Visiting Cricket Hill Garden

peony intersectional

Double Vision by thegardenbuzz

It may look dismal outside and the rains are not letting gardeners work in their gardens, but this GardenLady is still “high” from a long weekend spent looking at gorgeous gardens and outstanding nurseries in the Northwestern corner of Conn. Let me explain.

This past weekend, I convinced a gardening friend to visit some of the gardens I have written about on blog and other gardens or nurseries I wanted to visit to enable me to write about them. The added bonus was that this weekend there was a charity event to raise money for battered women and the charity was an event featuring top notch plant businesses and garden furnishing businesses that were selling their wares to those who attended and a second day of visiting private gardens. You paid the entrance fee, all money went to the charity, and spent two days in garden lovers paradise.

I wanted to visit Cricket Hill Peony Garden, a garden that I have written about and recommended in past posts. The owners of this garden carved a number of acres out of wooded hilly Connecticut to make their peony nursery and 7 of those acres are a show garden of just peonies; though they have other flowers mixed in with the peonies which I suggested that they should also sell.

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Getting Rid of Squirrels

Basic Squirrel Information

Squirrels are one of the few wild animals that have learned to coexist with man. With over 365 species found throughout the world, squirrels live in virtually every park, forest, and backyard. The most common squirrels are the ground, the tree and the flying squirrel. They are omnivores, which means they will eat most anything, scavenging through garbage cans, open garage doors, and gardens. Squirrels come in a variety of colors, including shades of brown, gray and even pure white and pure black. Typically squirrels are most active 2-3 hours after sunrise and again before sunset, resting the time in between. Although when trapped in an attic, they are often active during the night. (Squirrels)

The Damage Squirrels Cause Inside and Outside the Home

Squirrels are on the list of some of the smartest animals, making them masters at the art of deceit. Plus, their specialized feet and claws allow them to climb vertical walls, including brick and aluminum-sided homes. They are persistent and learn quickly, making them especially suited to wreaking havoc inside and outside the home.

These intelligent creatures will work hard to gain access to homes, utilizing their razor sharp claws and teeth to gnaw their way in. Access points consist of damaged trim, exposed soffits, chimneys, gable vents, rooftop ventilation fans, and any other tiny hole. Because of their build, squirrels only need a hole the size of their head to squeeze into your home. Once inside, they will destroy whatever is in their path while searching for food, even breaking through sealed containers. They will eat almost anything made from natural ingredients, including holiday decorations, dried flower arrangements, and decorative pinecones. They will soil the area, making a mess for homeowners to clean and sanitize. Squirrels will even chew through pipes to get to water, which could create flooding and expensive repairs. They can also destroy homes because they start fires by chewing through electrical wires. (Squirrel Nuisance Problems)

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Rubber Plant

Rubber Plant by endenizen

TheGardenLady received this question from Becky, who had written in the subject line of her email “rudderplant”.

Can it be put out side if not in sun light ?

I think you mean a Rubber plant- Ficus. It grows outdoors in USDA hardiness temperature zones 10b and 11 and can grow into a tree that is 50 or more feet tall. In cooler temperature zones it is kept indoors as a house plant. But it can be taken outdoors when all signs of frost are past and brought back indoors before the first frost of winter.  Keep it on the East or North Side of the house so that it doesn’t get too much sun.

For more answers about the rubber plant check out Hortiscope, an agricultural extension website.

How to Deal with Snow on the Mountain

Aegopodium podograria #1 by J.G. in S.F.

TheGardenLady received this question from Janet.

I was given some hostas and there were some pieces of Snow on the Mountain mingled with them, which is taking over everything.  How can I kill the snow without killing the rest of my plants? I have dug until I’m blue in the face.

There are quite a number of plants that were brought to this country because they looked pretty and horticulturists or gardeners wanted to plant them in their gardens in America or wherever they moved; then these plants became invasive. Unfortunately Snow on the Mountain, ‘Aegopodium podagraria Variegatum’, also known as Bishop Weed or Goutweed is one of them.

One nursery touts it as the number one seller for a ground cover. So it is still being sold. It is advertised to use for difficult sites. Many people say they love the plant and it isn’t invasive for them. However, some people rue the day that this plant entered their yard. One lady said when she sold her house she didn’t tell the new owners all they were getting. The government lists this plant as an AGGRESSIVE invasive (see here).

