Thursday April 17, 2014
Although there is some confusion and debate regarding the taxonomy of mosses, there are well over 10,000 species of mosses recognized by bryologists. Many Southern gardeners think of the dangling gray tendrils of Spanish moss when discussing moss, but botanists classify Spanish moss in a separate category of plants.
Moss abhors alkaline soil and dry conditions. Make your yard and garden unattractive to moss by adding lime or ashes to sweeten the soil. You can add lime in the form of ground limestone rock or dolomitic lime, which also adds magnesium to the soil. Wear gloves and eye protection when working with lime, as it can burn eyes and skin.
Increase the drainage of your soil to reduce the moist conditions that moss favors. Avoid walking on your flower garden when it's wet to prevent compaction. Work ample amounts of compost into the garden to improve drainage. Consider replacing weak turf with groundcover if moss is winning the battle in your lawn.
In the right conditions, moss can grow on all kinds of inanimate objects, including patio furniture, garden ornaments, and roofs. What adds character to one garden is a sign of decay in another. Scrub moss with a stiff brush, and rent or borrow a power sprayer to remove the remnants.
Safer Brand makes a moss elimination spray as an alternative to the conventional copper sulfate products. The active ingredient comes from biodegradable fatty acids. You can use Safer Brand Moss and Algae Killer on lawns, trees, and garden structures.
New on About Flowers: Beautiful Potting Sheds
Photo © Georgia Glynn Smith/Getty Images
Friday April 4, 2014
Trade Secrets, the Northeast's garden event of the year, is gearing up for its 14th season. The popular two-day event, a fundraiser for Women's Support Services (WSS), includes the rare plant and garden antiques sale on Saturday, May 17, followed by a day of garden tours on Sunday, May 18.
Saturday's sale features approximately 60 vendors with their rare plants and unusual accessories. Garden enthusiasts will find rare plant specimens from specialized growers and some of the nation's best-known small nurseries, as well as furniture, antiques, cloches, wrought iron fencing, garden statuary and so much more from the choicest purveyors of garden antiques.
On Sunday, May 18th, Bunny Williams' garden (founder of Trade Secrets) and three different and intimate gardens in Cornwall, CT will be on the Trade Secrets' garden tour. The Cornwall gardens are steeped in history and include a renovated 18th century gristmill, a beautiful rugged hillside home, and the elegant gardens of an 1836 Greek Revival-style home (pictured here) that was once owned by prominent long-time Cornwall resident Colonel Dwight Wellington Pierce.
For more information or to purchase tickets call (860) 364-1080 or visit tradesecretsct.com.
New on About Flowers: Small Flower Garden Gallery
Photo © Present Trade Secrets Connecticut
Monday March 31, 2014
Have you ever noticed that when you purchase a flat of flowering annuals, many of the flowers are not yet in bloom? Although young flowering annuals usually come into bloom within 10 days of planting, it's frustrating to pay full price for a flat of plants and not enjoy immediate flowers.
When I bought a flat of pansies yesterday, I picked out all of the plants that were in bloom and placed them in the most prominent container, by my front door. The plants that were not yet in full bloom went into containers on my deck. Therefore, I get to enjoy the pop of the blossoms where they have the most impact, while allowing the up and coming blooms to mature in a less conspicuous spot. This is another way to get the most for your gardening money.
New on About Flowers:
Photo © Linda Burgess/Getty Images
Sunday March 16, 2014
Before I moved to the Midwest, I didn't understand the challenge of living in a climate where the temperatures can fluctuate 50 degrees in 12 hours. That sort of roller coaster weather has been the norm over the past several days here. And what about my poor tulips? Growth only happens in one direction, and that's up. However, I want to shove the foliage back under the soil when the snow starts to fly. Fortunately, the buds are still buried deep within the folds of the leaves, where temperatures in the teens and twenties can't harm them. If you jumped the gun and planted semi-hardy annuals, (including cosmos, petunias, and moss rose) defined as those that can withstand temperatures down to 28 degrees F, you can protect them with cloches, cold frames, or wall-o'-water tee pees when a hard freeze is predicted.
Photo © Dickson Images/Getty Images