‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—APRIL 2015
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
3758 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53704
608/244-5661 or [email protected]
 
 
THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHTS:
Our 2015 Spring Plant List Goes On-line About April 15!
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
All About Prom Flowers
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
Seed Starting Basics for Maximum Success
Impatiens Alternatives and Downy Mildew
Monarch Update: Winter 2014-15
You Asked the Mad Gardener About a Dying Christmas Cactus
Plant of the Month: Agastache (Hyssop or Hummingbird Mint)
Our Very Favorite Alternative ‘Meatloaf’ Recipes
Product Spotlight: Ups-a-Daisy® Planter Inserts
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—from March 2015
Small Gardens for Small Gardeners
–New Plants for 2015 Plants @ Klein’s
–Killdeer Signify the Arrival of Spring
April in the Garden: A Planner
Gardening Events Around Town
Join Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Facebook
Join Klein’s Blooming Plant or Fresh Flower Club
Delivery Information
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets
 
 
OUR 2015 SPRING PLANT LIST can be viewed on-line beginning about April 15 by clicking on Spring Plants on the left side of our home page. This comprehensive listing contains every plant that Klein’s will be offering for the 2015 season and is extremely helpful for both the home gardener and landscaper alike. The list contains fun facts, cultural information and pot or pack size for each item and comes in very handy in planning your garden this spring.
 
 
FOR NEIGHBORHOOD EVENTS OR GARDEN TOURS that you would like posted on our web site or in our monthly newsletters, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Our readership is ever-growing so this is a great opportunity for free advertising. Events must be garden related and must take place in the immediate Madison vicinity.
 
 
THE MAD GARDENER
“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”
 
Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at [email protected]om. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. We’ve also posted a link to this e-mail address on our home page for your convenience. Your question might then appear in the “You Asked” feature of our monthly newsletter. If your question is the one selected for our monthly newsletter, you’ll receive a small gift from us at Klein’s. The Mad Gardener hopes to hear from you soon!
 
Sorry, we can only answer those questions pertaining to gardening in Southern Wisconsin and we reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.
 
Please note that our Mad Gardener is not only an expert gardener, but can answer all of your indoor plant questions as well.
 
 
WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU…
who newly subscribed to our monthly newsletter at Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center this past February. The Garden Expo is Klein’s biggest gardening event of the year. We enjoy talking with all of you and sharing our love of gardening with you.
Thanks again! The Staff at Klein’s
 
 
 
APRIL STORE HOURS:
Early April Hours
Monday thru Friday : 8:00-6:00
Saturday: 9:00-5:00
Sunday: 10:00-4:00
 
Open Easter Sunday, April 5, 10:00-4:00.
 
Extended Spring Hours Begin Saturday, April 25.
Monday thru Friday : 8:00-8:00
Tuesdays: 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00-6:00
Sunday: 9:00-5:00
 
 
 
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
April 1–April Fool’s Day
 
April 3–Good Friday
 
April 4–Full Moon
 
April 5–Easter Sunday, Klein’s will be open 10:00-4:00.
 
April12—Orthodox Easter
 
April 18–First Farmers’ Market on the Capitol Square, 6:00-2:00
 
April 19–Beginning of Administrative Professionals Week. In appreciation to those people who make your life so much easier, have one of Klein’s talented designers create for you that perfect ‘Thank You.’ Nothing displays your appreciation better than a lovely bouquet of spring flowers or a cheerful blooming plant. Order early. This is one of Klein’s busiest delivery weeks.
 
April 22–Earth Day
 
April 22–Administrative Professionals Day
 
April 24–Arbor Day
 
April 25–First Day of Klein’s Extended Spring Hours. The days are longer and there’s lots to do in the garden. We make shopping easier to fit into your hectic schedule by offering extended retail hours from late April through much of June. Evenings are a great time to shop at Klein’s. The greenhouses are cooler and the lines are short. It makes for a more relaxed shopping experience and our staff is more available to answer all your gardening questions. Look under April Store Hours above for more details.
 
May 10–This is Madison’s average last frost date, but keep your eye on the weather before planting. Madison has a notorious reputation for late May frosts. Many local old-time gardeners refuse to plant, especially their tomatoes, peppers, morning glories, etc. until Memorial Day weekend when the soil has warmed properly. Novice gardeners have a tendency to plant too early!
 
May 10–Mother’s Day. Order early and shop early!!! Mother’s Day is second only to Valentine’s Day for deliveries and the Saturday before Mother’s Day is traditionally our busiest day of the entire year. Extra drivers will be on the road Saturday, May 10 for prompt and efficient service. Click onDelivery Information on the left side of our home page for more details about Klein’s delivery. We will not be delivering on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10.
 
 
‘THE FLOWER SHOPPE’:
 
Prom Flowers
Florists know how very important prom flowers are to their young customers and are happy to work with them to make their corsages and boutonnieres special. If you have your heart set on a certain corsage style or type of flower, then there is nothing wrong with letting your date know what you would like. You might even suggest going to the florist shop together to pick out your flowers. Florists are experts at customization. Show your dress (or a swatch of the fabric) to your florist and ask him or her to select an appropriate ribbon. Or you can ask to see what ribbons he or she has on hand and choose one yourself.
 
Tips for Ordering Prom Flowers
It is important to remember that prom season is also peak wedding season and often falls on Mother’s Day weekend. Therefore, popular flowers such as sweetheart roses, white roses and certain orchids used to create decorative body flowers are in high demand.
 
