kick your shoes off and come on in …

taking care of your garden

Cure the Winter Blues with a Window Garden :)

Chase away the winter blues with an indoor window garden …. Read Here

Growing Guide Helleborus (Hellebore, Lenten Rose)


Commonly known as hellebores /ˈhɛlɨbɔərz/, the Eurasian genus Helleborus comprises approximately 20 species of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae. The scientific name Helleborus derives from the Greek name for H. orientalis, ἑλλέβορος helléboros, from elein “to injure” and βορά borá “food”. Many species are poisonous. Despite names such as “winter rose”, “Christmas rose” and “Lenten rose”, hellebores are not closely related to the rose family

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Winter Project 🙂

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Harvesting Your Seeds ~ Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook

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Seeds Benefit From Careful Harvesting

After you’ve given your plants the help they needed to produce healthy seeds, you must harvest and store the seeds properly to keep them healthy until you are ready to plant them.

How you treat your seeds during harvest and storage can have a large impact on their viability and vigor when planted.

Specific Seed Saving Instructions for Common Vegetables

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Now that it’s so easy to exchange seeds with people anywhere in the world via the internet, collecting and swapping seed has become almost a full-time job for me – certainly an obsession. Here’s how I harvest, save and exchange seeds.

There are some FAQs and Links to other seedsaving websites here too.

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Flower Bulbs : How to Thin Iris Bulbs ~ Iris Plant Care Guide

CC BY-SA 3.0 File:Iris germanica (Purple bearded Iris), Wakehurst Place, UK - Diliff.jpg Uploaded by Diliff Created: May 16, 2014

CC BY-SA 3.0
File:Iris germanica (Purple bearded Iris), Wakehurst Place, UK – Diliff.jpg
Uploaded by Diliff
Created: May 16, 2014

How to Divide Bearded Irises


Bearded irises tend to become crowded every two to three years and cease to produce good blooms. Division and transplanting allows the clump to rejuvenate and also provides a way to multiply your iris. It isn’t difficult to do, but it is important to do it at the right time of year to ensure that the iris benefits most from the division.

[ Read in Full Here ]

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The best time to plant or transplant iris is after flowering through August. Iris are one of the few perennials to transplant during the hottest part of the year. Established plantings of iris should be divided every 3-4 years or whenever the clump becomes crowded or when flowering decreases.

[ Read in Full Here ]

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How to Plant and Grow Bearded Iris (contributions by Jim Morris)

Bearded irises are relatively easy garden plants to grow and will give good results with a minimum of care, but like all plants, the better the culture the more magnificent the display. The following instructions are easy to implement and should lead to beautiful iris blooms year after year.

[ Read in Full Here ]

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Iris Variety and Plant Care Guide Here @ Auntie’s


40 Gardening Tips to Maximize Your Harvest ~ Mother Earth News

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The best way to keep top-quality, organically grown produce on your table year-round is to grow as much as you can, and preserve plenty to eat for when your garden isn’t producing. This is a worthy goal, as organic, homegrown produce is more nutritious, delicious and sustainable than the typical store-bought fare. To help your garden reach its potential, you can implement many creative growing and preserving strategies. As you attempt to grow more organic food, be realistic about the time you have to maintain your garden and manage its harvest, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.

To create a roundup of the best gardening tips on maximizing returns, I brainstormed ideas with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors. Then I talked with readers who left wise comments on our online gardening surveys. The result is a checklist of 40 ways to make your garden more productive. Choose the ones that work for you, and enjoy maximizing your return on the time, work and money you invest in your homegrown food supply.

[ Read in Full Here ~ Slideshow @ Link Mother Earth News ]

GrapeVine


Rudbeckia hirta ~ Black Eyed Susan Plant Care Guide

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Rudbeckia hirta, commonly called black-eyed Susan, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Eastern and Central United States. It is one of a number of plants with the common name black-eyed Susan. Other common names for this plant include: brown-eyed Susan, brown Betty, gloriosa daisy, golden Jerusalem, Poorland daisy, yellow daisy, and yellow ox-eye daisy.

It is the state flower of Maryland.

The plant also is a traditional Native American medicinal herb in several tribal nations; believed in those cultures to be a remedy, among other things, for colds, flu, infection, swelling and (topically, by poultice) for snake bite (although not all parts of the plant are edible).

Parts of the plant have nutritional value. Other parts are not edible.

[ Read in Full Here ]

Botanical name: Rudbeckia hirta and other species

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Flower color: Red, Orange, Yellow

Bloom time: Summer, Fall

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America and one of the most popular wildflowers grown. They tend to blanket open fields, often surprising the passer-by with their golden-yellow beauty.

Members of the sunflower family, the “black eye” is named for the dark brown-purple centers of its daisy-like flower heads. The plants can grow to over 3 feet tall, with leaves of 6 inches, stalks over 8 inches long and flower diameter of 2 to 3 inches.

