A Great Garden Site: Plants Free For Life


TheGardenLady is fortunate to have her column read by people around the world.  One comment on my post Acid Loving Plants, was from Chris who lives in England. Chris has a lovely free website called Plants Free for Life that I think readers in any country would be happy to discover and read. Chris and his wife are self taught propagators of plants.
What does propagation mean? Nurseries, farms and gardens can get most of their next year’s plants by propagating them. The propagation of plants is chiefly by seeds, check out Caring for Marigolds in the 5/31 archive, but some plants will not breed true from seed and must be propagated by various vegetative methods, depending on the type of the plant, which  includes cutting, layering and grafting.   A propagator has learned ways of propagating different plants.  For a home gardener, propagating your own plants can save lots of money and is fun, too.  With your own propagated plants, you can get together with your friends and have a plant exchange so that your home and garden will enjoy more plants than you ever dreamed of having. Chris’s website will explain how to do the propagation yourself.   

The photo above is of a Fuschia called Anita.  It’s taken from Chris and Alison’s Fuschia Gallery.  If you’d like to use this photo, please contact Chris for permission at chrisecan@btinternet.com. 

Sex Therapy for Cucumbers


TheGardenLady received this question from Jenny.

I am growing lemon cucumber this year for the first time on a trellis in my garden in the Chicago area. I have many plants that are thriving and have dozens of blossoms. My problem is that only one blossom has set fruit so far. The plants get about 8 hours of sun and otherwise look very healthy. I have a newly planted garden bed that I created out of vermiculite, peatmoss, and compost. The Kentucky wonder beans growing on the same trellis are fruiting (I have picked several meals of beans over the last 4 weeks) but the cucumbers are not.

The lemon cucumber is an heirloom cucumber which means that when you get fruit you can save the seeds and plant them next year, they will grow true to the parent.
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Zephyr Zucchini


TheGardenLady received this question from Kelsi.

I have a volunteer zucchini plant that popped up in my garden this year. However it is producing a bicolored zucchini I cannot identify.  It is green on the blossom end and yellow on the vine end.  Any ideas?

How exciting to have a zucchini volunteer. I hope you have tasty zucchinis.
One seed cataloge that has bicolored zucchinis is from the company Johnnyseeds.  Their’s is light green at the blossom end and yellow at the stem end.  It is called Zephyr (F1) Product ID is 2217.  Check out out the catalogue    
TheGardenLady spoke to a friend about bicolored zucchinis. This vegetable gardener spoke about buying hybrid seeds and having some of the seeds in the packet not growing true to labeled form.  Also, when hybrid seeds come back the following year like volunteer plants in your garden or compost, even though the last year’s product was a certain type, that seedling that returned might not grow true to form. Thus the volunteer might turn out to be a bicolor or some strange looking plant or vegetable. Only heritage vegetables will give seeds the following years that will be true to what you expected. 

Dying Topiary


TheGardenLady received this question from Jina:

I have 2 potted spiral trees that I purchased and planted myself 2 summers ago. They have survived extremely cold winters. I have feed and pruned them each spring. I recently noticed some brown limbs and looks like dying. I’m not sure what I have done wrong, and would love some advice on how to care for them back to full recovery. Thanks for your help!

TheGardenLady does not know what type of tree you purchased that is spiraled. Usually the decorative potted spiral trees have been pruned to make it look like a spiral. This kind of pruning is not natural and can cause stress to the tree that was spiraled.
TheGardenLady does not know where you purchased your spiral tree. Trees often do not die immediately when you bring them home. Sometimes it can take a few years before the home gardener sees that the tree is dying.  That is why it is preferable to purchase trees in reputable nurseries – nurseries where the employees know the best way of caring for their merchandise. You might pay more for the plant but it is worth it to get a healthy plant. You can also ask questions when purchasing; for example, you can ask what their policy of return is should the tree die. And you can always return to the nursery where you bought the trees to ask more questions about the trees. Some of the chains that have inexpensive plants buy them cheaply and just water them. They have no idea how to really maintain those plants, so a buyer doesn’t realize that he/she is getting inferior merchandise.  Then when the buyer plants the tree, it might look like it is surviving for a few years only to start dying in the third year.  So you might not have done anything wrong. You might have bought  weak, unhealthy trees.  
Continue reading “Dying Topiary”

Looking for a Beautiful Garden Tour?


One of the things TheGardenLady enjoys is visiting places with plants or plant related material. These include gardens, parks, arboretums, nurseries, farms, flower shows, farmers markets, etc.  These places can be private or public. If TheGardenLady is in the vicinity and the places are open to the public, TheGarden Lady will try to visit. There are so many different types of gardens and each is a work of art. The artist Monet knew this when he created his garden in Giverny, France.   
So how does one find good places to visit? There are numerous ways.
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What Flowering Plant is Good to Grow in a Dorm Room?


TheGardenLady received this question from Scott –

I want to grow some plants in my dorm this coming fall.  I have a spider plant currently in a small pot. I’m looking for something unique that hopefully flowers and smells.  My room will be facing due east.  It will get direct sunlight when the sun is about 30 degrees from the horizon to straight up.  Hopefully I’ll get a planter box for my window sill.  I’m a semi-experienced gardener and feel confident about keeping things alive.

Your confidence and experience will do you well in your growing plants in your dorm room. Eastern exposure is good for many indoor plants, even some flowering plants.
Continue reading “What Flowering Plant is Good to Grow in a Dorm Room?”