Thursday, March 31, 2016

Capstone Garden Path

One mans trash is treasure for me. My neighbor set at the curb concrete capstone, 6 slabs and husband brought them home. We recycled the capstone by adding the stones to our preexisting garden path.. Thanks to the capstone finds I was able to extend the garden path and it really makes the yard look nice
It did not take long to extend our path with capstone. Husband and I worked on the path together as it was a DIY weekend yard improvement project. View the photograph to see how we spaced the path and then completed it with the cypress mulch. Note the stones are not perfect, but we do not mind. Total cost for this project was under $10. as we got 3 cupric feet of mulch that was discounted at Walmart garden center.

Learn how to install a capstone garden path by reading my blog post YardSale Finds Create Inexpensive Garden Path

Walkers Low Catmint

A few years ago I bought walkers low catmint online at Greenwood Nursery. They shipped me very healthy potted plants, that had green leaves and pretty flowers. These plants were added to my garden and they bloomed throughout the summer season.
Photographs of the plants I received from Greenwood Nursery.  This is how they looked on the day I received them.  I definitely recommend this online nursery for your garden needs.

By the second season these six plants put out runners and filled in a space of 4 x 4, forming a thick mat of green foliage and pretty lavender - blue flowers. The flowers bloomed continually in May and June, then I deadheaded the plants, fed it with miracle grow bloom booster and the catmint bloomed again.
What I like about this plant is that it is maintenance free, pest resistant and it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to my yard. Unlike catnip I noticed that the cats are not interested in the catmint.

I would recommend that you plant in full sun, although it will tolerate some shade in the afternoon. My summers get very hot and where I have planted the catmint there is part shade in the peak of the day followed by late afternoon sun. On average the plants get 6 hours of sun daily. My garden soil is well drained and I water this catmint in the morning with slow drip soaking hose for one hour. By afternoon the soil is dry and I have found that the catmint can hold up and is tolerant of dry soil conditions.

Learn more about this beautiful perennial for your garden here

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Camouflage Fence with Flowering Vines

Talk about an eyesore, the chain link fence needs to be camouflaged. If you are like me and want to hide your ugly chain link fence then do so by growing a flowering vine.

A few years ago a garden friend of mine gave me some “Grandpa Ott” morning gloryseeds. She told me that the morning glory would cover up my six foot chain link fence and that the long blooming flowers would attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

I really liked the garden tips for hiding the fence, with pretty flowers that attracted hummingbirds. So I planted the seeds indoors and then transplanted them outdoors after the treat of spring frost had past.

What I like about this vine is the foliage; both heart shaped leaves and petunia like flowers are attractive. Plus the “Grandpa ott” flower is so pretty; dark purple with magenta pink and yes the vine fills in quickly and does camouflage the ugly link fence.

This vine looks beautiful when grown over a wooden privacy fence.  


Growing from seed is easy provided you soak the seeds overnight before planting. Morning glory is a vigorous vine that fills in quickly forming a dense mat. Flowers will start to bloom in June and will continue to bloom in fall as long as the weather is warm.

Hot Pepper Wax Natural Animal and Insect Repellent

When it comes to repelling plant eating garden pests I prefer to apply organic products rather than chemicals and have been using diatomaceous earth in the soil but found I needed something else for the leaf nibblers. So when the girls at my garden club were talking about a hot pepper wax spray that they used to repel animal and insects; deer, groundhogs, squirrels, aphids, spider mites, leaf hoppers and other garden insects that ate plants I took notes.

