The Magic Garden

Sweet rose! Thy crimson leaves are happy little thieves Sir Edwin Arnold


Can you recommend a good fertilizer?
Anna, Keosauqua, Iowa

Most soils need amendments as well as fertilizer. Sea weed, manure and bonemeal add bio activity to the soil as well as nutrients. Soils that have depleted nitrogen, phosphorus and potash can be replenished quickly with man made fertilizer formulas. When you grow vegetables, you will need higher proportions for the three types. Root vegetables like higher amounts of potash. Leafy veggies need more nitrogen, Fruit veggies like more phosphorus. Bone meal or 5-10-5 will supply needed phosphorus for tomatoes, peppers etc . Lawns and lettuce need more nitrogen from manure or 8-6-2. Beets, carrots and bulbs like 5-10-10. Often times natural phosphorus in the soil can be release by lime or gypsum. I like natural fertilizers because they add texture to the soil.

When is a good time to transplant some hybrid older roses?
Carol, Norwich, CT

Because the ground has yet to freeze, you can move your roses this winter. You will need to cut back to five main stems. I would make ten about two to three feet tall. You can also cut the roots and dig them up bare root. I would also recommend that your new soil include a third aged manure, a third sand and your present soil. You can mound the soil to the edge so that the edge is two inches below the lawn .

What are some of the new flowering shrubs this year?

Viburnum carlesi has a new variety called Spice Island. It has the same fragrance as Korean Spice with a deep reddish pink, when it opens. Red Balloon is a very showy Viburnum with lots of re fruit. This hybrid has white flower clusters in April and May. Golden Gutter Spirea grows 4X4 feet with dense compact growth. S.nipponica has colorful yellow speckled foliage with plenty of pure white flowers. There is a new series of barberry called Sunjoy. All are excellent hedges and specimens. B. thunbergii celeste is called Sunjoy Cinnamon with dark orange foliage. B.thunbergii Koren is called Sunjoy Citrus with a rounded growth habit and golden yellow. Mini Salsa is in the same series with red foliage and dwarf size. All are hardy in New England.

What are some new evergreens this year?

There is an orange colored American Arborvitae. Thuja occidentals , Golden Tuffet" turns bronze in the fall.
It also has a braided textures. A new Abies concolor "Candicans" grows only 10 feet wide and 30 feet tall with silvery blue color year round. Two new hollies are available this year. Hybrid Ilex meservae is an improved dark foliage holly that grows only four feet. Emerald Colonade is another introduction this year. It is hardy in zones 7-9. It can be used in containers, hedges and foundations.

You can listen to Mort's podcasts 24/7 on The live program on Saturday can also be heard on the website from 8:06 to 10 AM ET.


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