Saturday, March 03, 2007


BLUSHING BRIDE HYDRANGEA & ENDLESS SUMMER HYDRANGEA
INTRODUCING THE "ENDLESS SUMMER BLUSHING BRIDE HYDRANGEA.

Beautiful white blooms mature to a light pink blush - Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’ (PPAF)

Hydrangea lovers across the country have a new reason to celebrate this garden season with the introduction of Endless Summer Blushing Bride. But don’t wait for June to get a look at this bride. Endless Summer Blushing Bride will be available in limited quantities. The name of this new Hydrangea macrophylla says it all. Pure white blooms with semi-double florets gradually mature to a sweet, pink blush. The disease-resistant foliage is an attractive dark green, providing a striking background for Blushing Bride’s mophead blooms. Strong stems and branches keep the plant sturdy and upright in the garden, and make it a perfect flower for cutting.

The full white blossoms reflect light, making shade and semi-shaded gardens seem brighter. Blushing Bride’s full yet compact habit makes it an ideal plant for decorative containers, elegant as a stand-alone shrub or combined with other garden plants.

Dr. Michael Dirr at the University of Georgia bred Endless Summer Blushing Bride in 2001. Dr. Dirr calls this Hydrangea macrophylla his most significant introduction to date. “Blushing Bride has the same reblooming qualities as its parent, Endless Summer The Original, only faster,” says Dirr. Like Endless Summer The Original, Blushing Bride reliably blooms on both old and new growth. With Blushing Bride you’ll have more blooms, more quickly, all season long.
Look for Endless Summer Blushing Bride and Endless Summer The Original in their distinctive blue pots.

Endless Summer Blushing Bride at a glance:
- For the next two years this plant is being rated as USDA Zone 5 hardy, test in Zone 4. - Partial shade- Keep soil moist- White blooms mature to blush pink- Height and width: 3-6 feet/Upright habit- Wonderful gifts for weddings, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and house warming celebrations. Visit endlesssummerblooms.com for more information and beautiful, high-resolution images.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW LOGO CREATED BY JOANNE SAMPL OF NEXT STEP UP COMMUNICATIONS.
GARDENIA........"HEAVEN'S SCENT"

Gardenias have a well-earned reputation for being difficult specimens for even the experienced indoor gardener. Gardenias thrive on bright light, high humidity, and an even supply of moisture and nutrients. When gardenias are freshly delivered from a greenhouse grower, their glossy leaves and heavenly-scented blooms just about cause the plant to leap into your arms, whether a gift for yourself or for a loved-one.But, then, the plant enters the home environment where hot, dry air and gloomy winter days send the gardenia in a downward spiral. Those delicate flower buds, so filled with promise of good things to come, begin dropping from the plant in droves. The glossy leaves turn dull, yellow, and they, too, begin to drop like tree leaves in autumn. If the plant survives this cruel change in environment, mealy bugs, spider mites, scale insects and stem cankers provide further challenges to overcome.

Now for the good news. Gardenias can be successfully grown in the home, but they won’t tolerate neglect like many other houseplants. Gardenias are native to China and Japan but also grow well as an evergreen shrub in the south and west coastal areas of the United States. There, the plant reaches up to 6 feet tall!

Gardenias thrive in bright light, cool temperatures and moderately humid air.Your challenge in growing the gardenia as a houseplant is to match the plant’s native environment as closely as possible. First, make sure you give the plant plenty of bright light, preferably direct sunshine for at least half a day. Winter will likely be the most difficult time to keep high light intensity due to shorter, gloomy days. Moving plants closer to southern-exposure windows and/or supplementing with plant-grow lights will help. Cooler room temperatures are best for the gardenia, around 55 F at night and about 10 degrees warmer by day.

