Benefit Of Flowers

Modern life can cause stress. It’s a fact that many people deal with on a daily basis: work deadlines, parenting struggles and relationship challenges are all in a days work. On the bright side, there is a relatively low-cost and all natural way of handling and combating stress. Flowers have been proven to relieve stress, plus beautify your home or office at the same time. Flowers are not only stress-busters, they evoke feelings of compassion, enthusiasm and energy – giving you a reason to start your day off right. Read on to learn more about how color affects mood and how strategically placed flowers can give you that extra boost when you need it most.

Color is everything!
Although we may not recognize it, we are affected by colors everyday. It is a fact that specific hues and shades of colors stimulate certain emotions – the same goes for flowers. Selecting a color of flowers is important based on your personality. Whether you are the type of person who needs to relax to relieve anxiety or would rather bring to mind feelings of cheerfulness to rid yourself of worries, you need to choose the color of your flowers according:

Red
A warm color that is all about energy and vitality. It can also be used for indicating anger and danger. Since red is the most emotionally intense color, using all red flowers may not be a good idea, depending on whether or not you like the color red. Red flowers can also have positive meanings when used in moderation – love, enthusiasm and exhilaration, all which are perfect for people who need that extra lift of energy sometimes. Red is also perfect for stirring up excitement, especially at night time.

Where to place red flowers: Since red is the color for stirring up excitement, than placing red in a living room or dining room can draw people together and stimulate conversations. In an entryway, red flowers create a strong first impression of your home. Red is usually considered too strong for bedrooms, so use flowers in a dark, intimate setting where the flowers will appear more rich and elegant. The best way to combat stress with red flowers is to place them where you can view them by lamplight to help you feel relaxed and at ease.

Orange
A warm color like red, orange represents energy, warmth, balance and vibrancy. Flowers such as roses, tulips and daisies are perfect for emulating spring-like geniality and childlike playfulness. Orange is also a great color for increasing energy levels. Orange flowers are used for bringing out all the emotions you need when starting off your day!

Where to place orange flowers: The warmness of orange flowers can be beneficial in a kitchen or exercise room. Placing flowers in your kitchen can help you boost feelings of compassion and enthusiasm, while giving you the liveliness needed to get though the day. Also, placing orange flowers in your fitness room can provide motivation for these groggy days, since exercise is also a great way to relieve stress.

Yellow
Associated with sunshine and summer, the color yellow communicates happiness. In chromotherapy, yellow is believed to stimulate nerves and purify the body. Yellow flowers such as tulips, lilies and roses are used to characterize new opportunity and growth. Using yellow flowers in a mixed bouquet can help you achieve feelings of cheerfulness, but be careful not to over do it, for the color yellow is also known to provoke frustration.

Where to place yellow flowers: Yellow flowers are perfect for kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms, where this happy shade is energizing and uplifting. Placing yellow flowers in hallways, entryways and small spaces can make your house feel more open and airy. Using yellow flowers to get rid of stress is most effective in congested, tight areas where yellow flowers will make your home feel more welcoming.

Blue
The color of serene, blissful relaxation. The color blue is proven to lower blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. Blue is the perfect color for encouraging relaxation and tranquility. Even though blue may be great for resting, hardly any flowers grow naturally blue. Look for flowers such as an iris or rose, that can come in hues of the color blue. ”

Where to place blue flowers: To promote relaxation, place blue flowers in bedrooms, bathrooms or dens. Blue flowers are perfect for resting the mind and soothing frustrations after a hard day at work. Lighter shades such as periwinkle, are known to provide calmness, while deeper shades can remind some people of sadness. Stick to softer shades of blue to provide you with comfort.

Purple
The color of richness, sophistication and creativity. Depending on how deep the shade, purple can bring about many emotions, such as motivation, fame, power and courage. Lighter shades of purple have a restful quality about them and are good for assuring a good nights sleep.

Where to place purple flowers: Purple flowers often provide the same restful quality of blue, without the chance of feeling “too blue.” Purple flowers are beneficial in bedrooms and bathrooms, where they can promote unwinding, but they also have enough warmth to instil comfort and togetherness. Flowers in any hue of lavender are just right for a luxury evening of letting go of your troubles.

White
Although white is a neutral, it can have the same emotional impact as any other color. White usually symbolizes purity, cleanliness and innocence. White flowers can bring an airy lightness to any room and can help bring about emotions of spaciousness. If you have an area of your home or office that is crammed and cluttered, placing white flowers there can help beautify the space and provide a much needed break for you from the mess.

Where to place white flowers: Placing white flowers in areas where you generally tend to relax, such as bathrooms or bedrooms, can provide a tranquil and calming air about your space. White flowers have the power to provide a powerful comforting effect on the mind because of it’s “plain” look. Also, placing white flowers such as roses and iris’ in tight spaces can help bring a breath of fresh air into your living area.

Fresh cut flowers in your home can chase away moments of fear, worry, sadness and anxiety. People who regularly live around flowers are found to have less negativity in their thinking and are more active as a result of heightened productivity and energy. Flowers can also be used as a means of connecting and creating new bonds with others, making you less stressed about relationships. Welcome flowers into your life and experience the positive impact on your emotional well being!

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Tips To Make Your Flower Last Longer

Picking Your Own Flowers – If you are picking your own flowers it is best to do this in the morning or the late evening. Sugar reserves in the stems are at their highest in the mornings or evenings. Ideally the best time is early morning when flower stems are filled with water after the cool night air. You should never pick flowers in the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s hottest.

The heat of the sun lowers the water content in the stems and the flowers will not last nearly as long. If it has been raining and the flowers are wet, shake them gently to remove the excess water. Too much water will often damage flowers – especially delicately petalled flowers.

When to Pick Flowers – Most flowers should be picked when they are in bud or half open. You will then have the pleasure of seeing them slowly open up. The colour of the petals should be starting to show. If picked too tightly in bud, they may never open. This is especially true of tulips and roses. The green pointed sepals around the base of the rose should be starting to turn downwards. Irises and daffodils should be half opened. Gladioli should be picked when the bottom three or four florets are open and the top florets are still in bud. Carnations, dahlias, marigolds, hydrangeas, camellias, gerberas and chrysanthemums should be picked when they are fully opened.

Fill a plastic bucket a third to half way with warm water. Warm water should be used as flowers take up warm water more readily than cold. Its preferable to add preservative to the water. (The use of preservatives is fully explained further on). Flowers only drink through the ends of the stems and not through the sides of the stems, and for this reason buckets should not be filled right up to the top with water, as foliage left on stems below the water line will rot and pollute the water. This will cause bacteria and the flowers will die more quickly. The foliage of marigolds, chrysanthemums, stock and daisies send off a particularly strong odour when left standing under water over a period of time.

Take the bucket of water into the garden with you. Use a sharp pair of secateurs and cut the flower stems on an angle – a slanted cut allows a better intake of water. Remove all foliage from the lower portion of the stems which would stand under the water line. Place the flowers immediately in the water.

Never overcrowd flowers. Allow enough air to circulate between each flower. Too many flowers crowded together in a bucket may cause the petals to become squashed and bruised. Place the bucket in a cool dark place and allow the flowers to have a long drink before being arranged. When picking short-stemmed flowers, use a smaller container.

Conditioning Flowers and Foliage – Allow flowers to have a good drink for four to five hours, preferably overnight before arranging. This step is called conditioning. It allows the stems to fill up with water and the flowers will become crisp. These flowers will last twice as long as those that have not been conditioned properly.

Bought Flowers – Bought flowers should be placed in warm water as soon as possible. Remove the wrapping paper, as paper can bruise the flowers and cellophane can cause them to sweat. When cut flowers have been left out of water for any length of time, cells start to form over the cut ends of the stems, which will prevent the stems taking up water readily. To remove this sealed portion, snip off about 2.5cm (1″) from the stem ends and then place in water preferably with preservative added, and allow the flowers to have a long drink before arranging.

You may be given flowers when you are away from home. It may well be several hours before you are able to place them in water. The best way to keep flowers fresh is to place them in a strong plastic bag with some water in the bottom. Secure the bag with a rubber band. Another method is to wrap flowers in damp newspaper. If travelling by car, place the flowers in the coolest spot. As soon as you get home, recut the ends of the stems, place them in water and allow them to condition overnight before arranging.

