun.

Andromeda polifolia (Bog Rosemary) is a low evergreen shrub growing to 3 feet that has pink curled flowers that resemble tiny snails in spring. It prefers acidic soil and moderate water. Though it is not related to Rosemary, Andromeda(s needle like leaves strongly resemble rosemary, but are fatter and a richer green. Bog rosemary is threatened in the state of Connecticut.

Viburnum plicatum mariesii (Doublefile Viburnum) is an ornamental shrub that grows to 8' tall to 10' wide. In spring it has white blooms along each side of the stem in double file. Viburnum likes sun to partial shade in evenly moist soil.

Westringia fruticosa 'Smokey' (Coast Rosemary) is a gray-green shrub with petite needle-like leaves edged in cream. Small white flowers bloom year-round. Westringia is a hardy plant and good for coastal areas. Westringia grows 4’-6’ tall, spreading 5’-10’ wide. Westringia is drought tolerant.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold' (False Cypress) is a conifer with weeping, golden, thread-like branches that grows in a loose mound to 5' high and 8' wide. False Cypress needs full sun or part shade and protection from the wind. Ensure that it has good drainage and water regularly.

Pittosporum tenuifolium Silver Sheen is a large shrub or small tree with uniform grey leaves that contrast beautifully with its slender black twigs. Silver Sheen has a fine texture that can be sheared into a neat hedge or left to grow into a moderately open small tree. Silver Sheen likes sun to light shade and moderate to occasional water once established.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii' (Oregon Cedar) is an upright evergreen shrub with thin blue green branches, that grows 6 to 10 feet tall. Oregon Cedar is used for its decorative dense evergreen foliage. “Ellwoodii” requires full sun to part shade and moderate water.

Osmanthus heterophyllus Goshiki
( is a compact evergreen mounding shrub that grows 5' high and 4' wide. It(s new foliage is pinkish bronze maturing to a mixture of green, gold, and pink areas. It likes part shade and moist, well drained soil.

Eriobotrya japonica 'Coppertone' (Loquat) is a rapidly-growing evergreen tree that can reach 25' to 30' in height in the shade but is frequently seen 15' tall with a 15' to 25' spread in a sunny location. The 10" to 12" long leaves are rusty-colored beneath and have a coarse texture. Fragrant clusters of pale pink flowers are produced in fall, followed by the delicious, brightly colored, winter fruit.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Sweet Box) is a slow growing evergreen shrub to 3' to 5'. It has small white fragrant flowers followed by red fruit. It needs shade and regular water. If Sarcococa ruscifolia is grown against the wall it will form a natural espalier.

Container plantings are a simple and beautiful way to add colorful accents to your garden. Containers elevate the garden and provide us closer access. It’s easier to catch signs of pests and prevention is simplified with a smaller amount of plant material and exposed soil surface. Potting soils come sterilized, which will hinder weeds and prevent problems with soil borne diseases that can remain in the ground for many years. The time saved with soil preparation can be spent deciding what flowers you really want to plant and how many vegetables you can realistically use.

Containers are portable, giving the option to experiment with textures and color, showcasing a succession of plants as they bloom. The mobility of containers offers extreme control over a plants’ environment, which allows an opportunity for planting finicky or frost tender species. Planting in containers can open the door to specialized gardening, such as tuberosus begonia or bonsai.

Wyntour Gardens has the largest selection of glazed containers in the North Bay, featuring a huge variety of sizes, styles, and colors. In addition, our potting bench is available for use by our customers. Just let us know that you wish to plant a container, or replant an existing plant. We will provide guidance in selecting the best combination of plants for your container, give you some pointers for successful planting, or just offer moral support and a trowel. In addition, the soil’s on us! Come in and pick out a pot and some plants, and create instant beauty for your garden, or as a special gift for a friend.

