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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 January 2014


Garden Apps – National Garden Bureau
Paging through garden catalogues, looking at new varieties and old favorites while dreaming of the season ahead is a long-standing tradition with gardeners. And all the new garden planning websites and apps can help us turn these beautiful visions into reality.
 
Do an internet search before starting this year’s garden plan. Try searches like Garden Planner, Vegetable Garden Planner or Garden Planning software. You will be amazed by the many free options from very basic to a bit more complex.
 
Once your plan is in place you’ll be ready to head to the garden center. But this can be overwhelming, even for seasoned gardeners. Use one or more of the gardening apps to help with your plant selection.
 
And the on-line help doesn’t end there. Many Universities, publications and plant companies have mobile apps to help you keep your garden healthy and productive. Visit the National Garden Bureau’s website for a list of gardening apps, information on plants and gardening resources.
 
A bit more information: Having trouble finding the National Garden Bureau articles on garden apps?
Click here for their archive section as well as here for part 2.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Eggshells as Fertilizer
Don’t throw out those eggshells. Wash and add to your worm composter or use them with your houseplants or in the garden as a fertilizer supplement.
 
Egg shells will add small amounts of calcium, potassium, a bit of sodium, but not enough to harm the plants, phosphorous and magnesium. They don’t provide all the nutrients a plant needs but could be used as a supplement to your regular fertilizing regime.
 
Jeff Gillman, Professor and author of several books including The Truth about Garden Remedies suggests using shells from 4 to 5 eggs per plant. Mix them in the garden soil or potting mix prior to planting.
 
The water used to boil eggs could also be used as a liquid fertilizer for plants. Just let it cool and apply about 2 cups per plant.
 
Though only providing small amounts of nutrients, both methods keep the egg shells out of the garbage.
 
A bit more information: Check out all of Jeff Gillman’s books for insight into garden remedies and organic practices that work and why at http://www.jeffgillman.net.  His other titles include The Truth about Organic Gardening, Decoding Gardening Advice, How Trees Die and How the Government Got into Your Backyard.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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The Rowan/ Mountainash • Jan. 21 – Feb. 17 Birth Tree
If your birthday falls between January 21 and February 17 your birth tree is the Rowan, also known as mountainash.  You’re said to be artistic and spiritual, a visionary, a progressive thinker and humanitarian.
 
These trees are also known as “the Lady of the Mountains” and were planted near entryways to ward off evil spirits. In the landscape use these four season trees for their beauty and bird appeal.
 
They grow 20 to 40 feet tall and up to 25 feet wide. They are hardy in zones 3 to 7 depending on the species. These beauties prefer cool moist conditions and when stressed are plagued by fireblight, borers and a variety of other insects. But when properly sited and managed it can be a beautiful addition to the landscape. And when a flock of cedar waxwings visit to feed on the fruit, it’s a site to behold.
 
A bit more information: The mountainash (Sorbus) is not the ash (Fraxinus) being attacked by the Emerald Ash Borer.  The European mountainash (Sorbus aucuparia) is most popular with white spring blooms, orange-red berry-like fruit and yellow to purple fall color. Aucuparia is from Latin for capturing birds, referring to the fruit that helps attract birds to the landscape.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Caring for and Reblooming African Violets
Brighten up your winter with an African violet.
 
This long time favorite is relatively easy to grow but can be challenging to rebloom. Grow African violets in bright light and moist well-drained soil.  Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Their fuzzy leaves are sensitive to cold water so use room temperature water or water the plants from below.
 
Use an African violet or other indoor flowering plant fertilizer spring through fall when the plants are actively growing.  Scrape off any white crusty substance that may form on the lip of the container.  This is a salt buildup that can damage your plant. 
 
Many African violet growers use artificial lights to supplement natural light and encourage the plants to flower. Natural light, a grow light or mix of warm and cool fluorescent lights will provide the full spectrum of light needed for flowering.
 
