‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—SEPTEMBER 2016
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
3758 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53704
THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHTS:
HUGE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEPLANTS HAS ARRIVED!
Arriving Soon . . . The Spring Bulbs!!
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
Check Out Our End of Season Savings
A History of Grandparents Day (Sunday, Sept. 11)
September is Best for Sowing Grass Seed in Wisconsin
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
You Asked the Mad Gardener About Container Watering
Organic Gardening—Are You An Organic Gardener?
Plant of the Month: The Other Pampas Grass-Maiden Grass (MIscanthus)
Our Very Favorite Simple & Quick Pickling Recipe
Product Spotlight: Belgian Mums® from Gediflora
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—From August 2016
—An Old Window Screen-A Fountain Pump Savior
—Time for a Haircut!
—A Couple of South American Treasures
September 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
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets
Our 2016 semi-load of houseplants has arrived! Quality and selection are now at their peak so shop early and perfect timing for the return of students who are moving into their new apartments. Some of our more interesting items include a selection of edible figs, air plants, birds-of-paradise, assorted citrus and unique succulents, in addition to indoor tropicals in all shapes and sizes; from miniature terrarium plants to trees for larger settings.
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]. 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.
enjoy these end of season savings:
50% OFF (Beginning Labor Day Weekend) All Remaining Perennials, Shrubs, Hardy Vines, Pond Plants & Potted Fruits.
Buy One, Get One Free on All Remaining Summer Annuals in 5” Pots & Smaller.
(Sales do not apply to fall annuals, vegetables, mums or mixed fall containers)
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.
SEPTEMBER STORE HOURS:
Monday thru Friday : 8:00-6:00
Open Labor Day, Monday, September 5: 10:00-4:00
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
Week of September 4–Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, alliums and much more arrive for fall planting. We suggest that you hold off planting spring bulbs until the weather cools in October. But shop early for best selection!
And a reminder that fall is the very best time to plant and divide iris and peonies. We carry an excellent selection of reblooming iris rhizomes.
September 5–Labor Day. Special Store Hours: 10:00-4:00
September 11–Grandparents’ Day
September 16–Full Moon
September 22–Fall Begins
‘THE FLOWER SHOPPE’:
A History of Grandparents Day (Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016)
This day has a threefold purpose:
—To honor grandparents
—To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
—To help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.
Grandparents Day First Sunday After Labor Day
In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, initiated a campaign to set aside a special day just for Grandparents. Through concerted efforts on the part of civic, business, church, and political leaders, this campaign expanded statewide. Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) was especially instrumental in the project. The first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore. Also in 1973, Senator Randolph introduced a Grandparents Day resolution in the United States Senate. The resolution languished in committee.
Mrs. McQuade and her team turned to the media to garner support. They also began contacting governors, senators, congressmen in every state. And they sent letters to churches, businesses, and numerous national organizations interested in senior citizens. In 1978, five years after its West Virginia inception, the United StatesCongress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. (September was chosen for the holiday, to signify the “autumn years” of life.)
Today this event, begun by only a few, is observed by millions throughout the United States.
Grandparents Day is a family day. Schools, churches, and senior organizations honor grandparents with special events. Some families enjoy small, private gatherings. Others celebrate by holding a family reunion. Board games which are easily played by young and old add enjoyment to family gatherings, enhancing “intergenerational interaction”.
For those who entertain large groups, it can be fun to have a story-telling time, allowing grandparents to relate stories of their past, enlightening children about ” the old days.” Also interesting is to take a census, such as oldest and newest grandchild, family with the most grandchildren, and families with five generation present.
As Grandparents Day approaches, help Children and/or Grandchildren to identify and date all photos in old family albums. Many happy memories can be derived from this.Everyone is a grandchild and can be involved in the observance of this day – a time to discover one’s roots and learn patience, understanding and appreciation for the elderly. Grandparents Day is the perfect time to enhance communication between the generations.
Special talents, such as cooking, sculpting or quilting can be passed on to those who display an interest. Old family music, songs and dances, along with their meanings and origins, are important in maintaining a strong sense of family background. Together, re-construct a family tree, giving children the opportunity to learn the ancestral line of their family. Strive to preserve particular ethnic or religious beliefs.
Many times, only grandparents have answers to questions about family histories. When this information is passed down to the grandchildren, everyone can be assured of his heritage being preserved.
Most important, Grandparents Day can signify a loving spirit that lives within us throughout the year–a spirit of love and respect for our elders.
YOU ASKED THE MAD GARDENER . . .
I have many petunia pots in my yard and on my deck. I also have a Rapitest Digital Moisture Meter, by Luster Leaf. Too much water, and the roots can not take the water up. Too little water, seems to be better. However, the other plants in the pot need more water than the petunias. My instructions for the moister meter does not include petunias. The meter registers from 1 to 9.9. My question is, should I be keeping the 16″ containers or bigger at 4 (which is fairly wet)? I usually wait to water until the petunias start to look near death. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Joan
I always lean toward keeping my pots on the drier side rather than the wetter side. It’s hard to control the moisture level once pots get too wet and then if they stay too wet–especially if we were to have a wet spell.
In hot and sunny weather, you should be able to water established, mature containers every day, regardless of the plants in them. If it’s cloudy or cool or really humid, you might be able to go two days. Make sure to water thoroughly and only in the morning if possible. Wilted plants in the afternoon sun is completely normal and doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be watered.
