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garden maintenance

rose propagation, rose pruning

The most common method of rose propagation is through stem cuttings. Cut a sturdy, still green stem around six inches long, making sure it has at least five leaves and preferably a spent flower. Bruise the end by crushing it or splitting it lengthwise, dip it in rooting hormone, which can be found at the plant nursery, and stick it in the ground in a location protected from excessive heat or draught. Place a glass jar over it and press it firmly into the soil, making sure no parts of the cutting touch the glass, so that condensation doesn’t encourage mold. Read more…

lavender

Since plant foliage usually doesn’t come in this hue, even for lavender itself, and this is the first time lavender came out of winter looking alive, I didn’t know if this was old growth I should prune or evergreen growth I should leave alone, so I looked up lavender care online. Read more…

chamomile lawns

If you have a sunny slope that is difficult to mow, in a location with well drained, sandy soil, try a chamomile lawn.

The delightful apple scent is a reward in itself, and using chamomile as a groundcover offers some advantages, like low mowing, feeding and watering needs, but the plant is definitely not low maintenance. Read more…

growing fruit trees

Children are usually very excited about growing their own fruit, and even though most urban gardens can’t accommodate an orchard, there are ways to include fruit trees in your landscape. Many of them come in miniature form and can be grown in pots in all but the smallest of spaces, on a patio or a balcony corner. Read more…

cure for the unrelenting blah

In anticipation of good weather I’m already planning some gardening activities, there are summer bulbs to be planted and perennials beds to be cleaned up for spring.

Plodding through day after day bullied by cloudy skies and bone chilling temperatures, I almost forgot how beautiful the garden is, how exhilarating it is to feel it warm up and try to guess the fresh growth right under the soil surface, almost ready to breach it. Read more…

how to grow a wildflower meadow

So, you have your heart set on creating a wildflower meadow and those packages of mixed seeds beckon you from the stands, irresistibly. You picture wild flowers and the thought of perpetual, zero maintenance beauty springs to mind. Wild flower meadows are not low maintenance, at least not for the first five or six years, while they are getting established. Read more…

spring cleaning your perennial garden

Spring cleaning shows off your garden at its best, allowing all the fresh shoots plenty of air and sunlight to develop with amazing speed. Of course if you have a perennial garden Read more…

happy valentine’s day

The hellebores are spoiling me as always by blooming unbelievably early. This year they set a record and bloomed in January. Read more…

what feeds your garden

Garden bloggers are always eager to share pictures of beautiful flowers and bountiful fruit, but not so much of the foundation that makes them possible.

This is a picture of six week old compost made possible by an overabundance of weeds and a lot of rain. It turned into rich, beautiful, smell free organic matter that will feed the plants and improve the soil naturally and long term.

The gardener’s best friends, the earth worms, showed up diligently and in large numbers, which makes me happy in the knowledge that the compost is healthy and top quality.

This is not the usual way to make compost, I know, but the fact that it doesn’t contain kitchen scraps and paper makes it possible to create an acceptable and non-offensive compost pile in an inconspicuous corner of your yard and still get all the benefits of replenishing the soil organically.

I am looking forward to feeding the garden with this. One doesn’t usually get enthusiastic about fresh soil, but I’m sure my gardening friends will understand.

cup of joe for your plants?

Do you want a great organic fertilizer that will boost your vegetable production and encourage profuse blooming for your roses? Sprinkle used coffee grounds on your flower beds. Coffee grounds are an abundant source of nitrogen and are perfect for heavy feeders that don’t mind a slightly acidic soil (among those you can count pretty much all vegetables, roses, rhododendrons, azaleas, etc.) Some organic tomato growers swear by this fertilizer for its capacity to boost production and eliminate late blight.

If you can get a large quantity of coffee grounds they make a spectacular soft chocolate brown mulch. Hostas and lilies will particularly benefit from coffee for slug and snail protection. Coffee is such an effective fertilizer than 1″ of coffee mulch equals 1 foot of coarse straw. You can also work the grounds into the potting soil for thriving container plantings.

Be careful, it is an equal opportunity feeder, so your plants will benefit but the weeds will too. Plants also like brewed coffee at room temperature, don’t forget to treat your house plants to a cup of Joe every now and then.

Coffee grounds and tea bags decompose very quickly in your compost pile and improve its nitrogen content.

On a completely unrelated note, the plant in the picture is a Roseraie de l’Hay rugosa rose that I bought from Pickering Nurseries and planted this spring.