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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A mountain of seed catalogs... what do I do?

I’m sure if your an avid gardener you have been overwhelmed with the flow of seed catalogs you have been receiving this winter. I want to share with you my top three catalogs for this year, and why they are important to me. My top pick is Gurney's, because they have quality seed and they always come out with new, innovative products that  really differ from other products out there in the market. Gurney's also usually has good savings, and around this time you can double your money with a free 25 dollar coupon when you spend 50 or more. Gurney's customer service is very reliable, because last year I didn't receive some of my seeds I ordered in the mail, and without question, they sent me more seeds free of charge! My second pick is for everybody who enjoys to start everything from seed like I do, and its called Johnny's selected seeds! They are a bulk seed company with discounted pricing that will save you a bunch of money in the long run. There catalog has a variety of seeds ranging from vegetables, cover crops, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Johnny's, also has really neat tools that will help any gardener be more efficient and productive. The tools range from season extenders to soil block makers, and seed mats, and jump start systems to composting, and seeders! The list goes on so check it out. My third pick is Burgess seed and plant company, because they always have exotic plants that are hardy to colder climates like zone 5, at a really good price. The catalog has a variety of plants that range from hardy plume grass to raspberry Pulmonaria, and Heuchera to Japanese forest grass! That rounds up my thoughts, I hope this helps everyone out that are confused, and are unsure of who to go with.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conspicuously dangerous; frozen daggers!

Winter is full of surprises and wonders as we encounter nature on a daily basis, but some of those natural wonders that we adore can be quite dangerous around the home. One of those happen to be icicles, they usually form on the gutters of homes and range any where from a couple inches to five feet or longer!  This may cause potential problems to your gutters due to the weight icicles have once they start getting large.  An easy way to prevent future problems is to knock the icicles down with a broom of choice, and a step ladder.  Of course if you own a two story home, it doesn't become very practical trying to remove every icicle, by being proactive and trying to prevent future damages to the home, will reduce unwanted costs in the future. Not only are they possible hazards to the gutters of your home, but they can be potentially dangerous if they fall down.  The most important prevention strategy is removing icicles around the front entrance of the home, and any other high traffic areas that might be a potential problem in the future. This will help make your home a safe haven for you and your guests!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spruce tree's slump to winters furry

Evergreen trees are at the mercy of winters furry and are the most susceptible to ice and snow damage. Unlike deciduous trees, evergreen trees have their needles all year long that tend to collect snow and ice accumulation and may cause limbs to break. Most evergreen trees "slump" to the weight of snow and ice, but the braches bend back to their natural position when the snow melts in most cases. If you have an expensive specimen evergreen tree like a Hoopsi blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Hoopsi') or a umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) you may want to remove accumulated snow off of the branches with a soft broom or rake to protect your investment.

Snow accumulating on a blue spruce (8 inches deep)

As the snow accumulates, in most cases neat designs form on the tree.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spring wreath; Therapy for winter

In between my college classes today, I didn't feel like playing out in the yard that had 5 inches of snow on top of it; I resorted to wreath making.  It's funny to think that I make wreaths, because most men don't even have a clue how to make them, with that being said I also keep it behind closed doors and hide it from my friends.  Its one of those hobbies that your buddy's would laugh in your face for, if they found out.  I personally think it's funny that one of my favorite hobbies to do during turbulent weather; I hide it like a drug addiction.

with that being said I ended up making a "warming" spring wreath, and I made it all from scratch!  Its a well balanced wreath with many components and detail that make it special.

At the top of the wreath I used a large blue hydrangea flower to set the whole thing off.

To the right, I used two light pink tea roses, two shasta daisies, and three unknown blue flowers that resemble a delphinium.  This helps balance the color of the deep red rose at the bottom left of the wreath.

Below the pink tea roses, I have a pine cone on top of light grren moss for added contrast with the leaves of the flowers, I have two red sweat pea flowers, with three mini daffodils, white babies breath, and two little blue flowers.  These colors also help balance the deep red rose, and the pink Hydrangea on the left side of the wreath.

On the bottom of the wreath, theres a asiatic lilly, a smaller blue hydrangea flower, and two mini daffodil flowers.  These colors combined help balance the larger hydrangea flower at the top of the wreath.

