Archive for February, 2013

Stella Kirby sent in this photo for our Winter Interest.

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So What can you do with Poor Drainage?   Here are Six ways to improve drainage:

1.  Fill in low levels with good quality topsoil.
2.  Amend clay soils with 4-6 inches of organic matter and rototill it to about 12 inches deep.  Make sure the soil isn’t wet when you till.
3.  Use a raised bed or berms.  Not only do these help with poor drainage, but they also help as you harvest, weed and prune by not bending over  so far.
4.  Create a dry creek bed.  Vary the size stone and rock used for texture and interest.
5.  Make a bog garden.  There are many plants that enjoy having their  feet wet.  Keep in mind that some maybe invasive so research first.  You  may be better off using a tropical that won’t go “wild” on you.  Or, if it  does you won’t have to worry about it after our winter.
6.  Install a French drain to route the water into another area.

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Gail Keane sent these photos for the Winter Interest Foto Friday.  The plumes of the Pampas grass are beautiful with the light shining through them.

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Ornamental crabapple overlooking my favorite summer reading spot

While going through the Blog to clear out a few items that were outdated, I found this post in the Dashboard.  It was as a draft from Sue Ryan.  Her photos are always so interesting.  She does such a great job with photography.  I hope she won’t mind, but I felt I should publish it for all to see. I’m sure she put it on the dashboard to eventually publish it.  Thank you Sue for this post.   She writes:

“I must admit I get excited at the first snowfall. The drab brown of late fall gives way to newness and light. I keep my gone-to-seed plants through the winter to provide a food source for birds. The colors and textures of the various barks, seeds, and evergreen foliage create an understated beauty and a sense of calm.  We can indeed enjoy four-season beauty even in Michigan gardens. The beauty may not be stereotypical but it’s there for the looking!”

I even think kindly towards honeysuckle after a snowfall!

Coneflower heads remind me of cotton bolls

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Often in the planting Guides on a plant you just purchased it may say something like this: “Enjoys deep, well-drained soil”.  How can we tell if the area we wish to plant is what the guide is asking for? Well, there is a simple test you can do. In the area you wish to plant, dig a hole about 18 to 24 inches deep. Then, fill this hole up with water.
By watching how quickly the water drains it will let you know the type drainage you have. If the water disappears in 10 minutes or less you have sandy soil with fast drainage. If it takes one hour or more, chances are you have clay soil or an impermeable layer of compacted soil beneath the surface. This indicates poor drainage. In between you will find acceptable variations

Poor Drainage causes the soil to stay cold and wet in spring when the rains fall. This delays planting and reduces seed germination.  Often plants will drown due to lack of oxygen or develop shallow roots.  Roots or crowns typically will  rot if the ground is too wet.

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Gail Keane was so nice to give us the link to the State Park DNR Stewardship program.  It includes a calendar of workdays available as well as other projects.  You will find it located in Gardening Resources area.   You may be interested in volunteering at some of these events; especially the Sterling State Park programs which are close to home.   Since there are so many events I have not listed them on the calendar, however I will list those for Sterling State Park.  All others may be viewed by going to the link and viewing their workday calendar.

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tnJennie  sends up a photo of her rose.  “It is ‘Memorial Day’, a hybrid tea rose!  When my Dad died it was given to me by my MSUE office colleagues, and while I would not have chosen a tea rose, it was the 2004 All-America selection and earned the award for being both disease-resistant and fragrant.  It is both and I am glad to have it. The photo was taken on Memorial Day 2012.”  What a beautiful rose!  It’s just so full of bloom.


Sam DeCola  from Temperance Mi sent us a photo of his Knock-out Roses.  Sam is interested in becoming a Master Gardener.  He has the perfect job too, he’s employed at the nursery area of Andersons. The roses are a nice contrast to the fence and accent to the petunias.  Beautiful photo.


Don’t forget to include your favorite rose, or photo for next Friday’s Edition

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