Some Gardening Tips for March

compost by zen

March is more the month for getting ready for gardening if you reside in the colder Hardy Temperature Zones areas such as zones 5 or 6.

You can prune all dead and broken wood on trees, shrubs and vines now or any time of the year.

This winter of our discontent the snow and ice did a lot of tree and branch damage.

Start cleaning up your gardens and lawns.

I hope you have been adding organics (garbage) to your compost bin all winter. Keep adding it.  See here.

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More Information About Disposing of the Giant Hogweed Plant

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)by neil-hoskins

TheGardenLady received a follow-up question on her post about identifying and disposing of the Giant Hogweed plant.

I am wondering, once I dig up the roots, can it be burned safely? Or if it is dug up and bagged, then what do I do with it?

If you think that you have Giant Hogweed- Apiaceae (see here)  on your property or see it growing in spots where you walk, the first thing to do is to contact your state Department of Agriculture to ask what they recommend.

This plant is a Federal Noxious Weed, which makes it illegal to bring into the United States or move it across state lines because it is considered a public health hazard; so the states are trying to eradicate it.

The sap in Giant Hogweed has the potential to cause severe skin irritation in susceptible people and can cause temporary or possibly permanent blindness if it gets in the eyes.

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Garden Furniture

Ginkgo Biloba garden table and chairs by sunshinesyrie

Now that winter seems almost over and with the woodchuck predicting an early spring, this GardenLady is dreaming both day and night about her garden and what changes may take place. Since the garden is really an outdoor room, to decorate is the fun thing to do. There one can sit on a nice chair in the hot afternoon with perhaps a nice cool drink in hand, my favorite is lemon or limeade,* and admire one’s flowers and garden.

I know that there will be great outdoor garden furniture ideas at the garden shows that will soon be taking place around this country and around the world. If one is handy one can build some interesting outdoor furniture for your garden and with pretty homemade pillows, your place will look unique. Alas, I am not that handy. So I have been browsing the internet to see what ideas are new in outdoor furniture for 2011.

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Cyclamen coum by Paul Gulliver

One of the first charming mid-winter or spring flowers that will be popping their heads up from under the snow as soon as it melts is a little hardy perennial Cyclamen.  See here. Lucky the people who have these planted in their yards to welcome spring. (There are other hardy cyclamen that bloom in the summer or in the fall.)

Most people know of the large indoor plant that one sees in florists. This is the cyclamen persicum which is not hardy in most areas that have snowy winters. But how many readers know that there is a hardy Cyclamen that will grow in the gardens from Hardiness Temp Zones 4-8 and perhaps even 9 and return year after year? When buying, be sure to check to see if the variety is for your temp zone.

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Where to Buy Snowdrops

snowdrop sign of Spring by algo

TheGardenLady received this question from Vlad.

I would love to buy some snowdrops for my girlfriend but I could not find them  anywhere. We are from Europe and we used to enjoy the snowdrops every spring

Galanthus or Snowdrops seem to be much more popular in Europe than in the U.S. It is sad that so few Americans have the pleasure of this charming plant growing in their garden to welcome spring.

I have to assume that this writer is from Europe but presently living in the US and is looking to buy Galanthus or snowdrops in the US. I am also assuming that the writer wishes to purchase either the plants or the bulbs to give to his girlfriend. (TheGardenLady does not know the names of any florists in the US that sells snowdrops as cut flowers though some of the more expensive florists might be willing to order them from Holland for a customer.)

I recommend Carolyn’s Shade Garden for those who want Galanthus plants. If you contact Carolyn please tell her that TheGardenLady recommended her.  Read this.

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Wayne Art Center Exhibit: Photographs of Chanticleer Garden by Rob Cardillo

Chanticleer – a pleasure garden by Rob Cardillo

To dream of spring, TheGardenLady readers might want to attend a show with some outstanding photos of a wonderful Pennsylvania garden. This show, running until March 19th at the Wayne Art Center.

Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA. will exhibit 42 photographs showcasing Chanticleer Garden by photographer Rob Cardillo.

