24 Apr

Lagurus ovatus, Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass

Lagurus ovatus or Bunny Tails Grass is a lovely ornamental grass known for its puffy white flowers that resemble a bunny’s tail. This beautiful annual grass can be grown along garden borders or pathways, as an accent plant in the garden or an ornamental grass in xeriscapes.

Lagurus ovatus

Lagurus ovatus / Image via faroutflora.wordpress.com

Bunny Tails grows as a compact ornamental grass growing up to 20 inches high and about 1 foot wide. The blades are soft and about 1.5 foot in length. The ornamental value of this lovely grass is because of its fluffy, white oval flowers that start appearing in early summer. Bunny tails flowers assume tan color as they enter the fall season arrives. The flowers start to dry out at this time. You can keep them on the grass for winter interest. Stalks with dried fluffy flowers can also be removed and used in dry flower arrangement.

How to Grow Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass

Bunny Tails Grass

Bunny Tails Grass / Image by Mollivan Jon (flickr)

Bunny Tails can be propagated from seeds (Buy Seeds Online) collected from dried flowers. Seeds can be sown in spring. Plants grown from seeds take 1 to 2 year to attain the maximum size.

Bunny Tails grass comes from Mediterranean climates where it thrives in a rather dry climate. When grown in gardens or landscapes, provide it sunny exposure and water moderately. Bunny Tails prefers sandy soil that does not retain water. It is a drought-tolerant grass. Water it thoroughly in summer and then allow the soil to completely dry before watering next. When temperature falls, water sparsely.

15 Apr

How to Make Your Garden Magical this Spring-Summer Season

The season of barbecues and garden parties is almost among us, and what better way to see in the warmer season than a garden revamp after the cold and unforgiving winter season. Here, we’ll give you a few tips and pointers to help you make your garden a haven of peace and tranquillity that you’ll want to share with others.

Lighting

For evening entertainment out on your lawn, decking or patio area, lighting really makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of your outdoor entertaining space. Here are a couple of lighting ideas that are really cheap and easy to add to your garden:

Outdoor String Lights

Wrap them delicately around pergolas, trellises and archways or draped along branches to add soft and warm lighting to any area, instantly making your garden feel more homely and welcoming.

Pathway Lighting

Line your pathway with solar powered floor lighting to create an enchanted feel to your garden with minimal effort. For a really luxurious look, try taller bollard lighting you can get from places like Bulbs2Go.

Pathway Lighting - Bulbs2Go

Planting

Now is the time to be planting root veg and seeds to get a great yield in autumn, but the spring-summer period is a wonderful time to enjoy colourful flowers such as primroses, hyacinths and daffodils.

For continued blooming after bulb plants have finished flowering, line the edges of your garden with hardy annual favourites like sunflowers, marigolds, and nasturtiums. When their flowering periods are over, you can harvest the seeds of sunflowers and the flowers and seed pods of nasturtiums for delicious additions to salads and garnishes.

Furniture

The warmer weather is a great time to get out and enjoy your garden by entertaining friends and family. Invest in good-quality outdoor furniture that will last years and fit in with your taste and home aesthetics. Plastic furniture can look tacky and need replacing more often if you choose lower-grade plastic, but there are fantastic offerings all over the outdoor furniture market with woven plastic fibres that hold their shape and structure as well as look stylish.

Wooden garden furniture needs a lot more care and attention to look its best for longer, but is far more versatile and natural looking with more options for painting and personalisation. Make sure you coat the wood according to manufacturer instructions to keep it looking tip top.

There are so many ways you can help your garden look its best for summer, and all these things will instantly breathe colour and life into your outdoor space.

03 Apr

Lovely Indoor Foliage with Colcosia / Elephant Ears Plant

Colocasia also known as Elephant Ears Plant are attractive foliage plants that add a lot of character to a garden landscape. Their bold foliage also makes them excellent indoor foliage plants. If you are looking for nice foliage, rich colors and a low-maintenance plant for your garden landscape or indoor décor, Colocasia should be on top of your list.

