What is the Green Stuff Construction Workers Spray on Newly Developed Areas?

3696478879 1f3d9cf80f b What is the Green Stuff Construction Workers Spray on Newly Developed Areas?

What Is That Green Stuff?

Through several phases of new construction, it becomes necessary for the development crews to apply what is known as “Green Tac” or “ Hydroseed” to the mounds and hills that they create.

During construction, all the soil movement necessary in creating level roadways and housing plots can cause major soil compaction, making it difficult for plants to re-inhabit these areas once the construction is completed. As the organic material (plant life and topsoil) is removed in the preparation process of a site, run-off also becomes a huge problem. If rainwater run-off is not held in check the construction project is in jeopardy of failure as the ground settles, and relocates in rain and snow storms. To control rainwater run-off, and as a step toward re-building the organic material back into the ground, hydroseed is applied to a site during several phases of a construction project. The seed mixture not only holds new seed to the construction embankments, but it also fertilizes the seed to ensure quick germination and root growth, to protect the engineered angles on the site. Hydroseed mixtures provide the nutrients and minerals necessary for grass seed to create a quick groundcover for these difficult areas. It is a well designed product for filling in these areas quickly and preventing tougher invasive plants from monopolizing these difficult areas.

What Is Hydroseed Made Of?

Hydroseed is comprised of a biodegradable glue, grass seed, newspaper pulp, lime and fertilizer. It is mixed with water at the time of application, and given an environmentally safe greenish color to show where the application has already been applied.

Photo Courtesy of:  Dan “Soggydan” Bennett

When To Move Outdoor Caladium Plants Inside

1065118743 ba1a22a505 b When To Move Outdoor Caladium Plants Inside

Caladium are tropical natives that thrive indoors our out in warm weather, and moist conditions. Once the plant has been growing for about 8 months it will begin to wilt and die back as part of its natural cycle. In cold climates when kept outdoors, the fall months of September through November will trigger sudden complete wilting in the plant.

If nighttime temperatures in your area are beginning to regularly dip below 55 degrees, it is time to dig the plants up, cut off the foliage, and bring the bulb indoors.


How To Save Caladium Bulbs Indoors:

Bulbs can be saved from year to year by dusting them lightly in an antifungal powder like the common athlete’s foot powder you can pick up at your local drugstore. Once the bulb has been dusted, you can store it in a paper bag or container filled with sphagnum moss. Store your bulb containers in a cool dark place between 50 and 60 degrees.

In the late Spring bring them back out to the garden and plant them again for another year of tropical foliage.  For added impact, try adding them to a water garden container or pond.

Photo courtesy of: michael_baltic

Where To See Monarch Butterflies Migrating South

monarchs 199x300 Where To See Monarch Butterflies Migrating South

Monarch Butterflies are once again working their way down the East and West Coasts and across the central United States on their journey to their wintering grounds in Mexico.  Maryland, where I live, is just beginning to see relatively large numbers. The coastline towns and beaches are already seeing daily numbers in the thousands as the northern butterflies work their way down from New England. Monarchs choose to follow the beaches southward so they can refuel on the minerals found in sandy areas.

For Marylanders, a late season visit to the beaches, particularly Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, will provide you with an excellent chance for some one-of-a-kind photography experiences.  Researchers there that study these amazing insects count the buterflies by remaining in one spot for several hours, and estimating the full numbers of butterflies based on their stationary sightings. To count the numbers, and monitor the lifespan of the Monarchs, the insects are also gently caught, and tagged with lightweight stickers, to be followed up on by researchers in Mexico, and back in the USA once the insects return northward in the spring.

This year Monarchs are loading trees and sand dunes in numbers researchers reported in Assateague as high as 620 new Monarchs moving past stationary positions every hour.

To see where the peak numbers of butterflies are across the nation, check out this interactive migratory map of the United States. Citizen volunteers, and scientists alike update the site daily, and provide weekly map updates on all migrations in spring, summer and fall.

Photo Courtesy of: mikebaird

Fall Container Design: #003; Artificial Flowers, Apple Baskets, and Native American Figures

img 1928 768x1024 Fall Container Design: #003; Artificial Flowers, Apple Baskets, and Native American Figures

Not every container design needs to be comprised of the real McCoy. Artificial flowers and craft store finds can be combined to make cheerful displays in large containers to welcome guests to your home.  In these designs I used items found entirely at Michaels Crafts Stores to create a few displays in the courtyard of a local nursing home.

To mimic the design above here’s what you need: [Read more...]

How To Control Furry White Mildew In Potted Plants

mold How To Control Furry White Mildew In Potted PlantsFurry white mold and mildew can appear on your houseplants or on top of your potting soil if the conditions the plants are kept in are too warm and moist.  To control the growth of fungus on your houseplants you must first change the conditions of the environment that you keep the plants in.  Move the plants to a new location that is not as moist, or consider whether you are watering your plants too much.  Constantly saturated soil or moist soil is the perfect environment for fungal growth.

To kill and eliminate the mildew already on the topsoil, a light dusting of a drugstore Athlete’s Foot powder will manage the problem for you. Once you have removed the environmental triggers of the fungus growth, and killed the spores, you should have a completely clean container within two weeks.

Looking for more indoor plant care tips?  Check out the book “Success With Houseplants.”

Photo Courtesy of:  psyberartist

Can “Succulents” Be Planted With Cacti?

img 1680 768x1024 Can “Succulents” Be Planted With Cacti?

Yes, although many garden centers label succulents differently than cacti, they are in fact all members of the Succulent family.

