Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall in Our Gardens & Beyond

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

Here's a sampling of plants and more found in MG gardens at home and in the demonstration gardens. Also check out photos from our Fall into Gardening Day.
A Red Spotted Purple on Impatiens (N.Miller)
 Hermit Sphinx Moth: Caterpillars feed on bee balm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), sage (Salvia) and bugleweed (Lycopis). The caterpillars go underground to pupate.

When they emerge as moths, they have a wing span of about 2 1/2 x 3 inches. The moths like deep-throated flowers such as honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia spp.) and catalpa (Catalpa spp.). After dark, moths, as well as bats, take over the pollinating night shift.

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed (J.Kauffman)
Monarch Chrysalis (J.Kauffman)
Monarch at Memorial Park (N.Miller)
Sunflower (B.Petrucci)
Lots of Sunflowers (B.Petrucci)
Fields and fields of sunflowers off Springview Road in Chambersburg.
Sunflowers at Sunset (M.Bowman)
Black Swallowtail Caterpillars (C.Kagan)
Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Wooly Bear Caterpillar
Here's a wooly bear caterpillar.  I am often asked what kind of butterfly they become. These caterpillars become a moth – Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella).

Isabella Tiger Moth (S.Bayard)
Legend cites these caterpillars as forecasters of winter weather. The wider the stripe the milder the winter, so goes the folklore. Several years ago local Master Gardeners photographed their caterpillars. Visit the Franklin County Master Gardener blog to see what happened. Has this been proven by scientific fact? See Check out the Michigan State University  page to find out.
Caterpillar (C.Kagan)/ Moth (B.Moul)

What's in your yard or garden?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fall into Gardening: A Day at the Demonstration Gardens

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

Saturday, September 6th, the Penn State Master Gardeners, Franklin County, hosted the Fall into Gardening event. The weather gods held the rain off until 2 pm, the end of the event, but the price was heat and humidity. Nevertheless, lots of visitors came and discovered the demonstration gardens as they transition into autumn.
Sedum in the Drought-Tolerant Garden (C. Kagan)
The day included a self-guided tour of the demonstration gardens, with docents available to provide more information about the gardens and answer questions. Laurie Collins and her team freshened up the Pollinator Garden and greeted many visitors.

Laurie Collins (L) with visitors in the Pollinator Garden (C. Kagan)
More pollinator plants and pollinators below.

Barbara Petrucci answered questions and talked about herbs with visitors.
Barb Petrucci (L) showing off pineapple sage (C. Kagan)
Corn, tomatoes & more in the Victory Garden (C. Kagan)
Visitors were allowed to stroll through the Victory Garden along the brick path. Ruth Young, Linda Horst and Maria Giles were the main docents for this area.

Denise Lucas identified lots of the plants in the Perennial Garden for visitors eager to know what is blooming this time of year. More perennial plant photos below.

Denise Lucas (R) with visitors in the Perennial Garden (C. Kagan)

Linda Secrist gave a bulb planting demonstration at the pergola in the Native Plant while Cindy Fair helped visitors identify various plants such as the northern oat grass.
Northern Oat Grass in the Native Garden
The plant sale did a brisk business and many of the collectible daylilies were purchased. Billy Morningstar sold some of the garden décor items MG's made earlier this year.
Local Boy Scout, Avery, helped at the Welcome Table, giving out tour maps and scavenger hunt items for the kids. Cathy Campbell also had a pollinator activity and some giveaways for the kids as well.
Visitors could glean information from many of the exhibits in the Clubhouse. The 4-H Garden Club shared some of their Round-Up exhibits along with the pollinator display and herb garden renovation exhibit.

At the end of the day most Master Gardeners felt that they had introduced the gardens to a lot of new visitors and were able to both show off their hard work in the gardens and share their gardening knowledge.

More plants from the Pollinator Garden:

Caterpillar on a dill plant (C. Kagan)
Bee on cosmos (C. Kagan)
More bees - well, it is a pollinator garden!

