Crazy petunias—what do we think? by Elizabeth Licata

These are still recovering from shipping trauma Sometimes, I look at my Facebook feed to get inspiration for a post, and this morning yielded a pretty good batch. Peat moss! Back in the news. Oh, here’s a lame tulip video I made back in 2009 (won’t be resharing that). And—this just in, breaking news: according to Garden Center, genetically engineered petunias are (without USDA authorization) being grown and distributed in the US. Under suspicion are some fancy orange, purple and red varieties, including ‘African Sunset,’ ‘Trilogy Red,’ and ‘Trilogy Deep Purple.’ These and other new varieties are touted not only for their vibrant colors, but also because they also spread even more bountifully than Wave types. Which is all fine with me; I can’t get excited about GMOs when it comes to petunias, though I think that whoever is developing these needs to jump through the same regulatory hoops as other breeders. Everyday annuals like petunias and calibrachoa need the excitement of new colors..
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Portrait of a Garden by Thomas Christopher

I had, when I studied horticulture back in the 1970’s, the good fortune to be exposed to the last generation of a great gardening tradition. At the New York Botanical Garden, where I was a student, there were still a number of elderly gardeners who had been trained on great private estates in Europe. They were, often, less innovative than the best of their younger American trained colleagues, but they had a mastery of gardening as a craft that far exceeded anything you will find today. My mentor at the Botanical Garden, for instance, the former director of horticulture, T. H. Everett, had worked his way through a traditional apprenticeship on estates before enrolling at a three-year educational program at Kew. As an apprentice, Everett had had to master, through endless repetition, a vast range of practical techniques. This resulted in a sort of muscle memory that cannot be acquired through books or lectures. Everett’s teachers had bequeathed to him hundreds of years-worth of practica..
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A Retirement Community Created their own Arboretum

Misc Trees A Retirement Community Created their own Arboretum By Arbor Day Foundation | May 15, 2017 Guest post by Rochelle Newman, a resident of Mountain Meadows. My husband and I moved to the Mountain Meadows Retirement Community about eight years ago. The community is more than twenty years old. There are a number of reasons we transplanted from the east coast to Oregon, but the beautiful landscape of the state and Mountain Meadows attracted us the most. The thirty-acre campus was established with great trees, shrubs, and plants, but I saw the potential to make a greater statement. One that would bring awareness about a healthy planet, the need for forests, and the role trees play in health. Trees are especially important to me, even though I was born in Brooklyn, New York, far from forests. As a college professor in the creative arts teaching in Massachusetts, I wrote a series of four interdisciplinary textbooks that bring together art, math, and nature. Seeing Mou..
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10 Mother’s Day Trees with Lasting Beauty

Holiday Landscape Design 10 Mother’s Day Trees with Lasting Beauty By Sheereen Othman | May 13, 2017 Many people appreciate the gift of flowers, but their short life span isn’t always the most practical gift. Trees, when properly planted and cared for, live for generations to come. They serve a myriad of purposes, whether it’s to shade your home, serve as a windbreak, provide food, or simply beautify. Combine the beauty of flowers with the benefits of trees. Spend this Mother’s Day planting a tree with your mother, or in honor of your mother. If you don’t have the physical space for trees, considering planting Trees in Celebration in a forest of need. Time spent amongst trees is never time wasted. Here are 10 gorgeous trees with lasting beauty that will live for years to come. 1.Tilt-A-Swirl Hydrangea-Potted Considered a continuous bloomer, the Tilt-A-Swirl hydrangea produces blossoms that are real show-stoppers. And as the season progresses, the flowers deepen in color..
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Backyard Labyrinths Trending? by Susan Harris

Labyrinths are on the rise, especially at schools and churches, but ones in home gardens like this will never catch on, I predict. That’s because it needs weekly careful mowing, plus frequent pre-edging, so it’s definitely a high-maintenance item. And there’s the expense, too – this one cost $13,000! (Including regrading.) So I’m disagreeing with the Washington Post headline about this one, declaring that “Winding Paths are a New Backyard Trend.” Um, no they’re not. That’s just one of the seven DC-area labyrinths featured in the new documentary “Labyrinth Journeys” by Cintia Cabib. As a fan of her documentary about community gardens, I attended a recent screening, where I learned that labyrinths and mazes are different! You can get lost in mazes, especially those with high vegetative walls, but in labyrinths there’s one way in to the center and one way out. There are no wrong turns, so the experience of walking the labyrinth is meditative, not puzzling. So, is it possible for outdoor..
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Ask an Arborist: How do I Hire an Arborist?

