Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Path to Serenity

There is something about paths in the garden that can transform a garden into a serene sanctuary that creates the mystery of where the path leads, especially when connected with secluded garden rooms.

I love the randomness of the pattern and diversity of materials used in the featured path.  Very clever idea for stretching out the more expensive pavers by mixing them with less expensive items.  Very cool!

Click here to go to the story behind this path!

What an awesome path that can be duplicated with relatively inexpensive items.  

For those who love to create with concrete like me, the pavers would be so easy to make!  

I'm ready to mix some concrete :)

Gardener's Supply Company - Deal of the Week

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall gardening checklist

The autumn leaves are changing colors, 
the temperatures are coming down, 
in Florida it is less humid.

At a loss on what to do in the garden?

Fine Gardening's website has an awesome series of
videos and articles on seasonal gardening.

Click here to go there!

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall gardening for subtropical and tropical climates

This is one of my favorite times of the year for gardening in our Zone 9, Central Florida garden.

Soon the black eyed susan vines that have seeded themselves all over the Paradise that is now a jungle will provide a much needed splash of color.  Another season has gone by, leaving the Paradise neglected and way overgrown.  The coleus and impatiens that used to grow wild are few . . . the past winters have killed the reseeding process that was going on.  Hopefully we can at least get those going again to bring more color to the garden.

Now is the time that I prune and propagate.

For guidelines and reference, please refer to my Florida gardening page for lots of links to the websites I go to for everything I need to know about gardening in Florida and similar zones.

Click on the Florida Gardening graphic to go to the page.

As the seasons are changing, we have been utilizing our outdoor dining area again . . . much to our delight!  

It is time to get the container plants in the carport jungle going again.  We are looking forward to planting more tomato and pepper plants.  Our pepper plant is still putting out delicious hot peppers!  It will be nice to have a greater variety.  The lime tree is still putting out some awesome juicy limes :)

We'll be visiting Busch Gardens soon and will post photos of their Fall gardens.

Happy Fall!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nasty Grasshoppers Caught In The Act!

Not only have they chewed up most of our
 plants, but now we caught them in the
 act of having sex in our front yard.

Shameless grasshoppers . . . I hate them!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Reflections

Another summer has come and gone . . . 
Paradise still remains like a jungle.

Of major note . . . the lime tree that was a memorial gift from JR's aunt when he died started producing very tasty and juicy limes that we have really enjoyed in cooking and sharing with others.  It is still putting out limes like crazy.  After waiting so many years for it to produce fruit, it was almost like JR was sending a message that he is smiling from heaven as new love bloomed and a new life has begun with my new husband, The Captain.

The grasshoppers invaded the Paradise with a vengeance . . . and they are still here.  Honestly, I don't know how anything survived as they devoured and chewed up leaves of most of our plants.  

We managed to get some tomatoes from our tomato plants, but all in all, that endeavor was disappointing.  Guess we started too late for optimum performance and didn't start them from seed.  They were not super healthy from the start and the grasshoppers put a dent in fruit production despite our attempts at spraying with our organic concoctions.  They were pulled up a few weeks ago :(

We did grow some awesome hot peppers that have continued to produce those hot and spicy treasures.  Hot pepper plants are one thing that we have been able to grow with no problem in our area . . . they thrive!

The basil is barely making it . . . 
the rosemary didn't last long, it died a quick death.

However, it has been a summer of health problems, in and out of hospitals with several members of the family and we got married . . . gardening became a low priority as the heat and humidity rose and health problems made it impossible to spend quality time in the garden.

We look forward to better health, cooler temps and quality time to start over again soon . . . especially with tomatoes, peppers and herbs.  Hopefully we will finally make it to the back yard that was Paradise turned into a jungle littered with fallen limbs and weeds the summer storms encouraged.  However, since most of the world has experienced devastating weather, we are grateful that we are still high and dry in Paradise.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Nature's miracle . . . composting

It is estimated that yard trimmings and food scraps account for 26 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.  Why not recycle them into the best fertilizer you could ever buy?

Utilizing nature's fertilizer by way of composting is the economical way to revitalize and nourish your garden using these every day waste items usually thrown away as trash while helping the environment by saving landfill space?

Take advantage of one of nature's miracles and start a compost pile in your back yard . . . it is easier than you think . . . and the benefits are awesome!

Click here for more information about composting from the EPA.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Soil recipes for container gardening

What a gorgeous tropical container planting!

Container gardening is my preferred method since I detest digging through tree  roots and I really don't enjoy using a big shovel . . . guess it is a girl thing.  It is so much easier to plant in containers . . . much easier to manage!

Grouping the same type plants with the same nutritional and drainage needs is a good idea for optimum plant health, using a specific soil mix that is well suited for the plants.

Click here for a listing of recipes for various types of container plantings.

Photo/Illustration: Steven Cominsky

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slug Control . . . Home Remedies

You can have gorgeous flowering plants one day and wake up the next morning to nothing but sticks.  Slugs will do that!