More plants from the Perennial Garden:

Autumn Clematis, Phlox, Black-eyed Susan and some interesting seed pods (C. Kagan)
Beautiful bright orange flowers (C. Kagan)
A cleome (C. Kagan)
Beautiful seed head of Purple Coneflower (C. Kagan)
It's beautiful, n'est-ce pas?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Flower Arrangements from the Flower and Vegetable Gardens

by Carol Kagan, Master GardenerA few miniature eggplants and a red onion
A few miniature eggplants and a red onion
Look what you can do with flowers from your garden and a little time. Oh, and vegetables, too!
Perfect centerpiece of a picnic table
Perfect centerpiece of a picnic table
This lovely centerpiece is made with hydrangeas, different kinds of tomatoes (and  tomatillos) as well as a sunflower. Hosta leaves were used as a base for the basket.
From your yard-zinnias, hosta leaves, Queen Anne's lace, hydrangeas
From your yard-zinnias, hosta leaves, Queen Anne's lace, hydrangeas
Master Gardeners of Franklin County created these floral arrangements from flowers and plants in both the demonstration gardens and their own backyards.

Check out the zucchini used for a base and container. Add some greens with different textures, a few colorful flowers and a sprig of parsley.
Zucchini as a base and container
Zucchini as a base and container
Also, a bell pepper and watermelon. Perfect for this time of year.
There's enough peppers in the veggie garden to eat so use one as a flower vase.
There's enough peppers in the veggie garden to eat so use one as a flower vase.
Watermelon with corn, eggplant and lollipop cherry tomatoes
Watermelon with corn, eggplant and lollipop cherry tomatoes
Flowers found in most yards: hostas, zinnias, cosmos, black-eyed susans, Queen Anne's lace and beautiful grasses (if not in your yard, certainly in a nearby field!), hydrangeas, blanket flowers, garlic chives, and petunias.
Hearth basket uses dried grasses for texture
Hearth basket uses dried grasses for texture
A beautiful hearth basket, or to use by the front door, has sunflowers, dried grasses, blanket flowers and black eyed-Susans.  The stems are not that long but are discarded stems added to the arrangement.
Vegetables and herbs with a few blooms and grasses tucked in
Vegetables and herbs with a few blooms and grasses tucked in
And here's an attractive basket full of vegetables with some herbs tucked in as well as a few dry grasses.

Go out in your yard and find a few blooms, a few green leaves, and maybe a vegetable or two and put together you own celebration arrangement of summer's bounty.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The guys certainly were busy tonight…

That's a goldfinch, the entire family has been here today…

And they sure do enjoy the anise hyssop, along with my bees...

September: Learn about Bulbs, Compost and Getting More Plants

The September programs are now taking registrations. The Fall Into Gardening event is free but register now for the other programs.

Bulbs-Fall Planting program: Find out about choosing, planting and caring for spring flowering bulbs. Learn how to force bulbs to flower during the dreary winter days. More about this interesting topic at "Trick Bulbs Now for Winter Treats." $10 - You'll think it's a bargain when beautiful blooms brighten your windowsill on a gray January day.

"Composting" is a valuable resource and money saver. Learn which of the variety of methods you can use at your house. $10 Sign up now and start composting this month.
Perennials at MG Nancy Miller's house (Laurie Collins)
"Dig, Divide & Multiply Perennials" will help you figure out when and how to divide your perennials to keep them healthy - and to share with others, too! $10 is a bargain for all the money you'll save multiplying your plants.

All course and events are held at the Agriculture Heritage Center, 181 Franklin Farm Road, Chambersburg, unless noted.

Our programs are growing in popularity and now require pre-registration. Call 717-263-9226 for more information and to register. We now accept credit cards to make phone registration easier.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tomato Day and Fall Into Gardening - Two Great Events

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

14th Annual Tomato Day

This event, held by the Master Gardeners of Penn State, Franklin County, will host lots of visitors on Saturday, August 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Agriculture Heritage Center, 181 Franklin Farm Road, Chambersburg. As in years past, this event will be on the lawn by the stream but this year it is scheduled on a Saturday. No excuse to miss it!
Preparing for the taste test (Laurie Collins)
Tomato Tasting
The most popular destination on Tomato Day is the big tent covering tables laden with 20 or more varieties of tomatoes, cut-up and coded with a letter. Visitors do a blind taste test, recording their rating for taste and appearance. Paste tomatoes, beefsteak, slicing, cherry, and heirloom types are included in the samples.

