Picture Snob

May 16, 2011

It's time to add gypsum to my garden soil again


My soil is heavy clay and this is the second year I've added gypsum to break up the clay and make it more friable. Gypsum alone has profound beneficial effects on soil because of its chemical effects. Gypsum is used to improve sodic soils, to create more favorable solute concentrations in soil, especially after leaching with heavy rainfall, and even to correct subsoil acidity. The combination of gypsum and organics can result in biological improvement of soil more than can organics alone. This is an extremely important aspect of soil quality.

The need for gypsum and other amendments is urgent in the Intermountain West and other arid and semi-arid areas. If you live in these regions you should know that Gypsum contains both calcium and sulfur; each is an essential plant nutrient; however, calcium does much more than its role as a plant nutrient. Without it in a soluble form, soils would not be tillable. Without it in soluble or exchangeable form, other plant nutrients would not function properly. Soils usually contain considerable calcium in the soluble and exchangeable forms. Some soils also contain large quantities of calcium in the form of lime, but that form is not readily available to plants nor can it improve soil when existing as lime. When soil pH is over 8, the calcium in soil is not soluble enough to be of maximum value for either plants or soil. Large crop responses can be obtained to gypsum when soil pH is high and even under other circumstances.

A word of caution. Gypsum is a mineral and although all minerals are organic, some gypsum is mined in China and sold cheaply here. Better to find local or gypsum mined here because no one knows the quality of gypsum from China.

At Espoma Organic Traditions Garden Gypsum - 5 lb Bag #GG5

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May 13, 2011

Grow Daylillies for ease and beauty


Daylilies are perennial plants that are beautiful. The flowers themselves last only twenty four hours, opening at sunrise and withering at sunset. Some species are night-blooming. Daylilies they make good cut flowers otherwise as new flowers continue to open on cut stems over several days.

Daylilies grow best in full sun. They will tolerate light shade, but flower best with a minimum of six hours of direct sun. Light shade during the hottest part of the day keeps the flowers fresh. They do well in all soil, but naturally respond to rich and slightly acid loam.

Daylilies can be planted almost any time the soil can be worked. A hole large enough for the roots without bending or crowding them. The best time to transplant or divide plants is early spring or immediately after flowering. . A winter mulch of straw or shredded leaves helps ensure against winter injury for unestablished plants.

Daylilies are vigorous growers and can be divided every three to four years. They are lovely as a border in perinneal gardens and their hardiness makes them desirable for the flower garden.

At Stella de Oro

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May 12, 2011

Shasta Daisy is a chrysanthemum problem free and beautiful

Shasta Daisy is easy to grow and can be planted now. It will over winter and grow into blossoming flowers in summer. It grows to 24 - 28 Inches and is a hardy perennial, forming dense colonies once established. The plant blooms over a long period, from early summer until fall.

Shasta daisys should be planted in spring and the plants should be spaced 1 to 2 feet apart. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches and mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. The hole should be twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly. Once established Shasta Daisys don't need much care. They may need some staking if they are tall to keep them upright. The plants should be divided every three to four years.

The bright flowers contrast nicely with the glossy, dark green foliage, livening up any garden bed. The plant is ideal as a cut flower, lasting up to 10 days in arrangements. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds and, better yet, the plant is resistant to deer. A great addition to any flower garden.

At Alaska Shasta Daisy Perennial

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May 11, 2011

Wildflower perinneal garden in a package


If you want to try a wildflower perinneal garden, this package is just the thing. It contains echinachea, black eyed Susan, California poppy, Shasta Daisy and Foxglove, fiifteen species in all. These flowers grow two to three feet tall on average and provide a variety of color all the growing season.

If you have a garden bed of perinneals that has some bare space in it, I would just throw these seeds out and cover them with some compost or soil. If you have a whole bed to plant, and can dig up the ground and add some compost so much the better. I'd plant these seeds thickly and not worry about crowding. You want this garden to look overgrown, random and lush.

At Wildflower Perennial Mix Seeds

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May 10, 2011

Sage plants make a good border and have a delightful fragrance


Sage is a perennial herb which grows as an evergreen subshrub. It has with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. Sage has a long history of medicinal and culinary use.

Many cultivars have been found and developed. They vary in leaf and flower color as well as size. Some leaves are variegated. Sage has been used through the centuries for almost every ailment and today is being investigated for it's help in dealing with Alzeimers Disease. We know it in this country for it's use in cooking pork and seasoning stuffing for turkey.

It's a great garden plant and can easily be place in a corner of the garden or along the border where it will grow for years. This sage has deep blue violet blooms. It is hardy in zones 4-7 and grows to a height of three feet.