That said, it also depends on the soil you’ve chosen to use in your pots. Not all soils can be treated the same…peaty soils retain moisture; whereas bark-based soils are very well drained and need to watered more often. Miracle-Gro soils, among others, on the other hand, are often sold with added moisture retentive granules (which oftentimes keep the soil overly wet).
In short, rather than relying on a single device, it’s best to use your finger, intuition and note the appearance of the plants in the container (with an eye on the weather). Experience will become your guide. I wish I could give a more concise and concrete answer, but like I said in the beginning, it’s best to lean toward the drier side than wet.
Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener
DID YOU KNOW. . .
. . . that September is probably the best month to sow grass seed in Wisconsin?
Planting grass seed in Wisconsin can be done between the spring and fall months. Keep in mind that planting in the spring will bring a longer growing season to help lawns establish, BUT summer heat and weeds may cause problems. Fall seeding minimizes the dangers of heat injury, but you’ll need about 6 weeks of temperatures ranging from 50° F to 70° F. Lawns seeded within a week of Labor Day are more likely to fill in completely for winter, producing a thicker turf appearance for the spring compared to lawns seeded during the fall. You want to plant your grass seed in the late summer because, with sufficient water, the warmer temperatures will encourage good grass seed germination.
Wisconsin is located in the northern region of the United States. Most of cool-season grasses will grow well in lawns, most notably…
—Bent Grass (high maintenance turf mostly used on golf courses)
The primary grass selected and planted in Wisconsin is Kentucky bluegrass. It is considered the best quality turf grass for cooler climates and makes a fine textured lawn. It has the ability to fill-in damaged areas without any need to reseed. Bluegrass is also much more winter-hardy compared to other cool-season grass varieties. Newer varieties will have better disease resistance. It performs best in full sunlight, but could be mixed with a fine fescue for use in shady areas. Bluegrass may need one to three months to germinate and establish, based upon site conditions. Bluegrass could be seeded or sodded for establishment.
Kentucky bluegrass planted in Wisconsin is often blended with perennial rye grass. The quick establishment properties of rye grass work well with the fast establishment times of bluegrass. Its texture is similar to bluegrass, and it has good drought tolerance. Rye grass isn’t necessarily as cold tolerant as bluegrass but works well in lawns. Plant Kentucky bluegrass at 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet, or 1.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet when over-seeding. Mow at 2 inches to 3 inches.
Fine fescue varieties are fine-leaved turf grasses suited well for conditions of shade, low soil moisture, low fertility and soils with unfavorable pH levels. Fine fescues planted in sandy soils with good drainage grow best, so adding a layer of sand on top of your soil surface during soil preparation can support growth. Extra applications of fertilizer, frequent irrigation or establishment on poorly drained soils can lead to a drop in quality and plant body. With good management, the fine fescues will make an attractive turf for your lawn.
Fine fescues are seldom seeded alone. They’re commonly found in mixtures with other cool-season turf grasses for use on low maintenance or shady lawns. Plant seeds at 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Mow between 3 and 4 inches.
This grass can form an extremely fine-textured, dense and uniform high-quality turf if managed properly. Nonetheless, good cultivation practices are both pricy and time-consuming. Very few homeowners can support a bent grass lawn. In general, bent grass is found primarily on golf courses. It doesn’t blend well with Kentucky bluegrass and should not be part of a lawn seed mixture.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT—Each 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.
Belgian Mums® from Gediflora
Belgian Hardy Mums are not your ordinary fall-flowering, winter-hardy chrysanthemums. They are prolific blooming, easy to grow, hardy mums and are available in a huge range of colors. They have different bloom seasons to fit your landscape needs. This is the first season that Klein’s will be offering Gediflora Belgian mums.
Belgian Hardy Mums form a perfectly rounded plant that is attractive in the garden and also make bright-hued displays in containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes. The advantages of Belgian Hardy Mums are:
1. Prolific – Belgian Hardy Mums may have upwards of 1000 buds ready to open. Once you have one, you will certainly want more varieties of these outstanding hardy mums.
2. Easy to Grow – Belgian Hardy Mums are very easy to grow and are never leggy. They require no pinching or trimming, providing abundant flowers with little maintenance.
3. Very Durable – Belgian Hardy Mums have branches that will bounce back instead of the usual breaking when they are bent or pushed.
4. Hardy – Belgian Hardy Mums will over-winter in many areas with the proper care. Plant in well-drained soil and avoid over-saturation. After the top is killed by the frost, cut back to 3 inches above the ground and mulch when the stubble is dry.
5. Extended Season – Belgian Hardy Mums are available in 4 different seasons for extended flowering, Very Early, Early, Mid and Late Season.
Plant shape, flexibility, flower count and ease of growth make Belgian Hardy Mums a must for all your mum planting needs.
From the Gediflora website @ www.gediflora.be/us-ca/:
The Gediflora range of products is marketed under the trade name Belgian Mums. Some of the specific features of Belgian Mums are:
—nice round shape
—exceptional plant quality
—highly resistant to disease
As growers it is our task to bring only the best cultivated varieties onto the market. Potential varieties undergo a strict selection procedure before they are approved for the market. This process from seedling to eventual market introduction takes at least five years.
By employing classic breeding techniques, around 30.000 seedlings are harvested on a yearly basis and then planted in our experimental fields. From these we make a selection and only the best plants are retained. The following year, these plants are then replanted, tested and selected or rejected for another year of trials. Only if the plants have passed through a certain number of years of trial are they added to the Belgian Mums assortment and marketed as a fully developed variety.
NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach
ENTRY: AUGUST 2, 2016 (An Old Window Screen-A Fountain Pump Savior)
For the first time in a few years, I haven’t had to replace any of my three fountain pumps so far this season. It’s not that they are particularly new. The reason is that I simply take pretty darn good care of them. I never let my fountains run dry (I fill them each morning when watering my containers) and I make sure that the intake opening remains debris-free and unobstructed. A clean and well-performing fountain or water feature adds beauty to the garden and brings in an abundance of wildlife.
In general, I give all of my three fountains a somewhat thorough cleaning about once a week. I replace all or most of the water and scrub the surfaces to remove any algae buildup.
To ensure that my pumps remain clog-free I’ve encased them in a roomy pocket of crumpled up old vinyl window screen. Many websites suggest using other materials (i.e. old nylons), but I’ve found that the further the any debris stays away the from the intake, the longer the fountain performs unhindered. The crumpled screen (secured with a large rubber band used for produce around the electrical cord) keeps any and all debris far from the intake. In fact, I haven’t found the need to remove the pumps from the fountains to clean them this entire summer.
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ENTRY: AUGUST 10, 2016 (Time for a Haircut!)
I’m often asked how my many petunia containers and hanging baskets can look so good so late in the season.
My answer? In addition to regular watering and bi-weekly fertilizing, one quick ‘haircut’ just after the Fourth of July is the simple solution.
Usually by the Fourth of July most petunias are beginning to look a little leggy and tired. The center of the pots begin to yellow and lose leaves and the stems become thick and woody. That’s about the time I begin pruning my 20 plus petunia pots and baskets back to about 4-6”. I trim baskets back to the rim of the pot and leave a little longer growth and a few flowers and some foliage on the top. It may seem drastic to cut off all the flowers and cut back the foliage to mere twigs. But doing so now ensures oodles of new blooms in just two short weeks. The centers begin filling out with all new foliage as the plants start branching. The hot weather of July encourages speedy new growth. Two weeks later my pots look like they looked in mid-June…loaded with blooms!
I try to stagger the pruning process over a week’s time as not to have all of my petunias cut off at once for better effect in the garden.
Now that it’s mid-August and the days are shortening and the nights are cooler, my now robust and revived petunias are thriving. And with the cooler days of fall, my petunias are oftentimes the last of my container plants to succumb to fall frosts; usually looking great and blooming well into October…all because of that simple ‘haircut’ in July.
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ENTRY: AUGUST 22, 2016 (A Couple of South American Treasures)
The garden is now quickly changing from its mid- to late summer appearance. The perennial stars of mid-summer (the daylilies and bee balm) are giving way to asters and goldenrod. That said, most annuals are now at their peak and will continue thriving until the first hints of fall in just a few weeks.
Among my favorite and unique late summer bloomers are Brazilian buttonflowers and all of the unique tropical salvias; especially Bolivian sage.
I’m a sucker unique annuals in my garden. Sometimes my experiments haven’t panned out in that tropical beauties sometimes underperform here in the north with our short summers. Brazilian buttonflowers (Centratherum intermedium) however NEVER disappoint. Their unique purple-blue, bachelor button-like blooms appear nonstop from mid-July until frost. Not only do they have fascinating flowers, but offer interesting and uniquely lobed foliage to boot. Few people know this delightful annual and seed is becoming increasingly hard to find. Brazilian buttonflower is never available at garden centers (though I’m not sure why). The blooms attract beneficial pollinators and the plants self-sow randomly throughout the garden when conditions are ideal. Years back, seed was available from a number of sources and I’ve still been able to order it reliable from Park Seed; not from their catalog, however,—only through their website. Plants are bushy and grow to about 2 ft. tall in my garden beds. They perform equally well in containers.
Bolivian sage (Salvia oxyphora) is unique among the late flowering tropical salvias. Like all salvias it too is a hummingbird magnet. The blooms, however, are extremely unique among salvias. They are very fuzzy and bright pink; held above rather typical salvia foliage. I found this salvia in a garden catalog about 10 years ago and have been propagating it via cuttings ever since. Like all salvias, it is very easy to overwinter in small pots as cuttings. I also dig up the roots, pot them and store them dormant in my root cellar along with my cannas, callas, brugmansias and many other tropical sages. Plants grow to about 2-3’ tall, are bushy and also perform well in large containers. Like Brazilian buttonflowers, I’m not sure why this plant isn’t offered at garden centers. Perhaps someday…
An interesting note about Bolivian sage from an Australian website:
“In addition to the fuzzy flowers, another unique characteristic of the Bolivian Salvia is its seedless state. No plant has been observed with seeds after flowering, either in the wild or in herbariums. It has been surmised that this may be due to the loss of a native pollinator, due to extinction or rarity. In North America, hummingbirds readily ‘pollinate’ flowers, but viable seed does not set. The plant is therefore at risk in the wild, despite commercial nurseries around the world having good stock levels”.
KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTH—These are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!
During the late summer months, it’s often difficult to keep up with produce from the garden. The following quick and easy pickling process appeared in an article in the Wisconsin State Journal in mid-July. Unlike canning, produce is bathed in a hot vinegar and salt brine, then sealed and chilled. Because the produce is not ‘canned’, veggies should be eaten within a week to 10 days for best results; much like most vinegar based summer salads. The Klein’s staff member who brought us this article says he’s been pickling many batches of Mexican sour gherkins, for example; which are not only delicious for munching on, but make for unique garnishes in his whiskey Old-fashioned sweets and other summer cocktails. He says the pickling process takes 10-15 minutes tops and works with nearly all vegetables, including cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, carrot strips, green beans. Allow your imagination become your guide.
