Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Reviewing Ten Tips For A Beautiful Garden On A Budget

Weigelia in flower

Gardening is an amazing, absorbing hobby and one that I love. However, 
especially these days, it can get very expensive. 

There are now so many things you can buy for the garden and plants have become more expensive to buy. We may not all always have lots of cash to spend on the garden and this should not deplete our enjoyment of this wonderful hobby and enjoyment of any outdoor space we have.  

Gardening on a small budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a lovely garden or a creative approach to gardening, in fact sometimes quite the opposite. Here are some inexpensive or free garden ideas we can implement to save money where we can so that your garden does not need to suffer if you are on a tight budget.

If you do have more to spend you can spend on really lovely items. Many gardeners do these garden tricks without being on a tight budget to save money !  

Purple large flower clematis


1. Grow From Seed And Take Cuttings.

Growing your own salads, vegetables, annuals, and perennials from seeds is cost-effective and truly rewarding. We can use egg boxes to grow your seeds in rather than buying seed trays. 

Rather than buying them part grown from the garden centre or buying salad from the shop  start growing from seed. You can use old margarine or yoghurt pots and really any clean washed container really to start the seeds. 

If you grow Bamboo you can harvest the canes and use them to make your own plant supports and tripods which saves money on buying them. 

 Take cuttings of plants you love in your own garden and ask friends, family and neighbours if you can take cuttings of plants you admire in their gardens. You can use these to increase your supply of plants for free. I love taking cuttings and seeing them grow. Do take more cuttings than you need as some may not take. 

 If you are very successful and do not need all the cuttings you can see if any friends, family or neighbours would consider a swap with you.  

 You could also try to sell the cuttings at a car boot sale or use an honesty box outside  your home to sell the excess cuttings. 

 

Purple geraniums

2. Repurpose.

 Get thinking creatively about materials you already have around the house and garden. Think before you throw anything away if it can be used in the garden in a creative or useful way. 

Reuse old equipment as planters, for example old sinks can be reused in the garden as a planter, an old plastic dog bed can become a small pond. You are only limited by your imagination!


3. Buy Second Hand Tools And Share Equipment

 Look for second-hand gardening tools or discuss tool sharing with your friends, family or neighbours. Some of our best spades and forks have been found at car boot sales and even at an Antique shop.

You may only need some expensive tools a couple of times a year, so makes sense if you can club together to buy together and share or alternatively see if you can rent any tools. 

Get a sharpening stone to keep tools in good order and last longer. Also oil tools that require it to make them last longer. 

 

4.Look for Free And Discounted Plants

Keep an eye out for free or discounted plants.

I am always searching for the section in garden centres where they put the old last season plants that did not sell or ones that look shabby. I call them my  "rescue" plant section and usually with a little care and watering you can being them back to life and have paid a fraction of the cost.  

 Sometimes neighbours or local gardening groups share excess plants.

golden rubekia and blue flowers


5. Paint Your Fence

 We have just done this to give the garden a different look. Painting protects it from the weather which is always good and smartens up an old fence. 

You can either go for black or brown or a dark green to blend or make your fence a bold feature by painting it a bright colour.

All it takes is a pot of paint and a little work.

We went for black Cuprinol fence paint this time as we have found it to be durable and gives a good coverage and colour.  

The plants really stand out against it and the black colour helps to make the garden feel bigger as the dark colour recedes. 


clematis montana pink flower on black fence



6. Mulch Pots And Containers. 

Highlight your containers and pots by adding a decorative mulch. It is surprising what a difference this can make to a container. As it is a small space you can look to buy decorative mulches like pebbles, slate, shells or black river rocks

Mulch helps conserve moisture in the soil and suppresses weeds, while also giving your display a beautiful finish. As you will not use much in a container you can use a good quality decorative mulch which will give a dramatic impact.


7. Make Your Own Bird Bath

I advocate for every garden to have a bird bath as it is one of the single most important things for garden birds for water and bathing. If you can afford one of the beautiful iron or decorative ones then that is great. 

