The Garden Worm blog Digging up the best dirt on gardening!

March 28, 2012

Blooming in March

Filed under: Flowers,Our gardens,Slideshows,Spring — Judy @ 12:07 am

We have had the craziest winter/spring so far. Temps have been hovering in the 50-60 range with occasional forays up into the low 70s. The lack of a decent snow cover and good length of cold weather have pushed the plants into an early bloom, up to a month or so early! This is quite worrisome as we will surely get some more frosts, possibly even snow, before it finally warms up for good, and this can mean trouble with a capital T.

Caution! Scientific stuff coming up! So, first of all, do you know your Hardiness Zone? You can find it here on the new USDA interactive zone map. In general, your Hardiness Zone number indicates the maximum cold it may get in your area and plants that grow well in your zone can withstand these temperatures in midwinter and survive. Based on this map, we might be considered 5b-6a around here, but looking solely at this winter, we fell in the zone 8 range! Why does this matter? As the temperatures fall in beginning of winter, plants become acclimated to the lower temps and develop more hardiness and resistance to plant death. When the temps start warming back up, the plants become de-acclimated to low temps, hardiness is reduced, and plant death or winter injury can occur if sudden drops in temperature are experienced. You can read more about this here if you are so inclined.

The bottom line is that the peach trees, in particular, that are blooming now, along with everything else, are particularly susceptible to frost injury and those low temps that are sure to come may destroy our little peach crop. Crossing my fingers! Other plants may be OK, but with a shortened blooming period. We shall see what happens.

On a related note, I’ve got a slideshow for you of some of the blooms in my garden now. Sorry, my camera croaked so these are from my cell phone and the quality is not very good.

What is blooming in your gardens now? Are you in danger of further frosts too?

March 22, 2012

GardenScape 2012

Filed under: Shows and Tours — Judy @ 1:58 pm

Last week my sister Cathy and I made our usual visit to GardenScape, the annual flower and garden show for the Greater Rochester area put on by the GardenScape Professionals Association. The theme for this year was “Recipe for Springtime” and I think that was a difficult theme to pull off for the participants judging by the displays we saw. Wegman’s, of course, was right on the money with lots of veggies and fruits displayed beautifully, but the only other display close to the theme that we could recall afterward was an odd one featuring “stone soup” from the old children’s story. Seemed like old, wizened veggies were randomly thrown all around in the greenery. Not sure what was up with that!

On to the rest of the displays! We loved the bonsai, of course, like this wonderful pine specimen placed in a tree burl.

Windswept bonsai

The Bonsai Society of Upstate New York put on this display with the incomparable Bill Valavanis demonstrating the art of bonsai and discussing some of his specimens. This picture is of one of our cousin’s (Mark Arpag) bonsai specimens. Mark described how it went from a pathetic piece of questionable plant material to this fabulous work of art! Incredible!

Bonsai specimen

The Monroe County Parks Department had a great display, with all sorts of items carved out of the huge trees that they have had to take down over the year. Forgive the blurriness of this picture of their gigantic sprinkling can, as I was laughing so hard when I took it, but wanted to include it in this post.

Gigantic wooden sprinkler can

They had carved a gigantic wooden seat from a tree trunk among other fun items from old trees and brought some huge, hollowed out logs for the kids to go through.

Hollow tree trunks

Their display also included a huge fish tank with some of the fish they stock the hatchery in Powder Mills Park with and these wonderful, bright tulips. I think the Monroe County Parks Department has some pretty creative people working there!

Flower display for Monroe County Parks

Cathy and I were impressed with the gorgeous hardscaping display by Bricks Landscape. We thought this outdoor raised firepit would be just the thing for us, especially with the s’more sticks, as we always love a good bonfire at the lake and now we could have one at home!

Outdoor raised firepit

But the pièce de résistance of the whole show was the combined display by Oriental Garden Supply and Twin Oaks Landscaping. They won an unprecedented number of awards and certainly deserved them compared to the other displays. I was told that the stone work for this moon gate was built ahead of time, then trucked to the show and finish-assembled on site.

Moon gate

The display garden had some interesting features like the huge hand-hewn barn beam turned into a post for a wonderful lamp

Lantern on beam

and this odd fountain with the lion’s head. I don’t know what the significance of this is or whether the year inscribed on it means anything, but it seemed sort of out of place even though there was beautiful landscaping around it to make it fit in.

Lion's head fountain

I felt a little disconcerted in their display garden. The plants and shrubs and trees and the way they were used I felt comfortable with,

Jap maple, rhody, and hyacinth

but the other elements (like the stone bench, the lion’s head fountain, the bistro set, the beam lantern) seemed to be randomly chosen American urban-suburban oddities and less Oriental than I expected. Nevertheless, there were pretty little vignettes tucked in here and there to be found like this sedum/succulent container.

Sedum/succulent container

The outstanding plant selections and the way the colors and textures were juxtaposed against each other and placed in the landscape really made this display garden shine.

Japanese maple leaves

We had a good time, as sisters usually do when out on an adventure! Did any of you get to any garden shows recently?

March 9, 2012

Robert Treman Park

Filed under: Parks,Slideshows,Travel,Winter — Judy @ 9:57 pm

We had a beautiful, light-jacket-kind-of-weather day to take a short hike into Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY. The park wasn’t really open for the season yet, but a few of the trails were available for the intrepid/curious. This park features 12 waterfalls (including 115 foot tall Lucifer Falls) as Enfield Creek winds down a narrow, deep gorge on its way to the Cayuga Lake inlet. There are lots of pretty cascades, and plunges, and flumes to be seen. Only the upper part of the Gorge trail was open so a trip back is definitely is in order.

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