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Advertising

I do not feel that advertising is a bad thing, or a so-called necessary evil. It simply is in our way of life. It is the way our economy functions.  If it is not there we seek it out. A quiet morning can easily turn into a trip to the mall walking one continual commercial for a day. So why my rambling about choices?

Too Darn Many

There are times when there are simply too darn many choices and I get burned out from all that is trying to catch my attention.

Leave it Behind

If you leave your cell phone and tablet inside the house when you go into the garden it is one of the few places on god’s little green earth where you can step outside all these choices and their promotion. My garden may not be a place to hide from the world, but it is a place of peace and a break from the constant bombardment.

I have never carried a cell phone into my garden. How about you? Can you handle the silence in your head, the quiet in your mind, rest in your soul? Are you comfortable when you are the only one in your head? When it is just you and no choices are to be made?

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Azalea Early Care

Azalea Early Care

Most days I have walked my gardens all winter, seeing what carries the color day to day, watching for first blooms. If we get some relatively warm afternoon weather I will begin cleaning up the debris from last year. Middle to end of February is normally when I shift from just walking my garden to working in my garden. However, this year our early warm up did not happen and here it is March, when the soil thaws under the mulch it is time to feed my azaleas and rhododendrons.

Timing
My first azalea to bloom is about mid-April. From that date thru mid-September one or more of my azalea collection will be in bloom. If they are to receive the energy they need for strong root systems, new plump buds and abundant blooms, they need to be fed now. It will take some time for rains to settle the fertilizer into the soil so it can be taken up by the plant and used as needed. So, I have formed a ritual each late winter of making sure my azalea get off to a good start each year.

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Holly-tone

Holly-tone

This is not meant to be a commercial for Holly-tone. It is the fertilizer of choice that was recommended to me by old times when I first began collecting and growing azalea. I thought that if it worked for the pros, surly it was what I needed in my gardens. Turns out it was a good choice. And, I can find nothing objectionable in continuing a tradition. Especially if it works.
Since I am not big on fertilizing my gardens, I appreciate the fact that Holly-tones formulation is organic. At a rating of 4-3-4 this acid-loving fertilizer is not going to burn, nor push my plants into weak growth that can become insect magnets. I will be pulling the mulch back, scratching very lightly as azalea roots are so shallow, sprinkling the fertilizer and then pulling the mulch back into place.
While I am feeding my azaleas I usually sprinkle around my other acid-loving woodies as well. Creeping wintergreen has never looked better with abundant blooms and berry set than when I used Holly-tone for the first time. This year I intend to use a bit on my partridge berry and see how it reacts, since it has been sparse on berry set.

Epson salts
Another recommendation from old timers when feeding my azalea is to use Epson Salts. Two tablespoons to the gallon of water, sprinkled around the root systems. I have read several articles on the internet concerning its use with plants. I see articles recommending the use, articles saying it can do no harm and finally not recommended. Again, if it does no harm and may help, why not go for it? I think my azaleas are more lustrous in leaf, more small stems and thus more buds with leaf and bloom. If it does not help the azalea, it certainly make me feel better performing the ritual.

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