Bromeliads are very beautiful strong plants that can survive the most extreme conditions. They are considered to be low-maintenance plants.
I have worked with these plants over the years and have come to love them. Bromeliads can add color to any environment and a unique style that cannot be matched.
Bromeliads can be used in the exterior landscape as well as interiorscapes. There are so many species of bromeliads that it is mind-blowing. There are said to be anywhere from 2000-2,700 species of bromeliads. Now let’s look at the care of bromeliads and their many uses.
There are many species of orchids that are beyond the scope of this article so we will be looking at some basic information about orchids, i.e. how to care for them and place them within the landscape. Orchids are in my opinion very exotic plants that can really add that elegant touch or flavor to our landscapes or interior plant scape.
I have worked with orchids over the years using them in many plant designs. I enjoy working with orchids because orchids can give that soft touch and appeal that can get the attention of just about anyone with their bright beautiful showy flowers.
With the world becoming more health conscious day by day, people are facing the reality from countries all over the world that in order to look healthy, be healthy and stay healthy we have to find means and put into practice those measures to improve our lifestyle. Every year hospitals and doctors’ offices are filled with hundreds of thousands of people with different health issues.
And while it is true that the many measures we implement to improve our lifestyle does not guarantee 100% good health, yet there is a lot that can still be done to at least improve our health and save us from that dreaded trip to the doctor’s office.
The advantage of having plants is that plants serve many functions and purposes. You can grow plants for food, for beauty, to make money, for medicine, and so on. But what is also amazing about plants is that plants can also clean the air that we breathe.
Plants have the ability to filter the air that we breathe by pulling impurities out of the air. Therefore it is always good to have a few plants indoors to clean the air that we breathe, besides giving the interior of your building a more polished look. NASA did a study many years ago and discovered that indoor plants clean about 87% of the air that we breathe indoors.
As a landscape and interior plantscape designer, one of the tasks that I had to commonly perform was making sure that the plants that I installed were properly maintained. Even as a nurseryman this was one of my responsibilities. So I did the basic stuff like watering, fertilizing, insect control, and of course pruning.
“To prune or not to prune?”
Pruning is important to a plant’s life because by pruning you can actually add years to your plant. Pruning can take your plant through a period of rejuvenation. In other words, because of pruning, your plant can go through a rest period causing your plant to become more healthy.
There are many factors that can influence plant disease. We will be looking at some of these basic facts. While this article will not be covering all aspects of plant disease, we will be looking at some general information.
If plants are not cared for properly eg. in the case of overwatering, it can cause plant disease or the gardener may have used an infected tool that was not properly sterilized.
Also, it may be situations that are out of your control that trigger plant disease eg. rain is an environmental factor that is out of our control. It can cause a plant to get so much water that the soil becomes saturated or waterlogged.
In this article, we will be looking at some aspects of making your garden a home for wildlife. In order to do this, we must create an environment that is almost identical to the natural habitat that animals and insects enjoy.
I am sure that you may have gone on a nature walk and observed animals and insects in their natural habitat.
You remember how excited you got to see those birds flying around, to hear them singing so beautifully and watching them as they took care of their young by feeding them and building nests for them? With great excitement, you took out your camera to capture the moment or maybe your video camera and started recording.
Nothing can distract more from a beautiful landscape than to see ugly weeds popping up from everywhere whether they are big or small weeds.
I remember the days when I would be out there in the landscape for hours weeding. For me, those days were days that I worked my fingers off and to make matters worse, weeding in direct sunlight on those long summer days. Oh, how I would pray for lunchtime and knock off time to come.
In this article, we will be discussing some of the grass types that are used to become that outdoor carpet of green. The five- star hotel where I was employed many years ago had some of the most beautiful lawns. The landscape team that I was a part of did such an amazing job taking care of the different areas where lawns were installed.
It’s amazing how great a lawn looks when it has been properly installed, watered, fertilized and cut at the right height. Even after cutting the lawn at home I would go back several times within that day just to muse over how great everything looks. With each look, you would probably think I was seeing my lawn for the first time.
