LEWIS & CLARK EXPEDITION 200 YEARS AGO TODAY 12/26/1804

The Indians have not visited Fort Mandan for the last two days which is considered an odd occurence. The trader, Larocque, recruits Charbonneau for some translation assistance.

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GROWING GROUND COVER

Tired of planting and replanting in the shady area of the yard? After several attempts to grow vegetation in the shade, the only alternative answer is groundcovers. These plants grow densely, discourage competition from weeds and other plants and reduce potential erosion. Groundcovers can also be used in places where it is difficult to grow and maintain grass (steep slopes, heavy shade). Groundcovers can create unique textures and colors in the garden.

Traditionally, ajuga, euyonmous, ivy, pachysandra, and periwinkle have been ground covers of choice for most gardeners. However, many perennial varieties can be used because of their hardiness and ability to cover the ground and should be considered as potential groundcover.

Plant Spacing

The length of time it takes for groundcover to become established depends upon the variety, the spacing of the plants and, of course, the quality of the specific site---soil, moisture and sunlight. You may wish to plant groundcover plants closer together in small sites that command a lot of attention. For reason of economy, you probably will install plants farther apart in larger areas.

The following guide will help you estimate the number of plants per square foot that will be needed for a given area:

Spacing Plants per square feet

4” 9.1
6” 4.0
8” 2.3
10” 1.4

For example, if you have a bed that is 15 feet long and 5 feet wide (75 sq.ft.) and you want to plant on 6” centers, multiply 75 x 4 = 300 plants.

Soil Preparation and Mulch

Soils that drains well and has good texture and a generous amount of organic matter is a must, if you want to have a top quality garden. Prepare the soil as you would for any garden bed, tilling it to a depth of eight inches or more. Add compost, well rotted cow or horse manure, shredded leaves, sphagnum peat moss or other organic matter and work it into the soil.

For soil that is basically quite good, add a 2” layer of organic matter (.5 cubic yard per 100 square feet). For clay soil, add a 6” layer of organic matter (2 cu. Yards per 100 square feet). Ideally, the organic matter should be worked into the soil in three separate additions, a total of four tillings. For the final tilling, add nutrients as indicated by a soil test.

The final step in preparing a bed for groundcover is to apply a 3” to 4” layer of shredded bark mulch. This final dressing will help conserve moisture and moderate the soil temperature. Water the bed thoroughly. Never put tender plants into dry mulch or soil.

Installation of Plants

If possible, choose a cool, cloudy day to install plants, especially in a sunny site. If exposure to the strong sun can’t be avoided, protect the plants with light waterings. Water the plants thoroughly while they are still in their pots or flats. Plant them into moist, mulch covered soil. Remove plants from the containers and correctly install the plants. The key to successful transplanting is to protect the plant from shock as much as possible. Planting shock is caused mostly by too much exposure of root masses to air and sun. The quicker you get the plants out of their containers and back into the soil, the better. Once you are through planting, water the bed thoroughly. Check the soil for moisture level every few days and water as needed.

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THE VALUE OF A TREE

A tree is worth $196,250.00 according to professor T.M. Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, increase soil fertility and control soil erosion control to the tune of 31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of the fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to care for our landscape and trees.

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GREENSCAPE GARDENS JOKE OF THE DAY!

A man was driving home late one afternoon, and was speeding. He noticed a police car with its red lights on in his rear view mirror.

So he floors it and the race is on. The cars are racing down the highway -- 60, 70, 80, 90 miles an hour. Finally, as his speedometer passes 100, he figures "what the heck," and gives up. He pulls over to the curb.

The police officer gets out of his cruiser and approaches the car. He leans down and says "listen mister, I've had a really lousy day, and I just want to go home. Give me a good excuse and I'll let you go."

The man thought for a moment and said..."Three weeks ago, my wife ran off with a police officer. When I saw your cruiser in my rear view mirror, I thought you were that officer and you were trying to give her back to me"!

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