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Greetings Guilford Gardeners,
 
I’d like to say that those April showers have sure brought out those May flowers but we could have used a few more showers. Right now we are down by approximately 7 inches and that’s on top of the 11 we were down last fall. While our lakes have remained fairly full due to the storm water runoff, our groundwater is not recharging very quickly. Something to consider, would be installing a rain garden as a way to capture runoff from your house and property before it runs down the storm drains. This way the water is allowed to filter into the ground slowly and the pollutants are removed by the mulch and the plants. Rain gardens are just one of the components found under the “Managing Storm water” principle in our Carolina Yards and Neighborhoods Program.
 
Be sure to check out the whole Carolina Yards and Neighborhoods program, a landscaping program design to help you enhance your landscape while working with and protecting North Carolina’s environment www.guilfordgardenanswers.org
 
Call for a Free Piedmont Yardstick workbook - 375-5876
 
 
May 7 - 13, 2006
 
The Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), together with states, tribes, and its many partners, protects public health by ensuring safe drinking water and protecting ground water. OGWDW, along with EPA's ten regional drinking water programs, oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ornamentals
 
With cut flowers available year-round from florists, why would anyone want to grow their own? There are many reasons once you think about it.
 
First, consider cost. The price of a few packets of seeds and a little water, fertilizer, and sometimes pesticide is the only monetary outlay for gardeners. Even if you add the value of your labor, the resulting cost is a savings over store-bought bouquets.
 
Second, think about availability. For one reason or another, not all varieties of flowers that do well as cut specimens can be found in local flower shops. Your selection of blossoms for arrangements can be increased tremendously by growing your own.
 
Third, you just can't get a fresher product than a flower cut from your own backyard. If conditioned correctly, the flowers you grow for yourself have the potential of lasting much longer than those supplied by a florist.
 
Lastly, by growing cut flowers, you have the opportunity to design arrangements without the constraints of high cost or limited availability. You can use leaves from landscape plants for foliage to fill in arrangements. By combining home-grown varieties with exotics from a flower shop, you can come up with unlimited possibilities.
 
To grow your own cut flowers, start with a good location for the flower bed. You need good garden soil and a minimum of six hours sunlight. Since you plan to cut these flowers when they reach peak quality, you don't want the bed in public view. A section of your vegetable garden may be ideal.
 
Start with seed catalogs, choosing varieties of flowers you like. Vary sizes, shapes, and colors. Be sure to choose flowers for all seasons. Check the All American Selections noted as good cut flowers.
 
Annuals for cut flowers are often referred to as cut-and-come-again because they will re-bloom if cut during the growing season. They provide many flowers over a long time at a low cost, but annuals must be replanted yearly.
 
Perennials have a higher initial cost than annuals, but they usually increase in plant size and number of blooms each year. Compared to annuals, they usually have a shorter bloom time, but with careful selection you can choose perennials with long, blooming periods.
 
The following website is from Virginia and gives more information than most homeowners would need but is a good reference to specific recommendations. VCE Web Publication 426-619W, "Field Production of Cut Flowers: Potential Crops."
 
Come visit our LegacyDemonstrationGarden located at the Guilford County Ag. Center, 3309 Burlington Road in Greensboro. This garden was created and is maintained by Extension Master Gardener Volunteers as an outdoor educational Classroom. Our Featured PLANT OF THE MONTH, for May 2006 is Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’. This plant is also known as the Manchurian lilac. This plant is located at the front corner of the LegacyGarden. Manchurian lilac is a 6-8 foot tall deciduous shrub that grows best in full sun to partial shade in our Piedmont gardens and produces panicles of fragrant, lavender blooms in May. The foliage turns red-purple in the fall, providing multi-season interest.
 