Ways to Use Container Plantings:

- Change the visual appearance of an area and to create outdoor rooms
- Brighten up entry ways
- Create focal points
- Place under trees (like oaks) or in other places where it is difficult or impossible to grow in the ground
- In groupings to hide unsightly areas
- To create instant color and focal points in new homes with un-landscaped yards
- Transfer your existing plants into containers to take with you when moving

Container plantings are comprised of the following components:

- Dot Plant. This is the tallest plant, usually placed in the center
- Filler plants
- Edge plants
- Trailing plants. Can be filler or edge plants. Climbing plants, such as clematis, can be used unsupported as trailing plants.

Where to Begin:

- First select Dot (central) Plant or the container. If Dot Plant is selected first, you should then decide whether it will be alone in the container or in a grouping
- Make sure all plants have the same exposure and water requirements.
- In shady areas, use light colored pots, selecting foliage and flowers for contrast.
- Be imaginative. Use vibrant colors in plants and containers to compliment existing plantings, landscape and house colors.

General Types of Containers:

- Standard Jar Shape: Lend themselves well to general plantings, Mediterranean and Oriental styles.
- Shallow Bowls: Great for plants with small root structures, especially sedum, cacti, Bonsai and annuals.

Red Bluff Garden Center' Staff Recommended Potting Method:

- For best results, use Master Nursery Professional Potting Soil or other top quality potting soil
- Make sure all containers have drainage holes
- Use P4 polymer granules for improved water retention
- Pot Feet raise containers off the ground. This improves air circulation, discourages sowbugs and protects patios and decks from staining and mildew.
- Plant Mover platforms on wheels keep large, heavy plantings off the ground and are useful for moving the plants. These are especially useful with frost-sensitive plants such as citrus, which need to be moved to a protected location during the winter.
- Large containers can be partially filled with Styrofoam peanuts (not corn based, as these will decompose), empty milk or soda jugs and/or uncrushed aluminum cans to take up space at the bottom and provide good drainage.

Container plantings make great gifts, and can be customized for any holiday or special occasion with a few ribbons and decorations. They are easy, fun and very beautiful.

Planting Vegetables
By Linda McGunagle
As a flower lover, I had no respect for annual vegetables until I grew a few in my garden last summer. Thinking of them as strictly annuals I was amazed at the bang I got for my dollar. They provided both flowers and edible fruit. The tomatoes grew and produced all summer long and the peppers lasted well into the fall. Cucumbers covered my chain link fence and provided healthy summertime snacks for my family. The taste of a fresh picked melon on a hot August afternoon was heaven. I was hooked.

Here at Red Bluff Garden Center we have a lot to offer the vegetable gardener. By the end of beginning of April our annual tables will be overflowing with vegetable seedlings. Our knowledgeable staff can guide you through the many plants and varieties. Here is some information on our most popular vegetables to get you started. Handouts are available with vegetable planting suggestions and descriptions of tomato and pepper varieties.

Understanding Tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes must be in cultivation for at least 50 years. Some have been around for hundreds of years such as Yellow Pear tomato which has been cultivated since before 1805. Heirloom tomatoes must be able to reproduce themselves from seed as opposed to hybrids which don’t grow true from their own seed.

Hybrid tomatoes will not grow from seeds to be exactly like the parent plant. Some hubrids have been bred for disease resistance and this will be noted by initials in variety name or on the label. Here is an explanation of these initials.

V= Verticillium resistance. Verticillium wilt results from infection by a fungus that invades and plugs the water conducting tissues in the roots and stems of plants.

F= Fusarium resistance. Fusarium wilt, like Verticillium wilt results from infection by a fungus that invades and plugs the water conducting tissues in the roots and stems of plants.

N=Nematodes. Nematodes live in the soil and feed on either the inside or outside of plant roots. Nematode damage limits the ability of the root system to supply the aboveground plant parts with water and nutrients, causing the plant to wilt, discolor, and sometimes die.

T=Tobacco mosaic virus. Mosaic viruses cause the foliage to become molted or streaked. There are no chemical cures for viruses.

A=Alternaria stem canker. Cankers are caused by fungi and bacteria that infect the soft tissue just under the bark. As the virus spreads, the tissues darken and die, which closes off the water and nutrient conducting vessels.

