One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. (W.E. Johns)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why have a flower garden?

I have a friend who asked me why I bother with flowers. You cant eat them. They die. Why do I love flowers? They are BEAUTIFUL! BRIGHT! BEAUTIFUL!

One of the great joys of growing flowers is gathering them into bouquets so you can bring your garden inside.

Cut your flowers carefully and condition the blooms carefully before arranging them.

Here's how:

* Gather them when the sun is low - morning or evening.
* Cut them at a deep angle to provide a larger surface area for soaking up water. Cut them as long as possible.
* Most flowers should be cut when the buds are still closed or half open . Zinnias, marigolds, asters, and dahlias can be cut in full bloom.
* Put flowers in warm water ASAP. The stems start drying within a few minutes.
* Remove the leaves that will be submerged so that they don't decay.
* It is a good idea to add something to the water to provide energy, maintain acidity, and fight bacteria. You can buy a commercial mix or use a solution of one part lemon-lime soda and two parts water.
* Condition cut flowers in a cool place for at least four hours before using in an arrangement.
* If you soak leaves and greenery sprigs in warm water overnight, they last longer.

I came to love flower arranging while taking a floral arrangement class at the local community college with my lovely aunt Amanda. I found that you can arrange however you want and you will find beauty as long as your blooms are hearty and beautiful!

Spring Garden Walk

For those who need inspiration and have Sunday free (luckies), check out the Spring Garden Walk at the Dancing Oaks Nursery.

Planning for April - Annual and Biennials

Keep your garden plan handy. Check your newspaper for calendars and dates and ENJOY the abundant plant sales.

I get really excited in April. The sun is out and I want to PLANT, PLANT, PLANT!!!

Don't get too excited too early. I always have to hold myself back. You need to hold off on planting until the last frost date. If you really can't hold off that long, you can probably get away with planting pansies early. I would start by sowing the following HARDY annuals outdoors: sweet alyssum, cosmos, cleome, marigolds, California poppies, and sunflowers. If you are still working on clearing out proper garden space, seed them into flats and transplant later. IF your garden is ready, sprinkle the seeds and be sure to mark where you planted in some way so that you can pay special attention to your plants as they emerge.

Keep planning your perfect garden... Some things to consider - Use veggies as garden filler! They are quite beautiful. Use lettuce as edging, parlsey tucked in with your flowers, or frilly carrot tops to accent your snapdragons. You want to choose small veggies without crazy root systems so that you dont destroy your flowers as you harvest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

January Tips

This is the start of a new year....something great! While it is still winter, you can always to things to better your garden.

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. W.E. Johns

Plan for your garden:

1. Find a gardening group in your area to attend. In Corvallis, there is a Master Gardeners' free brown bag lectures at the Corvallis Library. I think they are held on Tuesdays. You can also start ordering your seeds online for Spring!

2. If you have kids, an indoor garden would be great fun! Show your kids how to plant seeds or how to grow plants from the tops of fruits and/or veggies like pineapple or carrots!

3. Check your stored tubers and bulbs... check for signs of rot.

4. Register for the Insights in Gardening all day seminar coming in February.


1. Primroses in pots or beds when the weather is dry.

2. Frost-tolerant perennials if you have a cold frame or a green house. Some good choices: delphiniums, veronica, and columbine.

3. Bare-root fruit and shade trees, roses and other shrubs, vines, and perennials if the weather is dry.

4. Bare-rooted veggies like asparagus and rhubarb.

5. Geranium seeds. They take several weeks to sprout and need a teperature from 55 to 60 degrees...keep them cool, but in a sunny spot.

6. Dwarf annual flowers for houseplants inside: coleus, impatiens, seedling geraniums, etc.


1. Deciduous ornamental shrubs and trees by making hardwood cuttings. Try grapes and berries too!

Paradise Maintenance:


1. Peach trees on a mild, dry day for peach-leaf curl using fixed copper or lime sulfur.

2. Cherry trees for bacterial canker using copper fungicide with spreader sticker.


1. Fruit and shade trees unless it is freezing. Cut out diseased and dead wood to open tree's center to more light. Cut back one third of tree if it has been very neglected.

2. Blueberries. Usually taller upper branches don't need pruning for the first three years. Prune the older, lower branches lightly. Concentrate on cutting out the crossing and non-productive branches.

January Green Thumbs' Tips

1. Set your bait for those slimy slugs near cold frames and early flowering plants.

2. Treat for moss in shady, wet areas of your lawn.

3. Sprinkle your wintered over plants lightly with water.

4. Clean, oil, and sharpen your garden tools.

5. Tune up the lawnmower and other yard equipment.

6. Wash and dry your bird feeders. Then fill them up and monitor their levels.

7. Do NOT fertilize houseplants during the winter months.