|December 5, 2005 10:18 - Poinsettias and Vertical Gardening
As Robert Kessler reminds us poinsettias are tropical plants which will not tolerate a chill. I never have much luck with these plants which look so striking in all their glory but so miserable when they are reduced to a mass of green stems once their colorful bracts have dropped to the floor. The trouble usually starts as soon as the plant is moved from the warmth of the garden center to the cold air outside. For some hints on how to avoid these problems so that you can enjoy your poinsettias well beyond the end of December, read more..
If you are looking for a project to occupy you in your garden this winter Phil Wood has a suggestion. Think vertical gardening and build a trellis or arbor. After describing the difference between the two, he tells you what to do now so that you will have your framework on which to grow all sorts of climbing plants in the seasons to come. The second half of his article covers a large number of climbers with his personal recommendations. Read more..
I would not normally recommend an English gardening book to american readers, but since Marianne Binetti does just that in her piece, I am happy to follow her example. "Although the author of this book is from England, his methods are sound and most of his testimony and garden commandments will work here as well.
Tips on growing gourmet vegetable crops could get the family chef to explore vegetable gardening, and singing the praises of the healthy organic lifestyle might convert the health enthusiast."
December 11, 2005 10:43 - Orchids thrive on Neglect and Tomato Juice
I have to confess to having only a fleeting acquaintance with orchids. I have often admired them in garden centers but feel that they are rather pricey for an impulse buy. Earlier this year my wife was given a white-flowered orchid which held its blooms for several months. Once the flowers had finished I cut down the tall stems expecting the plant to remain dormant until the spring. Instead it has produced new leaves and now has the beginnings of a new flower stem.
Jeff Abt, writing on the care of orchids, suggests that neglect is the best advice. Overwatering can kill and leaving the pot in a saucer full of water is a recipe for disaster. Read more..
If you thought that cut flowers for your home and vegetables to eat were the only uses for your garden produce, then this piece by Terry Wolfley will open your eyes. I was already aware how plants can provide healing for wounds and insect repellents, but his suggestions for tomato juice, skunks and blackened cooking pots are perhaps a step too far for most of us. Read more..
Articles on gardening gifts are everywhere just now but I do like the opening paragraph of this one by Maureen FitzPatrick. "Gardeners, like other hobbyists and collectors, can be inundated with gifts they don't need at this time of year. Salves, scrubs and soaps head my list; if I bathed five times a day every day for two years, I'd still have plenty leftover. The positive side of this is that unlike all those cute gizmos and gadgets that just take up closet space, these disappear in time." Read more..
Talking of gardening gifts Gardeners Supply Company are offering 20% off any holiday order.
December 16, 2005 11:31 - Growing Dry and Catalog Shopping
From Canada comes some advice on how to care for houseplants that have been commercially grown in Florida and then transported to the cold of a Toronto winter. "Growing dry" is the secret explains Wes Porter. He also has some caustic comments on the selection of gardening gifts on offer at his local stores, but does come up with one novel suggestion if you have the odd $50,000 to spare. Read more..
Thinking beyond the holiday Lori Pelkowski examines the pros and cons of catalog shopping. "The seed catalogs are especially inviting, with their full-color, larger-than-life photos and wonderful prices. Then there's the beautiful furniture, useful gadgets and adorable "garden art". But the reality is, the furniture is too expensive, the gadgets don't work, and the garden art breaks the first time the kids and dogs go near it." Read more..
The December issue of Garden Ramblings is now available. In it you will find the Plant of the Month which features the Poinsettia, a guest article by Marilyn Pokorney on How to Control Deer in your Garden and one from me about the Garden in Winter. Do take a look and let me know what you think.
December 22, 2005 12:06 - Smelling, Pruning and Rustling Roses
Today's posts are all about roses. The first is purely practical with advice on pruning. According to Tom Krupicka, the owner of Tom’s Garden Center in Albany, winter pruning is a two stage process. You should have completed the first by now and the second should be done in late February or early March. For the details, read more..
Next we come to "Rose Rustlers", a group of enthusiasts who comb through pioneer cemeteries and historic sites in a quest for old rose varieties that are no longer found in nurseries and garden centers.
"Many of the roses in the pioneer cemeteries were planted by the pioneer families, and they are just as much a part of the area's history as any carved headstone," said Camarillo resident Jeri Jennings, organizer of the rustle and founder of the Gold Coast Heritage Rose Group in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. "Most of the roses have a story behind them. Maybe the family carried the roses with them in covered wagons as they headed west. They've survived years of neglect, bad weather and poor care, yet are often healthy and thriving. These are the roses I want to grow." Read more..
If you're fed up already with the cold and gray of winter this next piece will give you some ideas of how you can enjoy some sun and visit interesting gardens at the same time. "Tour Groups Stop to Smell the Roses and More" is the title and "Garden Travel" is what it's all about. Read more..
Since this is likely to be my last post before Christmas may I take this opportunity of wishing you all the best for the holiday season.