Friday, December 31, 2004


Greenscape Gardens

Greenscape Gardens


The Indians bring some of their tools to Fort Mandan for the blacksmiths to repair. They pay for the repairs by bartering with dried corn in return. The wind is so strong that it mixes sand and snow together and leaves piles on the Missouri ice.



The time is growing nearer,
The New Year is almost here,
So break out the noisemakers
And get ready to cheer!

The night has got to be
Most sure to entertain,
With a group of close friends
And a bit of champagne.

We'll pop the bottle's cork
And pour everyone a glass;
Together we will make this night
A memory to surely last!

Then when the clock strikes twelve o' clock
We'll know it's finally time,
To give a kiss to the ones we love
And join in singing "Auld Lang Syne."

For one thing is certain,
I just don't know what I'd do
If I couldn't celebrate the New Year
With such wonderful GARDENERS as YOU!



A turf area just 50 feet by 50 feet absorbs carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride and releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four. The grass and trees along the U.S. interstate highway system release enough oxygen to support 22 million people.



Diplodia Tip blight of pines has been identified as a problem in pine plantings throughout the St. Louis area. This disease is primarily found on Austrian and Scots pines. Red and Ponderosa pines are also very susceptible. This disease usually causes death of the shoot before the needles are fully expanded. These browned shoots remain on the tree throughout the year and reduce the ornamental value of the plant.

The fungus also causes branch cankers. This phase of the disease is poorly understood and there are no adequate control measures. Avoid planting young pines of the more susceptible species near older infected pines.


Water Conservation in the Landscape

Water is one of our most valuable natural resources. Most of the time, however, we take it for granted and use it in abundance until drought sets in and we are forced to conserve. We have had a great deal of rainfall lately and with rivers and streams overflowing it is difficult for us to think about water conservation. However, due to several years of drought conditions and increasing water use, our ground water sources continue to be threatened. To protect our water supply from extreme shortages, we should strive daily to conserve water.

One area where water use can be decreased without sacrificing beauty or function is in landscaping. The xeriscaping means landscaping for efficient water use. By using plants that are drought tolerant and by knowing what amount of water is right for your landscape and when to water, you can use much less water.
Landscape plants have a variety of water needs. Plants need the most water immediately after being planted and during establishment. Before planting, make sure that you can provide enough water during this establishment time for the plants that you have chosen.

Landscape plants are available at garden centers and nurseries either container grown or balled and burlapped. These trees and shrubs can be planted even during a drought if watered at planting time and at least twice a week for the remainder of the growing season. Trees and shrubs, 1 to 3 gallon size, require 3 to 5 gallons of water twice a week during establishment.

Choose plants based on water needs. Many of the plants we use in southern landscapes can live through drought. Once they are established, plants such as Crape Myrtle, Elaeagnus, Cedar, Chinese and Japanese Hollies, Glossy Abelia, and Juniper can survive weeks without supplemental irrigation. The placement of plants is another key component in efficient water use. Incorporate natural areas into your landscape design wherever possible. Native plants, once established, often require little supplemental water and maintenance.

Manage the soil for efficient water use. Preparing the soil thoroughly helps assure good root growth. Research has shown that digging a wide planting hole and tilling the soil thoroughly improves the structure of the soil and results in rapid plant and better root growth. Do not amend specimen tree plantings where and individual planting hole is dug. In this case the should only contain the soil that came out of the hole. Soil amendments should only be added to large planting beds where the entire planting area is amended. Heavy clay soils have a high water holding capacity and will benefit from adding some type of coarse amendment, like pine bark 1/2 inch), which will improve the ability of water to move through the soil. Sandy soils, on the other hand, may not hold enough water and nutrients for plant use. Adding organic matter to these soils may be helpful. Your goal should be to provide the roots of plants with a moist, growing environment.

Mulching can also decrease your landscape's water needs. Two to four inches of mulch, such as pine straw, pine bark, hardwood bark, or compost, help conserve soil moisture. Mulch also insulates the root system of plants from heat and helps control weeds which compete with the plant for water. Fine textured mulches, such as hardwood bark or pine bark mulch, retain more moisture than coarse mulches. On sloping sites, pine straw or shredded mulches that lock together stay in place better than most other mulches and helps control erosion. Landscape fabrics can also be used under mulch to conserve moisture, discourage weeds, and enhance erosion control.
Be conservative with irrigation. Pattern irrigation systems to meet the water needs of particular plant zones. The best time to water landscape plants and turf is early in the morning. Less evaporation occurs during this time, and the plants can make more efficient use of the water. Applying water as slowly as possible through trickle irrigation or soaker hose improves absorption into the soil. Trickle or drip irrigation of trees and shrubs reduces water use by as much as 50 percent compared to conventional sprinkler irrigation. Water applied too rapidly may run off and be wasted, particularly on slopes.

A timer installed on outdoor faucets to control the period of irrigation will prevent unnecessary water use. One inch of water (5 gallons per square yard of surface area or 620 gallons per 1,000 square feet) applied once a week on established plants and turf is recommended. This can usually be applied in one or two There is no need to run an irrigation system every day or every other day. For trees, at least 50 percent of the root area should be watered. The root zone of large trees and shrubs can extend well beyond the drip line. A thorough soaking of the soil once a week is much better for plants than light, frequent irrigation that encourages shallow rooting.



We had made some changes in our lives. My husband had lost 50 pounds and after eight years of being a housewife, I had taken a job in a restaurant. When I returned home after my first day at work, I gave my husband a big hug.

He seemed to cling to me longer than usual. "Did you
really miss me that much today, dear?" I asked.

"No," came the reply. "But you smell so much like pancakes that I hate to let you go."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Fountain inside the shade area where seasonal flowers and plants are displayed. The ambiance of moving water compliments the gardening experience at Greenscape.

Greenscape Gardens
Every flower must grow..........through dirt!



Many Indians visit Fort Mandan today and they are amazed at the forge's bellows despite of the cold -20 F day outside.



The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced they were stepping up surveillance at Missouri nurseries for the plant disease Phytophthora ramorum in response to recent identification of the disease in a southern California nursery.

"Our inspectors are visiting nurseries and dealers looking at plants for potential symptoms," said state entomologist, Mike Brown. "At this point, we're not sure if infected stock reached the borders of our state, but we're working with officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct trace forwards."

The fungus-like disease, which leads to a condition often referred to as "sudden oak death," was first discovered in June 2000 in northern California. It has since been linked to the loss of ten of thousands of oak trees in California and Oregon forests. Thought to thrive only in wet environments typical of the coastal region, the discovery of the disease in southern California, an area with a very dry, desert-like climate, was unexpected and concerning.

"Until this discovery, scientific evidence suggested the disease couldn't establish itself in dryer climates like those found in the interior of the United States," Brown said. "But this discovery may change that way of thinking."

The plant stock in question was sent from Monrovia Nursery in Azusa, California, a 500 acre facility that ships millions of plants every year to nurseries across the United States and throughout Canada. The disease was confirmed among a supply of camellias at the nursery. Samples have been taken from additional California nurseries, and officials are waiting for confirmation from plant pathologists.

Brown noted the disease may have been introduced to several sites across the country, given that many of the plants thought to have been affected were shipped in 2003. Identification of the disease could be hampered by the similarity of the symptoms, such as bark cankers and browning leaves, to other plant diseases.

"We're vigilant and staying informed, and that's important at this stage," Brown said. "There's really no cause for alarm at this time."

The USDA expanded its quarantine in California, restricting the movement of all known host plants and associated stock, including rhododendrons, camellias and others. The quarantine applies to the entire state of California. Nurseries are not allowed to ship known host plants until they've been inspected and found free of the disease. In addition to the quarantine, a national survey will be conducted to determine the scope and distribution of the disease.

Brown says officials are still trying to determine the impact the disease would have on Missouri's oak forest should it become established. Lab tests indicate the state's species of oak trees are susceptible to the disease, but it's not clear if the environment will support it.

For additional information about sudden oak death, contact the department's Plant Industries Division at 573-751-5505. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has established a web site listing plants susceptible to the disease. That list can be downloaded at



Front lawns of just eight average houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning, while the average home size cntral air unit has only a 3 to 4 ton capacity.



When the warmer weather of spring arrives, it also announces cedar apple rust in both apples and flowering crabs.