Colocasia, Elephant Ears Plant

Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Colocasia or Elephant Ears Plant (Buy Colocasia online) produces prominently large heat-shapes foliage. The attractive large leaves grow on a 2 to 3 feet long stalk. Different varieties Elephant Ears Plant offers colorful foliage that varies from green to dark purple. Some varieties produce green leaves with prominent white variegation. Elephant Ears plant can grow from 3 to 5 feet and it does not take it much time to attain this size. In fact, Elephant Ears is a rather fast growing plant. When grown under right conditions, a plant from tuber can easily grow up to 3 feet in a year.

How to Grow Colocasia / Elephant Ears Plant

Colocasia or Elephant Ears Plant is grown from tubers. Weather grown in the ground or container, provide them with moist, rich and slightly acidic soil. When grow indoors, make sure that they are placed near a window where it receives bright sunlight. Because of the large size of its foliage, plants grown indoors should be provided with sufficient room to grow. Elephant Ears plants grown indoors also require higher level of humidity.

Colocasia can be easily grown in poolside gardens where they provide nice foliage and lush colors to the landscape.

When grown outdoors, Elephant Ears Plant should be placed in a spot where it gets plenty of sun in the morning and partial shade for the rest of the day. Plants under partial shade usually grow large foliage than those placed under sun during most part of the day. Colocasia / Elephant Ears Plant should be protected from strong winds, frost or freezing winter temperatures. If you are living in a colder climates, move your plants indoors or trim the foliage completely and tubers for the next season.

Popular varieties of Elephant Ears Plant (Buy online) include:

  • Colocasia ‘Black Magic’, a 3-5 foot specimen with dark burgundy-black leaves.
  • C. ‘Black Stem’ grows black stems with burgundy-black veins on green foliage.
  • Colocasia ‘Green Giant’ gets its name because of extra ordinary large foliage (up to 5 feet).
  • Colocasia ‘Nancy’s Revenge’ grows up to 5 feet and produces dark green leaves with creamy centers.
24 Mar

Top Gardening Blogs on my Reading List

I read and follow a number of gardening blogs because I enjoy learning from first hand experiences of other enthusiasts. Following is a list of top gardening blogs that I read on regular basis.

Balcony Gardener

All about challenges, opportunities, lessons learnt, and success stories of growing plants in a small balcony. Blog URL: http://balconygardener.ca/

Fine Gardening Blog

Everything a novice or an expert gardener wants to know – tips & tricks, landscaping ideas, plant profiles, articles and a lot more. Blog URL: http://www.finegardening.com/blogs

My Tiny Plot

“My Tiny Plot is dedicated to creating a beautiful garden, growing great vegetables, healthy fruit and the most beautiful cutting flowers.” Blog URL: http://mytinyplot.com/

Three Dogs in a Garden

A very well written blog on everything gardening. Loads of spectacular photos. Blog URL: http://threedogsinagarden.blogspot.ca/

Bloomingwriter: Gardening in Nova Scotia

Jodi DeLong shares his experiences of growing his favorite plants in Nova Scotia on this regularly updated gardening blog. Blog URL: http://bloomingwriter.blogspot.ca/

Garden Care Simplified

Wonderful experiences of gardening in a terrace by Rizwana Mundewadi. Blog URL: http://gardening-simplified.blogspot.ca/

Metro Greens

“Metro Greens aims at inspiring the gardener within people, to encourage them to take up gardening – enjoying the sheer joy and pleasure of sowing a seed, watching it germinate and grow over the time, and ultimately witness the charm of flowering/fruiting.” Blog URL: http://www.metro-greens.in/

The Year Round Veggie Gardener

A blog about Niki Jabbour’s adventures as a professional garden writer, radio show host and obsessive veggie gardener. Blog URL: http://yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.ca/

66 Square Feet

“66 Square Feet (Plus) is a blog about gardening, cooking, and picnics; about the seasons, without and within; about the city where we live, and the places we go. There are plenty of pauses for foraging, and for cocktail-shaking. And for some good cups of stovetop espresso, too.” Blog URL: http://66squarefeet.blogspot.ca/

Other notable gardening blogs:

Paul Jung’s Gardening Blog – http://blog.pauljunggardening.com/

Down on the Allotment – http://veggies-only.blogspot.com/

Shirl’s Garden Watch – http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/

The Guardian, Gardening Blog – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog

Farhan’s Gardening Blog – http://farhansgarden.blog.com/

Green Roofs – http://www.greenroofs.com/blog/

Beyond the Wild Garden – https://beyondthewildgarden.wordpress.com/

 

18 Mar

Unusual Caudiciform Plants – Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants is a large group of plants that form caudex – a fat stem or root. The caudex in most Caudiciform plants is prominent and gives these plants a uniquely unusual shape and character.

