Plant of the Month
The Squash Family
Why is squash the plant of the month in November?
Well ... pumpkins and winter squash belong to this family and what is fall without pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns and butternut squash soup? And how could we ever have Thanksgiving dinner without pumpkin pie for desert?
Pumpkins have come to represent the end of the harvest season and many have used these colorful "squash" and other members of the cucurbit family for creating festive fall displays.
Cool Shapes and Colors
Gourds, squash and pumpkins come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some of the new varieties of warted gourds look just like they've come out of a science fiction movie.
If you choose to grow your own pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash, you can not only decorate for fall, but you can use some of them in your favorite fall and holiday cooking recipes.
Mark's favorite varieties:
Crown of Thorns, Penguin, Speckled Swan, Birdhouse, Caveman's Club, and Big Apple.
Howdens, Dill's Atlantic Giant, and Racer.
Sweet Dumpling, Acorn, Buttercup, Waltham, Butternut, Jarrahdale, Sunshine, Long Island Cheese, Turks Turban, Cinderella, Fairytale, and Blue Hubbard.
Harvesting and Storage
Gourds such as Big Apple, Bottle or Speckled Swan should be harvested with 2-3 inch stems after the vines die back. They can then be hung to dry in a well ventilated place. Curing and drying should take place slowly and can take 6 months to a full year at 50� - 60�F. Temperatures above 60�F may cause too much mold to grow.
Pumpkins must first be cured before they will store well. To cure pumpkins, store them in a warm, dry location at 70� - 80�F for one to two weeks. After curing, they should be stored in a warm, dry area at 50� - 60�F. These will keep for 2-3 months.
Fall and Winter Squash are best stored at 50� - 60�F. Be sure to handle them carefully to avoid bruising and be sure they get good air circulation.
A large blue hubbard squash is great for fall and winter eating
Mark's Favorite Recipe
Many of the squash and pumpkins can be used for cooking purposes.
One of Mark's favorite recipes for acorn squash, Butternut, or Buttercup squash is as follows:
Wash and carefully cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
Lay the cut side down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water and bake at 350�F for 30-60 min. until tender.
Remove the squash (be careful, the water is very hot) and place them in a baking dish, cut side up.
Brush the surface with butter and apply 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar in each half. Add maple syrup, fruit, or applesauce in the scooped out area if desired. Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Broil the squash at 450�F until lightly browned.
Check your seed catalogs this winter and plan to grow some of these really neat cucurbits next year!
More Shrub Tips
|As I was talking with my sister in Vermont last night, she reminded me of another great shrub tip for those that live in areas where heavy snow can damage broadleaf evergreen shrubs like boxwood. Before this recent early snow, Leslie went out and tied up some of her shrubs that had not yet lost their leaves so the weight of the snow would not destroy them. |
Many of us who have evergreen shrubs or hedges have experienced this devastation, but a little work in the early winter can help avoid the problem.
Here are the details! Though this tip refers to repairing damage after the fact, doing this before a snowfall will help prevent the damage to begin with.
Boxwood bound up for winter to prevent snow damage
|If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it along to your gardening friends!|
Bird Feeding Seminar
Our friends at Augusta Coop
Bird Feeding Seminar
Tuesday, Nov. 8th
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Staunton Store Location
Learn more about a great hobby - Bird Feeding!
Click for more details
|Save the Date!|
January 14 & 15, 2012
This exciting event at the new Meadow Event Park will provide eager homeowners,
the opportunity to see, compare and buy the latest products and services to beautify their homes and yards.
Landscapers will create beautiful gardens and be on hand to inspire you to take your yard to the next level.
Shop for the latest in home decor and get advice from the area's best decorators. See the latest in kitchen design & discuss the latest options to upgrade your kitchen to the perfect gathering place.
Join Andre Viette
for an informative gardening seminar on Saturday,
Jan. 14th at 2:00 pm.
Andre's seminar will be followed by a Q&A session and Meet & Greet.
Colorful Euonymus brightens the fall garden!
|Tip of the Month|
November in the Garden - Shrub Care
Lately we've been getting lots of shrub related questions ranging from transplanting to pruning to protecting them in the winter. These were all great questions so I thought I'd make this month's tip all about fall shrub care.
