Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Late Fall Gardening in Missouri

Here in Missouri, the weather is 20 degrees above normal which means the days are in the mid 70’s and the nights are in the low 50’s. The weather now compares to the spring season and I find that I am spending time working in the garden.

This week my husband and I are working on removing the leaves by hand that is embedded in the flowering shrubs and evergreens. The oak leaves are notorious for carrying mites which are harmful to plants. I have also noted that leaves that are left on gardens over the winter do damage the gardens especially irises because the leaves attract insects that eat the rhizome.

Another garden project that must be done in the late fall would be cutting back any remaining annual or perennial plant. Then remove any weeds, grasses from the bed before applying mulch. The vegetable and tomato gardens are nearly spent but there are still crops that I will harvest for composter

When the leaf removal, cutting back of perennials and harvesting is completed
I will cover all garden beds with two to three inches of cedar bark mulch. In addition, I will also encircle the flowering shrubs and add a layer of mulch under the evergreens. If there is a hard winter then the mulch will protect the plants with roots close to the soil surface from shifting or becoming damaged. Mulch also makes your cold season gardens look more eye appealing and deters weed growth in the early spring.

Note: irises will get a thin layer of mulch, but that mulch will be removed in early spring.

The weather has been warmer than normal during the fall season and gardening in late fall has been enjoyable. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Flowers Add Color to Landscape

Many people will put away their gardening tools mid-September because the growing season has come to an end. But if you love flowers then you can extend your gardening season by growing plants that bloom through the fall season. This year I have added color to my landscape by growing annuals with my Chrysanthemums.

My neighbors, have asked me if chrysanthemums will come back the following spring and should they plant them in the ground. The answer is yes. Last fall my neighbor was throwing out her chrysanthemums in nursery grown pot after blooms were spent. I took them and planted in a container. After a hard frost, I did cut the mum stems back and topped the container with 3-inches of mulch. The following year the chrysanthemum grew in and this fall we have enjoyed the flowers as they have added fabulous color to our landscape.

Know that you can grow Chrysanthemums in the ground or in containers and they will return the following year as long as you plant in well-drained soil, full sun and leave 6 to 12 inches in-between the plants. Water your chrysanthemums well when you first plant them, then water daily in the morning especially if grown in containers because they do dry out faster than planted in the ground. Plant mums in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. You can also plant mums in the fall 6 weeks before a hard frost is best. Add 2-3 inches of mulch to containers or garden bed. Fertilize in the spring to encourage new growth and flower blooms. I recommend that you remove the mulch from the containers and garden bed in the spring, fertilize and replace the mulch around the mum stems in the early summer.

Growing tips:

Create eye appealing chrysanthemum container gardens by growing ivy close to the rim of the plant, If you decide that you like the ivy cascading down the sides then plant only 1-2 ivy plants like winter hardy Baltic. *Watch the runners so they do not take over the container.

Learn more and view photographs of Baltic Ivy here

Here is a list of fall season companion plants to grow with chrysanthemums pansies, violas, ornamental cabbage, kale are a few of my favorites.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pruning Wild Climbing Roses

Normally I will walk past the wild climbing roses that grow in the woods by my home and I am careful where I step, but this summer I found that there are many canes that have blocked the nature trail, so I intend on pruning the rose canes before they get out of control. 

It is uncommon for wild climbing roses to bloom in the woods because they do not get enough sunlight but the ones by my home are covered with pink blooms.  The roses that grow wild have taken over an acre of land.  It is a big job to prune the entire area so I am concentrating on the roses close to my home.  

Before pruning the climbing roses you will need to buy special gloves that were made for taking care of roses. They are protective cowhide gloves that protect your hands and arms from the thorns.  I also recommend wearing a long sleeve shirt, pants, and rubber garden boots.
The climbing roses will be pruned to remove the dead branches. Then I will cut the remaining canes two-thirds, and the ones growing close to the garden path I will prune at the soil surface. This pruning should provide us with a more uniform climbing rosebush. 

My husband said he would put up a trellis to train roses how to climb.  Next growing season we hope to have manicured climbing roses that cover the trellis.
Learn more about climbing roses by viewing this video.

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.***