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Blue Hills Newsletter
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Blue Hills Nursery News May 10, 2018
featured quote

FEATURED QUOTE :

"Where flowers bloom, so does hope."
- Lady Bird Johnson, from Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom


Peonies, Snowbushes and Begonias!


Blooming at Blue Hills!

Come in and have a look at all our blooming plants, and our colorful foliage plants!


Things to do in May

1. Plant irises, canned roses, tropicals and tuberoses.
2. Transplant potted bulbs into the ground.
3. Replace cool-season bedding flowers with summer-season flowers.
4. Plant zinnias and other heat loving flowers.
5. Plant morning glories.
6. Plant warm-season lawns.
7. Continue to plant summer vegetables.
8. Replace parsley if you haven't already done so.
9. Plant a giant pumpkin for Halloween.
10. Purchase, plant, and transplant succulents.
11. Stop pinching fuchsias if you did not do so last month.
12. Thin out fruit on deciduous fruit trees.
13. Pinch dahlias back when the plant has three sets of leaves; tie the plant up as it grows.
14. Continue to pick and deadhead roses.
15. Divide and repot cymbidiums that have outgrown their containers.
16. Cut off bloom spikes from cymbidiums after flowers fade.
17. Prune camellias if you have not already done so.
18. Clean and prune azaleas.
19. Divide and mount staghorn ferns.
20. Prune winter- and spring-flowering vines, shrubs, trees and ground covers after they finish blooming.
21. Continue to tie up and sucker tomatoes.
22. Remove berries (seed pods) from fuchsias after flowers fall.
23. Pinch back petunias when you plant them.
24. Continue to prune and train espaliers.
25. Feed citrus trees, avocado trees.
26. Feed fuchsias, azaleas, tuberous begonias, water lilies.
27. Feed roses, ferns, flower beds, camellias after they bloom.
28. Fertilize lawns.
29. Side-dress vegetable rows with fertilizer.
30. Feed all container-grown succulents with a well-diluted complete liquid fertilizer.
31. Fertilize peppers when flowers first show.
32. As the weather becomes drier, be sure to water most garden plants regularly.
32a. Do not water succulents.
32b. Taper off watering those California native plants that don't accept summer water.
33. Control rose pests and diseases.
34. Spray junipers and Italian cypress for juniper moths.
35. Control mildew.
36. Control pests on vegetables.
37. Control weeds among permanent plants by mulching or cultivating.
38. Control weeds among vegetables and flowers by hand-pulling.
39. Keep bamboo from running into your neighbor's garden.
40. Harvest vegetables regularly.
41. We recommend Gardner & Bloome Organic Soils for all your planting needs.

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Artichokes

An artichoke (Cynara scolymus or C. cardunculus) is a giant thistle which becomes a beautiful flower. Well, it could become a beautiful flower--if we didn't pick it as a flower bud and eat it as a vegetable.

Artichokes, native to the Mediterranean region, were later introduced to Southern Europe and Asia. The artichoke has dramatic and sculptured gray green foliage that is very attractive in your vegetable garden. In fact, this vegetable is beautiful in your ornamental garden, too!

An artichoke's overall form is almost like a fountain and needs up to 4 feet of space for full growth. It likes full sun, cooler temperatures and moist soil. If you live in a very hot zone, plant it in partial shade. Mulch under the plant to help maintain the moisture that it loves.

At planting time, plant dormant roots or young plants with the root shoots just above the soil level and then mulch. Water at least once a week, keeping the root system moist.

Aphids, snails, slugs, and earwigs tend to be the artichoke "pest of the day." Blast the aphids and earwigs off with water. We recommend using a pet-safe bait for the snails and slugs.

The best time to harvest your artichokes is once the edible flower buds are 2-4 inches in diameter. Cut off the bud, including 1.5 inches of stem with the bud. At the end of the season, cut back the old bearing stems/foliage to near ground level and mulch around the remaining plant. Don't forget to give your artichokes a well-balanced fertilizer such as Gro-Power All Purpose.

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Homegrown tomatoes

Tomatoes are the favorite vegetable for home growing. Over the past years, commercial growers have produced tomato varieties that valued shelf-life and unblemished prettiness over taste--and the result has been an almost tasteless tomato at your local stores. You can put taste back on top of the list by growing your own.

Tips on Choosing Your Tomato Plants:
  • Height and bushiness of the plant are important, particularly for gardeners growing tomatoes in small spaces. Check to see whether the variety you select is "determinate" (bush type--produces all at once--best for small spaces) or "indeterminate" (vine type--produces throughout the season and grows in all directions).
  • Consider taste, size, shape, color, mildness, (acidity or non-acidity), disease resistance, and cracking resistance.
  • Your intended use for the tomato may dictate your selection. For instance, if you want to use your tomato crop for preserving or for making tomato paste, you'll want to select a variety that has a strong tomato flavor and lasts a long time in the refrigerator.
  • Depending on when you plant, you may be concerned about the "days to maturity" (the time it takes a transplant to bear ripe fruit.)
  • Finally, consider selecting a few unique tomato plants that you haven't tried before or a novelty variety no one else in the neighborhood grows.
Planting tips:
  • Choose a spot in full sun, and prepare the soil by digging it deeply with a spade and mixing in a good planting mix. We like GBO Harvest Supreme.
  • Add a good vegetable fertilizer.
  • Plant transplants deeply. If they're leggy, snip off the lower leaves, make a little trench with the trowel, lay the plant in sideways, and bend the stem up gently. Roots will form all along the buried stem.
  • Choose a staking system (such as a tomato cage or trellis).
  • Water deeply and continue to irrigate so the soil stays evenly moist.

