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.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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