How to Plant Bulbs in the Yard for a Colorful Spring!

It’s almost time to plant bulbs for the spring, which means figuring out a design plan for where all your flowers will grow. Neat rows and clusters are most popularly envisioned. But have you ever thought about naturalizing them? To naturalize bulbs, means to plant them in such a way that they appear to have grown without any rx-dk-lgc05602_plant-bulb-hole_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-966-725human intervention. (Which means
neat rows and clusters- you’re out!) You can accomplish naturalizing in already established beds and borders, barren sections of the yard, and if done correctly even in the lawn. The overall goal is to keep the illusion that it was unplanned. If growing bulbs in the lawn sounds like fun, there is important information to be aware of. Only select bulbs that bloom early, their foliage must not be just down until it withers and browns on it’s own. This is because leaves serve a great purpose, working hard to synthesize or produce food for energy in the following year. Cutting back too early will starve your plants. (Since you don’t want to be that neighbor on the block with foot-tall grass waiting foryour plants to die back, it is best to avoid growing plants that will grow into lawn season.) The best plants to naturalize, are the ones that will multiply and gradually spread out over the years. Some great options include snowdrops, white squill, crocus, grape hyacinth, glory of the snow, blue squill and early daffodils. The most fun way to “plan” your unplanned garden if to toss bulbs in the air and plant them where they land. If a little re-adjustment is needed, thats okay. The goal is to create drifts instead of rows or clusters. If you crocus4want a bit more control of the operation, you can outline an area with a garden hose or rope and toss your bulbs in that general area. If mixing bulbs sounds like fun, throw the larger bulbs first, and work down in size until they all are on the ground. To ensure some extra informality, place a few bulbs outside of the boundary for good measure. When all the bulbs are in place, dig them in the ground. You should add a teaspoon of fertilizer to each planting hole, along with a small handful of crushed oyster shell. This discourages squirrels and other critters from digging up the bulbs. They find the texture of shells to be irritating and unpleasant when digging, and as a bonus the shells will release nutrients into the ground that will help nourish the bulbs! Happy planting!



Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

Master Gardener Events

The Master Gardener Newsletter is a great service to be subscribed to. It let’s us know about future events and classes being held by and for Master Gardeners on Long Island! The Master Gardeners will be holding a Spring Gardening School on April 22, 2017 for Earth Day. They are in need of instructors for workshops in the following topics:

  • Landscape Alternatives to Lawns
  • Fairy Gardens
  • Gardening for the Birds
  • Accessible Gardens: Low-Maintenance Techniques for Everyone
  • Designing Drought- Tolerant Landscapes
  • Engaging Children in the Garden
  • Growing Food in the Winter

This is the 2017 SGS Instructor’s Workshop Description Form to fill out and submit toRobin Simmen no later then November 16. This will give CCE Suffolk enough time to create the registration brochure and send it to all instructors for proofreading before they publish it in January. The workshop description form will be mailed with individual evaluations to all the people who taught in 2016. However, if they want to get ahead on submitting workshop ideas for 2017, they can download the form and get started! They ask if you haven’t taught before, they need you and your ideas! Consider offering a workshop next April at Spring Gardening School. The Master Gardeners also came up with a list of committee chairs and co-chairs (if there is no name listed, they need someone (maybe you!) to step forward and help organize that area.) The listed chair people will be looking for and collecting the names of committee members, so please email them directly to join these committees.

  • Breakfast and lunch monitors – Carol Tvelia,
  • Information Packets – ?
  • Indoor/Outdoor signs and maps – Diane Herold,
  • On-Site Check-In – Barbara Renner,
  • Digital Media Help – Kathleen Cleary,
  • Raffle Prize Donations – ?
  • Information/Big Raffle Prize Sales – ?
  • Spring Gift Basket Sales – ?
  • Plant Sale – Denise Zizzo, and Brian Smith,
  • Classroom Assistants/Soil Testing – Mary Howe,
  • Door Prizes – Barbara Renner,
  • Transporting Raffles to School Location – ?

A great way to volunteer your time as a Master Gardener is to help make Spring Gardening School a success! The next meeting to plan is scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd at 1:00PM at Griffing Avenue. They ask you to please RSVP to

2017 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Course

Applications for the 2017 MG Volunteer Training Course are available online on the Master Gardener Volunteer page of their website at The next training course for new MG Volunteers will be held in 2017, beginning February 1 and ending June 28. Weekly Wednesday evening lectures will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m. at CCE Suffolk, 423 Griffing Avenue in Riverhead. Starting April 1, Saturday morning classes will also be held 9:00 a.m.-noon in the field (weather permitting) every other week at various locations from Amityville to Riverhead until the course ends June 28. The cost of the course remains $375 with an additional $125 deposit, refunded upon completion of 125 hours of volunteer service. The deadline to apply for the 30 seats available is October 31, 2016.

Agriculture, Food & Environmental Systems In-Service Conference at Cornell in Ithaca Open to MG Volunteers

Registration for the 2016 Cornell Cooperative Extension conference is now open! The deadline to register is October 7. You can complete a registration form by visiting the Ag In-Service website at and clicking on the “Registration” tab. This conference is open to all CCE educators, volunteers, and community partners. Note that in addition to horticulture, there are other subject tracks such as invasive species, environment and natural resources, etc. You can register for any track in any given session.


Master Gardener Volunteers Needed 

Please contact to volunteer for any of these projects:


The Seniors Center in Aquebogue at 60 Shade Tree Lane

would like MG Volunteer assistance to plant an herb and/or vegetable garden with hopes that the kitchen staff could use plants from the garden to prepare lunch for senior citizens. Sponsored by the Riverhead Recreation Department, this Senior Center would like it to become an intergenerational garden where classes on using culinary, medicinal, or fragrance herbs could be scheduled for the public at large.
The Riverhead Free Library is looking for assistance in redesigning and replanting the gardens on their grounds. Your expertise will be recognized by plaques confirming your hard work. Please stop by and take a look at the potentially beautiful area surrounding the building. The library is looking for mostly native plants and easy care growth that will invite patrons to tour the presentations.
Long Island Maritime Museum (LIMM) depends on a small group of MGVs to maintain its modest-sized main garden, Long Island native plant/butterfly garden, and Bayman’s Cottage garden. They could use some additional help with weeding, trimming, and watering. LIMM runs a summer camp program for K-6, has regular visitors and large gatherings such as the Seafood, Pirate, and Kite Festivals. If you’re in the West Sayville area and can devote an hour or so a week, they would love to have you join them.

