"I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden."
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett
The perfect gift for your favorite gardener on Valentine's Day! Gardens require
planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps
make planning and organizing easy, and is autographed personally by Paul! The
cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a heavy-duty D-ring binder. Includes free
- 8 tabbed sections
- 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags...
- Weather records page
- 6 three year journal pages
- Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
- 3 annual checklist pages
- Plant wish list page
- 2 large pocket pages
- Sheet of garden labels
- 5 garden detail sheets
- 5 graph paper pages for layouts
- 5 photo pages, each holding four 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format
Order early to insure delivery and have Paul sign it for you. Half the price of a dozen red roses--and it lasts for three years! Click here to order online.
It's the middle of winter and difficult to find a good flowering houseplant
that will provide you with weeks and weeks of color and be easy to grow at the
same time. The holidays are over and it's time to visit your local greenhouse
or florist and ask to see their kalanchoe plants, because spring is a long 68
days away and you need flowering plants on your window sill to keep you SANE.
It's been a long winter so far with the holidays, school vacation and the kids.
No snow and now the real cold weather is here. Believe me, the Kalanchoe plant
is just what you need to keep away "Cabin Fever" during the short
days of winter, when it starts to get dark at 4:30 at night.
Kalanchoe is a plant that originated in Madagascar, making it a tropical plant--but
it will tolerate a room temperature of as low as 50 to 55 degrees. This wonderful
plant is in the succulent family and has fleshy leaves that are thick and able
to hold much water for the plant, similar to the hens and chickens you may have
in your perennial garden outside. This plant can tolerate a dry atmosphere and
will do very well in a home heated with forced hot air heat, a wood or coal stove--and
can even be kept near a fireplace. It will also thrive in a sunny window
where many plants wilt, dry up quickly and die.
The leaves are oval and look similar in shape to the African violet leaf,
2 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. The edge of the leaf has unique oval
indentations; it is deep green and very shiny. The plant will grow 10 to 20 inches
tall and the leaves grow in pairs opposite from each other on the fleshy stems.
The flowers develop on a strong stem where the leaf is attached to the main stem
of the plant. This strong stem that grow 3 to 4 inches long and on the end of
the flower stem, small four-petal tubular flowers develop in clusters
3 to 4 inches across. Each flower cluster contains 25 to 50 flowers depending
on the size of the plant.
Plants grow best in a bright direct sunlight or a south facing window in your
home. If you choose to keep the plant over to flower again next year
like many of us do our Christmas cactus, keep it outside during the summer in
a shaded area with the Christmas cactus and treat the plant the same way.
Plants do best with temperatures 55 to 70 degrees and the flowers will last
longer in room with cooler temperatures during the winter months. During the
spring to fall, the warmer the temperature is, the better it is for plant growth
and more flower production during the winter months.
In the late spring or early summer, just before you put the plant outside
for the summer re-pot the plant into a new clean container that is 2 inches larger
in size. Use a good potting soil with a lot of compost or peat moss added to
it--never use garden soil. Once the plant matures and begins to grow large, you
can take stem cuttings to make new plants. Use a rooting powder on cuttings taken
on the tip of the stems--about 3 to 4 inches long. The best time to take cuttings
is in the early spring--April or May; be sure to use a sterilized soil like
a seed starter soil.
You can also take leaf cuttings to start new plants; just dip the stem of
the leaf into rooting powder and place leaf in a small 4-inch pot filled with
seed starting soil. Leaf should form roots in 2 weeks when kept warm and in filtered
sunlight. Keep soil moist at all times but never wet.
Kalanchoe should be watered sparingly during the cooler temperature seasons
and kept moist during the summer months when the weather is warm but never wet.
Always provide good drainage and never allow the plant to set in a saucer of
water. When you put the plant outside for the summer, set it on a well-drained
surface--never in a saucer. Showers can quickly fill the saucer with water and
rot the roots, killing the plant.
During the spring, April to fall, October fertilize the plant every 2 to 3
weeks with a fertilizer like Miracle Grow or Blooming and Rooting plant food.
During the rest of the year, do not fertilize the plant--just enjoy the flowers.
As the flowers fade, cut and remove the faded flower stems with scissors as close
to the main stem as possible.
