Interesting e-mail from the Addison County Humane Society.

Please tell every dog or cat owner you know. Even if you don't have a
pet, please pass this to those who do.

Over the weekend, the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased
Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. The dogs loved the way
it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden.
Their dog (Calypso) decided the mulch smelled good enough to eat and
devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical
when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way.
The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk .
Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.

Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further
investigation on the company's web site,

this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats.

Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that "It is
true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch
can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each
individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it."

*Snopes site gives the following
information: *

Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and
other Garden supply stores contains a lethal ingredient called
'Theobromine'. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells li ke
chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and
die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks.

Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate
which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic
quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to
caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of
garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions
and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the
ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of

Received e-mail from Echo re: talk with Tim Wilmont, UVM Extension maple guy.

Come mingle and expand your mind at ECHO Thursday, May 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This is a free, 21+ event with a cash bar that opens 6:30 p.m. and complimentary hors d'oeuvres provided by Sigma Xi. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m.
Join Tim Wilmot, UVM Extension Maple Specialist from the Proctor Maple Research Center will help us consider both threats to the maple trees themselves, as well as changes and forces that might affect only the syrup industry.

What might happen if global climate change results in the loss of freezing and thawing days that make the sap flow? Might pollution cause us to believe our maple syrup is tainted? Are there other “sticking points” you can think of that syrup lovers should be concerned about?
A little about Tim:

Tim Wilmot has been a researcher at the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill Center since 1986. One of his principal interests is the sap flow mechanism of sugar maple, and the interactions among temperature, sap pressure, and sap flow rate. During the sugaring season he conducts experiments connected to these phenomena, (a portion of which can be seen on his webpage “TREEMET” found on the Proctor Center website) as well as on related issues, such as the effects of vacuum on sap flow, the optimal timing of tapping for sugarmakers, and other aspects of sap collection.

A second research interest is forest nutrition and relationships among soil and foliar chemistry, tree growth and vigor, and sap sugar production in maple stands. In 2004 Tim was appointed UVM Extension’s full-time maple specialist. This position combines research with outreach and education, and Tim’s responsibilities include planning and facilitating educational programs for maple producers, as well as writing and talking about maple research, both his own and that of his colleagues.


You can read more about these issues and get further background information on the threats to Vermont Maples by visiting our website.
If you are planning to attend this event at ECHO, we encourage you to bring your handheld device to participate on Twitter @vtcafesci, available via our free Wi-Fi Internet access. You'll be interacting with other audience members, our online webcast audience, and can even submit comments or questions to the speaker electronically.
Any questions? Contact Linda Bowden

ECHO’s Café Scientifique, based on the popular European salon concept, is a chance for science and culture to intersect. The discussions, led by acknowledged experts, are free, 21+ events with a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres provided by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.  



The good times have begun again at Vermont Garden Park, located on the National Gardening Association grounds in South Burlington. This wonderful site includes at least ten demonstration gardens, along with trails and sitting areas.

On Thursday, April 22, a hardy swarm of gardeners, led by the inimitable Jan DeSarno, cleaned out the American Cottage Garden, being careful not to disturb the various Tulips, Daffodils, Hibiscus, Hyacinths, and the spunky early bloomer, Helleborus "Green Corsican."

   Helleborus "Green Corsican"


Wow wee! If you're into Phlox like we are, discover what we just discovered. Perennial Pleasures Nursery in East Hardwick is Phlox crazy! They have an annual Phlox Fest in early August with tours, tea, and, get this, doorprizes! Doorprizes rock!
Anyway, catch more info at their splendid site (nice slideshow) , which will give you directions, tour times and even the history of, yup, you guessed it -  Phlox!

Oh - why does GardenVt love Phlox? 
Because they come in ten million colors and usually don't need staking, which is a bonus for working gardeners like us.


Here are some stunning shots of magnolias, sweet scilla and hellebores, among others from the Williamsburg, Ma B and B.

* Remember, cut up oak leaves are a great mulch/fertilizer for azaleas, on account of the acidity. Try it out but make sure the leaves are shredded to avoid ground rot.

This Lilac is cut almost all the way though and still producing buds! Amazing!

*** Whether it's my crocuses that flower early and die early, the lilacs that are budding way too soon, or the wondrous daffodils showing splendid color earlier than I can remember, the warmth of late winter and early spring presents it's own set of problems. 
Matt Sutkoski of the Burlington Free Press has a great piece on what happens when warm/frost cycles hit grapes, apples and maples.

* If you have Dish Network in Vermont, tune to channel 266 and watch GardenTravels, with the hilarious Dave Egbert. It's on the Angel2 network at various times during the week. Dave journeys around the country spotlighting beautiful and unique gardens in his own inimitable way.

* The effervescent site Gardening Gone Wild has released the results of their contest, entitled Awakening.
Check out not only great pics of early spring, but get to know some blogs where the entries originated.
Gardening Gone Wild, out of Pennsylvania, has a flurry of activity on it's site, featuring guest contributors, galleries, advice and much more. It's also our blog of the month. Congrats, GGW!