S=Stempphylium grey leaf spot. Leaf spotting fungi spore are blown or splashed on healthy leaves, and a spot forms where spores infect a leaf. Leaf spots are most severe in mild, wet weather.

Often a tomato variety will list a number of days. This show how many days to harvest from the day you plant it in your garden.

Indeterminate, often written as (In.) means a sprawling tomato plant that grows 6’-20’ and continues to produce fruit until cold weather.

Determinate (D) is bushy plant that grows 18”- to 5’. They are best for containers. Their fruit is produced all at once, which makes them the better choice for cooking and preserving.

The tomato variety Husky is an exception to the rule, and is the first indeterminate plant that is compact. Husky is a great tasting tomato, perfect in pots or small spaces. Husky produces fruit until frost.

Peppers are fun and easy to grow because they are relatively pest free. Peppers are a tender, warm-season vegetable, so don’t plant them outside until after the last day of frost (April 15th in Zone 9). Pepper plants require higher temperatures, grow more slowly and are smaller than most tomato plants.

Peppers prefer well-amended soil made up of organic matter, supplemented with a balanced fertilizer. Place in an area that will receive the most sun and plant 18 inches apart with rows 3 feet apart. Many varieties will bear heavily, so it is a good idea to use a small tomato cage or stake for support. Once the nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees, plant seedlings where they will receive the most sun, 18 inches apart.

Peppers like well-drained soil with moderate moisture. Use a starter fertilizer such as Master Nursery Master Start when transplanting into the ground. Supplemental fertilizers can be used after the first flush of peppers is set. Protect pepper plants from hot dry winds.

When peppers are mature, they break easily from the plant, but peppers can be harvested at any size. Using a sharp knife to remove the fruit will prevent damage to their stems. It may be wise to wear gloves and take care not to rub your eyes; the oils can get into sensitive tissue and burn.


Cucumbers, either for pickling or slicing, have become one of the most popular home garden crops. Cucumbers are a subtropical crop, requiring long, hot days, plenty of sunshine, and warm nights. Cucumbers will not take frost so do not plant them outside until after the last frost date, which in Zone 9 is April 15th.

Cucumbers like plenty of water and loose, well draining soil. Mulch will help retain moisture. Prior to planting, you should add a complete fertilizer, such as Master Nursery 5-10-10 Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer. Cucumber seedlings can be planted in hills with 2 to 3 plants per hill, spaced at 4 to 5 feet apart. They can also be planted 2 to 3 feet apart, with rows 5 to 6 feet apart. Cucumbers can also be grown in containers, or up strong trellises.

Cucumbers can be picked on the basis of size and are ready for harvest 50 to 70 days from planting. Harvest by cutting the stem ¼ inch above the fruit, taking care not to break the brittle vines. As they grow beyond perfect ripeness, cucumbers will turn yellow and become bitter. The growing fruit takes a lot of the plant’s energy, so cucumbers should be picked often to ensure productivity.


Melons grow on vines and are native to the tropics. They need 3 to 4 months of hot days and warm nights, and should not be planted outside until April 15th, the last frost date. Melons need plenty of moisture to grow. Melons need nutrient-rich soil, well draining soil. Pick the sunniest spot to plant melons. Melons grow best when soil temperatures are 70°-85°.
They are large vines and they need a lot of room. Plant seedlings 16 inches apart on small mounds. If you are planting melons in rows plant them in a zigzag pattern and keep rows 36 inches apart. If garden space is at a premium look for a bush variety or grow your melon vine on a strong trellis.

It takes some practice to know when melons are ripe. Look at the part of the melon on the ground, if it is gold, or yellow, the melon is ripe and ready to harvest. If the melon is detached or is easy to pull from the vine, it is ripe. The fruits will ripen about the same time so if one fruit is ripe, chances are the rest of the fruit is ready for harvest as well. Most ripe melons should come off the vine with no resistance at all.