If you can keep this plant in a room without artificial light, it will continue
to flower most of the winter. If the room you place the plant in becomes dark
naturally and stays dark all night, it will continue to make flower buds. If
you place the plant in a room where you turn on overhead lights, it will make
the days longer and no new flower buds will form.
A healthy and happy plant will have a flush of red on the foliage when kept
in a sunny location during the winter months. If your lower leaves begin to turn yellow or
shrivel you are keeping the soil too dry for the plant. In addition, the leaves are brittle
and break easily, so handle them with care. Like all succulents, the leaf will scab over and
create a brown edge on the damaged leaf preventing, water loss. These are tough plants but handle them with a bit of care to keep them looking good.
Kalanchoe comes in several colors: scarlet-red, yellow, orange, pink and even
white. The flowers are very showy and stay disease-free and insect-free as long as
you give them good air circulation and don't jam them close together with other
plants. Also never mist water on the flowers or foliage as this will increase
the possibility of disease problems and attract insects.
When you choose a plant from your local greenhouse or florist, select a plant with fresh looking, deep green foliage with no sign of damage to it.
You also want many flower stems on the plant and many buds on those stems that have not opened yet so you can enjoy the flowers on the plant longer.
If you like this plant, you will also like the Kalanchoe pumila, a hybrid
hanging variety with silver-blue leaves and small lilac-pink flowers. The foliage
is more toothed along its edge and is more prostrate growing, making a wonderful
plant for a hanging basket in your sunny window. One last thing, these plants
in the Kalanchoe family will grow best in a clay pot, rather than a plastic container.
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It may be January, but I want to recommend a twin pair of shrubs for you to
plant in your yard this spring. Think of colored twigs all winter long, white
flowers in the spring, thick green foliage during the summer, and beautiful,
rich colored fall foliage. These twin shrubs are a bush type of dogwood that
will help get you through the long, cold and snowy days of winter with their
unique brightly colored stems. The rest of the year is a bonus to your garden
and this plant that will guarantee you four seasons of enjoyment in your garden.
My first experience with this plant came at the University of Massachusetts, where it was planted as a hedge to hide large and tall ugly concrete stairs in front of a building.
In early September, it looked like a nice thick hedge of medium green foliage, also used as a background for a perennial garden.
When the weather got cold and frosty, the foliage started to change colors and soon this hedge was beautiful, with its rich coppery leaves that stayed on the plant for several weeks.
As the foliage began to fall from the plant, it looked like most hedge plants
with bright green stems. Then, to my surprise, in early October the green stems
started to change color as the weather became colder. One side of the stairs,
the twigs began to change to a beautiful golden yellow and on the other of the
stairs, the twigs started to turn bright and shiny red. The colder the weather
got, the brighter the color got on the stems. The twigs were so colorful you
never noticed the cement stairs behind them even though the plants had no foliage
The biggest surprise was yet to come because when the snow covered the ground,
the plant became more visible and more beautiful. It could also be seen from
quite a distance due to the color contrast. In the spring clusters of small 1
inch star shaped flowers developed on the tips of most branches. The flower cluster
was almost flat and 3 to 4 inches wide on the plant, and it opened when all the
foliage had developed on the plant in May. The flowers are not as showy as the
Dogwood tree but they look very nice with the shiny green foliage of the plant.
The Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood shrub will grow 6 to 8 feet tall and just
as wide. The plant resembles an upright growing mound thick with foliage,
and the branches are stiff and firm, keeping its shape well. You
can prune the plant to control the size of the plant in the early spring and
encourage more branching. As the stems begin to age after 3 to 4 years in the
ground, the stems will also begin to become woody looking and turn gray, losing
its wonderful winter color.
In the early spring just before the foliage begins to develop is the best
time to prune back the older stems right to the ground. The older and mature
branches are more visible, making it easier for you to remove them, keeping only
the colored stems. By removing the older stems, you will encourage new shoots
to develop at the base of the plant, rejuvenating the red stems in the plant.
If you like the flowers, you can also wait until the plant finishes blooming
before cutting back the plant.
If you prune back the plant every year and remove the gray branches, your
plant will stay very showy. If you just prune off the top of the plant to control
the height and width of the plant, new shoots will develop where you cut back
the plant and the bottom of these stems will soon turn gray as they age. I recommend
that you cut back the plant every year and remove the gray stems right to the
ground to keep all the color on the stems.
