Friday, June 30, 2017

Stella de Oro Daylilies Add Beauty to Garden

A few years ago my neighbor had put two containers of Stella de Oro daylilies at the curb, they were near death and I did not think they would survive but took them anyway. I submerged the container of extremely dry dirt in tepid sink water. This allowed the container to take in the water and the soil became evenly moist. I removed the container plant, drained the sink before setting the container in the sink to drain.

When all the water had drained I set two lilies close to a plant grow light, since they had been in a dark garage for several days. I knew that they needed light.  Well, I rescued the Stella de Oro's in time because both survived.  They were transplanted to my garden and today they bloomed. The repeat large gold star flower blooms are beautiful.


Here is a canvas print that I created from one of my photographs of Stella de Oro in full bloom.

Stella d'oro Yellow Lilly Flower Wrapped Canvas


Plant taxonomy classifies Stella de Oro daylilies under the daylily genus, Hemerocallis, which derives from the Greek, hemera, "day," plus kallos, "beauty”

Grow Catnip and Felines will Come

Growing catnip in your yard is not difficult but finding the required growing location is a must. You do not want to grow catnip close to your outdoor space because neighborhood felines will come to your yard and you would want them in the back section away from human traffic, especially if they are stray or feral cats.





I have 10 catnip plants growing in my back wildflower garden. I grew these plants from seeds that I planted in ¼ inch soil then covered with a light layer of mulch so the rain would not wash them away. The seeds grew into seedlings then plants and as soon as the stem was 4 inches in height the cats started to arrive.

I did have to protect the young plants so I covered them with a metal hanging basket that I bought at Walmart.com. 

The basket came with a coconut fiber liner that I removed. What was left was a metal dome with open work. I set the dome-shaped metal container over my catnip plants to protect them from the cats.
The metal dome protects the catnip roots, leaves grown through the openwork.

The metal dome (bottom part of the hanging basket) is a great way to protect seedlings from foot traffic because the roots are protected.

So if you love cats, enjoy watching them then grow catnip in your garden and felines will come.

The photographs that you view on this blog post are my original photographs of neighborhood cats visiting my catnip garden.


Learn more about gardening here

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Olivos Olive Oil and Lavender Soap Review

When your lavender harvest is not great and you cannot make your own then I would recommend that you buy Olivos natural lavender and olive oil soap because it will leave your skin feeling like silk.


When it comes to bath and body bar soap I choose to make my own, When my lavender herb plants did not provide me with an ample harvest of flowers my friend recommended that I buy Olivos olive oil and lavender herbal soap from Walmart.com

At first, I did not think that Walmart.com carried essential oil soaps that were of high quality but did not realize that online offered more than the stores. My friend told me that this lavender bath soap left their skin feeling silky soft and they recommended that I try it. She said that the soap is made from 100% extra virgin olive oil and lavender minerals This is a smooth soap that feels very moisturizing. But unlike my homemade soap, this soap does not have visible flower buds.

Normally lavender soap is aromatic, this soap has a light scent and I would prefer a more fragrant soap.  Know that the soap does produce a nice lather and it is very moisturizing, in fact, I did not need to add a body cream after my bath. I really like the way this olive oil and lavender soap makes my skin feel. Even the rough spot on my feet was soft to the touch.

I will definitely buy this soap again and as for the lavender fragrance that I love, I will remedy that by adding two drops of essential oil to my bath water. For those of you who like a moisturizing soap that leaves your skin feeling like silk then you may want to shop at Walmart.com and buy Olivos Olive Oil Lavender bath soap.


Learn how to make lavender herbal soap here  

Friday, May 19, 2017

When to Water Seedlings or Transplants

Whenever you transplant seedlings or sow seeds to your garden the care directions are to water well and to not let the soil dry out. Today I was talking to a fellow gardener and she told me that she followed the directions for sowing seeds to an outdoor garden but the seedlings died quickly. She thought perhaps it was poor quality seeds. Know that her seedlings dying had nothing to do with the soil, the seeds but instead it had to do with the watering of the plants. My friend did not water the seedlings and the soil dried out.


Last week I planted 500 bee and butterfly flowers. I sowed the seeds into a bed of moisture control potting soil, then covered this flower garden with a light layer of mulch. I watered well after I planted them then continued to water the seedlings throughout the day. I watered the newly planted seeds four times daily. The soil never dried out and withing 3 days the seedlings appeared with healthy leaves.
Beebalm seedlings with a light layer of mulch around the plant but not next to the stem. 

