Thursday, April 16, 2015

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Crown of Thorns, Christ Plant, Christ Thorn (Euphorbia milii)

A popular import from Madagascar, crown of thorns can bloom year-round if given enough light. Long, spoon-shape leaves appear at the ends of spiky branches, along with clusters of tiny flowers. You might not notice the flowers because they're so small, but you will see the red, salmon, or yellow bracts that surround them. 

Crown of Thorns, Christ Plant, Christ Thorn (Euphorbia millii) Native to Madagascar it is suspected that the species was introduced to the Middle East in ancient times, and legend associates it with the crown of thorns worn by Christ.

When the plant is in bloom, allow only the top inch or so of soil to dry out between watering. When the plant is not blooming, be sure the top half of the pot's soil is dry before watering. Don't let the entire pot dry out, however, or the plant will drop its leaves. If your plant dries out and loses its leaves, it will grow new ones in a few weeks after you begin watering. 

Cactos floridos

Direct sun produces the best bloom, but crown of thorns adapts to medium light. Fertilize three times in summer using a bloom-booster fertilizer of 10-30-10.

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

kalanchoe tomentosa

There are dozens of kinds of Kalanchoe plants, but the panda plant is among the most common. A native of Madagascar, panda plant is grown strictly for its foliage. Thick green leaves are covered with soft silver hairs, giving the plant a fuzzy, blue-gray appearance. The edges of the leaves are tipped with brown or rust-color hairs.

Just got one of these, it looks like a tarantula! I love it in spite of that. Kalanchoe tomentosa - 'Panda Plant, Chocolate Soldier (darker variety)'

Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings. During dormancy in winter, water only enough to keep the soil from drying out completely. Grow in medium to bright filtered light. Fertilize three times in summer with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. 

Panda Plant You'll love touching panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) because the silvery leaves have a soft, felty texture. It's an easy-growing choice that gets about 3 feet tall and prefers bright light.

Although it can be pruned, panda plant seldom needs grooming except to remove any wayward stems.

Guide to Buying Seeds

Seed starting calculator  --- When to start seeds and when to set plants out, for veggies & flowers.

1. Read the Label

Before you buy seeds, check the label to see if they require an early start indoors. Cool weather plants, such as pansy and broccoli, need a jump start indoors in order for them to grow large enough to be transplanted in the garden in the early spring. Warm-weather crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, also need to be started under grow-lights so they're ready to go into the garden after frost danger passes. A grow-light can be as simple as a fluorescent shop light hung just inches over your seed trays.

2. Buy Extra

Fast-growing vegetables, such as lettuce, radish, spinach and beans, can be planted several times throughout the spring and summer. Be sure to buy enough seeds for a continuous harvest.
Get our guide to succession planting.

3. Be Selective

If you're shopping for vegetable seeds, buy only what your family will eat. Don't take up valuable garden space with crops you won't use. Instead, buy only your favorites and try expanding your range each season with new varieties. 

4. Consider your Space

If you have a small garden, don't start space-hogging vegetables, such as sweet corn, pumpkins, or squash. Focus on higher-yielding, more compact vegetables, such as salad greens, tomatoes, beans, and peppers. 

5. Include Flowers

For quick color, choose fast-growing annual flowers you can grow from seed sown directly in the garden. Cosmos, zinnia, marigold, nasturtium, cleome, morning glory, and sunflower are just a few of the many annual flowers that grow effortlessly from seed.

6. Watch the Weather

Keep soil temperatures in mind when you plant seeds outdoors. Seeds sown in cold, wet soil will often rot. Cool-weather plants prefer soil temperatures of 50-65 degrees F. Warm-weather crops prefer to grow in soil between 70-80 degrees F. Also, do not set out warm-weather crops until all frost danger has passed. Check the USDA Zone map for details on your region.

7. Save Excess Seeds

Store surplus seeds in an airtight container in a dark, cool location. Many seeds will remain viable for several years stored in this manner. Before planting old seed, do a germination test. Sprinkle a few seeds on a moist paper towel to help them germinate. If less than half of your seeds sprout, buy new seed.

