This week's column is going to be about this and that.
I know one should not thank the giver for the gift of a plant, lest it does not grow, but I have to express my gratitude for several gifts since I returned from England. I whined about needing another butterfly bush, and a kind reader provided me with a pot containing two of them - one white and one purple.
Then another reader told me how well her broccoli and cauliflower are doing after a late seeding in July. She gave me some plants which are still flourishing in the cold.
And another friend not only cut down my dead redbud tree, but also brought and planted a healthy new one for me. And I have a promise of some ground cherries when they appear in the spring.
So I need to thank those kind people.
I have dried some sage, thyme, mint and rosemary from the garden, and now I have to store it. There is never room enough in the spice racks, and so I am going to copy an idea from the handyman's nail storage.
You just collect a few baby food jars in the sizes you need, and screw the lids to the underside of a kitchen cabinet. Label the jars with some of those labels you can find on the Internet, and there is dry and attractive storage for those good spices.
Every year I try to winter over some of my favorite herbs in the house, with varying success. I always make the attempt with rosemary because it has such a wonderful scent even if it dies back before spring. I remember Mark Langen of Mulberry Creek Farm telling me to find the draftiest window in the house for my pots. The ideal conditions are sunny, cold and drafty, and one should not water too much.
This week I will be pulling out my geraniums for their winter storage, all 17 of them. I pull them, shake off the soil, and cut the tops back to about 6 inches above ground level. Then they go on a shelf under the workbench in my basement for their winter sleep.
Or you can hang them in bundles in a dark place. They get no attention at all until early March, when they soak in a bucket of water for a few days before being potted up for a couple of months in a sunny window, and moving outside again in May. Just like the snowbirds!
A few tree facts from the speakers at the 2009 Northwest OhioUrban Forestry Seminar contacted last week at the beautiful tree-filled campus of Bluffton University.
* October is the ideal month for tree planting, followed by March.
* Highly recommended street trees include red maples, oak, black walnut and northern pecan.
* Trees to be avoided, especially along river banks, are willow, silver maple, cottonwood and box elder which can cause log jams. Newly added to this problem will be large numbers of ash trees that succumb to the emerald ash borer and fall into waterways.
* Tree-lined streets increase community pride and add value to urban property. Recent emphasis is being placed on shading parking lots.
* Tree shade, properly placed, can save a household $250 in heating and cooling costs.
Trees help clean our water supply by reducing the amount of water-borne pollutants that reach streams and rivers.
And finally, an idea that has absolutely nothing to do with gardening, but I am quite proud of it. I usually put my handbag in the front section of the cart in the grocery store, and have been concerned for its safety. So I clip the child's seat belt in the cart through the handle of my purse.
Now, if anyone wants the purse, the cart will come attached..
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.
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