A challenge to every gardener occasionally is keeping unwanted animals out of their landscapes and gardens. There is much reason why animals invade our landscape and gardens. Their main objective is their survival, so it does not matter to them how great of a landscape or garden you have. Their goal is to find shelter, food, and water.
Even if they have to trespass as a means of survival. This can be a challenge to any gardener who has labored so hard investing time, energy and not to mention money into developing that nice and costly landscape or garden.
Vines are one of the plant species that I worked with for many years as an interior plantscape designer. One of the things I would often do is let the vine runners grow out or trickle down the sides of the decorative pot. It always gave that natural effect. There are many species of vines that I have worked with, but the ones that really stood out to me were the creeping Charlie or pothos vine, the butterfly vine, and the Algeria ivy.
I spent a lot of time also in the plant nursery caring for these vines. Like other plants, vines also need their share of tender loving care.
Roses are in my opinion the ‘queen of flowers’. It’s amazing how roses are used so widely especially on valentine’s day where we see them in great abundance as lovers express their love for each other by either buying a single rose or a rose arrangement. But whatever the occasion, these exotic flowers are loved by millions around the world. The story is told of a farmer’s wife who grew roses because of her love for them and the story goes on to say when asked about pruning her rose bushes she exclaimed that she would “rather chop off one of her chicken’s head than to cut a flower from her rose bush”. That is loving roses to the highest extremity.
We will be looking at biennials in this article and how we can use them around our home gardens. Biennials are flowering plants that spend their first year putting forth leaves, stems, and roots. Then they go through a period of overwintering or they go into a dormant state, the second year these plants put forth or produce flowers. Like annuals and perennials, biennials can also give us our share of colors that we can add to our garden and landscapes.
Make sure to learn as much as possible about your plants to get full use of them. Read instructions and follow carefully or you can ask your nurseryman.
Here are a few names of biennials that will really brighten up your garden area.
What are Perennials and how are they different from Annuals?
I am so glad you asked!
Whereas Annuals set seed, grow and flower within the same year, they also die within that same year.
Perennials, however, can live from year to year. Perennials are woody type plants compared to annuals which are considered to be succulents. Perennials can be kept nicely groom by pruning them. You can control their growth and the direction they grow in by using different pruning methods.
Everything is painted with an array of colors. It’s so amazing to see the beauty that nature offers. Splashes of red here, splashes of pink there, splashes of white everywhere. Everything is alive just bursting with colors. Flowering plants can bring such beauty to our surroundings.
In this article, we will be looking at flowering plants in particular annuals. What are annuals? and why are some plants considered to be annuals? annuals are plants that set seed, grow, blossom, and unfortunately, die in the same year. Yes, that’s right, after these beauties serve their purpose they go on to plant heaven.
Starting and Maintaining a Compost Pile successfully
When we think about growing quality fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc…. it depends in part on one thing and that is the type of soil that we use to grow them. The soil is so important to plant life because plant life depends on the soil in order to grow healthy giving us the results we’re looking for.
And a smart way to go about this is to create our own compost pile. Compost piles are created from natural products that we find right in our kitchens like portions of vegetable leftover from Sunday dinner or it may be that banana peel from the banana which you use to make a banana smoothie or yet again it may be that onion skin that you peeled from that onion to make a salad.
Do you want a garden that is low maintenance, requires little watering and the pest problem is like nill? then xeriscape is the direction that you would want to head in. Also if you want to plant a garden but your concern is the increase in your water bill, then xeriscaping is the garden for you.
The advantage of this type of garden is water conservation but the disadvantage is there are only a certain variety of plants that meet this type of garden requirements. You may have to choose plants which you are not too happy about. Your selection must be plants that are drought tolerant or as we said a bit earlier, plants that require very little water.
One of the awesome wonders of nature is that you can bring nature on the inside, this is where a terrarium garden comes into play. A terrarium is considered to be a mini garden that can survive on the inside, a terrarium is like a fish aquarium the only difference is that plants are used instead of fish. You will also need to choose certain plants for this type of indoor garden along with some other material which we will be looking at.
