For more than 20 years, horticulturist Amy Ivy has shared her expertise and love of gardening in conversation with Martha Foley each Monday morning on The Eight O'Clock Hour. Amy is retiring from her job with Cornell Cooperative Extension this week and from her volunteer job as NCPR's longtime gardening maven.
What does she plan to do with her time now? Tend (and expand) her garden.
In this last episode, she talks with Martha about what to do with the Christmas tree after the holidays are over. [full story]
Arrangements and centerpieces and cut flowers may be a better gift for the non-gardener; live plants can bring a burden of guilt. but they can make a nice gift for the green thumbs in your life. Amy Ivy recommends cyclamens, which are hardy and long blooming, and have colorful leaves when not in bloom.
Garden gear may by pricey, or duplicate what someone already has, but a garden center gift certificate is a practical alternative and sure to be put to good use.
Horticulturist Amy Ivy trades tips and advice with Todd Moe. [full story]
The Winter Solstice is three weeks away. The sun is low in the sky; days are short and getting shorter. Cold drizzle and slush aren't helping.
Houseplants can be an antidote, even for those of us without much, or any, of a green thumb.
Cooperative Extension's horticulturist lists a few favorite and trouble-free options for indoor greenery. Tops on her list: pothos, AKA Devil's Ivy. Also: chinese evergreen (Google it), jade tree, and peace lily. [full story]
Not only is it getting consistently frosty, we've had a string of wet days. Conditions haven't been ideal for gardening outdoors. But there can be a whole host of chores involving plants and dirt indoors.
Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy took a call from a concerned Christmas Cactus owner last week. It was blooming on Election Day. What? And can it be re-potted anyway?
So, this week, answers to those questions, and more about plants that have come indoors for the duration. [full story]
Shrubs and trees are on the way into winter. They're literally shutting down for the coming cold. So it's a bad time to do any unnecessary pruning or trimming of ornamental shrubs, hedges and the like. [full story]
There are a few blossoms left in the perennial garden, if you're lucky and have a really hardy mum or showy Autumn Joy sedum. But, mostly, what's left are dramatic dried seed heads and foliage that turns bright as the season changes. [full story]
If it's a matter of raking and disposal, the thick fall of leaves from your maples or oaks can be a real headache. But gardeners can turn that work to real advantage, as mulch and compost.
Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy has lots of advice to turn the curse of those deciduous leftovers into a blessing for the gardens. [full story]
We're expecting a killing frost across the region this week. Time to dig up and/or bring in plants you want to keep through the winter.
Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy takes cuttings from her geraniums - it's very easy to propagate those in potting mix for blooms in mid-winter. Nasturtium cuttings flourish in a jar of water on a window sill.
You can always try digging up and potting herbs and other favorites to bring inside — some do better than others. And a note: tender "summer" bulbs, including glads and dahlias should come out soon for winter storage. [full story]
Garlic is one of those spring bulbs you plant in the fall, like daffodils, tulips and crocuses. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy offers lots of detail in this week's conversation. What kind, how, where and how deep, and how to snug it in for growth over the winter.
Short version: get big, healthy local bulbs, split them into cloves, plant root end down 2" deep and 4"-5" apart. And cover with loose mulch. [full story]
What are they? Why bother? And, how do you make them? Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy answers the basic questions of raised beds: what? why? and how? And she adds in a few details, too, about how big, how high, and other questions to consider before you start.
One question we didn't get to: if you're concerned at all about pressure treated lumber, don't use it or lay plastic between the wood and your soil. Amy uses pine, 2X10, untreated.
Next week: what to fill them with? [full story]
In mid-September some of a gardener's work is deconstruction, some is preparation, and some is just thinking. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy is pulling out spent zucchini; Martha Foley's getting rid of some really tired tomatoes and hoping the remainder will have time to ripen this month. Both are prepping an area for planting garlic later in the fall, and talking about moving all or part of the garden.
First step in that process: killing the existing grass with a thick cover this winter to make way for new beds. [full story]
The late warm weather helps extend the blooming season. Deadheading annuals like zinnia will also help. You can divide perennials that are not in bloom and thin out and move around early bloomers like lilies and iris. And it's a good time to beef up the soil while you're at it.
Cooperative extension horticulturist Amy shares tips and to-do lists with Martha Foley. She is a regular Monday morning guest on The Eight O'Clock Hour. [full story]
Gardens have a distinctly different look as August winds down. There's usually a lot of browned-out foliage to clean out (if you've been away or been too busy).
But whether it's vegetables or flowers, there are some old, and new favorites that really come into their own. Home grown tomatoes, of course, and the strong colors of zinnias and black-eyed susans. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy is enjoying pole beans now, too, and sweet peas - the flowers, that is! [full story]
Are you back from out of town, or finally able to focus on the late summer garden? Are there parts of the garden overrun by weeds? How can you keep some of the perennials looking their best?
Horticulturist Amy Ivy says don’t give up on the garden if it looks like a mess in late August. She has some advice for reinvigorating the late summer garden. [full story]
Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulturist Amy Ivy says now is the time to start thinking about next year's garlic crop. Her advice, if you're planning to use your own seed garlic, is to put aside a few of your largest, healthiest bulbs to plant later this fall. Amy Ivy shares more garlic growing and storing tips with Todd Moe. [full story]
There's lots of talk among gardeners right now about that annual, persistent, pesky visitor, the Japanese Beetle. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy describes them as "little tanks" - hard shelled, slow, and largely impervious to our weaponry in defense of vegetables and flowers. [full story]
The upside: this is great sunny summer weather for swimming, boating, picnics and parades. But gardeners' flowers and vegetables are bearing the brunt. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy talks about one dry-weather tomato problem, blossom end rot, and what to do about it. [full story]
No details yet, but late blight - which can devastate tomato and potato plants - has been confirmed in several tomato pants in Onondaga County. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says more information should be coming soon. Call your local Cooperative Extension office if you think you're seeing late blight.That, and an explanation on biennials in our weekly conversation. [full story]
Just when we thought the cool air had left the garden, the forecast this week is predicting overnight temps in the 40's. Horticulturist Amy Ivy says some veggies, like lettuce and spinach, thrive in the cooler weather. But it could mean a set back for young tomato plants and basil seedlings. Amy's advice - "Hang in there." [full story]