Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are super easy to grow. Just plant them in a sunny spot, give them some water, and watch them do their thing. They’re pretty tough and can handle different types of soil, so that’s a big plus.

A Large Ornamental Grass Sedge Bush

One thing I absolutely adore about ornamental grasses is how they sway in the breeze. It’s like a little dance party happening right in my yard! They bring movement and life to my garden, and it’s oh-so-pleasant to watch them rustle in the wind. It’s like nature’s own little show.

Another great thing about these grasses is how versatile they are. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can choose from tall ones that make a statement or short ones that add a bit of texture. And with different shades like green, blue, white, yellow, and even some sassy reds, you can mix and match to create a stunning display.

Fountain Grass

But their real superstar moment happens when it gets cold. These grasses don’t wimp out when winter rolls around. Nope, they stay standing tall and keep their beautiful colors intact, providing interest and structure to the garden when everything else seems to be snoozing. It’s like having a little winter wonderland right outside your door.

You can combine grasses with flowers to create some beautiful combinations. The soft and feathery plumes of grasses provide a wonderful backdrop to the vibrant colors of flowers, creating a balanced display.

Ornamental Grass and Flowers Together

As another example, a tall ornamental grass like maiden grass could be paired with bright purple coneflowers or delicate pink astilbes, to create a striking contrast in height and texture.

Oh, and did I mention that ornamental grasses are low maintenance? Yeah, that’s right. Once they settle in, they pretty much take care of themselves. You don’t need to prune ’em or fuss over ’em too much. Just let ’em be, and they’ll reward you with their natural beauty year after year.

Ornamental Grass Hedge
Whoever thought grasses couldn’t be amazing on their own never thought to make a border in the middle of nowhere with them.

So, if you’re looking to spruce up your garden with some easy-to-grow, eye-catching plants, give ornamental grasses a try. They’re like the secret sauce that adds that special flavor to your outdoor space. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Happy gardening, y’all!

Purple Phlox

I love phlox flowers because they are simply fantastic! I love how they make the perfect ground cover, transforming dull spaces into vibrant floral carpets. Here’s why phlox flowers are so amazing:

Purple Phlox

Phlox is a versatile and lovely perennial that spreads effortlessly, making it a fantastic choice for ground cover. Once well-established, they create a lush blanket of vibrant, fragrant blooms that will have your garden bursting with color.

Phlox flowers come in various shades, from delicate pastels to vibrant pinks, purples, and whites. You can mix and match different varieties to create a beautiful mix of colors or stick to a single color for a more calming effect.

The best part is that phlox is relatively low-maintenance. They are very hardy and can tolerate a range of growing conditions. Plant them in well-drained soil and give them plenty of sunlight. With proper care, they will reward you with waves of blossoms throughout the summer months.

Phlox also attracts pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds, adding an extra touch of natural beauty to your garden. I love to watch them flit and flutter from blossom to blossom. It really brings my garden to life.

So, whether you want to fill up a sunny spot in your garden or add a burst of color to a drab area, phlox flowers are the perfect solution. They make excellent ground cover, offer a good variety of colors, are low-maintenance, and attract pollinators. It’s no wonder I adore phlox flowers so much, and I’m sure you will too!

Climbing Red Roses

I gotta say, I’m a huge fan of climbing red roses. There’s just something about them that screams elegance and sophistication.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a garden full of these beauties? It’s like having your own personal rose-covered fortress.

Climbing Red Roses

But it’s not just about the looks, let me tell you. These roses are tough as nails. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and still come out looking like a million bucks.

And let’s not forget about the scent. It’s like a sweet, floral perfume that fills the air and makes you feel like you’re in a romantic movie.

Climbing roses produce vibrant red blooms and have the ability to grow vertically, by clinging onto structures such as trellises, fences, or walls. These roses are admired for their ability to create a stunning display of color and add a touch of elegance to any garden or landscape.

