Gardener's Grapevine 2012.05.13

Written by David Green.

Mother’s Day is an amazing holiday and the amount of flowers that are purchased is phenomenal. I was at the greenhouse on Friday night getting the bedding flowers for the church and it was crazy the amount of people buying flowers for Mother’s Day. The clerk told me that one holiday could make or break a greenhouse’s profit base during the summer. Most of the big box store contracts are beefed up for it also. The gift of choice, I guess, is flowers.

I put in a lot more perennials at the church this year. It just makes more sense to me to put in plants that will come back year after year and that don’t need a ton of care. Annuals are beautiful and they add great color to the landscaping. The cost of annuals versus the one time cost of perennials is a no brainer.

Also perennials throw lots of babies or get really big and you can split them. A nice little bonus for gifting or swapping with others to make their day brighter.

My aunt Pat and I planted the church flowers and it is always a lot of work. As I worked in the landscaping I noticed that two of the peony bushes had all their bulbs pulled off. I can’t imagine why anyone would do this. They won’t open up without the ants and who wants ants in their house? This is the first year they would have bloomed, too, and I was excited to see what we were going to get. 

Mark Ries donated all of the rootstock from his landscaping. There is more poison ivy growing up the church wall that Art will have to kill. The only thing that will kill it is brush killer and you have to dig up the roots and discard them. When you dig the roots, wear disposable gloves and throw the dirt away. Put everything in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash receptacle.

Poison ivy is one plant that also poisons the soil and it is a permanent poisoning, it does not leave with the rain or anything else. It is a nasty plant that can make some people quite miserable. I am so allergic to it that I get blisters, welts and scars.

By the way, mangos are in the poison ivy family and you do not want to eat them if you are super sensitive to it. I spent some time in a Florida emergency room after eating some small pieces on a salad. The doctor there informed me they are in the same family and can give you the same symptoms inside as out. Not a fun adventure to say the least.

One more thing to note: do not ever burn poison ivy or the roots, as it can become airborne and infect more than just you. Consider it the devil of plants and get rid of it ASAP!

On an interesting note, I’d like to mention a strange thing that happened to my grandma Katherine last week. As many of you know she lives on Stateline Road beside my aunt and uncle. My aunt called her on the phone and told her to look out her front window. There is a big bird feeder out there and Gram spreads feed on the ground. She said she had between 12 and 20 blue jays at her feeder. I would have loved to see that. Jays are one of the most beautiful birds, but also one of the meanest. Most other birds won’t feed at a feeder if a jay is there. I would have loved to see all of them.

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