Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Containers with a Spring Flair

My goal in life is to "always out-do-myself".  This would be a great goal for all of us especially when it comes to container gardening.  Sure you can plant your winter pots with pansies, ornamental kale, assorted evergreens and perennials, but for a spring twist, mix in some branches of pussy willows, forsythia twigs, and even cherry blooms.  Spikes of these spring flowers vertically bursting out from the center of any planted  container will give your porch or patio a new and fresh look.

Plants with the Natural Look

Most of us crave some type of living indoor plant or plants for color or simply to add a little life to a grey day.   Most of us, as well, want something that looks great but is still low maintenance.  I have a great "Jhemajang" look that you can create yourself by simply making a collectible display of succulents, echiveras, and if dish gardens of miniature houseplants.  If you arrange these plants with other items such as old books and even old cigar boxes, one can have a great living display that adds what I call the "Botanica Gardens" style to your home.

Colorful Indoor Foliage

Now that Valentine's Day is over, soon your fresh flowers will be done and your house void of fresh color.  Did you know that there are so many different varieties of houseplants that not only provide fresh and vibrant foliage to cheer up any drab room, but they are easy to grow.  If you like English ivy then tree growing the Neon Algerian Ivy.  These babies have very large leaves and their new growth is bright lime green.  This in contrast to the older dark green foliage makes for a spectacular display.  Speaking of neon...try the Neon Pothos.    This plant actually looks like a lime green potato vine but for indoors. 
You can't forget about bromelids, the Limelight Craigii, and even soft ferns add color and texture.  But if size matters and if you are limited to an apartment, then grow some "Ittie Bittie" foliage plants.  They come in 2 inch pots and are so cute...

Winter Chores

Yes.............its that time of year to get out in the yard and do your winter chores.  The weather is perfect to go ahead and prune back your roses.  When it comes to shrub roses (like Knock Out roses) I prune back mine to about  half.  Some varieties such as floribundas and granifloras can be cut back to about 18 inches from the crown. 
Don't forget to cut make your liriope and spireas.  Also certain varieties of hydrangeas need to be pruned back as well.  Pee Gee, Tardiva, Limelight, etc. need to be pruned back each winter to about half their original size.  The old fashion mop tops require no pruning unless they are getting to large for their area. But you will want to cut out the weak and dead  stems from the interior of these plants.  This will help  with air flow thus preventing diseases and will add in new growth.  With new growth comes more flowers.
Don't forget to also re-bark your flower beds.  I prefer hardwood mulch.  Mulch will add nutrients to the soil as it decays, conserves moisture, prevents weeds, and looks great and fresh.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Floral

You know me, I always try to be completely different in everything I do!  This includes picking the right cut of flowers for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day.  Please, please, please don't just give the typical flowers you get wrapped up in cellophane from a grocery store.  Instead this year, give a wonderful fresh arrangement created by talented floral designer.  Spend just a little more and you will get a lot more from your sweetheart.  So instead of just a dozen roses, give a flower arrangement bursting with tropical floral colors and not just in your ordinary glass vase.  "About Vase" in Little Rock is one of those special  places to find the extraordinary.   If you want to score major brownie points then expand your horizons. 
Happy Valentine's Day....

Panic Attack

Some of you may just be realizing that Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  You even be starting to panic.  No worries, because I have a few tricks that are will save the day.  Here are some easy ways to say I LOVE YOU......  Go to your local craft store and by an inexpensive glass jar.  Now add layer upon layer of different kinds of Valentine's candy.  What you are creating is a sweet visual delight.  Or better yet, take a heart shape box of candy and glue with an hot glue gun place pictures of you and your loved one from over the years.   I also take cut fresh flowers,  such as carnations (they survive without water for days),  and glue those as well to the lid.   
I also like to re-purpose old Valentine's cards you can find at a flea market.  Just rewrite an original love note or decorate with them for that thoughtful add touch.
Happy Valentine's Day....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine Delights

Score major brownie points with that perfect Valentine gift.  Sure you can buy cut flowers, but something different and unique will give a lasting impression.  What about giving candy in a metal heart shape tin so that when the candy is gone, you have a heart box that will last for years to come?  Why not collect an assortment of different little items and then wrap them all in one box.  I like to find several different hearts, some glass, some metal, and some ceramic, place them all in one box and then fill the box with heart shaped candy.  What a thoughtful gift!  Don't forget that you can also give a live plant in a funky pot.  This will last for weeks to come.  Let me show you how to put romance into your life.....simple and easy....
Happy Valentines...........

Hardy Winter Plants

I don't know about some of you, but this time of year my landscape and some of my containers look drab.  No fear, Chris is here!!!  There are several different varieties of winter hardy plants that not only thrive in the winter but give color in one form or another.  One of my favorites is the Lenten Rose.  This plant comes is so many colors and varieties.  You have your chose of white, green, pink, to deep burgundy.  They are hardy and bloom all winter.  But do not forget about the evergreen coral bells.  They to come in an assortment of colors from lime green to deep rich purple foliage.  They grow like a hosta in semi-shade.
Don't forget about using plants like variegated ivy and even green ivy.  Also the silver white hues of dusty miller makes this plant a wonderful winter choice as well.  We think of it as an annual but in the South it is an perennial for the most part.