I’m obsessed… no point in hiding it. I can’t get over the vertical gardening movement! I love the aesthetic it gives an urban or office space and love all the extra oxygen it generates… It’s gotta be good for you, right?! You can see a ton more pics on my Pinterest Board here and swoon of more amazing images in Patrick Blanc’s Book The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City .
If you’re like me and sad to have it still be winter (darn groundhog), here’s a great gardening gift that you can make inside for the green-thumb in your life.
Begonias are one of the easiest plants to propagate; most varieties only need a little water to start new roots. They come in infinite varieties (I love the leaves as much as the flowers) and stand up incredibly well as city house plants (requiring relatively low light, rather infrequent waterings (a once-a-week soaking will suffice in a pot with good drainage), and they are undeniably gorgeous. Click below for the how-to.
How to: Propagate Begonias
Prepare a small container by washing thoroughly, making sure to leave no residue of suds. The smaller the container, the better since the cutting will release growth hormones into the water to help the new roots develop. Fill with tepid water.
Snip a large healthy leaf and place it in the water. Leave in a sunny window.
When significant roots show up (2-3 weeks), gently remove the cutting and plant in potting soil in a well-draining pot. Enjoy!
Here’s a great link for more information
Pics from here
One of the best gardeing tips I’ve ever received (and is reiterated everytime I see my mother-in-law during the Spring and Summer monts) is the necessity of fertilizing my plants that live in pots on the front porch and in containers on the balcony.
Every year I say, yeah, yeah, yeah… I’ll get on that… and I do… About once a month during the hot, draining summer. Well this year has been different. I discovered Alaska Liquid Fertilizer and I’ve been on it… and on it once a month. My containers look amazing – it makes me so happy everytime I walk in or out the door and see them.
So, my tip for today, this week and really all summer is to feed your plants. Water alone just won’t do it. Give this plant food a try, just plug your nose while doing it since the dead, emulsified fish that make it up stink 🙂
When starting seeds that will eventually be planted in the ground come Spring, use biodegradable Jiffy strips that can be put right into the ground with the seedling when it’s time. Plants that grow in these pots have much stronger root systems as a result of having to grow through the cardboard material and you’re eliminating the waste that comes with planing in the cheap plastic seed trays.
Simply label the pods with a permanent marker then plant away! When it’s time to harden them off and move them into the ground, you’ll be glad you did as you grow strong, healthy plants!
One of my pet peeves is having a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers that look beautiful upon arrival and like crap the next day. It makes you wonder if the roses were in a refrigerator so cold they froze or if the grocery store pealed off the brown petals to make them look fresh.
Here are my tips for prolonging the life of cut flowers…
- Use a sharp knife to trim flower stems on a diagonal as soon as possible – don’t use scissors, they pinch together too many of the vascular tubes the flowers use to drink water and nutrients.
- Fill your kitchen sink with tepid water and put in one pack of Floralife (or a similar commercial floral preservative). Float the flowers in the sink for 30 minutes to hydrate the stems, leaves and blossoms.
- Remove all but the upper leaves from each stem. Foliage left in the water deteriorates quickly and will not only cause the flowers to reek, but pollutes the drinking water for the flowers.
- Fill a vase with water and put in more of the floral preservative.
- Arrange blossoms in the vase. Cut off any dead or tightly closed buds – they leach nutrients from healthy blooms.
- Change the water mixture daily.
- Enjoy your beautiful blooms!
That sums up my behavior after another great trip up the stairs with the mail pile today. This time, it had nothing to do with food – the 2009 David Austin Roses catalogue was buried beneath the tax forms and credit card solicitations. If you’re not familiar with David Austin and you love to garden – you’re seriously missing out. To make a long story short, David CH Austin (father) is a rose breeder, specialist grower and author – he released his first rose in 1961 and has taken the rose market by storm since then with his billowy roses in gorgeous colors. To date father (and son) have released over 200 varieties of roses from climbing to shurb to ground cover roses.
I’m putting together my order as I type – if you’re intererested, you better order quickly, most varieties sell out in a matter of weeks!
5. – The Boston Globe The Equation for a New You “Not willpower, but “habit change” is the new key to weight loss. After all, a little effort goes a long way.”
4. – The Chicago Tribune Putting Flavor Back Into Pork “One could say pork’s gotten a bit of a bad rep in the past decade. That’s unless you count pork belly, which has caused a culinary stir. But take your typical pork chop: Cook it slightly too long, and your “other white meat” suddenly becomes the “other gray meat,” a dry, tough mess that’s now your dinner.”
3. – The LA Times Grown-up Lunches that Pack a Punch “Just because the expense-account lunch is largely a thing of the past doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy the meal, even celebrate it. Instead of depending on the kindness of menus, use a little homespun imagination. Thinking outside the lunch box is probably the best way of getting anything good inside it.”
2. – The NY Times Fresh Start for a New Year? Let’s Begin in the Kitchen “…if your goal is to cook and cook quickly, to get a satisfying and enjoyable variety of real food on the table as often as possible, a well-stocked pantry and fridge can sustain you. Replenished weekly or even less frequently, with an occasional stop for fresh vegetables, meat, fish and dairy, they are the core supply houses for the home cook.”
1. – The Washington Post On the Road for Change “Daniel Bowman Simon and Casey Gustowarow didn’t really have a plan when they set off on a cross-country drive in a topsy-turvy school bus with herbs, greens and root vegetables planted on the roof. But they didn’t think they needed one. Their cause seemed so pure, so obviously righteous: to persuade the next president of the United States to grow food on the White House lawn.”
photo from The Washington Post