Here is another mulch alert I thought I should make you aware of, it is a Cocoa bean by-product. I do know that this Cocoa bean by-product is being sold in GuilfordCounty, so if you own dogs this may be one to stay away from. For more information go to: http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pro_apcc_publicationscocoa
 
Pests
 
The wool sower gall is a distinct and unusual plant growth induced by the secretions of the grubs of a tiny gall wasp, Callirhytis seminator. If a fresh wool sower gall is held in a plastic bag out of the sun (so it will not get too hot), within one to three weeks the tiny, harmless gall wasps will emerge. The wool sower gall is specific to white oak and only occurs in the spring. Pulling the gall apart exposes small seed-like structures. The gall wasp grubs develop inside these structures. (This gall is also called the oak seed gall.) Fortunately, wool sower galls are hardly ever abundant enough to cause harm to white oaks. If the galls are actually damaging the trees, the best time to control them is mid-winter when the wasps are laying their eggs or spring just as the buds are breaking. The eggs hatch just as the new growth emerges in spring. Gall wasps invariably have alternation of generations in which one generation develops in one kind of gall (leaf gall) and their offspring develop in another kind of gall (stem gall). Wasps of each alternate generation are slightly different is size and the galls of each generation are enormously different from the parents. The wool sower gall is probably the leaf gall of this species because of its transient nature. Many other galls are forming now.
 
Leaf Gall
 
Exobasidium leaf gall (caused by the fungus Exobasidum vaccinii) is very common and widespread in the early spring on new leaves as plants leaf out. The leaves become thickened, curled, fleshy and pale green to white. In the latter stages of the disease, the leaves are covered with a white powdery substance. If left on the shrub the affected leaves eventually turn brown. The disease is more alarming than damaging. Even highly susceptible cultivars are not seriously damaged. If you only have a few plants, control the disease by hand picking and destroying diseased leaves as soon as the swelling starts (April or early May in North Carolina). Leaf gall seldom causes enough damage to justify spraying a fungicide. This fungus also attacks rhododendrons and a related fungus causes leaf gall of Camellia sasanqua, the fall blooming camellia, as new leaves develop in the spring.
 
Scale insects in the genus Pulvinaria are reported to be currently depositing their ovisacs. The cottony maple leaf scale insect and the cottony camellia scale insect, are the two most common cottony scale insects in North Carolina. I was pruning leaf gall off my camellia and just happened to look at the underside of the leaf, revealing the cottony camellia scale. The cottony maple leaf scale (see insect note at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/trees/note37/note37.html) sometimes infests holly and maple, but it seems to be most common on dogwoods in North Carolina. The cottony camellia scale infests camellia and taxus. These latter two scales are in the genus Pulvinaria. Trees heavily infested with Pulvinaria scales may exhibit dieback. The month of June is a good time to spray insecticide for Pulvinaria scales as the lady beetles that specialize on feeding within the egg sacs of the scales will have then departed, and the crawlers and young scales are exposed on the leaves. Horticultural oil and Sevin are effective. The horticultural oil is a better choice since it is less likely to harm the beneficial insects. So the important thing to remember about Pulvinaria scales is that now is not a good time to treat for them because spraying kills lady beetles but not all of the eggs. Wait until late June to early July to treat.
 
Carpenter Bees
 
I've been out on the porches and decks this week-end and observed these large black and yellow bees buzzing around the siding and rafters. They resemble "bumblebees" and use strong mandibles to excavate tunnels about 1/2 inch in diameter, usually on the lower side of a board.
 
Males emerge from tunnels where they have spent the winter and begin to carouse about looking for the girls who usually show up later. The females begin to excavate the nesting sites (isn't that the way?) boring in about 1/2 inch or so, then turning 90 degrees to follow the grain of the wood. Sometimes several of the girls work together with a single entrance but separate quarters inside. Inside her own tunnel the female deposits a pollen ball and an egg. She seals this chamber with chewed wood and repeats the process several times.
 
The adults soon die and a new generation will hatch out later in the summer. They seldom create new tunnels but may clean out an old one to provide a nice place to spend the winter months while you bring in firewood.
 
I doubt that you can get rid of carpenter bees. They are simply one of the critters with whom we share this world. They are annoying, but we learn to live with annoyances and to minimize how annoying it is.
 
Entomologists with whom I have discussed this insect suggest that a tennis racket is the most effective control strategy, and they seem to be serious. They also suggest that treating the wooden surfaces with insecticide is of limited effectiveness for multiple reasons: 1) They are effective for only a short period even when reapplied every few weeks. 2) the bees don't actually eat the wood so they actually are exposed to only a sub-lethal dose. 3) any exposed wood may be subject to boring by carpenter bees, and there is usually a lot of surface that is not accessible with reasonable application strategies. (I don't include power washing your home with an insecticide among reasonable application strategies.) 4) trying to spray a moving bee in the air is probably neither wise nor safe. I can see you backing off the steps while spraying your mother-in-law with the insecticide. The tennis racket is probably more effective, but do watch where you lunge. I've gone in a circle now.
 