How much water is too much? Know that when you sow your seeds that these seeds are covered with one-fourth of an inch of soil. That soil can dry out quickly and dry soil will cause the seedling stress. The light layer of mulch does help, but you must put it on thinly so not to hinder the seedling from growing. But you must water your seedlings and water them often.
My friend watered her seedlings in the morning. The soil had dried out in a few hours, then when the sun came out and the day was hot the seedlings dried out and the plants died.
If you cannot water your seedlings four times a day then I would recommend that you set up a soaking hose and turn it on for a slow drip. Set the timer to turn the hose on and off in the heat of the day. You will need to water your seedlings or transplants in the morning before work or other activities. Then check the soil for dryness when you get home from work and water if needed. 


Shop for the products recommended at Walmart, com garden center

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler Product Review

Keeping garden pests; wildlife and stray dogs and cats can be difficult especially if you do not have a fenced yard. Every year I plant a vegetable garden and find that the deer and raccoon walk on the plants or eat the young vegetation. In the past, I tried protecting the vegetables with chicken wire fence but the raccoon climbed the fence and uprooted the plants. The only product that kept the pests away was a Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler.

I decided to install the scarecrow motion activated sprinkler because animals are fearful of water. The high-pressure water comes out of this sprinkler and animal is in the line of fire will get stung.  I have watched the pesky raccoon run from my yard. But that is not to say the animals will not continue to try to get the vegetables in the garden. The animals will keep trying and they will keep getting stung by the water. They never reach the garden. The scarecrow will also keep deer, skunk, squirrels, and other animals away from your garden.

Here is a postcard that I designed from a photograph of squirrel on my patio fountain.  
Gray Squirrel Gets a Drink Postcard

This sprinkler works well. I will probably keep it activated throughout the summer. If you have a problem with garden pests or stray cats or dogs then I recommend that you buy a scarecrow. I bought mine at Walmart or you can shop for this pest repellent at Amazon

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Royal Blue Batik Irises

Many people are collectors of irises. They buy unique flowers yearly and are delighted when they get a unique color. If you have not added the royal blue batik iris to your collection then you are missing out because this flower is like no other Iris that you have seen before.

The only words that come to mind are exotic and beautiful. Each flower has multiple blooms that will not disappoint you. Several years ago I bought the batik iris collection online. The flowers came from Breck’s and I have no idea if they still carry this unique iris, but it is well worth your effort to search for these irises at their online store.  As I recall I bought the collection in the fall for spring shipping.  Maybe they still carry the batik irises, I do not know.

In my collection I have two two purple irises; Gnu Flash and Royal Blue Batik, then Tiger Honey (gold color with white) and a pink and white one called Baboon Bottom.
Here is a photo of my Baboon Bottom iris

  
The batik irises look fantastic when grown in masses. If you start with 5 flowers then know that this iris does multiple annually so plant them where they have room to grow otherwise you will be dividing them every few years.

Note unlike other irises this flower thrives in full sun to part shade and they choke out weeds. A very hardy iris that is not fussy about soil and is pest, disease and deer resistant.

Here is a photo sticker of my royal blue batik Iris. You can see from this close up that it is a stunning flower.

Purple Batik Iris Sticker

Purple Batik Iris Sticker

Batik irises...they are my favorite flower in my garden.   I just love them.  Do you grow batik irises?  Here is a video that will show you how to grow irises.  



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Benefits From Growing Catnip Herb

Many people have grown catnip in their outdoor gardens for their cat's enjoyment but this herb plant has appealing human benefits also. Catnip is known as Nepeta Cataria, a herb that reassembles the mint plant with whole plant including flowers minty fragrance.


You can grow catnip in the ground or in containers. I recommend that you grow catnip close to your outdoor seating area because when the flowers bloom they are very fragrant. Plus if there are mosquitoes you can break a stem to get at the catnip oil. Spread this oil onto your exposed skin and repel mosquitoes.


Catnip herb can also be used for the treatment of human colds, fevers, and migraine headaches. Harvest the leaves of the catnip for herbal tea. The catnip tea is good when you want to relax. You can also smoke catnip, some say the herbal cigarette has wonderful relaxation properties.


Grow catnip from seed or buy a nursery grown plant at local garden center. Transplant catnip after the threat of frost has past to a garden area that has full sun and well-drained soil.

Catnip is not fussy about the soil and will tolerate most soils. Plant the seeds in rows. Space the seed 12 inches apart. Cover the seed with 1/8 inch of soil and water well. Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet throughout seed germination. You can grow from seed indoors or outdoors. I have had good results from sowing seeds outdoors.