Ordering at least two weeks in advance so that your florist has time to order the necessary quantities should ensure that you get what you really want.
 
Tell your florist what your budget is and ask him or her for ideas. An inexpensive flower used in a lovely corsage style can be just as beautiful as a more expensive bloom. Alstroemeria and lilies are a good choices, as are mini carnations. But your florist will know what the best value is.
 
Two popular styles are wrist corsages and small hand-held nosegays (and they look great with strapless dresses!). Flowers for your hair or neck or corsages pinned to an evening bag are also great choices.
 
To order your prom flowers, please contact Sue or Kathy @ 608/244-5661.
 
Source: Society of American Florists at www.aboutflowers.com
 
 
 
YOU ASKED THE MAD GARDENER . . .
I have two old Christmas cacti that have done well through the years. Now they are dying. Why? Is a Christmas cactus really a cactus? How often should it be watered? Thanks, Jerry
 
Hi Jerry,
Christmas cacti are actually tropical and subtropical plants that, for the most part, should be watered like any other houseplant–deeply when dry to the touch and not treated like a true cactus. The only time they should be left to ‘dry out’ is beginning mid-summer and into fall. The added stress at that time (along with light levels and cool temps) helps promote flower buds for winter blooming. Christmas cactus love to spend the summer outdoors in a shady spot where they can get natural rain water. They grow exceptionally fast when placed outdoors.
 
One problem when determining whether Christmas cacti are being over- or underwater (other than asking the owner) is that the appearance looks exactly the same in both situations–leaves become wilted, soft and lose their bright green color. Plants that are overwatered eventually have the tendency to collapse and rot off at various points. Only you know the answer as to whether you’re over- or underwatering. When you water, remember to water well; do not allow the war to pool in the saucer; and water again only when dry to the touch.
 
If you’re still unsure, please bring your cactus in to any garden center and have us diagnose it for you and supply you with any added tips.
 
Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener
[email protected]
 
 
 
DID YOU KNOW. . .
. . . that since the appearance of impatiens downy mildew around the country, plant breeders have been devoting a lot of their resources . . .
 
…developing, not only disease resistant walleriana impatiens (the old-fashioned shade impatiens), but also shade tolerant New Guinea impatiens and interspecific impatiens (the combination of one or more species). Given the impact of the disease on Madison area gardens last summer, Klein’s would like to introduce you to available alternatives. Rather than trying to ‘cure’ an incurable problem, we’re hoping our customers are open to looking at shade gardening in a whole new light.
 
What is Impatiens Downy Mildew?
Impatiens downy mildew is a disease that has become a serious threat wherever impatiens are grown. The disease has recently become a serious issue in the United States, including Wisconsin. Impatiens downy mildew has been so destructive in many areas that it has made impatiens unusable as a garden ornamental. The disease affects garden impatiens and balsam (Impatiens walleriana and I. balsamina), as well as native jewelweeds (I. pallida and I. capensis). (For detailed information about impatiens downy mildew, visit hort.uwex.edu/articles/impatiens-downy-mildew.)
 
It is impractical for the home gardener to attempt treating the disease once it infects a garden since the chemicals needed for effective treatment need to be applied frequently AND by a certified applicator—and with no guaranteed results.
 
Alternative Plant Choices to Impatiens
Though walleriana impatiens have long been the tried-and-true go-to for maximum color in the shade garden, there are many alternatives available. Most garden experts are encouraging gardeners to experiment with, not only old favorites (wax begonias, lobelia, torenia, browallia, hypoestes and coleus, etc.), but try a few more recent introductions that are readily available at nearly all garden centers. Rex begonias, for example, add bold and beautiful leaf patterns in a wide range of colors. Tuberous begonias are no longer the temperamental begonia of our grandparents’ day and offer a bright burst of yellow, orange and red into the shade garden. Upright fuchsias bring height (and hummingbirds) to the garden. And the list of possible foliage plants is nearly endless. Choose from: caladium, Joseph’s coat (alternanthera), bloodleaf (iresine), oxalis, perilla, wandering jew, purple heart (setcresea) and plectranthus—all of which are available at Klein’s.
 
Colorful perennials (both in the ground and added to containers) are another option. Coral bell foliage rivals all others for its wide range of color and leaf pattern. Lamium, moneywort and hostas are all possible options.
 
New Impatiens Varieties
Alas, there is hope for the impatiens lover. Fortunately, New Guinea-type impatiens so far seem unaffected by downy mildew. Long known as the ‘sun impatiens’, New Guineas are now being bred for increased shade tolerance with far better flowering in the shade than the species.
 
Divine New Guinea Impatiens from Ball (and available at Klein’s) are a rather new seed-grown New Guinea impatiens. Because they are seed-grown, they are more cost effective for the home gardener and are available in jumbo cell-packs; versus the normally far more expensive traditional New Guinea impatiens sold in individual pots. They perform similar to traditional New Guinea impatiens but perhaps with slightly less vigor. They grow 10 to 14 inches tall and can spread 12 to 14 inches and are available in a wide color range.
 
Bounce Impatiens from Selecta (and also available at Klein’s) provides gardeners with shade garden confidence. Bounce looks like an Impatiens walleriana in habit, flower form and count, but is completely downy mildew resistant (because its interspecific), which means this impatiens will last from spring all the way through fall. There is wide range of colors available and Bounce Pink Flame is a 2015 AAS award winner.
 