This fungus has two different hosts in the disease cycle. The fungus, Gymnosporangium juniper-virginianae, infects red cedar or the common juniper during late summer and produces small greenish-brown galls at the base of the needdles. They enlarge up to 1 to 2 inches in diameter. In the spring, during warm wet weather of April and May, the galls develop conspicuous orange-brown jelly-like structures know as “telial horns”, one half to 2 inches in length. Spores are wind blown from these structures to apples or flowering crabs. Infections on the apple leaves occur throughout the early part of the season. Small yellow spots develop on the upper surfaces of the apple leaves of susceptible varieties.

In late summer, spores (aeciospores) are produced on the lower surfaces of the spots on the apple leaves, and are carried by wind back to red cedars to complete the disease cycle. Cedar apple rust can be controlled by keeping apples and cedar trees sufficiently far apart from each other to reduce potential infections. Homeowners may not be able to have this benefit when a neighbor has a red cedar or juniper.

Fungicide applications to the apples can be made to reduce infections on the leaves. There are several labeled fungicides available. For maximum control, consult an urban forester or tree care company to have these valuable trees properly cared for.

For additional information concerning Apple Cedar Rust and some great photos go to the Ohio State website at



A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday School presentation. His
mother, sitting in the front row to prompt him, gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it didn't help. Her son's memory was blank.

Finally she leaned forward and whispered the cue, "I am the light
of the world.

"The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud, clear
voice said, "My mother is the light of the world."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


A garden is a poem.....without words



Captain Clark is getting used to life on the High Plains with today's entry of "it's only -9 F" and I don't consider it very cold".


Powell Gardens Joins as Program Partner

(ST. LOUIS): The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis has designated 55 "Plants of Merit" for the Midwest in 2005. The Plants of Merit distinction aims to build home gardeners' confidence in selecting previously little known or underutilized annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines and trees for their proven excellent qualities and dependable performance in the growing region.

The Garden also welcomes Powell Gardens of Kansas City, MO. into the program as its first botanical garden partner.

Plants of Merit began in 1999 as a joint effort between the Garden's Kemper Center for Home Gardening and University of Missouri Extension. In 2003, Grow Native!, a joint program of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, joined the partnership. Garden and university horticulturalists, as well as regional growers examine plants growth characteristics, pest and disease tolerance, maintenance requirements and more to narrow down selections successful in USDA Zones Five and Six. Plants of Merit is one of the largest plant selection programs in the U.S. and is unique in its promotion of diversity with underutilized but reliable material. A list of recommeded plants is published annually for home gardeners.

In August of 2004, Powell Gardens became the first botanical garden to join the Plants of Merit partnership. "We look forward to this partnership and working with the Missouri Botanical Garden to educate the public on these meritorious plants," said Eric Tschanz, president and executive director, Powell Gardens. "With our combined resources, we have an opportunity to make this a premier program statewide and beyond."

The addition of Powell Gardens broadens the scope and geographic range of the Plants of Merit program by allowing for evaluation of plants in a cooler and drier climate. Powell Gardens will display signage throughout their grounds identifying Plants of Merit, sell the Plants of Merit brochure, offer educational opportunities and encourage local and regional garden centers to participate in the program.

The Plants of Merit program aims to diversify the home gardening landscape by promoting plants that are relatively underutilized in home gardens. Plants may be known by professionals but not by the general public and are therefore unfamiliar to consumers. Annuals and perennials must perform well in one or more locations in the Midwest region for two or three years, and trees and shrubs must perform well for at least five years, in order to be considered for nomination. The program brochure contains information on each plant selection, such as sun and water growing conditions, usage recommendations and whether plants are native selections. New plants are added to the list each year, while others "graduate" to emeritus standing once they have increased in popularity and are no longer underused.

Highlights of the 2005 Plants of Merit list include blue false indigo (Baptistia australis) a showy, low maintenance addition to any landscape or garden. This native plant has been around for many years; early Americans used it as a substitute for true indigo when making blue dyses. However, gardeners rarely see the plant in full bloom while potted, according to Mary Ann Fink, coordinator and ambassador of the program. "Baptistia australis is our 'cover girl' because she is a perfect example of what the Plants of Merit program is about," said Fink. "She Blooms beautifully once planted. She's a 'local girl' but homeowners just don't know her. This program is all about helping everyone enjoy more success with their gardens," said Fink.

Another perennial, Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) is new to the list in 2005 and the first bulb ever to be promoted as a Plant of Merit. Also known as squill or Scilla, its many name changes over the years have caused it to be less well known. Each bulb produces 12 or more bell-shaped flowers in spring and is an excellent selection for borders or underneath trees.

In 2004, a consulting committee of area green industry specialists and sponsors was formed to assist with future Plant of Merit recommendations. Specialists were selected based on their vast knowledge of growing plants in each of the various categories the list encompasses. Also in 2004, Wydown Park of the city of Clayton's Parks & Recreation Department was the first local garden to be recognized with a "Merit Garden Award." A garden can be considered for this status if Plants of Merit (either currently active or graduates) are present, it is open to the public and has the Plants of Merit signage present for one full season. Jefferson City Master Gardeners were the first in the region to establish a Merit Garden.

New Plants of Merit gift card sets are now available at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Garden Gate Shop and participating Plants of Merit garden centers. Each set contains ten plant images digitally created by Master Gardener Dr. Jim Teng. All sale proceeds benefit the Plants of Merit program.

For more information on Plants of Merit, visit or contact Dr. Steve Cline at (314)577-9561 or Plants of Merit brochures may also be purchased at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Kemper Center for Home Gardening and the Garden Gate Shop.



Cutting height settings of 2 to 3 inches are appropriate for most lawns during cool weather. A higher cut may be needed to protect the lawn during the hot summer months. Most grasses should be mowed when they have grown ½ to 1 inch above the recommended height. For best results, mow the lawn frequently enough that you will need to cut off less than one inch of grass per occurrence.

Frequent mowings, with light cuts, makes it easier to turn the grass clippings into fine particles that will fall through the turf and decompose quickly.

As a general rule, do not cut off more than a third of the total height of the grass in one mowing. If tall grass is reduced in height a little at a time, and is allowed to recover between mowings, the grass will be healthier, and the mower will work better and leave a better lawn finish.

For best performance, the blade should be sharpened several times during the growing season. Always use the fast throttle setting, and keep the engine running at or near maximum rpm. If you hear the engine speed decrease, that means you should mow a narrower swath, and/or mow slower. You may also need to raise the mower’s cutting height.

For good mowing conditions, the grass should be relatively dry. If dust is a problem, water your lawn the day before mowing, allowing the grass to dry while the soil remains moist.

Always wait for wet grass to dry. Wet grass will clog the mower deck, and it will leave clumps on top of the lawn. Heavy clumps of clippings should always be removed from the lawn. Grass must remain uncovered to grow properly.

Mulching cuts grass clippings and fallen leaves into fine particles that will fall through the turf and decompose quickly. This returns nutrients to the soil and reduces the need for raking, agging and disposal.



The earth is warming. Average global temperatures are the highest on record. The 1980’s produced the five hottest years of this century. The implications for society could be enormous if this trend continues.

• Agricultural areas may be affected by climatic changes.
• Our ability to produce food and maintain our drinking water supplies could be reduced substantially.
• The root of this global climatic change is the “greenhouse effect,” carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere traps the sun’s energy, turning the earth into a planetary hothouse.
• Some scientists estimate that the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide could double in a few years, and global temperatures could rise 6-12 degrees Fahrenheit.
• World energy use is the main contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide. The United States, with only 5% of the world’s population, produces nearly 25% of the annual global carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
• Urban areas, with their expanses of concrete create “heat islands”.
• In the last decade, only one tree was planted for every four that died or were removed in the average American city or town.
• Trees and other plants can absorb carbon dioxide. Trees, for example, can absorb carbon dioxide at the rate of 26 pounds per year---about 5 tons per acre per year.


Dothistroma Blight of Austrian Pines

This is a fungal disease of pine needles. We see it primarily on Austrian Pines. Dark green bands are closely followed by tan spots and bands. These turn reddish brown. Needles begin to die from the tip back and needle base usually remain green. Although the fungus can infect throughout the season, adequate control can be achieved with one or two sprays in late spring. The first spray in early to mid-May protects mature foliage. A second spray in mid-June will protect the current season’s needles, which are resistant until they achieve full growth. Consult with a tree care professional to protect these valuable trees.



