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Friday
Nov022012

After Hurricane Sandy

This was my first really bad hurricane. We're still without power, both at my home and the office. We have generators running at the office in Huntington to power our phones and computers so we can serve our customers. We're mobile throughout Long Island working on tree estimates. The damage I've seen is extensive. There are trees on houses, on cars, and in pools. Unsecured outdoor furniture was thrown through windows. The fires that raged through Breezy Point made it look like a war zone. Though most of us are still without power and a few of us have downed trees, everyone at Goldberg & Rodler, Inc. is safe and our homes are mostly intact. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Now the cleanup begins. New Yorkers are a resilient bunch of people. We've been through the ringer more times than I can count. We always rally and come back stronger than ever. What makes us great is our ability to survive and thrive when life takes an unexpected detour into chaos. People with power are sharing their hot water and electric. They are car pooling with strangers into Manhattan because of the destruction to our transportation infrastructure. This is what I love about my fellow New Yorkers.

If you have downed trees, call us at (631) 271-6460 or (516) 692-8549. You can also email us at customerrelations@goldbergandrodler.net. We will come out as soon as possible to assess the damage. We have the certified arborists, equipment and skills to perform the most delicate removals. A tree on your neighbor's house? A tree leaning on another tree? If the tree and/or debris is on or next to power lines, you MUST call LIPA first at 800-490-0075. DO NOT try to move any wires or cables. Please assume all wires are live. Your safety is paramount to us. LIPA must remove the debris before we or any other tree company can work in that area.

Be safe, be smart, stay warm. We'll get through this.

Wednesday
Oct172012

Watering an Orchid with Ice Cubes

Look at all the new growth!

I have never had good luck with orchids and other indoor plants. Turns out I have been too caring, too loving and too nurturing and that has been detrimental to their health. Less is more! With my newest orchid, the instructions that came with it said to water it with ice cubes. I thought they were crazy, but since it had an unlikely survival rate I figured what could be the harm? So once a week I put three ice cubes on top of the growing medium, under the leaves. I ended up with little white bugs in the medium and all my flowers fell off! What did I do wrong?! I scoured the internet looking for help. The most common advice was to let the orchid dry out. If you can see its roots, let them go gray, and then you can start watering it again.

Fertilizer Ice CubesSeveral weeks later, I try the ice cubes again, but now less often, maybe once every two weeks. It is working! I'm getting new growth! New flowers! I'm great at this! Then it says in the instructions to fertilize after the orchid is done blooming. Hmmm, I'm doing such a good job, it hasn't stopped blooming yet! When I look at the fertilizer directions, it tells me how much to use, and to fertilize each time I water it. They give me a very small fertilizer to water ratio and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with all the extra. How long will it keep? I only have one orchid.

So I take a water bottle out of my recycling bin and wash it out. I mix up a water bottle full of orchid fertilizer and then pour it into an inexpensive ice cube tray. I figure I can freeze these forever and I won't have to worry about overfeeding my orchid. Since the ice melts slowly through the medium it can be absorbed better by the roots. Orchids don't like to sit in water and this has been super successful for my orchid. I am getting so many flowers and buds for new stems! I'm thinking about getting another!

 

UPDATE: 10.17.12 My orchid is blooming amazingly!!! Check it out!

Tuesday
Oct162012

MADD Garden of Hope: Two Year Anniversary


On October 16th, 2010 the MADD Garden of Hope was dedicated at Eisenhower Park. The object of the design is to expose to people the horrors of driving under the influence and to provide hope.
 
When MADD Long Island asked Goldberg and Rodler to design another garden for them, we jumped at the chance (the MADD Garden of Awareness at SUNY Farmingdale was completed a few years ago and was designed and installed by Goldberg & Rodler).
  
The Kiwanis Club of East Meadow installed our planting and lighting design as a part of their “President’s Project.” Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonsalves was instrumental in getting the project funded and accomplished in a timely manner and the Nassau County Parks Department’s masons did a wonderful job on our paving design.
  