Citrus are highly ornamental sub-tropical plants which include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pummelo & citron.
Citrus appear in recorded history for many centuries.
  • They were used as medicinals in ancient India and in the Persian empire
  • They were pampered in the orangeries of Louis XIV at Versailles, not for the fruit,but touse the fragrant flowers at his banquets.
  • Citrus was introduced into the New World by Christopher Columbus
  • Rind of bergamot (Citrus bergamia) continues to be used to make eau de cologne, and is an important ingredient in many other perfume products.
  • Some Facts About Growing Citrus
  • Citrus generally do better in warm climates.
  • Citrus are usually evergreen.
  • Citrus have sweetly scented flowers.
  • Most citrus are thorny. Perhaps the thorns developed to protect the fruits from animal predators.
  • Citrus do not like freezing temperatures - protect plants (especially young plants) from frost.
  • - Select the warmest microclimate in your yard. Avoid low lying areas and coldpockets. Citrus are often planted on slopes.
    - For maximum heat, plant on southern or western sides of the house.
    - Soil will insulate roots against cold. Even if the top of the plant is killed, new shoots may sprout from the roots the following spring. If new growth appears at the graftor below, remove this new growth.
    - To encourage fall hardiness, avoid feeding tender plants with nitrogen fertilizers from mid- to late summer. Do not encourage new growth at this time.
    - Wrap tiny twinkle lights around trees to raise the temperature.
    - Build a frame with frost cloth - do not allow frost cloth to touch the leaves.
    - 55 degrees F is the lowest temperature at which growth takes place for most citrus.
    - Optimum temperature range for growth of oranges is 70 - 90 degrees

  • Spring is a good time to plant citrus.
  • Citrus need good drainage and rich soil, but can grow in all types of soil conditions.
  • Citrus like lots of water.
  • Keep in a sunny location.
  • Paint trunks with white paint to prevent sunburn.
  • Citrus do well in greenhouses.
  • Dwarf varieties do well in containers, especially Meyer Lemons.
  • Grapefruit requires long, hot growing seasons to reach peak quality and sweetness
  • Lemons have lowest heat requirements
  • Cut suckers and water sprouts. Leaves are larger and look different, branches grow straight up and are fat.
  • Thin fruit if too heavy on the limb. Pruning will help strengthen the limbs.
  • Grafted trees usually begin bearing fruit within 1-2 years.
  • Seedlings often have unpredictable fruit quality.
  • Most varieties are self-fruitful.
  • Keep area beneath the trees weed free.
  • Fertilize with citrus fertilizer in early spring, early summer, early autumn. Reduce nitrogen inautumn.
  • In addition to having delicious fruit, citrus trees are extremely rewarding for the home gardener and appealing in the landscape, for the following reasons:
  • Citrus have large, bold leaves
  • Citrus bear brightly colored fruit in a variety of colors
  • Citrus trees can be used in the landscape to create a tropical ambiance
  • Citrus can be pruned and espaliered
  • There is much variation in the size of citrus plants, from small shrubs (dwarf Meyer lemon) to large trees (grapefruit).
  • There is also much variation in the size of fruits, from very small (kumquat) to very large(pummelo).
  • Sub-tropical plants are tropical plants which can be grown outdoors in mild winter areas of the United States.
    In order to successfully grow citrus, it is important to understand their native climate.
    • no distinct seasons
    • abundant rainfall
    • high humidity
    • warm temperatures throughout the year
    Common Problems
    Yellow / Pale green leaves that eventually fall off may indicate a nitrogen deficiency.
    Fruit drop is caused by inconsistent watering or nitrogen deficienty.
    Aphids & scales are common. Watch carefully, especially beginning in May. Ladybugs and many products on the market will control insects.
    Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs
    * Denotes California native
    Almond Prunus dulcis
    Azalea Rhododendron
    Banks Roses Yellow and white
    Beauty Bush Kolkwitzia amabilis
    Breath of Heaven Coleonema
    Bridal Veil Broom Genista monosperma
    Broom Cytisus
    Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium
    Clematis Clematis
    * Daphne Daphne
    Deutzia Deutzia
    * Dogwood Cornus
    Double Delight Nectarine P. p. nucipersica
    Double Jewel Peach Prunus persica
    Euryops Euryops
    * Flannel Bush Fremontodendron
    Flowering Crabapple Malus
    Flowering Peach Prunus persica
    Flowering Pear Pyrus communis
    Flowering Quince Chaenomeles
    Forsythia Forsythia
    Honeysuckle Lonicera
    Japanese Snowball Viburnum plicatum
    Jasmine Jasminum
    Lilac Syringa
    Purple Leaf Flw. Plum Prunus
    Potato Vine Solanum
    Primrose Jasmine J. primulinum
    * Red Bud Cercis
    Rhaphiolepis Rhaphiolepis
    Rhododendron Rhododendron
    Saucer Magnolia Magnolia soulangeana
    (Tulip Tree)
    Spiraea Spiraea
    Tea Tree Leptospermum
    Trumpetvine, Lavender Clytostoma
    Weigela Weigela
    Wild Lilac Ceanothus
    Wisteria Wisteria
    Soil Testing
    There are many products available for testing your soil. You can test for Ph alone, for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash and even for moisture and light. Ask our Nursery staff to show you our selection.