However if money is tight you can make your own bird bath. You will need a terracotta or stone pot, a saucer, and glue suitable for outside work. Simply turn the pot upside down, glue the saucer to the bottom of the pot, wait until the glue has dried and then fill it with fresh clean water. The birds will love you for it. 

Alternatively simply use old  plastic or terracotta saucers, or even an upturned bin lid and fill with water. Place them in a safe area for birds and watch them enjoy a place to drink and bathe.


8. Make Your Own Plant Labels. 

Reuse ice cream or lollipop sticks or any similar product to label your plants in containers, seeds or in the garden. They may not last as long as more expensive or beautiful bought plant labels,  but they are useful as a temporary measure for seeds and you can replace them when they wear out. 

Personally I strike a balance using free or cheap plant labels for seeds and more expensive but durable metal plant labels for more permanent plants


9.Lighting In The Garden

Sorting  our gardens with  lighting makes them a useable and lovely space to be in the evenings.

However employing an electrician to fix up outdoor electrical lighting can be very expensive. An alternative is to use Solar-powered lights which are more cost-effective, portable and require no installation costs.


10. Protect Your Pots.

Instead of buying expensive terracotta feet to raise pots off the ground to improve drainage, prevent waterlogging and frost damage,  try using old bricks you may have and placing pots on those. 

 

Even though gardening is one of my main hobbies and interests, I employ most of these money saving tips. It means that I then have money to spend on other things for the garden that I may need or want!


Read More Gardening Reviews on 

ReviewThisGardening.com


Growing Vegetables in Outdoor Containers Reviewed

 Read More Articles By Raintree Annie 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

How to Grow Potatoes in a Bag

 



If you want to grow your own potatoes, but you don't have a yard, or your soil is too hard, or even if you just don't want the work of having to dig them up, I have a great and easy solution!

Grow your potatoes in a bag!  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is actually easy and fun.  It's also a great way to get lots of tasty and healthy spuds to eat!  Anyone can do it, you don't even need to buy any seeds because potatoes are grown from other adult potatoes.

How to Sprout Potatoes to Plant:

It is best to start with organic potatoes, since they are less likely to be a funky hybrid that can't be sprouted or have toxic insecticides on them or even in them.  You can use red or white potatoes.

Wash the potatoes well and then place them in direct sunlight.

In two to three weeks you will have sprouts.  When they get an inch or so long, you are ready to begin the planting process.




Cut the potatoes, with one sprout on each piece.  Leave the potato connected to the sprout, because as it rots it will be fertilizer to the new plant

It is very important that, before planting, you let the cut potatoes sit for two or three days so the cut portion of the potato can dry out and form a protective layer.  If you plant newly cut potatoes, diseases, fungus, worms and insects can easily burrow into the fresh cut flesh and kill the sprout.

While your potatoes are sprouting and curing, order your grow bags.  You can find them on Amazon for a good price, about $2.50 to $3.00 a piece, less if you order a larger quantity.  I usually get the 5 gallon size.  They look like this:




 



They also have bags that have a roll up flap on the side near the bottom, but I find these to be more expensive and the flap are basically useless because the growing potatoes should not be bothered by opening the side of the bag and poking around.  






How to Grow Potatoes in Bags:


1. Fold the bag down till it is about 6 inches tall.

2. Put 3 inches of good dirt in the bottom of the bag.



3. Set three to four potato pieces in the dirt with the cut side down, sprout side up and cover with 3 inches of dirt.

4. Water well.

5. Keep the soil moist but not mud and when the plants are 6 inches tall, unroll the bag about 4 inches and add more dirt, up to the bottom leaves.

8. When the plant has grown to 8 inches above the dirt, unroll the bag again, and add more dirt, up to the bottom leaves.

9. Keep doing this until the bag has dirt three inches from the top.

10. Make sure to keep them watered.  If you repeatedly let the bag dry out, the potatoes will shrink and wrinkle and not be edible.  You will have to water them more often than if they were planted in the ground.

11. When the potato vines turn yellow and look wilted, stop watering them and wait about two weeks.

12. Pick up the bag and turn it upside down in a wheelbarrow or washtub and you will find fresh, tasty and pesticide free home grown potatoes.

