Garden of the Month: August 2017

The garden that Jacob Gougé has created around the home he shares with his wife and LR 5-17daughter at 240 N. First St. reflects both his creativity and his respect for living things.  It is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for August.  Over the 17 years they have lived there, Gougé has salvaged and bartered the materials to create terracing in the back, define garden beds, build a fire pit, display interesting artifacts, and more on this small lot.   It was bare dirt when they moved in.  He is very resourceful.

But Jacob has a generous spirit as well that prompts him to offer lilacs to passersby, share cuttings of his many succulents with those who ask, and invite admiring strangers inside the gate to see the whole garden.

IMG_2993Along with two smaller lilacs elsewhere in front, there is a huge lilac bush in the northwest corner of the fenced area.  Many of the branches of this lilac are five or more inches in diameter and have an unusual shredded bark.  This lilac bush is strong enough to support one end of two hammocks!

There are extraordinary ceramic pieces throughout the property, most of them created by Gougé.  He also pursues all manner of artistic expression via painting, sewing, beading,and other media. In addition, Jacob makes interesting planters for succulents out of stones or gnarled wood in which he drills holes to plant materials and for drainage.

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Food crops are concentrated in the back yard, that Jacob calls his “in town farm.”  This garden is 100% organic.  He grows lettuce all year, protecting the yield from the blazing sun at this time of year with a colorful umbrella.  He also grows asparagus, squash, carrots, snap peas, herbs of many varieties, and much more, often in recycled containers. He starts most plants from seeds in a hot box.  The family has three healthy chickens that provide eggs as well as droppings for compost.IMG_3001FullSizeRender 3

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Horticulture Report: Nigella damascena

Nigella (5)Plant Name: Nigella damascena
Common Name: Love-in-a- Mist
Plant type: Annual Flower
Height: 1.5-2.5 ft
Spread:   1-1.5 ft
Bloom Time:  May-August
Flower Color:  Blue with cultivars available in White, Purple, Pink, Rose
Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Average well-drained soil
Water Needs: Medium, but constant water
Attributes: Showy Flowers, Attractive egg-shaped Seed Pods, Self-seeds, Lacy Leaves,
Note: Flowers best in cooler locations, Flowers may decline in hot temperatures
Uses: Cut Flower Garden, Containers, Mixed Beds, Borders, Cottage Garden, Pollinator Garden
Native to: Southern Europe, northern Africa
USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Horticulture Report: Cobaea scandens

Plant Name: Cobaea sandenscobaea-scandens
Common Name:  Cup & Saucer Vine
Family:
Polemoniaceae
Plant type:  Sub-tropical Vine  (annual below zone 9)
Height:   10-25 feet
Bloom Time:
Seasonal (In a greenhouse it flowers year round)
Flower Color: Violet or White
Exposure:  
Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Rich, moist, good drainage
Water Needs: Medium
Attributes:
Showy Bell Flowers, Fragrant, Attracts Hummingbirds & Butterflies
Note:
Mexico native, flowers last 4 days, Circa 1828 ~ RHS Award of Garden Merit
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost.
Uses:
Garden wall, Fence and Trellis plant, Container plant with adequate support,
USDA Zone:
9-11

Check your local nurseries and garden center for seeds and/or plants.

Available online at:

Annie’s Annuals http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=269

Select Seeds Seeds & Plants : http://www.selectseeds.com/heirloom-ines/cup_and_saucer_vine_plants.aspx

Seeds: J.L. Hudson, Seedsman http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistCN-CZ.htm

FEBRUARY: Getting the Greenhouse Ready

It’s time to get your greenhouse ready for planting! Carlotta's  Little Greenhouse

Start with cleaning the shelves using 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts water.
Read eHow for tips on cleaning a small greenhouse:
http://www.ehow.com/small-greenhouse_care.html

Sterilize your trays & pots with this same bleach solution. Purchase or make your seedling mix (which is a soil-less mix), gather your plant labels & permanent markers and you’re ready to plant.

Read how to make your own soil-less seedling mix Organic Gardening website: http://organicgardening.about./seedstartingmix.htm

To calculate greenhouse planting start dates, check each seed packet and plant according to the instructions. Count back the weeks needed for seeds to grow and when you want them really for the garden club’s plant sale or to plant in your garden after the last frost.  Seeds typically need 8-12 weeks to grow. For example: AGC’s plant sale is May 11 2013, 12 weeks back from May 11th is February 16th, 8 weeks back is March 16th . Check your seed packets for start dates.

Below is a list of flowers you can start in your greenhouse in February: Petunias, Impatiens, Lobelia, Lupine, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Salvia, Lavender, Scabies, Delphinium, Pansies, Shasta daisy, Forget-me-nots, Gaillardias, and Nasturtiums.

You can also start: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Beets, Lettuce, Cilantro and Spinach seeds. It is recommended for larger vegetable seeds, like beets, to soak them 12 to 24 hours before planting.

To begin: fill your sterilized trays with seedling mix, water the seedling mix thoroughly, and then let them sit until the next day to warm up.  On day two, plant your seeds, mark your trays/pots, then water them in.

Seeds need warmth to germinate. Check out Heirloom Seeds’ website showing seed germination/soil temperatures:
http://www.heirloomseeds.com/germination.html

You can provide warmth with heating mats (available at garden supply stores) which sit under your seed trays or you can warm your greenhouse with a portable heater.

Some seeds also need light to germinate, so place trays a few inches below a grow light or a florescent light, and keep the lights on 24 hours a day.

After the plants have developed several sets of true leaves, transplant them into sterilized pots with a good garden variety potting soil.  To avoid transplant shock water them in with a B1 solution; B1 is available at garden stores. Once plants are established in their new pots, fertilize them once a week with a 1/4-strength water-soluble fertilizer. During the rest of the time use plain water; keep the seedlings moist, but not wet. Keep plants under the lights, keep them warm and watch them grow!

By: Carlotta Lucas & Melody Jones