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The Garden Mix



Make plans now to join Melinda on her famous Garden Walks at Boerner Botanical Gardens in 2014!

Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.
Posts from May 2013


Herbs for Grilling
Make it fun and convenient to add some homegrown flavor to your cookouts.  Grow a few herbs in a pot or garden right next to the grill. 

Include some rosemary.  Better yet try the variety Barbeque.  The foliage is known for its especially good flavor and aroma suited to cooking.  Plus, the strong stems on these plants make the perfect skewer, something your guests are sure to remember.
 
The fine texture of dill combines nicely with colorful flowers and the flavor combines nicely with fish.  Grow in a container and harvest regularly to keep the plant looking its best.  And watch for seedlings in next year’s garden.
 
Add a bit of lemon flavor to chicken or fish with lemon verbena.  It’s suited to containers and grows to 6 feet tall in zones 9 and 10.  Harvest a few sprigs, gently crush to release the flavor and place on chicken or fish.
 
A bit more information:  Use herbs when grilling your favorite vegetables.  Basil, marjoram, oregano and thyme are a few that add a bit of extra flavor to your favorite grilled veggies.  And don’t forget the chives.  The leaves and flowers are edible and great on potatoes and much more.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Cankers (Sunken discolored areas) on Trees
The answer to your tree problem may lie just below the surface, of the bark that is. 
 
Sunken discolored areas, called cankers, are outward symptoms of problems inside the tree.  These cankers can be caused by physical damage from weed whips and mowers, diseases such as fireblight or stress such as extreme heat, flooding and drought.
 
Reduce these risks and increase your tree’s health and beauty with proper planting and care.  Select the most disease-resistant tree suited to your climate, growing conditions and available space.
 
Plant so the root flare is at or slightly above the soil surface.  Mulch the soil with a 2 to 3 inch layer of shredded bark or woodchips.  Be sure to keep the mulch a couple inches away from the trunk of the tree.
 
Water plants thoroughly when needed.  Keep the soil of new plantings slightly moist.  Water established trees when the top 4 to 6 inches is crumbly and starting to dry.
 
A bit more information:  Find the cause before managing cankers.  In general, you will prune these out at least 6 sometimes 12 inches below the sunken discolored area.  Destroy the cankered prunings and disinfect tools with a 10% bleach solution or alcohol between cuts.  This helps reduce the spread of disease.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Edible Ornamental Container Gardens
Make it beautiful and edible by adding a few flowers to your vegetable container plantings. 

For sunny locations try one of these colorful combinations.  Use an orange fruited pepper, like Yummy, as your focal point in a 20-inch pot.  Dress it up with the orange flowered Dreamsicle calibrachoa and add some texture with the dark green foliage of curled parsley.
 
Or use Gretel eggplant as your vertical interest.  Add the light airy Diamond Frost euphorbia for contrasting texture and white flowers that echo Gretel’s white fruit. Then allow some tricolor sage with its cream, purplish-pink and green leaves to spill over the edge of the pot.
 
Shady combinations work as well.  Use greens as your edibles and more shade tolerant flowers for these combinations.  Bright Lights Swiss Chard makes a nice vertical accent.  Then add some golden moneywort and wishbone flower, also known as Torenia.
 
A bit more information: When selecting edibles for containers look for dwarf or compact varieties and those with colorful foliage, flowers, and fruit.  And consider increasing the beauty and your harvest by including edible flowers like calendula, daylilies and roses.  And avoid using pesticides on flowers you plan to eat. 

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Low Maintenance – Big Impact Perennials
Don’t let a lack of time, energy or space stop you from growing perennials.  Instead select and grow low maintenance plants with big impact. 
 
Start with your design.  Once you develop your plan, cut the number of different perennials in half and double the number of each.  You will have fewer perennials to identify as they emerge in spring, less maintenance to learn and bigger impact.
 
Edge your beds to keep unwanted grass out of the bed and make managing the surrounding lawn much easier. I dig a small trench around the edge of my gardens and fill with woodchips.
 
Always select plants suited to your climate, soil and natural rainfall.  You’ll have healthier and more beautiful plants with much less work.
 