Hydrangea 'Annabelle' can be moved once it goes dormant
in the late fall.
In general, the best time to move or transplant shrubs is when they are dormant. Depending on where you live, this can be any time from late fall through early spring as long as the ground is not frozen or overly wet.
It's easy enough to tell when deciduous shrubs like hydrangea are dormant because they lose their leaves but for broadleaf evergreens, like rhododendron, holly, and boxwood, it's not as clear cut.
Rhododendron leaves curl in freezing temperatures perhaps to conserve water.
Normally, evergreens enter dormancy in the late fall around the same time as deciduous shrubs, however, since they don't lose their leaves, they continue to function physiologically at a reduced rate. Because of this, some experts recommend that evergreen shrubs should not be moved until late winter or early spring. Why? Evergreens continue to lose water through their leaves during the winter and since many of the small water absorbing roots are removed or damaged when a shrub is dug, the remaining root system may not be able to absorb enough water to replace the water that is lost. This leaves the shrub prone to winter burn.
Before you dig your shrub to move it, be sure to first prepare the new planting hole. Select the new location keeping in mind the cultural requirements of the shrub and its size at maturity. Give it plenty of space, you don't want to have to move it again!
- Your planting hole should be at least 3 times as wide but not much deeper than the root ball - that's a big hole! You want the root ball to be be sitting on firm but well-drained soil so it won't sink after it has been planted. Andre's motto for planting trees and shrubs: "Plant them high - Never die!"
- Click for Andre's recommendations for amending the planting hole.
Once you have prepared the new planting hole, you are ready to dig up the shrub you are going to move. It is very important to dig as large a root ball as you can handle, but the size will depend upon the size of the plant.
- In general for shrubs, dig at least 6" of root ball for every 12" of spread of your shrub.
- Click for details on digging a tree or shrub.
Sometimes, especially for evergreens, it is beneficial to root prune before digging the shrub. If you have time to wait before transplanting, this increases the rate of success . It encourages the formation of new feeder roots and reduces transplant shock. Root pruning can be done in the early fall in preparation for moving the shrub the following spring.
Pruning Shrubs in Late Fall
Hybrid Tea Roses
Often during a hard winter, the stems of hybrid tea roses can break at the base due to snow or ice build-up on the plant. Late October and November is a great time to tip back these roses.
- Prune hybrid tea roses back to about 30" from the ground. This should help prevent damage from the weight of ice and snow.
- In the spring, after the danger of cold weather, is the time to do the main pruning of these roses.
Boxwood and Holly for the Holidays!
Pruning of boxwood and holly is done mainly to control size and shape, and to improve the health of the shrub. Annual thinning with hand shears is recognized as one of the best pruning methods for maintaining the health of the shrub. Happily, you can do this type of thinning in early winter when the trimmings can be used for holiday decorating!
Click for tips on thinning boxwood. Holly can be cut for holiday greens in the same way.
Do not prune spring blooming shrubs like azalea, forsythia, and rhododendron now or you will be cutting off all the blooms. The time to prune spring bloomers is right after they finish blooming in the spring.
Protecting Tender Shrubs in Winter
Hydrangea macrophylla may require winter protection
to keep the flower buds
In colder zones, fig trees and certain shrubs like Hydrangea macrophylla, miniature roses, and newly planted roses may need to be provided with some sort of winter protection.
A good way to accomplish this is to surround the shrub with black roofing paper and carefully pack straw or oak leaves inside around the branches and stems. Use stakes to hold the cylinder of roofing paper in place. If the shrub is very wide, you can carefully draw the branches together with twine before making your enclosure of roofing paper.
The black roofing paper is ideal because it not only provides a wind screen, but it also absorbs heat from the sun and keeps the shrub warmer in the winter. You can use burlap in the same way but it doesn't absorb heat the way the roofing paper does.