After lots of experimenting, I found many different methods of getting rid of them . . .

Best method . . . purchased organic slug bait and put in jars with holes in the lid . . . placed sideways in areas plagued by the slugs.  The method is similar to a roach motel . . . they check in, but don't check out.  Be careful using baits if you have pets . . . even if they are organic, they can be toxic to pets.  Placing them in jars keeps the pets out of the bait.

Slugs hate scratchy barriers like crushed eggshells, wood ash and coffee grounds . . . they can be used as barriers around infested areas.  It is a tedious process and requires reapplication after rain or watering.

It is said that copper strips shock slugs and snails trying to cross them, although I never tried it.  Thin copper can be found in craft stores.

There are effective baiting techniques!  Lure them and then kill them in soapy water.  Another tedious process, but they will gather away from your plants to a confined area where you can easily dispose of them.

They love beer . . . set out in jar tops at night, collect them and dispose in the morning . . . they also love dissolved yeast.

Set out fresh melon rinds and grapefruit at night . . . lures them in just like the beer does.

The baiting techniques can be a problem in you have pets!

We haven't had a problem with slugs . . . it is the grasshoppers that are eating everything in sight.  The only way I've found to effectively get rid of them without using pesticides is catch them and stomp them dead.  I hate them!

Share your home remedies for controlling pests in your garden!

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Growing Tomatoes . . . soil additives

As an organic gardener, I'm always looking for tips from other gardeners who have successfully used what some would consider off-the-wall methods for maintaining healthy tomato plants.

The following mix has been used by several gardeners
 on the Organic Gardening website forum . . .

Mumsey's Magic Mix 

1 handful bone meal
1 handful cornmeal
1/2 handful powdered milk
1/4 handful epsom salts

Mix well in hole, plant tomato.  

Side dress every few weeks or so
with the cornmeal and powdered milk,
 watered down or not . . . the rain will soak it in.

I've posted these links before, but here they are again ~

If you need information on how to grow your own tomato plants, Fine Gardening has an awesome video series covering various topics.  Click here to go to their tomato page.

And if you haven't checked it out yet, click here to go to my tomato links page.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cilantro ~ Grow it in your garden

Coriandrum Sativum . . . also known as Chinese parsley.

The leafy part is called Cilantro, the seed is known as Coriander.

Cilantro loses its flavor when dried or cooked, so it is best used fresh.

Since Cilantro plants grow and go to seed quickly, it is best to plant them continuously (every three weeks is suggested) throughout the growing season (spring and fall) to keep the crop going.  Summer heat will speed up the growing process, quickly seeding the plants when soil temperatures reach 75 degrees.  

The plants love growing in a moist, well-drained soil mulched with compost for nutrients and root protection to keep the soil cooler to prolong growing.  The shade from closely growing plants also keeps the roots cooler.

The plants do not grow well indoors . . . they require mostly full sun, although it is possible to grow in morning sun and afternoon shade.  In general, they are a cool season plant and best grown in the ground since they don't tolerate transplanting well.

To prolong leaf growing, trim off flower heads as soon as they start to flower.  You can allow the flowers to mature and seed . . . they will resow and another crop will be ready in a few weeks.  The seeds can also be collected when they turn brown to use as coriander or to dry out and save for replanting.  Keep your seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for use as a culinary spice in cooking or as seeds for next year's crop.  

The cilantro leaves are ready to harvest about 8 weeks from seed and can be cut any time during the growth period.  Cutting the outer leaves first is recommended so the smaller leaves can continue to grow.  It is best to harvest before it begins to seed, which produces bitter tasting leaves. 

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mosaic Trash to Treasure

This gorgeous mosaic planter started off as a concrete slab piece with square inserts that someone had ready for the trash.  It goes to show you that one person's trash is another's treasure.  I love the use of mosaic tiles!

Click here for the tutorial on how it went from a ready for the trash concrete slab to gorgeous mosaic planter.

Creative projects for the garden are so cool!

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Container Gardening in the Shade

Awesome containers!

Utilizing containers in different shapes, sizes and colors can add lots of interest to the garden landscape.

I love container gardening in shady areas of the garden, but not all plants can tolerate shade.  Find the plants that love the shade and the results are awesome!

Click here for an excellent article from Fine Gardening that lists shade loving plants and tips for growing container plants in shady areas.  Lots of great tips!

The photo source is Fine Gardening.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Outdoor Seating Areas

Having a larger sized property makes it possible to have various
seating areas for the versatility of having smaller secluded quiet 
spaces and the larger spaces for entertaining.

The Captain and and I are currently clearing out our large
property that is still way overgrown, making way for new and
exciting areas which are still in the planning stages.

I'll be featuring more garden spaces that inspire me, along
with informative articles that I find as we go through our
inspirational planning stage.

I love this intimate outdoor garden spot . . . a great little place to
escape and enjoy nature.  Love the chairs and the placement of
container plants to create the barrier.  The use of the fence as
a backdrop rather than trying to hide it is a great idea!

