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.
Get your tickets now for a peek into some of the most amazing private gardens in America. This one-of-a-kind private garden tour provides a great opportunity to gather ideas, exchange gardening secrets, and get inspired.
Known as Open Days, this private garden tour was started in 1995 by the Garden Conservancy.
Gardens are located in 21 states including the District of Columbia. There are more than 300 gardens featured and each region offers its own special variety of gardens.
All you need is a little time and a ticket to participate in the self-guided garden tours. A listing of the Open Days gardens and dates for each garden will be listed in the Open Days Directory, posted on the Garden Conservancy’s website or you can call 1-888-842-2442.
A bit more information: This program was started by the Garden Conservancy to create awareness and help support their mission of preserving America’s gardens. For more information on Open Days and the Garden Conservancy visit https://www.gardenconservancy.org
How many evergreens do I need to screen the view of my neighbor’s house? This is a common question raised by gardeners across the country.
And even though arborvitae, junipers, and other evergreens provide great year round screening, consider creating something with more variety and seasonal interest.
Start by determining exactly what views need to be screened. Evaluate the views from inside your house looking out. Then move outdoors and try standing and sitting in areas you want to create some privacy. Then consider your neighbors’ view looking into your home and garden. Several smaller strategically placed gardens can provide the needed screening or privacy.
Consider using ornamental grasses, perennials, and flowering shrubs along with the upright evergreens. Mixed borders are more interesting and much easier to maintain if a plant or two dies.
A bit more information: Consider annual and perennial vines on decorative trellises and artwork for narrow spaces. These can provide quick screening as a short-term or long-term solution.
White flecks on your mugo pine does not mean the house painter was careless. It’s more likely that your evergreen is infested with pine needle scale.
The white flecks you see are hard shells produced by the adult pine needle scale.
Timing is critical for successful control. Their hard shell protects the adults and overwintering eggs from predators, the environment and pesticides. Apply insecticidal soap, Neem, light weight horticulture oil or another eco-friendly insecticide labeled for controlling this pest when the immature shell-less scales are active. This coincides with the bloom time of vanhouette spirea, often called bridal wreath, or as the flower buds on common lilac begin to swell in the spring. Repeat when the Annabelle hydrangeas bloom in the summer. As always read and follow label directions.
A bit more information: A healthy plant can tolerate small populations, but continued attacks by this insect can weaken and ruin the appearance of your pine. If you decide to treat, make two applications of an eco-friendly insecticide 7 to 10 days apart for both the spring and summer treatment. Or kill the overwintering eggs by applying lime sulphur in late winter when the plants are still dormant. Be careful as the lime sulfur can damage some plants and stain nearby surfaces.
Make room in your landscape for Northwind Switchgrass the 2014 perennial plant of the year.
Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm selected this cultivar from seed he collected along railroad tracks in South Elgin, IL. He noticed the unique growth habit of one particular plant and began trialing, propagating and finally introducing Northwind Switchgrass in 1992.
It was the upright growth habit and wide steel blue leaves that caught his attention. The 5 feet tall switchgrass is a clump forming grass perfect as a screen, vertical accent or filler in mixed beds.
The plant is topped by fine-textured flowers that remind me of fireworks in late summer. The yellow flowers turn into beige seedheads and the plant has an attractive golden yellow fall color. This sturdy plant remains upright throughout the winter, providing great winter interest.
A bit more information: Northwind Switchgrass is hardy in zones 4 to 10. This fine textured beauty is a nice addition to natural, informal, and formal landscapes. It is seldom bothered by deer.
No fruit and all leaves is a common complaint of gardeners new to growing apples. Fortunately, with a little time and adjustments in care you will soon be rewarded with fruit.
Patience is the first step. The first few years after planting, your apple tree spends its energy on developing a healthy root system. This is good for the longevity and productivity of the plant.
You will need to start pruning young trees to develop a strong and productive structure. Consider using the central or modified central leader system. You will have a single trunk with several large branches spiraling up the trunk.