The organic pepper spray sounded great, but I wondered if the formula would be too strong for some of my herb plants, since the application was to spray the entire plant including the soil in the garden. Sure enough I was told that some plants are sensitive to the pepper spray and that I should not treat the herbs peppermint, basil, lemon balm or parsley. I am certain there are a few plants in my garden that will be sensitivity to this potent pepper spray so I plan to test the plant by spraying a small amount on a leaf to see what happens, before spraying the entire garden bed.
Know that hot pepper wax should be spayed at dusk, this will allow wax to harden due to the cooler air. Wax would not coat the leaves if sprayed on a sunny day. Make sure that you spray the entire plant, that includes the front and backside of the leaves, the stem, bud and flower, The pepper spray will protect all plants that are treated in the garden from pests, however you must watch for new growth. Anything new will be unprotected.
 On average the pepper spray lasts about two weeks. Know that when you harvest your edible plants that you must wash them with warm water to remove the hot pepper wax. I had a deer take a bite of my lily leaves, the pepper wax did not stop the deer, BUT the deer had a coughing fit, then drank from my pond before leaving my yard. So you bet the hot pepper wax spray works.

Buy hot pepper wax spray for animal and insect repellent at (one gallon concentrate) 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Yard

When it comes time to planting I always plan an area in my yard for annual and perennial flowers that attract hummingbirds. Both my husband and I enjoy watching these birds that come to feed off our flowers. Know that the best way to attract hummingbird to your yard is provide them with their dietary needs and a reliable water source. Then the hummingbirds will visit your yard and gardens daily.

Photographs of hummingbirds in flower garden

Hummingbirds are particular about their flowers as they need flowers that are rich in sugar content and will reject other plants. They will also look for gardens that have insects as they need to nourish their bodies with nutrients.

Decide on the nectar rich plants that you want to grow Buy a variety of flowers that will bloom throughout the summer months.

Here are a few of my favorite flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Asters, Autumn Joy Sedum, Asiatic lilies,
Black-eyed SusanButterfly bush, Chamomile, 
Cardinal flower (red), Chives, Chrysanthemum, 
Clover (white, yellow and red), Coreopsis, Cosmos, Crabapple
Dandelion Dill herb,  Echinacea Coneflowers, 
 Four O'clock flowers, Garden Mint, Happy returns day lily, 
Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lilacs,
 Marigold, Milkweed Mimosa, Parsley, Peony, Purple Phlox,
 Red and Fuchsia Bee Balm, Sage, Sweet Pea, 
Sweet Autumn Clematis, Thyme, , Verbena, Yarrow, and Zinnias.

Buy orange trumpet vine at and attract hummingbirds to your yard. 

Helpful Tips

Keep hummingbird in your yard and garden by installing a bird bath or water fountain. Change out the water daily to make sure that it is fresh. Do not use chlorinated water in the fountain, instead collect rain water for your water fountain. You can also use filtered water.

Provide the hummingbirds with an organic environment by refraining from treating your yard and gardens with chemical based insecticides as these chemicals will poison the hummingbirds and kill off their insect food source.

Hummingbird Wall Decor

Here are some fine art posters and prints that were designed from original photographs by Cris Hayes a world renowned photographer and friend of mine. I am certain that after you view these hummingbirds that you will want to attract them to your yard.

Transplanting Chrysanthemums to Outdoor Garden


Chrysanthemums come in a variety of flower shapes and colors. These flowers will compliment your garden throughout the growing season when other flowers have stopped blooming. They will continue to bloom until very hard frost.

Normally I start chrysanthemums indoors by growing them from seed and will transplant them outdoors after the threat of spring frost has past.

How to Plant Chrysanthemum Potted Plant Outdoors

Get the garden ready for planting chrysanthemums by removing the sod, weeds. Break up the clumps of dirt so that the soil is a fine texture. Then amend the soil with compost.

  1. For nursery grown plant or seedlings dig a hole that is the same depth as your nursery pot plus three inches.
  2. Make a small mound of soil in the center of the hole. This mound will lift the mum up and will aid in proper drainage.
  3. Set the mum plant in the center of the hole on top of the mound and back fill the soil into the hole.
  4. Firm the soil around the mum stem. Water the newly planted mum.

Planting Flower Seed Outdoors

For sowing seeds outdoors, you would make rows that are ¼ inch deep in the soil then add two seeds for one plant, space 18 inches apart.  Cover the seeds and water so that soil is evenly moist but not wet.