8. Keep Diseases at Bay

When shopping for seeds look for disease-resistant varieties, especially if you've had problems in your garden previously. For example, when purchasing tomato seeds, look for varieties labeled with a VFN designation after their name. This means the variety is resistant to several types of wilt and nematode damage.

9. Note Maturity Dates

If you want to grow vegetables, check the "days to harvest" information on the seed pack. Vegetable varieties vary in how long it takes for them to mature. If you live in a northern climate with a short growing season, focus on faster-maturing varieties to insure harvest before frost. In the South, you'll be able to grow plants, such as okra, that require a long season of hot weather.

How to Grow, Maintain, and Divide Bearded Iris

Step by Step

1. Carefully dig the clumps with a garden fork or spade, taking care not to chop into the rhizomes more than necessary.

2. Divide the rhizomes by pulling them apart with your hands. In some cases, you may need to use a sharp knife to separate the baby rhizomes from their mothers. If so, dip your knife into a 10-percent bleach/water solution between cuts.

A good rhizome will be about as thick as your thumb, have healthy roots, and have one or two leaf fans. Large, old rhizomes that have no leaf fans can be tossed.

3. Wash the soil off the rhizomes to that you can inspect each one for iris borer (a fat, white worm). If you find a borer, destroy it. Some gardeners like to wash their iris rhizomes in a 10-percent bleach solution to protect against disease, but that won't help plants that are already rotting.

Soft, smelly, or rotting plants should also be destroyed. Discard any that feel lightweight or hollow, and appear dead, like the rhizome shown here.

4. Clip off the leaf blades so that they're 4 to 6 inches long. This reduces the stress that the plant goes through as it concentrates on regrowing new roots instead of trying to maintain long leaves.

5. Replant divisions, setting the rhizome higher in the planting hole than the fine roots, which should be fanned out. A bit of the top surface of the rhizome should be just visible at the soil surface.

6. Space the plants 12 to 18 inches apart (closer for dwarf varieties, farther apart for the largest). For the best display, plant the rhizomes so the fan of leaves face the same direction. Water them well at planting, but do not continue to water unless the weather becomes dry.

Spectacular Iris


Had these beautiful purple  yellow irises growing up. My Mama's name is Iris, also.





.   I love iris

Iris Spectacular






Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to Grow Stargazer Lilies

Growing beautiful stargazer lilies seems like a daunting task. How can such a strikingly unique and unusually large flower that seems to defy gravity be easy to grow? It is, however, with a little instruction and a few tips, you too can bring these jaw-dropping beauties into your landscape.

How to Grow Stargazer Lilies thumbnail

Determine the location for your stargazer bulbs, and for each bulb, dig a hole three times the bulb's height. Remove any rocks that might impede the growth of the stalk when it emerges. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointy side up–if in doubt, plant the bulb sideways. Cover the bulb with soil and sprinkle with a small amount of fertilizer. Bulbs may be planted in the fall or in the spring.

Water the emerging plants regularly, although they don't mind drought periods as long as the roots remain cool. Overwatering may cause the plants to rot, so it's best to err on the side of caution as far as water is concerned.Too much water may also attract slugs, which find lily leaves delicious. If slugs are a problem, place saucers of beer around the plant at night, which attracts them and they drown.

Deadhead the flower after it has finished blooming, which allows the plant to focus on its bulb, not setting seeds. Simply clip off the flower and about 6 inches of the stem below the flower. Leave the rest of the stem until fall, when you can cut back the entire plant to 3 inches.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gardening with kids

A fun experience :)

Make your own Chia Pets.  How fun.  So many different bottle caps available to make so many different options.

DIY Garden Posts Pictures

Photos, and Images

DIY Garden Posts Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter

Top 10 Rules for Growing a Kitchen Garden

Find the Sun

Most vegetables want six hours of direct sun a day — and more if they can get it. Exceptions include lettuce and radishes, which can get by with less.

