What To Do With The Roselle

On the last day of class I gave everyone a Roselle or Rosa de Jamiaca (Hibiscus sabdariffa) plant. By now the plants should have grown tall and be flowering. The question now is, what do I do with my plant?

Hibiscus sabdariffa has many different uses, including being used to make hibiscus tea. Below I outline how to harvest the ripe caylyces.

The flower of Hibiscus sabdariffa.










Once the flowers fade, a fruit begins to develop inside the scarlet calyx.

Devloping fruits.

Ripe fruit, approximately 10 days after flowering.











Once the fruits ripen, roughly 10 days after flowering, harvet the fruits by picking them from the plant.

Next, remove the caylx to reveal the green capsule inside.

Left to right: removed calyx. Capsule.












Once the calyx has been removed it should be washed. The calyx can be used fresh or dried for use later.

Freshly dried Hibiscus sabdariffa.


Pollinator Garden help x 2

Volunteers are needed on Wednesday 9/13 in the Stinner Garden on the OARDC campus and on Thursday 9/14 at the Smuckers Store to help tend the pollinator gardens. Both sessions are from 10AM to Noon. You’re sure to learn a few new bees in the process! See prior posts for maps and addresses. Please call Denise if you have any questions: 330 495 1284. Hope to see you there!

We Speak For The Trees

We speak for the trees because someone has to. Speaking of trees, there are two workshops coming soon that are for anyone who loves trees.

September 25

Selecting Trees and Shrubs for Landscaping

This workshop will focus on making better woody plant selections for the long term. Including indoor and outdoor sessions. Perfect for landscapers, arborists and all plant lovers!

Registration Form

October 18

Why Trees Matter Forum

Come share with fellow tree people and co-horts. Why trees matter: aesthetically, economically, environmentally and socially. Trees – to your health!


“Parvis e glandibus quercus.”

Think Spring

Close your eyes for a second and imagine…on second thought don’t do that because you won’t know when to open them.

Imagine it is Febraury 4, after six weeks the clouds of Northeast Ohio have broken and it is sunny. It also happens to be the first day temperatures have risen to 65 degrees. Forget spring, summer is here! At least it seems like it for us. If you are like so many good northeast Ohioans, you make it a point to go outside on days like this. As gardeners we like to look around at our plants.

It is at this point that you notice something. You notice something that wasn’t in your garden in the fall (or so you thought). You see weeds! You gasp and exclaim, “where did all these come from!?” That is a great question and is one that we get regularly in the spring.

I am no weed expert by any means. I have learned some things over the years and have studied how to best control weeds in a landscape setting to better manage our collections at Secrest. However, I do know that winter annuals are starting to appear now. Just last night I found hairy bittercress, mouse ear chickweed, and annual bluegrass in my own landscape.

Winter annuals are starting to germinate and will continue to do so through the fall. This means that if you want to get good control of winter annuals you need to start now. If you wait until that first warm day in February to do something about them it can be too late. According to the University of Tennessee Extension, “Control measures implemented in the fall are often more effective than those applied in the spring once flowering has initiated.”

Start managing the weeds now. We are doing this at Secrest. Application of a pre and post emergent herbicide can give you good control into the late fall. Also, hand pulling is also effective this time of year. If you start now you can save yourself the surprise and additional work in the spring.

Hairy bittercress, annual bluegrass, and mouse ear chickweed. 8.24.17 in the Snyder landscape.


Happy gardening!




Pollinator garden volunteers needed: Wednesday in Wooster, Thursday in Orrville

Volunteers are needed on Wednesday 8/9 in the Stinner Garden on the OARDC campus and on Thursday 8/10 at the Smuckers Store to help tend the pollinator gardens. Both sessions are from 10AM to Noon. You’re sure to learn a few new bees in the process! See prior posts for maps and addresses. Please call Denise if you have any questions: 330 495 1284. Hope to see you there!

Volunteer Opportunity

Do you like prairie plants? What about plant propagation? If you like either one of those things then this project might be for you!

Wooster Memorial Park is looking for volunteers who would be interested in collecting seeds from prairie plants to help replant an area after a construction project.

I addition, the park is looking for someone or a team of people to develop interpretive signage about natural areas and ecosystems.

This is a project that can be done on evenings or weekends and begins immediately. You can sign up for it in the VMS  or by contacting Paul Snyder.


OSU Fact Sheets

Have you ever wanted to know where you could find a fact sheet on a particular topic? Have you ever had someone ask you a question and then wished you had a resource to give them?

Ohioline is an information resource developed by OSU Extension and provides research-based information to the public. Many of the fact sheets can be printed if you would like to give them to someone.

In addition, you can also search for a particular topic by entering a tag or keyword in the search box located on the righthand side of the page.




Diagnostic Workshop

Join other MGVs who love to learn and hone your diagnostic skills at the same time!  Good diagnostics starts with proper identification! Is it a pine a spruce, a larch, a hemlock or a spruce-pine???  There are many different species of conifers and with them comes a variety of pest problems. The morning session, “Conifers Through the Seasons,” will focus on conifer identification and pests, including some of the most common conifer problems that we encounter in the landscape. In the afternoon you will have an opportunity to practice your diagnostic skills on a variety of plant problems, not just conifers.  There will be hands-on samples for you to challenge your abilities, helping you to increase your confidence in diagnosing plant problems.

