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Blue Hills Newsletter
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Blue Hills Nursery News March 7, 2019
featured quote

Featured Quote:

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

~Francis Bacon



Our First Big Spring
Shipment has Arrived.

Get these flowering perennials in the ground now for a show this spring. The butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are already enjoying them.



Stop The Rain

We all talk about the weather - but there is nothing we can do to change it! We've heard it for years and it's certainly true! While we can't turn nature's faucet on and off, we can help our garden take advantage of the extra "blessing" when we get overly generous amounts of water.

Capture as much of the rain as you can with rain barrels to store the water! Natural rain provides essential nutrients not available in tap water. You'll see very happy plants when you water them with natural rain. You'll see a vigor and growth characteristic of a fertilization when you put them on a diet of natural rain.

All this rain will also affect the garden. On the good side, you won't need to water for a while, and the natural rain is better for the garden, too. On the bad side, an abundance of winter rain will bring about an abundance of undesirable weeds in early spring.

You can reduce the weed problem while preserving the moisture accumulated in the soil. This can be accomplished this by applying a pre-emergent weed preventer and then covering the soil with a 1-2 inch layer of mulch like GBO Soil-Building Conditioner. Don't use wood/bark chips that are likely to float out of the bed and onto the lawn or patio. The mulch will not only help prevent weeds but also help to retain much needed soil moisture in the summer months.

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Planning a Fragrant Flower Garden

Most gardeners love a colorful garden filled with blooming annuals, but many don't realize that a colorful garden can also smell good! In addition to filling your garden with wonderful scents to tickle your nose, fragrant annuals provide the added benefit of attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects that help control bad bugs.

You can build a fragrance garden by creating a layered effect with shorter annuals in the front and gradually increasing the height to the back of the bed. If you are planting a garden island, start with the taller varieties in the center and lower the height of plantings as you work towards the outer edge. Use a good amendement like GBO Planting Mix or Harvest Supreme before planting. Fertilize as needed with Gro-Power Flower 'n' Bloom.

For border plants on the outside, consider alyssum, dianthus, petunia, dwarf sweet peas and viola. Now add a layer of mid-size bloomers (1-2') such as cornflower, linaria, nasturtium, nicotiana, annual phlox, stock and wallflower. Next come the tall guys, like cleome, four o'clock, and tall sweet pea varieties. If you have room on a fence at the back of a bed, you can also plant the fragrant moonflower vine.

Shaded areas don't have to go neglected for fragrance either. Alyssum will still bloom well provided you have full morning sun, as will dianthus, linaria and viola. For shade gardens, nothing beats heliotrope, and some varieties of impatiens are moderately fragrant as well.

So remember, your flowerbeds can smell good as well as look good!

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Salvia

There is really no reason whatsoever for a garden to be without a salvia. Salvias - almost one thousand species of them - are members of the mint family. It is difficult to name just one feature that is the single best attribute, but there are definitely two that stand out significantly: the flowers and the aromatic foliage. Add to those the large variation of foliage sizes, shapes, colors; plant growth habits; and cultural needs such as sun, water and soil types. There absolutely is a salvia, and more likely many salvias, that would be perfectly at home in your garden!

First and foremost, in addition to the beauty, the flower of any salvia attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies into your garden. Salvia flower colors span an enormous range from shades of blue to purple, shades of red to orange, shades of pink to white, buff to tan, and many combinations of these.

Salvia foliage is as diverse as the flower color spectrum in color, shape, size and texture. Small needle-like leaves, oval leaves, large arrowhead-shaped leaves are just a few of the foliage shapes. Colors range from bright glossy green to gray green to red and to silvery white. Foliage texture can be smooth or rough and hairy. And to add to the many foliage attributes, many of the salvias are highly aromatic or fragrant. This is due to the oily-like glands on the foliage and the stems. These structures, not really visible to the naked eye, help salvias conserve water and make them more drought tolerant.