Pot cacti and succulents in a potting mix recipe that contains a high amounts of sand and perlite.  Water them regularly in the summer, and withhold water in the winter completely if you are placing them in a cool 55 degree place to promote spring and summer blooms.  For Cacti and succulents that will not receive a winter rest, water them very infrequently in the winter months, and make sure that no matter the season that they receive plenty of sunshine.

The winter months are often the best months to search garden centers for wider varieties of Cacti and succulents since there is a larger market for interior plant sales.  Find shapes and sizes of these desert beauties that please your eye and try putting them together in large dish gardens.

My Take On The National Parks

arizona desert My Take On The National Parks

I’ve been tuning in with many of you these past two weeks to enjoy director Ken Burns series  “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”  From my own perspective they were not only one of the best ideas, but one of the greenest, preserving the North American ecosystem for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

I’ve been enjoying unwinding at the end of the day and watching each of the episodes in the mini-series, so I began calculating how many of the National Parks I have actually visited.

Where I’ve Been:

  • Saguaro National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Acadia National Park

I’ve been to numerous State Parks and National Monuments, but I have to say I’m surprised at how few National Parks I’ve actually been to.  I’ve got traveling to do!

My favorite place to see and explore to date was Saguaro National Park, which I visited several April’s ago in time to see the desert just starting to burst with wildflowers.  Nothing on the East Coast could have prepared me for the size of the Saguaro Cacti, and the peaceful beauty of the Southwest.  It made such an impression on me that I’ve been unable to decorate my kitchen in recent years with anything other than the colors and themes of terra cotta mountains, and bright green cacti.

Your Thoughts: Where have you been, and what have been your favorite National Parks to visit?

Photo Courtesy of: Rennett Stowe

Are Caster Bean Plants in Landscaped Gardens Dangerous?

castor plant 225x300 Are Caster Bean Plants in Landscaped Gardens Dangerous?

When pruning, or removing Caster plants from either the garden, or woodlands the only part of the plant that is dangerous to humans is the seed. The seeds resemble in shape an engorged wood tick, for which their latin name was derived. Each seed is a shiny and wholly unique design much like a human fingerprint, and care must be taken to keep the seed pods away from inquisitive children and pets.


Caster bean plants are part of a poisonous but very useful family of plants, the Euphorbia family. Plants in this family include The Rubber tree, and Tapioca plant, but while the milky white sap from many of the plants from this family are poisonous, in the Caster plant this is not the case. The plant originates from Africa, but has become naturalized accidentally in many places across the United States. It is in no way an actual bean.


The best way to remove this plant is by hand, and the plant should be discarded from the seasonal garden in a plastic bag to prevent its spread. Seeds may be saved from year to year to replant, but in a natural setting the suggested method is complete removal, to prevent the plant from taking over habitat area useful for native plants.

Photos Courtesy of: mccheek,

Indian Strawberries; Outdoor Weeds That Make Good Interior Plants

indian strawberry 300x288 Indian Strawberries; Outdoor Weeds That Make Good Interior Plants

Occasionally the best indoor accent plants can come straight from the wild.  The Indian Strawberry is a naturalized weed from India that works wonderfully as an indoor plant, and it’s free! This perennial has tiny decorative blooms, and small brightly colored berries that resemble miniature common strawberries.

Shady lawns and gardens across the United States have been sporting these misplaced plants for decades, where they attract the attention of wildlife and children everywhere.  For the lawn purist the weeds need eradication with selective spraying, or removing by hand in order to control the runners.  Instead of throwing the runners in the compost bin however, try potting them in a simple milk-glass container to brighten up a dimly lit corner of your house.

milkglass 300x225 Indian Strawberries; Outdoor Weeds That Make Good Interior Plants

Blooms and Berries:

This ground cover sends out little yellow flowers in the late spring and early summer, which turn into tasteless miniature berries from mid summer through September.  The berries are safe and edible, so Indian Strawberry is a plant that is also kid and pet friendly.

How to Plant It:

indian strawberry plant 300x216 Indian Strawberries; Outdoor Weeds That Make Good Interior Plants

The mature plant can be dug up and planted in an indoor container year round. To grow your own plants from start to finish, collect seeds from the berries, and plant them in February or March for spring and summer blooms and berries.  Another way to propagate the plant is to lay some of the runners on the soil line of the original container and allow them to root.  As the new runner plants establish themselves they keep the container looking lush.

Another great way to re-purpose this garden green is to use it as a  “spiller” to add to your shaded outdoor hanging baskets and containers.

Give this plant a try, and see what other common plants you can find creative uses for!

Happy Gardening.

Photos Courtesy of: fdecomite, FotoDawg, and Pomponiaarte

Review: Organic “Deer Stopper” by Messina Wildlife

deerstopper Review: Organic “Deer Stopper” by Messina Wildlife

Messina Wildlife has a great organic, deer repellent spray that is safe on everything from your Pansies to your veggies.  Tested and given the seal of approval by the “National Home and Garden Club,” this ready to use pump spray bottle is easily used, and comes in 1 quart containers that will cover 1,000 square feet.

The product repels Elk, Moose and Deer, and the active ingredients are Eggs, Rosemary Oil, and Mint Oils, so you will feel no guilt in the process!  I use the product myself commercially, and find that it works for the average of 30 days, making the plants inedible for grazers.  The formula takes 20 minutes to dry and leaves a light herb smell in the area that is not unpleasant, or offensive. For a moderate deer population this product will end the desruction of your garden plants, and will need to be applied about every 30 days for season long deterrence.

I picked up my trial bottles at Home Depot, but they are sold nation-wide at home and garden centers in the pest control isles.  I highly recommend this product for its “green” ingredients, and its effectiveness.  Try this product next if you have a deer problem in your neighborhood!