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28.2.07

Tips For The Garden Blogger Pt 8

A recent comment and e-mail is prompting this entry from being posted earlier than I had been planning. I had wanted to set some foundations prior to this post and achieve some bench marks I had set for myself prior to my pontificating on this subject. But I'll post anyway... If you're garden blogging or just blogging in general you're probably hoping that you're not just wasting bandwidth and there are people reading what you're blogging about. Maybe you'd heard about blogging and about the fame/notoriety/popularity some blogger had achieved and you're wondering why nobody is visiting your blog. You have just as interesting a blog as anybody else and you're worthy of being noticed, and if you're not there are some things that can/should do to get visits to your blog.

27.2.07

Adenium Obesum Care

Adenium Obesum, also known as Desert Rose, is native to Eastern Africa and Northern Arabia. They like full sun and are very heat tolerant. In the ground it can grow anywhere from 6-12 feet tall, it produces very attractive flowers and it is a popular plant among cacti and succulent collectors for it's unusual trunk.

26.2.07

Cheap Seeds For Your First Garden

I noticed yesterday that Walgreens is having their "ten seed packs for a dollar" sale with the coupon from the sale flyer. The seeds are from American Seed and normally cost 59 cents and span ornamentals to veggies. I tried those seeds last year and I had great germination rates, way better than the more expensive seeds sold at Target under the Sean Conway brand that either didn't germinate or didn't come true to what the packet said they were.

If you're planning on starting your first garden or want to try to grow some veggies without investing a lot of money take advantage of this sale. The huge amounts of marigolds I bought last year really saved my container gardens from looking drab once the tender bulbs had finished blooming.

22.2.07

Amaryllis Pollination

On my other blog I've been posting little gardening tips and tricks and I originally posted this one there but I figured I'd post it here too for visitors who may be looking for information on propagating their Amaryllis bulbs. I started doing it last year and found it to be very easy to do and now have a few seedlings of crosses that I made. But if you only have one Amaryllis you can still propagate it because many will accept their own pollen. I do it one of two ways:  how to pollinate an amaryllis

Garden News Items

The stolen cacti that I blogged about back on Feb 3rd has been recovered and you can read the story details here. I'm glad to hear that they got their cacti back because it meant so much to them.

Also a new tomato plant virus has been discovered in two Arizona gardens. You can read the full story and description to check on your plants here. I'll cross my fingers for all the tomato growers out there.

There are a few other garden or nature related stories on sharing on my blog's side bar. If you have a minute take a look and read up.

21.2.07

Senecio Rowleyanus

Senecio Rowleyanus is one of my favorite succulents because of the interesting leaves. I think I may be a little too stingy with the watering with it at time because I read so much about them being susceptible to rot. I have mine sitting in a west facing window that I would think would not be optimal growing conditions for this plant but it doesn't seem to mind it at all.
Senecio Rowleyanus string of pearls

20.2.07

How To Choose The Right Pot For House Plants

Choosing the right pot for your House Plant is as important as providing the right light and proper watering. If you ask a number of gardeners you'll probably get a variety of responses as to what kind of pot to use. The trick is to take the plant's needs into consideration.

Do you go with a plastic or terracotta pot? what about a glazed pot? Each have their pros and cons and their devotees. I'm an unglazed terracotta kind of guy and once you take some things into consideration you may find you prefer one type of pot or another.

19.2.07

Tips For The Garden Blogger Pt 7

In previous entries to my blog I've blogged about the importance of feeds and provided info on how to set up a feed and how to use feed readers to keep up with your favorite things like blogs. If you've visited my gardening blog recently you've probably noticed some changes in the template design and how some things are laid out. The reason for the changes and additions of things like my feed flares, search boxes the addition of social bookmarking buttons... is I'm attempting to make my gardening blog "Web 2.0"

CITY CURB APPEAL

DESIGNING THE SMALL URBAN FRONT YARD
By Carolyn Gail

Do you have the typical Chicago front yard – over grown or over pruned evergreens that hug your home’s foundation, or my pet peeve, a humongous tree ( usually a Blue Spruce or Magnolia ) completely covering it’s fa├žade and nothing else but a patch of grass ? Or, if it’s a newly constructed house did the builder leave you with a postage stamp size yard, a few shrubs here and there and a tree? Or, no yard at all, just a front stoop?

