Garden Gatherings

Garden Gatherings
A newsletter by the
Renville County Master Gardeners
containing USDA Zone 4 appropriate
Volume 95
June 2015
Inside this Issue:
Raspberry Shortcake™
A new fruit breeding program, from the
Brazelton family at Fall Creek Farm and
Nursery in Oregon, has created berry
plants that are not only simple to grow
and tasty to eat, but also beautiful to look
at. One variety of Brazelberries®,
Raspberry Shortcake™, is hardy in
USDA Zone 4 and perfect for containers.
Raspberry Shortcake™ reaches a height
and spread of only 2 to 3 feet and
requires no trellising or staking. The fullsize, flavorful fruit are produced midsummer and are super sweet. This
plant’s thornless stems are very kidfriendly. This plant needs little care
except timely watering and a bit of watersoluble fertilizer through the growing
This plant will not survive our Minnesota
winters in a container so, at summer’s
end, it is suggested that you bury the
container right in your vegetable garden
and cover with straw. Pull the container
out in the spring when the ground thaws.
Source: Debbie Lonnee,
Northern Gardener, May/June 2015
Master Gardener Picks - Tomatoes
Small Space Gardening
New LEGO Exhibit at the Arboretum
Hummingbirds and How to Attract Them
to Your Yard
Vines Growing Up and Around
Support Group for Veggies
June Gardening Tips
Pest Watch
Mosquito Be Gone Plants
What’s Happening. . .
In our area
Brown County Garden Tour
Saturday, June 20, 2015 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
7 gardens in New Ulm and Searles
Tickets available now and day of tour at New Ulm Cash Wise and HyVee
Faith Lutheran Garden Tour and Salad Luncheon
335 Main Street S, Hutchinson, MN
For more info call 320-587-2093
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Sibley County Garden Tour
Four Season Park, Arlington - $5
Saturday, June 27, 2015 9 a.m. to 12 noon
For more info contact Larry Gieseke at [email protected]
Hutchinson Garden Club Garden Tour
Saturday, July 11, 2015 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
For more info contact
Meeker County Extension Master Gardener Garden Tour
Tuesday, July 14, 2015.
For more info contact
Please contact us if you are sponsoring a garden-related event as we would
be happy to include your event in our calendar.
Contact - [email protected]
Master Gardener Picks
by Pam McColley, Renville County Master Gardener Intern
Veggie recommendations from this
intern.......There are two vegetables that I
highly recommend to anyone who is a
beginner or pro gardener- 'Celebrity' tomatoes,
and 'Sno White' cherry tomatoes. My reasons
for these are as follows:
Small Space Gardening
by Melinda Myers
Written by one of America's most popular gardening
experts, and a Great Lakes gardener, Melinda Myers
provides "can't miss" advice for success. It's the perfect
book for gardeners with small lots, or those desiring an
intimate garden within a larger landscape.
'Celebrity' tomatoes - I have tendencies to
have blight issues with the more common
tomatoes that most people love to plant. A
long time ago my neighborhood greenhouse
recommended 'Celebrity' and I have had huge
success with these plants. They seem to be
the most disease resistant in my particular
garden. We have
very dark heavy
soil - Clarion loam.
Our garden usually
produces quite an
abundance of
vegetables that we
can't hardly give
New LEGO Exhibit at the Arboretum
'Sno White' cherry tomatoes - Three years
ago a friend gave me several varieties that she
had started from seed. Oh my gosh these little
golden almost white orbs are the sweetest
cherry I have ever tasted. They consistently
grew taller than our 6 foot tall tomato cages
and yes they even came back the next year,
(typical cherry tomato right?). I ordered some
of these seeds this
year and am
attempting to start
some on my own. At
this time my plants
are ready to put out, I
just need the weather
to cooperate.
"Connecting with nature" has taken a very literal meaning in the Arboretum's gardens this summer! The colorful exhibit, "Nature Connects: Art with LEGO® Bricks," features 13 displays of large, nature‐inspired sculptures made from LEGO bricks. Continuing through August 30, these impressive sculptures ‐‐ interspersed throughout the Arboretum gardens and collections ‐ are the creation of renowned artist Sean Kenney. ‐The tallest sculpture is the hummingbird at 76" ‐The longest and widest is the dragonfly at 96" x 96" ‐The peacock was constructed of 68,827 blocks For more information on what’s happening at the Arboretum,
please visit
Bernie’s Bit — Hummingbirds and How to Attract Them to Your Yard
by Bernie Angus, WCROC Landscape Gardener
Article submitted by Jan Howell, Renville County Master Gardener
This is a condensed version of an article from the University of Minnesota West Central Research
and Outreach Center in Morris, MN, Spring 2015 Horticulture Newsletter.