Don’t Get So Sour about ‘Pickles’. Make Them Yourself
By Melissa D’Arabian for the Associated Press
In the world of summer barbecues, the pickle hardly plays a starring role.
Truth to be told, “hold the pickles” is my standard order, as I am not a fan of pickles on a cheeseburger, nor do I particularly care for pickle juice leaking onto my sandwich bread at a deli.
But homemade quick pickles made from a variety of fresh veggies, not just cucumbers, are a completely different story! Quick pickles are made in minutes, not days, so the veggies stay crisper than store-bought versions. And since you control the ingredients, you can customize your pickles to make them as tart, sweet, sour, spicy or salty as you want.
Make one batch, and you’ll immediately know how to adjust the flavors to your liking. You can even make a variety of pickling flavors easily — add extra smashed garlic cloves and red pepper flakes to the green beans and bump up the vinegar to give cauliflower floret pickles extra pucker. You can even pickle fruit — sliced lemon, pineapple chunks, halved cherry tomatoes all make tangy toppings for grilled meats and spicy dishes, for example.
The homemade pickle is a far more versatile actor than its commercially-produced cousin. Try serving a variety of lightly-pickled veggies with dip instead of the expected crudité.
Imagine a veritable mini-buffet of brightly colored pickled veggies in mason jars set up next to the condiments at your next barbecue. Bring along a jar or two to someone else’s party this summer as a healthy hostess gift.
Or, just keep a jar or two in your fridge for snacking. The basic recipe is easy enough to keep your fridge stocked, too. Just six simple pantry ingredients are needed: vegetables, vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic and an herb or spice. Which means homemade pickles can probably be on your menu tonight without even a trip to the store.
Six Ingredient Quick ‘Pickles’
Start to Finish: 15 minutes
½ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 smashed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or other spice or herb, such a mustard seed, celery seed, or dill)
2 cups vegetables, approximately, trimmed to fit in two 1-pint mason jars
Special equipment: 2 mason jars (1 pint size)
Heat the vinegar, salt and sugar in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar dissolve, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile place the garlic and red pepper flakes at the bottom of the mason jars, and add the trimmed vegetables. Pour the boiling pickling liquid into the jars to cover the vegetables completely. (You should have enough water, but if not, boil a little extra plain water and add.) Cover the jars and let the vegetables sit until cool enough to eat. Store in refrigerator. Best if eaten within a week to 10 days.
Some fun food-for-thought and certainly a stimulator for vibrant conversation:
Organic Gardening—Are You An Organic Gardener?
By Robert Pavlis
Organic Gardening – What is it? This should be a simple question, and many of you may think you know the answer, but the answer is more complicated than you think.
I consider myself an organic gardener – but some of you won’t agree because I do use some Roundup.
Can you garden organically and still use Roundup? Can you be ‘sort of’ organic and still consider yourself an organic gardener? Do organic gardeners make the best environmental choices?
Organic Gardening—What Is It?
There are many definitions for organic gardening – let’s look at some.
Organic gardening means that you do not use chemicals. Many organic gardeners believe this statement and it is part of many definitions of organic gardening, but if you understand anything about chemicals you will know that the statement is false. Organic gardeners do use chemicals.
The definition is sometimes changed to ‘organic gardening means you do not use man-made or processed chemicals’. That is also not correct. Blood meal and Neem oil are certainly processed chemicals as are most organic pesticides.
Most simple definitions that focus on the use of chemicals do not describe organic gardening very well.
If we ignore for a moment the certified organic farmer, organic gardening is more about a philosophy of gardening than any specific act of doing or not doing a certain thing. I tried to find a good, succinct description of this philosophy, but didn’t find one.
Here is my attempt at a description. Organic gardening is a method of gardening that minimizes the impact the gardener has on the environment.
Consider these scenarios:
Buying and spreading bags of composted manure.
Spraying natural Neem oil to get rid of aphids.
Using Roundup to kill invasive European buckthorn.
Are these organic practices? I think most of you would say yes to the first two – they follow accepted organic practices. You would say no to the third since it uses man-made chemicals.
Using composted manure is good – right? Consider this. Every time you transport something, you cause pollution and global warming. The compost had to be trucked to the store, and then you trucked it home in your car. You can garden without it and too much of it is actually toxic to your plants. Which option makes you more organic – using it or not using it? Buying it is clearly less organic than not using it.
Neem oil is extracted from a plant in India, and then shipped to your location. That is a definite environmental impact. Neem oil is not selective and kills both beneficial and pest insects which is not environmentally friendly. Isn’t doing nothing the more organic option? I hear you – you just said ‘ but…but aphids are destroying my roses!’ Then don’t grow roses!
Just because a chemical comes from a plant does not make its use a good organic practice.
I never spray for pests in my garden but I do use Roundup for European buckthorn. Buckthorn is very invasive and takes over wooded areas competing with and killing native perennials and shrubs. I had 4 acres of buckthorn thickets made up of thousands of plants – they seed like crazy. I cut the stems, and paint the cut. This method takes very little Roundup. Is this any worse for the environment than shipping and using Neem? Is it worse for the environment than doing nothing and letting buckthorn remove all the native plants? I don’t think so.
Can You Be Organic and Use Roundup?
Many people would say no, but I think you can garden organically and still use man-made chemicals.
I don’t truck compost into my garden. I don’t import organic chemicals like Neem oil. I do use Roundup for a very specific purpose.
My form of organic gardening does not have a set of specific do’s and don’ts that must be met.