At May Night Blue Salvia

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May 9, 2011

Creeping thyme makes a great ground cover


Creeping thyme is a low growing thyme that gets only five to eight inches high and spreads as much as eighteen inches. It can be used in a variety of places. I first saw it when I was on retreat. There was a patio area covered with large sandstones and the creeping thyme was growing in the spaces between the rocks, making a green border around each stone. I am planning to use it in the patio area in back of the house in the same way.

A creeping thyme ground cover will be completely covered in 1/4-inch bells of carmine-pink for months on end. Butterflies love it. The foliage of creeping thyme is attractive even when not in bloom, too, with dark green, slightly hairy leaves. And because it's a long-lived perennial ground cover is hardy just about everywhere in the U.S., you can expect years of beauty from this trouble-free groundcover!

Creeping thyme can be used in rock gardens, walls, bare spots in sunny beds and borders, and just about anywhere that needs some quick, permanent coverage. Creeping thyme tolerates dry soil and needs little care after it is established. It self-sows readily, dropping it seeds after flowering season is over and then this new seed sprouts the next spring keep a robust stand of creeping thyme ground cover thriving. If you can't find plugs of it in a nursery, you can plant seeds which are easy to grow.

At Creeping Thyme

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May 3, 2011

Oregon Grape is a low maintanance landscape plant


Oregon Grape has been recommended to me for planting around the house and yard. It has several features that make it a good choice. The Oregon grape is not related to true grapes, but gets its name from the purple clusters of berries whose color and slightly dusted appearance are like concord grapes. It has everygreen leaves which are shiny and similar to holly--that is, they are prickly.

It grows wild in the Pacific Northwest and in spring has clusters of bright yellow flowers which last quite a while. The plant grows to 3 ft 3 in-16 ft 5 in tall, although most of the local plants are shrubs about 3ft high. Oregon-grape is used in gardens and natural landscaping as a plant suited for low-maintenance. Oregon-grape is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. Its berries attract birds.

The small purplish-black fruits, which are quite tart and contain large seeds. The Oregan grape was in the traditional diets of Pacific Northwest aboriginal peoples. It was used both as food and as medicine. The inner bark of the larger stems and roots of Oregon-grape yield a yellow dye; the berries give purple dye.

It's quite an attractive plant to look at, but not so inviting to touch because of the prickly leaves. It was a little difficult to find a source for this plant, but finally I was able to find one.

At Oregon Grape

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May 2, 2011

Nature's Touch Catalog is full of decorative touches

Nature's Touch sells live plants and garden tools, but their catalog has a vast array of garden ornaments. They carry solar lights, garden statues, bird houses, feeders and baths. They have a nice selection of landscape accessories and fountains as well as lawn stakes and trellises.


They have a 4 Piece Wagon Wheel Patio And Yard Border Set which looks authentic. There is a Solar-powered mosquito zapper which attracts insects and stops them dead in their tracks. A solar-powered mosquito zapper attracts insects and stops them dead in their tracks. A two-pc. set of birds in flight includes an animated sculpture base and a perfectly calibrated bar with three birds that balances effortlessly on top as the breezes sends the birds flying, dipping and soaring.

It seems that Natures' touch has everything you might desire to decorate and enliven your lawn and garden. And presently there is a 15% off bargain rate.

At Nature's Touch

Read More in: Decorations for Garden and Patio

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April 2011 Monthly Roundup for Garden Snob


Decorations for Garden and Patio


Garden Books

Garden Thoughts

Garden Tools

Industry News

Monthly Roundup



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April 29, 2011

Strathwood Recliners mean high end comfort


Hopefully sometime in the hustle of digging, planting, fertilizing and getting your garden ready to produce, you'll find time to sit back and enjoy the spring. We've had a cold spell that shocked the tomatoes and nipped some leaves with frost, but I've watered them and given them manure tea and they will make it, especially now that the weather has warmed up. I had planted the first planting of corn and a row of beans, and they have not shown themselves yet. I'm hoping they still will come up.

All the cold weather vegetables are fine. The peas are growing; carrots, broccoli and beets have germinated. It's been their kind of weather. I have yet to plant the squash family or the cucumbers. So it's in the interim between plantings that the thought of just sitting and enjoying the sun, the lawn and the garden comes to mind.

These Strathwood recliners are truely wonderful. Strathwood is known for it's great line of outdoor furniture and these recliners adjust to an infinite number of leg and back positions so you can find your most comfortable position and change it when you wish without getting up. The recliner has a sturdy steel frame and flexible fabric seating. It is really easy to set up and take down, comes in a wide variety of colors and some models have a canopy cover to protect you from the sun. Sweet! Time to relax and enjoy!

At Strathwood Anti-Gravity Adjustable Recliners

Read More in: Decorations for Garden and Patio

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