What's Coming Up 180

Sort out spirea, make room and air for perennials and lawn, no weak roses, all over a quarter continent

Download to read all of  issue #180 (a big beautiful PDF document containing all of this week's news)

Or jump down to story summaries with links to individual articles

This week, six back issues were posted ahead
of schedule upon request by new Sponsors.
Perhaps most timely among those,
What's Coming Up #86, the Master Guide to Pruning Shrubs!


Summary and links to this What's Coming Up #180 news

We're all over the map lately to help gardens grow.

That's how it is in spring, when so much is new every day and going on all at once. Stepping out into a garden to see what's up can easily become more of a jig than a waltz! This past week we tripped that light fantastic across a quarter-continent. That music continues this week as we plant what we brought home from Mother's Day garden center shopping.

Come dance with us to energize and beautify your garden.

Download issue #180 (a big beautiful PDF document)

Where to see us.  Details in About Us: Where we're appearing

5/19 Detroit, 6/12 Hale, MI; 6/14 Belleville, MI; 6/16 Chicago Botanic Garden

What's coming up this week

Top stories of plants and procedures.

Plant shopping as name game: Choosing spirea

So many spirea shrubs, for a big hedge, small spot, foliage color, bird cover! Choose the best for your need. Read it in issue #180

Bonus: Tips for finding a mail order source


What's going on in Janet & Steven's gardens

Quick to-do list

Rose garden design notes, air to obelisk

Roses are problematic when they're in the spotlight. They lack the distinct form and texture that could stand alone even when they are not in bloom, and certainly lack when cut back between blooms. Gain some steady-eddy distinction for important spots in a rose bed by accessorizing with the likes of obelisks and trellises.

Read it in issue #180


Simplify shopping with a design and plant list

Whenever there's a planting to be done, deciding, finding and buying plants is a major task. It can be a challenge for one person acting alone, more than twice as tough to consider two gardeners' ideas and actions, and mind-boggling for a larger group... unless you have a design for your shopping list.

Read it in issue #180


'Scuse me: Perennials need elbow room

Whenever you weed, divide, or plant,
leave room for plants to grow.

Read it in issue #180


Breathing room for phlox

Tall phlox plants (P. paniculata and its hybrids) are predisposed to powdery mildew. Same goes for bee balm (Monarda didyma) some asters, and other perennials. Stress such a plant (drought, shade, poor nutrition) and it succumbs to its nemesis. Perhaps the most important preventive is sweet, moving air. Keep space between stems and plants.

Read it in issue #180


We bare it all in annual beds

Don't mulch annual flowers and vegetables. They don't fare well in mulch.

Read it in issue #180


Quashing trouble, with eyes open for what we don't want to see

Many of the problems that can ruin a bed at high summer are showing themselves in spring. Look, and look into irregularities. Once you know what to look for you can act before the worst symptoms or losses. Read it in issue #180



Green thumbs up and down

Lawnlessness applauded, weak roses trashed

Celebrating alternative lawns -- not for everyone but certainly attention-getters and often beautiful. Read it in issue #180

Shaking our heads over those who hang on for yet another year to weakling roses. Discard what fails to thrive! We help you out by showing you how to read the roots and shoots for the language of success. Read it in issue #180


Tip cuttings

What's of special interest on the Forum

Wellhead, fake rock, real beauty

Read it in the Forum.


Add dimension with flat-grown plants

Espalier, vines trained to a tree form, and shrubs pruned as small trees are all suggestions for a small courtyard. Read it in the Forum.


Clematis stands divided

Read it in the Forum.


The low-down of lawn care from top-notch experts moderating the Forum

Thoughts for those choosing a lawn care service. Read it in the Forum.

First hand reports of core aeration timing and results. Read it in the Forum.


The 45 mph garden

It's catching driver's eyes and raising questions this week.

Olive all over the roadside

Autumn olive: deliberately introduced, long regretted but still eye-catching at 45mph. Read it in issue #180


Aiming for answers: Hit or Miss

"What happened next" from previous articles. Celebrating the hits, updating the misses.

Another angle on reducing an arborvitae

We know it's tough to picture cutting back an arborvitae. We recently came at if from a different angle in terms of illustration. In issue #180 we step you through it.


Deep thought: Move bulbs now, set them deeper

When a spring bulb is planted shallow, it's more likely to produce offset bulbs and fairly quickly become a crowded, non-blooming clump. Planted deep, it multiplies more slowly, keeping its strength in one bulb.Read about it and see the consequences in issue #180


Big mistake, big lesson

Where big blunders become great treasures

Don't duck the work when it comes to quack grass. If you smother it, it'll be a year long smother! Read about it in issue #180


Your feedback

Where did that article go? Gang way, we're spring cleaning!

Looking for something you saw a week ago in our What's Up news? It's still on the site but may have moved when we stashed the winter topics from Issues 167 - 173 to make way for spring. Do a Search for a key word or go to Ensemble Weekly Editions, select Winter or Late Winter and click from the index of any issue.

All feedback always appreciated

Drop us an email or give us a call to tell us what worked and what didn't in this newsletter or in our gardening advice. You won't hurt our feelings. We aim to grow and that means we celebrate the highs but also remember to learn from the lows.


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