Archive for June 2009

Native Trees for North American Landscapes

Guy Sternberg was the first president of the International Oak Society and is a life member of the International Dendrology Society. He brings his expert knowledge to all gardeners in this fascinating book about using native trees in North American landscapes. Sternberg addresses the main topic of gardening with native trees by discussing the fundamentals of nature and the need for gardeners to embrace them. Sternberg comments that “nature is a system of overlapping parts that fit together in a multidimensional jigsaw puzzle.” His basic concept of planting the right plant in the right place leads to in-depth discussions of …

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Clematis Wilt

This month you may have noticed shriveling of some stems on your clematis, while others of us have been so unlucky as to experience a dramatic demise of the entire plant shriveling and turning black in a week. These symptoms are typical of a disease called clematis wilt.


These dramatic symptoms most often manifest just as the plant is about to flower, typically striking the flower buds and new growth first. In my research, I have found 2 fungi credited with causing this theatrical demise, Phoma clematidina and Ascochyta clematidina. These pathogens enter the vine’s vascular system and …

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Electric Mower

Last summer in an attempt to become more environmentally friendly we replaced our gas-powered mower with a Brill RazorCut Premium 33 Reel Mower. The spinning blade of the reel mower works purely from the power of whoever is pushing it. In the beginning, this mower served our needs very nicely. We relied on it for mowing the lawns in both the Entrance Garden and the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. The reel mower worked beautifully when the lawn had been mowed weekly and there was no debris in the lawn.

We started to have problems with this mower when we received …

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