Planting leafy greens is exceptionally easy and for many variety results in both an ongoing harvest, as well as the opportunity for a second planting. Continue reading
“Leafy greens” is in fact a pretty generic term for a wide variety of vegetables. Depending on how you’re planning to grow, store and cook them, here are a number of factors about each to consider. Continue reading
This post was written and provided by Michelle Z. Donahue from the Plough & Furrow blog.
Though the flower shows are mostly done for the year, fall is a great time to get some planting done to bring your favorite fauna to the yard next year.
You’ve probably read up on the different flowers that bring butterflies flocking, or the best types of plants to build a hummingbird garden.
But knowing why your winged visitors are drawn to these plants is important, and can help you bring even more activity to your garden.
Over millions of years, flowering plants and their pollinators changed shape and features together for their mutual benefit, a term biologists call co-evolution. (Kind of like what happens when people are married for a long time!)
To get their friends to come and take a closer look—and ensure its reproductive success—plants had to get creative with their flowers.
It’s one reason why hummingbird plants tend to have long, pipe-like flowers. The design is just as much to bring the bird in for a nectar snack as it is to enlist her in pollination efforts. A hummingbird’s head is the perfect shape to collect pollen, which she’ll take to the next flower in line—completing the pollination cycle.
A flower’s shape and color, as well as whether or not it has a nice aroma, are tip-offs to what kind of pollinator tends to seek out that plant. Pick your pollinator by choosing the right kind of plant!
Our feathered friends can see really well, but have awful sniffers, so plants attractive to birds are often bright red or orange. Anything with a tube-shaped flower almost guarantees a visit from a hummer.
Recommended Plants for Birds:
agastache, native columbine, coral honeysuckle, hibiscus, lobelia, penstemon, tall phlox, salvia.
Bees See in UV
Beesperceive flowers in a completely different spectrum: ultraviolet (UV) light. To them, blue, purple and yellow blooms pop like a neon sign. Many bee-friendly flowers also have soft, delicate scents.
Bee-friendly flowers also often feature “landing strips,” or platforms where bees can alight, along with patterns of lines that act to guide their visitors in for a landing.
Recommended Plants for Bees:
blanket flower, borage, bee balm, butterfly bush, coneflower, fall asters, goldenrod, hosta, native passionflower, sedum.
Butterflies Love Nectar
Like hummingbirds, butterflies often target flowers in red, orange and purple, but color is really less of a factor than the flower’s overall shape—butterflies probe deep wells for nectar. This keeps other insects out, and the butterfly’s foraging also passes on pollen to neighboring plants.
Recommended Plants for Butterflies: aster, blazing star (Liatris), coneflower, goldenrod, milkweed, joe-pye weed, garden phlox, sedum.
Feed the Night-Flying Moths
Indulge in a moon garden by planting white-flowered, night-blooming plants to feed moths, which are mainly active at night. Lucky gardeners who visit their bloomers by the light of a full moon will be rewarded with a garden full of strong, sweet smells, and perhaps a chance encounter with the huge, ethereal luna moth.
Recommended Plants for Moths:
angels’ trumpet, hosta, lavender, lily, nicotania, thyme, valerian, yucca.
Send Out the Bat-Signal
Bats are known for eating tons of bugs during their nighttime outings, but in warm, tropical areas they’re important pollinators. If you like tequila, you’ll be especially interested to know that agave, the plant source of the tipple, is almost wholly pollinated by bats.
In temperate areas, bats follow their food to night-scented flowers, so moon gardens also encourage bats to visit.
Recommended Plants for Bats:
Agave, banana, cocoa, guava, nicotania, phlox.
Bowls for Beetles
Though bees have been in the spotlight lately as an uber-important pollinator, beetles actually do a majority of the pollinating work in the plant kingdom. They’re thought to pollinate 88 percent of all flowering plants—there are over 30,000 species in North America alone!
Beetles love wide, bowl-shaped flowers or large, tightly clustered flowerheads, which tend to be deeply aromatic and pale yellow or white.
Recommended Plants for Beetles:
goldenrod, magnolia, poppies, sweet shrub, pond lily.