A bit more information: Prevent or eliminate salt build up with regular leaching of the soil. Water the plant thoroughly with warm water several times at 20 minute intervals. Repeat every few months or as needed to leach the salts out of the soil.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Rose Flower Proliferation
Plants are amazing. They often produce unusual growths, unexpected flower and leaf colors and other surprises. Sometimes these changes lead to the introduction of a new variety while other times it leaves gardeners perplexed. The latter is the case with rose flower proliferation.
 
Occasionally gardeners find individual rose blossoms sprouting flower buds that develop into another layer of bloom. This proliferation of flower buds is due to a physiological disorder called rose flower proliferation.  Basically, for some unknown reason, the cells continue to divide even after the flower forms.  This results in a cluster of new buds forming in the center of the blossom.  This growth disorder usually occurs in spring and though it can occur on any rose, certain varieties seem to be effected yearly. It is not harmful to the plant just annoying to the gardener. 
 
A bit more information: Proliferation can affect other flowers such as clovers, opium poppy and members of the daisy family. Bellis perennis ‘Prolifera’ produces smaller flowers beside the main bloom. This led to its common name Hens and Chicken daisy. 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Snowdrops – A January Birth Flower
Celebrate a January birthday with one of the two January flowers. One, snowdrops were often found growing in graveyards and were considered bad luck. Now they represent hope and beauty.

The snowdrops bloom in early spring. Drooping white flowers top the 6 inch plants that thrive in part to full shade. These spring blooming beauties are hardy in zones 3 to 7 and prefer cool moist well-drained soils. Warm region gardeners will have to buy pre-cooled bulbs or give them a 15 week chill in the fridge before planting them in the garden.
 
It may be too early or late to give a gift of blooming snowdrops this January. But plan ahead for next year. Buy bulbs next fall, plant in a container, water and set in the fridge for at least 15 weeks.  Then surprise your January birthdays with a pot of their birth flower to grow and nourish.
 
A bit more information: You may need to buy a picture, give a gift certificate for bulbs or find another creative way to include this early spring blooming flower in your birthday celebration.  The other January birth flower is the carnation.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Attract Insect Eating Toads to the Garden
Toads make great gardening partners. They eat insects, slugs and snails and ask for very little in return. Help attract these natural predators to your garden with just a few changes in your gardening habits. 

Create an inviting habit for these critters. Leave some leaf litter under trees and shrubs and in the garden. Use groundcovers, preferably native ones, in place of lawn whenever possible.
 
Include a shallow pond or water feature. Even a shallow saucer filled with chlorine-free water is effective. Use rocks in and around the water for added toad appeal.
 
Reduce or better yet eliminate the use of pesticides. These can be harmful to the toads and kill the insects they like to eat.
 
Build a toad abode from a ceramic or clay pot. Place it directly on the soil so the toad can dig. Elevate one side with stones or use a cracked or broken pot that provides an entryway for the toad.
 
A bit more information: Place your above ground toad abode in a shady spot near water. For more details on creating a toad abode click here. Or go underground. Dig a shallow depression in the soil. Create sides and a roof with stones so the house is 6 to 8 inches tall. Be sure to leave an entryway for the toad to have easy access. For more details, click here.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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2014 All-America Selections (AAS) Flower Winners
As you plan your gardens for 2014, be sure to include a few or all of the All America Selection Flower Winners. They are tested throughout the U.S. and Canada and selected for their unique qualities and suitability for the home garden.
 
Gaura is a wonderful long blooming perennial that is often grown as an annual.  The delicate flowers float above the foliage.  Sparkle White is an early flowering gaura with a more controlled growth habit.
 
Petunia ‘African Sunset’ has eye-catching flowers in shades of orange. Uniform growth habit and long season of bloom made this a judges’ favorite.
 
The naturally dwarf Suntastic Yellow with Black Center sunflower is the smallest sunflower currently on the market; great for small spaces, containers and even window boxes. It produces up to 20 5 to 6 inch flowers per stem in three successive bloom periods.
 
A bit more information: 2014 marks the first year All American Selections Winners are including regional flowers and vegetables. The plants were trialed and selected as outstanding performers for the specific areas of the country.  For more information, check out their website at http://www.aaswinners.com/winners/.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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January 12 – 24 Birth Tree is the Elm
If your birthday falls between January 12th and 24th your birth tree is the Elm. You are said to be cheerful, noble minded, have a good sense of humor and are practical.

