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Garden Ramblings, Issue #041
January 16, 2008
January 2008


Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

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If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos.

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In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Scenic Flowers
- 2008 Gardening Resolutions
- Gadgets for the Gardener
- Caring for your Poinsettia
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece

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Hi

Welcome to the first issue of Garden Ramblings for 2008. In common with recent issues there are two articles by guest authors this month.

The first is by Robin Monarch with some timely advice. New Year resolutions are often forgotten soon after they are made, so Robin has some suggestions on ways that you can achieve your goals in 2008, with an interesting twist in the final paragraph.

Our second guest is Mark Buckingham. Poinsettias are the traditional Christmas houseplants with their bright red or pink bracts. After the holiday most are thrown away, but it is possible to keep them to flower again next Christmas and in his article Mark tells us how.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

We start with a video. Scenic Flowers has some colorful photos to lighten the January gloom. Perhaps it is a little on the long side, so move on when you have seen enough.

Enjoy the issue.

Hugh

 

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Scenic Flowers


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2008 Gardening Resolutions
by Robin Monarch

 

Ahhh...2008 gardening resolutions. Yes, resolutions. Most folks make some of them with each New Year. Even gardeners. Even me. And, like most folks, the plan is to follow-through on my resolutions this year. The difference? This year's resolutions will be doable. Actually, that'll be my first resolution. I resolve to keep all gardening projects small and manageable. Last year's major fiasco in that huge hosta bed will not be repeated this year. Rather than trying to tackle the entire bed all in a single task, it'll be broken down into smaller parts which can be completed little by little each weekend until the entire project is successfully finished by the end of the growing season.

Secondly, I resolve to stay within the gardening budget. True, there are way more daylily varieties than the 40 or so already planted in the garden. And true, all daylilies are beautiful and another one would be just right set beside this plant or that other plant. But, rather than buy another ten daylily plants all at one time like last year, I'll limit the purchase to only two new daylily plants ... well, maybe three; yet no more than three new ones to be added to the garden this year.

And, due to my first resolution being to keep gardening projects small and manageable, this will be my third and final gardening resolution for 2008. I resolve to help one other person discover the tremendous joys of gardening. Since there are always extra plants in the garden, I can use some of the extras to give to someone and help them start a small garden area of their own.

Of course, while we're in their new garden planting those extras, I'll also remind them to:

* keep projects small and manageable * stay within a budget * share their interest with at least one other person

 

After all, what better way to remember my own 2008 gardening resolutions than to pass them along and share them with a friend.

 

 

 

About the Author
Robin, a gardening enthusiast, published and manages a website for people wanting to get their flower garden set up quickly 'n easily. Be sure to check out her website at Gardening Quick 'n Easy for information, tips, and resources you can use.

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Gadgets for the Gardener

With a standard hedge trimmer you trim your hedge and then go back to sweep up the cuttings. Wouldn't it be great if there was a tool that did both jobs at once? Well there is and it's called the Garden Groom.

 

For more information visit Garden-Gadgets.com

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Caring for your Poinsettia
by Mark Buckingham

 

 

 

Poinsettias, or Euphorbias to give them their correct name, are part of the spurge family of plants. If you have trouble keeping yours, here are some tips to ensure you get the best from one of the nicest, living Christmas decorations you could invest in. The potted varieties bought in garden centres or flower shops nowadays, are the result of the hard work of specialist horticulturalists over the course of many years, although they do grow into large shrubs in gardens of countries with warmer climates such as Spain.

The jardinières, which were popular during the Victorian period of British history, were a favourite place to display these lovely, flowering plants but without the services of a skilled gardener, it was always tricky to keep them looking their best as the leaves would fall and flowers die off. As time has progressed, the more recent varieties have become much hardier as they are normally treated with chemicals, which keep them smaller and bushier. Due to this, they are now not really that much different to other houseplants in that they are just as easy to keep, and given the right conditions, will remain in full bloom with bright, healthy leaves for many months.

Each star-shaped bract of the Poinsettia has a small yellow blossom in the centre and this is what is referred to as the 'flower' with the bracts providing most of the magnificent colours. When you are considering which plant to purchase, you should make sure that you choose one which has its bracts tightly closed, as these are the ones which will last much longer.

The best conditions in which to keep a Poinsettia are in a bright, warm place but out of direct sunlight and in a container of moist peat. The moisture and warmth are essential for longevity of the plant but it is important to use only lukewarm water when you do water it. As with other types of plant, you must ensure that the Poinsettia is not over watered, as this is one of the main causes for loosing them. Drain the pot well after watering and also do not water it until the compost is fairly dry so that you can be sure as to how much water the plant has taken.

You should keep a regular check on the condition of your plant, as they are good at letting you know they are not happy. If the leaves start to wilt, this is a sure sign that the moisture content is not right, being either too wet or too dry. The flower heads may start to drop or the leaves will turn brown or yellow if the environment is too dry. If this is the case, just spray them with a fine mist of lukewarm water and they will normally perk up again.

As the plants love light, warm conditions then you can be sure that positions which are too dark or too cool, maybe even draughty, will also cause the leaves to fall.

It is a common misconception that Poinsettias only flower once and as such most of them are thrown out after they have flowered. With a little extra care they can be encouraged to flower again the next year. To achieve this, simply cut back the stems so that they are around 10cm high after the last of the leaves have fallen. Then move the plant to a shaded area for a few weeks and resist the temptation to water it as often, keeping it slightly on the drier side. Give the plant plenty of water in late spring then put them into new pots using new compost. Continue to water them form this point on as normal and you will find that new shoots will begin to appear which is then the time to begin feeding the plant. Prune the stems so that just four or five are growing healthily and use the pruned ones as cuttings to grow new plants. As September comes, ensure that the plant has at least fourteen hours of total darkness each evening by covering it with a black plastic bag. Continue with this ritual until November and then change to the normal Poinsettia cultivation after which you should have lovely blooming plants in time for Christmas.

A point to remember is that you should wear gloves when handling any plant of the Euphorbia variety, as all of them are poisonous. If the sticky, white sap they give off touches the skin, you should wash it off immediately.

 

 

About the Author
Written by Mark Buckingham, Managing Director of Rentaccomspain.com, an online resource where you can find a wealth of Spanish property for rent and for sale.



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Special Offers

 

There's just one proper sale this month. Gardener's Supply Company have launched their After Holiday Sale where you can find discounts of up to 71% on 125 items.

 

 

Gardener's Supply Company

 

 

 

 

 

At Dutch Gardens you can save $25 when you spend $50 or more. Click the banner.

 

Dutch Gardens, Inc.

 

 

 

This month Nature Hills Nursery are offering discounts of 50% on flower bulbs. Don't forget their Clearance Section where you will always find a few bargains.

 

 

 



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Tailpiece

 

Zen Garden

********************************************************* Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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