Rudy Park garden tours on August 9

There will be a morning of free fun and learning at the award-winning gardens of John Rudy County Park, 400 Mundis Race Road, York, on Saturday, August 9, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The gardens and this event are a project of the York County Penn State Extension Master Gardeners and the York County Juvenile Probation, in conjunction with the York County Parks and Recreation Department. The open house will be held rain or shine. Free refreshments will be served.

 Located adjacent to the stone house, which serves as York County Parks Administrative Headquarters (next to the entrance to John Rudy County Park), the gardens were recently awarded First Place in the Demonstration Garden category at the States Master Gardener Convention for 2014 as well as the Master Gardener Search for Excellence Award. 

 Master Gardeners will be stationed throughout the gardens to answer questions. There are annuals, perennials, herbs, natives and cultivars. There are also container gardens, water gardens, a garden of grasses, and a raised bed to demonstrate an adaptive approach for the physically challenged.

 Fruit growers will enjoy seeing varieties of apples, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and more. The vegetable garden, with many varieties, yields over 6,000 pounds of produce, which is donated to local food banks each year.  There will be tomato tasting and a talk about tomatoes.

There will be exhibits on pollinators, growing garlic, food preservation, Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus, invasive plants, and rain barrels, as well as talks and demonstrations by Master Gardeners:   

9:15 a.m.         Composting by John Geoghan

9:45 a.m.         Tomato Growing by Jerry Cook

10:15 a.m.       Hummingbirds by Vi Staley

10:45 a.m.       Beekeeping by Tom Baker

11:15 a.m.       Growing and Using Herbs by Pat Sweetman

 Visitors can bring problem plant or insect samples and soil for pH testing by the Master Gardeners.  

For additional information and directions, go to:  http://extension.psu.edu/york or call 717-840-7408. 

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Hanging baskets keep on growing

On Monday, May 5, hanging baskets once again will begin appearing along the streets of downtown York.

The colorful baskets are NOT placed there by the City of York, as many may believe, but are a project of the Garden Club of York.  It’s work they’ve been handling for the past 14 years.

Beginning with four baskets in 2000, the number of baskets has grown to 135 this year.  That’s due to the fact that there is now a Hanging Baskets of York endowment fund at the York County Community Foundation and the generosity of individuals and business sponsors who pay $250 for the basket and its maintenance  through the growing season.

Enjoy the beauty of the baskets.  And when you meet a Garden Club of York members, say “Thank you.”

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Garden Club plant sale on May 17

The Garden Club of York will hold its 9th Annual Garden Faire and Plant Sale on Saturday, May 17, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the plaza of Santander Stadium, home of the York Revolution baseball team.

Herbs, perennials, annuals and vegetable plants, as well as gardening tools will be for sale.  A Flea Market will also be held.

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Native plant sale and ‘Monarch Madness’ May 17

MAEscapes and the Penn State Master Gardeners will hold a Native Plant Sale and Monarch Madness on Saturday May 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the York County Annex, 112 Pleasant Acres Road, York.

Visitors will find a large selection of native plants, trees and shrubs suited for this area, including many hard-to-find plants.  Vendors include Harvey’s Gardens, Heartwood Nursery, Keystone Wildflowers, Kollar Nursery, Meadowsweet Native Plant Farm, Spring Haven Nurseries, and Rain Tree Landscaping and Nursery.

Heirloom vegetable seedlings will be offered for sale by The Horn Farm Center and The Mason Dixon Unit of the Herb Society of America will have herb plants available.  Master Gardeners and MAEscapes experts will be on hand to answer your questions and help with plant selection.

Monarch butterfly numbers are at an all-time low and many pollinators are declining as well. The loss of habitats for monarchs and many species of bees and other pollinators threatens the monarch migration and all the species dependent on the service of pollinators to provide the fruits, nuts, seeds and foliage they feed on.  By planting milkweeds, the host plants for monarch caterpillars, and nectar plants for adult monarchs and pollinators we can help maintain the monarch migration and sustain the pollinators whose pollinating services maintain our ecosystems.

Free seminars are being offered during the event:  9:30 a.m.; “Monarch Breeding” presented by Jamie Carl of Dreamscapes Water Gardens in Lebanon;  10:30 a.m. “Monarch Gardening and Conservation” presented by Master Gardener Deb Carmen;  11:30 a.m. a hands-on “Milkweed Seed Ball Workshop” presented by Judy Bono from the Gardener of the Owl Valley in York. A seed ball is a seed that has been wrapped in soil materials, usually a mixture of clay and compost, and then dried. Essentially, the seed is “pre-planted” and can be sown by depositing the seed ball anywhere suitable for the species, keeping the seed safe until the proper germination window arises.