Did you also know that Sage = Salvia? That's right. Many of us are quite familiar with sage as an herb for cooking. The sage for cooking is Salvia officinalis - easily grown in your flower gardens, or if you prefer, in an herb garden. In medieval times, sage was used as a medicinal remedy and was cultivated specifically for that purpose. The leaves were used as an antispasmotic, as an astringent, for cold symptoms and for digestive upsets. Of course, we recommend that you simply grow Salvia officinalis for garden beauty and cooking!

There are salvias that are annuals (live just one season/year) and are best used planted en masse; most of the salvias are perennials whose growth habit and woody stems more resemble a medium size shrub. The basic flower structure is the same for all salvias, although their size, shape and color will vary. Also, the way the flowers are borne on the stems (inflorescence) adds variety to your salvia choice.

Plant your salvias in full sun. Mix a good amendment like GBO Planting Mix about 50:50 into your native soil. Water the new planting regularly while it's getting established. Afterwards, follow the watering needs for your salvia(s) of choice. There can be watering variation depending upon the species that you have chosen. If you aren't sure, just ask one of us; we would love to help.

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Garden Primer

Can you grow grass in shade?

Answer:

That depends on how much shade you actually have. Fescue types of grass will tolerate shade better than most grasses. Use a shady blend grass seed and cover with GBO Premium Topsoil to give it a boost, but even shade-tolerant grasses need a certain amount of sunshine to grow. Ultimately, the way you manage your shady lawn is more important than which seed type you select.

Five practices that will help your shade-tolerant grass survive in the shade:

  • First, mow your grass higher. Grass in the shade should be cut approximately 1/2 to 1 inch higher than the grass growing in full sunlight. This will allow more leaf area to intercept the limited amount of sunlight.
  • Second, fertilize less often, at half the normal amount so the grass won't try to grow what it can't support.
  • Third, water more (and deeply) in the hot summer months, so the grass is not stressed by heat.
  • Fourth, selectively prune and thin limbs of heavy shade producing trees to allow more light to reach your lawn. Remove all limbs below ten feet. Rake and remove leaves or needles before they accumulate.
  • Finally, try to minimize traffic and activities in the shaded grass areas during the summer months. This will reduce the wear stress on the turf. If the grass is in a path where traffic cannot be avoided, place stepping-stones or pine bark to create a trail.

If you combine these suggestions, you should notice a much healthier lawn. If none of this works, consider replacing your shaded area with shade-loving flowers, groundcover, or mulch.

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Time Change

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 am on Sunday, March 10, 2019, so be sure to set your clocks forward one hour! Your clocks should be set from 2:00 a.m. local standard time, to 3:00 a.m. local daylight time.

We remember to change our clocks by the phrase "Spring forward, fall back." As spring begins soon, why not embrace this season of renewal, and replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This simple act will help assure the safety of your family; properly working detectors save thousands of lives each year.


Featured Recipe: Scrumptious Tuna Salad Sandwich

What You'll Need:

  • 2 cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1 small can black olives, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced small
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 red radishes, thinly sliced and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish (can be found in the chilled condiment section of grocery store if you don't grow your own)
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Sliced bread

Step by Step:

  • In a bowl, combine all ingredients except bread.
  • Chill covered for at least 2 hours.
  • Spread mixture on bread, add a slice on top, and enjoy a delicious twist on a tuna salad favorite.

Notes: To make a tuna melt, add one slice of cheese and a tomato slice to the sandwich, and grill three minutes on each side on med-high heat in a well buttered skillet! Can also be made with salmon instead of tuna.

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This Month

WEED IT OR WEEP
Rains encourage lots of winter weeds. Hoe them out before they get too big or begin to scatter seed. At this point, simply scrape them off with a scuffle hoe, early in the morning on a sunny day, so weeds quickly dry out. Though it's tempting to toss weeds in the compost pile, don't--you'll just be spreading weed seeds all over the garden.



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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