Gardener's Grapevine 04.06.2011

Written by David Green.

Recently the Morenci Garden Club lost a beloved member. We have lost quite a few through the years, but anyone familiar with this column will know this member.

Virginia Shoemaker was a lifetime member. She wrote this column for many years and took pride in doing so. She and her husband were avid gardeners in our beautiful little town and shared their knowledge with everyone. Virginia wasn’t just a member, she was a presence at our meetings. She was knowledgeable, lively and interesting. She will be missed in so many ways. We were blessed to have her in our club and in our lives. Rest in peace old friend of so many, and thank you.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jo Erbskorn. I’ve lived in Morenci most of my life and married a hometown man, Art. We have two grown children, Jacquie and Nick. Jacquie is married to Henry Kass and Nick is at MSU (hopefully studying.) We have a lab named Kisses and three cats Cali (old and inside), Crankshaft and Zena (in Art’s studio/garage.) The reason I am introducing all of them is they all play a part in my gardening and in the Garden Club, sometimes begrudgingly. I may bring them into play at times.

I’ve admired Virginia’s column my whole adult life and it is an honor to attempt to carry it on. You will find that gardening takes effort—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot—and provides many rewards and occasional disgust. There are times when something needs to be watered or fertilized and I’m swamped with other commitments…enter in the spouse and kids.

It is early April, there are a few things that should and can be happening right now if you garden in Michigan, Ohio or Indiana. One is pruning the lavender. It is not budding yet and people argue about trimming it or not. I will tell you from my own experience that if you don’t cut it back it will be wild, woody, and have long ugly stems along with the new growth popping up. Try to cut a pretty little bundle for inside after it buds without having performed the March/April pruning, and you’ll be trying to cut through the old woody stuff. So just trim it back and keep life on the simple side.

To prune it into even lengths, gather all the long lengths from last year in one hand and cut them all off, leaving about 4 to 5 inches. It will make a nice even bunch when the sprouting begins.

If lavender is a struggle for you to grow, I will let you in on a secret: it loves roses. Never plant a rose bush without a lavender plant. They are companions and I will talk about companions in a later column. Also, if you plant them and they are unhappy with the spot, they will both be unhappy, so move them both.

We will talk more about spring in the garden and yard next week.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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