Growing Calceolaria (Calceloa’ria) – Plant information

CALCEOLARIA (Calceola’ria). Mostly tender perennials of herbaceous or shrubby growth, principally natives of Chile and Peru, and belonging to the Snapdragon family, Scrophulariaceae. Calceolarias vary in height from 6 in. to 3 ft. The flowers are slipper-like and are mostly yellow in color, with the exception of those of the herbaceous Calceolarias, which display a wide range of colors. The flowers of the different kinds also vary in size, those of some averaging 2 in. in diameter, while others are not more than 1/2 in. across. The name, Calceolaria, is derived from calceolus, a slipper, and alludes to the slipper-shaped […]

Begonia – Summer and Winter flowering

These Popular and Easy-to-Grow Flowers Come in Many Types (Bego’nia). These attractive plants are invaluable as house plants, for the greenhouse, and for filling summer flower beds. Some kinds are grown for their ornamental leaves, others for their flowers; some bloom in summer, others in winter, while a few flower more or less all the year round. Begonias are found wild chiefly in South and Central America, though many are native plants of India and other tropical and subtropical countries. They belong to the family Begoniaceae. The name Begonia commemorates a Frenchman, M. Michel Begon. Begonias can be grouped conveniently […]

Maranta – Arrowroot Plant

Warm greenhouse ornamental-leaved plants which grow wild in tropical America ancl belong to the family Marantaceae. They are suitable for growing outdoors in frost-free regions only. These plants form tufts of leaves which rise straight up from the soil: they vary in height from 1-6 ft. The leaves vary in size and shape, some being oval, others lance-shaped, round or heart-shaped; they are often nicely marked with streaks or blotches of contrasting colors. The leaves may be gray, purple, and green or variegated with white, pink, purple or brown above. Arrowroot of Commerce. Maranta arundinacea is the principal source of […]

Shade Flowers

When acquiring plants for a shade garden, remember that plants grow slowly in the shade, so get large plants. Plants often grow differently in the shade and some experimentation with size and blooming times are in order. The following plants grow well in deep shade. While the common Bleeding Heart will take some shade, the Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) thrives in full shade. It is possible to buy the Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart with red or white blossoms, but the hardiest variety has pink blooms. This perennial usually grows between 8 and 15 in (23-38 cm) tall and […]

Planning a Kitchen garden

Planning a Kitchen garden It is far easier to plan a kitchen garden where the garden is a new one. The gardener who takes over a garden used by previous occupiers may first have to remove shrubs and trees. Not only do trees, shrubs and hedges rob the vegetable garden of plant foods, but they cast shade over the growing plants. Few of the vegetables we grow tolerate shade and the site for the kitchen garden must, therefore, be quite open and unshaded. Brick walls and wood fences cast shade, too, but a wall or fence at the north side […]

Visiting Greenhouses and other December Gardening Tips

Visiting local greenhouses and transporting holiday plants home safely, cleaning and storing hand tools, and removing snow from shrubs are some of the garden-related activities for this month. Try to visit a local greenhouse, as the sight of so many plants all in bloom is sure to lift the spirits on a cloudy and cold day.  If you’re buying holiday plants anywhere, make sure to protect them on the way home with a paper “sleeve” or bag, especially poinsettias which are quite sensitive to cold.  Once home, keep plants away from drafts and heat sources, and don’t overwater.  Make sure […]

Garden tools for Digging and Weeding

How are you set for tools for this gardening season? There are so many more tools now that in the past, both power and manual.  Having the right tool for the right job, you’ll be amazed how much easier (on your body) and quicker your garden activities will get done.  Here are a few of the common manual tools for digging and weeding, and their uses. To start, you will need something to dig with, such as a shovel or a spade.    A shovel is built like a somewhat flattened scoop, generally with curved blade tip. It’s designed to move […]

African Violets: Seven steps to success

African violets are one of the easiest and most adaptable flowering houseplants to grow, as they do well in the conditions found in most homes.  There are seven main cultural factors you should be aware of to ensure their success. African violets that you buy are almost certainly hybrids, generally of one main species (Saintpaulia ionantha).  The native habitat of this species, in the Tanga region of Tanzania in Africa, gives clues to its culture.  The original species, introduced in 1893, was found growing there on mossy rocks and moist rock crevices in varying amounts of shade.  This area is […]

Fabulous Firs

Even if you’re not a gardener, you may know the fir tree from the popular balsam firs sold as cut trees over the holidays.  This tree and other related fir trees make beautiful landscape plants, providing a habitat for birds as well. The firs (Abies) are in the Pine family and are called conifers since they produce cones similar to pine trees.  Since firs often come from mountaintops, they prefer cooler climates as in the north.  They tend to be somewhat slow growing, but over time make stately trees.  They are not for urban settings as they can be injured by air pollution. […]

9 of the most stylish outdoor fire pits

Do you know what my favorite time of the year is? But my favorite part of this season is having gatherings around the fire pit in our backyard, enjoying with my family and friends, toasting marshmallows and making s’mores. So, can you guess what I’m bringing you today? I have rounded up 9 of the most stylish outdoor fire pits and I think that you will find them very interesting and attractive. They will inspire you to enjoy fall season as much as I already am.     A fire pit is a very easy way to make your yard […]