Labor Day signals time for Fall lawn chores

MSU Extension:

It’s a busy time of year with school starting, fall sports kicking into full gear, and of course lawn chores preparing for winter. Throughout most of Michigan, the summer of 2014 will likely be remembered for cool temperatures and adequate if not excessive rainfall. Some will also remember 2014 as the summer the turf would never quit growing. Probably the biggest challenge I’ve seen with most lawns is simply a lack of fertility. With perfect growing conditions, turf has burned through fertilizer applications quicker than normal resulting in many lawns starting to lose density and becoming invaded by pests such as white clover and rust.

Read the rest of the article here…

Cook some classics with green tomatoes

The Detroit News:

I may have a ripe tomato before the frost hits. Feeling full of gratitude that most of my garden survived the cruel winter just a few months ago, I planted several varieties of tomatoes in containers on my deck. The plants grew tall, the buds finally formed and then the cooler weather and gray skies put the kibosh on all of it. The one Early Girl that I was watching longingly as it began to redden and ripen turned up in a squirrel’s jaws the next morning. My voice was the scream heard ’round the block.

So, I’ve adopted a new philosophy: When life gives you green tomatoes, put them in a frying pan, a pickle jar or a cake or a soup or a casserole. Don’t bemoan that the lovely heirlooms are taking their sweet time coming around; instead, take action and put those green tomatoes to good use.

Read the full story here…

Where are the monarch butterflies?

Detroit Free Press:

Look closely outside. Something’s missing. Something orange, black, white and fluttery.

Monarch butterflies, once a ubiquitous spring and summer presence throughout Michigan, are yet again a rare sighting this year.

It’s the result of two factors: An ongoing crash in the migratory monarch’s populations due to the loss of habitat — particularly milkweed — and Michigan’s long, cold winter causing many returning butterflies to hang farther south or to arrive much later than usual.

“It’s really a big difference. It’s a tragedy,” said Diane Pruden, a Milford Township resident who serves as a citizen researcher for Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation and research program based at the University of Kansas.

Read the rest of the story here…

‘The Mackinac Grand’ named the 2014 Peony of the Year

peony-the-mackinac-grand-jul-14The American Peony Society has selected the peony ‘The Mackinac Grand’ to receive the APS Gold Medal Award and to be the 2014 Peony of the Year.

‘The Mackinac Grand’ was originated by David L. Reath in 1992. Blooming early to midseason, this medium-sized plant has warm red, semi-double and ruffled blooms. On sunny days, the flowers exhibit a gamut of red, from deep shades in the shadows to fiery red highlights and the sparkle of sunlight from the petal’s gloss. From afar, the color has great carrying power and always attracts attention. The bush itself has an open, somewhat spreading habit, with strong, rigid stalks. ‘The Mackinac Grand’ is a strong grower and reliable bloomer; performance improves with age and stem increase.

Shelby Township Gardeners Club hosts garden walk

The Shelby Gardeners Club organizes and hosts a garden walk every two years. The 2014 garden walk is on July 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It features six residential gardens, as well as the public Heritage Gardens on the township’s municipal grounds, and the Shadbush Teaching Gardens.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Shelby Township Library or the Shelby Township Parks & Recreation Office for $10, or $12 on the day of the walk at Heritage Gardens and the Library. The location of the residential gardens included in the walk are printed on the tickets. For further information, contact Sue at 586-726-7529.