Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Colorful Winter Plants - Grow Evergreens Called Hebes


Grow Evergreen's For Color All Year Long 
Hebes The Colorful Winter Plants

If you want to extend the pretty colors of late summer into Fall and early Winter, consider planting evergreen shrubs called Hebes. No I didn’t misspell the word herbs. Hebes a wonderful evergreen (pronounced Hee-bees) that produce lovely flowers and foliage during summer and Fall.

Hebes will change colors according to seasons. They proved interesting change from usual asters and maple trees that we usually rely on for autumn color.  


Hebes are native to New Zealand, Australia, Polynesia, South America and southeast Florida. They all do extremely well in southern California and zones 8-11 in the southwestern USA. They are affected by temperatures below 25F.

Hebes are great show plants for the American southwest. They add that punch of color that makes you appreciate your yard even more. They produce a pretty purple flower in during the summer around the month of June but, will profusely bloom again in October and November.

There are red blooming Hebes called Hobby, Amy and Alicia Amherst. that will bloom color throughout November and December in the southwest and West.

Bowles Hybrid is a Hebe that blooms a solid lavender flower in the summer and all the way to January. I should mention that Bowles Hybrid is exactly as it’s named. It’s a hybrid and unfortunately, they are more susceptible to cold temperatures. If you happen to live in an elevation where the temperature falls below 20F, you most likely will be just wasting your money unless, you plant them in containers  and shelter them.

Quicksilver is a silver small leaved Hebe that’s a wonderful hardy plant for drought conditions.

Boughton Dome is more of a gray foliage which produces color well past the fall and works as a wonderful backdrop in any garden.

James Stirling resembles a small conifer. It produces little white flowers in December. It keeps a pretty form that’s sturdy enough to decorate during the holidays.

Hebes are a wonderful evergreen plant. They’re the perfect alternative plants for those gardeners who don’t like to keep buying and replanting plants to suite the seasonal temperatures and conditions.


Hebes 


Hebes are evergreens that will give you wonderful color all year long. Hebes are a wonderful way to add a pop of color to your fall and winter landscape. See below for full list of Hebes.


Hebes like Caledonia (purple) Sapphire (red tips during winter) Speciosa Variegata and Andersonii (tricolor) are well worth the money spent. They’re fascinating to see change in color as the seasons change. It’s like getting new plants every season without having to replant.

The benefits to planting Hebes as being an evergreen plant, they provide protection from wind and erosion, a wall of them will help reduce noise, they don't need much pruning and are usually drought tolerant. Most Hebes do need well drained soil and a bit of shade during the heat of the summer months particularly in the southern California and Arizona.

If you enjoy color all year long on your property, plant evergreens like Hebes to compliment your landscape.  They’re usually a few dollars more than other shrubs and plants but, they’re well worth it.

Evergreen Shrubs


List of Hebes (Wikipedia.org)
About 90-100 species, including:




   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Winter Farmers' Markets Increase Year to Year


There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting in me. 
-Thomas Jefferson, third U.S. President


It's no secret that southern California and the rest of the U.S. sunbelt have long growing seasons. Almost all produce is grown in the West and the Southwestern U.S. It's a site to be seen when the rest of the country is covered in snow and you have fields of fresh produce as like lettuce and berries growing just down the road. 

According to USDA, farmers' markets are no longer exclusively a Summer community event. Winter farmers markets are on the rise. In 2012 farmers markets increased by 38 percent and 17 percent each year since.

Farmers nationwide are extending their sale dates at Farmers' markets well into November and December. The variety of vegetables being offered are seasonal. In lieu of Summer tomatoes or or melons, you can find a wonderful variety of Winter squash or root vegetables. 


1941 Produce Market San Diego, CA


Farmers markets in southern California are quite common. I've often wondered why farmers didn't have Fall markets in Boston or Chicago. Now I see that has changed. Both Boston and Chicago are running farmers' markets well into October. 

