Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fabulous Water Features




This type of water feature is way on top of my wish list . . . and has been for many years.  

Water features can be a large, elaborate and expensive set up or can be very simple and inexpensive.  The possibilities are endless, but where do you start?

Cost has been a huge inhibitor since my ideas tend to be very elaborate.  We have a very large city property that used to be very wild and natural, yet well maintained that has grown into an urban jungle due to pesky health problems getting in the way, it seems to me that a larger water feature, once constructed, should prove to be just what we need.  Much research needs to be done and it isn't a project slated for this year, but the planning stage for the back yard needs to get started.

In the meantime, our front yard is a clean slate begging for something special.  A very simple and inexpensive water feature would be perfect, combined with raised beds with large paths.  The object of the project is awesome curb appeal with little maintenance.  

My plan is to document the before and after transformation on my website.  We are getting a late start this season, but it is never too late to transform a landscape in Florida.

This website, The Family Handyman, is where I am starting . . . it has lots of inspiration and instructions.

Click here for my photo source . . . more inspiration!

HGTV and DIY Network are excellent resources for ideas and instructions.

Feeling overwhelmed like me?  Start with a small project and work into the larger projects as you gain expertise. 








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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tips on growing basil



Our basil seedlings are growing like weeds!  We are going to have more basil plants than I have ever grown at one time :)  One can never have enough basil and I love giving them to friends and family to enjoy . . . ready to pinch and use in cooking.

Have you ever had a homemade pizza with just a little garlic and basil, topped with mozzarella or provalone cheese?  I can make a meal of it!

I've reposted the following information several times, but it is great information for anyone wanting to grow one of the easiest plants ever.  

Basil just loves to be pinched regularly and will reward you with thick bushy plants that will provide you with more than enough basil for your personal consumption and lots to give away to friends and family.  It is easy to dry and will last forever when stored properly (I use big glass jars with a tight fitting lid.)



Here is some information on growing basil from The Essential Herb Garden website.

GROWING BASIL FROM SEED

Sow the seeds in spring in seed trays and keep indoors or in a heated greenhouse until the seedlings reach the four-leaf stage. Keep well watered at all times whilst the seedlings are growing.
The seedlings can then be easily handled and transplanted out into pots or containers or directly into the garden in a well drained soil, where they can continue growing with the benefits of all the nutrients from the soil.
Plant the seedlings 50cm apart and keep shaded for the first few days and water regularly throughout to ensure healthy growth.

CONDITIONS FOR GROWING BASIL

Although basil likes sun, it must be planted in a sunny, sheltered spot away from wind and draughts.
Don't plant basil until all risk of frost has disappeared. During midsummer basil likes semi-shaded growing conditions.

GROWING BASIL IN THE GARDEN

Growing basil between tomatoes and other vegetables in the greenhouse or garden will benefit both the basil and the other vegetables.
Basil will enhance the flavors of the other vegetables growing around it and will also deter insects.
Growing basil in your garden will attract bees and butterflies if planted outside.
Growing basil under glass in a cool summer is a good way to ensure a lush and healthy plant and supply of leaves. Remember though, if you are growing basil in your garden, you should not plant it next to rue.

GROWING BASIL IN THE KITCHEN OR GREENHOUSE

Basil can quite easily be grown inside as long as it has a light and sunny spot on the windowsill or shelf in the greenhouse. If you keep the plants indoors you should be able to keep your basil growing well into the cooler months.

HARVESTING BASIL

Once the basil has grown to a height of about 15cm, you can start to take off the top sets of leaves. Pinch them out to the next set of leaves growing below. This will ensure a continual growth and should encourage a healthy, bushy basil plant.
Prune your basil every 2 or 3 weeks to ensure a healthy bushy plant.
Basil will continue growing throughout the summer and can ultimately reach up to 60cm in height. If the basil is left to flower, it will produce long spires of small, white tube shaped flowers.
To encourage a supply of leaves throughout the summer and autumn, pinch out the buds as soon as they appear.

BASIL FOLIAGE

Depending on the variety of basil you are growing, the juicy, oval leaves will grow up to 10cm in length and will be a glossy rich green. Basil is highly aromatic with a strong scent reminiscent of cloves.
Basil plants will cross pollinate very easily so if you are collecting and planting your own seeds year after year, you should notice some slight variations which makes growing basil an interesting hobby and pastime.



Get out and get your hands dirty!!





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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Build a Flower Tower


The possibilities are endless with these flower towers . . . different shapes, sizes, different plants, herb garden . . . love it!




What you will need:
  • Flower pot of your choice (For this I will use a 13 inch pot)
  • 4-foot galvanized wire fencing with 2-inch x 4-inch openings
  • Landscaping Fabric or Movers Stretch Plastic
  • Zip Ties
  • Garden Spade
  • Sharp Knife
  • Potting Soil
Instructions
  1. First you are going to want to take the wire fencing and shape it so it will make a circular shape. You need to make sure that it is not too wide; it needs to fit in the bottom of your pot. Use zip ties to hold the wire in place.
  2. Put a little bit of planter soil in the bottom so it can help hold the wire frame in place.
  3. This next part can be a little bit tricky and it just depends on what is easiest for you. You need to wrap the wire frame with the fabric or plastic. It does not matter if you wrap the outside because the flowers should grow enough that it will hide it. You can use the zip ties to hold this in place or tape.
  4. Make sure that the wire frame is centered to the pot and where you want it to be. Then pour the potting soil into the top of the frame until it is full.
  5. Fill in the pot around the wire frame but not all the way just yet. The reason for this is that some soil will fall from the tower when you are planting the flowers and this is just mainly to help keep things cleaner.
  6. Get a sharp knife and start cutting the fabric that is surrounding the frame in the “box like slots.” I used a box cutter but I know people have used scissors and pocket knives. Just a personal preference.
  7. Once you cut out a small space in the square gently insert the root ball of the flower in the soil. Be gentle that you don’t damage the roots but firm enough that the plant won’t fall out.
  8. Add some flowers to the top of the tower!
  9. Fill in the rest of the pot with soil and water the plant. When watering the plant you want to water it enough that you can compact the soil but not so much that you shock the plant.
This project comes from the blog Mom To Bed By 8 . . . 
to go to the original article which includes
 more photos, click here.




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Monday, May 6, 2013

Beautiful container plantings



Seems like I love container planting more and more as time goes by.  I love being creative and taking inspiration from other gardeners to come up with my own creations.  

Although there are many wonderful websites to inspire us, my latest favorite is Fine Gardening Magazine's website.  Of course, the website is my photo source!

Today's inspiration is a glimpse of Chanticleer Garden.







Looks like this gorgeous and unique container is more of a mini raised bed, put together with pieces of slate, cut in various sizes.  My idea is to make the pieces made of concrete . . . the forms would be super easy to make.  

Two of them placed diagonally would be awesome looking!  Wouldn't it?  I would love to see this exact design on a larger scale, placed diagonally, as the focal point of a front yard.  Awesome!  We are looking for ideas for raised beds as an alternative to way too much grass in the front yard and this design would be great.

Color variations are endless by using concrete tints or by painting them.  Anyway, love the design!  Who knows?  We may gather the energy to get this project done after the huge tree stump comes down!

Want to see more from Fine Gardening's article and many
 more ideas for container planting?  Click here






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