January E-News from Viette's                        Volume 12: No. 1

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                       January/2016

Anemone Honorine Jobert
Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
2015 PPA 'Plant of the Year'
Happy New Year
from your friends
at Viette's
Here's to a year of great gardening weather with beautiful blooms, bountiful gardens, and no pests!
Be sure to plan a visit to our nursery and gardens this spring
for some exciting new ideas
for your 2016 gardens
Quick Links
Plant of the Month
Anemone Honorine Jobert planted en masse
Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
'Honorine Jobert'
Each year members of the Perennial Plant Association choose an outstanding perennial to be their "Perennial Plant of the Year". This year,
Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' has been given this honor. 'Honorine Jobert' is not a new Japanese anemone cultivar but it is one of the very best single white anemones in our opinion. Apparently many others in the horticulture world feel the same way.  
Anemone Honorine Jobert
Clear white blooms of 'Honorine Jobert' stand out in the garden
An easy to grow beauty, this hardy perennial anemone simply requires bright or partial shade, and fertile, well-drained soil. It spreads and naturalizes nicely and will reward you with masses of bright white flowers in late summer through fall.
Prolific bloomers
Like all Japanese anemones, 'Honorine Jobert' produces a mass of buds and colorful blooms on well-branched stems which rise above the attractive foliage.        
Anemone Honorine Jobert
Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
In addition to white, Japanese anemones can be found in various shades of pink; from pale silvery pink to deep rose. The flower form ranges from single to semi-double to double. 
A Wonderful Perennial
Japanese anemones add a graceful dimension to the late summer and fall garden with their profusion of light and airy blooms. André uses mass plantings in many of his gardens for a spectacular show!
Japanese anemones combine well with hosta
A planting of Japanese anemones
in a semi-shade island berm

They are wonderful in combination with Astilbe, hosta, and ferns in a woodland setting or mixed with beautiful Heuchera cultivars in a lightly shaded border. They make a lovely transition plant where the shade meets the sun.
Plant Japanese anemones around Dicentra spectabilis so that when the Dicentra goes dormant and gets cut back in the heat of the summer, the beautiful anemone foliage will be there to fill the void.

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The Fragrance of Spring in Winter
Sweetly scented paperwhite narcissus are easy to force into bloom.
Sweetly scented paperwhite narcissus are very easy
to force into bloom.


Get a little taste of spring in the midst of winter by growing your own bulb garden filled with sweetly scented flowers right in your living room.
One of the easiest bulbs to coax into bloom is the paperwhite narcissus. These delicate narcissus flowers have a giant-sized fragrance!!
To get started, choose a container with no drainage holes. The container should be at least 5 inches deep. For a nice display, get one wide enough to hold six bulbs closely spaced (so they touch or almost touch each other). One of the rectangular or round glass containers with tall sides will keep your paperwhites from flopping over as the grow taller and flower.
Glass marbles or decorative pebbles can be used as your "soil" to hold the bulbs in place in the container. Colorful, flat-sided marbles inside a glass vase makes a lovely container for your beautiful flowers. You can also use small clean stones or pea gravel.
Fill your container with about 2 inches of whatever you chose as your growing medium then carefully place your bulbs on top so they touch (or almost touch) and are perfectly straight up. Nestle them down into the pebbles a little bit and then fill in around the bulbs with more pebbles. Do not cover the top of the bulb. Be sure at least 1/2 to 1/3 of the bulb is exposed.
Add water to the container so the level is just below the bottom of the bulbs. Do not let the bulbs sit in water or they may rot.
Place the container in a cool room that gets low light or no light (a room without windows works well) until the roots begin to grow well and the shoots start showing - usually about 1-2 weeks. Keep an eye on the water level and replenish as necessary to keep the level just below the bottom of the bulbs.
Once you have good root growth, move the container into a warmer bright, sunny window and watch them grow!
When they begin to flower, move them out of direct sunlight so the blooms will last longer!
Forcing daffodils
Daffodils forced for blooming indoors; Susan Mahr, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
Gardening Questions?
Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden'

