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Edition 6.22
June 1st, 2006

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…for taking the time to read the Grangetto’s Garden Gazette. If at any time there is a topic that you would like to see in the next newsletter or you have a gardening tip you would like to share, please feel free to email us.

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quote of the week

Quotation of the Week:

"I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one."
— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Our June Specials

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Summer's Flowers

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Summer's flowers are the brightest and the boldest in the garden, as radiant as the sun itself. Most need heat (the two most popular, marigolds and zinnias, come from sunny Mexico), and they shouldn't be planted until the weather swears to stay warm.

Two of the brightest summer annuals — marigold and gloriosa daisies — come in many forms. There are small-flowered French marigolds, big American hybrids, and just about every size between them. Summer's flowers aren't quite as easy to grow as those of spring. Warm weather brings out bugs and disease that may bother them, and regular watering becomes more critical, but they are a tough lot — born to grow in the sun. The following is a list of some of the best annuals for summer.

Ageratum: Flat, fuzzy clusters of violet-blue flowers cover this foot-tall plant throughout the summer. Good as a filler, or in the front row. Best planted from packs or pots.

Sweet Alyssum: As good in the summer as it is in the winter and spring, it grows in low mounds of white or purplish flowers. Midnight, a dark purple variety and Wonderland, a pinkish purple one, are less likely to fade in summer's heat. Dwarf kinds are dense, stay under four inches. Best grown from seed.

Cosmos: Bushy plants with vivid, daisylike flowers on long, thin stems. There are two distinct kinds, one with brilliant yellow or orange flowers and one with flowers in shades of pink, mulberry, and white. Both have the same airy effect in the garden, growing to three feet tall or more. Easy to grow from seed, packs or pots.

Gloriosa Daisy: Huge daisy flowers on tall but graceful plants growing to four feet. Flowers usually golden, often with dark mahogany markings, though some are completely mahogany in color. Irish Eyes has a bright green center. Easily grown from seed, packs or pots.

Lobelia: six-inch-tall plants, often with dark reddish foliage and bright blue to violet flowers. A good filler that contrasts nicely with summer's many golden flowers. Best grown from packs or pots.

Marigold: Summer's favorite flower hardly needs describing. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Marigolds are easily grown from seed, packs or pots.

Portulaca: Low-spreading succulent plants with shimmering flowers almost too brilliant for the garden, in shades of yellow, orange, red, cerise, coral, and white. Loves hot weather. Easy to grow from seed or packs.

Verbena: Usually planted as annuals, except in warm climates. The kinds sold as bedding plants have rounded clusters of white, pink, red, or violet flowers, grow under a foot tall, and should be planted two feet apart. They are seldom out of bloom. Very useful in the foreground of the garden. Best grown from packs or pots.

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Vinca: The best annual for really hot weather, it is also long lasting, well into cool weather. A foot tall with neatly growing white flowers with red eyes or rosy pink flowers. Best grown from packs or pots.

Zinnia: The brightest of summer flowers, zinnias come in many sizes, forms and colors. All come in brilliant shades of yellow, orange, pink, rose, scarlet, cream, and violet. Prettiest when planted as a mix of colors. Easy to grow from seed or packs. Will become root-bound in pots.

Useful Insects in the Garden

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There is a tendency to regard all insect life in the garden as potentially harmful to plants, but not all insects are bad news - some are real allies in the fight against pests. It's important to be able to recognize who your friends are, because most insecticides are not so discriminating, and spraying and killing any natural predators will make the problem worse.

Although some beetles are pests, there are many useful species. These include ground beetles, which live on the soil surface, hunting out insects, slugs, and worms during the hours of darkness; rove beetles such as the scorpion-like devil's coach horse; and the familiar ladybugs.

Yes, some capsids are well-known pests but there are other species which are definitely helpful to gardeners. The best known is the predatory black-kneed capsid that helps control aphids and red spider mites on fruit trees. Similar in appearance to capsids are anthocorid bugs, another useful ally, especially on fruit.

