Beautify – May ’14 RD


(Hint:You can click on a title to go straight to that article)

Stay Tuned to What’s Happening in the Garden

Random Thoughts of Gardening While Waiting for Snow to Melt from the Longest Winter Ever

Stay Tuned to What’s Happening in the Garden

by Terry Harding

Garden friends…when spring arrives, check out the Botanic Gardens at the Historic Barns Park.

  • The Visitor Center opens May 1. A new pergola is being installed in front of the Center and is courtesy of a grant from Macy’s and should be finished before summer.
  • Keep your eyes peeled as work beings on the water feature at the Visitor Center.
  • Do you recall the planting work bee days last fall in rainy weather? Watch for the masses of daffodil blooms…once the snow melts
  • The young cherry trees will begin to leaf in May.
  • The Garden has management rights to an additional building, the Old Wagon House. Look for a new roof, fresh paint the summer and beautiful planters in the front. This building will ultimately contain classrooms/meeting rooms.
  • Development of the Walled Garden at the old horse barn will begin by repointing the old stone wall.
  • Finally,  the Recreational Authority will begin work on renovating the Cathedral Barn.  They hope to have this work done sometime this summer.

In addition to the above, an educational program is being developed for presentations to begin in May and go thru October.  With so much activity, you will want to stop by frequently to watch the progress.

Should you have a special subject you would like to teach, please get in touch with Terry Harding.  If you would like to volunteer as a docent, go to the website to find more information about this opportunity.



Random Thoughts of Gardening While Waiting for Snow to Melt from the Longest Winter Ever

by Nancy Denison

As I write this it is sunny and much warmer than it has been.  I was itching to get my loppers to start hacking away at some shrubs that were overgrown.  I’m thinking I need to start a list. I have a few projects in mind, but first I shovel hack at the still high pile of snow on my front deck, throwing snow and ice onto my black topped, sun beaten driveway to assist Mom Nature in the melting process.   There is hope that we can start soon…in the meantime thoughts of Master Gardeners’ favorite outdoor pastime have been surfacing frequently…

My first spring in our Traverse City house, twenty three years ago was one of discovery.  We had nine apple trees with all the mess of dropped, rotten apples lying on the soggy ground.  There was a random ugly compost pile that would end up taking me another year to move its contents around.  It was a huge yard with a large garden area but oh, was I excited about the two twenty foot rows of thorn-less raspberries.

My mom was my first mentor in yard/garden maintenance.  Her flower beds were straight as an arrow, mostly annuals, one rose bush and one Bridal Veil Spirea.  I had to weed the beds and even attacked the weeds in the lawn with the flat head screwdriver. Dad mowed the lawn until he taught me the art of push mower finesse.  Mom edged and swept, in fact she swept so much she even swept the street.  I was so embarrassed to watch her, but all these years later I, too, sometimes sweep and rake the street.  Bridal Veil Spirea line my driveway, I plant Cleome, Bachelor Button, Nicotiana, Zinnia each summer and quietly thank her.

I get irritated looking at people’s messy yards or landscaping.  I want to grab my chain saw or loppers and trim trees or shrubs that are much too overgrown. I go to friends’ homes and mentally start to redesign their gardens or beds or offer unsolicited advice on plantings or weeding.  I pull random weeds and deadhead wherever I go or stop to investigate a leaf or bud or bug. This week I discovered my Euonymus were being eaten- some leaves and some bark and wondered what critter was feasting. When I looked closely at the droppings, I, then, had to search the internet to identify the critter and spent way too much time with no definitive answer.  I’m sure you’ll agree, gardening is a bit of an illness, but a good one to have!

I grew up in the same house for 24 years and have owned three homes since.  With each new house, my husband and I set out to improve it for ourselves and for resale value.  We put in sod in the tiny backyard in Cardiff, California and built a sandbox for our first child.  Our second home in Fremont, California had a huge rosemary bush; I planted a yellow rose bush for our son who was a baby and we proceeded to totally redo the front yard.  It was an overwhelming job for us rookies; removing “grass”, building retaining walls and split rail fencing, and finally selecting the plants.  I loved it.  I also put in my first vegetable garden complete with drip irrigation. In the 23 years in our current home, we have touched every single corner, from the veggie garden to the “back forty” to the front yard and I have loved doing it all.

I’ve kept a personal journal since I was in fifth grade, but I really wish I would have been keeping a garden journal throughout my adult gardening life.  I’ve made diagrams, lists, charts, kept magazine ideas galore, but it would have been nice to have everything together in a notebook or folder for each project.  I think that would be my first suggestion for all beginning gardeners and mature gardeners who should have done it years ago.