Planting and Growing Lilium

A large number of plants are called lilies, but the true lilies belong to the genus Lilium. This genus is a big one, with over 100 species and literally thousands of different cultivars. They aren’t especially difficult to grow and they are quite beautiful. Many also have a wonderful aroma. These plants attract both honey bees and hummingbirds. They have the added benefit of being plants that usually grow quite well in the north. In most cases, liliums have showy, trumpet-shaped flowers with six petals and six stamens. The blossoms can appear from spring through fall, depending on the species. There is also a huge selection of blossom colors that are available with the various cultivars. Some have flower stalks that are only a foot or two tall, while others may reach over six feet. The taller varieties may need to be staked because the large flowers can make them top-heavy. Liliums grow from scaly bulbs. These should be planted in the spring or fall. These plants will grow from the far north through the subtropics and spring planting is preferable for the species grown in the north, because of the abbreviated growing season. The soil should be well-draining and rich. Lilies benefit from mulching throughout the growing season, and a final deep mulching late in the year to protect the bulbs from the harshest temperatures. These plants also do well in partial shade. Spent flowers should be dead-headed, however the flower stalk shouldn’t be removed until it dies back Continue Reading →


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Creating a Fragrant Walkway

It is really simple to make a nice, fragrant walkway, if you have a sunny location and flagstones, slate or other flat stones. The idea is to have a walkway that gives off a great aroma when you walk on it. The first step is to choose a location for the path. It needs to be in a place that gets plenty of sunshine and it has to be remembered that the path needs to be wide enough that a person can walk down the trail easily. That would most likely be at least three feet wide. Once the location is selected, the next step would be to dig up the path, removing rocks, pebbles, weeds, grass and debris. Think of it as a place where you are going to put in a garden, because in a way, that is exactly what you will be doing. The soil should be fertile, but it doesn’t need to be extremely rich. If you have clay soil, it would need to be amended before putting in the walkway, because the soil needs to drain well. After the soil has been prepared, top the soil with a mixture of sand and cheap potting soil. This layer only needs to be two to three inches thick, because its purpose is to give the plants a good start. Next, place the stones so they are about two inches apart, on top of the sand and potting soil mixture. This is your chance to be artistic. It Continue Reading →


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Successfully Growing Rhubarb Plants

In both the Oregon Cascades and the Montana Rocky mountains, two plants that are among the first to start vigorously growing in the United States are strawberries and rhubarb. Both are extremely hardy perennials that seem to breeze right through even bitter cold temperatures. In fact, most of the rhubarb produced in the US comes from Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado and Michigan. It seems appropriate somehow that strawberries and rhubarb combine so well in strawberry-rhubarb pie. Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)┬áis quite easy to grow. That said, it should also be mentioned that rhubarb can’t survive anywhere that doesn’t get cold enough for the plant to become dormant. For the plant to do this, the daytime high temperatures in the winter need to be 40 F or less for at least several weeks. Most of the growth is also when the temperatures are below 70 F. Thus, it is a plant that is most at home in places that have a harsh winter and a cool spring. The rhubarb plant doesn’t do very well when the temperatures become very hot. In part, this is because the leaves are very large and when it is hot, they release a great amount of water in a process called transpiration. When the temperatures are such that more water is transpired than the amount taken in by the roots, the leaves begin to wilt. In fact, this is the cause of wilting leaves for virtually all plants and it is the reason squash and pumpkin leaves Continue Reading →


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Growing Anise Sage in Flowerbeds and Gardens

Anise sage (Salvia guaranitica) is a plant that has a profusion of beautiful dark blue flowers that are rather tube shaped and can be over an inch long. The plant tends to be bushy and in good conditions it can grow up to five feet tall, though it can be trimmed to a shorter height. Although it is related to garden sage (Salvia officinalis), which is used to flavor foods, anise sage is normally grown as an ornamental. When the leaves are bruised, they have a mild anise scent. The flowers also carry the anise aroma. This species of salvia is native to tropical South America, including much of Brazil. It is sometimes called hummingbird sage or blue sage. Although the plant is a perennial, in most places in the north it is grown as an annual because it isn’t cold hardy. It is, however, highly attractive to hummingbirds, honey bees and butterflies. This plant like full sunshine, though it will tolerate a small amount of shade. It will grow in most soils that drain well and the plant also grows well in regular potting soil, in pots. It grows in soil that is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. The plant is quite tolerant of heat as long as it gets enough water; roughly one to two inches of water per week during the heat of summer, so that the soil is moistened well during growing season. If the plants are in pots, they may require more water than this, Continue Reading →


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Viola – A Great Plant to Grow