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Pineapple Plant Pot

pineapple vase by Mrs. Dalloway

TheGardenLady received this question from Sadie.

I thought not only would it look really neat, but also be a way to compost.  I would like to take a cored pineapple and be able to fill it with soil and use it as a pot, then plant the whole thing into the ground. Is there any plant that would like the nourishment/acidic environment from a pineapple.

Using the cored pineapple as a pot is certainly an unusual idea. I have never heard of this usage. I do hope that you eat the flesh of the fruit before you make the shell of the fruit into a pot.

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Why Plant Leaves Fold

folded leaf spider nest by mycocortex

TheGardenLady received this question from Jim.

I believe my snake plant is underwatered. The leaves are folding in half length-wise. I have probably underwatered in fear of overwatering. Any suggestions for bringing my snake plant back without overwatering it?

Snake plant or Sansevieria is a tough plant that has few pests. But it does have some pests. My guess, and it can only be a guess because I cannot examine your plant, is that you are not under watering your plant but that your plant may have some pests.

When you have plants indoors, the environment is not what the plant is used to; so a plant can be stressed much more than it would be if it were growing outside in its natural environment. The stress might be from your not giving the plant the minimum amount of water that it needs. I water my  Sansevieria plants just a few times when it is indoors during cold weather and they are perfectly healthy. However, if I felt the plant were under watered, I would give it a drink- which I hope you have done for your plants.  Whatever is stressing your plant and whenever your plant gets stressed, it becomes less resistant to problems. Therefore your plant might become vulnerable to some insects pests. The three main insect pests of the Sansevieria plant are 1) the Vine Weevil grub, 2) mealy bugs or 3) spider mites.

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The Himalyan Blue Poppy

Meconopsis betonicifolia flower against sun by vincentdunne

TheGardenLady received this question from Chazz.

I was wondering if you know anything about Himalayan blue poppy. Do you know what soil and climate they like to grow in, and if they will do well in Northern Pennsylvania climate?

There are two poppies called Himalayan blue poppy. One is Meconopsis betonicifolia (see here) and the other is Meconopsis grandis (see here). Both have true blue gorgeous poppy flowers. Both seem to have similar cultures. ThisGardenLady thinks that perhaps Meconopsis betonicifolia is easier to find in the US which may mean that it is hardier in this country. The UK seems to have more sources for the Meconopsis grandis.

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Flower Shows 2011

Chelsea Flowers by naughton321

It is that time of year again when Gardeners need to have their gardening spirits lifted by seeing flowers in bloom. This is the time for Flower Shows. TheGardenLady column wants to share some good links to locate flower shows near you or places you may want to travel for Flower Shows. The joy of seeing any flowers in bloom at this time of the year is great, but which do connoisseurs claim are the top 4 in the world?

Philadelphia Flower Show by kightp

Philadelphia International Flower Show – This is billed as the oldest flower show in the US as well as the nation’s largest indoor flower show. TheGardenLady has been to this show numerous times and the warning is that crowds seem to be getting larger every year. The least crowded time to be there is around dinner time when many people start leaving. The 2011 theme for The Philadelphia Flower show is Springtime in Paris. How romantic is that?
Tickets can be purchased in advance at PNC banks and Acme.  PNC has a contest to give some free tickets away.  See here.  Of course, if you are a member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, you get free passes with membership. It is worth joining PHS for these tickets, their outstanding magazine and discounts at various stores.   See here.

Chelsea Flower Show – This extravagant show has flower displays that are absolutely world class. TheGardenLady has been to this show one time. One hasn’t seen crowds at a Flower Show until one attends this show. Unbelievable. TheGardenLady was advised to get there before the opening hour when the line is shortest and of course one is the first on the grounds. Good advice. Of course, if you are a member of the RHS, there is one day set aside just for members so that the crowds are not so horrendous.   You can join the Royal Horticultural Society to get discounted tickets if you know you will be going to the Chelsea Flower Show.  You don’t have to live in Great Britain to be a member.  Their magazine is outstanding, too.   See here.

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