The elm has a long history in native and urban landscapes. Many remember the American elm lined streets of the past. Unfortunately, Dutch elm disease wiped out most of these trees.
 
Use a Dutch Elm resistant cultivar like Valley Forge, New Harmony, Princeton and Delaware #2 if you plan on gifting or planting an American elm in your landscape. They have the characteristic vase shape, but have exhibited good Dutch elm disease resistance. 
 
Better yet, consider the Chinese elm also know as lacebark elm. The smaller leaves and exfoliating bark add to its ornamental appeal. It is a tough and durable tree and can be found throughout the grounds of Disney World in Orlando FL.
 
A bit more information:  Don’t mistake the beautiful lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia) with the much inferior Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) that is often mistakenly called Chinese elm. For a unique look consider a Camperdown, Pendula or Horizontalis cultivar of the Scotch elm. They add interesting form and texture to the landscape.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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2014 All-America Selections (AAS) Vegetable Winners
As you scour this year’s catalogues be sure to watch for the 2014 All America Selections Vegetable Winners.

Mama Mia Giallo (jowllo) is a sweet yellow pepper. It was selected for its compact habit, large yield, uniform shape and yellow/gold color when mature. Enjoy its sweet flavor fresh or grilled.
 
Grow the small scale Mascotte bean in the garden or container. The white flowers and long straight pods add to its ornamental appeal. The crisp stringless fruit make it a nice addition to any meal.
 
Chef’s Choice Orange is an indeterminate tomato with deep orange beefsteak shaped fruit. The white flesh is firm, sweet and mild flavored.
 
The determinate bush Fantastico tomato produces flavorful grape shaped fruit. This high yielding tomato produces up to 12 pounds per plant.
 
A bit more information: All American Selections Winners are tested at trial gardens throughout the US and Canada. Winners are selected for their unique or improved qualities and suitability to the home garden.  Check out their website, http://www.aaswinners.com/winners/, for current and past winners.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Low Maintenance ZZ Indoor Plant
Looking for an easy to grow houseplant? Try the low maintenance uniquely shaped ZZ plant.

You may have seen this indoor beauty in the mall, office buildings, garden center or friends’ homes.   This easy-care plant is also known as zulu, fat boy and eternity plant.  An East African native it has adapted to periods of rain and drought making it a great houseplant.  It prefers bright light but will tolerate low light and dry soil.  Avoid overwatering that can lead to root rot. 
 
The fleshy rhizomes store water and nutrients helping the plant survive difficult times. Dig and separate the rhizomes to start new plants.  Avoid damaging the rhizome as it can lead to root rot. Patient gardeners can try starting new plants from a single leaf.  Remove a leaf, stick the cut end into a well-drained potting mix.  Keep the soil moist and wait for several months for a new rhizome and eventually a new plant to form.
 
A bit more information: You can find more information about this adaptable plant using its botanical name Zamioculcas zamiifolia.  It is hardy outdoors in zones 9 and warmer. This evergreen plant can eventually grow 3 feet tall and wide.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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January's Birth Flower – Carnation
One of January’s birth flowers is the carnation. Like the rose, the color of the flower is used to represent certain meanings and feeling.
 
Give that someone special a red carnation that means I love you. Pink reflects affection while white stands for pure love. If things are going badly you may choose a striped carnation that represents a love that is not shared or yellow for disappointment or rejection.
 
Or just select the recipient’s favorite color. Carnations are long lasting cut flowers that look great combined with greens or other flowers in a mixed bouquet.
 
In the garden you can also grow annual, biennial and perennial carnations, also known as dianthus. Though specifics may vary a bit, most carnations prefer full sun and cool temperatures. Use as cool season annuals. Or select heat tolerant varieties and provide a bit of afternoon shade to get these beauties through warm seasons.
 
