Sunday, March 12, 2017


Colourful Winter Flowers in NW Florida






Spanish explorers named the new-found part of North America “Pascua Florida”, which means Flowery Easter" or "Flowering Easter”. But it is not only flowering in Florida on Easter, rather all year-round!  




Wintertime is never bleak in Florida, even in the North-West, around the “Emerald Coast” and the “Forgotten Coast”, between Pensacola and Apalacicola.



Here are just a couple impressions, photos I took between November and the end of February.




More plants can be found in the lovely botanical gardens in Florida, such as the one in Sarasota, New Smyrna, Pensacola or Clearwater.  To visit garden centers is a blast too! They are chockfull of lovely blooms that we can only admire in the North between June and September.




Last but not least it’s interesting to see abundant blooms and shrubs that are growing in the wild, and usually sold for top dollars in Canada and the Northern States.  


















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Saturday, March 11, 2017


Create Your Own Organic Fertilizer



The Key to a Good Garden is Good Soil. 
Most of the essential nutrients for plants are found in soil.  What flowers, vegetables and trees need to thrive are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and to a lesser extent Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulphur.  To provide these nutrients to your plants you don’t need to spend any money, save your time and gas to head to the garden center.  Organic fertilizers are way more efficient and helpful to your plants than the artificial ones you buy for top dollars!  Go no further than your pantry, backyard (or the beach) for materials to make your own organic fertilizer.  You can prepare your own bloom or fruit fertilizer year-round:





Fermented Fruits are Prolific Garden Helpers. 
Don’t throw away brown bananas, wilted salad leaves, rotten apples or mouldy strawberries!  Not only do they contain valuable Phosphorus and Potassium, they also have the fruit growth enzymes and hormones that encourage the plant to utilize the resources it has to produce large blooms and delicious fruits.  Add approximately 10% sugar or molasses and water to let the mixture ferment to a mash for a week or so.  Cover it well and place it in the garage or garden shed to avoid the smell in the kitchen. In winter let all your kitchen scraps freeze in a big container that is safely secured, such a garbage can with a lid.  Place a large stone on top and fasten the lid with a jumpy band to avoid critters’ rummaging.





Wellness Cure for Your Garden:

BANANAS or Banana PEELS  –  Use over-ripe Bananas from your kitchen or those that are offered at very low prices in the produce section of your grocery store. Roses love potassium too. Simply throw one or two peels in the hole before planting or bury peels under mulch so they can compost naturally. Get bigger and more blooms and a bomber crop of vegetables.





COFFEE GROUNDS  
Acid and nitrogen-loving plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, roses and azaleas like coffee grounds mixed into the soil. Visit your next Starbucks and bring two buckets with you to let it fill with used coffee grounds. Sprinkle it on top of the soil and fork it well in before watering. 





EGG SHELLS 
Crash the egg shells in very small pieces, and work them well into the soil near tomatoes and peppers. The calcium helps fend off blossom end rot. Eggshells are 93% calcium carbonate, the same ingredient as lime, a tried and true soil amendment! 




SEAWEED – Fresh seaweed needs to be washed before mixing it into the compost/soil to remove salt.


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Famous Painters and Their View of Gardens





Claude Monet
Monet's ambition was to document the French countryside. From 1883 Monet, the founder of the Impressionism, lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works.







In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life. The Metropolitan Museum in New York shows shows the famous Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies.





Charles Courtney Curran
One of his paintings was shown at the The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920 - Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Focused on the period 1887-1920, The Artist's Garden the 2015 exhibition told the story of American Impressionist artists and the growing popularity of gardening as a middle-class leisure pursuit at the turn of the 20th century. The Philadelphia area was the center of the publishing industry in the early 1900s, which led to the creation of magazines aimed at middle class suburban gardeners like House and Garden, founded in 1901 in Philadelphia.




