|April 4, 2006 12:50 - Growing from Seeds and Last-Minute Bulbs
Growing plants from seeds can save you money. That's a statement of the obvious since you can buy a packet of seeds for the cost of a single plant. According to Lisa Ballantyne, a Master Gardener apprentice from Oneida County, "Few gardening activities can be more rewarding or perplexing than starting plants from seeds. Done properly, seed starting will save you money and give you a garden of distinction." She doesn't say what happens if you don't do it properly, but she does tell you how it should be done in a clear and straightforward manner. Read more..
"Gardening with Summer Bulbs" is the title of this next piece by Rhonda Ferree. She gives a brief overview of the main groups: begonias, caladiums, cannas and dahlias. If you live in Illinois you can attend a free course given by Jim Schmidt, Horticulture Specialist, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, who will discuss selection, culture, care of these summer bloomers, and recommend companion plants. Read more..
Although most of us will have planted our spring flowering bulbs last fall, if you didn't find time to plant yours it is still possible for you to enjoy a fine display of daffodils, tulips and hyancinths. Brecks are offering these specially prepared bulbs that are guaranteed to thrive and bloom in magnificent colour just 2-3 weeks after arrival. You get 18 bulbs for $19.99 but you have to order by April 15. Click the banner for all the details.
April 6, 2006 11:52 - Are You a Gambling Gardener?
Today's news has a gambling theme. First we have Glenn Palmer taking a gamble on spring planting. "This is the month when gardeners turn into gamblers. Statistically, there's still the potential for frost until the end of the month, but we do have that urge to get something in the ground. There are some ways to get a jump on the season." Floating row covers, cloches and gallon milk jugs are some of his suggestions. Read more..
"In the Plant Game, Some Bets Are In" is the headline of the next piece. This is a profile of Tony Avent, owner of one of the country's premier "boutique" nurseries. "He has developed a reputation among his customers for predicting and even setting trends in gardening.
In the early 1980's, he took tropical houseplants off the windowsill and planted them in outdoor beds and containers for summer, creating a craze for frost-tender perennials that continues today.
In the mid 90's, he bet on hostas, breeding his own (and giving them ear-catching names like Elvis Lives, Elephant Burgers and Hosta Bubba); they are now among the best-selling perennials on the market. And 10 years ago he fell for Arisaema — jack-in-the-pulpits — from Asia, contributing to what became a national love affair with the plants." Read more..
I have finally managed to add a section on Garden Books to the site. Here's the introduction: "The trouble with books on gardening is that there are so many of them that you are first overwhelmed by the choice and then become so engrossed that you spend far too much time browsing. You won't have that problem here because there are only a small selection, but they cover a wide range of subjects". Garden Books
April 11, 2006 11:28 - Gardening Mania and Tips to Cut Your Grocery Bill
"Gardening mania is hitting Canada" according to Tavia Grant. "Canadian homeowners are digging, weeding, planting and hoeing like never before. Almost a quarter of Canadians intend to spend the coming long weekend in their gardens, a Retail Council of Canada study last week showed." This last sentence gives the game away. This is no gardening article but rather an investment brief pitching the merits of the gardening market. "In the United States, a record 83 per cent of all households participated in lawn and garden activities last year, according to the National Gardening Association (NGA)." To find out whether this is really a good investment, read more..
Back to earth with this next piece which has some solid advice on growing your own veggies. Under a headline of "Dig in to save grocery money with gardening" Nancy De Gennard reports some money-saving tips and helpful ideas to assist you in growing a garden on a budget. Read more..
Dutch Gardens have a Rose Sale just now where you can save up to 53% on their regular prices. Just take a look at their Hardy Sub-Zero Roses Collection which comprises four super-hardy roses bred to withstand sub-zero temperatures. The collection includes 1 each of Arctic Flame, Senior Prom, Dr. Brownell and Maria Stern all for $29.95.
April 14, 2006 10:25 - Tipsey Daffs, Rare Books and Gardening Proverbs
When you see someone swaying from side to side as they struggle to walk in a straight line along the path, you can bet that alcohol is involved. With daffodils, it seems, the opposite is the case. Daffodils that grow tall and floppy often bend over ruining the display, particularly when grown in containers. But it appears that a shot of gin or other hard liquor can cure the problem.