There are degrees of organic gardening. At one end of the spectrum you have gardeners who buy absolutely nothing for their garden. They never spray for pests, and they compost everything on site. Then you have some gardeners who do a little composting and use as few chemicals as possible. Both of these people are organic gardeners, but to different degrees.
Let me give you another example. You want to kill some grass so that you can make a new flower bed. You have two options; spray with Roundup, or cover the area with newspaper using the lasagna method. Which is better for the environment and therefore more organic?
Most people think the lasagna method is organic, but they would be wrong. Recycling old newspaper instead of using chemicals seems like such an organic selection, but consider this. The newspaper changes the water and air levels in the soil beneath the paper. In effect it kills off much of the life in soil. Dew worms don’t ‘love’ eating the paper – they leave the area because they can’t get enough oxygen. Roundup on the other hand kills the grass does limited harm to the soil life and has a short half life. You still have to have someone manufacture it, and truck it to your property, so it also has a negative impact on the environment. The best organic choice between these two options is not so clear.
Certified Organic Farmers
There is a certification program in the US that will certify a farmer as being organic. I won’t go into details, but the qualifications are very focused on NOT using synthetic chemicals.
A certified farmer can do all kinds of damage to the environment and still be certified organic. They can import ‘organic chemicals’ from anywhere in the world rather than use a suitable local man-made product, and still be organic. I am not saying they all do this – many are very environmentally conscious.
Many countries have such certification programs, and the requirements differ from country to country, although most are similar. You can be organic in one country and not meet certification requirements in another. Does that make any sense? Having dozens of different definitions of the term organic does not make sense to me.
The bottom line is that you are “organic” if you follow the rules. You don’t have to farm in an environmentally friendly way to be considered organic.
Why is this important? As a philosophy, organic gardening allows you to make intelligent choices on a case by case basis. As a certification process, you are forced into following rules even when they don’t make sense for the environment. It is a fundamental flaw in the certification process.
For example, organic farmers can and do use higher levels of natural pesticides instead of using a smaller amount of a man-made product. They need to do this because the natural pesticide is less effective in some cases. The natural product can even be more toxic than the man-made product, but the rules are quite clear. Thou shalt use the more toxic product.
Organic certification would be so much more organic, and environmentally friendly, if the program used the pesticide that is most suitable for the job, considering both efficacy and environmental impact. Instead it blindly follows the rule – no man-made chemicals.
This is not the farmers fault – they need to remain certified to sell organically certified produce – I don’t blame them for a moment. The problem is with governments, industry associations and the general public. The latter group can’t get their head around the fact that some man-made chemicals are safer than organic chemicals.
There is another group of organic gardeners that I’ll call organic zealots. These are people who go over board on organic ideas to the detriment of both their gardens and the environment. In many ways they are like certified organic farmers in that they follow very strict rules, but they are not certified. They have the freedom to think for themselves, but they don’t.
For this group of people the rules are not written down. There is no official set of rules for being organic. Each zealot makes up their own rules, but they do tend to follow each other with a herd-like mentality.
If you don’t follow their rules – you are not an organic gardener. There is no gray area.
Unfortunately this group usually does not believe in science because all science has been paid for by Monsanto. As a result they don’t understand the real world and make all kinds of unsubstantiated claims.
Organic zealots give organic gardening a bad name.
Are You An Organic Gardener?
Most gardeners are organic gardeners to some extent. They believe in nature and the environment. They will do things in their garden that benefit the plants and the environment – to some extent.
You can be an organic gardener and still use man-made chemicals and fertilizers. The important thing is that you use them as little as possible, and where possible and practicable you use better alternative organic methods. Look at each situation on a case by case basis, and do what makes sense.
A real organic gardener uses science as a guide, instead of a list of must-follow rules. It is OK to be an 80% organic gardener, which is much better for the environment than being a 100% organic zealot.
Problem with the Word Organic
We have one term, organic gardener, to describe all of the above flavors of gardeners. One term is not enough since it causes confusion, but that is all we have right now.
I encourage people to think rationally about what they do in the garden. That means understanding the science, and ignoring the preaching of organic zealots. Don’t blindly follow organic certification rules. Instead use them as a guide when they make sense.
Take steps to become more organic by becoming more informed.
SEPTEMBER’S PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Maiden Grass (Miscanthus)
Few grasses are more beautiful in late fall and early winter than the many maiden grasses (Miscanthus sinensis); available at all local garden centers. The delicate plumes waving in the breeze are soothing eye-catchers in the home garden. Klein’s currently has a nice selection of maiden grasses and all are currently included in our yearend perennial sale. Please note that maiden grasses are often falsely called ‘pampas grass’ in southern Wisconsin. True pampas grass is not hardy in the northern US.
Miscanthus sinensis: A Graceful Fair Maiden
by Gerald Kingaman
Gardens are constantly changing. Not only do the plants themselves change their appearance from season to season, gardeners are always adding new plants and taking out old ones as different selections peak their interest. Ornamental grasses (which were important garden plants during the height of the Victorian era), have been rediscovered by gardeners and are currently riding a wave of popularity.
While grasses come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, one of the most popular is maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis), which truly makes a wonderfully bold statement in fall gardens. Also known as eulalia, Japanese silvergrass and maidenhair grass, this tough, clump-forming grass has slender, half-inch wide leaves that gracefully arch from the ground. In autumn, it sends up a silvery, feathery tassel that turns tan and simply waves about in the breeze above the clump.
For me, one of the best parts of the grass is that the clump expands every year. In fact, the row of ‘Gracillimus’ I planted 10 years ago is now about 3 feet wide at the base and 6 feet tall in flower, effectively obscuring the parking space for my old junker.
