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.

Beautiful Succulent Projects

Now that I am having success with many of my succulents (thanks to their summer growth spurt!), I am in search of ways to make them really stand out in my garden.

I looked through some vacation photos of mine from about a year ago. When we were wandering some of the beach shops, we came across one shop that had a cute little ball of moss with a couple flowery looking succulents attached to the top. It was hung by a bow from the shop sign. I had never seen anything like it, and it is probably the time I first started to see succulents in a different, pretty way.

Though that photo reminded me of our family vacation, it didn’t answer an obvious question: How in the heck do you make that so the plants stay alive?!

So after a little research, I found a couple amazing tutorials to show us how to do just that!

Pine Cone Succulents
Photo Source: theinspiredhomeandgarden.com

This adorable pine cone project would make for a fun way to hang plants from patio rails, porch lights and even fence posts! I just love how the use off all natural items looks so beautiful and fresh! I wonder if a little battery operated tea light could be added to the center to make for stunning backyard party decorations?

Succulent Ball
Photo Source: Martha Stewart via www.apartmenttherapy.com

Visit this site for a VERY simple tutorial in creating this amazing ball of succulents. The concept could work for other items like wreaths, topiaries, etc.

I am very excited to try my hand at these projects – if I can get them made and growing now, they would make for some cheap, expensive-looking hand-made holiday gifts!

My New Love – Propagating Succulents

I have never been a huge cactus fan, mostly due to the crazy amounts of spikes and prickly fuzz.

succulents

However, I recently began to enjoy the beautiful blooms and flower-like shapes of the succulents at a home on my running path. The garden is full of poke-free, drought-tolerant, beautifully colored plants. They arranged in such a nice manner that the yard looks absolutely stunning. Expensive, even.

I had the opportunity to speak with the home owner, who was extremely kind and gave me a quick tutorial in succulent growth and propagation – even sent me home with a few leaves in my running shorts pockets to give it a try! I have since been hooked!

The greatest thing about succulents is the minimal amount of water they take. I currently water 2 times a week, depending on the heat. This is because most succulents grow more in the spring and summer months. In the winter, I have read that you should water just once a week, maybe even every other week as the plants go into a dormant phase during colder seasons.

I have had mostly great luck in propagating from leaves. I started with the few I was given, then got more from a couple plants I found outside a few restaurants and homes I run by. If I see the homeowner, I be sure to ask first… but if I don’t, I guess I figure they won’t mind me taking just one or two leaves, so long as I don’t damage the plant and it is large enough they won’t miss 1 leaf! Give me your opinions on this, as I don’t know the proper succulent-leaf-taking etiquette!

Propogating Succulents

Photo Source: needlesandleaves.net

To refresh my memory, I found a very simple tutorial (see image link above) that has a method I have found to work very well with most plants. I find that some leaves like more water than others (or maybe I am giving them too much sun, so the soil just dries faster?), and some that prefer to have more sand in the mixture. Visit Needles + Leaves for the great tutorial.

One type of succulent that I have yet to be able to propagate is Aloe. I have actually read many tutorials, watched many videos and am embarrassed that many people say it is the easiest to work with! I can’t believe I have tried a dozen leaves and can’t seem to get one started – the EASIEST ONE?!

I have tried so many methods, from laying pieces on top of the soil as shown by Needles + Leaves, to burying the leaf upright in the soil, no water, moist soil, dipped in honey (that idea seemed weird, but I gave it a shot…), fresh off the mother plant, allowing the end to dry/scab over, and even buying a rooting powder. Not one method has worked for me!

 

Propogating Aloe

Photo Source: www.wikihow.com

My next attempt will be to try this tutorial from WikiHow, partly shown above. PLEASE, if anyone has a tried and true method for Aloe, be sure to let me know by email or in the comments to share with everyone!

Just a quick shout-out to my friend, who has been kind enough to let me slice a dozen or more aloe leaves off the plants in his backyard for practicing each failed method! Thank you!

DIY Strawberry Planters

Strawberries are my favorite fruit and my favorite dessert (with cake and whipped cream, of course).

Strawberries

Growing them, however, can be challenging for some. They require quite a bit of space if you want them nice and plump, and if you have birds and rabbits about your yard like we do, it can be tough to keep them away. They best solution I have for scaring off the birds is Christmas tree tinsel. I like to tie it or staple a few pieces to the planter box, or tie it to some wire and poke it right into the soil. This allows it to really move in the breeze, making it seem more alive and “scary” to the birds.

As far as the space issue and rabbit issue, I like to use vertical containers. The rabbits have a harder time getting to the berries, especially if you set them up higher on blocks. Vertical containers also allow for growing more fruit in a smaller square foot area of your yard or on your deck or patio! I am a huge fan of space saving, and if you are looking to do the same, then vertical is the way to go.

How do you get started in vertical strawberry growing? Below are a few tutorials to help you build your own containers and get growing!

Strawberry Planter

Image Source: prakticideas.com

Tall Strawberry Planter

Image and Tutorial Source: removeandreplace.com

Pallet Strawberry Planter

Image and Tutorial Source: lovelygreens.com

Notice in this bottom photo that berries are growing out of each layer! It is made from pallets. Be sure to check out all of these great tutorials to see which idea best suits your garden space.

Flower Boxes

Did you know that flower boxes are one of the quickest, easiest ways to clean up the look of your house?

Replace cluttered potted plants on your doorstep or patio areas with flower boxes filled with fresh, beautiful plants or flowers. The look will make your house feel homier to family and friends, add the illusion of added value to your home and just clean up the area in general!

While window boxes are the first thing people think of when considering flower boxes, remember there are more options on the market. Flower boxes can can line the perimeter of your house or yard, they can rest on the beams of some covered patios, they can even hang from the fence that separates you from your neighbor.

Flower Box 1

Source: www.hooksandlattice.com

Flower boxes don’t have to be built out of wood and have that country feel to them. The aluminum box above looks elegant and very stylish, making it a great option for most any style house. If you are looking to make this style even cleaner or simpler, use one long flower box liner pot in black or white. Growing things like succulents or herbs can also minimize the traditional flower box look and look classy in more architectural or modern style homes.

Flower Box 2

Photo: HomeDepot.com

Don’t have a window to use for a flower box? Or maybe you are just looking to update your deck? Check out this box which holds on to your deck railing. This great idea adds instant color and style to your yard.

Summer Bulbs

To me, planting bulbs is a confusing task. It requires you to know what flowers you want and what time of the year they bloom. And if you really, truly want them – well, you better have it on your calendar seasons in advance!

Dahlia

Dahlia image from BHG.com

True gardeners keep calendars of their blossoms so you can prepare yourself for each season. I compare it to buying holiday gifts for people a year in advance – I like to get gifts on clearance to save some serious cash, but it requires having a list prepared for who you are buying for and what age they will be the following year!

My absolute favorite summer bulb flower is the Dahlia. The detail in these amazing flowers is truly one of the most beautiful you will ever have in your garden. I just love how the petals appear to be painted on by some talented artist.

Dahlias are a difficult flower to plant and grow, in my opinion, as they need a lot of maintenance. First you must keep the planted bulb indoors about six weeks prior to planting outdoors. During this time, they should be place in a room that gets plenty of sun through the window and be kept moist. If you live in an extremely cold area, be sure not to plant outside until after the last frost of the season. I usually plant my seedlings no more than three to four inches deep in the soil and keep a distance of about one and a half feet between each.

For more information on summer bulbs, visit our image source BHG.com.