Caudiciform plants make excellent specimen plants. Take the example of Adenium obesum, Beaucarnea gracilis, Cycas revoluta, most Cyphostemmas, and Dioscorea elephantipes. Like other Caudiciform plants, these attractive plants form caudex to store water and food so that they can survive long spells of drought therefore these are generally low-maintenance plants.

How to take care of Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants do not require much maintenance. Because they are able to store water for dry periods, you do not need to water them regularly. During the months of active growth, water sufficiently only when the soil is completely dry. Avoid watering when the plant is hibernating.

Grow your plants is a well-drained soil and feed them when they show active sign of growth. With a little experience with caudex forming plants, you will understand that most of these plants quick adopt to the surrounding climate. You can grow them outdoors as specimen plants, indoor on a window sill, or in a greenhouse (if you live in a colder region). Generally, they prefer dry conditions and good exposure to the sunlight.

Types of Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants come in all sizes. Some grow into tall trees, some have shrubby growth, some of them are vines and some of them are small succulents. The size, location, and shape of caudex in most plants vary greatly. Therefore, these caudex forming plants are further grouped in four categories.

  • Phanerophytes: These Caudiciform plants form succulent base which appears prominently above the soil level. Most Adenias, Beaucarneas, and some Pachypodiums are good examples of Phanerophytes.
  • Chamaephytes are Caudiciform plants that form caudex at their base. The caudex in these plants may or may not be prominently visible. Dioscoreas belong to this group of caudex forming plants.
  • The caudex in Hemicryptophytes is usually formed below the ground but the growth is usually above the soil level.
  • Geophytes are caudex forming plants that form both their caudex and the growing point underground. Ibervillea is a good representative of this group.

Popular Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Some popular species of caudex forming plants include:

Adenium obesum /Desert Rose (Buy seeds online)
Adenium obesum

Jatropha berlandieri (Buy seeds online)

Jatropha berlandieri

Jatropha podagrica (Buy seeds online)
Jatropha podagrica

Pachypodium brevicaule
Pachypodium brevicaule

Dioscorea elephantipes (Buy seeds online)

Caudiciform Plants, Dioscorea elephantipes

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus
Gerrardanthus macrorhizus (Bigfoot)

Euphorbia cylindrifolia (Buy seeds online)
Euphorbia cylindrifolia ssp. tuberifera Rauh

Yucca rostrata
Yucca rostrata-Beaked Yucca

Tylecodon paniculata
Tylecodon paniculata

10 Mar

Weekly Magazine: Garden Dispatch # 8

Welcome to this week’s Garden Dispatch.

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of landscape and garden design resources. In this issue, explore:

DIY: How to Grow Moss in Your Garden

Moss Garden

Plant Care: How to prune like a PRO

How to Prune

Great Gardens: The Biggest Rooftop Garden in the World

Rooftop Greenhouse

Plant of the Week: Cornish Lily

Cornish Lily

Garden Projects: Patio Garden make-over – New blends with Old

Patio Makeover

DIY: How to build a raised garden bed

Raised Garden Bed

Garden Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

How to attract birds to your garden

08 Mar

Why Get a Greenhouse in your Garden

Greenhouse
There are so many reasons why you should get a greenhouse in your garden. From being able to turn your gardening hobby into a full-time passion, to looking after your wellbeing and not to mention all the nutritional benefits of growing your own food.

Here are the reasons why you should get a greenhouse in your garden:

Greenhouse for growing your favourite plants all year round

A greenhouse means you can grow plants, bulbs, vegetables and flowers all year round, whatever the weather. Despite the extreme temperatures we might be experiencing outside, inside your greenhouse you can create the perfect environment for your crops to grow and protect them from the elements. It’s important to make sure that despite your greenhouse always being warm and humid that it remains well ventilated. A great way to do this is to buy window openers for it which automatically open and close to maintain the correct temperature for optimum growth.

