SIGNS OF SPRING

Flower, garden show displays products, services

2013-03-17T07:15:00Z 2013-03-18T05:32:34Z Flower, garden show displays products, servicesAlma Gaul The Quad-City Times
March 17, 2013 7:15 am  • 

New varieties of coral bells, a liquid fish fertilizer and equipment you can rent to do big jobs around your yard.

These are some of the products you’ll see displayed next weekend, March 22-24, during the annual Flower and Garden Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island. Also on hand will be artists from The Sand Sculpture Co., Woodstock, Ill., creating sculptures out of sand while you watch.

Here is a sampling of what you’ll find over the three-day event:

* New flowers. Bringing the new coral bells, or heucheras, will be Bud LeFevre of Distinctive Gardens in Dixon, Ill. His favorite is a “really cool” orange variety called “Paprika.”

He also likes two miniatures, “Cocoa,” with dark purple, glossy leaves, and “Rio,” with silvery purple leaves. He says the miniatures are great for trough gardens, which he will also highlight. He’ll have new geraniums and petunias, too.

* Smells fishy. Something different in the way of a fertilizer/soil amendment will be displayed by Schafer Fisheries of Thomson, Ill. It is a fish hydrolysate, made from the parts of a fish left after it has been processed for food.

The product sells for about $9 per pint and is diluted with water in a ratio of 20 to 1 before it is sprayed on “anything that has roots,” Angie Schafer of the fisheries business said.  The organic product feeds organisms in the soil that, in turn, feed roots, making for a strong plant, she said.

Yes, it smells. But “if you can handle the smell of liver, you can handle this product,” she added.

* Tools for the job. In tackling big jobs around your yard, it helps to have the right tools. Sunbelt Rentals of Moline will have information on its most in-demand machines, including an aerator, a tiller, a sod cutter and a compactor. The latter is used to level and compact the earth in laying patios or paths.

The machines rent for a half-day, day, week or month, and there’s a weekend special that counts the time between Friday afternoon and 9 a.m. Monday as one day, rental manager Jason Gabriel said.

* Growing vertical. Don’t have much space for growing vegetables? Heather Wakeen, a distributor for Juice Plus, a branded line of dietary supplements, will demonstrate the Tower Garden growing system, a 5-foot-high tube that sits on your deck or patio and grows vegetables without soil. It costs $500 and comes with everything you need to get started.

* Living screens. People who live close to their neighbors might be inspired by the 6-by-4-foot screen of living plants used in a patio display by Aunt Rhodie’s from the Village of East Davenport.

The screens are planted with sedums, a perennial, drought-tolerant, succulent plant that is used extensively in “green roofs.”

The screens, from Roof Top Sedums of Davenport, are an option for people whose “properties are on top of each other,” said Todd Wiebenga, the owner of Aunt Rhodie’s.

* Prepping for EAB. Wondering about the future of your ash trees and whether they’ll soon be in the crosshairs of the emerald ash borer, an invasive pest that kills those trees?

Brian Jay of Davey Tree in Bettendorf says that now is the time to begin preventative treatment if you want to protect your trees from the expected arrival — sometime — of the pest. Although university Extension services recommend that you wait on treatment until an infestation has been confirmed within 15 miles of your property, Jay disagrees.

“Then you’ll be behind the eight ball,” he said.

* Hardscape from here, there. Patio pavers made by Infinity Concrete Products of Milan and specimen boulders from all over the country will be showcased by Quint-City Stone Center of Davenport.

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