Train 5 to 7 main branches for dwarf trees and 7 to 9 for standard size apple trees. Dwarf trees should start blooming and be allowed to develop fruit about 4 or 5 years, while standard trees take a bit longer, 6 or 7 years, after planting.
A bit more information: Avoid excess pruning and over fertilization that promotes leaf and stem growth and discourages flowering and fruiting.
Looking for a unique Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone? Give a gift that brings joy and beauty year after year.
Bleeding Heart was originally brought to America as a Valentine’s Day gift. The new variety, Valentine, provides a twist on this long time favorite. The bright red flowers have white tips and dangle from deep red arching stems in late spring.
Keep the plants blooming into early summer with ample moisture and moderate temperatures. And don’t forget to cut a few flowers to enjoy indoors. These last for several weeks.
Give this plant room to grow. It forms a 24 to 36 inch mound. And don’t be surprised when the plant begins to fade in mid-summer. It’s normal and will return next spring. You may need to give your Valentine an IOU and deliver this present once the plants arrive at your favorite garden center.
A bit more information: The leaves on Valentine bleeding heart emerge with a tinge of purple and then turn green, providing a nice contrast to the blooms.
Add a little fun and history to this year’s vegetable garden and grow some Abe Lincoln tomatoes.
This heirloom tomato was introduced in Illinois back in 1923 by the Buckbee Seed Company. Abe Lincoln is an indeterminate type tomato, meaning it continues to grow throughout the season until frost kills the plant or a gardener prunes off the growing tip.
This slicing tomato can be found on plant recommendation lists of Universities across the country. Abe Lincoln tomatoes have good disease resistance and produce medium size bright red tomatoes with a rich slightly acid flavor.
You may need to start your own plants from seed or find a local grower or hobbyist that specializes in heirloom vegetables. Start these and other tomato seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the outdoor night temperatures are hovering at 50 to 55 degrees.
A bit more information: With proper care you will be harvesting Abe Lincoln tomatoes in less than 80 days. Speed up the process by keeping the plants warm on chilly days and nights. Cover plantings with floating row covers like ReeMay, frost blanket or garden fabric. Try cloches or wall-o-waters to cover individual plants.
Now is a great time to plan for additions to your landscape. And as you scour the catalogues and read plant tags you will often see trees rated as fast, medium or slow growers.
These are average growth rates, but just like a plant’s mature size it can vary with local climate, growing conditions and the care you provide. A slow growth rate means the plant usually grows 12 inches or less each year. Medium growers add 13 to 24 inches each year, while fast growing trees grow 25 inches or more in one year.
The American Conifer Society (ACS) has classified cone bearing plants by their size in any direction (height or spread) and growth rate. They range from Miniature (M) conifers that grow less than 1 inch a year and reach less than 1 foot size at 10 years of age to large (L) conifers that grow more than 12 inches a year and are greater than 15 feet tall at ten years of age.
A bit more information: The other ACS growth rates and classifications include dwarf (D) conifers that grow more than 1 inch but less than 6 inches a year and reach sizes of 1 to 6 feet by 10 years of age. Intermediate (I) conifers grow more than 6 and less than 12 inches a year and are more than 6 feet but less than 15 feet in size.
The lovely and graceful weeping willow has long been a part of our landscapes. And, although it is the birth tree for those born between March 1st and 10th, think twice before planting this beauty in your backyard.
As birth trees go, the weeping willow represents beauty filled with a bit of melancholy. Individuals with this birth tree are also said to be tasteful, dreamers, restless and have good intuition.
Today the golden weeping willow is considered the standard and the one most of us know as weeping willow. This fast growing tree is hardy in zones 2 through 9, develops a stout trunk and is covered with long pendulous branches. It is tolerant of moist to wet soils and is often found growing along ponds and streams.
This large tree is perfect for wet areas where other trees fail and where the leaf, stem and fluffy seedpod litter and aggressive roots are not a problem.