Of course, the ultimate height of the plant depends on the type of Miscanthus you select. There are now more than 40 cultivars of maiden grass in the nursery trade, so make sure you know the characteristics of the one you choose. ‘Nippon’, for example, is a dwarf form with 2- to 3-foot-tall foliage and flowers topping out at 4 feet. Miscanthus ‘Giganteus’ and Miscanthus floridulus are two species that grow straight up to 10 feet. (I’ve often fantasized about making a corn maze using these beauties.)
Perhaps the most popular of the maiden grasses are the variegated types. My favorite of these is a thin-leafed, 4-foot-tall, delicate form called ‘Morning Light’. It has a thin, white strip on the leaf margin that’s easy to miss because the leaf itself is so narrow. Plant this where it can be backlit by the morning sun for a remarkable effect.
Two other variegated forms, Miscanthus sinensis spp. condensatus ‘Cabaret’ (with its wide, white stripe down the length of the blade) and the unusual ‘Zebrinus’ (with yellow variegation running across the leaf blade), are worth having if you’ve got the rooMiscanthus These plants tend to be a bit floppy and graceless in flower, but their foliage effect is grand. (For something with a similar effect but more compact and less floppy, try 4-foot-tall ‘Little Zebra’.)
To achieve its full glory, maiden grass needs at least 6 hours of sunlight. It’s not picky about soil, but will grow larger and faster in good sites. Once established, it’s drought-tolerant to the extreme (and I shudder to think of a drought so severe as to affect it). While an occasional grasshopper might chomp on a leaf here or there, the plant is essentially immune to disease and insect problems.
Where to plant this gorgeous grower, you ask? Ornamental grasses in general are ideal for screening, for use as a specimen plants or as substitutes for conventional shrubs. They also make stately specimens when used in large containers, but in cold areas, the pots will need to be sunken during winter to protect the roots from freezing.
The hardiest forms of maiden grass will grow from USDA Hardiness zones 4-9. Taller-growing types and broad-leafed clones are usually somewhat less hardy, typically going only as far north as Zone 5. The cane-forming Miscanthus floridulus is only hardy to Zone 6.
So if you’re looking for a little change, try a blast from the Victorian past! Not only will maiden grass shake up the look of your garden, Miscanthus sinensis will add a touch of grace and beauty from season to season.
Klein’s 2016 Miscanthus Selection. Please note that we are currently sold out of many of the listed cultivars for this season. Most will become available again next May.
MISCANTHUS x giganteus–Wow! Magnificent upright clumps of wide, pendant green leaves. Flower stalks soar to 10′, with light pink new flowers maturing to silver. Sterile, non-invasive, and a slow spreader. A big, bold statement in any garden. Plant in any soil, in sun or part shade. Cut back to the ground in spring before new growth begins. Zone 4. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Adagio’– Compact silver-gray foliage grows to 2’ tall. Flowers emerge pink, then turn white. Plant in any soil, in sun or part shade. Cut back to the ground in spring before new growth begins. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Encore’– A perfect choice for northern climates, where the growing season is shorter. Since it blooms so early, this miscanthus has a chance for an encore performance, shooting up a secondary flush of coppery purple plumes before frost hits. Blooming starts in late summer to early fall and lasts until mid-fall. The flowers turn to a creamy tan color with age. This perennial forms a tall, upright clump of dark green leaves with white midribs. Before blooming, this plant stands around 4 1/2’ tall. Be sure to leave this grass standing so it can provide winter interest through the snowy months. Plant in any soil, in sun or part shade. Cut back to the ground in spring before new growth begins. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Gold Bar’ (Porcupine Grass)–Features mature seed heads of fluffy, pinkish tan with compact, clump-forming, upright, arching habit; bright green foliage and golden horizontal banding; plume-like sprays of burgundy
flowers in Sept. Ht.: 48-60”. Spread: 36-48”. Grow in average well-drained soil in full to part sun. Use in border garden, containers or as a specimen. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ (Maiden Grass)–Features mature seed heads of showy silver-white with clump-forming, upright, arching habit; slender, rich, green foliage; plume-like sprays of large, copper-brown flowers in Sept. Ht.: 6-7’ Spread: 3’. Grow in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part sun. Use in the border, as a screen, specimen, cut flower. Late to emerge in spring. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Graziella’ (Graziella Silver Grass)–Slender, rich green foliage; graceful, arching habit; large, showy, silver-white plumes in Aug. Ht.: 5’. Spread: 24-36”. Grow in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Use for screen, specimen, birds. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Malepartus’ (Japanese Silver Grass)–Robust grass with large flowers that emerge purplish pink and mature to silver. Foliage turns bronze in fall. Plant in any soil in sun or part shade. Cut back to the ground in spring before new growth begins. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis pupurascens ‘Autumn Red’ (Flame Grass)–Medium green foliage with reddish tint, turning brilliant orange-red in fall.; silvery purple flower heads in Sept. Ht.: 48-60”. Spread: 24-36”. Plant in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Use for screen, specimen. Zone 3. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Silberfeder’ (Maiden Grass)–Medium green foliage turning golden in fall; silver white flowers in Sept.-Oct Ht.: 6-7’. Spread: 24-36”. Plant in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Use for screen, specimen. Zone 4. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Strictus’ (Porcupine Grass)–Bright green with golden horizontal banding; stiff upright habit; copper, turning fluffy tan, flowers in Sept. Ht.: 6-8’. Spread: 24-36”. Grow in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Use for screen, specimen. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
MISCANTHUS sinensis ‘Variegata’ (Japanese Silver Grass)–Tall, 5-7’ ornamental grass with leaves variegated white. Loose, feathery, beige flower clusters are quite showy. Plant in any soil, sun or shade. Cut back before new growth appears in spring. Zone 5. Gallon Pot.