Treating individual holes with an insecticide spray or dust may reduce future activity but is not guaranteed. Be sure to stand upwind and be aware that a spray may ricochet back in your face. These treatments tend to be more effective if the individual hole is sealed afterward. And of course, accessibility to individual holes is no easier than spraying the whole house. I'm back to thinking tennis racket again.
 
The good news is that carpenter bees seldom create serious structural damage unless they are allowed to drill many tunnels over a period of years. And that argues for treating individual holes.
 
Lawns
 
The key to a happy, healthy lawn is to water it deeply, and then leave it for several days, depending upon the air temperature. By alternately soaking your lawn to a depth of 6-8” several times a week, and then allowing the top layer to dry out, your grass roots will develop deep down, not near the surface. By saturating this layer of soil deeply, you’ll stimulate dense root growth, which will help save your lawn during a drought.
 
What can be done to prevent lawn mower accidents? The following practices will prevent most accidents:
 
h         Read the operator’s manual. Read the instructions and then follow these instructions carefully. The manual explains safe procedures that should be followed.
h         Train operator. Be sure anyone operating the mower understands how the mower operates. Then demonstrate how it should be used. Observe the operator until satisfied that he / she can handle the mower safely.
h         Check your lawn before mowing. Objects picked up and hurled by the blade cause many injuries, even deaths. Clear the lawn of sticks, stones, toys, bones and other objects.
h         Check guards and shields. Be sure all protective devices are in place before starting the mower. Shields and guards are for your protection and will prevent numerous injuries if used.
h         Dress properly to do the job safely. No bare feet! No sandals! No sneakers! Always wear sturdy shoes; steel-toed safety shoes are preferred.
h         Handle gasoline with care. Do not fill the gasoline tank while the engine is running. Let it cool first. Fuel up outdoors, then wipe up all spills.
h         Keep all persons and pets away from mowing area. Remember, a mower blade can pick up and throw objects with force sufficient to seriously injure or kill.
h         No riders on riding mowers. Always say “no” to small children asking to ride the mower with you. Extra riders can be thrown from the mower and run over. Extra riders also distract an operator, contributing to careless mistakes.
h         No horseplay around lawn mower. Playing with a mower is asking for serious trouble. This has caused many serious injuries. Use a mower only for the purpose it was designed – to mow lawns.
h         Do not use riding mowers on steep slopes. Mower overturns cause serious injury. Drive up and down slopes when operating a riding mower. Mow across the slope when using a walk-behind mower.
h         Take care of your mower. The operator-presence switch should stop the mower immediately when you release the control. Clean and safety-check your mower during the mowing season. If you have any doubt about how to adjust or repair your mower or sharpen your mower blade, see an expert. An annual inspection by an experienced service person is a good idea anyway.
h         Store fuel safely. Store gasoline outside the house and away from any heat source. Frequently remind yourself and everyone in the family that gasoline is a volatile flammable liquid.
h         Use earplugs to preserve your hearing. Inability to hear high-pitched sounds is the first indication of damage. Hearing loss from loud noise is permanent.
Before Starting Mower
h         Put on close fitting clothes and sturdy, non-slip shoes.
h         If the lawn is wet – wait!
h         Go over the lawn carefully to pick up stones, wire, toys, dog bones – anything the mower blade might pick up and throw.
h         If your electric mower isn’t labeled "double insulated," never plug it into anything but a grounded (3-prong) outlet.
h         Adjust cutting height before starting mower.
While You Mow
h         Never run mower over gravel, stones or hard, immovable objects like pipes, rocks or sidewalk edges.
h         Mow advancing forward whenever possible so you can see where you’re going.
h         Keep electric mower cord out of the cutting path.
h         Stay clear of the blade housing and the discharge chute.
h         Never point discharge chute at others.
h         Turn off the mower before you leave it – even for a moment.
Be Sure To
h         Disconnect spark plug or power cord before working on your mower.
h         Treat gasoline like the volatile fuel it really is.
h         Keep the power cord of an electric mower in near-new condition
 
Safety practices are just common sense – but we often need reminders. Take a few minutes to review these safety suggestions at the beginning of each mowing season.
 