Meadowcroft, the gardens of the John Ellis Roosevelt estate supported by the Bayport Heritage Association on Middle Road near the Sayville-Bayport border, seeks MG Volunteers to work once a week on Friday mornings for a couple of hours, from June to September. Meadowcroft consists of a rose garden, perennial garden,annual garden, herb garden, and vegetable garden. Bring gardening gloves, bucket for compost additions, kneeling pad, any hand garden tools you may have, and a desire to dig in. They will supply herb flavored water (bring a drinking vessel), pleasant conversation, and MGV camaraderie.

Mercy Haven’s Growing Together Community Garden was created in 2012 and has harvested thousands of pounds of fresh produce that goes directly to its residents, garden members, and  food pantries. The Garden is located in Brentwood, Long Island, behind the Mercy Enrichment House, a central gathering space for affiliates of Mercy Haven, a nonprofit agency that provides housing and services to Long Islanders who are homeless, living with mental illness, or living in poverty. Mercy Haven is always looking for volunteers who can not only gain the benefits of the harvested produce, but also the benefits of working together and creating a healthier community.

Maureen’s Haven and ADD (Aid to the Developmentally Disabled) in Riverhead have joined forces to create a new community garden downtown on Lincoln Avenue. This new open green space benefits group home residents of ADD and participants of Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach, and provides common ground for growing plants that feed, heal, and offer aesthetic pleasure. The new community garden is a place where everyone in the community can garden for nourishment and pleasure. MG Volunteers are requested to assist with this exciting new green space in Riverhead.

The Mount Sinai Garden Club, which meets at the Heritage Park in Mount Sinai on the first Thursday of every month at 7:15 p.m., is looking for Master Gardeners to speak on the following subjects: composting, ticks,vegetable gardening, creating a plant maze, transplanting, rose care.

Bridge Gardens, the botanic garden in Bridgehampton, invites MG Volunteers to get involved in its weekly routines of weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, and pest management in its ornamental and vegetable gardens. Bridge Gardens can offer MG Volunteers experience with herbs, roses, annuals, perennials, and shrubs and trees, both native and exotic. The staff are flexible about work schedules. If you are interested, please feel free to contact Rick Bogusch, Bridge Gardens Manager, at 631-537-7440.

William Rall Elementary School in Lindenhurst received a grant to install a Tisch Garden, which has been planted, and is looking for MG Volunteers to help start a gardening club to teach young students about gardening.
The Education Garden at Bethel Hobbs Community Farm in Centereach grows flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects for the farm, and welcomes MG Volunteers who want to help with this effort. Fresh vegetables grown at the farm are donated to Long Island soup kitchens and food pantries.
The Farm at St. Peters, a beautiful hidden oasis behind St. Peters by the Sea Episcopal Church off Montauk Highway in Bayshore, is looking for volunteers to assist with bed preparation, planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. This CSA serves 20-25 member families and could use some MG Volunteer assistance.
Long Island Harvest has many opportunities to help promote food security by creating school and community gardens, encouraging farmers to grow an extra row, doing field gleanings at the end of the growing season, and teaching people how to grow healthy food. Help is also needed to repair their greenhouses behind their warehouse in Hauppauge.
Thank you to CCE and Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter for the original information.

Great Garden Awards 2016

Great Garden Awards were just awarded! Volunteer Gardeners plant our Project Bloom seedlings in gardens around Islip. This year, we honored six Project Bloom garden groups with Great Garden Award signs and plants. You can click on their names to see each garden! The groups which were recognized at the last Keep Islip Clean meeting were:

Great Garden Award – Rotary Park

Nancy Angermaier received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for The Common Ground at Rotary Park in Sayville in 2016. All of the flowers were very bright and colorful. Flowers that were growing included Zinnias, Marigolds, Snapdragons and Alyssum. The flowers were in beds surrounding a large circular patio, where there was benches as well.

Great Garden Award – Slocum Elementary

Justina Rote of Edith L. Slocum Elementary School received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for two garden courtyards and an accompanying educational program at the school. It is so lovely seeing gardening being implemented into after school activities. It gives children something constructive to do while being outside, and it’s fun! There was even homemade steeping stone that the children made, in the underbrush. How cute! 

Great Garden Award – North Great River Civic Association

Sue Pellegrino and Neil Finnin of North Great River Civic Association received two Great Garden Awards from Project Bloom for two locations in Central Islip. One is a large traffic island on Windsor Place and a separate location near Maple Place and Sportsmen Street. Here is the photos for Maple Place and Sportsmen Street. This garden was very patriotic themed.

Great Garden Award – North Great River Civic Association

Sue Pellegrino and Neil Finnin of North Great River Civic Association received two Great Garden Awards from Project Bloom for two locations in Central Islip. One is a large traffic island on Windsor Place and a separate location near Maple Place and Sportsmen Street. Here is the photos for Windsor Place. The bed was very patriotic themed. 

Great Garden Award – Northeast Neighborhood Committee

Doris Davidson and the volunteers of the Northeast Neighborhood Committee have received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for the community garden at Fulton Street and Commercial Boulevard in Brentwood. The bed was lush and tended to nicely. Some of the flowers planted in the garden were Black Eyed Susans, Zinnias and large hostas. 

Great Garden Award – Jacob Clock

Eagle Scout Jacob Clock has received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for the plantings he did at the American Legion Hall in Islip. His garden was beautiful and carefully tended to. In the center of the garden was a plaque in memoriam to past american legion members. Some of the flowers planted include Marigolds, Zinnias and coleus. 

Project Bloom Greenhouse Update

We had a Project Bloom tree-planting photo-op at the greenhouse on 9/1616, and Trish Bergin and Alexis Weik came. When they saw the bad condition of the greenhouse, they mentioned that there might be an opportunity to get funding for greenhouse repairs or restoration from another source. In a follow up email, Trish asked if there was any quotes available. We contacted the vendor who supplies Greenhouse products and asked them to give a quote. He came out that day. The following day, I went out and saw the greenhouse restoration project over at Meadow Edge at the West Sayville Maritime Museum. It was amazing!!! I called and got the name of the company that did that job, and they came out and met with me and Bob this week. We are waiting for a final labor quote which we will present to a contact at the Parks Department. This is the PDF file with historic and current photos of the greenhouse and examples of other options.

We had a few ideas for the greenhouse:

The first plan would be to remove the old glass from the greenhouse, and install a new metal framework with polycarbonate panels to replace the glass. Photos of similar polycarbonate greenhouses are included in the attached pdf file of photos. This would make use of the existing natural gas heater, which is still in good shape, and the existing brick foundation.

Another option would be to turn the existing greenhouse into a Butterfly & Pollinator House / Environmental Educational Center and build a new polycarbonate greenhouse adjacent to the old one. This would further our goal of creating a teaching garden, and the new greenhouse could be ADA compliant.

