Picture Snob

February 11, 2010

Stargazer Lily Collection blooms and is fragrant all summer

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Day lilies, as opposed to dahlias, are easy to grow and are hardy over most of the US, from zones 3-11. This jumbo pack has 12 lilies of three different varieties in pink and white. They grow quite tall so plant them in against the fence or in the back of the border as they get as tall as 24" to 40". They are perennials and can also be grown in containers and make great cut flowers. Plant them 4" to 6" and space them a foot apart, sprinkle fertilizer and you're good to go. Only $23 from Holland Bulb Farms.

At Holland Bulb Farm

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February 9, 2010

Weeping Willow Tree is a classic landscape addition and easy to grow

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Weeping willows are beautiful additions to a yard. They can be used as windbreaks; they are fast growing, and are cold hardy over most all the the country. I am thinking of one near the pond I am planning near my new house. They add a soft and gentle ambiance to any landscape and I remember them from my childhood. One of the main features is they are fast gowing so you don't have to wait forever for the tree to mature. This one when shipped is 3 or 4ft tall so it has a good start on growth and they are easy to grow so dig a hole, throw in some compost and mix it up with some fertilizer, steer manure would do and plant the tree! It should really take off in the spring!

At Weeping Willow Tree, Hardy Green, 36-48-inch Tall

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February 8, 2010

Gurney's Catalogue has it all

Gurney's Seed and Nursery company is located right smack in the midwest and carries every aspect of seed and plant and supply that a gardener needs. They have no particular ideology other than supplying what they consider to be the most reliable and the best. They have both heirloom and hybrid varieties. They sell fruit and nut trees as well as vines and shrubs, hedges and grasses. They have house plants and windbreaks, just about anything you could possibly want.

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They are promoting a sweet corn called "You gotta have it" which they claim is the sweetest and stays the sweetest longest of any corn you can grow. It is hybrid but not sugar enhanced. One feature I like about their online catalogue is that they include comments from growers who have tried the seed and the comments are negative as well as positive. For example, after reading the growers comments you have a good idea that you need to wait to plant it until the soil is really warmed up--trying to rush the season will most likely end in failure or at least poor germination. This is a very helpful section for anyone interested, like me, in giving this sweet corn a try.

At Gurney's Catalogue

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February 5, 2010

Aloe Vera is a plant that every home should have

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The plant will be in a 3 1/2" pot and is about 8" tall. It's an easy plant to grow and has a long history. It flourishes in warm and dry climates, and many people mistake it for a cactus, but in fact it is a member of the Lily family. It stays moist where other plants would wilt and die, closing its pores to prevent the loss of moisture. It originated in Africa, today Aloe Vera is grown and harvested in many areas of the world. When the leaf is squeezed a soothing gel comes out which you can apply to rough, chapped or burned skin.

The History Ancient records show that the benefits of Aloe Vera have been known for centuries. Its therapeutic and healing properties have survived more than 5000 years. George Ebers first discovered its antiquity in 1862, in an Egyption papyrus dated 1500 BC. Greek and Roman physicians such as Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder used it to great effect as a medicinal herb. Researchers have also found the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures used Aloe Vera. Egyptian queens associated its use with their quest for physical beauty, while in the Philippines it is used with milk for kidney infections. . Nowadays, although chemical medicines are very effective in healing, long term use and complicated interactions with other drugs can cause terrible side effects for patients. Consequently more consumers and scientists are turning back to look at more traditional, and often natural, therapies which, for so long, have been neglected.

At 1 Aloe Vera - Medicine Plant -Burn Plant -Miracle Plant

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February 4, 2010

Beautiful Weeping Cherry Tree blooms in early spring

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The Dwarf Weeping Cherry is a gorgeous little tree which I would love to have in my front yard. It blooms in early spring and is adaptable to poor and compacted soils which makes me think it might survive near the new construction. It prefers moist, well drained soils of average fertility and does well in full sun. They claim it will grow about anywhere once started and will reach approximately10 feet at maturity with long weeping branches that will quickly grow to the ground. It is the most sought after tree in late winter or early spring when the pink flowers emerge. Fall color is a mixture of green, chartreuse, and yellow. The tree will be 2-3 feet tall when shipped. I'm going to give this tree a try.

At Beautiful Weeping Cherry Tree Live Plant

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January 29, 2010

Burpee seed catalog brings the hope of spring

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Burpee is one of the oldest and most venerable of seed companies. It made itself famous during WWII promoting victory gardens and in 1954 offered $10,000 for a white marigold. This is the company that developed the Big Boy Tomato and has continued to supply seeds and plants, both perennial and annual as well as garden supplies.

This year's catalog has a seed growing supplies and a tomato growing book as well. They have a raised bed 4' by 4' which can be doubled in size, and they claim any novice can set up it easily. There are all the flowers and vegies that any garderner needs and any homebound wishful thinker could spend hours enjoying and dreaming.

It's a great catalog, a classic, and one well worth perusing.