Materials needed for a terrarium garden
1. You will need a fishbowl it does not matter the shape or size.
2. You will need to choose some plants like ferns, cactus, ivy, or moss.
3. Rocks the size of a marble, river rocks will do just fine.
4. activated charcoal to filter the water and also help to prevent fungi build-up
I remember the days of working in a five- star hotel as an interior plant scape technician. We would spruce up many areas of the hotel that needed some tender loving care. By the time we left those areas, a total transformation had taken place. Those beautiful plants with their various sizes, colors, and shapes that were installed brought a whole different flavor to those areas.
So in this article, we will look at the many features of interior plant scape including how they can help us from a health perspective.
Lily ponds can add that special feature and flavor which can really lighten up your surroundings while also adding that touch of class and elegance. Lily ponds are one of my favorite additions to a home garden and will add that unique quality for those who want to go to the next level.
Watching your floating water lilies can be a wonderful past time as you enjoy the fruit of your labor.
Do you feel limited by the amount of space you have but desire to have a garden of your own? You may be living in an apartment building or a condo and there just isn’t enough space for a garden. Don’t give up on your dream of having your own garden, there is still hope.
Container gardening is the recommended way to go. Growing plants in pots and containers on your porch or patio are one way you can optimize every square inch of space. Adding plants to the bedroom balcony or growing herbs on the kitchen counter just takes a little imagination and some creative thinking and the rest is history.
Like butterfly gardens, a hummingbird garden is no exception. Creating a garden to invite these small friends can be a wonderful and delightful experience for the homeowner. Special care should be taken though when creating this type of garden.
Planning your hummingbird garden
Thought and care should be our number one goal when seeking to plant a garden such as this.
Bring your garden to life by making it a habitat for butterflies which will bring beauty and charm to your surroundings. Can you imagine your garden area being, filled with activity and excitement as you watch some of nature’s beauties in their natural habitat
So what does it takes to construct a butterfly garden?
Constructing a butterfly garden can be lots of fun not only for adults but it can also be a fun activity for kids as well as learn about the different features and plants that it takes to make our gardens inviting to our colorful friends.
One of the things that add beauty, color, and charm to many events is the floral arrangements that decorate these events. Can you imagine a wedding without flowers or Valentine’s Day without roses?
We use flowers to express our love, our appreciation, to express well wishes, and so on.
Flowers can also transform our surroundings whether indoors or outdoors. It can really give that touch of elegance. So with that being said, our focus will be on creating a flower garden that will not only add beauty or attract some wildlife but also cause your grounds to be the talk of the town.
Plants like humans require vitamins or nutrition in order to be healthy. One of the common ways that plants feed is from their roots because as we know plants take up nutrients along with water through their roots. But there is another way that plants can take in not only water but fertilizers and that is through their leaves. This method is called foliar feeding.
Another name for leaves is called plant foliage. So when you hear someone use this term, they are talking about plant leaves. In comparison to the pores of our skin, plants have pores in their leaves known as Stomata.
Slow-release fertilizers are the total opposite of quick-release fertilizers, in that these types of fertilizers release their components very slowly, which means that plants can get the full benefits from this kind of fertilizer.
Slow-release fertilizers are broken down over a period of time with heat and moisture, unlike quick release fertilizers. Slow-release fertilizers are considered to be safe because of their slow-release, they will not burn plants.
Quick-release fertilizers are powdered fertilizers that you mix with water according to the manufacturer’s label. These fertilizers are also known as water-soluble fertilizers. The reason that they are called quick-release fertilizers is because of their availability to plant life. In other words, once they are applied to plants, they are taken up right away.
Care must be taken however because if applied too heavily, these fertilizers can cause the plant to burn. Fertilizers are salts and when applied too heavy or in the wrong amounts, the excess salt gathers around the plant root zone and pulls water away from the plant. So instead of the plant taking in water, the reverse happens.
