Picture Snob

September 7, 2011

Wildflower Tulips??!! A Wild Spring Show!

These are little bulbs that have brilliant colors. These wildflower tuliips are the size of large crocus. They make a great ground-cover, and if you plant them in your wildflower garden, you'll have color a month before you see any other wildflower blooms!

They're also great under shrubs, along walks. Plant them once, and they're there ever spring. If you plant 7-9 bulbs per sq. ft. to make a splash in your garden the first year. These are tiny bulbs but they need to be planted deeply (4") to encourage best flowering as they spread. These tulips are perennials, they come back each spring to form larger and more colorful colonies with each passing year.

At Wildflower Mix Tulip

Read More in: Bulbs

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September 6, 2011

Purple Fountain Grass makes a great landscape plant


Purple Fountain Grass is a popular annual which is easy to grow and really attractive. It grows three to four feet high. It should be planted in fertile well drained soil in full sun after all danger of frost has passed. "Purple Fountain Grass" is a vigorous grower that will quickly fill in any bed or container. The foxtail like plumes will appear mid summer and last until first frost.

Many people have tried to grow it as a house plant by digging it up and repotting it with mixed success. I am going to try this later in September before the first killing frost. This is a drought-tolerant grass that forms neat clumps of purplish-maroon blades and has rose-red flower spikes summer through fall. It's perennial in warm climates. This item is shipped as a potted one gallon plant in its original soil and container. Hardy to USDA zone 8 and all higher zones.

At Purple Fountain Grass

Read More in: Container Gardens & Window Boxes | Plants

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September 2, 2011

Saving herbs for year round use

Herbs can be usually used fresh, dry, or fresh-frozen. The rule of thumb is to use twice as much of the fresh or frozen herb as the dried form as the dried from is concentrated. However, dried herbs if not put in sealed containers, soon loose their potency and develop a stale taste.

Harvesting and drying herbs is fairly easy. The volatile oils of the plant are stored mainly in the leaves and this gives the plant its aroma and taste. Air drying is the simplest method. You can hang them in a warm spot upside down after cutting off the root. Food dehydrators create a gentle flow of air which hastens the process.

The idea time of season to harvest most herbs is just when the flower buds are forming, but just before they open. The best time of day is in the morning when the dew has dried off the leaves and there is no moisture clinging to the plant. The volatile oils will be at their best this time of day.

To insure that the plant material is clean, hose them down the evening before you plan to harvest, gently spraying away any dirt which clings to the leaves.

As much as half of the growing leaves from one picking may be harvested from an annual plant. You can snip the stem at least 4 inches up from the ground, yet still above active growth. In time it will grow back and give you a second harvest before summer's end. In some cases, even a third. With perennial plants, no more than one-third should be taken

It's never to late to start herbs indoors where you can harvest all year long!

At Culinary Herbs

Read More in: Plants

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September 1, 2011

Asiatic Lilies for fall planting

Asiatic Lilies are an easy-to-grow colorful addition to any garden. They come in almost every color of the rainbow and bloom June to July. You can plant these bulbs in the fall and you should have flowers year after year. Some mulch in the winter will help the bulbs in sub zero temperatures. They're very hardy, need no staking, and are not particularly fussy about soil, as long as it drains well.

At Asiatic Lily Mix

Read More in: Bulbs

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August 31, 2011

Plant bulbs in fall for blooms in spring


Now is the time in most of the country when you can start looking for bulbs that will bloom in the spring. The selections are amazing and almost every nursery has collections of mixed bulbs which include tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and crocus as well as less familar species. I succombed to the impulse buy at Costco and got their 50 bulb mix of yellow and red rannumculus, forgetting temporarily(until I got home) that the ranunculus I planted last fall did not do well. In fact, I have not seen one, not one, ranunculus open it's flower. If the plants sent up leaves, the deer must have cropped them off as soon as they broke ground. Nonetheless, I am planting them again and hope to put some in around the new house to brighten up the heavy clay that the construction has left.

