Composting Is Garden Recycling

There are lots of ways of recycling, and composting is garden recycling.  I recently curated one of Alan Titchmarsh’s articles, in fact, not quite a week ago.  I don’t usually curate articles from one author within the same week, but this is an article I thought you would find helpful.  With recycling and repurposing things becoming more prevalent, Alan’s article strikes a chord of how we can repurpose things in the garden.  He suggests several ways of doing so, and one of them he writes about is how composting is garden recycling.

Composting is garden recycling.

Composting is garden recycling.

Where you can generate big savings is by making your own garden compost. Instead of buying bags of soil improver to dig into the ground, invest just a few pounds in a cheap compost bin or make your own compost container by nailing a few old pallets together. Then use this to dispose of all the green organic waste that your garden generates over the season.

In addition to recycling by using kitchen wastes to make compost for your garden, Alan gets into the green lifestyle even more when he suggests repurposing objects for the garden.  Think of the ways that you could make use of things you have lying about in your garage or your shed that are just there taking up space.  Alan gives you a few ideas with which to get started.

Flower pots, seed trays and plastic plant labels are things that often get thrown away and replaced when the old ones could quite easily be cleaned and re-used, many times over. A bucket of warm, soapy water and an old washing-up brush is ideal for cleaning pots and trays – along with the multiple cell packs that a lot of young plants are sold in nowadays – while plant labels clean up best with a ball of wire wool dipped in washing-up liquid (use a soft 2B pencil for writing plant names and they clean off very easily).

Read Alan’s article by clicking here or on the link below for other ways of recycling.  Composting is garden recycling, but there are many other ways of recycling or repurposing things to serve the needs of your garden.  When you think the words recycle, reuse or repurpose, think of the many ways you can benefit your garden by being mindful of these three words.  And not only will your garden benefit, so too will the larger planet on which we all reside.


Photo by Lion_Heart

Make The Most Of Flowers’ Fragrances

If you’re going to plant a flower garden, you want to make the most of flowers’ fragrances.  We sometimes get so focused on the visual appeal of a flower garden that we forget to plan for the fragrances that they emit. You can read article after article about what kinds of flowers go with each other, whether by texture, size or color.  But what you may not find much about is how to plan forflowers’ fragrances.  Often not much thought is given to that at all.  Julie Bawden-Davis has written an article enumerating six tips for how to make the most of flowers’ fragrances.  She begins her article with a few flower scent facts, some of which I have never heard about.

Make the most of flowers' fragrances.

Make the most of flowers’ fragrances.

Incorporating aromatic flowers into the landscape adds an unforgettable dimension. Fragrant plants tend to bring up pleasant memories, and scented flowers also attract wildlife, such as bees and butterflies. Fragrance is produced by plants when their essential oils evaporate and the molecules enter the air. The most fragrant flowers are white and pastel, while bright flowers, like red and orange, have little to no scent.

Were you aware that bright colored flowers have little to no scent?  I didn’t know that.  I know that butterflies are more likely to be attracted to bright colored flowers than they are to less brightly colored ones.  Apparently scent has nothing to do with butterflies landing on flowers in the garden.  Here is one of Julie’s six tips for creating a fragrant garden so that you can enjoy flower’s scents as well as their visual attributes.

Place aromatic plants in high traffic areas. You want the plants close enough so you can smell them. Good locations include entryways, passageways, and enclosed areas where the odors can linger, such as patios, courtyards, and atriums. Spots near windows that you open are also good.

That makes a lot of sense.  If you want to enjoy the scent of flowers, you need to locate them in places where they will be close to your nose.  It doesn’t do much good to locate an aromatic flower on the fringes of your yard.  You’ll find five other tips too make the most of flowers’ fragrances by reading Julie’s article, which you can find by clicking here or on the link below.  Think about a lilac bushes.  Can you imagine it planted right outside a family room window?  Think of opening that window on a Spring evening and smelling the sweet aroma of that lilac bush.  Heavenly!  Give some thought to Julie’s tips and how you can implement them.


Photo by troymckaskle

Hummingbirds Can’t Resist Cardinal Flowers

If you love to see hummingbirds, plant cardinal flowers, because hummingbirds can’t resist cardinal flowers.  As its name implies, the cardinal flower is bright red, the color of the male cardinal.  It’s more formal name is Lobelia cardinalis.  The author of the article is unnamed, but he or she probably works at the Triple Oakes Nursery, since there is a plug for the nursery at the end of the article.  Regardless, the article is well written and you will understand a lot about the Lobelia cardinalis and why hummingbirds can’t resist cardinal flowers.

Hummingbirds can't resist cardinal flowers.

Hummingbirds can’t resist cardinal flowers.

One of my very favorite red perennials, Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is said by many to be a weak plant that often does not come back up, but it comes up many times over in our gardens. Perhaps this is because it reseeds in several gardens, as well as along the stream bank where it is wet. The plants spread each year and there are few things prettier than the brilliant red of a Cardinal flower. Add a hummingbird and it is an awesome sight to say the least. Blooms have a rich satiny texture and a tubular look. The flowers attract hummingbirds, described by a garden writer who once said they “pull hummingbirds from the sky.”