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.
GLEAM, Art in a New Light
September 1 thru October 28, 2016
Wednesdays thru Fridays from 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. rain or shine
In the gardens @ Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Definition: Gleam n. a flash of light; n. an appearance of reflected light; v. shine brightly like a star or light; v. appear briefly
GLEAM, Art in a New Light, returns to Olbrich with an exciting new series of illuminated art installations bringing mystery and delight to the outdoor gardens in the evening. Collaborations between artists and lighting designers create objects and effects that feature light as a dynamic physical presence. An evening wander is sure to inspire all ages as each installation engages the senses and sparks wonder!
GLEAM will be viewable daily, during regular public daytime hours in September and October. When the sun sets, the Gardens will open for extended viewing hours and art installations will be illuminated, inviting visitors to see the Gardens in a whole new light.
Admission for the general public is $13 for adults 13 & up ($11 for members) and $7 for children ages 3-12 ($6 for members).
Tickets available at the door starting at 7 p.m. pending online ticket sales. Gardens will close to the public at 6 p.m. on evening viewing dates. Last ticket sold at 10 p.m.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
Fall Flowers in Grady Oak Savanna and Greene Prairie
Sunday, September 4, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Enjoy a late summer walk through goldenrods, asters, sunflowers and gentians. Meet at the Grady Tract parking lot located at the southeast corner of the Beltline and Seminole Highway.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
2016 Summer Sundays: Concerts in the Garden at Allen Centennial Garden
Add a little bit of musical enjoyment to your Sunday afternoons this summer with Summer Sundays: Concerts in the Garden. This new concert series will feature some of the best musical groups in Madison ranging from classical to jazz chamber music. The concerts will be held alternating Sunday afternoons starting June 26 and ending September 22, from 4 p.m. to 5:30p.m. in our English Garden.
This event is free and open to the public. Brought to you by the Friends of Allen Centennial Garden.
Harmonious Wail—An infectious blend of continental jazz, swing, gypsy music and melodic vocals.
Paul Muench Quartet—Imaginative improvisations and creative modern arrangements of timeless jazz standards.
Allen Centennial Gardens
620 Babcock Dr. on the University of WI campus, Madison
Rotary Gardens 2016 Fall Plant Sale
Saturday, September 10, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 11, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
At the Horticulture Center
•Hundreds of varieties of perennials for all garden situations
•Huge garden mums
•Spring blooming bulbs
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
Janesville, WI 53545
Community Hummingbird Garden Tours
Sunday, September 11, 1:00-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 14, 3:00-7:00 p.m.
5118 Buffalo Trail, Madison, 53705 (near Hilldale & Oscar Rennebohm Park)
One of Wisconsin’s Hummingbird Banders, Mickey O’Connor, will be banding hummingbirds for the Wednesday, September 14 Tour . Additionally, Larry and Emily Scheunemann will present a program about hummingbirds at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14. We have 100+ plants and shrubs on display (including some rare salvias from South America), 20 hummingbird feeders, a garden pond and a door prize drawing on each day with birding related items donated by Wildbirds Unlimited in Middleton. We will also provide printed information about hummingbird gardening.
For more info please contact Kathi or Michael Rock at [email protected].
Also visit the Hummingbird Gardening in the Upper Midwest website @ www.hummingbirdgardening.net
Fun with Fungi
Sunday, September 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Investigate mushrooms growing in the natural areas and the gardens. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Garden Tour:
Eggs, Honey & Roses Tour
Saturday, September 17, 9:00-noon
A free, self-guided walking tour of chicken coops, beehives, and gardens in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood on Madison’s near east side.
Maps/brochures will be available the day of the tour at 459 Sidney street or 917 E. Dayton street or you can download the map/brochure at www.tenneylapham.org/
Held rain or shine.
Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association
P.O. Box 703
Madison, WI 53701
Troy Community Gardens Fall Festival
Saturday, September 17, 12:00-3:00
Troy Community Gardens
500 Troy Drive, Madison, WI 53704
Join the Troy Community Gardeners to celebrate the fall harvest with a community potluck, apple cider pressing, and door prizes. Bring a dish to pass, utensils, plate and lawn chair. Eggrolls will be for sale as a fundraiser for Lindbergh School Community Garden. Friends, family and the public are invited to participate.
‘Growing food. Growing minds. Together.’
3601 Memorial Dr., Ste. 4
Madison, WI 53704
Native By Design:
Gardening for a Sustainable Future
Sunday, September 18, 8:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Using the Arboretum’s Native Plant Garden as an outdoor classroom, this one-day conference offers workshops, take-home tips, & living examples to help you develop, maintain, & improve a native plant garden. Keynote: “Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants,” Heather Holm, author of “Pollinators of Native Plants.” Registration required by Sept. 8.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
Native Garden Tour:
Fall in the Native Plant Garden
Saturday, September 24, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Color, fruits, seeds, late-blooming plants, late-season insects—we will find these and more in the diverse native plant gardens around the Visitor Center. Susan Carpenter, Arboretum Native Plant Gardener, will lead this tour. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
Rotary Garden’s Evening Garden Seminar: Bulb Planting
Wednesday, September 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m
Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville, WI
As the gardening season starts winding down, it is the perfect time to consider planting spring blooming bulbs out in the gardens with visions of a colorful spring. Rotary Botanical Gardens has over 400,000 spring blooming bulbs and we’ll discuss the wide range of options including their proper siting out in the gardens and tips on selection, installation, repelling unwanted critters and nurturing these colorful and diverse plants.
