Plants for Sale

                              Photo taken by Celine

In case readers hadn’t noticed, this is a great time to buy plants. Most nurseries have already started their sales. One can purchase plants from 25% off the retail price to much more off. Nurseries want to get rid of most of their plant stock so that they can start planning for purchasing next year’s plants. They want to have room not only for garden favorites, but also for the newest hybrids that are going to come to market in 2009 and also for plants that are winners of plant awards, like The Perennial of the Year or the All American Rose. So now smart buyers can reap the benefits.

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EncoreAzalea’s Advice on Fertilizing Azaleas


                                                    Photo taken by wdbrad52

TheGardenLady received this from the EncoreAzalea company and is passing this fertilizing information on to those who grow azaleas.

If you didn’t fertilize your Encore Azaleas this spring or summer, or if you think your azaleas could use a little extra burst of energy, now is the time to fertilize.

Fertilizing promotes new growth, which can be damaged by cold weather. For this reason, we suggest that gardeners do not fertilize their Encore Azaleas after August. If you fertilize now, your Encore Azalea’s new growth should have time to establish itself before the threat of winter.

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Identifying Invasive Species Workshop at the EARTH Center

                          Photo taken by urtica

One of the subjects TheGardenLady has been planning on writing about is invasive plants. Today she received this notice of a seminar at Rutgers on this very topic. If you are interested in learning how you can help in preventing foreign plants and insects from crowding out our natives, please contact the number below to see if you are eligible to attend.

On Saturday August 23rd, Middlesex County’s Extension Agricultural Office will be presenting a Garden Workshop from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the EARTH Center in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, South Brunswick. The workshop will be on “Invasive Species”, and how homeowners can do their part in helping prevent foreign plant & insect species from crowding out more desirable native species in their landscape. While some of the more nationally know invasive species include, the snakehead fish, fire ants, nutria, and kudzu, in the Northeast we have been impacted by organisms like the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid.

This workshop will be hosted by Bruce Barbour, Environmental Program leader for Rutgers Cooperative  Extension of Morris County. Coming from graduate schooling in weed science he served as Chair of the Department of Agriculture & Resource Management Agents at Cook College and serves on two committees of the NJ Invasive Species Council.

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Toadshade Wildflower Farm


The other day a catalogue arrived. It came from a small nursery that specializes in Nursery grown and Propagated Perennial Wildflower plants native to Northeastern America only; Toadshade Wildflower Farm in Frenchtown, NJ. All the plant species in their catalogue, they say, to the extent that the Toadshade owners can determine,  are NATIVE – not alien, introduced or naturalized. They also let the reader know that “No plant or plant parts are dug from the wild!”

Since TheGardenLady has been so upset to see so few butterflies this summer- yes, she has seen a few more since she wrote the article- she decided to try to find more host plants to plant on her grounds. One butterfly enthusiast the TheGardenLady knows said that she has so many butterfly eggs and larvae on her host plants that she is “harvesting” them and raising them for the 6th annual Master Gardener Insect Festival to be held on Sat. Sept. 13 from 1-4 in Pennington, NJ on Federal City Road. TheGardenLady has offered to attempt to raise butterflies for this event.  Any budding scientists can raise butterflies themselves or teachers of science can purchase kits for their students to raise butterflies.

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Linden Hall Gardens


                                                Photo taken by Dara

I don’t know how much TheGardenLady’s readers enjoy visiting garden nurseries, but when TheGardenLady visits a really good nursery, she is like a child in a candy store. And when TheGardenLady recently visited
Linden Hill Gardens, she was in garden nursery heaven.  Here one can buy rare and current varieties of perennials and annuals as well as attend complimentary garden talks on special days (listed on their website.)


                    Photo taken by Dara

When one drives up to the entrance of Linden Hill, you pass masses of flowers in the Long Border edging the property on Route 611 and pass a very pretty Bucks County barn. Turning into the Nursery you pass another stunning garden, the Lower Parking-Lot Border. Then you get to the sales area of the nursery where you will pass through more delightful gardens surrounding the charming old buildings.

