Gardener's Grapevine 2011.04.27

Written by David Green.

By Jo Erbskorn

Spring brings to mind so many things—sunshine after the gloomy winter, renewed life in our greening plants, and elevated moods due to a feeling of a fresh start. Spring gives every gardener the undeniable urge to play in the dirt.

While starting out at the beginning of the growing season, remember not everything wakes up at the same time. Plants are happy in certain zones, and until temperatures warm up for that zone our plants stay dormant. That is why some trees leaf out earlier than others. My husband thinks it’s so we constantly have something new to clean up.

There are many plants and bushes that mistakenly get ripped out for not budding; there stands this eyesore all dry and ugly. One of these is the butterfly bush. It may have a few small areas were some buds are peeking out and some just look dead. For the most part it is asleep and needs time and a sign that says, “Leave me alone.” Another plant is the hydrangea bush.

At the church we have two very lovely hydrangea bushes that are about three years old. The first year they bloomed a bit, but not a big show. This is normal as they use their old dry stems like a spine to hold up the huge blooms. It is very easy to want to trim these old stems off as they are unsightly long after everything else is waking up. But what was once the plant’s beauty will this season be its strength for a bigger show.

Climbing roses fall into this category of late sleepers. Some climbers leave their long arms looking awful, long after other plants have leaves. So if you are not a master rose gardener, you stand there having a mental fight with yourself—is it dead or is it alive?

To prune or not to prune, that is a gardener’s dilemma. I learned the hard way to give them time. I asked someone I trusted why my climbers did not bloom like they were supposed to and that person said, “Oh, cut off those long stems every fall. They zap all the plant’s strength.” So inexperienced me did as I was told. Wrong! I got excellent stem and foliage growth and no blooms at all.

At a Garden Club district meeting, a master rose gardener spoke and explained why roses should be left alone until late May or even June. I followed that advice, and now my climbers are beautiful.

My point is, clean up but know your plants and don’t be quick to write them off as dead.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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