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Something Shady Please!

Heuchera

Heuchera

It has been a whirlwind few months and I can’t believe it is almost the end of June. There’s still so much to do!

Well at least my front garden beds are looking better. Last fall I decided to re-do them because, well, the tulips alone just weren’t cutting it. (It turns out in order to really go “KaBloom!”, tulips need full sun rather than mostly shade…Oops!) I turned to my friends at Flowerland for some suggestions on perennials that have some multi-season color and like partial to full shade. Their recommendation: Heuchera (aka Coral Bells).

Heurchera is primarily a foliage plant that sprouts small flowers in the summer months. I’m not normally that big on foliage plants but these caught my attention. The foliage isn’t just green. In fact one of the two varieties I chose has a kind of gold-ish colored leaves and the other variety has purple leaves. And the best part: the leaves held throughout the winter and into the spring so I have something to look at in front of the house year-round.

Double-Impatien-Pink-Ruffle

I love Double Impatiens because they have great color and their blossoms remind me of roses.

This summer I’ve partnered the Heuchera with some regular and some double Impatiens (some of my favorite shade-loving annuals!) for a little extra color and interest. I so enjoy pulling into my drive every day!

Christmas Cactus Success!

I’m so excited.christmas cactus My Christmas Cactus had tones of blooms this year. I’m not sure exactly what I did differently so I asked my friend Patrick at Flowerland. He says it is likely something I did during the spring and summer when the plant is setting its buds.

Since I would like to repeat the plethora of blooms next year, I did a little research. It turns out this beautiful plant I own is not the traditional sun-worshiping, drought-hardy cactus that you would find in desert. It actually originated in Brazil. According to what I read, the growing season for a Christmas Cactus is April through September with temps between 70 degrees and 80 degrees. That explains much.

I’ve put the cactus outside the last two summers and this past summer was fairly mild compared to 2014. To get flowers to form, Christmas Cacti need 6 weeks of 8 to 10 hours of daylight plus 14 hours of night with nighttime temps of 68 degrees or better. Again, I’m thinking our mild September probably helped, too.

To keep this up, Patrick recommended I treat the cactus like a regular house plant during the winter months. That means letting the soil dry to the touch before watering but avoiding letting the soil totally dry out. (Most of us “kill our plants with kindness” in the winter by over-watering.) He also suggested I fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once a month from April through October and prune it in early summer to encourage new branches and more flowers.

Goodbye, Summer…Hello Fall

Well I guess Indian Summer is over. I really enjoyed the last couple of weeks of warm weather. Now we’re in the mid 60s for temperatures…Even Mini Gold relented and said she needed to wear pants and long sleeves to school. But hey, I’ve got some great memories of gardening this summer. Here are a couple of my favs!

Mini loves raw onions so this year we decided to grow our own. They were super easy and taste great!

Mini loves raw onions so this year we decided to grow our own. They were super easy and taste great!

Carrots were a big hit again this year, complete with a great crop. Mini sang the cutest song as she happily planted..." If you want to plant a seed, plant, plant!" I'm so glad she had fun!

Carrots were a big hit again this year, complete with a great crop. Mini sang the cutest song as she happily planted…” If you want to plant a seed, plant, plant!” I’m so glad she had fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the day and the moment!

Until next time….

Mary Gold

Falling into Fall

I have to admit I am really more of a “Summer” person but Fall does have its benefits. I love that I can take care of any nasty weeds that have creeped into my garden and lawn.

Before Grass B Gon

Believe it or not, there is a flower bed underneath all that grass!

This year my flowerbeds have been inundated with some kind of grass. The more I tried to pull it out by hand, the more it came back….ten-fold! Fortunately in addition to being a great time to plant, Fall is also a great time to spray weeds.

During the Fall, all plants including weeds are trying to absorb as many nutrients as possible down to their roots so they have “something to eat” during the winter months. Lucky for me, the weeds don’t know the difference between “good” food and “bad” food; the product is absorbed through the leaves and trans-locates to the root system where it basically kills the plant/weed.

Since I’m dealing with a grass, my friend Kristi at Flowerland recommended Ortho Grass B

Grass B Gon did a great job getting rid of the unwanted grass in my flowerbeds!

Grass B Gon did a great job getting rid of the unwanted grass in my flowerbeds!

Gon. It is formulated to target grass. I tried it in my rose bed this summer and it worked really well. I’m trying it in my perennial bed now and it seems to be working. With the perennial bed, Kristi did caution me that any desirable plant that looks like grass (think Daylilies, Irises, etc.) should be protected from residual spray.