With a flash of green and red, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird
species that breeds in the eastern United States. It is also the smallest bird species. Of all
hummingbirds in the United States, this species has the largest breeding range. The ruby throated hummingbird
migrates from Central America and southern Mexico. This feat is impressive, as a 500 mile, non-stop flight over water
would seemingly require a caloric energy that far exceeds an adult hummingbird's body weight. However, researchers
discovered the tiny birds can double their fat mass by approximately one gram in preparation for their Gulf crossing,
and then expend the entire calorie reserve from fat during the 20 hour non-stop crossing when food and water are
Hummingbirds are special, brilliant, tiny, precision-flying creatures that glitter like jewels in the sun and dazzle with their
aerial acrobatics, flying fast then stopping instantly, hovering, and zipping up, down or backwards with exquisite
control, then vanish with a zip toward the next nectar source.
Muscles make up 25% to 30% of their body weight, and they have long blade like wings that unlike the wings of other
birds connect to the body only from the shoulder joint. This adaptation allows the wing to rotate almost 180 degrees,
enabling the bird to fly backwards and hover. During hovering, hummingbird’s wings beat up to 80 times per second.
Males arrive at the breeding area in the spring and establish a territory
before the females arrive. When the females return, males court
females that enter their territory by performing courtship displays. The
female builds a nest in a protected location in a shrub or a tree. The
hummingbird's nest is a compact mass about an inch deep and an inch
across, firm in texture, lined with soft plant down, and covered over on
the outside with tiny bits of lichen. It is commonly saddled on a limb,
usually a small, down-sloping one. The nesting materials include bud
scales, plant down, lichens and spider silk.
When newly hatched, young hummingbirds are about the size of a pea, grow amazingly fast, and when about ten days
old they are about as large as their parents. During this period of time the young are fed by regurgitation. They leave
the nest at about three weeks of age. Young birds are fed insects for protein since nectar is an insufficient source of
protein for the growing birds. Nectar from flowers, flowering shrubs and trees, as well as small insects and spiders, are
the hummingbird’s main food source. They show a slight preference for red, orange, and bright pink tubular flowers as
nectar sources. Their diet may also occasionally include sugar-rich tree sap.
The birds feed from flowers using a long, extendable tongue, and catch insects
on the wing or glean them from flowers, leaves, bark, and spiders’ webs.
Hummingbirds have long, needle-like beaks they use to probe deep into flowers.
If you’ve ever watched a hummingbird feed, you might think it’s using its beak like
a straw to suck up nectar, but that’s not what is happening. The hummingbirds’
beak is just a protective sheath for its tongue, which is actually what the
hummingbird is using to get the nectar out of the flower.
Preferred flowers for hummingbirds: columbine, coral bells, petunia, foxglove, fuchsia, penstemon, sweet rocket,
weigela, monarda, cardinal flower (lobelia), vining honeysuckle, hosta, scarlet runner bean, salvia (greggii, guaranitica,
farinacea, patens, and splendens varieties), hollyhock (single), liatris, gladiolus, delphinium, nicotiana, morning glory,
hibiscus, cherry, plum, flowering almond, as well as many others.
Hummingbirds will also readily come to a nectar feeder. Make sugar water mixtures with one part table sugar to 4
parts water. Stir the sugar water solution until it is dissolved. Place on medium heat and boil for 1 minute but no
longer as this can increase the sugar content and be detrimental the hummingbird.
The reason for boiling is not to make syrup, but to drive out the chlorine in the water
and to kill mold and yeast spores that might be in the sugar. This will help make the
nectar last longer both in the feeder and in your refrigerator. Food coloring is not
necessary. Natural flower nectar is clear, not red. Hummingbirds don't look at nectar
anyway, they look for flowers of the right shape and color, and nearly all hummingbird
feeders have red on them. Never use honey to make hummingbird food - when honey
is diluted with water, bacteria and fungus thrive in it. During cold, rainy, or foggy
conditions when fresh water is plentiful but birds need more energy, it’s fine to make
the mixture 1/3 cup of sugar per cup of water. Concentrations of sugars in natural
nectars vary within about that range. If you mix up small quantities of sugar water every day or two, there’s no need to
boil the water. But if you mix up larger batches and refrigerate part for later use, then it’s wise to make the mixture with
boiling water.