 
NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach.
 
ENTRY: MARCH 11, 2015 (Small Gardens for Small Gardeners)
Last month, my neighbor’s mother passed away and as she was going through her parents’ things (her dad had passed away some time ago), she came upon a book called Small Gardens for Small Gardeners printed in 1910. I found it funny as I paged through the book how the perception of some plants has changed through the generations—for example a lawn of white clover was perceived as a beautiful and healthy lawn. I found it especially sweet how this book perceived common chickweed. Since childhood, I’ve loved the smell of chickweed when I pull it from beds and I love the small white flowers. And by the way, it’s also quite tasty in salads!!
 
From the book Small Gardens for Small Gardeners:
 
“Down in the corner of any vacant lot, or in the yard against the house, is a dainty stray from the Arctic regions. Not everyone knows the extraction of the plant, nor its possibilities.
 
Its Latin name is stellaria, for its flower is a wee white star and every part of the blossom is star-shaped, but it is commonly known as chickweed. Take up a clump of it and set it in a jar or a hanging basket, and it will flourish in the house all winter, for it will stand almost any amount of cold. It may be taken in when the frost begins to come. Indeed, it has even been discovered fresh and enterprising under at least a foot of snow, so it is attainable at almost any time.
 
Set in a hanging basket, in a box, or along the edges of boxes in which other plants, within ten days it delights us with its delicate sprays of green, spangled all over with white stars. Even the seed, which grows in a long tube, is shaped like a star die.
 
Coming as it does from the coldest regions, it makes shift to grow and spread with amazing enterprise. Take it into the house, give it a little care, and there is no limit to the greenness that will reward you. It is such a strong little waif that if one gives it surroundings where it does not have to look out for itself but has its own food and water at hand, and no competitors to get rid of, it is lavish with its blooms and leaves. It shows steadfastness and persistence that in any man would enable him to accomplish much.
 
The chickweed has become almost thoroughly domesticated with us as the dog and the cat; it now chooses to live always in the vicinity of human beings. It is fortunate that plants will make friends with us and, being socially inclined, let us share in their preparations and enjoyments.
 
Give the winter visitor a little water every day or two. As has been said, it will stand the cold, sometimes living in a room where water freezes, and so does not require a great deal of attention. Whether it has deep soil or thin does not matter; it has overcome so many obstacles that it has learned the lesson of being contented with what it can get.
 
Wild flowers are more willing to drop characteristic habits and take on new ones than are cultivated plants, and one can do almost anything in the way of adapting and training them.”
 
 
ENTRY: MARCH 22, 2015 (New Plants for 2015 Plants @ Klein’s)
With only weeks until the onset of the spring planting season, some of our customers are getting a bit antsy wanting to know all about the new annuals and vegetables they might find at Klein’s this spring season. I spend the month of March and early April compiling this information for our website—going through orders, acknowledgements and packing lists. Although we don’t have all product on hand quite yet, we’ve received most of our acknowledgements and many of the plants from our suppliers. Here are a few 2015 highlights:
 
Digiplexis® Intergenetic Foxglove—All eyes are on this monumental innovation in flower breeding. This unusual series is a cross of our North American Foxglove and a cousin from the Canary Islands, resulting in a magnificent, exotic, long-bloomer. Luminous spikes of tubular blossoms tower up to 36 inches tall and flow up strong stems. Growing sturdier with the season, the flower stalks begin branching, multiplying the blazing color. Worthy of filling large, bold containers, backing borders or topping beds, surrounded by complementing foliage and flowers to point all attention at this magnificent award winner. Klein’s will be carrying Illumination Raspberry and Berry Canary.
 
A note: I grew the third available color, Illumination Flame, in a container last summer and was completely impressed by its nonstop blooming power and growth habit. However, this is only a Zone 8 perennial, so must be treated as an annual here in Madison, or somehow overwintered indoors. I stored mine overwinter in my root cellar and it has yet to resprout.
 
BrazelBerries® Jellybean and Peach Sorbet Blueberries and Raspberry Shortcake Raspberries—BrazelBerries® are an innovative collection of berry varieties like nothing you’ve seen before. With exquisite ornamental qualities, small stature and amazing fruit, BrazelBerries are plants you’ll want to place front and center on your patios or in your landscape. These berry varieties are perfect in decorative patio pots and are easy to grow with minimal care.
 
Ketchup ’n’ Fries—Harvest Tomatoes AND Potatoes from one plant!! A tomato is grafted on to a potato plant. It’s all natural and non-GMO. The cherry sized tomatoes are great for snacking, salads and sauces. The potatoes are great baked, boiled, mashed or roasted. Grow either in containers or in the garden. Excellent growing and harvest instructions are attached to each plant.
 
Bounce Impatiens—This year, Selecta introduces all-new genetics of interspecific impatiens. Bounce is highly resistant to Impatiens Downy Mildew, making it the best replacement option for spaces where I. walleriana has failed in the past. Use compact Bounce for hanging baskets or patio pots, and use more vigorous Big Bounce in the landscape or large-size containers. Unlike New Guinea impatiens, Bounce has the wal- leriana habit and flower count.
 
 
ENTRY: MARCH 24, 2015 (Killdeer Signify the Arrival of Spring)
For me, the arrival of certain migratory birds indicates that spring must be on its way. Many look at the robin as the herald of spring. However, seeing that many robins stay the winter in the Madison area, it’s not unusual to see them in flocks feeding on dried berries and crabapples during even the harshest winter weather. It’s the ‘true’ migrants of which I speak. Along with sounds of red-winged black-birds and sandhill cranes, the killdeer is, for me, one of those true indicators that spring is imminent.
 
