Apply for NGA Youth Garden Grants
Does your school or community have child-centered gardening programs? For 2009, the National Gardening Association in partnership with The Home Depot offers 125 Youth Garden Grants to support them. Schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and intergenerational groups are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to programs that emphasize one or more of these elements: educational focus or curricular/program integration, nutrition or plant-to-food connections, environmental awareness/education, entrepreneurship, and social aspects of gardening such as leadership development, team-building, community support, or service-learning. Application deadline (postmark date) is November 1, 2008. For details, go to: http://www.kidsgardening.com/YGG.asp.
Fund Your Outdoor Classroom Science Project
Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, International Paper, and National Geographic Explorer! classroom magazine are partnering to create an outdoor classroom grant program. The aim is to provide U.S. K-12 public schools with additional resources to improve their science curriculum by engaging students in hands-on experiences outside the traditional classroom. At least 100 schools will receive grants up to $2,000. Grants for up to $20,000 may be awarded to schools or school districts with major outdoor classroom projects. Applications due Oct. 17. For details, go to: http://www.toolboxforeducation.com/.
Tend Your Rhodies
When you prune off dead branches, rake and dispose of dead rhododendron and azalea leaves in the trash, not compost pile. Look for azalea bark scale (white masses) on stems, branches, under leaves. Gently scrape them off and discard. Add a reminder to your early spring calendar to spray with horticultural oil to smother winter survivors.
Don't Transport Firewood
Three tree-killing invasive insect types are spread by transporting firewood. The Asian longhorned beetle, the emerald ash borer, and the wood-boring wasp are killing trees in the mid-Atlantic states, the south, the Midwest, and New England. No tree is safe. The Asian longhorned beetle's larvae kills mature trees by feeding on the heartwood and inhibiting the tree's vascular system. The emerald ash borer kills American ash trees within one to four years of infestation. The wood-boring wasp can kill trees (mainly pine) in a matter of months by injecting a fungus into the wood to feed its larvae. State and federal quarantines are in place to prevent such damage by prohibiting firewood transport into or out of certain areas, or limiting transport to a specified radius.
Enjoy Autumn-Friendly Shrubs and Perennials
Trees aren't the only plants with gorgeous fall color. Stroll the neighborhood, local garden center, public gardens, and arboretums for autumn shrub and perennial beauties to include in your landscape. Oakleaf hydrangea's flower clusters fade to pink, while fall foliage turns orange, burgundy, scarlet, and purple. Fothergilla gardenii foliage changes from blue-green to deep red, purple, and orange. Violet-purple flowers of New England aster bloom from August to October. Purple coneflower cultivars bring waves of pink, purple, tangerine, and salmon.