The holiday season is made more alive and enjoyable by the flowering and fruiting plants associated with it. You can enjoy these plants long after the holidays have become a memory, if you are willing to administer a little sensible care.
The favorite is the poinsettia, available in varying shades of red, pink, white and marbled. Exposure to freezing temperatures, to overheated or drafty rooms, or to several days of drying may cut short your enjoyment of a poinsettia, regardless of how much or little tender loving care you lavish on it.
Most of the perennials in the garden are finished blooming and it’s time to throw in the towel for the growing season.
Some perennials, however, can be left standing and this begs the question, “to cut or not to cut?”
It’s easy to make a decision with annuals. After the first frost when they are blackened and looking ugly, pull them out and throw them in the compost bin.
Likewise, clean up plant debris from the vegetable garden.
When asked what to do with perennials, as with many gardening questions, the answer is: “It depends.”
It unfortunately was a productive Summer of 2019 for the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest present in Pennsylvania and some other eastern states.
The SLF threatens grape production, tree health and can damage high-value ornamentals in home landscapes.
At stake are Pennsylvania’s grape, tree-fruit, hardwood, nursery and landscape businesses, which generate agricultural crops and forest products worth nearly $18 billion annually.
Native to parts of Asia, the SLF was identified for the first time in the United States in Hereford, Berks County, in 2014.
Mosquitoes are small, primitive flies that breed in standing water.
During their life, they pass through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
The eggs, which are laid in or near water, hatch into larvae (wrigglers) within a few days. In many cases, the eggs are laid in bunches in distinct, raftlike structures, but they also may be laid singly.
Choosing plants native to the Lehigh Valley can improve gardening success since many of these plants have adapted to the region over hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
However, not all plants native to the region will thrive in the garden. Like any other plants, some natives have very exacting requirements for moisture, soil, and even microscopic fungi. Native orchids, such as the lady slipper orchids, are one such example usually best left to be enjoyed in their natural forest environment.
Overmulching landscape trees is common.
This is most obvious when mulch extends up the trunk, smothering the root flare and root zone.
This practice, known as “volcano mulching,” results in a “mulch volcano,” and is never recommended and should not be utilized.
As beneficial as mulch is, too much mulch is harmful.
Deep mulch may suppress weeds, but it wastes time and money and can cause major health problems that lead to tree decline and possibly death.
There are many problems associated with overmulching.
May your lawn be strong and green.
However, if you feel that you need some advice, here are some tips that may help.
There are a few things you can do immediately to promote the health of your lawn.
First, start the season off right with a sharp mower blade. A dull blade will fray the ends of the grass and make it more difficult for the plant to heal after each cutting, providing ready access for disease organisms to enter the leaves. Also, frayed ends can look ragged and give a lawn a whitish cast.
It’s 16-feet-long, 4-feet-wide, and brimming with yellow marsh marigolds: A display that gladdens the heart of gardeners and passers-by alike.
What’s even more uplifting is the example this flowerbed makes.
It shows for all to see that gardening can continue as a lifetime pleasure regardless of age or illness.
How so? Because this garden plot is planted waist-high in the bed of an old farm wagon.
For the avid gardener, there are always things to keep you busy. Even during the coldest part of winter, there are still things that can be done to keep your gardening habit going.
Here are some activities to keep you occupied as we anticipate the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, March 10, and vernal equinox and the first day of spring, March 20:
Start slow-growing flowers, such as garden verbena and ageratum.
Rinse houseplants under your shower or place in a tub and use a sprinkling can.
In much of North America, winter is a difficult time for birds. Days are often windy and cold. Nights are long and even colder.
The lush, berry-laden vegetation of summer and fall has withered and been consumed. Most insects are dead or dormant. Birds may have difficulty finding enough food during the short winter days to fuel their internal furnaces.
Setting up a backyard bird-feeder makes their lives easier and ours more enjoyable.