A bit more information: Try some of the new carnations for a little extra garden and cut flower appeal. Green Trick carnation has pompom shaped vivid green flowers the size of tennis balls. Listen to my audio tip for more on this stunning cut flower.  Sweet black cherry (Dianthus barbatus ‘Sweet Black Cherry’) is a dramatic garden annual. The flowers are almost black and these frost and heat tolerant plants grow 18-24” tall x 10-12” wide.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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National Bird Day – Time to Plan a Bird Garden
Bird watching and gardening go hand in hand. Celebrate National Bird Day, January 5th, by taking a moment to stop and observe the birds visiting your garden.
 
As you watch make notes on what plants provide food and shelter. Then look for opportunities to add more to the landscape.
 
Consider evergreens for shelter. Junipers and pines tolerate hot dry conditions. Hemlocks tolerate shade and need shelter from winter winds. Spruces and firs like moist well-drained soil and full sun. And the many dwarf varieties make it possible to add evergreens to even small yards and balcony gardens.
 
Consider trees and shrubs with berries such as dogwood, crabapples, viburnums and hawthorns. These add color to the landscape for our enjoyment and food for the birds. And when possible, use native plants suited to the growing conditions in your backyard.
 
A bit more information: Thorny bushes and trees like hawthorn, pyracantha and raspberries provide songbirds with shelter and protection from predators. Include a birdbath or water feature with a shallow pool or strategically placed stones. A constant water supply will also help attract birds to your landscape.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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National Bloody Mary Day – Ode to Lovage
January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day. As you start the New Year consider growing all the ingredients, including the straw, in this year’s garden. 

You know about growing tomatoes, peppers and the other main ingredients, but you may never have considered adding a bit of lovage to the mix. This easy to grow herb has hollow stems and a celery flavor. Place one or two plants in a sunny corner of the garden or one in a large pot for a vertical accent in moist well-drained soil. This perennial herb can reach 6 feet in height, grow one foot wide and is hardy to zone 4. Harvest sections of the stems, leaves and all, as needed. Use as a straw in your Bloody Mary or tomato juice for a little home-grown celery flavoring.
 
And watch for seedlings you can dig and share with friends.
 
It’s sure to add lots of fun and make your cocktail party or weekend brunch a special event.
 
