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July 27, 2002

Dividing Plants

You can multiply your garden dollars by
dividing garden plants! Walter shows how to divide pots of liriope,
crowded cannas and overgrown betony. All you need is a sharp knife and
a tabletop in a shady spot.

Buying the Right Fertilizer

Garden centers seem to delight in offering
dozens of different fertilizer products for your garden and landscape.
Walter cuts through the clutter by teaching the simple rhyme: "up –
down – all around". These three phrases describe the plant function of
the three numbers on a fertilizer container. Will tomato fertilizer
feed a houseplant? Can you use turf fertilizer on shrubbery? Sure! Just
remember Walter's simple fertilizer rhyme.

Saddleback Caterpillar

"Inconspicuous on a plant, but painfully
conspicuous on your skin," accurately describes this caterpillar. It
has an unusual appearance – a short green body with white spines at
each end. A large brown dot in the center of the green body looks just
like a saddle and gives rise to the "saddleback" name. If your skin
touches the spines, they break and release a venom which causes the
skin to burn.

This caterpillar is the larva of an inconspicuous moth, not a
beautiful butterfly. Walter contrasts the saddleback caterpillar with a
swallowtail butterfly caterpillar found on a nearby fennel plant. He
advises care when you pull weeds in early fall lest you feel the pain
of this caterpillar's defense system.