July 25, 2014

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Kylee Baumle

Peonies are putting on a show PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:38 PM


By Kylee Baumle

As nearby Van Wert prepares to celebrate their annual Peony Festival next weekend (June 7-9), it’s shaping up to be a good year for their bloom display. A cooler than usual spring has delayed some flowering of earlier varieties and prolonged the bloom of mid-season flowers. Based on the celebrations of the recent past, this is a good thing for those hoping to see a variety of blooms while attending the festival.

Any festivals that are centered around flowers, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., and the Tulip Festival in Holland, Mich., are taking a chance that timing will be right for visitors to see the very thing that’s the cause for the celebration.

Tips for beginning gardeners PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:34 PM

By Kylee Baumle

This past week, I was interviewed by a major herb and vegetable plant company for a series of videos they’re doing and one of the questions they asked me was, “What is the one piece of advice you would give to a beginning gardener?”

In many ways, I’m still a beginning gardener myself, but because they asked me this question at this particular time of year, it was easy for me to give an answer: Don’t get in a hurry.

When I started taking an active interest in planting the vegetable garden, after years of my husband being in charge of it, I’d get in a hurry. The long winter had me chomping at the bit to get those seeds in the ground and growing. But to everything there is a season, you know.

The monarchs need our help PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 3:20 PM

By Kylee Baumle

I’ve talked about the monarch butterflies a few other times in this column, so regular readers know that I’m one of their biggest fans. It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing them in our gardens again. The hummingbirds have returned from their wintering grounds and the monarchs aren’t far behind, having been sighted as far north as Kentucky.

Our recent cold weather may slow them down a bit, because they can’t fly at temperatures below 50°F, but an even bigger factor is the presence of milkweed. The caterpillars of the monarch butterfly feed exclusively on plants in the Asclepias genus.

The thought of growing milkweed in your gardens might not appeal to you, but the monarchs are in trouble and they depend on milkweed for their survival. Their habitat is dwindling due to spraying and while I understand why farmers don’t want it in their fields, roadside mowing, among other factors, is also contributing to the lack of food sources.

The Master Designer PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 1:46 PM

By Kylee Baumle

The long-awaited truly spring weather arrived last week and with it a venue for releasing some of our pent-up energy. The garden began waking up long before we could detect it, even though it seemed like overnight it turned green and burst into bloom.

The problem, of course, is that we try to expend that energy all at once and weary bodies and sore muscles are the consequences of our winter inactivity.

Last year’s drought, among other things, prevented us from doing some intended major redesigning of the main gardens here at Our Little Acre. So this spring has us scrambling to get most of it done before a garden club visits at the beginning of June.

The 'Grandma" flowers PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 3:24 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Petunias, marigolds, ditch lilies, red salvia, Ageratum, Portulaca, geraniums. What do these flowers have in common? Your grandmother probably grew them. Maybe your mother, too.

When you walk into a garden center, do you stop and ooh and ahh over them? Or do you do like I do and give them a cursory glance and walk right past them on your way to the “more interesting” plants and the new introductions?

Somewhere along the way, petunias and marigolds became boring. Ditch lilies got taken for granted. Red Salvia and purple Ageratum became cliché. Portulaca, or moss rose, perhaps bears too much resemblance to its cousin, that persistent weed, purslane. (Although purslane is a delicious salad edible!) Geraniums, which aren't really geraniums at all, but pelargoniums, have just graced one too many window boxes and garden borders.

Mad for tulips PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:39 PM

By Kylee Baumle

The anticipation of spring and its delay in arriving this year made us embrace it with more enthusiasm than usual. That makes it hard to believe that we’re already past snowdrop, crocus and reticulated iris season. We’re into daffodils and tulips now and our gardens have exploded in glorious rainbow colors.

Tulips are an interesting lot. Originating in the mountains of Turkey (it’s their national flower), the cultivated tulip that comes to mind for most of us has been hybridized from a much smaller species. We have many hybrid tulips in our landscape, but my favorites by far are the sweet little species tulips.

Miniature anything usually has a cuteness factor and tulips are no exception. But beyond that, species tulips are known to be much more reliable about coming back year after year and even naturalizing, than their hybrid cousins.

Living by nature PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:28 PM

By Kylee Baumle

When asked for directions to a certain place, some people will say, “Go one mile to 127, turn left, and go three miles north,” while others will say, “Go down the road until you get to the high school, turn left, and go until you see the big church on the left.”

Both sets of directions will get you there, in spite of them being quite different; one uses miles, the other, landmarks. As I drove to Fort Wayne today, and knew very well how to get there, I found myself looking for landmarks all the same.

Some things change over time, while others stay the same. For the most part, we expect buildings such as schools, churches, and courthouses to be around for a very long time. But, there are other things that remain constant through the years too. I’ve come to expect sights and sounds peculiar to each season.

A new crop of garden books PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:52 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Just like the garden, gardening books have seasons. Though there are new ones coming out all the time in all months of the year, you’ll see more new ones than usual in spring and the months leading up to it. That’s not by accident. Towards winter’s end, gardeners new and old are ready to get up off the couch and out digging in the dirt, so they are more likely to seek help via books.

It’s not that I think you can learn everything about gardening by reading a book, because there really is no greater teacher than experience.

Tough love in the garden PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 2:10 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Every year I make the same vow – no more plant heroics. If a plant isn’t performing well, it’s outta here. With perennials alone, there are too many wonderful things available so there’s really no room or reason for keeping stragglers and prima donnas. One of the nurseries I occasionally order plants from has over 1,000 perennials suitable for our zone (5b/6a) alone – more than enough from which to choose!

Yet there they are – surviving, not thriving – and still green. If they still have green on them, they’ll be fine, right? If the sun shines in just the right way, the rain falls at the perfect time, and I remember to fertilize when they need it, they’ll make a turnaround and eventually live up to the expectations I had when I planted them.

The passion of the Christ in nature PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 1:16 PM

By Kylee Baumle

As Easter nears, I’m reminded of its parallels in nature. It’s not a far stretch to try and apply the miracle of Easter to the natural world around us. After all, if you believe the way I do, God has His hand in all of it. Over the years, believers have assigned religious legends to plants and several have persisted to this day.

I’m not a psychologist or a philosopher, so I won’t presume to know why human beings do this, but it’s a common thread in nearly all civilizations. Let’s look at some of them, as they relate to the Christian celebration of Easter.

When you think of Easter plants, what comes to mind? Easter lilies are likely to be the first thing you think of, but this flower is one of the newer traditions, compared to most. Its white color signifies the purity of God and the trumpet shape is said to represent the proclamation of Christ’s resurrection.


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