At the end they receive a key to the codes and discover the names of the tomatoes. The ratings are tallied at the end of the day and posted on the Franklin County, PA Master Gardeners Facebook page.
Salsa Verde (made with green tomatoes (Public Opinion)
Salsa Contest
Everyone is invited to enter the Salsa Contest. Competitors bring their salsa and recipes along with a bag of chips. Although typical salsa recipes are made with ripe red tomatoes, past winners have included a mango salsa and salsa verde (green tomato) variations. Last year’s winner, Charles White, will be among the judges for best salsa but visitors can also taste and vote for the “People’s Choice” award.
Largest Tomato Contest
If there’s a “big ‘un” in your garden that will be ripe around August 23, consider entering this contest. Past winners have clocked in at about 2 pounds. The 4-H Garden Club will be entering and has some mighty big Mortgage Lifter variety tomatoes and one will definitely challenge all comers.
'Mortgage Lifter' in the 4-H Garden
Join the fun and enter the contests. Deadline to register for the Largest Tomato and Salsa contest is August 18. Call 717-263-9226 to register or for more information.
Flower arrangement display

Flower Arrangements
Master Gardeners will display a large variety of floral arrangements using seasonal flowers and greens from both the demonstration and home gardens. These will be on display in the lobby of the Agricultural Heritage Building.  Stop by and get some new ideas of how to display your beautiful blooms.


Fall Into Gardening

A new Master Gardener event this year will be on Saturday, September 6, 2014 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the barn across from the Agriculture Heritage Center, 181 Franklin Farm Road, Chambersburg.

This family-friendly event will have a self-guided tour of the eight demonstration garden areas, a scavenger hunt for younger visitors, a demonstration of planting bulbs for forcing, and a fall plant sale plus interesting exhibits in the Clubhouse near the barn.

Garden areas, created and maintained by the Master Gardeners of Penn State, Franklin County, include drought-tolerant, perennial, herb and pollinator gardens. Stroll through the Woodland Meadow and Native Habitat area and check out the Victory Garden with a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as the new 4-H Achievement Garden.

Pink hyacinth (tomylees)
For the younger visitors up to age 12, accompanied by an adult, there will be a scavenger hunt. Prizes are available for the first 75 participants.

Learn how to plant beautiful flower bulbs that will bloom during both the holiday season and the gray days of winter.
Daylilies to Highlight the Fall Plant Sale

A Fall Plant Sale will be held in the newly renovated holding area near the greenhouse. Locally grown perennials for sun and shade plus a variety of herbs, shrubs and trees will be available. Of special interest is the wide variety of unusual daylilies (Hemerocallis). They won't be blooming  but here are a few waiting for you to grab them up.
'Frances Joiner': This stunning mid-season re-bloomer, is a light yellow with rose eye above a greenish yellow throat
'Francis Joiner'
'When My Sweetheart Returns': A small, single mid-season re-bloomer in pale yellow with rose eye above a greenish yellow throat
'When My Sweetheart Returns' Daylily (Nancy Miller)
'Morning by Morning': Eye-catching fragrant, early season coral pink double flower with dark coral eyezone above a yellow throat
'Morning by Morning'
'My Sweet Rose': A very fragrant, mid-season bloomer in rose pink with cream to deep green throat

Master Gardeners will be available at each of the gardens to answer questions and share information as well as at the Patrick Gass Garden at the north edge of the parking lot on the west side of Franklin Farm Road. This is a work-in-progress project but already has historic plants and information signs.
Free. Parking at the Agricultural Heritage Center lot, west side of Franklin Farm Road.