In The VegetableGarden
 
The “Three Sisters” Farming Technique
 
The principal vegetables cultivated by Native Americans elsewhere were corn, beans, squash, sunflowers, tobacco and gourds. Some eastern tribes employed an ingenious intercropping system with corn, beans and squash.
 
An Iroquois legend portrays corn, bean and squash as three loving sisters, who must always live together to be happy. The older sister (corn) grows tall, strong and graceful. The next younger sister (bean) loves to twine about her. The youngest sister (squash) rambles at the feet of the others. That all Indians grew the “three sisters” together is as mistaken as that all Indians lived in teepees. However, many cultures used the combination because it worked for them.
 
Corn stalks served as stakes for the beans. Bean roots were able to capture atmospheric nitrogen to feed the corn and squash. The squash’s prickly leaves protected the corn from raccoons and also shaded out weeds. This is so clever that gardeners often want to try it today.
 
Unfortunately, the system is not as workable for us as it was for its originators. If you have grown green beans, you know it’s best to harvest every few days. This means walking carefully among the squash vines, trying not to step on them. When corn is ready to pick, you may need to break the twining beans to pull off the ears.
 
Think about the difference. Native Americans were growing dried beans and flour corn. They could just leave the “three sisters” alone until the end of the growing season, then harvest them all at once
 
Plan a visit to our Extension office at 3309 Burlington Road in Greensboro and tour not only our Legacy Demonstration garden but our CommunityGardens. The Community Gardens Program, a project of the Extension Master Gardeners, has been expanding over the last several years to accommodate the increasing number of gardeners who no longer have land available to raise crops in. We now have 64 garden plots that are being leased. Each of those leasing a plot also commits to contribute 10% of what they produce back to the community as part of the Plant a Row for The Hungary Program. If you have extra produce from your garden later this season, feel free to drop this off at the Extension office and we’ll make sure it gets to the food banks and soup kitchens.
 
 
Local Strawberry Pre- Picked Or Pick Your Own
 
Apple Farm
Harold Apple (owner)
3922 High Rock Rd
GibsonvilleNC27249
336-621-4247
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own
Directions: Hwy. 29 north of Greensboro, right on to Hicone Rd to Huffine Mill Rd left), right onto High Rock Rd, .8 mile farm located on left. Hours: Monday – Friday 7 pm7 pm & Saturday 7 am5 pm
 
Bernie's Berries
James Kenan (owner)
6126 Jonquil Dr.
GreensboroNC27407
336-852-1594
Directions: I-85 Business South to Groometown Rd. exit # 33 old exit #120, turn south and go about 2.9 miles. Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own Hours: Monday-Saturday: 7 am until picked over.
 
Byrley’s Strawberries
David Byrley (owner)
5520 Coble Church Rd.
Julian, NC 27283
336-685-4740
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own; Greensboro Curb Market (Sat. only)
Directions: South on Alamance Church Road, turn right on Coble Church Road, cross Old Julian, 2nd house on right.
Hours: 
7 am7 pm Monday – Saturday; call ahead to verify
 
Fryar Farms
Philip Fryar (owner)
5631 Friedens Church Rd.
McLeansvilleNC27301
336-375-3337
336-697-7577
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own Directions: From Hwy 70 go north on McLeansville Rd. for 2.5 miles then right onto Friedens Church Rd (at the shopping center), go 0.5 miles on left.
 
Hours: 7:30 am7 pm Monday – Friday;
7:30 am6 pm Saturday
 
Greeson's Strawberry Farm
Fred and Sandra Greeson (owners)
5164 Watchtower Rd
Julian NC 27283
336-685-0360
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own Directions: Take Liberty Rd from Forest Oaks shopping center, go approximately 2 miles, turn left on to Donna Rd, go to stop sign left on Monnett Rd, go 150 yards right on Watchtower Rd.
 
