Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Love Hostas? - Then You Will Love "The Hostapedia"

Normally I do not write on books, but The Hostapedia by Mark R. Zilis has become the most used book in my gardening library (and it is starting to look the part). I grow hostas and I have been learning how to hybridize them. I purchased this book for many reasons. The main reason being to learn more information on each individual hosta that grows in my garden. The Hostapedia contains over 7,400 informational descriptions of hostas all listed in alphabetical order. I have not found a hosta in my garden, customer's gardens or the local nurseries that were not in this book. The book contains growing information from starting from seed to the mature plant. The information on hybridizing has been excellent for someone like myself, who is learning. The Hostapedia includes information on developing new hostas, patents, trademarks, breeder rights and how to register that new hosta plant. Did I mention photos? The Hostapedia has over 1,897 colored photos and has helped in identifying my plants along with increasing my wish list for new plants. The Hostapedia is a great reference book and with all that information, it is also a HEAVY book (1,125 pages). If you are looking for a new book to add to your gardening library, I would suggest adding The Hostapedia by Mark R. Zilis.

Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

Don't forget to pick!

Share Your Favorite Gardening Tips

We all have them. Those tips, short cuts and ideas that make gardening easier. I am developing a blog post on gardening tips. If you have a favorite gardening tip that you would like to share, please leave your gardening tip and name in the comment section.

Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

Friday, January 22, 2010

Garden Stepping Stone Project

Here are some cute stepping stones that you can make for your garden. The items that are used can be "found" items from around the house or the children's toy box. If you look at the stepping stones you can see rocks, marbles, buttons, shells, rubber snakes and insects, foam cut outs, beads, tools and even a dog leash. The stepping stones can be themed around your garden area. You might want to use bugs, insects and toys for a children's garden or bugs, fish and toads around a pond. There are limitless ideas for these stepping stones.

Here is how you can make them for your garden.

1. Use old metal round, square or rectangle cake pans, plastic dish pans or plant saucers for the form. Make sure that you use a piece of plastic over your work area. I would suggest that you also use disposable gloves to protect your skin.

2. Spray the inside of the form with spray cooking oil. This will help the cement to release from the form when it dries.

3. Mix up some Quikrete cement using 1 part cement to 5 parts water. The mix should be the thickness of a brownie mix.

4. Fill the form about 1 inch deep, then level and smooth the cement. Add a piece of screen wire over the cement that has been cut 1/2 inch smaller than the form. Add another 1 to 1 1/2 inches of cement over the screen. Smooth and level the cement. Tap the sides of the form to remove air bubbles.

5. Allow the cement to set for about 30 to 60 minutes then add your decorations. Lightly push them down into the moist cement.

6. The stepping stone should dry for 2 to 3 days, then you can remove it from the form.

7. Your stepping stone needs to dry 1 week before taking it outdoors. I would suggest applying a coat of clear cement sealer to help preserve your new stepping stone before you move it to the garden.

Hope you have fun with this project and Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

Don't forget to "pick".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Gardens of Garfield Park

For those of you who are in cold climates, it is nice to see something green and growing. This was a visit to a local garden in my area. Garfield Park is a 136 acre park located on the south side of Indianapolis, Indiana. The gardens are three acres of European classical formal in style. They were designed by German landscape architect George Edward Kessler in 1916. The park consist of the sunken gardens and a beautiful 10,000 square foot conservatory of lush tropical plants.

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Hope you enjoyed the garden tour and if you visit Indianapolis you might want to see the gardens at Garfield Park.
Happy Gardening!
The Creative Gardener
Don't forget to pick!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ideas for Garden Ponds

Ponds can come in all sizes and shapes for the garden. Ponds come as kits with pumps, filters and liners, prefabricated ponds or purchased as individual pieces depending on your needs. Installation does take time and some digging, but even the amateur can install a small garden pond. There is a pond for every price range.