A bit more information: The golden weeping willow can grow 50 to 80 feet tall with a broad canopy. If your yard is too small or you don’t want the litter issue, visit this graceful beauty in a nearby park or natural setting.
Hostas are a favorite of many gardeners. All the new introductions allow you to create a fresh look with an old time favorite. But with so many choices it is helpful to have a bit of direction.
The American Hosta Growers wanted to help take the guess work out of hosta shopping. Each year, starting in 1996, they select an outstanding hosta variety that makes a good garden plant throughout the country, is readily available, and retails for about $15 a plant. This year’s winner is Abiqua Drinking Gourd.
The large blue-green leaves are cupped and have an interesting seer sucker texture. These attractive thick leaves have good slug resistance.
White flowers top the plants in early summer, brightening the shade and providing nectar for the hummingbirds. Plants are hardy in zones 3 to 9 and grow 18 to 24 inches tall and 36 inches wide.
A bit more information: Consider adding a few or all of the past winners to the shady parts of your landscape. Use them as a groundcover or in combination with ferns, bugbane and other shade tolerant perennials. Visit the American Hosta Growers Association website for a list of and information about past winners.
Those with birthdays between February 4th and 8th have poplar as their birth tree. They’re said to be artistic, reliable partners, organized and know how to make life comfortable.
As a tree most poplars are fast growing and moisture loving. This group includes the quaking aspen (Populustremuloides) best known for its leaves that flutter in the wind and turn a beautiful yellow in fall.
The cottonwood (Populus deltoides) is also a member of this family. It produces cottony seeds that cover the ground like snow in the summer. As a result many municipalities have banned this tree.
The Lombardy poplar was brought to North America with the colonists. This fast growing upright poplar was used for hedging and screening. Unfortunately, a deadly canker disease has limited its use.
So choose your poplar tree wisely or purchase your early February birthday friend an item made from poplar wood.
A bit more information: The quaking aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America. The National Champion is located in Coronado National Forest in AZ. It was 130 feet tall and 36 feet wide when last measured.
If you were born in February you have two birth flowers, the violet and the iris.
Both are perfect flowers for this month filled with messages of love for Valentine’s Day. The violet is a symbol of love and fertility while the iris shares its name with the messenger of the Gods and Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. And an appropriate name as the iris comes in a wide array of colors.
Most violets thrive in shade and moist soil. There are many varieties with purple, blue, white, cream, yellow or a combination of colored flowers. Select carefully as some are vigorous, escape the garden where planted and become a weed.
Most iris prefer full sun and moist well-drained soils. Sizes vary from the short 4 inch crested iris to the 4 foot tall bearded iris. The Japanese iris requires abundant moisture during the growing season while the bearded iris must have adequate drainage.
A bit more information: Try growing crested iris (Iris cristata) as a seasonal groundcover. It is hardy in zones 3 to 9, grows 4 to 6 inches tall, and performs well in partial shade with well-drained soil.
Showing Your True Colors
It's entirely possible the world went insane on Thursday.
Someone posted a picture of a two-toned striped dress to Tumblr on Wednesday, and asked simply: “Guys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can't agree…"
And then the digital world exploded.
Is it white and gold? Or blue and black? It's turning into an almost uncivil war.
All sorts of people weighed in, and their opinions are strong.
Some, like Taylor Swift, are simply confused.
I don't understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it's a trick somehow. I'm confused and scared. PS it's OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 27, 2015
The folks at The Today Show have the skinny. Or do they? You be the judge.
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Working Out with Queen Bey
Ever wonder how Beyonce keeps herself fit and toned?
Wonder no more.
Because on Wednesday, the Queen herself released an Instagram video to show herself in action, keeping fit and getting toned.
The video is speeded up to the tune of "Eye of the Tiger," but it shows Beyonce moves.
Think you can keep up?
Celebrating the 5th anniversary of Let's Move! #GimmeFive @michelleobama 💪
A video posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Feb 25, 2015 at 1:52pm PST
Llamas on the Lam
A couple of llamas got loose in Sun City, Arizona yesterday afternoon, and the helicopter-shot video of the event quickly went viral.
