Picture Snob

April 28, 2011

Johnny's Seeds Interactive Tool Kit provides precision planting tips

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Johnny's Interactive tool kit gives the gardener a way to plan their garden with some precision. There is a calculator that can give you the amount of seed and the tools you will need for a given amount of space. A harvest date calcuator can determine how many crops you might have by a certain date so you can plan for an event. A calculator for seed starting tells you when it's safe to plant outside and another calculator tells you when to plant for the fall harvest and still another for succession plantings so you will have your favorite crops ripening all summer and fall.

There is a growers library with available downloads of tons of gardening information, growing guides, manuals and charts. If it's flowers your interested in, they have a chart that tells you the best flowers for your situation, planting and growing information. And there is another chart of the same kind for herbs.

If you really would like to be more precise with your gardening, this tool kit will be a great aid in that endeavor.

At Johnny's Interactive tool kit

Read More in: Industry News | Plants

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April 27, 2011

Bleeding Heart is another nostalia enducing flower

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My mother grew a Bleeding Heart plant and I remember her showing me the flowers and telling me about the "drop of blood" coming out of the bottom of the flowers. They were truely lovely and had the magic of myth about them.

I'm creating a shade garden on the northwest side of the house. The soil is terrible, but I'm digging big holes and using the hole as if it were a clay pot. Bleeding Hearts are perinneals and grow 2 to 3 feet tall and as wide is they are in the right conditions. Here in California I"m going to have to water well and hope the shade garden will provide enough protection from the sun. I think I will put some Hostia on each side of the Bleeding Heart to give it some more protection and also to fill in the empty space if the bleeding heart decides to die back after flowing. I'm excited to have this sweet plant and it's memories growing near the back porch.

At Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts-Dicentra spectabilis

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April 22, 2011

Ranunculus make a great spring holiday bouquet

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I give a big spring celebration party every Easter. This year I'm using ranunculus for the centerpiece on tables. I got these from my local nursery. They come in such beautiful colors and are huge. I remember I bought these last year and planted them in the flower bed, but they are, this year, only poking their true leaves up. My nursery friend suggested using them as a living bouquet and I think this is a wonderful idea.

You might check out your local nursery for such eye catching pleasures. I bought 12 plants for $24 which is much much cheaper than buying cut flowers or ordering from a florist. And the bonus is that you have flowers that come back year after year.

Read More in: Garden Thoughts | Plants

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April 21, 2011

Square Foot Gardening for limited space and ease of work

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With gas prices the way they are, food shipped in from farms is going to become more and more expensive, and one of the best reasons for gardening, besides the pleasure it gives, is to grow inexpensively, your own vegetables.

The Square Foot Gardening Book tells you how to maximize a small space by dividing your growing area into small sections, enabling the gardener to reach every area without stepping into the soil and compacting it. It is also easy to get the weeds out this way. The boxes can be built right over the ground no matter what kind of soil and filled with organic dirt and nutrients. If you want, a weed barrier can be put down first to ensure weeds won't be poking their heads up in the plantings.

Basically, the advantages of Square foot gardening is that it is much less work, you don't need the heavy tools like shovels, tillers, or hoes or rakes. It also uses much less water since you are hand watering directly on the plant and its roots. Weeds are few or non existent. Another good aspect of this garden is that for those with sore backs, the whole garden could be put on a table or boards over saw horses and no kneeling or back bending is necessary.

At Square Foot Gardening Book

Read More in: Garden Books

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April 20, 2011

Burpee Seed Starting is an all in one system for a great price

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If it's still freezing at night in your area or generally too cold to plant the warm weather vegies, you might try this seed starting kit from Burpee which has everything needed for successs. They say it is guaranteed to grow bigger and better seedlings every time. The all-in-one kit has everything needed to start growing seeds. Everyone says it is easy to set up and doesn't require much maintenance. You only need to water once.

It has a transparent cover retains heat and moisture and the mat underneath draws water from the bottom tray reservoir and feeds it to each cell evenly. Roots don't stick to mat as in other systems. It comes with enough soil and nutrients to grow the seeds into transplanting size. The big 72-cell tray makes it easy to start all your seeds in one unit and it is reusable.

At Burpee Ultimate Seed Starting System

Read More in: Garden Tools | Plants

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April 19, 2011

Spring Hill Nursery has unique plants and gives a lifetime guarantee

SpringHill Nursery was founded in 1849 in a small Ohio town. In the 1930's they started becoming a mail order business. I like their unique selection of plants which are useful for the homeowner with a lawn and garden to cultivate. For example, their ground covers include many flowering plants like phlox and thyme as well as Snow on the Mountain which hides problem areas quickly.
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They have a eclectic selection of trees, carrying the Dawn Redwood and Gingo. There are several Japanese Tree peonies including this lovely Shimi-Nishiki.
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"It is imported directly from Japan by Spring Hill! Shima-Nishiki is Japanese for 'fire flame'. And this uniquely colored tree peony certainly lives up to its name. Large, semi-double white blooms with fiery red streaks measure 7-9" across! Very longlived, it will bloom for a lifetime! Flowers arrive in April to May. Mature tree grows 48-60" tall with a 3' spread."