Maintaining proper relative humidity is a challenge, particularly during the winter heating season. There are several ways to help increase humidity, including running a humidifier and grouping plants together on trays of wet pebbles. Misting by hand with a spray bottle offers only momentary relief and so does not really increase humidity in a meaningful way.A healthy, blooming gardenia will need to be nurtured with a steady supply of water and nutrients, but don’t overdo. The goal is to provide the proper balance of water, air and nutrients. If soil is kept constantly wet, the roots will be starved for air. Too much fertilizer can lead to damaging salt accumulation. Monitor the soil frequently for moisture content, and water thoroughly as the top inch of soil dries. Use a fertilizer that is formulated for acid-loving, blooming plants, such as an azalea-type product, according to rates listed on the label.

Don’t be afraid to prune the gardenia; in fact, blooming will be more prolific on younger growth. Remember that the gardenia is a woody shrub in its native environment and so may need to have older, woody stems removed to encourage new branches.Though the responsibilities of gardenia care are daunting, if you persevere, you’ll be rewarded with elegant white blossoms and sweet fragrance that simply cannot be matched by other plants.
THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.....WASTE VALUABLE ENERGY

Friday, March 02, 2007


THINK SPRING
THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

SMILE........AN INEXPENSIVE FACELIFT
SHADE GARDENING MADE EASY

Shade gardening problems usually occurs when sun-loving plants are planted in shady locations. But when the proper plants are selected for shady areas the results can be beautiful and enduring.

Shady areas often are created by trees as they grow larger over the years. At some point, the original landscape will have to be modified to deal with the reduced light conditions. For inspiration, take a drive around older neighborhoods with mature trees. You’ll see how beautifully areas under and around large trees can be landscaped using a variety of ground covers, annuals, perennials, shrubs and even small trees.

The most important thing to remember when creating a landscaped area under a tree is to respect the root system of the tree itself. Avoid severing any roots two fingers in diameter or larger. Use a gardening fork to loosen the soil under the tree rather than a shovel or spade since the fork will damage fewer roots. Then work in a few inches of organic matter such as compost into the soil.

If you need to bring in extra soil to create the bed, select a high quality topsoil or garden soil, and use no more than 2 to 4 inches. Do not pile several inches of soil up around the base of the trunk, because this can lead to decay. That means you need to pull it back slightly. In addition, if you intend to fill over an area that will cover a large part of the tree’s root system (which extends out well beyond the reach of the branches), do not apply more than 2 inches of soil.

Ground covers suitable for larger areas include perennial ferns and lirope. Ground covers provide variation in plant height, texture and color in the landscape. You don’t just have to stick with ground covers, however. Indeed, gardening in a shady area provides a chance to grow a wide variety of beautiful plants. Gardens in shady areas also are often easier to maintain since there generally are fewer weed problems, and the beds may not dry out as fast as sunny ones.
For colorful bedding plants in beds that receive a few hours of morning sun, try impatiens, coleus, wax begonia, browallia, pentas, salvias, caladium and torenia in summer.
Shade-loving perennials include ferns, hostas, ligularia, ajuga, and heuchera.

Shrubs to consider include hollies, azaleas, and hydrangea, Most of these prefer a partly shaded area that receives a few hours of morning sun.

There are even small trees that like partial shade, such as hawthorn, silver bell, dogwood, Japanese maple, red bud, and white fringe tree, Many hardy ferns can be planted into the shady areas of your landscape. The different species range in size from under a foot to as much as 3 feet. The leaves of ferns are called fronds and provide the primary ornamental feature of the plants. The fronds generally are finely divided and delicate in appearance and contrast beautifully with coarser textured shade plants such as hostas.

Some excellent ferns for use in the landscape include maidenhair fern, Christmas fern, wood fern, autumn fern, lady fern, and Japanese painted fern.
If you have a shady area, consider turning it into a beautiful garden with shade-loving plants. The ground covers, perennials, shrubs, trees and ferns are all available at Greenscape Gardens.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


THE BADLANDS OF SOUTH DAKOTA

JUST VIEWED THE SNEAK PEEK OF "WILD HOGS" STARRING JOHN TRAVOLTA, TIM ALLEN, MARTIN LAWRENCE AND WILLIAM LACY. MID AGE CRISIS AT ITS FUNNIEST. GREENSCAPE GARDENS TWO THUMBS UP AWARD.