Though the killdeer is primarily not an urban bird, Klein’s close proximity to the airport and the fields along Hwy. 51 just north of us offers perfect killdeer habitat—wide open space and a lack of tall foliage. It’s usually while at work that I hear the first killdeer of the season; usually in early to mid-March. They are early to arrive among migratory birds.
 
Widespread, common, and conspicuous, the killdeer calls its name as it flies over farmland and other open country. Like other members of the plover family, this species is often found at the water’s edge, but it also lives in pastures and fields far from water. At times, it nests on gravel roofs or on lawns. Many a person has been fooled by the bird’s “broken-wing” act, in which it flutters along the ground in a show of injury, luring intruders away from its nest.
 
In the breeding season, the male flies high over a nesting territory in floating, wavering flight, with slow, deep wingbeats, giving kill-dee call repeatedly. On the ground, courtship displays include ritualized nest-scrape making. The nest site is on ground in open area with good visibility, as on bare soil, short-grass field, gravel road; sometimes on gravel roof. The nest is shallow scrape in soil or gravel, either unlined or lined with pebbles, grass, twigs, bits of debris.
 
Feeding Behavior
Typically they run a few steps and then pause, then run again, pecking at the ground whenever they spot something edible. May follow farmers plowing fields, to feed on grubs turned up by the plow.
 
Diet
Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, fly larvae, many others; also eats spiders, earthworms, centipedes, crayfish, snails. Eats small amounts of seeds as well.
 
Additional information comes from the National Audubon Society @ www.audubon.org
 
 
KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTHThese are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!
 
As people steer away from the overindulgence of red meats, ‘meatloaf’ alternatives have become increasingly popular. By incorporating healthy grains and nuts, these loaves are not only flavorful, but highly nutritional. The following collection are employee tried-and-true favorites. All are belly-filling and super easy to make. Enjoy!
 
NEAT LOAF—A new classic from the book Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a green pepper, finely chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried sage
2 TBS. soy sauce
2 TBS stone ground or Dijon mustard
BBQ sauce or ketchup
 
Preheat the oven to 350º. Except for the BBQ sauce or ketchup, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a large spoon for 2 minutes to bind the ingredients. Pat into a well-greased 5 x 9” glass loaf pan. Top with a thin layer of BBQ sauce or ketchup. Bake 60 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8.
 
RICE NUT LOAF—This fantastic recipe appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal in April 2010.
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups shredded cheddar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups red pasta sauce
 
Preheat the oven to 350º. Mix together the rice, cheese, eggs, onion, carrots, crumbs, nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Pack into a well-greased 9” loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until firm. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 10 minutes. Serve the loaf with warmed pasta sauce. Serves 8.
 
NATURE’S BURGER LOAF—One of our employees says he makes this one more than meatloaf at his house—it’s that good!!
1 box Fantastic World Foods Nature’s Burger (available in the health foods section)
1 chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 TBS. oil or melted butter
1/3 cup sliced black olives
tomato sauce, chili sauce or ketchup
 
Preheat the oven to 375º. Prepare the Nature’s Burger mixture as directed on the box. Meanwhile, sauté the onion, garlic, celery and green pepper in the oil or butter until softened. In a large bowl, mix together the sautéed veggies with the olives and the burger mix. Press the mixture into a non-stick or greased loaf pan. Top with a thin layer of the sauce of choice. Bake 40 minutes. Serves 4.
 
LENTIL LOAF—This super tasty and super easy recipe appeared in the Willie Street Co-op reader in December 2001.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tsp. dried sage
3 cups very cooked lentils
3 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 TBS. white vinegar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBS. whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste.
 
Preheat the oven to 350º. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic in a little butter or oil until the onion is translucent. Add the sage. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Prep a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the loaf in the pan and press down. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.
 
BULGAR WALNUT LOAF—This recipe came from a Kripalu yoga cookbook (title unknown) many years ago and remains a favorite.
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup bulgar
2 TBS. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 TBS. chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup barley miso diluted in 1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
 
Preheat the oven to 350º. In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil and add the bulgar. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the carrots and sauté 3 minutes more. Stir in the diluted miso and thyme. In a food processor, grind the nuts and seeds to a medium pulp. In a large bowl, combine the bulgar, carrot mixture, nuts and the flours and mix well. Pat into a greased 9” loaf pan and bake 1 hour. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Serves 4-6.
 
 
 
NATURAL NEWS–
 
Monarch Update: Winter 2014-15
By Jill Staake (2/21/15) for Birds & Blooms @ www.birdsandblooms.com
 
Monarch butterflies are a source of fascination to many people. The central migratory population accomplishes a feat that no other butterflies do – a migration of thousands of miles each fall. But monarchs are in trouble, and the word is out – it’s time for us all to help them out. Here’s a monarch update for the winter of 2014-15.
 
2014-15 Overwintering Numbers
Numbers are finally in on this year’s overwintering population of monarch butterflies in Mexico, and there’s cause for very cautious optimism: for the first time since 2010, the overwintering numbers have gone up and not down. Estimates put this year’s migration population in Mexico at about 57 million, up from last winter’s historic low of 34 million.
 