Butterflies, bees and a variety of insects are attracted to the flowers for the nectar. As they drink the nectar, they move pollen from one plant to another, causing it to grow fruits and seeds that can move about easily with the wind.

These plants bloom from June to October. Note that they can be territorial in that they tend to squash out other flowers growing near them.

Black-eyed Susans are good for cut flowers; they also work well for borders or in containers.

Planting

  • Black-eyed Susans when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees F for best seed germination. In many parts of North America, the planting period is March to May. The flower will flower June to September. Germination takes 7 to 30 days.
  • Plant seeds in moist, well-drained soil.
  • These hearty flowers really enjoy the Sun. They prefer full sun, though they’ll grow in partial sun.
  • Sow by seed in loosely covered soil.
  • It’s best if soil is fertile (not poor) though they can tolerate tough conditions.
  • Black-eyed Susans generally grow between 1 and 3 feet tall (though they can grow taller) and can spread between 12 to 18 inches, so plant seeds closer to prevent lots of spreading or plant further apart to make a nice border.

Care

  • Check your plants regularly to see if they need watering. Make sure they don’t dry out.
  • Divide perennial types every 3 to 4 years to ensure healthy plants and to prevent excessive spreading.
  • Be sure to remove faded/dead flowers to prolong blooming.
  • You can cut back black-eyed Susans after they flower and a second, smaller bloom may occur in late fall.

Pests

  •  These plants are susceptible to powdery mildew fungi, so begin an organic antifungal program if the lower leaves turn brown and twisted.
  • Slugs and snails
  • Aphids
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Smut
  • Leaf spots

Harvest/Storage

After the first season, black-eyed susans can reseed themselves!

Recommended Varieties

  • Becky Mixed, which offers a variety of colors for your garden, such as lemon-yellow, golden-yellow, dark red, and reddish-brown.
  • Sonora, which has bright yellow flowers.
  • Toto, which is a dwarf type and ideal for containers.

Special Features

  • Attracts Butterflies

 SOURCE

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta L.
Black-eyed Susan, Common black-eyed Susan, Brown-eyed Susan
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Synonym(s):
USDA Symbol: RUHI2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (I), CAN (N)

This cheerful, widespread wildflower is considered an annual to a short-lived perennial across its range. Bright-yellow, 2-3 in. wide, daisy-like flowers with dark centers are its claim-to-fame. They occur singly atop 1-2 ft. stems. The stems and scattered, oval leaves are covered with bristly hairs. Coarse, rough-stemmed plant with daisy-like flower heads made up of showy golden-yellow ray flowers, with disk flowers forming a brown central cone.

This native prairie biennial forms a rosette of leaves the first year, followed by flowers the second year. It is covered with hairs that give it a slightly rough texture. The Green-headed Coneflower (R. laciniata) has yellow ray flowers pointing downward, a greenish-yellow disk, and irregularly divided leaves.

SOURCE


 

More …

Care of a Black Eyed Susan Plant

 

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Fairy Spuds :) Claytonia virginica ~ Edible Spring Wildflowers

Claytonia virginica 2 Radnor Lake.jpg

“Claytonia virginica 2 Radnor Lake” by Kaldari – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Claytonia virginica (L.), the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy spud, is an herbaceous perennial in the family Portulacaceae. Its native range is Eastern North America. Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).

Spring beauty is found in the Eastern temperate deciduous forest of North America. It is noted for its abundance throughout many parts of its range, especially in forests. The plant can be found throughout many different habitat types including lawns, city parks, forests, roadsides, wetlands, bluffs, and ravines.

This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions. They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception. They would also eat the roots as food,[13] as would the Algonquin people, who cooked them like potatoes. Spring beauty corms along with the entire above ground portion of the plant are safe for human consumption.

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Our most widely distributed early spring flower. Flower stalks bear several flowers branching from the main stem; flowers with 2 sepals that fall off as the flower opens; 5 petals, white (sometimes pink) with distinct pink veining; 5 pink stamens. Blooms February–May. Leaves 1 or 2 basal and 1 opposite pair on stems, narrow, lanceolate, tapering to a sessile base, dark green, sometimes purplish, fleshy. Root a rounded corm.

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“Claytonia virginica, Fox Chapel, 2015-04-18, 01” by Cbaile19 – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Size: 
Height: about 5 inches during flowering; about twice that tall later.

Habitat and conservation: 
Found, often in abundance, in open woods, fields, valleys, suburban lawns, and sometimes rocky ledges. This species is also called the Virginia spring beauty, picking up on the scientific name, as well as “fairy spud,” for the edible corms, which resemble tiny potatoes.

Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide.
Human connections:
This well-named plant provides a bounty of beauty in the woods as well as in open areas and yards. The potato-like corms (“fairy spuds”) and the leaves are edible, and naturally Native Americans knew this well before today’s wild-foods enthusiasts.

