Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tulips & Daffodils

I hope your weekend was a good one. I planned out some yard projects that I will soon start and of course will keep you updated on. I also got a lot of miscellaneous things done in my yard. I finally feel like I have everything under control. On Sunday morning, it was great fun to have meteorologist Rob Koch join me in my backyard during the 8:00 hour of 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Weekend Morning. For the first time in 7 years, I did a show and tell of the entire backyard.

I was recently asked about tulips and daffodils. Once they were done blooming, you should cut back the flower stem and nothing else. The plant needs the leaves to make food that is stored in the bulb until next spring. That stored food is what gives the plant the energy to produce a flower next year. So, wait until all the leaves have dried up on your tulips and daffodils before you cut them back. A fertilizing right now with a well-balanced garden food helps too.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

The long Memorial Day weekend is here.

I will be in the studio on Saturday morning during the 8:00 hour of 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Weekend Morning. I will be talking about plants for container gardens early in the newscast and then later on I will talk about shade loving plants. No more excuses from all the folks I hear from you claim they can’t grow anything because of shade.

On Sunday morning I will be back at the same time. This time, weather permitting I will be in my backyard and what a treat it will be – Rob Koch will be there doing his weather forecasts as well. Our tentative plans include doing some grilling and a tour of my backyard. In more then 7 years of using my yard for television appearances, I have never given viewers a full look around the yard –it should be great fun.

The rest of my weekend will be filled with starting the work on a raised vegetable bed in my side yard and looking at an idea I have for a rock fountain. Oh yeah, I will be tackling the destruction of one my bathrooms that I’m remodeling. I’ll be giving you updates on the raised vegetable beds and the fountain in the days and weeks ahead.

I have to run now –time to mow the lawn and get the yard ready for Rob’s visit. I feel like an inspection will be happening.

Make your day and weekend a good one.
Click here for tips on how to add tropical plants to your yard

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Grass is Greener

Finally some much needed rain. This morning when I looked out in my yard everything seemed greener and maybe even happier. (Can plants look happy?) It looks like the rain will last all day and that is a good thing.

Last night when I watched the news I was once again amazed at how quickly trees can be standing one moment and gone the next when a storm hits.
Click here for tips on how to help keep trees from blowing over during storms.

I’ll have a posting again tomorrow and let you know what I will be up to in my yard and garden. A few big projects will be started this weekend and will unfold in the weeks ahead.

Make your day a good one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Breaking News...

…and now for what I call my own breaking news. I finally have my yard under control. All the planters are done; the climbing roses pruned, new white clematis planted and the lawn is looking great.

Here is an email from a viewer that I thought would be of interest.

I love watching your stories. What flowers are good for attracting more hummingbirds to my patio? I'm looking for flowers that would do best in patio pots and or planters. We all ready have feeders for them. Also is there a type of birdhouse I could get so they might nest too?

Thank you for taking the time for my question,

If you already have hummingbirds in your yard, you are off to a great start. It took me 4 years in my currant yard before I saw the first hummingbird. I had two feeders out during that time and no takers. The most important thing to keep in mind with your hummingbird feeders is to clean them often and replace the sugar solution.

They are most attracted to flowers with tubular necks – think of flowers that are long. A few examples include: fuchsia, mandevilla, dipladenia and petunias. Once you have attracted hummingbirds to your yard, they will be attracted to many different flowers; the key is just getting them to your yard. For more information on hummingbirds, click here.

Hummingbirds don’t nest like many birds in a birdhouse, so there is no commercial birdhouse made. Most of their nests are in trees. Here are some pictures of humming bird nests.

That’s all for today.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Time to Plant

The weekend is here and it looks like a mixed bag when it comes to the weather. Hopefully it will hold off until later Saturday. I have lots of yard play to do…remember I never call it yard work.

What will I be doing? Well, for the most part it’s time to plant all those containers. I have filled them with fresh soil, ocmocote slow release fertilizer and soil moist Now the real fun begins - it is planting time. I have mentioned that I’m going with a bright tangerine color this year as my theme. Tangerine colored impatiens and tuberous begonias will be planted in the shade. Crotons and orange zinnias with some chartreuse colored potato vines will be planted in the sun. I’ll get some pictures taken and posted here next week.

Once I get the planters done, then it is time to prune the dead canes out of my massive Ramblin Red climbing roses. Oh yeah, the lawn should be mowed too.

If we don’t get some much-needed rain then it will be time to drag out the sprinkler. Remember an inch of water per week, which is best given all at one time. Depending on the type of sprinkler, this could take at least four or more hours – put out a rain gauge to see how long it takes.

Weather permitting, I will be in my yard Sunday Morning during the 8:00 hour of 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS WEEKEND MORNING doing a couple of segments. Tune in and see what I’m up to.

Make your weekend a good one

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

TV Bloopers

Larry, What happened yesterday at the end of that segment? I've heard that over and over the last few days. Well, that is called live TV… a blooper if you will.

First, I was cooking something I’m not used to doing. I had it all planned out and broken down into quick easy steps. Before the newscast began, Brad Satin told me that he was going to walk over from the News Studio to Studio B where he was to sample the fish at the end of the segment. So, while doing the segment, I was keeping an eye out for him. Next thing I know, I’m being told to wrap it up, but where is Brad? Unknown to me, breaking news kept him from walking over. I’m now hearing wrap it up now…this was not what I had planned… quick, end the segment and then silence… silence that seemed like eternity. What to do? Throw your hands up and say, “I’m done.”

I will be back in a few days with more on gardening… this never happens during a garden segment.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fishing Opener

Yesterday I ventured into uncharted waters with a cooking segment – yes cooking. I’ve done some cooking segments in the past, but I’ve always teamed up with a chef. Usually I would talk about growing some type of vegetable and then a recipe would be made using that vegetable. The original plan was that on Saturday I would do a segment on herbs and then later in the newscast, I would talk about herbs and using them with fish since it was the fishing opener. All was great until the cooking segment had to be dropped on Saturday at the last minute due to breaking news so I came back with my fish and did the segment on Sunday.

Here are the recipes.

Grilled Northern with Tarragon/Chive Butter and Grilled Lemon Slices
Use fillets that have the skin on one side.
Brush both sides of the fish with olive oil.
Salt and pepper both sides.
Heat grill as hot as possible.
Place the fish skin side up on the hot grill.
After about one and a half minutes rotate the fish a quarter turn and cook for another one and a half minutes. (This will give you the nice grill marks.)
Flip the fish over so the skin side is down.
Cook for another couple of minutes until the fish is thoroughly cooked.
Fish is easily overcooked, so keep an eye on it.
It should be flaky when done.

Top the fish with tarragon/chive butter.
Take a stick of room temperature butter –place in electric mixer bowl.
Add some finely chopped tarragon and chives.
Mix well.
Using a small ice cream scoop or melon baller, scoop out butterballs and place on the grilled fish.

Top the fish with thick slices of lemon that were grilled for about a minute on each side.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day

It looks like a near perfect weather weekend is in store. It is Mother’s Day weekend, so I will be working but I hope to squeeze in some time for my yard.

Right now it is the time of year that you can do almost anything in your yard and garden - divide perennials, plant annuals, sow grass seed, plant up moss lined baskets, palnt trees and shrubs, put down crabgrass control (get that one done right now). Just get out and enjoy the beautiful weekend. If you want some tips on making moss lined baskets and containers, see the video from the KSTP segment that aired on Thursday.

If you have the time and are looking for something to do with Mom, how about a trip to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen? I try to make a trip out there at least three times a year. It should be picture perfect right now with lilacs and tulips in bloom.

Saturday Morning during 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Weekend I will be talking herbs during the 8:00 hour.

Most importantly Happy Mother’s Day!

Make your day and weekend a good one.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Container Garden Tips

Another perfect day. I wanted to post this or something similar last year and never got around to it. Here are some ideas for your container gardens. I call it one container with seven different looks. I hope this inspires you to try something different – break away from the same old thing.

Look #1
Perennials are not just for the garden. Choose perennials with great foliage such as hosta and coral-bells. The great looking foliage of some of the perennials will be an unexpected surprise in your containers. Nobody else on your block will think of this one.

Look #2
Who says green plants need to be left in the house. Bring them outdoors and mix them in with the rest of your plants. I love to mix ivies, pothos, philodendrons and bromeliads in with the plants that are meant to be outdoors. Just like look #1; this will wow your friends.

Look #3
Skip the flowers for this look. The list of plants with unique foliages and textures is endless. Try some of the various annual grasses; mix it up with the vinca vine, the potato vine, asparagus fern, etc. Layering the different textures of foliage plants will look great. I did this last year to the 6 planters in the front of my house and I can say that I never have received so many compliments on how they looked. Everyone loved it but yet no one noticed that the great look had no flowering annuals in it. Your planters will look stunning all season long

Look #4
Herbs don’t need to be just in an herb garden. Mix it up a bit. Plant some herb plants with the rest of your annuals in your containers. Your planters will be not only decorative but functional too. Herbs are also great to mix in with look #3.

