gardening


VISITORS TO THE Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi, Japan, can explore its six outdoor gardens designed by museum founder Adachi Zenko. photo / Tanya Jones
When planning a foreign adventure, adding a garden to the itinerary is an ideal way to be outside, avoid large crowds and leisurely explore on a budget. You’re able to see sweeping landscapes designed by architects as well as exotic plants up close. And you will come away with ideas for your own garden back home. Botanical gardens and their greenhouses not only provide insight into the local flora and fauna but also the culture and history of the country you’re visiting. Although international travel is limited now, we will be able to use our passports again one day. Until then, why not visit...

THE NORFOLK ISLAND pine, a popular holiday gift, makes a great potted plant that will thrive indoors for many years with proper care. Photo / Blumz by JRDesigns, metro Detroit
This holiday season Christmas trees laden with cherished ornaments and twinkly lights evoking a sense of wonder, peace and warmth will adorn our homes. When the festivities conclude, this cozy haven disappears as we relinquish our trees to the trash. For many, this sharp change in scenery, the deep cold and the darkness combine to invite the winter woes. How can we keep the holiday cheer going to avoid the bleakness of winter? An answer may lie with the Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla). Often referred to as the “living Christmas tree,” it will continue to grace a home long past...

PLANT BULBS AT a depth of two to three times the height of the bulb, making sure that the tip of the bulb points up to the sky. (photo: Bonnie Kirn Donahue)
Do your future self a favor, and plant spring-blooming bulbs this fall. Depending on where you live, there can be a month or more after the snow recedes in spring until we see flowers. Planting spring-flowering bulbs shortens this window and packs a ton of color, contrast and liveliness against a backdrop of the slowly awakening earth. Spring-flowering bulbs are an incredibly hopeful presence in a time of cool temperatures and unpredictable forecasts. The key to having bulbs bloom in the spring is to plant them in the fall. The best time to plant is mid-September through October when...
VERMONT — Gardeners of all abilities are invited to participate in a virtual statewide gardening conference on Nov. 5 and 6 to hear from horticultural, soil and composting experts from Vermont and Massachusetts. The theme for the conference, which is sponsored by the University of Vermont Extension Community Horticulture Program, is “Gardening for Resilience: Feeding our Soil, Seeds, Habitats and Communities.” Sessions will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on both days via Zoom. The conference opens with a presentation by Sylvia Davatz, an organic gardener from Hartland. Davatz will describe her...

IF A HARD frost is forecast, you can harvest your pumpkins, even if they haven’t fully changed color as they will continue to ripen off the vine. (photo: Bonnie Kirn Donahue)
Fall brings many great things that come in beautiful shades of orange, yellow, red and brown. Pumpkins and winter squash are among the most wonderful of these. Fall’s fluctuating temperatures and the threat of frost bring challenges to growing these in your garden. Here are some ideas to keep in mind for a great crop this year. Pumpkins and winter squash generally are ready to pick when they have fully changed color, and the skin is tough. A common test is to scratch the skin with your fingernail. If the skin is soft and breaks, it is not ready to pick. If it is hard, the fruit can be...

THIS CLUMP OF hardy buttery yellow hardy mums in Judith’s blueberry bed reflects the colors of the season. Photo by Dick Conrad
Autumn is surely Vermont’s most beloved season.  For me, the early morning view across the misty valley to nearby Mount Moosalamoo, alive with the colors of fall — reds, yellows and oranges — is a sight I will treasure all winter.  And, as I walk through the autumnal forests, all around I see lots of little birds busily seeking out nourishment — seeds, fruit and insects — in anticipation of their upcoming journeys to warmer wintering grounds. My garden too seems perfectly in tune with the season. The blueberry bushes and Miss Kim lilacs have turned a glorious bronze, and the serviceberry...

AFTER WEEDING YOUR perennial bed, carefully dig out the plants and place on a tarp in a shady spot, keeping them well watered until time to replant. Photo / Bonnie Kirn Donahue
As I look out at my perennial garden this time of year, it looks...tired. The Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-eyed Susan) is at its prime, but just about everything else has gone past. The weeds were difficult to contend with this year, even with proper mulching in the spring. Even my showstopper plants seemed to struggle. Although disappointing, these observations remind us that perennial gardens are not static. We carefully select plants, develop planting plans and cherish each plant we purchase or start from seed, expecting the plants to behave the way the plant tag describes. While this may...

ATTRACT MORE POLLINATORS to the garden. Learn how through a new class offered by UVM Extension Community Horticulture Program. Photo/Sarah Pope
BURLINGTON — Interested in creating a pollinator garden to provide a place for native bees and butterflies to thrive? The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Community Horticulture Program has developed a self-paced online course, Creating Pollinator-friendly Landscapes in Vermont. The three-unit course, geared to home gardeners and small landowners, will be taught through assigned readings and pre-recorded lectures by horticultural experts. The fee is $30. To enroll go to go.uvm.edu/pollinator-landscape-course. For questions or if needing a disability-related accommodation to participate,...

RENOVATING YOUR STRAWBERRY patch now will ensure a good yield of bright red berries next year. Photo by Bonnie Kirn Donahue
Now that the June-bearing strawberry season has passed, there are things that we can do now to get ready for next year’s crop. If your strawberry patch is two years old or more, after harvesting the last of your strawberries, it’s time to renovate the bed. This means cutting back the foliage to three inches and removing the leaf debris. This may seem counter-intuitive, but strawberries have a long list of diseases and pests to contend with and doing this will help keep those at bay. Don’t worry, the plants will start to grow new leaves before the fall. Strawberries are aggressive spreaders....

THE TOBACCO HORNWORM with its distinctive diagonal white stripes and reddish “horn” feeds on tomatoes, eggplant and other plants in the nightshade family. Photo by Eddie McGriff/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org
VERMONT — This time of year I get impatient for the long-awaited harvest of my tomatoes and the taste of their sweet, homegrown flavor. But will I get to them before the arrival of the dreaded hornworms?  These sizable pests come like thieves in the night and can ravage a plant in a surprisingly short time span. They are remarkably fleshy, large and striking green caterpillars that can reach 3-4 inches in length and grow as wide as a thumb. If you are like me, an encounter with one may make you squeamish. Hornworms feed on plants in the nightshade family including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers...

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Addison County Independent