A third option would be a complete renovation similar to the amazing work done on the antique greenhouse restoration at the Sayville Maritime Museum/Meadow Edge. 

Our goal was just to keep the Project Bloom operation going next year since a full-blown restoration was likely too expensive. With the polycarbonate option or the option of putting a Butterfly House screen on the old frame, it would not prevent a full restoration in the future. 


Built in the early 1900’s, the greenhouse at Brookwood Hall was part of the original South Shore Estate. When the mansion was used as an orphanage in the 1940s – 1960s, children would help in the gardens, as seen in the photo below.


This photo was dated to 1953 from the East Islip Historical Society.

In the next photo you can see a hedge-lined driveway leading to the carriage house at Brookwood Hall. In the background, the greenhouse sits in front of the fields with overhead irrigation.


Restored in 1993, the first Project Bloom Season was in 1994, with 6000 plants being distributed throughout Islip.
Brookwood Hall Greenhouse has been at the heart of our community gardening program ever since.


Due to lack of maintenance, the greenhouse is falling apart. It has not been painted since the 1993 restoration.  This past year has been the worst with broken panes and rotted wood. Because of the bad framing structure, glass panes have been falling out. This past June, the top roof panel which was loose in April, had finally collapsed into the gardens.



This is what the top roof pane looked like before it fell into the vegetable garden.

The caulk is so worn and weak, that when the wind blows, panels of glass are just blown out.  This photo below was taken on September 21st, 2016. It shows a different roof panel about to come off the building.


Due to the missing panes of glass, one of our gardeners (aged 89) had to makeshift repair with a panel of styrofoam and an office chair for support. This was used to block freezing air from killing our seedlings this spring. This pane of glass is still missing 9 months later.


Thank you to all the volunteers who took seedlings and planted gardens in Islip. Here is a small but beautiful spot.


We are hoping for a replacement greenhouse, and this is what we are being quoted for by one vendor. This example shows the building installed at ground level.


We recently visited the greenhouse at Meadow Edge in Sayville. Their greenhouse was just totally restored. Here are before and after photos of the restoration. This is what we dream of for Project Bloom, but small steps first!






To see more photos of the Project Bloom Greenhouse, click the link below to view the complete pdf file.


Cover Crops

By now, you have started to overwinter some of your favorite plants. With your garden bare, it is the time to plant cover crops. What are cover crops you ask? These are plants used to help protect and renew your soil. Cover crops can:

  • Suppress weeds
  • Protect soil from rain or runoff
  • Improve soil aggregate stability
  • Reduce surface crusting
  • Add active organic matter to the soil
  • Breaking hardpan
  • Fixing the nitrogen levels
  • Scavenging soil nitrogen
  • Suppressing soil diseases and pests

Most plants can be used as cover crops, the most popular being Legumes and grasses (including cereals.) More and more people are gaining interest in using brassicas (such as rape, mustard, and forage radish) and continued interest in others, such as buckwheat.

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension  and SARE for the original information. You can read about Cornell more here, and SARE here.

Ugly Pumpkins Need Some Love Too

Every October, families rush to their favorite pumpkin patch or super market to find the “perfect pumpkin.” With more than 30 varieties of pumpkin to choose from, its no surprise that there are “less then perfect pumpkins” in the lot. Ugly pumpkins (also known as fancy pumpkins) are gaining popularity over the recent years. These pumpkins are perfect for your porch on Halloween. They can be bumpy, splotchy, or even look like a toad. It adds atmosphere. Ugly pumpkins are great for Jack-O-Lantern’s that want to be unusual and out of the box. Here are some photos of ugly pumpkins. Go pick one up!

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Thank you to Jim Merritt for the original information. You can read more here.

Fall Perennials

Here are the perennials growing for fall right now. We managed to capture a photo of a bumble bee perched on one of the flowers along the shed. He must have been in the process of pollinating! I love when plants bloom during the fall, its a beautiful mix of summer plants with the new winter plants. 

September Annuals

We grew many annuals and perennials in our yard this year. Here is photos of the annuals that we grew. Some of the plants include Tomatoes, Dusty Miller, Coleus, Gerber Daisies and Marigolds. All of the colors are so vibrant and beautiful! The Marigolds are so bright and the yellow color is so nice! 


This year we had a few annuals grow back up for us. The reason the plants came back up is because they re-seeded themselves. This phenomenon can happen with both annuals and biennials. We like to call these reseeding plants,  Our Volunteers. I wish all my annuals would do that every year! I especially love the deep color of the purple Oxalis. 


We recently took a trip up to Redhook. We walked along ‘Poet’s Walk’ which was next to the Hudson River. At the top of the walk, there is an Overlook House that you can see Kingston Bridge from.

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Creepy Plants for Halloween

Halloween is around the corner- which means pumpkin picking, costumes and gardening? Halloween is meant for fun and dressing up in costumes. Everyone’s houses are skillfully decorated as well, so why not decorate your garden? This is a follow-up list to our last post about black plants for October. You can read that here.

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4 Ways To Keep Cut Flowers Alive Longer

Everyone loves fresh cut flowers from the garden, but they wilt and die so quickly. Even flowers bought from a florist or grocery store have the same results after a mere week. Here is a list of 4 tips to help you keep your flowers alive longer.

  1. Sear the stems. Searing has a miraculous effect on vase life, even if flowers have flopped- many flowers have a total recovery after searing. To sear, put 1 to 2-inches of boiling water into a mug to dip your stems in. The amount of stem that you keep in the water depends on the overall length. Putting 10 percent of the plant in is usually the beat amount. Any plant that looks floppy should have the stems seared for about 30 seconds, woody stems need a bit longer. Therefore, bluebells only need 10 seconds while lilacs need 30. With short-stemmed plants, wrap the flower in newspaper to keep away from the steam.
  2. Add flower food to water. This is an important step. You can buy proprietary brands in sachets to sprinkle in the vase at stores, or you can make your own. Tap water is alkaline, which is an ideal breeding ground for many bacteria. The flower food provides nutrients for the plants but also makes the water inhabitable for bacteria.
  3. Make your own flower food. In a 1-foot tall vase, use one teaspoon of bleach or about five tablespoons of cheap clear vinegar. One old wives’ tale suggests that you add aspirin, or half a cup of lemonade to your cut flower water. The aspirin contains salicylic acid; lemonade contains sugar and citric acid. Proprietary flower food also includes sugar. The sugar feeds the flowers but can also feed the bacteria. It is always a good idea to put a drop of bleach in water with strong smelling plants such as alliums, cleomes, and any brassicas to prevent their characteristic pong from developing.
  4. Give your flowers a break. All plants picked from the garden benefit from a rest before arrangements. This means giving the flowers a few hours , or even a full night, in a bucket of water in a cool dark place. Fill the buckets with tepid, not ice-cold water. The plants are more susceptible to absorb it more easily at this temperature. Giving plants a rest, increases vase life by a quarter or more.

