Monday, March 27, 2017

Love Butterflies Then Grow Echinacea

If you love butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds then grow Echinacea flowers in your garden. This daisy-like wildflower is actually a herb that has a pinkish-purple flower. Commonly called coneflowers this plant is easy to grow from seed in a sunny garden with well-drained soil.
I grow echinacea in my herb garden and in my wildflower garden. If you have a large area then growing this flower is masses is wonderful especially if you grow with white Shasta Daisies and yellow Black-eyed Susan flowers. Echinacea is also will grow to the height of 3 feet and it is best to grow it in the back with other flowers and grasses in front of it. 
Here is a photograph of Echinacea being grown with black-eyed Susan’s and ornamental grasses.

How to Grow
Plant your seeds indoors 6 weeks prior to last spring frost. I find the best way to plant the seed is in starter kits. You can shop for grow kits at in the garden center or make your own. A Small container with good drainage is needed to hold the potting soil or peat pellet. Then use a pencil with an eraser to press the seed into the center of the soil. Do not plant too deep, a half inch is fine. Cover the seed with soil and water.

Grow the seeds next to a sunny window or under an artificial grow light. Check the soil daily to make sure it is evenly moist but not wet. Never let the soil dry out as it is hard on the seedlings. Germination should occur in 7-10 days.
Transplanting Outdoors
When seedlings stems are 6 inches in height with leaves and the threat of spring frost has passed you would transplant Echinacea to an outdoor garden.

Plant in a garden that has full sun and well-drained soil. Space the plants 18-inches apart to prevent overcrowding.
Maintain your echinacea by watering daily with dripline soaker hose in the morning.

The flowers will bloom in the summer and continue to bloom throughout the warm months in fall. I recommend feeding them monthly with Miracle-Gro Liquafeed bloom booster flower food.
Remove spent blooms to encourage new flower buds.
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Outdoor Decor for Your Deck

Decks come in a variety of sizes and people will decorate them with mix and match patio furniture, or they will use their deck as an outdoor living room and decorate with patio furniture and outdoor and accessories.

There are many ways to add decor to your decks. Simple modifications can be added to improve the ambiance or you can go all out with an outdoor fireplace. When you add decor to your deck you will see it come alive. This area will be appealing to the eye and welcoming to your family and friends.

Lovely Rattan table but this deck needs some decor

Decorate the seating area on deck with outdoor pillows. Throw pillows with a color pattern that will compliment the cushions on my patio set. These pillows will make the outdoor space more comfortable and eye appealing.

Another way to decorate your deck is to set up a freestanding or tabletop fountain (with or without lights) 
Adding outdoor throw pillow make the chair more inviting

The background sound of water cascading down the rocks will help you to relax. When the nights are cool you may want to warm up next to an outdoor fireplace. I found an Outdoor Sonoma Gas Fireplace Surround at and it would look fantastic on a deck with cozy seating area close by.  

Another way to decorate your deck and add ambiance is to grow aromatic herbs in containers. A container garden on the deck is appealing, fragrant with pretty flowers. Choose a variety of aromatic herbs and also grow herbs that repel mosquito and other insects.

You do not have to spend a lot of money to change the look of your deck. Here is a deck that I designed for a customer. I hope that the blue outdoor decorations inspire you to decorate.