Decorating for the Holidays

Martin’s Garden Notes

For containers that will stand up in the winter, choose wood, plastic, stoneware or cement. These will not fail from the frost. Terra-cotta is quite porous and will fracture after getting wet then freezing. Stoneware containers are fired at a much higher temperature and are so hard that they will not absorb moisture and therefore will not crack. Make sure your containers are enough off the ground so the drain hole is not plugged up.

You can rely on needled evergreens to be hardy enough to survive the winter cold. These include pine, spruce, hinoki cypress, juniper, yew, arborvite, and fir.

Broad -leaved evergreens like boxwood or holly have tender roots and will not likely survive the winter if not planted in the ground.

Soon we will have cut greens that will stay nice and green right through the winter. We will have lots of types to choose from to create wonderfully festive containers and window boxes.

Island Garden Shop, Inc. 54 Bristol Ferry Rd. Portsmouth, RI 02871

Winterizing Your Garden Tools

It’s late October and no matter where you live north or south it’s time to put your garden tools away for the winter months. The power tools you used during the spring and summer need to be serviced. First be sure all power tools are cleaned, this means wash with mild detergent, clean off all grass, dirt and any left over leaves etc. also dry off as best you can. Take a few minutes and review your owners manual and follow its winter instructions.

Be sure to lube axles, gears, and all moving parts per your manual. This is a good time to change oil and filter, check engine manufacturer for correct oil and filter, be sure to add fuel stabilizer to the full tank.

Don’t wait till spring! Do a walk around now, check the items you will need for spring to have your power tool ready, could be belts for your power mower, new blades, battery, parts for your tiller, chain saw blade, Make a list and order your parts now, this way you’ll have them in house and have all winter to get them installed

As for hand tools they should be cleaned and checked to see if they need to be replaced or repaired, Be sure there wiped dry and apply a light coat of WD-40 to protect against rust, make a list of what needs to be replaced and repair items you may need before spring, carry the list with you and when your at Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, etc buying something else you will be reminded to get your repair or replacement items.

When spring arrives you and your tools will be ready again-see us on enjoyable for all your garden tools

Focus on Fall

Gardening Tips

As the summer season comes to an end and cooler weather begins to creep up on us, it is not too late to think about gardening.
Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum) blooms in October with daisy flowers and dark yellow centers. Blooming lasts most of the month. This one does not die back in the winter so cut it down severely in the spring. A pich back a couple times in the summer results in a more compact plant.
Blue Beard (Caryopteris) has dark lavender-blue flowers that bloom into October, it likes a sunny spot and grows 2×2 feet. Cut down to 6 inches in the spring.
Chrysanthemums will be more likely to servive in the winter if planted right away, cut down the stems after frost to 6 inches and cover with straw or leaves. This protects from the freeze and thaw cycle. Uncover in March and clip down the old stems. Pinch back several times until early July for profuse blooms in the fall.
Ornamental Cabbages in purple, white and pink are also cold tolerent. They last much of the winter but are not likely to last into spring.
Toad Lilly (Tricirtis) has blooms with subtle shades of purple and white. It likes some shade and blooms well into October.

Island Garden Shop, Inc.
54 Bristol Ferry Rd.
Portsmouth, RI 02871

Hedges and Screens

Martin’s Garden Notes

Creating a separation from neighbors is a goal for many gardeners. This is not really antisocial but just an effect to have your own outdoor space. This can be accomplished in several ways.
Often the request is for evergreens that completely hide the neighborhood year round. This may certainly be desirable in a space that you can see all the time, but if the space is used primarily in the summertime, shrubs and trees that bloom in the spring and summer when you are enjoying the garden may be good choices. Hydrangeas, Chaste Tree, Rose of Sharon, and Sourwood come to mind as very attractive summer bloomers. Try Forsythia, and Weigela, and many sorts of Vibernum for spreading plants that grow 8-12 feet tall.
If evergreens are the best for the space, remember that Spruce, Fir and Pines generally grow 20 feet wide and 50 feet tall. Arborvite will only get 8-10 feet wide and up to 20 feet tall. Some particularly narrow evergreens are Dragon lady holly, and Emerald Greeen Arborvite. Screen in shady places can be acheived with Yew, Holly, Rhododendron, and Mountain Laurel. If yours is an urban yard and space is at a premium, fences can be the most efficient way to create privacy. Fences are particularly effective in showing off the garden which can include many shrubs, small trees, and perennials.

Island Garden Shop, Inc.
54 Bristol Ferry Rd.
Portsmouth, RI 02871

Hydrangea Heaven

Martin’s Garden Notes

Hydrangeas are a staple of the summer garden and it is a pleasure to have so many varieties to choose from. Many visitors remark on how beautiful these plants are during the summer. Here is a guide to the varieties.
Endless Summer: New hybrid blue mophead blooms late into summer.
Nikko Blue: The large double blue “snowball” type grows to 5-6 feet tall.
Lacecap: lacy light blue outer petals with darker inner buds.
Glowing Embers: Lighter pink blooms will stay pink with a little lime.
Merritt’s Supreme: Carmine red blooms with greenish centers.
Pink Elf: Small mophead grows to 2 feet, pink to purple blooms.
Pink Lacecap: Turns purple in acid soil, lime to keep pink.
Tokyo Delight: White outer florets with purple/pink inner buds.
Arborescens Anna Belle: Pure white, does not turn pink, tolerates shade.
All these types will turn pink with lime or blue/purple in acid soil (use aluminum sulfate).
Climbing Hydrangea: climbs like ivy with white lacecap blooms.
Hydrangea Pee Gee: is an August bloomer with cone shaped blooms turning pink with age.
These also come in tree form.
Kyushi: is a lacy form of PG that blooms earlier and Limelight opens greenish.
Pink Diamond: has pink lacy blooms.
Oakleaf Hydrangea: has white blooms and oakleaf shaped leaves that turn purple-red in the fall.

Island Garden Shop, Inc.
54 Bristol Ferry Rd.
Portsmouth, RI 02871

Shade Gardening

Martin’s Garden Notes

There are plenty of options for gardens in the shade. Often interesting foliage plants like hostas are excellent for providing structure for your shade garden. Astilbe, with plumes of white, pink or red Pulmonaria offering speckled foliage and pink summer.
Groundcovers are effective in the shade including pachysandra, and myrtle. Be cautious with ivy as it is quite agressive and hard to control when established. One Pachysandra discovered by a nursery in Connecticut
called Green Sheen is slower growing with glossy foliage. Introducing scattered groups of other perennials like hostas in a bed of groundcover adds interest to the space.
Several perennials bloom late in the season in the shade including Toad Lily with speckled blooms in October. EuropeanGinger, Ferns, Andromeda and Japanese Holly also work well.
All these add up to interesting possibilities for your shady garden.

Island Garden Shop, Inc.
54 Bristol Ferry Rd.
Portsmouth, RI 02871

Planning for Next Season

The season is changing in New England quickly this year. Time to bring in those plants and close the windows. It’s also a good time to start thinking about planning for spring. WHAT YOU SAY ? !!, yes start planning for spring. Stay tuned we will plan with you ……..