Best of Fall Home Show – Sept. 11-13

TheGardenLady loves to talk about shows around the country which gardeners would be interested in attending. Columbus, Ohio will be having the Best of Fall Home Show September 11th 2009 through September 13th. Tickets are $5 per person but senior citizens with valid ID will receive a $1 discount off their ticket on Friday, September 11, 2009, making the tickets $4 instead of $5.

At the show renowned garden author, Tovah Martin will speak.

Renowned garden author Tovah Martin will appear at the show on Friday, Sept. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 12. Martin’s newest book, “Terrariums,” has been the talk of the garden world and has landed her spots on national TV shows and at gardening events. On Friday, Sept. 11, at 3 p.m., Martin will give a presentation on how to use terrariums to bring the outdoors inside in wildly creative ways. In two other sessions she’ll demonstrate how to make a terrarium, with show guests creating their own terrariums to take home and enjoy. The hands-on, make and take workshops take place Friday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 12, at noon.

For more information please read this release about Tovah Martin.

Remember that the show opens Friday, Sept. 11, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Ohio Expo Center. Show hours are Friday Noon – 8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door; children 12 under are admitted free. For show information and ongoing updates, log on here.

As a special prize, the first 10 people who contact Jeri at by 5 p.m. on September 8, 2009 and mention that they read about the show on The Garden website will each get a free ticket.

You can download the release on Tovah Martin by clicking here.

More thoughts on getting rid of Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis Corniculata)

Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis Corniculata) by nickpix2009
Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis Corniculata) by nickpix2009

TheGardenLady received this comment on her post “Eradicating Oxalis Corniculata“.

This article does not do justice to the invasive and aggressive nature of Oxalis. If you try this what is described above you will FAIL (guaranteed).

If Oxalis has become such an invasive problem in your area of the country, you should call your county extension office to see what they recommend. Unfortunately there are weeds that are becoming extremely, agressively invasive and are becoming more and more difficult to eradicate safely or easily.

TheGardenLady always recommends the least toxic method of removal of both weeds and insect pests. Her parents were organic gardeners before, I think, the word even became popularized. We pulled all the weeds by hand and picked all the bugs off the plants by hand. I cannot recount the number of Colorado potato beetles I picked off the potato plants as a child or how many of the undersides of leaves I checked looking for the orange-yellow eggs to remove. Of course, potatoes were not our cash crop so it was doable.

My husband, who was a trained chemist, believed in organic methods of gardening. He knew how toxic some of those chemicals could be.

Continue reading “More thoughts on getting rid of Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis Corniculata)”

Why Gardeners Garden – Part II

pausing for a moment of reflection by ecstaticist
pausing for a moment of reflection by ecstaticist

In Part I of “Why Gardeners Garden” post I gave 5 reasons why I garden.  They were to honor my mother, to help the earth, to bring more bees and pollinating insects, to attract butterflies and moths, and to attract birds. Here are 7 more reasons for why love to garden.  Do you garden for any other reason?  TheGardenLady would love to know.

6. Like the people of my parents’ generation, I love sharing my plants with others. One buys a $5 plant one summer and 3 summers later you have to dig it up because it has outgrown its site. I hate throwing plants out so I love to be able to give plants to friends and neighbors. And family and friends have often given me plants from their yards. Some plants come from the family farm- lilacs, rose of sharon, wisteria, irises. Many of my best plants came from friends or family- my crepe myrtle tree, my lilacs, hostas, helleborus, etc. I often donate plants to local fund raisers. Or I have bought plants at garden fund raisers that were donated by other gardeners.

Water Lillies by digitalART2
Water Lillies by digitalART2

7. I am so appreciative of those wealthy philanthropists like the DuPonts or the Rockefellars who had the foresight to back the creation of many of the gardens that have been left to mankind to enjoy: gardens like Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania or Asticou Gardens in Maine. I feel that if I were wealthy that I would want to do the same and leave beautiful gardens for posterity to enjoy. Well, that is a pipe dream because I will never be wealthy. However, I do have my flowering gardens near the street in front of my house for everyone to enjoy. And people do enjoy my flowers. Hardly a day passes that a person doesn’t stop to tell me how beautiful the garden is, or how much they enjoy walking by my garden to see what is in bloom. One family told me that they make a point of walking past my garden every day. I have looked out to see people photographing my plants. People have stopped their cars and gotten out to tell me how much they enjoy my garden. I find this amazing and it is such an added bonus.

8. Because of the flower garden I have made many new friends and met more of my neighbors.

9. I enjoy teaching people about plants when asked. People have asked many questions, like how I prevent deer or rabbits from eating the flowers, etc. I share my information with them much as I share my knowledge with readers of

amsonia tabernaemontana, little river canyon national preserve, cherokee county, alabama 2 by Alan Cressler
amsonia tabernaemontana, little river canyon national preserve, cherokee county, alabama 2 by Alan Cressler

10. People stop to ask me names of plants that are in my garden that they have fallen in love with or asked where I bought the plants. One lady, a Master Gardener, saw my Amsonia tabernaemontana and didn’t know what it was. She wanted one for her garden. A professional landscaper stopped to ask where I bought my Hydrangea Annabelle and then said he would rush over to see if he could buy some at that nursery. I see many more front yard gardens popping up around town and like to think that my garden has in some way inspired these gardens.

