June 10, 2014
While lilacs are starting to wind down around the state, they’re just getting going on Mackinac Island. The annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival started last weekend and continues through Sunday, June 15th. Here’s a few tips courtesy the Lilac Festival and Jeff Young, Lilac Curator at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center, Master Gardener and presenter of the “Walk and Talk with Lilacs” program during the Lilac Festival.
- Common Lilacs need to have 9-12 canes for each 6 feet
- Leave at least 2 feet between mature Lilacs.
- Plant new shrubs 16 feet apart (circular shape)
- Allow for a few more canes if you are planting as a hedge with less depth.
- If you have too many canes, consider the oldest canes for removal first, leaving good spacing between canes.
- If not enough canes, pick one or two of the best suckers each year until there are enough.
- Once the Lilac is established, consider adding one new cane and removing the oldest cane each year to create a vigorous, healthy full flowering plant.
More at the Lilac Festival website.
June 6, 2014
May 30, 2014
May 27, 2014
May 15, 2014
I love old books, and was happy to find Wild Flowers Worth Knowing by Neltje Blanchan, a 1917 book that is available online through Project Gutenberg. The entry for Yellow Adder’s Tongue; Trout Lily; Dog-tooth “Violet” (Erythronium americanum) is a good example of the descriptive & endearing turns of phrase you often find in books from another age:
Flower – Solitary, pale russet yellow, rarely tinged with purple, slightly fragrant, 1 to 2 in. long, nodding from the summit of a root-stalk 6 to 12 in, high, or about as tall as the leaves. Perianth bell-shaped, of 6 petal-like, distinct segments, spreading at tips, dark spotted within; 6 stamens; the club-shaped style with 3 short, stigmatic ridges. Leaves: 2, unequal, grayish green, mottled and streaked with brown or all green, oblong, 3 to 8 in. long, narrowing into clasping petioles.
Preferred Habitat – Moist open woods and thickets, brooksides.
Flowering Season – March-May.
Distribution – Nova Scotia to Florida, westward to the Mississippi.
Colonies of these dainty little lilies, that so often grow beside leaping brooks where and when the trout hide, justify at least one of their names; but they have nothing in common with the violet or a dog’s tooth. Their faint fragrance rather suggests a tulip; and as for the bulb, which in some of the lily-kin has toothlike scales, it is in this case a smooth, egg-shaped corm, producing little round offsets from its base. Much fault is also found with another name on the plea that the curiously mottled and delicately pencilled leaves bring to mind, not a snake’s tongue, but its skin, as they surely do. Whoever sees the sharp purplish point of a young plant darting above ground in earliest spring, however, at once sees the fitting application of adder’s tongue. But how few recognize their plant friends at all seasons of the year!
Every one must have noticed the abundance of low-growing spring flowers in deciduous woodlands, where, later in the year, after the leaves overhead cast a heavy shade, so few blossoms are to be found, because their light is seriously diminished. The thrifty adder’s tongue, by laying up nourishment in its storeroom underground through the winter, is ready to send its leaves and flower upward to take advantage of the sunlight the still naked trees do not intercept, just as soon as the ground thaws.
May 10, 2014
April 25, 2014
I know that Spring Fever is in full bloom when I start getting people coming in droves to read about cherry blossoms. While we don’t have an exact report, it looks like we’re running about a week behind, which would put blossoms in the 2nd to 3rd weekend of May depending on where you’re located.
In terms of the early outlook for the 2014 growing season, the West Michigan tree fruit regional report – April 22, 2014 from MSU Extension says:
Recent warmer than average temperatures have pushed a little green tissue out of apple flowering buds on the earliest varieties – Ida Red, McIntosh, Zestar and some early Gala sites. Growing degree day accumulations continue to run about 10 to 14 days behind normal averages. In 2013, green tip in McIntosh occurred on April 27 and we are not quite there yet for 2014, but it should occur by the end of the week if not sooner. So, 2014 is shaping up to be similar to and even a bit ahead of 2013 for growth stages. This is surprising given the record-breaking ice cover on the Great Lakes and the cooler than average weather pattern we’ve been in for the past six months.
Stone fruits are slowly developing. Sweet cherry flower buds are expanding, but no green tissue yet. Peach buds are plumping up nicely. Growers in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area are reporting mixed levels of bud loss from the extreme winter cold temperatures. Overall, it appears that the peach crop in this area was mostly spared and holds a normal crop potential at this time.
The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station doesn’t have any information up yet, but you can follow the development an actual Leelanau County tart cherry tree via their webcam!
April 22, 2014
I’d like to wish everyone who wants to have a happy Earth Day a very happy Earth Day.
I love this state and I love the planet it’s on and really hope that we can do a better job taking care of it because I want my kids and grandkids to enjoy it as much or more than me.
More Earth Day on Michigan in Pictures. If you’re interested in Earth Day’s Michigan roots, check out Ann Arbor’s First Earth Day from the Ann Arbor Chronicle and this video from the first Earth Day at UM courtesy the Bentley Historical Library.
April 21, 2014
April 8, 2014
Coincidentally enough, I just found out that Ken will be doing the next Glen Arbor Art Association Talk About Art this Thursday, April 10, 7:30 p.m. at the GAAA in Glen Arbor.
Today’s post comes via eatdrinkTC. Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the U.S. and that diversity doesn’t stop at the market! Our woods are alive with tasty and nutritious food if you know where to look. In our Wild Food Wednesdays we’ll tip you off to seasonal goodies and give you a recipe or two so you can enjoy the meal as much as the hike to find it!
In many years, we will have seen Viola sororia (Common blue violet) in the woods and often in our lawns by now. Violets can be found in a variety of soil conditions, from moist and even swampy deciduous forests to drier forests (though not usually near pines). The flowers and young leaves are delicious! The Culinary Violet page at the American Violet Society says (in part):
Both the flowers and leaves in fresh and dried forms have been standard fare in Europe and other areas in the world since before the 14th century. Fresh flowers are most often used for garnishing and crystallizing, The pungent perfume of some varieties of v.odorata adds inimitable sweetness to desserts, fruit salads and teas while the mild pea flavor of v.tricolor and most other viola combines equally well with sweet or savory foods, like grilled meats and steamed vegetables. The heart-shaped leaves of the v. odorata provide a free source of greens throughout a long growing season. They add texture to green salads when young and tender. Later in the season, slightly tougher, older leaves are cooked with other potted herbs and greens in soups, stews and stir-frys.
Violets aren’t just another pretty face. They are loaded with phytochemicals and medicinal constituents that have been used in the treatment of numerous health problems from the common cold to cancer. The late Euell Gibbons even referred to them as “nature’s vitamin pill (1).” A 1/2 cup serving of leaves can provide as much vitamin C as three oranges.