This is what one of my bags looked like when the plants came up:



Don't be upset if all the sprouts don't come up.  The fewer the plants the more room there is for the remaining plants to grow bigger potatoes.  You must make sure to keep them watered, it is the defining factor of whether you get a nice harvest or a big disappointment.

You don't have to use these bags, you can use any kind of bag that will take to weight of dirt pressing against the sides of it.  Canvas tote bags, plastic feed bags, reusable grocery bags, any kind of bag will do.  Just make sure if you use a plastic bag to poke lots of holes in the bottom so it has good drainage.

Grow bags are a great way to grow some of your own food in a very small space.  You can grow any type of veggie or fruit plant you want in bags, it does not have to be potatoes.  I have also grown peppers and cucumbers and I have friends that use them for tomatoes and they love them!  They take up so little space you can even use them on an apartment balcony or condo patio.  You don't need to have land to grow your own food!  The best thing is, at the end of the harvest you just empty them, fold them up and put them away till next year.  A real space saver!

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Early Spring Seeds to Plant NOW! A Garden Review

 At this time of year every gardener I know has itchy palms and fingers that are just craving some dirt!  Yes, you heard me right,  DIRT!

It doesn't matter where you garden, whether above the ground or right into the ground, there are things that need to be done and then the fun can begin.

https://www.westcoastseeds.com/?rfsn=6505867.508219


I'm going to take you to my balcony garden, because that is where I have been doing all of my "dirty" work!  I have containers and planters that I use for my flower beds and vegetable beds too.

What's great about this time of year is that you can start those flowers and vegetables that really prefer the cooler days.  And if you don't think there are quite a few of them, you would be wrong.

So let's start by taking a look at what loves to be planted outdoors NOW!

Flowers:

  1. Sweet Peas are my #1 cool weather seeds to sow!
  2. Marigolds (for protection from some bugs)
  3. Nasturiums (they can be eaten you know)
  4. Sunflowers (not for balconies)
  5. Pansy
  6. Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan
  7. Snapdragons
Vegetables:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Cabbage
  3. Peas
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Beets
  6. Brussel Sprouts
  7. Carrots
This is just a little sample of what can be sown right into the planters right now!  If you are lucky enough to have garden space in the great outdoors, the list is even bigger and right now is the perfect time to start those seeds in the ground.  Check out West Coast Seeds for their great selections.

My balcony is not too big and yet it is also not too small, so I manage to plant quite a few on my favorites.  I don't plant more than two or three of any variety of vegetables, but the flowers I can go crazy if I choose to.

On the balcony the most important part of getting your garden going is probable going to be the watering!  Spring can sometimes be very wet or very dry.  The best way to check that is to push a finger into the soil and see how far down it can go before it feels wet.  Too much water and the seeds will drown and too little water will have them sprouting and then dying off.  So a good balance needs to be maintained.  

Keep your containers happy and the seeds will sprout and you will have a prolific garden all your own.  I love getting quality seeds from a reputable company.  I love West Coast Seeds because not only are they quick, reliable and cost effective, but they also have lots of videos and blog posts for any problems you might have.  There is always something to learn!

So if you have been holding back, it's time to let go and get those hands and fingers back into the Dirt!  Come and join me for some fun in the garden where ever that may be for you!


West Coast Seeds

Just for your information this is a Canadian Company and most of it's Non-GMO products are available for shipping to the US.  There are some exceptions and West Coast takes this into account when you order.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, April 14, 2024

10 Essential Steps to Prepare Your Yard for Spring: A Guide to Yard Cleanup and Flower Preparation

10 Essential Steps to Prepare Your Yard for Spring

Spring is just around the corner, and it's time to prepare your yard for the vibrant blooms of the season. 

As the snow melts away and the days get longer, your garden awaits a rejuvenation after the winter slumber. 

To ensure your yard is ready to burst with color and life, here are 10 essential steps to focus on yard cleanup and prepare for spring and summer flowers, including perennials and annuals.

10 Steps to Prepare Your Yard for Spring

  1. Clear Away Debris: Start by giving your yard a thorough cleanup. Remove fallen branches, dead leaves, and other debris accumulated over the winter months. This step not only enhances the aesthetics of your yard but also helps prevent pests and diseases.