"Giving some potted plants diluted alcohol - whiskey, vodka, gin or tequila - stunts the growth of the stem but does not affect the blossoms", said William Miller, director of Cornell's Flower Bulb Research Program. As a result, the houseplant does not get so tall that it flops over. Read more..
A rare gardening book has been discovered in a charity shop in Kendall in England. World-renowned landscape gardener Thomas Mawson wrote The Art and Craft of Garden Making in 1900. First editions of his book are valued at nearly $600. Read more..
You will not find any rare books on this website but if you click the Garden Books link you may come across something that interests you.
The April issue of my monthly newsletter Garden Ramblings will be winging its way to subscribers tomorrow and will include an article on companion planting. If you are not sure what this is, then you will have to read the newsletter to find out. Although the article is concerned with techniques to use in your own garden, I came across an interesting example of how it is helping over 3000 African farmers. Read more..
I always enjoy reading Gardening Proverbs and have a small collection on my site. I particularly like this one that I found recently: Avoid suspicion: when you're walking through your neighbor's melon patch, don't tie your shoe - Chinese Proverb. If you have any favorites, do let me know and I will add them to my collection.
April 19, 2006 10:29 - Gardening Fast and Slow, Hot and Not
There have been plenty of articles already this year extolling the benefits of gardening as a good way of exercising and keeping your body in shape. Now there comes a warning not to overdo it in your enthusiasm to get stuck in for the new season. Along with the calculations of how many calories you can burn while digging, mowing the lawn, planting, weeding and raking, come warnings that trying to do too much at once can result in an injury. Read more..
There's no overdoing things in this second piece. "The secret of gardening is taking your sweet time, and being willing to be sidetracked" says Barbara Blossom Ashmun. " Skillful gardening asks for full attention and calm concentration. To feel peaceful enough to focus, unwind by starting with repetitive, easy actions. The slow, steady rhythm of weeding and raking or turning compost will help you get centered. After some time pulling out grass seedlings and troweling up dandelions, all that interior noise and tension begin to melt away. The mind quiets down and settles. The breath is deeper and more even, and a feeling of well-being and relaxation gradually takes over." Read more..
Like the fashion industry, the nursery and landscaping business sees new plants and accesories every year while former favorites lose their popularity. The Sun Chronicle has carried out a straw poll to find out "what's hot and not" this year. Patios and self-watering containers are hot, but formal water gardens are not. Black Lace is hot, but yews and marigolds are not. Petunias are, well.. Read more..
Here's a novel way to creat a magical atmosphere in your garden after dark. Hang these Fairy Dust Balls from a tree branch for a little woodland magic. You can also hang them in a window, or even float them in a pond. Inside each of these glass ornaments is a sprinkling of phosphorescent "fairy dust" that glows from sundown well into the evening.
April 25, 2006 00:06 - Guerrilla Gardening, Potato Chips and Arbor Day
Guerrilla gardening is the coming thing in some places but not quite what you would expect to find in the depths of rural Wales. 75-year-old Pete Williams from Tylwch has planted nearly one mile of daffodils along the B4518 between Llanidloes and Rhayader in an effort to “bring a bit of happiness” to passing drivers. Read more..
"It's like potato chips. You can't eat just one" is how this man described his addiction. This does not have a lot to do with gardening because his occupation was burglary on a gigantic scale. But his tools of the trade were a rake carried over his shoulder and a pair of gardening gloves stuffed in his back pocket. Read more..
"Saturday was Earth Day. Or Arbor Day. Or maybe Environmental Day.. It’s all so confusing" says Dave Buchanan of The Daily Sentinel. When you add the vernal equinox and Equinox Earth Day it becomes "curiouser and curiouser" in the manner of Alice in Wonderland. Arbor Day in Bartlesville will be celebrated on April 26. Gov. Kenny Guinn has proclaimed April 28 as Arbor Day for Nevada. The City of Waltham will hold it’s official observance of Arbor Day on Thursday, April 27. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872. Read more..
Confusing indeed but Gurneys have settled on April 28 and you will not be surprised to learn that they have assembled a collection of trees at greatly discounted prices in readiness for the day. You can find flowering trees at up to 40% off the regular prices. Well worth a look. Click here!