This is a pondless pond and it is nice if you have pets, small children or limited space. This pond is easy to install.

Lights add interest to the pond at night.

If you have the space, add a streambed to your pond to give it a natural look.

Add a waterfalls to your pond for that wonderful sound effect.

Ponds can be made of cement block and liners.

Add different sizes of rock and small river rock for a natural look.

Add a little wimsey!

Cover the liner edge with rock and the bottom of the pond with small river rock. Conceal the liner as much as possible.

Add shrubs, moss and assorted perennials to accent your pond.

Moss covered rocks add a natural look.

Add limbs, driftwood and other nature related items around the pond for a natural look.

Ponds attract wildlife into the garden and also add winter interest.

If you would like to install a pond into your garden, spend some time reading on installation and maintenance. Check on city codes, zoning or home association rules before installation along with where underground utilities are located before digging. If you are using a pump, remember that you will need electricity to that area. If you want to maintain fish during the winter, make sure the pond is deep enough. Now is a good time to start investigating for spring installation.

Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

Don't forget to pick!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

'Annabelle' Hydrangea in Pink!

Photo Courtesy of Proven Winners -

For those of you who love those beautiful white 'Annabelle' Hydrangeas, you will be happy to hear that Proven Winners now has a pink one named 'Invincibelle Spirit'. I love hydrangeas and I have many different varieties in my garden. 'Annabelle' has always been my favorite because it always produces lots of flowers even if the winter has been very cold. The flowers are huge and provide color for a long time in the garden. When I heard about 'Invincibelle Spirit', I had to check it out. I found a local nursery that will have it available this spring and it is at the top of my wish list for my garden this year.
'Invincibelle Spirit' also produces large flower heads that are just a bit smaller than 'Annabelle'. It grows in zones 3-9 and can take sun to part shade. It is very hardy and easy to grow. It produces large pink blooms from mid-summer till frost. Buds are produced on new wood, so winter die back will not keep it from producing all those beautiful flowers. It grows from 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

Photo Courtesy of Proven Winners -

If you would like to know more about 'Invincibelle Spirit' and all the other Proven Winner plants, check out their web site on my gardening links.

Happy Gardening !

The Creative Gardener

Don't forget to pick.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Water Feature Ideas for the Garden

It is always relaxing to walk in a garden and to hear the sounds of water. Not only is it relaxing to the soul but the sounds of water also attracts the wildlife to the garden. If you have been thinking about adding a water feature to your garden, here are some ideas from recycled to the elegant and elaborate.

You can make a nice water feature by using cement block available at most hardware stores. You will see the block used again in additional pictures.

Large urns make beautiful water features.

Just a simple cast cement birdbath water feature.

Three stacked stones make up this pondless water feature.

A combination of stone and river rock with upright stones that have been drilled make up this pondless water feature. The moss on the stones helps age the water feature.

Add a light to your water feature for viewing at night.

What a great way to turn your storage shed into a water feature.

This water feature is a prefabricated pond sunk into the ground with a bird bath as the fountain.

Add some fire and water together for the garden.

Large ceramic urns make nice water features and they come in all size, shapes and price ranges.

This water feature makes good use of a recycled grate.

This is a small sunken container with a split log for the water to run down. This would be nice for a woodland garden.

For those who like the unusual and recycled, here is a bathtub with mosaic work on the sides. Note the shower head delivers the water to the tub. This would be great for the eclectic garden.

Three cast iron urns standing in a pond make up this water feature.

A wall fountain can be self contained as a water feature or as a feature in a much larger pond.

How about a nice bronze water feature for the garden.
I hope you found some ideas that might work in your garden for next year!
Happy Gardening and check back for my next post on a "pink" Annabelle Hydrangea for your garden.
The Creative Gardener
Don't forget to pick!

'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood

Years ago, I purchased a very small tree that was only 6 to 8 inches tall. It was a 'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood. It had beau...