Here are some key characteristics and information about climbing red roses:

  1. Growth habits: Climbing roses are vigorous plants that have long, flexible canes. Unlike traditional shrub roses, they are more inclined to grow in a vertical manner, reaching heights of 8 to 20 feet (2.4 to 6 meters) or even more depending on the specific variety.
  2. Blooms: Climbing red roses are known for their beautiful red flowers, which can vary in size and shape depending on the cultivar. The blooms may be single, semi-double, or fully double, and they often have a delightful fragrance. The blossoms typically appear in clusters or large sprays, creating a visually striking effect.
  3. Care and maintenance: Climbing roses require some care and maintenance to thrive. They need a sunny location with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Regular watering, especially during dry periods, is important to keep the plants healthy. Pruning is also necessary to maintain their shape, remove dead or diseased wood, and encourage new growth. It’s generally recommended to prune climbing roses during late winter or early spring.
  4. Support structures: As climbing roses grow, they need support structures to help them climb. This can include trellises, arbors, fences, or walls. The roses have thorns or small prickles on their stems, which aid in clinging onto these structures. It’s important to provide sturdy support to accommodate the growth and weight of the rose canes.
  5. Versatility: Climbing roses can be used in various ways to enhance your garden. They can be trained to climb up walls, fences, or pergolas, creating a stunning vertical display. They can also be grown along garden pathways or used to cover unsightly structures. Additionally, climbing roses can be trained into standards or grown as free-standing shrubs, offering flexibility in garden design.
  6. Popular climbing rose varieties: There are numerous varieties of climbing red roses available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular choices include ‘Don Juan,’ ‘Blaze,’ ‘Crimson Glory,’ and ‘Altissimo.’ It’s advisable to research specific varieties and their growth habits to choose the one that best suits your preferences and gardening conditions.

Red Roses

Climbing red roses are beloved for their striking beauty and ability to transform any garden or landscape into a romantic haven. Their vertical growth habit and vibrant red blooms make them a favorite choice for gardeners seeking a visually captivating and fragrant addition to their outdoor spaces.

So yeah, I’m definitely adding climbing red roses to my garden. It’s a no-brainer.

Dandelions: More than Just A Weed

Few plants are as ubiquitous as the dandelion. Found in every continent except Antarctica, this hardy little plant has long been a source of food and medicine. In recent years, however, the dandelion has been buffeted by changing attitudes. Once considered a weed, it is now viewed as a valuable resource, with a potential to revolutionize the food and beverage industry. So pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of dandelion tea – it’s time to learn more about this fascinating plant.

Yellow Dandelions

What are Dandelions and What Do They Look Like?

Dandelions are flowering plants in the Asteraceae family. They are native to Europe, Asia, and North America, and they have been introduced to many other parts of the world. The most distinctive feature of dandelions is their bright yellow flowers. The flowers are surrounded by a ring of green sepals, and they are followed by round, fluffy seed heads. Dandelions are very hardy plants, and they can often be found growing in lawns, meadows, and wastelands. When the seed heads mature, they detach from the plant and float away on the wind, spreading the dandelion’s pollen far and wide.

What are the Benefits of Dandelions?

While most people consider dandelions to be nothing more than pesky weeds, they actually have a number of benefits. For one, they are a source of food for a variety of animals, including bees, butterflies, and birds. Dandelions can also be used to make a variety of herbal remedies for humans. They are packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. In addition, dandelions have been used medicinally for centuries to treat liver and digestive problems. Today, dandelion root is even being studied as a potential treatment for cancer.

One of the most important benefits of dandelions is that they help to replenish the soil with nutrients. Dandelions have a deep taproot that helps to break up compacted soil, and their leaves are rich in nitrogen and other minerals. As the dandelions go to seed, they also deposit a large amount of pollen, which is an important food source for bees and other pollinators. Additionally, dandelions are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, providing an early source of nectar for hungry bees. In this way, dandelions play an important role in supporting a healthy ecosystem.

Bee Feeding on Dandelion Nectar

So the next time you come across a dandelion in your yard, take a moment to appreciate its many benefits.