This fall bulb selection looks really interesting. It is a bulb collection of wildflowers. The picture shows tulips, daffidols and crocus.There is no information of the species but since the flowers are supposed to naturalize and spread, I'm thinking it's worth a try.

At Wild Flower Bulb Garden

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August 30, 2011

Lawn furniture on sale for fall--an all weather two seat bench


This two seat bench has a slightly reclined seat and arcing arms. It makes a comfortable addition to any porch, patio, deck, or yard, as well as any indoor living space. Two removable back cushions add comfort, and they independently adjust to give support high or low, where it's needed so you can actually relax and stay seated for as long as you wish. A 1-piece cushion adorns the seat and is also easily removed. The slats are far enough apart to allow rain water to fall through and dry out and close enough together to provide an even seating surface.

The Gibranta 2-seater bench is part of a collection that includes an arm chair and a coffee table. The wood is eucalyptus which is sustainably harvested. It is a beautiful hardwood with excellent weather-resistant properties. Eucalyptus is dense and naturally resistant to rot and insect infestation. It weathers to an attractive grey, but can be kept it's original bronze by oiling.

At Strathwood two seat bench

Read More in: Decorations for Garden and Patio

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August 29, 2011

Now is the time to keep it going--Fall planting


Just because fall is near we don't have to give up the garden! Right now the bounty coming out of the garden may seem overwhelming. It's hard to figure out what to do with it--can it, freeze it, give it away? But with the first frosts the bounty will diminish and if you have new seeds germinated, the promise of the garden will continue.

If you're interested in growing fall and winter crops now is the time to get your plants started. August and early September is the best time to start beets, kale, Chinese cabbage, daikons, collards, rutabaga, turnips, and mustard greens. You can also continue to sow carrot, lettuce, cilantro, arugula, and radish successions. You might wait to sow spinach in mid-September, when cooler soil temperatures make germination easier, or you can shade your seeded rows to protect them from the sun. Bush snap beans can be started, but they may need to protect them from October frosts to get much of a harvest. It's too late for all but those in the Deep South or with extended frost-free falls to sow cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

At Siberian Kale

Read More in: Plants

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August 26, 2011

Spice rack makes a good seed saving container


August is a great month. You can enjoy the fruits of the garden that you've worked so hard to produce. It's a month when you kind of coast a little. But it's good to remember to harvest more than the ripe tomatoes and corn. My corn just started coming in and, man, is it delicious!

Lots of plants are now making seed and it is a fairly easy task to harvest the seed also. I just cut the seeds off my Russian Kale. It is so easy to do. I just clipped the tips of the seeded stalks and put them in a paper bag. Since the stalk and seed pods are bulky, I break them up inside the bag with my hand and throw the husks away. Then the seeds can be stored in a plastic bag and labeled. The labeling is really necessary because although you think you might remember, the seeds of all the cabbage family look exactly alike. So be careful you know which is which.

The cilantro is also going to seed. The seed of cilantro is the spice coriander. So the seed can be used to replinish your spice rack as well as stored for more cilantro. Try planting the seed now and to get in a last crop of cilantro. It is a quick growing plant and can provide tasty additions to salads and salsas up until the first frost.

At Spice Rack

Read More in: Garden Tools

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August 25, 2011

Lots of good buys on lawn furniture


At this time of year, as autumn approaches, the lawn furniture begins to go on sale. Amazon is full of bargains. This Strathwood Chaise lounge would provide years of comfortable ease. The back adjusts to five positions and there is a tray that extends out and then folds back in. The chair's slotted surface allows rain to flow through, rather than collect and damage the wood. Of course the down side is you have to buy or make a cushion for this model, also on sale. Rust-resistant hardware and mortise and tenon construction add to the piece's strength and durability.

It's made of eucalyptus wood which is hard and weathers well. It will weather when exposed to the elements, turning a soft shade of silver/gray similar to the weathering of teak. In addition, when untreated, natural splitting or cracks will appear, but this will not affect the durability of the furniture. If you want to guard against this weathering process and to maintain a desired look, apply coats of a hardwood oil.

At Chaise Lounge

Read More in: Garden Tools

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