Sculptor Michael Alfano finally has a permanent home for his piece, “Stand Up, Speak Out,” which expresses the emotions he felt after losing a loved one to a drunk driver 20 years ago. If one person walks away vowing never to drive under the influence again, we have made a difference.
Tuesday
Oct092012

Just A Few More Things About Fall

Skimmia: Broadleaf EvergreenAs the weather turns chilly you might think it's time to give up on the garden. Not so! There are many things left to do before bunkering down for the winter. Plants, furniture and utilities need special care.

Protect your broadleaf evergreens such as rhododendron, cherry laurel, andromeda and others. Some anti-desiccant/anti-transpirant applications can be made by yourself, liquid kelp is a popular homeowner's application, though one feature of our Plant Healthcare Program is an anti-transpirant application in the late fall. This application helps lock in moisture for the winter and decreases the likelihood of wind and frost damage.

Another idea to consider for your landscape is a deep root fertilization for your trees, which can be applied in the fall or even in the spring. This fertilization gives your trees the help they need to get through the winter and come out swinging when the temperatures warm up.

Iced WaterfallPlants aren’t the only item in your landscape to protect. Winter can do a number on your outdoor furniture. Secure it in a safe place, such as a garage or shed, or have a professional shrink wrap it for you. Even your boat can be shrink wrapped.

Remember to have a professional blow out irrigation and pool lines to prevent damage from water freezing and thawing in the lines throughout the season. Drain and cover any fountains. Talk to a professional for pond care and winterization if you have animals in the pond. Hungry birds and raccoons can make a meal out of unsuspecting koi and goldfish when the weather turns nasty.

 

Thursday
Oct042012

Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs!

I got a great question today about bulbs: "What is a bulb's life span? How many years before I have to replant?"

Red Tulips & Mixed DaffodilsIt depends on the type of bulb. Daffodils should multiply and come back every year, tulips you might get a few years out of but they will never be as nice as the first year. Bulb growers cut the flowers off and ship the bulbs the next year with all that extra energy stored inside. Daffodils are the only critter resistant bulb, so if you have a ton of squirrels or deer, stick with them or plant your tulips under chicken wire so they can't dig them up.

I'm crazy about bulbs, they're one of my favorite plants because I like to make arrangements with them all over my house. I add something to my yard every year! There are so many different varieties out there. Make sure you plant them at the right depth and water thoroughly after. A nice deep fertilization after they're done blooming can help them store up energy for the next season.

Tulips, Pansies, DaffodilsAs far as designs go, I love to mix and match and plant big masses. Use light and dark combinations of tulips to play off each other, such as light and dark pink. Daffodils come in so many colors, sizes and bloom periods now you can have a garden of just daffodils for months! Fragrant daffodils make great cut flowers.

Snowdrops bloom quite possibly when snow is still on the ground. Crocus come up next and let us know spring is here. Hyacinths show up around Easter & Passover. After that comes the riot of color from daffodils and tulips, then alliums to usher in the summer. The giant globe shape of some of the alliums make a statement in a bed of liriope or other groundcover. They also make for great cut flowers and you can let them dry out and have an arrangement all year.

Hyacinth & Early, Mini Daffodils (Tete a Tete)

Bulbs don't need to be divided like perennials do for rejuvenation, but some bulbs will dig themselves deeper or into an awkward position which can inhibit growth and/or blooming. I turned over a bed of wood scilla (by happy accident when I was putting in new perennials and shrubs) that had been planted at least 15 years ago and it revived them and they're blooming great now.

The key to a show stopping bulb display is massing. If there weren't enough one year, add more for the next season. You can never have too many bulbs! They are probably the most cost efficient plant you can put in your garden, especially if you get a naturalizing variety which will multiply and bloom for many years.

Feel free to ask me any questions and get those bulbs in before the ground freezes!