Gardener's Grapevine 2011.11.09

Written by David Green.

Was this past weekend a keeper or what? I spent all day Saturday cleaning up yards—my mother’s, the church yard and ours. It was perfect sweatshirt weather. My grandmother has a saying, “I can go until I drop, I just drop a lot faster than I used to.” I understand that sentiment, and Sunday my muscles were screaming my age at me.

While cleaning up the church I realized something amazing. Over the last five years, many people have donated hostas to our landscaping project. As I was cleaning up the grounds I found it odd that some of the hostas were completely gone—frosted into fall death, yet some were healthy and happy.

As I looked at them I realized that the dead ones were all the same type, just as the healthy ones were another type. It got me to thinking again about not only zones, but also varieties of plants and how even if they are related they may not have the same temperature tolerances.

Some plants while in the same family have very different needs and tolerances. Sharon Bruce told me she has a hosta that is very sun tolerant. To a hosta lover this is an oddity, as they most generally love the shade.

After she told me this I spoke with a nursery person at Rhodes nursery in Toledo. The owner is one of the top hosta breeders in our area and a huge contributing member to the Toledo Botanical Gardens hosta club. I was told that there are hundreds of types of hostas with more coming every year. There is a hosta for any area of your property.

My favorite hosta is Mouse Ears, a miniature hosta with little leaves that are shaped like mouse ears. There is also another miniature named Dragon Tails and the leaves look like yellow dragon tails. A person could go hog wild with these plants and to be honest, what plant is easier to care for?

I have written before that my love of gardening comes from my mother-in-law and my husband. This is mostly true, except that as a child I spent a lot of time with one of my grandmothers and she was a huge gardener who was originally from the south. Not only did she have a green thumb she had great recipes.

I loved fresh snapped beans with ham or bacon and red beans and ham, but my very favorite was pickled corn. Sound disgusting? Some people think so, but it is actually very yummy and I am a fussy eater. It is just raw sweet corn on the cob packed in a crock of salt brine. You eat it just like regular sweet corn off the cob.

My daughter has a very green thumb. I told her to plant marigolds around her garden and the rabbits and coons will leave it alone. She planted marigold seeds and the plants were the size of a bushel basket. She just has the touch.

My mother-in-law, Betty Erbskorn, is the same way. She planted petunias one year, and what should have been an annual is a perennial—they come up on their own year after year. It is the same with snap dragons, she has them everywhere. There is even one growing out of the bricks in the side of her porch. It’s the strangest thing to see, and so far the frost has not effected it. I guess it’s protected by the all-powerful green thumb!

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    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.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
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    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.
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    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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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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