February E-News from Viette's                       Volume 8: No. 2

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                          February/2012

Dicentra spectabilisEnjoy a bit of Spring
at a Flower & Garden Show near you!!

It may be the middle of winter but spring is right around the corner
at the Flower Show!

Find out what's new in gardening this year!
Join Mark at the Maymont Flower & Garden Show on Saturday, February 11th
Details below
Quick Links

Plant of the Month 

Dicentra spectabilis 

 Dicentra spectabilis


Bleeding Heart


Jewels of the Shade!
Dicentra spectabilis, more commonly known as "Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart", is one of the most strikingly beautiful spring blooming perennials and it seems very appropriate to name this plant as the February Plant of the Month.
It's easy to see why they are called
It's easy to see why they are called "Bleeding Hearts"

Beginning in April, Dicentra spectabilis is covered with deep pink and white heart-shaped flowers that dangle from gracefully arching branches and if kept evenly moist, it can continue to bloom from 4 to 6 weeks. It forms a beautiful, airy mounded clump up to 36" tall and 36" wide.
Dicentra spectabilis
Dicentra spectabilis forms a beautiful clump in the shade garden.
A striking Dicentra spectabilis cultivar that really stands out in the shade garden is 'Gold Heart' which has vivid golden foliage with the same deep pink heart-shaped flowers as the species. Very cool!
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'

White bleeding hearts?
There is also a white blooming cultivar of the old-fashioned bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'. This is stunning in a lightly shaded garden.
Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'
Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'

Everblooming varieties
If you prefer a smaller, more compact bleeding heart that blooms through most of the season, try one of the everblooming varieties. These will bloom fairly continuously especially if the spent flower stems are removed. Dicentra 'Luxuriant' is a nice everbloomer with fern-like green foliage and deep pink flowers that bloom from May through September. 'King of Hearts' is another everblooming variety with bold cherry pink flowers that contrast nicely with its beautiful fringed blue-green foliage. 
Dicentra 'King of Hearts'
Dicentra 'King of Hearts'
flourishes in humus-rich, evenly moist soil. In warmer climates, they do best when planted in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. In more northern zones, they prefer more sun but it is still important to keep the soil moist.
During the heat of summer, Dicentra spectabilis begins a dormant period. At this time, the foliage will begin to turn yellow and die back. This is normal for these plants and they can be cut back to the ground at this time. Be sure to plant some summer and fall blooming perennials around them to fill the void after they are cut back. The everblooming varieties do not generally go dormant.

Great Companions
All species of Dicentra are great in combination with spring-blooming bulbs,
Epimedium, Heuchera, and
Polemonium in a light shade border or with ferns, hosta, and Polygonatum
in a woodland garden.
Try some of these delightful garden flowers this year and bring back some good "old-fashioned" gardening into the 21st century!


Upcoming Appearances 

Andre Viette
March 24-25

Daffodil Festival  

A full weekend of family fun at the 26th Annual Daffodil Festival in Gloucester, Virginia.  


 Saturday, March 24th Join Andre in the morning for a live broadcast of his "In the Garden with Andre Viette" radio show and then a gardening seminar at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Click for more details! 


April 14th

The Great Big Greenhouse
   Richmond, Virginia.
Andre will be giving a seminar in the afternoon.   
Watch for details

April 28th - 1:30 PM  
Merrifield Garden Center 
   Gainesville, VA location
Andre will be presenting a gardening seminar: 
"The Exciting World
of Perennials"
More information

Hope to see you there!

If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it along to your gardening friends!
Tip of the Month 
Voles can be damaging to plants especially in winter.
Voles can be damaging to plants
especially in winter.
Managing Voles, Moles, and Mice!

This tip was first published in January, 2011 but lately we've had so many calls and questions about these guys that we thought it was worth a "rerun"!
Most gardeners think of moles when they notice that some critter is tunneling under their yard or garden.  However, when plants and bulbs start disappearing, moles have nothing to do with it.  Moles are insectivores, which means they only eat bugs, grubs and worms.  If plants are falling over from chewed roots and bulbs are no longer where you planted them, you probably have voles.
Both pine voles (Microtus pinetorum) and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are responsible for winter damage to trees and shrubs. Pine voles are especially fond of root tissue and over a winter can chew and destroy the entire root system of a small tree. Meadow voles prefer feeding on the bark at or near ground level often girdling the tree and causing it to decline and eventually die.
Moles tunnel under the soil creating raised mounds in the lawn and garden.
Moles are insectivores that tunnel through the soil creating raised
mounds in the lawn and gardens.

tunnel through the soil creating raised mounds in your gardens and lawn. Their main prey is earthworms but they devour grubs and insects as well. Since moles are carnivores not herbivores, they generally are not responsible for damage to plants. In fact on the bright side, they are often eating grubs and insects that you would consider pests in your garden! However, the mounds and tunnels they create in the lawn and garden are unsightly and annoying. These tunnels are also sometimes used by voles as a superhighway to delicious plant roots!
Controlling Moles and Voles in the Lawn and Garden

Moles and voles can be difficult to get rid of and some say the only way is to trap them. many of our gardening friends have had success with certain repellents such as:

These repellents are biodegradable and safe to use around children and pets when used according to label directions.


Another Innovative Idea!

