YARD AND GARDEN: What does that gardening time period imply? | House & Backyard

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Master gardener Lucille Saunders clarifies some garden terms that might be puzzling to some:

Have you ever listened to gardeners and been confused about what they mean when they talked about texture, habit, contrast, season of interest, even when they say dwarf?

The season of interest seems to be the easiest and most likely one that you would understand – spring, summer, fall, and winter. We look forward to the first blossoms of spring, the beautiful colors of summer and the changing colors of autumn, but rarely find winter very interesting, but there may be many shrubs with evergreen foliage. Some tree bark is most noticeable when there is snow on the ground.

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When talking about texture, gardeners are referring to the foliage of the plant. Some plants with small or narrow leaves are considered to be finely structured. Those with large leaves are identified as being roughly textured. This is not a value judgment as both fine and coarse textures are important in creating a beautiful landscape.

So what is habit? This is the general shape of a plant. Some are round, others can be columnar or taller and full all around. There are plants that are narrow at the base and wider at the top, and vice versa. Your garden should be planned with a variety of habits as this will add more interest to the garden, as well as different sizes.

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Now, the contrast is what makes the design of a garden “gaudy” and is probably the most difficult thing to plan. Bright flowers and leaves look even better when planted near a classic evergreen. Contrast finely textured and coarser plants for more interest and a variety of habits and sizes for more movement. Plants can also contrast with structural elements, e.g.

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The term dwarf doesn’t necessarily mean small. It means smaller than is typical for the species. The dwarf burning shrub, for example, can get quite large, although it is nowhere near as big as the traditional burning bush. Little Lime hydrangea is a dwarf variety, half the size of a typical hardy hydrangea. Gardeners like dwarf plants because they blend in more easily with living spaces and require less pruning.

I think almost everyone by now understands what deadheading means – removing the dead flower from a plant. This encourages new blooms.

I recently read an interesting article about cutting flowers to take into the house to make an arrangement. I knew the first two facts, but the third surprised me. Cut your flowers early in the morning first, when the stems are most hydrated, which means less withering and longer-lasting blooms. A flower cut in the middle of the day doesn’t last that long.

Second, remove any leaves from the lower half of the stem so that there are no leaves in the water that can cause stems to rot. I actually remove any leaves from my hydrangea flowers that I want to dry, then place the stem in a roll of wire so it can dry out for later use.

OK, the third tip was to make sure the bouquet stays out of the kitchen. WHAT? So I looked into my kitchen and had a bouquet of cut flowers and two vessels with planted flowers. WHY? The reason for this is that there is usually a bowl of ripening fruit on the counter and the ethylene gas from apples and bananas makes flowers spoil faster. I did not know that.

Hopefully some of the above information will help you better understand what a gardener is talking about and help you plan your garden.

Mattoon area places over the years

Boy radiator

Boy radiator

1983: The Young Radiator plant closes due to a controversial union agreement. Local 162 UAW and the company agreed on a new three-year contract at the last minute.


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Oil well

Oil well

[1945:BakersNr1Batesboreholehalfamilenorthofcurrentproductionawaitingdrillingaplugleadstotensespeculationaboutapossiblefieldexpansion[1945:BakersNr1Bates-BohrlocheinehalbeMeilenördlichdergegenwärtigenProduktiondasdaraufwarteteinenStopfenzubohrenführtzuangespanntenSpekulationenübereinemöglicheFelderweiterung


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New post office

New post office

1981: The postmaster left his mark on the new post office. A remaining problem is the misalignment of mailboxes, which has forced 112 customers to re-number and leaves 65 more with mailboxes that are smaller than they are used to.


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District Hospital Memorial

District Hospital Memorial

1956: Many residents remember events and personalities in the hospital’s 50 years of history when the $ 1,150,000 expansion project was completed.


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Mattoon assembler

Mattoon assembler

1985: Mattoon Academy of Gymnastics and Dance State Masters Class 4 include: front row, from left, Krista Budde, Michelle Cisna, Stacey Brown; second row, Christi Horein, Erica Vaultonburg, Jennifer Daily, Lori Shafer, Dixie Usinger, Toni Best, Jessica Kessler; back row, Tina Barnes, Nikki Shaw, Kim Juergens, Pennie Lane, Elizabeth Etttlebrick, Angie Tilford, Christina Ritter, Johnna Von Behrens.


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Goat log

Goat log

1983: WD “Pill” Fisher stands next to the log cabin he is building for his family. Fisher became a distributor for Kozy Log houses.


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Illinois Central Railroad Depot

Illinois Central Railroad Depot

1977: The once busy waiting room rests quietly, except for an occasional passenger for one of the station’s four trains.


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Downtown

Downtown

1973: Mattoon reaches the finals of the All-America Cities competition.


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Downtown

Downtown

1988: Mattoon was busy in the 1950s, as this vintage photo shows. Photos are compiled in a book by Alice Larrabee, Gail Lumpkin, Jean Johnston and Marianne Thiel.


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