By pruning every year, you can easily control the size of the plant and color
of the stems. If your plant is overgrown, it may be time to cut the entire plant
in half and then remove one third of the stems right to the ground. This will
encourage new colorful shoots at the base of the plant and also encourage new
growth to develop on top of the branches remaining on the plant. Next year, remove
half of the remaining gray branches, and then the final third the following year--and
you have gradually rejuvenated the plant back to all red twigs.
The Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood will make a wonderful privacy hedge, as it
will grow 2 to 3 feet a year in height and width. Space plants every 6 to 8 feet
to create a wonderful thick hedge for privacy or to create a noise barrier from
the traffic. The foliage is clean and neat looking, making a wonderful background
for perennial or annual gardens or plant a single plant as a specimen plant along
a fence or up against a building. If you have a white vinyl stockade fence for
privacy and it's visible from your windows, plant these Dogwoods in front of the
fence to enjoy the winter color.
Plant the Dogwood in a full sun to half a day of shade location in your garden.
Prepare the hole with compost, animal manure and peat moss. If your soil is sandy,
add a bit of Soil Moist granules, as this plant loves moisture. It will do quite
well in soils that are wet and heavy. The plant will also tolerate a bit of road
salt better than most other hedge type plants. This wonderful Dogwood will also
do quite well in areas near the water's edge, like a stream or pond for
Both colors are very hardy and will tolerate winters with temperatures dipping
below minus 40 degrees. If you live near the seashore, these plants will also
tolerate the winds off the ocean. Besides the green leaf variety there is now
a new variegated leaf variety with creamy- white margins, which will give you
additional color all summer long in the garden. Variegated leaf varieties are
available with both red and yellow twigs during the winter months.
Fertilize every spring with a granular fertilizer like Plant Tone or Dr. Earth
Shrub fertilizer with Pro-biotic to encourage new shoots to develop from the
base of the plant and new growth on top of the existing branches. Fertilizer
is the key to a lot of new shoots and brighter color during the winter months.
Insect and disease problems are not a problem unless we have a rainy summer, and
then leaf spot could develop on the foliage and easily controlled with Serenade
The red twigs are wonderful to use in flower arrangements during the winter
holidays with carnations, roses and mums, because of the wonderful shiny red
stems. Place them in window boxes or containers with mixed evergreens and they
will stay red all winter long outside. The yellow twig types work very well during
the Easter celebrations with cut flowers or in the pots with your lilies.
If you have a large hedge and it needs to be pruned think about selling some
of those branches to your local florist this Valentine's day to add to those wonderful
red roses. Cut a few branches 18 to 24 inches long “NOW” and bring
them to the Florist and I am sure they will buy everything you can cut from your
overgrown plants and you won't have to prune when spring arrives. With
the extra money, you can buy roses for your sweetheart--and maybe dinner. Enjoy.
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Let's use the winter months wisely this year to make our gardens of 2012 the
ones to remember. The garden that is prepared properly will produce plants that
will develop better, perform better, thrive and because of this these plants
will be more resistant to insects and disease problems. If you want your plants
to reward you for your efforts, let's take a few minutes and talk about the "basics" that
we sometimes forget all about the sun, the soil and the care.
When you look to purchase a new home I know you have heard this phrase; " Location,
Location, Location." This is the first step when planning your garden, because
the specially chosen plants you want to grow in your yard will need specific
growing conditions. Look around your property and pick the right location first.
Sunshine, or should I say the intensity and duration of the sunshine, is the first and most important factor to consider for a specific type of garden.
Stand in the middle of your yard and say to yourself the following: "southern
exposure is the best place to grow a garden; next best is eastern exposure with
morning sunshine, western exposure with late in the day sun and last--but not
least--is a northern exposure for the shade garden."
Now break down the yard again into two main areas. The front of the house--this is your formal area for the public view and for you to show off what you
can do in the garden--your "bragging rights." The back of the house is your
private area, a working area and a place for all to enjoy your property, even
a place to hang out the laundry so the neighbors don't see your underwear drying
in the sunshine.