Late one night, a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs.

"Give me your money," he demanded.

Indignant, the affluent man replied, "You can't do this - I'm
a United States Congressman!"

"In that case," replied the mugger, "give me MY money."

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Eating your words......never causes indigestion



A hard artic wind blows frost that falls like snow, and levels the land as it pushing snow and thereby filling the hollows.



Anthracnose causes large irregular brown or black lesions along the midrib, veins, or on the margins of the leaves of broadleafed trees. Anthracnose is not a single disease. It is a loose classification of diseases caused by several fungi. These are grouped together on the basis of similar microscopic characteristics and because they cause similar symptoms. Anthracnose fungi on sycamore and occasionally, oak may also cause twig and branch cankers.

Established trees in good condition can tolerate foliar anthracnose. Raking up leaves in the fall and removing them from the area of the tree may help reduce infection next year. When these leaves are added to the compost pile, add nitrogen or vegetation with a nitrogen content to assure that the compost will heat up enough to kill the pathogen.

Fungicidal control measures should be considered if a tree is repeatedly defoliated in any one year, if a tree is defoliated in more than one consecutive growing season, or if a tree is under stress or in decline from other causes. To be effective, fungicidal sprays must be started at leaf emergence, well before the symptoms are seen. When anthracnose causes more serious problems (especially on sycamores), management should be developed on a case by case basis depending on the severity of the problem and the needs of the owner.

Another problem associated with oaks is iron deficiency. Check out our link concerning chloratic oaks on the Greenscape Gardens website.



Composting has been around since the first civilized people piled up their trash. However, when the earth was not heavily populated, a little trash did not seem important. Now we are producing great amounts of trash and composting has become important for reducing at least a portion of the waste stream. Vegetation matter is one of the most recyclable portions of waste. Home gardeners, landowners and municipalities can do a lot to reduce the accumulation of plant materials by composting them.

Composting is not a difficult or highly technical process. However, there are times when the process may not function properly. Successful composting is based on proper moisture, aeration and other environmental conditions.

Green plants are largely composed of carbon and water. The carbon accumulates from the process known as photosynthesis during which carbon dioxide in the air becomes part of the plant with the resulting release of oxygen into the air.

Certain bacteria, align with fungi and other organisms, are responsible for decomposing organic materials. These organisms require large amounts of nitrogen to function properly and achieve rapid decomposition. While the decomposition process is taking place, the nitrogen is tied up and not available for other functions. This is the same process that occurs when large amounts of organic matter are added to a garden, but not enough nitrogen is available. Plants growing in these conditions will be starved for nitrogen since the microorganisms breaking down the organic materials will keep the plants from getting it. Plants will look stunted and pale green.

For additional information concerning composting and its benefits check:



Torn or stripped bark is the result of limbs being violently broken from the tree by wind or branches falling from above. To improve appearance and eliminate hiding places for insects, carefully use a chisel or sharp knife to smooth ragged edges of dead or dying bark.

Remove the bark back to the point at which it is attached to the tree. Try not to expose any more cambium (inner bark). Shaping the tear into an ellipse has more aesthetic value than effect on the wound closure, and if you use this traditional method, round the ends to prevent dieback of the cambium at these points. Keep the wound as narrow as you can to hasten wound closing.

For additional information concerning the care of your trees check out:



Working people frequently ask retired folks what they do to make their days interesting...

My dad went to the store the other day. He was in there for only about five minutes. When I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.

He went up to him and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a senior a break?"

He ignored him and continued writing the ticket. He called him several obnoxious names. The cop glared at him and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.

So my dad continued calling him other obnoxious names. The cop finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.

Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more my father abused him the more tickets he wrote.

My dad didn't care. His car was parked around the corner and this one had a "Kerry-Edwards" bumper sticker on it.

He was simply trying to have a little fun (at someone else's expense) now that he's retired.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Greenscape Gardens 2004 company picnic. Geovanne, Matt and Matt Mazzola.

Greenscape Gardens
Greenscape Gardens 2004 company picnic. Kevin "Thunder Bob" and Nick inside the house.

Greenscape Gardens
Greenscape Gardens 2004 Company picnic. Geovanne & Fide with the "Big" fish.

Greenscape Gardens
Greenscape Gardens 2004 company picnic at the Farm. Jennifer & Jill

Greenscape Gardens
Greenscape Gardens 2004 Company picnic at the farm. Jill & Fide

Greenscape Gardens
Jennifer & Joel planting a Cleveland Select Pear for pilot garden show.

Greenscape Gardens
The pilot was shot in mid October 2004, with a possible airing in Spring of 2005. Photo shot was next to the Dougherty Ferry Gazebo. The amazing fact is the amount of traffic along Dougherty Ferry was not a large hinderance.

Greenscape Gardens
Jennifer & Joel shooting a pilot for a television gardening show. One of the exerpts was for proper planting of a decidious tree.

Greenscape Gardens
Peter Mayer in concert in December in Manchester, Missouri. Peter Mayer is lead guitar for Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band.

Greenscape Gardens

Fort Mandan's interior walls are completed. Shields and Willard, the Corps' blacksmiths, are hard at work with their portable forge, repairing the gear and making metal items to trade for food. The visiting Indians are fascinated with the work being performed by the blacksmiths.



High-tech societies have been criticized for their “throwaway” habits. But there is one common “throwaway” item that can be recycle at home very easily---lawn debris composed of grass clippings and tree leaves. Anyone who mows a lawn can return valuable nutrients to the soil and helps relieve a landfill crisis.

Mulching type mowers have been designed by many of the major lawn mower manufacturers. Homeowners can purchase these types of mowers which hold grass chopped into tiny pieces and blown into the turf, where the clippings decompose rapidly without adding to a thatch buildup. In fact, grass clippings return 20 percent of their nitrogen to the soil.

Variable opening mulchers on ride on equipment provide another innovation to help homeowners. By recycling lawn debris right now, homeowners can reduce the volume of throwaway material by up to 20 percent and extend the life of a community’s landfill. In return, recycled lawn materials are a rich source of nutrients.



When planting a tree in your landscape, the first step is to select the type of tree that is appropriate for your location. Will the species you select grown in the environmental battlefield known as St. Louis?

Consider the soil conditions and available space. Be sure to look up for overhead wires. Also consider the intended purpose of the tree. Do you want it to provide shade, showy flowers, brilliant fall colors, or all of the above? Take some time to do your homework so that a thoughtful decision can be made. This is the most important, but often overlooked, decision you will make.

Many lists have been published that describe trees recommended for our area. There is no single tree, or even a short list, that provides a thoughtful review of what can work for you. Every site is unique and has its own list of desirable trees.


Balled and burlapped (B&B) trees are dug with roots covered by the soil they were growing in, and wrapped in burlap. Many roots are cut and removed during the digging process at the nursery. Keep the root ball moist to minimize further stress to the tree. This method is the most reliable for large tree survival.

Potted trees are dug with the roots and soil intact and then placed into a container. Keep soil moist to minimize stress and be sure to remove the container before planting. Check to be sure the tree has not spent too much time in the container. If so, the roots may grow in a circular pattern inside the container.

Container grown trees are grown from seed or cuttings directly in a pot or container. As with potted trees, check to be sure roots have not encircled inside the container.

Bare rooted trees are sold with the soil removed from the root system. Transportation is easier, but the risk of drying out the roots is high. Keep roots wrapped with sphagnum moss or other material to minimize drying out.

When you inspect trees at the nursery, look for the following characteristics:
• A straight trunk with no wounds. Trunks should be single stem if that is the characteristic of the species.
• Vigorous growth on branches. Firm healthy buds.
• Well proportioned height to width ratio. A shape typical of the species.
• Moist root ball or soil in container.

Be aware of what it will take to get a tree home and planted. The average weight of an eight to 10 foot tall deciduous tree and its root ball is 150 pounds! Trees this size can be very awkward to move. Enough damage may be caused in transporting the tree and planting it, to warrant hiring a professional to handle the task for you.


Select an appropriate location for your tree before purchase and planting. Review local ordinances that may dictate what you plant and where you can plant it. Use common sense and be aware of what the mature size and shape of your tree will be. Give the tree plenty of room to grow without obstructions (overhead wires, overhangs, and other trees).

