george bonnema

  It is August … already! This is the month to transplant, move or thin our German bearded iris. The plant will continue to grow in the direction the rhizome is pointing, so keep that in mind when you are replanting them so that someday you won’t have to move the house to make room for the iris....
  My garden has excellent soil for growing melons, and the vines are loaded with fruit. Often I’m asked how to know when a melon is ready to pick. When the tendril opposite the stem to the fruit dries up, the melon is ripe. Then you want to harvest that melon soon or it will rot or be attacked by...
  At this point in summer, our potted “gardens” of flowers are developing marvelous color. In a couple of my pots, I have a plant or two that are becoming a bit aggressive about how much space they want, so I get my pruning shears and give them some needed discipline. That must be done to keep...
  I have never seen die-back in spirea like I observed this spring. However, most have recovered and are blooming beautifully. I want to remind you to shear those flower heads off after that first flush of blooms and the new growth will give them a fresh look for the rest of the season. If you have...
  Each new growing season brings its own unique set of circumstances that determine which pests and diseases will be evident in our gardens.  This year I am seeing a lot of fire blight in fruit trees and cotoneaster hedges.  This virus is devastating to plants it attacks. As bees travel from flower...
If you have rudbeckia goldstrum, the perennial black-eyed Susan, and you are noticing angular black spots on the leaves, your plants are being attacked by a fungus called septoria leaf spot. To prevent that disease from totally destroying the beauty of the plant, you need to spray both upper and...
  My roses are looking like I’ll begin enjoying marvelous color in a week. I also noticed a few holes in the leaves. I applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide several weeks ago and those little green worms that tried to feast on the leaves got eliminated before they did much damage. The worms are...
  Is it safe to plant yet? I’ve heard that 50 times this spring and the varied weather pattern almost made me a liar! The prediction for frost didn’t hit the mark for most gardens, but my garden is the lowest point in town and we had frost twice. It’s frustrating because the 10-day forecast would...
  It is Sunday afternoon and we have just had a beautiful shower of much needed rain.  That will make a huge difference on everything you have planted in your garden … and a few things you didn’t plant … like weeds! We use our grass clippings for mulch and other than my hoe, that is the best weed...
  Last week had me wondering just how much cold the tender new growth of perennials, shrubs, and trees could actually tolerate … nature never fails to amaze me. At 25 degrees for a low, I saw very little damage to anything, including my blooming daffodils. I’m hoping that was the last of that kind...

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