  2. Inspect and Prune: Look closely at your trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Trim back any dead or damaged branches to encourage healthy growth. Pruning also stimulates flowering in many plants, so don't be afraid to trim where necessary.

  3. Prepare the Soil: Good soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. Turn over the soil in your flower beds to loosen it up and remove any weeds or old plant debris. Consider adding organic matter such as compost or aged manure to enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients for your plants.

  4. Divide Perennials: Periodic division rejuvenates perennial flowers and promotes better growth and flowering. Spring is an ideal time to divide overcrowded clumps of perennials such as irises, hostas, and daylilies. Replant the divided sections in your garden or share them with friends and neighbors.

  5. Inspect Bulbs: If you planted bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, or hyacinths in the fall, now is the time to check on them. Look for signs of growth and remove any debris covering the emerging shoots. Consider adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds around the bulb beds.

  6. Plan and Plant Annuals: Annual flowers add instant color and variety to your garden. Research which annuals thrive in your climate and soil conditions, and plan your flower beds accordingly. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, water requirements, and bloom times to create a harmonious display throughout the season.

  7. Prep Flower Beds: Before planting annuals or transplanting seedlings, prepare your flower beds by amending the soil and adding any necessary fertilizers or soil amendments. Remove weeds and cultivate the soil to create a loose, well-draining planting environment.

  8. Start Seeds Indoors: For certain annuals and vegetables, starting seeds indoors can give you a head start on the growing season. Invest in some seed trays, potting soil, and grow lights, and begin sowing seeds for flowers such as marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos. Transplant the seedlings outdoors once the danger of frost has passed.

  9. Plan for Pollinators: Remember the pollinators as you design your flower beds! Choose various flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Incorporate native plants and flowers with different shapes and colors to provide pollinators a diverse and inviting habitat.

  10. Mulch and Water: Finally, after all your hard work, mulch your flower beds to help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Water newly planted flowers thoroughly, especially during dry spells, to help them establish strong root systems.

By following these 10 steps, you'll be well on your way to a vibrant and flourishing garden that will delight you throughout the spring and summer months. With proper yard cleanup, soil preparation, and thoughtful plant selection, your outdoor space will become a haven for colorful blooms and buzzing pollinators. So roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and let the beauty of spring unfold in your yard!

ReviewThisReviews Gardening Guru:

Check out Raintree Annie's informative articles for more tips and advice on yards and gardens. She's always very helpful - You can scroll through many of them here.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Reviewing the Beautiful and Cheerful Daffodil.

Yellow Daffodils In The Garden

Daffodils are abundant in my garden right now and I love to see their beautiful vibrant colours  and gently swaying trumpet shaped heads bringing sunshine to a cold day.

Daffodils are native in Europe and North Africa and although the name Daffodil is most commonly used, the botanical  name is Narcissus and they are part of the Amaryllidaceae family. 

Regarding the name there is also a link with the Greek myth of Narcissus. The story goes that he was renowned to be very beautiful  and he fell in love with his own reflection, so much so that he pined away until he died and turned into the flower narcissi or daffodil. 

Tall Yellow Daffodils
 

Daffodils In The Garden 

Even though it has been very cold here ever since they flowered, their appearance symbolising  rebirth and new beginnings gives me hope and joy. Although it has not been a particularly harsh winter this year, it has been very cold, damp, grey and very rainy so it is lovely to see some colour and brightness in the garden which certainly lifts the spirits for warmer weather and Spring. 

Most of mine are golden yellow colours but some are white and some are fragrant which is lovely. There are also orange flowers and combinations of yellow and white or orange and yellow. 

 Daffodils are very versatile in planting schemes for the garden. I like to plant little Tete a Tete daffodil in pots and troughs where their delicate looking blooms can be easily seen. The bigger daffodils are planted in the borders of the garden. Daffodils can also be naturalised in grass. 

 As we have a lot of daffodils, some can be spared to be used as cut flowers and brought inside to place in a vase. This is lovely to bring Spring into the house. They look lovely in a vase by themselves or mix very well with other flowers perhaps white, purple or blues being my preferences. 