Many metropolitan like New York City are moving their farmers' markets indoors. There are many year-round farmer's markets all around NYC. kudos 
to the big apple!

Explore your area for local farmers' markets that may be extending their sale dates. You'll be glad you did because, you will be supporting your local farmers and you're going to walk away with some fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables. 


















   
 Canada Farmers' Market

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Water Quality and Plants - Is Your Tap Water Killing Your Houseplant?


Keep One Eye On Your Plant 
and The Other On Your Tap Water!

It May Be Time To Use PUR Filtered Water


Have you been having troubles lately with your house or outdoor plants either not looking right or they all of a sudden are dying and you don’t have a house cat?

Well, your tap water may be to blame. There are particular plants that are sensitive to tap water. It’s the chemicals in the water that the plants aren’t used to or can all of a sudden become allergic or sensitive to. Overall, tap water is ok for your plants but, if you happen to see a change in your plants leaves, it may be due to tap water.

Chlorine and fluoride are just two of the common chemicals found in tap water that may stun a plant. This can affect the plants appearance or livelihood. Well water can also affect houseplants. Your well water may have too much iron or too much calcium. 

Though, most of us use tap water. Chemicals found in tap water tend to collect in your plants roots and one day, your plant just can’t handle the abundance of toxins.

Like all living things, plants rely on water for life. That quality of water in which you feed your plants can physically change your plant overnight. Most houseplants are sensitive to water quality because, their life is sustained in a container. They’re more sensitive to change unlike outdoor plants.

A simple change in the water from either your municipal water company or your own well water can damage plants. Municipal water companies are always having to balance the chemical make-up of tap water so that  flourish. If you have a water well, you should also have your well water tested to be sure that it is save from mercury, lead or even chemicals that have made their way into your ground water.

Your water company is on your side. I'm sure they try their best to keep you, your family, pets and plants healthy. Every now and again your local water company has to flush the lines and that usually accounts for the sudden change in too many chemicals in tap water. This may not be harmful to humans but, plants are sensitive to a lot of things even a simple bug bite.


Almost all dracaenas are sensitive to fluoride which include: 
Compacta, Lisa, Massangeana, Aborea, Colorama, Marginata Stump,
Warneckii, and Limelight.

Palms, spider plants and dracaenas are quite sensitive to fluoride.

Cold water shouldn't be used on tropical plants like African violets but, too much fluoride and salt will kill the plant completely.

 Over time, salt buildup can affect orchids and bromeliads.

Bougainvillea will drop all of it's flowers if it has too much chlorine. 

Oleander doesn't like either floride or chlorinated water. The entire plant           will wither and the leaves become crispy.




Take into consideration that temperature changes, pets urinating on plants or the use of pesticides can all affect plant foliage or their root system. If you've eliminated all those aspects then it may be that your tap water has too many chemicals, gasses or minerals. 

There are some simple symptoms to look for if you think your household tap water may be harming your plants.

The leafs turn completely brown within a few days and die off.

The plants stop flowering even though it has sufficient fertilizer or plant food.

Root rot is most common. Even though the soil isn’t overly wet, the roots may turn slimy.
    A White powdery residue left on the soil's surface.

The plant dies within a few days. One day you were talking to your spider plant and the next day it was dead as a door knob.

  You notice that your plants seem to always have brown edges.


Besides your plants, fruit, vegetable or flower seeds may not germinate because, they’re being burned or harmed by the ordinary water that comes out of your garden hose.

Seed germination is a delicate matter. Many factors may affect or hinder a seed germination but if you have good soil, a moderate temperature, pesticides in soil, the right amount of sun and water and you still notice that your seeds aren't germinating. It's probably your tap water. Some delicate seeds as like tomato or cucumber seeds won’t germinate if there are particular chemicals as like pesticides in your tap water.

Use Filtered water on  your house plants for a few weeks to see if your tap water is hurting your plants.