Helpful Garden Tips:

Apply organic mulch; pine needles, grass clippings or wood chips around the mum. Mulch will aid in retaining moisture and deter weed growth.

Water chrysanthemums in the morning; provide the plant with moisture up to one inch per week.

Do not allow the soil to dry out.

  • For fall flowers you would pinch off the mum buds when they appear. Stop pinching off buds in August. When you pinch the early buds off the plant will grow fuller and the flowers will be stunning in the fall.
  • For all summer blooms water monthly with bloom boost. Always pinch off the spent flowers, this will encourage new buds.

Growing Chrysanthemums from Seed

Normally I buy chrysanthemums in August to plant in container gardens for fall color. These late season flowers usually do not have time to establish root because the winters may turn cold quickly. So a few years back I decided to start Chrysanthemums in my greenhouse in early spring. Then I transplanted the seedlings into my garden and since they are perennials in my area I enjoy their lovely blooms all summer long and well into the the fall season.

Growing Chrysanthemums from seed is easy plus they are long lived. You benefit from this beautiful flower because the cut stems can be used in floral arrangements, seasonal wreaths and other fall season decorations.

Here are some tips for growing chrysanthemums from seed.

Plant flower seeds in miracle grow potting soil. Best to grow them indoors then transplant outdoors after threat of spring frost has past.

I buy seed starter kits in March and will plant the flower seed. Since I do not have a sunny window I bought a grow light at  The soil in the starter kits is kept moist but not wet. I never let the soil dry out because it would cause the seedling to be stressed.

Transplant chrysanthemum seedlings in spring after the threat of frost has past.  Or when the weather is an average temperature of 70 degrees.

Choose a sunny garden site with rich soil that is well drained. Know that if the soil is wet then the Chrysanthemum will weaken. This particular flower is susceptible to powdery mildew so it is wise to plant in full sun, in an area that has good air flow; away from walls, and not too close to other plants.

Transplant  the mum seedling into a garden bed that has soil that is amended with compost. 

After planting the seedling, keep the soil evenly moist but not wet until the plant roots become established or new growth is noted. Then water in the morning with drip irrigation because.  It is best to not get the leaves wet. Why morning watering?  It is before the heat of the day, when the water evaporates and at dusk this watering will attract fungus and insects.

Here are some garden products that I found at  
Patio and Gardening Supplies Seed Starter Kits and Grow Lights for indoor plants.

Powdery Mildew Treatment - Fungicide

Keep your plants healthy by checking them daily for powdery mildew. If you note a white powdery substance on any part of your plant then know this is a sign of fungus and it is best to treat your plants, soil and all plants that are in the same garden location

Make a soap treatment for the powdery mildew, here is list of ingredients.

1-cup baking soda
4 drops or unscented dish washing liquid
2-quart tepid water

Mix all of the these ingredients in your garden sprayer. Stir well to make sure everything is blended. Then using a pump garden sprayer treat the plant foliage for powdery mildew fungus. For an even spray stand 8 to 10 inches away and spray the plant and soil.

Spray all parts of the plant with solution. Treat all plants that are susceptible to the powdery mildew.

Continue to watch foliage for powdery mildew. Repeat treatment as needed.

Another fungicide  for your garden beds that are close to an area that is infected with powdery mildew or black spot is sulfur dust used as a garden spray treatment.

Mix 8 tablespoons of the sulfur dust with a gallon of water. Put water and sulfur mixture in a gallon size yard and garden sprayer.

Then in the morning before the heat of the day, spray your plants and the soil in the garden, saturate the garden area with the sulfur formula and leave it set for 20 minutes. Then with your garden hose rinse away the sulfur so that it does not harm your plants when sun comes out.

If interested in the sulfur dust treatment for powdery mildew you can buy it a Look for the brand Bonide sulfur dust fungicide.

