March Garden Guru

Spring is almost here! And I’ve got a grin on my face bigger than the Cheshire cat’s! I am so excited to get out into my gardens and see how my fall garden makeovers came through the winter. As reported last fall, I downsized one garden and made it into a raised vegetable bed. Another mixed perennial bed was transformed into a flowering shrub border and the little ole’ pond in the back was made into a showy foliage room featuring Foamy Bells (Heucherella), Coral Bells (Heuchera), gold Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa), Boxwood, a thread leaf Japanese maple, and ‘Black Scallop’ bugleweed (Ajuga). Sound interesting? I can’t wait for you see it! I will be posting my open garden days in the April newsletter…..

In this newsletter: Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium update; last call for bus trip to the Boston Flower show; March and April lectures (March 9 class is full); Charlie Nardozzi is leading a garden tour to Italy; Ellen Zachos’ new book on edible gardening; plant and product feature; spring maintenance and design tip; Rich Dube’s début as a great garden speaker; like me on Facebook; and Evan and Mom’s Corner.
April 12 – 14, 2013
The Equinox Resort in Manchester, VT

Sponsored by

Six weeks and counting until the kick-off of what will be the most extravagant symposium yet. Nine info packed lectures and panels; great garden gifts for each participant; door prizes; gourmet food; exceptional accommodations; fun Gardeners Marketplace and more.
Featured speakers, horticultural experts and notable authors are: Jessica Walliser (horticulturist, author, teacher, radio show co-host from Pittsburgh, PA and author of Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who’s Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically); Rich Pomerantz (professional freelance photographer from Washington Depot, CT and author of Great Gardens of the Berkshires and Hudson River Valley Farm); Ruth Rogers Clausen (teacher, flower show judge and former editor of Country Living Gardener from Westchester County, NY and author of many books including award winning Perennials for American Gardeners and her most recent book 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants); Heather Poire (horticulturist, plant expert and territory manager with Bailey Nurseries); Kerry Ann Mendez (owner of Perennially Yours, garden designer, guest on HGTV, former TV garden series host, and consultant from Ballston Spa, NY and author of The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Top Ten Lists and Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens); and the Fabulous Beekman Boys (best-selling authors, owners of the Beekman 1802 organic product line, winners of the 2012 Amazing Race on television, and featured on the Planet Green reality TV series)
How-to, informative lectures include: The Art of Shade Gardening – Seeing Your Way Out of the Dark; Design Strategies for Great Gardens; The Benefits of Beneficials; Sensational Flowering Shrubs for the Landscape and Their Care; Successful Gardening in Deer Country; The Dazzling NEW Perennial Line-Up for 2013; Ask the Expert’s Panel; Forgotten Garden Combinations with Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs and Bulbs; and The Heirloom Life.

Overnight packages and day-only rates are available. Day only rates start at $49; overnight packages including symposium programming, accommodations, meals and all taxes & gratuities start at $288.87 for a single; $412.74 ($206.37) for a double.