Oak leaves are the best type of leaves to use as an insulator because they are more resistant to rot and seem to drain better. Maple leaves, sweet gum, and tulip leaves mat easily and get mushy when they get wet. They also breakdown faster than oak leaves. Pine needles are also an excellent choice for insulation.
|Another Christmas Wonderland|
|Visit our Friends ...|
Village Garden Center, Fishersville, VA
A seasonal retail area and gift shop that offers everything for the Christmas and Winter Holiday Season.
The Christmas Shoppe
Open November 4th!
Greenery including trees, wreaths and garlands;
bows, ornaments and decorations of all types.
Mark Viette has "hand selected" a special free ornament that you can pick up when you visit the awesome Christmas Shoppe at Village Garden Center.
Stop by their Christmas Shoppe Open House
Friday, November 4 - 8:00-5:00
Saturday, November 5 - 8:00-5:00
Sunday, November 6 - 12:00-5:00
Be sure to ask for your free ornament when you visit.
One gift per family, please.
Click here for more information.
Holiday Decorating Workshops!
|Thursday, December 1 - 10:00am
Sunday, December 4 - 1:30pm
Basics of Christmas Decorating
with Andre Viette
Andre will demonstrate the basics of decorating for the holidays including working with greens to create attractive wreaths and table arrangements.Learn about:
Preserving greens and Christmas trees, live vs. cut Christmas trees, basics of wreath making including how to make a giant 6 foot wreath, making kissing balls, creating swags and arrangements, making fresh roping.
Friday, December 2 - 10:00am
Saturday, December 3 - 10:30am
Artistic Christmas Designs with Jef Naunchik
Jef is involved in creating the beautiful Christmas Shoppe at Village Garden Center. He makes gorgeous arrangements and displays for the holidays. Come to this great workshop and Jef will teach you some unique techniques for decorating at holiday time.Learn how to make:
Della Robbia wreaths, topiary trees and miniature Christmas trees, swags with fresh greens, boxwood balls, candle rings, and more!
Learn the art of gilding, how to use a glue pot, and how to make beautiful ribbons.
After each workshop, tour Andre and Claire's beautiful home all decorated for the Christmas season.
This Christmas wonderland takes Andre a full two weeks to complete and includes:
Sign up early - space is limited! Sign up by November 11th for a 10% discount!
- A live Christmas tree with snow and colorful ornaments
- A live Christmas tree with crystal, pearls, and crocheted ornaments
- Loads of beautiful arrangements with live greens
- Gold mantle arrangement
- Antique, hand-made ornaments
- Bell collection and colored glass collection
- Santa collection with over 100 Santas
- Beautiful manger arrangement
- Old Christmas card collection, and lots more . . .
- Plus, many wonderful outside arrangements with beautiful greens and colorful berries combined with antique farm tools, sleighs, and sleds!
Each workshop is only only $40.00
($36.00 if you register by 11/11/11).Each participant will take home:
a bundle of mixed evergreen boughs, 3 wreath rings (8", 10", & 12"), 1 spool of floral wire, 1 large oasis block, a 6" design bowl, 15 floral picks, 18 assorted spruce & pine cones, a $10.00 Gift Certificate for Viette perennials to be used next season, and loads of great ideas for your holiday decorating!Pre-registration is required. Call 800-575-5538 for more details & to register.
|Listen to Andre on the radio
every Saturday morning
from 8-11 on
"In the Garden with Andre Viette". Click for a station in your area!
Streamed live from our
flagship station WSVA.
Listen to podcasts.
Now you can listen to Mark
every Sunday morning
from 8-10 on "Easy Gardening"
with Mark Viette.
Visit the "Easy Gardening"
website for live streaming and podcasts of Mark's NEW radio
show as well as tips and other gardening information.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Use the convenient search key to see if we have already addressed your problem!
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|Andre's Next AAA Trip|
including Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the Cotswolds
July 3 - 13, 2012
Join Andre and Claire Viette on this fabulous adventure to England. Visit England's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and HRH Prince Charles' gardens at Highgrove House, and journey to the picturesque Cotswolds. Enjoy guided tours of many beautiful, historic gardens including Hidcote Manor and Blenheim Palace. Also visit Bath and Stonehenge.
Don't miss this wonderful 10-day trip!
Click here for more information.