Nov 11th is Veterans Day remember to thank a Veteran!

Ronald Regan Patriotic Speech
Ronald Regan Patriotic Speech

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November is the time to put the Roses to bed for Winter!

Before you get caught up with all the holiday activities, here are a few final things to do in the yard and garden. The weather is still favorable to work outside now and the time spent in the garden can save you time and money--and save your plants from winter damage. There is nothing more frustrating than losing plants during the winter, because we did not know how to protect them properly--especially plants we worked so hard to develop this past season. Knowledge is power in your garden and here are a few things that will help you and your plants to have a better winter.

One of the most popular plants for the garden is the rose bush and for many of us, losing plants after the first winter that a rose bush was planted in our summer garden is tragic. The result is discouraging, and instead of increasing the size of the rose garden to add new varieties and colors, we replace the dead plants with perennials or annual flowers. Growing rose bushes is a lot of work but the reward is incredible as the plants produce the most sought-after flower in the world.

Here is what I want you to do in the next couple of weeks. Don't panic, because you still have time. Purchase a bag of bark mulch or compost, a bale of straw, or go down to the beach and collect sea weed and place it in your garden, but not on the plants yet. Right now the mice are still looking for a place to make their home for the winter and organic plant insulation will attract them to your garden and they will eat your plants during the winter. I want you to wait until Thanksgiving to create a mound of material around your plants.

Step one is to NEVER prune your roses in the fall of the year! Your plant is covered and sealed with strong bark that helps prevent moisture loss caused by winter winds and sun. Every time you cut back a branch from your plant, you are creating an opening for moisture to escape from the plant--resulting in branch die back or plant kill. If you live in a climate where winters get cold and temperatures dip down to the teens or colder, spend under a dollar a plant to give them additional protection by spraying them with an anti-desiccant sealant like Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop. Before you use your insulation around the plant around Thanksgiving, apply the anti-desiccant product. That is something you can do now while the temperatures are above freezing during the day. Anti-desiccants sprays need 4 hours to dry on the plant when temperatures are above freezing to be most effective.

After Thanksgiving, build your mound with the product you have chosen to use to protect the plants for the winter. The mound should be 12 to 18 inches wide and high around your plants, and in the shape of a Teepee. If you live near the seashore or the rose garden is in a very windy location, you can also use a burlap bag to cover the plant for extra protection. NEVER use a plastic bag to cover your plants, because the bag will trap the daytime heat, causing wide temperature swings that will cause early sprouting during winter warm spells. Burlap is porous and breathes, allowing the heat to escape from around the plant and keep the plant dormant. After Christmas, recycle your Christmas tree and cut the branches from it so you can lay the evergreen branches against the plants for additional protection; as the needles dry, the smell will give your early garden great fragrance--and those fallen needles also become great organic matter to improve the soil around your roses.

Potted roses should be stored in your garage, tool shed or under your deck for the winter. This protects the plant from the winter weather but keeps it dormant. Plants stored inside an unheated building will need to be watered well before they are put away for the year and adding a bit of additional water during the winter to keep the roots moist. Those left outside under a deck or porch should be watered well and laid on their side to prevent the pot from filling with water and creating a ball of ice around the roots during the winter. Plants left outside should also be treated with an anti-desiccant before put into winter storage. If the weather gets nice out during mid-March bring the containers outside so the plants can gradually adapt to the changing temperatures. You don't want your plants to begin to sprout in the garage or tool shed as the days begin to warm up, and then have the new sprouting buds hurt by cold weather.

Now, the pruning of the rose bushes should be done in the early spring. Always wait until the baseball season begins in your home town--not during spring training. Prune to control the size of the plant, remove any branches that dried out during the winter and turned brown, also remove any small shoots or suckers that have formed at the base of the plants. Keep the most vigorous branches, as they will produce the most new growth during the summer and more flowers for you to enjoy. I also like to apply the anti-desiccant spray on the plant again in the spring after pruning to seal up the cuts made on the plant and hold moisture in the plant until it is ready to grow. If you're only making a few cuts on the rose bush and have no anti-desiccant spray left, just light a candle and drip some wax on the cuts you just made to seal the plant until it is ready to grow and care for itself. Make your cuts at an angle so rain and watering can roll off the branches to prevent rotting of the stems.

Fertilizer is applied in April when you begin to notice that the buds are beginning to pop and green foliage is forming. You can also begin to apply your first application of a systemic insecticide to the plant so it has time to move up the roots of the plant and get established in the new shoots that develop. That way you're ahead of the insects before they get a chance to get established on the plant. I also like to apply All Season Oil and a dormant fungicide to the plant to control any overwintering insect eggs left on the plant in the fall and disease spores from last year. This is most effective once you have pruned the plant in the spring and are getting the garden ready for the new season.