However, it’s important to note that really, these numbers didn’t have anywhere to go except up. This migratory population of butterflies has dropped more than 80 percent in recent years; the long-term average is 300 million, and as recently as 2006, there were more than 500 million monarchs overwintering at these sites in Mexico. Numbers also indicate that about 50% of these monarchs are clustered in just one overwintering site. This means that half the migratory population is currently on one single mountaintop in Mexico, where a single devastating winter storm could nearly wipe them out overnight.
 
Save the Monarch Initiative
So, all that being said, how about some good news? It seems that people are finally listening to the calls from conservationists, ecologists, and butterfly lovers everywhere, and action is finally being taken. On February 9, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a $3.2 million dollar initiative for monarch conservation. The press release details the projects that will be included in this initiative, which is a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. A good portion of the money will be used for the restoration of milkweed breeding grounds in Texas, an extremely important location for monarchs returning each spring from Mexico.
 
How to Help Monarch Butterflies
The new initiative focuses heavily on the contributions of local gardens and gardeners, making home butterfly gardens more important than ever. Here’s how you can help:
 

  • Plant native milkweed species – as much as you can, everywhere you can. Urge your local communities to plant milkweed in roadside medians and vacant lots. When it comes to monarchs, milkweed matters more than just about anything else.

 
Note: Klein’s will be carrying butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), annual milkweed (A. currassavica) and common milkweed (A. syriaca) which is the most critical of the milkweeds for our monarchs’ survival and the most affected by the use of glyphosate and glyphosate-ready crops. Klein’s also carries a huge selection of both perennial and monarch host flowers for your garden to keep monarchs visiting your yard all summer!
 

  • Choose milkweed species native to your area. Natives have a better chance of survival, and their growth cycles match the monarch’s regular annual breeding and migration cycles.

 

  • Report monarch sightings. Journey North (@www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/)tracks monarchs in their migration each year. Contribute your sightings to help the scientists studying these butterflies.

 

  • Visit the Save the Monarch initiative’s website at www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/for more info about how you can help monarch butterflies.

 
 
 
APRIL’S PLANT OF THE MONTH:
 
AGASTACHE (Hyssop or Hummingbird Mint)
One of the more common requests we get at Klein’s is for flowers that attract the most bees, butterflies, beneficial pollinators and hummingbirds to the garden. It’s probably safe to say that few families of plants can surpass the agastaches in accomplishing all four goals in a single plant. This gorgeous member of the mint family is fragrant and reliable. Both annual and perennial varieties at nearly all garden centers (see our selection below). The newer, well-branched and shorter annual hybrids are particularly lovely on their own or in mixed containers. All types are deer and rabbit resistant. Please read on:
 
Awesome Agastache—Fruity Fragrance and Sorbet Colors for Summer and Fall Gardens
by Bob Hyland of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden @ www.bbg.org
 
My passion for the genus Agastache (pronounced ag-ah-STACK-key) began decades ago in the herb garden of a friend. She pointed out Agastache foeniculum, commonly called anise hyssop, and made me rub the coarse leaves to release their pungent aroma, which was mintlike, with hints of licorice and citrus. It came as no surprise to me to learn that the fresh and dried leaves of the plant are used as a food seasoning and for making tea.
 
While the leaf fragrance was memorable that day, I was even more taken by the herb’s elegant upright habit and dense spikes of powder-blue flowers. Here was another good herb that could escape from the utilitarian herb garden to the ornamental perennial border. My friend further encouraged me to nibble on some flowers, which she described as tasting of a good frosted mug of Stewart’s root beer. I agreed, and from that moment on, Agastache foeniculum became the “root beer plant” to me.
 
Ever since perennials took the garden world by storm in the 1990s, other worthy species and hybrids of Agastache have come to my attention. Like anise hyssop, they all produce wonderful pungent foliage and bear dainty, tubular flowers on dense spikes from midsummer until first frost. But many are quite different in appearance from A. foeniculum, most notably in their flower color and leaf size and shape. The range of flower colors is especially impressive, reminding me of a dessert tray of passion fruit, peach, orange, and raspberry sorbets, as well as other flavors in between.
 
As if beautiful form, color, and aroma weren’t enough to recommend Agastache, the genus is also a magnet for wildlife. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love to drink from the nectar-rich flowers. Hummers are highly attracted to red, orange, and pink-flowered forms, while butterflies, particularly swallowtails, favor the blue-flowered varieties.
 
The greatest concentration of Agastache species occurs in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The rest are scattered across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The genus is part of the Lamiaceae, or mint family, which accounts for its square stems and aromatic foliage. In northern climate zones, most Agastache species are tender perennials—they sometimes winter over but do not seem to be long-lived in the garden. Southwestern species (A. aurantiaca, A. cana, A. rupestris) endure very dry conditions and poor, well-drained soils in their native habitat, but most of these adapt to richer, organic soils and wetter summers and winters in other regions of the country.
 
Klein’s will be carrying the following Agastaches in spring of 2015:
 
—The Annuals—
Acapulco Series–Excellent for containers with a mounding, semi-cascading habit. Flowers are multiple, rather than a single spike. Available in peach, rose and yellow. Series grows to 18-24” tall.
 
Arizona Series–First year flowering, drought tolerant, Zone 6 perennial. Habit is compact and uniform and plants are extremely floriferous. The bushy plants are only 8-10” tall and wide. ‘Sun’ is a lovely yellow flowering selection.
 