Admission: $3 for RBG Friends members and $5 for the general public. No registration required
Seminar is conducted by Mark Dwyer, RBG Director of Horticulture
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
Crackle–Fire & Froth in the Gardens
Friday, September 30, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Be inspired by the beauty of a crisp fall evening in Olbrich’s outdoor gardens. Watch the flames from bonfires dance on the Great Lawn, groove to live music, savor a variety of tasty foods from Food Fight restaurants, and sip frothy Wisconsin brews. Food and beverage offered at an additional cost.
Must be 21 years old to attend. In the case of inclement weather the event will be relocated indoors. A limited number of advance tickets are available. Additional tickets may be available the day of the event, weather permitting. Tickets are available both at Olbrich’s Growing Gifts shop or on-line beginning September 6. Ticket proceeds benefit the Gardens. Tickets are $25 ($20 for members).
Headliner: The People Brothers Band
One of the staples of Madison’s vibrant music scene, The People Brothers Band is an 8-piece Rhythm & Soul powerhouse and their only desire is to get you moving on the dance floor. They are the winners of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award in 2014 Soul/R&B Band of the Year and also won MAMA for Pop/R&B Album of the Year in 2015. They are a family whose love music and playing together shines brightly through each performance.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
Guided Garden Strolls
Sundays, June thru September, 1:30-3:00
Get an insider’s view of Olbrich’s outdoor gardens during a free guided garden stroll. All ages are welcome for this casual overview of the Gardens. Guided garden strolls will vary somewhat according to the season to reflect the garden areas that are at peak interest.
Strolls start and end in the lobby near the Garden entrance and are about 45 to 60 minutes in length. No registration is required; strolls are drop-in only. Strolls are held rain or shine and will be cancelled only in the event of dangerous lightning.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
Bolz Conservatory Exhibit-Integrated Pest Management
August 8 thru October 30, 2016
Daily from 10:00-4:00
In the Bolz Conservatory
Beneficial insects have been used in the Conservatory since it opened in 1991. These bugs provide control of plant-damaging insects, minimizing the need of more dangerous traditional insecticides. These controls, along with several others, are part of the Conservatory’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This widely accepted program strives to use the least toxic method of insect and disease control to be more environmentally sensitive. Learn about Olbrich’s environmentally friendly pest control methods and get ideas you can use to reduce or eliminate pesticide use at home.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
Dane County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, April 16 thru November 5, 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
Northside Farmers Market
Sundays, May 8 through October 23, 8:30-12:30
In the Northside TownCenter at the intersection of N. Sherman Ave. and Northport Dr. across from Warner Park.
The Northside Farmers Market is a nonprofit community enterprise. It is one of the newest and fastest growing farmers’ markets in Dane County. In keeping with the innovative spirit of Madison’s Northside, we are surpassing what defines the traditional farmers’ market. Our fundamental principles include:
–Providing an abundant selection of high quality, locally grown foods.
The market accepts Quest, WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers.
–Supporting our local agricultural entrepreneurs who are increasingly important today in ensuring that we have the best and safest food possible.
–Educating the community about traditional foods and the history of local agriculture in an attempt to preserve (and expand upon) our rich heritage.
–Promoting nutrition and the market by hosting dinners for neighborhood groups and seniors.
Parking is always FREE!
For details visit www.northsidefarmersmarket.org
SEPTEMBER IN THE GARDEN—A checklist of things to do this month.
___Continue sowing lettuce, endive, escarole and spinach.
___Plant garlic now! This is the best time in Wisconsin.
___Plant bearded iris rhizomes and transplant peonies.
___Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.
___Apply a systemic pesticide to plants to be wintered over indoors.
___Continue planting shrubs and trees.
___Plant grass seed. September is one of the best times as nights cool.
___Aerate your lawn.
___Divide and plant perennials as desired.
___Stop deadheading perennials for winter interest, i.e. sedums, grasses, etc.
___Dig tender bulbs as the foliage yellows.
___Give the garden at least 1” of moisture per week.
___Collect seeds for next year’s garden.
___Make notes in your garden journal for changes, improvements, etc.
___Take pictures of your garden for record keeping.
___Keep and eye on the weather. Water as needed.
___Shop for spring bulbs, mums and pansies.
___Bring dormant amaryllis bulb indoors for 3 mo. of rest.
___Begin checking out the garden centers for spring bulb selection.
___Take cuttings of geraniums, coleus and other plants to winter over.
___Late in the month, begin planting spring bulbs, but wait as long as possible.
___Begin moving houseplants back indoors.
___Visit Klein’s—Great selection of mums, kales, cabbages, pansies & more!
Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:
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!
BEHIND THE SCENES AT KLEIN’S—This 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.
—The poinsettias continue grow and thrive in our back greenhouses. They’re almost ready to bring into our retail greenhouses before the weather gets too cold.
—Crops arrive for winter sales: cyclamen, azaleas.
—We begin weatherizing the greenhouses for winter.
—All remaining perennials are cut back, cleaned up and put into winter storage.
—We continue stocking fall mums as they go into bloom. We’ll continue to have a good selection into November.
—Ordering plants for spring 2017 is going on fast and furious. Our growers order early to ensure best selection. They pore over stacks of catalogs containing the newest plant material for 2017.