I don't care what people tell you about growing roses, it requires work, but the end results are well worth the effort. If you have never planted roses before, give it a try next spring but prepare your soil properly and choose a location with sun all day long, that's the key! If you're new to growing roses, ask for a gardening book about roses for Christmas and read up on how to grow them during the winter so you're ready when spring arrives. After the holidays, go on the internet and sign up to receive the new rose catalogs in the mail, so you can select the color combination for your garden. Those catalogs will also be full of additional helpful information when you get ready to plant the garden. If you follow these easy steps you can remove from your vocabulary to following phrase, "I never promised you a rose Garden because it is too much work." Can you imagine Valentine's Day without roses? Now imagine your garden with rose bushes growing in it; imagine cutting roses from those plants and placing them on your dinner table this coming summer. You can do it and you will enjoy your time in the garden with your rose bushes. Enjoy.

2001 WS Gm4: Lee Greenwood sings
2001 WS Gm4: Lee Greenwood sings "God Bless the USA"

Plant Winter Aconite bulbs now.

The first is called snowdrops, also known as Galanthus, from the Greek. Galanthus means "milk flower;" named so because of the milky-white flowers. These bulbs are a member of the Amaryllis family and are native to the Mediterranean but are very hardy all over America. This wonderful flowering bulb is easy to grow and its normal flowering time in the Northeast is from January to March. It is one of the first bulbs to flower and if you plant some in a sheltered location, near the foundation of your house they will begin to bloom in late January and last well into March.

Grow snowdrops in a sunny-to-partial-shaded area in your garden, along a wooded path, between shrubs or under flowering trees. They will grow best in a soil that is well drained and able to hold moisture during the heat of summer. If your soil is sandy be sure to condition it with compost, peat moss, or animal manure and work in a bit of Soil Moist granules to help retain moisture. Snowdrops will not survive in soil that is heavy in clay or in gardens that stay wet during the spring or winter months with standing water.

Plant the bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep and space them 2 to 3 inches apart in your hole. I like to plant the bulbs in groups of 5 per hole and in just a couple years this clump will begin to enlarge because this wonderful bulb is self-seeding and will quickly expand in size. When you plant, and again when they finish flowering, fertilize with Dr. Earth Bulb Food or Bulb-Tone fertilizer. Stay away from Bone meal to prevent attracting rodents to the garden. Plant your bulbs now to give them time to get established before the ground freezes.

Snowdrops will also do quite well when planted in groups in groundcover beds such as English ivy, myrtle and ground cover junipers for a bit of early color. Plant a clump or two near your back door because when you go to work each morning it will help you sense that spring cannot be that far away, making winter feel shorter. Snowdrops are rewarding flowers for your garden and as they mature and become better established in your garden, the numbers of flowers will increase each and every year.

The flower is unique because it has 3 inner petals that are short with a green spot on its tip, and 3 larger petals that are pure white and about twice the size. Some varieties droop like bells while others seem to open up and resemble tiny birds in flight. One last thing--when the flowers fade, never cut back the foliage that remains, because the foliage is making energy for the bulbs in the ground for next year's flowers. Snowdrops are happier in a fertile soil and they will multiply faster when planted in shrub beds or under trees that have been mulched to help protect them during harsh winters.

The second early flowering bulb is the Leucojum , known as snowflake or the snowflake plant. The Greek name means "white violet" because of their delicate fragrance. Snowflakes are also a member of the Amaryllis family, native to Europe and--most of do not know this--there is also a fall flowering variety, but it is not as attractive and seldom available.

The snowflakes are more adaptable to any type of garden soil than most bulbs and will do great in every types of location from sun to full shade. They will grow best in a rich soil that is well drained and will not tolerate standing water at any time of the year. Snowflakes prefer a rock garden, perennial gardens, borders, and they naturalize well in tall grassy areas or under tall growing trees like pines and oaks. This is my favorite spring flowering bulb for planting under trees in large planting beds or in openings in a wooded yard. As they multiply and spread, your woodland will become alive with early spring color.

If you're looking for small cut flowers to place in a tiny vase on your kitchen window sill, this is your plant. The flowers resemble small bells and these flowers have 6 petals like the snowdrops, but they are all the same length and size. Each of the petals has a tiny dot on the tip of the petal and the flowers hang down on 6 to 8 inch stems. Like the snowdrop, if undisturbed they will last for many years in your garden.

Fertilize when planting and again when they finish flowering in the spring. They also flower from late January to late March like the snowdrops but they can have several flowers on each stem, unlike the single bloom found on each stem of the snowdrop. Like the snowdrops, they are also self-seeding, are not eaten by rodents and--if fertilized when they finish flowering--will spread and multiply in your gardens.