Look #5
Add a shrub or evergreen. Use a unique shrub or evergreen to give the container garden a distinctive look. Small spruce plants or the fairly new Cut leaf Tiger Eyes Sumac (golden colored leaves) look great mixed in with other plants. Take the shrub or evergreen and plant it in your yard in early October – just in time to fill the planter with garden mums.

Look #6
Use one plant only. You don’t have to mix and match plants. Pick a plant, any plant and fill the container with it. This is great if you have several planters together. Fill each planter with one plant only. Pick a different plant for each of the containers.

Look #7
Create the monochromatic look – pick a color, any color and then choose all your plants in the same color range. This look will create a wow because of the impact it makes. Last year all may planters in the backyard (30 plus) were done in white color flowers. I loved the look. The white garden is also very trendy this year. This year all my backyard planters will be done in tangerine colors. If you go with tangerine be careful about not mixing in coral colors. Just remember pick a color and stick with it – layer the tones of this color together in one planter.

So, I hope that inspires you to think outside the box with your container gardens. Have some fun with it. Remember when planting containers; add some Osmocote slow release fertilizer and the Soil Moist. The Soil Moist helps retain moisture so you have to water less.

Make your day a good one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

In Full Bloom

What a picture perfect day.

I was in Chicago this past Sunday and Monday for work. The city was bursting with tulips that were in full bloom. There were thousands and thousands that were at their peak. It was an amazing site and my timing could not have been better.

As your tulips and daffodils finish blooming, remember to cut back the dead flowers but do not and I repeat, do not cut back any of the foliage. The plants need all of their leaves to make energy that is stored in the bulb, which is used to produce flowers next year. Only after all the foliage has dried down, should you cut it back. That could be in late June or even July. Fertilizing those bulb plants with an all-purpose fertilizer will also be beneficial.

That’s it for today. I’ll have another posting tomorrow and Friday.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Hey Larry!

Hey Larry! Is it going to freeze again this spring? I wish I had a dollar for every time I have been asked that this week. If only I could predict the weather that well. I will go on record as saying I doubt we will have another frost, but then again a year ago we did. Just remember that the average last frost-free date is about May 10.

This weekend, I will start planting some of my annual containers. Most are by the house, so even if it gets cold I doubt it would be a problem. Two products I highly recommend for container gardens are osmocote slow release fertilizer and the second is soil moist. I have used them for years. The osmocote slow release fertilizer as its name implies, slowly releases fertilizer into the soil for months. Since containers have a limited amount of soil, which holds the nutrients, this keeps the plants looking good. The soil moist is granular. You mix it into the soil. When it gets wet, it absorbs water and swells up. As the soil dries out, it shrinks releasing the water back into the soil so the plants can absorb it. When wet it looks kind of like tapioca pudding, which by the way I love! The soil moist is great because I have to water all my containers a lot less and with 30+ containers anything that saves time is blessing.

This is the weekend to put down your crabgrass preventer. I got mine put down on Wednesday night – one more thing off the list. The window of opportunity to get this done is a short one – don’t procrastinate or you will miss the time that it needs to be done.

This is also the time to divide or move nearly all perennials. I still have a few to divide and replant elsewhere in my yard. Don’t forget to share a few extra that you dig up with friends, family or neighbors.

Tomorrow, tune into 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS WEEKEND MORNING during the 8:00 hour. I will have a couple of segments. The first will be tips on buying annuals and perennials. The second will be on using decorative items in your yard and garden

Hopefully we get some much needed rain this weekend – if only it could come at night so as not to ruin my day plans or activities. I will start working on that after I learn how to predict the last frost-free date.

Make your weekend a good one.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Crabgrass Preventer

YES! It is now time to put down the pre-emergent crabgrass preventer. I saw the first lilacs blooming yesterday and that is a good indicator that it is time.

I always recommend that when you put this on your lawn or for that matter anything such as fertilizer that you apply it in two directions. What this means is that if the bag of fertilizer says that you should set your fertilizer spreader at 10, set it at 5 instead. Apply it on your lawn in one direction say east/west and then go the opposite direction with a second pass – north/south in this example. This will guarantee even coverage on your lawn and will help prevent missing any areas.

Back to the crabgrass preventer. A great eco-friendly alternative is corn gluten meal. It’s natural alternative. For more information on this, click here

Make your day a good one.