Late Summer is here and Autumn is knocking on the door.
Flowers from our gardens are starting to slow down and we are seeing signs of Autumn.
We can still make lovely bouquets using a little creativity.
Dried grasses, broom corn and flowers work well.
Add feathers, pinecones, acorns and dried leaves.
"The goldenrod is yellow.
The corn is turning brown.
The trees in apple orchards with fruit are bending down."
Helen Hunt Jackson
If you garden organically, you know that weeds can be a real problem. In this video, Kevin Schoessow breaks down all of the types of organic mulches that we use in the Teaching & Display Garden. He explains the pros and cons of several types of mulch and how to properly apply them. Give this a watch--you'll gain a new understanding of the whole mulching process!
It's a new installment in our Kids in the Garden Series! Master Gardener Volunteer Linda Anderson teaches all about the life and life cycle of the magnificent Monarch butterfly.
Really, this isn't just for kids. From her seat in the beautiful Teaching & Display Garden, Linda explains everything we need to know about what Monarch butterflies do for us and how we can protect them.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, Spooner Agricultural Research Station and North Country Master Gardener Volunteers will be holding their 22nd Annual Twilight Garden Tour using a virtual format in 2020. UW-Madison Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will be presenting a tour of the specialized garden beds that they have been tending this summer via recorded videos. These YouTube videos will be released on August 25, 2020 and a live Speaker Symposium via Zoom Meetings will be held from 5:30 to 7 PM (Registration required for the live Zoom Speaker Symposium.)
Speakers will be:
Jason Fischbach, Food and Energy Woody Crops Specialist with UW-Madison Division of Extension and Agriculture Educator for Bayfield and Ashland County, who will give an update on plant development, processing and marketing for the up-and-coming hazelnut industry.
Solveig Hanson, Ph.D. candidate in Horticulture-Plant Breeding Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, will present information on the development of new beet varieties without the characteristic earthy flavor.
Julie Dawson, Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the state Extension specialist for Urban and Regional Food Systems, will speak on how the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative research project is evaluating new vegetables with a focus on flavor, fresh-market quality and agronomic performance for smaller-scaled farms and urban gardeners.
The three speakers will present via Zoom Meetings. Zoom is a free platform that can be accessed by a computer, mobile device, or audio only with your telephone. Register now. As in the past, there is no charge for this educational event.
The Teaching & Display Garden is an official All-America Selections (AAS) display garden featuring both flowers and vegetables and has been awarded multiple awards in the National Landscape Design contest sponsored by AAS. The garden also includes organic vegetable gardening, a children’s garden, container gardening, displays of table and wine grapes and fruit trees and a Monarch and Pollinator Sanctuary perennial garden.
While this year’s garden tour will be held virtually, the Teaching and Display Gardens are open for self-guided tours during daylight hours as long as posted social distancing guidelines are followed. The garden is located on Orchard Lane, 1 mile east of Spooner on Highway 70.
For more information please contact Kevin Schoessow at 715-635-3506 or 1-800-528-1914, online at http://spooner.ars.wisc.edu or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/spoonerag.
UW-Extension provides equal opportunity in employment and programming including Title IX and ADA requirements. Please call our toll-free number if you have any special needs or require special accommodations.
Kevin Schoessow, University of Wisconsin Extension Area Agriculture Development Educator forBurnett, Sawyer and Washburn Counties spent well over an hour observing a Bombus (Bumble Bee) nest in the compost bin at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station. He used an upturned bucket to make for a nice observation seat in front of the nest entry. They pretty much ignored him as he sat there. Here are his observations:
"If I stand over the opening to the top of the bin and look down on the pile of grass and then tap the edge of the bin with my foot, the hive comes to life. The buzzing sound is almost deafening, and its amazing how bees almost magically appear from under the grass. It’s like they are sentinel laying in wait just beneath the surface. In a matter of seconds there are close to a dozen crawling and flying above the grass and I have been chased away on more than one occasion. Hopefully all this attention doesn’t interfere with their business. Based on what I am seeing/hearing we have a very healthy nest."