    For optimum gardening success, have your soil analyzed by a certified laboratory to determine nutrient needs. We recommend the services of Monarch Laboratory, Inc. in Chico, CA. They will be glad to send you their price list and soil sample requirements.

    Monarch Laboratory
    (530) 343-5818
    Yarrow Speeds Compost Decomposition
    Achillea millefolium (Yarrow/Milfoil) has many wonderful properties. Yarrow’s root secretions will activate the disease resistance of nearby plants, and it is known to intensify the medicinal actions of other herbs. It’s medicinal and cosmetic properties are numerous and can be found in a variety of herb books. The decorative flower heads come in many colors and hold their color when dried, making Yarrow an excellent plant for use in wreaths and dried flower arrangements.

    Perhaps the most interesting attribute of yarrow is its ability to speed decomposition in raw compost. According to Lesley Bremness, author of The Complete Book of Herbs, “one small leaf (of yarrow) will speed decomposition of a wheelbarrow full of raw compost.”

    A Simple Decoy to keep Birds away from your tomatoes
    Fool birds by hanging red Christmas tree balls amongst your tomatoes.
    One peck at the decoys and the birds will leave the real tomatoes alone for a while.

    ( We haven’t tried this yet, but it sure sounds like an interesting idea.... )

    National Wildlife Week
    Begun in 1938 by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), this celebratory week encourages children and adults to learn and experience nature, starting in their own communities. Gardens can provide the perfect environment to provide sustenance for most of the wildlife frequenting our backyards. According to the NWF, wildlife have four basic habitat requirements:

    Food. Flowers, shrubs and trees provide seeds, berries, leaves, buds and nectar, all of which feed birds, butterflies and other insects, and small mammals. Native plants are preferred by wildlife and require less care.

    Water. A small pond or birdbath provides a home for fish and drink for birds. Ponds attract other animals, such as frogs and salamanders, and birdbaths placed low to the ground will draw squirrels, chipmunks and other small mammals.

    Shelter. Shrubs and trees offer homes for birds and food for deer. Tall grasses are home to grasshoppers, garter snakes and some ground-nesting birds.

    Places to Raise Young. Butterflies require special plants for laying their eggs, frogs and toads lay eggs only in shallow water. Birds nest in birdhouses as well as shrubs and trees.

    Our staff can help you select plants and other products to make
    your garden more wildlife friendly.