18.2.07

Real Men Garden Blog

I think I get my appreciation for plants from two places. My grandfather was a gardener who grew mostly fruits and veggies who I swear would garden in anything that would hold a couple of handfuls of soil. He wasn't a very open or kind man he was quite the opposite of those traits. I have no memories of getting butterscotch candies from him, or of him magically finding a quarter behind my ears- but I do have a lot of memories of watching him grow plants.

When he would come to Chicago for extended visits the first thing he would do is find an empty container and go outside and fill it with dirt and plant something. It was usually a seed from a food item he had just eaten which I guess made him an old school frugal gardener. If he visited in the winter he'd start seeds that needed stratification in empty coffee cans, milk cartons and when he'd be back in the spring the plants would be ready for him. I hardly ever remember him smiling except when he was looking at his seedlings sprouting or a plant of his in bloom.

17.2.07

Urban Gardening

Gardening within the confines of a city can be daunting and heartbreaking and annoying and messy and did I mention annoying? We have to work with less ground than our counterparts in the suburbs and rural areas. Where they can measure in acres we have to resort to measuring in feet. And sometimes we don't even have square footage to garden in. If you're container gardening then we're talking about inches and everyone should shed a tear for urban gardeners who only have a windowsill to grow something on.

15.2.07

Aloe Vera Houseplant Care

Aloe vera or what is commonly cared "burn plant" is one of the easiest succulents to grow. I consider it the Ficus of the succulent world because it's grown everywhere. I'm never surprised to see it sitting in windows of homes, restaurants and shops near me. From my readings of various gardening forums and results that bring people to my gardening blog I am surprised just how much trouble people have growing it. It's an easy houseplant.

"Why is my Aloe Vera dying?"

Caring for your Aloe vera houseplant can be very easy if you take into consideration where the plant comes from and what the conditions are that will make this houseplant thrive. This plant is native to the Mediterranean and that's an important clue to successfully grow this houseplant. It comes from a hot, dry and sunny area-so give it heat, sun and don't water it so much. Resist the urge to water it every time you walk past your Aloe vera-your plant will thank you.

14.2.07

The Friendly Local Retailer Myth.

All "friendly local retailers", are local but not all "friendly local retailers" are friendly. I was just over on GVs catching up with various gardening blogs when I came across an entry by Trey, owner of The Golden Gecko Garden Center. On his blog (thegoldengecko.blogspot.com) he's criticizing Home Depot for their latest ad campaign that tries to brand HD as the "friendly local retailer." I'm not sure Trey has much to worry about because I don't think anyone will ever really buy into the idea, but what I don't agree with is how he puts local retailers on a pedestal.

Days Ago Counter-Uses For The Gardener

A week or so ago I tuned into Oprah because she was having a "Moms to Millionaires" episode where average women went from home makers - to- millionaires. I love watching those types of shows because you always think; "Gee, I could of thought of that" and then kick yourself for not having invented something so simple. Probably the best example was the mother that "invented" sticking trinkets into the holes of the sandals her daughters were wearing.

13.2.07

I Did It. I Hacked My Blogger Template!

Yesterday afternoon I had a bit of an epiphany. In the last entry to this blog I mentioned coming across Annie's blog and my desire to have a 3 column template but being afraid to go ahead. She directed me to an already hacked template and I tried it but there was something wrong with the links in that template. So I read Annie's blog and some others and managed to add the third column myself. I'm very pleased with my results.

10.2.07

Tips For The Garden Blogger Pt6

If you think the Blogger template has some limitations and wish you could make changes you're in luck. I've spent the past couple of days searching Google for "Blogger hacks" and "Blogger beta hacks" and have come across a mountain of information and cool changes you can do to your Blogger template. Most are really useful and worth looking into but I'm really HTML impared or maybe I'm more scared than anything.