The world as we know it is becoming more and more aware of the need to live a more healthy lifestyle, one that can add years to your lifespan. Everywhere we go we see and hear of health programs that are offering a better way of living.
The media and airwaves are flooded with advertisements and commercials about healthy living. The world has become so health-conscious that it has become common to see people working out in gyms, jogging, walking, and so on.
Dieting has also become the norm, while more and more restaurants are offering healthy choices on their menus. Supermarkets are placing more healthy products on their shelves and nutritional stores are in every shopping mall.
“So what does all of this have to do with organic fertilizers?”
As the population increases, the demand for greater food supply is in high demand and the need to raise more livestock is in great demand also.
The need for crops such as fruits and vegetables is also needed in abundance. There is not just a need for a greater supply of food but also for growing and raising these foods that are safe and of good quality.
For plant life to survive the right requirements must be met. This is known as “Proper Cultural Practices” meaning that plants must be placed in the right location whether full, partial, or filtered sun, also the proper soil medium is needed, the right amount of water, along with the correct type and amount of fertilizer and correct pruning methods.
When plant requirements are met, there is less chance that they will be attacked by insects because insects attack plants that are stressed.
Identifying Beneficial Insects and Garden Insect Pests
One of the many challenges that many homeowners and gardeners face is dealing with pests that not only invade but destroy our gardens. There is nothing more hurtful than laboring so hard to establish your dream garden by devoting weekend after weekend to give your yard a total makeover and in the midst of all that joy and excitement disaster strikes.
All of that hard work seems to be headed down the drain. Your lovely garden that was once the talk of the neighborhood is now nothing more than a thing of the past. Though all may seem hopeless, the good news is there is still a chance for recovery in the midst of your frustration.
One of the keys to pest control is to understand the conditions that cause them to thrive along with their life cycle. Garden insect is divided into two categories, In the two groups we have good bugs and then theirs is the bad bugs.
It is said that for every human being upon planet earth there are about a million or more bugs. So as you can see, the insect world outnumbers us, humans.
It is also a proven fact that the majority of bugs are good bugs so we see that the probability of us losing the battle with the right knowledge and care is very slim. In actuality, it is this small number of bad bugs that does all the damage to our vegetable garden, our herb garden, our fruit trees, our landscape, and even our interior plants.
So in this article, we will be looking at ways to destroy these pests that seek to become a menace to our landscapes and gardens. Research has also shown that we can not totally get rid of all those bad bugs, but what we can do is to keep them at an acceptable level where they will no longer be a threat by decreasing their population, the process of which the good bugs are used to control the bad bugs is called BIOLOGICAL CONTROL.
Biological control is an environmentally safe way to keep the bad bugs under control.
Now let’s begin our research with some of the good guys.
First of all, what is the purpose of these good bugs and how do they help us?
Well, the good news is that the good bugs feed on the bad bugs. They do not feed on our plants only on the bad bugs. You may have seen some of them in your garden but did not know what they were and mistook them for the bad bugs. Talk about the mistaking of an identity!
Can we now have the drum roll as we bring into the spotlight ‘the good guys?
Let me introduce to you ‘the ladybug’. Ladybugs are not bugs but are actually beetles. There are about 4,000 species of lady beetles worldwide. These beetles can be purchased online or from your local nursery.
As soon as they are delivered you can release them into your garden. The best time to release them is in the evening time so they don’t fly away. Once they are there the females will start laying their eggs which is an added bonus. Lady beetles feed on a whole list of insects including aphids, tomato hornworm, mealy bugs, scales, whitefly, mites, cabbage moth, broccoli worm, and a host of soft body insects
Those bad bugs don’t stand a chance with the praying mantis on the loose. There are about 2,500 species of praying mantis. The praying mantis gets its popular name because of how its two front legs are always bent like they are praying.
The life cycle of the praying mantis consists of three stages: The egg, nymph, and adult stage. These insects can be found mostly in warmer climates.
