Crazy Thought? Maybe Not! (Butterfly Bush Cuttings)

Last night I had a crazy thought "why not take a few last minute cuttings before the cold weather moves in for good?" The cuttings would need warmth to root and survive, so keeping them outside was not an option. I found a decorative pot that my wife bought a few years ago at a campus art sale back in college and filled it up with sand. Sand works great as a rooting medium for cuttings. Then I went out to my butterfly bush and took enough greenwood material to make 8 cuttings. I cut each of the cuttings to about 4 inches long with at least two nodes and a couple leaves. I pinched the growing tip from the top of each cutting and dipped the bottom of the cutting in water. Next I dipped the cutting into some powdered rooting hormone and inserted it into the sand. Finally…

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Yet Again!

Yet again I could not resist the urge to look for discount plants, and I found some! I picked up three more 'East Friesland' salvias, three 'Caradonna' salvias, another viburnum, and two 'Patriot' hostas. My total for these nine forlorn plants was $8.74 after taxes. The salvias were all in great shape for being on a discount rack. The hosta leaves had faded on the 'Patriot's but the root systems were strong. I took a chance on the viburnum, but for a dollar why not? I scratched the bark with my fingernail and found green underneath so it is alive and hopefully will stay that way until spring. I suspect the freeze we had caused it to go dormant, which for many trees and shrubs dormancy is a good time to plant. I managed to get each of these plants in the ground yesterday before today's rains came. The 'East…

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Plant of the Week:Hemlock

Most people got it right! The correct answer was the hemlock. The Canadian Hemlock or Tsuga canadesis is a great plant to use as an evergreen screen or a specimen tree. It has the potential to grow between 40-70 feet tall and could spread up between 25-35 feet in diameter. Its foliage is soft and feathery unlike many other evergreen trees. Hemlocks produce cones with seeds that are eaten by a number of birds. A great tree for wildlife, the hemlock is facing a devastating predator: the woolly adelgid. This little insect is destroying many of these magnificent trees.We planted four little hemlocks to eventually become a privacy screen along our property line.

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A Chore is a Game to a 2 Year Old!

My daughter and I went out to play today in the 70+ degree temperatures. Our goal was to take advantage of the last gasp of warm weather before old man winter came for his annual visit. Almost immediately my daughter darted to the sandbox. We removed the covers from the sandbox to reveal an assortment of toys half buried in the sand for safekeeping. She played in the sand for a bit, moving the sand back and forth and putting into various buckets and containers, while I moved a couple patio doors to a better location for the winter (possible greenhouse story later!). In order to put them where I intended I needed to move my assorted collection of nursery pots (I'm not sure I can bring myself to throw any good pots away). All this commotion caught my daughter's attention and she had to get in on the game.…

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Layering Rosemary

One of the easiest ways to make a new plant is layering. Layering is where you allow the plant to create new roots on a branch while still connected to the mother plant. The advantage to layering is the connection to the mother plant. It continues to feed the offshoot branch allowing it to form the new roots to sustain itself. Many plants do this naturally and you don't have to do anything special to create the offshoot. Rosemary does this really well.If you want to help it along make a small cut into the branch being careful not to sever the branch then put a toothpick in the wound to keep it open. Finally use landscape pins to pin down the branch to the ground. With rosemary you could get away with only doing the last step. In a few months you will have new plants to pot up…

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Morning Mists

As the summer fades and cooler temperatures arrive the play of the sunlight in the mist and the trees can bring a very picturesque scene. This photo was taken one early October morning from our back deck.

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Rootbeer anyone?

I picked up this sassafras leaf in our backyard. I was struck by its interesting coloration, red on the outside edges and orange around the main veins of the leaf. We have sassafras trees everywhere around in our yard so their leaves are easily found. They have a very strong lemon scent that can be smelled when you crush the leaves. I've done that more than a few times with my lawnmower!Apparently the roots of the sassafras tree used to be distilled to make root beer. I'd rather just go buy a 12 pack of good old A&W than worry with digging up those roots!

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Some more plants!

Today I stopped by one of our big box home improvement stores and visited the declining stock in their gardening area. I've mentioned before about the good deals you can find there and so today I found a couple deals! While they are desperately cleaning out their summer and autumn wears to make room for Christmas trees, I picked up a couple of perennials to add to our gardens. The first is one I think everyone should try somewhere in their landscape: Russian Sage. This variety is called Longin Russian Sage. It is supposed to be a more upright variety than other kinds of Perovskia atriplicifolia. Russian sage has silvery colored stems and feathery foliage highlighted by lavender colored blossoms that create a showy display in the summer. Planted in mass, Russian sage is very impressive and as a perennial it is very easy to grow. I put two others…

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