Thank you to Sarah Raven from The Telegraph for the original information. You can read more here.

Combat Fungus Gnats In a Pinch!

The first frost will be upon Long Island soon, so it’s time to start over-wintering your plants. One issue that arises during the process of moving your beautiful plants inside, is fungus gnats. These little buggers fly everywhere once inside, and always seem to be right by your face. Born in damp soil, the larvae are 1/4-inch with a shiny black head and a long white, transparent body. They feed on root hairs, fungi and other organic materials which can damage tender plant roots. Larvae need two weeks of feeding in the soil before reaching the pupal stage and finally full adulthood. Symptoms that indicate fungus gnats (besides the adult gnats flying around) include sudden wilting, loss of vigor and yellowing. Some plants that are especially prone to gnats are Geraniums, African Violets, Carnations and Poinsettias. Here is a list of tips that you can use, to combat these minuscule pests for good.

  1. First figure out which plant is hosting the gnats. You can do this by sticking yellow sticky traps in each plant. After a couple of days it will be crystal clear where the epicenter of your problem is.
  2. Since fungus gnats do well in damp soil, it is best not to overwater. Especially in the winter when plants use much less water. Allow the soil to dry to a depth of one to two inches between waterings to help eliminate larvae and eggs. Not only will this kill any preexisting gnats, it makes the soil un-appealing to egg bearing females.
  3. Another way to use that magical yellow sticky tape is to place strips horizontally at the soil surface to capture any egg laying adults. Gnats are attracted to the bright yellow color.
  4. If letting your plants dry out isn’t doing the trick, you can try using a sprinkle of either Gnat Nix or Mosquito Bits along the top of the soil. This will disrupt the gnats life cycle at any point in their life-cycle.
  5. An all natural and home-made remedy gnat insecticide also can work. To make this, mix together peppermint, cinnamon and sesame oil. This also works for other types of insects that gather around windows.
  6. If you are not about putting any dressings into your plants, another option is to put Beneficial Nematodes in the soil. Nematodes are microscopic round worms that penetrate fungus gnatlarvae (as well as harmful lawn and garden grubs, fleas, and other soil-borne pests) and then release a bacterium that consumes the pe

    Hypoaspis Aculeifer

    st from the inside out. The long-lasting Nematodes are safe for use around pets, plants and of course- your family.

  7. You can even buy the natural predator of fungus gnats. It’s name is Hypoaspis Aculeifer and is a tiny and effective killer of the gnats. Upon release, they create a slow and steady decline in
    pest numbers. This insect attacks the larvae and feeds on their contents. Release 10,000 predators per 200-1,000 square feet depending on pest levels.

A helpful tip when buying potted plants from the store, carefully turn up the soil near the base of the plant and look for glossy,  clear larvae. Reject any plant that sends up flying gnats.

Thank you to Plant Natural for the original information. You can read more here.


Intercostal Cleanup at Knapps Lake

Photos attached of our day on Knapps Lake at Brookwood Hall for the Intercostal cleanup.
I filled out the “Citizen Scientist” sheets and sent them in the provided envelope so our debris could be counted as part of a global coastal cleanup inventory.

We found stuff we couldn’t get out of the lake:

  • A picnic table floating upside down in middle of lake
  • Construction lumber near Union Blvd. culvert.
  • A Rolling desk chair
  • Cabinet door
  • 4 Tires
  • Full sized garbage can
  • Large amount of landscape fabric at shoreline of new esplanade.

We should probably go back. We weren’t able to cover a lot of ground, because the lake is so shallow in some areas, it was hard to navigate. We only did the area north of the fishing dock, along the east side.

KIC Award

Bob and I were honored at last night’s Keep Islip Clean (KIC) meeting with a nice certificate of appreciation for our efforts with Project Bloom


Autumn Festivals on Long Island 2016

Here is a list of fall festivals and fairs happening this upcoming autumn this year! Go out and have some family fun!

Long Island Family Festival
Tanner Park in Copaigue, Admission: free
September 16 (6-10pm), September 17 (11am-10pm), and September 18 (11am-6pm)

Pickle Festival
John Gardiner Farm in Greenlawn, Admission: $5 donation, free if younger than 12
September 17 (10am-4pm)

Schmitt Family Farm Fall Festival
6 Bagatelle Rd. in Dixhills, Admission: free, fees apply for games and rides
Saturdays and Sundays through October 30 including Columbus Day (10am-6pm)

Dockside Family Festival
Captree State Park in Babylon, Admission: free, $8 parking fee
September 17 and 18 (11am-5pm)

Garlic Festival 
Garden of Eve Farm in Riverhead, Admission: $5, free if 6 and younger
September 17 and 18 (10am-6pm)

Hicks Nurseries Fall Festival
100 Jericho Tpke in Westbury, Admission: free, accepting non-perishable food donations
September 17 through October 30 (8am-6pm)

Fink’s Country Farm Fall Festival
6242 Middle Country Rd in Wading River, Admission: $15, free if 2 or younger
September 17 through October 30 (9:30am-5:30pm)

Cow Harbor Day
Northport Village Park in Northport, Admission: free, $30 pay-one-price rides
September 18 (11am-5pm)

Fall Festival at Dees’ Nursery
69 Atlantic Ave in Oceanside, Admission: free, small fee for crafts and activities
Every weekend in October including Oct. 10, and excluding halloween weekend (11am-5pm)

East End Marine Festival
Village of Greenport, Admission: free
September 23 (6:30pm-9pm), 24 (10am-5pm), and 25 (9am-5pm)

Fish Hatchery Fall Fair
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium in Cold Spring Harbor, Admission: $6, $4 for ages 3-12 and 65 and older
September 24 (10am-4:30pm)

Harvest Fair
Rogers Mansion in Southhampton, Admission: free
September 24 (starts at 11am)

Valley Stream Community Fest
Rockaway Ave in Valley Stream, Admission: free
September 24 (10am-5pm)

Family Festival by the Sea
630 Lido Blvd in Lido Beach, Admission: free
September 24 and 25 (11am-6:30pm)

Queens County Fair
Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park, Admission: $10, #5 for ages 12 and younger
September 24 and 25 (11am-6pm)

Long Island Fair
Old Bethpage Restoration in Old Bethpage, Admission: $12, $8 for ages 5 to 12
September 30 to October 2 (10am-5pm)

Fall Farm Festival at White Post Farms
White Post Farms in Melville, Admission: $19
Weekends starting September 24 through October 30 (10am-4pm)

Long Island Apple Festival
Sherwood-Jayne House in Setauket, Admission: $7, $5 for children and seniors
September 25 (11am-4:30pm)