Look for perennials that require no staking and little or no deadheading.  Avoid those that reseed, are aggressive and do not plant perennials that tend to escape the garden and invade our natural spaces.
 
A bit more information:  Use color to help increase the impact without increasing the number of plants.  Warm colors of red, orange and yellow grab your attention. Repeat colors, known as color echoing, from one plant to another to provide unity and balance.  Use complementary colors, those across from each other on the artist color wheel, like red and green and blue and yellow to create a focal point.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Grow Your Own Pickles & Celebrate National Pickle Week
Celebrate National Pickle Week by growing a few of your own cucumbers for pickling.

All you need are a few seeds, a sunny location and a bit of garden space or a large container.  Train these large vining plants up a fence, trellis or decorative obelisk to save space.
 
Consider planting National Pickling Cucumber Seeds developed by the National Pickle Packers Association and Michigan Agriculture Experiment station.  These were bred for their versatility and perfect pickle shape.  You’ll be harvesting cucumbers in about 52 days after planting.
 
Or save some space with Bush pickle.  This cucumber forms a 3 to 4 foot wide mound and produces an abundance of 4-inch fruit.  It’s a perfect size for containers.  And save even more space and grow straighter fruit by training these smaller plants up a cage or trellis.  Cucumbers are ready to pick in about 45 days.
 
A bit more information:  Cucumbers are generally ready to harvest in 45 to 60 days after planting.  This makes them a great option for mid and late season plantings.  Just calculate the number of frost-free days left in the growing season to see how late you can plant.  And further extend the season by using floating row covers like ReeMay, Harvest Guard, and Frost Covers to protect plants from frosty weather.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Celebrate Clean Air Month – Grow Some Air-Purifying Houseplants
Celebrate National Clean Air Month by growing a few houseplants to improve your indoor air quality. 

NASA teamed up with PLANET (Professional Landcare Network, formerly ALCA) and found adding 15 to 18, 6 to 8 inch diameter container houseplants will improve the air quality in an 1800 square foot house.  Keeping them healthy will increase their beauty and ability to cleanse the air.
Consider adding a bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii).  Use this large houseplant to create a warm welcome for guests, dress up a blank wall or mix in with other houseplants for an impressive indoor garden.

This palm is an understory plant in Central America.  It is hardy in zones 10 to 11 and adapted to the lower light conditions indoors.  Grow it in a brightly lit location and keep the soil slightly moist.
Cut off fronds as they die, leaving the leafy stem covering intact.  Once it is fully dried, remove to expose the attractive stems.

A bit more information:  Start new plants by division.  Remove suckers and offshoots that form at the base of the plant.  Slide the bamboo palm out of its pot.  Use a sharp knife or drywall saw to separate the offshoots from the main plant.  Repot the parent plant and offshoots in a container slightly larger than the remaining root ball.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Perennial Garden Renovations
Give your tired perennial garden a boost without a total renovation. Topdressing your garden with compost every year or two provides most if not all the nutrients your perennials need.

Pull back the mulch if needed.  Then spread an inch of compost over the soil surface.  You can buy a quality compost or make your own.
 
Leave the compost on the surface or lightly mix it into the soil.  The earthworms, ground beetles, and other organisms will take it from there – moving the compost into the soil and around the plant roots where it is needed.
 
Or, do a bit of vertical mulching.  Use an auger bit on your cordless drill.  Simply drill holes into the soil between plants.   Then fill the holes with compost.  This gets the compost closer to the plant roots and soil organisms that will help mix it into and improve the soil.
 
Soil preparation and repair will help transform your garden.
 
A bit more information:  Apply a plant strengthener such as JAZ spray to increase plant vigor and their natural ability to tolerate environmental stresses, insect attacks, and disease problems.  These natural products aren’t fertilizers or pesticides.  They can be applied to established plants at the beginning of the season to boost their ability to deal with stress or as soon as problems arise.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Growing Banana Plants Indoors or Out
Add a bit of the tropics indoors or out with a banana plant. 
 
The large leaves are great for screening views and creating a bit of privacy on a balcony, patio or in the yard.  Add a wicker planter or chair and you have your own tropical get-away.

