What To Read While You’re Stuck In Fourth Of July Traffic

Venus Fly Trap What To Read While You’re Stuck In Fourth Of July Traffic
Photo Courtesey of: Just chaos

Well, the long weekend is almost over for those of us in the USA.  If you are like me you may find yourself in some serious bumper to bumper traffic as you leave the beach, and having a little garden reading can really lighten the travel stress.  Here’s what I’m going to be reading today on my way home!

Amy Leigh over at “Growing Plants Indoors” is talking carnivorous plants, and has a list of 10 Indoor Plants That Can Eat Bugs, and break you out of your indoor plant rut.

Fine Gardening has a great article on how to plant 10 Different Plants For Year Round Container garden appeal!

Fern over at Life on the Balcony has tips for the summer gardener, and how to start a late Summer Edible Container Garden.

Virginia over at Planet Green is giving us the dirt on city gardening with The City Girl’s Guide to Country Gardening Lesson #12: Sussing Out Your Soil.

And TipNut has 50 Soothing Home Remedies you can make yourself to treat and relieve your summer sunburn. Talk about timely information!

I’m off to hit the roads, so I wish the rest of you the best of luck in your travels as well!  I hope you had a restful Fourth of July Weekend.

A Hibiscus and Caladium Container Garden

IMG 27331 A Hibiscus and Caladium Container Garden

This Caladium and Hibiscus garden is great for several reasons, the number one being that this Caladium is sun loving and can thrive in areas that used to burn out a Caladium’s big, bright leaves. Additionally, this combination is the perfect thing for soggy corner areas that seem to promote mold and rot in other plants.

Recipe For This Container Garden:

  • 1 Yellow Hibiscus Tree
  • 3 Red Flash Caladium
  • 3 Rainbow Confetti Lantana

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A Peach Rose and Superbell Container Garden

IMG 2739 A Peach Rose and Superbell Container Garden

This peach themed container design works in partial sun and shade, to fully sunny locations, and features a mix of perennial and annual flowers, and shrubs.  In cool climates, only the Roses in this container will last from year to year, but in warm climates the Coleus can be perennial as well. Want to recreate this look?

The Ingredients:

  • 1  Peach ‘Daybreaker’ Floribunda Rose
  • 3 Different Varieties of Coleus
  • 3 Peach Superbells

I chose to contrast the peach of the Roses and Superbells with the bright reds and purples of Coleus, and I think it looks lush and bright, just in time for summer!

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Container Gardening Idea; Dusty Miller, Pansies, Gaillardia, Petunias and Violas

IMG 2517 Container Gardening Idea; Dusty Miller, Pansies, Gaillardia, Petunias and Violas

I was at the garden center the other day with a friend and saw this adorable container garden filled with a mixture of spring and summer flowers.  I think this would make a cheerful display on the deck or front porch, and it’s ingredients are all garden center staples you can find easily at your local big box store.

If you want to create your own reproduction here’s what you need: Dusty Miller, Pansies, Violas, Petunias, and Gaillardia.

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Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

IMG 2515 1024x1024 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

Spring’s on-again, off-again weather fluctuations can cause problems when you are looking for a reliable set of plants that can take the chilly nights and sunny days. The three “P’s” in this cool weather spring themed container are Pansies, Prim Roses and Purple Spider Osteospermum.

The Purple Spider Osteospermum, and Pansies are annuals, and the Prim Roses are perennials and self spreaders. All of these work well in a partially sunny, or fully sunny area, and the Osteospermum will help stretch the flowering of the design until the summer.  Once the Pansies drop their flowers and die back, replace them with a summer annual, or your favorite flowering perennial.

For a loose free feel, choose uneven numbers of each variety of plant, and fill the pot to the brim with a variety of colors

IMG 25151 150x150 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s IMG 25152 150x150 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s IMG 25153 150x150 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

Purple Spider Osteospermum, Prim Rose, and Pansy

Three Sedum Varieties For An Evergreen Strawberry Pot

img 1566 219x300 Three Sedum Varieties For An Evergreen Strawberry Pot

Strawberry pots aren’t only for Strawberries and herb arrangements. Try three varieties of Sedum to fill your pot with evergreen color that fits in well with any climate.

I chose Sedum reflexium, Sedum turnatum, and Sedum acre for this pot, placing the largest spreading Sedum in the top and alternating the more delicate types around the cupola openings.

All three of these are easily found at your local garden store, or you can mix other types of Sedums to personalize the pot your way. Garden centers will often classify these types of Sedum under the title ‘Hen and Chicks,’ or  ’Stonecrop,’ to differentiate them from the more upright ‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum types, and a quick request at your local garden center to be sent in the direction of one of the above titles will send you reliably to the correct plants.

sedum 150x150 Three Sedum Varieties For An Evergreen Strawberry Pot

sedumacre 150x150 Three Sedum Varieties For An Evergreen Strawberry Potsedum ternatum 150x150 Three Sedum Varieties For An Evergreen Strawberry Pot

Sedum reflexium                                Sedum turnatum                                    Sedum acre

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Container Garden Ideas: Hanging Basket For Full Sun (#003)

container garden 003 225x300 Container Garden Ideas: Hanging Basket For Full Sun (#003)Here is a bright idea for a full sun area that will assist you in cheerfully welcoming visitors to your home. This basket idea is simple, and only requires two varieties of plants!