Here is a video that will show you what powdery mildew looks like.    Learn how to prevent by reading this article  Ways to Prevent Powdery Mildew

6 Ways to Prevent Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungus that will weaken and kill your plants. If left untreated it will infect the entire garden. Powdery mildew looks like a white powdery dust on your plants, it can attack any part of your plant; leaves, stems and flowers. The best way to prevent this powdery mildew is to understand the fungus and know what garden conditions will put a stop to the fungus from attacking your plants.

There are a few things that you can do to prevent powdery mildew. Know that you must check all of your plants for this fungus, even the ones you buy at garden centers.

  1. Shop for and BUY healthy plants with green leaves and strong roots and stay away from the plants that are close outs, not a good idea to nurse them back to health, they may be diseased and make your other plants in garden sick.
  2. Choose your gardens carefully, if your plants require full sun then give them what they need. All plants need airflow, so choose a garden bed that is not next to a wall or privacy fences.
  3. Refrain from planting too close. Overcrowded gardens are attractive to powdery mildew due to the lack of airflow.
  4. Keep gardens weeded. Watch for weed growth and pull out weeds when they are visible.
  5. Remove all dead branches or leaves. Prune to keep plants healthy.
  6. Water plants at soil line with drip irrigation. Avoid getting leaves wet.

Here is a video that will show you what powdery mildew looks like.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Houseplants that Clean The Air

Did you know that the air that we breathe in our homes is polluted with toxins? You would not think so but it is true because these toxins come from the cleaning solvents that we use, paint, varnishes, ammonia, paper and ink products. Even tobacco; second-hand smoke is harmful. If you suffer from allergies, these toxins will cause side-effects like watery eyes, runny nose or asthma. Here are houseplants that will clean the air by naturally removing toxins.

Before you buy houseplants you will need to determine which plants are right for your home. Most people have low light plants in every room or their house because this is the best way to keep the air clean. Otherwise, you would accent your decor with houseplants in high traffic rooms like kitchen, den, and bedrooms. I recommend one large plant and two small plants, for your kitchen and den. Then hang a spider plant or Boston fern in your bedroom and these plants will clean the air. 

Even if the rooms do not have a lot of sunlight, know that these low light plants need indirect light. If you set them close to a lamp or artificial grow light then they will be fine. They will grow well under a floor lamp or table lamp.

Here is a list of air purifying plants that will remove TOXIC pollutants from your home. I found live plants spider plants, peace lily, Boston fern, and English ivy and Areca palm online at  Find these plants at (Patio and Garden) 

Philodendron, Areca Palm, English Ivy, Spider Plant, Peace Lily, and Boston Fern. These plants will purify your home by removing the toxin formaldehyde which is found in paper products and cleaning products that have the formaldehyde ingredient.
Naturally, remove toxins from indoor air with  a Peace Lily

Hang English ivy in an area of your home where there is tobacco. This ivy will naturally purify the air by removing tobacco smoke, chemicals, and the residue.

Breathe easier with the Areca Palm.  The palm is a tree and would look best in a large room tucked in a corner or in front of a window that offers indirect light. The will remove the chemical trichloroethylene the chemical found in ink, paint, lacquer, and varnishes. Palm prefers a warm location that does not have drafts.

Set the peace lily under a floor lamp or in a corner of a room. This plant is easy to grow and prefers indirect light. The peace lily plant has large leaves with an exotic looking white flower. This plant will clean the air in your home by removing the chemical benzene.  This chemical is used in nail polish, paints and adhesives.

When your home air is toxin free you and your family will be healthier and happier. It takes 24 hours for the houseplants to filter the toxins from the air.
Remove toxins from indoor air with  a Spider Plant

Other houseplant benefits:

Know that the houseplants fill the air with negative ions. The negative ions make people feel happy. If there are positive plant ions in the air then people will feel sick.
  1. Houseplants increase the humidity levels in the air and thus your skin in winter will not feel dry.