The fiber banana (Musa basjoo) is hardy in zones 5 to 11.  It grows in full sun.  It will die back to the ground and benefit from winter mulch in northern areas of its hardiness zone.
 
Less hardy and smaller, the blood banana (Musa acuminata ‘Zebrina’), has large leaves with red markings on 6 to 8 foot plants.  It’s only hardy in zones 10 to 11, but can be overwintered as a houseplant or allowed to go dormant in other areas. 
 
Combine these tropical beauties with palms, ginger and bird-of-paradise.  Or add some hardy tropical look-alikes such as Japanese forest grass, large leaf hostas and trumpet vines.

A bit more information:  Push the limits of your growing region with special wintering techniques developed by Dr. David Francko, author of Palms Won’t Grow Here and Other Myths: Warm-Climate Plants for Cooler Areas. And for those in warmer regions check out Creating the Tropical Look.
 

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Preserving the Asparagus Harvest
Preserve the flavor and nutrition of asparagus to enjoy year round.
 
This flavorful vegetable is low in calories and high in Vitamins A and C as well as fiber.  Unfortunately, it is most readily available and at the best price in the spring.
 
Insure the best flavor with proper harvesting.  Select young tender spears 8 to 10 inches tall.  Wash, remove the ends, and then cut to fit the freezer bag or container.
 
Blanch the asparagus before freezing to lock in flavor, color and texture.  Dip the asparagus into boiling water.  You’ll need a large pan with a lid.  Blanch small spears for 2 minutes, medium spears for 3 minutes and large spears for 4 minutes.
 
Remove and immediately set the blanched spears in ice water for 5 minutes to cool. Drain and freeze.
 
And, if you don’t have an asparagus patch, you may want to consider planting one this year. 
 
A bit more information:  May is National Asparagus Month.  For tips on planting and harvesting asparagus listen to my audio tip.  And check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for helpful tips and guidelines for preserving your harvest.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida)
Add a little color and flavor to your garden and salads with Mexican tarragon.


This subtle beauty is really a type of marigold, but the leaves and flowers have a tarragon fragrance and flavor. 
 
Wait until after the danger of frost has passed to plant this zone 8 to 10 hardy plant.  Grow it in full sun to part shade and well-drained soils. It is somewhat drought tolerant.  Northern gardeners can treat it like an annual and those in the northern range of its hardiness zone may see it die back to the ground in a hard freeze.  But don’t worry its root hardy.
 
The yellow flowers appear in late summer and persist through fall.  The 14 to 20 inch tall plants make a nice addition to herb gardens and flowerbeds.
 
Harvest the new growth to use fresh.  Preserve the flavor by freezing the leaves or storing in vinegar.  They tend to lose their flavor when dried. 
 
A bit more information: You can find this plant listed under several common names including Mexican tarragon, Texas tarragon, pericon, and sweet mace.  No matter the common name you can use the leaves and blossoms in soups, sauces and chicken dishes as well as salads.  Some gardeners even seep it for tea. Visit Bonnie Plants for more information and gardeners ideas for growing and using this plant in the garden.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Year of the Watermelon
Year of the Watermelon
 
The National Garden Bureau has declared 2013 the Year of the Watermelon.  Be part of the celebration and consider planting watermelon in this year’s garden.
 

Don’t let the sweet flavor deceive you – these are nutritious as well as delicious.  High in Vitamin C, low in fat and calories - it is a great way to boost your energy.  Plus, all parts are edible.
 
You can pickle the rind, eat the fleshy portion fresh or roast or grind the seeds for flavoring.  In china they stir fry watermelon while the Russians often pickle it before eating.  You may want to try some new ways of enjoying this tasty summer treat.
 
Grow watermelon in full sun and well-drained soils.  Save space by growing these plants on a trellis or decorative obelisk.  Just secure the heavy fruit to the support with a cloth or macramé sling.  Or plant a few seeds in a container and let the vines wander over your balcony or trellis.
 
