Rotting Cedar Gazebo

Morning Fog by donsutherland1

TheGardenLady received this question from Sandy.

We have a windbreak of 11 100′ Northern spruce trees with a cedar gazebo nestled among them. The roof of the gazebo is built of cut, trimmed cedar branches. We are noticing some of these roof branches are starting to rot. Is it because of the acidic needles falling from the Northern spruce trees and collecting on the gazebo roof?

Its a misconception that cedar will not rot. There are a number of causes for the rot. The elements can wreak havoc on any roofing material. Cedar is susceptible to sun, which breaks down the lignin in wood, causing splitting, cracking and dry rot.

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Plants that can Survive Outdoors in West Chester, Pennsylvania March Weather

tete-a-tete miniature daffodil by ndrwfgg

TheGardenLady received this question from someone calling him or herself “Garden Challenged”.

I’m having guests next weekend and would like to put something pretty in the outdoor planters. Any suggestions for something that can survive mid-March in West Chester, PA (outside of Philadelphia)?

Visit your neighborhood plant nurseries. I recommend checking the better nurseries in your area where they will have the more interesting plants. Look only at the plants that the nurseries have sitting in their yard. (Don’t look at any plants that they have growing in their green house or indoors. Plants they keep indoors will not be hardy if you put them outdoors in a planter.)

Any plant the nursery has sitting on their grounds is hardy for your outdoor planter at this time of year. They should have many plants sitting outdoors including some that are flowering like pansies and some spring bulbs like daffodils. If you are worried, you can also ask the nursery workers if the plants have to be taken indoors at night. Nursery people love to talk about plants and help people. They will tell you how to plant the container. If they tell you the plant cannot stay outdoors at night, they usually know what they are talking about- they wouldn’t leave plants outdoors to freeze. They would lose money and they would lose you as a customer. You don’t want any plant that has to be taken indoors at night if you are planting something for an event.

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