April E-News from Viette's                                       Volume 8: No. 4

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                                      April/2012

Viette gardens in spring Happy Spring!

April is a wonderful time to be out working in the garden.

Plant a new tree or shrub, prepare a new perennial bed, plant your potatoes, but don't get too ambitious and plant
your tender annuals or tomatoes, there
are still some cold nights ahead!
Quick Links

Viette Garden Center Opening April 13th    

Come for a visit and spend some time wandering through our extensive gardens.   

Gerry Coggin
Our Garden Center manager, Gerry Coggin, is always happy to help you with your gardening problems and questions.
The Garden Center will have a limited inventory for a little while until spring decides to stay for keeps but we should be fully stocked by the beginning of May if not sooner.
We can't rush Mother Nature and she's being very fickle this year!

Plant of the Month
beautiful crabapple blossoms are a delight in the spring.
Beautiful crabapple blossoms
are a delight in the spring.
Flowering Crabapples
Trees with
four-season beauty

Crabapples (Malus) are wonderful trees for the landscape because they are beautiful through all four seasons - even winter.
In the spring
, they are most amazing! A crabapple in full bloom is nearly unsurpassed in beauty by any other spring blooming tree. By carefully choosing different cultivars and hybrids, you can achieve a long season of spring bloom extending even into June.
A beautiful double flowering crabapple.
A beautiful double flowering crabapple.
Crabapples make wonderful understory shade trees with attractive foliage through the summer season, and come fall, the brilliant autumn color comes not from foliage but from the colorful dangling fruits which stand out even more once the leaves drop; shades of red, orange, and yellow just like autumn leaves!
These colorful yellow crabapples brighten one the fall gardens at Viette's.
Colorful yellow crabapples brighten one the fall gardens at Viette's.
Many of these fruits will persist into winter (if the birds don't devour them all) adding color to the beautiful silhouette of the leafless trees.

Beautiful Diversity
The crabapples are a very diverse group of trees. They vary in flower color (white to shades of pink to red) and timing of bloom, in fruit color (red to orange to yellow, even green), and also fruit size. The different sizes and shapes of the trees themselves also add to their diversity.
Malus 'Red Jade' is a wonderful weeping crabapple. It is gorgeous in all seasons!
Malus 'Red Jade' is a wonderful weeping crabapple. It is gorgeous
in all seasons!
Feed the Hungry!
One of the great benefits of having some beautiful crabapples in your landscape is that the fruit provides an excellent source of food for the wild birds in the area. Many different birds will be attracted to your home including waxwings, bluebirds, wrens, robins, and mockingbirds. According to Andre, the small fruited varieties (fruit less than 3/4") are preferred by birds. The fruit is a little hard in the beginning, but after a few freezes they shrivel a bit and soften up making them much easier for the birds to eat! The squirrels, chipmunks, and deer enjoy the larger crabapples especially after they fall from the tree.
Deer and squirrels enjoy the larger crabapples!
Deer and squirrels enjoy the
larger crabapples!
Choose Good Varieties
When choosing crabapple varieties to plant in your landscape, be sure to check for disease resistance. Many crabapple varieties are prone to diseases like rust, fire blight, powdery mildew, apple scab, and leaf spot. However, there are loads of beautiful disease resistant hybrids to choose from. Andre has compiled a list of over 60 different named varieties that are his favorite disease resistant crabapples.

Plant a new one in your garden this spring!
A beautiful grouping of flowering crabapples.
A beautiful grouping of flowering crabapples in the Viette gardens.
One of a Kind! 
A NYO Viette Daylily
Our very unique
"Name Your Own Viette Daylily"
Looking for a unique and unforgettable gift? 

Don't know what to get the special person in your life who has everything?
Show someone close to your heart that you really care about them by naming a daylily in their honor. Each of these personally hand selected, one-of-a-kind daylilies are hybrids of some of the very best Viette daylilies.

There is nothing like  
it in the world!

What could be more memorable than giving a gift of a beautiful one-of-a-kind daylily named after someone special to show your love or appreciation? 

