April 25, 2010

It's a plot!

Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day and National Public Gardens Day – with a healthy crop of special events – have the common aim of getting YOU out to see what's blooming.

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Peter and Claudia Risbara of Risbara’s Greenhouse in Portland prune geraniums last week. The Risbaras are celebrating Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day as well as their 20th anniversary of being in business. Risbara’s is just off outer Forest Avenue.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Claudia and Peter Risbara of Risbara’s in Portland have a number of events planned for Saturday. About 30 garden centers around Maine will be participating in Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day with special events, deals and more.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer


JUST A reminder:

TRADITIONALLY, HOMEOWNERS want to fertilize their lawn in the spring. The modern method, recommended by Yardscaping advocates, is to fertilize in the fall, if at all.

YARDSCAPERS and the Maine Board of Pesticide Control say a lawn that is 10 years old or older and on which the grass clippings are mulched and left on the lawn needs no fertilizer at all.

JESSE O'BRIEN, who owns a turf farm in Kennebunk, recommends fertilizing only in the fall. So, skip the spring feeding.

Other activities that I found out from a Maine Department of Agriculture press release received as I was writing this said Hoboken Gardens in Rockport features Maureen Heffernan, author of "Native Plants for Your Maine Garden," with a talk and book signing; and Lois Stack and Caragh Fitzgerald from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension as part of Longfellow's offerings.

The second event, National Public Gardens Day, is a bit more low-key. The May 7 event is in its second year and sponsored by Rain Bird, an irrigation-equipment manufacturer in California, and the American Public Gardens Association, based in Pennsylvania. The association said McLaughlin Garden in South Paris and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay were taking part.

Jennifer O'Rourke, interim director of McLaughlin Garden, said her garden is opening its annual Wildflower Celebration that weekend -- May 7-9, which is Mother's Day. O'Rourke said they opened the event on Friday because of Public Gardens Day.

McLaughlin's big event is the Lilac Festival, which is always Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31. O'Rourke said a lot of people have been asking if the warm weather will move up the bloom time of the lilacs so that it misses the festival. She said there is no way to tell, but there will be some lilacs in bloom no matter what.

As an aside, O'Rourke is interim director because Michael Desplaines, the former director, left recently to become executive director of Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, N.H.

Barbara Freeman of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens said her garden has signed up to be a participant, but she does not know of anything they are doing different than a regular spring day at the garden. 

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at



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