Monday, March 21, 2011

DIG IT--Trajectory SDB

It is now official, we have entered the spring season although our forecast for today and later this week calls for snow showers here at Pittsgrove. What can you expect, it is still March and anyone who has lived in Jersey knows that March is anything but predictable as far as weather is concerned.
We did have nice enough weather to allow us to get caught up on lots of outdoor tasks last week and the sunshine and fresh air sure were welcome. Most of the beds look pretty good and our first daffodil bloomed yesterday morning. I am now anticipating the arrival of our first iris blooms, but will have to be patient for a few more weeks.

One that has had a good, past track record is Trajectory, a standard dwarf bearded (SDB). It ranges in height from 12-13" and is slightly fragrant. It was and AIS Honorable Mention in 1999 and Award of Merit winner in 2003. It makes a nice addition to a rock garden or in a border planting.

Happy Spring!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is Spring in the Air?

Well, finally a day at Pittsgrove spent entirely outdoors working in the sunshine. John was certainly in his element today and some much needed cleanup was done by both of us. Have you ever noticed that no matter how much fall cleanup you do in the garden beds, when spring comes rolling along there is still plenty more to attend to before the beds really look good again.
We were happy to see hellebores nicely budded and all varieties of perennials are beginning to peak out from beneath the soil.
Overall the perennials and bulbs seem to have survived this past winter fairly well. The trees and shrubs are showing the most trauma, from both the heat and drought of the summer, and the snow and blasting winds during the winter. I have a great deal of pruning to do, some plants to dig up, and branches and trees that have to be taken down. That last bit will not be by me! We had more deer damage this year than ever before with all the snow cover we sustained. However, on the bright side, John told me that the chewed branches will make it that much easier for me to shape the shrubs. It's nice being married to an optimist. He also keeps weather records from year to year and pointed out that we are getting a jump on things compared to last year.

I hope the rest of you gardeners have had the opportunity to get down on your knees and play in the dirt. If you haven't, get out there soon. The muscles may get sore, but your mind and disposition will surely be rejuvenated.

Happy gardening! Cheryl

Monday, March 7, 2011

Floriculture and Horticulture-The Next Generation

Years ago when we were running a garden center at full steam, an acquaintance of ours walked into the shop with a shy young teenager in tow and stated "She needs a job!" The mother went on to say that she thought working outdoors with plants was just the right fit for Lei, the still mute girl in bib overalls standing behind her. Lei finally said she thought she would like working with plants and that she went to school right up the road from the garden center.

We agreed to take her on a trial basis a couple days after school and a few hours on weekends, but didn't expect her to last long as, unfortunately, a number of teenagers brought in by their parents rarely lasted
more than a week or two. However, Lei not only lasted longer than a few weeks, but worked part time through her entire high school career. She earned a scholarship from one of the local garden clubs, and went on to major in horticulture at Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania.This shy, awkward teen blossomed (pun intended) into a confident, knowledgeable, young woman now working for a large perennial grower.

I mention Lei since I recently came across an article in the Eastern Edition of Country Folks Growers regarding scholarship money available for floriculture/horticulture students. The deadline is May 1 for 20 separate scholarships offered by the American Floral Endowment (AFE). Look online for a complete description of each AFE scholarship offered, requirements, and an application.

If you know of a young person who could benefit from this information, please pass it along. We like to think we played a small part in Lei achieving her dream and hope by writing about this scholarship, we may be helping some other young person do the same.

A reminder that the Philadelphia International Flower Show is open now through March 13 at the Convention Center with this year's theme being "Springtime in Paris".

Think Spring!