For more information and registration details, visit
American Horticultural Society the American Horticultural Society is one of the oldest national gardening organizations in the country. Since 1922, they have provided America’s gardeners with the highest quality gardening and horticultural education possible. AHS provides gardening education for all levels of skill, sources of information on any garden subject imaginable, a community of gardeners eager to share their experiences, introductions to great gardens around the world, great gardening events and activities, and much more. To learn how to become a member and take advantage of all they have to offer, visit their web site at
Equinox Valley Nursery Route 7A, Manchester, VT. (802) 362-2610. This family owned and operated nursery features 17 greenhouses, extensive tree and shrub selections, an outstanding dwarf conifer collection, 1,000 perennial varieties, the most unusual annuals, tropical conservatory, unique gardener’s gift shoppe, display gardens, and exceptional landscaping services. This outstanding nursery has been featured in Yankee, Vermont. Life, The New Yorker, Vermont & Stratton magazines and Across the Fence educational TV.
Neptune’s Harvest Neptune’s Harvest is a division of Ocean Crest Seafoods Inc., a premier wholesale fish and seafood company. Prior to starting Neptune’s Harvest, 70% of the fish (inedible parts) was brought out on fishing boats and dumped back to the sea. Ocean Crest Seafoods and Neptune’s Harvest, in conjunction with the state of Massachusetts and local universities, developed a process that changed an environmental hazard into an environmental benefit, the result being Neptune’s Harvest liquid fish fertilizer. Neptune’s Harvest produces many other fertilizers including seaweed, crab shells, kelp meal, insect repellants and more.
Capital Region Living magazine This high-quality, life and leisure magazine is free to its readers, thanks to the terrific advertisers that support it. It is also available on line. Monthly columns include those on fitness, wellness, hot places to visit, sensational local businesses, recipes, pets, gardening (I write this column), book reviews, and much more. Check it out at
There are still some seats left on the motorcoach heading to the Boston Flower and Garden Show on Thursday, March 14. This year’s show theme is Seeds of Change featuring tips and inspirations for trying new plants, designs and techniques in the garden. The trip is only $84 per person. The fee includes round trip bus fare & tip from Faddegon’s Nursery (, a garden lecture with handouts while on route to the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, admission ticket to the flower show, and light refreshments to and from the show. Check out the lecture and demo schedule, vendors, and sample landscape floor displays at The bus will leave Faddegon’s at 6:00 a.m. return to the nursery by 6:00 p.m. To reserve your spot, please call Faddegon’s at (518) 785-6726.
I’ll be in NY, NJ, PA, MA, RI, VT, OH, CT and in NH. Please note that the the March 9 gardening class at The Factory Eatery in Ballston Spa is sold out. March and April are the busiest speaking months of the year for me. I am speaking 22 out of 31 days in March. Yikes! Hopefully I won’t sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher …wah, wah, wah!!!! Please check out the complete schedule on my events page,
Ellen Zachos is one amazing lady. Not only is she a great friend and former Broadway performer, she is also the owner of a plant design and maintenance company in NYC; a garden writer and photographer, as well as an instructor at the New York Botanical. She has been published in numerous magazines, and has a weekly NPR radio show: The Plant Fanatic. Ellen is the author of five books including Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat, that was released this month! Many of these plants you probably have in your own backyard but never knew you could eat. How fun is that?! The book also includes terrific recipes such as wintergreen sorbet, stir-fried hosta shoots, rose hip soup and dahlia tuber bread. To learn more about Ellen’s new book visit Storey Publishing at and click on New Releases.
If you know Charlie Nardozzi, or have seen him speak at an event, you cannot help but smile! He is a brilliant, charming, fun-loving garden expert, speaker and author from Vermont. Charlie is also the garden expert for Vermont Public Radio. VPR is featuring a garden tour – Exploring the Gardens of Italy – to be led by Charlie on May 21-31. To learn more about this incredible tour, visit But don’t dilly-dally. Registration closes March 16.
I admit it. I am a technological dinosaur. But my teenage son and others keep prodding me to shed my scales and get with the 21st century. Do I have to?! So my first baby step is to ask all of my email subscribers to like me, Perennially Yours, on Facebook. And in return I will make a commitment to post a gardening nugget every day or two on my wall (am I saying that correctly?!) along with pictures. Just go to my web site,, and click the Facebook icon. The next thing you know, he’ll have me texting……
Rich Dube is a passionate, incredibly gifted gardener with a huge heart for helping others. He and his wife, Lynn, have created magnificent gardens at their home in northern Vermont. I have been encouraging Rich to share his gardening journey and wisdom with others and on Saturday, April 6 he will do just that at the Richmond Free Library in Richmond, VT. He will present a colorful PowerPoint lecture – Creating a Dynamic Garden for Full Season Beauty – from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Admission is free but cash donations will be collected to benefit the Richmond Food Shelf which is working to improve the lives of our neighbors in Bolton, Huntington and Richmond. Rich will share some of his favorite common and unusual plants, inspiring care and design techniques, and lessons learned along the journey will be shared. To register call Richard Dube at (802) 434-4834 or email him at
Featured Plant
primrosesPrimrose (Primula) Primroses are harbingers of spring. These cheerful flowers can be red, white, purple, yellow, blue or pink. They range in height from 4” to 24” and do best in part sun to shade. Most perennial primroses are hardy in Zones 3 to 8 and are easy to grow as long as they have enough moisture. The earliest to pop open in my gardens are the drumstick varieties (denticulata). These are followed by polyantha and vulgaris types with Japanese Primroses (japonica) being the last to swoon the crowds. Primrose will seed where happy, especially japonicas. Primroses are easy to divide after blooming. Just pull apart the foliage rosettes with your hands and replant. There are also annual Primroses that are just as beautiful as their perennial counterparts but with one significant difference. Annual Primroses are highly fragrant.
Featured Products
Woodstock Chimes Woodstock chimes are NOT like other chimes. No comparison! Woodstock chimes are precision-tuned by a digital analysis process that is unique to the industry. The company is so confident about the quality and durability of their chimes, that they’re the only wind chime company to offer a lifetime tuning guarantee. Many Woodstock Chime fans collect different ones because these high-quality chimes sound great together. Garry Kvistad, the founder and owner of Woodstock Chimes, is also a professional musician. He put together lists of various chimes that make sensational music together. These lists can be found at The company is based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Faddegon’s carries many different Woodstock Chimes. Come in and jingle a few to see what sings to your heart! You can also check out the entire line on their website.