 Daffodils come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes from the tiny to the large and different colours from yellow gold, white and orange.  Many have the classic strong trumpet shaped flower head and others have multi petaled varieties.

 


Looking After And Planting Daffodils 

Daffodils are bulbs and hardy perennials. This is lovely as they come back every year once planted. 

While planting bulbs in borders can be a little tedious, once it is done you will have daffodils every year with little effort involved.


Planting Daffodils

We can plant daffodil bulbs in the autumn/fall around September to November time. This gives them time to establish roots before winter cold sets in. Before planting check to make sure that the bulbs are  clean and firm, discard any that are mouldy or very soft as these may be too old or diseased. It is best to buy and plant bulbs in the same season so that they do not get hence to get any mould or go soft. 

Daffodils prefer full sun or partial shade and they do appreciate a well-drained soil so it is ideal to plant in an area that will get a decent amount of sunshine. We have an area of heavy shade and I never plant daffodils there as they will not do well. Other flowers fair better there. All my daffodils planted in the soil are in sunny spots and I move the ones in pots into sunny places as soon as I see shoots coming up.

I put a grit and compost mix in my containers for the bulbs. For planting in the garden we do have heavy clay soil which although I have improved over years is still less than ideal but the bigger ones have managed to thrive in it. So if you have a sunny spot but perhaps less than ideal soil give it a try with a small number of the bigger bulbs to see if they can be successful.  

Bulbs should be planted  approximately 6 inches or 15 centimetres deep below the soil surface. For this you can simple dig a hole with a trowel or use a bulb planter. Having done a lot of this I would advise if you are planting a lot, to invest in a bulb planter to make the job easier and quicker.  

 



When planting in the soil space bulbs about four to six inches apart, it will not be too long before  you will have daffodil clumps.

If planting in a container you can space them much closer together, just ensure that none of the bulbs are touching each other.

It might be a good idea to protect the bulbs from squirrels and rodents who may try to steal them! A wire mesh over the top of containers usually deters most of them.

Water them immediately after planting. Do also water them in dry spells,  but they do not usually require any special feed or much other attention.

 



Care Of Daffodils

All that you need to do is enjoy the blooms then allow them to die down naturally. The flowers will fade and at that point you can cut off the flower and its stem down to the base and then allow the leaves to die down naturally. Some people just cut off the heads of the daffodils and that is fine too, I just prefer to take the whole stem down as I think it looks better. 

 Some people tie up the leaves, I believe so they look neater as the plant fades, but there is no need to do that and I prefer to allow them to die down naturally which is also a lot less work.

If you have naturalised in grass, you must wait to cut the grass until the leaves have completely died down as they are feeding the bulb for flowers next year. Do it too early and you will have no or limited flowering next year. 

I always like to have daffodils in pots and troughs so that when they are blooming I can display them where we can see them and even up on tables. Then as they fade we move the pots to an unnoticed area of the garden. Then I can plant annual seeds in the pots and bring them out again when those flowers bloom, thus not wasting the space in the containers. 


A Word Of Warning About Daffodils.

 While daffodils are beautiful flowers and so cheerful, they do contain toxins and are not edible in any of its parts. I do tend to wear gloves when planting them and handling the bulbs a lot.

 It is important to teach children not to eat them. If you are concerned then it is easy to plant bulbs in a pot and put them high up out of reach of small children. 

My parents always had daffodils in the garden and I was trained to respect the plants in the garden and only to eat what my parents said was safe and never came to any harm.


Daffodils Inspiring Artists

Daffodils have long inspired poets and artists and you can see why.  The most famous example of poetry  is probably the ode to daffodils is William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” where he describes the wonder of happening across a field of stunning golden daffodils dancing in the breeze.


In terms of art, the one that springs to mind immediately is Van Gough's  "Daffodils". The painting is in oils with vibrant colours and thick brush strokes and is hanging in the Norton Simons Museum in Pasadena California.