Preservatives – A flower preservative helps destroy bacteria in the water. Flower preservatives are available in garden centres or supermarkets. Another alternative is to use a capful of household bleach in the water. If a preservative is not used, the water needs to be changed and the stems cut on an angle daily. If a preservative is used, the stems do not require recutting and water needs changing only about twice a week. Flowers like freesias, spray carnations and liliums have lots of buds. By using a preservative in the water, it helps develop the buds to open.

Special Treatment – Special treatment should be given to certain flowers to give them the longest life possible. Flowers with woody stems do not take up water readily. Woody-stemmed flowers include lilac, hydrangea, and rhododendrons. To help break down the thick fibres, you can split the ends of the stems upwards for about 5 cm. (2″) After this treatment, place the stems in a container filled with warm water and give the flowers a long drink before arranging.

Flowers with Milky Stems – Poppies, poinsettias and dahlias have a milky liquid flowing through their stems. To seal this liquid in and make the flowers last, the ends of the stems should be held over a flame like a candle, gas jet or cigarette lighter. Hold the end of the stem over the flame for about thirty seconds until the end of the stem turns black. The flowers should be held on an angle to protect the delicate petals. Another method is to dip the stems in boiling water for about thirty seconds. Hold the flower heads away on an angle and protect the petals from steam by holding newspaper around the flowers. Place stems immediately in warm water and give flowers a long drink before arranging. If stems need to be recut later on when arranging flowers, you will need to repeat the above steps. To avoid this you could cut the stems to different lengths before sealing the ends of the stems.

Bulb Flowers – Certain flowers grow from a bulb. These include tulips, daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, irises and hyacinths. These flowers often have a white portion at the ends of the stems. Cut this white portion off before conditioning as only the green part of the stem can take up water. Daffodils, jonquils and narcissus have a thick sap which oozes from the end of the stems when they are cut. Wipe it off before placing the stems in water. Keep these flowers separate from other flowers when they are being conditioned as the sap can affect other flowers. The thick sap can clog the ends of stems and prevent the uptake of water. Stand the stems in about 7.5 cm. (3″) of water and allow to stand at least six hours before arranging. Bulb flowers prefer shallow water. If daffodils, jonquils and narcissus are placed in deep water, the thick stems can become water logged and the stems shrivel up and the petals go papery.

Wilted Flowers – Wilted flowers can often be revived by standing the stems in fairly hot water right up to the flower heads. After the water has cooled, allow the flowers to stand in the water for a few hours before arranging. Roses can often be perked up by floating the whole stem, head and all, in warm water for half an hour.

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Basic Plant Propagation

Plant propagation is a cost free or at least very inexpensive way to grow your plant stock. It only takes a few tools that you probably already have: good secateurs, a shovel, planting medium, rooting hormone and a few pots.

Many books have been written to provide detailed information on plant propagation. This article will briefly go over the basics.

Seeds

The most common method of plant propagation is collecting seeds from plants you already have in the garden. Some plants like lettuce and celery will only germinate if exposed to sunlight; others, like phlox and allium, only if they are completely covered.

Most plants will benefit from being started indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. There are a few plants that either do not like being transplanted or are hardy enough to take a light frost. Those plants are better off being planted directly outdoors. A few examples: peas, carrots, corn, beans, nasturtiums, morning glory, cucumbers.

Most perennials will greatly benefit from being sown directly outdoors at the end of summer. That will give the plants the chance to experience their natural cold cycle and make them emerge stronger and in their own time in spring.

Hard seeds like nasturtiums, morning-glory and four o’clocks will germinate easier if soaked in warm water for 12 hours prior to planting.

When: Plant annuals in spring, perennials and biennials at the end of summer, when the heat died down a bit.

Division

A prolific way to increase your garden stock is the division of mature plants. Most herbaceous perennials really need dividing in order to remain healthy and blooming. Among those, a few examples: heuchera, daylilies, pampas grasses.

Other plants, like daisies and bee balms will quickly spread if left to their own accord. Dividing them is a good way to control their growth and fill up bare spots in your garden.

To divide the plant you can either dig it out completely and break the root ball into smaller parts or dig out a part of the clump with a shovel. If you can do that, the advantage is that the remaining plant roots will remain undisturbed.

When: Divide spring blooming plants in the fall and fall blooming plants in spring.

Rhizomatous plants

Among these: bearded irises, peonies, lily-of-the-valley, mint.

For small rhizomes, just pull out of the dirt and replant somewhere else. For larger rhizomes, dig the plant out at the end of summer after it finished blooming and cut up the root in 2-4 inch sections with leaf growth at one end.

When: End of summer or fall, after they have finished their vegetative cycle.

Layering

This works great with ground covers, strawberries, raspberries, and spider plant. Take a runner and tie it down to the ground with a pin. After the plant develops roots you can cut it loose from the mother plant and move it someplace else.

When: whenever they decide to grow runners.

Cuttings

Most woody plants can be propagated like that, especially roses, for whom this is the basic method of propagation. Other plants to be propagated by cuttings: butterfly bush, weigela, pelargonium, fuchsia, delphinium, forsythia, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, African violets.

There are four basic types of cuttings: tip cuttings (soft, green), stem cuttings (woody), leaf cuttings (leaf and petiole) and root cuttings.

For stem and tip cuttings, a minimum 3 inch length will ensure the viability of the plant. Wounding the cutting (making a longitudinal cut or crushing the bottom) will stimulate the plant to grow new roots.

Many plants, like mint, will grow roots if placed in water. Other plants, like African violets and hydrangeas, will be happy to root if you stick a leaf with a long petiole in the dirt. For plants with large leaves, like hydrangea, it helps to cut up about half of the leaf to lessen the strain on the developing root system to feed it.

If you have rooting hormone, I strongly recommend it.

When: For fall blooming perennials and annuals, start cuttings when the danger of frost has passed in spring. For spring blooming perennials, start the cuttings in the fall and protect them under cloches (a glass jar would work just fine) over winter. It is very advantageous to the plant to go through a cold season in its natural surroundings, it makes for a much healthier root system. This is especially true for roses.

Bulbs, corms and tubers

Some bulbs, like lilies, will start spreading out in a scaly pattern. Each scale with roots can be separated and start a new plant.

Onions can be vertically chopped and divided. For hyacinths there is a method called scooping: cut up the roots off a bulb and scoop out the central part right underneath them to expose the bulb layers. Place the bulb upside down half buried in a tray full of wet sand. Place the tray in a dark warm location. In 12-14 weeks bulblets will start forming on the top of the large bulb. Plant the bulb upside down with the bulblets right below the surface. Let the plant go through its vegetative cycle. The bulbs can be lifted and separated in the fall.

When dividing tubers, make sure to have at least one viable “eye” on each section.

When: In the fall, after the plants went dormant.

Dropping and stooling

Dropping consists of pushing down and covering most of the plant stems with compost or good quality dirt, and wait for the plant stems to develop individual roots. The plants can be separated and replanted. This works for heathers and rhododendrons.

For the stooling method mound up dirt high around the bottom of the plant, to give the stems an opportunity to grow roots. A few examples of plants for which this method works: lilacs, willows and dogwoods.

When: Drop and stool in spring, divide and cut in the fall.

Please keep in mind that some plants will successfully propagate through several of these methods.

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Guide to Protect Your Plants From Frost

How does Frost Damage Plants?

Frost Causes the water in the plant cells to freeze which damages the cell wall and as a result the inside structure of the plant is damaged. When the ground is frozen, roots cannot take up any water to feed the plant and as a result dies.

Don’t be caught out!

Be aware, early frosts may occur From September onwards or late in spring. When an early frost occurs, not only have you not prepared your garden for cold weather and frost, the plants themselves may not have prepared themselves either and an unexpected frost can occur when they are not ready. Plants prepare themselves for the winter months by:

    • Materials and chemicals – some plants store extra chemicals and materials that act as an anti-freeze lowering the freezing point of cell contents. This process usually starts when the days become shorter in autumn.
    • Antifreeze – this is where the plant is able to prevent water in the cells from freezing even below freezing point. In order for this to happen, plants have to be in a cold environment for about a week or so before freezing conditions occur.
  • Bark – this insulates the plant to prevent water freezing inside the plant cells

During spring there will be new growth and buds appearing, which is vulnerable and has no resistance against sudden freezing conditions.

