Saturday, April 19, 2014


            A few days ago we experienced a cold snap in Massachusetts!  This is one reason we slowly remove the protective covering on certain plants in the spring.   Timing is critical in gardening and especially with regard to pruning in the late winter/early spring period.  Roses serve as a good example.....years ago I was reading a very concise book entitled Reliable Roses by Christine Utterback where she passes on the opinion of Mike Ruggiero senior curator for nearly forty years at The New York Botanical Garden. He recommends for Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras, and Miniatures to wait until the new leaflets were 1/2 to 1 inch long before pruning in the spring to avoid forcing the roses out of dormancy too early and possibly damaging young growth by late frosts.   This year has been so cold the roses have barely started bud swelling and in warmer spots I see the leaflets just emerging.    Instinctually I am waiting this year to cut the roses and I am happy I did!   Of course we are not always so lucky in our decisions for I pulled my rosemarys out of my house earlier in the week and the other day found them blackened and filled with snow!   If you haven't already done so this is the time to fertilize your lawns with corn gluten, giving the grass a head start encouraging early strong growth to crowd out weeds.  Corn gluten is a naturally derived source of nitrogen.  If you are intending on spot seeding then skip those areas with the corn gluten until you over seed and the grass germinates.  The sun is shining again and I need to stop writing for now and get back out there!

Monday, March 31, 2014


            Gardeners on Cape Ann are anxious to get outside after a particularly cold winter with some snow cover.  Many of my friends have their seeds ready for planting and are dreaming of yards and pots filled with flowers.  Lets face it plants cheer us up, everyone gets excited when bulbs emerge in early spring. On the other hand, my colleagues are hustling to finish taxes and sort out health insurance premiums before the work season commences.  Myself, well I am pursuing another blog.  In so doing I am continuing my educational endeavors, to teach everyone how to garden without harmful chemical products. The decision to title it Nicotiana was to convey the notion beauty can be a deceiving diva.  This is most clearly illustrated by the pursuit of the perfect lawn. Every year millions of Americans will buy products filled with harmful compounds to kill weeds and insects in their lawns because of the powerful advertising that has you convinced this is the thing to do. Unfortunately when applied these products kill more than their intended target.  It is without any doubt I believe many of our diseases and chronic illnesses are influenced by this type of environmental pollution. We are already dealing with an excess of chemical waste why not limit your total exposure to these toxins by keeping your homes green and clean.  Ten years ago I was trained by NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) to be an accredited organic land care professional.  We design, develop, and maintain landscapes guided by an approved set of standards for organic compliance.  My blog will be both philosophical and informative.....I am passionate about plants and attend many horticultural workshops ranging in topic from orchids to orchards.  Botanical histories and illustrations are particular interests of mine.  I feel the fever rising.... Green in various tones and shades will emerge and I will be busy exploring the earth, contemplating Nicotiana.