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Figuring it Out!

With three episodes of The Garden Show now archived on YouTube, we are figuring out a lot of things, but there are still kinks that catch us by surprise. Tommy learned that moving the lights to certain angles from me minimizes the glare from my glasses. I remembered a wonderful fuzzy green blanket that had a large tear in the corner. Although I stitched up the rip, we replaced it as soon as I found something suitable. But it was so soft and warm I hated to toss it. Then, after an "aha" moment, I realized it would make a perfect green screen. So now my hands no longer fade away as I stretch out and anything I may want to show is not limited to a tiny sweet spot in front of my body. This is because the color green is the furthest away from natural skin tones and it helps the camera to differentiate. Who knew???

It was great that we had callers with questions send me images that I could put together in a slide show/file so when they called I could pull up the images and the entire audience could see the problems. I really love this feature so keep it in mind if you want me to see a problem or identify some strange plant, or bug or goo. To send emails and/or pics you can click on the green circle or rectangle in the lower right corner of the home page of my blog. This is not like commenting, which is shared by everyone, but comes directly to me. Send lots of pictures. That will give me the best opportunity to figure it out.

Not everything is going smoothly. We aren't sure yet why viewers couldn't hear the Jethro Tull song we played. We could hear it as evidenced by my dance moves but it didn't come through to our viewers. Bummer. The reason we were listening to this classic rock band from the 70's is that the real Jethro Tull, from the 1700's, is considered the father of modern agriculture. He invented the seed drill, which mechanized the delivery of a single straight line of seeds in the row.

And that was just his beginning. It was somewhat serendipitous that his name became the name of the band. In the meantime Tommy will figure out what went wrong so any other musical coincidences with the gardening world will not be shortchanged.

This link will bring you to the archived shows. If you tune in at 10 AM Sundays, you can join us live. Call in with your questions at 888-399-PEGI (7344).

Onions are not Just for Eating!

A crunchy onion ring hot out of the deep fry is a yummy treat. And a slab of onion on a liverwurst sandwich, with lots of mustard, is something people either love, or makes them wrinkle their noses. For me, it is one of the few sandwiches I adore that my husband won't touch.

But the world of edible onions is only one small facet of the much bigger Allium genus, which is filled with fabulous, almost shocking ornamental varieties. They don't necessarily make the best cut flowers, unless you like the smell of onions wafting through your home. But here is the bonus: Deer don't like the smell either. So they don't eat them. At least not usually. (Of course they probably never had onion rings.) Although they are spring/summer bloomers, pay them some attention now. The bulbs get planted in October and should be ordered immediately.

Until recently I've always thought of flowering Alliums as "tweeners", from the group of flowering plants that strut their stuff after the spring explosion of daffodils and tulips, but before summer annuals really have taken hold. Make no mistake. There are fabulous varieties that fit that description, but there are so many more that cover much of the rest of the season. Some have been given to me without a variety name but others I have found locally and still more I purchased online. And Mary has sent me an image of a large white flowered specimen that reaches five feet in JULY!!! Trust me, I am on the hunt for that one. Unfortunately, at the moment it remains nameless. So let us start with those that grace our gardens in late spring.

This is the Gladiator Allium. It was photographed on May 13. They can reach up to 60 inches but mine remained closer to 3 feet. The blooms last a long time but as they age they turn into tan sputniks which remain until the end of summer. Removed and sprayed with either clear or colored spray paint, they will last for years.

At almost the same time, the most outrageous of all the Alliums is also in bloom. The Allium Schubertii looks like it came from another planet. The dried version even more so. This one is much shorter and reaches a maximum height of 18 inches. Paired with the Gladiator, they are show stopping.

The dry image was taken on July 3

This sweet pink Allium is an unknown. It was in bloom on July 3.

These reddish flowers bloomed alongside the pink. They are called Drumstick Alliums. Please note how slender the stems and foliage are. I worried they would be mistaken for weedy grasses as they grew. So be sure to mark them carefully.

This is another unknown variety. But it seems to be one of the latest to bloom as it is just coming into full bloom now. I will continue to search for these little known varieties. They are easy care, long lasting and lovely. I suspect we will be seeing more of them each season.

Greenhouse Blues

If you remember in the spring, a tornado touched down in Monmouth County. Hurricanes we have here, but tornados??? Not so much. Jordan and I happened to be in the greenhouse when, completely unknown to us, this was happening. So when the roof on the end of the greenhouse lifted up about 18 inches I thought we, or at least it, was going to Oz. With much relief, it settled back down but without a doubt it needed some attention. Last week they came to do the repairs. Luckily the only things that were actually damaged were the thin panels holding the big panels to the wooden beams. Not too bad all things considered. But all the plants had to come out.

It took two days to move everything out. Locating them was the first problem. They couldn't just go out in the yard for fear they would burn. As bright as the greenhouse is, summer sun directly on the foliage is significantly stronger. Cleaning everything took forever. It's a greenhouse. Greenhouses have dirt. Everywhere. We cleaned pots, saucers, tables, under tables, and even hosed down plants that seemed dusty. We treated for bugs, pruned, repotted, divided, and even tossed a few. We pulled plants from the back row that had grown dramatically. Put some in hangers. Took some out of hangers. Once we got everything out we used a leaf blower to blow dirt, straw and leaves off the stone floor. That actually worked. When I tried using the shop vac it sucked up the stones along with the debris. Then we wire brushed the window frames and applied 2 coats of oil based varathane. When the roof was finished we moved everything back in. That took two more days. It was a huge job, but now everything is fabulous! Here are a few beauties we brought into center stage.

Next time we will need to talk about lawn care. It's that time of year.

Happy Gardening,

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