Read More Gardening Articles


Essential Wildlife Gardening Gifts







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, March 18, 2024

Reviewing My First Impressions of GreenStalk Vertical Planters

I have had GreenStalk Vertical Planters on my wishlist for many years. They would have been perfect for the balconies in the apartments I rented in the past. I have recently been able to purchase two GreenStalk planters. I have been so excited about them that I talk about my planting adventures often. I find myself surprised that some people have not heard of the GreenStalk brand and I have to show them a picture so that I can describe what I'm talking about. 

text and photos of the GreenStalk brochure


GreenStalk Vertical Planters

This family-owned business is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Jack Peterson had a passion for creating better quality plastics - a bit of history I've only just learned. In 2014, he partnered with his son, Ryan, to design these amazing, functional, and durable plant towers.

I remember my excitement when I first saw the Original GreenStalk. 

  • 5 tiers 
  • Each tier has 6 pockets
  • Each pocket is 10" tall
  • Each tier should be filled with 1 cu ft of "high quality potting soil"


Then the Leaf version was invented

  • 7 tiers
  • Each tier has 6 pockets
  • Each pocket is 7" tall
  • Each tier should be filled with .75 cu ft of "high quality potting soil"


Both green stalks include tiny holes in the bottom of each tier and a watering discs for each tier and a water reservoir at the top. I can best describe this design as a built-in drip irrigation system. 

Something that GreenStalk offers that I love - but I've heard others wonder about - is that not only can you purchase a tower (tiers, discs, and water reservoir) as a unit, but you can also purchase the individual pieces and additional items such as the water reservoir lid. In this way, I feel, you can create the system specific to your needs. Do you want only 3 tiers and a lid? Perfect, you can purchase those items individually. Some folks think this is a gimmick to make extra money but I LOVE the ability to mix and match only the pieces I want, when I want. 

GreenStalks also come in a variety of colors. I chose red to match my siding. Greenstalk is also preparing to offer a "basket weave" textured version. 

GreenStalks are pricey. Which is why it took me so long to see my way clear of buying one. But, I've known people who have used theirs for years. In a variety of climates. The durability makes them worth the price tag. Also, GreenStalk offers a variety of sales through the year. I purchased mine during a "buy one get one half off" sale. I've also heard that there is usually a big sale around Mother's Day. And, if you follow the gardening or homesteading social media channels, you can find folks who offer discount codes now and then.

My GreenStalks

I have installed heavy-duty wheels on a small pallet and have placed my GreenStalks on that moveable "cart". In this way, I will be able to move my filled GreenStalks across the deck with ease. 

It is very early in the gardening season here so I have only just placed a few seeds into my GreenStalks. And I am very excited to have some germination happening. I am beginning with spinach, lettuce, carrots, and beets. I will soon add strawberries. I think the GreenStalk Leafs are PERFECT strawberry growing containers. 

With the exception of squash and tomatoes, I have not been a very successful gardener over my lifetime. I have struggled with keeping things watered and weeded. When I had a large garden in the backyard, it was out-of-sight-and-out-of-mind. So it was neglect. And I currently live on land that basically requires the use of containers for gardening. For these reasons, I am very optimistic about vertical gardening with the GreenStalks on my deck.

Related Links

GreenStalk Website  - The place to shop

GreenStalk Gardeners Facebook Page - The place to talk to other GreenStalk fans and see what they are doing with their planters. 

GreenStalk on Instagram -  Planting and growing tips & ideas, beautiful photos, and sales announcements. 

GreenStalk on YouTube -  A small handful of helpful videos. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, March 15, 2024

Peonies are Lovely Spring & Summer Flowers that are Easy to Grow

peony flower
I planted my peony 25 years ago.  It continues to give me the gift of gorgeous blooms year after year.

Peonies are perennials, which is why they continue to produce lovely flowers each year.  They do well in a variety of soils.  I happen to have a clay soil and as you can see, my peony is perfectly content with her environment.  

It may surprise you to know that the large peony bush is actually a tuber that is planted in the fall.  I've never had to move my peony for extreme cold or ice.  She retreats underground before winter, but pops right back up in spring.  It is mid-march here now and I am already seeing her shoots as she prepares to fully awaken.  I don't expect to see actual blooms until late April, but my peony takes center stage when she is ready.

