Did you know a Quaking Aspen, one of the lovliest trees in the fall landcape, can predict the weather? Keen observers note weather changes underway just by listening to trees. Jim has a better method: he keeps changing channels on the TV until he sees a forecast he likes. Here are some natural things to look for that may help you predict the weather in your neighborhood.
Jim has a rule when he bites into a really hot pepper sprout in one of Megan's five-alarm hot shot panini sandwiches while lunching out on the job; 'stop, drop, and roll.' After recovery he then stumbles back to the flower bed to resume planting those spring bulbs. The rule there is 'dig, drop, and done.' It's really simple, and guaranteed to bring many springtimes of pleasure.
Fall is the time of year you can be a heartbreaker without remorse. Love 'em, then leave 'em. Be a landscape Casanova or Cleopatra with a lawn rake and a lawn mower. Shower those favorite leafy shrubs and trees with your attention and affection from spring through summer and then, when autumn leaves start to fall, mulch them into your lawn. No tears will be shed and your lawn will love you for it.
And you thought getting a PHD would take years of hanging around the library when all you needed to do was go outside to dig a hole. For that you DO need a PHD - a Post Hole Digger. Making that hole productive for a new planting does require a bit of art and a science, but there are no early morning classes or exams to sleep through. So get your PHD and start planting! Your landscape will be ready to enjoy by spring break.
"Lights, Conifers, Action!" That's what they shouted in Hollywood just before they shot the last scene in 'White Christmas' (well, something like that, surely). Now you can be the director of your very own holiday special by bringing your home landscape to a dazzle with holiday lighting that repels deer. Better yet, make it a double feature starting with fall colors that razzle as well as dazzle.
Jim talks about his trip to Washington, D.C. to see the White House Rose Garden and Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden. Listen to his tale about how he donated his pocket knife to the Secret Service. Looks like no more mumbly peg for Jim until Santa brings him a new one.
When fruits, vegetables and other vegetation disappear from the landscape, old timers declare that's 'the angel's share.' Other people blame deer - and they may just be onto something. Fruits and vegetables will regenerate, but when trees and shrubs are damaged - by mice and other woodland creatures as well as deer - the damage can be permanent. Jim has some ideas about how you can help protect your landscape from these pesky nibblers.
Fall is 'bulk up' time for deer. You think they wreak havoc in spring and summer? Fall is the peak of chow down time. But you can do something to pull the plug on the gravy train in your back yard. Jim has some ideas about how you can turn the herd around and keep them away from your plantings.
Jim says the best use for landscape fabric may be shower curtains or really unique high fashion ball gowns. He won't sell it in his shop, and he says you should not use it in your landscape. Learn why.
Why is it that a bird can fly through a tree canopy repeatedly without so much as a ding to a wing but a golf ball will find a limb every time? No answer here, but Jim has some great tips for pruning your trees to enhance their appearance. Careful pruning will add elegance to your landscape for years to come.
Question: which of the following is the most sensible statement? A) best time to do your landscape chores is on a hot, sunny day at noon. B) best time to water your plants is on a hot, sunny day at noon. C) best way to keep your landscape verdant and thriving is to ignore it. D) best way to keep plants thriving is to place them where the sun and other natural conditions will work to their advantage as they become established. (correct answer is D, unless you are a mad dog or an Englishman and inclined to take song lyrics by Noël Coward literally)
The 'Dog Days' of summer. Not much more to do in the garden, but the weeding goes on. If your sidewalk or patio cracks are in a weedy pickle, put the gherkin to workin' on the problem. You will relish the results.
Feeling cranky because it's too hot, sticky and uncomfortable to work outside? Think of it this way: when is the last time you had to shovel sunshine? To improve your disposition, jump into a cold shower, then go out and water those thirsty plants and trees. Nothing to it - just add water.
What's white and black and red all over? A sunburned polar bear in a black bikini? Okay, not so funny. Global warming is no laughing matter. But for all its negative effects, the extended growing season in this region may not be one. Jim has some startling news.
