|March 1, 2006 20:17 - Garden Stamps and a Chance to Adopt a Tree
It's no surprise to learn that gardening is the number one hobby in Canada and second only to golf in popularity. While most people are preparing their plants for the upcoming garden shows, Canada Post is planning to submit a rather different entry. They are issuing a set of four stamps which will be launched on March 16 at the International Home and Garden Show/Successful Gardening Show in Toronto. The gardens chosen for the stamps feature flower, shade, rock and water. Read more..
If you have ever wanted to adopt a one hundred and twenty year old phoenix tree, now is your chance. Mind you it will cost you $12,422 to be the guardian of this special tree for one whole year. Add to this the cost of air fares to and from Shanghai and it will end up being quite a costly business. But you will have the chance of hanging your name or company logo from the branches, so perhaps you would regard it as a worthwhile advertising opportunity. And then there is the added attraction of scarcity value since there are just 32 of these trees in Jing'an Park. Read more..
Dutch Gardens have a special offer - $25 off when you spend $50 or more. They are featuring Carefree Container Plants to enliven your deck or patio with Kong Rose Coleus heading the list. Other suggestions are fragrant Double Freesias, Calla Lilies and Mignon Patio Dahlias. There are fifty more on their list, so plenty of choice. Click the link to see them all.
March 6, 2006 10:20 - An Unusual Competition
I am sure that most of you will have heard of Mike McGroarty since he is the author of "Easy Plant Propagation" which you receive when you sign up for my monthly newsletter "Garden Ramblings". He has written another book "The Gardener's Secret Handbook" which is also free. I will be adding this to the website shortly and will let you know as soon as it is available for download. If you want to get a copy now you can do so by visiting his website http://www.freeplants.com/
The reason why I am writing about Mike McGroarty today is that he is running a "$1,000 Somebody You Love College Scholarship". This is a unique and interesting competition that is open to a High School Senior who has to complete a project together with a mature adult, either a relative or close friend. The project involves building a simple homemade plant propagation system. To enter you have to provide photos showing what you have done and an essay describing the experience and what you gained from it. You can find all the details on his website http://www.freeplants.com/
After you enter the site, look down the menu on the left. The link to "$1000 College Scholarship" is way down in the section "Discover How to Grow the Plants Below".
March 8, 2006 14:37 - Contrary Advice and Butterfly Seeds
When a gardening writer gives her readers some suggestions, you don't expect her to retract that advice the very next week. But this is what Jane Clute did. "The best gardening advice I can give you is, don't take my advice. Last week I told you to remove mulch atop bulbs and perennials in search of sun. Wrong. I should have warned you to put on your thickest, best garden gloves and get a weapon of choice before tackling what sounds like a slam-dunk job." What can have prompted such a change of heart? It's all to do with the lilies.. more..
How to attract butterflies into your garden is the subject of many gardening articles. In Texas it seems that some of the butterfly populations have declined in recent years so local residents are being encouraged to grow more plants that are attractive to these beautiful creatures. A local bank is joining in a public awareness campaign and is giving away free packets of seeds and other goodies to encourage people to have a go. There is even a $2000 Grand Prize draw. more..
On the subject of seeds "If You Can Throw, You Can Grow!" according to Gardener's Supply Company. "When Native Americans sowed their crops, they didn’t use tractors or ploughs. To keep valuable seed from blowing away or being eaten by birds, they often hid it inside little balls of clay. The same method works well today: just scatter these seed balls on prepared soil and water well." Click the banner to learn more.
March 15, 2006 12:23 - Aeroponics, Secrets and Gardening on Wheels
"Imagine a vegetable garden that everyone can reach: one you don't have to bend down to weed, that can follow the sun around in a small backyard and that won't take up too much space. Impossible you say - think again! A group of people living in suburban Melbourne came up with a creative approach to gardening in small spaces." This is taken from an Australian Government website which goes on to describe how a group of people have developed a novel mobile gardening system. more..
If the previous system could be described as "low-tech" this next one is very definitely "high-tech". Hydroponics has been around for years but Aeroponics is a new one on me. As its name implies the plant roots are suspended in the air, rather than soil or water. Just look at its benefits: "Puts a Master Gardener in your Kitchen", "Aeroponic Optimising Chamber - Creates a near-perfect rain forest environment", "Bio-Dome seed system - just plug it in and watch it grow", "Grows five times faster than dirt", "100% Success Guaranteed - No Green Thumb Needed". All for $149.95 plus $19.95 for the seed kits - you could buy an awful lot of veggies for that! more..
