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What Bulbs to Voles Dislike?


“What bulbs do voles not like to eat?” Question from Nancy of Columbia, Pennsylvania
Answer: There are a variety of bulbs that they will not eat. All daffodils and narcissus are unpalatable to rodents. Their bulbs contain toxins that repel any that might predate on them. Voles also dislike beautiful and fragrant hyacinths and grape hyacinths. Delicate, white, early-blooming snowdrops are another bulb that they […]

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How Do You Transplant an Old Rose?


“I have a 40-year-old rose bush that used to be a foot away from the foundation of my home that has gradually moved all the way up to the foundation and sends shoots up under the siding. I have tried to dig it out and pull it out but it refuses to give up and comes back every year. What can I do about […]

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What is This Fragrant Spring Blooming Viburnum?

Spice Girl® Koreanspice viburnum is an exceptional garden variety. (Image from Proven Winners)
“A friend of mine has a viburnum shrub. Its short-lived blooms smell very much like lilacs. He can’t remember the name of it. Do you have any ideas, as I’d really love to get one? Many thanks!” Question from Diane or Newark, Ohio
Answer: It sounds like he has one of the very fragrant viburnums called Koreanspice viburnum […]

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Can I Use Shredded Paper in the Garden?


“Any suggestions for using shredded paper in my raised beds for vegetables?  I have a home office that produces a lot of shredded paper that I would like to “recycle” if possible.” Question from Glenda of Sewell, New Jersey
Answer: Before putting any paper in the garden, make sure that the ink you use is acceptable for garden use. Almost all printer ink is non-toxic […]

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What Is the Ideal Flower Bed Size?


“Is there a recommended size of a flower bed, specifically the depth, and how much Black Gold soil should be used for a solid grow?” Question from Rob of Colorado Springs Colorado
Answer: The size of your flower bed depends entirely on the space you have, the flowers that you want to plant, and the time you have to care for them.

Space: If you have […]

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Can You Plant Daffodils and Tulips in Spring?


“Can spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips be planted in early spring in NJ?” Question from Glenn of Parsippany, New Jersey
Answer: You can only plant potted bulbs that have emerged and are flowering in spring. No bulbs should be dormant by spring. If you happen to have some live tulip or daffodil bulbs that have yet to fully grow and flower, you can […]

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How Can I Encourage Fuller Growth in Butterfly Bush?


“My butterfly bush was so rangy last year. How can I get it to be fuller and to attract more butterflies?” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Several things can cause butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii, USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9) can have flowering and vigor troubles. Here are the main culprets.

Age: If your butterfly bush is an older specimen, it may be petering out. They are […]

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Are Hybrid Plants Better?


“Are hybrids better than the real thing?” Question from Dave of Springfield, Massachusetts
Answer: There is a simple and more complex answer to this question. The simple answer is that they often are better. Hybrids exist in the wild, as well as in the nurseries of plant breeders, and they often exhibit something called ‘hybrid vigor, outbreeding enhancement, or heterosis. Plants with hybrid vigor have an edge […]

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How Do I Calculate Compost Application Rates?


“Your example calculation on your Guide’s formula for Compost application seems to be incorrect. What is right?  I am trying to figure how much to order.” Question from Anne of Elmdale, Kansas 
Answer: The original formula did need some adjustment, so I just modified it. Here is the corrected formula along with a conversion table and links to other helpful sources–most notably, a great article […]

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When and How Should I Move My Peonies?


“When is the best time to move Peony plants?” Question from Carin of Fall Creek, Wisconsin
Answer: Because peonies are extraordinarily hardy, I prefer moving them in the fall, but you can also moving them after they bloom in the spring. But, there are six things that you should know before moving peonies.
Six Things to Know Before Moving Peonies

Peonies have very large taproots, so you […]

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