Long Island Potato Festival
Elks Lodge in Southhampton, Admission: $20, free for ages 12 and younger
September 25 (11am-4pm)

Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, Admission: $12, Free for ages 3 and younger
October 1 and 2 (11am-5pm)

San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons
Hampton Bays Rail Road Station in Hampton Bays, Admission: free
October 1 (10am-10pm), October 2 (10am-8pm)

Fall Harvest Festival 
Brightwaters Farm in Bayshore, Admission: $10, free for ages 1 and younger
October 1 through October 30 (9am-5pm)

Long Island Fall Festival
Heckscher Park in Huntington, Admission: free
October 7 (5pm-10pm), October 8 and 9 (11am-9pm), October 10 (11am-5pm)

Fall Harvest Festival 
Mill Neck Manor House in Mill Neck, Admission: $15 a vehicle
October 8 and 9 (9am-5pm)

Montauk Fall Festival
Village Green, Admission: free
October 8 and 9 (11am-5pm)

Barnyard Adventure and Fall Festival at Harbes Family Farm
Harbes Farm in Mattituck, Admission: $7.95 on weekdays, $12.95 weekends
Late September to the end of October (9am-6pm)

Harvest Festival
Bennett’s Farm in East Setauket, Admission: $8, $6 for ages 12 and younger
October 9 (12pm-4pm)

Crestwood’s Fall Fair and Open House
313 Round Swamp Road in Melville, Admission: free
October 15 (11am-3pm)

Rolling River Fall Festival
477 Ocean Ave in East Rockaway, Admission: free
October 15 (12pm-4pm)

Oyster Festival
West End Ave in Oyster Bay, Admission: free
October 15 and 16 (11am-6pm)

Great Jack-O-Latern Spectacular Sail
Belmont Lake State Park in North Babylon, Admission: free
October 29 (3pm-6:30pm)

Spooky Fest
Tanglewood Preserve in Rockville Centre, Admission: your choice of $10 or $15
October 15 through October 30 weekends (6:30pm-9:30pm)

Center Moriches Fall Festival
Center Moriches, Admission: free
October 15 (9am-6pm)

Huntington Historical Society Apple Festival
434 Park Ave in Huntington, Admission: free
October 16 (12pm-4pm)

Village Day Fall Festival
Sandy Point Preserve in Sands Point, Admission: $20 per vehicle, or $10 with season pass
October 16 (1pm-4pm)

West Hills Fall Festival
21 Sweet Hollow Road in Huntington, Admission: free
October 22 (11am-3pm)

Thank you to Newsday for the original information, you can read more here. 

New Shed in the backyard

Bob is working on building us a new shed in the back corner to put all the crap that doesn’t fit in the other shed. Our friend Cindy had a new patio poured at her condo and Bob and I collected up the 1000 old pavers in many trips in the truck! And a couple of years ago, when we had the driveway installed to replace the pea gravel that was there, we had the guys scrape off the old gravel and dump it in a pile in the back. We wheelbarrowed in the gravel and laid the pavers over it for the floor of the new shed. Looks great. Bob cut down our original Christmas tree because it would have had to come down eventually, and this way it doesn’t crush the new shed. It was from our first year in the house – and was 35 feet tall! There will be 2 entrances with glass doors and 3 windows, all salvaged from our house or someone else’s trash. Photos of the progress are attached below!

Wasp Nests!

A couple of days ago, I noticed a large almost bee-hive looking ball in my front yard Dogwood. Upon closer examination- it turns out to be a giant wasps nest! Not only was there one wasp nest- there was two. Right above where I park my car to boot! We have called an exterminator to help us deal with this problem and remove the nests, but for now they stay. You can capture wasps just like yellow-jackets, if you are worried about them flying in your backyard and potentially stinging someone. You can read our article on How To Make A Yellow-Jacket Trap to help guide you through building a trap. Heres what the nests look like in our tree.

Project Bloom Update 8/9/16

Here’s what is growing in the children’s garden at Project Bloom right now! We have Sugar Baby Watermelons, Birdhouse Gourds, Pumpkins and Gallardia. We have also set up a tic-tac-toe board that we made. The game board is made from an old tree stump, and the cute game pieces are painted rocks. The rocks are painted to look like lady bugs and turtles! 

Plant now, enjoy later!

Picture this- the weather is crisp, the fireplace is lit, you are surrounded by friends and family in a perfectly decorated house. Everyone is sitting down for dinner when-oh no, there are no fresh vegetables. How do you solve this conundrum now? By planting your seeds early. It’s true, planting winter vegetables are probably the last thing on your mind right now. You’re most likely too preoccupied getting that perfect tan while sipping a cold refreshing drink. But, if you want a tasty and bountiful fall harvest, start planting now! Root vegetables and Leafy greens grow best in cooler weather. Cole crops such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and kohlrabi actually benefit from a touch of frost. Lettuces wither under the hot summer sun, but by starting them now means you will be having garden fresh salad well into October. Plant arugula, mustard greens, radishes and spinach now and they will be ready by September. Chinese greens germinate and grow much more quickly than other greens in the garden. Scallions and parsley can survive most of the winter outdoors. Beets, Swiss chard, parsnips, and peas are also great to have in your fall garden. A way to further extend the season of root vegetables is to mulch heavily when frost threatens.

Plants that can withstand a hard frost (below 28 degrees) include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnip
  • Leeks
  • Sorrel

Plants that can withstand a light frost (28-32 degrees) include:

  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
  • Parsnips
  • Swiss Chard
  • Escarole
  • Arugula
  • Bok Choy
  • Mache
  • Radicchio

Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

Long Island Farmers’ Markets

There is nothing like waking up early on the weekend and going down to the Farmers’ Market to buy fresh and local amenities. From produce to breads and even soaps- the choices are limitless! But what about other markets? Surely there are more then just the one in my town. What kind of choices do they have two towns over? This is a list for anyone who is a serial Farmer Marketer or is new to the whole buy local scene. Locations and times for Farmers’ Markets on Long Island (Suffolk County.)