Greenhouse to keep yourself busy

A greenhouse creates a great hobby for a lot of people turning their interest in gardening into a profitable venture. It means people keep busy, out in the sunlight rather than sat inside and you can even sell your fresh produce for profit if you grow enough. For many younger people it’s great as it means you can start to really look after your health and care about what you’re eating and for many older people, a greenhouse is a great way to stay active and gives you a reason to get out of the house each day.

Greenhouse to provide better food for your family

The nutritional benefits of growing your own vegetables are huge. With your own greenhouse you can grow a variety of different vegetables and some many months before you could grow them outdoors. You can be sure that the food you’re eating hasn’t been in contact with harmful pesticides and be 100% sure of what your family are eating which is a very reassuring thought for most parents.

Wave Hill

Greenhouse for your own wellbeing

Greenhouses have been proven to be effective in helping those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder combat their problems. You get to spend plenty of time outside benefiting from the natural light getting all the nutrients from the diffused sunlight. Eating your own healthy produce also contributes to your physical wellbeing and encourages families to eat healthier in the long run as children grow up learning about where their food comes from and the importance of eating lots of fruit and vegetables.

01 Mar

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi or Silver Dollar Plant (Buy seeds online) is an evergreen climber from arid regions of Madagascar. It is a drought tolerant and hardy succulent that can survive really high temperatures and long spells of drought. If you are new to the world of houseplants, Xerosicyos danguyi is a nice plant to start with.

Xerosicyos danguyi belongs to the family of squash, cucumber, and watermelon and shares many characteristics with its cousins. Hobbyists like the Silver Dollar Plant for its round, succulent, and silver-green leaves giving the plant its common name, ‘Silver Dollar Plant’. These unusual round leaves grow along a cylindrical stem that usually grows up to 20 inches. In wild, Xerosicyos danguyi uses its tendrils to hook up with surrounding plants to keep it from falling on the ground. Clusters of tiny flower of pale-green color appear in spring.

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant / Image Source

How to Grow Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi can be easily grown in a well-drained soil and under sunny conditions. Being a drought-tolerant succulent, the Silver Dollar Plant requires only occasional watering. If you are growing it in a pot, water it thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry out completely before the next watering. In colder climates, Silver Dollar Plant can be grown indoors in hanging baskets. Xerosicyos danguyi can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. Plants grown from seeds tend to form caudex on maturity.

25 Feb

Aloe ferox: Flowering Succulent for Lovely Xeriscapes

Aloe ferox
Aloe ferox is a hardy and attractive succulent known for its lovely flowers and medicinal value of the gel extracted from its leaves. If you are planning to design a xeriscape, Aloe ferox should be on top of your plants list for many reasons. It is a hardy succulent that does not require much care. It produces very attractive flowers of red, orange, yellow-orange and scarlet colors in mid-winter. When grown in groups, spikes of attractive flowers on Aloe ferox add striking colors to the landscape.

Aloe ferox originates from rocky and tropical regions of South Africa where it receives marginal rainfall and plenty of sun. When growing it in your garden or xeriscape, you need to imitate the similar climate. You can plant this hardy Aloe in a spot where it receives good amount of sunlight in a loamy and slightly sandy soil. Aloe ferox does not require frequent watering and should survive long spells of drought.

Aloe ferox (Buy seeds online) can grow up to 3 meters though it takes many years to attain this size. The plant produces fleshy leaves of dull green color. The leaves are arranged around the stem to form a rosette. Young leaves have prominent spines along the leaf margins and smaller spines on leaf surface. As the plant matures, older leaves dry up to expose main stem of the plant. The Greek name ‘ferox’ meaning ‘fierce’ is probably because of prominent spines on the leaves.

Aloe ferox is also known as Cape Aloe.

Winter Aloe Spectacle

Flowers of Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox produces abundant flowers that attract birds and bees as pollinating agents. Mid-winter is the time when this lovely Aloe begins to send out orange, scarlet, yellow-orange and red flowers giving the plant its common name, Red Aloe.

Medicinal Benefits of Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox is grown commercially for its medicinal value. The gel derived from its succulent leaves is used in cosmetics. The hard, brown excretions obtained from the plan are used for their laxative properties.

How to grow Aloe ferox from seeds

Aloe ferox can be propagated from seeds (Buy seeds online) that easily germinate when sown in a well-drained but slightly moist soil. Young seedlings should be kept lightly moist until they are 4- 6 cm in size.