Listen to Andre
on the radio every Saturday morning from 8:00-11:00 on 
"In the Garden  
with Andre Viette"
Click for a station list or listen live from our flagship station WSVA in Harrisonburg, VA.
Listen to podcasts
of the show.
Tip of the Month
Planning for Spring!
Mid-Atlantic Getting Started Garden Guide
January is the perfect time to relax and reflect on the future of your gardens and plan some changes and additions you might want to make during the upcoming gardening season. Sit down with some good books to help you "dream and scheme"! The Viettes have written many great gardening books to help you choose just the right plants for your special situations, plus learn how to create the perfect "below-ground" environment for your plants so they will start the season off on healthy "footing". Their newest book, Mid-Atlantic Getting Started Garden Guide, shares the authors' many years of gardening experience to help you choose the best plants for your garden and teach you how to keep them healthy.
The beautiful exfoliating bark of crape myrtle gets more interesting with age_
Beautiful exfoliating bark
of crape myrtle
Add Winter Interest 
I know it's been unseasonably warm in the east so far this winter but cold weather will come eventually! When the "January (or February) thaw" comes, take some time to wander through your gardens.
Look for places that could use some winter interest or "garden bones" as they say - perhaps a small ornamental tree or shrub with colorful bark like crape myrtle or red osier dogwood.
Think about adding an interesting piece of hardscaping like a statue, a bird feeder, a bird bath, or maybe even a pergola? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
Speaking of Planning ... 
The seed catalogs ought be be rolling in about now. This is a great time to begin planning the best vegetable garden ever. The delicious, wholesome crops you produce will lead to healthier eating habits and tending a vegetable garden, whatever the size, is great exercise. Plus, home-grown vegetables tend be of high quality and have fantastic flavor when fresh picked.
are some really exciting new varieties of vegetables available now but in most cases you will only find these new and different vegetable seeds in catalogs or online.
  • Purchasing vegetable seeds from a seed company will give you a huge selection to choose from that you won't find in most garden stores.
  • Click for a list of some of Andre and Mark's favorite seed companies.
  • Order your seeds early so you have plenty of time to start some crops indoors under lights to get a jump on the vegetable gardening season.
Watch Mark's video tips on vegetable garden planning. 
Recycle your Christmas Tree and Greens
When you take down your Christmas tree and greens, don't put them out in the trash! Here are some creative ideas.
Give your tree to the birds ... 
  • Set the tree near your feeders and birds will use it for cover throughout the winter. You can place the tree on its side or prop it upright. You will be amazed at how many birds will take shelter in the branches.
    • One of the easiest ways to set your cut tree out in the garden is to drive a tall post (like a T-post) into the ground and place the tree down over the post so the post is running up beside the trunk. Then just tie the trunk to the post near the base and at the top to secure it and keep it upright.
  • Chickadee and homemade bird treat
    A chickadee enjoys a
    homemade bird treat
    Even stacking pine boughs in a pile near the feeders will create a safe haven for your feathered friends.
  • For a real bird treat, decorate the tree with delicious (to birds!) peanut butter pine cones, strings of cranberries or popcorn, bird seed bagel rings, or slices of fruit from the boughs like ornaments! Click for some great bird treat recipes 
View Mark Viette's video tips about this neat idea! 
Protect your tender plants
Viette front porch at Christmas
Boughs used in decorating can
provide a great winter mulch
Another idea for reusing your leftover Christmas tree is to use the cut the boughs to protect some of your more tender perennials in the garden. We often cut the branches off our tree in preparation for taking it out of the house after Christmas. These boughs make wonderful "blankets" for the plants. They are perfect for covering "over eager" daffodils that sometimes pop up during a warm spell in the winter or for protecting evergreen perennials from winter burn during the cold, dry days in January and February. This is also a great use for the evergreen boughs that you may have cut for holiday arrangements. 
Find a place that recycles Christmas trees 
Some places will take your cut Christmas trees and grind them up for mulch. Check around in your local area.  
From the Viette's Views Blog ...
Cardinal in snow   12-21-2015 14:14:56 PM
Happy Winter! Today, December 21st at 11:49 PM EST marks the 2015 winter solstice. At this moment in time, the North Pole (due to the axial tilt of the earth) is at its furthest point from the sun. My post from December, 2011 expresses my sentiments of this day. And ... my Christmas Rose i s [...] ...»