Amityville (EBT) (FC)
Marks of Excellence Farm Stand
455 Albany Ave.
Thursday 3pm – 6pm Ÿ Jun 30 – Sep 29

Village of Amityville Farmers’ Market
21 Ireland Place
Friday 2pm – 7pm Ÿ Jun 3 – Nov 18

Babylon Village Farmers’ Market (EBT)
LIRR Babylon Station parking lot
Railroad & Deer Park Aves.
Sunday 8 am – 1 pm Ÿ Jun 5 – Nov 20

Greater Bellport Community Youth Market (EBT)
Boys & Girls Club, 471 Atlantic Ave.
Saturday 11am – 4pm Ÿ Jul 9– Oct 29

Brentwood (EBT) (VF)
FREE’s Farm at Brentwood
St. Joseph’s Convent 1725 Brentwood Rd.
Tues/Thur 12pm – 4 pm  Jun 1 – Oct 31

Sunny Side Farmers’ Market
The YJCC 74 Hauppauge Rd.
Thursday 11am – 6pm  Jun 30 – Oct 27

Deer Park
Tanger Farmers’ Market
Tanger Outlets, surrounding the fountain at The Piazza
Saturday 10am – 3pm Ÿ Jun 4 – Nov 5

East Hampton Farmers’ Market (EBT)
Nick & Toni’s lot
136 N. Main St.
Friday 9am – 1pm Ÿ May 27 – Sept 2

Flanders Farm Fresh Youth Market (EBT)
Crohan Community Senior Center
655 Flanders Road (Rt 24)
Saturday 10am – 1pm Ÿ Jul 2– Oct22

Greenport Farmers’ Market (EBT)
South Street Parking Lot at 2nd St.
Saturday 9am – 1 pm  May 28 – Oct 8

Hampton Bays Farmers’ Market
165 Ponquogue Ave.
St. Mary’s Church lawn
Saturday 9am – 1pm Ÿ May28 – Sep 3

Huntington Village Farmers’ Market (VF)
Main St. Rt 25A, East of Rt. 110
Sunday 7am – 12 pm Ÿ May 29 – Nov 20

Islip Farmers’ Market (VF)
Town Hall lot, 27A (Montauk Hwy.)
Saturday 7am – 12pm Ÿ May 28 – Nov 19

Kings Park Farmers’ Market (EBT) (FC)
Route 25A, Main Street Municipal Lot
Across from Fire Dept., 2 Main St.
Sunday 9am – 2 pm Ÿ Jun 5 – Nov 20

Montauk Farmers’ Market
Montauk Village Green, 743 Montauk Hwy.
Thursday 9am – 2pm Ÿ Jun 9 – Sep 1
Friday 9am – 2 pm Ÿ Sep 9 – Sep 30

Nesconset Plaza Farmers’ Market (EBT) (FC)
Nesconset Plaza, 127 Smithtown Blvd.
Saturday 9am – 1pm Ÿ Jun 4 – Nov 19

Patchogue Farmers’ Market #1 (VF)
West of Rt 112, Montauk Hwy.
Friday 8am – 1pm  Jul 8 – Nov 4

Patchogue Farmers’ Market #2
S. Ocean Ave. & Division St.
Sunday 9am -1pm  Jun 12 – Nov 20

Port Jefferson Farmers’ Market
Steam Room parking lot, Rts. 25A & 112
Thursday 10am – 4:30pm Ÿ Jul 7 – Sep 29

Rocky Point Farmers’ Market
Old Depot Park ( Broadway & Prince Rd.)
Sunday 8 am – 1pm Ÿ May 29 – Nov 20

Shiloh Community Youth Farmers’ Market (EBT) (FC)
221 Merritt Ave., New Shiloh Baptist Church
Saturday 1pm – 4pm Ÿ Jul 9– Oct 1

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) for the original information. You can read more here.


Oak Wilt on Long Island

A disease that restricts water use in trees has been found in Central Islip. The Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic has identified the disease as ‘Oak Wilt.’ The disease has been confirmed in New York State before, it was last seen in Schenectady County in 2008 and 2013. After a test sample of the trees returned positive for the disease, tree-care professionals removed and destroyed the trees to curb any spreading. As of right now, there is no known treatment to contain and kill oak wilt fungus. All officials can do is remove any trees in the vicinity which can be hosts. Basil Seggos the commissioner of the DEC has reported “The infestation is small and isolated making an aggressive eradication response warranted and feasible to address this serious disease. Additional oak trees will need to be removed in the immediate infected area to stop oak wilt in its tracks.” The DEC said that it will use protocols from the Schenectady County situation to control whats going on in Islip. There has been an emergency order put into place that establishes a ‘protective zone.’ This zone prohibits the removal of any dead, living, standing, cut or fallen oak trees, or any portions of the trees including branches, logs, stumps, roots, green oak lumber or firewood from the immediate area. It can be removed from the area if it has been chipped to less than one inch in two dimensions. This order also decrees a 150-foot red ‘oak free zone’ around the area where the infected trees were initially discovered. All red oaks found in these zones will be removed and destroyed by the DEC to protect the remaining healthy trees. The DEC will schedule a public meeting to address questions and concerns. There will be both aerial and ground surveys taken that will conduct how many trees need to be removed. This is supposed to happen within the next 6 months. Oak wilt kills thousands of trees and forests each year due to the wilt, primarily on the eastern United States. The disease is caused by a fungus that grows in the water-conducting vessels of infected trees. These fungus’ create gummy like plugs that block the ability to get water from the roots. Residents can report sudden leaf loss from oaks (as a possible sign of wilt) by calling 866-640-0652. For more information you can visit the DEC’s website here.

Project Bloom Update 8/3/16

There are many flowers in full bloom right now at Project Bloom The flowers that are growing include white, light and dark pink Cosmos, Black Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers, Yellow Coreopsis, blue and white Delphiniums, Red Canna Lillies, Pink Hibiscus, Large and cherry tomatoes. Everything is so vibrant and beautiful. August is the perfect time for viewing flowers! 

Our Garden Update 8/3/16

Here is a few photographs of what is growing in our garden. Last season we planted black beans, and only got around 16 to grow. But this year, we got at least 40! I was so thrilled! Look how the contrast of the black beans against the blue bowl made it seem white in the picture, how strange! We also planted a Lemon Cucumber. In every sense of the word, it is a cucumber- it just looks like a lemon. There was no difference in taste. 

‘Birds and the Bees’ Project Bloom Report

Expansion of Children's Garden

A team from the KPMG accounting firm, celebrating the company’s 50th Anniversary through community service at the new Project Bloom children’s garden. They were planting in the pumpkin/watermelon bed.

Project Bloom Garden Project

A children’s garden and pollinator garden created by Project Bloom volunteers will expand and thrive thanks to a recent $500 grant designed to support community “greenspace” development. Project Bloom, a community beautification program, was one of approximately 100 organizations across the U.S. chosen for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s GRO1000 initiative encouraging garden builds. It is part of a broader initiative designed to create 1,000 gardens and greenspaces throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe for the Company’s 150th anniversary in 2018.

Keep Islip Clean (KIC) and the Islip Parks Department launched Project Bloom 23 years ago under the direction of volunteers from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program. Volunteers still meet each spring at the circa 1920 greenhouse on the grounds of Brookwood Hall in East Islip. Volunteer gardeners grow and supply about 30 local KIC volunteer groups with over 6,000 free plants that are used to beautify public spaces throughout the Town of Islip.

