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#36305 - 01/08/04 07:49 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
Vicki M. Taylor Offline
Member

Registered: 01/06/03
Posts: 2196
Loc: Tampa, FL
RE: the Christmas Cactus. When I returned home from vacation this week, I went through all the saved newspapers. (I love to read the paper and cut out any articles that might give me an idea for a story later) ... anyway, I found an article on the Christmas Cactus in the Garden section.

Here are some fun facts:
1. it's native to the South American rain forest
2. Even though it's a cactus it has no thorns
3. Once it receives 12 - 16 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day, buds form
4. Their flower colors range from lavender, fuchsia, orange, red, and white

Now, here are some gardening facts:
1. keep them in bright cool location
2. keep the soil moist, but not soggy
3. don't fertilize until growth begins in the Spring
4. You can start new cactuses by taking stem sections of two or three segments and sticking them in porous, moist potting soil or sand. They root quickly.

How to get your Cactus to bloom?
1. Once temperatures stay above freezing, move your cactus outside for Spring and Summer. Keep it in an area that is shaded, expecially in the afternoon. Feed with a dilute water soluble fertilizer every other time you water.
2. About the first of October place it in an area where it will receive no light for about 12 hours each afternoon and night.
3. Buds should start to develop around the first of November and begin opening between Thanksgiving and Christmas

I hope that bit of info helps for getting your cactuses to bloom this coming Holiday season!

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#36306 - 01/12/04 05:01 AM Re: gardening...ahhh
DJ Offline
Member

Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 1149
Loc: Ohio
I had a beautiful Christmas cactus that bloomed every year, and I did nothing to it. I went away for a week or so, and no one watered it when I was gone, so that was the end of it.
It's been in the single digits here for the past few days. But today I went to a Md. Horticultural Society lecture by Kurt Blumel. Maryland is blessed with a great climate for gardening -- we can grow a huge variety of things. Kurt Blumel, originally from Czechoslovakia, then Switzerland, came here 40 years ago and started a nursery for perennials. Back then, there were so few perennial plants available on the market. In fact, to any of you who've been gardening for any length of time, you know that even in the late 80s and early 90s there wasn't the enormous variety we now have.
Blumel's nursery (in Harford County) hybridized hundreds of plants. He's the one who popularized ornamental grasses, for one thing.
Anyway, it was great to look at slides of gardens. He didn't have a whole lot of info that was new to me, but I was happy to hear him compare gardening to painting -- Before starting my garden design business 14 years ago, I painted portraits.
He also said that it was better to buy plants than to save money (of course he would -- this is his business) and that gardens are never finished, that you always need to practice.
Garden design is all about unexpected combinations of colors, shapes, textures...

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#36307 - 01/12/04 04:23 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
DJ...I didn't know that was your type of business. How interesting! Got any tips for someone who has a blank back yard? What a great business to be in...I know it takes a lot of time and hard work, but I have always thought it would be so wonderful to work with plants and gardening all the time. How long have you been in this business and how did you get started in it, if you don't mind my asking?

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#36308 - 01/12/04 06:37 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
DJ Offline
Member

Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 1149
Loc: Ohio
Happy to talk about it! For me it's a side business because there's not enough of it around here to pay the bills. For my partner who's always been a full time mom, it's her only business, but my situation has been rockier than hers.
Basically we're two friends who love to garden and always gave out free advice and our overgrown perennials to friends, who usually killed the plants and ignored the advice. So we figured if we made them pay for it, they'd take us seriously. And voila!
We've both been gardening since at least the early 1970s. I'm from the north, she's from the south, so we both know different sorts of plants. We put ads in the paper, and leafletted neighborhoods, to broadcast about our services. But see, we didn't want to do the backbreaking dirty work -- we do the design and they have to hire the landscapers. So we had to find experts in perennials (who are quite rare) to work in tandem with us. We found a couple of gems who loved our designs and our ideas, and they became our biggest supporters. In fact one of them got so that he refused to do any planting for anyone until they contacted "the girls" as he calls us.
for your blank back yard, I can offer you guidelines. Start with two things: what you love, and what you need. Do you need shade, privacy, erosion control, anti-critter material, lounging space? Do you want color, ease of maintenance, whatever. What plants do you have to have? what do you hate?
Then think of your yard as a pallette, and you're going to paint a 3-D design, like a painting you can walk through that changes with the seasons. Now here's where you need to observe plant habits, and I've never been to Alabama so I'm not quite sure what you've got down there (though my Great Uncle Charlie lived in Bayou LaBatre). You need to know the heights and the needs of the plants. Maybe start small, like a border against the back fence. Don't make it too narrow -- should be at least 6 feet deep, or deeper if you use shrubs. And think of broad areas of color and shape, not single itty-bitty plants.
Hey, I could go on, but I think I hear some snoring...

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#36309 - 01/12/04 07:04 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
not from this end you don't! How interesting and so much so, that I am printing this out for my advice. How much do I owe ya? Thank you so much for sharing all of this and your background as well. I envy you the occupation as I think it would be something the Queen here could really sink her shovel into. I love the earth. I love smelling it, playing in it, and watching it give me beautiful plants and things. We are fortunate down here that we can grown just about anything. Not that you asked, but two of my favorite things is
1) Hastas
2) Clamatus vines

I probably misspelled both of those but I bet you know what I'm talking about. I want to eventually build a writing haven for me in my backyard and would love to have it surrounded by vines, hastas, daylilies, and impatients...course all of this is right after Ed McMann comes a calling...sigh...

