Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Garden Girls…

We’re not really sure how they want to refer to themselves but our two youngest Bayport Flower House-ers have started a garden.   We’ll call them the Garden Girls, until I get the usual, “Mom, that’s so baby-ish, we’re the Garden Chicks, or something more clever that I cannot wrap my older head around right now.

Anywho, they’ve worked hard since April getting things cleaned, planted, weeded, mulched.   Audrey’s been working hard pulling weeds and her efforts have paid off, the vegetables, flowers, and herbs are growing strong.  Elizabeth’s mulching with Sweet Peet is an added bonus. 

They’re even thinking big – Farmstand, they tell me.  Of course, the nine year olds that they are, they are most concerned with the creation of the sign.  Forget the weeding, Elizabeth tells me, it’s the sign that matters most!  I watched the two of them drag a huge piece of plywood into the shop and attempt to wash it with soap, water and a rag.  They accepted a little guidance and brought it outside for a wash down with a hose.   I haven’t had a change to see how far they’ve gotten with the sign but will update when I do.

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The Epic Journey of the Monster Plant

OK, Elizabeth’s Monster Plant has been transferred to her father’s caring hands for transplanting out of the alien tube.

Monster Plant

This tiny little container (1 3/4″ in long) was bought by Elizabeth at the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2010. It was filled with pink gel – then for a year, it turned black. As a somewhat kind-hearted mom, but not confident gardener, I consoled her that sometimes seeds just don’t sprout. Sometimes, I told her, they rot and it’s OK. But with our busy lives, I forgot all about the little pink container in her windowsill. It’s now June 2011, over a year later, and look what we found. Karl says it’s an orchid! And Abigail’s is growing too after a year of black, and he thinks that one is a cactus! Got to love nature. We’ll let you know how the replanting goes…

Candied Rose Petals

Just reading an old book about the meaning of flowers and came across the following recipe for “candied rose petals”. I’m going to give it a try with Elizabeth and will let you all know the results…

~Amy Auwaerter

Candied Violets and Roses
Fresh Violet Blossoms or Rose Petals
Egg Whites
Sugar, finely granulated

1. Pick flowers fresh in the early morning. Gently wash and pat dry.
2. Pour the sugar into one bowl. Beat the egg whites into another bowl.
3. Carefully dip the flowers and petals into the egg whites. Then roll in sugar, being sure to cover all sides adequately.
4. Set the petals/flowers on a cookie sheet to dry in a warm place.
5. Store in a rectangular plastic container with waxed paper between layers. They will last for several days.
6. Leaves of herbs such as lemon verbena and mint may be candied in the same way.

Hot Weather Watering

Well we wished for this all winter and it’s finally here, just a little more than we need at one time. I know you have worked hard to get your gardens and home lloking spectacular with plants…so how do you help them during these hot times?

When to water:
The best time is in the early moring from about 4am to 9am. During this time the plants are used to having dew form on their leaves so getting watered is no great shock. Applying water at this time helps recharge the water holding capacity of the soil and reduces the chance of leaf burn (from the magnifying effects of water droplets) and disease incidence. Morning watering also reduces needless evaporation of water…do not water in the heat of the day unless absolutely necessary. If plants look particulary wilted in the evening you can apply water but try not to get the foliage wet…water the root system. A plant wilting on a hot day is normal…so if you know that the soil is moist than don’t worry, once the heat is off the plant will pick back up

How much:
There are no hard and fast rules but it is far to say that you want to apply a deep watering. Remember many of those plants you planted had root systems that were 4”-12” deep, so watering them for just a few minutes only waters the top inch or so. This results in rapid wilting. It is best to saturate the soil and then let it soak in and return and water it again, repeating this cycle several times to insure that the water is penetrating down deeply. This goes for ground planted and well as potted plants. In potted plants we can see the water drain out…use that experience and timing to judge your duration when watering plants in the landscape. In general you should apply about 1.5”-2” of water per square foot per week…this is best determined by using a rain gauge. If you don’t have one stop in at Bayport Flower Houses and pick up your complimentary rain gauge. As it heats up you may need to increase you watering quantity and frequency.

How to reduce water stress:
For newly planted plants, use a shower head nozzle on the end of a hose and water the base of each plant until the ground is saturated. Make sure that the plants are mulched to reduce evaporation for the soil. After establishment water can be reduced. Application of water by means of a drip or soaker hose is best. Try to avoid misting heads as watering tools…during hot times to much water is lost to the atmosphere. If your plants are in pots move to a shadier spot during times of high heat and humidity. Also, be mindful of A/C units, dryer vents, reflective surfaces and locate plants away from these areas.

Recovery:
Sometimes, no mater how hard you try, plants get burned. If the burn is on established trees and shrubs than more often than not they will recover. It might take a year or so for the new growth to fill in. Think about drought stress as the plant pruning off some of its limbs in order to conserve what little water is available. Once the heat abates and the water returns the plant will grow back. This is true for you lawn (brown is ok this time of year…) With regards to annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and other plants, if burned back just cut off the dead and providing there are still buds alive the plant will branch back out when conditions are right. Remember that once the plant has “pruned” itself or you have cut it back than you will need to adjust the watering so as not to over water the plants. In addition, all this watering has probably leached out much of the fertilizer you applied so be sure to add a little as the season moves on to encourage new growth.

Stay cool…

Karl

Bayport Flower Houses, Inc
Karl@bayportflower.com
631-472-0014

Today

It’s a bit dismal outside in Bayport today. The threat of rain hangs in the air. But after a glorious five day run of sunshine, these days give us the time break to get some work done. Planting your garden on a day like today, allows you to enjoy the bright,sunny days of summer!

The Annual House here catches your eye as you walk in from the parking lot. The lush colors of the mounding impatiens, the smells of the herb pots and the graceful shapes of the hanging baskets. All calling us on to wonderful, summer days.