Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where to Buy Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

Diatomaceous earth food grade is a natural home and garden pest control.  It will get rid of; fleas, ticks spiders, mites, lice, webworms, bed bugs, cockroaches, aphids and powdery mildew without harming your pets or children.

For natural pest control, I apply diatomaceous earth food grade with a duster application.   It is best to cover your entire yard and gardens with the dust or you can mix the DE into the soil.  

Food grade that is 100 percent pure with no additives is the only formula that I will use because it is safe for wildlife, humans and pets.  

Where to Buy  Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

When shopping online I look for the words pet and people safe.   You can buy DE online at they carry the product Lumino Home Diatomaceous Earth – food grade. for pets and people.  I like that this brand sells the DE in a jar because it does have to be kept airtight.  You can buy in a package but you will have to put in a jar that has a tightly fitted lid.

I also found diatomaceous earth food grade at  They sell the brand Perma Guard Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth 10 ounces.  

"I bought a 3-pound container of Natures Wisdom food grade Diatomaceous Earth at Amazon and used it for the treatment of home and garden pests. Note a little bit goes a long way"   

  1. Diatomaceous earth food grade is fossilized skeletons of tiny aquatic organisms.  The earth is processed into a fine white powder that is best applied with a duster.  
  2. The earth is effective in killing the insects with the razor sharp edges of the skeletons. The insects including bed bugs are killed when they come in contact with the earth, they are killed physically not chemically.
  3. You can mix diatomaceous earth with pet food to kill hookworms   You can also add the earth to a shaker container and shake onto your pet's fur.  The diatomaceous earth food grade will kill fleas, ticks, mites, and lice.  Learn more here 
  4. For yard and garden treatment I recommend that you use a ventilator mask when you are dusting your yard or garden.   If wildlife; raccoon, possum, fox, and deer enter your yard it is wise to reapply the earth every 4 to 6 weeks.
  5. When shopping for DE look for the words organic, or pet safe on the package.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Growing Orange Tiger Lily Flowers

The oriental orange tiger lily will add color and interest to your mid-summer flower garden.  This showy flower with its dark brown specked petals that curl downward when fully bloomed can be grown in the ground or in a container.

Tiger Lily (lilium tigrinum) grows in my yard.  I did not initially plant the bulbs as they were planted by previous owners.  I suspect that the tiger lilies were planted by the original owner a master gardener.  

The tiger lily flower bulbs are planted in groupings of 12.  They all grow together and when the lily stems emerge in late spring they will grow 30-48 inches in height.   The tiger lilies when fully grown look like a shrub as they are tall and the foliage is full.  They are a focal point in my landscape.  When the tiger lily flowers bloom; in June and July the orange flowers with the dark brown specks face the ground rather then up toward the sun. There are approximately 12 blooms for each stem and they continue to blooms for several weeks.

Growing tips for Tiger Lily Flowers

Choose a planting site where the soil moisture is average and well drained.  The tiger lily will tolerate loamy soils also. 

The sun requirement is full sun however if you reside in an area that has hot summers then it is best to provide the tiger lily with part sun to shade in the hottest part of the day. My summers are extremely hot and the tiger lily grows best with afternoon part shade to shade in the peak heat of the day as it prevents the plant from wilting.

Grow in zone Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9

Get Your Garden Ready for Planting

Ready the the garden site for the tiger lilies by removing the sod and then loosen the soil to 8 inches. Use your hands to break up the soil clumps. If you are planting more than one tiger lily you would did a hole that is six inches deep with a space of 9 inches apart.  Mix the soil with compost or manure and add some bone meal to the hole and then plant the bulb.  Cover with soil and water well.

Caring for Tiger Lilies

Like the clematis the tiger lily likes its roots shaded so it is best to apply organic mulch around the stems Three inches of mulch will keep the roots cool.  

Another way to provide shade to the tiger lily roots is to plant other perennials.  These plants will provide the shade that is needed. For a contrast you may want to grow purple verbena.  The purple flower of the verbena would be a nice contrast to the orange tiger lily.  The verbena has a spreading growing habit and it would  provide shade for the tiger lily roots.

Cut off spent blooms to encourage repeat blooms. Leave the leaves on the stems and do not cut back the foliage until after a hard frost.  The leaves gather nutrition’s and nourish the bulb for the following season blooms.

Other Tips

Tiger lilies do not make good flowers for cutting.  The stems break easily and the flower is hard to arrange in a vase.

Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the tiger lily flowers.

When shopping for tiger lily bulbs look for them in spring, if you watch the garden store circulars you may be able to get a coupon for a sale price.   Tiger Lilies look best when you grow them in a group; 10 or 12 the tiger lilies will accent your landscape.

Learn more about growing Oriental Orange Tiger Lily Flowers by viewing this You Tube video.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Negotiating Contract for Yard Clean-up

Image credit

Today I met with a client and surveyed the property.  In a word it was a real mess.  They had not addressed the removal of the fall leaves, nor did they clean up the gardens or prune any of the dead branches from the trees.  The lawn was all weeds except for an assortment of naturalized spring bulbs.  

To say the least I was rather overwhelmed looking at the property of 72 x 167, a large yard that needed to be cleaned up and then manicured. 

I needed the work, but this contract would require me to hire lawn service and gardener. So I quoted a high estimate and the client wanted to negotiate at 50% less than my asking estimate. I was their 15Th gardener that had submitted a bid for the job.  I gave the client my business card and told him if he changed his mind or if he had any questions to call me.  I declined the job.  

Garden Services Peace Lily Business Card profilecard

The only reason the job was available was because the property was overgrown and every inch of it needed to be addressed and the client wanted cheap help. I figured it would take 40 hours to get it manicured before I could concentrate on early spring containers and feature gardens and felt my estimate was fair.  

This evening at 7:00 I got a call back and we agreed upon 15% less then my original estimate. 

When it comes to an entire yard clean-up a gardener must look at the entire property and determine if it can be completed by one person or if it is better to hire workers. For this property and the time frame that the client wants all work completed I hired a college student that does lawn service and a gardener to help with weeding.  By hiring students I will save on labor costs, however I will need to oversee the work on a daily basis. 

Even though I accepted the job for less than my asking estimate I am glad that I was able to negotiating a fair gardening contract as it is better to have jobs lined up rather than having nothing on the books. 

Here is a backyard makeover video from You Tube that you may like.