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#36310 - 01/12/04 11:13 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
DJ Offline
Member

Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 1149
Loc: Ohio
Forget Ed McMann. I got into vegetable gardening in order to eat cheap (used to start everything by seed in January). I even used to harvest seed heads from annuals growing in other people's yards -- marigolds, zinnias, hollyhocks. For years didn't spend a dime on plants. I've dug up daffodils, lily of the valley, peonies and daylilies in construction sites, where they were going to tear down houses, and transplanted them to my yard.
The good thing about hostas and daylilies is that they're so prolific that you may be able to locate people in your area who'd be willing to share their divisions with you. People are generally proud of their own plant selections, and you have to divide perennials sooner or later. Maybe in exchange for help weeding or something. You can find enough varieties of daylilies that you could have them blooming all season (though I don't know what that means in Alabama). And they can do sun and shade. Hostas are wonderful too, though of course they usually prefer shade except for the Sum and Substance (a gigantic yellow leaved one) and the Plantiginea (with a fragrant, white flower that's good as a cut).
Look at your yard and imagine a shape for your garden. maybe the back is straight against the fence. But think of a few curves in the front. Do you have grass that you plan to keep? Don't make the curves too complicated. Sometimes people take a garden hose and move it around until they find a pleasing line.
You'll generally want to put the tallest things in back, and the shortest in the front -- that makes sense, right? Dianthus are great in front (miniture carnation like plants). their leaves are gray green and would contrast well with the daylilies (i.e., hemerocallis).
Okay, so along with the hostas and the daylilies, you need something evergreen. Down by you, maybe the dianthus leaves will last all winter. You'd have to ask at a good garden center. Also you ought to add some sort of "skeleton" like a few shrubs. Sometimes you'll find shrubs that are even shorter than the perennials. For instance, I have a lilac that's only about a foot tall! In the sun, (though they can also stand some shade) we like to use spirea "little princess" because it blooms a long time. And lacecap hydrangeas which are lovely. In a sunny spot, you could use a creeping juniper, like a "shore juniper."
When you're thinking of what to put with the daylilies, think about their leaf shape -- what would look good against those spade like leaves? How about peonies? They have a wonderful sculptural shape. If you have enough space, use clumps of 2 or 3, though 1 can look nice too.
And hostas themselves have so many different shapes and colors, but generally they have those big sort of round leaves. Think of leaf shapes that contrast with that -- we use carex, which is a sedge (grassy and spiky). Remember that the leaves last longer than the flowers, so generally you design with the leaves in mind.
If you have stones in your yard, then think about making a patio out of them. sometimes you can go to quarries and get free stones that are irregularly shaped. I made a path out of round river stones alternated with little flat stones, like a mosaic. It was free, but it's tough to weed sometimes.
Oh, and the clematis -- of course there are all kinds of those too, that bloom in spring and fall. You can make a simple pergola out of two by twos and two by sixes. I copied a Chinese design, very simple, and built a trellis and a pergola with that design. I have autumn clematis covering the pergola (the pergola is a trellis that you can walk through) and grapes. Right now on the trellis I have a honeysuckle.
I'm just rhapsodizing now, dreaming of spring...

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#36311 - 01/12/04 11:37 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Wow DJ! What great information. My backyard is almost a perfect square and yes, I do intend to have a screened in porch at some point so I probably should just block off for the patio (a visual for me) and that leaves the back and one side. Almost like the number 9 if you will. Of course there is the outside of the fence too. I have thought about putting day lily plants all around the fence since they bloom so long around here. I have some hummingbird vine seed that my sister gave me a while back. I have it in a baggy. Do you think it is still good? You have really given me a lot of help and I appreciate it. I feel like I am learning from the Master. How cool!

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#36312 - 01/13/04 01:48 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
DJ Offline
Member

Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 1149
Loc: Ohio
You are too kind.
I'm not familiar with the common name "hummingbird vine." do you know the Latin name by chance?
Well, if it's still alive, it's still good. YOu may as well try it.

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#36313 - 01/13/04 04:25 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
The Latin name? Hummingbirda Vina....isn't that right? You just add a 'A' on the end of it? [Roll Eyes]

Ok..ok...I'll ask my sis if she knows cause I don't have a clue... [Big Grin]

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#36314 - 01/13/04 07:42 PM Re: gardening...ahhh
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Jawjawa, youa area soa funnya! [Big Grin]

Hey too bad you don't live around here, because I happen to know this DJ and she designed my garden. [Big Grin] She's also my Friday morning walking buddy. [Wink]

When she was talking about picturing your space as a pallette, that's exactly what she did with the side of our house and it's beautiful. I told her the colors I liked, (pinks, yellows, blues, greens, no reds) the plants and flowers I liked and disliked and she took it from there.

Many of the flowers she suggests are in my garden, planted in the perfect spot, flourishing like you just can't imagine.

SHe designed it, my nephew, his girlfriend, and I planted it (my nephew did all the bullwork of pulling out all the English Ivy that had been there, took him days) and all I do is take care of it, and I get all the compliments from the people who walk by. DJ doesn't even get to hear that. Though I have dropped her name and suggested her services! [Wink]

When you look at the gardens in different seasons there is color spread about just like a painting.

Can you tell I love it? [Big Grin] Plus she took into account the fact that I like to cut and bring them in and share with others. Ohhh, it's such a blessing!

And I mean if you lived here, I'm dividing and I'd love to share with you! I have a few things in my garden that were either gifts from friends or dug up from their gardens and replanted in mine. It's fun and then it takes on mew meaning!

I also have a pink azalea, and some heather in there that friends gave me when my mom died. [Wink]

I'm rambling, but just want you to know that you are gettin gprofessional advice and you should take it free of charge. [Big Grin]

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