Vincent van Gogh
One of several paintings of Irises by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, and one of a series of paintings he executed at the Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, in the last year before his death in 1890. Van Gogh started painting Irises within a week of entering the asylum, in May 1889, working from nature in the hospital garden.
The original painting can be seen at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California.



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Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Sedum Autumn Joy - a Great Choice






Sedum Autumn Joy - my favourite plant for the second part of the garden year. It’s a plant as dependable and adaptable as one could wish. They are blooming from August into November; open pink and mature to a copper tone. 


Varieties Galore:







Sedum Kamtschaticum

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil
Size: to 4 inches tall
Zones: 3-9






Sedum 'Purple Emperor'

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil
Size: to 15 inches tall
Zones: 3-7








Sedum 'Frosty Morn'
This sedum has great foliage and beautiful pink flowers in late summer.
Name: Sedum 'Frosty Morn'
Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil
Size: to 12 inches tall
Zones: 3-9






Sedum-Frosty

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil
Size: to 15 inches tall
Zones: 3-7




Sedum prefers moderately fertile soil in full sun, but don’t mind less water. They grow up to two feet tall and wide, and show succulent-like stems and leaves. Sedum’s very easy to propagate, just cut stem pieces in early summer, or divide a mature Sedum plant in early spring before it grows to 2 inches high.




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Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Never Water Again


If you are living in the South-West of the US, you know the dilemma: To be a good citizen and water-wise and at the same time having a beautiful garden is not easy.  But there are gorgeous plants that can help you to achieve just that.





Visiting once the San Francisco Bay area (especially the Ruth Bancroft Garden) and Monterey - and everything in between - I fell in love with Ice Plant aka Blue Chalk Fingers aka Senecio Mandraliscae. There are few, if any, plants this silver-blue! 

The Succulents and More blog reports: “This spreading succulent from South Africa produces stems that crawl along the ground and eventually form fairly dense mats. It’s VERY drought-tolerant but grows more quickly with regular irrigation. Senecio Mandraliscae is perfect for larger areas, and like many other succulents, and is extremely easy to propagate. Simply stick a cutting in well-draining (sandy) soil and it will begin to root within a week." 

The Ice Plant / Chalk Finger makes a marvelous ground cover and fits well together with a group of Agave "Blue Glow".





Help to Fight the Drought - Become Water-wise:
Small adjustments can have a big impact. Get nearly 100+ water-saving tips in these articles

http://wateruseitwisely.com/site-map/

http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/

http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/landscape-care/principles-of-xeriscape-design/low-water-use-plants/


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Saturday, July 2, 2016


The Greatest Garden Hose Ever

60% OFF - Save $151 on 100ft Expanding Garden Hose

Last month I helped a friend during her month-long trip to Europe to keep the garden in shape - which meant to water it almost daily during this heat wave...  I expected to haul heavy garden hoses through her extensive property.  But no: She had a wonderful lightweight garden hose that looked like crinkled fabric and expanded from one end of the garden, around the house, and all the way to the other side of the property fence. 



She showed me how to use this amazing garden hose: 
  • First you roll the hose completely from the holder
  • Only then you open the faucet
  • Once the water runs through the hose, it expands to its full length

It works like a charm! The hose is so light and so easy to use, it's suddenly a total pleasure to water the garden, and so much faster. No twisting and kinking and forth and back running, like it used to be with the old, heavy garden hoses.
And today I saw this 100 ft Expanding Garden Hose on sale at Amazon!

Price:         $250.00
Sale: $99.00 plus  FREE Shipping
You Save: $151.00 (60%)

Order here:





Check out their whole collection of great watering tools with free shipping!