A bit more information: Try planting one of the large picnic-type watermelons that can weigh 15 to 50 pounds.  These are sure to get everyone in the family excited about growing and eating this, the largest edible fruit in the United States.  Or perhaps you want to try one of the icebox melons that is much smaller at 5 to 15 pounds and easier to squeeze into the fridge. And don’t forget about those with unique colored rinds and flesh and of course those that lack seeds.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Clematis Stem Wilt
Clematis Stem Wilt
 
Your clematis looks beautiful until suddenly the stems and leaves start turning black.  Though it looks bad your clematis will survive. 
 
The fungus that causes this disease enters your plant through wounds and cracks in the stem near ground level.  Fortunately new growth arising below this point will be disease free.
 
Reduce future problems by pruning out and destroying infested stems.  Disinfect tools between cuts to reduce the risk of spreading this disease.
 
As new growth emerges from the soil carefully secure it to the support to reduce the risk of cracking and damage.  Eliminating the entryways for the fungus will reduce the risk of disease.
 
In the future consider planting the crown of the clematis below the soil surface.  This allows the plant to produce new shoots below the point of infection.
 
Try growing small flowered clematis that tend to resist this disease.  Alpina, macropetala and the viticella types are a few to consider.
 
A bit more information: For a disease to occur you must have the causal organism (fungus, bacteria, virus) present, disease-promoting weather and susceptible plants.  Remove one of these factors and you eliminate the disease.  Keep this in mind when managing clematis stem wilt and other plant diseases in your garden.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Watch for and Prevent Borers on Trees and Shrubs
 
Extreme heat and cold, droughts and floods can leave our plants stressed and more susceptible to damaging borers.
 
These insects are the immature stage of moths and beetles that feed under the bark and inside the stems of plants. Their feeding weakens and in some cases kills the plant.
 
Many borers are opportunists, attacking already stressed trees.  We can’t control the weather but we can help reduce stress on our plants.  Start by growing plants suited to the climate and growing conditions in your landscape.
 
Mulch the area under and around the base of trees and shrubs. Organic mulches like wood chips keep the roots cool and moist and reduce competition from grass and weeds.
 
Be sure to water new plantings thoroughly and as needed the first few years.  And do the same for established trees and shrubs during extended drought.  This will keep them healthy and help ward off borers.
 
A bit more information:  Incorporate trees and shrubs into perennial planting beds.  You will create an attractive garden and better environment for the plants.  Plus, planting beds as well as mulching will reduce the need for hand trimming and will keep weed whips and mowers away from the trunks of the trees. And don’t pile soil or mulch over the stems of shrubs and the trunks of trees.  These practices create entryways for pests and encourage disease problems.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Lawn Revival
 
If sparse, bare spots or lots of weeds describe your lawn, it is time for a little lawn revival. 

Start by evaluating the current state of your lawn.  If more than 60% is bare or filled with weeds, it is time to start over.  Look at this as an opportunity to properly prepare the soil, select a more drought tolerant lawn or convert it into a no mow or low maintenance lawn or planting bed.
 
Overseed thin sparse lawns.  Core aerate first or use a slit seeder to insure good seed-to-soil contact.  For small bare spots use a lawn patch kit or make your own.  Mix a handful of quality grass seed into a bucket of topsoil.  Remove any dead grass and roughen the soil surface.  Then sprinkle the commercial or homemade lawn patch over the prepared bare spot.
 
Keep the soil moist until the grass seed begins to grow.
 