Ask An Arborist Ask an Arborist: How do I Hire an Arborist? By Arbor Day Foundation | May 12, 2017 An arborist is a professional trained in the art and science of planting, caring, and maintaining individual trees. Arborists are required to continue their education to maintain certification. So they’re likely to be well trained on the latest techniques in arboriculture. The day-to-day maintenance of trees may not involve an arborist. But when it comes to tree health and safety, such as diagnosing disease or pruning mature trees, these skilled experts are the best resource to protecting your trees. Before you hire an arborist, there are factors to consider. Hiring an arborist is an investment, but the cost of poor tree care is far greater. Find out how to hire an arborist and where to find one locally. Catch up on Ask an Arborist: The ABC’s of Pruning. arboristTree Caretree expert 0 Comments Share: facebook twitter pinterest googleplus..
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Always Dreaming by Allen Bush

Long lines at the betting window last weekend were not my concern. I piddled around on Derby Day at home—on the couch and in the garden. I dodged rain showers outside, while inside I sidestepped heavy grazing on beef tenderloin, country ham, corn pudding and my niece’s cookies. I set up the bar, took a nap and gathered flowers and foliage from the garden to compose a vase of Derby color for the evening’s party. Kentucky Derby arrangement with Euphorbia characias subs. wulfenii, Phlox carolina ‘Minnie Pearl’, bronze fennel, variegated Solomon’s seal and a mix of Baptisia species—B. australis, B. alba and B. sphaerocarpa. Always Dreaming, the betting favorite, won the Kentucky Derby by 2 ¾ lengths in the slop. My online Derby bets were a bust, but the garden paid off handsomely. Always Dreaming originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 10, 2017.
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White Oak: The King of Kings

Tree of the Week White Oak: The King of Kings By Sheereen Othman | May 9, 2017 Quercus alba “If oak is the king of trees, as tradition has it, then the white oak, throughout its range, is the king of kings.” -Donald Peattie When early settlers discovered forests full of white oaks, they were ecstatic. They discovered a wood that rivaled the cherished English oak. They started using white oak wood in flooring, furniture, bridges, and railroad cars. The durability of white oak is prized so much so that it was commonly used as the keels of mine sweepers and patrol boats during World War II. As with many oak trees, white oak is not only sought after for its strength, but its longevity. White oak trees can live up to 300 years, with some living longer, such as a white oak in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Nicknamed the “Holy Oak,” this white oak tree was believed to be the oldest white oak in the country at 600 years old. The oak tree survived through war and natural disaster a..
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When trees come in handy by Elizabeth Licata

There used to be a beach here at this Lake Ontario park, but the water is now up to the lawn. That’s Toronto really small on the horizon. In our part of the world (and a lot of other places), the weather news has been simple: pouring rain, day in and day out. It just started to let up over the weekend. Rain is supposed to be good news for gardeners, but you’d never know it from the complaints I’m seeing on Facebook: “Still raining, but at least it’s cold” was a recent status from one of my favorite local gardeners. From others, I hear that their backyards are under water and their basements are flooding. More seriously, local rivers, streams, and lakes (of which we have many) are also overflowing, burying docks and other structures on private and public property. No weather news is good news for everybody. Water, thank goodness, is usually good news for me, though, because of a couple factors. Our house is on higher ground and it is surrounded by maple trees, complete with water-abso..
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Meet the New On-Camera Gardening Guru by Susan Harris

Laura LeBoutillier was working at her parents’ garden center in Eastern Oregon, and husband Aaron was working at the local cable company. Their lives changed when Aaron bought a new camera that happened to also take video and a relative suggested he use it to make instructional ones with Laura as the on-camera expert. So in June of 2014 the couple launched a Youtube channel called Garden Answer and decided to give it a while to succeed. Then just before their trial period was over someone recommended the videos to the folks at Proven Winners, who liked what they saw and decided to hire Laura and Aaron to do videos for them. As PW’s Director of Marketing Marshall Dicks told Greenhouse Grower, the couple “had a half million followers on their Garden Answer Facebook page and more than 32 million views on their videos in the two years they had been making these videos.” So he traveled to meet them and “made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: being paid to make these same videos, full ti..
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