The other day I mentioned that Mike McGroarty, author of Easy Plant Propagation, had written a new book called "The Secret Gardener's Handbook". This has now been uploaded, so just click the link to obtain your complimentary copy.
March 19, 2006 19:53 - New Tools, Book Reviews and an iPod
There's an intriguing mix of gardening items in the news today. First we have Kym Pokorny on "Gardening Without Guilt". "In the politically correct world of Portland in particular and the Northwest in general, I choose to garden guilt-free. There are plenty of other guilt-inducing thoughts that pitter-patter onto my mind every night like water torture. I am not about to add gardening to them". Do your own thing and don't worry if it breaks the accepted norms is her theme. more...
In preparation for the new season Joel M Lerner reviews some innovative gardening tools to make your chores easier. These include a One-Hand Sprayer with Telescoping Wand, a Good Grips Pour & Store Watering Can and Water Slices for your containers. He has also tested two brands of Rose Gloves and a BackSaver Grip which is an ingenious leverage device for adding to any long-handled tool you might own. more..
Two book reviews next. "Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers Using Ed's Amazing POTS System" by Edward C. Smith describes how you can grow your own yummy veggies without a gigantic plot of land, without constant watering and without weeding. If you are wondering what the POTS stands for - P is for portable, O is for organic, T is for trouble-free and S is for secret soil formula. more..
"Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times" by Steve Solomon advocates returning to old-fashioned methods of growing food. No more intensive raised bed gardening for him. Solomon argues that traditional plots require less water and fertilizer and produce better-tasting crops than raised beds filled with closely spaced plants. more..
Finally we have Mark Lane on gardening with an iPod. I'm not sure whether to describe this as a rant or a meditation. Perhaps the title says it all: "Darwinian Gardener plugs in, zones out". more..
March 25, 2006 15:41 - Lilies, Drought Tolerance and Generic Gardening
Did you know that lilies came from earthworms? No, I don't believe it either but, according to Maureen Gilmer, the Chinese did. It seems that originally they were more interested in the bulbs as food and for use as medicine, and it was only later that the flowers became to be appreciated for their beauty. In her article Maureen Gilmer traces the history of the lily bulb from its origins in Japan and China to its introduction into Europe. She recalls the virus that afflicted the bulbs in the early 20th century causing lilies to become pariahs that were dropped from cultivation until the modern hybrids were produced which restored their popularity. more..
While it may be too early for northern gardeners to start planting, Peggy Dessaint in Sarasota is contemplating the hot, dry months of spring where the soils are already way too parched. "Now is the time we think about drought-tolerant landscapes, or at least the one we were going to install last year." She goes on to describe the three local soil types: dry sandy, fluctuating dry/wet and damp to wet soils. Her article includes an extensive list of plants to suit each type of soil. more..
Ron Sullivan has a piece on a style of landscaping that he finds really scary. "Generic Gardening" is what it's called. "Such mass-produced plants as are allowed in the new housing sprawls clearly are maintained by the mow-n-blow guys with motorized clippers. Everything that’s not a rectangle is a ball. Tidy it up; cut it off at waist height regardless of where its main branches run or how dead-brown the result is; when in doubt, pave it." more..
March 31, 2006 10:56 - Daffy Duck, Get Fit and Containers
Well, Spring is here, and the new season is well and truly underway. Gardening is good for you is the first theme for today. "Get Fit By Gardening" is the headline to this piece by Star Lawrence. "Gardening can be a great workout and boost for body and soul -- if you do it right." Jeff Restuccio suggests making your gardening into a structured exercise routine, alternating light activities with heavier ones. Rake for a while, then dig holes, then prune. Mind you he includes double digging in his routine, a practice that is not so popular these days. Read more..
"Daffy Duck isn't yellow" was the next headline that caught my eye. When you read on you discover that this is a discussion between the columnist and his wife about the difference between daffodils and jonquils. She manitains that jonquils "are whiter and have shorter coronas". I'm not sure that she is right since according to my reference books the wild jonquil (N. jonquilla) has deep yellow flowers. Still they are both members of the Narcissus family so why worry? Read more..
One subject that is never far from the headlines is Container Gardening. This article is an interview by Brenda Edwards with a lady who, when she lived in Florida, was known as the "The Passionate Gardener." Andrea J. Albert explains how she uses containers and gives some useful tips. She also lists her favorite plants which include begonias and caladiums. Excellent pictures complement this piece. Read more