Now is the time to observe bumble bees at their busiest. There are a number of resources to learn more about these important pollinators.
The Spooner Agricultural Research Station Teaching and Display Gardens are open for self-guided tours during all daylight hours. Please follow the social distancing guidelines that are posted.
Have you visited our Teaching & Display Garden? This is a wonderful visit to make during this socially distant summer. Kevin Schoessow, Area Ag Development Agent, takes you on a tour of the popular pinwheel bed of the gardens. These beds have been "adopted" by Master Gardener Volunteers and reflect their different visions. Our gardens are open for self-guided tours during all daylight hours. Please follow the social distancing guidelines that are posted.
UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Carla TePaske provides tips for great bouquets in this video. For more tips, check out this handout: "Cut Flower Tips" .
Down to Earth with Helen Dillion
Advice and inspiration from one of the worlds great gardeners.
I enjoyed the chapter Potting Shed. I think we all can relate.
"Tranquillity. Even saying the word has a calming effect. To me, the key to serenity is my shed. It has a lovely feeling of peace, and the good thing is that nobody knows exactly what I'm doing there. In reality I am probably just standing still, gazing out of the window. But if footsteps approach I start banging pots about, hoping that whoever's coming along will think I'm too busy to be disturbed."
"Since the last time the shed was tidied, things have built up. The problem is all the bits of wire, boxes, trays, screws, string, plant ties, blunt pencils, drying seedheads, nails rusty and shiny, bags paper and polythene, stakes with one end snapped off, paintbrushes solid with drying paint, bags of this and bottles of that - not enough to use but too good to throw away."
I enjoyed Helen's wit and no-nonsense gardening advice.
The National Garden Bureau, the non-profit information and marketing arm of the gardening industry, has chosen the hydrangea shrub as one of this year's "Year of” honors.
For dramatic color and presentation in the garden, the hydrangea shrub is a real winner. While hydrangea are native to Asia and the Americas, the hydrangea was first cultivated in Japan. Many varieties are zone hardy and can be successfully grown in NW Wisconsin. Some varieties can be grown in pots.
The classic Bigleaf hydrangea likes early day sun and afternoon shade, they provide big bloom heads in a variety of colors from pink to blue dependent on the pH and minerals in your soil. Lowering the pH to acidic may be all that is needed to make the natural iron in the soil change a pink bloom to a blue. Use aluminum sulfate to change the pH but with care as too much can affect the foliage and surrounding plants. Endless Summer is a popular variety of Bigleaf hydrangea. Prune after blooming in late fall to control the size of the shrub. Where winters are harsh, pruning the stems to the ground may be advisable.
Where there is more intense sun and drier conditions the Annabelle variety, a Smooth hydrangea, will give you white to creamy, sometimes pinkish, flowers. This variety blooms on new growth so prune to ground or a few inches above in late fall or early spring to avoid leggy and drooping stems. The blooms on these plants can be so large and heavy they can be weighed to the ground or forced to the ground by heavy rain. I have used removable wire edging fence around the plant to help support the heavy blooms.
For a dramatic cold hardy variety with large cone shaped flower heads try Panicle. This variety grows tall on woody stems and can be shaped into a single stem small tree (best if purchased as a tree). Popular varieties are Vanilla Strawberry and Limelight. While some varieties of panicle can be pruned to the ground, for larger shrubs or tree shape, this variety should not be pruned to the ground except for unwanted, dead or diseased stems.
The Oakleaf variety is better suited to zone 5 and warmer climates. This variety can be grown in pots and wintered indoors in NW Wisconsin.
Hydrangea bloom from mid to late summer and into the fall. The bloom heads make wonderful additions to large bouquets of cut flowers or a bouquet by themselves. Some varieties also make wonderful dried flower bouquets. Cut the blooms at the peak of color as some color will be lost in the drying process.
For more information on hydrangea, check out:
Article by MGV Pam Davies
Photos by National Garden Bureau
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