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 the 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. 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 a local garden center. Transplant catnip after the threat of frost has passed 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 the 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 your yard is primarily shaded 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 your 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 a 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 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 backfilling 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 floral fragrance would be enjoyed in our living room. So it is safe to say, that at a young age I loved lilacs.

Lilac seeds appear late summer

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 

Hanging Bird Feeders – Location Matters

 When the squirrel hangs off the side of the feeder or the raccoon knock the feeder to the ground, then you learn quickly that hanging the bird feeder in the right location matters.

My bird feeder hangs from an S-hook from a metal pole that my husband installed in the middle of our yard. It is out in the open with no tree branches around it. This is a good location because animals other than birds cannot get to it.

My neighbor has his bird feeder under the overhang on his garage, the seed never gets wet but every now and then a bird will fly into the garage wall and the squirrel get onto the roof of the garage and work their way down to the bird feeder. The seed falls to the ground and makes an awful mess. Hanging your bird feeder anywhere where the squirrels or raccoon can get to it is not a good location.

Other Tips
Never hang your bird feeder in a location that is close to a window as birds may fly into the window. Best to have the feeder in a location away from your home or garage. Your pole bird feeder should be 8 feet away from buildings, windows, privacy fences, tree branches, and walls.
Prevent squirrels from climbing the feeder pole with a baffle, it is a plastic dome that looks like an umbrella. Wrap it around the pole just below your feeder and this will put a stop to the squirrels from getting to your bird's food. There is also a product called Twirl a Squirrel, it runs on batteries and is a deterrent.
This video will show you how the Audobon baffle works.

Helpful to buy feeders that are made to prevent squirrels from getting the seed. Know that if squirrels are at your feeders then the birds will leave your yard.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Perky-Pet Bird Feeder Product Review

Wildlife and songbird plants grow in my yard and garden and I also hang bird feeders for millet and sunflower seeds. In the past, I did buy the inexpensive plastic feeders but found that they were not quality made and they did not last. Instead of throwing away my money on inexpensive bird-feeders I prefer to invest in copper bird feeders.
Original photograph of my perky-pet copper bird feeder with seed.

While shopping online at I found a copper feeder that worked with my budget. My husband suggested that I use his prime account to buy the feeder since the members do get benefits; sale prices and free shipping. The prime afforded me to buy the perky pet panorama bird feeder at a reduced price plus I did not have to pay for shipping.
Shipping was quick and I received less than ten days. Filling the feeder was easy and the seed was held in the chamber and only dispensed when needed which ensured that the birds were fed fresh seeds.
Other Copper Bird Feeder Benefits
The perch on the side of the feeder allows for more than one bird to visit the same time. The feeder holds two pounds of food which mean I need to fill in the morning only. The copper does not rust and has been outdoors for over a year, looks new. Cleaning this feeder is easy, the remaining seeds fall off when shaken then I rinse it with dawn antibacterial dish soap and let it dry thoroughly before filling with seeds. The copper lid locks securely which keeps the seed inside the chamber. So far the bird feeder seems to be safe from the squirrels and has had no raccoon trying to forage the seed.
You may also like copper bird feeders at There is a nice selection and you may be able to pick up at the store.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring Gardening - Hosta Plants

After the spring rain and a few warm days, I noticed that my hosta plants were coming up. There are quite a few plants that have green leaves and seem to be growing fast. Since the plants have new growth I knew it was time to work in the garden.

Here is a photograph of my spring Hosta Garden.  It was taken after I completed my garden maintenance.
Spring Hosta Garden, with daffodils leaves and mulch

Today I did a hand pulling of the weeds and grasses that were growing in the hosta garden. There was also lilies that had spread into this garden. I dug them up and transplanted to another garden.  Since it is early spring the daffodils plants have green leaves.  I did not cut them back, they will die back naturally.

When the garden maintenance was completed I added some compost that was amended with topsoil and mixed well before adding to the hosta garden. This compost and soil mixture is a good way to feed the plants naturally.

Where I reside we do get a lot of rain in the spring and this rain can cause soil erosion. I decided to add a two-inch layer of cypress mulch around the plants to prevent the compost from washing away. Garden plants do benefit from a mulch application because it helps to deter the growth of weeds, keeps the plant roots cooler in summer and aids in retaining moisture.

Here is a photo card that I created from a photograph of my summer Hosta garden.

Hosta Garden Card