The GRO1000 grant will help expand a newly renovated community vegetable garden to include 100 square feet for a children’s “Victory Garden,” a new pumpkin/watermelon patch and a new berry bed with a bird bath. The flower beds surrounding the children’s garden have been filled with plants to attract pollinators.

In addition to the children’s garden, other improvements include replanting an existing meadow bed as a 200 square foot pollinator garden. Ultimately, these special plants will be distributed to Project Bloom groups with the goal of establishing 30 more pollinator gardens. Informational signs installed in the gardens will educate the public about the role these types of plants play in maintaining a healthy environment by supporting the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators.

The last several years have seen an ambitious expansion of Project Bloom under the stewardship of Master Gardener Kathy VanDyke and her husband, Bob. With their knowledgeable direction, scores of volunteers have donated many hours to create a new landscape for the benefit of the public.

“We were thrilled to receive the grant from Scotts to support our garden projects at Project Bloom,” said Kathy. “As a volunteer organization with very limited funding, this grant award will go a long way towards establishing new gardens and creating educational signs.”

The public is invited to visit the gardens located on the Brookwood Hall property at 50 Irish Lane, East Islip. For more information about volunteering, call Keep Islip Clean at 631-224-2627.


Glover Farm

Here are some photos from when we visited Glover Farm! Jim Glover was kind to give the Master Gardeners a private tour. Jim is the guy in the center of the photo, wearing the straw hat. They have 23 acres on their nursery grounds in Cutchogue. They grow out of the ordinary varieties, and the gardeners were excited to be able to shop there. Jim is also focusing on growing natives for our Long Island area. I was smitten with this colorful sedum.

Catapano Goat Farm

Here is a couple of photographs from Catapano Goat Farm in Peconic. It’s so much fun watching goats get milked! They line right up and it only takes a minute or two for each one to be done. It’s funny to see them line up outside the barn. They know when it’s 4 pm!!

Project Bloom Vegetable Garden Update 7/20/16

Heres what’s going on in the vegetable garden at Project Bloom right now! We have pumpkins starting to flower, and watermelons starting to grow. There is also vines of tomatoes, peas and rainbow swiss chard growing. Everything is coming in so nicely and lush. This is going to be a great season in the vegetable garden.

Blossom End Rot

If you grow tomatoes, you are familiar with Blossom end rot. This disease can cause severe loss in both garden and home tomatoes if precautionary measures are not taken. Symptoms can happen at any stage in the development of the fruit. Most often however, it can be seen when the fruit is one-third to one-half of its full size. As implied by the name, symptoms will only occur at the blossom end of the tomato. First you will see a small, water soaked spot which will eventually grow and darken rapidly. This spot can grow until it covers as much as one-third to one-half of the full fruit. However, the spot can stay small and superficial. Large areas will quickly dry out and become flattened, black and leathery.

The disease doesn’t spread from plant to plant in an area, nor from fruit to fruit in transit. Therefore, since to the physiological nature fungicides and insecticides are useless. The occurrence of the disease is reliant on environmental factors. Factors that influence the uptake of water and calcium through the plant have an effect on the incidence and severity of the disease. Blossom End Rot is most common when there is rapid growing and then a sudden period of drought. What happens when the roots fail to obtain sufficient water and calcium that need to be transported up to the fruits- they become rotted on the ends. Another common predisposing factor is cultivation too close to the plant; this practice destroys valuable roots, which take up water and minerals. Tomatoes planted in cold, heavy soils often have poor root systems. Since they are unable to supply the necessary amounts of water and nutrients to plants during times of stress, blossom end rot may happen. Soils that contain excessive amounts of soluble salts may lead tomatoes to the disease, for the availability of calcium to the plants decreases rapidly as total salts in the soil increase.


We are starting to notice Blossom End Rot at the greenhouse in beds. Here is an organic way to control the disease. Use Epsom Salt!

To prevent blossom end rot, work Epsom Salt into the garden soil before planting tomatoes. Apply one pound of Epsom Salt to the standard sized raised bed garden (4 x 6-8’) or one cup of Epsom Salt per container that tomatoes will be grown in and work into the soil. The Epsom Salt will then be a readily available source of calcium and magnesium for the tomato plant.
Epsom Salt also promotes root growth and development for all garden vegetables and flowers and should be worked into the soil along with organic matter at the beginning of spring. A side dressing of Epsom Salt or watering gardening vegetables with a mixture of ½ cup of Epsom Salt dissolved in one gallon of water a couple of times during the growing season will keep plants healthy and growing vigorously. When applying dry Epsom Salt as a side dressing, be careful not to allow the Epsom Salt to touch any part of the plant.

Thank you to Twin Oaks Nursery and Cornell University for the original information! You can click on their names to read more!

Project Bloom Memorial Garden

Look at the Memorial Garden at Project Bloom! A new fence made from Curly Willow and Cyprus Branches has been put up in front of the Memorial Garden. There are also some flowers growing inside the Memorial Garden. They include Carpet of Snow Alyssum, Red Rocket Snapdragons, Shasta Daisies, Coleus, Evening Primrose and Liriope. 

Project Bloom Pollinator Bed

Heres whats going on right now at Project Bloom in the Pollinator Bed. Many flowers are in full bloom, including Moroccan Sun Rudbeckia, Milkweed (which is the only plant Monarch butterflies will lay eggs on,) Bee Balm, Red Geraniums, Forsythia Hedge, Spiderwort, Blue Star Amsonia, Sensation Cosmos, Violet Queen Alyssum, Painters Pallette Gallardia, Lancelet Coreopsis, Red Oxalis, Bright Lights Cosmos and Cappuccino Rudbeckia. 

Project Bloom Children’s Garden

Heres whats going on at Project Bloom right now in the Children’s Garden. Pumpkins and the Sugar Baby Watermelons are flowering and growing nicely. Zinnia and Brazzleberries are growing, all of the strawberries that grew were eaten by animals. The beans are starting to climb up the arbor we had built, and cosmos are beginning to bloom as well. 

Project Bloom Fence Perimeter Bed

Heres whats going on at Project Bloom right now in the Fence Perimeter Bed. Flowers that are growing include pink and red Hollyhocks, Gallardia, Helianthus, purple Coneflower, Zinnias, Snapdragons, Marigolds, Coreopsis, Daylillies, Double Hollyhocks, pink Cosmos, purple Alyssum and red Canna Lillies. We also put up a photo board for children to take pictures in. How fun! 