I really enjoy hummingbirds.  They are just so amazing to watch, darting here and there, never too long in any one place.  How they are able to remain suspended in air seems to defy explanation.  Nature’s helicopter.  I do know that hummingbirds consume a lot of nectar during the day to provide themselves with the energy they need to perform their aerial aerobatics.  But the article isn’t just about hummingbirds.  Here is some addtional information about the Lobelia cardinalis.

Each capsule contains a lot of powdery seeds, so one or two capsules should be plenty. Leave the rest to reseed the area where the plant is growing. Just sprinkle them on top of the soil, the same as if they fell from the plant into your garden, and water them well.  You should see plants in a couple of weeks if kept damp.Once established in your garden, Cardinal flower will self-sow and come up for years. Lobelia is perennial, but is considered a short-lived plant, so natural reseeding is important to keep the population healthy and abundant. It grows well in any garden if it does not dry out.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here or on the link below.  I didn’t look up whether the Lobelia cardinalis is related to the bluebell, but their natural habitat sounds similar. they require moist areas, and they reseed similarly.  And if you like hummingbirds, remember that hummingbirds can’t resist cardinal flowers.



Photo by stillriverside

Deer Feeding In The Garden

If you have deer feeding in the garden, you are not alone.  If you live in an area where deer abound, you are probably going to have the deer in the garden problem.  Even if you don’t have a garden as such, if you have any foundation plantings, annuals or perennials in your yard, deer consider that fair game for dining.  Peg Tillery has written a helpful article giving the reader information about what to do about deer feeding in the garden.

Deer in the garden will eat most anything.

Deer in the garden will eat most anything.

This year I perused 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plantsby Ruth Rogers Clausen with photography by Alan L. Detrick. One of the most commonly asked gardening questions is, “Are there any plants deer won’t eat?” Here’s what Ruth Rogers Clausen recommends. . .Clausen cautions that deer will eat any plant at least once, especially when they’re hungry or young and inexperienced.

So really, no plant is totally deer-resistant.  I know that deer, when very hungry, will eat the most heavily touted deer-resistant plant.  The best way to completely keep your plants safe is to put them behind an eight foot fence or hedge.  There are a few other ideas that Peg writes about, some of them questionable, but reportedly successful at keeping deer away from plants.  Here’s one of them.

Several years ago a reader shared his secret of using fishing line, horizontally strung between posts. Each length of line was spaced about a foot or two above the other line. His method worked for several years without fail. Coincidentally Clausen confirmed that this method works.

Peg writes about some other ways of trying to deter deer from feeding in the garden.  You can read her article by clicking here or on the link below.  Two really helpful pieces of information in her article are a list of plants that are deer candy and another list of plants that deer will generally avoid.  If you have deer feeding in the garden, you’ll want to read Peg’s article and probably buy Ruth Clausen’s book, which you can obtain by clicking on the link above or the image below.


Real Men Love Gardening

There is a shift occurring in who gardens, and more and more real men love gardening. Young men in particular are beginning to take up the gardening hobby for lots of different reasons. Kim Palmer wrote an article about the men that are turning to gardening, and they are the twenty to thirty year olds. She writes about several individual men who have begun to garden, and if you read her article, you’ll find some possibly surprising reasons why these real men love gardening.

Why real men love gardening.

Why real men love gardening.

Garrett Hoffman, 28, doesn’t have a yard. But he was determined to have a garden. “This is my first apartment ever with outdoor space,” said Hoffman, who grows tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, chard and herbs on his St. Paul balcony. Hoffman’s “small but mighty” garden helps the University of Minnesota researcher and graduate student stretch his food budget, he said. “I just come out here and pick a salad, or make mojitos. It’s cheap — a package of mint at the store is $4.” Gardening also has become his passion. “I love growing stuff,” he said. “It’s a form of creation. I’m not an artist. I write super-dense academic things. For me to be able to take seeds and create something living and growing is like art.”

Kim writes that Garrett has multiple benefits from his small garden.  It gives him an opportunity to create something, which he apparently does not to get to do in his graduate school work.  He also likes the ability to pick something fresh from his balcony garden and make a meal out of it.  He has found a way to make gardening creative, simple and financially advantageous.  Kim writes about several other young men in her article.  You may not guess about one of the things they are planting.

Growing hops for home-brew is a fast-growing garden niche nationwide, according to McCoy. “It’s the cool factor — to be able to say, ‘I grew it myself.’ To say, ‘I grew it and brewed it’ is even cooler.” . . In Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood, a group made up mostly of young men has transformed a formerly vacant lot into a community hops garden ( “It’s a groundbreaking project — I’m not aware of any other community garden focused exclusively on hops,” said Andrew Schmitt, 34, of St. Paul. On a recent Sunday, members gathered at the sunny, urban plot, with its backdrop of looming grain elevators, to tend the hops — nine varieties. Hops take about three years to mature, so “there’s not going to be a ton of yield this season,” Schmitt said. Still, members are planning a fall “community brew day” — and looking forward to the beer to come.

You can read Kim’s article by clicking here or on the link below.  Now that you know about the hops growing project, you might have a better idea of why real men love gardening.  Food source? Yes.  Opportunity to be creative? Yes.  Beer ingredients?  Now I think you get the picture.


Photo by katerha

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