Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Speaking of crinums.....

Nell Jean was, speaking of crinums, that is. I have some that are somewhat different.

Except this one, which is what I think her first picture is, "Mrs. James Hendry" This is the most elegant blooms and a very clean plant. I desperately need to divide mine,( when it warms up.)

This crinum (below) was another 'find' from the brush site. My Husband picked it up when someone discarded it, several of them actually. He brought them home and potted them up, and there they stayed, ugly looking plants. One day I looked out there, and they were blooming like crazy! I was fascinated, as I had never seen a bloom like this. Our guru, Miss Frances called it a 'Ribbon lily', and that is indeed what it looks like; a pile of ribbons. We have a white one as well, but no pictures of it. The white one also came from the brush site, at a different time.

This crinum has the biggest bulb, the size of a gallon bucket, really.

I also have this 'Ellen Bosanquet'. She is one of my favorites. I got her from Chris, of The Southern Bulb Company, when he came down to give a seminar for us a couple of years ago. She is just beautiful!
This is Chris' picture, from his blog, Unique Bulbs for Warm Climates. There is so much information there, check it out!

A resolution for the coming year is to document every plant variety in my garden. I have a new camera, I think I can keep that resolution.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gardening for EVERYBODY!

I am hearing so many say they cannot garden now. If you live in the frozen North, in zone 4, 5, and 6, and 3 and 2 as well, you CAN be gardening now, and planning in a hands-on way for Spring. Getting a head start on it.....

I want to send you to a place that deals with sowing seeds- sowing them now, I mean. The people at this place just cannot wait for the Winter Solstice! That is the signal to begin planting seeds, of all sorts, in all sorts of containers, and stick them outside to be frozen, snowed on, iced over, and abused in such a cold manner, you would not expect any of them to live. But they do, and the following Spring, they have so many new plants for their gardens! I thought you might be interested in this manner of plant propagation.

It is called "Winter Sowing", and is based on the premise that all seeds know when to germinate. If a plant reseeds naturally, it would go through all the cold, snowy, freezing weather naturally, and still survive to grow the following year. So, they give their seeds the same treatment they would get 'in the wild' so to speak, and they are very successful.

I have planted in winter here, but with us, we have such a mild winter that the seeds usually germinate right quick, then we have to protect them because the next freeze is going to take them out. Bummer. I want to do Winter Sowing! Oh, Wait! That would mean it was cold, possibly snowing.....that's not for me, never mind.....

Be sure to read the FAQ. There is so much information there, you will be set to go!

For example, this is one of the FAQ pages:


What IS "Hunk-o-Seedlings"?

It's how to transplant your seedlings when they've grown very close together.

You can sow as many seeds as you want into a flat, that's up to you....if you don't like thinning seedlings then sow lightly, otherwise you can sow heavily. I am heavy handed when sowing seeds and I always sow plenty. I just thin the seedlings as I transplant them, often I just take a flat and pry off a "hunk-o-seedlings" and divide it into small clusters and plant those as is. When they grow larger I'll thin them out if needed. Mother Nature is very helpful with this too....she'll bop off the weakest seedlings in the cluster so only the very strongest do survive....so thinning is rarely ever neccesary.

OR...if you really-Really-REALLY want to divide those little seedlings into individuals before you transplant them:

To separate any close seedlings just simply take out a cluster of them from the flat, not a big hunk, maybe a piece of soil an inch or two across, and then carefully work the soil loose from the roots to separate them out. To me the action is very similar to butterflying a piece of meat....I just carefully work the roots apart repeatedly opening and halving the soil hunk (this is not something I do when I am hurried or have "anxious" mangling fingers) and I do very little, if any, damage to the roots.


PS....I really personally prefer the hunk-o-seedlings method best. With Winter Sowing you WILL have a gazillion seedlings so planting them out "en masse" will save time, energy, and sanity.

Entered by Trudi_d

FAQ Page


Trudi d is the person who came up with the Winter Sowing idea, and she will cheerfully answer questions, and will be so thrilled you are wanting to WS- as they call it. Click to see her webpage, WinteSown.org.

Go, Read, and maybe you can quench your gardening thirst. More than anything, have fun!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time to garden again!

Next week, we celebrate the coming of a New Year. After that, what happens? It will be time to garden again! Whoopee!

Oh, calm myself!

I love to propagate plants. Whether I do it with seeds, (favorite!) or cuttings (also favorite!) there are always little tricks to learn, to improve, to pass along. I would like to pass along some of my 'tricks' for propagating new plants, and everyone can use these, no matter where you are in the world.

Let us start with propagating by cuttings.

I make a little propagation chamber that is so easy, and so reliable for me that I love to share this idea.

That said....

This is what you will need.
A plastic shoebox, with a lid. They come in various sizes, any will do. A deeper box, filled to the same depth, is great for things like angel's trumpets or roses.