A few things to Consider

  • Golden or variegated varieties of plants are usually more vulnerable and less hardy.
  • Research hardiness of plants so you don’t waste money and time planting them if they cannot withstand the cold.
  • Shelter will be required for tender plants.
  • Plants with flower buds and new shoots are less likely to be damaged in east-facing sites.
  • Avoid if possible colder areas in your garden called ‘frost pockets’ and are usually the lowest point in your garden or near fences and garden walls.
  • Newly planted and young plants will be more vulnerable to frost damage than fully established specimens as they have not developed any resistance to frosty conditions.
  • Pruning and cutting back plants encourages new growth which will be damaged by cold weather and/or frost.

Protecting Your Plants

If you didn’t plan ahead in spring and consider the cold weather and frost when planting, then protecting your plants this winter may also involve a bit of re shuffling of some plants around your garden to provide extra shelter for them. Protecting your plants will also include covering them with fleece, bringing them indoors as well as adding mulch.

  • Evergreen plants will need a thick layer of mulch on the surrounding soil to keep the solid from freezing so water can be taken up by the plant so they don’t dehydrate. Fleece?
  • Tender Plants ideally need to be in pots over the winter so they can easily be moved indoors to protect from the frost and cold weather.

Growing in the Open: if they cannot be potted up and moved indoors, they can simply be covered in fleece. The ground around the plant should be covered in a mulch to prevent the soil freezing. In the spring new shoots can be covered with a bell-cloche until they are more established.

Potted: Move any potted tender plants indoors to protect from the cold weather.

    • Plants growing against a wall can simply be protected with fleece.
    • Low growing Plants will need to be protected from wet weather so a cloche is ideal to keep them covered. You can then surround them with gravel or grit to ensure they will have effective drainage.
    • Tree Ferns, Cordylines and Palms will need theircrowns (centre of the plant) protecting by tying their leaves into bunches and the trunk of den trees should be wrapped in fleece.
    • Tuberous Plants, once the frost has blackened the foliage, you should carefully dig them up taking care not to chop them in half with your spade. Remove the soil form the tubers and place somewhere cool and dry to allow the tubers to become fully dormant. After a few days, store the tubers in almost dry compost in a frost free place over winter such as the greenhouse.
    • Plants in Pots need to be moved indoors. If you can’t move the pots indoors then you will need to use pot feet to prevent waterlogging. If you don’t have frost proof pots they may crack in the frost so you should insulate them with a layer of bubble wrap or hessian.
    • Frost Pockets are the coolest places in your garden and can be found by a wall or fence and at the lowest ground levels. These areas can be damaging to plants so if possible you will need to dig up and move these plants elsewhere in your garden. If not remove some of the lower growth to improve cold air drainage.
    • New plants Avoid planting any new plants as newly planted and young plants will be more vulnerable to frost damage than fully established specimens as they have not developed any resistance to frosty conditions.
    • Know which ones are the Less hardy plants in your garden. They ideally need to be moved to a sheltered spot such as under a tree or next to well established shrubs if possible if they are in an exposed position. They will need to be covered in fleece and mulching may be necessary too depending on how resistant to frost they are.
    • Plants with flower buds and new shoots if not already, need to be in east-facing sites.
  • Do not prune and cut back plants before the winter or during, as the older foliage is vital as it will help to protect the rest of the plant and hopefully will take the hit of any frost damage. Cutting back encourages new growth which will be damaged by cold weather and/or frost.

How to detect frost damaged plants

Overall the general signs you need you look out for are withering, scorching or browning of leaves, limp stems, brown fruit.

  • With hardy Evergreen plants the leaves becomes scorched and often turn brown.
  • Tender Young Growth causing scorching of the leaves and pale brown patched will appear between the leaf veins, usually on the more exposed surfaces.
  • Tender perennials usually become blackened and the plant stem will be limp and distorted.
  • Blossom and young fruits will have a corky layer form at the flower end of the fruit
  • Bedding plants and some tender vegetables will show leaf scorch and browning
  • Some shrubs may have the spotting on the leaves
  • The foliage of certain plants appears water-soaked and dark-green and will then turn black.

Checking for Signs of Life

After the winter, a great way of detecting frost damaged plants is to scrape the outer layer of the stem away and if it is sappy and green then it shows a sign of life. If the stem has no sap and is soft, dry and brittle this will mean that the plant may well have died. However, you cannot tell if this is the case with all plants, as climbers with woody stems don’t have green sap at this time of year, so you will not be able to tell whether they are dead or alive.

What to do if your plants are damaged

If your plant does appear damaged, so not give up hope as you never know, it may well recover. There are ways to prevent any further damage to your plants.

    • Protect them from the morning sun to prevent them from thawing out to quickly. If they cannot be moved then cover them in black plastic to block out the sun.
    • Cut back frosted growth in spring to prevent further die back and encourage fresh, new growth. You should be looking to cut back to an undamaged side shoot or bud.
    • Feed damaged plants with a slow release plant food to encourage strong and healthy new growth. The fertiliser will need to be balanced with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
    • Dig up small tender plants and place them in the greenhouse. Provided they were not exposed to long period of cold and frost they should recover and start to produce new growth.
  • Newly planted specimens if there has been a hard frost will lift up above ground level if just recently planted. Check them regularly to re-firm the ground around them and keep the roots in contact with the soil.

Remember: Many plants can actually recover from frost if you give them time, do not just give up on a plant that has been frost damaged. Even if there is no sign of life above ground, the root system may still be okay and you may start to see some growth over a few weeks. If no re-growth has appeared by mid-summer you may well need to replace the plant.

Snow!

Snow actually acts as an insulator; however it can still damage plants. If there is a heavy covering, the weight of it can cause leaves, branches and stems to break. To minimise damage you will need to shake snow off the branches of large trees, shrubs and hedges. Even if the snow doesn’t break the branches it can leave them distorted. Snow on greenhouses or cold frames prevents the light from getting through so it will need to be removed. You will also need to avoid as much as you can from walking on snow covered grass as it damages the turf and will leave it looking unsightly.

Hardiness Scale

Hardiness zones are useful as a guide only as there are many other factors to take into

account on how a plant may survive in your garden. For example, a damp shaded spot my kill a plant that in the same garden, would survive in a border which slopes away and has sandy soil.

How hardy is it on a scale from 1 – 11. One will survive arctic winters, eleven is tropical. The hardy zones vary across the UK from 7 to 10. Generally most of England, Scotland, wales and centre of Ireland are zone 8.

You can see the hardiness scale to the right, so before purchasing any plants check out your area first so you know how hardy your plants need to be to stand the best chance of surviving this winter.

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All About Aquarium Plants

When planning an aquarium, one of the key elements you will need is a large variety of aquarium plants. Aquarium plants are not only pleasing to look at but they also serve an essential function in your aquarium. They come in several different types and there are some basic guidelines that will help you choose the best plants for your aquarium. When you are planning the environment for your fish, having a basic understanding of aquarium plants will help to make your efforts a success and allow you to provide the best possible environment for your fish.

Aquarium Plants

Having an adequate selection of aquarium plants in your fish tank or aquarium is one of the best choices you can make for the wellbeing of your fish. They help to mimic your fish’s natural environment as well as providing several other essential functions. Some of the benefits that aquarium plants provide include improving the water quality by allowing for natural biological filtration. They also remove nitrates from the water and work to oxygenize the water resulting in healthier fish. Aquarium tanks with plants have fish which are calmer and exhibit reduced signs of stress as well as increasing their likelihood of breeding.

Once you have decided that adding aquarium plants to your aquarium is the healthiest option for your fish, you can then go about selecting which plants you would like to include. When first starting out, it is important to start with a large quantity of plants at once. This will ensure that there are more plants than algae in the fish’s environment. Having a large density of plants in the aquarium tank will ensure that the algae present do not absorb more nutrients than the plants. This is the main reason that aquariums which a small amount of plants do not flourish. Large quantities of plants can be obtained at club auctions at very reasonable prices.

A Variety Of Plants

When selecting your plants, there are a variety of available species to choose from. The best species for a first time planting are those that are relatively cheap and fast growing. This will ensure that your aquarium tank will be ready in as short a time as possible. Species to choose from include Vallisneria, Cabomba, Hygrophilia and hornwort. When selecting your plants, it is important to inspect them for snails and snail eggs. The best plants to start with that are guaranteed to be virtually free of snails are Hygrophilla lacustris (willowleaf hygro) and Nomaphila stricta (temple plant).