Spring is the most popular time of the year for planting trees. However, many species of trees will survive better if planted in the fall or early winter. Summer planting is possible if a reliable watering program is followed.

Keep trees cool and moist (soil and roots) before planting. Gather all equipment needed before you start the job.

Digging the hole seems to be the least technical part of planting a tree. However, a poorly dug hole can spell disaster even if a healthy tree is selected. A planting hole should be at least 50% wider than the root ball. Do not dig any deeper than necessary to cove the root ball. It’s actually better to plant higher than lower. This method allows adequate room for roots to grow laterally (outward), and supports the weight of the tree. Trees should never be planted too deep or too shallow. Planting too deep will starve developing roots of oxygen, while planting too shallow may expose roots to drying winds.

Poorly drained soils may dictate the use of some type of drainage system. Wrapping the root ball with perforated flexible plastic pipe, and draining the pipe if possible on sloped sites. On level sites, planting on a small berm will keep the tree out of saturated soil.

Place the tree in the hole in an upright position. Check it from several angles! If you know the history of the tree, place the tree in the hole to reorient the north facing side of the tree. This could help minimize future sunscald on thin barked trees.

In St. Louis, we highly recommend backfilling with a combination of the existing soil and compost. We recommend a 50/50 combination of compost to soil.

Adding fertilizer when you plant the tree is not recommended. If you feel you must fertilizer, use only products indicated as a “starter fertilizer” or “root stimulators”, and follow the label directions. Over fertilizing can burn roots and do more harm than good.

Place mulch around the tree approximately three to four inches deep. The mulch should cover an area two to three times the width of the root ball. Organic mulch, such as shredded or chipped wood, can stabilize soil moisture and temperatures. Minimizing extremes in moisture and temperature can greatly increase the overall health of a tree.

Staking trees may be necessary for the first year. The additional support allows roots to grow without disturbance. Guy wires can be attached directly to the ground, or to adjacent stakes that have been driven into the ground. Protect the tree from guy wires with rubber hose or other materials. DO NOT nail boards to the trunk for support.

Trunk protection will minimize the risk from sunscalding. Wrap the main trunk with tree wrap paper in the late fall and remove it after leaves emerge in the spring. If rabbits and mice are a problem, loosely wrap wire mesh around the base of the trunk to protect it during the winter months.

Prune newly planted trees to remove any branches that are damaged or crossing. Improve branch structure by evenly spacing branches up and down the trunk. Do not remove more than one third of the branches at one time. Over pruning will stimulate an abundance of new growth that may be undesirable. Most trees purchased from nurseries have been pruned to improve form.

When trees are dug from the nursery and transplanted into a new location, they suffer what experts call “transplant shock”. Typically, 95% of the absorbing roots are lost when a tree is dug. Trying to survive on five percent of the original root system is difficult and make the tree more prone to attacks by insects and disease.

Watering is the single most important factor in minimizing transplant shock once the tree is in the ground. Realize that the tree only has five percent of its original roots, and absorption of water will be slow. Use soil from the planting hole to form a ring that will create a basin around the newly planted tree. After water fills the basin, it will soak into the soil. Mulching will preserve soil moisture under this basin. Fill the basin at least once a week, if sufficient rainfall has not occurred. Be careful not to overwater. Use your finger to check soil that is actually part of the root ball. If it is dry, you need to water.

I am now on an expidition to the westward, with Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clark.....through the interior partsof North America. We are to ascend the Missouri River with a boat as far as it is navigable and then to go by land, to the western ocean, if nothing prevents...will write next winter if I have a chance. John Ordway, April 8, 1804 Wood River, Ill.

Greenscape Gardens

Sunday, December 26, 2004

View of the water feature at first entrance at Greenscape Gardens. View is looking northwesterly towards the intersection of Dougherty Ferry & Barrett Station Rd. The pond was constructed in September of 2004 to replace the fountain that was orginally in this area. The pond is three feet deep in the middle and the waterfall is approximately one foot tall cascading over a small series of ledges. The waterfalls creates a very tranquil sound and actually drowns out the traffic from the intersection. The stones were placed to replicate a natural ambiance and was tastefully landscape with perennial and annual flowers. Note the palm tree which is one of the trademarks for Greenscape Gardens. Regretfully, the tropicals had to be relocated inside the heated greenhouses since mid November. Today the pond has a light covering of ice to reflect the cold temperatures of the past week. Ice stairs have formed on the waterfall and the koi and goldfish appear ghostlike under the surface. But already the daylight hours are getting longer and spring will once again herald a new year of gardening.

Greenscape Gardens

The Indians have not visited Fort Mandan for the last two days which is considered an odd occurence. The trader, Larocque, recruits Charbonneau for some translation assistance.



Tired of planting and replanting in the shady area of the yard? After several attempts to grow vegetation in the shade, the only alternative answer is groundcovers. These plants grow densely, discourage competition from weeds and other plants and reduce potential erosion. Groundcovers can also be used in places where it is difficult to grow and maintain grass (steep slopes, heavy shade). Groundcovers can create unique textures and colors in the garden.

Traditionally, ajuga, euyonmous, ivy, pachysandra, and periwinkle have been ground covers of choice for most gardeners. However, many perennial varieties can be used because of their hardiness and ability to cover the ground and should be considered as potential groundcover.

Plant Spacing

The length of time it takes for groundcover to become established depends upon the variety, the spacing of the plants and, of course, the quality of the specific site---soil, moisture and sunlight. You may wish to plant groundcover plants closer together in small sites that command a lot of attention. For reason of economy, you probably will install plants farther apart in larger areas.

The following guide will help you estimate the number of plants per square foot that will be needed for a given area:

Spacing Plants per square feet

4” 9.1
6” 4.0
8” 2.3
10” 1.4

For example, if you have a bed that is 15 feet long and 5 feet wide (75 sq.ft.) and you want to plant on 6” centers, multiply 75 x 4 = 300 plants.

Soil Preparation and Mulch

Soils that drains well and has good texture and a generous amount of organic matter is a must, if you want to have a top quality garden. Prepare the soil as you would for any garden bed, tilling it to a depth of eight inches or more. Add compost, well rotted cow or horse manure, shredded leaves, sphagnum peat moss or other organic matter and work it into the soil.

For soil that is basically quite good, add a 2” layer of organic matter (.5 cubic yard per 100 square feet). For clay soil, add a 6” layer of organic matter (2 cu. Yards per 100 square feet). Ideally, the organic matter should be worked into the soil in three separate additions, a total of four tillings. For the final tilling, add nutrients as indicated by a soil test.

The final step in preparing a bed for groundcover is to apply a 3” to 4” layer of shredded bark mulch. This final dressing will help conserve moisture and moderate the soil temperature. Water the bed thoroughly. Never put tender plants into dry mulch or soil.

Installation of Plants

If possible, choose a cool, cloudy day to install plants, especially in a sunny site. If exposure to the strong sun can’t be avoided, protect the plants with light waterings. Water the plants thoroughly while they are still in their pots or flats. Plant them into moist, mulch covered soil. Remove plants from the containers and correctly install the plants. The key to successful transplanting is to protect the plant from shock as much as possible. Planting shock is caused mostly by too much exposure of root masses to air and sun. The quicker you get the plants out of their containers and back into the soil, the better. Once you are through planting, water the bed thoroughly. Check the soil for moisture level every few days and water as needed.



A tree is worth $196,250.00 according to professor T.M. Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, increase soil fertility and control soil erosion control to the tune of 31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of the fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to care for our landscape and trees.



A man was driving home late one afternoon, and was speeding. He noticed a police car with its red lights on in his rear view mirror.

So he floors it and the race is on. The cars are racing down the highway -- 60, 70, 80, 90 miles an hour. Finally, as his speedometer passes 100, he figures "what the heck," and gives up. He pulls over to the curb.

The police officer gets out of his cruiser and approaches the car. He leans down and says "listen mister, I've had a really lousy day, and I just want to go home. Give me a good excuse and I'll let you go."