Free guided tours of the MAEscapes gardens are scheduled for 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.  During the sale visitors can also see educational displays and shop for books, stepping stones and garden tools.  The event will be held rain or shine.   Proceeds benefit MAEscapes gardens and education programs.  For more information go to http://extension.psu.edu/gardening/maescapes or call 717-840-7408.

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It’s official: grass cutting season 2014 is here

After a brutal winter, spring 2014 is officially here:  I cut my lawn.

To be more exact:  I cut the front lawn for the second time and the back for the first.

The lawn was fertilized about a three weeks ago.  With the rain and then the Sun and warmer weather, it greened up and popped up.

Walking behind the lawn mower did give me an up-close and personal look at the damage created by snow mold this year, especially on the north side of the house.  Not quite sure what to do about that, but figure I have all spring to figure it out.

How did it feel to be a lawn mower pilot again?  Memories of the past harsh winter just melted away.

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It’s spring: Herb & Garden Festival pops up April 11-12

The 16th annual Pennsylvania Herb and Garden Festival will be held on April 11 and 12, in Memorial Hall at the York Expo Center.

Formerly the Pennsylvania Herb Festival, the event was expanded in 2011 to include more plants and products for all gardeners while continuing to offer all things herbal that the festival has been known for over the past 15 years. The festival continues to be dedicated to educating the public about growing and using herbs and will feature speakers, workshops and over 75 vendors of plants, herbal and garden crafts, and products for the gardener, cook and crafter.

 Lecture topics include native spring flora, using herbs medicinally, edible wildflowers, growing and using Artemisia, the 2014 herb-of-the-year, and other garden or herb-related topics.  Neither advanced registration nor a fee is required for the lectures scheduled throughout the festival.

In addition to the lectures, three workshops will be offered. Workshop participants can learn to make cold process herbal soaps, create a miniature garden, or plant a herb garden container.  There is a fee for the workshops and advanced registration is required. 

Visit www.PAHerbandGardenFestival.com for additional information and a full schedule of speakers and workshops.

 Festival hours are noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 11, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.  Admission is $5, children under 12 are admitted free.

 

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Digging the Southwest passage

Finding the Northwest Passage was long a dream of mariners.

After the township snow plow piled snow about three feet high at my corner, I went digging for the Southwest Passage.

Living on a corner has many advantages, but 100 by 150 feet of sidewalk is not one of them.

When it snows, we always clear the driveway first and then the sidewalks.  That usually — but recently, not always — gives a chance for the plow to come through and throw the snow towards the sidewalk.

This year, the plow has piled the street snow on the corner of our property.

Being nice guys, we try to clear a path from the corner to the street so the people who walk their dogs and students who need to get across the street to reach the school bus stop have an easy go of it.

With all the snow this year (and more in the forecast), that has become a daunting challenge.

I spent a good bit of Sunday morning using a snow shovel and an ice chopper to break through the southwest corner of our property to open that pathway.

After an hour and a half, I “broke through” the mountain of snow.

It may only be one shovel width wide, but we did see people taking advantage of the pathway later in the day.

Somehow, I felt like a successful mariner!

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Nature’s ice sculptures

cotton tree

spoon sculptureOn top of the Zhivago-esque landscapes from the earlier snow storm, this morning’s (February 5) freezing rain created “ice sculptures” in our yard.

The dwarf cherry tree (we call it the “Smurf tree”) on our landscape island looked like an enormous cotton plant.

The spoon sculpture — in the shape of a dragonfly — we purchased at last summer’s Riverwalk Arts Festival took on an entirely new look with its coating of ice.

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No mow in the snow

The statue of the little boy mowing the lawn at the entrance to our home is our No mow 12-12-13weather gauge.

After two snowstorms in just a few days, it seems difficult to remember that it was only a few days ago when I had the actual mower out and was mulching leaves with it.

How soon we switch from lawn mower to snow blower.

With additional snow and ice forecast for this weekend — on top of the almost nine inches already on the ground — it will be quite a while before the lawn mower has its day in the sun again.

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On the cutting edge of winter

Just because the lawn is covered in leaves and cold weather makes it necessary to bundle up, there are plenty of outdoor chores at this time of the year.

Having clipped an extra half-an-inch off the lawn a few weeks ago in the hopes that the leaves would just blow across the newly shortened grass (they don’t or won’t), the next step is to perform the final edging of the winter.

The trick to edging the lawn is to perform the task when the ground is somewhat dry.  That way when the steel-bladed edger kicks up all the dirt and grass, it is easy to lower the mower a notch and suck up the debris into the catcher/bag.

Now if it were just as easy to get all those leaves out of the flower beds.

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