Hydrangea Annabelle by bluehazyjunem
Hydrangea Annabelle by bluehazyjunem

11. I also feel that by having a garden I am helping the nursery business. No one that I know gets wealthy by being in the plant business- it is generally a labor of love. So by buying a few plants to add to my garden each year, I feel that I help keep nursery people in business.

12. And gardening is healthy for me. The more one reads about things one should do for oneself, gardening is one of the healthy exercises and being in a garden is one of the things that brings emotional health. So my gardens are good for me. And I can’t stop telling everyone how much I love having the flowers and the color in my garden with all the good that it brings.

Garden Field Day at EARTH Center – Aug. 29

If readers of TheGardenLady are in central NJ on Sat. Aug. 29th (raindate, Sun. Aug. 30th) and would like to attend the Rutgers Garden Field Day Open House from 1 to 5 pm, please read this press release.

EARTH Center Invites you to Garden Field Day

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County’s EARTH Center will host their Garden Field Day Open House on Saturday, August 29, from 1 to 5 PM (raindate Aug. 30). The event will take place at the EARTH Center located at 42 Riva Ave. in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, South Brunswick.

The Extension Agriculture Department as well as the County Master Gardeners will be on hand, offering sound advice on horticulture and environmental stewardship. Tours will be given of the various demonstration gardens including a huge vegetable display garden, a 13 bed hardscaped herb garden, and the newly constructed butterfly house. This is a great event for the County’s Master Gardeners to show off the hard worked they have done to educate the public and each other throughout the growing season.

Extension personnel will also be conducting a Jersey Fresh Produce Taste Test. By offering free samples of locally grown produce in exchange for a short survey of consumer buying habits, the County Ag Agent can determine how local farmers should adapt to meet the needs of our local population. There will also be live music, food and kids can meet MC Blue the recycling robot.

Even if you can’t visit the EARTH Center this season, you can still get great vegetable gardening tips from our extension staff, just visit and click on Educational Video.

For more information call 732 398 5262.





of Middlesex County, NJ

Dave Smela

Telephone: 732 398 5268

Why Gardeners Garden – Part I


The Original Garden Lady

Why do you, my GardenLady readers, garden? And what are some of your favorite plants in your garden? TheGardenLady column’s readers would love to know and TheGardenLady would like to know about your garden and why and what you dream about and want in your garden.

Since I sometimes think I am getting a bit obsessive as I plant my plants and want to plant more and more different plants and constantly dream about more plants to add to my garden while reading every plant catalog or visiting every local nursery and public and private garden, I think about what my motivation is.

Everland Four seasons garden by floridapfe
Everland Four seasons garden by floridapfe

I love almost all plants. I especially love blooming plants – whether trees, shrubs, bulbs, tubers, perennials, biannuals or annuals. I love color and I love the show of color to go on as long as it can during the year. If Helleborus or snowdrops will bloom in the snow, I want those blooms. And if chrysanthemums will be in bloom past Thanksgiving, I want those blooms. And because I don’t want a day to pass without flowers in bloom, I must plant flowering plants for bloom that will continue for most of the year. I never want to stop having blooms in my yard. And if I can’t have plants in flower, I want to have plants with vivid berries or plants with bright leaves or leaves that change color in the fall. So I dream of adding more plants that will give me all the color that I crave. Green is calming, meditative, cooling and lovely; but I need my fix of color- continuous color.

Michael Pollan, an author of books about plants – read “Botany of Desire” by him – says that we don’t manipulate plants, we are exploited by plants so that we fall in love with them, which makes us want to plant them and tend to them so that they can continue to survive on this planet. And this GardenLady is surely under the spell of plants. (PS When the flowers come with fragrances, that is an added bonus.)

So why does TheGardenLady plant flowers?

As a child who lived on what is referred to as a truck farm, we mainly grew vegetables. We were very poor, just eking out a living on the farm. The one indulgence my mother had was that she always planted flowers. Though she worked what seemed to be day and night in the vegetable fields, caring for the family without having modern appliances such as the washing machine or dryer, cooking and canning for the winter, and caring for a small dairy as well as other animals- chickens, 2 horses, goats, dogs and cats- she always found time for her flowers.