Who's The Boss?

Ever get the feeling that you're being used. I'm sure I'm not the first person to come to this conclusion but it dawned on me today while posting an entry on propagating an Amaryllis that we're nothing more than insects with opposable thumbs. Plants are in charge.


9.2.07

Forever Flowers

During the last growing season I was recruited to help a neighbor in her garden. She'd seen what I had been doing with the front yard and she must have figured it was an opportunity to get her hands on some free help.

8.2.07

Amaryllis Minerva-The Wait Is Over!

In this previous entry to my garden blog I posted about waiting on this particular Amaryllis to bloom. Today the wait was finally over as it decided to bloom for me and allowed me to snap a few pictures of it. Amaryllis Minerva

6.2.07

"What Do You Want From Me..."

Just over a year ago I was given this Haworthia by a GW member by the name of Cactus Cathy in a trade. Since that time this little pup has become kind of a sore point for me.

Hurry Up, Alredy!

Possibly the worst part, for me at least, about growing Amaryllis bulbs is the time it takes for the flowers to open up. I've been waiting on this particular Amaryllis bulb to unfurl it's flowers for three days now.

4.2.07

"Love Love Marimo"

Back in August of '05 I wanted to be part of the Japanese fad of growing cacti on your key chains. But we're in '07 now and I'm onto something completely different, this time I want a Marimo. I'm sure I'd be the only one on my block with one. :0)

"What's a Marimo?"


Well, really it's just an algae that grows in a spherical shape but they're kept as "pets" in fish tanks. Click the image for a larger view and notice the two green balls. I took the screen capture from this website where you can learn more about Marimo. I guess they're the pet rocks of the plant lover world and I want one-actually I'd like a whole colony of them growing in a fish tank like in these images from Google.

You can learn more about the classification, nomenclature and growth habits of Marimo on Wikipedia.

Update:
I just purchased one. You can see the new post at Marimo, Japanese Moss Ball.

Gloriosa superba 'Rothschildiana'

I grew this plant for the first time this past spring and fell in love with them because of the unusually shaped flowers and the plant's climbing habit. It was a big conversation piece in my garden and as was the case with anything I really loved this spring it was subject to theft and damage from the neighbor's foul balls that landed in the garden. Some people grow this plant as a houseplant and after growing it in the garden I can understand the allure.


3.2.07

Have You Seen This Cacti?

Look closely at the Cacti in this picture. It was stolen from Pancho Villa's Restaurant (1625 Sir Francis Drake Blvd Fairfax, CA) and is valued at $5,000.00 But I think that aside from the monetary value it has sentimental value as it was planted in the mid-1970s by Jose Luis Velasquez who worked as a bartender at the restaurant and passed away two years ago. The owner of the restaurant, and cacti, Kelly Medina is offering a reward for the return of her stolen cacti. She's offering a "sumptuous feast" in exchange for information leading to the return of her beloved cacti.

Is there a worst kind of thief than a plant thief? There probably is but it has to rank right up there next to baby candy theft and I'm hoping that the person(s) responsible for this theft weren't cacti and succulent enthusiasts.

2.2.07

Tips For The Garden Blogger Pt5

Do you wonder what those orange squares (chicklets) that are on blogs and sites that you visit? Wonder no more feedburner writes an explanation here about what they are and why they're so useful.

They're not only for big media companies or large websites they're also for garden bloggers like you and I. You can use them to allow people who come across your blog to subscribe and keep up-to-date with your blog from their favorite home page.

Do-It-Yourself Garden Design-Virtual Garden

On Monday I was cleaning out my favorites folder and came across a link I had forgotten about. It's the Virtual Garden from the BBC website. I had a problem using the program on the website but I downloaded it and it worked fine for me that way.

It gives you the ability to sketch out your gardening space and design your own garden by planting trees, bulbs, annual and perennials and placing garden items like benches in your design. The plant selection is limited but I can't really complain because the program is free and you can see your design in 3D and move around your virtual garden like it was a video game complete with fluttering butterflies.