Episode 1 – Why Flower Color Fades in Summer

Ground Breaking Banter

In the first segment of our first show it’s “groundbreaking” banter on our love for gardening and plants. We learn from both Stacey and Rick about their experience and how they got to the point of launching The Gardening Simplified Show!
Both Stacey and Rick deal with the same gardening issues our listeners deal with like deer damage in the landscape. Rick tries to negotiate proper plant name pronunciations like many of our listeners (they call it nomenclature)….but it’s Stacey Hirvela to the rescue! Not only is Stacey a wonderful horticulturist, but she studied linguistics in college. This is going to be fun and Rick is going to get a “hedge-u-cation!” We’re looking to share our love of gardening and plants. If you have a question for future shows for Stacey and Rick you can send it to help@gardeningsimplifiedonair.com. Tune in every week to hear from both Stacey and Rick in the first segment about what’s on their mind! 

We’re featuring this rose this week because it’s early September, and this beautiful rose is covered in blooms and positively glowing in the landscape. Its blooms are small, but intensely colored and very abundant, which creates a jaw-dropping display.

Oso Easy Peasy rose was developed by Dr. David Zlesak of the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Zlesak has been breeding roses since he was a teenager, and specializes in creating very hardy, disease-resistant roses. We mention in the episode that he’s also the breeder of another very popular plant from Proven Winners, and one that both Rick and Stacey grow and love: Tuscan Sun heliopsis.

Oso Easy Peasy rose is, indeed, easy-peasy to grow. Just give it full sun – at least six hours of bright sun each day – and give it adequate moisture. It does not need deadheading to bloom in waves all summer long.

Look for Oso Easy Peasy rose in the distinctive white Proven Winners ColorChoice container at your favorite garden center.

Gardening Mail Bag

While Stacey regrettably had to inform the audience that no plant is “cat Kryptonite,” she did offer the following advice:

  • Avoid plants that attract cats, like catnip (Nepeta cataria) and ornamental catmint (Nepeta x faassenii), like ‘Walker’s Low’ and ‘Cat’s Meow’. The later don’t necessarily attract cats the same way that true catnip does, but are best avoided if you are trying to deter cats.
  • We’ve heard reports that weigela sometimes attracts cats, particularly Wine & Roses weigela, so you might want to avoid that as well.
  • Cover areas of exposed sand with rocks, mulch, or plants, to prevent them from being mistaken for a litter box.
  • If you know that cats are using one specific path to enter your yard, consider planting thorny shrubs to cover that entrance, like roses or barberry.

Rick also reminds us that cats don’t go to garden centers – rather, they order out of a cat-alog.

Stacey answered that there are plants that will not develop their best color during hot weather, particularly when night time temperatures are high. This is because plants synthesize their pigments –the chemicals that determine their flower color – at night, and when it is hot at night, they can’t do that efficiently so there is a loss of color. Some plants are much more susceptible to this than others, though most will show some loss of vividness during periods of hot nighttime temperatures. Even in these situations, though, once the days get shorter and temperatures cool off, the bright color returns.

Branching News

There is always news from the garden, landscape and nature. But don’t call it “breaking news.” It’s not that kind of news. Rick calls it “branching news” on the Gardening Simplified Show. On this week’s episode Stacey and Rick share news about:
  • Monarch butterflies. The butterflies that make the long journey from the northern U.S. and Canada all the way to Mexico are not the same butterflies that arrived here from Mexico this spring. The fall migratory monarchs are actually the spring monarchs’ great-great-grandchildren and have the moniker “super generation.” Born in August and early September, these butterflies are built to travel farther and live longer than their predecessors from earlier in the season. Two Monarch migratory way stations in Michigan for viewing are Stonington peninsula and Tawas Point State Park which Stacey notes is also a hot spot for birding.  
  •  Want a little extra pocket change in this gig economy? You can pick some pine cones! That’s the deal being offered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources this fall.   
    Throughout the month of September, people can pick fresh cones from red pine trees and drop them off by appointment at several DNR locations across the Upper and Northern Lower Peninsulas, where red pines are most abundant. A bushel, or approximately two 5-gallon buckets, of fresh red pine cones will earn $100….up from $75 last year. That’s inflation!   
  •  From across the pond in England it’s good to hear the Queen’s granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor is working in a garden centre! This member of the Royal Family has been working a part time job this summer on the side and nobody knew about it until now. Lady Louise Windsor took the job while waiting for her end of school results. We’re sure she has a name tag that just says Louise and she’s gaining valuable experience helping shoppers pick out their hydrangeas like other young people who have learned so much working in an independent garden center!
  • Would you rip up your lawn for $6 a square foot? Stacey says unequivocally and without hesitation yes! Rick agrees. Grass is the single largest irrigated “crop” in America, surpassing corn and wheat, a frequently-cited study from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found. Keeping a lawn alive requires up to 75% of just one household’s water consumption, according to the study, which is a luxury California is quickly becoming unable to afford as drought pushes reservoirs to historic lows. In some California neighborhoods, neighbor “shaming” has been going on and some areas are offering to pay you to tear out your lawn!
  • Spotted Lanternfly has been “spotted” in Michigan (Oakland County). This non-native insect has the potential to do tremendous damage and is a serious problem to the plant and agricultural world. Should you “smash” a Lanternfly or egg mass if you spot it? Absolutely! These hitchhikers are moving across the country and Stacey shares her math with us:

    A female spotted lanternfly lays 30-60 eggs once a year, or 45 on average.We can assume that about half of those will also be female, so 22 of them.Then next year, those 22 females will lay 990 eggs.

    Assuming, realistically, that half of those are female, by the end of year two, that first female is now the grandmother of 495 more females.

    Year three, those females will lay 22,275 eggs, of which around 11,137 will also be female.

    Year four, those females will lay 501,187 eggs, of which 250,594 will be female.

    In year five, those 250,594 females will lay 11,276,719 eggs.

    So, smashing a single female spotted lanternfly makes a big difference factored over the long run, and you should definitely do it. If you and four people you know each smash one female spotted lanternfly this summer, you are collectively preventing the development of 56,383,594 spotted lanternflies!

  • Finally a kudos to Michigan State University. They are part of sending seeds to space on NASA’s Artemis I mission to explore how humanity can sustain itself outside of Earth. There are no grocery stores (yet) on the moon and people eat plants! Go Green!