Flower

Whether you’re planting bulbs, annuals or perennials, flower gardens add a beautiful splash of color throughout the season. While growing flowers is not difficult, there are many decisions that must be made prior to planting. The more closely these choices are based on meeting the needs of your plants, the more likely you are to be successful. Some of the most basic factors to be considered include light, moisture, soil quality and when to plant. Click on the articles below for growing guides, tips and more.

Poinsettias Past Christmas

Christmas PoinsettiaCaring for poinsettia plants after the holidays.

Who hasn’t received a velvety, red-leafed poinsettia as a gift or purchased one or more for their home during the holiday season? And how many of those poinsettias survive the year to flower again next holiday season? Hmmm…

Long ago and far away when I was a school teacher, I was given a beautiful poinsettia by one of my darling, young students. It had obvious problems, planted in a small plastic pot filled with a dry concoction dominated by Styrofoam chips. Obviously, its grower didn’t intend for it to last into the new year. Ignorant of growing poinsettias but generally knowledgeable about what plants needed, we repotted it on the solstice, thereby saving the plant but loosing its blossoms.

With its rootball in a big new home filled with nourishing, compost-laden soil mix, our poinsettia thrived, though it never again blossomed. It seemed to grow best during fall and winter and over the years became something of a twisted bonsai with its circling branches decorated with spare green leaves. (more…)

Venus Fly Traps

Venus Fly TrapBy Kim Haworth

I know this will sound stupid, but I’m sitting in my office weeping into my keyboard because some damn fool stole my Venus Fly Traps. I adored them, and now they are gone. These adorable little plants did everything but talk back to me. All through the summer, they caught everything from yellow jackets to beetles to those big mosquito eaters. I would stop for my morning visit and see the leaves shaking furiously, accompanied by ghastly buzzing. The little plants held onto their pray like grim death. There were even some volunteer Sundews that grew in the same pots with the fly traps and they were absolute murder on the ant population. The little executioners captured everything except spiders, which I have the feeling were too smart to fall for their lures. I have never had plants that gave me so much pleasure, and now they’re with somebody who doesn’t know how to care for them.

It’s not like they looked great or anything. They were well into their dormant period so some of the leaves were black and withered, the saucer was green and scummy and the leaves that were left each held the remnants of a grisly meal. Why would anybody steal something like that? (more…)

Rose Gardening 101

Rose Garden“Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time.” – Edmund Spenser

Roses are one of the most popular plants in flower gardens and landscapes. From delicate tea roses to voluptuous Grandiflora blooms, roses delight all the senses. Roses also have a reputation for being difficult. But like anything, rose gardening is easy… if you know the tips and tricks of the trade.

Select a Site

Before planting your rose garden take some time to determine the best site. If possible, check out the site at different times during the day and different times during the year. (more…)

Flower Gardening 101

Flower GardeningA garden filled with flowers will brighten up and enliven any landscape.

Flower gardens can turn an ordinary area into a colorful showcase or create a border that pops. Whether you choose an easy to manage perennial or a particularly touchy annual, growing flowers is a rewarding addition to any yard or landscape.

Choosing Flowers

Selecting the right plants for your flower garden is often a matter of preference, but with so many species and varieties available it can be mind-boggling. Consider the following when designing a garden: hardiness, color, fragrance, height, time of bloom and size of plant. Do you want to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, or song birds? Or are you trying to create a work of beauty just for you? (more…)

Zinnias

Growing ZinniasLarge, brightly colored blossoms make zinnias a sunny summer-time favorite.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-75 days from seed to flower
Height: 18 to 24 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions

Available in a wide variety of sizes and colors, growing zinnias will satisfy home gardeners for several months each summer. Larger varieties can be used to brighten up annual or mixed borders and are a favorite in cut flower displays. Smaller varieties are well suited for containers and windowboxes or planted at the front of a garden bed.

Zinnias are amoung the easiest flowers to grow and are extremely rewarding with their beautiful colors and long-lasting blooms. Vibrant blossoms are also highly attractive to songbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Plant an array of colors and watch your flower gardens come to life. (more…)

Sweet Peas

Sweet PeasUniquely shaped and sweetly fragrant, sweet pea blossoms add soft, varied color to bouquets and trellised borders.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 55-75 days from seed to flower
Height: 48 to 72 inches
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions

A great climber that’s perfect for fences and trellises! Home flower gardeners are growing sweet peas for their fragrant scent and interesting blossoms. Easy to plant from seed, they add a splash of color to any garden, especially in cool, damp climates.

These classic, cool-season annuals have been a fixture in American gardens for generations. However, they don’t like heat — hot weather stops their flowering — so plant early and mulch well to keep roots cool. Hardy annual. (more…)

Sunflowers

SunflowerA symbol of summer and a favorite of kids, sunflowers can grow to impressive heights or be just knee-high depending on the variety.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-95 days from seed to flower
Height: 2 to 10 feet
Spacing: 4 to 12 inches apart in all directions

Home gardeners are growing sunflowers for their rich colors and large blooms. Easy to plant from seed, they are available in sizes ranging from miniatures at 1 to 2 feet tall — good for edging — to over 10 feet tall with 2 foot diameter blooms. (more…)

Snapdragons

SnapdragonThe heady fragrance and uniquely-shaped flowers blooming on a central spike make snapdragons a landscaper’s favorite.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 80-100 days from seed to flower
Height: 12 to 36 inches
Spacing: 6 to 18 inches apart in all directions

Growing snapdragons (Antirrhinum Majus) provides months of color ranging from pale pastels to vibrant reds and oranges. Native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, they are a favorite flower for cutting and will blossom all winter in warmer climates.

In ancient times snapdragons were thought to have supernatural powers and offer protection from witchcraft. They were also believed to restore beauty and youthfulness to women. Aromatic plants grow 1-3 feet tall. Self-seeding annual. (more…)

Roses: The Queen of Flowers

Rose GardeningOrganic gardeners have been growing roses for well over 2,000 years!

Loved for their beauty and fragrance, roses are cultivated for a variety of landscape effects or for cutting. The members of the genus Rosa are prickly stemmed shrubs with a wide range of heights and growing habits. There are as many as 150-200 species and thousands of varieties, from miniatures (6 inches to 2 feet tall) to climbers that may grow 20 feet or more. Perennial.

Site Preparation

Roses like a good, well-drained soil and will grow best in protected spots with ample water and full sun. Plants require at least 8-10 hours of sunlight per day for optimum growth. (more…)

Petunias

PetuniasThe beautiful, soft-petaled, many-colored petunia is a flower straight from our childhood.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-75 days from seed to flower
Height: 10 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 18 inches apart in all directions

Flower gardeners are growing petunias for their dazzling colors and prolific blooms that continue from early spring until frost. Available in hundreds of varieties, petunias are one of the most popular flowering annuals and are well suited for use in borders, baskets and containers.

Native to South America, the first petunia specimen (Petunia multiflora) was discovered at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata and was white in color. The original plants were hardy, had trailing 2-3 inch stems and incredible scents. These scents have been lost in many of the modern-day hybrid varieties. Fortunately, many of the old fashioned, heirloom varieties are still available to fill the air with their amazing fragrance. Plants grow 10-18 inches tall. Self-seeding annual. (more…)

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