The majority of these insects can be found in the rainforest. Others can be found in Meadowlands, deserts, and grasslands. The praying mantis can also be purchased online or from your local nursery.
These insects feed on fruit flies, grasshoppers, spiders, whiteflies, moths, crickets, flies, cockroaches, aphids, caterpillars, mosquitoes, beetles, and other soft body insects.
Lacewing insects are another group of insects that you can release into your garden to control bad bugs such as spider mites, caterpillars, citrus mealybugs, aphids, thrips, cottony cushion scales, and other insects. The adult lacewing does not kill other insects but feeds on sweet nectar and pollen.
The lace larva eliminates bad bugs. The adult female lays her eggs on the foliage or leaves then after a few days, the eggs hatch and the larva emerges from the eggs.
Soldier beetles have a very beautiful color of orange mixed with spots of black. This beetle can be found in your garden feeding on aphids, mealy bugs, caterpillars, whiteflies, and other soft body garden pests but also including sad to say the beneficial insects.
You can check out your local garden nursery for this insect or you can attract them by planting goldenrod or catnip in your garden.
Damsel bugs are another one of the good guys that help to protect our gardens against these outlaw bugs whose only objective is death and destruction. Damsel bugs are a light brownish and white color.
These bugs feed on a host of insects including mealybugs, thrips, leafhoppers, caterpillars, and other soft body insects. They can be collected from alfalfa fields by using a net or you can check your nursery to see if they carry them.
Damsel bugs go through three stages which are egg, nymph, and adult. The eggs are laid in the stem of plants. Damsel bugs eggs hatch soon after they are laid. The nymphs shed their skin several times before entering adulthood.
Assassin bugs live up to their names by eliminating the bad bugs. These good guys have no mercy when it comes to the enemy. There are 135 species of assassin bugs worldwide. The male is somewhat large, it has thickened forewings with membranous tips for handling prey. Adults are black, reddish, or brown and have very small eyes. The assassin bug also has long slender legs and a narrow head. The assassin bug uses its needle-like beak to injure its enemy. It then injects a venom that paralyzes its victim. This venom liquefies the internal contents of its prey. The assassin bug then uses its straw-like beak and sucks out the contents.
Peaches are a favorite with their somewhat velvety fuzzy skin and its nice beautiful reddish-orange color. Peaches can not only be eaten by themselves but they can be added to many dishes, pastries, desserts, and drinks.
Peaches belong to the rose family, which consists of plums, apricots, and also cherries.
One of the great things about peaches is that there are many varieties you can choose from, so you can mix it up a bit. Peach slices taste great when frozen with sweetened cream. As a child, this was one of my favorite desserts that I always looked forward to.
Bananas are not only used to give that delightful added flavor to the many pastries, drink, ice cream and baby food that is enjoyed but banana also helps to bring balance to our diet that goes a long way in ensuring that we have good health.
1. A banana has the ability to float on water.
2. Banana has been grown for thousands of years.
3. The part of the banana that is planted in the ground is called a sucker.
4. A bunch of a banana is called a hand.
5. Theirs is a coat that goes by the name of a banana split tail.
6. Half of the bananas that are eaten are eaten for breakfast.
Broccoli like other vegetables is best eaten raw or semi boil, however over boiling can destroy valuable vitamins, a good way that I like to eat broccoli is semi boil with melted cheese. Here are some fun facts, salads, Vitamins, and healing compounds broccoli has.
1. Broccoli is a part of the cabbage family.
2. The head of broccoli is made up of tiny flower buds.
3. Broccoli can be eaten raw.
4. Broccoli has been around for more than 2000 years.
5. If broccoli is allowed to overripe it will turn yellow.
6. Broccoli contains fiber that aids in good bowel movement.
Bell peppers can be easily grown and is a good choice for your home garden, I have had the privilege of watching my mother in law grow them in her garden and it was a delightful sight to see as they mature and grow so healthy not to mention harvesting them and being able to eat off our own labor. Nothing like harvesting vegetables from your home garden.