***If there are cats in your yard then you must take precaution to keep your catnip plants safe as cats will eat the seedlings.***

Caring for Newly Transplanted Flower – Garden Tips

Many people shop for flowers at the garden center.  They will buy nursery-grown plants for their gardens.  The flowers will be planted in an area that agrees with their requirements.  Then the gardener will care for the flower, making sure it grows to be a healthy plant.  

Yesterday my neighbor spent a lot of money on a variety of flowers, I told her how to plant them and when she finished she said, does nature take its course?  She did not realize that she had to take care of her transplanted flower.

For the next 28 days, the newly transplanted flower will need to be watched, all new plants need care.  Here are a few garden tips that I recommend for all transplanted flower. 

Encircle the plant with mulch. Do not add mulch all the way to the plant stem as this will prevent the plant from getting water and other nutrients. Mulch is a good way to control weed grown and also keep the roots cool in summer. The mulch will also help to retain moisture and protect the new garden flower from suffering from dry soil.
Feed your newly planted flowers with water-based fertilizer like Miracle-Gro liquafeed bloom booster flower food once every 10 days throughout the blooming season.

Water your newly planted flower daily with a soaker hose in the morning or before the heat of the day. This hose will wet the soil and not the plant leaves. It is best to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet. Do not let the soil dry out.
Spot check the flowerbed for weeds and remove them when you see them.  Watch the flower garden for pests

***Do not let the flower garden dry out throughout the growing season. Set the soaker hose on a timer and water in the morning.***

Transplanting Nursery Grown Plant - How To

Take care of your nursery grown plant, by providing it with its growing requirements and planting it as soon as you can. The best time to plant flowers outdoors in the ground or in a container is in spring after the threat of frost has passed. As a rule, I like to plant on a cloudy day before a rain. New flowers are less stressed when the sun is not beating down on them and the rain will nourish them.

Before you plant the flower read the label on the container or ask the garden center staff the growing requirements, know if your yard has what the plant needs. If you yard is primarily shade then a plant that needs full sun will not be healthy, for shade yards shop for plants like Hosta. For sunny area plant coneflowers. There are many flowers and plants but they all have different growing requirements.
Find out what type of soil is needed for your nursery grown plant. Most plants need well-drained soil. If you yard is rocky or soil is sandy then grow your plants in raised gardens or containers with potting soil amended with compost or manure.

Planting Tips

The best way to determine how deep of hole to dig is to look at the size of the container. You should plant your flower in a hole that is as deep and wide as the nursery container.
Remove the plant from the container. The best way to do this is to put the container on its side and roll it back and forth, tap on the sides lightly as this will loosen the soil and make it easy to remove the plant. If you find that the plant does not come out easily then use a garden scissors to cut the side of the plastic container and this should allow you to remove the plant easily.

Now that the plant has been removed from the nursery plastic container you should shake the soil lightly from the roots Then set the flower in the center of the hole before back filling the soil. Water the transplant well.

Monday, April 24, 2017

About Lilacs the Flowering Shrubs

If you like showy flowers that are fragrant then you should grow lilac shrubs in your yard. Lilacs are a fragrant flowering shrub that blooms in mid to late spring. This showy flower can be grown as a hedge, free standing accent plant or a foundation plant. Lilacs are a long-lived plant that produces lovely flower clusters that are fragrant and can be cut for bouquets or as a centerpiece for the dining table.

When I was a child my neighbor had lilac shrubs growing along her driveway. Every spring when the flowers would bloom my mother would open the windows and the lovely flower fragrance would be enjoyed in our living room. So it is safe to say, that at a young age I loved lilacs.

When I got married and we bought a home I joined an organization and received two small Old Fashioned lilacs. They were bare roots and did not bloom for five years. Of course, that was 18 years ago and now my lilacs are mature and have multiplied. 

My shrub is 6 feet in height with a similar spread.  I do prune my lilacs every other year.  Know that lilacs like water, so during the summer months I water them daily in the morning with a soaking hose.  Along with keeping the soil from drying out I also keep the area around my lilacs free of weeds and grass.  

Your lilac shrub will benefit from spring fertilizing and a layer of mulch.

Here are some tips on pruning your lilac shrubs.  Pruning will keep your lilacs healthy.

If you are interested in growing a lilac flowing shrub in your yard and garden then choose a planting area that has well-drained soil. I recommend growing this flowering hedge where you can enjoy seeing the showy flowers. 
The best time to plant lilacs is in the spring after the danger of late season frost has passed. Planting on a cloudy day before spring rain is also helpful.
Learn more about growing and maintaining lilacs here