At Burpee seed catalog

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January 27, 2010

Bay Laurel Nursery is an online store with a great selection of fruit and berry root stock


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This is the time of year to plant bare root trees and this site in California carries most every flowering and fruiting tree you could desire. Bay Laurel Nursery ships bare root trees all over the country and their list of varieties is impressive. They carry every thing from apples to quince in a long alphabetical list that includes berries, figs and quince. They include the chilling requirements of the plants, that is, the hours of 45 degrees or more, between November and Februrary. This is not a problem in New England and other cold winter locations, but for those in the south and west, they have "low chill" varieties.

The online store has a nice section on backyard orchard culture, which is the prolonged harvest of tree-ripe fruit from a small space. This means planting close together several or many fruit varieties which ripen at different times, and keeping the trees small by summer pruning. They have instructions both on planting and on the pruning which is very useful for those of us who are not commercial growers. They also ship roses, nut trees, ornamentals and some gardening supplies.

At Bar Laurel Nursery

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January 25, 2010

White Flower Farm Garden Catalog - The Garden Catalog


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The White Flower Farm catalog comes from Connecticut and is filled with the most lovely perennials you are likely to find anywhere. They ship both perennials and annuals all over the country, specializing in bulbs and plants, ignoring seeds altogether, which makes them unique. They have a great daffodil mix of 100 bulbs for $49 and promise that after the first great year of blooms the plants will self propagate year after year. There is a unique daylily collection of 50 in varied colors shipped bareroot for $99.

The catalog has a kichen section with a beginners garden of tomaotes, peppers, cucumers, and squash, nine plants for $59. The plants come to you when the temperature is right for you location. They offer herbs, mushrooms, fruits and berries,
There is a whole section on flowers just for planting in containers. There are gorgeous peonies and dahlias and page after page of annuals and perennials.

All together this is a fascinating catalog and well worth perusing. I'm thinking of the daffodil "The Works" for my home.

At White Flower Farm Garden Catalog

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January 13, 2010

Some big bargains on indoor plants at IKEA

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I was in IKEA this weekend looking for countertops from my new kitchen and on the way out of the store, you pass the plant section which is located in a good place for impulse buying. I was totally boggled by the size of the $50 plants which were head high with no yellow or brown leaves. They had Ravena, Dragon Tree, Unbrella tree, and Yucca in $20 sizes which were about waist or chest high. This is where I'm coming to get plants for the house! There were small pots of Bird's Nest Fern, Ivy, Song of India, Bromeliad and some tiny seeded pots of herbs all at unbeilevably low prices.

The Dragon Tree and the Ivy are both mentioned in "How to Grow Fresh Air" as being high in their ability to remove toxins. Since this book covers only what was used in NASA's experiments with their biosphere, there's no information on many of the plants. I'm definitely getting several large plants that are well established as well as smaller ones. One reader mentioned getting a Boston Fern for her baby's room. It is the best toxin remover and easy to grow.

If you are far away from IKEA, like I am, and only make a trip there twice a year or so, it seems Amazon has some plants to try.

At Lemon Lime Madagascar Dragon Tree - Dracaena - Easy!

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January 11, 2010

Heirloom plants make a big comeback


41+lEY6ZyyL._SL500_AA280_.jpgThe heirloom varieties started showing up about 10 years ago, and for the last few years have been very big with the gardeners in my location. I have ignored the heirloom craze feeling like it was a passing fad and have kept doggedly to the varieties that do well for me: Early Girl tomatoes; Big Boy; and the Sun Gold cherry. But this year I'm going to explore some heirloom varieties.

What changed my mind is that so many varieties of plants are disappearing. Heirlooms have been ignored largely because industrial farming wanted fruits and vegetables that would withstand shipping. After all, a really ripe tomato can't be rolled down a conveyer belt and be squished into a semi load to be hauled across the country. The large farms also wanted consistency and a resistence to drought, insects and pesticides. Thus arose the horror of "Roundup Ready" varieties of vegetables able to withstand large amounts of that pesticide. Does that whet your appetite? That's when I begin to loose mine.

I started to investigate the heirloom craze and discovered that I have always grown an heirloom variety, Kentucky Wonder pole beans. These beans were considered the food of the gods in Indiana where I grew up. My father's favorite meal was a mess of those beans cooked with pork fat, a side of cole slaw, and fresh, ripened tomatoes with home baked cornbread. So when I started gardening, I chose Kentucky Wonders quite naturally. Apparently, Black Beauty eggplant is heirloom as are Lemon Cucumbers. So I have been growing Heirloom varieties all along. This next year, I'm going to concentrate of heirloom tomatoes. Brandywine Heirlooms are big fruited and gorgeous and furthermore, I like the name, it reminds me of my childhood, so I"m trying to grow them. You can save the seed from heirlooms and they will come true to type next year. Plus they will very slowly adapt to your garden conditions and should improve with time.

I'll be blogging more about this experiment this year and discussing the pros and cons of heirloom seed growing.

Amazon carries quite a few heirloom seeds.

At Black Brandywine Tomato 30 Seeds - Heirloom

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