As we looked at earlier in the article (vegetable garden)on growing and caring for cucumber, we learned that caring for cucumber is pretty easy. Also what I want to note here is that there are three cultivators of cucumbers. First, you have sliced, secondly, you have pickling and thirdly you have burpless.
1. Slicing Cucumbers
Cucumbers that are grown to eat in salads are called slicing cucumbers, these cucumbers are picked before they turn yellow. Cucumbers that are grown for this purpose have hard skin and a smoother texture
Do you remember the bugs bunny cartoon series that old warner bros cartoon, I remembered him most for his famous phrase “what’s up doc” as he chewed on a piece of carrot, I am sure this made eating carrots interesting for a lot of children
I know of a family member who was inspired by this, from a toddler she would say what’s up doc and began to chew on a carrot stick talk about inspiration, what a way to get a child to eat her veggies. In this article, we will be looking at carrot varieties, the nutrients that they contain, and how they can help us combat certain illnesses.
Vegetables contain a good source of vitamins that can enhance our health and strengthen our bodies to fight off sickness and diseases. Vegetables are more potent when eaten raw or semi-cooked.
Overcooking vegetables can destroy many vitamins they contain, so we will be looking at vegetables and how we can plant and care for them in our vegetable garden. There is nothing like growing and harvesting your very own vegetables from your home garden. The first vegetable that we will be looking at is carrots.
Planting and care of carrots
Carrots are not only one of the favorite of the looney cartoon character bungs bunny but are also a favorite of many worldwide, carrots are loaded with Vitamin A that is good for your eyesightwhich can increase your body’s defense system. So let’s plant some carrots.
Basil contains many vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin C, Manganese, and Magnesium. Basil is rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants aids in protecting cells from damage, it also strengthens the immune system. Basil helps to improve blood flow. A study has shown that basil fights bacteria, chronic diseases, and viruses.
So as you can see there is more to basil than its stunning taste. So load up on this herb to improve your health and I promise you won’t regret it.
Herbs are one of Eden’s wonders that can bring delightful taste to your table causing family and friends to keep coming back for more of those scrumptious meals, I have been cooking for almost 30 years and most of those years I have used herbs since the day I got introduce to them. So we will be looking at these fascinating wonders of nature and how we can grow them out of our backyard and how they can make us healthier.
For me basil tops the list I use a few leaves from this herb in soups or when I am steaming foods, you can visit your nursery and purchase the seed or you can buy the plant itself, If growing from seed it will be of great benefit of purchasing garden soil. When planting from seed make sure that the seeds are not pressed too deeply into the soil, plant basil in an area where it can get enough sunlight about six hours is sufficient, make sure that the soil does not dries out completely, water more in hot weather.
Oranges are a good source of Vitamin C and can aid the body in tremendous ways. Where would orange juice be without oranges or what about orange peel tea? We will be looking more in-depth at how this fruit can add zest to your life.
1. There are over 600 varieties of oranges worldwide.
2. You can graft an orange tree with grapefruit or any citrus tree and have a citrus variety growing from the same tree.
Apples are a good source of vitamins. They are also rich in antioxidants, dietary fibres, and flavonoids. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may reduce the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes.
It is believed that the antioxidants found in apples can prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity.
Try one its good for you!
Apples have the ability to reduce tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria in your mouth according to studies. So take advantage of this fruit and make it a part of your diet.
Before planting a garden it is always important to map out where the garden is going to be. The perfect location is
crucial because that will determine if your Garden will be successful or not. Be mindful to choose an area that is in a sunny location because plants need a considerable amount of sunlight in order to grow and survive. With good watering practices, your plants will be able to photosynthesize (the process of plants making food).
One thing to remember is that in order to have a healthy garden, soil plays an important part if you are to have any success. Those delicious fruits and vegetables that we see when we go to the supermarket can only be produced in part because of the soil quality that they were grown in. The soil is such an important part of a plant’s life that without it, we can forget about those wonderful fruits, vegetables, and herbs that we love and flavor our meals with.