If you are interested in planting a peony like mine (shown on the right), she is a Sarah Barnhardt peony.  I ordered her from Breck's Nursery, which is still in business.  I prefer them because they ship at the right time for planting in your zone.  That is something I always appreciate about that nursery!  I can make an order in spring or summer (when I see a flower blooming) and then the nursery sends me the bulb or tuber at the correct planting time.  That makes gardening so much easier!  They keep up with the calendar for me.  Because bulbs & tubers require very little time to plant, it has never been inconvenient for me to plant them within a day or two of arrival.

peony shoots
First Peony Shoots in Spring - 3/12/24


First Full Bloom in 2024 - (4/16/24)
Peony Bush
Peony Bush on 4/16/24

 

Planting Peonies

Because the peony is a tuber, it is extremely easy to plant.  The hardest part for me is determining which side is up.  Don't laugh!  I have actually spent more time inspecting a tuber, looking for the eyes, then it takes to actually plant it.


We get a moderate to high amount of wind in our area, so I elected to plant our peony in front of our south-facing fence and on the east side of the house.  The fence and house provide protection from winds which blow from west to east during a storm.

  • peony
    Late spring, early summer blooming 
  • Fall planting 
  • Plant in an area that stays well drained 
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Dig a wider hole than necessary to loosen the dirt around it to allow the roots to grow 
  • Mix *bulb food into the soil (purchased along with the peony)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 inches deep (the pink bud eyes should be at that depth)
  • When winter arrives and the plant dies back, cut to just above ground level
  • It usually takes 2 or 3 years before a peony blooms, but they are worth the wait
*Bulb food:  I use Breck's Food for Bulbs & Perennials OR Osmocote when planting


Peony Blooms
peony bloom

The peony blooms are impressively large.  That is my husbands hand holding the flower up for me to photograph.  You can see how big the flower is compared to a mans hand.
 
I often cut them and bring them inside so I can enjoy seeing the lovely bloom throughout my day.  
 
When our children were in grade school, they loved taking a few peony blooms to their teachers.  A single peony flower is as lovely as a dozen roses, in my opinion, and I do love roses.
 
peony photo by Sylvestermouse

 



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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Reviewing the Stunning Snowdrop In Gardens And Home Decor.

 

snowdrops flowers

I adore Snowdrops. From the end of December I start eagerly searching for signs of snowdrop life. To see those tiny green shoots really lifts my heart and brings such joy. To me Snowdrops epitomise beauty, strength and overcoming adversity.

They are the first flowers to bloom in the year and  are a symbol of hope and renewal after the long wet, cold winter.

 Snowdrops appear so fragile and delicate yet they are so resilient. The exquisite white flowers are a beautiful sight I look forward to every year.


snowdrops


Snowdrops are a Spring flower and part of the amaryllis family. They are classed as a hardy perennial mostly flowering in January and February. They are small and close to the ground growing about 3 to 6 inches tall yet are perfectly capable of growing up through snow and ice.

 

There are many varieties of snowdrop each with their slightly different height and shape and size of flower. I enjoy making home decor items and greetings cards from photographs I take of snowdrops in my garden and the parks nearby each year. 


 Snowdrops are very easy to grow. They enjoy partial shade and moist soil. If they are happy they will grow into stunning drifts of white flowers and look amazing. Equally they look gorgeous in small or large pots.

Mostly I grow snowdrops as an outdoor plant but I have heard of people growing them indoors to use as table decoration and an alternative or addition to buying cut flowers in winter which sounds a great idea I may try. 

Snowdrops are so delicate looking and beautiful that they make great subjects for home decor and you can buy many snowdrop related items. For example from cushions to hand painted glass or this lovely Glass Flower Snowdrop Glass handblown  or snowdrop scented candles. 

 

Snowdrops are a  fleeting flower but by having them in home decor items you can have snowdrops all year round. 

Being with white flowers and green stems they fit in with most home decor schemes and always look fresh, clean and appealing. 



Snowdrops always leave me feeling joy and smiling perhaps more than any other flower. Perhaps it is their tenacity and resilience wrapped in such delicate beauty having come through winter with all its challenges ready to charm us all and bring happiness.

I would never be without them in my garden and  in pots and in my home in one way or another. 






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