Park News Sept 2011

Have You Reviewed a Plant Yet?

One of the most fun and (we hope!) helpful features of our new website design is that you can now post a review of any plant you have grown!

We can't tell you how many times we've heard from people in various parts of the country that a certain plant blooms much earlier or later where they live, or that they have found a useful trick for growing a certain vegetable more effectively! Some can't wait to tell us that this is their favorite plant ever, while others may have found it really challenging. Whatever the case, we want you to be able to share your information with other gardeners — and that's where the reviews come in!

To write a review.... (click here to read more)

It's Time to Divide Some Perennials!

Dividing Bearded Iris rhizomesAs the weather begins to cool for fall, it's time to start thinking about which garden plants would benefit from being divided. Labor Day is the traditional "deadline" for dividing Bearded Iris, but that's just a guidepost — where you live, what the weather is doing, and most importantly, how your plants are behaving are the real signals to look for!

First of all, if you're like us, you may be asking yourself, "Do I really have to divide any plants?" And while it's true that the Plant Division Police won't be patrolling your neighborhood, many perennials bloom and grow much better, and can even live longer, if divided every few years. Coreopsis is a prime example; if left alone, it can peter out after a few seasons, but if you take a moment every 2 to 3 years to pull it apart into smaller clumps and re-plant, it will thrive for a long, long time!

Here is a quick list of the perennials that benefit from a late summer to fall division.... (click here to read more)

Keeping Children Safe from Poisonous Plants

Cotoneaster berriesWe have all heard horror stories about children eating Angel's Trumpet flowers or swallowing castor beans, yet this is surprisingly rare. The vast number of children's encounters with poisonous plants produce skin irritations or other allergic symptoms, and even these are easy to prevent with a little planning.

The holidays present a number of challenges, beginning with those gorgeous purple Cotoneaster berries at the Thanksgiving table. You would have to eat a lot of them to suffer any ill effects, but still — they look beautiful and might be tempting. Keep an eye on your centerpiece!

With Christmas come holly, ivy, poinsettia, mistletoe, and yew — all poisonous! The danger of poinsettia has been perhaps too well publicized: poison control centers report very few calls about this lovely winter houseplant. But everything is pretty and tempting at the holidays, so make sure your greenery (especially if it is fruiting!) is well out of reach of little ones!

Many houseplants can cause allergic reactions if ingested.... (click here

Natural Beauty Products from Your Garden

Turn that late-summer garden into your own ready-made spa by harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and even avocadoes for their beneficial effects on your skin!

The acids in tomatoes are excellent for your skin, especially when combined with sea salt or organic sugar for texture. Toss a few tomatoes in the blender (a great way to dispose of those less-than-perfect ones that sometimes arise in late summer!), sprinkle in some sea salt, and carry the mixture into the shower with you. It's a great invigorating body scrub!

Cream the flesh of an avocado, then add just a dollop of olive oil to hold it all togetherCucumbers have long been recognized for their cool, soothing properties, and you should use them freely on your skin. Cut slices to put over your eyes, of course, but also peel the cuke, then pulverize it in the blender for a soothing face mask. Keep it on about 10 minutes, then wash off. Your skin will feel pleasantly refreshed!

Should you be lucky enough to grow avocadoes, you have a homemade wrinkle cream just waiting to be applied! Avocado is rich in vitamin E, which has great healing properties for skin (it is often applied to scars). Cream the flesh of an avocado, then add just a dollop of olive oil to hold it all together. Smooth it gently over those laugh lines and crow's feet, and leave in place for about 10 minutes before washing off. Mmmm — the heavenly smell is another benefit!

What other beauty aids can you make from your vegetable and herb garden? When you start to think about dream pillows and infusions, the list seems endless! Have fun and save money by staying beautiful through gardening!

New Contest -- Find the Tomato on Our Website!

Find Me!Ah yes, Labor Day is here, the kids are going back to school, autumn is (almost) in the air.... it's time for the annual Find the Tomato Contest on Park Seed! For those of you who haven't participated in the past, it's very simple:

We've placed this drawing of a tomato somewhere on our website. If you should happen to run across it, click on it. You'll be taken to a screen where you will be given instructions on entering our drawing for a $25 Park Seed Gift Certificate! On Wednesday, September 28, we will randomly select one random winner from all who have spotted the wily little veggie fruit, and send them their gift certificate. Good luck and happy hunting!

September Dates to Remember - Mark Your Calendars!

September 5 —Labor Day — the first American Labor Day was observed on September 2, 1882 in New York City
Welcome Fall!September 8 — International Literacy Day
September 11 — Patriot Day
September 11 — Grandparents Day — Honor your gardening grandparents with a gift certificate from Park Seed!
September 16 — International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
September 16 — National POW/MIA Recognition Day
September 21 — World Alzheimer's Day
September 21 — International Day of Peace
September 23 — Autumn Equinox — First Day of Fall!
September 28 — Rosh Hashanah (begins at sundown)