These show quality Viette hybrids will also make a wonderful heartfelt tribute or memorial. Honor a holiday, an achievement, an anniversary, or a special occasion with this unique gift.  
You can officially register your daylily on the Daylily Registry of the American Hemerocallis Society. 
This is such a cool idea! Divisions of your beautiful daylily can be shared with family members and be enjoyed all summer long right in the back yard! 

Give us a call today at 800-575-5538 for more information on purchasing this unique gift.  
Tip of the Month 
Spring has come early this year!
Flowering quince
The flowering quince are beautiful
in the gardens right now.

It's pretty obvious that spring has come early this year. Blooms that usually come in April have come and gone or are on their way out at this point. Most of the daffodils have finished blooming except for the very late varieties but these will soon be past as well. The beautiful crabapples, dogwoods, and redbuds that usually bloom in mid April have been in full bloom in the Viette gardens for more than a week! The azaleas that normally bloom in late April or early May are beginning to flower right now - the first week in April and the PJM Rhododendrons started even earlier! 


So ... what does this mean for our gardening calendar? 


Well, to give you fair warning, it's not just the plants that are early this year - the "bugs" and diseases are showing up way ahead of schedule, too. Best be on the lookout! We've already had reports of some of these pests and diseases.  

Tent caterpillars
Tent caterpillars hatched out
early this year.


Tent Caterpillars:

These guys hatched out way early this year. Normally, we don't see them until mid April or later. But they are already here, and now, while they are small and more vulnerable, is the time to launch your attack against them. Here are some controls:

  • Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a naturally occurring bacteria that produces a toxin that kills many different types of caterpillars when it is ingested. Just mix it up, spray the foliage, and they will eat it! Best of all - this bacteria won't harm beneficial insects. Bt is listed for organic gardening and is approved for use on edibles.
    Look for Bonide Thuricide (BT) liquid.
         Apply according to the label directions. 
  • Bonide Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew is another good choice for killing these destructive caterpillar pests. This product is also listed for organic gardening and will not harm most beneficial insects. It is approved for use on edibles and ornamental plants.
  • Mechanical destruction of the webs and caterpillars is another way to get rid of them but this is not recommended for the squeamish! You can take a stick or pole, shove it into the web, and wind the nest, caterpillars and all, up on the end of the stick and then crush them with your foot.
  • Bayer Advanced has introduced a new formulation of their 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed II that is listed for tent caterpillars. This product cannot be used for edibles! Read and follow all label directions.  
Fall cankerworm; Joseph Berger,
Fall cankerworm;
Joseph Berger,


From what we are hearing, the cankerworms, a.k.a. inchworms, are out in force this year and, like the tent caterpillars, they also appeared early this year. These small caterpillars don't build webs but move from tree to tree on silken strands devouring leaves and chewing holes in young fruit. Controls for cankerworms are similar to those recommended for the tent caterpillars:

  • Bonide Thuricide (Bt)
  • Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew  
  • Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub
         Protect & Feed II 
Diplodia Tip Blight
Diplodia on Mugo pine
Diplodia Tip Blight:

Diplodia tip blight is a common fungal disease seen in many pines such as Mugo pine, Scotch pine, Austrian pine, and red pine. The diplodia fungus infects and kills the current year's growth and symptoms appear as the browning, stunting, and twisting of the new shoots.  


Fungicides can help control diplodia but the timing of the application is very important.  


The first application must be made just prior to bud break when the buds begin to swell (before any bud sheaths have broken). Depending on where you live, this is usually late April or early May.  


This year, watch for this to occur much earlier and be ready to act! After the bud sheaths have broken, spraying with fungicides is a waste of time and money!

Recommended fungicides include:

  • Cleary's 3336, Bonide Mancozeb with zinc, Bonide Copper Fungicide, and Daconil.   

Read more about controlling diplodia tip blight. 


Cedar-apple rust gall. Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.
Cedar-apple rust gall

Cedar-Apple Rust: 

Watch for those funky-looking cedar-apple rust galls on your eastern red cedars. They will probably be showing up early, too. 