A bit more information:  Larger areas will benefit from the addition of organic matter into the top 6 inches of soil before sowing the grass seed or laying sod.  Keep the soil moist until the sod has rooted into the soil below and the grass seed begins to grow. Consider overseeding the lawn to help create a more uniform appearance in the lawn.   For more information, click here.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Low E Glass Impact on Houseplants
You can conserve energy and still grow healthy houseplants. Light, water and nutrients are the keys to growing healthy plants. Many energy conscious indoor gardeners are concerned when considering replacing their windows with Low-E glass. Fortunately it only reduces the visible light needed by our plants by an additional 5 to 10%. A side benefit to your plants is the Low-E glass moderates temperatures indoors keeping plants, especially those growing near windows, warmer at night and cooler during the day. And no matter what type of glass is in the windows – keep them clean to maximize the amount of light reaching your plants. Adjust your watering and fertilization practices to match the indoor growing conditions. Less light, lower humidity and the type of potting mix and containers used all impact the watering frequency and fertilizer needs. A bit more information: Plants need a variety of light (color/wavelength) for proper growth and flowering. Blue light promotes leaf and stem growth, while red combined with blue promotes flowering and bud development. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Don’t Let Aggressive Bargain Plants Take Over the Garden
So you've found a plant that blooms all season, tolerates a wide range of growing conditions and needs little maintenance. Sound too good to be true? It probably is. Lots of fast growing easy care plants are overly aggressive. They crowd out their more timid neighbors and often need concrete barriers or regular weeding to keep them in check. Invasive plants go one step further. These plants leave the bounds of our landscape and invade our natural areas. They crowd out native plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife. These should be eliminated from gardens in regions where they are a threat. And beware of bargain backyard plant sales. These are often filled with aggressive plants that have overrun the seller's garden. Ask the seller about the aggressive nature of the plant before purchasing. Years of weeding is not worth the money saved on bargain plants. A bit more information: A good example is common yarrow (Achillea millefolium). This perennial flower can be found in both weed and perennial books. It tolerates hot dry conditions and readily reseeds and spreads. Select less aggressive species and cultivars that do not reseed. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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So far, SO GREAT!
3 & 1/2 months and counting since my family and I packed up our stuff in NJ and made the trek to Milwaukee! Anytime you leave what you've "known" for years and years, you always worry that: It won't work It's not a great fit It'll take a LONG time to FIT IN Well, I'm here to say that all of those answers couldn't be farther from the truth! From DAY 1, my radio family here at The Mix has welcomed my family and I with OPEN ARMS (My favorite JOURNEY song btw) and it's like we've known each other forever! At the same time, my new family of radio listeners (ALL OF YOU reading this right now) have also made me so incredibly comfortable and happy and as stated above, it's like I've known you well, longer than the 3.5 months I've been here! You've helped my family and I find a place to live, great restaurants (my family and I love to eat), great places to visit to entertain my kids, a travel baseball team for my oldest son Anthony and of course, great karaoke so I can get my sing on! I will continue to ask for your advice on different things along the way and I know WITHOUT A DOUBT, you'll be there to answer whatever questions my family and I have! For that, I'm very grateful! Just wanted to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU for welcoming Me, my wife Sarah, and children Anthony and Benjamin with such warmth and kindness! We look forward to being a part of the community for a long time to come! Thank you for listening to 99.1 The Mix! I'm havin' a BLAST! Hope YOU are too! Sincerely, Mark Summers
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Invite Frogs and Toads into the Garden
Celebrate National Frog Month by inviting insect and slug-eating toads and frogs into your garden. Start by providing water. A pond at least 20 inches deep with gently sloping sides will work. Include water plants that provide oxygen, shelter from predators and weather and breeding sites. Include a few rocks or logs in the pond for basking and a few alongside the water for shelter. Build a rock pile in the garden. Select a location that receives sun and shade each day. Position the rock pile in more sun if your summers are cool and more shade if your summers are hot. Line the bottom with stones for added protection from winter cold and leave cavities between some of the bottom rocks for nesting, shelter and hibernation. Use a pipe 1 to 2 inches in diameter and less than 2 feet to create an entryway. A bit more information: Look, but do not touch the frogs and toads you attract to your landscape. Bug repellent, lotions and oils on your skin can harm these creatures. For more information see Oregon State University Extension's publication Attract Reptiles and Amphibians to Your Yard. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Grow Potatoes in the Garden or Container