The best solution to curing what ails your house plants or outdoor plants is to filter the water; of course filtered water pitchers kept in the refrigerator are great for an instant cold cup of water for yourself or your family but, they’re also most useful when used for watering your houseplants.

Pur Water Filter Home Test By Arthur Tweedie



I do recommend NEW PUR Ultimate 11 Cup Pitcher with MAXION™ Technology. It’s a large pitcher so, you’ll be able to water a lot of plants. There's even an 18 cup PUR pitcher available if you have enough room in your refrigerator

PUR pitchers and faucet filters are easy to use. All you do is drop a water filter into the pitchers reservoir and it’s good for a few months. PUR also makes a handy faucet filter. They’re easy attach to your kitchen or garden sink. It simply screws on and you’re ready to go. I’ve even attached it to a garden hose at times.

With the faucet filter, you just turn on your tap and water runs through a filter. When you need to do dishes, you simply push the water filter system up and out of the way for unfiltered water.



The PUR filter with MAXION™ Technology immediately cleans water by filtering out chlorine, fluoride and other contaminants that either makes your water taste bad or be harmful to digest. It’s good for you and your house plants. PUR’s faucet water filter is just as easy as the water pitcher. There’s a filter cartridge that you would easily drop into a chamber and it’s ready to go.

Remember, houseplants are precious because, they not only brighten up a room but, because they more importantly clean our household air. Sometimes your household air is dirtier than the outside air that you breathe.

By using filtered water, rainwater, melted snow or water collected from a dehumidifier, you’ll help your houseplants by preventing foliage or root damage which can lead to plant disease and so, you’re lengthening your plant’s life span. The reward is a pretty plant and clean air. Using filtered water is a win-win. I’m also big on water barrels. By filling a water barrel and letting the water aerate for a few days also eliminates or evaporates some of harmful chemical gases like chlorine.   


If your tap water is effecting your houseplants, repot them and use filtered water.


The best thing to do when you think that your plant has been effected by over chlorinated water, mercury, salt or just too many chemicals in tap water is to simply rescue your plant by transplanting them into a different container and use filtered water.


If your outdoor plants are being affected by tap water, start using filtered water on your outdoor plants as well. Do this for a few waterrings and they'll most likely will bounce back. If your plants respond, then there is something happening to your tap water. It’s probably a good idea to get an outdoor water filter like Sawyer's Outdoor Hose Water filter or for a few dollars  you can even use potable water tablets in your water barrel or water can.




It’s just easier for me to use a faucet attachment on my garden hose and either fill a water barrel or directly water plants with the PUR water filter attached. All hoses are different and so, you may need to run down to your local hardware store and pick-up an attachment to add to the end of your hose, but the PUR faucet filter usually fits on most hoses. It may look like you’re watering with a Star Trek laser gun but, it’s doing you and your plants a favor.

There’s nothing like a cold glass of water right out of the fridge. The next time you pour yourself a glass of water from your filtered water pitcher, think about your houseplants and how beneficial it may be to give filtered water on them too.

I’m a member of influencer. I test products before they hit the market or when companies have made a change to their products. Sometimes I’ll give online reviews. I own three PUR faucet water filters and have had two PUR water pitchers over the years. PUR's pitcher designs and technology get better and better each year and the method of simply dropping a water filter into a container or faucet gadget is still the same and downright cool. You can’t get any easier than that.  

Give PUR water filtration systems a try. They’re sold just about at any retail store. Take the test by tasting your tap water, a bottle of water and PUR’s filtered water. You won’t believe how easy and how much money you’ll save by using PUR filters that use MAXION™ Technology instead of using bottle water. Your houseplants are going to thank you too. 



PUR Water Filter Home Test by Arthur Tweedie

Use filtered water for your houseplants.