The two most important issues to consider in selecting hummingbird feeders are how easy they are to take apart and
clean, and how large they are. Bacteria and mold grow in sugar water, and sugar ferments, so hummingbird water
should never be left out for more than two or three days, and changed daily in very hot weather. The easier it is to
clean a hummingbird feeder, the more likely you are to do it often and well.
Hummingbirds will go to flowers of all colors. But the key here lies in the eyesight of nectar-feeding insects, not
hummingbirds. Bees, wasps, and butterflies are better at locating pale-colored flowers than red flowers. In nature, red
flowers tend to have more nectar in them, because they aren’t being visited as often by insects.
They feed 5 to 8 times per hour resting in between to digest the nectar. They consume half their weight in sugar each
Fall is an extremely important time to keep your hummingbird feeder filled. You will not delay a hummingbird from
migrating by having the nectar feeder available. With this information hopefully you can enjoy these jewels of nature
Do you have spirea that look like this, or worse? Due to the quick onset of cold temps last fall, some varieties of trees and shrubs, including spirea, did not harden off normally and portions, if not all, of the plants died. What to do? The dead part of the shrub can be pruned away and the plant fertilized and watered to form new growth. In other cases ... replace the shrub.
Louise Schweiss Anderson, Renville County Master Gardener
Hearing the word vine conjures up in my mind
images of a great trellis or a wall that is
covered with green plant material and a show
of seasonal flowers. Vertically grown vines
help to create shade in the garden as well as
add interest to the landscape. A sturdy trellis is
one tool to help support that upright growth but
have you considered a dead tree, a teepee, a
tomato cage stuck into a large flower pot, an
arch, a scrim (a bench with a vine growing
through the back), an arbor or a cattle panel
anchored with steel posts to act as your
supporting frame for the vertically grown vine.
The bonus with vertical gardening is that the
east and north sides of the frame will provide a
shade space for other plants to be grown. This
is a two for one adventure.
The 2014 Douglas County Master Gardener
‘Let’s Get Growing’ conference had some
amazing classes and the vines class was one
of them. I love vertical growing as it adds so
much interest to the garden. To be honest, I
haven’t planted all the vine types that
Perennial Vines Cardinal Vine Clematis Engleman Ivy Gold Flame Honeysuckle Trumpet Creeper American Bittersweet Wisteria Edible Vines Nasturtium Hops Scarlet Runner Bean I would like to but there’s only so much vertical
growing that I can do with the northwest and
southeast winds blowing through our prairie
farm. How far does one have to drive a stake
to keep a heavy ladened trellis upright for a full
five month growing season? I still don’t have
the answer to this. But I was challenged to
think out of the box and was asked to imagine
vines being used as ground covers. Interesting
concept. I listened closely.
Anything that can grow upright can be grown
lying down. Of course I knew this in the
reverse when it came to all my vining
vegetables but I’d not thought of the concept
for flowering vines to be ground covers and
bloom there. How exciting! A new project for
my flower beds. See the list below for ideas on
types of vining plants that you might consider
trying in your garden or landscape.
Happy Growing!
Annual Vines Spanish Flag Cardinal Climber Cypress Vine Moonflower Hyacinth Bean Sweet Pea Black‐eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia) Cup and Saucer Vine Passion Flower Morning Glory Support Group for Veggies
June Gardening Tips
Support structures in the kitchen garden apply to
more than just cages for tomatoes. Peas, pole
beans, cucumbers, melons, squash, peppers and
eggplants – the kitchen garden as a whole –
benefit from the use of plant supports. Here’s
five good reasons why:
Pest Alert! If you grow fruits like raspberries,
strawberries, blueberries and cherries, hang
traps to monitor for the spotted wing
Drosophilia (SWD). See the Extension Garden
website for details on the SWD and how to
build your own traps.
Saves space: Plants growing upward mean a
smaller footprint for each vegetable.