The man thought for a moment and said..."Three weeks ago, my wife ran off with a police officer. When I saw your cruiser in my rear view mirror, I thought you were that officer and you were trying to give her back to me"!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Brad Loyet with his micro-sprint race car at Greenscape Gardens. Bradley won first place that evening at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill. Bradley was undefeated in Tri City in 2004 with three wins. Bradley's season consisted of 12 first place wins and is now racing in USAC. The Outlaws better watch out, SPEEDRACER IS ON THEIR HEELS. Brad is heading to the Tulsa Chili Bowl next weekend. Good luck to the Loyet Motorsports Team, Joe & Brad Loyet.
Check out for additional stats.

Greenscape Gardens
Gargoyle Lounge playing at the Greenscape Gardens 11th Annual Memorial Day Sale and BBQ...May 31, 2004. Two different bands on one weekend at the No other garden centre in the world can boost some of these marketing claims. Thanks to Bob and Griff for another outstanding, top notch performance including Margaritaville.

Greenscape Gardens
Mark Riordan playing Jimmy Buffett tunes at the Greenscape Gardens 11th annual Memorial Day Weekend Sale & BBQ in 2004.

Greenscape Gardens



Christmas at Fort Mandan. The enlisted men all fire off three volleys of gunfire in the morning, waking up the captains. Captain Clark authorizes a round of rum and instructs that the cannon be fired at the raising of the flag. Some of the men go out and hunt for the day but most stay at the camp at celebrate until late in the evening.



A tree is worth $196,250.00 according to professor T.M. Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, increase soil fertility and control soil erosion control to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of the fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to care for our landscape and trees.



Healthy, dense lawns absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hayfield. Sodded lawns can absorb 10 to 12 times more water than seeded lawns, even after two years of growth, thus preventing runoff and erosion.



With the cold days of winter now upon us, the challenge of caring for our indoor plants multiplies. Proper care of houseplants helps increase satisfaction and enjoyment from them and extends the blooming period of many flowering plants.

Most potted plants have been grown in greenhouses under ideal conditions. When they are placed in home environments designed for people, not plants, they need good care to adjust to the new environment.


Houseplants are killed more often by improper watering than by any other single factor. No general schedule can be used for watering all houseplants. Size of plant, pot, light, temperature, humidity and other conditions influence the speed of the plant drying out.

When to water

In general, flowering plants need more water than foliage plants of the same size. Never water any plant unless it needs it. Soil kept either too wet or too dry causes plant roots to die, which leads to poor growth or death of the plant. Never allow plants to wilt, and never allow them to stand in water for long periods of time. Many people rely on moisture meters to take the guess work out of watering.

Learn to gauge the moisture content of the soil by its color and feel. As the soil surface dries it becomes lighter. Under continued drying, the soil begins to crack and pull away from the sides of the pot. When severe drying occurs, some damage already will have been done to the roots. Soil kept too moist becomes sticky and slimy, thus inviting root rots and other disease problems.

How to water

Plants may be watered from either the top or the bottom of the pot. If you prefer watering from the top, use a watering can with a small spout and keep as much water off the foliage as possible. Each time, wet the entire soil mass, not just the top inch. Add water until it comes through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Discard water that remains beneath the pot one hour after watering.

Watering from the bottom ensures thorough wetting of the soil mass. Place the pot in a pan or saucer filled with water, or dunk the pot in a bucket of deep water (just below the rim of the pot). When the top of the soil becomes moist, the entire soil ball should be wet. Remove the pot, allow it to drain and return it to the saucer.

Salts may form a white accumulation on the soil surface if plants are watered regularly from the bottom. Occasional watering from the top helps wash out the salts. Don't allow the soil to reabsorb any water that has been run through the soil to leach out salts. Surface salt accumulation may become too heavy to remove in this way. When this happens, scrape off the surface soil and replace it with fresh soil. Try not to injure plant roots.


Potted plants should always have good drainage. Occasionally the drainage hole may become clogged by roots. Check it by pushing a finger, stick or pencil into it. Even though drainage from the pot may be good, pot coverings may hold water. Pots wrapped in waterproof foil or placed in deep planters should be checked occasionally for standing water.

Plants with "wet feet" soon look sick — leaves yellow or drop, flowers collapse and normally healthy white roots turn brown. Any or all of these can result from stagnation of the water, too little soil oxygen and development of diseases which rot the roots.


Improper light intensity ranks close to improper watering as a frequent cause for failure with houseplants. A plant in proper light is better able to withstand the high temperature and low humidity of many homes. The amount of light necessary for good growth varies with different types of plants.

Flowering plants

All flowering plants need moderately bright light. Plants kept continuously in poor light will have spindly shoots, few flowers, yellow foliage, poor flower color and often little or no growth.
South, east or west windows are excellent for most flowering potted plants, with the possible exception of African Violets and related plants, which prefer a north window. Plants in bloom should be kept out of direct sunlight since the flowers will heat excessively and collapse more quickly.

Light in the average room, away from windows, is not bright enough for most flowering plants, even when ceiling fixtures are kept on.
Fluorescent lights located fairly close to houseplants will improve growth when plants cannot be placed close to windows. When artificial lights are used, place them about one foot above the top of the plant, and keep them on for about 16 hours each day. Extra fertilizer, water or repotting are not cures for insufficient light.

Foliage plants

Foliage plants are generally divided into those suitable for low light areas, moderate light areas and high light areas. Only a few plants can tolerate dimly lit room interiors. Light at a north window, daylight with no direct sun or sunlight diffused through a lightweight curtain are suitable for most foliage plants. Plants that require full sunlight should be put in a south window.

Abrupt change from a location in low light to one in bright light may be damaging. Plants can become acclimated to one location. Leaves gradually face toward light for maximum light absorption, especially in low light areas. Moving the plant disrupts this orientation, and light is not used as efficiently for a period of time.
This is especially true of large plants.

Moving abruptly to more intense light also results in bleaching or burning of foliage, especially in direct sun. Any changes should be made gradually. Many plants can be kept from getting one-sided by turning them once a week.


Proper temperatures for plants are often hard to find in the house. A hot, dry atmosphere shortens the life of flowers. Flowering potted plants should receive temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees F in the day and 55 to 60 degrees F at night. To maximize flowering potted plants in the home, move them to a cool spot at night.
Foliage plants are more tolerant of high temperatures, but they thrive at temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees.

In winter, plants placed close to a window may have cooler temperatures than those elsewhere in the house. If the drapes are drawn behind these plants at night, the window temperature may be too cool. On cold nights, check temperatures close to windows. Some tropical foliage plants can be injured at temperatures below 40 degrees F.

Do not put plants at windows that have hot air registers or radiators directly below them. Hot air blowing on the plants often causes leaves to brown on the edges and occasionally to drop or die.


Air in most modern homes is extremely dry during the winter. A furnace or room humidifier can help plant growth. Watertight trays placed beneath the plants and filled with constantly moist sand or gravel help increase humidity around the plants. Pots must be placed on, not in, the wet sand or gravel.

Misting over the leaves daily helps a plant overcome the stress of low humidity. Plants needing constant high humidity such as orchids or gardenias are best kept in kitchens or bathrooms where humidity often runs higher. A relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent is best for most plants but is difficult to attain in the house.


Newly purchased plants have been well fertilized in the greenhouse. They seldom need additional fertilizer for a few weeks. If plants are to be discarded after flowering, there will be no benefit from fertilizing. Plants kept in the home should be put on a regular fertilization program.

When to fertilize

Fertilizing once a month is usually adequate for most houseplants that are producing new growth or flowers. During midwinter (December, January) when no new growth is apparent, fertilizer should be withheld.

Do not use fertilizer to stimulate new growth on a plant located in poor growing conditions. Lack of growth is more often due to improper light or watering than to nutritional deficiencies. In such cases adding fertilizer may actually cause additional injury.

Drop of lower leaves, overall yellow-green color or weak growth may indicate a need for fertilization. Since these same symptoms may result from poor light or overwatering, evaluate all conditions before fertilizing more than normal.

Kind of fertilizers

Water soluble, complete fertilizers have been formulated for houseplants and are available at garden centers. They are easy to use. Be sure to follow directions carefully. Do not apply more than directed. The roots of potted plants are quite restricted and easily burned by the application of too much fertilizer at one time.

Never apply liquid fertilizers to wilted plants. Water the plants first and apply fertilizer after the plants have recovered and the soil has dried slightly.

If soluble fertilizers such as 20-20-20 are available, these may also be used for fertilizing houseplants. Make a solution by mixing 1-1/2 teaspoons of this material in one gallon of water.

