Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pictures from our trip to Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery

Today we visited Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery in Woodstock, IL. Here are some pictures from our trip.  Everyone at Rich's was so nice.  They were very gracious, and Rich even took us on a tour of his whole nursery and fed us pizza.   I also took some video which will be featured on a later episode of Cheesehead Gardening.  I found out today that Rich's was featured on the PBS show Victory Garden.  Here is a link to that show.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hosta Event Tomorrow at Rich's Foxwillow

Rich's Foxwillow in Woodstock, IL is known for their conifer selection.  However this weekend they will be hosting a hosta sale to benefit Heifer International.  My friend, Gina, and I will be going down for the event.   Hope to see some of my Cheesehead readers there.

Here is the article in the Daily Herald with more information.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Foxfire Gardens

Well I hope I didn't get anyone all excited by posting that title.  I was just thinking the other day how much I missed visiting Foxfire Gardens.  Foxfire Gardens was a hosta nursery located of Marshfield, WI.  Last fall Foxfire announced that it was going out of business.  They had a large variety of hostas, and also had a nice hosta display garden.  It's unfortunate that they went out of business, and are sorely missed by many hosta fanatics like myself.  I noticed that many people visit my blog looking for information on Foxfire Gardens.  I have not seen it for myself, but someone visited Foxfire this summer hoping that at least the display garden was still open.  They said that the power had been turned off on the electric fence that kept the deer out, and the hostas had all been eaten to the ground.  Very sad.  Below is a video of my friend Gina and I at their going out of business sale.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time to think about dividing hosta

It's time to start thinking about dividing those hostas that have become to big for the spot you want them to fit in.  Do hostas have to be divided?  No, despite what you may have heard, hostas do not need to be divided.  The only time they really need to be divided is if they develop fairy ring, which is when the middle of the hosta starts to die out.  Spring is the easiest time to divide hostas, because they are first emerging and are easier to get a handle on.  In spring you can usually divide them and they will not skip a beat.  However, hostas start to grow new roots not in spring, but in summer.  Usually they are starting to grow roots around the time they are getting a second flush of new leaves.  So it's actually better to divide them in August and September.  Just make sure it's about 4-6 weeks before your area receives frost.  Yes, I said it-Frost.  Hard to think about frost during the dog days of summer.
Here is the Cheesehead Gardening video from spring of how to divide hostas.
Here is a video I created last year on dividing a reverted hosta, but it applies to all hostas.  It shows how to tie up the leaves, which makes them easier to divide.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monarchs Visit My Garden

It seems the only ones enjoying all the heat and humidity in my garden are the monarchs.  I stepped outside the comfort of my air conditioned house the other day to watch the monarchs gracefully float around my yard.  It was so humid that the lens of my camera immediately fogged up.  It's obviously mating season, and I am looking forward to finding the caterpillars on my milkweed plants.   My dad told me that the monarchs that leave Mexico to migrate north only make it to the lower United States, so the ones that arrive here are the babies of those who migrated from Mexico. Which would explain why we do not see monarchs in Wisconsin until late July/early August.  Want to attract monarchs to your garden?  You will need to plant milkweed in your yard, since it's the only plant that is both food and a host to the monarch.  Monarch lay their eggs on milkweed, the larvae then eat the milkweed when they hatch.  Milkweed is poisonous, thus making the monarchs poisonous which helps protect them from predators such as birds.  Two other plants in my garden that the monarchs flock to are Meadow Blazing Star and Ligularia.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Foliar Nematodes in Hosta

I'm sure nematodes have been around forever.  I had never heard of them, until a few years ago when I attended the American Hosta Society convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It was a hot spring there, so even though the signs on nematodes usually come later in summer, they had shown up early just in time for the convention.  Foliar nematodes are microscopic roundworms that love to live in hostas and other perennials.  One of the reasons I had never heard of them was before global warming nematodes could not survive Wisconsin winters.  But that is not true anymore, and nematodes have been shown to survive temperatures of -80.

How do you know if your hostas have nematodes?  Signs of nematode damage come to Wisconsin in later summer through fall.  You will start to notice brown streaks in the hosta leaves that stay between veins.  You can also cut up the leaf you believe is infected, place the cut up leaf in a glass of water, wait an hour or so, hold the glass up to the light, and look at it with a magnifying glass.  If you see something swimming around in the glass, your plant has nematodes.
Not best picture, but example of hosta infected with nematodes.
How does a plant get nematodes?  I have one plant in my garden that is infected with nematodes.  I am guessing that the plant had them already when I bought it from the nursery.  Plants often become infected with nematodes in nurseries and greenhouses through their watering methods and from cuttings.  This is why it's important to buy from reputable nurseries.  Be leery of people who try to sell you hostas with all of the leaves cut off in fall, if you have never bought anything from them before.  They may have cut all the leaves off so you cannot see the nematode damage on the plant.

How can you get rid of nematodes?  There is not a lot you can do, besides destroy the plant.  There have been some experiments done, but nothing has been clear cut as to how to rid a plant of nematodes.  One of the suggestions is to heat treat the plant.  Submerged plants in water that is 124 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.  Or you can just throw them in the washing machine like my friend Andrea did;)  Another suggestion is to cut off all of the leaves and soak the plants in a 10% bleach treatment  overnight.  Just be aware that both of these treatments may kill your hosta.  So while there are no 100% effective ways to get rid of nematodes, you can prevent the spread of nematodes by not watering plants from overhead and buying from reputable sellers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wildlife in the Garden/Gardenchat

Yesterday's #gardenchat on Twitter was wildlife in the garden.  It inspired me to go out and take pictures of all the wildlife in my garden.  Unfortunately I picked the wrong day for wildlife viewing since it was almost 90 degrees with over 85% humidity.  Everyone seemed to be hiding in the shade today, including all the humans.

Leopard frog in my pond
#gardenchat is held every Monday night at 8pm central time on Twitter.  It's a great way to meet other gardeners, have garden questions answered, answer other people's garden questions, or just have fun!
Garden Spiders are early this year, must be because of all the tasty mosquitoes

My friendly cardinal
One of the many bees in my yard

Unwelcome visitor

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Seed GROW Project August Update

July?  What happened to July?  It can't be August already?  Well, in my little corner of the world July brought record rainfalls and hail.  My nasturtiums that I planted early growing tons of large leaves.  They even bloom every once and a while, which I get to see if the earwigs don't eat them first.  I have two tomato plants in the area, and I have been using Haven Brand Moo Poo tea on them.  So my nasturtiums may be benefiting from the moo poo tea or the 10+ inches of rain we received this month.  I planted some of the "spitfire" nasturtiums later in spring, and they are coming up too, though they may not be receiving enough light were I planted them.
My early planted "spitfire" nasturtiums.

My later planted "spitfire" nasturtiums.
I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project, thanks to for the seeds.