PRUNING DECIDUOUS SHRUBS
Gardeners are getting a great case of "spring fever" with the warm weather experienced today until the bottom fell out again. One chore that can be taken care of now is pruning certain shrubs. Often, gardeners approach pruning with trepidation, but it is not as difficult as it may seem. Remember, not all shrubs need to be pruned (i.e witch hazel), and certain shrubs, which will be identified later, should not be pruned this time of year. Shrubs are pruned to maintain or reduce size, rejuvenate growth, or to remove diseased, dead or damaged branches. Deciduous shrubs are those that lose their leaves each winter. Evergreen shrubs maintain foliage all year and include yews, boxwoods and junipers. Deciduous shrubs are placed into three groups:
* Those that flower in the spring on wood produced last year;
* Those that flower later in the year on current season's growth;
* Those that may produce flowers, but those flowers are of little ornamental value.
Shrubs that flower in the spring should not be pruned until immediately after flowering. Though pruning earlier will not harm the health of the plant, the flowering display will be reduced. Examples of these types of plants include forsythia, lilac and mock orange. Shrubs that bloom on current season's growth or that do not produce ornamental flowers are best pruned in late winter to early spring. Examples include Rose of Sharon, pyracantha, and spirea.
Pruning during the spring allows wounds to heal quickly without threat from insects or disease. There is no need to treat pruning cuts with paints or sealers. In fact, some of these products may retard healing. There are three basic methods used in pruning shrubs: thinning, heading back and rejuvenating.
Thinning is used to thin out branches from a shrub that is too dense. It is accomplished by removing most of the inward growing twigs by either cutting them back to a larger branch or cutting them back to just above an outward facing bud. On multi-stemmed shrubs, the oldest canes may be completely removed.
Heading back is done by removing the end of a branch by cutting it back to a bud and is used for either reducing height or keeping a shrub compact. Branches are not cut back to a uniform height because this results in a "witches broom" effect.
Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to 3- to 5-inch stubs. This is not recommended for all shrubs but does work well for spirea, forsythia, pyracantha, ninebark, Russian almond, little leaf mock orange, shrub roses and flowering quince.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


DIVIDING LATE BLOOMING PERENNIALS
The robins are back and soon we'll be back in the gardens. One of the first things to consider in the perennial garden is dividing your mature plants. Dividing overgrown plants can eliminate problems with floppiness, stunted and overcrowded plants. It also brings big plants down to size increasing air flow and light penetration to help reduce disease problems.
Dig and divide summer and fall blooming perennials as they start to grow. Dividing spring bloomers now may delay or eliminate the floral display for this season. Though it won't hurt the plants, you may want to wait until early fall to divide your early bloomers.
Use a sharp shovel or garden fork to dig the perennial to be divided. Dig just outside the outer ring of stems, then lift the clump out of the ground. Use a sharp knife or two shovels or garden forks back to back to divide the clumps. Cut the lifted plant in half, fourths or eighths. The bigger the division the more impressive the show that season and the sooner you will need to divide again.
Prepare the soil before planting the divisions. Mix several inches of compost and a bit or Osmocote or Milorganite into the soil. Place the division into the soil and the previously planted height. Cover the roots with the amended soil, gently tamp to ensure good soil to root contact and then thoroughly water.
You can plant one of the divisions back in the original hole after the soil is amended. The excess plants can be shared with friends and neighbors or increase your perennial garden in another area.
GOOD GARDENING FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT GREENSCAPE GARDENS.

