Don over at Singing Tree Gardens shared some new research with us this time last year – apparently, even though Rhododendrons are acid-loving plants and lime sweetens the soil, they respond very well to the added magnesium in the soil that comes from applying dolomite lime in fall:
Adding dolomitic lime around the dripline of your rhodies will give them an extra boost to help them get through the winter months. One might think adding lime to these acid loving plants to be a mistake, but it has been proven to improve the health and vigor to rhododendrons. When rhododendron leaves are analyzed for their chemical composition, the element of highest concentration is magnesium, and dolomite lime is Calcium-magnesium carbonate. Often leaves can be made a darker-richer shade of green with the addition of this inexpensive amendment. There are articles dating back to the turn of the century, praising the use of dolomite lime as a great fall feeding for rhododendrons. Usually 1-2 cups sprinkled around the drip line is sufficient.
I did apply dolomite lime last November to some Rhodies that were not getting the care they needed to do well, and they greened up considerably and did look healthier by spring despite root competition and terrible soil. And it was dirt cheap to do.
My dear friend Eve Gilmore just started her new gardening site, Xeriscape Gardens. She’s already making some great recommendations and giving advice for you no- and low-water gardeners. Eve’s a Zone 4-5 landscape designer and maintenance gardener in dry southwest Colorado, so she’s got the practical experience working with plants as well as design chops. Can’t wait to see what the site becomes!
Then the ever-amusing Amy Stewart is back with a video trailer for her new book, Wicked Bugs, featuring the Best Quote EVER from a gardening book-related-thing:
“You ever feel a tickle up your nose? There’s probably maggots in there.”
Yes, by my delight in that quote you can see that I am indeed a four-year-old pretending to be a respectable landscape designer.
Anyway, check out her video, and if you need some good reading before Wicked Bugs comes out, do get a copy of her book The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms. If you’re not yet convinced that Amy can make an entire book about earthworms something you’ll want to press on friends, then you obviously haven’t read much by her. Go, get it.
Read anything cool this week? Let me know in the comments below!