view counter

The Bay Gardener by Dr. Francis Gouin

How to transplant bedding plants

Are you one of those gardeners who is much too careful about disturbing roots of bedding plants when transplanting them into the garden?

Woody ornamentals need ­periodic rejuvenation to stay healthy and productive

It’s never too late to whack that buddleia down to the ground, even though it is flushing new growth. One of my butterfly shrubs was getting so large that in early March I cut the stump close to the ground with a chainsaw. Already the new growth is 18 to 24 inches tall with an abundance of young shoots coming from the roots.

Never use horse manure without composting it first

The proliferation of horse farms in southern Maryland has resulted in owners convincing their friends and neighbors that horse manure is great for the garden. After one experience with using horse manure in the garden, you’ll discover that it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.

When moving trees and shrubs, if you interfere with one, leave the other alone

When you’re transplanting a tree or shrub, leave the branches alone. Once upon a time, gardening wisdom advised pruning back the branches to compensate for the roots lost when the plant was dug. I have been convinced for some time that this practice had been laid to rest, until I recently heard a garden expert on the radio recommend it to a listener who had called for advice.

And cut out all stems infested by cane borers

Roses need to be pruned yearly to keep the plants strong and healthy. Now is the time to prune summer-flowering roses. Wait to prune spring-flowering roses until after they have flowered.     Hybrid T and floribunda roses in the ground five years or less should be pruned to within 12 inches of the graft union.

You’ve got to know who’s who before the how-to

Four different species of hydrangea grow in Maryland, and while now is the time to prune them all, each is pruned differently. So you’ve got to know who you’re pruning to know how to prune.

Take the first step in a natural dill-recycling program

Fresh chopped dill is hard to beat in stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes, cucumber salad, steamed carrots or your favorite vegetable or chip dip. Dill has a unique flavor and aroma. But it’s difficult to incorporate in the herb garden because it grows tall and spindly and does not produce much for the space it occupies. So I grow it as a garden weed.

This hurry-up winter is pushing spring

I am told that in Ireland, potatoes and peas are always planted on St. Patrick’s Day. Here in Southern Maryland, our soils are generally wet and cold and impossible to plow, rototill or cultivate in mid-March. This year may be different.

Here’s how to get early indoor flowering

Can’t wait for spring?         Bring spring indoors, and you can enjoy early flowers.     Pussy willow can be cut and brought indoors for forcing any time after the middle of January.     Force forsythia into flowering next, starting as early as February.

This root is easy to grow, but ­processing it is tearful, hard work

If you’ve been smart enough to plant horseradish, your reward is at hand. Now that the tops of the horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make horseradish with a kick. Add fresh homemade horseradish to cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce or your favorite baked beans, and you’ll feel that kick.