Ecosystem connections: 
This and other tender plants that emerge in early spring provide a welcome dietary boost for many animals, from insects to birds to mammals. Other plants in the purslane family include the garden favorite “moss rose,” and the bitterroot flower of the Rocky Mountains.

SOURCE

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Fairy Spud Cultivation 

Cultivation: The preference is dappled sunlight during the spring, moist to slightly dry conditions, and a rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter. This wildflower will adapt to semi-shaded areas of lawns if mowing is delayed during the spring. Both the flowers and foliage fade away by mid-summer. The easy way to start plants is by obtaining their corms, although these are expensive to buy from nurseries.

Range & Habitat: The native Spring Beauty is a common wildflower that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to dry deciduous woodlands, savannas, thinly wooded bluffs, city parks, old cemeteries, and lawns (particularly near trees). Less often, this species is found in mesic prairies, but it is primarily a woodland plant. Spring Beauty can survive more environmental degradation than most spring-blooming woodland species, including occasional grazing by cattle and partial clearing of trees. This is one reason why it is still common.

[ READ IN FULL HERE ]

Flickr - Nicholas T - Pink Striae.jpg

“Flickr – Nicholas T – Pink Striae” by Nicholas A. Tonelli from Pennsylvania, USA – Pink Striae. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Spring Beauty, also Springbeauty, is a longtime standard for foragers. They are abundant in some areas, rare in others. Thus forage with some local consideration. True to its name the attractive wild flower is a sign of spring and easy to recognize from other spring blossoms. The white to pink petals have pink stripes, sometimes pale, sometimes bright, but pink stripes nonetheless. Each blossom also only has two sepals (leaves right under the blossom.) Lower leaves are strap-like varying in size and width. The plant grows small roots that remind people of tiny potatoes, hence the nickname “Fairy Spuds.”  At least one botanist said you can eat them “but their small size makes this rather impractical.” Famous forager Euell Gibbons clearly would disagree.

[ READ MORE HERE ]

Perhaps no other wildflower announces the new season as fervently as the spring beauty …  here 


 

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Brunnera ~ Siberian bugloss Plant Care Guide

Siberian bugloss ~ Großblättriges Kaukasusvergissmein 12 April 2014 MartinThoma

Siberian bugloss 12 April 2014
MartinThoma

Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian bugloss, great forget-me-not, heartleaf) is a species of flowering plant in the family Boraginaceae, native to the Caucasus. It is a hardy, rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial, that can reach from 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) in height, and carries basal, simple cordate leaves on slender stems. Sprays of small blue flowers, similar to those seen in the related forget-me-nots, are borne from mid-Spring, and bloom for eight to ten weeks.

The plant is valued as groundcover in shady areas, and has clumps of large heart-shaped leaves of about six inches (15 cm); these usually have white or cream markings, and are present all season. Plants are happy in any shady area that stays relatively moist. It often self-seeds, appearing around the garden in other places. Clumps may be easily divided in early fall.

The Latin specific epithet macrophylla means “larger-leaved”.

This plant and the variegated cultivars ‘Hadspen Cream’ and ‘Jack Frost’ have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Source

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Heartleaf Brunnera

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Also known as Siberian Bugloss , False Forget Me Not
Brunnera macrophylla
Boraginaceae Family
Synonym: Anchusa myosotidiflora

Perfect for moist woodland settings, dainty intensely blue flowers rise above heart shaped, dark green leaves on this spring-blooming perennial.

Read in Full Here 

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A superb introduction, forming a clump of heart-shaped silver leaves, delicately veined with mint green. Sprays of bright blue Forget-me-not flowers appear in mid to late spring. This is a choice collector’s plant, but an easy-to-grow perennial that performs well in all but the driest of shady conditions. Excellent for the woodland garden. ‘Jack Frost’ handles more direct sun that most other variegated types of Brunnera, though in hot-summer regions some afternoon shade is recommended to prevent leaf scorch. Selected as the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

Read in Full Here

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Brunnera Plants: How To Plant Brunnera Siberian Bugloss

By Becca Badgett

Blooming, growing brunnera is one of the prettiest plants to include in the shady garden. Commonly called false forget-me-not, petite blooms compliment attractive, glossy foliage. Brunnera Siberian bugloss is also called heartleaf brunnera because of the shape of its leaves. It is an herbaceous perennial, dying back in winter.

About Brunnera Plants

The light blue blooms of brunnera plants rise above the leaves of various cultivars. Brunnera plants have leaves that are glossy green or in variegated hues of gray, silver or white, such as the popular cultivar ‘Jack Frost.’ Brunnera Siberian bugloss blooms in early to mid spring.

When growing brunnera, locate the plant in part to full shade, in well-drained soil that can be kept consistently and lightly moist. Brunnera plants don’t do well in soil that dries out, neither will they flourish in soggy soil.

Read in Full Here

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