Kudos Series–A genetically dwarf, well branched series of agastache. Amazingly free flowering and easy to grow. Kudos has an impeccable habit and long lasting, glowing color. Warm colored plumes are dense with a sweet honey-mint scent. A real standout in mixed containers, or as a border plant. Plants grow to about 16” tall. Exceptionally hardy to Zone 5! Available in coral, gold and silver blue.
 
Summer Series–A new series of agastache varieties bred with the longest lasting flowers in the industry, as evidenced by trials. Terra Nova Nurseries bred the plants in an exclusive color palette with calyces that do not brown like most agastache varieties. Therefore, blooms boast healthier, extended color all season long. Members of this collection are more weather resistant and grow with a bountiful, compact habit of 20-inch-high flower spikes. Plants grow to 30” in the garden. We are carrying ‘Glow’ (light yellow).
 
—The Perennials—
Agastache x ‘Blue Fortune’ (Hybrid Giant Hyssop)
Licorice-scented foliage, compact habit; spikes of deep blue flowers in July-Sept. Ht.: 24-36”. Spread: 24-36”. Grow in average, well-drained soil in full sun. Use for border garden, aromatic, cut flower, nectarous plant, butterfly host. Zone 5.
 
Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’ (Golden Jubilee Hyssop)
2003 All America Selection. Upright habit; licorice-scented, golden foliage; dense spikes of lavender-blue flowers in July-Sept. Ht.: 24-30”. Spread: 10-15”. Grow in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part sun. Use in the border garden, as a cut flower and to attract butterflies. Zone 4.
 
 
AROUND TOWN:
 
For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison vicinity and we must receive your information by the first of the month in which the event takes place for it to appear in that month’s newsletter. This is a great opportunity for free advertising.
 
 
Rotary Garden’s Compost Sale
Saturdays in April and May, 8:00-noon
 
Area garden enthusiasts, once again, will have an opportunity to purchase organic compost at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville.
 
The organic blended mushroom compost is sold in 40 lb. (1.5 cu. ft.) bags for $6 per bag. Rotary Botanical Gardens’ Friends Members will receive an additional 10% discount at the sale.
 
If you would like more information or have questions, please call Mark Dwyer at 608-754-1779 or email: [email protected].
 
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org
 
 
Olbrich Garden’s
Spring Pansy Sale
Saturday, April 4
From 10:00-Supplies Last
 
Celebrate spring with a cheery pansy, panola, or viola grown in Olbrich’s own greenhouses. Pots of pansies are $6 each, with three plants per pot. Decorative containers are extra. Proceeds benefit Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
 
Pansies are cool weather plants that do best if planted in the ground. However, they also look great in a container, and make wonderful springtime gifts. Not only decorative, pansies are also edible and add a flash of color to dishes as a garnish. Or, try planting colorful pansies in a container with lettuce – it’s an entire salad in one pot!
 
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
 
 
Olbrich Garden’s
Orchid Sale
Saturday, April 4
From 10:00-Supplies Last
 
Celebrate spring with a blooming orchid plant. Orchid Growers Guild members will be available to answer questions. Sponsored by the Orchid Growers Guild. A portion of the proceeds benefits Olbrich Gardens. For information call 608-233-5559.
 
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
 
 
Olbrich Garden’s Bulk Leaf Mulch Sale
April 10, April 17, April 24, 1:00-5:00
April 11, April 18, April 25, May 2, May 16 & May 23, 9:00-1:00
 
Buy the same leaf mulch used in Olbrich’s gardens for your home garden. Leaf mulch cuts down on watering and weeding, recycles local leaves, and is credited for Olbrich’s healthy looking gardens. $40 for a tractor scoop (8-10 bags) and covers 350 sq. ft. at 2-3”. Bagged mulch (@ $6.50/bag) is now available daily while supplies last. Pay for bags at the gift shop and drive around back. Bagged sales are load-your-own.
 
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
 
 
Wisconsin Gourd Festival
Saturday, April 11, 9:00-5:00
 
Learn about gourds, gourd art, and gourd growing. Meet gourd artists, take a class, see demonstrations, and get gourd growing advice. Participate in raffles, silent auctions, and a kid’s corner. Visit www.wisconsingourdsociety.org.
 
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.
 
 
Rotary Garden’s Pansy Sale
Saturday, April 18 & 25, 8:00-noon
At the Garden’s Horticulture Center
 
4-packs are $2.00 ea., 8 x 5” planters are $7.00 ea. and 10” hanging baskets are $12.00 ea.—all while supplies last. Rotary Botanical Gardens’ Friends Members will receive an additional 10% discount at the sale.
 
If you would like more information or have questions, please call Mark Dwyer at 608-754-1779 or email: [email protected].
 
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org
 
 
Woodland Wildflowers
Sunday, April 26, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Walks from the Visitor Center
 
Explore the beauty of the maple woods in spring. Learn the names and life cycles of spring ephemerals and discover how these flowers are pollinated. This program is a drop-in event starting at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. A naturalist-led hike will take place from 1:30-2:30 p.m.
 
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or http://uwarboretum.org/
 
 
Woodland Wildflowers
Sunday, April 26, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Walks from the Visitor Center
 
As spring progresses, more flowers emerge. We will look for windflower, troutlily, rue-anemone and Virginia bluebells along the trails of our restored woodlands.
 