A bit more information: The leaves begin to yellow as the plant flowers and sets seed. Harvest, grind and use seeds to flavor a variety of dishes. Or cut back the plants to encourage fresh new growth. You’ll miss out on the seeds, but have plenty of fresh green leaves to use throughout the remainder of the season.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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These Guys LOVE the Patriots
In the media firestorm that's come to be known as Deflategate, it's become pretty clear that the New England Patriots are the most hated football team in the NFL. But there's still plenty of people who love this team and its players. Like these guys, who stepped up on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to take the hit for letting the air out of those footballs. Each one of them claims to be "the locker room guy" responsible for letting the air out of the balls. Wait. Do a couple of these guys look familiar...?  
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Captain America Vs. Guardian of the Galaxy!
Chris Evans is Captain America. He's a fan of the New England Patriots. Something to do with the red, white and blue, perhaps? Chris Pratt is a Guardian of the Galaxy. He favors the Seattle Seahawks. And for the past two weeks, the Captain and the Guardian have been at war. On Twitter, anyway. There have been wagers about who will do what if the other's team wins. But with their last tweets, the pair upped the ante with some back and forth images. First, this one from Chris Pratt, showing Patriots QB Tom Brady feasting on some sort of bird... hey @prattprattpratt ..... pic.twitter.com/ceDXefR8TG — Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) January 25, 2015 Followed by this one from Chris Evans, showing Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in a different sort of uniform... “@CNRTOW: See what you started @prattprattpratt 😝 pic.twitter.com/thCuvs55eR” @ChrisEvans — chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) January 26, 2015 Personally, I hope the bantering goes on long after the game is done.
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"Lost Dog" Overcomes Obstacles
Budweiser released their 2015 Super Bowl commercial yesterday. At this writing, "Lost Dog" has already had over 8 million views on YouTube. The little puppy gets into a horse trailer at the Clydesdale ranch, and gets driven away. Not to worry - he escapes in the city, and finds his way home, overcoming all obstacles. Wait, what's that behind the tree, with his home within sight? Is it a wolf? Uh oh... You can watch the rest on your own... Except for the presence of the Clydesdales and the Budweiser cap on the guy who runs the place, I'm not really sure what this has to do with beer, but that's probably not all that important...   And for a little extra fun, check out this short clip that shows you some behind-the-scenes footage of the puppies used in this spot.  
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"Get Out of Here, You Low-Life Scum"
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrived at a Senate hearing yesterday chaired by Senator John McCain. As the 91-year-old Kissinger took his seat, a group of protestors rose from theirs and started chanting, "Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes." They did it in a sort of sing-song way, but it really missed the mark. Kissinger didn't even seem to notice. Could be years of practice, could be that he's 91. But McCain did, and ordered the police officers in the room to remove the protestors. And as they were led out, McCain delivered the verbal coup de gras: "Get out of here, you low-life scum." Tell it like it is, Senator!  
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The Snow Never Bothered Them Anyway
A bona fide blizzard hit Boston and the Northeast this week, and there was an awful lot of complaining. But there was no complaining at the New England Aquarium, where some of the residents took full advantage of the snow day. Check out this video of some fur seals having an absolute blast with the weather. And check out the Marine Mammal Trainers blog for more info and some super cute pix.  
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Will This Be Katy Perry's Halftime Song?
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch took the stage during media week leading up to the Super Bowl because he was obligated to do so. But I guess he didn't think he was obligated to say anything, because the answer to every question was a variation on "I'm just here so I don't get fined." It was pretty funny to watch, but the NFL didn't think so. They're considering whacking him with a huge fine. So what are they going to do to Katy Perry, the Big Game's halftime performer, who used the same line in a pre-Super Bowl interview? Check out this mashup of Marshawn and Katy saying the same thing over and over. If someone sets this to music, we're talking straight to the top of the charts. Katy could sing it during halftime. I wonder if the NFL would let Marshawn out of the locker room for a few minutes to make it a duet?  
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Ted 2 On the Way
Seth MacFarlane is back, people! A couple of years ago, his movie about a teddy bear that came to life earned the distinction of being "the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time." That's according to comingsoon.net, and why would they lie? On June 26, Ted 2 will hit the theaters, and the trailer for it hit the internet yesterday. Mark Wahlberg is back as Ted's best friend, and Morgan Freeman is part of the cast. Morgan. Freeman. In a movie about a talking teddy bear. Now you want to see it too, don't you? Here's the trailer...  
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Steel Boils At About This Temperature
Lots of people want to know what the weather will be like in Glendale, Arizona for the Super Bowl this Sunday. Well just ask the folks at Fox 10 in Phoenix. Because it is HOT! Earlier this week, meteorologist Cory McCloskey was in the middle of a forecast when his current temperature board went a little nutty. 1270 degrees in Ahwatukee. 1350 in Surprise. All the way up to 2385 in Wickenburg. Lesser men would have melted. Not Cory - he handled it superbly, rolling with the numbers, and delivering up some stellar improv. Check it out!     (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by FOX 10 Phoenix.
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Clearing the Finish Line
While a near-record snowfall covered the City of Boston, one man tried to stay ahead of the white stuff. Chris Laudani, a bartender, finished his shift early on Tuesday night, grabbed a shovel and headed for Boylston Street and the finish line of the Boston Marathon. On his own, he cleared the finish line - site of the horrific bombings - of snow. He wasn't looking for anything. "I only did it to send a message," he later told Boston Magazine after his identity was determined. I love the Boston Marathon and everything it stands for, the finish line doesn't deserve to be covered in snow." So touching...  
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Watch Out, Cupid!
Cupid's well-known for his archery skills. But after watching this video, I'll bet Cupid puts in for retirement. Denmark's Lars Anderson has spent his life studying and perfecting the art of archery, and has been clocked shooting three arrows - accurately too - in 1.52 seconds. That's faster than you can read the phrase "1.52 seconds." Watch what this guy can do - it really is amazing. Then send a nice Hallmark card to Cupid to cheer him up...  
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