Hours: Open Monday, Wednesday, Saturday 7:30 am7:30pm April 25th – October 15th
 
Ingram's Strawberry Patch
Richard Ingram (owner)
6121 Riverdale Rd
High PointNC27263
336-431-2368
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own Directions: Located 4 miles east of Archdale on Hwy. 62. On left side, 2 miles east on Hwy 62 off I-85.
Hours: 7 am11 am, 3 pm7 pm; Saturday 7 am-5 pm
 
Ma & Pa’s Strawberry Farm
Frank Yost (Owner)
6301 Lisa Lane
Oak Ridge, NC 27310
336-643-4583
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own
Directions: Hwy. 68 North, turn left on Meadows Rd., then turn right on Lisa Ln.
Hours: 7 am7 pm Monday – Saturday
 
May’s StrawberriesW.C. May (owner)
6810 McLeansville Rd
McLeansvilleNC 27301
336-375-3613
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own
Directions: East on Hicone Road, turn left onto McLeansville Road, go 1.25 miles on right.
Hours: 7 am7 pm all week
 
Rudd Farm
Kenneth Rudd (owner)
4021 Hicone Rd
GreensboroNC27405
336-621-1264
Type of Market: Pre-Pick or Pick Your Own Directions: Hwy 29 N to Hicone Rd, left onto Hicone Rd, 0.1 mile on right
Hours: 7:30 am7 pm Monday – Friday;
7:30 am6 pm Saturday
 
Payne Strawberries
John Henry Payne (owner)
7648 NC 61 North
Browns Summit, NC27214
336-656-3530
Directions: 1 mile south of NC 150
Type of Market: Pre-pick
Hours: 7 am until dark
 
Smith’s Produce
Craven Smith (owner)
6806 Tickle Road
Gibsonville, NC27249
336-656-3574
Type Of Market: Pre-Picked: sold at Greensboro Curb Market Saturday morning
 
Sawyer’s Strawberries
Alan Sawyer (owner)
4605 Randleman Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27406
336-215-1215; 336-382-6257
Type of Market: Pre-Pick
Directions: 5 miles south of I-40 on s. Elm/Eugene or Randleman Rd. (1.8 miles south of I-85 bypass)
Hours: Call For availability Monday – Saturday
 
USE OF NAMES DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE N. C. COOPERATIVE EXTENSION OF THE BUSINESSES NAMED NOR CRITICISM OF SIMILAR BUSINESSES NOT MENTIONED. ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO PROVIDE ACCURATE INFORMATION.
 
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Upcoming Events:
 
“Enhancing Your Garden With Vegetables, Herbs and Edible Flowers” 
May 15th, 2006 @ 7:15 PM - 9:00 PM
Greensboro, NC
Presenters: John Neville, HeadGardenerDikeMansion Charlotte
Event Location
NaturalScienceCenter
Lawndale Dr.
Greensboro, NC
 
Contact
Ginny Leone at (336) 852-3209
Event Sponsor
Guilford Horticulture Society
 
May 21st, 2006 @ 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Greensboro, NC
Presenters: Kaye and Steve Arnold, Critter Creek Farm, Seagrove. There will be a slide program depicting the astonishing evolution of daylilies through hybridization over the past fifty years and a look at the future.
 
Event Location
Greensboro Arboretum Educational Facility
401 Ashland Dr.
Greensboro, NC
 
Contact
Karen Neill at (336) 375-5876
 
Event Sponsor
NC Cooperative Extension, GuilfordCounty, and Greensboro Beautiful
 
Fall Gardening Gala / Regional Advanced VMG Training Conference
October 4, 2006 at 8:30 am through 4:00 pm

The Fall Gardening Gala is a special day devoted to horticulture. This year's speakers include: Dr. Dennis Werner, Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum; and Barbara Pleasant, former Master Gardener and garden writer for Carolina Gardener Magazine. Workshop speakers will be entomologist Dr. Tom Creswell; organic expert Debbie Roos; Paul Fontz, botony specialist, will cover scientific names and how they are chosen, and Dr Marihelen Glass of North CarolinaA&TUniversity, will give tips on Propagating Hydrangeas. Master Gardeners will also be giving tours of the Community and Legacy demonstration gardens located on site. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $25.00, or $30.00 at the door.
 
Event Location
GuilfordCounty Agricultural Center
3309 Burlington Road
Greensboro, NC27405
 
Contact Mary Olson at (336) 852-7345
 
See our Upcoming program section of our website at: http://www.guilfordgardenanswers.org or send me (Karen_neill@ncsu.edu) your suggestions for program topics and I will make every effort to schedule these.
 
Karen Neill
Urban Horticulture Agent
NC Cooperative Extension
GuilfordCountyCenter
3309 Burlington Road
Greensboro, NC 27405
Phone: 336-375-5876
Fax: 336-375-2295
 


Back Porch Art by Mark Ferencik 1998