Landscaping Newsletter and Garden Tips
May, 2018     Volume 154

A Personal Message

You may remember that I've been detailing the renovations to my office in the past few issues of our newsletter. 

I'm not quite ready for the big reveal yet, but I'd like to continue to showcase some more fun items. 

I absolutely love my new window treatments!  These plantation shutters run almost floor to ceiling.  I chose wide white slats that really pop against my light blue walls. 
Higgins and Spencer of St. Michaels is well know for their home furnishings and accessories.  Their knowledgeable staff did the work for us.  Incredible selection and perfect service made for one of the best in-home appointments I've ever had.  I can keep the shutters closed, open the slats or throw the windows open completely on a beautiful sunny day.       
Here's another view of those large plantation shutters that I'm just crazy about.  Our big kitty, Walter, is enjoying the view too.  These windows look out over the St. Michaels Road. 
The chair you see is another nod to my Mid Century Modern theme.  I plan to have it recovered because you're looking at the bare vinyl finish.  I haven't found the proper material yet, but I love this turquoise color and will use it for the final reupholstering.  I've been searching for just the right vintage fabric for the chair.  I'll know it when I see it!  
You've seen this leather room divider in a previous newsletter, but I'd like to go into a little more detail here.  It has been passed through Melissa's family for over 100 years.  She remembers her grandmother telling her it came down from New York to Virginia about four generations ago.      
The screen is real leather and is hand painted with a vase of flowers on a stand.  This image was so prevalent during Victorian times.  The leather is mounted on a wooden stand, with brass tacks keeping everything in place. 
Yes, I realize this screen is not Industrial or even Mid Century Modern.  However, that room divider hides a lot of clutter and I'm all for that.   
Okay, so why do I have a picture of a trash can in this display?  I realize it's a little different, but I really like this waste can.   
I actually did a fair amount of online shopping to get the perfect Industrial look receptacle.  The search ended on ebay.  I saw this little 2 foot miniature of a life size aluminum can like my family had when I was a kid.  Only thing, I got tired of lifting the lid off and on, but I didn't want to get rid of it.  So yes, I fastened the lid to the side of my desk. 
Listen, this little beauty cost me $40.00.  I'm keeping the whole thing!    

In other news, YES we've started our vegetable garden.  And YES, I started my tomato plants too early.

Actually, time will tell about the tomatoes.  I started them from seeds, which I bought on eBay.  They're an heirloom variety called Black Russian, which I've actually grown before.  Delicious, with an intense tomato flavor. 

The plants are still indoors and I began hardening them off in mid-April.  This means that I started taking them outdoors for gradually longer periods of time, when the weather was nice.  Here's what they looked like, right before we published this newsletter.   
Do these really look like tomato plants to you?  They actually look more like basil at this point.  These plants are very slow growers.  We may have to supplement this crop with a few additional plants.  Wish me luck! 
Happy Gardening!

May Garden Tips

The month of May might be even busier than April for us this year.  Wet, cool weather in our area delayed a lot of garden projects - even for the professionals.

Let's get started with some easy gardening tips, then work our way up from there. 

*  Here's a fun suggestion from Better Homes & Gardens I just found:
Give your entry an easy facelift by filling pots with colorful flowers and herbs. Make designing them easy by choosing flowers that complement the color of your home's exterior.

Here are two examples of front entries that Better Homes is discussing.  They're obviously structured to reflect exterior colors and building styles.  Gorgeous!
I love the look of these sun-drenched concrete planters against the marble steps. 

*  This easy tip is also from Better Homes & Gardens.  Check out their entire website at:  https://www.bhg.com/gardening/

Try growing your lettuce in containers.  Simply tuck lettuce seeds or seedlings into shallow pots; place pots in a location that receives up to a half-day sun.  Plant lettuce at tighter-than-recommended spacing -- when seedlings start to crowd each other, thin them and eat the "thinnings."

Go for the gourmet look and select a blend of lettuce types, including romaine, bibb, and leaf.  With leaf lettuces, plant a variety of hues to craft colorful salads.