Golden brown centipedes scurry over the soil in search of prey - insects, their eggs and larvae, along with small slugs and worms. They are often confused with millipedes (a pest) but millipedes are darker, have more legs that form a thick fringe down the sides, and roll up into a ball rather than running for cover when disturbed.

Hoverflies could easily be mistaken for bees at first glance, though their method of flight is quite different - they hover almost stationary in the air, then make short, sharp darts forward. When they are at rest it's evident that they only have one pair of wings, unlike bees and wasps that have two. The larvae of the various species of hoverfly are very small, but most are efficient predators of aphids and other soft-bodied insect pests.

Lacewings are very delicate insects with pale green, almost translucent bodies, large, lacy wings and very long, constantly moving antennae. Both the adult lacewings and their larvae eat aphids; the larvae are rather insignificant, long-bodied creatures that are pale brown. Lacewings are found all round the garden, and are often attracted by lighting into houses at night.

Nearly everyone can recognize ladybugs, but perhaps not so many could identify their larvae. While the adults are almost universally regarded as harmless, their small, armadillo-like, blue and orange larvae are likely to be treated with more suspicion, and are often destroyed "to be on the safe side."

Both adults and, more particularly, larvae feed on large numbers of insect pests, especially aphids. A single larva can consume up to 500 aphids in its three-week life. Before emerging as an adult ladybug, the larva pupates, and the yellow pupa may be mistaken for a Colorado beetle, which it superficially resembles. Ladybugs are most commonly red with either two or seven black spots, but they may also be black with red spots, yellow with black spots and black with yellow spots.

Wasps, as everyone knows, sting, and at the end of the summer they are a real nuisance, feasting on ripe fruit, and ruining picnics and outdoor meals. Leaving aside this antisocial behavior, for the rest of the year they are a definite asset to gardeners because they collect all manner of soft-bodied grubs and insects to feed to the young wasp larvae in the nest. Other, less highly visible wasps are also extremely useful - several species are parasitic, laying eggs in the bodies of insect pests that hatch out and slowly consume their hosts. Ichneumon wasps are some of the best known, though rarely recognized in the garden. They have long, slender bodies and are not brightly colored like the common wasp.

Grass Substitutes for Problem Areas

Sometimes, despite a gardener's best efforts to improve the soil and care for the grass, a lawn fails to thrive.  Insufficient light is often the cause of the problem. Other times the location is too hot or steep to keep well watered and fertilized. On such sites a gardener is well advised to consider low maintenance alternatives to turf grass. The following plants are excellent choices for difficult locations:

For Shade:

Campanula: Spreads quickly and is beautiful to behold.

Vinca Minor: Best choice for dry soil; has periwinkle blue flowers

Pachysandra: Spreads quickly through underground runners but is not invasive; thrives in acid soil

Lily Turf: Ideal for use around ponds and the edge of streams; best with well drained soil and light feeding.

Baby Tears: An evergreen, emerald-green creeping ground cover with tiny leaves. It is a soft, velvet-like carpet growing 2.5cm (1") high. This must be kept moist.

Sword Fern: A tough fern that tolerates some sun and looks good through winter. This can look more like a shrub than a ground cover

Hosta (hardy cultivars): Lush yet elegant appearance; dozens of varieties and easy care make hostas a popular choice for shade. This can look more like a shrub than a ground cover.

For Sun:

Thyme: Thyme is low growing and rugged. It requires a minimum in watering, loves loose sandy soil and as an added bonus, it blooms. Most low growing varieties, under 2 inches, take light foot traffic and therefore are great between stepping stones in those sunny warm areas.

Sedum:This is a large group of hardy and tender succulent annuals and perennials. Sedums are very easy to propagate as almost any tiny leaf or piece of stem that touches the ground will root.

Trailing Gazania: 12" high perennial from South Africa. It is a perennial that flowers in the summer and requires little water.







BBQ Season is here - Are you ready?

Memorial Day marked the official start of barbeque season! Are your yard and garden in shape for your family and guests as well? It's still not too late to take some steps that will help your garden look not only presentable, but terrific.