Continue reading “Why Gardeners Garden – Part I”

Plant Sale at Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College (Sept 11-Sept 13)

Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College (7) by jilldaisy
Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College (7) by jilldaisy

A plant sale is coming up that you don’t want to miss. This sale will be held on Fri., Sept.11 through Sun. Sept. 13 at the Scott Arboretum on Swarthmore College’s campus. Even if you don’t want to buy any of the hundreds of varieties of perennials, trees, shrubs, vines or houseplants, you will enjoy this free event with free parking where there are tours of the gardens and mini lectures or individualized sessions with landscape designers to discuss your garden plan going on every 20 minutes. If you do purchase plants you will help support the new Wister Center . If you have never seen the grounds of Swarthmore College, you are in for a treat. The arboretum provides a display of the best ornamental plants recommended for Delaware Valley gardens. Over 4, 000 different kinds of plants are grown on the campus, selected for their outstanding ornamental qualities, ease of maintenance and resistance to disease. (Also, on the campus, but in a different location- so you have to ask for directions- Swarthmore College has the largest display arboretum of hollies in the US that is free to tour on your own.) Try not to miss this rain or shine Plant Sale event. The Scott Arboretum is located at 500 College Avenue in Swarthmore, PA 19081. The website is

Scott Arboretum by musical photo man
Scott Arboretum by musical photo man

Is your mother-in-law tongue plant harmful?

sansevieria blooms by pennycarnathan
sansevieria blooms by pennycarnathan

TheGardenLady received this question from Chery.

Is the aroma produced from the blooms of your mother-in-law’s tongue plant

As far as TheGardenLady is concerned, she enjoys the fragrances of flowering plants and does not believe any of them are harmful. She loves the fragrance of the Sansevieria, Mother-in -law’s tongue plant. Fortunately, TheGardenLady has no allergies.

Though there is some problem if one eats the plant parts or some people get what is called contact dermatitis from touching the plant. The plant has low toxicity, and it may cause excessive salivation – though rats fed the flowers have died.  Read this.

TheGardenLady would recommend keeping the plant away from animals or children who might eat or play with the plant.

People who are sensitive to or have allergies from plant fragrances are another issue. TheGardenLady has never seen any evidence of the aroma of the Sansevieria being harmful, but she is not a physician and can not say if the Sansaviera fragrance would be harmful to people with allergies to fragrances.

Succulents and Acid Soil

Ariocarpus fissuratus by Atropanthe
Ariocarpus fissuratus by Atropanthe

TheGardenLady received this question from Vincent.

Do succulents like acid soil….specifically coffee grounds added to the soil?

You do not tell me which succulents you are interested in growing nor whether your succulents are potted house plants or outdoor, garden grown, plants. In containers, the plants are in smaller amounts of soil so one has to be a little more careful with the soil pH than if grown in your garden or in a field.

It also depends on the type of succulent you are growing. Succulents need the pH of the soil where the succulent originated – that is, its original habitat in the wild. If the succulent came from an alkaline area, like Ariocarpus fissuratus Living rocks which comes from Mexico – it will want alkaline soil. If it is in the Echevierias family – Hens and chicks – it hates lime.  See here.

Most succulents are grown succussfully in a neutral soil pH. Good drainage is of primary importance so a porous soil is needed.

TheGardenLady would not recommend adding coffee grounds to the soil without knowing which succulent you are growing.

How to Spend 2 Days in the Monterey Area

Jelly Fish, Monterey Bay Aquarium by Buck Forester
Jelly Fish, Monterey Bay Aquarium by Buck Forester

Assuming you have around 2 days to spend in the Monterey area, I would suggest spending a half day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium has two fantastic exhibits, seahorses and jelly fish, that you should see. Plan to fight off crowds for views of the fish.

Monetery doesn’t have much else to offer. Kids and tourists seem to like the honky-tonk of Cannery Row, but I’m not a fan.

asilomar state beach by Sunnyvaledave
asilomar state beach by Sunnyvaledave

From the Aquarium, drive south from Moneterey along Ocean View Blvd/ Sunset Dr through Pacific Grove to the 17-Mile Drive. This route will take you along the Asilomar State Beach, where you can find all kinds of neat sea creatures living in the rocks (anemones, starfish, etc).

Once you’re on the 17-Mile Drive, there are many “points of interest” where you might want to stop. For example, at the Fanshell Overlook there are often harbor seals. If you’re golf enthusiasts and want to see one of the world’s most famous golf courses, you can visit Pebble Beach near the south end of the Drive.

Continue reading “How to Spend 2 Days in the Monterey Area”

Pink Lady Apples for Jewish New Year, aka Rosh Hashannah

May you have a sweet year by _Bonnie_
May you have a sweet year by _Bonnie_

TheGardenLady received this question from Ariel.

Do you know when lady apples are in season? I heard it wasn’t until October, I wanted to use them in September for Rosh HaShanah.

The Pink Lady Apple is a new apple that was developed in Western Australia and is now grown in the United States on our west coast.

Because TheGardenLady wanted to give you the correct information, she contacted the Pink Lady America spokesperson.  Pink Lady America is a grower-supported association in Washington State.

Here is their response:

Thanks for contacting Pink Lady America.

Are you referring to ‘Lady Apples’ or ‘Pink Lady Apples’? Domestic Pink Lady Brand Apples are available from December until mid summer while fruit from Chile is on the market through September.

If a consumer can’t find this apple at her favorite supermarket, we
recommend she ask the produce manager and store manager to stock it.

Thanks again,

Alan Taylor
Marketing Director

Pink apples with honey would look lovely on the table at Rosh HaShanah. Have a sweet, happy, healthy New Year.