Click here for an informative article from Fine Gardening entitled
"Seating Areas Made Simple" for tips on creating awesome spaces
on your property.  The photo comes from this article.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coffee grounds in the garden?

Don't throw away your used coffee grounds!! 

Fertilize your acid loving plants with old coffee grounds . . . they will love it! 

Did you know that used coffee grounds repel snails and slugs? Add to your garden soil before seed planting or work in plants already planted. 

Used coffee grounds also repel ants . . . 

Spread used coffee grounds around your flower beds to keep the cats from using your garden as a litter box.  

I never throw away left over coffee in the pot! What I do is add water to fill the pot and water the container plants in my carport jungle. They love it! 

 Of course your compost pile will also love those used coffee grounds . . .

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Want to grow your own tomatoes?

Although we got a late start, we are enjoying tasty tomatoes our tomato plants are putting out.

In the past, we have been able to grow our tomatoes all year long, which is what we are setting out to do.  There is nothing like picking your own tomatoes off the plant for dinner . . . and you can never have too many tomatoes!

If you need information on how to grow your own tomato plants, Fine Gardening has an awesome video series covering various topics.  Click here to go to their tomato page.

And if you haven't checked it out yet, click here to go to my tomato links page.

Logo Creative Homepage Banner

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Creative Garden Design

Michelle is "consumed by seeing art and design in everyday life."
It is apparent in her awesome landscape designs that is a mix
of gardening and art with awesome and unusual results.

Her blog, Garden Porn, is an art gallery for the gardener who
loves putting an artistic touch in their garden designs.  It is a
delight for the inspirational senses!

The above photo from her blog features an awesome staghorn fern
planting that is mixed with a variety of succulents displayed in a way
that we will definitely be doing for our carport jungle.  I've already
decided to cover the wire container with staghorn ferns since those
succulents don't do well in our humid climate.

Here is what I have done with staghorn ferns . . . they are featured
in a discarded book rack trash to treasure project that is still thriving
in our garden after a decade and survived some very harsh winters.

I started the staghorns as babies in the book rack that
was lined with chicken wire and gardening moss.  It has
grown in a semi-shady area and basically left alone for
at least the past 8 years.  This photo was taken four
years ago.  It is still thriving and growing in the same 
spot . . .  definitely a survivor!

We may scatter some baby staghorns around the sides of
the rack, which should make a spectacular feature in
 the garden.

More recent photos to come as soon as we refresh
the bald spots!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Trash to Treasure

What an awesome idea for yard sale treasures!

My grandmother used one of these to make her
 tasty mashed potatoes.  It brings back lots of 
great memories :)  

I'd love to make one of these
for the carport jungle!

Click here for a tutorial on how
 to make one of your own.

I've often used many kitchen items in the
 garden.  My favorite is an old broken 
coffee maker that I painted . . .

One of the things I love creating most is giving
life to  an otherwise useless item.  You'd be
surprised what a difference a little paint makes.

Happy crafting and gardening!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Driftwood Plant Container

Container gardening is one of my favorite methods of gardening.  

One of the things I love most is being creative with containers.  
I love this container featuring driftwood!

Click here for a tutorial of how to make it . . . awesome idea!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Grassless Wishes

I already dislike grass in the landscape . . . then the lawn mower decided to quit working with flowering weeds looming in the midst of a sparse lawn.  That was it for me . . . no more grass . . . it is history!

The more landscape design research I do, the more I am loving large winding paths, raised beds and structures in the garden.

We have been thinking about different landscape designs for the front yard and my thinking is that a circular driveway nestled in between a cactus rock garden is the current winner.  It may take a while to get to this project, but the grass is definitely history.  The good news is that we have tons of cactus that the cold winters didn't kill from my days of massive propagation with hopes of a nursery business.

With a huge property as a blank canvas, half the fun is planning the landscape.  Unlike the last landscape design for our paradise, the new design must be as low-maintenance as possible.  My 24/7 gardening days are over . . . I want to enjoy, not work myself to death in the garden.

Click here to go to an article that addresses Low-Maintenance Alternatives to Lawns.

Something that I caught on one of the home and garden cable channels was artificial turf . . . I have not researched pricing, but I'm sure it carries a high price.  It is a consideration for small areas where a little patch of grass would be attractive.  I'll report my findings when I get to it . . .

How about you?  Do you love or hate lawns?

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Landscaped borders

The older I get, the more I like landscaped borders with large paved living areas as opposed to huge planted areas.  This idea works great for large yards with way too much maintenance.  It also accommodates those gardeners like me who are not fond of grass or spending way too much time mowing the lawn.

These photos come from DIY Network's website, where you can get all kinds of inspiration and instructions for your outdoor projects.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Floors for outdoors

Love these pavers!

Stephen Orr’s Tomorrow’s Garden (Rodale, $25) showcases the
 latest trends in sustainable gardens from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. 

Click here for his ecofriendly picks for outdoor flooring.

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