If you have susceptible apple trees or crabapples, be prepared to protect them with a fungicide spray as soon as you see the fleshy tendrils growing from the galls on the cedars. Once the symptoms appear on the apple trees, fungicides will not be effective. When the tendrils on the galls have shriveled up and dried, fungicide applications are no longer necessary.

Recommended fungicides for rust diseases include:

More about cedar-rust disease and from our blog

 Upcoming Appearances in April 
Saturday, April 14 - 1:00pm
The Great Big Greenhouse - Richmond, VA  
Andre VietteJoin Andre for an informative gardening talk:
"Gardening with Little
        or No Work"

Andre will talk about the best gardening practices for flower gardening, vegetables, lawns, and fruit trees including some of the best trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals for your garden. He will discuss gardening solutions for various insects, diseases, mites and weeds. With spring here, Andre will also give you tips on fertilizing your lawn, lawn weed control, and seeding a new lawn. 
Andre will take your gardening questions following the lecture.
   The Great Big Greenhouse is located at: 
2051 Huguenot Road, Richmond, VA 23235   
Phone: (804) 320-1317

Click for details!   

Andre's appearance brought to you by Bonide    

Saturday, April 21 - 7:30am - 3:00pm
Christopher Newport University
15th Annual Gardening Symposium
    Join Andre at 1:30pm for a gardening lecture:
"Best Native and Exotic Plants for your Garden"

This year's symposium will include plant sales, door prizes and workshops on woodland plants, container gardening, and garden design using native and exotic varietals.

Saturday, April 28 - 1:30pmm

Merrifield Garden Center - Gainesville, VA
Join Andre for a gardening lecture:
"The Exciting World of Perennials"

From the Viette's Views Blog ...
04-02-2012 18:43:47 PM

Dogwood blooms are great for forcing into bloom indoors in early spring.Our woods are full of native dogwoods (Cornus florida). In the spring, their white "flowers" provide a colorful and very beautiful effect in the awakening forest. We're just beginning to see that this week. In a few days, the woods will come alive with soft clouds of white as the dogwood bracts expand to their [...]...�


Cedar-apple rust gall. Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.03-22-2012 18:09:41 PM

It's very obvious that our spring has come early this year. The flowering trees at Viette's are popping with amazing color and the spring bulbs are up and filling the gardens with more bright splashes of color. But along with these very welcome spring flowers, come a host of not so welcome early spring bloomers [...]...�


03-14-2012 15:24:06 PM

Believe it or not, I followed my own advice this weekend! I sprayed my fruit trees with Bonide All Seasons Oil. I have mentioned in many of our February and March newsletters and advised countless garden center customers that a late winter/early spring application of horticultural oil is one of the most important sprays to [...]...�
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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Having trouble getting through on the radio?
  Visit our Discussion Board!

Use the convenient search key
to see if we have already addressed your problem!
Don't see the answer? Post your question!
It's easy.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it along to your gardening friends!


Andre's Next AAA Trips
July 3 - 13, 2012
 London, England

including Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the Cotswolds

Beautiful English  countryside
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.
Hurry - there are just a few spaces left on this trip. 

Click here for more information.  

Click for a brochure about the trip. 



February 18 - March 1st, 2013

View of the harbor from the Viette home in St. Thomas.
View of the harbor from the
Viette home in St. Thomas
11-Day Southern Caribbean Cruise


Mark your calendar to join Andre and Claire Viette on Holland America's Noordam for an 11-day Southern Caribbean Cruise. 


Explore the unspoiled natural beauty and tropical beaches of the Caribbean. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy diving around colorful reefs, snorkeling in crystalline waters, or sailing on a catamaran. If shopping is your sport, you'll find plenty of places to splurge on duty-free treasures.  


You'll visit 7 beautiful islands of the Caribbean and have the opportunity to enjoy private shore excursions including the fabulous 5 acre hilltop home and gardens of the Viettes. 

 Watch for more details to come! 

Our Friends and Sponsors 
Harpers Statuary & Water GardensBonide

Clear  Choice
PureSpray Green

Black Gold Wet & Forget

Augusta Coop