Both considered annuals in areas with frost, African Daisies (Osteospermum), and Lantana (any variety) blend beautifully in this hanging basket, attracting butterflies, and comments galore.  I prefer this basket with only two main colors present, but both the African Daisy, and the Lantana come in several colors, which can be mixed, and matched for whatever look you want to achieve.  The African Daisy will bloom for approximately three months, and can be pruned to encourage re-blooming.  Lantana’s charm is in its tiny multi-colored blooms, which often darken with age, creating the effect of more colors present in one flower head.

Both of these plant will need to be watered on a daily basis until two weeks past the planting date, to help them establish well in the container. After that time, a regular watering schedule a few times per week will prevent the root systems from drying up.

Tip: Drier, hotter weather in the summer requires daily watering for hanging baskets, who’s root systems are not fully protected from the sun, or evaporation.  The drainage holes on a container, or the woven natural fiber lining of a cage basket, all contribute to a hanging baskets water loss, as they assist in the dehydration process.  Remember, a dry and stressed plant will first reduce the amount of blooms it produces, and a lack of watering can directly translate into a basket producing nothing but green leaves.

Your thoughts: Have you ever made a hanging basket for the summer?  What combinations of flowers did you use?  I’m always looking for new ideas!

Container Garden Ideas: Scents from the Spa (#002)

Recently I was asked to put together a few container gardens for an educational program focusing on the five senses, and jumped at the chance to experiment! I hadn’t done much mixing of flowers and herbs in the same pot before, so I wasn’t really sure what combination I would try. While I was pretty sure I would use Mint, Lavender and Lambs Ears, for their smell, taste, and touch-ability, the other selections were all up in the air. My goal was to create a “touchable” pot that would knock the socks off anyone who would open a window nearby and catch a whiff!

img 0179 225x300 Container Garden Ideas: Scents from the Spa (#002)

I headed through the nursery isles that featured perennials, and herbs, and bought Pincushion FlowerFoxgloveGoldilocksBee Balm,LavenderLambs EarsMint and a tiny sprig of Rosemary (which I kept shuffling around in the open flatbed cart until I felt like I had a potential arrangement in mind). I bought 4 inch pots of everything but the herbs, which I purchased as small starter sprigs so that I could fit a lot in one pot. I purchased one Pincushion Flower, Lavender plant and Rosemary sprig, and two of everything else. The Goldilocks really had no scent that I could discover, but their texture and color were great, and as draping plants they soften the edges of the pot with their foliage.

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Container Garden Ideas: Funky Perennial (#001)

img 0177 225x300 Container Garden Ideas: Funky Perennial (#001)I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy the flexibility of container gardening! Unlike established garden beds, containers can be changed seasonally or even more frequently just to suite the mood! I like the ‘play room’ containers give me to try out new plants, such as those I get occassionally as gifts from friends and family. Sometimes I use my personal pots as holding tanks for new plants undergoing a trial period – until they either prove their worth as a pot plant, or inspire me with a new bed layout that includes them. This month I have a cluster of Bachelor Buttons awaiting a verdict. Unfortunately for them, I designed some summer pots without them (at least for now), and set out renovating two large patio pots.

Around porches, I tend to use larger pots because they have a lot more space for designing and visually help bridge together in-ground plantings with taller trees and shrubs. Today I wanted to add a splash of color and texture to two pots near my door – so I planned out a perennial garden pot that should provide lasting color from late Spring through early Fall. Here’s what I did:

Funky Perennial Pot Idea:

I began with a very large pot capable of holding 3.5 cubic feet of soil, with a diameter of about 24 inches. I had two left over clumps of English Ivy in each of the pots that I decided to work with, but for my new design, I clumped them together for continuity, leaving room on another side of the pot for other trailing vines or ground covers.

My shopping list for these two pots includes:

My goal for this pot was to really show off the shapes and textures of some of my favorite perennials, so I mixed draping plants with the mounding and upright ones. I chose the Ivy, and the Nettle to add clumps of low-growing, draping color over the sides of the pots. The tiny purple flowers on the Nettle also attract bees and butterflies, while the multi-colored leaves of both plants look great, and brighten the edges of the pot. The Dwarf Cypress is a mounding plant that I love using, since it adds beautiful yellow color and movement wherever you plant it. Not only do I like its evergreen color, but I love that it doesn’t leave you with the scratchy growth that other evergreen ground covers do. Pruning it, or collecting cut flowers around it is never an unpleasant task, and it smells pleasantly year round.

I chose the red Lily because it is a great bloomer, and a great addition to the mid-ground of the pot. With dark green foliage to compliment the other plants, and a firm upright growth pattern, this plant will lend the pot some structure. Tickseed Coreopsis is another great mid-ground bloomer that can send out heaps of yellow blooms for five or more months straight, depending on your climate. Both the Lily and the Coreopsis also attract large amounts of pollinators to your pot, and add a height of about one foot to the design.

The centerpiece of this pot is the Purple Coneflower – my all time favorite flower. This plant will rapidly fill in the center of your pot with tall flowers up to 2 or 3 feet, and it is such a hardy native plant that it’s hard to kill if you are the forgetful type, and miss watering it. This flower will bloom from mid-Summer to frost, and attract all kinds of wildlife.

Your thoughts: Do you have a favorite perennial plant you find yourself sneaking into many of your garden spaces? What successes have you had mixing together some unusual plants?