CATALINA ISLAND NOW THAT'S A HOUSE WITH A VIEW

CATALINA ISLAND AIRPORT. THIS AIRPORT HAS REGULARLY SCHEDULED DAILY FLIGHTS WITH A DC-3 AIRPLANE. CAN YOU IMAGINE DRIVING A 60 YEAR OLD CAR DAILY AND HERE THEY'RE FLYING A 60 YEAR OLD PLANE OVER THE OCEAN.
HUMMINGBIRD WAS PHOTOGRAPHED AT THE CATALINA ISLAND AIRPORT OFF THE COAST OF CALIFORNIA.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


THE WHITE FRINGE TREE (Chionanthus)
One of the most awesome, underutilized plants in the St. Louis area is the white fringe tree. We have a specimen example of this plant which has been growing at the garden center now for close to 10 years. Patience is a virtue in growing the white fringe tree. The young plant is always puny, but it will grow. Some of the characteristics of this tree include: White flower panicles appear in early summer, just after late-developing leaves. These are followed by blue berries in grape-like clusters on female trees. Fall foliage turns a bright yellow. The flowers are rather long lasting in comparison to most flowering trees. It usually attains a height of 15-20 feet. This tree does well in wet, boggy areas. The white fringe tree is a plant of merit recipient.
For more information concerning this former Missouri Botantical Plant of Merit visit white fringe tree

HUMMINGBIRD GARDENING
Nothing is more exciting than catching a glimpse of a hummingbird flitting through your garden. Hummingbirds flap their wings so rapidly--approximately 50 to 80 flaps per second---that they actually produce a humming sound when they fly.
It's easy to provide the basic elements of hummingbird habitat in your garden and encourage these feisty little birds to take up residence in your neighborhood.
Provide nectar.
Hummingbirds feed on flower nectar and are attracted to red, so include red-blooming plants in your hummingbird garden. Always select native plant species first. These are the plants that hummingbirds have been feeding on for thousands of years. Cannas and salvias are two plants which attract the hummingbirds in the St. Louis area.
How you arrange your plants will affect your garden's attractiveness to hummingbirds. Individual plants are hard to spot from the air and won't provide enough nectar by themselves. A bed filled with clusters of several species of nectar plants, however, will be much more successful.
You can also attract hummingbirds by putting out a feeder with homemade nectar. You can use a pre-packaged powder to make nectar, or make it from scratch by dissolving one part white sugar in four parts water. Never use honey, which can grow mod and bacteria that sicken hummingbirds. Don't use artificial sweeteners, either, because they lack the calories these birds need to support their high energy flying.
Allow tiny prey to go pesticide free.
Hummingbirds cannot survive on nectar alone. They also need tiny insects, spiders, and other invertebrates as a source of protein. When you're tempted to grab pesticides, remember that many pesticides not only kill hummingbirds outright, but also rob them of an important food source. Having a diversely planted, pesticide-free garden will ensure that you have plenty of invertebrate prey for hummingbirds.
Install a birdbath or mister
Hummingbirds drink water and bathe in it to keep their feathers clean. They can use a standard birdbath for these activities as long as it's not too deep. They are also attracted to the sight and sound of moving water, so adding a pump powered mister will make your water feature irresistible to hummingbirds. They enjoy flying through the fine mist of water, effectively bathing on the wing.
Give them a place for home sweet home
Hummingbirds build tiny, cup-shaped nests. They use spider webs, plant fibers and seed down to create the cup, and then add lichens to the outside surface. They build their nests in a fork in the branches of dense shrubs and trees. Add a shrub row or other woody vegetation to give hummingbirds a protected place to nest.
PRUNING OVERGROWN APPLE TREES

Apple trees that are not pruned for several years will often produce so many branches that little energy is left for fruit production. Overgrown apple trees are also difficult to harvest and spray. Gardeners who who such a tree are often at a loss as how to get it back in shape.

Often the best recommendation for such a tree is to make one pruning cut at ground level and start over with a new tree. But that is a rather drastic measure. However, trees may have sentimental value that will make revitalization worth the time and effort. Realize that this will be a multi-year process because no more than 30 percent of the tree should be removed in one year. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Remove all dead wood. This does not count toward the 30 percent.

