Kathy Van Mullekom
March 17, 2010
A Daily Press photographer and I toured the elegantly expanded Anderson's Home and Garden Showplace this week and there's one plant there everyone should have in their yard.
Monrovia's new Sunshine Blue blueberry is a four-season shrub that gives you hot pink flowers early spring, followed by ripe blueberries and then reddish fall foliage. The plant may maintain its foliage through winter, depending on how cold it gets. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.
In addition to supplying songbirds with yummy treats, blueberry bushes make attractive ornamental shrubs when they are planted among other spring-flowering and fall-foliage specimens. Used alone, blueberry bushes can create an eye-catching hedge.
I have one blueberry bush in my yard but it's never enough to satisfy my bird's hearty appetites for fruits, so I usually empty my Costco blueberry container into their feeding stations. Bluebirds particularly like the fruits and need all the energizing foods they can get when they hang around your yard over winter.
Blueberries prefer an acidic, well-drained soil, much like azaleas, camellias and gardenias. They tolerate moist soil as long as it drains well, and endure drought once they are established. Before new growth emerges, prune off twiggy growth only on the main stems and feed with an acidic fertilizer.
Sunshine Blue blueberry is self-pollinating, meaning you can have one plant and still get a bumper crop. But, pairing it with another variety will get you even more treats for your songbirds ... and your breakfast cereal.
See more interesting plants for your yard at Monrovia.
Anderson's Home and Garden Showplace on Jefferson Avenue in Newport News has its grand opening 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 27.
WAY TO WATER
In the past, I wrote about a special watering device that Dan in Smithfield created. He used plastic pipe to water tomatoes and roses so their leaves stays dry, thereby avoid fungal diseases on foliage.
He buys whole pickle barrels with screw-on lids (snap-on lids do not work, he says) for $20 apiece at feed and seed stores. He uses a jigsaw to cut them in half to use as containers for growing tomatoes. The top half becomes the pot, and the bottom half is used as the tray.
The standpipe actually empties into a void area formed between the tray and the pot. Insert the PVC piping down through the 2-inch hole cut into the pot. Support the bottom end of the pipe so it is about 1 inch from the floor and seal the pipe to the pot with silicone sealant.
Read the entire story at watering device.
Each year, the VDOF grows and sells more than 24 million tree seedlings. And every year, many of the more than 40 species sell out before the harvest season ends in April. If you are looking to plant tree seedlings or reforest your land this year, you still have a few weeks remaining to order your seedlings. Seedlings are now available in bundles of 10 and 25; previously, the smallest quantity of bare-root seedlings available was 50.
Order by visiting the VDOF Web store at Virginia Department of Forestry. or call the Augusta Forestry Center at 540-363-7000.
March 21-31. Join the Arbor Day Foundation now through March 31 and get 10 white flowering dogwood trees. Send your $10 contribution to Ten Free Dogwood Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410 or join online at Arbor Day.
Gardening radio personality Andre Viette shares his top gardening tips at 1 p.m. March 20 at McDonald Garden Center, 1144 Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach. 464-5564.
THINGS TO DO
Garden tour. 1-3 p.m. March 20. Tour Brent and Becky's Bulb Farm and Shoppe in Gloucester. $10/person. 804-693-3966.
Free workshops. March 20. Smithfield Gardens on Route 17 in Suffolk hosts workshops on vegetable gardening at 10 a.m., retaining wall installation at 11 a.m. and basic home landscape design at 2 p.m. Register in advance. 238-2511.
Be a potato head. 11 a.m. March 20. Learn how easy and fun it is to grow potatoes in the ground and in pots during a workshop at Countryside Gardens, 220 E. Mercury Blvd., Hampton. Free. 722-9909.
All about hollies. 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 20. A forest ranger gives a guided tour of hollies and other flowering trees as part of a daylong meeting of the Colonial Virginia Chapter, Holly Society of America at Bay Haven Grille in the Farm Fresh shopping center, Route 17, York County. $15 members, $18 nonmembers, including lunch. Register in advance. Peggy McComb at 804-642-2449.
Outdoor fireplace construction. 9 a.m.-noon March 24. Learn how to build a masonry outdoor fireplace and chimney using a modular system at Yorktown Materials in York County. Free. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org or 898-4444.
Organic veggies. 10-11 a.m. March 27. Master gardener Barb Dunbar helps kids and their families learn how to plant a vegetable garden and get heirloom tomato seeds to take home during a program at Freedom Park, 5535 Centerville Road, James City County. Bring garden gloves and trowel. Free. 880-8875.
Bird walk. 7-9 a.m. March 27. Join the Williamsburg Bird Club for a bird-watching walk at New Quarter Park, upper York County. 890-5840.
All about herbs. 10-11 a.m. March 27. Learn the ins and outs of growing herbs and how to use them during a workshop at Smithfield Gardens, Route 17, Suffolk. Free, register. 238-2511.
Home landscape design. 2-4 p.m. March 27. Learn how to give your older landscape a fresh look or create one for a new home during a workshop at Smithfield Gardens, Route 17, Suffolk. Free, register. 238-2511.
Orchid auction. 1:30 p.m. March 27. Guests are invited to bid on orchids during meeting of the Peninsula Orchid Society at the Hampton Public Library, 4207 Victoria Blvd., Hampton. 898-0053.
Get more Hampton Roads gardening and home tips from Kathy Van Mullekom at twitter.com/diggindirt and at Facebook.com/Kathy.vanmullekom.