Episode 46 – The Summertime (Gardening) Blues

Ground Breaking Banter - Rick

Gardening is not an exact science and you will make mistakes – sometimes those mistakes start getting to you by this point in the season, and sometimes, it’s just the heat, too much – or too little – rain, or other challenges that get you down. That’s okay! Gardening is supposed to be fun, so don’t beat yourself up. It’s important to take time to actually enjoy your garden too, so don’t be afraid to pull up a chair, get a cold drink, and soak in the season.

New gardeners will experience the most frustrations, and it may be useful to know that you’re not alone – seasoned gardeners may also be relieved to know that many others like them keep encountering the same problems year after year. This survey reveals peoples’ biggest gardening frustrations: over half of gardeners (55 percent) cited the difficulty of managing insects and pests in the garden. Unpredictable weather came in a close second, affecting 46 percent of gardeners. Other highlights from the survey include that 37% of gardeners found the hobby easier than expected, while 24% found it more difficult, and that four out of five gardeners surveyed felt that gardening provided a day-to-day mood boost, and nearly three-quarters reported positive effects on their overall physical health. More than half felt gardening improved their sociability.

Some other things on the “I’m almost ready to give up” list?
• Weeds
• Pruning
• Succulent problems
• Hydrangea confusion
• Clay soil
• Moles
• Growing under trees and tree roots
• Squirrels and chipmunks 
• Time and effort (work)
• Smaller yields than expected
• What to do with your crops once you’ve harvested
• Heat
Garden hacks that fail to live up to their promises 

Today’s word of the day is one made up by Rick: Deeresistable

And Rick shares his longest, most ambitious Lim-A-Rick to date:

The deer have done their misdeeds
My veggies produce no proceeds
Beetles just ate my hollyhocks
My plants wilt in the window box
I’m left with just my weeds.

The gardenias never stood a chance
A wasp just flew up the leg of my pants
My houseplants are drowning
Even my sunflowers are frowning
My successes are mere happenstance

The bulbs I planted did never appear
The rabbits the vegetation shear
My pole beans stand askew
My squash has powdery mildew
I’m tired of “let’s wait til next year”

So I liberally mulch with manure
Til the weed growth my flowers obscure
I resent my neighbors scrutiny
I’m seriously considering mutiny
And withdrawing from their garden tour.

Found on the internet: “rage gardening.”  Instead of venting your frustration or indignation in unhealthy ways, you express it through manual labor in the garden: pruning, pulling, digging, slashing, and weeding ferociously.

Coming soon  – thanks for your patience!  

If you’d like to add Pollypetite hibiscus – or any of the 320+ Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs – to your garden or landscape, you’ll find a list of local retailers here

Gardening Mail Bag - Stacey

Do you have a question for us? We’re happy to help! E-mail us or use the contact tab above.

Branching News - Rick

There are still snow piles at the Minneapolis Airport! Yes, in July! It’s probably not a terrible surprise to anyone familiar with Minnesota winters, but we’re well into the midsection of summer at this point…and there’s still snow on the ground at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. According to the airport’s Twitter account, the pile of snow that was building up all winter was still lingering as of Friday. That was, as a reminder, at the tail end of the hottest week on record for the planet, overall. Granted, much if not most of that pile looks to be sand and debris at this point, and certainly not the sort of material you’d use to build a snowman in July.

A bear is suspected of stealing a rucksack with a phone, jerky, bird seed and Heineken beer from the Gap View Mobile Home Park, said Lehigh Pennsylvania Township police. The bag was later found by a farmer in a field, and the backpack and phone were recovered. Police say a bear has been lurking in the Northampton County neighborhood, so the creature probably took it for the jerky and birdseed. Police are just hoping the bear is over 21.

So how do plant reversions take place? Remember that many ornamental cultivars begin when an alert plant enthusiast notices a tree or part of a tree with a unique growth characteristic, such as unusual leaf color, weeping or compact growth habit. These atypical plants or shoots often arise through genetic mutations called sports or witch’s brooms (Photo 2). Buds or cuttings from the plants are collected and grafted onto rootstocks and, if they remain true to form, may ultimately make their way into the nursery trade. This is how many cultivars, such Alberta spruce, originate. However, just as the original genetic mutation occurred to produce the cultivar, occasionally a reverse mutation occurs and portions of the plant “revert” back the species’ normal growth What do you do if you spot a reversion? When a reversion occurs, it’s time to follow the advice of the wise TV sage, Barney Fife, and “Nip it, nip it in the bud!” Examine the tree and determine where the reversion originated and prune the branch back to that point. Often, reverted shoots grow more vigorously then the rest of the tree. If left unpruned, reversions will dominate the tree.

A long time landscape staple, yews (known botanically as Taxus) have been outlawed in Idaho.

Have you ever passed by a rock cairn and felt the urge to knock it over? Well, officials with Yosemite National Park strongly advise that you do. Rock cairns are man-made piles of rock stacked on top of each other. According to park rangers, Leave No Trace ethics states that when recreating in wilderness spaces, the goal is to leave no signs of human impact on the land so as to respect the other creatures living in it. And while the effort and aesthetics of these rock cairns may seem too precious to ruin, oversized cairns are a mark of human impact and are distracting in a wilderness setting. Officials also say building them disturbs small insects, reptiles, and microorganisms that live on the underside of these rocks.

Pink rose of Sharon flowers bloom on a plant with variegated foliage.

Episode 92 – Weeding by Example

Ah, weeds – maybe the #1 thing that discourages people from gardening. But weeds are interesting and become a lot easier to manage when you apply some basic IPM principles. Featured shrub: Sugar Tip rose of Sharon.

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