Instructors include:  Nancy Taylor, Curtis Young, Amy Stone, Erik Draper and Pam Bennett

When: August 11, 2017

Time:  Registration 8:30; program 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Secrest Arboretum Miller Pavilion (2122 Williams Rd., Wooster, OH 44691)

Cost:  $35 includes lunch, snacks, and handouts

Click here to Register.

Beneficial Insects Workshop

Have you ever wondered if it is a good insect or a bad insect? If you have, then you should attend the Beneficial Insects workshop at Secrest Arboretum on July 25. This one-hour workshop is designed to teach you about beneficial garden insects.

Dr. Mary Gardener from the OSU Department of Entomology will be teaching this helpful workshop.

When:July 25

Time: 3-4 PM

Cost: $10

Where: Secrest Arboretum Miller Pavilion

Sign up here. 

Seven Ways to Make Your Garden Look Great

I want to thank Bob and Lori Everett for hosting the Master Gardener Volunteer Gathering on Friday. These quarterly gatherings are a way for us to visit, share a meal, get updates about the MGV program, and learn something. The next one is coming up September 29 so make plans to attend. In case you couldn’t make it, here is what we learned.

My wife and I just bought a new house. Before we even met any of the neighbors I could tell how things operated in the neighborhood. In fact, all I had to do was look around.  You could see how people kept their lawn and the outside of their homes, and this was particularly helpful when it came to a privacy screen.

We live on a ¼ acre lot in town and our backyard is open to all the neighbors. My wife and I both lived in the country prior to getting married, so the idea that our neighbors could see us sitting on the patio was a little different, not something we were used to. So I thought about putting up a fence, then I looked around to see what everyone else had done. To my shock no one had a fence and almost no one had a hedge.

Suddenly, putting up a fence doesn’t seem like a very good idea.

If you are like me, you look around to see what other people are doing before you do something yourself. Maybe you watch your neighbors or maybe you look things up on YouTube, or ask a friend how to do something. These things can be so helpful in learning how to do something (Just look at Pinterest).

We even tend to do the same thing when it comes to gardening, don’t we? We look around to see what other people are doing in order to know what we should be doing in our own yard. This can be helpful, but only for so long because, sometimes your neighbors can be wrong. Sometimes, YouTube can be wrong, and sometimes even your friends can be wrong.

Someone told me the other day that they watch what we do at Secrest and then do it at their own house. So let’s ask the question, what should we be doing in our gardens right now? I mean, what should we do to keep our gardens looking great? It is the time of year where we like to entertain outside and want things to look nice, so what should we do?

Well, here are 7 things we are doing at Secrest that you should be doing in your own yard.

1. Deadhead

Deadhead perennials like catmint, salvia, coreopsis, sea thrift. Remove spent flowers from woody plants like spirea to encourage a light second bloom.  Deadheading helps to tidy up the garden and encourages some plants to rebloom.

2. Prune

Now is a great time to be doing summer pruning. By now plants have put on a decent amount of growth. Take some time to shape them and remember to follow proper pruning techniques. Do not perform any major structural pruning now. Trees can be limbed up. Cease pruning activities by August 15.

3. Weed

Scout for weeds, especially weeds that are about to seed or are difficult to control. Weeds such as canada thistle, groundsel, prickly lettuce are all beginning to seed. If they are starting to release seeds in your garden, carefully cut seed heads and bag them to prevent the seeds from spreading.

Look for Marestail and pokeweed, weeds that are difficult to control and may require digging to remove them. They also blend in well with other plants so be on the lookout for them.

4. Fertilize

Fertilize your annuals and containers because these plants are heavy feeders and need fertilizer to get them through the summer. Containers especially benefit from a  5-10-5, 10-10-10, 12-12-12 fertilizer or the application of osmocote. You should only apply a liquid fertilizer or slow release to your annuals.

5. Compost

Pull your lettuce and spinach that are starting to bolt and add them to your compost pile. You can also add yellowing garlic stalks to the pile after you have pulled them. Continue to add to the pile throughout the season and turn it on a monthly basis. According to the Lorian County Extension Website, “It is suggested that about 75% (by volume) of the materials added to a compost pile are brown, and 25% are green” (https://lorain.osu.edu/compost).

6. Scout for Insects and Diseases

Fall webworms and Japanese Beetles are starting to show up. Bagworms may be present in low numbers this year. It is best to control bagworms when the catalpa trees bloom. The application of a pesticide now might control some of the insects, but it is not going to be as effective as an early application. Always remember to follow the label on all pesticides.

Powdery mildew is showing up on coreopsis. This fungal disease can make the plant look bad but will generally not kill the plant.

7. Water

New trees and shrubs need 1” of water per week to get established. Track rainfall with a rain gauge and add supplemental water as needed.

There you have it. Seven things you should be doing in your garden right now. I know some of you are doing some of these already, and some of these tips are new. So which one should you be doing?