★LIGHTWEIGHT WILL NOT TWIST TANGLE OR KINK. This hose does everything the other hoses claim only better. Don't waste your hard earned money on products that work for a couple days or weeks then fall apart.
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★INDESTRUCTIBLE DOUBLE LAYER LATEX CORE. We talked to our engineers after hearing about all the other hoses leaking and came up with a product that will hold water at pressures that are out of this world.
★12 Month Warranty for Manufacturing



Watering Your Garden. 
Never water your yard in the heat of the day. First you waste a lot of water due to evaporation and second it CAN burn your grass or plant leaves. Best time to water is from 4am till no later than about 7am.

You are doing fine to water two or three times a week, soaking the soil thoroughly. Those people who water every single day and over-water are creating lawns that develop short shallow roots and are susceptible to dying in the winter if there is a bad freeze. In the summer their grass requires MORE water as the roots are not digging down deep looking for a water source either nor are they able to retain the moisture being that close to the surface. The deeper the roots the better your grass will survive a long hot and dry summer and a freezing cold winter. 
In flower beds Mulch is your friend to help retain water/moisture in those areas and keep them from drying out.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016


How to Care for Azaleas and Rhododendrons




Rhododendrons are a gardeners delight - and so are Azaleas.  Both thrive in acidic, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter.  But what to do when your is clay or loam?



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The American Rhododendron Society gives lots of valuable tips:

"Before planting test the drainage, dig a hole about 10 to 12 inches deep and fill it with water. Then after it drains, fill it with water again and see how long it takes to drain.  If the hole drains within an hour you have good drainage.  If the water has not drained out of the hole within one hour, the soil is poorly drained and you must correct the drainage problem before planting.  Planting in raised beds is the best solution in heavy soils." 
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Soil pH Value:

"Rhododendrons and Azaleas will let you know if the pH is not correct.  If the leaves turn yellow between green veins then you most likely have a pH problem.  Materials commonly used to lower soil pH are wettable sulfur or ferrous sulfate.  Do not use aluminum sulfate to acidify the soil; it is toxic to rhododendron and azalea roots.  Avoid planting azaleas near concrete sidewalks, driveways or foundations that may leach out lime which raises the pH."
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Soil Mix:  
"About half of the planting medium should be organic material.  Combinations of sphagnum peat moss, pine or fir bark fines, compost, and aged, chopped leaves should be worked into the soil to a depth of about 12".  Oak leaves are excellent."  Read more tips at their website.

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The South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, is blessed with a mild climate, perfect for Rhododendrons.  No wonder that there is such an abundance of Rhododendron in all colors in every garden and here, the Rhododendrons are not just small shrubs, but huge ones, almost tree-like.  See images of gardens on the South Shore at a former blog post.



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Enchanting Shade Gardens





Shade gardens can be as lovely and even more interesting than sunny flower beds.  One of the advantages of deciduous shade trees for example is that many lovely flowers which require spring sun but summer shade will grow beneath them: Anemones, Trout Lilies, Shooting Stars, Trilliums, Bleeding Hearts, Foam Flowers, Primulas, Salomon's Seal, Goats Beard, Azaleas and Rhododendrons.  A great benefit is that flowers grown in shade last longer and maintain their colour intensity better than those grown in full sun, such as Heucheras or Hostas. 
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Another tips for very dark and dry shade areas: Get bright, light colored, large planters to place your flowers in, and if there is a fence or dark wall behind, decorate it with lots of mirrors or a white trellis.





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Nutritious Soil and Sufficient Water.

No matter where you garden - in shade or sun - your plants will only thrive when you feed them well with the right soil, compost and regularly watering, especially near or beneath trees and large shrubs. Trees take up all the moisture (even prevent rain to reach the soil) and nutrients, so there is nothing left for your attractive flowers if you don't soak the soil every other day. 





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What to Plant in Shade Areas?
Often there is not only light shade, but almost dark areas underneath a group of trees. Choose the lightest colors you can find in flowers and leaves, such as yellow or light copper Heucheras, white Bleeding Hearts, white or pink Astilbes, orange Azaleas, white, yellow or light pink Rhododendrons or the classic, white-blooming Hydrangeas.
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Find a long list of plants for for different types of shade for gardening zones 3 - 7 at Canadian Gardening  or at a former post of this Garden-Dream 
blog, including images of shade-loving plants.