By removing harmful contaminants, filtered water is better for your plants and soil. Your plants help clean your indoor air. How about treating your plants to good water?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Courtney Love Not Just A Punk Rocker - But A True Flower Child


Flower Arrangements by Courtney Love
Learn How To Arrange Flowers With Love

Courtney Love has a Youtube Channel  and she decided to take her fans with her to her favorite floral shop, 'My Secret Garden' located in Los Angeles for a quick and fun tutorial on how to create floral arrangements. 

No, America's beautiful and musically talented princess of punk isn't quitting her day job and becoming a florist but, I must say she's got some true talent and love for flora. She also wears it best in my opinion. She's an interesting person who definitely brings attention to herself and her endeavors. 

I probably shouldn't even show Courtney and her iconic depiction throughout the years of her wearing flower crowns. She said in an interview with People Magazine (June '14) that 'If I see one more fu*@ing flower crown, I'm going to kick somebody's ass. I'm hoping that I'm a better runner than she.



Besides flower crowns, numerous flower tattoos, and feminine designer clothes, Courtney Love has always had an affinity for flowers. She held arm fulls of flowers at her wedding, fans often toss flower to her at her concerts or appearances,  she's been known to order beautiful and unique flower arrangements from particular florist in the Los Angeles area, photos throughout the years depict her having a few flowers on her person or within her fashion. She's definitely feminine. 

Love has even been sued in 2011 by her favorite florist 'My Secret Garden' for a $4,000.00 outstanding flower bill. No worries, they're BFF's again - Best Favorite Florist. 

Courtney Love adores lovely tulips of all shades.

She loves flowers and her fashion and essence show's just that. When I see Courtney Love with flowers, she reminds me of those old black and white vintage photos of children wearing flower crowns or adoringly holding flowers emanating innocence or youth.  She's no where near innocent, she has her own demons, has hung out with with almost every walk of life and has worn many hats but,  I suspect that flowers often help her get through her day just like gardening helps backyard gardeners, including myself, relieve stress from the daily grind.

Courtney Love's childhood home, Olympia, Washington

“I used to spend a lot of money on flowers,” said Love in Part 1 of her bouquet tutorial. “Not like Elton money, but a lot! Even though she suffers mild allergies, she truly enjoys flora.

Perhaps flowers remind her of her childhood or a memory of once was. Either way, she's a punk rocker, an artist, an actress, a mother, a widow, a philanthropist, an author, a model, a celebrity etc. She has a fondness for flowers which expresses the soft side to her personality. With age she's slowed down and has mellowed a bit but, if you've ever seen Courtney in concert.. . she's still that punk girl from Washington state. 


 


Courtney Love has a diverse list of favorite flowers. She enjoys vibrant color to the dramatic flower as like the purple Hydrangea and hybrid Amnesia Rose


She adores Hybrid Red Carnation and Hyacinth



Dramatic Black Dahlias are fascinating to Courtney Love

A girl after my own heart. I love Succulents too! They're the perfect plant.

Yves Piaget Rose is a signature rose of the florist and gift store 
My Secret Garden located at 5500 W. Franklin Ave., Los Angeles or 1865 Western Ave., Los Angeles.  They also take online orders at MySecretGardenLa.com tele. 323-469-1514

My Secret Garden specifically stocks the Yves Piaget Rose for Courtney Love and Pamela Anderson. 

I always find it interesting whenever I learn about a favorite flower or vegetable of celebrities. It's nice when famous people stop to have a real conversation without trying to endorse products. 

Courtney Love is the real deal. What you see is what you get. I enjoy most of her music and I like that she's unpredictable. She's had to fight hard to get where she's at and she's had to fight even harder to stay where she's at.

It couldn't have been easy to walk in her shoes. It always seems like the worlds was always against her because, of who she was married to. I'm glad that time has softened the memories of her woes and that she has moments of joy through color, texture and flower arranging. 

  

There's no real rules to flower arranging. If someone tells you that there is.. follow your own inspiration and design what you like.