Grow your own tomatoes! Your taste buds will thank you!

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Designing a garden that will grow with you

It's always a challenge to come up with new and unusual gift ideas for Mother's Day. This year, why not plant a garden for her (either in the ground or in a container) that she will be able to use and enjoy year-round? Base the type of garden you plant on her interests.

Does your mother enjoy cooking? An herb garden might be the perfect gift. Many herbs stay, or can be kept, fairly small and compact and would be well-suited to a pot or window box; these include thyme, oregano, sage, basil and cilantro/coriander. If she has a favorite style of cooking (Italian, Mexican, Asian or Middle Eastern, etc.) you could plant a container with several of the herbs used in that particular style of cooking. If you have a sunny spot available for in-ground planting you could plant some of the larger herbs as well, like rosemary or bay.

Perhaps your mom is a nature lover. A garden to attract birds or butterflies would provide her with hours of enjoyment. Try planting a garden with plants that attract both, using plants such as butterfly weed (Asclepias), salvia, beard tongue (Penstemon), California fuchsia (Zauschneria), lavender, lantana (colors include white, lavender, red, orange, pink and yellow), butterfly bush (Buddleja) and columbine (Aquilegia).

If your mother enjoys growing her own fruit, a unique gift would be a fruit tree that has different types of fruits on the same tree. By having fruit with different ripening dates on the same tree, you are able to significantly extend your harvest period.

For those moms who enjoy growing flowers to use in indoor decorating, a cutting garden would be ideal. Some great annual choices for the warm season are: celosia, cosmos, zinnias (tall types), or sunflowers. For perennials, plant Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), shasta daisy Chrysanthemum maximum), pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria), cottage pink (Dianthus plumarius), sea lavender (Limonium perezii) or dahlias (taller types). If you have room, consider planting a focal-point plant to use for cut foliage such as pink breath-of-heaven; the foliage of this plant looks delicate and airy and lasts in a vase for up to two weeks.

Visit us soon so we can help you get your Mother's Day garden off to a good start. Mom will love it!

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Squirrels

Squirrels are a very common nuisance animal and, as cute as they appear, can cause a number of different conflicts with homeowners. Grey squirrels and tree squirrels will steal fruit from fruit trees and food from bird feeders, while ground squirrels will eat all of your flowers, damage vegetables and dig up lawns looking for food. Worse yet, squirrels have a unique desire to live inside of buildings where they can create fire hazards from chewing up wiring and bringing in nesting items.

There are two ways to deal with squirrels, besides killing them (check your local laws for restrictions on that). You can repel them from your yard by making your garden undesirable as a food source, or trapping and removing them. NOTE: we do not recommend poison to control squirrels. (Assuming that is legal in your immediate area - check your laws.) It's too easy to accidently poison someone's pet.

The first method involves spraying a non-toxic, bad tasting repellent on your non-edible plants. The squirrels will associate your plants with a foul taste and eventually leave. For vegetables and fruits, you can use a predator repellent to scare away the squirrels. These usually contain coyote, fox or mountain lion urine.

The second method is to trap the squirrels with a humane trap. These traps have spring-loaded doors with sensitive triggers to make safe, secure and sensitive catches. The easiest way to trap squirrels is to place unshelled peanuts, sunflower seeds or pieces of fruit inside the trap.

One or more of these traps should be set and placed in areas frequented by the squirrels you wish to catch, or along paths they commonly use. If you opt for live release, captured squirrels should be released far away, some say as far away as seven miles, in order to ensure they do not return. For the sake of your fellow gardeners, please try to release them in the wild, not next to someone else's home. Again, check your local laws - they can vary from place to place.

Remember that there's no point trapping squirrels in any place where there is a consistent food source such as bird feeders or vegetable gardens because replacements will soon arrive attracted by the source of food. Squirrels reproduce rapidly so don't delay; embark on a squirrel control strategy today!

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Garden Primer

Should I fertilize shrubs before or after rain?

Answer:
That depends on whether the ground is wet before it rains. Fertilizer should never be applied to dry ground or dry plants. Chemical fertilizers can burn plants when the ground is dry, because the salts that are a by-product of the fertilizer will reach the plant cells before the water can replenish them.

Most organic plant foods need moist soil to break down and allow the beneficial microbes in them to proliferate. If the ground is already moist and you know a measurable amount of rain (at least 1/2") is coming, then apply your fertilizer before. If the ground is dry, allow the rain to replenish the soil with moisture and then apply your fertilizer. After you fertilize, make sure to water the fertilizer in so it percolates into the soil.

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Featured Recipe: French Toast Casserole

Makes a great Mother's Day breakfast or brunch, and it's easy enough that the kids can help make it.

What You'll Need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 slices sandwich bread
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt

Step by Step:

  • Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with melted butter.
  • Spread any remaining melted butter over bottom of dish.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over melted butter.
  • Arrange bread in two layers over brown sugar mixture.
  • Beat eggs, milk, and salt in a bowl; pour over bread.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm, with your favorite French toast toppings.
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Continue to plant warm-season annual flowers and vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, petunias, and the like) as long as you have enough time for them to beat the summer heat.



Contact Information:

Telephone:
(562) 947-2013

Address:
16440 E. Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90603

Hours:
Open 7 days a week, 8:30 am-5:00 pm

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