Adding Your Plants To Your Tank

Before installing the plants you have selected, you should make sure they are in pristine condition for the best health of the aquarium. This can be easily done by pruning your plants before placing them into the tank. To best prune your plants, you should remove any aging and yellowing leaves with a small pair of scissors or gardening shears. When pruning rooted plants, you can remove any visible soft brown roots as well as trimming any white roots that show up on the plant. If installing stem plants, you can make a fresh cut in the stem before planting.

Once your plants have been properly pruned, you can then go about setting them inside the tank. This is best done with a half filled tank for greater ease and efficiency. Make a small hole for the plant you are working with and then insert the plant into the hole while placing gravel over the roots as any exposed roots may be attacked by fur algae. The new plants may take some time to get settled and properly rooted so try to avoid moving them unless absolutely necessary as it takes a while for a plant to recover from a move. Your newly placed plants will need a very specific environment to ensure their optimal development. Algae can easily overtake a newly planted tank if there are elements within the environment which are out of balance. Any lights should be placed on a timer with a rotating daily cycle of eight to ten hours. The lights should be reduced if any excess of algae begins to form. Once this environment has been properly established, a lighting cycle of ever ten to twelve hours per day will suffice.

You may have a selection of fish that you will like to introduce to your tank right away, however this may not be best. The ideal starter fish for a new tank are those that can eat algae immediately as it shows up such as mollies, flying foxes, and certain types of catfish. More fish can be added at a later date; however special attention should be paid to the amount of fish in relation to plants to ensure the highest water quality possible.

Regular upkeep of your plants will also guarantee that your fish remain as healthy as possible. To maintain the health of your plants, you should prune them regularly making sure to remove any old and damaged leaves. In the case of floating plants or stem plants, these should be thinned out to avoid any overcrowding that may occur in the tank. Overcrowding from stem and floater plants can cause a diminished light stream which would negatively affect the aquarium’s environment. Pruning stem plants will also result in doubling at the point of each node which will cause thicker, lusher plants to grow in. Pruning can be done on an as needed basis by performing a perfunctory check of the state of your aquarium plants on a regular basis.

Aquarium plants will add a breath of fresh air to your tank, literally. Not only will they enhance the visual appearance of your fish’s environment but they will also aid in maintaining the health of your fish and limiting the overgrowth of algae in your tank. Aquarium plants are an essential element of any aquarium tank. By selecting the best plants for your tank, providing adequate lighting, and maintaining your plant’s health through regular pruning, your aquarium planting success is virtually guaranteed.

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Understanding Planting For Beginner

There comes a time in the life of every landscape, when the existing plantings are old, overgrown and have lost their curb appeal and a change is necessary, not only for the health of the landscape, but also to reinvigorate the caretaker whose passion has faded right along with their plantings.

This is an exciting time, as removing the old eyesores brings a refreshing change to the landscape but this process also imparts a great deal of stress on the homeowner, as they’re now responsible for choosing the suitable replacements and, with the hundreds of varieties available, the final decisions can be overwhelming.

If you’re thinking of adding new plantings or totally updating your landscape, don’t make a 10 year mistake by rushing the process and choosing the first plant that catches your eye. Dig in to your surroundings and focus on what makes a plant happy and you’ll find that the answers to your success are right outside your front door.

Get to know your property

Sunglasses?

All plants have specific needs for sun, shade, soil etc. that must be met in order to achieve success in any landscape. Your first goal is to reacquaint yourself with your planting beds and understand the conditions that occur there on a daily basis.

Do you know if the sun shines on your plants during the day and more importantly, at what time of the day would it be there? For example, areas that get morning sun but afternoon shade are an excellent place for shade tolerant plants like Hosta or Hydrangea Macrophylla as morning sun is a cooler sun and will not harm the tender leaves of shade tolerant plants.

On the other hand, areas in full sun or, morning shade and afternoon sun, must only contain plants that can withstand extreme heat and dry conditions because this sun is hot, and will damage plants that are not suited for these temperatures.

Knowing the conditions that affect different areas of your landscape, allows you to eliminate plantings that will not be successful and save yourself a lot of disappointment and headaches in the future.

Clay is for moulding not your soil

Next we want to dig into the soil where your new plants will live. It’s important not to overlook this step, as your soil is a major factor in your plants future health, good or bad.

Take a shovel of soil from various areas in your planting beds, about 6 inches down, and lightly toss it on the surface. If it stays together in a clump, it probably has a high clay content which is not good, but if it falls apart and is loose, it’s probably mostly sand or a descent organic mix, which is is a better start for your new plants

If your soil contains a lot clay, the reality is, it can sustain life as is, but you’ll spend a lot of time checking on and babysitting your new plants and you’ll probably read the signs the plant is showing you, wrong.

In the spring and fall when Mother Nature makes moisture more available, clay soil drains very slow, so it stays wet longer, reducing oxygen to the roots and binding or locking up fertilizer and other nutrients, inhibiting their use by the plant. The lack of nutrients turns the leaves a sickly yellow color and the lack of oxygen causes the leaves to wilt, giving the appearance that the plant needs water.

What do most of us do when we see a new plant with wilting leaves, we give it water. As you can now see, wilting leaves is also a symptom of too much water in clay and adding more is the wrong thing to do.

In the summer, the high temperatures and dry conditions turn the clay into a rock hard mass which sheds water away and also slows root growth as they cannot penetrate the hard ground. A lack of water will also cause the leaves to wilt but how long do you water to properly saturate the clay soil when most of it is running off and also, when is the proper time to water again to make sure the roots do not continue to sit in water.

It’s awesome, we see Deer everyday

Another very important thing to consider before choosing your plantings, is where you live. If you often see Deer in your neighborhood and your yard is not fenced, this adds another obstacle to your design and severely limits the plants available to you.

Deer will cause major damage to an incredible variety of plants as they wander and forage on anything available. Most of their feeding is done at night, when dogs and people are asleep, so you’ll never see or hear them, but your plants will pay the price. If you see Deer wandering your neighborhood, limit your plant choices to Deer resistant only, you truly have no other option.

Where are your roof downspouts

It’s always a good practice to be aware of where your roof downspouts empty as a tremendous amount of water come out of them during every storm and can affect your landscape in bad ways.

First, any plants close to or directly in front of the downspout will be subject to extremely wet conditions which will cause future problems and possible elimination of the wrong plant. Soil that stays wet, as discussed before, also causes problems with most plants and usually has a bad ending for many.

Water will also erode mulch and soil from plant roots and expose them to the high temps. of summer and also cause a consistent mess in your grass.

If possible, bury your downspouts underground and have them daylight in the grass where the added water is always welcome.

Do you have large trees

If you have large trees on your property and their root zone is part of your planting space, meaning you will or have planted shrubs below them, pay special attention to this area if you are going to install plants.

The root systems in this scenario will quickly steal most of the water and fertilizer added and leave the new plants struggling and wanting for more. You will need to supplement water after installation and also monitor this area thru the years as rain will struggle to penetrate the tree canopy once the leaves fully open.

Plants, plants and more plants

Now its time to start choosing your plants and the sheer varieties available will surely be overwhelming, but the leg work you’ve already done above, allows you to eliminate ones you now know will not work in your unique landscape.

Take your time, look thru books and read about the plants you like. Get hands on, by going to a local nursery to browse and ask questions and also drive your neighborhood and look for plants you find attractive.

Seeing plants in an actual landscape, gives you first hand knowledge of their true size and assists in choosing the right shrub for crucial areas like your foundation, next to a doorway or along walkway, where space is usually limited . The wrong plant here will greatly increase future maintenance and also ruin the natural beauty of the shrub from the constant pruning.

Now its time to think about your design

Layering

When your thinkingof adding new plants, layering means arranging taller plants in the back and shorter plants in the front so you can view every plant from the front. Its that simple.

Do not over plant to get instant effect

Too many times, I see new installations where plants are initially crammed together to achieve the instant effect of a mature landscape. Not only will this increase your initial costs by 30%-40% because of the extra plants, you’ ll increase your maintenance as the plants will quickly grow together and will need to be pruned a lot.

Allow room for natural growth

Always allow sufficient space between each plant at installation so it can slowly mature to full size naturally, overtime. Plants grow together slowly, keeping maintenance limited to light tipping which produces a beautiful, natural plant.