There still so much to do in yard. I can’t wait to get outside and get my hands dirty before the cooler weather hits.

Until next time…..Enjoy the fall!

Mary Gold

It’s Veggie Mania!

Planting onionsI love this time of year! Besides the sunshine and warm temps, we get to begin harvesting – and eating – so many of our home-grown fruits and veggies. My daughter is very excited. She (with a little help from me) planted ‘baby carrots’ again this year and we added onions. (Mini Gold loves to eat raw onions dipped in ranch dressing.)

Both are coming in beautifully not to mention deliciously. We have even planted our second round of carrots and can’t wait to harvest them as well.

My summer squash and tomatoes are starting to come in nicely as well. However I underestimated how bushy my tomato plant would get. It has over-flowed the tomato cage I have around it. Fortunately my friend Bonnie at Flowerland says that isn’t unusual and has an easy ‘fix.’ She helped me pick out a stake to help prop it up. It’s actually pretty easy.

  • Find a stake that is the appropriate height and push it into the soil next to the tomato plant. Be sure it’s in deep enough in case it gets windy. (I found out the “hard way.”)
  • Find the main stem you need to prop up and gently line it up with the stake on the opposite side of where it is leaning
  • Loosely tie it to the stake with plant tape or other soft tie. Be sure you don’t tie the stem tightly to the stake or you will injure the stem. It’s OK to tie it in more than one place to keep the stem upright. I had to tie it in two places.

Adding the stake will also help improve the air movement around tomato plant as well as the two herbs growing on either side of it.

Summer is a short season so get outside and enjoy it. Until next time….

Mary Gold

Keeping those Valentine’s flowers fresh!

Despite the cold weather, February is such a fun month with Valentine’s Day and Flowerland’s annual visit from the Birds of Prey. (If you haven’t seen the Birds of Prey, add it to your list! Seriously….totally amazing!)

Springs First LoveIt amazes me how much people spend on Valentine’s Day, between flowers, candy and cards. Some estimates I’ve heard or read put it between $120 – $130.

To a certain extent, I’m not totally surprised. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the beautiful floral arrangements the Flowerland Designers have created especially for Valentine’s Day. They are so creative and the design team takes great care in making sure the arrangements are “just right” for every recipient.

There’s something about fresh cut flowers that really brightens up the day and a room. My Love is all aroundquestion is always how do you keep them fresh and looking beautiful for more than a couple. My friends in Flowerland’s Design department gave me some great tips.

1.  Keep the vase/container/liner filled with fresh water. If the container has floral foam, keep clean water above the foam.
2.  Every few days re-cut the flower stems at an angle using a sharp knife or sharp scissors. (Remove 3/4″ – 1″) To keep your vase arrangement intact, tie the stems with twine just above the vase’s edge before taking them out of the vase.
3.  Change the water as needed, using room temperature water mixed with just the right amount of fresh flower food. Be sure to clean the vase or container before refilling.
4.  Display flowers in a temperate spot (65 – 75 degrees F) and away from things like heat vents, direct sunlight or the top of the TV (dehydrates the flowers).
5.  Enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Until next time….

Mary Gold

Mr. Greenthumb on WZZM 13

 

Keep your thumb green and your garden growing. Watch Mr. Greenthumb on WZZM 13…Friday mornings at 6:45 am and Tuesdays at noon or Click Here!

 

 

 

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Weekend Fun!

checking-out-the-reindeer

Hmmm…..they are bigger than I thought…

My daughter and I came by the Wyoming Flowerland last Saturday to see Santa and his reindeer friends. Oh was that fun! There were so many kids checking them out and asking great questions like “Do these reindeer fly? Can we see?” and “What do reindeer eat?” Gotta say there are some pretty smart, curious kids out there.

seeing-santa

I got to tell Santa my Christmas Wish List!

My daughter was a little intimidated at first (reindeer are actually kind of big) but once she saw Santa and got to sit on his lap and put in her request, all was right with the world. She even asked if she could come back and see them again. Absolutely!

Fortunately, Santa and his reindeer are going to be at the Alpine Flowerland on Friday (11/28) and at the Kentwood Flowerland on Saturday (11/29), so her wish will be granted. I guess we’re starting a new Christmas tradition at our house.

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend, stop in and check out the reindeer. The expression on the kids’ faces is worth it…be sure to have the camera ready!

Until next time…..stay warm and enjoy the season!

