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Gardener's Grapevine 04.06.2011

on . Posted in Gardener's Grapevine

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.

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