Landscaping Newsletter and Garden Tips
April, 2018     Volume 153

A Personal Message
I couldn't wait to write this issue.  I want to update you on the pictures of my renovated office.  We'll do a full reveal soon, including before and after pictures. 

But for now, here you go with some photos of individual items...

I have a set of 1960's speakers that I've wired into my tv and sound system.  These are vintage Empire Royal Grenadier speakers and they have a marble top.  I paid $20.00 for the set at The Bazaar.  It's Memorial Hospital's fabulous consignment shop in Easton.  Great deals that benefit a super hospital!   
These are the two Mid Century Modern lamps I purchased.  Melissa and I drove to Pennsylvania to buy these lamps, which I fell in love with at first sight.  I looked at vintage lamps everywhere, but couldn't get these out of my head.  They are three way lamps and I bought them from the original owner's granddaughter.  She and her two children met us in Hershey, PA and I love the family connection.  Since the lamps are older, I worked with Lamplighter Lighting Store in Easton to rewire them.  They did a perfect job.   
My new office cried out for greenery.  I purchased two Yucca Cane plants from Garden Treasures in Easton.  Their helpful staff discussed the care and lighting of various plant material.  I selected these and absolutely adore them. 
These two galvanized steel buckets came from Tractor Supply Co. also in Easton.  I wanted to keep the industrial look for the planters too. 
NOTE:  The grating around the plants came later when our two rescue kitties decided that a tall plant with lots of bark would make a fine scratching post.
This chair was an ebay purchase.  I wanted to maintain the Mid Century Modern/Industrial feel in my chair too.  Plus, I spend a lot of time at my desk.  I needed something that was comfortable and sturdy.
This chair has a steel frame and camel colored leather.  We think it was a draftsman's chair or perhaps a floor manager in an industrial plant.  Either way, I know it's comfortable and best of all, it has wheels.  I'm able to scoot across our laminate flooring to access all the important things - like the remote control to my big screen tv that hangs on the wall across from my desk.

Whew!  That was fun for me, but now on to other projects.  We've managed to finish up the sale of my tiny house trailer in Ocean City.  We settled on it last month.

I loved having a part time place in Ocean City.  Surf-fishing.  Outdoor cooking.  The beach and the boardwalk.  And having lots of company visit us for fun times.

One last picture.  Here's Melissa and my niece, Scarlett from New York, on the big airy porch of my tiny house trailer.  This photo was taken several years ago during the hottest summer ever! 

Selling our place was a big decision for us.  However, we are at the point in life that Melissa and I didn't use the house often.  I wasn't even able to visit Ocean City at all last year.  So, it was definitely time to move on.  But, we'll still miss all the fun we had there.
Happy Spring!

April Garden Tips

*  Sure seems like April is the garden's busiest month.  Suddenly, there's so much to do, like starting a new garden or cleaning out an existing one.

Many websites put up monthly task lists, often suited to their specific region.  Here's a few garden tips we like, as well as links to other sites.

"The Garden Helper" suggests this as their #1 outdoor chore for April:

When they have finished blooming, you should deadhead your spring flowering bulbs.  Do not cut off the green foliage yet!  These green leaves continue to grow for a few weeks and provide the bulb with food for flowering next year.
Check them out at:  http://www.thegardenhelper.com/calendar/april.html   
These beds were a mess before we cleaned out the winter debris.

See what a difference a fresh coat of mulch can make?

*  Other gardening websites suggest that WEEDING, WEEDING AND MORE WEEDING is your #1 outdoor chore in April.

Sorry, that's probably not what you want to hear.  However, now is the time to pull weeds, especially when the root system is small.  Weeds that go to seed are much more difficult to control.

By the way, did you know there is a Weed Science Society of America?  Check out this link:  http://wssa.net/wssa/weed/articles/wssa-neverletemsetseed/

The article discusses pretty much what you'd expect...how and why it's important to tackle weeds early in the year. 

This is what you can look forward to if you don't tackle the problem now. 

These thistle weeds are both sticky and prickly.  Not your ideal situation.  

Cute Gardening Story...

When I was at the hardware store recently, I noticed the man in front of me was purchasing a dozen tomato plants. After he left, I asked the owner, "What kind of plants did that guy purchase?"  The owner responded, "Practice plants."

Now, having planted my share of tomato plants, I know what a tomato plant looks like.  So I had to ask, " What are practice plants?"  

" Well, said the owner, " we get a few days of warm weather, and folks get into this all-fired hurry to set out tomato plants. I tell them it's not safe till May.  If you set them out now, you'll need to cover them up at night or the frost will kill them. They never listen."
" Then they come back in here complaining that their tomato plants died, and buy replacements.  That's why I call them practice plants.  Happens every year."

Love this story!  

Planting your Spring Garden

This article is devoted to the happiest time of year in my garden.  Spring planting really brings a smile to my face.

Local nurseries are full of premium plant material at the moment.  Shop now for the best choices.

I love to plant, but I confess I'm not much good at recognizing what plant looks best in which location.  That's the reason I finally succumbed to a professional landscape design. 

Yes, it was a blow to my pride to admit that I needed help.  However, for years I just planted whatever looked pretty to me.  Plants were growing willy-nilly without any defined shape or form.

So, I swallowed my pride and asked for help.  Even after 12 years of virtually no maintenance, here's what my formal gardens looked like last year.

The purple Japanese Iris will bloom later this spring.  They're always a favorite of mine.
There are four separate gardens in the front of our offices.  A flagstone pathway leads in and out of the gardens on each side of the building.  There's a dwarf magnolia tree planted right in the center of the four gardens.

We offer design services in-house.  Our general manager, Dave Lee, graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Landscape Design.  Call and let us offer you a free, no-cost consultation.

By the way, please remember not to start your spring planting in a messy garden.  Just like you don't wash dishes in a dirty sink, you need to make sure you've cleaned the winter debris out of your landscape beds. 

Weeds and rotting leaves can harbor disease that will kill tender young plants.  Besides, who wants a beautiful new azalea bush in the middle of weed growth?

But the work doesn't end once the plants are in the ground.  Mulching, watering and fertilizing play important parts in the healthy, blooming success of your springtime flower bed too.

I also plant a lot of vegetables in my raised bed gardens.  In fact, I started heirloom tomatoes from seed in late February.  They're still inside, enjoying indirect sunlight in front of our sliding glass doors. 

Here's a look at some of last year's triumphs:

We picked these huge zucchinis and the big head of purple cauliflower on June 15th last year.  I baked over 20 loaves of zucchini bread last year.  We still have loaves stashed away in our freezer!