Tricounty News

Annandale Garden tour July 12

Petals & Palate Garden Tour and Luncheon is a GO. The Annandale Arts Committee invites you to attend their summer fundraiser.

We have a variety of new gardens for our event this year, and homeowners are excited to share them with you.

Saturday, July 12, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Ticket Price: $30 per person (tour & Lunch). Advance tickets only are now available for purchase at the following locations in downtown Annandale: Miller’s Jewelry, In Hot Water Coffee, All Things Good, and Café Jules.

Five area gardens will be featured on this tour, providing spectacular arrays full of beauty, color and inspiration. The tour will conclude at Fairhaven Farms unique garden setting with lunch provided by Cottage Gourmets.

We look forward to seeing you at this very important fundraiser for the “FREE Summer Concerts in the City Park”. 

Contact Robin Davidson with any questions, (612) 799-2711

Ready for rhubarb

Fresh rhubarb pie, crisp, or other delicious desserts are a favorite for many. Finally the weather has warmed up enough for the rhubarb plants to start growing vigorously and many are ready for their first harvest. Rhubarb, sometimes called the “pie plant,” is a staple in many gardens that provides an early-season crop.

Rhubarb contains high levels of oxalic acid. Too much oxalic acid in the human body can tie up calcium and make it unavailable to the body. However eating rhubarb desserts occasionally will not cause a serious nutrient deficiency. People with gout or a history of kidney stones should consult their physicians before consuming foods like spinach and rhubarb that contain high levels of oxalic acid.

There are several varieties of rhubarb, but most rhubarb can be harvested once the stalks reach 12-15 inches. The stalks of the plant are actually leaf petioles and vary from green to red in color. To harvest rhubarb simply grasp the stalk firmly, pull, and twist. Keep in mind, using a knife may transfer disease from one plant to the next. The leaves are toxic and should be discarded; leaving them on for any length of time can cause wilting of the stalks. If the plant was started from seed, wait until the second season to harvest any stalks.


Lawn fertilizer and herbicide best practices

This spring has certainly brought its abundance of rain, and we are back at conditions where lawn care should be put aside until the ground has firmed up and dried out again. Traditional spring lawn care has typically included fertilizing and putting down herbicides for the weeds.  Knowing the correct time and rate of application is critical, and some of it may surprise you.

Fertilizing lawns in the spring has been an ongoing practice for years; however the best time to fertilize your lawn is late summer and fall. The benefits to fall fertilizing verses spring application include: 1) Quicker, earlier green-up in the spring without additional shoot growth 2) Reduced occurrences of summer disease 3) Increase in carbohydrate reserves 4) Additional period of green in the fall. All of which are reason enough to apply fertilizers in the fall rather than spring, but it may take a bit more convincing to get you to change your habits. Another primary reason to do fall fertilizing rather than a spring application is because although fertilizing in the spring gives the grass plants a surge of nitrogen to burst a beautiful green, it reduces the plant’s energy reserves. Unfortunately this will result in a weaker plant during the stresses of the summer heat and dry periods because rather than putting down deeper roots in the spring the plant focused on having greener tops and may ultimately reduce its chances of survival.


Winter berries

Mother Nature has provided us with a blanket of beautiful white snow, but something breaking up that monotone color pallet is lingering winter berries from some of the trees, shrubs, and vines in our landscape.

Native trees, shrubs, and vines that commonly maintain some of their berries into the winter months include: American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens L.), Wild Grape (Vitis riparia), Hawthorns (Crataegus sp.), Black Chokeberry (Aronia sp.), Elderberry (Sambucus sp.), Mountain Ash (Sorbus Americana), and High-bush Cranberry (Viburnum sp). In addition, many introduced nursery industry plants also tend to hold berries into the winter months, such as the flowering crabs, and barberries.


Fall leaf clean-up


Our landscapes have taken a new look, one of beautiful color to one of bare trees and lawns covered in leaves.  This is the time to do our fall chores and clean-up those leaves from our lawns. Leaf cover can cause turf grass damage by smothering the grass, and creating an environment more susceptible to “snow mold”. The fungi that cause snow mold thrive in moist, cool environments, and therefore fall is the time to remove the leaves from our lawns to help prevent snow mold in the spring.

The leaves can be utilized in several ways, one is composting. Leaves can be added to a compost pile with other lawn clippings, non-woody plant trimmings, yard waste, etc. Shredding leaves is not required, but will speed up the process of decomposition. Compost piles composed of only leaves will require an extra source of nitrogen, such as commercial fertilizer, or materials high in nitrogen to assist with the decomposition.