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advice

caring for indoor plants

Plants that grow in a pot on the window sill like pretty much the same things as the ones cultivated in the garden: a good amount of natural light, sufficient water and a little bit of help in the form of fertilizer every now and then. That being said, indoor plants have their own set of needs that have to be addressed in order to keep them healthy and, fingers crossed, blooming, and they are as follows. Read more…

purple pods

If I knew how much I would enjoy purple beans, I would only have planted those to begin with. Besides being an attractive feature in the garden, they taste better and are not stringy at all, which is a blessing.
Of course the purple color turns green in the pot, but that’s beside the point. Read more…

how to create rose hybrids

The procedure for creating new roses is lengthy and the success rate is very low, but if you are a really passionate about roses and you must make your own, it goes something like this.

You pick the two roses you want to combine, they have to be almost open, but not fully. With great care and making sure not to lose any of the pollen, snip the stamens from the first rose and store them in a bag. Read more…

water harvesting

Harvesting the rain doesn’t stop at installing rain barrels, it involves the entire garden and its principal goal is to keep the water from running off the plot onto paved areas, only to eventually end up in the storm drains.

Careful planning can create places for the rain water to slow down enough to percolate into the soil, as well as ways to move it through the landscape and places for it to settle in. Depressed spots are not desirable features, since nobody wants to end up with a lawn full of puddles, so the water catchment area needs to blend naturally into the design and be populated with rain garden plants. Read more…

soil types

At the most basic level there are three types of soil: sand, loam and clay. Most soils are a combination of the three, in various proportions. Every soil type has qualities and defects.
Sandy soils drain very well, they are easily tilled and provide optimal conditions for the development of root vegetables. They are nutrient poor and dry up easily. A variation of this soil is silt, which is the worst of both worlds: it has the small particle size of clay and the looseness of sand, all the defects and none of the qualities. This soil is practically unworkable unless amended. Read more…

persnickety roses

Roses have earned the dubious privilege of being considered sensitive and difficult to grow. This is not entirely true of course, a rose planted in a climate that favors its development requires a lot less maintenance than your average perennial. They do have a list of things they absolutely will not put up with, and whose lack can’t be supplanted by any amount of doting and support. Read more…

stormy weather, sort of…

It is summer already, I think. Certainly feels like it most of the time, which is why the clematis didn’t stay in bloom as long as it usually does.

I spent the last two days waiting for rain, but despite stormy clouds the sky is reluctant to release the water it promised. I can only hope the high humidity in the air will keep the plants from wilting for now. Read more…

spring schedule

After the annuals and veggies are planted, the flower beds cleaned and the perennials spruced up, the roses pruned, the fall blooming plants divided and moved and the summer bulbs planted, one would think that the gardener can sit back with a cup of coffee in some cozy verdant nook and relax. Read more…

how to grow pinks

Cottage pinks are easy to grow perennials that enjoy sunny locations but will do moderately well in part shade. They don’t like wet feet, make sure to plant them in a sandy and slightly alkaline soils that drains well.

Don’t mulch too close around their roots and give them plenty of breathing room, otherwise they are susceptible to stem rot. A spacing of 12 to 18 inches is appropriate. Read more…

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…