It's fall, the time of year we start thinking about closing up the garden shed and moving inside. Before you put away that shovel, plant a tree. Fall is the ideal planting season for trees, shrubs and other hardy plants. Their roots will respond well to the head-start on spring.
Are you developing a chemical dependency as you manage your landscape? After killing weeds with herbicides, do you try to kill them AGAIN with a second application? Friend, it is time to enter rehab. Jim has some tips to help you avoid putting your plantings in harms way in the first place.
When a breeze blows through the trees is the wind talking - or are the trees chit-chatting? Trees are tribal. They protect one another from dings and nicks of lawnmowers, and, working together, manage the soil around their roots much more effectively than do man-made lawn chemicals.
Knowledge may be power, but wisdom is the real deal. Wise weekend warriors read the label - and follow the directions. In this commentary Jim talks about how we sometimes get in the way of Mother Nature and, that when we need to nudge her a bit, we should do so wisely.
If you think Weeping Louisa is a character from the board game 'Clue,' think again. Think ornamental flowering apple tree. Think pink buds, yellow fruit. Think how great such a tree would look in your landscape in relief against winter snow. In this commentary learn how a little planning - and a little tree - can add interest and value to your little piece of heaven through four seasons.
In this commentary, Jim's daughter Rachel describes lots of uses for disposable coffee filters in addition to filtering what she calls her vitamin 'C.' Rachel will have you asking yourself 'Why didn't I think of that!" She's a chip off the old block, and serious about taking care of the only planet we have.
Question: Name a woodland creature that will leap a six foot chain link fence in a single bound to get to that luscious-looking vegetable garden on the other side but will not leap a four-foot slat-sided fence through which it cannot see. If you said 'hippopotamus,' please review your field notes more thoroughly before attempting our next quiz. If you answered 'deer,' you are correct. Deer are smart - but you can outsmart them. Here's how.
As the summer roles on, landscape and garden soil becomes drier from constant sun at its most intense. Many plants go dormant, but that does not mean they are dead. They are very much alive and will appreciate your occasional offer of liquid refreshment. Water your plants during the cool part of the day to keep them happy.
Which is better, morning sun or afternoon sun? And where does mid-day sun fit into the growing cycle? Well... it all depends. To learn how and why, grab your polarized sunglasses and tune in as Jim sheds light on the many shades of sunlight.
Slugs. They creep while you sleep, often wreaking havoc on garden plants along the way. Fortunately there are ways to fight back. Maybe a slug mug filled with beer or a solution of ammonia and water that kills slugs on impact while fertilizing your plants at the same time. Learn how you can slug it out with slugs and snails.
Remember that old adage that diamonds are forever? Well so are styrofoam cups, plastic liners, disposable diapers, even cigarette butts. Paper and wood products break down in a matter of weeks, returning to the soil from which they came. Plastics are a different matter. Here's a sobering commentary on the importance of staying natural.
That ugly green sheen on your favorite weekend boat shoes... 'grass' stain from walking behind the mower, right? Not so. Grass does not stain. Weeds do. Here are handy tips for getting gardening stain off your hands. And, when weeding, be SURE to wear gardening gloves. You never know when you might find yourself pulling pigweed, poison ivy or other noxious plants.
Take Control! Rage against the Machine! Power to the Peonies! The 'Machine' we refer to is, of course, the lawnmower. Ever feel like it's holding you down, keeping you from reaching your full potential on, say, the golf course or the trout stream? Here are tips for cutting down on the cutting down and, in the process, bringing a more verdant and sustainable approach to maintaining your landscape.
We just can't stop talking about lilacs. They are easy to grow, generate a fragrance to die for, and add terrific, showy color to the spring landscape. If only they were not so quick to drop their blooms. But wait! Here's news about a new variety called the Bloomerang that Ted Collins, dean of the Rochester Lilac Festival, calls the 'ever-bloomer.' Amazing.