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Gardening with "Brother"

"Brother", aka Uncle Ernie, has been gardening "since I was old enough to thump melons".
Now in his 90's, he still can work longer and harder than most younger men.
He arises just before "can-see", and gardens and handy-man's all the way to "can't-see", with just a lunch break (and, as we've spyed, a couple of short cat-naps in his swing).

Click on this link if you're looking for a GREAT Garden and Orchard Pest and Disease Guide

His column is updated every day or thereabouts, so check back to see what's doing in his garden.

Brother Gardening circa 1935

More On Coleus

Coleus are wonderful container plants.

Be sure to plant them in large pots that won't quickly dry out.

Use coleus in hanging baskets (there are trailing varieties) paired with other coleus, or a multitude of different annuals/perennials.

You can also plant coleus into a garden bed.

The best way to use coleus in the perennial border is to make use of their vibrant foliage as a bridge between like-colored perennial plants.

An example: A 'Goldmound' spirea (with green-yellow foliage) and an astilbe with wine-colored stems would be smashing with the addition of coleus 'Brilliancy' in their vicinity.

'Brilliancy' has lance-shaped wine-colored leaves with a wide margin of chartreuse. Another example:

'Purple Palace' heuchera (Coral Bells) with it's dusky purple-bronze foliage is wonderful paired with any number of coleus whose green leaves are shot-through with specks, stripes, or splotches of burgundy.

Add in a lobed variety of coleus like 'Purple Duckfoot' (looks like a burgundy colored chrysanthemum leaf with a thin edge of chartreuse) and you've got an eye-popping combination.


Hand Weeding Tips

When hand weeding, try to dig the weeds out when they are small (under three inches).

Most tillers cannot be used to weed between rows, as they can damage the roots of your desirable plants.

Besides, tillers tend to bring to the surface dormant weed seeds that have been buried.

Also, consider mulching with your lawn clippings.

Lay grass clippings 2 inches thick.

As this decomposes, a bit of nitrogen is released into the soil.

DO NOT USE LAWN CLIPPINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TREATED WITH HERBICIDES. (If you have a lawn service, it is probably better that you use other mulches.)

If lawn clippings can't be used, use newspaper as mulch.

Lay six sheets of newspaper down on areas to be mulched.

To keep it in place, use rocks, pea gravel, or even some wood mulch to camouflage it.


Pull yourself up a shovel blade and sit yourself down for a visit with "Brother" and his "Wise" Sayings.


If you're on the lookout for great gardening resources, check out

  • Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew.

    Published by Rodale Press, this book offers very helpful information on garden basics such as soil preparation, planting techniques, and controlling weeds -- but it's much more than a general gardening manual.

    Square Foot Gardening will introduce you to a system of designing gardens that are easy to maintain, that conserve resources, and that produce abundantly in less space.

  • Gardens Alive!

  • Do you have some gardening knowledge to share or have a question for "Brother"?

    You can Write to Brother!

    Include your first initial and last name and put the word GARDEN in the subject.

    I'll try to use your contribution in a future column.

    (Please note that these columns are written several weeks in advance so publishing it will be delayed accordingly.)


    See y'all tomorrow and remember:
    Nowhere else in the world are we closer to the Creator than in the garden. Well, at least we're closer to His creation.

    "Brother"

    Brother Resting


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