Here are containers we planted last spring.  What a treat to slip outside and grab several lettuce leaves for a lunchtime sandwich!  This is a container that's pretty enough to feature beside potted plants.     
This lettuce is called "Black Seeded Simpson."  Crazy name.  Good lettuce.

Now on to something a little more challenging...

*  This is something every gardener will already know:

Insert stakes or cages now to prevent flopping later.  Tall plants such as peony, aster, gladioli or tall daisies may need supports of some kind.  To avoid accidentally spearing dahlia tubers, add stakes at planting time when you can still tell where the tubers are.

Indigenous plant material to Maryland.  Look carefully and you can see where some of them have been staked. 
Of course she uses stakes for her tall flowers!  However, they don't appear to be anything extra special...just thin wooden stakes that have been tied together as supports for her flowers.  Thanks for the good advice, Martha Stewart.  By the way, have you noticed her focus is usually on cooking and entertaining these days?  However, there's still some gardening info on her website and you can access that directly at:  https://www.marthastewart.com/1504574/gardening  

Here's another chore that should be done this month...

*  Pruning certain plant material needs to be done this month.  Here's a partial list...

Early flowering deciduous shrubs such as Weigela, Forsythias and Spirea should be cut back now
when they have finished blooming. Cut back a third of the oldest canes to ground level, then cut back one third of the remaining branches by one third of their height.

To finish up, May is also a fun time because it's now THE time to plant. 

*  Whether it be flowers or garden vegetables, most gardeners love this time of year.  People really love to plant stuff!   

Pansies, Snapdragons, Dianthus, Petunias, Geraniums and Impatiens should be okay to plant by mid month. Toward the end of the month, it should be warm enough to plant the more tender annuals like Salvia, Zinnias and Marigolds. 
Springtime and planting flowers go hand in hand, if you'll pardon the pun!   
How about a mailbox flower bed?  Love this idea. 

Why You Want a Tick Repellent Service for Your Home  

I've had two health scares as a result from a tick bite. The first time was serious.  The second time was almost fatal.

Both incidents landed me in the hospital. I developed a severe allergic reaction from the first bite. And, the second bite led to Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection that attacks, infects and kills white blood cells.
Jake will treat the lawn, all plant material and allow the spray to drift back into the woods to further enhance controls. 
Here's one of our spray trucks ready for action.  That's a 200 foot hose sitting beside the long white pipe.  It will be connected and we can reach the areas of most lawns with this rig.

After my recovery, I wanted to try and help others avoid the serious repercussions of a tick bite. Since I'm a landscaper, I knew how to develop a program that would help repel ticks.

We now offer a barrier tick repellent service. Barrier treatments are the single most effective method of control at this time. The tick repellent is sprayed where ticks thrive - on the grass, inside woodpiles and in brushy areas.

Our integrated approach to tick control doesn't stop there. We work to identify their habitation areas. You can choose whether to treat the tick population with repellent or remove the host area entirely.

An area of heavy brush where deer congregate may need to be cleared out.  We can make your woods look like a park with environmentally friendly, low impact brush mowers.  Brush removal also helps to eliminate mice, squirrels and other rodents.  Their nests are vectors for tick-borne diseases. 

Areas of heavy brush as seen here are deer havens.  We can trim and control brush areas or remove it entirely. 
Deer are attracted to this type of environment.  Where there are deer, ticks are sure to follow! 

Although brush removal is the best and easiest way to deprive ticks of a growing environment, there are other methods available to reduce their incidence.  Our natural/organic deer repellent service is another piece of our integrated approach to tick control.  Deer avoid the treated plant material and move on to other feeding grounds. 

Additionally, we use Damminix tubes to kill ticks in rodent nests.  These tubes contain treated material which is deadly for ticks, but does not harm mammals. 

Here's a photo of a Damminix tube actually being used. 

Damminix tubes are only placed in the spring, when nesting occurs.  They resemble a cardboard paper towel tube, but have treated cotton inside.  Squirrels and mice carry the cotton back to their nests.  No harm to babies, but no more ticks!

An integrated approach to tick control will help you enjoy the outdoors without worry.

Please call or email me for a no charge, no obligation estimate.  
                  410.770.5882 or dellsadler@dellsadler.com