Organic fertilizers can also be used for houseplants, but either organic or inorganic fertilizers or a combination of both will be satisfactory sources of nutrients.

Fertilizers that release nutrients slowly or over a long time period require less frequent application than liquid forms. They are available in beads, pills, spikes and other forms. Never exceed amounts suggested by the manufacturer's directions.


Plants just brought home from the greenhouse seldom need immediate repotting. Many will not require potting for some time. A newly acquired plant must make adjustments to its new environment, and repotting immediately puts added strain on the plant.

When a plant is potbound (roots are too extensive for the pot) it will require frequent watering and produces poor growth. It is time for repotting.

A good potting mixture for most houseplants consists of a blend of three parts sphagnum peat, one part vermiculite and one part perlite. Many commercially available "peat-lite" mixes are ideal for houseplants. It is wise to avoid the addition of soil to a potting medium, as this often leads to poor drainage, overwatering and root diseases.

Acid-loving plants such as azaleas and gardenias should have at least 50 percent peat moss or other organic material in the soil mixture. With good care, these plants can be grown successfully in peat moss with no soil added.

When repotting, avoid excessive damage to the root system. Firm the soil gently around the root ball, but do not press so hard that the soil becomes compacted.

Allow enough space at the top of the pot so that water can be added easily. Water newly potted plants thoroughly, drain and do not water again until necessary.

Watch new plants carefully for development of insect or disease problems. If detected early, these problems often can be corrected easily before serious damage is done. If ignored or unseen, they may become difficult to control. The three most common and difficult houseplant pests are spider mites, scales and mealy bugs.

Summer care

During the summer, many houseplants can be revitalized if placed outdoors. Do not rush the plants outside too early in the spring. Late May is usually soon enough. Cool nights may injure some of them. Move the plants to a sheltered spot on a porch, beneath a tree or behind shrubs close to the house on a mild day, preferably when the weather is cloudy. After about one week of this adjustment, they may be moved to a more exposed but sheltered spot for the rest of the summer.

Plants with large leaves should be placed where they get good wind protection, since their leaves are easily torn. Potted plants dry rapidly outdoors. Frequency of watering can be reduced by submerging the pots in soil. This also keeps pots from falling over. Lift the pots occasionally to keep roots from growing out of the drainage hole in the pot and to prevent the plant from becoming established outdoors. Fertilize monthly, and check occasionally for insects or diseases that may attack them outdoors. Move them indoors by mid-September before cool weather returns.

Durable houseplants

Although all houseplants grow best with good care, there are a few that stand abuse more than others. Some of the most durable houseplants are snake plant (Sansevieria), heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron cordatum), devil's ivy (Pothos), corn plant (Dracaena massangeana), Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), cast iron plant (Aspidistra), dwarfpalm (Collinea), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) and spider plant (Chlorophytum).

Diagnosing cultural problems

Problems resulting from poor growing conditions in the home are difficult to diagnose. Often poor growth results from a combination of several unfavorable factors. The following list includes symptoms and causes of several cultural problems.

Lower leaves turn yellow and drop when touched
• Usually caused by overwatering.
• May occur when a new plant is moved from greenhouse to a low-light, low-humidity environment.

Yellowing and dropping of leaves at various levels on a plant
• Overwatering.
• Poor drainage.
• Tight soil.
• Chilling.
• Gas fumes.

Tips or margins of leaves appear burned, brown or both
• Too much fertilizer.
• Plant too dry for a short period of time.
• Plant exposed to too low temperature for short period.
• Use of softened water.

New leaves of plant are small
• Soil too dry for long periods.
• Poorly drained soil.
• Tight soil mixture.

New leaves with long internodes
• Not enough light.
• Temperature too high.

Leaves yellow or light green, weak growth
• Too much light.
• Poor root system — possibly from poor drainage, overwatering or tight soil.

Cause and effects:

** Night temperature
May fluctuate several degrees above or below listing. Day temperature should be 10 to 15 degrees higher.

** No direct sun
Low light intensity suitable. Direct sun may bleach or burn foliage.

** Filtered light
Needs good light but protection from long periods of bright sunlight.

** Bright light
Suitable for south window exposure close to or in direct sunlight.

** Thoroughly wet
Daily watering generally required. May stand in water for brief periods.

** Evenly moist
Frequent watering required, but must never stand in water. Soil surface should always feel moist.

** Drench, then dry
Soak root ball thoroughly, then allow the soil to become fairly dry before watering again. Do not allow the plant to wilt.

Cultural preferences of plants often grown in the home

• African violet, Saintpaulia
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Amaryllis
55 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Aluminum plant (related pileas)
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Arrowhead, Nephthytis
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Asparagus fern, Plumosus
50 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Australian tree fern
65 degrees at night, filtered light, thoroughly wet, challenging to maintain
• Begonia (many types)
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Bromeliads
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Burn plant, Aloe
55 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, easy to maintain
• Cactus (desert types)
65 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, easy to maintain
• Cast iron plant, Aspidistra
50 degrees at night, no direct sun, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Chinese evergreen, Aglaonema
65 degrees at night, no direct sun, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Christmas cactus
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist
• Christmas pepper
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist
• Chrysanthemum
55 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist
• Coleus
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist
• Coral berry
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Croton
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Cyclamen
50 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Cymbidium orchid
55 degrees at night, filtered to bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Dieffenbachia, Dumb cane
65 degrees at night, filtered light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Dracaena, Corn plant, Ti plant (related types)
65 degrees at night, filtered light, thoroughly wet, easy to maintain
• Dwarf orange, other citrus
55 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, challenging to maintain
• Dwarf schefflera
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• English ivy, Hedera
50 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Episcia, flame flower
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Ferns (many types)
55 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Fiddleleaf fig
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Fuschia, Lady's eardrops
55 degrees at night, no direct sun, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Gardenia
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, challenging to maintain
• Gloxinia
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Hibiscus
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Holiday cactus
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Hydrangea
55 degrees at night, bright light, thoroughly wet, moderately easy to maintain
• Jade plant, Crassula
65 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Kalanchoe
55 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Maidenhair fern, Adiantum
65 degrees at night, no direct sun, thoroughly wet, moderately easy to maintain
• Moses-in-the-cradle, Rhoeo
55 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Norfolk Island pine
55 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Orchid (Cattleya types)
55 degrees at night, filtered light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Palms
65 degrees at night, no direct sun, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Peace lily, Spathiphyllum
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Philodendron (many types)
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Poinsettia
65 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Ponytail palm
65 degrees at night, filtered to bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Pothos, devil's ivy
65 degrees at night, filtered light, drench, then dry, easy to maintain
• Rubber plant, Ficus
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Sago palm, Cycad
55 degrees at night, filtered light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Schefflera, Umbrella tree
65 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Sedums
55 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Shrimp plant
55 degrees at night, bright light, drench, then dry, moderately easy to maintain
• Spider plant, Chlorophytum
50 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Split-leaf philodendron
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Wandering Jew, Tradescantia
55 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, easy to maintain
• Weeping fig, Ficus
65 degrees at night, bright light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain
• Zebra plant, Aphelandra
65 degrees at night, filtered light, evenly moist, moderately easy to maintain



An FAA inspector goes to check out Santa. They meet, and Santa shows him the fully loaded sleigh.

The inspector checks out the equipment, the load balance, etc. "Everything's looking good, Mr. Claus, so it's time we move on to the flight test."

They board the sleigh. "Why are you carrying a shotgun?," asks Santa.

The FAA inspector replies, "In this test, you're going to lose an engine on take off.


Mrs. Santa Claus was seeking a divorce from an incredulous judge who asked her to explain her marital problems.

"It's that happy, jolly stuff, all year long," she said. "It drives me crazy!"

"All year? Why, I thought Santa's work was only in the winter," said the judge.

"Sure, but in the summer he takes up gardening", Mrs. Santa replied, "and then it's hoe, hoe, hoe all over again!"


Friday, December 24, 2004

Light dusting of snow in the Dougherty Ferry gardens at Greenscape Gardens

Greenscape Gardens



The fence around Fort Mandan is finally completed. The captains present three visiting chiefs with pieces of sheepskin they had brought along to use as sponges. Captain Clark states that one of the sponges is as valuable as a fine horse.



