05 Mar

How to use Bonsai Plants in Home Interior

Bonsai make excellent ornamental plants – not only because of their unusual size and formation but also because they require less room to fit in to any home interior or outdoor design scheme. Most bonsai are low on maintenance needs. When provided with appropriate spot where it can receive sufficient light, an established bonsai will only require routine hydration and prunning.

Browse these excellent examples of the use of bonsai in home interior.

04 Mar

Spring Flowering Shrub: Loropetalum chinense

Loropetalum chinense

Loropetalum chinense / Image by tk78000u

Loropetalum chinense is an evergreen shrub from the family of Witch Hazel. It is also known as Chinese fringe-flowers because of its fringe-like flowers that appear in spring and summer.

Loropetalum chinense is grown for its colorful foliage and prominent but unusual flowers. Commonly available species include a green-leafed variety that produced white flowers and burgundy-leafed variety that bears pink blossoms. Loropetalum chinense is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much attention. All it needs is a rich but slightly acidic soil, moderate watering and protection from extreme cold. Generally it would grow well in USDA zone 7 – 10. In colder climates, Loropetalum chinense should be moved to a greenhouse or provided with an indoor spot where it receives sufficient sunlight and hydrated only when the soil is completely dry.

Chinese fringe-flowers

Chinese fringe-flowers / Image by Scott Zona

Gardeners and horticulturist use Loropetalum chinense as a colorful hedge that produces abundance of nice and colorful foliage. It can also be used to build privacy screen or to fill empty spots in large landscapes. With proper pruning, Loropetalum chinense can be grown into a small ornamental tree.

Flowering season begins as early as mid-March and lasts till summer. During this season, you can see Loropetalum chinense laden with eye-catching flowers that appear in small clusters. Each flower consists of ribbon-like, wavy petals that give it an unusual formation.

Besides popular green and burgundy-leafed varieties, a number of cultivars are easily available in market. These cultivars vary in flower size, and colors of leaves and flowers. Commonly grown cultivars of Loropetalum chinense include:

Loropetalum chinense ‘Blush’,  L. chinense ‘Purple Diamond’, ‘Burgundy’, ‘Little Rose Dawn’ and Loropetalum chinense ‘Carolina Moonlight’.

27 Feb

Ready to welcome spring? Canada Blooms 2015 is coming

Canada Blooms 2015

Canada Blooms, one of the largest home and garden shows of North America, will be held from 13th to 22nd March 2015. Celebrating its 18th anniversary this year, theme of the show is ‘Let’s Play’.

At Canada Blooms 2015, you can enjoy an amazing experience of glorious six acres gardens in full bloom, and stunning displays by talented garden designers/builders, horticulturists and floral professionals.

Start: March 14, 2014
End: March 23, 2014
Tickets: Adults $17, Seniors $14, Students $13. Buy Online
Website: http://www.canadablooms.com/
Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place
100 Princes’ Blvd.
Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

18 Feb

Garden Dispatch # 5

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of useful and interesting resources for gardeners and landscape designers.

How to pick the healthiest plants at a nursery

Plants sale

Image by Susie Nishio

The best tip that I can give to someone who is purchasing plants at a nursery is: ‘Look beyond the obvious’. Plenty of flowers or shiny foliage does not necessarily mean that the plant is healthy and free from pests and diseases. There are many other factors that determine the health and quality of a plant – formation, color and texture of foliage, root system, time of the year, age of the plant etc. Dr. Holly Scoggins, associate professor of horticulture, shares a couple of useful tip for finding the best plants at a nursery.

Designing landscape? Do not make these mistakes (again)!

So you are planning to design or remodel your landscape design. There are plenty of beautiful landscape design inspirations but every landscape is unqiue. What works in my landscape layout may not work for you. You have to balance all the elements (size, colors, form, climate, personal preferences, maintenance requirements etc.) of landscape design to make a harmonized effect. But there are some fundamental principals that apply to every landscape design project and you should not breach those principles. Here is a list of 11 common mistakes landscape designers make. Make sure you do not.

Plant of the Week: Monarda fistulosa

Monarda fistulosa

Monarda fistulosa / Image by Joshua Mayer

Commonly known as Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa is a drought-tolerant perennial that grows well in landscapes and rock gardens. The plant is known for its aromatic leaves and attractive flowers. Monarda fistulosa can grow up to 4 feet and tends to form clumps of erect branches. Flowers of white or lavender shades appear in summer and continue to bloom through the season.

Monarda fistulosa grows in dry or slightly moist soil under full to partial sun.

Links of Interest

14 Feb

Alliums: The Ornamental Onions

Alliums, commonly known as Ornamental Onions, are popular perennials among gardeners because of their graceful flowers and ability to grow in many different conditions. Most Alliums are characterized by their tall flower stalks (up to 3 feet) that stand like sentries with big, round flower heads (up to 5 inches). Their prominent flower heads make Alliums very useful for providing a nice and attractive background to low-growing bloomers in flower beds.

Allium globemaster

Allium globemaster – Image by PKdon50 (flickr)

Growing Alliums should not be a big challenge even for beginners. They are drought-tolerant, resistant to pests, and low on maintenance. They also come in a wide range of variety in terms of heights, blooming period, and form and color of flowers. Alliums are grown from bulbs planted in the fall. Bulbs should be planted at a depth of four times the diameters of bulb. Alliums generally prefer a rich and well-drained soil under sunny conditions. If you are growing them in poor soil, feed them with a general fertilizer in early spring or top up the soil with a layer of compost [Also read: How to prepare your own compost].

Most varieties start blooming from late summer to early summer. Flowers, especially of late blooming verities, last longer. Both fresh and dry flowers make excellent addition to flower arrangements. As end of season approaches, leaves start straggling and should be cut back, if required. Once flowering is over, bulbs can be lifted and stored for the next harvest.

Popular varieties of Allium include:

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ produces large (3 inches or more) purple flowers on tall (up to 3 feet) stalks.

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ / Image by Farrukh

Allium caeruleum or ‘Blue Allium’ produces very attractive flowers of sky-blue color in spring and summer.

Allium schoenoprasum or Chives is a useful herb that produces nice pink flowers from mid to late spring.

Allium ‘Globemaster’ is a popular variety known for its huge flowers of purple color.

Allium ‘Millennium’ is a great bloomer for the late summer season. This variety is known for its long lasting lavender flowers.

Allium tuberosum or Garlic Chives are attractive border plant because of their delicate form and nice white flowers.

Allium aflatunense is known for its large and prominent pink-purple flowers that sit on tall flower stalks.

Other popular species are: Allium moly (Golden Garlic), A. cristophii (Stars of Persia) and Allium ‘Mount Everest’.


Blue Allium

Blue Allium / Image by Joe Shlabotnik