Speedy Sharp March is an ideal time to sharpen dull hand pruners, loppers and pole pruners before another garden season is in full swing. A friend gave me a Speedy Sharp last year and it quickly became one of my favorite gardening tools. This light weight, pocket-size blade sharpener works wonders in less than a minute. Just swipe it along a dull edge, apply moderate pressure, and in 10 to 12 swipes you have a glistening, hair-splitting blade. Sharp tools make gardening tasks go much faster and easier, and what could be easier than keeping them sharp with Speedy Sharp (try saying that fast ten times)? Plus Speedy Sharp comes with a lifetime warranty. We are now carrying this nifty tool in assorted colors at Faddegon’s for only $11.98. For those of you who are not near our store, visit
Jump-Start Your Garden in Spring In late March or early April, after the snow has melted, cast 5-5-5 or 5-10-5 granular fertilizer on gardens before, or immediately after, the foliage starts to emerge. This will encourage strong root growth and development. Apply it at the rate of approximately 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Everything in my yard, except the lawn, gets this treat: perennials; spring, summer and fall blooming bulbs; climbing vines; roses; shrubs and groundcovers. Be aware that granular fertilizer will burn foliage so by applying it before plants emerge, you reduce this risk and save time. If foliage is already up and at’em by the time you have a chance to do this, make sure to wash off any fertilizer that landed on the leaves. Easier yet, wait to apply the fertilizer right before it’s supposed to rain.
Zoe kept whining for her own ‘corner’ in my newsletter and I couldn’t say no to her. Trust me, she hears the word ‘no’ a lot. We adopted Zoe when she was about 10 weeks old from Mutt and Lab Dog Rescue. Zoe is now six months and charged with incredible energy. When she meets other people and dogs she gets so excited that she resembles popcorn kernels popping. Amusing to watch, but less funny when I’m whipped about trying to hold the leash. It seems like déjà vu. Evan was also high energy as a young child. After the first few days of Kindergarten, his patient teacher suggested I try ‘exercising’ Evan before school. So that’s just what we did. In the winter Evan and I would do jumping jacks and run in place together; while warmer weather saw us doing laps around the house. Zoe has trouble with jumping jacks so instead she will start obedience classes on March 3. We also found an indoor dog park where she can race around like a greyhound with other dogs of all sizes. When we get home she collapses in happy exhaustion, and so do I….
tobacco-shopLast week I had the chance to get together with Evan while I was on the road for a speaking engagement. We only had an hour to yak. We met a Panera’s for a late lunch and gabbed about everything from his classes; the search for a new head soccer coach; his roommates; girls (not much shared there); a summer job; taking his elbows off the table while eating; dropping a 90# barbell on his finger; the freshman formal scheduled for that Friday; and chewing with his mouth closed. After lunch he took me to see one of his favorite spots. I was looking forward to seeing his nook in the library but we ended up in an historic pipe and tobacco shop in Harvard Square. He and a dorm mate enjoy visiting there Saturday afternoons (probably as a study break from the library). They like to sample a cigar (what?!), smell the different tobacco aromas, check out gorgeous, high quality gentleman’s pipes as well as fascinating collections of used wooden board games, European men’s colognes, old shoe shining and shaving kits, unique walking canes and much more. It is a haberdashery of cool stuff. I saw a bit of an elegant ‘old man’s soul’ in Evan and it was charming. Of course I had to give my little spiel about the stench of cigar smoke, the danger of mouth cancer and getting yellow teeth. And of course Evan dutifully welcomed my words of wisdom. Our time together went all too fast and he was soon on his way to class and I to my garden lecture. We will have a chance to catch-up again in a few weeks when I am back in Boston for another lecture. I can’t wait to see his next favorite hangout spot….
Perennially Yours,

(photos of Evan and me in the tobacco store; Evan at freshmen formal with a good friend. Evan went with 35 freshmen ladies and gents as a friend group versus as couples)

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