A Gallup Survey reported 62% of all U.S. homeowners felt that investing in their lawns and landscaping was as good or better than other home improvements. The investment recovery rate is 100-200% for landscape improvements, compared to a deck or patio that will recover 40-70%. Attractive and well maintained landscaping adds 15% to a home’s value according to real estate sources.

Lawn areas quickly affect people’s moods by creating feelings of serenity, privacy, thoughtfulness or happiness. Its yearly cycles of growth and color change lift human spirits and link urban inhabitants with their countryside heritage.



1. Prune early in the life of the tree so pruning wounds are small. Control the growth of the plant early.

2. Begin your visual inspection at the top of the tree and work downward.

3. Identify the best leader and lateral branches before you begin pruning and remove defective branches before pruning for form.
4. Don’t worry about protecting pruning cuts. For aesthetics, you may feel better painting larger wounds with a neutral color tree paint. Evidence shows that it does not prevent or reduce decay.
5. Keep your tools sharp. Hand pruning shears with curved blades work best on young trees.
6. Make safety a number one priority. For high branches use a pole pruner. Major pruning on a large tree should be done by a professional arborist.
7. When you prune back to the trunk, prune to the collar of the branch. Otherwise, follow the rules of good pruning of larger limbs by cutting just outside the branch ridge and collar and at a slight down and outward angle (so as not to injure the collar). Do not leave a protruding stub.
8. When simply shortening a small branch, make the cut at a lateral bud or another lateral branch. Favor a bud that will produce a branch that will grow in a desired direction (usually outward). The cut should be sharp and clean, and made at a slight angle about ¼ inch beyond the bud.



Brown Spot Needle Blight of Scots Pine

This fungal disease of pine needles primarily affects Scots pines in St. Louis. Symptoms begin as yellow bands on the needles. These bands later become brown and are often resin soaked. Needles begin to brown from the tip back. This occurs most often on the lower branches of the tree. Browning becomes apparent in late summer. Severely affected trees may lose most of the needles on lower branches. Control is aimed at protecting young needles because mature needles are resistant to infection. Consult a tree care professional if this problem is noticed.


Why A Christmas Tree Is Better Than A MAN!

A Christmas tree doesn't care if you had other Christmas trees in the past.

Even a small Christmas tree gives satisfaction.

A Christmas tree always looks good, even with the lights on.

A Christmas tree has pretty balls.

A Christmas tree doesn't follow you around begging if you decide to choose a different one.

A Christmas tree stays up for 12 days and nights.

A Christmas tree is always happy with its size.

A Christmas tree doesn't care if you sit around in your pajamas and watch soap operas all day.

A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you break its balls.

You can throw a Christmas tree out when it starts to get old and droopy.

You don't have to put up with a Christmas tree all year!



A small boy wrote to Santa Claus:

"Please send me a brother", the little boy requested very earnestly.

Santa wrote back:

"Send me your mother..."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Another scene in the Great American Outhouse painted by Michael McKinney. You never know what you'll find in the Gardens.

Greenscape Gardens
Shade house area...azaleas, rhodies, hydrangas & jap. maples.

Greenscape Gardens
The Great American Outhouse indoor scene at Greenscape Gardens

Greenscape Gardens has the most unique outhouse of any garden center in St. Louis (maybe in the US. Don't be bashful...........check out the great outhouse art only at Greenscape Gardens!

Greenscape Gardens

Temperatures have risen with the highs of 20 F. Little Crow, his wife and son visit Fort Mandan. She prepares a special dish which is considered a treat by the Mandans consisting of a kettle of boiled squash, beans, corn and chokeberries.



Lawns became popular hundred of years ago when the early landscape architects included them in designs for royal estates and parks in England. They were meant to give people a pleasant environment in which to walk, picnic and play sports.

The concept of the lawns was carried to North America with the early settlers and given a uniquely New World twist---lawns were used to surround the homes of the common man. On this continent lawns were for everybody, not just the privileged few.

Some researchers estimate that as much as 50 million acres of lawn and sports turf area are being cared for by homeowners and professionals. In the U.S. alone, more than 100 million people operate more than 60 million lawn mowers. Why do they do it?

One reason has to do with aesthetics and a sense of design and proportion. A lawn provides a pleasant surrounding for a home. If all the property were landscaped with trees and gardens, nothing would stand out. There would be no focus. A lawn provides a soft backdrop of accents and points of visual interest.

Another reason is more practical. A lawn provides a clear view of roadways and walkways from the house. If a front yard was filled with a jumble of bushes and plants of different sizes and shapes, it would be easy for a prowler or an animal to lurk in this jungle unobserved.

Lawns provide a buffer zone to keep pesky insects away from the house. Farmers learned long ago that it’s a good idea to maintain a lawn between the house and the fields just for this reason.

A lawn has a cooling effect also. As water evaporates off a lawn, the surrounding air is cooled---reducing the load on a home’s air conditioning system. That saves energy and money.

A lawn’s root system is a kind of natural filter that screens out impurities. University research shows that acid rain is less acid after it leaches through a turf root zone.

Lawns play a role in replenishing the oxygen supply, preventing soil erosion, filtering dust and pollen from the air, abating noise pollution, and reducing glare.

All of the above are true. But lawns do more. They satisfy a psychological need. Lawns are relaxing. It must have something to do with the fact that a lawn is a wide, flat area of smooth, green color. Many people find it soothing to sit outside and just watch the lawn spread away from the house and blend into the neighbor’s green world. It calms the nerves after a hectic day.

Sometimes you hear people talk about gardening every square inch of their property, so there’s no more lawn to tend. But just imagine your neighborhood with every bit of ground sprouting zigzags of this and that. It would not be relaxing without the greenery of established turf.

Lawns are islands of serenity that makes life more pleasant.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Containerized shrubbery area at Greenscape Gardens.

Greenscape Gardens
Another park-like setting at Greenscape Gardens.

Greenscape Gardens
Grady Greenscape & Jill

Greenscape Gardens

Lewis & Clark buy two smallish horns from bighorn sheep, a species new to science that the Corps of Discovery hadn't seen yet.



Bird watching is one of America's favorite hobbies, and America's favorite bird is the hummingbird. Gems of beauty and marvels in flight, they are the only birds able to hover in position or fly backward - or for brief moments, even upside-down. As a general rule, the only hummingbird found east of the Mississippi River is the ruby-throat. Most hummers live three to five years.

Many hummingbirds weigh less than a penny. Because of their tiny size and rapid wing speed (up to 78 times per second during regular flight and up to 200 times per second during a display dive), hummingbirds have an extremely high rate of metabolism and will consume half their weight in sugar each day. If we required the same energy, we would have to eat up to 370 pounds of boiled potatoes or 130 pounds of bread....daily! Because of this need for regular and abundant food, the hummingbird will be a regular visitor to any food source that proves reliable. That is the value, and the joy, of a hummingbird feeder. The small effort required to maintain a hummingbird feeder is repaid with endless hours of delightful avian acrobatics by the "TOP GUN" of the bird world.

The Ruby-throated hummingbirds of the eastern half of the country will increase their body weight by 50% before starting their nonstop 500 mile flight across the Gulf of Mexico to their wintering rounds in Mexico.

A typical hummingbird nectar flower produces only one to three milligrams of nectar per day. A three gram hummer needs one half of its weight in sugar daily. The sugar concentration in the typical flower is 20-25%. Using two milligrams for nectar production in each flower and 25% for sugar concentration, we find that each flower produces .5 milligrams of sugar. This means that to meet its needs, the hummer must visit 3000 flowers. What a windfall to find a feeder, a giant flower with an endless supply of nectar!

When should feeders be put up in the spring? Usually two weeks before the birds are due to return, which is approximately the end of April in the St. Louis area. Placing your feeder in mid April will enhance attracting the hummingbirds to your yard. Remember to change the nectar in the feeder bi-weekly in the spring and fall, and weekly in the summer.



The most important aspect of a great garden starts with a sound foundation. You must have good soil. If garden beds do not have good textured soil that drains well, it won't matter what you plant....
few plants will do well.

The basic planting medium many of us find in our garden sites is two parts clay to one part construction debris. Or 100% clay which is as hard as adobe in summer and like gumbo in wet weather.

The best way to improve poor soil is to apply about six inches of organic matter and work in into the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.
You can add compost, sphagnum peat moss, and rotted cow or horse manure. Stay away from the black sedge peat that is know often as organic peat or peat humus. Its texture is too fine and it does not help build good soil texture.