People who buy plants should check the invasive plant list before buying plants or buyer beware. Even nurseries don’t seem to keep on top of the invasive plant list, so they might not be aware of the problem. Always check pots when buying plants to be sure that you are not getting an unwanted guest, whether weed, disease or pest. But you seemed to have the misfortune of inheriting it when you got your hosta plants from a friend.

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A Gardener’s Event in NJ this Saturday: Earthly Delights

Hear Ye, Hear Ye,

Come one, come all to A Gardener’s Event.

Gardeners within driving distance of NJ should not miss Earthly Delights, a gardeners event this Saturday (see here) where merchants of rare and unusual plants will sell their plants and merchants with distinctive garden antiques will have garden products for sale. There will be lectures and demonstrations from nationally known horticulturist speakers.

It is this Saturday, rain or shine May 21st, 2011

Early Buyer 8:00-4:00

General Admission 9:30-4:00


The home and garden of Andrea Filippone

129 Pickle Road, Pottersville, NJ 07979

Is it a Sambucus?

Sambucus nigra – vlierbloesem by AnneTanne

TheGardenLady received another request from Linda to identify one of her plants from this photo below that she sent.

What plant is this?

TheGardenLady had no difficulty identifying Linda’s cactus.  The Epiphyllum or Orchid cactus was easy to identify because of its unique leaf and also because there was a small flower showing in the photo (see here).

This photo of a plant is a more difficult plant to identify without the flower. The leaves are opposite so that limits the number of plants it could be. But if you had sent a good photo of a flower, that would make identifying the plant easier.

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How to Propagate Dutchman’s Pipe

Aristolochia californica #2 by J.G. in S.F.

TheGardenLady received this question from Neil.

I have taken a shoot off an old vine where I grew up in CT. I want to plant in Georgia. It sits in a glass of water. Looks healthy. Have you any hints on how to get it to make roots for planting? Suggestions for planting? Incidentally, I nver remember seeing any fancy flowers on that vine, rather just green pipes. Could that nbe a matter of nutrition? Vine has been cut back near the grouns every year.

Perhaps you did not see flowers on your Dutchman’s pipe because some species have the flowers blooming under the leaves. Most find it easiest to propagate this plant by seed.

Though articles say that one should be able to propagate Dutchman’s Pipe -Aristolochia– by putting a shoot in water, many people have not had success doing so.

You should try rooting softwood cuttings of climbing Dutchman’s Pipe Vine in early spring. When rooting these vines, it is best to submerge at least three nodes under water. Plants root better in distilled or rain water.

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It Looks Like an Epiphyllum cactus or Orchid cactus

Epiphyllum – Susan Lynn by epiforums

TheGardenLady received this question from Linda.

I have a cactus plant with long flat ears. It sprouts little ones all along the sides. I am writing to you to ask if you might know the name of a cactus that looks like that.  Here is a photo of it.

From the photo it looks like an Epiphyllum cactus or Orchid cactus.

There is a Epiphyllum Society of America if you want to try to find your cultivar or variety or join to learn more about the plant.

It is considered a fairly easy care cactus.  (see here and here)


When To Plant Seedlings Outdoors

April 16th: Seedlings galore by flickrich

TheGardenLady received this question about starter planting.

We have plants that we started in the window and green beans are 4 in and our corn is right behind. We have other veggies that are a little slower. We live in Olathe Kansas. When can we put them all out?

People read the directions on packages of seeds and often it says to start the seeds by first planting them indoors a certain number of weeks before the last frost date and after that last frost to transplant the seedlings outdoors. The seed companies cannot tell you when to plant seeds outdoors because they have no idea where the purchaser lives.

Each temperature zone has a different last frost date – some Temp. zones don’t always get a frost some years. And even in the same Temp. zone no one knows exactly when the last frost date will be. Where you live might be warmer because you are near the ocean or colder because of various reasons. So how are you supposed to know?  (see here)

Continue reading “When To Plant Seedlings Outdoors” Design Milking Magazine

Designer: Kevin Hunt

TheGardenLady recently discovered a fun website called that I thought gardeners might enjoy seeing. I have chosen the sections of this site that I thought gardeners might enjoy  (see here and here and here).

I love creativity and this website has many creative ideas to view but since TheGardenLady is a garden website, I am pointing you to the sites related to nature. But don’t stop there. You will love some of the art and design shown. Unfortunately I do not know where to purchase any of the interesting items.