Use Smaller Plants

When installing your new landscape, it’s better to use smaller plants, available in the one, three and five gallon plastic pots, instead of the larger, more mature, balled and burlapped plantings.

The root system in a smaller plant is equal to and comparable to the size of the top growth or the above ground plant. This root system will easily support fast, healthy top growth as the plant matures to its full size..

Larger plants, however, are dug up and transplanted every spring, from where they’d been growing since they were a twig and half of their root system is left back in the field. Instead of getting bigger yearly as they’d done before being transplanted, all their energy in the next 2-3 years is now put back into rebuilding the root system simply to sustain life.

Smaller plants will increase in size much faster than their larger counterparts and usually surpass them and grow a healthier life.

Installing plants

Shrubs and perennials in plastic pots

Since its better to start your landscape with smaller plants, many of the shrubs and perennials you’ll use will be in plastic pots. As these plants have matured overtime, many have been in the same pot for an extended period which can sometimes make it difficult to remove the root ball from the pot.

If the pot does not come off right away by grabbing the lip, inverting and shaking downwards, lay the pot on the ground sideways and push down on the sides as you roll back and forth. This will loosen the grip and free the plant.

Once the root ball is out, use pruners or a razor knife to cut through the roots, about inch deep, from the top to the bottom. Do this on 3 sides and also loosen the roots on the bottom. This process forces new roots to grow out away from the existing circular root mass into the surrounding soil.

How deep should I plant the root ball

The proper way to install any plant or tree is to always keep the top 1/4″ to 1″ of the root ball, above the soil line. The top of the root ball should never be below the soil line but to be safe, 1/4″ should always be above the ground for smaller perennials and shrubs and 1″ for larger plants and trees.

When digging a hole to install a plant or tree, estimate the width by eyeing the size and start digging 2-6 inches wider than estimated. It’s not necessary to dig the hole 2-3 times larger because you want the shrub to acclimate to the surrounding soil and loosening and amending too much right around the root ball makes the new roots remain in the amended soil and not spread out into the surrounding soil which is more than likely, of poorer quality.

Continue digging until you feel the width and depth is close to the size needed. Before you put the plant into the hole, check the depth by inverting the shovel handle and use it as a measuring tool. Stand it vertically in the hole, handle down, and measure depth. Compare to the root ball and adjust as necessary, digging deeper or adding soil back in until satisfied.

Failing to check the final depth is not a big deal until you’re installing a big tree, with a 300-400 hundred pound root ball, and you realize the holes too deep, after you’ve already dropped the plant in.

Plants that are balled n burl aped

Follow the process above for digging and checking depth, and when your good to go, place the plant in the hole with the burlap and string still attached. Backfill the sides, straightening the trunk or shrub as you compact around the edges, leaving the top four inches of the root ball exposed.

Now that the plants is straight and stable, you can begin the process of removing the burlap and string. First, use a razor knife or scissors to remove the twine or string that is around the base of the trunk and make sure you get it all. Now peel the burlap back away from the trunk, being careful as you remove the nails that hold the it together. They are rusty so wear gloves.

Larger trees and shrubs may have a wire cage over the burlap helping to hold the root ball together and you can just bend the top sections to the sides. Cut the burlap off the top, level with the surface, and leave the rest to slowly deteriorate. Backfill the rest of the way, compacting and making sure the trunk is straight and the entire root ball is covered.

Leaving a saucer indentation in the soil around the top of the root ball provides an area for water to fill up and stay as it slowly seeps down to wet the root ball.

Planting in amended soil

The digging is smooth and easy with the loose, nutritious soil making an attractive place for a plant to set up a home or plant its roots.

Planting in an un-amended soil .

The digging is difficult with the sticky, heavy soil slowing down the process. The soil is poor and the plants future will be tough. Just a heads up, most plants will survive when planted in soils are not amended. You can pretty much dig a hole in your existing soil right now, stick a plant in and most will survive . *** As long as the soil does not stay wet for long periods of time, most plants will survive. Will you have to babysit it, will the leaves be off color, will it grow at a normal rate? I don’t know, it all depends on what’s in your soil now and how good your plant knowledge is. Don’t take the chance, amend your soil.

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Tips To Taking Care Your Plant

Thanks to our science classes in elementary school, we can easily recite the essentials for plant survival: sunlight, water, air and nutrients. Since air is all around us, we will look at how we can, through simple ways, ensure our plants are properly cared for in the other remaining three respects.

Sunlight

Imagine going to bed hungry. Not fun, is it? That’s how it is for plants that receive insufficient sunlight. Needles to say, this is because sunlight enables plants to photosynthesize, or make food. However, not every plant will thrive when simply placed under the glaring sun. Different plants require different amounts and intensity of sunlight. The different categories of sunlight plants normally fall into are:

  • Direct: sunlight reaches the plant directly without any obstruction
  • Indirect: sunlight shines around the plant but not directly on it
  • Diffused: sunlight is filtered through a light drapery before reaching the plant

Be sure to arrange your plants accordingly. When selecting plants for your home, select those which will be able to grow well in the sunlight you can provide.

Water

Plants, like us, require water to survive. This does not mean you make flower pots and beds overflow with water. As with anything, too much of anything is never good. Overwatering is actually one of the most common mistakes that can lead to a bigger problem for gardeners. When you add water to the soil and it does not get drained properly, the soil becomes waterlogged. Oxygen, the third basic need of plants, is then cut off for the roots, which then leads to the damage, decay and eventual death of the plant.

So, how much should you water? The answer lies in the type of plant you are growing. Like the level of sunlight a plant should get, the amount of moisture it needs also varies with different plants. Some plant species like to have moist soil in between waterings, while others prefer a dry soil. Consult your vendor to find out the level of moisture your plant roots need and keep up with the routine. Here are some helpful tips for plant watering:

  • Stick your finger into the soil and push downwards to gauge how moist the soil is. You can aim for an almost-dry-but-still-moist soil before watering. This is important for wilting plants which may not require the excessive water you’re giving.
  • Water thoroughly but not excessively, so roots at the bottom get water too.
  • Use lukewarm water for watering as cold water can shock the roots.
  • Place saucers below flower pots so water can drain off, and empty them when filled.
  • Water more during the warm seasons than in the cold seasons (but only as necessary).
  • Water newly planted shrubs and trees more frequently as they will not have developed deep root systems yet.

Nutrients

While plants can grow without feeding, containerized plants can benefit from it. Plants in garden beds can take up nutrients available in the soil but those without any resources have to be fed with fertilizers. Flowering plants are a group that will hugely benefit from feeding. Soils can also vary in the levels of nutrients they provide so rather than adding fertilizers, the situation may require special attention to the factors affecting the soil. Here are some tips for feeding your plants with fertilizers:

  • Make sure the soil in moist when applying fertilizers.
  • Feed plants when they show symptoms of nutrient deficiency.
  • Feed plants when they are producing a lower than expected yield while still looking healthy.
  • Feed during the growing season (spring/summer).
  • Don’t apply fertilizers to compacted soil which may end up ineffective.

Now that you’ve got your basics right, you can start growing healthy green plants in your home.

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All About Organic Rose Plant

How Nature Works

Whether it is roses, other flower gardening, or just about any type of plant, the secret to successful organic gardening of any kind is to understand the way nature works. Nature always tries to maintain a delicate balance. By understanding the basics of how plants grow, you will understand how to maintain nature’s balance and thus keep your roses healthy. Basically, water and nutrients are absorbed into the root system and pulled up through the stems into the green leaves by the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a plant process that uses water and energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates that it uses for growth and other plant functions. The carbohydrates are stored in the branches and stems of roses, trees, and other plants. These stored carbohydrates are used as reserve energy for the plant. When a crises occurs, such as a broken stem or pathogenic attack, the stored carbohydrates are used. Stored carbohydrates are also used in the spring to create new stems and foliage. A natural soil environment teems with bacteria, fungi, nematodes, earthworms, and other soil organisms. Many of these soil organisms break down dead leaves and other materials into humus, which enriches the soil. Other soil organisms form symbiotic relationships with roses and other plants.