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or http://uwarboretum.org/
 
 
Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Early Spring Flowering Woody Ornamentals
Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
In the Longenecker Gardens
 
This tour, led by Michael Jesiolowski, Horticulturist, will include the yellow and Little Girl Series magnolias, early lilacs and rhododendrons, and other spring flowering plants.
 
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or uwarboretum.org/events
 
 
Dane County Winter Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, January 3 thru April 11, 8:00-noon
Madison Senior Center
330 W. Mifflin
 
For details visit www.dcfm.org
 
 
Dane County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, April 18 thru November 7, 6:00-2:00
On the Capitol Square
 
Wednesdays, April 22 thru November 4, 8:30-2:00
In the 200 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
 
For details visit www.dcfm.org
 
 
 
APRIL IN THE GARDENA checklist of things to do this month.
___Continue bringing out your cooled forced bulbs for indoor enjoyment.
___Early in the month, pot up cannas and dahlias for early growth.
___Begin removing, cleaning and storing winter bird feeders.
___Begin your summer bird feeding regimen.
___Keep birdbaths full and clean.
___Repair and put out birdhouses. Put out nesting material like pet hair & fibers.
___Seed starting is in full swing and even winding down by the end of April.
___Sterilize seed starting equipment and pots with a 1:16 bleach solution.
___Shop for summer bulbs like gladiolas, lilies and dahlias.
___Prune late summer and fall blooming shrubs.
___Do not prune spring blooming shrubs like lilacs, forsythia or viburnum.
___Continue bringing in branches for forcing: pussy willow, forsythia, quince, etc.
___Increase fertilizer to full strength by month’s end (houseplants).
___Ready the lawn mower if you haven’t done so already.
___Start weeding your beds. It’s easier while weeds are small & the soil moist.
___Remove all winter mulch from beds.
___Remove the soil mound from around roses and mums.
___Lay soaker hoses in beds. It’s easy now without plants in the way.
___Cut back all remaining perennials and ornamental grasses left from fall.
___Begin sowing seeds of larkspur, poppies and hardy annuals in the garden.
___Plant pansies, violas and calendula into the garden and containers.
___Harden off your seedlings and wintered over potted geraniums.
___Repair lawns by sowing grass seed. Rake the lawn.
___Move cole crop transplants to the garden; broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, etc.
___Plant onion sets and early spring crops like lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets
___Begin planting perennials. Plant shrubs and trees.
___Visit Klein’s—the showrooms are filled with spring annuals.
 
Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:
 
For seeds:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds @ www.rareseeds.com or 417/924-8887
Burpee @ www.burpee.com or 800/888-1447
Harris Seeds @ www.harrisseeds.com or 800/514-4441
Johnny’s Select Seeds @ www.johnnyseeds.com or 207/861-3901
Jung’s Seeds @ www.jungseed.com or 800/247-5864
Park’s Seeds @ www.parkseed.com or 800/845-3369
Pinetree @ www.superseeds.com or 207/926-3400
Seeds of Change @ www.seedsofchange.com or 888/762-7333
Seed Savers @ www.seedsavers.org or 563/382-5990
Select Seeds @ www.selectseeds.com or 800/684-0395
Territorial Seeds @ www.territorialseed.com or 888/657-3131
Thompson & Morgan @ www.thompson-morgan.com or 800/274-7333
 
For bulbs:
Brent & Becky’s Bulbs @ www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com or 877/661-2852
Colorblends @ www.colorblends.com or 888/847-8637
John Scheeper’s @ www.johnscheepers.com or 860/567-0838
McClure & Zimmerman @ www.mzbulb.com or 800/883-6998
 
For plants:
High Country Gardens @ www.highcountrygardens.com or 800/925-9387
Logee’s Greenhouses @ www.logees.com or 888/330-8038
Plant Delights Nursery @ www.plantdelights.com or 912/772-4794
Roots and Rhizomes @ www.rootsrhizomes.com or 800/374-5035
Wayside Gardens @ www.waysidegardens.com or 800/213-0379
White Flower Farm @ www.whiteflowerfarm.com or 800/503-9624
 
Note: To receive every possible seed, plant or garden supply catalog imaginable, check out Cyndi’s Catalog of Garden Catalogs @ www.gardenlist.com. Most catalogs are free and make for great winter reading!
 
A SEED STARTING PRIMER–
Starting your own plants from seed can be both rewarding and frustrating for the beginning gardener. From experience, it’s best to start out slow. This eliminates some of the frustration. Experience will gain you knowledge and confidence. Before starting your seeds, read the packet and get a little basic information. Some seeds are best sown directly in the garden come spring and not started indoors. It’s best to do a little research by going on-line or purchasing a good gardening book. The packets themselves will usually tell you whether to direct sow in the garden or how many weeks before our last frost date to sow indoors. Our last frost date is about May 10. Using a calendar, count back from May 10 and this will be your sow date.
 
One can start seeds on any sunny windowsill and in almost any container. Warmth and moisture are critical in getting most seeds to germinate. But a few pieces of basic and inexpensive equipment purchased at your garden center and/or hardware store will help you get started and make your seed starting experience a great success. Here is a shopping list:
 
*A heating mat–makes seeds germinate quickly and uniformly
*A few 10×20” trays without holes
*A few clear humidity domes
*A sterile seed starting mix
*A 4’ shop lamp w/ 2 fluorescent bulbs (you don’t need “gro-lights”)
or a seed growing rack if you’d like to make an investment
*A few 10×20” trays with holes
*A few sheets of empty cell packs, e.g. 4-packs or 6-packs
*A water mister
*A timer
*A soilless potting mix
All of the above items, except the timer, are available at Klein’s.
 