I particularly like their Pre-planned garden offerings. You can select for many different areas and blooming seasons. If you need some color in a shady spot or you'd really want a lovely three-season garden, they have a design for each . If you want flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your property, or a perennial garden, they have each. They include easy-to-follow instructions and diagrams make to help make your planting a success.

And there is a No Risk Guarantee. They say all of their plants will be true to name and to reach you in perfect and healthy condition."If, for any reason, you aren't pleased with any plant upon receipt, after planting or once it grows, just contact Spring Hill anytime--no time limit--for as long as you garden. No need to return any plant. We will refund every cent you paid for that plant or send a replacement without charge--whichever you prefer."

Sounds like a deal to me. And the selection is unique and well planned for variety and the home owner who wants to make their yard and flower garden lovely.

At Spring Hill Nursery

Read More in: Bulbs

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April 18, 2011

I'm planting Daphne near the screened in porch

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A friend showed me a plant he loves which was planted by his wife several decades ago. It had sweet smelling flowers and shiney green leaves and after some exploration I learned it's name--Daphne. Daphne means laurel and was sacred to Apollo who chased a nymph of that name and to escape him, she turned into a laurel tree. There are many differenty types of Daphnes and they vary as to their flowering times.

Daphne's small clustered flowers are very fragrant and they can easily fill an entire garden with scent. Daphne blooms in mid-February. There is reason to be cautious about where you plant them. Some varieties are also pretty poisonous, and its flowers, leaves and berries should not be planted or kept near children or pets. The danger is similar to shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons.

Daphne cneorum is called the 'Rock Daphne' ' because it is often grown in rockeries. This plant also does well and is very attractive in raised beds or border plantings and as a container plant. I think this is the showiest of all the Daphnes. The April and May rosy-pink flowers absolutely cover the plant, providing a massive flower display, that has a sweet, intense fragrance.

Daphne odora is one of the most popular varieties. It has a bushy growth habit, eventually attaining a height of up to 3 or 4 feet and, if crowded, occasionally taller. In the Pacific Northwest where I am this plant often begins flowering in late February or early March and may continue into April.

Daphne retusa is another nice dwarf variety of evergreen Daphne. The whitish to rosy-purple flowers are fragrant. It's flowers are not as bright as the others, and it may be a little more difficult to find.

Daphnes benefit from an application of lime at planting time. Dolomite lime is especially beneficial because of the sulfate of magnesium it contains. If pruning is needed, the best time is right after they have finished flowering.

I'm hoping by putting Daphne by the screened in porch, the fragrance will waft though the porch and into the house.

At Spirea Daphne

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Spirea makes a lovely landscape plant

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I remember spirea from my childhood and although I didn't think anything of it then, I remember it fondly now. We had a whole side of the house lined with spirea and the white flower blossoms cascaded beautifully, drooping almost to the ground. I like the fact that this is an old timey plant and hardy and easy to grow.

The spirea plant is a shrub with about 100 varieities and they are native to the Northern hemisphere. I like the common name which is meadowsweet. What I didn't know that it was used as a medicinal herb by Native Americans and contains some of the same properties as aspirin.

The spirea comes in many different colors and growing patterns. There are spring flowering and summer flowering types. The most nostalgic for me is the bridal wreath type of spirea. Vanhoutte spirea easily grows 6-10 feet tall and just as wide, with an arching shape. There are many that don't grow as tall or spread as much, but all bridal wreath types have white flowers.

The summer blooming spirea are frequently planted along foundations or in mixed borders, They have colorful summer-blooming spireas which are compact plants pale pink, deep pink, or white flowers. Many of the summer-blooming types will produce flowers more than once during the growing season, especially if faded flowers are deadheaded. The foilage of these plants come in gold, chartreuse or red.

Spireas are hardy and fairly easy to grow. The spring-blooming bridal wreath types bloom on old wood and should be pruned only to maintain a natural shape and reasonable size. Summer-blooming spireas generally bloom on new growth. Prune them in late winter or early spring before the leaves emerge.

At Spiraea X Vanhouttei 'Renaissance

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April 15, 2011

National Heirloom Exposition is in Santa Rosa in September

If you're really serious about heirloom plants and saving seed, this exposition is for you.
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Farmers, gardeners, chefs, and food organizations will likely see the largest event for heritage agriculture ever. There will be 1000 varieties of heirloom produce on display and 200 exhibitors. You can purchase organic, natural and original food products, art and other items or learn from renowned speakers, writers and famrers.

There will be workshops on the collecting, conserving and sharing heirtage seeds as well as movies, tours, and educational seminars. All profits from the event will be donated to various school gardens and real food education programs

The exposition will also have a poultry and livestock show with dozens of breeds of heritage chickens and small livestock. If you have seed or animals, you can bring them to the exhibit.

At Heirloom Expo

Read More in: Industry News

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April 14, 2011

Earthway Hand Operated Spreader/Seeder for seeding and fertilizing

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The Earthway spreader/seeder is ideal for broadcasting all types of grass seed; it works equally well for ground cover, as well as for the application of fertilizer. The Earthway features convenient spring-action rate setting control and a high-rpm gearbox, which provides a smooth, feathered-edge broadcast. It comes with a zippered nylon bag and a wide, shoulder strap to make extended use more comfortable. The oscillating shut-off plate prevents clumping and aids in flow control.

At Earthway 2750 Hand Operated Bag Spreader/Seeder

Read More in: Fertilizer

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