2. Remove suckers from the base of the tree.

3. Choose approximately six of the best branches to keep as scaffold branches. Remove all others. Branches should be cut flush to the branch collar. The collar is the natural swelling that occurs where a branch connects to the trunk or to a larger branch. Removing the collar would leave a larger wound that would take additional time to heal. Do not paint wounds. Wounds heal more quickly if left open.

Candidates for removal include branches with narrow crotch angles, which are more likely to break in wind and ice storms, and those that cross branches you will save. This may be all that is possible the first year if the 30 percent threshold has been reached.

4. Thin the branches on each scaffold branch. Remove crowed branches to open up the tree to light and allow moisture to escape. Shorten each scaffold branch by cutting back to a side branch. When you are through, the tree should have enough wood removed so a softball can be thrown through the tree.

Severe pruning often will cause an apple tree to produce vigorous side shoots from the trunk called water sprouts. These should be removed throughout the growing season so the center of the tree stays open.

ACCESSORIZING OUTDOOR LANDSCAPING

At last springtime is quickly approaching. The prime gardening season is about a month away and many St. Louis gardeners are licking their lips over the time of year when plants and flowers begin to grow like mad. Some may have already purchased seeds and potted plants in preparation for their landscape masterpieces.

But what about the anti-gardener? For the people who can't even get weeds to grow, there are ways to make a yard look great without getting down in the dirt. All it takes is a little creativity and sense of style.

The first step to giving a yard a chlorophyll-free makeover is to figure out the reason for doing so. In general, more baby boomers are retiring and spending more time at home. People aren't moving as much as before.

Types of exterior accents for a home should depend on whether or not the yard will be for looks or for play. For anyone who wants to do nothing more than dress (their yard) to impress, one way to start is with H2O.

A lot of people are purchasing more fountains and starting to enjoy more water features. Waterfalls are very popular. Some people build them themselves with stones. Adding statuary is also an easy and traditional way to liven up yard or garden. The nautical theme is pretty popular with sea turtles, frogs and pelicans selling pretty well.

Another option for cosmetic renovation outdoors is a decorative arbor acting as a gateway from one area of a yard to another. When you walk through it, it creates an ambience.

Another way to brighten things up is with pottery. Talavera is very eye-catching pottery. With the onslaught of container gardening, we now carry an incredible assortment of pottery at Greenscape Gardens. We have all sorts of colorful pots. Of course, the pots don't necessarily need plants inside them to serve as d├ęcor.

Curb appeal

Purchasing statues or pottery as quick fixes may not be the best option if your home has exterior "blemishes" that could be corrected. Look at your mailbox and address plaque to add some additional ambiance. You can replace those with decorative ones, and really dress up your curb appeal.

Even a personalized doormat can make a big improvement to a drab exterior. Rocks, although dull by themselves, can serve as practical ornamentation for a front or back yard. Curb appeal can be achieved by selecting larger stones and small rocks to dress up the beds and it's really low-maintenance."

A well-placed boulder here and there is a good idea. They also make nice benches. Some minor "eyesores," can be disguised with large stones.

Home 'extension'

Another way to spice things up outside is to make a back yard guest-friendly. Home entertaining isn't limited to the living room any longer, especially when there's a decent climate involved. As people spend more time outside, they want more things to do.

A huge trend is outdoor living. You can turn your backyard into an extension of your house.
Outdoor living trends are extending to outdoor living and kitchen areas. To create an outdoor room, all you really need is power. The kitchens can be very weather-proof. Outdoor TVs are becoming more common in modern homes and are perfect for the football fan who loves to grill out.

There are less-expensive ways to entertain outside, too. In recent years, fire pits have become a popular item for families and friends to gather around. Fire pit that converts into a cooler for use during the hotter months are another new possibility.

