Tag Archives: Garden

Ahh, something stole my plant

I purchased a new plant this spring, as my manner is. I have a hard time not getting new plants every year as I work in a store that has a garden center just slightly smaller than Lowe’s. This was a plant I’d never seen before, called a Catchfly. The company it came from was/ is http://www.bloomiq.com, and it is the variegated version of the plant.

It’s normal for me to purchase plants but not be able to get them in the ground right away since I’m so busy working two jobs. This year, though, we’ve barely had any rain-like most places in the states- and I had a hard time keeping up with the watering. This particular plant looked like it was ready to die. I already lost one plant last year for the same reason and didn’t want to lose another, so I dug a hole and planted it.

I began doing better watering, not necessarily daily, but at least weekly and sometimes more often. It took a long time, but finally it was beginning to show signs of new growth and new leaves instead of the dead ones that I was looking at for some time.

Last week I noticed a bunny in our yard and my daughter said she had seen it earlier in the month. I know that a few years ago, bunnies were having babies under our ramp in the front yard, but I never had any problems with them. Two days after seeing that bunny, my plant wasn’t just chewed up, it looked like it was pulled out by the roots.

To give any animals the benefit of the doubt, it could be it dried out too much again, but it was looking so good that I highly doubt that. Oddly enough I’ve never had that problem before, with any of the small critters eating any of my plants.

So readers, do you think the culprit was that bunny, or is that highly unlikely? I’m not in an area that has problems with deer, so I know they didn’t eat it.

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Another Tidbit About Propagating

pet plant

pet plant (Photo credit: Michael Sarver)

In one of my original posts I discussed propagating mums in a manner that my mother taught me, which is different than anything I’ve ever heard about or read elsewhere.

I was sharing this information with a customer at the retail store where I’m a cashier and she said she used to own a gardening store and had been thinking of starting a blog or website about gardening. I encouraged her to do just that. She knew about propagating the way I was familiar with, but said that it is illegal to propagate plants you purchase from a store and then turn around and sell the newer plants.

She said that is something the authorities, I don’t know which authorities that would be, visit greenhouses to make sure nothing is being done that is against the rules. She said when ‘proven winners’ are purchased, they are expected to be purchased from the plant distributors and retailers, not propagated and resold to make a bigger profit.

So, gardeners, if you want to propagate your plants in this easier fashion, it is fine if it’s for your own use, but stay away from selling the newer plants. Possibly it would be different if grown from seeds, but research this out before assuming anything.

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Smell the Roses

Take time to smell the roses means different things to different people. Even though we’ve heard that phrase for many years, I think most of us are still too busy to do just that.

Some of the things it may mean to different people is to take time for family, friends, gardening. A stroll through the park with a spouse or loved one. Take a vacation. If you don’t like your job, take some classes and get a better one.

I work two jobs and have done so for about fourteen years or so. My children are grown, but still living at home. Even though it seems like I never have time to get everything done, there’s always something to do, I still take time for family. My family (mother and siblings) live mostly in the area and we spend a lot of time together. Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, and many of our nations holidays. It’s always a task to get those days off as one of my two jobs is open every day but Christmas.

For me, I think smelling the roses would be visiting old friends. For whatever reason, we think we have a lifetime left to spend with those we’re close to. Some years ago, probably about ten, I decided that I wanted to spend time with a girl I worked with in one of my first jobs, thirty years ago. She had married my first cousin and moved to Texas, I eventually moved back to Michigan. She rarely came to visit her family and when she did we talked about getting together sometime, but never made it a priority.

A few years later she died from congestive heart failure. It was a shock to all of us as she was in her mid to late forties. Last Monday another friend died, someone I saw fairly regularly, but still someone I had planned on spending more time with. I figured that I was hopefully retiring from at least one of the two jobs in two years and could at that time spend time with her along with anyone else.

Now I see that I can’t wait until retirement. I need to take the time to smell the roses, by taking the time to spend with my friends as much as possible now, as we’re all getting older and none of us know how long we will live.

So take time to smell your roses, be they in your actual garden, your family, friends, or a better job. Enjoy your life now and make the most of it now, for when it’s over there will be nothing you can do about it.

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Asters

Asters

Image by Molly Dolkart via Flickr

Last year I purchased an aster, a plant I’ve never grown before, nor do I think my mother ever did. The reason I mention my mother is because if it was a plant she had grown when I still lived at home, I’d at least know a bit about it, how it grows, how to work with it.

I planted it fairly close to my deck, and was surprised this year to find that it had moved about a foot out towards the lawn. I wasn’t even sure it was the same plant especially since I wasn’t used to seeing the leaves to know automatically what was even growing in my garden.

It wasn’t until I did some work for one of our customers and began asking her what flowers she had outside her window that I found out that some of them were asters. I then found out that asters re-seed themselves and move from location to location.

There are many types of asters of all colors and sizes. I believe the one I purchased is one of the shorter variety although so far this year they are already about a foot tall and have yet to bloom even though they look about ready to bud. Once mine flower I will include an image or two of my own.

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Unknown tip on propagation

Michigan USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Image via Wikipedia

In one of  my articles published elsewhere, I discuss propagating mums in a way that most people have never heard about. It is something that I have done ever since I began planting flowers and it is something my mother did on a regular basis. To my knowledge she only ever used this idea with mums.

In the spring, mums need to be trimmed before buds begin to form on the tops of the plants. In Michigan,  March to April is the normal time to prune the plants. You would want to wait until the plant begins to grow in height, as it starts from the ground up each year. You may need to adjust the time period according to the planting zone you live in.

I should mention for those who’ve never grown mums before, the plant will seem to disappear during the winter, leaving only spindly wooden stems. Many gardeners clip these before winter begins, I wait until spring. I believe that whichever way works for you will be fine. Once new growth appears, the woody leftovers can be removed and thrown out.

When you are ready to prune your mums, you can use a pruning tool, which is normally a small tool that you can hold in the palm of one hand, or you can use your fingers to pinch off the tops of your mums.

The benefit of trimming your mums will be that the plant will be healthier looking and bushier than if you don’t trim them. If you miss trimming them one year, you can still do so the next and get the desired results.

Some people know about trimming mums, but the majority of people throw the trimmings away. Some of them may put the trimmed sections against the base of the plant, which would make more sense if that was done before winter, not summer. A few people put the trimmed sections into rooting compound and then into pots on their patio.

The easiest place to put the trimmed sections is into the dirt nearby. Make a hole into the dirt with one of your fingers about an inch deep or so, put the piece of the mum into the dirt and pat the dirt so that the stem will stand upright. Water daily if possible for a week or two, and you will have the start of a new plant now and it will still be there next spring.

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Last year I purchased a hanging planter for the first time ever. It had a mixture of plants in it, one of which was a petunia if I remember correctly. When I placed it on the hanging utensil, I noticed it had a broken stem. I pinched that off and was about to throw it away, when I decided to try the mum technique on that plant also.

Once planted, I watered it and watered it throughout the summer. It continued to grow nicely until about August when the weather got exceptionally hot. I didn’t think about watering it during that time period as I was quite busy, and unfortunately it withered. It did continue to grow before that time for several months between the time when I first put the cutting into the dirt and when the hotter weather hit the area. .

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I’d be interested if any out there would want to try this technique out on any of your flowering plants.  I already know that it works for mums, as I’ve done it many times before. I’m curious how many other plants it works for. I look forward to hearing from you.

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