Cedar Apple Rust Galls Rainy periods may increase the occurrence of
cedar apple rust galls slimy orange tentacle like
fungi found on juniper
trees. The good news:
These galls rarely harm
junipers, and will dry up
and die with warmer, drier
Plant health: Plants grown vertically suffer less
from fungal diseases because of better air
Vegetable quality: When maturing vegetables
and fruits are on the ground, they’re susceptible
to rot and disease as well as passing pests.
They ripen better when held high and exposed to
more sun rather than shaded under foliage.
Ease of harvest: Who likes to bend over picking
produce? And it’s easier to find veggies that like
to play hide and seek when they’re elevated.
Yard & Garden News Blog - Minimize spring
lawn repairs NEXT year by identifying reasons
for lawn damage NOW: crown hydration
(freeze/thaw of plant crowns), desiccation
(drought), prolonged ice cover (depletes
oxygen), exposure to low temperatures and
snow mold disease. Abiotic stresses like salt
and mechanical damage by plows and power
rakes may also damage lawns.
the Yard & Garden News blog.
Aesthetics: Visually interesting supports work
like garden art.
Remember to support early and often. Get
creative with a variety of
supports such as spirals,
ladders, livestock fencing,
willow wigwams, bamboo
hoops or peony hoops.
Use your imagination;
you’ll be surprised how
many potential supports
you’ll find!
Source: Minnesota Gardening 2015 Calendar and
Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and
University of Minnesota Extension
Source: Rhonda Fleming Hayes, northerngardener® May/June 2015
Meet the Renville County Master Gardeners
Jane Aalderks – Maynard; Louise Schweiss Anderson – Fairfax; Joy Clobes - Fairfax; Cathi Fesenmaier – Olivia; Erin Grams – Hector;
Ginger Hallbeck – Olivia; Susan Haubrich - Danube; Betsy Hennen – Olivia; Jan Howell - Olivia; Pam McColley - Franklin; Linda McGraw Buffalo Lake; Connie Schmoll - Olivia; and Sandy Wacek - Redwood Falls.
The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion,
national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
Pest Watch
by Cathi Fesenmaier, Renville County Master Gardener
Be on the lookout for both the cabbage looper moth and the cabbage worm
moth. One has mottled brown wings with a single silver
spot in the center. The other is mostly white with a few
black dots. They both lay a single pale yellow to green egg
on a leaf or clusters of six or seven eggs aren’t uncommon.
They like to lay their eggs on cabbage, turnips, kale, and
other cruciferous vegetables. About three days later a
caterpillar emerges and starts eating.
The real problem is the cabbage looper and cabbage worm. They both
are small green caterpillars with large appetites. The cabbage looper is
green with white racing stripes. These caterpillars not only eat cabbage
but also munch on broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, lettuce and cucumbers.
They even love to eat flowers such as mums, snapdragons, hollyhocks
and others. The cabbage looper eats irregular holes into leaves and can
defoliate a plant in no time. This can stunt the growth or even kill a plant.
You can hand pick any caterpillars that you find. Encourage predator wasp
and ground beetles to live in your garden to avoiding insecticides. They will
do you the favor of eating these hungry caterpillars. For serious problems,
try a spray product containing neem. This organic pesticide stops the
caterpillar from eating and causes it to die.
Source - Garden Gate magazine and U of M Extension
Now that we have had some rain and warm weather the mosquitoes can’t be far behind. Here are 4 plants that work as natural mosquito repellents. Plant them in groups around your garden or all together in a pot for your deck! Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) ‐ Mosquitoes hate the lemony scent of this plant. Lemongrass prefers good drainage and full sun, and can be grown in a pot by itself or as a centerpiece for a mixed container. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) ‐ This is one of the most attractive plants for herb and container gardens. It does not require a lot of water and you can use the leaves in your summer cooking. Ageratum ‐ This is an annual plant that grows about 6‐12 inches. It needs partial shade to full sun. Besides repelling mosquitoes, this plant is considered an excellent butterfly nectar plant. Mosquitoes find its characteristic odor offensive. Couperin, secreted by ageratum, is used extensively in manufacturing mosquito repellents. Marigolds ‐ Marigold plants bear yellow or orange flowers. They have a pungent odor. This is due to terthienyl production. This compound repels mosquitoes and other insects. Source ‐ News from the Garden Center ‐ Holasek's Flower Power Garden Center 7