Mary Gold

 

Let it snow…let it…no…

I have to admit I already miss Fall….the winter snow has come too early for my tastes and definitely with too much “gusto.”  It seems like only a few weeks ago, my daughter was out in the yard picking the last of her 2014 carrot crop (which was a huge hit, BTW). Oh wait…it was just a few weeks ago!

Cookies and Canvas at Wyoming Flowerland

Here’s what we’ll be painting at Cookies & Canvas on Nov. 22 at the Wyoming Flowerland.

Well at least I can look forward to this weekend. What’s going on this weekend you ask? A ton of fun at Flowerland. This Saturday, Santa and some of his reindeer friends will be stopping by the Wyoming Flowerland for a “meet and greet.” That is always a fun time. I’ll be curious to see how my daughter is around the reindeer this year. We went a petting zoo down by Grandpa’s and she was all about feeding the baby goats (yes, this is new).

After we get done hanging out with Santa and the reindeer and perusing the beautiful trees and decorations, we’re going to check out the Cookies & Canvas event at the Wyoming Flowerland. It’s a family-friendly painting class where kids of all ages will get try their hands at creating (with instruction) their own work of art. I did the Wine & Canvas version last week and it was a total blast. The price for Cookies & Canvas is reasonable, too; only $20.

If you are looking for some family fun this weekend, why not stop by the Wyoming Flowerland? I’m betting they will “Holidazzle” you!

Until next…stay safe and warm!

Mary Gold

Flowerland Show

 

Flowerland Show Podcasts: WOOD Radio

Listen to Rick, Doug, and Kristi every Saturday morning for all of the hot topics about gardening on WOOD Radio 106.9 FM from 9am to 11am. Or tune in the podcast.  Join in the conversation by “liking” the Flowerland Show on Facebook!

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Tulips make me “Bulb”ble with happiness!

My friend Kelley is an avid gardener and one of my inspirations. Once while we were still working together, she told me she had planted 300 tulip bulbs. I thought she was crazy. I mean, who wants to dig 300 holes? At the time, I had yet to discover the true simplicity and resulting beauty that tulips — and other spring flowering bulbs — have to offer. I now know better!

Planting spring flowering bulbs

I’m helping Mommy plant our tulips and daffodils!

The last three falls, my daughter and I have selected a variety different bulbs, from tulips, daffodils and hyacinth to Fritilleria and Allium, and a range of colors and bloom times. The first year was in the front of the house. I dug the holes the appropriate depth, she dropped in the bulbs and covered them up. (Hole depth depends on what type of bulb you’re planting.) The following year, we went with the “trench” method. I discovered when you have a lot of bulbs to plant and/or you are doing some layering, this is really the way to go.

I dug a trench (literally) along the fence line where we wanted

My daughter and I make a good team. I love pulling in the drive-way in the spring!

My daughter and I make a good team. I love pulling in the drive-way in the spring!

to plant the bulbs, she dropped in the first layer of bulbs that needed to be planted the deepest. Then I added layer of dirt and she added the next layer of bulbs. She is very proud of her tulips and especially likes her purple hyacinths. I’m hoping to plant some more spring flowering bulbs in the coming weeks because, well, 300 bulbs doesn’t seem so crazy now. Dig, Drop, Done!

Thanks for the inspiration, Kelley. Until next time…

Mary Gold

Veggie Success!

Mary_Gold's_first_harvest_2014I don’t know about you but I’m so glad I’ve finally been able to pick some home-grown veggies from my yard. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to grow my zucchini and cucumber from seed. And the carrots were definitely a learning experience.

The first thing I learned was I didn’t take my friend Roy seriously enough when he told me carrots don’t like “wet – dry – wet – dry” conditions. I wasn’t as diligent as I could have been with watering them.

A second thing I learned was to not be so wimpy about pulling weeds near the carrots. At a certain point, the tops of the carrots looked like…well….the tops of carrots. But since we had planted two different types of carrots (with two different ‘maturity’ times :\), I thought for some reason the tops might look different and I hesitated at pulling the weeds. Well, as the saying goes, she who hesitates is lost. Some of the carrots got choked out by the weeds.

A third thing I learned was it might be better to either plant all the same type of carrots in one area or select varieties that all have the same ‘maturity’ time.

It’s all good, though. My ultimate goal was met. My daughter was more than happy to try the few carrots we were able to pull and thought they were “dee-licious!” Since they are a cool season veggie and less susceptible to frost, we decided to try planting another round (all the same type this time). They should be ready by the middle of October and hopefully before any hard frosts hit. Now I’m just hoping Tuesday’s heavy rains didn’t wash the seeds away. We’ll have to wait and see.

Until next time….

Mary Gold