THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT OF THE DAY!

SUMMER OFFICIALLY OVER....NEIGHBOR RETURNED MY MOWER

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LEWIS & CLARK EXPEDITION 200 YEARS AGO TODAY 01/05/1805

Captain Clark works on his maps. For the past three nights the Mandans have held their annual ceremony that draws the bison close to the villages. The blacksmiths have been repairing the Mandans' tools.

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2006 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year

The PPA has just announced the 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year:
Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' ('Feuerhexe')

Description

This species of Cheddar Pinks, native to Cheddar Gorge, England, is highly praised for its spicy clove-scented flowers which face upward for maximum color impact. 'Firewitch' sports shocking magenta pink blossoms. They are produced prolifically above the silvery blue, 7-8 inch tall mats of evergreen foliage. Though they bloom heaviest in early summer, this cultivar often reblooms in early fall. It is hardy in zones 3-9.

Landscape Uses

Due to its relatively short stature, dianthus is an excellent plant for the front of the flower border. It can even be used as edging or in containers. Be sure to clip a few blooms for bouquets--they make excellent cut and dried flowers. Butterflies love to drink their delicious nectar, but thankfully, deer generally don't share this same fondness for dianthus.

Culture

Dianthus grows best in loose, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Lime can be added to the soil if it is naturally acidic to raise the pH. Dianthus can be grown in full sun or part shade, but the foliage will not be as lush and fewer flowers will be produced if it is grown in hot, dry areas. Regular watering during prolonged dry spells will be necessary. However, they are tolerant of short periods of dryness. Do a thorough clean-up in the fall to prevent pest and disease problems, and add a layer of mulch to protect the evergreen foliage. As soon as the weather begins to warm up, remove all of this mulch to prevent crown rot. Dianthus can be propagated by division every few years in early spring, just as the new growth begins to appear. This is recommended because Dianthus tends to be a short-lived perennial otherwise.

Availability

Dianthus g. 'Firewitch' is available in one gallon containers at Greenscape Gardens.

We also proudly offer other candidates for the 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year but were not selected for the top prize.

Amsonia hubrichtii--Arkansas Blue Star
A southern native with very narrow, needle-like leaves that line the stems like bottlebrushes. 2-3 inch wide clusters of small, light blue, star-like flowers are produced in late spring and early summer. Perhaps its most prized attribute, however, is the brilliant golden yellow fall color of its billowy foliage. It forms the perfect backdrop for fall-flowering perennials such as dendranthemas, asters, and sedums. Height: 3 feet. Hardy in zones 4-9. This item will not be available until spring of 2006.

Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low'--Catmint
Gray-green, aromatic foliage gives way to a plethora of soft lavender-blue flowers which are produced over a long period in summer. Although the stems are 2-3 feet long, the plant's arching habit brings the height down to 18 to 24 inches if it is not staked. When Nepeta's stems are broken, they release an aroma into the air that tends to attract cats, thus its common name, Catmint. Hardy in zones 3-8.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune'--Anise Hyssop
One of the finest new perennials to hit the market in years. This hybrid is a cross between A. rugosa and A. foeniculum. It was bred and selected by Gert Fortgens of the Arboretum Trompenberg in Rotterdam, Netherlands. A very long bloomer, 'Blue Fortune' starts to produce lavender blue, bottlebrush-like flowers on strong, upright stems in midsummer and continues blooming until early fall. Use this perennial to provide color in the garden late in the season when many other plants are finished. Its foliage smells distinctly like black licorice when crushed, thus its common name, Anise Hyssop. Height: 2-3 feet. Hardy in zones 5-9.

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SPOTLIGHT ON ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

'KARL FOERSTER' Calamagrostis acutiflora

If you're thinking of adding ornamental grasses to your garden, then Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster,' is definitely worth considering. This feather reed grass was chosen 2001 Perennial Plant of Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

'Karl Foerster' is a good starting point for people unfamiliar with ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses prefer a growing medium pH between 6-6.5. and prefer a slow-release fertilizer (i.e., 18-6-12 formulation) for sustained growth.

'Karl Foerster' has dark-green foliage and forms a purple inflorescence during May, holding its color for six weeks. The inflorescence begins to turn a straw color at the end of June. This color remains for the rest of the season.

No specific insect attacks 'Karl Foerster.' Rust can be a problem on foliage in the spring under cold, wet conditions, rarely causing defoliation under severe infestations. Once temperatures increase and excess moisture is eliminated, plants usually outgrow the disease. Rust can be controlled by cutting back the foliage.

'Karl Foerster' is one of the few grasses that can be used in nearly any landscape site . It is a very adaptable plant, tolerating nearly any soil type and moisture level. The plant reaches 4-7 feet in the landscape, but averages 5 feet in most locations.

'Karl Foerster' can be used by itself as a specimen plant, in groups of three to five plants or in mass as a screening plant. It can also be combined with perennials or conifers. The plant gives about 10 months of seasonal interest in the display gardens at Greenscape.

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GREENSCAPE GARDENS HUMOR OF THE DAY!

A lawyer walks into a bar and sits down next to a drunk who is closely examining something held in his fingers.

The lawyer watches the drunk for a while till he finally gets curious
enough to ask what it is.

"Well," said the drunk, "it looks like plastic and feels like rubber."

"Let me have it," said the lawyer. Taking it, he began to roll it
between his thumb and forefinger, examining it closely.

"Yes," he finally said, "it does look like plastic and feel like
rubber, but I don't know what it is. Where did you get it?"

"From my nose," the drunk replied.