When using sphagnum peat moss, use another kind of organic material as well since, by itself, sphagnum peat moss causes an undesirable chemical reaction with the soil. If using leaf mold to improve the soil, you can used that material and will find that it builds a wonderful planting medium.

If you have a contractor do this work expect to pay two dollars or more per square foot for the spreading and preparation. It will take about two cubic yards of material for each 100 square feet of garden.

Adding composted leaves to your garden soil will increase water absorption, improve water retention, increase aeration and reduce compaction. Moreover, addition of this black gold will conserve moisture, reduce surface crusting, insulate the surface and modify the pH of the soil.

Regular mulching during the growing season with bark or more of the same soil conditioners will continue to improve the garden bed as well as to keep the weeds manageable. Whenever the old mulch has decomposed, add an additional inch or two. Once you have improved your garden soil in this way, you are bound to be pleased with the results. Your plants will begin to look like those in the catalogs.



Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants that live two or more years under local conditions. The above ground parts of these plants are generally killed to the ground by frost in the fall, but the roots and/or underground parts live through the winter. Growth is renewed and the cycle begins anew in the spring.

While perennials do not require yearly replanting, they still require regular maintenance. For best results, a proper site analysis, soil preparation and routine maintenance are necessary. With proper attention to these details, a perennial garden can provide color and interest in the landscape throughout the growing season.

Site Analysis

Do a site analysis before purchasing or planting any perennials. Notes should be taken on soil type, exposure and the amount of sunlight, shade and wind that each perennial bed will receive. Most flowering perennials prefer six to eight hours of sun per day. Several perennials are adaptable to different situations, although certain conditions like heavy shade and wet soils will reduce plant selection. It is important all site conditions are known and that adaptable plant material is used.

Soil Preparation

Soil quality is probably the most important factor in determining the success of a perennial flower planting. Adequate soil moisture is needed during the growing season but it is very important that the soil not stay excessively moist during the winter dormant season. To improve waterlogged soils, raise the bed and incorporate organic matter such as compost or peat moss. Most perennials grow best in slightly acidic soils (pH 6.5 to 7.0). A soil test can be made to determine soil pH. Soil amendments should be added and worked in to a minimum depth of 6-10 inches prior to planting.

Selecting Plants and Planting

Perennial flowers are sold both in containers and bare-root. Plants should be healthy and show no signs of disease or nutrient deficiency. Container grown plants should be removed from the container to examine the roots. Healthy roots should be white and be able to hold soil. Do not buy plants with dark colored and/or tightly coiled roots. Bare-root plants should be checked to ensure roots have not dried out and that the young shoots are not wilting.
Generally, container-grown plants can be planted throughout the season. Most often they are planted in the spring. Perennials that are grown in heated greenhouses should not be planted until after danger of frost (32ºF) has past, much like annual bedding plants and vegetable transplants. Container-grown plants that have been exposed to outside temperatures throughout the winter can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, about the same time trees and shrubs are planted. Fall planting of perennials promotes development of roots before onset of winter.

Planting depth.

A majority of perennials should be planted out at the same soil level as they were in their containers.

Routine Maintenance

Once established, most perennial flowers require only routine maintenance. Watering, fertilizing and mulching are essential maintenance practices that help perennials perform at their best. Thinning, pinching and deadheading are maintenance practices that promote longer bloom periods.


Water requirements of perennials can vary greatly from species to species, most require supplemental watering until well established. One inch of water a week is suitable for plant establishment. Once established, many perennials will require watering only during prolonged dry periods. Select waterwise perennials to reduce the need for supplemental watering. Watering should be deep, infrequent and applied directly to the soil. This type of watering will promote deep rooting and will help reduce leaf diseases.


Proper soil preparation and improvement before planting, reduces the needs for additional weekly fertilization. Application of a 'starter' fertilizer when perennials are first planted may aid in more rapid establishment of the root system. For established plants, an annual application of a balanced, slow release fertilizer can be beneficial. Fertilizers high in nitrogen should not be used as nitrogen promotes excessive foliage production at the expense of producing flowers and a strong root system. Apply fertilizer so it does not come in contact with the leaves, as it may scorch them.


Exposure to wind varies with the site. Thought should be given to staking, particularly if growing taller perennials such as delphinium or lilies on windy sites. It is best to stake plants when they are first sending growth up because smaller plants are easier to work with and less likely to be damaged by staking. Staking early is also more aesthetically pleasing because new plant growth will cover the stakes. A stake two-thirds as high as the stem's mature height should be pushed into the ground near the base of the shoot. Be careful not to harm the plant's roots. Secure the shoot to the stake using twine.


Mulch applied around perennials will help suppress weeds and improve soil structure while conserving soil moisture. Apply approximately 2 inches of a coarse mulch around the perennials, being careful not to apply too much around the crown of the plant. Excess mulch around the crown may hold moisture in and result in increased disease problems.


Hand weeding reduces competition for water and soil nutrients. If herbicides are used, do so carefully, as not to harm the perennial flowers.


Thinning dead and damaged shoots during the early stages of growth encourages stronger and healthier shoots. In late spring or early summer, when the plant is about one-third of its mature height, pinching can be done to increase flower development and encourage side shoot development. Pinching back new growth will help produce bushier plants which are less likely to require staking. Unless seedheads are used for winter decoration or seed is to be collected from them, flowers should be removed when they begin to fade. Deadheading may also promote additional flowering.

Fall Cleanup.

Once perennial plants have finished growing in the fall, cut the shoots down to the base (or leave 2 - 6 inches) and remove the debris. For plants that have some winter aesthetic value, like Sedum sp., cleanup can be left until spring.

Winter Protection.

Perennials damaged or killed during the winter usually are not injured directly by cold temperatures, but rather by rapidly fluctuating soil temperatures known as frost heaving. Frost heaving occurs when the soil alternately freezes and thaws, resulting in damage to the dormant crown and root system. Mulching in late fall with woodchips, pine needles, clean straw or other loose materials will help stop frost heaving. Do not use tree leaves or grass clippings as they may compact around the plant. Winter mulches should be applied after the ground freezes, usually in late November, and removed in early to mid-March.


Most perennials can be divided, and in fact need periodic division to maintain vigor and maximum flower production. This may need to be done annually, as with hardy chrysanthemums, but is usually only necessary every three to four years. Some perennials, such as baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata), never should be divided.
Timing. The time of year when perennials are divided is a major factor in determining their success. Species that bloom from mid-summer to fall, are best divided in early spring, before new growth has begun. Perennials that bloom in the spring to early summer should be divided in the fall, or after the foliage dies. Exceptions are iris and daylilies, which are divided immediately after flowering.


To divide a perennial, first remove the plant from the ground by digging around and under the entire plant and lifting it carefully from the soil avoiding root damage. Shake loose soil off the roots gently. Remove and discard diseased parts and cut back the top of the plant (stems, shoots, leaves) to about 6 inches.


Fibrous rooted plants often can be divided by hand or by using two forks back-to-back. Divisions usually are taken from the outer perimeter of the plant, as this younger area tends to produce more healthy and vigorous growth. Plants forming a woody center or that have solid roots can be divided by using a sharp knife or a spade to cut through the crown. Divide the plant in such a way that each new division has at least three buds that will produce new shots.


Replant new divisions as soon as possible. Rework the soil if necessary to improve drainage and structure. Dig a hole of adequate size, allowing room to spread out the root system of the division when planting. Take care to replant the division at the proper depth. Water well and protect the plant from the sun on bright, warm days. A winter mulch is needed for divisions that are replanted in late summer or fall to help prevent frost heaving.

Insects and Disease

If the perennials are not growing well, in spite of using adaptable species and planting in suitable locations, check for insects and diseases. Thrips and aphids are common insects affecting plant growth. Mildews, leaf spots, molds, rust and viruses are common diseases that may infect perennial plants. To help prevent insect and disease problems, all debris should be removed from the garden and clean tools should be used.



Little Billy and his dad ventured into the woods to bring home a Christmas tree. They walked for hours in the snow, examining every tree they found. As the afternoon turned into evening, the temperature dropped ten degrees and the wind began to blow.

Still no tree. Finally, Little Billy piped up: "Listen, Dad, I really think we'd better take the next tree we see, whether it has lights on it or not!"