Flowers, Plants and Things —-Sex in the Garden

And you thought that it was we humans who had all the fun. When it comes to atbee5tracting partners to getting someone to help fertilize those eggs, most of us don’t have the allure that many plants do. They use every trick in the book to lure those birds and bees and sometimes animals to get the pollen from one’s own flower to another, or even to their own.   Flowers use every trick in the book to accomplish the goal; color, aroma, motion, shape and form. Sound like that teenager next door? Continue reading

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Hawaii is a plant lover’s paradise

Let’s go back to Hawaii. I wish I was still there. Everywhere you turn, there are plants and shrubs and vines in full bloom in gardens and parks — here are all the things that we struggle with in our homes and greenhouses — out in the open and flourishing, it seems, without any help from anyone. “We know different, don’t we” No matter where they grow, it takes a whole lot of work to make gardens this beautiful.

ar120200211616955Among the most beautiful plantings were those in shopping centers. You see, with no anticipated bad weather, a nice sea breeze and frequent showers, the plants, mostly native to the area, thrive. No, they are not carefree but, rather, easy to care for. Coleus plants that we struggle to get to 2 feet tall in a season thrive. Our cannas often grow to 3 feet, but the same types bloom at 6 to 7 feet. Not only are the blooms beautiful, but many of the varieties are endowed with gorgeous colored leaves. How can you not spend money in such a beautiful environment? Continue reading

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Birds of paradise and other Hawaii flowers

I almost can’t believe I am writing this in an airplane as I return from Hawaii! I have just attended the annual meetings of the Society of American Florists and of the Professional Floral Communicators International in Maui. I am quite active in both groups.

It certainly has been57ed37fd5e089-image a glorious week. I haven’t been to the islands in more than 20 years.

At that time, I was doing green plant and business seminars for FTD. And each January, I worked for a week on a different island. The schedule was great. We began each morning with a working breakfast and then a work morning and a speaker after lunch. From 2 p.m. on it was free time and time for some preparation for the next day. Of all the islands I most enjoyed Maui, so it was really good to get back. Continue reading

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Water Those Potted Plants

It is mid-July, time to catch up on some little things before they slip through the cracks. First and foremost, I want to talk about you and your health. Sure, gardening is fun. It is great to be out of doors weeding and hoeing and even enjoying the flowers. But it is hot. Don’t overdo the exercise and drink water, a lot of it.

Blueberry Sparkler Canna Lily

Blueberry Sparkler Canna Lily

After you have seen to yourself, look at your potted plants. Different varieties, plants in different size pots and those with different amounts of foliage will require different amounts of water. The soil in the pot will make a difference, too. When it comes to keeping plants moist, watering all of them the same amount of water at the same time each day, rain or shine, is a recipe for disaster. When you have a plant in a 6-inch pot know what the soil is. With a sandy mix the water will run through quickly when water is applied; some will stick to the granules of sand and to the rootlets. But these plants need more water and they need it more frequently. A heavier soil, one with more loam will retain water and need to be cared for less frequently. And remember that potting in a heavily clay soil could be courting disaster. These soil particles are tiny and hang on to the water for a long time, but when they dry too much they grow very close to each other, making it hard for the rootlets to get to the water. Continue reading

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Fascinating Roses

Over the past several months I have become fascinated with roses; garden roses. While cut roses are my favorite flower in the whole world I have not had a lot to do with any in my garden. And, since I was the 91st person in line, I got to the gardening book section first, before anyone else got into the shelf of books about roses. There were about 24 of them. So, I spent much of Sunday learning about my new “favorite plant.”

garden-rosesLet me backtrack for a few moments. I do know a lot about roses –  after they have been harvested in Ecuador. I know the varieties that last longest and those that open largest and fullest because they have the largest petal count. I know the best growers, in Colombia and Ecuador and how to get them here and run through the processes we use to make them last the longest for the consumer. But I now realize, after the weekend of study, that I know very little about how to grow roses in Auburn, New York. As a matter of fact, I know very little about growing garden roses. Continue reading

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What’s the Difference?

Here we are, in mid-March again. Those dozens of seed catalogs are in and it seems that you can’t go anywhere without running into racks of Ferry Morse or Burpee seeds, to mention but two of the many seed companies. And then there are all of those packaged bulbs and dried out perennials that we see.

The choices for starting are unreal. Along these lines, we have a garden 24 x 100 feet where an old greenhouse stood and I have decided to grow some summer flowers for the shop. As I began putting a plan on paper, I was faced with a lot of questions about choices. Would I grow perennials? If I went the seed route it would take two years before any substantial crop. Or, I could buy plants in 4 or 6 inch pots and get some blooms this summer and then more next summer. Since I have decided to put everything in pots, winter storage could be a problem with perennials. Continue reading

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The Canadian Garden Show, Canada Blooms

Last week I had a long and wonderful conversation with Terry Caddo, the Managing Director of the Canadian garden show, Canada Blooms
This is the 20th anniversary of Canada BFG17-031414-03-1Vaughan-280x280looms. It Runs from March 11th through the 20th.The event has, in the past couple of years, been moved from the Convention Centre in downtown Toronto to the Enercare Centre at the Exhibition Grounds, just west of the City. There is ample parking and if you are going to go to Toronto for a couple of days there is a streetcar that goes right to the back door of Canada Blooms.
The main draw, of course, would be the magnificent gardens that will be created. It is amazing to see them, some as large as 40 x 30 feet, that is 1200 square feet, the size of a nice Auburn backyard. Of course there are smaller gardens. All are fullygarden9-280x280 landscaped, not only with lawn and flowers, but with magnificent trees, many in full bloom and certainly in full leaf. There are completely constructed patios and verandas. Terry said that this year there is an emphasis on lighting. The garden areas are on a schedule to have the overhead lights dimmed at times to get the full effect of the lighting of the gardens. I assumed, and he agreed, that as the last time I visited, there would be water features. Continue reading

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