March 26th, 2015

VIDEO: A 900 Calorie Cocktail? What’s in Your Drink?

When out for dinner and drinks, people may not be paying attention to calorie counts in drinks. But perhaps they should be, MarketWatch’s Charles Passy says. Photo: Red Lobster

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March 25th, 2015

How to Make a Butterfly Garden

Have you ever wanted to make your own butterfly garden, but didn’t know where to start? Or had so much trouble finding plant information for your region that it just didn’t seem worth it? What’s the difference between nectar flowers and host plants? What is a “butterfly puddle” and why do you need it? Is a butterfly bush really the best way to attract butterflies to your yard?

Butterfly gardens can be intimidating, but they don’t need to be.

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March 24th, 2015

VIDEO: SEAT dives into sustaining the environment

Closing the tap when we wash our hands or using a low-flow toilet in the bathroom are two examples of habits people have recently been adopting to conserve this precious resource. But water conservation also depends largely on businesses being sensitised to the issue. In dealing with this concern, over the last four years SEAT has managed to reduce the amount of water needed to make a car by 15%. The company consumed a little over 1,400,000 m3 of water in 2014, which is equivalent to the needs of a city with a population of 35,000 people. This was made possible by using the most efficient technologies in the production processes involved in making cars. “The water is prepared in the best quality conditions and with low salt content to reduce consumption, and we also recover the water used in cleaning operations”, explains Francesc Vila, the Environmental Officer at SEAT.

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March 20th, 2015

Butterflies Need YOUR Help

Everyone knows about the plight of butterflies, especially the Monarch butterfly. Did you know that the Monarch butterfly population has dwindled by over 90%?

How would you like to Help Save the Monarch Butterfly by Becoming a Butterfly Hero? By pledging to be a butterfly hero, you could win a trip for 4 to Disney World. To learn all about how to become a Butterfly Hero go to the National Wildlife Federation website.

Please help save these beautiful butterflies and get all your family and friends to help, too. If enough people become butterfly heroes perhaps we will see the beautiful Monarchs filling our gardens, yards and parks, etc. once again.

March 17th, 2015

VIDEO: 3 Tips To Make Flowers Last Longer

Extend the life of your blooms with these easy tricks

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March 5th, 2015

What to plant when the weather is so fickle

Spring is almost here- but most Americans will look out  their windows to just see snow. There is the old saying that tells gardeners to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day or the first day of Spring. If there is snow and ice on the ground or the soil is still frozen, what is a gardener supposed to do?

Well, one can start planting seeds indoors (see here), which might be the best option. Since peas really need cool weather to grow, hopefully the snow will soon melt and your ground will thaw and as soon as that happens, you will be ready and able to plant the seeds outdoors or transplant the seedlings you started indoors to give the plants the coolness they need.

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March 3rd, 2015

Capsula Mundi: Which trees are best for your egg-shaped burial pods?

Recently people have been telling TheGardenLady of a new and exciting burial concept. Two Italian designers want to  make cemeteries more eco-friendly by replacing headstones with trees. They call their concept “Capsula Mundi,” and it aims to replace coffins with egg-shaped burial pods.  On top of the pods they will plant a tree so that instead of a field of gravestones, there will be a lovely forest. This is still in the concept stage.

TheGardenLady finds this concept interesting but wants to find out which trees would be chosen to be planted. After all, trees like humans have a life span. All trees live a finite number of years. Some trees only live about 50 years.  For example, if you want a flowering tree it might not live very long. One of the longest lived flowering trees is a magnolia grandiflora that has lived only about 120 years, Of course for it to live this long it has to be planted in the proper location. (see here)

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February 10th, 2015

Garden Dreaming

Winter may not be the time for gardening outdoors in most of the country, but it is the time of year to start dreaming about plants and gardens by getting seed catalogs in the mail or going to flower shows or going to garden symposiums and lectures.

One website that claims they list over 500 Garden shows in the US in 2015 and also tells you where to get tickets is this.

A good website to find 70 free seed and plant catalogs is this.

Every botanical garden in the country and most of the great gardens have outstanding lectures on plants, horticulture, gardening, you name it related to your garden or indoor plants. Check their list of programs to see if there is a talk that interests you. Wikipedia has a list of the major botanical gardens and arboretums in the US. You can then go on the website of the place that interests you or find their phone number to call to see what talks or garden programs they will be having in 2015.

Happy garden dreaming.

February 9th, 2015

A Sick Peace Lily

TheGardenLady received this question from Mary.

I have a diseased plant. I believe it’s a peace lily. It was given to my family after my grandmother passed away and once it became diseased my mother wanted to throw it out but I wanted to try to save it; so I brought it to my house in San Diego. Do you have any suggestions on how I can save it? Almost every leaf is dark and wilted, starting from the tip and moving to toward the root. The part that meets with the soil is turning yellow. Can I send a picture?

TheGardenLady knows how meaningful it is to try to keep something that is inherited from a beloved relative. And plants are treasured for those dear memories. So of course, you can send a photo of your plant. A photo can often help more as a diagnostic tool than just a verbal description.

But even better than sending the photo to TheGardenLady, is to take your plant to your local Master Gardener office for them to see the plant and, hopefully, to recommend a way of saving it. This is a free service with people trained in horticulture who work as a group to diagnose this very type of problem. Here is the website of the San Diego Master Gardeners with a telephone number to call and ask a good time to bring your plant in.

Though Peace Lilies, Spathiphyllum, are quite hardy and easy to grow, they do get some diseases like root rot and bacterial soft rot.

Therefore, even without seeing your plant, this Garden Lady would suggest your taking the plant out of the soil it is in and seeing if there is root rot. If there is, cut the rotten root out till you see healthy root- hope it is not too late. Cut back dead leaves but leave any healthy looking leaves or even green segments of leaves. Wash off any remaining soil left on the root and wash the leaves using cool water.  Then re-pot the lily in either a soil-less potting mix or a regular soil-based potting mix that you can buy in any store or make your own soil. It is important that the soil drains well. Directions for soil (here).  Water the soil and give the plant some fertilizer. Never water too much because the Peace Lily plants hate being in soggy ground. Do not give too much fertilizer because these plants prefer getting their nutrition from good soil – directions for this type of fertilizer and watering instructions are also in the article.

If you grow the Peace lily indoors, put the newly re-potted plant in BRIGHT INDIRECT light – that means no sun shining on them.  If you grow the plant outdoors, it likes moist but well-drained hummus-rich soil in shade.

If your Peace lily does have a disease, the Master Gardeners will tell you and will recommend a fungicide.

Good luck. I hope it is not too late to save your grandmother’s plant.

January 20th, 2015

Growing Mushrooms Indoors

While it is now winter but many gardeners are itching to see something grow indoors. There is something that anyone, a student in the classroom or in a dorm room or an adult at home or at her desk at work can grow at any time of the year. And that is mushrooms.

Mushrooms need a warm indoor climate and water. Companies sell the kits and all you do is follow directions. Of course, it is a bit pricier than shopping for your mushrooms in your local grocery store. But grocery shopping does not seem like as much fun as ordering a kit for growing mushrooms, following directions on how to open the package and water the growing mushrooms and watching them grow and harvesting your mushrooms in 10 days or less. Then you can enjoy your own gourmet treat with the freshest mushrooms. If you are lucky, you can grow a second batch from the same kit.

Where do you get the mushroom kits? A few suggestions to check out are:

Back to the Roots

Midwest Grow Kits

Park Seed Co.

Fungi Perfecti

Peaceful Valley Grow Organic

Have fun all you budding fungologists or mycologists.