There are close to 600 species of violas and these are one of the top selling bedding plants in the United States every year. Often, they are sold by various common names, such as pansies or violets, but these are still violas. The flowers aren’t only deep violet blue, purple and light blue, either. Some species produce white, yellow, orange and red flowers. Many, particularly the pansies, have flowers that contain multiple colors. They are colorful and good bedding plants, seldom getting more than a half-foot tall, but they are also hardy. Most violas grow in the colder regions of the world. Some of these are perennial and come up year after year. Others produce a prolific number of seeds and reseed themselves. Violas also take well to growing in pots and containers, so people who don’t have room for flowerbeds can still enjoy these plants. Violas love having plenty of sunshine, but they can struggle a bit in the heat of the summer. Having some shade in the hottest part of the day is a good idea. They grow best in rich soil that drains well. The soil should be kept damp but not wet.If the soil has too much clay, sphagnum moss or finished compost should be added to the dirt so it drains well. This helps to prevent the roots from sitting in water when the plant is watered. If the dirt is too wet or doesn’t drain well, the roots can rot and the plants can Continue Reading →


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Saving Money With a Homemade Drip Irrigation System

Flowerbeds filled with attractive flowers and other plants can add beauty to the outside of homes and buildings. Once everything is growing, though, it needs to be watered in order to stay alive and keep adding beauty to the home and yard. Many people invest in a garden hose and a sprinkler, or a soaker hose, to do the watering. While these work well, this isn’t the most efficient way to keep the flowerbeds watered. A drip irrigation system is inexpensive to make, it takes less effort to water the flowerbeds, it is better for the plants and it uses less water to get the job done. That last should be explained. In the heat of the summer, especially during the daytime, when you use a sprinkler a huge amount of the water evaporates before it even hits the ground. This is the reason people should water at night or in the early morning, before temperatures reach their hottest. Also, being watered from above, particularly when the sun is shining on the plants, can cause the leaves to burn as the rays of sunlight are intensified. This is the same principle that causes swimmers to sunburn easily if they get wet and then lay out in the sun to dry off. Watering plants from below is much better for the plants, because the sun’s rays aren’t intensified, but more of the water is able to sink down to the roots, where the plants can use it. Making a drip irrigation Continue Reading →


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Cheap Gardening Tips and Tricks For Yard and Garden

Even if the yard and garden are small, it is quite easy to end up spending large amounts of money on the yard, flowerbeds and garden. With the economy what it is, many people don’t have the money to spend. Indeed, many people garden primarily to save money on food costs. Thankfully, there are a few simple tricks that are designed specifically to save money on taking care of the yard, flowerbeds and garden. Water gauge To have healthy plants, it is a good idea to give them a proper amount of water. A sprinkler will work well in watering most of the outdoor plants, yet there is still the issue of making sure that they get the right amount of water. There are commercial rain gauges that can be purchased that are made for this. Some of them are quite inexpensive, though they also fall apart easily. There are some that are more durable, but more cost-prohibitive, too. You can make your own at virtually no expense, though. In fact, they are so cheap and easy that you can make several and if one becomes damaged, there is little problem with throwing it away and making another. Start by saving one or more of the 8-oz tomato sauce cans as you’ve used the contents. Wash the can thoroughly, inside and out, then make a mark halfway between the top and bottom of the can, with a permanent marker. You now have a homemade water gauge. The can is about Continue Reading →


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Growing Beautiful and Colorful French Marigolds

French marigolds (Tagetes patula) are plants that have a place in the flowerbeds, borders and gardens. They add a cheerful yellow, orange, to orange-red color around homes, businesses and even churches. French marigolds are easy to grow and they are a particularly forgiving and hardy annual. The seeds can also be found in a lot of seed stores. These marigolds didn’t originate in France, despite the name. They are actually native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala. The flower petals aren’t just for show, however. All marigold flowers, Tagetes genus, can be eaten, but some aren’t very good tasting. French marigolds do have a good, spicy and somewhat lemony flavor, though. The petals also yield a yellow dye that can be used to color everything from food to fabric. The plants also deter many insect pests, so they are great companion plants in the garden. They are particularly useful when grown near tomatoes or plants that suffer from aphids and nematodes. The plants grow from a half of a foot to two feet tall, so they aren’t very big, even though they are sometimes bushy. They usually bloom within weeks of being planted and if the flowers are dead-headed (clipped off when the blossom is beginning to fade), they will often keep blooming throughout the late spring, summer and into fall. French marigolds do best in full sunshine. They will grow in soil that is clay, sandy or loamy, so they can be planted in most kinds of dirt. They do Continue Reading →


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