    The Most Attractive Nectar Plants for Attracting Butterflies and Moths
    Butterfly Bush Buddleia davidii
    Globe Amaranth Gomphrena globosa
    Brazilian Verbena Verbena bonariensis
    Marigolds Tagetes species
    Oregano (Wild Marjoram) Origanum vulgare
    White Clover Trifolium repens
    Lantana Lantana camara
    Salvia “Blue Bedder” (Texas Violet) Salvia faranacea
    Zinnia Zinnia species
    Garlic Chives (Chinese Chives) Allium tuberosum
    Red Clover Trifolium pratense
    Privet (Common Privet) Ligustrum vulgare
    Heliotrope “Marine” (Common Heliotrope) Heliotropium arborescens
    Bloodflower Asclepias curassavica
    Mexican Sunflower Tithonia rotundifolia
    Sedum (Autumn Joy) Sedum spectabile
    Common Sage Salvia officinalis
    Cosmos “Sensation” Cosmos species
    Glossy Abelia Abelia grandiflora
    Oriental Lily Lilium speciosum
    Verbena Verbena tenera
    Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea
    Mint Mentha species
    Dame’s Rocket Hesperis matronalis
    Common Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
    Lavender Lavandula species
    Catnip Nepeta cataria
    Common Tansy Tanacetum vulgare
    Creeping Wood Sorrel Oxalis corniculata
    Daylily Hemerocallis hybrida
    Red Giant Mustard Brassica juncea var. rugusa
    Other Native Nectar Plants for Attracting Butterflies and Moths
    Late-flowering Boneset Eupatorium serotinum
    Mistflower (Wild Ageratum) Eupatorium coelestinum
    Indian Hemp (Dogbane)
    New England Aster Aster novae-angliae
    Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca
    Heath Aster Aster pilosus
    Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
    Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
    Great Blue Lobelia (Blue Cardinal Flower) Lobelia siphilitica
    Joe-Pye Weed Eupatorium purpureum
    Blazing Star (Gayfeather) Liatris spicata
    Sweet Pepperbush (Summersweet) Clethra alnifolia
    Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    New York Ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis
    Daisy Fleabane Erigeron annuus
    Smooth Aster Aster laevis
    Small White Aster Aster vimineus
    Wild Bergamot Monarda fistulosa
    Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata
    Stiff Goldenrod Solidago rigida
    Wild Blue Phlox (Sweet William) Phlox divaricata
    For Specific Types of Butterflies:
    * To attract swallowtails, plant Butterfly Bush, Common Milkweed, Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum), Oregano, and Oriental Lilies.
    * To attract hairstreaks, try Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum), Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), Heath Aster and Late-flowering Boneset.
    * For skippers, plant Globe Amaranth, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush and Mist Flower.
    * Plants that caterpillars eat: Common Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), milkweeds, asters, parsley, clover, and Common Blue Violets (Viola papilionacea).

    Plant a Flower Clock

    In 1748, Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus planted the flower clock he developed.
    Want to try it? The following is a list of popular plants whose blossoms open and close at specific hours. Plant the flowers in order around the outside of a circle and when they bloom you have a flower clock.

    5:00 - 6:00 am Morning Glories and Wild Roses
    7:00 - 8:00 am Dandelions
    8:00 - 9:00 am African Daisies
    9:00 - 10:00 am Gentians
    10:00 - 11:00 am California Poppies
    Noon Goatsbeard opens, Morning Glories close
    4:00 pm Four O’clocks open
    4:00 - 5:00 pm California Poppies close
    6:00 pm Evening Primroses and Moonflowers open
    8:00 - 9:00 pm Daylilies and Dandelions close
    9:00 - 10:00 pm Flowering Tobacco opens
    10:00 pm - 2:00 am Night-Blooming Cereus opens
    Don’t be Slimed by Snails and Slugs
    Due to the long, wet spring season, snails and slugs have been especially rampant this year, grazing their way through multitudes of broad-leafed plants throughout the garden. They especially enjoy Hostas, but are very happy feasting on any plants with nice, cool foliage and succulent leaves to munch.

    There are many products to help control these voracious garden destroyers. Products we have found to be most effective include:

    Sluggo ®
    Kills snails & slugs. Use on fruit, vegetables, berries, ornamentals, lawns, and in greenhouses.Safe to use around pets & wildlife.

