Once April comes and the temperatures warm up and the days grow longer, most gardeners are itching to get into the garden and start working. One of the best things to tackle before the perennials have started to leaf out is dividing them. It doesn’t take long for some perennials to out grow their space or over shadow their neighbors. Dividing a hefty perennial may seem daunting, but like any task having the right tool is key! One of the easiest tools to use to divide perennials is a 4 tine spading fork. Actually, having two of these forks is what works. Once you have dug the perennial out of the ground, stick one of the forks directly into the center of the perennial mass, referred to as the crown. Then slide the second fork in, back to back with the other folk, slightly intertwining the tines. Once the fork are both in, pull the handles in opposite directions prying the perennial apart. This action easily pulls the perennial apart without slicing or damaging the roots. You can repeat this process a few times turning one large plant into three or four. It’s a great way to get more plants for your garden or give away to fellow gardeners.
S Berwick ME Landscaping Services
As we all become more aware of the environmental impacts farming, gardening, and landscaping have on our waters, habitats, and people lots of folks want to move toward organic methods.
‘Organic’ is a term that has taken on lots of meaning and can be interpreted in different ways. The assumption that going organic is the silver bullet to solving agricultural issues has lots of grey areas.
One of these areas is related to pesticide use. The assumption that ‘if it is organic then it must be safe’, is not necessarily the case. Many natural products can be toxic as well, and potentially more harmful than some synthetics pesticides.
The key to any successful pest management is knowledge. First, understanding what it is that you are trying to control. Second, what are the environmental factors that may be contributing to this unwanted pest. The third step is researching the best time and method of control. This process is called Integrated Pest Management(IPM).
Here is a link to find out more information.
What is a Rain Garden? A rain garden is an intentional low spot, or depression designed to collect rainwater runoff. Rainwater runoff occurs when rain lands on surfaces like parking lots, driveways, roofs, or even compacted lawns that can not be absorb by the land.
Why collect rainwater runoff? Collecting rainwater runoff prevents water from flowing directly into open water bodies or flowing directly into storm drains. It allows the water to soak back into the ground reducing erosion, water pollution, flooding, and allows for groundwater to be replenished.
Why does it matter? Often rainwater runoff is contaminated with chemicals from vehicles leaking onto asphalt, road salt, and even chemicals on lawns. Many roads and storm drains are designed to remove runoff quickly, sending it directly to the closest water body with out removing these chemicals first. These chemicals are impacting water quality for people as well as the environment.Another form of contamination is sediment collected along the way which can accumulate in streams and ponds.
How does rainwater runoff affect drinking water? When rainwater rushes off to the closest water body it does not have a chance to be absorbed back into the land. Water absorption is one of the ways drinking water is replenished. If the contaminated runoff goes right into a drinking reservoir, this can cause trouble as well.
Are rain gardens easy to install? Yes, with some simple planning, rain gardens can be designed and installed for homeowners, businesses, and municipal landscapes.
Check out this video about rain garden installation:
As summer approaches, I often think of those who have inspired me in the landscape profession. One of my favorites is Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959). She spent her summers in Maine as a child and then as an adult she made Bar Harbor a permanent residence. While she was educated in the great gardens of Europe, her love of the rocky Maine coast and the plants that thrived under those conditions gave her a unique perspective on the gardening world. I admire her most for her use of native plants whenever possible connecting the natural and designed landscape. Her accomplishments are great and varied with private residence and public projects all over the country with one of her most notable here in Maine. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller garden on Mount Desert Island is open to the public and well worth the visit. While in the area visit the Garland Farm, Farrand’s home for the last three years of her life, and visit the Asticou Azalea Garden. Before moving to Garland Farm, Farrand had an extensive garden that was dismantled. When Mrs. Farrand decided to dismantle her Reef Point estate in Bar Harbor, Charles Savage purchased the plants and build the Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden https://rockgardenmaine.wordpress.com/
Asticou Azalea Garden http://gardenpreserve.org/asticou-azalea-garden/history.html
Each year the Perennial Plant Association names a new ‘Perennial Plant of the Year’. Plants receive this designation by vote from the members of the association. Plants are chosen based on five criteria: “suitability for a wide range of climate conditions, low-maintenance requirements, relatively pest and disease resistant, readily available in the year of promotion, and displays multiple seasons of ornamental interest.” Since 1990 the association has chosen a wide variety of plants that are consistent performers in the landscape. This year Geranium x cantabrigience ‘Biokovo’ takes the honor. This sweet little hardy geranium, is referred to as Cranesbill geranium. It’s common name refers to the shape of the fruit after the flower has dropped it’s petals, which looks similar to a crane’s beak. Perennial geraniums are not in the same family as the annual geranium, and the flower is quite different. It does have a similar leaf and a long blooming season, from June until October. The leaves often turn a wonderful reddish for the fall, and the seed head holds interest for a long time as well.
Perennial Plant Association
As a gardener, the first signs of plants returning after a long winter is very anticipated! Perennials that come back year after year are the staples of a diverse garden. But often, they are not filled out or blooming until late May or even late fall. The day length, warm soils, and the heat of summer are usually the driving factors pulling perennials out of their dormant state and them returning to their glorious growing habits.
Spring ephemeral plants, on the other hand, act quite the opposite of most perennials. ‘Ephemeral’ means transitory or quickly fading and in the plant world, it refers to a particular growth habit. These plants appear as soon as the weather hints at warmth and then they disappear when the temperatures segue into heat. Ephemeral plants take advantage of the cooler spring temperatures, moist soils, and the lack of competition for sunlight from other plants. They are entirely different from spring tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth which are bulbs, these are perennials with a root mass.
In that brief, often fleeting period their pretty flowers emerge and are a welcome sight. Then they quickly go dormant. Unlike most perennials that die back in the fall, these plants go back into dormancy within a couple of weeks from their appearance. Their top growth may disappear completely, but the roots are still fine and they appreciate the cooling cover of later plants that fill in the spaces they leave empty.
Two easy growing spring ephemerals includeVirginia Bluebells(Mertensia virginica) and Bleeding Heart(Dicentra spectabilis).