Conley's

Useful Garden Links and Information

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Here are some of Conley's gardening friends, whom we are pleased to support for their role in our community and their devotion to plants and gardening:

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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Right here in the Boothbay region, these Gardens are one of the highlights of the entire Mid-Coast region, 250 beautiful acres, wonderful gardens, and events and programs for the whole family.  A "must see"! 

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Boothbay Region Garden Club

In addition to being avid horticulturalists, our friends at the Bothbay Region Garden Club are a group of enthusiastic, hard-working, community-minded people, responsible for a host of garden-related activities and services in the Boothbay region. 

Maine Co-Operative Extension, Gardening & Horticulture

A wealth of information and services regarding gardening and horticulture in Maine.

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One of Conley's entrance beds

Other Useful Information

There are some questions Conley's nursery and landscaping staffs are asked recurrently.  We're happy to reply in person - but we've included below information that we hope may be helpful regarding some of the issues that most frequently arise.

Mulch Coverage – a cubic yard (known simply as “a yard”) is 3’ x 3’ x 3’ = 27 cubic feet.  At 3” depth it will cover an area of 108 square feet, and at 2” depth it will cover an area of 162 square feet.  This is the depth range you want to be in – so you can figure in round terms that a “yard” will adequately cover a roughly 12’ x 12’ area.

     While we’re on the subject, don’t mound the mulch up around the trunk of your tree or shrub - they won’t appreciate it.

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William Baffin - one of the super hardy roses we carry

Plant Hardiness Zones – most of Conley's sales area is in Zone 5 (average minimum temperature between -10° and -20°).  But we also sell to Zone 4 customers, usually off the coast and inland from Boothbay Harbor.  And there is also the matter of the "microclimates" – a distinct set of conditions (orientation, wind and salt exposure, drainage, etc.) that differentiate a spot from others relatively nearby, which may be significantly harsher or more benign.  Along with the occasional unusually harsh Winter (certainly not 2011 - 2012!), these factors combine to determine a plant's survivability.  Whenever possible, we try to buy material that is Zone 4  hardy for our nursery, to provide an extra margin of safety.  However,  this is not possible in many categories; a huge amount of desirable material is rated Zone 5.  Most of this can be planted safely by most Conley's customers, but there certainly are exceptions based on particular conditions.  We've had some disappointments, but many pleasant surprises, too, and are happy to offer advice to customers trying to decide what to plant.  

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When they get this big you stop deadheading!

Deadheading - plants put a lot of growth energy into producing seeds, and if prevented from doing so, this energy is otherwise used by the plant.  Hence the practice of deadheading: picking off gone-by flowers before they form seeds.  It's estimated that Rhododendrons put up to 70% of their energy into producing seed, and studies have shown a great benefit in terms of subsequent season flowering, and vitality in general, if a plant is deadheaded.  So particulalry on ericaceous plants such as Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia),  and Pieris, but also on other plants, such as Lilac, the practice is highly recommended.  There's no magic involved - you can usually do the necessary with your fingers, without a tool.  But if you're uncertain what to do, drop in and ask us - we'll be happy to show you.

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Not the gardener's friend!

Deer Damage - among the things Conley's customers ask about most frequently is deer damage and how to prevent it.  We sell a number of products in our garden center store that will sometimes be successful and may be worth a try.  But in truth, particularly with regard to plants that deer relish, we know of nothing short of fencing or netting that is reliably effective.  One approach that certainly merits consideration is to try to use plants deer do not relish (though if desperate enough in truly harsh Winter conditions, they will try almost anything).  To that end we have attached a link to the most comprehensive listing that we are aware of, done by the Rutgers (NJ) Cooperative Extension:

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The "flare" should be visible

Tree Planting - at Conley's our nursery and landscaping staffs are from time to time asked about trees that are struggling, and we often find that they have been planted too deeply, by up to a foot (sometimes with lower branches buried!).  While this can happen with a hand-planted tree, it is particulalry prone to occur when the tree is planted by machine.  Our landscape staff certainly appreciates the benefits of power equipment, but for the health of the tree, however it is planted it is essential to make certain that the proper planting depth is observed.  For this, the "root flare" should be visible; if it is not, the tree is planted too deeply.  One other point: if the hole is dug and then re-filled at the bottom with lose dirt, the tree may initially appear to be planted at the proper depth, but then subside as the un-tamped under-fill compacts.  Care should be taken to avoid this.  

     These and other principles of proper planting are not rocket science; they are capable of being grasped and correctly applied by any customer who takes a little time and care.  If you're uncertain about how to handle a planting situation in your garden, don't hesitate to come in and ask us about it.  The Conley's staff is always glad to help.

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Reverting, but still recognizable

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This one has totally gotten away!

“Reversion” – many commercial cultivars of woody plant material are derived from a specimen of the plant in question that is unusually small, or oddly foliaged, or particularly colorful or variegated (as opposed to displaying the plants' normal characteristics).  This specimen is clonally propagated to replicate the unusual, and desired, characteristics in its offspring.  Sometimes, however, the selected cultivar attempts to “revert” to the normal characteristic of the plant.  When this occurs, the offending branching should immediately be removed.  If it is not, the special characteristics of the selected cultivar will often be overrun by the normal, and usually more vigorous, characteristics of the plant – as illustrated by the accompanying pictures of one ot the most popular dwarf conifers, the Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca Conica), which is derived as above from the very much larger White Spruce (Picea Glauca).

Other Special Conditions - other "I need a plant that ___________" questions that Conley's is often are asked by our nursery and landscaping customers include those covered by the various lists to which you may link below:

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Crimson Queen "dissected leaf" Japanes Maple

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Look for the Conley's sign in the field!

17 Ocean Point Road (Route 96), Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538

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