Besides a thorough clean-up removing weeds, piled-up debris and unwanted stuff... make sure all shrubs get a light pruning. Now, survey your garden and focus on empty spaces between shrubs. Fill in these spots with additional shrubs of the same variety or add lilies such as agapanthus, or calla lilies. They are full and blooming now in 5 gallon pots and blend in well with most leafy shrubs. Next, add color if space permits, plant borders of summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds, lobelias and salvia.

If you have limited space, pots of annuals placed strategically in dining areas and around the patio or pool make a huge difference.

Even more so if you feature a focal plant in the center of the pots such as ornamental theme roses (always in bloom during the summer), ornamental grasses, flax or palms. Add a soil covering such as SMALL BARK to empty soil spaces. Fertilize monthly, use a good soil amendment in the ground such as KELLOGG'S AMEND and for containers use GARDNER & BLOOME POTTING SOIL. Water regularly and protect your new plants from snails and cutworms with GREEN LIGHT BUG BAIT. For a finishing touch add a garden accessory such as a shepherd's hook with a blooming hanging basket, a metal trellis, or even a decorative plant stake. Now your garden is ready to welcome the 2006 barbeque season... ~Bon Appetit!

Keep Blue Hydrangeas from Turning Pink


Start with a hydrangea that was blue when you bought it. Some kinds never turn blue; white varieties always stay white. Some pinks turn purple instead of blue.

Plant and grow blue hydrangeas in acid soil mix. When planting in containers use a commercial soil mix designed for camellias and azaleas. Recommendation: GROW MORE HYDRANGEA BLUEING FORMULA. When planting in the ground, amend the native soil in the planting hole with the same acid planting mix, according to package directions, or use two-thirds premoistened peat moss. Mulch with leaf or redwood.

If planting in the ground, check the root run of established plants to make sure the soil is not too alkaline. Use a soil test kit to test the pH of the soil. A pH of 4.5 to 5.0 yields blue flowers, a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 yields mauve, and a pH of 7.0 to 7.5 yields pink.

Maintain the desired pH with aluminum sulfate. Use 1 tablespoon aluminum sulfate per foot of plant height, or 1/4 teaspoon per potted plant. Mix this in water and apply it as a drench several times in spring and fall, beginning in September.

Never use fertilizer that contains phosphorus. Phosphorus is alkaline, so the use of it will raise the pH of the soil and turn blue hydrangeas pink.


Wine & Roses

Celebrate a day of "Wine & Roses", June 13th ~ 4:00pm.

Celebrate the day the Mission was founded, June 13, 1798, by sampling the wines of the Mission San Luis Rey wine label in the award-winning rose garden.

Learn about the care and nurturing of roses and preview current rose varieties from guest speakers affiliated with the California Coastal Rose Society and Kellogg Garden Products in Los Angeles.

What a wonderful way to spend a spring afternoon. So, be sure to reserve room on your calendar for the Mission San Luis Rey Wine Tasting Event on Tuesday, June 13th from 4-6 p.m.

In conjunction with the wine tasting event, the ever-popular “Behind the Scenes” tour of the Mission will be held earlier that day at 1:30 p.m. Immediately following, tour participants may partake in the wine tasting event. Cost is $10 for the tour and wine tasting (4 samples); $5 for wine tasting only. $7 for tour only.

Proceeds will benefit the seismic retrofit of Mission San Luis Rey and the friends of the Mission – a project to maintain, restore, and enhance historic Mission San Luis Rey. To make reservations for this wonderful event, please call (760) 757-3651, ext. 170.

For map, click here

History of Flag Day

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. B.J Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J. Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day,' and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With B.J Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Patriotic Garden

Red, White & Blue in the Garden

There has been an awe-inspiring resurgence in patriotism since 9/11. We see red, white and blue color combinations displayed everywhere, from front yard flags to backyard gardens, especially in the summer months. You even may have noticed patriotic planting schemes showing up in shopping center landscape design recently. With Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day in May, Flag Day in June and Independence Day in July, spring is the perfect time to show off your spirit with a patriotic planting of your own.

