THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

A GOOD LAUGH....IS SUNSHINE IN THE GARDEN

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WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE GARDEN CENTER

The trucks just keep on rolling into the garden center. Today we just got finished unloading a tractor trailer of trees from Tenn which included a great selection of dogwoods, redbuds, burning bushes, 8' Foster hollies and serviceberries when another trailer load of pines arrived from a local grower in Illinois. It was almost Grand Central Station with two tandem loads of topsoil and another trailer load of mulch also arriving. The contractors are once again busy and homeowners are checking out the inventory.

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ALL AMERICAN SELECTIONS NAMED FOR 2006

Six ornamentals and 4 vegetables were named All-America Selections winners for 2006: dianthus 'Supra Purple,' diascia 'Diamonte Coral Rose' (the first cool-season Bedding Plant Award winner), nicotiana 'Perfume Deep Purple,' ornamental pepper 'Black Pearl,' Salvia farinacea 'Evolution,' zinnia 'Zowie! Yellow Flame,' carrot 'Purple Haze,' cilantro 'Delfino,' pepper 'Carmen' and pepper 'Mariachi.' For additional information concerning the All American Selections check out their website.

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ST. LOUIS WEATHER REPORTING ALTERNATIVE

Have you noticed lately the differences in the local weather reports on television? Well, I have. If you watch the evening weather reports you'll often see several completely different forecasts. In this age of computer enhanced reporting, it seems that the weather is more of a roll of the dice but the accuracy of this site seems just as accurate.

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ROSES

Have you ever stopped to think how versatile a modern rose is? You can plant a single floribunda at the base of a bird bath or in a tub on the terrace, cover a bank with multifloras, and edge a flower bed with miniatures. Or if you prefer the more formal approach, you can have a special rose garden with its rows of brilliant colors.

Roses fit into almost every garden where they will get six hours of sun daily. They will grow in shadier places too, but blooms will be sparser and stems and foliage leggy as they reach for the light. Shade is also likely to encourage mildew. Avoid excessively windy spots as bushes continually whipped by strong gusts take on a ragged look.

Make sure drainage is good since roses will not grow in water logged soil. For areas of poor soil or inadequate drainage such as over clay pan, raised beds edged with brick or wood will offer a better growing medium.

Roses thrive in a rich loam. If your soil is heavy or sandy, add generous amounts of compost, peat moss or rotted manure to improve its texture.

When you choose roses for the garden, consider carefully where they are to go, and their ultimate height. This is especially true with rose beds, as you obviously want the shorter ones to the outside with tallest types in the center.

If you plan to use roses in conjunction with perennials around the house, remember they are not evergreen, and tend to be unattractive in winter. Therefore, in front of picture windows or in foundation plantings, they should be used in conjuntion with low evergreens.

Final thought should be given to the choice of colors, both of the blooms and the background. While you will want variety, it should blend or contrast, not clash with the surroundings. For instance, any color of rose looks good against a white, grey or brown house, but white or yellow roses are the best choice for planting against red brick or other vivid colors.

The last couple of years, the KNOCK OUT Rose has become the rose of choice for many gardeners. Hybrid tea roses have always been another favorite for St. Louis gardeners. We will have close to 80 varieties of roses in early April at Greenscape Gardens. For additional information concerning roses check out the Greenscape Gardens rose website.