How to Harvest and Use Dandelions

Dandelions are one of the most common “weeds” in North America, but they can also be a valuable herbal remedy. The entire plant is edible, and dandelion leaves can be used to add a bit of bitterness to salads or cooked greens. Dandelion flowers can be used to make a variety of beverages, like coffee, tea, and even wine. The flower heads can be fermented with sugar and water to produce a sweet, slightly sparkling wine. The roots can be roasted and ground into a coffee substitute. In addition, dandelion extract is often used as a natural diuretic and liver tonic.

Dandelion Tea

To harvest dandelions, simply pull up the entire plant, roots and all. Rinse the dirt off the roots, then chop them into small pieces. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and the flowers can be steeped in boiling water to make tea. Dandelion root can also be roasted and ground, or boiled and simmered to make a syrup. Whatever way you choose to use them, dandelions can add both flavor and nutrition to your diet.

Recipes that Include Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are a nutritional powerhouse, and they can be used in a variety of recipes. For example, dandelion greens can be sautéed with garlic and olive oil for a simple side dish, or they can be added to soups and stews for extra flavor and nutrition. Dandelion greens are also a healthy addition to smoothies and salads. Use them in place of spinach in recipes like lasagna or spanakopita.

When cooked, they have a similar texture to spinach or Swiss chard, and a slightly bitter taste that is similar to arugula or endive.

When shopping for dandelion greens, look for fresh, crisp leaves that are deep green in color and free from blemishes. Avoid dandelion greens that have yellowed or withered leaves, as these may indicate that the greens are past their prime, and will be tough and bitter. They can usually be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. To ensure the freshest dandelion greens possible, try to buy them from a local farmers market.

Dandelion Greens with Garlic

Check out this recipe for Dandelion Greens with Garlic

To clean the greens, simply rinse them under cold water. If the greens are particularly sandy, you may want to soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes before cooking.

When cooking dandelion greens, it is important to not overcook them, as this will make them tough and difficult to chew. Instead, cook them for just a few minutes so that they retain their nutrient-rich properties.

With a little creativity, dandelion greens can be a delicious and healthy way to add some extra nutrition to your meals. And there are many delicious recipes that include dandelion greens, so be sure to try one today!

Dandelion Crafts

Dandelions are more than just weeds – they can also be used to make a variety of beautiful and unique crafts! While most people think of them as pesky plants that need to be removed from their yards, dandelions can actually be used to create everything from jewelry to home décor.

For example, dandelion seeds can be used to make earrings and necklaces, while the flowers can be used to make colorful headbands and bracelets, wreaths and garlands. The bright yellow petals can be used to decorate cards or scrapbooks, and the flowers can even be pressed and made into jewelry. Dandelion heads can also be dried and used to fill decorative vases or bowls.

Dandelion Headband

Dandelions can also be used to make natural dyes. The flowers can be steeped in hot water to produce a yellow dye, or the leaves can be boiled to create a green dye. These dyes can be used to color fabric, paper, or even Easter eggs.

So the next time you see a dandelion, don’t reach for the weed killer – reach for some glue and scissors instead! With a little imagination, you can turn these humble plants into one-of-a-kind works of art.

Dandelion Folklore and Mythology

The dandelion is a plant with a long history, and it has been the subject of many stories and legends over the years.

In folklore, dandelions are sometimes known as “wish flowers,” as it is said that if you blow on a dandelion puffball, your wishes will come true.

The dandelion’s name is thought to come from the French dent de lion, or “lion’s tooth”, and it was once believed that picking a dandelion would result in being bitten by a lion. A less frightening explanation is that “lion’s tooth,” is a reference to the plant’s jagged leaves.

Field of Dandelions

In other parts of Europe, the plant was associated with witches, and it was said that if you placed a dandelion under your pillow, you would dream of the witch who would cast a spell on you.

In China, meanwhile, the dandelion is considered to be a symbol of good luck, and it is often given as a gift to new mothers.

Whether considered to be lucky or unlucky, there is no doubt that the dandelion has had a fascinating impact on human culture.

In Closing

The dandelion is a plant with a long and interesting history. It has been used for food, medicine, and even crafts over the years, and it continues to be an important part of many cultures around the world. So the next time you see a dandelion, take a moment to appreciate this humble plant – you may be surprised by how much it has to offer!

