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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

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The squash and the bees

I planted squash plants among my flowers. They look great and are blooming, but they’re not setting any squash. The blossom falls off before the squash begins to grow. Any help?

Squash grows after it has been pollinated by insects or by hand.

When squash plants bloom without producing squash, it probably means they need help with pollination. Squash plants produce male flowers at first, followed by female flowers a few days later. (You can tell the difference this way: male flowers have a single stamen in the center; female flowers have a four-part pistil, and appear swollen just beneath the blossom.)

According to information at GardenGuides.com, if the female flowers drop off without growing a squash, it means that it didn’t get pollinated by the bees or other pollinators that visit the garden.

Squash flowers are big, so if the bees aren’t doing an adequate job, you can do it yourself.  Use a cotton swab or a small, soft brush to gather the pollen from inside the male flower, and transfer it to the female flower. Or pick a male flower, remove the petals and swirl it around inside the female flower. (Look here for pictures of how this is done). With luck, a squash is born!

 

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