The third is called Winter Aconite, also known as Eranthis, and it comes from the woodlands of Europe. It is a member of the Ranunculus family. They love a rich soil with a lot of organic matter so be sure to condition the soil before planting with compost or animal manure. Winter Aconite will do best if your soil is not acidic so be sure to add limestone or wood ash to the planting bed or even in the hole when planting the bulbs. Like the other two your soil must be well drained and never have standing water over them.

Winter aconite (Eranthis) also bloom early in the year, and by late January (if the ground is not frozen) they will begin to flower and last until late March. The flowers are a cheery bright yellow and resemble large buttercups. The bract of the flower often resembles a deep green flat needle-like collar around the flower, making it extra showy. The bract is not a true leaf but part of the flower; for example, our Christmas poinsettia that has all the red foliage around those small yellow button flowers on the tip of each branch. Each bulb will produce several flowers on short stems and they also bloom about the same time as snowdrops and snowflakes and look great when planted in the same flower bed.

When the plant finishes flowering, it will also make seed that will develop into new bulbs in several years and flower. Allow the foliage to turn brown before cleaning the flowerbed, as it is important to rebuild the energy the plant used to make those wonderful flowers. Fertilize when planting and again as the flowers fade to insure more flowers next year. Again, a sweet soil is the secret to this bulb and if you can spread limestone or wood ash around every year, they will multiply and quickly naturalize your plantings beds.

Before you plant the bulbs, soak them overnight in water to help get them off to a faster start, because the bulb is a small hard and knobby tuber. Plant them in groups of 5 bulbs, 2 inches apart and 2 inches deep for a better show of color. Plant them in a location under deciduous shrubs and trees as they love the winter sunshine and shade during the summer months. They are also self-seeding and will spread quickly if fed when planted and again every spring when the flowers fade. If you have a wooded yard with deciduous trees, plant them for wonderful early color. They will also do great along a stream as long as its feet are out of the water at all times. Plant winter aconite where you have lily of the valley, hosta, bleeding hearts, and Christmas roses growing for early color.

Now say to yourself: the snow will melt, and when it does, I will plant these wonderful late winter-flowering bulbs to help keep me SANE during the long days ahead of me! Enjoy.

Tim Mcgraw-If You're Reading This
Tim Mcgraw-If You're Reading This
Preparing your garden for winter

If you did any planting this year around your home during the spring or summer, spend a few minutes to prepare your new plants for the seasonal changes of winter. All I want you to do is walk around your property for a final inspection and make sure the plants are ready for winter. Use this quick checklist of suggestions that has helped me with my plants over the years.

I start with the lawn and always look for potential problems with moles. If you had a lot of Japanese beetles in your garden this summer you have a better chance of having moles. You will notice raised mounds or raised tunnels running near the surface of the grass. When you step on them they flatten easily, letting you know that the tunnels are actively being used by the mole. Most of these tunnels will be found at this time of the year near areas of your property where tall grasses are growing, near wooded areas, near large mulched planting beds or near walkways and driveways. The moles spend the summer months hiding in these protected areas from predators but as the season changes they move out into the lawn and start digging the tunnels in search for food for the winter.

Once the ground is cold, frozen, and covered with snow they become a digging machine and can destroy your well-kept lawn over the winter, especially if we have an early snow cover. If you find tunnels or mounds act NOW by treating the area with a product like Everguard all purpose animal repellent  or Bonide MoleMax. These product are not a poison; keeping the lawn safe for your pets and family, they are repellents and will halt the moles' movement into the middle of your lawn where they can make major damage to your lawn. Knowing this, you only have to treat the perimeter of your lawn around the edges with a 10 to 15 foot band, not the entire lawn, and that will save you money.

If you planted new evergreen ground covers like English ivy, pachysandra, or myrtle/vinca I would suggest that you spray them with an anti-desiccant for the first winter. This will help lock moisture inside the plant and prevent wind damage and sunburn, as these plants are young and possibly not fully established yet. When you figure out the time it took you to prepare the planting area, planting of the ground covers, and the cost of the plants it is well worth the few dollars it will cost to protect your investment--good insurance. A product like Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop can be purchased at your local garden center in a ready-to-use sprayer for small areas or in concentrates for large planting beds. Start off next spring with healthy green plants and avoid filling in the holes where plants died during the winter.

If you planted a row of arborvitae to create a privacy or noise barrier this year, purchase a ball of green string and tie up your plants to prevent snow or Ice damage. Just tie one end of the string to a branch a couple feet above the ground and walk around the plant wrapping the string in a corkscrew pattern around the plant until you get three quarters up the plant. Pull the foliage together as you wrap and this will keep the young and not mature branches protected from damage. Arborvitaes are multi-stem plants and heavy, wet snow or ice can split them apart until the plant has matured. If you live in an area where Deer are found, I would add the new Everguard deer repellent to your planting to protect them. If food becomes scarce and the snow gets deep, deer LOVE arborvitae, and--again--a bit of insurance can save your plants from being eaten. They're young, tender and tasty and for a couple of dollars you can save a plants that cost over $25.00 each. Think for the long term; each year they grow they become stronger, larger and more valuable.