Fire is the most noticeable change that can be made to outdoor ambience. Instead of spending $3,000 to $4,000 on patio furniture, buy a fire pit and tiki torches for ambience. People won't notice your furniture, but it's amazing what fire can do.

Individual taste

Whether placing a few garden gnomes here and there or completely redoing the backyard, making everything come together depends on one's personal preference. Anything overdone doesn't appear pleasing to the eye, but everyone has their own individual taste.

Combining your taste with the practicality of outdoor accessories can lead to the perfect exterior design. It's about image vs. functionality. If you can mix the two, you can really go somewhere.
SAVE THE PLANET BY PLANTING 1 BILLION TREES

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a major worldwide tree planting campaign. Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter a tree planting pledges online with the objective of planting at least one billion trees worldwide during 2007.

For additional information check out the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign site.
THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

NOBODY EVER DIED......OF LAUGHTER

Monday, February 26, 2007


SHORTEST DAILY OPERATING TUNNEL WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI CAN ONLY BE VIEWED AT GREENSCAPE GARDENS.
CHECK OUT THE WATERFALL AND THE "MINI" MERAMEC RIVER AT MERAMEC HIGHLANDS.
THE PLANTS ARE ALL LIVE AND GROWING.

ALL ABOARD THE GREENSCAPE "G" GAUGE GARDEN RAILROAD!!!!
BUTTERFLY GARDENING

Butterfly gardening is becoming more popular in St. Louis. Barrett Elementary School in the Parkway School District has a fine example of butterfly gardening thanks to Greg Miles. Providing the basic needs of butterflies, such as food, shelter and liquids, will encourage butterflies to visit during the summer.

There are a number of plants that attract butterflies. However, different species of butterflies prefer different plants. Using a variety of plant material that vary in blooming times of day and year helps attract a diverse group of visitors. Plant groups of the same plant together; a single plant is difficult for a butterfly to detect. If trying to attract a certain species of butterfly, learn which plant(s) that a particular butterfly prefers, and then emphasize that plant in your garden.

Annuals that attract butterflies include ageratum, cosmos, French marigold, petunia, verbena and zinnia. Perennials and shrubs can be split into those that bloom early, mid-season and late. Good choices for those that bloom early include allium, chives, forget-me-not and lilac. Bee Balm, butterfly bush, black-eyed Susan, buttonbush, butterfly weed, daisy, daylily, gailardia, lavender, lily, mintphlox, privet, sunflower and veronica are fitting picks for mid-season bloom. Late bloomers include aster, glossy abelia and sedum. There are other encouragements for attracting butterflies. Butterflies are cold-blooded and like open areas where they can sun themselves on cool days and shade to cool them off when the sun is too intense.

Butterflies also need water. A simple way to make a butterfly pool is to take a bucket, fill it with gravel, and bury it to the rim. Now add water, sugar water or sweet drinks so that the butterflies can land on the gravel but still reach the liquid.
THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

WHO STOPPED PAYMENT...ON MY REALITY CHECK

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just a reminder to all the participants of the Women's Wellness Weekend at YMCA Trout Lodge in Potosi this weekend.

Azaleas Points:

1. Selectively prune azaleas after they have finished blooming. May 1
2. Feed the azaleas May 1, June 1 and July 1 with an azalea fertilizer.
3. Only plant hardy azaleas from climates similiar to St. Louis
4. Amend the soil. Amend the soil. Amend the soil with compost
5. Containerized grown plants need to be tickled (massaged)
GREENSCAPE GARDENS ENVIRONMENTAL TIPS

Recycle glass bottles and jars. Each year we throw away 28 billion glass bottles and jars--enough to fill the Empire State Building weekly.

Have your oil change only by mechanics who recycle oil Americans use approximately one billion gallons of motor oil each year and 350 million gallons of that oil ends up in the environment.

Start your own compost pile Each year we throw away 24 million tons of leaves and grass.

Carpool to work If each commuter car carried just one additional person, we would save 600,000 gallons of gasoline daily and prevent 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere