WNPR

Connecticut Garden Journal

Credit Nathan Boltseridge / Creative Commons

Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more. Learn more about Charlie at gardeningwithcharlie.com, or reach him at cnardozzi124@gmail.com.

Hear Connecticut Garden Journal on Thursday afternoons on Connecticut Public Radio at 3:04 pm. 

Emily Carlin (Flickr) / Creative Commons

One of my fall traditions with my mom is to visit Roger's Orchard in Southington for apples. She's too old to pick apples, but it's still fun walking around the farm stand looking at the different heirloom varieties.

Tony Hisgett (Flickr) / Creative Commons

It takes just one look outside to know what time of year it is. The goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace, and asters are blooming, so it must be late summer moving into fall.

Kopper King hibiscus
K M (Flickr) / Creative Commons

When I say hibiscus, most gardener's think of the shrubby plant we see outdoors in warmer climes like Florida, or ones we see at garden centers. This shrub is beautiful, but isn't hardy in our area. But another hibiscus is and it's showing off right now.

Barta IV (Flickr) / Creative Commons

It's been a rough year for lawns. With all the heat and drought, our cool season grasses have gone brown sooner than usual and are staying that way longer. That means we should all be gearing up for some fall lawn care. If you're only going to fertilize your lawn once a year, September is the time to do it!

Asian pears
See-ming Lee (Flickr) / Creative Commons

What fruit looks like an apple, but tastes like a pear? It's the Asian pear. Although we know European pear varieties such as Bartlett, many gardeners are still unfamiliar with this ancient fruit. Asian pears have been grown for more than 3,000 years in Japan and China. There are yellow- and brown-skinned varieties. Both are round and crisp like an apple, but sweet and juicy like a pear. 

Jim, the Photographer (Flickr) / Creative Commons

I like growing flowers that are unique and fun. One easy-to-grow perennial that fits the bill is the balloon flower.

Via Tsuji (Flickr) / Creative Commons

It's the vegetable glut time. August is the time of year to lock your car so neighbors don't slip a few extra cucumbers or zucchinis into your back seat. With all the produce pouring in from the garden, the idea of planting more seems alien. But this glut won't last. Come September and October you'll be looking for a little variety. So, two vegetables to plant now are kale and kohlrabi.

Gladiolus.
Daniela (Flickr) / Creative Commons

The Latin name for this flower means “sword.” And the bulbs of this plant were worn around the necks of Roman gladiators for strength. Yes, it's the gladiolus.

Howard Walfish (Flickr) / Creative Commons

It's hard to imagine having problems with your green bean crop. Bush beans are one of the easiest veggies to grow. It's part of our history. Every kid has probably started bean seeds in their science class and were amazed when it bore fruit!

MdE (Wikimedia) / Creative Commons

It's time to get on top of your weeds. Annual weeds, such as lamb's quarters and pigweed, are easy to control by shallow weeding with a sharp hoe or a tug on larger plants. But perennial weeds only have one control option -- your tenacity.

Bernard Spragg. NZ (Flickr) / Creative Commons

With all this heat, roses are bursting right now. If you can keep up with the watering, roses can put on a show. While the trend in roses are shrub types, I'm fond of the fragrant roses.

Birds will eat berries, whether they're in the wild, or in your garden.
hedera.baltica (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing more frustrating than growing a beautiful crop of berries only to have the birds wipe out your crop in a matter of days.

Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.
Provided by the museum.

One activity I love to do in summer is visit other gardens. It's so easy to get absorbed in all the work of our own gardens, that I never leave home. But visiting other gardens gives me fresh ideas, inspirations, and the relief that we don't have to care for these gardens.

Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood viburnum) foliage with viburnum leaf beetle larvae
Plant Image Library (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Nature abhors a vacuum. For years, viburnums have been carefree shrubs. They flower consistently each year, some with fragrant blooms, and produce colorful berries in fall for beauty and for the birds. Viburnums have few pests or problems, until now.

Four o'clock flowers
harum.koh / Flickr Creative Commons

Some old fashioned flowers have interesting behaviors -- take the four o’clock or the Marvel of Peru. First, this flower can have different colored blossoms on the same plant. The flowers open in late afternoon and close in the morning, in case you are wondering what time it is.

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