A symbiotic relationship is a relationship that is beneficial to all participants in the relationship. Mycorrhizal fungus creates an important symbiotic relation with roses and other plants. Mycorrhiza attaches itself to the roots of your roses and other plants. It uses some of the carbohydrates stored by your plants to grow, but helps your roses and other plants by making minerals more available. In a healthy soil environment, the mycorrhizae attached to one of your roses will grow and become interconnected to the mycorrhizae of other roses and plants. In effect, it provides a secondary root system for your garden plants. Roses and other plants also release exudates from their roots that attract beneficial organisms. As an example, exudates from rose roots attract friendly bacterium that ward off pathogenic fungi. Beneficial soil organisms, which are found in natural humus and compost, also make minerals more available to your roses and other plants. Beneficial soil organisms also help protect roses and other plants from predatory life forms.

Another important thing to understand is that plants of all kinds are a little bit like humans–some get along very well and some don’t. Some plants grow well together and actually help each other survive. Other plants inhibit neighboring plants. Plants that grow well together are referred to as companion plants. Companion plants are an important factor in any garden. We will talk more about them later.

Organic growers recognize that pathogenic attacks are an indication that the plant or plants are out of balance. Organic growers know that pathogens can’t get a foothold on a healthy plant. Commonly used chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides destroy soil organisms and throw roses, flowers, and other plants out of balance. The imbalance created by these chemicals attracts pathogens.

Our meddling also creates havoc in roses and other plants. Over-pruning reduces carbohydrate storage, throws the plant out of balance, and often opens the door to pathogens. Hybridization often creates weaker plants. The practice of grafting rose stems onto a different root stock often creates roses that are susceptible to pathogenic attacks.

Creating Your Own Rose Garden If you want to plant a rose garden that consists of two or three roses, or a whole bunch of roses, you need to begin planning. The first thing to do is to think about where you want to plant your roses and what colors you might like. Be sure to consider the other colors in your yard, as well as your house, walkways, etc. Roses grow best with a minimum of six hours of full sun, although some varieties can tolerate a bit more shade. Your shade/full sun areas will affect your possible rose garden locations. The next thing to do is to find out what roses grow well in your climate. Look at rose gardens in your local area to see what roses seem to grow well and how much you like them. Ask nursery experts what roses grow well in your area. Another good source is your local rose club. This will give you a good idea of the colors, sizes, and other characteristics that will grow well in your area.

Companion Plants Once you have decided on the roses you like, you need to learn about companion plants. Roses really do love garlic, as well as other plants of the onion family. Onions are of the order Asparaginales and family Alliaceae. The onion family is made up of 500 species. Although planting garlic in your rose garden will help protect your roses, there are many other onion varieties that will protect your roses and also provide beautiful flowers to enhance your roses. Marigolds, mignonettes, and thyme are also good companions for roses. When you are deciding on companion plants for roses, check to see when they bloom. Other characteristics, such as texture and height, should also be considered before deciding on your companion plants. An excellent book on companion planting is Roses Love Garlic by Louise Riotte. Here’s an interesting link about companion planting.

Choosing Your Plants Choose hardy roses. Generally, old varieties of roses are the hardiest. Try to pick roses that haven’t been grafted onto a different root stock. Choose the colors you like. Bare-root roses are less expensive than potted roses, but potted roses are easier to plant and more likely to survive Choose flowers from the onion family, or other companion families that will complement your roses. Once you have chosen your colors and plants, and have decided how to arrange them and what your rose garden will look like, you can dig in and begin working with your soil.

Soil Soil is the key to healthy and beautiful roses. Dig into your rose plot in several places to see what the soil it is like. Soil is seldom perfect. It may have too much clay, too much sand, tons of rocks, or any of a dozen different problems. pH is also important. You should test your soil pH. pH kits are available at nurseries and over the internet. A good pH test kit is worth the expense because inexpensive ones are often inaccurate. Most roses grow well with a soil pH of 5.5 to 7, although a pH of 6.5 is ideal. pH is a measure of acid-base balance and uses a scale of 1 to 14. 1 is extremely acid; 7 is neutral; and 14 is extremely basic (alkaline). Few flowers will grow in a pH that is too acid or too alkaline. A pH of 6.5 is the point where nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, plus trace minerals, are most easily available to your flowers. Arid regions tend to have alkaline soils and regions with heavy rainfall tend to have acidic soils.

How Much To Water Roses Roses like a lot of water during the growing and blooming season. But this doesn’t mean give them a small amount every day. Like with watering other plants, it is better to water deeply rather than just a little bit at a time, so that the water can fully penetrate the roots. Just sprinkling them with the hose is not enough. Let the hose give your roses a full, thorough soaking. A good four or five gallons worth of water per rose bush is a basic rule of thumb. Depending on how much rain your garden gets, a deep watering once a week is usually enough even in drier parts of the country. If it is extremely hot and dry, perhaps every four days or so. Avoid watering during the heat of the day in direct sunlight. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to water.

The Magic of Humus If your soil is out of the correct pH range, you can change it. This is where the magic of soil biology creates miracles. Humus is the magic formula for most soil problems. Humus, which you can create by composting with compost bins, will help improve your soil pH. It will also improve soil that is too sandy, has too much clay, or has other problems. If your soil is extremely acid, which can happen in an area with heavy rainfall, or soil that has had overdoses of chemical N-P-K fertilizer, you may need to add limestone to “sweeten” the soil. For most other soil problems, humus is the answer. You may not have humus available. If that is the case, don’t worry. We will discuss how mulching can help your roses. For more information on composting, see the Composting Guide. You can create compost with plant clippings and other yard debris, rather than throwing them away. They will provide you with a continuous supply of humus in the future. You should be careful if you decide to purchase compost. Many compost products are not fully composted and are still too ‘hot’ for your garden. Organic fertilizers should be added during the growing cycle. You can even find special organic rose fertilizer that is designed specifically with rose gardening in mind.

Planting Roses It is best to plant your roses between spring and early summer so that they have time to develop a root system before winter sets in. Roses don’t like to be crowded, so give them enough room. Hybrid teas, grand floras, and floribundas should be planted 18 to 30 inches apart. Climbers should be planted 8 to 12 feet apart. Miniatures can be planted approximately 12 to 15 inches apart.

If you have container roses, make sure they have been watered and keep them wet while working. Dig holes for your roses that are 2 ½ times the size of the root ball. It is a good idea to put some well composted organic matter in the bottom of the hole. Mix more composted matter with the soil that you removed, but are planning to put back in the hole. If you don’t have composted matter available, you can substitute a good quality planting mix. It is best to use planting mix that doesn’t contain chemical fertilizers, although it is sometimes difficult to find.

Take the rose plant out of the container and put the rose plant in the hole. Pack the prepared dirt under and around the rose, making sure that the dirt on the top of the rose root-ball is level with the ground. It is a good idea to put a straight stick across the hole to make sure the dirt level of the rose is the same as the ground level. If your rose is planted above or below ground level, it may have a difficult time growing properly. Planting bare-root roses is the same process, except that you must gently pack the dirt around the roots. If you have a grafted rose, you need to make sure that the graft union is a little bit below ground level.

Purchasing organic rose fertilizer will insure that you have fertilizer to add during the growing season, if you don’t already have it on hand at home.

Mulch Mulching will help your roses after they are planted. Mulching is the practice of adding plant material, such as leaves, dead grass, or shredded bark on top of the soil. The plant material will eventually be broken down and pulled into the soil by soil denizens. It will become humus. Mulching also helps to retain moisture in the soil. In a natural environment, leaves fall to the ground and stay there. They act as mulch

Pruning You will not need to prune your roses until next season. It is best to prune just before the early spring growth appears, which is March in most areas. You can check with your local nurseries to find out what is the best time in your area. If you are unfamiliar with pruning, it is best to watch a demonstration. There are many articles and books that explain how to prune, but a demonstration is worth ten thousand words. Do-it-yourself television shows often give demonstrations. Nurseries and rose clubs also sometimes give demonstrations. Once you see a demonstration, you will feel much more comfortable with the idea of pruning.

Deadheading If you have planted repeat-flowering roses, your rose bushes will bloom more bountifully when you remove the spent blooms. This is called deadheading.

Tips Hybrid tea roses or grand floras are best for classical long stem roses, but floribundas, shrubs, or climbing roses are a better choice if you want your rose garden to bloom continually. Climbers on a trellis can create an amazing display of color or hide an unsightly shed. Roses need well-drained soil. If you have clay, or other soil that doesn’t drain, you may have to create a drain line or plant your roses in a raised bed. Don’t forget mulch. Mulching around your roses and other plants will make them very happy and reduce pathogen problems. Purchase hardy roses that are resistant to infestation. These are often the older varieties. You will also find that sturdy varieties vary from region to region. Check with local organic gardening associations to find out what works best in your specific area and under your specific conditions. Instead of planting your roses in even rows, you can stagger them. By staggering them, you get more roses in a small space without crowing them.

