Garden Notes Update

A few Garden Notes for 2013 merit brief updates as more information became available. I'll start with the last post and work my way back.

Dealing with Hail, posted May 30, 2013

One of the consequences of hail is the disruption of flower and subsequently, seed production. Several reseeding annuals and perennials were damaged, some beyond recovery for this year, preventing seed set and maturation.

A few spring blooming plants that come to mind that I've come to depend on setting seed for next year's garden are California poppies, Oriental poppies, and larkspur in the annual category. If you've hoped to increase your spread of blue flax, columbines, spring blooming penstemon to name a few perennials, we may be out of luck for this year as they may or may not be able to regroup by forming new growth, flowers and seeds for the following year. As mentioned in the original post, yucca, iris and daylilies are probably out of production for this year, but will themselves survive. The situation with penstemons is slightly different as they respond negatively to such untimely “pruning”. The plant may succumb as a result of the hail damage.

As with all weather events, hail is spotty, one garden's damage is not the same as another's plant damage and it should be evaluated on an individual basis. But if your garden's poppies, etc., were knocked out, you may have to do some reseeding yourself. Check with your gardening network to see if any were spared and can save seeds to share with you.

Further, depending on the amount of hail piled up, some seedlings and plants may have perished due to cold, more than any other reason.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, posted May 16, 2013

This year was the centenary of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. To celebrate, voting took place to pick the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Century. The contenders were all plants that were previously selected as Chelsea Plant of the Year. Their were ten contenders, one from each decade.

And the winner is: Geranium Rozanne ('Gerwat') was picked as the top plant of the last 100 years, launched between 1993 – 2002. It merited selection by voters based on it beautiful, violet-blue flowers, slightly marbled and finely cut foliage and long season of bloom throughout the growing season. I had previously tried Geranium Rozanne, but it disappeared after the second year. However, I'm willing to give the Plant of the Century another try.

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2013: Mahonia eurybrachteata subsp. ganpinensis ‘Soft Caress’. Here is one description of the plant “Mahonia eurybracteata is a modestly sized evergreen shrub that grows wild in five provinces of south west China. Reaching 3-4ft/90-120cm in height, and about as wide creating a more or less rounded plant, the long slender divided foliage is slightly greyish green, soft to the touch and not at all spiny or holly-like as so many varieties are. From August until October the flowers appear, upright clusters of spikes at the tips of the shoots are lined with slightly fragrant, bright yellow flowers that last for many weeks and are followed by blue berries” (Transalantic Gardener).

Although there are geraniums and mahonias native to the United States that grow well in our climate, these are non-natives. While choosing plants based solely on awards won is a chic and fun way to select plants, please note that gardeners from climates far different from ours did the voting. That's one reason I support the use of Colorado's Plant Select plants. For best results, each plant should be evaluated for suitability to one's climate and condition, wherever one gardens.

EU Neonicotinoid Ban and Update, posted May 2, 2013

On May 2, 2013, the USDA published a report on the National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference Steering Committee, October 15-17, 2012, the same day I posted the update on the EU neonicotinoid ban, therefore I had not reviewed this information. The report summarized the results of the meeting, not the policies or position of the USDA.

The conference's goal was for stakeholders in honey bee health to exchange information gained since the CCD Steering Committee was established in 2007 and to understand of the causes of honey bee loss, to facilitate the development and implementation of best management practices by the various stakeholders and to identify priority topics for future research, education and outreach.

After five years of fact finding, the report didn't identify any one particular factor in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) nor make any one particular recommendation for action. However the report will serve as a guide for future policy formulation and recommended further studies before even thinking about a neonicotinoid ban.

The post of May 2 reported an EU ban on neonicotinoids for two years to improve survival rates of honey bee colonies. On May 24th, the EU Commission formally adopted the ban of three neonicotinoids in the European Union, which will officially begin December 1, 2013. The European commission based its action on a report issued in January of this year.

Herbicide Carryover – Killer or Contaminated Compost, posted April 2, 2013

A settlement was approved in Federal court in January involving Dupont, manufacturer of the herbicide Imprelis, responsible for the killing and damage of hundreds and thousands of trees and and other perennials after application in several states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota. In February, Dupont won the right to settle millions of dollars of claims by individual homeowners and landscaping firms and professionals, $750 to 900 million, in a class action suit (Bloomberg). As part of the settlement, Dupont has agreed to remove damaged trees and pay for replacements, tree care and warranties ( People whose trees were killed or damaged need to submit a Claim Resolution Agreement and may be asked to submit tree tissue or soil samples. Apply by December 31, 2013.

However, not everyone is satisfied with this remedy. Dupont will not reimburse owners for other brush or vegetation damage, nor will they reimburse for future damage, as Imprelis is a long acting herbicide. Other claimants are not satisfied with the amount of money offered in settlement. A number of people are opting out of the class action suit and are consulting with Wright & Schulte, LLC (PR Web), a law firm that specializes in representing clients against large corporations. Many lawn care professionals have described Imprelis as the Agent Orange of the lawn care industry (Salt Lake City Tribune, May 9, 2013).

Angie Hanna, June 3, 2013