Planting Season

Start Small

If you're beginning your first garden, help yourself avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed with weeding and general maintenance. You can grow a surprising amount of food in a bed just 10-foot square.

HGTVGardens editor Felicia Feaster's raised-bed garden.

Build Up Your Soil

The foundation of a healthy, productive garden is a rich, well-draining, crumbly soil that has good tilth. Liberally add organic matter such as finished compost, bagged humus and straw.

Enrich Soil with Compost if Needed

Time Your Crops

Soil temperatures matter as much as air temperature when you're planting. Even peas, which are spring crops that are resistant to light frost once they're growing, won't germinate when the soil is below 39 degrees.

Tie Young Peas to Supports as They Grow Upward

Have Cover at the Ready

Beware of a late frost, and have protection ready. A cloche works at protecting plants from frost in the same way as the cold frame. It can be the traditional glass bell jar or something as simple as a milk jug that has been cut in half. Simply place the cloche over the plant when frost threatens.

Simple Cloche Protects Young Plants in Spring

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

You wouldn't think twice about mulching your ornamental beds, so do the same with your veggie and fruit plantings. A layer of organic mulch helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

Keep Strawberries on Ground Clean with Straw Mulch

Anticipate Animal Pests

You don't want unwelcome animal pests making a meal of your fruits and veggies. Talk to your neighbors and try to learn what pests to expect in your area. With the right kind of fencing or screen as shown around these strawberries, you can deter raccoons, rabbits, groundhogs, deer, dogs and other unwelcome visitors.

Strawberries Grown Inside Screened Garden

Mingle Your Plants

Too much of the same kind of plant in a grouping sends "eat here" messages to bad bugs.

Wide Range of Crops Grown in Raised Bed Gardens

Stay On Top of the Harvest

Pick produce when it's ready. Removing beans as they mature allows more of the plant's energy to go into supporting the later fruit that forms.

Liberty Runner Beans Prized for Tasty Thick Flesh

Don't Hide Your Veggies

Where you can, find a way to integrate your fruit and veggie garden with an area of your yard where you tend to hang out. When the crops are close at hand, you're much more likely to pluck off a bad bug or give a thirsty plant a drink.

After: Raising the Bar

Thursday, April 2, 2015

DIY Succulent Pineapple Planter

What you need:

1. A terracotta pot
2. Air Dry Clay (WHITE)
3. Water and a paper towel
4. Yellow paint and paintbrush
5. White Paint Marker (you could also use black)
6. Potting soil
7. Succulents (I used aloe which was perfect)
8. optional - fine sand paper

What you do:

1. Gather your supplies. Dust off your pot. Get out the air dry clay, a cup of water, and a paper towel.

2. Start putting clay all around the outside of the pot. The clay is very soft and pretty easy to work with. It can often help to dip your fingers in water when working with the clay.

3. Once you have the shape you want, you can smooth away some of the bumps, wrinkles, and fingerprints with a damp paper towel. Let the clay air dry at least overnight. To see if it's fully dried, press on the sides of the pot. If it is squishy at all, then it needs more time to dry. Optional - you can use fine sandpaper to smooth the pot once the clay has dried.

4. Paint your pot yellow. Spray paint would also work well.

5. Plan where your lines are going to be.

6. Start drawing your lines with your white paint pen. Let them dry, then did the lines going in the other direction.

7. Fill the pot with some potting soil, then move over your plant.

8. Enjoy! You can even make different sizes, shapes, and colors.

Edible Flowers


Edible Flowers Chart: Always use ORGANIC - ones that have zero chemicals sprayed on them.

18 Common Garden Pests


18 Common Garden Pests

Guide to 10 garden buds

Guide to 10 Garden Bugs! The good, the bad, and the NATURAL remedies!

Guide to 10 Garden Bugs! The good, the bad, and the NATURAL remedies! #organic #bugs #good #bad #garden #gardenbugs

List of Top 20 Hottest Peppers


List of Top 20 Hottest Peppers