Consider all your options when planning your patriotic planting. From an intricate flag arrangement that takes up an entire border to the simplest red pot filled with a mixture of pure white blossoms and topped off with a mini American flag, show your colors your own unique way.

For a little inspiration, browse our combination recipes on our website featuring these classic American colors. Many of the plants from our spring collection will last through two or even three seasons, so plant now to get the most enjoyment out of your arrangement.

Here's a list of "a few good plants" from Proven Winners that will help you create a red, white and blue firecracker in your landscape this season:

Red-Flowering Varieties
Verbena Babylon® ‘Red’
Superbells® ‘Red’
Verbena Temari™ 'Bright Red’
Verbena Tukana™ ‘Scarlet’
Petunia ‘Supertunia® Red’
New Guinea Impatiens ‘Infinity™ Red’
New Guinea Impatiens ‘Infinity™ Scarlet’

White-Flowering Varieties
Babylon® 'White’
Bacopa ‘Cabana’ and ‘Giant Snowflake’
Cobbity® Daisy ‘Sugar Baby’®
Nemesia ‘Compact Innocence’
Supertunia® ‘Mini White’
Angelonia ‘Angelface® White’

Blue-Flowering Varieties
Babylon ® 'Carpet Blue'
Nemesia 'Blue Bird'
Scaevola 'New Wonder'
Supertunia® ‘Double Dark Blue’
Superbells® ‘Trailing Blue’
Angelonia ‘Angelface® Blue’
Lobelia ‘Laguna™ Sky Blue’

This is just a partial list of the spring varieties eager to serve their country in your garden.

No Little Pumpkin

As we begin summer, it’s a bit early to think about Halloween parties. But to be successful growing Halloween pumpkins, you need to plant NOW. The giant prize-winning 500 pound monsters are usually started in late May. However, the normal run of the mill 3 to 30 pound beauties will do great at this time. You may choose from hybrids grown for unusual color such as white (Lumina) or pink (Cinderella).

You might want to consider those that are particularly tasty for pies (New England Pie) or edible seeds (Triple Treat). The petite Jack-Be-Little is great for decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

With all varieties it is best to plant 3 to 5 seeds in a mound. Space the mounds 2’ to 3’ apart. The small-fruited varieties will grow well on a fence or trellis. The larger varieties need ground space. Keep evenly moist and feed every 2 weeks. As the plants grow, you can turn the runners back toward the stem to reduce the space requirement. As the pumpkin matures, place straw or cardboard under the fruit to help prevent rot and insect damage. Pick when the stems start to dry. Be sure to leave a 3” or longer stem for that perfect jack-o'-lantern top.

Father's Day

We'd like to wish everyone a very happy Father's Day!

About Father's Day


The driving force behind the establishment of the celebration of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, William Smart, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself.

Mrs. Dodd was inspired by Anna Jarvis's efforts to establish Mother's Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father's death, she did not give the organizers enough time to make arrangements, and the first celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June (coincidentally, that was June 19th, the same date we celebrate Father's Day this year). Unofficial support for the holiday was immediate and widespread.

Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. The observance of Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. Lyndon Johnson declared Father's Day an official holiday in 1966. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day to be observed on the third Sunday of June.

Like carnations to be worn on Mother's Day, there is also a flower for Father's Day. Roses are the Father's Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died.

Recipe of the Month: Beef & Veggie Teriyaki Kabobs

What You'll Need:

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1-1/2 lbs boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1-1/4 inch cubes
  • 12 whole large fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 12 cherry tomatoes

Step by Step:

In a bowl, combine soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and salt; mix well.

Pour half of the marinade into a large re-sealable plastic bag or shallow glass container; add beef and turn to coat.

Seal or cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain meat; discard marinade. On metal or soaked bamboo skewers, alternate meat, mushrooms, green pepper, onion and tomatoes.

Grill uncovered over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Baste with reserved marinade. Continue turning and basting for 8-10 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness (for rare, a meat thermometer should read 140º; medium - 160º; well-done 170º).

Serve meat and vegetable over rice pilaf if desired.

Yield: 6 servings



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