            Photo taken by Dara

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Perovskia Atriplicifolia aka Russian Sage

TheGardenLady first fell in love with Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian Sage, during a summer visit to Chicago when she saw clouds of a lavender mist that billowed in the breeze. Perovskia is such a great specimen plant and when planted in mass makes such a lovely airy floral scene, that TheGardenLady knew she had to have the plant in her garden.

Perovskia is a very easy plant to grow in zones 4-9. TheGardenLady loves easy to grow plants with long – flowering seasons and Perovskia, besides being easy to grow, also has a long season of bloom – from July to October. The plant forms a bushy clump of lacy, fragrant, grayish leaves with spikes of rich lavender -blue flowers that become increasingly brilliant as they open. Perovskia loves hot, sunny sites and can tolerate drought. It is native to the high deserts of Afghanistan but was named by a Russian botanist after B. A. Perovski, a Turkestani governor of one of the Russian provinces. And the plant is not a sage (Salvia) but was probably given its common name from the sage aroma given off when the leaves are crushed. 

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Dorm Plants to Eat

                                            Photo taken by dinesh_valke

TheGardenLady received this question from Elena:

I want to spruce up my college dorm with something living, but I would also like to spruce up my dining hall meals. Last year I tried pepper plants, which unfortunately suffered because I was unable to change their soil. I was hoping for some general herbs- basil, rosemary or fennel. Preferably something that wouldn’t require special lighting, frequent soil changes, or religious watering. I am good at caring for plants, in general, but cannot guarantee that I won’t be absent for up to 4 days at a stretch. … For decoration, I usually keep cacti for this reason. I’m also at school in Cleveland, so light quality in the winter can be very poor, aside from artificial light.

Once again, with school comming up soon, students want to decorate their dorm rooms with flowering plants or herbs. Some of TheGardenLady’s suggestions are in the articles What Flowering Plant is Good to Grow in a Dorm Room? and Growing plants in your dorm room.  Most of the plants that grow in low light don’t have flowers such as

  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Cast Iron Plant
  • Calathea
  • Prayer Plant
  • Button Fern
  • Creeping Fig
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron Vine
  • Remember that flowering plants like lots of light and/or sunlight besides their special temperature needs when they are grown indoors.
  • Herbs, especially, need sunlight to manufacture the oils in their leaves that make them so tasty. That is why grow lights were invented for indoor plant growing. Most rooms do not have enough light for flowering plants.

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Chicago: The Flower City

Chicago is one of the prettiest cities in the World. It is not only pretty because of the stunning location, the city edges Lake Michigan, and the interesting architecture both in the city and along the shoreline; but the city is beautiful because of all the flowers. It is a garden lover’s dream city. Flowers blanket the entire city, the roadways and cover the bridges. There seem to be flowers wherever one looks. Chicago should be renamed The Flower City. I read that as a priority Mayor Daley has a “long standing goal of making Chicago the most environmentally- friendly city in the world.” When taking a boat sightseeing tour we were told that whenever a new building goes up, at least along the waterways, the builder has to be sure to incorporate flowers along the frontage of these waterways. For flower lovers like TheGardenLady,  Chicago has to be the Flower City of the World.

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The 2008 Perennial Plant Conference

One of the best ways to learn about gardening is to learn from the Masters. And one of the best way to hear the Masters, if you cannot attend Horticulture Schools, is to attend plant conferences. These conferences are given all around the US as well as other countries and are generally open to the public.

An excellent conference is the Perennial Plant Conference co-sponsored by Chanticleer Gardens, the Hardy Plant Society/Mid-Atlantic Group, Longwood Gardens, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. These are all power groups in horticulture and the speakers they get for the conference are internationally known in the plant world. Also, the conference is part of the Continuing Education program of Longwood Gardens.

This year the Perennial Plant Conference will be on Friday, October 17, 2008 and will be held at the Lang Performing Arts Center, Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA.

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