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Blue Hills Newsletter
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Blue Hills Nursery News July 12, 2018

Featured Quote:

featured quote

"There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling."
~Mirabel Osler



For the Birds

Love feeding the birds, but dislike the mess of seed hulls and weeds sprouting up? Perfect solution. Wild Delight seed blocks. No messy hulled seed, so there's zero waste.

Can't get any easier than this. Drop it in the feeder cage and hang it up. My favorite way to feed the birds! We have the feeder cages and seed blocks available now.


Butterfly Bush and Milkweed

Do you want to enjoy butterflies and hummingbirds in your garden? We have gorgeous Buddleia, Butterfly Bush, in bloom. Plant a few of these in your yard - or better yet, plant 3 Milkweed and 3 Buddleia for a great butterfly show.


buddleia

Blooming from mid-spring through early fall, the butterfly bush (buddleia) is particularly prized for its ability to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds. The most popular species originally hails from China, but buddleias are now grown throughout the United States.

Butterfly bushes are valued for their clusters of beautiful, tubular-shaped flowers. The blossoms come in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, blue, purple, orange or yellow flowers produced by different species and cultivars. Adding to their attraction is the fact that they are rich in nectar and often strongly scented.

The taller varieties add the most value to the garden when they are grown as a background shrub or as part of a mixed border, while the dwarf varieties look great as focal plants or as part of a colorful perennial bed. Butterfly bushes prefer to be planted in full sun locations but can tolerate partial shade if needed. They go completely dormant in the winter in colder areas but can remain semi-evergreen in warmer climates.

The butterfly bush is a fairly low maintenance shrub. Once established it can become fairly drought tolerant and needs only to be fed with a plant food, such as Gro-Power Flower 'n' Bloom once in spring and summer. It can be pruned back hard every spring if needed; this will produce a denser and more rounded shrub.

Every garden can use a few--and your birds and butterflies will thank you too!

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Container Gardens: Trees and Shrubs

A tree or a shrub can create a delightful focal point in your patio garden design.

Potted Trees

Many of our gardens have at least one specimen plant, usually a tree but sometimes a shrub. A specimen plant is one that is eye-catching, beautiful, often architectural in form, and can stand alone in a yard or garden. Such specimen plants do not have to reside only in the ground. You can bring one or more onto your patios, decks or balconies and create the same visual effect.

Many smaller scale patio trees are absolutely wonderful specimens, and they can remain perfectly happy living in a container. Even if you don't have a backyard, you can still have a tree on your patio.

Also, many people forget to consider shrubs for their containers. Many of our shrubs are just as happy and healthy in a container as in the ground. How simple it is to bring foliage and flower color into your patio gardens! Just pick your favorite shrub and design your patio garden around its color and form.

And you know what else is great? You can prune many shrubs into an open tree form, creating a beautiful specimen piece. They are beautiful in an open graceful form, like an oriental painting.

Potted Tree

Now, you may be tempted to plant flowers at the base of your tree. They will add color but their roots will compete with the root system space of your new tree or shrub. Instead, try mulching using colored landscape glass, stones in your favorite colors and textures, or bark.

Of course, container selection is very important--your container must be large enough for the plant's future root system growth. Potting soil and fertilizers are also very important. Select a high quality potting mix, and do not forget to mix in good fertilizer like Gro-Power Plus. Also, remember that moisture retention is frequently a problem with containers, so mix in a soil polymer that will hold on to the moisture between waterings.

We'll match you up with the correct products once you've selected your tree and/or shrub.

Well, what are you waiting for? Summer is here and it is time to redecorate your outdoor living space. So come on in! We'll be looking for you in our tree and shrub section.

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Waterwise Gardening

Watering properly is one of the best ways to ensure you have a beautiful lawn and garden, and will help lower your water bill as well. Here are a few water-wise tips that can make a big impact on water savings and plant health.

* First off, consider converting your overhead irrigation to drip irrigation for all non-lawn areas if you haven't already done so. This concentrates the water where it needs to be (around the plant root ball) while eliminating excess runoff and evaporation.

* Water early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler and the sun isn't as intense. Thus, more water will penetrate your plants instead of evaporating into the air. The best time is between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.

* When hand watering, make sure to place your nozzle near the base of the plant instead of above the plant where water is wasted wetting the foliage.

* Water lawns more deeply instead of more frequently as it gets hotter. You should have your timers set to water only until your lawn reaches the point of runoff. After that no additional water can be absorbed. Most lawns can get by on 20-30 minutes of water every three days. They may not look as good but they will survive, and it will be better for them in the long run. Deeper watering encourages the roots to go down further to chase the water which results in less heat stress on the roots.

* Raise the mowing height on your mower. Taller grass cools and shelters the roots below, helping to reduce the need for more frequent watering.

* Add a granulated soil conditioner to the lawn to help break up compacted soil particles and aerate your soil, allowing roots to penetrate deeper into the soil. This also helps the lawn become more resistant to pests, disease and weeds.

* Cover open areas around plants and trees with a 2"-3" layer of mulch to reduce evaporation, keep the soil moist and cool, and to help prevent weeds.

