Friday, November 30, 2007

Landscaping Blog @

Crabapple Tree Diseases
Lead to Filthy and Dangerous Sidewalks

It's that time of year...some of us are still planting spring-blooming bulbs or looking forward to winter holiday decorations. However, right now, before the holiday festivities get underway in earnest, is the best time to look back at the 2007 growing season. And this is what I do in this week's Suite101 Landscaping article: Crabapple Tree Diseases.

I am certainly no plant pathologist and like most landscape gardeners would prefer to ignore plant diseases completely. Unfortunately, in this case, ignorance is not bliss! My Landscaping Blog @
provides you, the reader, with a little bit of background about why I wrote the article.

Please vote in my current poll about Holiday Landscape Decorations underway on the Suite101 Landscaping Home Page. You'll need to scroll to the bottom of the page to reasd and vote in the poll. So far, the majority of voters say they don't decorate. So, please add your opinion. I plan to use this information on an upcoming article about holiday landscape decorations.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Landscape Maintenance Mistakes

Photo #1 - Damage done to pavements and front entrance because either a young tree was planted in the wrong location or a seedling was allowed to grow. Result is an unhealthy tree that needed to be cut and the expense of repair of hardscape.

Mistakes? Everyone makes one, now and then. However, Landscape Maintenance Mistakes...what I've begun to term Horticultural Horrors...abound in both residential and public landscapes.

The neatnik in me wants to scurry around and fix everything I see. No, I am not setting myself up as any Horticulturally Correct Person (HCP). I just delight in advocating for plant health. Usually, maintenance mistakes lead to poor plant health.

You can read more about some of these Horticultural Horrors, what causes them and the problems arising from them in my article: Landscape Maintenance Mistakes.

Photo #2 -Damage done to city pavement by a Gleditsia triacanthos var.inermis (thornless honey locust) because the roots have girdled themselves and have no place to grow. One of a row of these trees, all causing the same problem. Even though these honey locusts are generally a good choice for urban street trees, the problem arose because there was not enough space for the roots to grow. Research of the soil and space under the street might have prevented this damage.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Poppies and Patriotism: Wildflower Seeds - Wild Flower Seed and Wildflower Seed Mixes - American Meadows

Poppies and Patriotism Symbolize the Red of Sacrifice

Earlier this week. I recalled just how important the upcoming November 11 holiday is when I attended an elementary school Veterans' Day concert put on by first grade students.

Many readers like myself, school-age during the 1930s and 40s, learned that the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marked the temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany at the turn of the 20th century. We were very used to seeing veterans selling paper poppies to mark Armistice Day. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared November 11 as Veterans' Day. Veterans groups still sell red paper poppies and have carried over the tradition to Memorial Day in May.

What do poppies and patriotism have to do with landscaping? The corn poppy or Flanders poppy (Papaver rhoeas) can be an important part of wildflower meadows or early summer annual planting beds. Now is a good time to start thinking about and planning for growing season - 2008 before the oncoming Thanksgiving and December holidays.

Below are some synopses of Suite101 Landscaping blogs and articles about growing and using poppies in garden landscapes:

Here is a copy of "In Flanders Fields" written by Canadian military doctor Colonel John McCrae in 1915 who used the imagery of red poppies (Papaver rhoeas) in landscapes of "The Great War."

When William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote about "all the idle weeds that our sustaining corn," he had in mind wheat, barley, and oat fields of medieval England.

Flanders field poppies (Papaver rhoeas) brighten European landscapes in early summer. Here in the U.S., they symbolize Veterans' Day (autumn) and Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day (spring).

"Poppies and Landscapes of War" elicited a note from an old friend of mine that is shared here. He comments about poppies and the Memorial Day parade in his town.

Sweeping landscape plantings of the corn (Flanders's Field) poppy and its cousins are a knockout. These plants are true annuals though they may live for several seasons.

Government and private groups work to bring color to highway and commercial landscapes. Annual poppies add flair and dazzle to large wildflower plantings.

Early temperate season uniform poppy beds require planning and design to focus attention on residential and commercial landscapes. Presented is a planting sequence for Zone 5.

Annual poppies bring unity to wildflower meadows or a natural garden as well as create a breath-taking display. Seeds of annual poppies are easy to find and buy.

Seaside and sheltered landscape plantings and herb gardens present some down-to-earth examples for using annual poppies in natural-appearing gardens.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Zone 7 Gardener's Soul Trapped in a Weak Zone 5 Gardener's Body

I grew up and learned about plants, horticulture and landscaping in OH - definitely a Plant Growing Zone 5. I've lived in western MA for about four decades and more and more have claimed that I have a zone 7 soul trapped in a weak zone 5 gardener's body. Now, I will have a chance to prove it. Earlier this week, my husband and I moved into a condominium cottage nestled in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The move is not year 'round, but only for five winter months. We've become "snow-birds." Besides being fun and educational for me, the move means many more experiences to share with my readers. We've entered the land of contrasts:

  • Japanese yews (Taxus cuspidata) and arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) replace boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) and crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) in the cultivated landscape.
  • The traditional and somewhat down-to-earth landscapes of the New York – New England regions replace those originating from Williamsburg and Jeffersonian-style sophistication.
  • Winter weather in the Blue Ridge area is more moderate than that in western MA, and there is little snow and ice. This allows me much planting leeway to indulge my zone 7 soul. The ground is still warm and the location deer-proof enough for me to plant and enjoy tulips. I can luxuriate in new cultivars of hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) and Encore Azaleas®.
  • Instead of a garden almost one-acre in size, I have a small area suited for condominium-style living. The whole concept of landscape gardening is scaled down in such a physical setting.
And finally, I look forward to a glorious spring. Our general location is right where the northern and southern Blue Ridge Mountains meet - a location where populations of northern and southern eastern North American native plants merge into one large population. Here is another opportunity to realize a decades-old dream of pursuing plants I have only seen in specialized collections or fieldguide illustrations.

Stay tuned to read about all sorts of new and exciting discoveries.