What is white, red or yellow, can be eaten fresh, fried or even raw and is one of the most important staples of the human diet? If you guessed potato, you are right. Grow your own in the garden, planting bag or containers. You can plant small potatoes or pieces of larger potatoes to start new plants. These contain "eyes" that grow into potato plants. You may have seen this happen on potatoes stored in the pantry. Buy certified seed potatoes at garden centers or from garden catalogues. Cut whole or large seed potatoes into smaller pieces containing at least one good "eye". Plant them in a 2-3 inch deep furrow, 10 to 12 inches apart, leaving 24 to 36 inches between the plants. As the plants begin to grow, mound the nearby soil over the tubers until the rows are 4 to 6 inches high. Keep the planting weeded and wait for the harvest. A bit more information: Save space and have some fun by growing your potatoes in a planting bag. Fill the bottom few inches of the bag with potting mix. Set the potato pieces on the mix. Cover with several inches of soil. As the potatoes grow, continue adding a couple of inches of soil at a time until the bag is full. Harvest by dumping the bag and lifting out your potatoes. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Brown Needles and Leaves on Evergreens
A walk through your garden this spring may reveal browning on both needled and broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs. Winter winds and sun, exposure to deicing salt and record low temperatures are likely the cause. Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their leaves and needles throughout the winter. The winter sun and wind increase moisture loss. Those gardening in areas with frozen soil are likely to see the most damage. But even those in warmer regions may see winter scorch on newly planted or exposed evergreen plants. We can't turn the needles and leaves green, but we can provide proper care to speed recovery. If the branches are pliable and buds plump you should see new growth this spring. Broadleaf evergreens will replace the brown leaves with fresh new growth. Brown needles will eventually drop and the new growth this spring may mask the damage. Wait for warmer weather to see what if any new growth appears. A bit more information: Once plants have started to show signs of new growth, you have a decision to make. Is the plant healthy and attractive enough to nurture and keep? Or, would you be better off starting with a new plant and one better suited to the growing conditions. A difficult decision, but one that can save you time, money and frustration in the long run. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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A Multi-Season Beauty – The Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Add seasonal interest and bird appeal to your landscape with the white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). This slow growing small-scale tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and wide. The slightly fragrant white flowers cover the plant in spring. The male plants produce slightly larger and showier flowers, but the female plants produce an abundance of blue fruit in late summer. Though the fruit is somewhat hidden by the leaves, the birds seem to have no problem finding and devouring it. But don't worry however as they won't leave behind a mess. The fall color can vary from a good yellow to a yellowish green. And the smooth gray bark become ridged and furrowed with age. Fringetree is hardy in zones 4 to 9, grows well in full sun to part shade and though it prefers moist fertile soil, it is adaptable to a much wider range of conditions. It can be found in nature growing along stream banks and the woodland edge. A bit more information: Use fringetree as a small tree or large shrub, as a specimen plant, near buildings, or in mixed borders as an understory. And be patient in spring as it is late to leaf out. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Daisy – the April Birth Flower
Celebrate April birthdays with a bouquet of daisies. This April birth flower symbolizes childhood innocence or according to the Farmer's Almanac they were given between friends to keep a secret. Many flowers share the common name daisy. It comes from the English name "days eye" referring to the fact many daisy flowers open during the day and close as the sun sets. Bellis perennis, known as English daisy, is most often designated as the April birth flower. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8, grows about 6 inches tall and flowers from spring through mid summer. You will find this plant listed as an attractive perennial or nasty weed. In the south the plants often burn out after flowering during the heat of summer. In cooler climates they are often dug after flowering to maximize enjoyment and minimize spread. The young leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked. A bit more information: Sweet peas are also considered the April birth flower. This is especially true in April. This flower represents modesty and simplicity. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Garden Longer with Less Aches and Pains – It’s National Garden Week
Avoid sore and strained muscles that often arise after a long day in the garden. A few simple changes in your gardening habits can keep you gardening longer and with fewer aches, pains and strains. Use long-handled tools to extend your reach and minimize bending and stooping. And if you need to get a bit closer to the ground, try placing only one knee on the ground or using a stool and keep your back straight. Keep your tools handy by wearing a carpenter's apron with lots of pockets or using a tool caddy. An old wagon, wheeled golf bag or trash can make moving long-handled tools a breeze. Use foam or wrap your tool handles with tape to enlarge the grip and reduce hand fatigue. Or better yet, invest in ergonomically designed tools with larger cushioned grips. They are designed to position your body in a less stressful position, allowing you to work longer. A bit more information: Further extend your energy by taking frequent breaks. Use sunscreen, wear a hat and drink lots of water. For more ideas, check out my 10 Pain-free Gardening tips. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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