February 8, 2006
Dothistroma needle blight is a common fungal disease that causes browning of needles of Austrian, ponderosa, and mugo pines. Affected needles have reddish brown spots or bands. The needle tips beyond the bands dry out and turn brown a couple weeks after the bands appear, while the bases remain green. Diseased needles may drop prematurely, several months after they are infected. Typically, the most severely affected branches are towards the bottom of the tree. An entire tree may progressively lose its needles, decline, and die over the course of a few years.
There are four All American Rose Selection Winners for 2006. As usual, one or more of the diverse offerings is sure to suit almost any landscape and gardener. This year's winners will whet your appetite for roses.
The first offering is Julia Child. The famous chef picked this one herself and we all know what great taste she had. This floribunda rose has a rounded growth habit and is topped with buttery-gold flowers. The flowers have a spicy scent, reminiscent of sweetened licorice. Plants are also highly prized for their excellent disease resistance.
Early spring is an excellent time to transplant rhubarb. As soon as the ground is workable, carefully dig up the plants in early spring before growth begins. Dig deeply to insure getting a large portion of each plant's root system. Large rhubarb plants can also be divided. Divide large clumps with a sharp spade or butcher knife. Each section (division) should have at least 1 or 2 buds and a portion of the root system.
The Perennial Plant Association has selected Firewitch Cheddar Pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) as the 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year. This cheddar pink has brilliant, hot pink flowers with notched petals. The common name pink isn't derived from the color of the flowers. Instead, it refers to the notched petal edges, which appear to have been cut with "pinking" shears.