Newly planted broadleaf evergreens like holly, rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, and boxwood should also be treated with an anti-desiccant spray for the first year--especially if they are in a planting bed that receives a lot of sun during the winter months. When you planted the shrub, and if it was cared for properly will determine if the plant had enough time to become fully established in your garden before winter arrived. Sun and wind create the problem with new plants the first winter, and if the roots are not fully established and the plants ready you will have damage. If you planted azaleas, be sure to spray the flower buds on the tip of the branches to protect them and insure flowers next spring. Again, a bit of insurance now can go a long way next spring.

If you planted a new tree that is over six feet tall and it is in an open area of your lawn, purchase a staking kit and tie down the tree so it will not move or blow over with the wet and stormy weather ahead of us. Your main goal is to keep the plant root ball from moving and hurting the newly developing root system. If that tree is a fruit tree or flowering tree, also wrap the trunk from the ground to the first branch with a tree guard or hardware cloth wire to prevent rodent damage. The bark is tender and has not hardened off yet, so it is vulnerable to being eaten by rodents during the first couple of winters. Also be sure that there is a covering of three inches of bark mulch around the base of the tree to help keep the soil frozen during the winter. Exposed soil will freeze and thaw during the winter, damaging the root system of the new tree.

In your perennial flower beds, be sure to cut back to the ground all plants that have turned yellow or brown and rake the garden clean. This fall clean-up will remove insect eggs and disease spores left on the plants for next year. Insects and disease ALWAYS plan for the next year in the fall, so they can continue to survive from year to year in your garden. This is also a great time to apply limestone or Magic-Cal to sweeten the soil and keep the plant productive. Acid soil will slow down the development of your plants in the garden and produce fewer flower buds.

The vegetable garden should also be cleaned of all dead plants, and lime the soil to prevent blossom end rot on your tomatoes and squash plants for next year. Blossom end rot is a rotting on the underside of the tomato fruit or the tip of the squash and is caused by lack of calcium in the soil. Use lime at the rate of 50 pounds per 500 sq. ft. of garden. If you live near the seashore, go to the beach and collect the seaweed that washes ashore at the beach and spread it over your garden for the winter. Seaweed is full of stored energy and contains everything your plant will need to grow better next spring. Seaweed is a wonderful soil conditioner and better than peat moss for your garden soil. Just spread it over the garden now and till it in next spring when you get ready to plant the garden.

One last thing is to mow the grass down to 2 inches tall when it stops growing. This will prevent winter diseases that can be a problem if your soils have clay in them or you tend to have puddles that form during wet weather in the growing season. Tall grass will mat down--and if we have a winter with heavy snow and ice on the lawn that lasts well into the spring, you could have a problem. Sandy soils are not a problem but keep the grass short for the winter to avoid problems. If moss is visible, lime the lawn now so it has time to sweeten the soil before spring arrives. Did you know that crabgrass and common lawn weeds have a more difficult time growing in your lawn if the soil is sweet than when the soil is on the acid side? Also, the grass can grow thicker and the fertilizer you apply becomes more effective, so lime the lawn in the fall. Any leaves or pine needles should be chopped up by your lawn mower and will turn into great organic matter to help improve your soil as they break down during the winter. So don't rake the leaves--chop them up and make your soil better for next year.
" As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. "

John F. Kennedy
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

If you like Pumpkin bread but want a bit more flavor from it, than let's add chocolate chips.  Bread is not usually dessert but try this bread at the end of a meal as a sweet ending to your meal with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. 

 1 ½ cups of canned unsweetened pumpkin meat or fresh pumpkin cooked in your microwave until soft, mashed until it has the consistency of mash potatoes.
 4 eggs 
1 ¾ cups of sugar 
3 cups of all purpose flour
 1 cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of baking powder
 1 teaspoon of baking soda 
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon of salt 
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
 2 cups of chopped walnuts or pecans 
½ cup of dried cranberries {optional}
 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1} preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2}Whisk the eggs, sugar, pumpkin meat, and the oil in a large bowl until well blended
3}Sift your flour   baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in the chopped nuts, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips.  

4} Divide the batter between the two greased 8 inch by 4-inch bread pans.
 Bake for 75 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. 

 Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before slicing.

 Serve with a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream on the side. This bread can be made now and frozen for the approaching holidays. Double wrap with cling free plastic wrap and then into a freezer bag until you're ready to use, Enjoy!  
Days to look forward

Friday, November 11 - Veterans Day
Sunday, November 13 - World Kindness Day
Thursday, November 17- Homemade Bread Day
Thursday, November 24 - Thanksgiving Day
Click here on picture and it will take you to our national park's trip!
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Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

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