Monday, March 24, 2014

What Does It All Mean?


If you read gardening magazines or catalogs, you have probably seen words like heirloom, open pollinated and hybrid, just to name a few. You may have scratched your head and thought to yourself  "What does that mean?".
Here are a few of the words and what they mean to you, the gardener.

Heirloom - An heirloom is a variety of plant that has been in cultivation for more than 50 years. It is open pollinated (OP) by bees, birds and other insects and is passed down from generation to generation.

Open Pollinated or OP - A seed that produces offspring just like the parent plant. The plant is pollinated by bees, wind or insects. The plant produce seed that will come true year after year.

Cross Pollinated - Cross pollination is the transfer of pollen from one plant to a different plant of the same species. This process can be done by insects, humans, wind or birds.

Organic - Crops that are grown without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.

Genetic Modified Organism or GMO - A plant whose genetic material has been changed using genetic engineering techniques.

Hybrid - A hybrid is created when humans intentionally cross-pollinate two different varieties or species to produce an offspring containing the best traits of the two parent plants. Traits could be flavor, size, shape, color, disease resistance or more. This is not a GMO plant. Hybrid plants are not true to type or better said, don't save the seed because you will not get the plant you had before. If you see F1, it is a hybrid.

Self Pollination - These are plants that have perfect flowers. Self pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of the same flower. They do not need help from bees, birds, insects or humans for pollination.

Annual - A plant that completes it's life cycle, starting from seed to seed in one growing season.

Perennial - A plant that lives from year to year.

Hope that this helps to explain those terms when picking your seed for your garden.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Creative Recycled Garden Decor

This recycled item would be found on a vehicle.
I made my annual trek to the Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show this week. The gardens were beautiful and I really enjoyed seeing everything green, growing and blooming again. This year, I really liked some of the ways that the landscape companies that design the gardens got really creative and recycled many objects that would have found their way into landfills.

Take a look at each picture and try to figure out what was recycled. I will give you a few hints along the way.

This fountain is made from what?

This pendant light is a recycled item that would be found on top of a tank.

This recycled bar stool is made from something that once contained an alcoholic beverage.

Behind this outdoor television are panels made from what?

This pergola has a ceiling and two side walls made from what?

This outdoor fountain is made from what?
Did you figure out what some of the recycled items were? I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures and now you can get creative in your garden.
Happy Gardening!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Growing Amaryllis for Indoor Winter Bloom

This pink and white amaryllis is now in bloom and it is stunning. The amaryllis to the left in the picture is still in bud and showing the red color that it will be when it blooms.

This time of year you are ready for flowers and getting outside in the garden again, however it is still winter, it's cold and the snow is still on the ground. What do you do? Why not grow an amaryllis and enjoy those big beautiful flowers inside.
Amaryllis are easy to grow. In my zone, they can be found in many stores and they are being sold for Christmas gift giving. You can buy them with the bulb, container and soil all in one package. You simple fill the container with soil, add the bulb, water and wait for the plant to bloom which is about 4 to 6 weeks.

Once your bulb blooms, now what do you do? You could throw it away or enjoy it another year.

If you want to keep your bulb for another year, here are some simple steps to follow:
  • As your flowers fade, remove them from the plant. When all the flowers are gone, cut the flower stalk where it emerges from the bulb. Do not remove the green leaves. 
  • You can place your potted bulb outside for the summer. Continue to fertilize and water regularly until late fall. You can fertilize using 10-10-10 or a liquid plant food. This is the time that the bulb is storing nutrients needed for the next growing cycle.
  • When late fall comes, stop watering the bulb and allow the leaves to dry out. Place the potted bulb inside and in a cool dark area of around 50 to 60 degrees for about 8 weeks. You can leave the bulb in the same container for storage. Periodically, check on the bulb, but do not water.
  • When you start to see new growth, add some additional new soil to the top of the container and fertilize. Make sure that you do not cover the top of the bulb with soil. Place your bulb in a sunny location in your house and start regular watering.
  • When the flower stalk starts to grow, you will need to rotate the container to keep the flower stalk tall and straight as it grows. Now just wait for the beautiful flowers to grow and bloom. 
Your amaryllis can grow in the same container for several years before you will need to move it to a larger container. When the bulb becomes tight in the container, it is time to plant it into a larger container.

Happy Gardening,


'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...