Many people are now getting into growing all things organic. Farmers are doing it with produce and meats, so it is natural that you might want to grow your roses that way also. Many people have problems using the pesticides and insecticides that go along with growing roses and keeping them healthy. Well, now you can use more natural methods of growing your roses. I will show you how in step by step detail.

1. Each bush that you want to plant will need to have a foot of space all around it so that the flowers can get the proper amount of circulation. It also helps to prevent leaf diseases for your roses.

2. You will want to purchase organic roses. You will want to buy roses that have a sturdy green stem and no blemishes on them. Bare root roses are best for this.

3. Along with roses that have green stems, you will need to look for stems that have evenly spaced leaves that are close together.

4. You will need to use well drained soil so that you can promote the healthy growth that will give the flower all of the water and nutrients that it needs from the root to the flower’s head.

5. Fix the soil so that you can build organically. You should use a raised bead if drainage is a constant problem. Ask your local garden center rep about how best to fix your soil to be organically correct.

6. Soak your bare root roses in a large container of composte tea for many hours before you plant them.

7. You must mound up enough good organic sol that is mixed with an equal amount of composte in the middle so that you can spread the roots out and down from where they meet at the trunk.

8. Now, plant the rose at the point where the stem breaks into the root so that it is at soil level, or approximately 1 inch below the top level if you live in an area that is prone to hard winters. 9. You have to check your bare root roses first. If your roots grow out in a tight circle, you have to cut a straight slice down each of its four sides. A knife is good for this. Then you will dig a hole that is 2 inches deeper than the container and at least twice as wide.

10. Mix your organic soil garden soil with an equal amount of composted and use your hands to gently spread the roots into the soil mix.

11. You have to mulch to help you prevent your roses from being exposed to weeds, and water stress complications. It will also ensure that your roses remain at their lowest possible maintenance level.

12. You must feed your roses organically also. Fertilize with organic fertilizer and maintain a regular watering schedule.

13. Water your organic roses deep at the planting, and then once every week after that during growing season so that you can promote deep roots. Watering in the early morning is best.

14. You must cultivate the top inch of your soil around each of your roses and fertilize on a monthly basis with a balanced organic fertilizer. You will need a good granular type of fertilizer that you can work into the soil. Either that, or you can use a fish emulsion or seaweed based product that you can mix with water because it has all of the necessary nutrients that a healthy flower needs. Check the ingredients listed on the labels to ensure that they have nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron and calcium.

15. To help protect your bed against the various types of pests and insects that can plague your roses, put sticky yellow bars every ten feet to catch them.

16. You may use an organic pesticide if the problem is bad.

17. If your pest problem is severe enough, you may use insecticidal soap to spray over your roses.

Now you have all of the necessary knowledge that you need to grow your own bed of earth friendly roses. Your flowers will be just as beautiful as those that are not grown organically, and will likely have the healthiest life span that a rose can get. Organic roses have some of the best color and “immune systems” that a rose can have. The fragrance of them can’t be beaten.

CALENDAR OF ROSE CARE

SPRING

Fertilize with blood and bone, up to 1 kg per bush, depending on soil fertility, mixed with 100g of sulphate of potash per bush, potash improves disease resistance (don’t use muriate of potash, it has a harmful effect on beneficial soil organisms). Apply a good mulch of well-rotted compost and lucerne hay.

Spray new foliage in the afternoon with seaweed, repeat every 10-14 days

SUMMER

Fertilize repeat bloomers in mid to late summer

Fertilize again with 100g of sulphate of potash per bush

AUTUMN

In the subtropics, hybrid tea and floribundas should be hard-pruned in February, this gives the plant a rest and stops flowering in the heat and humidity of the wet season, when flowers will just collapse anyway. Remove all rose pruning’s as they can harbor disease. The plant should be ready to flower again by late March, when it is cooler.

Roses often flower well from March to July, remove spent blooms on a regular basis.

Fertilize again with blood and bone and 100g of sulphate of potash per bush WINTER

In cool areas this is the main period for pruning.

Trim bushes lightly in August, before the cold westerly winds start blowing.

Spray with lime sulphur or Bordeaux mixture to kill fungal spores.

Dust the soil with lime to provide calcium.

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Choosing Plants For Your Indoor Garden

The most important thing to remember when you want to begin an indoor garden is that you purchase the right kind of plant and / or plants. This article will introduce you to several kinds of plants for indoor gardens, making your garden easier to maintain, and definitely more beautiful to observe. There are many great ideas for indoor plants – you just have to know what you are looking for. I will help you out.

Sometimes you do not have outdoor space for a garden but desperately want one nonetheless. Or, perhaps you already have a beautiful outdoor garden and because you enjoy the ambiance so much you want to be able to enjoy it all year-round. In addition, you can impress your friends and family members and any other guests with the distinct and decorative look of an indoor garden in your home.

Whether you want to transform the overall look of your home, whether you simply have no space outdoors, or whether you just want to enjoy the ambiance of garden foliage all year round, you need to find the very best plants. If you want a low maintenance plant and /or plants, here are some great ideas:

The Bromeliad is a beautiful plant with a bright, fragrant bloom that lasts longer than the blossoming period of a typical plant, whether the plant is indoors or whether it Is outdoors. It will easily enhance the overall décor and ambiance of your home – you will immediately be able to see the difference an indoor garden can make.

The Pothos is a very popular indoor garden plant. It is also referred to as Epiremnum aureum, Phothos aureus, Raphidorphora aureum, or Scindaspus aureus. The name of this plant changes all the time – even among the scientific community. Nonetheless, all terms refer to the same, lovely, indoor home plant. They are very interesting plants, featuring golden yellow to white shades. They are heart-shaped vine (ivy-like) leaves that flourish beautifully and require very little maintenance.

Another great example of a low maintenance indoor plant is the spider plant. A friend of mine has one of these (who, I must mention, has a real knack for killing plants) and I can testify that they are very difficult to kill. A spider plant makes great house-warming gift for a friend or family member. The spider plant likes to have medium sunlight – which is simple to achieve – even when there is very little direct sunlight that comes through your windows.

The snake plant is another great example of easy maintenance indoor gardening plant. The only real problem that most people with snake plants face is death by over watering. That makes it nice. You don’t have to remember to water as often as you would with other kinds of plants. The snake plant has very low light requirements than many other plants indoors and outdoors – therefore, it is suitable for virtually any indoor environment.

Of course, there are other indoor plants that require just a bit more care than those I mentioned above. These are for people who want to improve their indoor gardens and are willing to push just a little more effort. These are plants such as the Sword Fern, the Dragon Tree, or the Jade plant. It all depends on the plants that best suit your personal taste.

The Jade plant is a lovely addition to practically any home garden. Nonetheless, these plants want a fairly strong amount of sun light. These are very popular feng shui plants. Unfortunately, these plants are very susceptible for the mealybug to reside – especially if it is not taken care of. If the Jade Plant begins to decline, the more easily it will die. If it is kept healthy and if mealbug infestation is prevented, your plant will have a long and happy life.

Sword Ferns are known to be tolerant of an incredibly wide variety of dryer conditions than most ferns require. Perfect for a home in the desert or somewhere else where the humidity is low, the Sword Fern is a beautiful addition to the home. It will change your home décor and the ambiance of your living space, whether you have an outdoor garden, room for an outdoor garden, or space for plants only inside.

Dragon Trees are also a medium maintenance indoor plant. They can live for a long time, and grow to be a virtually permanent part of your home décor. The genus of Dragon Trees tends to be most happy in dryer and lighter conditions but they are adaptable to many kinds of home, office or apartment space. There are many places where you have probably seen Dragon Trees. You may see it again and realize you really like the look. It is a great way to enhance your home, garden or office space.

So we move on . . . here are the tough ones. These are the indoor plants that will need some TLC, nonetheless the plants you pamper will improve the striking allure of an indoor garden more and more beautiful than the indoor plants that are easier to take care of. These are indoor plants such as Orchids and Bonsai Trees. Orchids such as Epiphytic plants, Psuedobulbs and Terrestrial orchids are very popular among the kinds of higher maintenance indoor plants available.