Our June Plant of the Month is Verbena (Verbenas or Vervains).
This stunning small size flower with five petals is mostly shades of blue and purple, but can be found in white or pink. They require little care and are great for attracting butterflys and hummingbirds. Once they have matured they will spread out to make a good ground covering for your landscape.
Verbena plants are drought-resistant and will do well in either partial or full sun. They prefer well-drained, average soils.
If you love your foliage and are stuck inside because of the cold, don’t worry, you can still have your plants and grow them too!
Here is a list of the top 10 indoor plants to help you get through the cold winter months.
1. Peace lily – This is a great indoor plant that is small enough to be placed on your table top or anywhere you like. It has long stems and elegant white flowers, perfect for any décor!
2. Philodendron – If you’re thumb isn’t the greenest, this average sized plant is perfect foryou! It requires little light and works well in hallways or darker areas.
3. Weeping fig – This is one tough little tree, but great for indoors. Its leaves are small and shiny and is sometimes available in other forms such as a ‘lollipop’ tree.
4. Dracaena ‘Happy Plant’ – This plant needs moderate watering and does best in spaces with medium light.
5. Syngonium – Not keen on bugs, consider this insect resistant plant! The Syngonium loves humidity and loves to be misted regularly.
6. Silver queen (a.k.a. Chinese evergreen) – Very attractive indoor plant that normally runs on the small side, enjoys a mild climate and does well in low light.
7. Lady palm – This plant sounds high maintenance, but you’ll be surprised! Keep it watered and out of direct light, and its happy. Keep in mind it grows very slow and can be quite pricey.
8. Stromanthe – Double your pleasure with this gorgeous mult-color plant. The leaves are a deep green and underneath present a rich purple hue. This plant loves bright light and misting.
9. Rubber plant – This plant is great for households that might have children eager to touch plants and explore. It is bred for toughness and survives in low light. It tends to grow on the large size and is content in a dry environment.
10. Kentia palm – Very elegant, and quite tall, this plant has feather-like fronds and survives in low light as well as brighter areas.
Want to decorate a deck or porch. Highlight a window? Spice up a balcony or fence rail? Consider planting flower boxes to create mini-gardens that are sure to add color and personal style to your home.
Think about achieving maximum visual appeal with your flower boxes. Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of planting just a few flowers in a row. Flower boxes will look best and will attract compliments when they’re abundant, bountiful and lush.
When planting a flower box, consider using various colors, different heights and textures to create visual impact. Think in layers from back to front using taller plants in the back, shorter fuller plants in the middle and shorter blooms or even trailers Continue reading
Decorating with outdoor plants is a great way to create visual interest and add a personal, stylish touch to your deck. Incorporating living elements is an easy way to bring color and texture to any outdoor design. The variety of shapes and the range of color available in outdoor plants make your deck design choices unlimited.
Container planters, available in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes, offer you the most design versatility. Choose containers that will reflect your own sense of style and design and complement your home and outdoor space.
If you’re decorating a deck you’re in luck. There are many products, like coco-lined planters, specifically made to adorn the rails that surround your deck from fitted rail planters to hanging horse trough styles and baskets made specifically to fit corners and posts.
When considering your design plan, create visual interest by varying the heights of your Continue reading
Love gardening? Want to decorate your deck, patio, porch or balcony? Think about using all natural coco liners. They make great container liners, particularly for wire and metal planters, stands and hanging baskets. They keep soil in and aid in keeping it moist.
Plus, coco is naturally resistant to insects, bacteria, fungi, mold and diseases. Known for their excellent drainage and aeration properties, coco liners promote visibly better, faster plant growth by rehydrating easily while preventing root rot.
Environmentally-friendly, organic coco fiber liners are made from coconut coir, the substance between the husk and the outer shell of a coconut. Shaped liners are formed naturally, use no glue and maintain their shape when wet.
If it’s aesthetics you’re after, you’ll find the rich, natural color of coconut fiber complements the beauty of any plant. For a different look, porous coco liners also let you grow trailing plants so they emerge from the liner through the sides of the decorative basket.