There is Beauty in Pruning…….

We prune plants to make them more beautiful, to encourage flowering, and to help them grow strong and healthy. Some trees and shrubs need never be pruned while others require a seasonal cutting.

Light pruning for health

Nearly all woody plants develop little problems that can lead to big diseases or unwanted growth. Careful cuts throughout the year go a long way to ensure healthier plants. Keep a quality pair of clippers in your back pocket while in the garden so you can correct these unhealthy conditions with a kindly cut.
Remove any part of the plant that looks diseased before it can spread. Remove dead twigs and branches so these don’t become pest entry points. If branches are crossed or touching, remove the smaller one because friction creates wounds which invites problems. Trim off whip-like sucker growth originating at the base of the trunk so it doesn’t ‘suck’ growth energy from the rest of the tree. Do not prune later in the summer. Allow shoots to mature and prune again in winter.

Pruning the natural way

Unless you desire a formal garden, no plant looks natural when it’s shaped into a ball or box. Each species has its own natural beauty, and pruning should enhance this form not fight it. Woody plants that must be cut back for size or shape should be done in a natural way, by working from the inside out. Strive to retain enough outer foliage so that each cut is cloaked in leaves.

Pruning deciduous flowering shrubs

How and when you prune deciduous flowering shrubs influences the size and quantity of blossoms, or whether they flower at all. The key is to know when it flowers, and whether blossoms develop on the older twigs or newly grown ones.
Spring flowering shrubs blossom on twigs that matured the year before. They blossom so early there is no time to put on new growth before it is time to flower. These shrubs are pruned at the end of their flowering season to encourage more abundant summer growth that will support next year’s crop of flowers. Examples include Bridal wreath, Forsythia (Forsythia), Lilac (Syringa) and Flowering Quince(Chaenomeles).

Summer flowering shrubs blossom on new twigs grown in the spring. These plants are pruned in winter while dormant, which encourages a flush of new stems in spring. These in turn bear more abundant flowers in mid to late summer. Examples include most Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Spirea (Spiraea japonica), Beautyberry (Callicarpa), Japanese Mock Orange (Pittosporum tobira), Potentilla (Potentilla), Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), and Hydrangea (Hydrangea) varieties that bloom on new wood.
For larger pruning jobs, check with your local garden center for advice.

Recycle your prunings

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Art in Bloom

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Filed under Art in Bloom Design Competition, Competitions @ Local & State Levels


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FGC Annual Plant Sale 2014

ANNUAL PLANT SALE   MAY 10TH   9:00  AM  to 12:00 PM

CUSHING MAINTENANCE BUILDING (Winter St. Entrance near Keefe Tech)

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FGC 80th Birthday


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Thanks to your patronage the Holiday Green Sale was a success.  Hope to see you next year.

From Our Gardens to Yours,

A Healthy and Happy New Year!

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November Meeting Design Competition


Using similar or exactly alike containers, make two creative designs with similar materials.


November Meeting Floral Arrangement

Thanksgiving Day Hat for a base

Thanksgiving Day Hat

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Continue reading

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About Poinsettias

 This is that time of year: the season to decorate the house for the holiday. The season when the stores are full of all those pulchritudinous poinsettias……

 So, did you know —- ?


  • Its scientific name, Euphorbia pulcherrima means “very beautiful euphorbia”!
  • It is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. ( United States in 1825.)
  • The “petals” are actually bracts – specially adapted colored leaves that help attract pollinators in its native Mexico/Central America (where it is commonly found as a shrub – it has been bred into its more compact form over the years.)
  • Contrary to rumor, the poinsettia is not particularly toxic. It may be slightly irritating to the skin or stomach, and can cause allergic symptoms in people sensitive to latex, but that’s about it.
  • December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.


How should you choose the best plant for your home?


  • Obviously choose one with no drooping or wilting. Check that there aren’t any broken branches (poinsettias are naturally brittle) hidden by the plant sleeve.
  • A fresh poinsettia has little or no yellow pollen showing on the flower clusters (“cyathia”) in the center of its bracts.
  • It should have dark green foliage down to the soil line.
  • Buy a compact plant with as many bracts as possible. Avoid greening bracts – those mean a plant is older, and won’t retain its colors as long.


How can you keep the plant healthy for the holidays?


  • Make sure it doesn’t get exposed to temperatures below 50°(F) – and that includes getting it out of the store and into your cozy home!


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Filed under Getting Plants to Bloom, Plants at Holiday Times, Plants of Interest, Poinsettia


Late Fall is Time for Seed Saving!



You can preserve specific varieties of garden plants…..

that you enjoy …. that do well for you…. that are becoming rare.

You can easily pass these varieties along to friends.

And – you can save money: you won’t need to buy as many seeds next spring!



Many garden flowers and vegetables have seeds that are very easy to save,

Some of the easiest flowers include….

    Cleome (spider plant)                     marigolds                    hollyhocks                   poppies

    morning glories                               Cosmos                       Zinnia              Nasturtium

….and anything that has a nice dry seed head or pod, such as Lunaria (money plant/silver dollar/honesty)


You can also save the seeds of a variety of herbs and vegetables (note: these must be ripe or the seeds will be immature and will not germinate), such as…..

    Beans                      Squash Melons            Cucumbers                  Peppers            Peas     Dill Cilantro            Okra                Eggplant          Tomatoes (*see below)


Unless you want to experiment, don’t try to save the seeds of hybrid plants (anything that you have planted that is labeled as an “F1 hybrid.”) Plants grown from such saved seeds may be quite different from their parents; you will not get what you expect.



If the flower/fruit/pod is dry, it is easy to break it open and shake out the seeds. Clean out as much extraneous vegetable matter as you can, and lay them out flat on a white paper towel for a day or so in a dry place (No taking chances on rotting!)


If you have a ripe fruit/vegetable, you should carefully remove the seeds and wash them thoroughly. Rinse them several times, removing as much non-seed material as possible. Lay out, in a single layer, on a white paper towel, and let dry thoroughly in a cool, dry, place (not in the sun) for at least a week, or until they feel very dry.


*Tomatoes need special treatment. Squeeze the seeds out of their cavities into a bowl, and rinse lightly. Then, add a cup of water, and put the bowl into the sun for about a week. Every day or so, pour off the fermenting muck on top of the dish, and make sure there is plenty of water for this (essential!) fermentation to occur. At the end of the week, the viable seeds will have sunk to the bottom of the dish, and you can proceed to rinse and then dry (and store) them .


Storage –

You can store your seeds in plastic bags, pill or film bottles, paper envelopes – in short, anything that will keep them protected and dry.

Put them in a dry and cool place. If possible, keep them out of bright light as well. (It isn’t necessary to refrigerate the seeds – in fact, many parts of the refrigerator are too humid for good storage; keeping them in a cellar can work well. Do not freeze!)


    Label your seeds. Write both the exact variety (and the date collected) clearly on your packet.



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