Bonsai trees can create such a wonderful ambiance in someone’s home. The feng shui attributes are unlike any other. It is like having your own, living miniature forest, whether you have three trees or five. Nonetheless, the Bonsai will require much of your attention and care. An indoor Bonsai garden can be designed in many ways. For example: set up your trees among a small pebble garden raked in circular patterns or designs. Or you can have a garden indoors with little trees arranged on a cascade of stones or granite. It’s your choice.

Orchids are also luxurious and alluring indoor garden plants. Elegant indoor orchids require much love and care (you have to pay attention to them for sure) but boy are they worth it. There are many beautiful orchids available for indoor garden home décor, but be sure to follow the care instructions exactly as they are laid out for you. In addition, do not hesitate to consult a gardening expert about your specific kind of orchids and how to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

You can have a beautiful garden indoors all year round! Fragrant and stunning, elegant and incredibly impressive, the indoor garden of your personal design could be the most wonderful part of the overall ambiance of your home décor. From simple to maintain and inexpensive plants, to difficult, beautiful plants for your home décor, find excellent kinds of indoor garden plants perfect for you! Why not find the most beautiful plants for your indoor garden? You will be surprised at the difference it makes.

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Organic Blueberry Plants

Introduction
You have always wanted a great looking landscape to brighten the yard. But who has time to spend every free minute caring for the yard? With some planning and a little know how it is easy to cut down on the drudgery of yard work. Having an easy care landscape means you must develop a realistic plan. Trees and shrubs give substance to a landscape and flowers provide excitement and surprise. You can enjoy the fruits of near effortless edibles including blueberries and strawberries. Blueberries are a low maintenance plant. They have few pest and are native to North America. They require a soil pH of 4.6 to 5.1.

Take a look at your landscape
Knowing the physical characteristics of your site, the soil, climate, topography, and exposure is a vital part creating and maintaining a low maintenance landscape. Choose well adapted plants to design a functional, attractive layout for your yard.

Some factors like climate you have no control over and it affects your whole yard. Other factors you have some control over, Like the amount of shade which can differ widely in different parts of the yard. Growing plants can be a breeze if you have deep, fertile soil rich in organic matter. But even if you don’t (very few of us do) you can still have a productive low maintenance yard. You can decide to improve your soil by adding organic matter or using raised beds and adjusting the soil pH if needed. You can also look for plants that are adapted to your soils existing conditions. Raised beds can provide ideal growing conditions for a variety of vegetables, bushes, and flowers. Where the soil has poor drainage raised beds can solve that problem.

Test your soil. Your local extension service can provide a test for a sample you supply. Test results will tell you the soils fertility, pH, and organic matter content. Getting your soil in shape before planting will go a long way toward promoting healthy, trouble-free plants in the future.

Reduce maintenance on tough to mow slopes by replacing turf with a mixture of low care flowers and shrubs such as low growing easy maintenance blueberry bushes and using a mowing strip. For example, North Country blueberry plants grows 18 to 24 inches tall or North blue blueberry plants that grows to a height of 20-30 inches could be good selections.

Lawns
Reduce mowing chores by replacing some of the lawn with shrubs, trees or ground cover. Eliminate grass growing under or along fences and walls and low branching trees. The kind of grass you grow has a lot to do with how much maintenance it requires. There are grasses that do not grow tall and thus require minimal mowing.

For example, No mow grass ultra low maintenance grass. Eliminate hours of lawn mowing and lawn maintenance each month with Pearl’s Premium grass. Pearl’s Premium grows slowly above ground. Below ground, it can put down 12″ roots, tapping into naturally occurring moisture and nutrients. This type of grass will reduce watering requirements and a lot of mowing. Mow only when it needs it not on a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule.

End edging forever- For the busy person trees, shrubs and flower beds can quickly turn into a night mare. The shaggy edges that form between planting and the lawn area can give any area an unkempt look and be a real pain to trim. Mowing strips are the solution. A mowing strip is a flat band of brick or flat rock that sits flush with the soil surface and you just mow over the area eliminating the need for the hand or string trimmers to cut the grass at the edge of the of the bed. You just let one wheel ride on the strip and the other on the lawn.

Ground cover
Utilizing ground cover can help to change a bare or dull part of your yard into a beautiful, low maintenance show area. Low growing ground cover plants can serve you well in some areas. For example in our yard we had a rock area that we could not mow and looked ugly. We let low growing ground cover plants grow over this area to transform it into a beautiful area that required essentially no care. You might consider RUBY CARPET a ground cover blueberry plant. The height of the ruby Carpet plants grow to be 4 to 6 inches at maturity and spread outward to create the Red Carpet. Ruby Carpet is selected for form, color and resistance to dryer soil conditions than most blueberry plants.

Blueberries make a beautiful delicious Landscape
When planting blueberries as part of your landscape you should consider combining them with other plants that thrive in acid soil such as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. The following are some example of plants you can consider.

Legacy blueberry plants grows 4 to 5 feet tall and can create 4 seasons of interest in your landscape. Spring brings white flowers that develop into shiny green fruit which turn bright blue in the summer. Smooth, glossy-green leaves look attractive all spring & summer in the fall they produce beautiful orange-red leaves.
Sunshine blue is a short plant that is very suitable for growing in a landscape or in containers.
Ornablue grows about 3 feet tall and is considered to be the best ornamental of its size and stature.
North Country grows 18 to 24 inches tall and is an outstanding blueberry plant for landscapes and container growing.
North blue, grows to a height of 20-30 inches. It is good for landscapes and container growing. It’s large glossy, dark green leaves turn dark red in the fall making it of good ornamental value.
Patriot grows 3 to 5 feet tall and is also an excellent container and landscape variety. It is also a very good producer of fruit.
For tall hedges you want to use for privacy use the faster growing, upright varieties such as Jersey, or Ozark Blue. To make solid hedges or screens, place plants 2½ to 3′ apart.
Rabbiteyes grow tall so they can make excellent plants for areas you want to screen off for privacy. Tifblue is considered among best rabbiteyes.
Blueberry plants grow slowly, and grow about a half-foot a year on mature branches. The plants are multi-stemmed with new shoots often developing from the base.

Eatable landscaping
Recently edible landscaping has received more attention. Part of the reason is because of the well documented health benefits and another is because of the economics of growing your own fruit and vegetables. Raised beds can provide an excellent controllable space to grow blueberry bushes and vegetables. Anyone who has eaten really fresh produce knows a food-producing garden is worth the effort. It is surprising that it hasn’t caught on earlier. It’s such a brilliant way of taking advantage of the little bit of land that many of us have but usually use strictly for ornamentals. Blueberries make a beautiful delicious Landscape. Blueberry plants can serve as ornamentals while also being grown as a food source.

Border plantings and along Walkways
You can plant shrubs along the borders of your property that can serve several purposes. Serve for privacy, eliminate grass growing under or along fences and the related mowing problems, serve as perimeter border to define your property boundaries while at the same time beautifying you landscape. If you use eatable bushes such as blueberry bushes you are can grow blueberries for your health and enjoyment. Ornablue blueberry plant can serve this purpose well and is considered to be the best ornamental varieties of its size and stature.

Border plantings along walkways or surrounding a planting bed can work well, choose Sunshineblue, Ornablue or Northcountry. These can be planted along with dwarf rhododendrons or compact azaleas. All three of these blueberry bushes will grow well in Kentucky. Ornablue is considered to be the best ornamental variety of its size and stature. Northcountry will grow well all the way up to growing zone 3. The Sunshine blue blueberries we planted on our properties in Kentucky and Tennessee have turned out to be pretty much evergreen bushes the year around. Rhododendrons and azaleas can be planted along with blueberry plants to blend into borders or serve as a prickly hedge.

Choosing Blueberry Plants to grow
Purchase your plants state-inspected reliable nursery. Bare root plants are usually sold by most nurseries unless you pick the plants up at the nursery. you obtain plants to be planted in the spring or fall. What is important is to plant them when they’re dormant, either well before or well after they start new growth of leaves, blossoms and berries.

Usually two-year-old potted or bare-root plants are sold by nurseries and are your best purchase. Older plants may give you a harvest sooner, but they are generally not cost-effective because of their added expense and can be harder to establish. Younger plants need to be grown under nursery conditions before they can be planted in the field.

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