Category: Ginny Rosenkranz

Evergreens a must for winter gardens

Winter gardens look their best with evergreen plants to brighten up the landscape with the glossy green, steely blues and dark green to purple foliage. One plant that would fit a small to medium winter Eastern Shore landscape is the Variegated English Holly, Ilex aquifolium “Aurea Marginata.” The leaves are a dark, glossy evergreen with an irregular border of creamy white or pale yellow around the outside edges. Each of the leaves has a strong mid rib down the center of the leaf in a lighter green — and the wavy outside edges of each leaf has sharp spines on both sides and the tip of the leaf. The new foliage has hints of pink before expanding. Short branches of the holly can be trimmed off the plant and used to create or add to many winter holiday decorations, or they can be tucked into winter flower arrangements to give both color and texture to the designs. Mature holly plants can grow 15-40 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide if they are grown in well drained moist soils with afternoon shade and protection from the cold winter winds. Like all hollies, the Variegated English Holly has male and female plants, the male flowers will have white flowers with yellow anthers that hold the pollen and the female plants will have waxy fragrant white flowers that, if pollinated, will mature into bright...

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Turn those fallen leaves into compost

November is an excellent time to start composting especially if your yard is full of trees. Many homeowners will rake all their leaves down to the roadway so the county can take them to the landfill — but by composting the leaves the homeowner can create a wonderful soil amendment at almost no cost to them. Composted leaves can be used as a slow release fertilizer for trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens. It improves the soil aeration and water holding capacity and it can suppress many of the soil borne diseases that attacks the roots of plants. How does compost work? The microbes on the leaves are already there waiting to help nature compost the leaves into soil, the homeowner just needs to help it along. Leaves when they fall off the tree are a great source of carbon while fresh grass clippings, green weeds and kitchen waste are a great source of nitrogen, two of the ingredients needed to create a compost pile. To start a compost pile, pick a level spot in the yard a bit out of the way but near a water source. Compost doesn’t need to be created in full sun since it is the microbes that do all the heavy work and not the sun. Water is necessary since all living things including the microbes need water and the compost pile should never...

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Tulips a candidate for containers

October has bright blue skies and cool but comfortable weather, perfect for planting many trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and spring flowering bulbs. Some spring bulbs like daffodils and hyacinth thrive on the Eastern Shore, but tulips often succumb to soft rot diseases in the heat of summer and die. Also, tulips are very tasty treats to many animals including voles, squirrels, chipmunks and mice. Despite those problems, it is hard not to purchase tulips each fall for their spectacular colors, shapes and sizes that are available! When purchasing tulips, choose large, firm bulbs with little to no blemishes. Choose colors that complement or contrast with each other, or just choose one lovely color. Early spring tulips include Kaufmanniana or Water Lilly tulips, which are short with wide open flowers and Fosteriana, or Emperor tulips with tradition tulip shapes. Mid-season tulips include Darwin tulips with large strong flowers, Greigii with green and variegated foliage and two to four flowers on each stem. Mid-season also has Triumph tulips, many with two-tone colors and Viridiflora which comes in many colors and all have green streaks on each petal. Late-season tulips include Parrot tulips, full flowers with ruffles and many colors, and Lily flower tulips that have a vase shaped flower. Fringed tulips have thin fringes on the top edges giving color and texture to the flowers. The double late variety looks like...

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Now’s time to start updating lawn

September is the perfect time to think about updating a lawn. The middle to end of September brings in cooler weather creating the best time to control annual and perennial weeds, amend the soil pH, and apply fertilizer and perennial grass seed. A soil test will determine if the soil pH is too low (too acidic) for the lawn to thrive but it is often perfect for many weeds to thrive. The best way to raise the soil pH is to apply pelleted lime to the soil, and a soil test will tell just how much lime each lawn needs. This can be done at any time, but fall will work very well. The soil test will also show how much nitrogen and potassium the soil needs. With the new Maryland Lawn Fertilizer Law, phosphorous can only be applied if the lawn will be totally redone with the lime and fertilizer mixed into the top 6 inches of soil. By applying fertilizer for the lawn in September, it allows the roots to take up the nutrients and to develop a better and more diffuse root system that will create better grass leaves in the spring and summer. A list of regional soil testing labs can be found on line or call your local county Extension office. Many of the weeds in a lawn are annual weeds which will die...

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Ferns a simple pleasure of August

When the heat of August simmers high, one of the best places to be outside is in the cool shade of trees that have a carpet of green ferns. One of the loveliest ferns for the Eastern Shore is the Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) which also has the added interest of being evergreen, so it can brighten the winter woods when everything is cold and dark. In the springtime the young leaves emerge as sender silver fiddleheads that uncurl to dark green fronds. The plants spear up to 2 foot fountains that stay green all summer, fall and winter. The plants will continue to grow larger, but they don’t spread or naturalize. The fronds are leathery, dark green in color and the small pinnae (that look like leaves) are shaped like stockings, which, along with the evergreen foliage gave it the common name of Christmas fern. Christmas ferns love the soils on the Eastern Shore since they can live happily in dry or moist soils in shady gardens. One or three together or masses of ferns will cool the hottest day in august. Another fern that thrives on the shore is the Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), which also grow about 2 feet tall and wide, but prefers constantly moist, slightly acidic soils in full shade. The autumn fern grows as an arching vase shaped plant that is usually evergreen during...

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Upcoming Events

  1. Annual
 Holiday
 Show

    November 15 @ 10:00 am - December 31 @ 5:30 pm
  2. BINGO

    December 16 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  3. Totally Talented 
Third 
Thursdays

    December 20 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
  4. St.
 Michaels 
Ghost
 Walk

    December 22 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm