June 2017
This spring, we have seen cooler days with much needed rain. The flowering spring trees have certainly showed a lovely display of blossoms. The flowering pears, crabapples, cherries, rhododendrons, and Dogwoods have all been a welcomed sight as we drive or walk through our neighborhoods.

Every garden needs a dogwood tree if you have room. This vertical interest of the ”cloud nine” dogwood remains a compact choice with white blooms.

The Dogwood “Cornus Florida," (see below) is not a heavy bloomer, however displays beautiful rose tone petals.
When your Red Flowering Dogwood leaps into action, gorgeous ruby red blooms will cover the tree starting before the leaves appear and lasting long after other spring bloomers quit. At this point, you will know that spring has arrived.

To add to this spectacular show, the new foliage starts out red then matures to a glossy emerald green.

The red and green leaves form the most perfect backdrop to the pink and crimson blossoms that last well into the season. 

This demonstrates proof of this trees beauty.

The Kousa Dogwood is considered a flowering tree as well as an ornamental. Known as the Korean dogwood, it is a small deciduous tree, 15‘ tall x 15’ wide. This is an excellent choice for a home landscape or courtyard area.

It has unusual leaves that are dark green in the center with irregular patterns of gold to chartreuse at the edges. The white petals are surrounded by bracts and are modified leaves. This tree is definitely one for visual interest with a profusion of spring greenish to yellow flowers.  

Canopies of layered branches provide shade and beauty for a lovely under planting of shade perennials. In winter, the tree exhibits a bark that resembles a jigsaw puzzle. In fall, it offers spectacular color. This tree provides visual interest all year long. In spring it has star-like blooms. In summer, it has intriguing red-exfoliating bark and berries.  Plant it near a patio or window where you can enjoy it all year long. 

Some highlights include:

  • Deer resistant
  • Drought tolerant
  • Pest and disease resistant
  • Patio Tree

If you want to try your hand at one indoor gardening project, grow this bulb called the Amaryllis.

Care of Amaryllis: After the flowers have faded, cut stalk down to about 1” of the bulb. However, keep feeding and watering weekly with household fertilizer. Amaryllis will grow leaves during spring and summer. This is all for next years blooms.
Ornamental Trees
Weeping Redbud
Redbuds  are a tough Native American  tree , but this one is unique with its weeping and twisting branches cascading toward the ground.

In spring, each branch is completely covered with lavender flowers; in summer , large heart-shaped leaves spill down the stems in a rich green waterfall fashion.  
Korean Lilac on Standard
This plant has fragrant Lilac blooms on a lovely ornamental tree! The Tree Form Dwarf  Korean Lilac  is a dwarf variety of lilac in tree form with single, very fragrant, pale lilac flowers. This Korean Lilac is a beautiful and popular patio shrub that is smothered in stunning panicles of fragrant lilac purple flowers at the ends of the branches in late spring.  It displays dark green foliage that emerges burgundy in spring.  
Weeping Fountain Cherry  The pendulous branches of weeping cherry extend to the ground with white or pink blooms in spring, making the tree a desirable focal point in the garden. Few plants are more graceful in the landscape than trees that weep.
Carnival Maple Hedge
These variegated leaves produce a canopy that will light up any shady area. This bright splash of color emerges with pink cream and light green leaves. This is very eye catching.
Japanese Maple
Japanese  Maple  has attractive deep purple-tipped dark green foliage which emerges leaves that are highly ornamental and turn outstanding shades of gold, orange, and  red  in the fall. The Japanese Maple has no significant negative  characteristics .

The spring leaves leaf out in green, edged in pink. The leaves turn shades of red or burgundy depending on the species.  

This tree's color transforms in fall when the leaves turn yellow. When sunlight strikes this tree, it is a beautiful sight to behold.  See additional images below.
Quick Fire or Pinky Winky on a Standard
Quick Fire  blooms about a month before other hardy  Hydrangea  varieties and flowers every year! Flowers open white and then turn pink.

Spring Checklist
If you need to cut back spring flowering
shrubs such as azaleas, rhododendrons, 
spiraea, quince, lilac, and forsythias, be sure to prune these by the second week of July.                

These shrubs will flower on the new buds they set this year after pruning to size. So devote time in getting these shrubs and your flowering trees pruned to shape 
to keep optimal health.      
Plant for the Month
When we think of Salvia, we many times think of annual salvia only.  However, there is a new perennial plant with purple blooms called “Saucy Wine” salvia. This beauty blooms from April until October.  

This perennial boasts a a compact, neat, dense structure.  The bonus is, it sets no seeds, so there is no need to remove spent leaves.

This plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and is from the Southern Living plant collection.
Garden Shed Planting Ideas
The cottage-style mixed border for a shed can be whimsical, flowing with layers of color and structural-foundation shrubs and trees.

How you plant your shed garden is always fun and exciting. You can soften your shed with curved beds, paths, and plantings that have wonderful focal color.

Here is a small list for surrounding your landscape structure:

  1. Forever Hydrangea

  2. Golden creeping thyme

  3. Clematis ( Jack Manii) crawling up a trellis or a downspout

  4. Garden phlox

  5. Shasta daisy, banana  cream

  6. Evening primrose

  7. Hostas, Ferns, Astilbes

  8. Salvia

Any type of whimsy carves out your personality:  a birdbath,  a trellis with climbing honeysuckle for sun or a clematis for your lighting condition shutters or window boxes to accent you building.

What to do with whimsy old junk?  Plant pots of course! 

  1. Old coffee cans
  2. Old metal boxes
  3. Old meat grinder
  4. Old promo food cans
  5. Old boots
  6. Old colanders

There is a potential planter in old junk.  Look through your old belongings or start a journey scouring thrift stores or friends' castoffs when moving.  

You can turn one-of-a-kind items into a showcase favorite for your deck, porch, or as a garden surprise that will promote conversation among your garden visitors. It is always fun to find a whimsical hidden treasure tucked in among your garden plantings.

Stage your findings where they can be seen raised on a log, a pedestal, boulder, or a used garage item that works as a stand.

With drought becoming an annual event across North America, a savvy gardener will remember  
to mulch your veggies in the ground and in your pots. Add moisture consistently in your pots with spray emitter. 
Edible Planters
Find yourself a good size container and plant your personal edible garden and reap the benefits of what you sow.
Planters can be planted with anything that strikes your fancy. However anyone can have an edible planter, tucked on your condo deck, outside your apartment porch, outside your kitchen window or placed in the outdoor kitchen area by your grill.

Suggestions vary according to the cook who is leading the menus:
Rosemary, thyme, trailing lemon thyme, cilantro, nasturtiums, rainbow Swiss chard, beet greens, parsley, chives, etc. This colorful planter will be attractive, have scent and can be snipped as needed.

Farm to Table Food: If you like flavors and clean food then try an edible planter.  Include some of the following for color and tasty flavors:

  • Swiss Chard
  • Nasturiums
  • Basil
  • Spearmint or variegated mint
  • Lemon verbena
  • Thyme
  • Parsley

Have a sunny location to try a potted favorite?
Look what an amaryllis can provide.
Care: Water and feed reguarly with liquid fertilizer. Cut back to 1" after flower. Wait, and next year have another display of color.

Moist Double Chocolate Cauliettes® Muffins

1 ½ cups raw Mann’s Cauliettes®

2 eggs

½ cup canola oil

1 cup almond milk or buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar                                                                                           

2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten free baking mix

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line standard size muffin tins with paper liners. Microwave Mann’s Cauliettes® uncovered, for 6 minutes. 

Whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk in a medium bowl until well blended.  Stir in the cooked Cauliettes®.  In another medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, and chocolate chips.  Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir just until blended. Do not overmix. 

Divide batter equally into the 12 prepared muffin tins, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely in tin for 10 minutes. Muffins are best eaten the same day as baking but can be stored overnight in an airtight container.