* Make sure to pull weeds as needed to reduce competition for water, and feed your garden at least quarterly to help your plants stay healthy and strong. Use a plant food with lower, slow-release nitrogen to prevent rampant, soft, fleshy new growth that uses lots of water.

* Add a granulated soil polymer to potting soil when planting in containers. It expands when watered, holding water in the soil longer.

* Leave a two-inch space between the top of the soil and the rim of your container so that there is enough room for holding water without its flowing down the sides of your pot. Place a layer of mulch or bark on top of the soil to help retain moisture.

By incorporating these garden tips every year--year-round and not just in dry periods--your garden will not only be set up to survive dry conditions, but will also use less water all year round.

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Avoiding Accidents in the Garden

Gardening can be a tremendously enjoyable and rewarding activity. But it can also be the source of accidents, many of which can be preventable. Most accidents happen when gardeners take shortcuts, lack the skill or training to do a job properly, ignore potential risks, don't plan well or just have plain old bad luck.

While lawnmower accidents top the list of reported incidents, flowerpots (surprisingly) are the second highest cause of incidents: falling on people, cutting them or being the source of lifting injuries. Most accidents can be avoided just by using a little common sense, and while the ideas below may seem obvious to some, it's amazing how easy it is to forget them when we are wrapped up in a project.

Start by making your garden a safer place to enjoy. Design a garden that reduces the need for high maintenance. Double check for potential tripping hazards such as hoses, sprinklers, irrigation pipes and lose slabs of paving. When designing walkways or patios, incorporate surfaces that provide a good grip and aren't slippery when wet.

Avoid the garden when conditions are slippery. Don't leave sharp tools lying around--and if you are swapping tools, be sure to put the ones not in use with the sharp side (or tines) down. I'm sure we've all seen the cartoons of people stepping on a rake and knocking themselves in the face...but that's only funny in a cartoon.

Don't use electrical tools in wet weather, and make sure to wear safety equipment such as safety goggles, ear plugs and gloves when operating them. Also tuck in loose items of clothing.

Don't plant poisonous plants--or make sure that children and pets can be kept away from them. Lock away chemicals like pesticides and weed killers, or at least store them out of reach of children and pets. Never leave a barbeque unattended while cooking and make sure flames are extinguished before you go inside.

Empty wading pools after your children have finished playing in them. Avoid building a pond until a child is at least five years old and position it where it can be seen from the house. Grow plants around the deeper sides of a pond to help prevent children getting near the edge, or build a fence around it to keep them out.

Make sure ladders are put away or hung up when not in use. Ensure that the ladder is in working condition and the steps are structurally sound before using it. Never leave tools on the platform at the top of the ladder where they can cause injury if the ladder is accidentally bumped. Don't leave clippings on the rungs of the ladder where they might cause you to slip or trip.

When using a ladder, make sure it is tall enough to do the job. Be aware of the safety marks for standing on your ladder, and make sure it has rubber feet for solid footing. Always place your ladder on level, solid, non-slippery ground. Face your work and never lean sideways, overstretch or stand too high on the ladder. Keep one hand firmly on the ladder at all times.

Gardening should be fun and shouldn't be dangerous. Taking a few minutes to exercise caution will make gardening a much more enjoyable experience.

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Garden Primer
How do I know if I have bad drainage?

Answer:

First, your plants won't look happy. (Surprise) The foliage will look dull and lack the luster and intense color of a healthy plant. If it is a blooming plant, it may produce few blooms or none at all. When the condition becomes severe, the plant will drop its leaves from the interior first, eventually working its way to the leaf tips.

The second sure sign is if you are not watering much but the ground stays continually wet or even has moss or algae growing on it. The soil may also have an odor to it. What is important to remember is that every time plants are watered, it lowers the soil temperature by up to twenty degrees. Most plants are stimulated to grow as the soil temperature warms up. If the soil is always wet, the soil temperature will be cooler than the plant desires and it won't grow much.

Poorly draining soil also attracts bad bacteria that can attack the root system, in addition to providing less oxygen for the plant. If you think you have bad drainage, gently lift the plant out of the ground with a shovel--being careful not to damage roots.

If the soil is wet at the bottom of the hole, dig it deeper and back-fill with at least six inches of gravel. Then build a mound that will raise the plant 3-6 inches higher than the surrounding soil level and re-plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the mound. If you have clay soil, we also recommend amending with GBO Soil Building Conditioner. If that doesn't work, you may need to find a different location for the plant.

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Featured Recipe: Marinated Chicken Kebab

What You Need:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 (8 ounce) package fresh chopped mushrooms
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into large chunks

Step by Step:

  • In a medium bowl, blend vegetable oil, soy sauce, light corn syrup, lemon juice, sesame seeds, garlic powder, and garlic salt. Place chicken in the mixture.
  • Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Thread chicken onto skewers alternately with mushrooms, onions, and green bell pepper.
  • Pour marinade into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Place skewers on the prepared grill.
  • Cook 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
  • Baste with the boiled marinade frequently during the last 10 minutes.

Note: This marinade also works very well with pork.

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Harvest your summer vegetables as soon as they are ready. Don't let them rot and drop to the ground. This can bring insects and cause disease.



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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