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Friday, December 25, 2015


Fantastic Illuminations at Longwood Gardens, Philadelphia

Living or traveling in the Philadelphia, PA, area any time from end of November to January 10th? Don't miss the enchanting garden illuminations at Longwood Gardens!



Not only the Conservatory / Glass Houses are decorated with beautiful lights, but almost every tree in the extended gardens is magically illuminated.  A delightful experience that brings you into the holiday mood. I wish I would have had a better camera that my little pocket one - or being a better photograph : ) but I hope these images will invite you to experience the Longwood Gardens during the dark time of the year. 
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Try to come early in the afternoon, around the time when the sun sets, not when it is already dark, to see a bit more of the gardens, and to get the best sun-set photo illuminations.
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Choose one of the “non-peak days” which are Mondays through Fridays from November 26, 2015–January 10, 2016, excluding December 26–January 1.
Admission is $17 for seniors, 5-18 years $10, and adults $20. There is also a group discount and military discount. Parking is free.
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Did you know Philadelphia is America’s Garden Capital and Longwood Gardens is a part of it all? With more than 30 public gardens, arboreta, and historic landscapes all located within 30 miles, the Greater Philadelphia region has more gardens in close proximity than anywhere else on the continent! See all of the gardens that make this distinction possible.
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The outdoor holiday lights begin to come on at 3:30 pm and the Open Air Theatre fountain shows run continuously throughout the evening. 
Dine at the 1906 Restaurant at Longwood Gardens and experience culinary artistry as fine as their horticultural displays. Make an early reservation as the 1906 Restaurant is often booked out.
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This Google Map show the location of Longwood Gardens.
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No reservation required at The Café
Enjoy your meal in one of three rooms: "The Lodge," with a central fireplace and expansive views of Longwood; "The Founder's Room," honoring Founder Pierre du Pont and his many contributions to the Gardens; and "The Gallery," showcasing artwork created by students in Longwood's Continuing Education classes.  Seating is first-come, first-served. 

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Once you enter the Gardens, you may stay as long as you wish. If you wish to leave and re-enter—no problem. Just be sure to stamp your hand.
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Enjoy your visit at Longwood Gardens,

not only for the Christmas lighting, 
but year-round!


What others are writing about the history of the Longwood gardens:
"Longwood Gardens is in the heart of the Brandywine Valley about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. It lies on just over 1,000 acres of land, with 20 themed gardens and a huge, historic glass conservatory."

"The 202-acre parcel of land now comprising just a small part of today's Longwood Gardens which was first purchased by the Peirce family in 1700 and generations of this Quaker family continue to live and farm there. Two brothers, Joshua and Samuel, had a love affair with trees and began to plant a great variety of species in 1798. By 1850, it was a well-known arboretum called as Peirce's Park and today, these grounds with their wealth of deciduous and evergreen trees have been open to the public for well over 200 years.
Strangely, this fact is due entirely to the gun-powder baron, Pierre S. du Pont, who purchased the property when he heard that the new owner was poised to sell the ancient trees as lumber in 1906. He restored the property and until his death in 1954, du Pont made Longwood Gardens a spectacle for millions of visitors, spending over $25 million in its 45-year development during his lifetime."

The grounds are expansive and visitors can rent a an electric scooter for $15.  Wide lawns for kids to play as well as garden after garden for adults to enjoy: Italian and French-inspired pool and fountain displays, an English-style topiary garden, a large and impossibly lush traditional rose garden, a peony and wisteria display, as well as a forest walk and meadow. Perhaps the most impressive part of Longwood Gardens, though, is the First World War era conservatory with its all season glass rooms that feature everything from bonsai to orchids." 

For more information, go to the Longwood Gardens website