Soil less potting mix, half peat/ half perlite, or whatever is your favorite medium. This needs to be damp when you put it in the box.

A little clay pot, with the drain hole plugged with caulking or silicone. If this is a new pot, scrub it with some steel wool to be sure it doesn't have a sealer on it. You want the water to seep through it.
Rooting hormone powder or liquid, or salix solution from the willow tree.

Plant material, snippers. This plant is Plectranthus (a tall swedish ivy) and a Joseph's Coat, 'Red Thread'. This box has been used before, many times. The little succulents in it are rooted, they just need moving to a pot.

You can see here, I hope, that I fill the clay pot to the top with rain water, well water, or distilled water. I just don't use our tap water, too much chlorine and a ph that is out of sight.

I pour a little of the hormone powder out on a paper plate or a piece of paper, so that I don't contaminate the whole package of powder. And these little 'snippers' are the best for taking this kind of cuttings.

This is about right on the amount of hormone to use. I try to get 2 nodes per cutting, if I can. Knock off the excess. It is better to have a little too little than to have too much.
Then, with your finger, or a pencil, or stick, SOMETHING, poke a hole in the potting mix and insert your cutting. Pull the potting mix up around the cutting good and snug.

When your box is full, and I always like to pretty much fill the box, just put the lid on it, and set it in the shade. You don't ever put this box in the sun. You wind up with boiled cuttings.

Check the cuttings every few days, and refill the reservoire as needed. Don't let it dry out.

If you happen to get the medium too wet, just prop the lid open with a pencil for a little while.

This is a very good method of propagation, lots of fun, and it doesn't take a lot of room. You can leave the box sitting in the laundry room, or under the bed. Cuttings don't need light to root.

I posted this on the Plant Propagation forum at Garden Web 4 years ago, and it is still running. It just kept on keeping on.

Tom, at Seventh Street Cottage makes a fantastic cloning machine, and he has excellent results with it. Look there for his directions, or ask him about it.

Have fun with this. If at first you don't succeed, try it again. Try it with dozens of cuttings, or several cuttings of several types of plants. It won't take you long to get the hang of it, and learn what the different plants need to root.

By the time Spring is here, and you can get in the garden, you can have dozens of new plants to put out, with very little effort or expense. And if there isn't much in your garden to cut right now, take a walk through Lowes or Home Depot garden department. I pick up a lot of plants this time of year for a dollar or two, that will provide several nice cuttings.

Next time, let's make a cute little rose rooter...... Or, maybe I could explain how I make sure every seed I plant germinates.....or, we could root violets, or graft tomatoes. Oh, Wait! We can do bulbs! Did you ever cut up a bulb and wind up with a cazillion baby bulbs? Fun!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What does this tell you?

Well, I know I have been remiss in my attention to my Blotanical friends, but we are nearing the end of our remodeling job. I am spackling a few nail holes, and have a few nails to set, then finish our painting, clean up the floor, an we can call this done! I am so happy, it is really nice.

So, I have not had time to pick and post, and message many people, and I miss that.

But I got this in an email this morning, and I thought it would be a great way to get to know people. I love to read these things, because they don't say the expected things. If you would like, please copy, and post on your blog, then let us know you have posted your answers.

These are MY answers. I am sure they will differ from a lot of people, but will coincide with many too.

38 ODD Things about you! Cut and paste into your blog and FILL IT OUT! Then publish it for all the world to get to know you!

1. Do you like bleu cheese? Yes

2. Have you ever been bitten by a dog? No.

3. Do you own a Gun? Yes, lots!

4. Favorite Kool Aid: green

5. Do you get nervous before a doctor appointment? Sometimes

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Not for me.

7. Do you give money or other things to panhandlers? Seldom

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee, cold water

9. Can you do push ups? yes, in much the same way as a walrus does push ups.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? watch

11. What is your favorite hobby? Gardening, quilting

12. Do you have A. D. D.? No...what?

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? yes

14. Middle name: Lee

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: don't want to go to WW tonight, need to spackle more holes in wall, need to buy dog food.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? water, coffee, tea

17. Current worry: need to get this house finished.

18. Current hate right now: ???
. Favorite place to be? in my stained glass shop

20. How did you bring in the New Year? stayed home

21. Where would you like to go? Vegas

22. Name people who will complete this: Corky, Peggy

23. Do you own slippers? Yes, floor mops

24. What color shirt are you wearing? RED.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No, I like high thread cotton, or linen.