When you design your home landscaping, you will want to scatter color for
all seasons in front of the house because your yard is seen all year. The back
yard is enjoyed from May to October by you and your family and you should concentrate
on plants that give you enjoyment while you're there to enjoy it. If you're not
sitting on your deck during April, why plant azaleas that are in bloom at that
time there? Save the space for hydrangeas (for example) that will flower July,
August and September when you're there to enjoy your back yard deck.
This winter, make a plan of your property, take pictures of what is there,
and visit your local nursery or garden center for advice to improve what you
currently have in place. I'm not saying start over--what I want you to do is
ask for help to improve what you currently have. If you want to make your yard
kid friendly, if you want to install a waterfall and fish pond, if you just want
a garden to enjoy while you're outside enjoying the summer. Tell the person
whether you like gardening and would enjoy working in one or whether you'd rather
plant it and forget it.
Many nurseries can make suggestions to help you out with a quick plan of your
yard or, for a few dollars, they can design a full-scale plan for the entire
property. If you're going to do it yourself, do it in sections--one garden area
at a time--so you can enjoy your work in the yard. Alternatively, you can hire
someone to do it for you--and in a short time, your gardens are all in place.
Start with a plan, visit the nursery and look at the plants suggested for your
yard and ask your gardening friends about these plants, even show them your plan
for their feedback. Your gardening friends know you and how you enjoy your yard
and I'm sure they will be happy to give you suggestions or recommendation to
improve on the current plan to fit your needs better.
One last thing before having your yard landscaped and very important, always
go to the nursery to select and tag the plants to be used in your yard. Tag the
trees to be used, as you know what type of character you would enjoy from that
plant. You're part of this design and you should have the right to select the plants
to be used in your garden.
Soil preparation is also very important and make sure you condition the soil
before planting. Soil additives like compost, animal manure or even digging an
oversize hole and back filling with extra top soil or loam can make a big difference
in the development of your plants. If your soil is sandy, stony or heavy clay
without proper conditioning, your plants will not perform properly once installed
in your yard without lots of extra help from you during the year.
When the plants arrive, be home to examine the plants before they are planted.
Have the landscaper set up the planting to your liking before they plant. Be
there and stay involved during the planting because some time looking out the
kitchen window a plant will not do what you want it to unless it is moved just
a couple feet over to the right or left that may not be noticeable on your plan.
Work with the Forman and his helpers but don't become a pest!
Ask for their suggestions while they plant, as they have the experience and
they want you to be happy with their work. You never know what you will find
while planting and it may be necessary to move things around a bit or even bring
in extra top soil and plant on a raised mound to do the job right. This is an
investment in your home--just like a rug or couch in the living room--so be happy
before it's all planted and the landscape people have left.
When you select a plant, find out how to care for it and what you can expect
from that plant's performance in your yard. Make sure before the landscape crew
leaves that you walk the property with them and they answer all your questions about
the plants and their care. If you should see a problem developing, don't wait.
Call the nursery that did the planting or where you purchased the plant that
Try to purchase plants that will do several things for you, like spring flowers with
and fall fruit, summer flowers with fall colored foliage, a thick-growing privacy
hedge with unusual winter character. If your town is always on water restrictions
during the summer months, how about plants that require less watering or plants
that will grow well in wet areas and help to drink up the extra surface water.
If you live on a corner lot, how about selecting a fast growing plant to create
a privacy hedge and control the road noise at the same time. Something that is
hard to find in nature is a plant that flowers and is fragrant at the same time.
Think seasons of the year and what these plants have to offer you each season,
think of the maintenance required by you during the year, and the benefits of
the plants to your living space. Do your research first, then ask questions,
ask more questions, and only then plan your living area outside when you know the
benefits of each plant. Remember my motto: "There are no dumb garden questions!!!"
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Tour includes the Wisley Gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show, Tower of London, Roman Baths & Pump Room, Riverford Organic Farm, Garden House, Rosemoor Gardens, Lost Garden of Heligan, Village of Megavissey, Stonehenge, the Wilton House Garden Centre and more.
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What you need:
- 2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast
- 1 cup diced eating apples
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Step by Step:
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
- Combine mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a second bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
- Add the mayonnaise mixture to the large bowl, tossing well to coat.
Yield: 4 servings