In the top left of the wreath, There are a white and purple hydrangea flower, three mini daffodils, and on white chrysanthemum.  This helps balance out the white and the pink flowers on the right side of the wreath!

Material Used
1. 18 inch grapevine wreath
2. light green floral moss
3. 18 and 22 guage wire
4. spring bundles of silk flowers (daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, etc.)
5. mixed pinecones (spruce, white pine, scotch pine)
6. pack of monarch butterflys
7. pack of bluebirds
8. twisted glitter stems

Right now spring items are usually 50 percent off because its out of season!
I purchased my items from Hobby Lobby and the Flower Factory.

*Feel free to ask me any questions!*

Monday, January 4, 2010

Poinsettia project week #2

As week number 1 rolls to an end, I was thinking about making this experiment more interesting, and I had an epiphany! My idea was having a friend of mine take care of one poinsettia using the old fashion finger method which is marked as Linda (the one on the left). I will continue to use a moisture meter to judge the water requirements of the plant, mine is marked Mike (the one on the right). Now both houses are about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and facing a south window. The climate is about the same for both plants, but the method of watering is the only variable. Linda's plant actually started to lose its understory leaves as well as some primary leaves from a lack of water and not by over watering so far. I only watered my poinsettia once thoroughly and allowed all the excess water to run out before I put it back in its fancy wrapper, last week. Of course Linda forgot to water her plant so this might ruin my hypothesis of overwatering being the cause of stressed plants. Even the plant I am taking care of has lost some understory leaves but I think it has to do with normal plant processes of shedding leaves that aren't receiving sunlight. That sums up the summary for week one, it should get pretty interesting!

Critter Bonanza!

Today we have experienced another inch of snow in Central Ohio!  As the snow  accumulates on the ground, critters accumulate on the feeders.  I opened the front door and I seen at least eight squirrels on the feeders, groups of cardinals, house finchs, and mourning doves.  I was amazed, I never see this many animals all in one tree.  It seems as the snow starts to pile up, it gets harder for animals to find food, and resort to easy targets like feeders.  I actually seen a squirrel hanging upside down eating black oil sunflower seeds while cardinals were feeding, it was a sight.

 While placing feeders around your house is a good way to attract critters to your landscape and providing food, its also important to have plants that provide a safe structure and wind barrier.  Evergreen trees are great to have in the landscape because it provides protection for just about any type of critter out there.  In addition to evergreens, ornamental plants that provide nuts or fruits late in the season are great to have as well if you want to attract a diverse population of animals to your landscape.  Ormamental trees include: hawthorne, crapapple, and callery pear are great for providing fruit late in the season.  Ornamental shrubs include: barberry, burning bush, cotoneaster, and winterberry are great for fruits and seeds as well.  Evergreen trees that are dense and provide good protection includes: colorado spruce, norway spruce, and ponderosa pine are good for providing ample shelter.  In addition to shrubs and trees, birds tend to be attracted to the seed heads of ornamental grasses which includes: maiden grass, zebra grass, and feather reed grass.  I hope this article was helpful, and always keep a bird bath defrosted especially in winter!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Poinsettia Project #1

I am doing an experiment on water sensitive plants like that of the poinsettia plant. Most times at retail stores or garden centers the plants are stressed from overwatering. People tend to have a hard time keeping poinsettias alive from then on; so I thought this experiment would help everyone out that’s having this problem. I have a moisture gauge that display’s the moisture level in the soil and it’s numbered from 1 to 10, 1 being very dry and 10 being extremely wet. The moisture levels of the two pots are 4, which is ideal for poinsettias, because they tend to hate wet feet.

In my experiment I will eyeball the first poinsettia to judge its watering needs, the second one I will use the moisture meter to judge its watering needs. Overwatering is the most common mistake most people make, it stresses the plant therefore the plants will shed their leaves. In my hypothesis, I believe the poinsettia I eyeball to judge it’s watering needs will end up being the one that I will accidently over water.

Both poinsettias are getting partial sunlight; the air temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I will post the progress weekly of each plant, and hopefully this will help the over watering issue!