26. Can you whistle? Yes, .

27. Where are you now? Home

28. Would you be a pirate? No, I hate the water.

29. What do you sing in the shower? nothing

30. What is your favorite girl's name? Sheila

31. Favorite boy's name? John, or Michael, or Brian, or David, or Steven, or.....

32. What's in your pocket right now? some money, a little

33. Thing that made you laugh today? e-mails

34. What vehicle do you drive? Suburban

35. Worst injury you've ever had? hurt feelings

36. Do you love where you Live? not really, except I do love TEXAS!

37. How many TV's do you have in your house? five

38. Do you have any tattoos? No, and I never will!

I can't wait to see your answers!

Friday, December 18, 2009

This Book is Terrific!

Rain Gardening in the South: Ecologically Designed Gardens for Drought, Deluge, & Everything in Between by Helen Kraus and Anne Spafford.

I was invited to review this book* after I posted about being such a fan of Rain Gardens here. I received a copy of the book in the mail, and have had my nose in it at every opportunity since then! This is a terrific book!

This is an excellent resource, and not just for the novice. Written in clear simple language, it is easy to understand. Beautifully illustrated, both with pictures and drawings. If you didn't want a rain garden when you started this book, you definitely want one when you finish it!

This book is devoted to solving problems for the gardener. They start at the beginning, and take you step by step through the how, what, and why of building a rain garden, and continue with pages of suggestions for what to plant in your garden, (either sun or shade) and include valuable information on troubleshooting, and maintenance of your garden. They also discuss other methods of conserving our most precious resource, rain water.

If you are looking for a nice gift for a friend, or a great addition to your own library of gardening books, I would wholeheartedly recommend Rain Gardening in the South!

Published by Eno Publishers
Hillsborough, NC 27278

144 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9820771-0-8.
Suggested retail price $19.95.

*This is my opinion. I was not paid for endorsing this book, and had I not fallen in love with it, I would not have written a review of it.~janie

Thursday, December 17, 2009

RED...my favorite!

I bought this amaryllis bulb at WalMart. It turned out so pretty. It pleases me, even though it is a common amaryllis. I would like to have a whole bed full of these flowers, especially at this time of year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This Beautiful Agave....

I love cacti and succulents, and I am crazy about agave. I have many, different all, and some are prettier than others. I have this one, that is so intriguing to me, and I don't even know it's name.
This agave is planted in our Native Plant Garden. It has a kind of unusual history, in that my husband found this agave at our local dump. Our county maintains a brush site for residents, where we can haul tree limbs, and other garden refuse. They grind it for mulch, and we have mountains of it, a lot of which is now wonderful compost! I digress...

One day, a couple of years ago, we took a trailer load of limbs and stuff to the dump. We always wander around, looking at what has been unloaded before we got there, because we have found some very nice plants there. People don't know what they have sometimes, and they throw it away. This agave, and three others had been thrown away. We gathered them all, potted them up when we got home, and set them in the hoop house.

Last year, we donated this agave to the Native Plant Garden. It has more than doubled in size since being planted in the ground, and it is really pretty. The markings on this agave are such that I have never seen another agave like it. The agave next to it (behind it, in this picture) is
also a blue agave, but has no markings, and even has a smooth leaf edge.

The most spectacular difference is the marking of this agave. I think it is beautiful. We have harvested 4 pups from this agave already, and I can't wait to harvest more.

Friday, December 4, 2009


It is SNOWING at my house! For those of you who live in the frozen tundra north of I10, this probably seems like no big deal. But for US, who live in South Texas, where the banana trees are unfurling new foliage, and hibiscus are blooming with abandon, and it will be 65 degrees tomorrow at 11:00am, this is a BIG DEAL! BIG flakes are falling, it is sticking to the roads, I am in the house for the duration; I HATE SNOW! Look at my poor plants, all bent over, drooping from the cold! All these other peoples are just tickled that they can play in snow, and all I can think of is -60F and 7' of snow!
It is even sticking in my neighbors yard, and their yard was flooded yesterday! And it wasn't supposed to start this until this afternoon. We will have to tunnel out, if this keeps up. Quit snickering, I can hear you.....Rosey, quit that!

Update to follow! Probably more whining too. Sorry, I need to cover the beautiful blooms of the bromiliads. Bummer.This is my fairy duster, laying down because it is cold. Yesterday it was just beautiful, and lots of buds on it. I wonder what this will do to it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An email I received today.....

I got this email today, and I about choked when I saw it. I was laughing hysterically, my Daughter thought I was sobbing and was really alarmed.

BTW, I apologize for being tardy responding to comments and messages, and awards. We are laying floors at my house (the whole house), and my laborer will quit, I am afraid if I lay out on the computer. I do sneak in a few looks every once in awhile.....

This is the email.

Read the story before you look at the picture.

Well, there is good news and bad news about my Christmas decorations this year

Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down. First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by. Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.

Kind of feel like I gave in to the man by taking him down but my neighbor did confirm several near miss accidents on the busy street next to my house. I think I made him too real this time

So it was fun while it lasted