Beautiful Fall Leaves

Leaves get their green color from chlorophyll, contained in cells within the leaves. Chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis, it captures sunlight to produce plant sugars. As days grow shorter and temperatures cool in the fall, trees stop producing chlorophyll, some earlier than others. Fall Leaves

Without chlorophyll to capture sunlight, other pigments contained in the cells of leaves become more visible. These other pigments are called accessory pigments, they include carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids absorb blue and violet light and reflect yellow and green wavelengths, which is why they appear yellow to the human eye.

Fall Tree

Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins absorb blue and green light and reflect red wavelengths, which is why they appear red to the human eye. These accessory pigments are present in leaves all year long and some accumulate higher than others in the fall. Fall Trees at the Park

Why Are The Trees More Colorful Some Years?

The amount of sunlight and temperature conditions determine if trees will turn more colorful in the fall. Trees that grow at higher elevations or towards the poles may turn red and yellow earlier than those growing closer to the equator, which is why we see some trees with brilliant colors while others nearby are still green.

Beautiful Fall Leaves

Also, years with abundant rainfall will produce more colorful fall leaves, while dryer, or even drought conditions will cause trees to skip their brilliant color phase in the fall.

Forcing Tulips in Water

Forcing tulips in water is a fun, easy, and a unique way to present tulips that most people have not seen before.

Tulip Bulbs in Water

I think showing the natural beauty of the bulb is a pure, modern, and minimalist approach to floral design.  Tulips Growing in Water

Give it a try. Tulip Blooms in Water

 

 

Tips For Growing Hydrangea

The Hydrangea is a lovely flowering shrub that comes in several colors such as red, pink, blue and white. The blossoms are usually large and beautiful to look at. Some of the different varieties have blossoms that are a mixture of colors.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are an excellent addition to any yard or garden. They produce flowers from mid-summer into the fall when many other plants have quit blooming, so they can be enjoyed for a longer period of time than most shrubs and perennials. Their beauty is complemented by their ease of care which makes them even better! Hydrangea borders look very nice along with group plantings where you want variety, but don’t need anything too large because planting space can get expensive quickly if used up on larger specimens like trees and bushes.

Hydrangea in Container

Hydrangea in a container

Hydrangea flowers can be blue, pink or purple depending on aluminum levels in the soil. Blue flowers grow in acidic soils with a pH of less than 5.5, pink ones are produced by soil that is more alkaline and has a higher pH value (greater than 5.5), whereas white flowers don’t care about the acidity levels at all!

Hydrangea bushes

Hydrangea Hydrangea is a genus of 70 species of flowering plants native to Asia and North America. The flower heads are produced in large clusters, ranging from small flowers 1 cm (0.4 inch) diameter to big chunky 8cm (3 inch). They flower in summer through fall. Hydrangeas have become popular as garden shrubs in temperate areas. They are popularly known as hydrangea bushes.

Here is an excellent article from the Farmer’s Almanac on how to plant, grow, and prune hydrangea.

Sweet Angel Vine

Angel Vine can be grown indoors or outside, as a houseplant or an outdoor plant. If you want your angel vine to thrive, it needs lots of sun. Make sure the soil is moist but well drained so that its roots stay dry and prevents rotting. Sweet Angel Vine in Pot

The parts of an Angel vine plant are extremely toxic to humans and animals, especially the seeds! It is a good idea to keep these plants up high up so curious cats, dogs, or children cannot take a bite from them. If you suspect your pet or child has ingested any part of this plant, consider it a medical emergency.

Grow Your Own Green Onions

Grow your own green onions…much faster than celery. Next time you buy green onions, save the bulb and toss it in a jar of water…you’ll have a whole new bunch in 12 days!

Grow Green Onions

To grow green onions:

  • Place the white ends in water in a sunlit window
  • After a few days green shoots will begin to appear
  • Transfer onions to a glass or jar
  • Use scissors to cut off onion greens as needed
  • Replace water as needed. 

You can keep doing this indefinitely…the onion will just regrow!

This method also works for leeks and shallots.

Green onions are healthy too, they are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and folic acid. So not only are they delicious, they’re good for you!