Again, following package instructions, sow the seeds, as many as you want, in a very shallow, open container, filled with moistened seed starting mix. This container can be anything from very low or cut off dairy containers to disposable food storage containers. Per package instructions, cover or don’t cover the seed. Some seeds require light for germination. Next place your seeded containers in a tray without holes, mist them till well watered and cover with a humidity dome. Place your covered tray on the plugged in heating mat under the shop light. Set your timer so the shop light is on for 13 hours (off for 11 hours).
 
In a few days, as your seeds begin to sprout, remove them from under the humidity dome and place in a well-lit, warm location. Keep your seeds and seedlings moist. Different seeds sprout at different rates so this can take from a few days to a few weeks. Once all your seeds have germinated, unplug your heating mat. You can now move all of your seedlings to under the shop light still set at 13 hours.
 
Once your seedlings have 2 sets of “real” leaves it’s time to “prick them out” (transplant them). Do this by placing a sheet of empty cell packs in a tray with holes. The holes now become necessary for proper drainage. Fill the cells with soilless potting mix and moisten well with the mister. Using a pen or pencil “dibble” a hole into each of the cells. This is where you’ll now place your seedling. Remove the seed starting mix and seedlings as a clump from their starting containers. Gently break apart this root ball, separating your seedlings. The pen or pencil will come in handy as an added tool to help separate the seedlings. Carefully place one seedling in each of the holes you put in the prepped cells. Gently firm in with your finger tips. Mist well to water thoroughly and place in a warm, well lit area. Using your shop light again makes this easy. The seedlings may seem weak and somewhat abused, but they’re very resilient and will pop back quickly. When watering, fertilize your new plants with a very dilute solution, rather than at full rate. By May 10 your flowers and vegetables should be ready to put in your garden and you can say that you did it yourself–beginning to end.
 
 
 
BEHIND THE SCENES AT KLEIN’SThis is a sneak peek of what is going on each month behind the scenes in our greenhouses. Many people are unaware that our facility operates year round or that we have 10 more greenhouses on the property in addition to the 6 open for retail. At any given moment we already have a jump on the upcoming season–be it poinsettias in July, geraniums in December or fall mums in May.
 
IN APRIL:
—Transplanting is in full swing on the transplanting line in our back greenhouses.
Employees work 8-10 hour shifts planting thousands of plugs and tiny seedlings into the cell packs you purchase in the spring. Once planted, the flats move by conveyor and then monorail into the various greenhouses, all kept at different temperatures depending on the plant.
 
—The greenhouses and showrooms are filling fast with thousands of hanging
and potted plants. We’re constantly moving product around, trying to make the best use of our limited space.
 
—Retail items are arriving nonstop for unpacking and pricing, everything from
garden ornaments and pottery to pesticides and fertilizers.
 
—Employees are readying the thousands of lilies, hydrangeas, azaleas, mums and spring bulbs that we deliver to the many area churches each Easter. We look forward to this time when the greenhouses are emptied to make room for our spring crops.
 
—Product is moved from the warmth of the greenhouses to the outdoors for the hardening off process. Plants are pinched back and moved outside so they can be acclimated for spring planting in your garden. Plants that have not been properly acclimated can find the transition to full sun and temperature extremes quite difficult. You’ve probably noticed that many garden centers do not harden off their plants properly. Symptoms include leaf burn and root rot.
 
—We’re readying the showrooms for the spring onslaught. Tables become fully stocked. Spring info and price signs are put into place. The last week of April is an amazing time to visit Klein’s. The showrooms are jam-packed, bursting with color, awaiting the spring rush which usually begins about May 1.
 
 
 
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTEach month we spotlight some product that we already carry or one that we’ve taken note of and plan to carry in the near future. Likewise, if you would like to see Klein’s to carry a product that we don’t currently, please let us know. Our goal is to be responsive to the marketplace and to our loyal clientele. If a product fits into our profile, we will make every effort to get it into our store. In addition, we may be able to special order an item for you, whether plant or hard good, given enough time.
 
Hummingbird Feeders from Classics Brands™
“Brands that Fuel Your Passions”
 
Classic Brands LLC is a new, family-owned, company with over 100 years of management and design experience in the birding industry. We are also a company comprised of individuals passionate about birds. We took careful time and consideration to develop quality birding products to bring more birds and more joy into your yard. We asked birders across the country what they wanted in a bird feeder, here’s what we learned.
 
Two major research studies were conducted to Identify what consumers want in bird feeders. The overall conclusions show that birders want feature-rich feeders that will help to attract more birds to their yard as well as more species of birds. Based on these important findings, we designed a revolutionary line of bird feeders that are better for you and better for birds.
 
Klein’s is carrying a nice assortment of hummingbird feeders in six different styles that are both beautiful and easy to clean. Feeders are easily disassembled for thorough cleaning.
 
Rather than purchasing store-bought hummingbird food, we at Klein’s suggest making your own syrup at home. Many brands add red dyes that are both unnecessary and potentially harmful to the birds. A simple homemade syrup can be made by adding 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup of water that has been brought to just the boiling point. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and allow to cool completely before adding to your feeders. The hummers in your yard will enjoy this mixture as much if not more than any boxed concoction.
 
For more information, please visit the Classics Brands website at www.morebirds.com