March 2017
As winter draws to a close and the days grow longer with light, all of us with a passion for gardening grow anxious to see green.
As the new season emerges, nature’s clock will always give us that next cycle.  Following our summer drought, we had a snow covered landscape.  Remember, spring is nearing, the snow will all be gone and the vernal charm of New England will appear all around us and our desires to embrace the outdoors draws near. So get inspired and create beauty around your home with a fresh look.

Photos below: "Holland in Bloom" from the Philadelphia Flower Show 2017
HOW DOES DROUGHT AFFECT TREES AND SHRUBS?
Leaf scorch, die back in the stems and susceptibility to pests and diseases can result, when woody plants get too little water.

SHORT TERM EFFECTS: Damage includes wilting, defoliation and leaf scorch

LONG TERM EFFECTS: This happens over several years of stunted growth and branch die- back.

FINER FEEDER ROOTS

Believe it or not some die-back is a result of fine feeder root decay. As soils become dry and depleted of nutrients, it is important to keep the upper soil surface with some amount of water.

Once the root system goes out of balance the foliage above ground becomes affected. The result is a resizing by nature through the canopy of the tree, thru die- back. The trees do this to recover till rain or irrigation re- occurs.

A full recovery can take time; however spring feeding is a great vitamin booster. It is common to see stem canker diseases in years following a drought. This is an indication that the tree is weakening to fight off disease.
 TIP FROM THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC
After you boil eggs, potatoes, or other vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain! Save the cooking water ( only if it is salt free), let it cool, and use it to water your garden plants to give them an extra dose of nutrients.( Maybe a little separate black)
WHO’S DOWN THERE?
Feeding your soil with organic slow released fertilizer encourages a buildup of healthy soil.

“We at Keepers of the Garden,” take pride in our dedication to amending soil for each tree, shrub or plant we install into your landscape.

A. PRUNING BACK: WINTER KILL WILL ENCOURAGE NEW GROWTH
B. TRANSPLANTS: ARE GREAT IN SPRING-MOIST SOIL CONDITIONS AND TEMPERATURES ARE ALIGNED
C. FERTILIZATION: LUSH FOLIAGE AND STRONG ROOTS WITH ABUNDANT BLOOM; ONLY OCCUR WHEN FED PROPERLY

Getting SPRING Started Ideas! 
Journal:
For a little brain storming, take the time to do what I call
“Garden in review."

This simply means reflect back on your past three seasons in your garden and write down the plants that worked and did not work for you. Also affirm the plants you did like as combinations for expansion in your beds. 
Surprising Shrubs for Small Places 
Creating gardens with small ornamental trees and dwarf shrubs has become a passion for us at Keepers of the Garden. Many homeowners have relocated to condo living homes and this dictates downsized space for landscapes.


Let's not forget small plants for small places!
If you desire four-season impact in a scaled down package, look for dwarf garden variety of 3x4 trees and shrubs.

If you are changing the scale of an old or new planting area and still need a woody framework for your new space, then let Keepers of the Garden design your new area.
Beginning your odyssey to find a great assortment of smaller shrubs is a challenge. However, with the help of "Tellus" your garden coach at Keepers of the Garden, she will guide your visions for a customized selection of plants.

Creating an impressive collection of the dwarf variety of trees and shrubs is our specialty: dwarf conifers, specimen trees, evergreens Chinese and Japanese hollies and border collections give a spectacular display of seasonal color. All this is within anyone’s reach.

Dwarf Shrubs that Bloom
Albeia, Lo and Behold, Tiny Tuff Hydrangea, Firelight Spireas, this shrub bears deep orange foliage and pink flowers in early summer.  
Dwarf Conifers
Yak Rhododendron, Gold Drop Holly, Anna’s Magic Ball Arborvitae, Variegated Daphne, Dwarf Alberta spruce, Dwarf variety of Hinoki Cypress Dwarf Norway Spruce.

Dwarf-Small Ornamental Trees 
Thread leaf Japanese maple, Verdi Maple, Chinese Fringe Tree. The Chinese fringe tree is not very cold tolerant. 

Roasted Veggies as "Soft Paired Friends"
Roasting veggies is a great way to increase your veggie intake. The best thing about roasted veggies are they are great both hot and cold. Depending on the season, you can change up your veggies to experiment with type of mixed vegetable medley.

This recipe is one of my favorite because you can create various dishes from this platter of roasted treats. Use as a companion to a main entrée, quickly make flat bread veggie pizza, or toss with a salad greens and feta cheese. For this recipe, these are considered "soft veggies." 

CUT, TOSS, ROAST, SERVE AND STORE

Ingredients
4 Japanese eggplants
3 Yellow squash , zucchini or both
2 Medium red onions
2 Red peppers
2 Yellow peppers
1/3 Cup olive oil
2 Tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp Penzey Turkish spice or 1 tsp thyme with 1 tsp oregano

Directions        
Convection Roast:  425 degrees for 15min                 
Oven Bake:  450 degrees for 25 min

Wash and cut all veggies in chunks on a  diagonal. Toss in bowl with olive oil & salt      
Spread evenly on parchment lined baking sheet.  

Serve Immediately.  Toss with Balsamic Vinegar,  blackberry, or fig.  Taste and add additional spices if desired.