One Sunday on Mark's "Easy Gardening" radio show, we had a listener who has had great success in ridding her yard of moles with a unique and inexpensive technique.


She found that filling the openings of the mole tunnels with used kitty litter caused the moles to completely move away. She did this at the beginning of the summer, reapplied one time, and never had a problem after that! For those of us that have indoor cats, it certainly is worth a try. Our listener, Betty, from New Jersey swears by it! I bet it would work for voles as well. I noticed some vole holes in my front garden so I'm going to try it. I'll let you know if it works for me!


Click here for some tips on protecting your trees (including fruit trees) from vole damage.


Mice can be damaging to overwintering plants.
Mice can be damaging to overwintering plants.

Protect your overwintering containers from mice

Mice (and voles, too) can become a problem for overwintering plants like tropicals or even potted trees and shrubs that you just didn't get a chance to plant before winter set in. Sometimes these pesky rodents can sneak into the garage or shed where your plants are overwintering and cause damage to bark and roots.  


A great solution to this problem is Bonide Mouse Magic. This all natural mouse repellent is very effective and easy to use. Mouse Magic comes in long-lasting "place packets" and is safe to use around children and pets.  


Of course you could always get a cat!  

maymontA Little Bit of Spring in the Middle of Winter!
Don't Miss It!  

Maymont Flower & Garden Show 
February 9th - 12th, 2012
Virginia's long-standing harbinger of spring, will offer you the latest in horticulture, gardens, seminars and a marketplace filled with goodies that will have you dreaming of spring.

The Maymont Flower Show attracts thousands of flower and garden enthusiasts annually form throughout Virginia, highlighting fabulous display gardens, the Garden Marketplace, top-quality seminars and so much more!
Mark Viette
Join Mark Viette
for an informative gardening seminar on Saturday,
February 11th at 12:00 pm 
"Landscaping for Small Spaces"
You don't have to have an "estate" sized property to have beautiful landscaping around your home. "Take your yard back" from the static look of plain green lawn and gum drops. Join Mark as he teaches you how to create an exciting, dynamic landscape for your yard. He will show you how to provide color, movement, and create the magic of the unfolding seasons throughout the year. Lean how to select the "best of the best" for your landscape. 
Mark will also provide tips for easy gardening from 3 generations of the Viette family. 

From the Viette's Views Blog ...
01-25-2012 18:57:12 PM

What a strange winter we are having this year! Warm and wet, then colder and dry. Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind. Personally, I've been waiting all winter for a nice snow storm. Even while we were in Vermont over Christmas and New Year's, [...]...�


01-20-2012 15:53:07 PM

It's January and that means it's garden planning time. At our house January means vegetable garden planning time because this is when all our vegetable seed catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. Saturday mornings in January are often spent browsing through these over a steaming cup of coffee or two. This year we are [...]...�


Moss in the lawn01-10-2012 19:39:18 PM

Yesterday I received this question on our Viette discussion board: Moss is taking over the yard and choking out the grass. Hmmm, this sounds familiar! Much of my lawn is more moss covered than grass covered. The thing is that moss doesn't really choke out the grass but rather it slowly creeps in and thrives [...]...�

Planning a Successful Veggie Garden 
In these days of skyrocketing food prices, more and more families are turning towards growing their own vegetables. And why not? It's fun, it's healthy, and it saves money on your food bills!
Fresh vegetables from the garden are a delicious and healthy treat.
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. 
The trick to having a really great vegetable garden is to plan ahead
. This is especially true if you have only a small space to work with (as small as 10' x 10'). 

Growing a garden for the first time?
  • Be sure to choose a good location that gets plenty of sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight). For convenience, consider placing your garden near a source of water.
  • Don't be too ambitious! Choose a plot size that is manageable. Take it from me, there is nothing more discouraging than a large garden that has more weeds than vegetables! 
Choosing Seed
There are some really exciting new varieties of vegetables available 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.
  • Order your seeds early so you have them in time to start some crops indoors to get a jump on the season.
  • Check out some of Andre and Mark's favorite seed companies.
Succession planting
You can grow a continuous supply of vegetables in a small space if you plan carefully, map out your garden space for the whole season, and plant a succession of crops. There are many different vegetables lend themselves easily to this type of gardening.
  • Plan the space you will allot to each vegetable, then divide this space into 2-4 sections depending on how many crops you have time to grow (check the days to harvest to make sure your last crop has time to mature).
  • Plant the 1st section at the normal planting time, and then plant successive crops in the other sections every two weeks after this. As one crop is beginning to finish up, the next crop should be ready (or almost ready) to harvest.
  • This is a great way to have a constant supply of fresh vegetables through the gardening season without having too many at any one time.
  • This type of succession planting is great for bush beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, radishes, lettuce and even tomatoes.
Crop Rotation
Plan your garden carefully to avoid planting the same crops in the same place year after year.
For more information, watch Mark Viette's video tips on planning a vegetable garden. 
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 8-11 on
"In the Garden with Andre Viette".

Click for a station in your area!
Streamed live from our
flagship station WSVA.
Listen to podcasts.  


Mark Viette  answers a listeners call during a live broadcast.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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Andre's Next AAA Trip
London, England

including Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the CotswoldsBeautiful English  countryside


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.  

Click for a brochure about the trip. 


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