Garden Blog

One of our members, Tom Liggett, produces an outstanding garden blog each month.  Here is the full text of his most recent entry, with links to previous entries below:

April 2021

Geraniums (Pelargonium)
Geraniums originated in South Africa and traveled to Europe where they were cultivated and marveled over in glass houses by the early 1600s. They are now very popular worldwide for their varied beautiful leaves and many flower colors. Some are grown only for their unique leaf shape, leaf color interest and scent. The plants have been hybridized to produce just about any color you can imagine, along with “splashes” and “sizzles.”
Scented geraniums will give a whole summer of sensational fragrance. They are best placed in sun and near where you can pick a leaf or two to enjoy, perhaps in a container on the patio or deck. Be sure to grow in free-draining soil or in clay pots with good drainage and allow the soil to dry before watering. Scented types also do well planted in the ground with summer rains not harming them. In late September, prune to shape and bring indoors before first frost. Place in a bright window in a cool room for the winter(scented types).
Geranium Placement and Cultivation
Set plants out about a week after last frost, when nighttime temperatures remain above 40 degrees, about the same time you would plant tomato and pepper plants. A light frost won’t kill geraniums but it will set them back a couple of weeks.
Final Spacing: About 12 inches
Water Use: low water use. Water when soil is dry about 2 inches down in the pot or soil. Geraniums suffer if the soil remains saturated, so water only when dry.
Soil PH: Geraniums prefer a neutral PH of 6.5-7.5
Fertilizer: Fertilize monthly with 5-10-5 low nitrogen organic, slow release fertilizer. Too much nitrogen (Miracle Gro) will produce lush foliage and few flowers. Do not fertilize indoors in winter.
Diseases and Pests: Aphids and mealybugs can be troublesome. Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Avoid botrytis by spcing properly and not wetting foliage when watering, and cleaning up dead plant material. Spray with copper fungicide if necessary for disease.
The genus Pelargonium (geranium) consists of over 230 species, with approximately 10,000 varieties registered with the
American Pelargonium Society.
Some varieties of pelargonium are succulent.
Scented geraniums can be rather pricey and are worth the extra effort of overwintering them. Regular garden geraniums can be purchased economically each year and most people prefer to do just that.

Ferns: Deer Resistant, Beautiful
Ferns existed long before flowering plants and pollinators and reproduce with spores, rhizomes, and offsets or stems.
Ferns are easy to grow and many are native to Ohio (lady, log, hay scented). Most prefer a shady, moist area, but not all. Autumn ferns can take dry shade and can grow right up against your trees. Some ferns reproduce quickly and give groundcover for large areas (ostrich). Some can handle some sun (cinnamon fern).
Their best quality is adding texture, softness and even muted colors. Ghost fern is silver, Lady Fern has red stems.

Lady Fern
Sizes can vary, also. Cinnamon, Ostrich and Autumn ferns are large. Japanese Painted and Korean ferns are small.
Do you want to know some other pluses for ferns? How about deer resistant, few pests, no maintenance and most are drought tolerant. Dividing and transplanting about every three years is the only chore necessary. Give some to your friends!

Ferns prefer bright shade to shade and moisture with rich organic soil. Deer resistant and native ferns are hardy in USDA Zones 4-9. In our area ferns will die off to ground level in winter and grow back in the spring.

What is Edelweiss?
No, “Edelweiss” is not the National Song of Austria! In fact, the song was written in 1959 by Rogers and Hamerstein for the movie “The Sound of Music.”
Edelweiss (Leontapodium Alpinum) is a plant native to Austria and Sweden.

The white petals aren’t really flower petals at all, they are white fuzzy leaves that protect the tiny flower from cold and UV rays.
Edelweiss belongs to the same family as sunflowers and daisies, but those high altitudes and cold winters kept the plant small. Legends about brave men who went into the Alps and died while picking flowers were common. Mountain climbers added to this belief with tales of collecting flowers from sheer steep rocks and cliffs of ice.
Legends sometimes cause people to behave irrationally. Edelweiss wasn’t really that hard to find in the Alps, and tourists began to pick so much of it that there was a danger of the plant vanishing altogether.

In 1878 Switzerland fought back with the world’s first environmental law that banned people from digging up the roots. Today, the plant is no longer endangered, but it is given protected status. It is still illegal to pick Edelweiss in Austria.
The Magic and Mystique of Edelweiss Lives on Today.
It is a symbol of pride in Austria and Switzerland. It appears on coins, military insignia, jewelry and clothing. There is even an Edelweiss Airline in Switzerland.

This snowflake shaped flower is still a flower of legend, symbolizing courage and true love.
Although the flower does best at high altitudes, it will grow anywhere in USDA Zones 3-9, as long as the soil is rocky and well-drained. Edelweiss is a great plant for a rock garden and is also deer resistant.
Plants can be found at Petitti’s Garden center and seeds at

Birth Flower; April
This month is associated with Sweet Pea flower which bloom in a wide range of soft colors as well as two tone colors. It is said to symbolize pleasure or good-bye. In the Victorian Era, these flowers formed a part of a bouquet which was sent to someone to convey gratefulness.
The word “April” comes from the Latin word
aperio, to open,(bud), because plants begin to grow during this month.

Some Ohio Native Plants
Trillium spp
Of the eight species of trillium native to Ohio, three species are listed as threatened or endangered. This is one of the many woodland plants that has suffered from over collection by plant enthusiasts. Trillium is the state wildflower.
Trillium grandiflorum
Large-flowered trillium (common name).
Height is 18-24 inches
Blooms in spring with a white flower
Habitat; neutral to acidic, well-drained woods with fertile soil and shade. Do not disturb any type of trillium in the wild!
This plant is available from certified specialty dealers.
Goats Beard (Aruncus dioicus)
Height is 3-6 feet
Blooms in spring with a white flower.
Habitat; Fertile woods, ravines. Tolerates poor drainage and shade. Food for butterfly larva.

Tom’s Garden Blog March 2021
Tom’s garden Blog February 2021
Tom’s Garden Blog January 2021
Tom’s Garden Blog December 2020
Tom’s Garden Blog November 2020
Tom’s Garden Blog October 2020
Tom’s Garden Blog September 2020
Tom’s Garden Blog August 2020