Fox News picked it up, and (sorry) ran with it.
Shepard Smith provided running commentary on the "llama trot," and some of it is pretty funny. It's just not clear that it's intentionally funny.
"Were they someone's, like, backyard llamas?" he wondered. "Were they babysitting?"
"This is something I've not seen recently in New York," he said, "and we seem to see all kinds of weirdness up here in the New York."
We'll call this a slow news day phenomenon...
How is This a Thank You?
Kim Kardashian just reached 27 million followers on Instagram.
This is where you say "Whoopee" or "Yahoo," I guess.
So to say thanks, Kim posted a selfie to her Instagram page.
A selfie showing part of her butt wrapped around a pretty small thong bottom.
I'm sorry, but how is this a thank you?
Is there anyone on the planet who hasn't yet seen all of the KimButt?
I daresay no...
27 mil!!!!! Thank you so much!!!! I love you all!!!!! 😘
A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Feb 26, 2015 at 1:42pm PST
From T&A to Big Bang Theory
Melissa Rauch plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory.
The other night on Conan, she talked about how she started performing at a very young age, in her parents' basement.
Her parents encouraged her in the arts, and let her see shows that maybe weren't appropriate for someone her age.
The show was "A Chorus Line," and Melissa's go-to song - lyrics, dance moves and all - was "Tits & Ass," a song about the plastic surgery one dancer gets to help her get more roles.
And of course, Melissa has a home movie to share with the world...
This Guy Had the Hot Hand!
Florida State University's basketball squad lost to Miami on Wednesday by four points, 81 - 77.
But that's only how the story ends.
How Florida State got that close - that's the real story.
Because freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 30 points.
Not on the night, but in the final 4 minutes and 39 seconds of the game.
Not enough for the win, but more than enough to impress a lot of folks...
FSU's Xavier Rathan-Mayes' 2nd half in loss at Miami: -Scored/assisted on team's final 38 pts -Scored 26 straight pts pic.twitter.com/W3E31jgJ1Q
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 26, 2015
Got Frozen Fever Yet?
The folks at Disney released the trailer for Frozen Fever, a short film featuring all your favorite Frozen characters this week.
It will be seen in theaters in front of Disney's Cinderella, which will be released on March 13.
And it seems like people are hot for it already.
The short, that is.
In the first day that it hit the Internet, it grabbed close to 2.5 million views.
Not bad for a short film, huh?
Ice-T Ices Cartoon Voices
A lot of people know Ice-T from his music, and his movies, and his long-running stint as one of the detectives on Law & Order: SVU.
But a lot less know him for his work as a cartoon voiceover artist.
(Stay with the bit. It works if you stay with the bit.)
Ice visited Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show this week, and revealed that he did some extensive voiceover work - you know, to pay the bills - on shows like G.I. Joe, Scooby Doo, and Dora the Explorer.
Check it out...
"Unless You Know How to Make Jokes, Don't Do It!"
Giuliana Rancic's comments about Zendaya's dreadlocks - smelling like patchouli oil and weed - during the Fashion Police episode focusing on the Oscars is still stirring controversy.
Yesterday on The View, Whoopi Goldberg took the others on the show to school about the difference between the late Joan Rivers, who made Fashion Police the iconic show it was, and Giuliana Rancic, who is not Joan Rivers.
Whoopi didn't defend Giuliani - not even close.
But she doesn't think she was being racist either. "She was just ignorant," says Whoopi.
Check out the clip....
Giuliani Gets Stewartized
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has been taking a lot of heat over comments he made about President Obama not loving America.
The reaction has come from all quarters - even some conservative quarters that Giuliani probably considered safe havens until now.
No surprise that Jon Stewart - never once considered a conservative safe haven - would have some choice words for the former mayor.
To say that Jon eviscerated him is a very fair comment indeed.
Nice to see that even as Jon's retirement from The Daily Show draws near, he's still got a lot of bite left.
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