    Seven-5 ®
    Kills over 65 insects, including Japanese beetles, cabbage worms, ticks and ants. Use onvegetables, fruit trees, ornamentals, and lawns. Safe to use as flea and tick repellent on petsand wildlife.

    Pest Fighter ®
    Snail, slug & insect meal. Kills snails, slugs, ants, earwigs, grasshoppers, crickets, sowbugs, cutworms, armyworms, and millipedes. Remains effective after rain or sprinkling. Master Nursery product.

    Quick-Kill Mosquito Bits ® and Mosquito Dunks ®
    Biological mosquito controls that kill mosquito larvae within 24 hours. Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis. Place in any standing water, including water gardens.

    With all insecticides, it is extremely important to follow manufacturers directions carefully.

    Organic Methods:
    It is also possible to lower the population of snails, slug and other destructive critters without the use of chemicals, though this involves more diligence on the part of the gardener. Of course, one can always spend time collecting snails in the dark, but the following list of products and ideas may be helpful in eliminating plant-eating animals:

    Cocoa Mulch
    An organic fertilizer and soil conditioner made from cocoa bean hulls. Its crunchy texturedeters slugs, snails and most cats. As a top dressing, Cocoa Mulch is easy to spread, light to handle, retains moisture and suppresses weeds. When mixed into the soil, Cocoa Mulch breaks up heavy clay soils and adds humus to light sandy soils.

    Diatomaceous Earth
    Finely ground natural fossil shells. Act as a repellent for snails, slugs and other creatures, asthey are reluctant to cross the powder. In addition, the unique soil conditioning properties of Diatomaceous Earth’s aid in loosening soil and absorb up to two and a half times its weight in water for better soil moisture retention.

    Snail & Slug Copper Barrier Tape
    A non-invasive product, this inch-wide copper tape has a natural electric charge which repels snails and slugs. For trees, planters, patio furniture, pet dishes, raised flower and garden beds. Copper Barrier Tape comes with adhesive backing to adhere to tree trunks and edging materials.

    Snail & Slug Traps
    Handy little reusable plastic containers, which, when filled with yeast-containing bait, attracts snails and slugs. Come in a package of three. Place traps in a hole, so the top of the trap is flush with the top of the soil. Fill with one of the suggested baits.

    Studies show that fermented yeast in beer is a great attractant. Tests have shown thatnon-alcoholic beer works best. Fill the trap to about 1/2 inch from the top with fresh beer.Clean and refill every other day.

    Slug Dough (from the folks at Organic Gardening). This brew can be kept in the refrigerator.
    1 Tbs. molasses
    3 Tbs. cornmeal
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 Tbs. yeast
    To catch sowbugs and earwigs, spread layers of newspaper over the soil. The sowbugs and earwigs will be attracted to the dark, cool areas between the sheets of paper. Collect the paper in the morning and dispose of it. Reapply the newspaper mulch.
    Controlling the Color of Hydrangeas

    Hydrangeas are fast growing shrubs with big, bold leaves and huge clusters of long-lasting flowers available in a wide variety of colors ranging from reds to pinks to blues to pink and whites. Lace cap and oak leaf varieties are also available. Hydrangeas are good looking as single plants, massed, or in tubs on the patio. They are easy to grow in rich, porous soil. They like lots of water and partially filtered shade, working best when planted on the east side of the house.

    While all hydrangeas like acid soil, the higher the acid content, the deeper the blue flowers become (below pH 5.5). The more alkaline, the deeper the pink and red flowers become (pH 7.0 and higher).

    For deeper blues, adding aluminum sulfate to the soil gives the fastest results. Iron chelate, in liquid or powder form can be sprayed on the plant for fast results, and iron sulfate is also often used. Applying oyster shell lime or superphosphate in quantity will keep the color strong in pink and red colored flowers. These measures work most effectively when started well ahead of bloom.

    To change colors organically, Organic Camellia Azalea Food and Cottonseed Meal enhance the blues and Oyster Shell Lime meal is good for enhancing the pinks and reds. When using the organic products, it is best to begin the pH adjustment earlier in the season than with the chemical products.

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