Tips to Save Green in the Garden

How Does Your Garden Grow?

By Pat Nowak

As a new bride, when we moved into my first house it had 35 rose bushes on a postage-stamp-sized lot. I knew nothing about landscaping and many of them were removed as they required “too much attention”. My second home, in the country,  had a 2 ½-acre lot; it takes a lot of perennials, trees and, yes, rose bushes to fill that much land.  Over the years I have  learned about plants, ponds, and architectural adornments,  finding that after a hard day at work, time in the garden worked wonders for my attitude.

Later, looking for more convenience, and less upkeep, I purchased a condo which had a small, dreary  yard area. The “tired” shrubs were past their prime and there were no perennials, but I thought that leaving the landscaping to the professionals was best.

Adding a plant here and a shrub there, however, I saw new possibilities and my character-less lot become much more enticing. Today I wake up in the warmer months with a smile on my face – the area reflects my personal landscaping preference and gardening still raises my spirits.

Today there is so much more available for the home gardener than 20 years ago along with more help for the beginning gardener. Knowledgeable assistance and huge product lines are available at nurseries like Hoen’s Garden Center, Nature’s Corner, North Branch Nursery, Tom Strain and Sons Garden Center and Whiteford Greenhouse. Another resource is Maumee Valley Growers, an association that includes more than seventy growers, all offering top-quality local plants for distinct locations, product mix, and focus.

Hoen’s Garden Center 419-865-6566 |

Nature’s Corner 419-866-0420 |

North Branch Nursery 419-287-4679 |

Tom Strain and Sons Garden Center 419-531-8183 |

Whiteford Greenhouse 419-882-4110 |

Maumee Valley Growers


Tips for a green thumb

Combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle and spray on clay pots. Scrub them with a plastic brush to remove salt deposits that have formed.

Instead of buying five plants, buy one large one and divide it; or, buy seedlings instead of a potted tree. It might take longer, but they will grow just as well.

Collect rocks and use them as a border around your plants.

Add leftover tea and coffee grounds to the soil for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and  blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.

When you see a plant you like, ask for a cutting; or, divide at the end of the season with neighbors.

Take the strain out of lifting large pots by filling the pot one-third to one-half full with styrofoam packing peanuts. Place a piece of landscape fabric on top of the packing peanuts and then add a  layer of potting soil.

Before your next trip to the nursery, line the back of your car with a plastic tarp and place a small step ladder on top of the tarp. The areas between the rungs of the ladder serve as compartments to protect your fragile plants, and you will no longer have to worry about a messy car!

Often, your purchased potted plants are root-bound. These roots form tight circles in the pot and can prevent water and other essential nutrients from traveling to the leaves and the rest of the plant. Gently guide the roots outward using your fingers. If they are really tough, carefully make vertical cuts in the root-ball with a knife.

When planting roses, pruning is crucial to open the center of the plant so sun can shine in. Careful pruning will allow the moisture to dry out, preventing black spots and other blights from forming.


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