Invasive Toxic Plant Here For the Summer


How to Identify

According to environmental officials, a giant invasive plant that contains toxic sap has turned up on Long Island. This Sap has the ability to badly burn human skin. Brought to the United States in 1917 as an Ornamental Plant from the Caucasus Region of Eurasia, this plant can grow as high as 20 feet and sprout 3 feet wide leaves.

This plant is fast-growing and has been invading everywhere it can grow. This includes roadsides, edges of forests and along empty lots as well. The plant known as Giant Hogweed produces thousands of seeds which get dispersed by flowing water and animals. However, the most common way of getting spread is by people who decide to plant it. Hogweed is commonly a problem in central and western New York but it has recently been found in 13 places between Suffolk and Nassau County.

What makes Giant Hogweed invasive is it did not originate in the United States. So when it grows here, it crowds out native species taking away any competition besides itself. Sometimes referred to as Giant Cow Parsley, this species is listed as prohibited in the U.S. Which means the plant is not widespread and so far has only been located in isolated areas. But it most likely will spread if not controlled.

The sap found in the plant contains glucosides that react with the sun’s ultraviolet rays which can severely burn the skin, cause blisters and even temporary blindness. The stem of the plant is spotted with purple sap and can cause what feels like a blistering burn that can take months to fade and will make your skin forever sensitive to the sun. John Wernet of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation says “If you do think you have it, wash immediately with soap and water. If you get it in your eyes, it could cause blindness.”

If you have any reason to believe you have Giant Hogweed, you can email photos to: or call 845-256-3111.

Thank you to ABC 7 News New York for the original information. You can read more here.

What’s in Bloom, July 7th 2016

There are many flowers blooming in our yard right now. The flowers growing include beautiful Pink Geraniums, yellow and orange Marigolds, Portulaca, Petunia, Small Polka Dot Plant, Coleus, Euphorbia, Hostas, Creeping Jenny, Knockout Rose, Tomato Plant, Rainbow Swiss Chard, White Asiatic Lilies and Day Lilies. All the colors and scents are so amazing. I just love the summer! 

Joan’s Daylilies

A group of Project Bloom Gardeners toured Joan Turano’s beautiful home garden. Here are some photos of her amazing Day Lilies! All of the lilies were in full bloom, and were bright and boisterous. My favorite Day Lilies are the type that are two toned, and fade from one color into the next. Like the pale yellow fading into royal purple towards the bottom of the gallery. 

Joan’s Garden

A group of Project Bloom Gardeners toured Joan Turano’s beautiful home garden full of Day lilies, Hostas and Hydrangeas. All the flowers were bright and gorgeous. I loved the color on all of the blooms. Her entire yard was super lush, and full of greenery. All gardeners should strive to have their yards look like Joan’s. The purple hydrangeas were my favorite to look at. 

Project Bloom Update 7/5/16

Everything is looking great at our Project Bloom garden at Brookwood Hall. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the vegetable gardens are full of produce. Here’s what’s growing in the Project Bloom Gardens right now! What’s growing includes Strawberries, Brazzle Berries, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Shallots, Dill, Nasturtium, Sage, Lavender, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Chives, Pumpkins, Sugar Baby Watermelons, Sunflowers, Peas, Tomatoes, Beans, Coreopsis, Zinnias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Cannas, Hosta, Double Pleat Columbine, Dianthus, Delphinium, Dwarf Iris and Coneflower. 



Nutsedge Tubers

It comes around every summer, everyone has it, can you guess what it is? It’s Nutsedge!

What exactly is Nutsedge? It is a grass-weed that isn’t really a grass, its a sedge. Nutsedge is a perennial and grows in moist, poorly drained sections of your yard or garden. It also grows faster in hot weather. The leaves are grasslike and yellow-green.

This may be one of the toughest weeds to control because they grow small nutlets (otherwise known as tubers) on their roots that can grow anywhere from 8 to 14 inches deep in soil. When you pull the roots, the nutlets will detach and stay in the ground to grow again. They can live for years!! Individual plants can form patches of 10 feet in diameter or more if not treated.


Nutsedge in the Project Bloom paths

The nutlets also can end up back in the soil from shaking the weeds to get rid of excess dirt. So be careful and don’t shake them when you pull them!

You can control Nutsedge in a few ways: in a lawn, mow higher so the grass crowds out the other weeds. In extreme situations, a weed preventer or turf builder, may help.

For us at Project Bloom, just weed carefully! It’s best to weed after a rain, when the ground is softer and the weeds come out more easily. For greater success, weed one plant at a time, and pull gently and straight up, to get as much of each root as possible. Don’t shake the weeds to avoid sending seeds or nutlets back into the garden.  Dispose of weeds in the corner of the compost area across from the greenhouse.


Look at the beautiful Hollyhocks that are in bloom at Project Bloom! Thank you to Maria G. for the seeds! These hollyhocks are biennials, so we planted these seeds last spring. They were worth the wait!! The colors are so vibrant, and the flowers are beautiful. They are planted in the corner of the garden by the greenhouse. We grew two types of Double Hollyhocks and one type of Single. 

Trip to Orient Point

Yesterday, Bob and I took a drive out to Orient Point for Independence Day this past weekend. We visited Catapano Dairy Farm (to see the goats of course) and the Glass Greenhouse. The greenhouse was beautiful, and all the flowers were gorgeous. We stopped at a farm stand and bought peaches, they were so fresh and simply amazing!! Here are some photos from that trip. 

Hosta Virus X (HVX)

After being dormant, the virus known as HVX has re-emerged this year. HVX otherwise known as “Hosta Virus X” is a disease that effects most to all varietals of the Hosta plant. It can be transmitted from having infected sap on your hands then touching another plant, or even sharing tools between plants. Now, we’re not telling you to wash your shears after touching each HVX_collageplant- but you should be knowledgable in what HVX symptoms look like. Its also good to keep in mind that symptoms don’t always show up after infection. Symptoms include:

  • Dark green mottling
  • Yellow-green patterns
  • Leaf distortion
  • Ink bleed coloring (that is distinctly different from surrounding tissue; such as blue-green markings spreading out from the veins in a feathery pattern.)
  • Tissue collapse (leaf tissue looks indented and wrinkly or even puckered like a deflated balloon.)
  • Solid colored leaves can also develop a white waxy coating that makes their shiny leaf appearance dull and hazy.
  • When exposed to strong sunlight, infected tissues are prone to sun-scald and drying out.

When you have an infected plant, all tissues will contain the virus. The entire body of the plant becomes infected by sap circulation. If you have one or many hostas infected with HVX, the easiest thing to solve your problem would be to dig them up. Make sure that you get most to all of the roots out of the ground, and give a long enough period for all the any remaining roots to dry up and die before planting in the same spot again.

Thank you to NC State University, A&T State University Cooperative Extension and the Crossville Chronicle for the original information. Click on these links for more information!