Majestic oak   12-15-2015 14:32:13 PM
Where IS winter? It sure doesn't FEEL like winter right now! The winter of 2015 is starting out rather mild to say the least! The whole east coast has "enjoyed" record warm December temperatures. USA Today has reported that in the eastern US, over 1,000 new record highs have been recorded so far this December! [...] ...»
Did You Know?   
Coffee Grounds in the Garden 
A while ago, a question was posted on our Discussion Board asking about spreading coffee grounds in a raised bed ...
"I have read that spent coffee grounds are a good source food for those raising worms. Would it be a good idea to add spent coffee grounds to raised vegetable beds during the winter months, knowing that the present worm population will break them down before spring planting time?"
What's the "scoop"?  
Coffee grounds From almost everything I have read, it seems that coffee grounds are a great addition to the garden. They can supply important nutrients to the soil; nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. They also improve the soil structure because as they decompose, they release humic acid which acts as a glue to bind tiny soil particles together into larger aggregates, which improves drainage and air circulation. This is especially good for clay soils.
Okay, so coffee grounds can be good for the soil. Now the question becomes, what is the best way to use them that will provide the greatest benefit to your plants?
offee grounds appear to be most beneficial to plants after they have been broken down by microorganisms in the soil. Though potassium, magnesium, and some of the phosphorus and copper are available to plants immediately, the nitrogen in coffee grounds is not available until it has been broken down into a usable form by soil organisms.
Coffee pot beside compost pail
The compost pail sits beside
the coffee pot
For this reason, adding your coffee grounds to a compost pile and letting the soil critters break them down may be the most efficient way to use them. We have been composting our coffee grounds for many years, filter and all. It all breaks down.
The grounds are a great addition to a compost pile because they are high in nitrogen - around 2%. In the composting world, this means that they are considered a "green" additive; similar to grass clippings. This is great for us because our compost pile is usually a bit "carbon" heavy since we add so many leaves to the pile in the fall. Anything we can throw in that will add more "nitrogen" to the pile is welcomed. It is best to try to keep the carbon to nitrogen ratio at around 25 or 30 to 1 for a healthy compost pile.
As an added bonus, worms love coffee grounds and in a compost pile, the more worms the better! Some people that maintain worm bins add a cup or so of coffee grounds to the bin once a week.
But wait - aren't the coffee grounds acidic? Won't they lower the pH of my garden soil or compost? This is one of the greatest concerns that people have with putting coffee grounds in the garden or compost. It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, most spent coffee grounds are not very acidic at all. The acid in ground coffee is water soluble so most of it is leached out into the coffee that you drink - making your coffee quite acidic and the leftover grounds just slightly acidic with a pH of around 6.2 - 6.8.
Compost bin
Add coffee grounds to
your compost bin
Coffee grounds should not comprise more than 25% of your compost pile; but that would be a lot of coffee grounds! We average one pot of coffee a day so there is no danger of us overloading our big compost pile with coffee grounds. People who collect used grounds from coffee shops could potentially accumulate enough to cause a problem in a compost pile - they just need to be careful to add enough carbon-rich ingredients to maintain the optimal C:N ratio.
Used coffee grounds can also be broadcast right on top of the soil. If they are then tilled or scratched in, the worms and soil microorganisms can get to work on them faster to break them down and release the nutrients.
The bottom line:
  • Coffee grounds are a great soil amendment especially if they are composted first.
  • They should not be used as a substitute for fertilizer.
  • Organic fertilizers like the Espoma "Tones" are slow release and also add organic matter to the soil.
  • It is always a good idea to have your soil tested for pH and nutrient content before adding chemical fertilizers and lime to the garden.
  • Good quality compost is always a wonderful addition to your garden soil.
Did You Know?
Andre's New Book  
is Hot Off the Press!
Getting Started
Garden Guide"
A useful plant selection guide for gardeners in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The mid-Atlantic region is huge and overflowing with great plants that you can grow - but perhaps you don't know which ones to select or how to grow them. Andre and Mark Viette, together with Jacqui Heriteau share their many years of gardening experience to help you choose the best plants for your garden and teach you how to keep them healthy. Whether you are a beginning gardener, a newcomer to the area, or an old hand who's looking for some new ideas, this is the book for you.

Featuring ... 

  • Recommendations for easy-to-grow, low maintenance plants for the mid-Atlantic region
  • Includes all plant types from annuals to perennials; trees and shrubs; herbs, bulbs, and vines ...
  • Loads of design tips
  • The authors' favorite cultivars and species
  • Advice on planting, growing, and care, including pest and disease control.
Before you buy another plant and cross your fingers hoping it will work in your garden, get a copy of this informative book! 
Call Viette's today at 800-575-5538
to order a signed copy of this wonderful
new gardening resource.
Viette Discussion Board
Travel with Andre and Claire Viette in 2016!  
Budapest on the banks of the Danube
Budapest on the banks of the Danube
The Imperial Gardens  
and Treasures Tour
September 18 - October 1, 2016

Featuring the Imperial worlds of the
German and Austro-Hungarian Empires
Visit Hungary, Austria,
the Czech Republic, and Germany

Tour highlights include:
Budapest - Enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful city on the Danube; visit a botanical garden; spend a day in the Puszta - land of the Hungarian cowboys and be treated to an equestrian show and gypsy music   
Vienna - From Budapest, we will travel up the Danube by hydrofoil boat to Vienna where you will see the famous Lipizzaner Stallions, the Schönbrunn Gardens, and enjoy a concert of Strauss and Mozart at the  Schönbrunn Palace  
Berlin's River Spree
Cruising on Berlin's River Spree
Prague - We then travel north to Prague by way of the scenic Wachau Valley. Tour Prague, its famous castle, the Charles Bridge, and magnificent gardens. End the day with a three-hour cruise on the Vltava River! 
Berlin - On the way to Berlin, we will stop at the city of Dresden. In Berlin, relax on a cruise on the River Spree, enjoy a candlelight dinner and concert at the Charlottenburg palace, and take a walking tour of Berlin. You can even opt to join Andre and Claire on a visit to the largest private botanical garden in Europe.
Andre will give a series of gardening presentations throughout the trip.

Space is limited to 42 persons so this trip will fill up fast!


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