How Much Light Does A Bonsai Tree Need?

Cotoneaster by OpenEye (on flickr)
Cotoneaster by OpenEye (on flickr)

If you bought a Bonsai  tree you might wonder, as one of my readers did, how much light it needs. The amount of light needed for aBonsai tree depends on the species. When you buy a Bonsai or create one, you should have directions on the amount of light it needs. If your bonsai flourishes better outdoors, pick a spot that provides six or more hours of sunlight. Though Juniper bonsai tree needs filtered or shaded light. You must allow your Juniper bonsai to get low intensity morning sunlight when possible and avoid the direct afternoon sunlight. Indoor bonsai need two to four hours of natural light near a  window, or artificial light.

Because Bonsai trees are artificially created, they need special care and you should ask a specialist to advise you on the care of your particular bonsai.

Do You Have An Ant Problem? Try Terro Liquid Ant Baits

A new, excellent product to get rid of ants.

It is spring and the insects are starting to emerge. Ants are starting to come into the kitchen or you might find them in other parts of the house. TheGardenLady recently learned of a product that is excellent at killing a wide variety of ants. This product is called Terro Liquid Ant baits.

No, TheGardenLady does not make any money from telling you about this product. I just learned that this is a really good way to get rid of ants if they come into your house. And the baits are relatively safe; just not safe for the ants. Terro makes other products that kill ants or other insects, but TheGardenLady was only told about how good the liquid ant baits are. One of the sources who recommended the baits was from a lady in Texas.

Terro recommends that you ID the ants first because it works on many kinds of ants but doesn’t work on all types of ants. They said that you can send some of the ants to Terro to identify them. I know that you can also take some of your ants to your local Master Gardener office or Agricultural Extension Office to be ID’d.

Terro is NOT for termites. So be sure that what you see swarming are not Termites.  Again, go to the MG office or send them to the Terro company for identification. (If you have termites you will need a professional exterminator.) Terro will answer questions if you email them.

The Nature of Glass: Chihuly Exhibit at Desert Botanical Garden outside Scottsdale


TheGardenGirls – two 7th grade girls, one of whom is the granddaughter of TheGardenLady – were in Scottsdale over Spring Break.  They decided they were going to be photojournalists when they visited the Desert Botanical Garden, which is hosting an exhibit by the world famous glass  artist Dale Chihuly.  The exhibit lasts until May 31st of 2009.  You definitely shouldn’t miss it.  It’s wonderful.

You can visit Chihuly’s site here.  Before you go please check out TheGardenGirls’ photos here, and let them know what you think.   Just click on a photo and it will enlarge.


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Dividing Dicentra Spectabilis

Bleeding Heart / Dicentra Spectabilis by bill barber (flickr)
Bleeding Heart / Dicentra Spectabilis by bill barber (flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question.

I have a huge Bleeding heart plant the I would like to divide. I see buds coming out about the size of a pinky nail. Is it too late to divide? I am afraid of killing it.

The correct time to divide Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis is in September. At that time the plant is going dormant. Now in the spring, the plant wants to send forth flowers and is putting its energy into flowering. You may not kill the plant which is fairly hardy, but you may prevent the Bleeding Heart from flowering this year. The fringed-leaf varieties divide nicely early in spring while they are emerging.

Read this about the Bleeding Heart plant.

Earth Hour and Earth Day

Earth Day Embrace by jurvetson
Earth Day Embrace by jurvetson

Mark these dates on your Calendar: March 28th and April 22nd

Gardeners are wonderful people. The reason is that they are not only beautifying their own environment but are also beautifying the earth. And they are helping and protecting the earth. Gardeners give back by planting and by composting. Gardeners are nurturers, nurturing the earth.

But, sadly, there aren’t enough of us. The earth is becoming sick.

Two organizations that are trying to help the earth heal are Earth Hour and Earth Day. TheGardenLady thinks that her readers know about these organizations; but is writing this column just in case some don’t. Earth Hour is an international organization. TheGardenLady hopes Earth Day will become more internationally recognized.

TheGardenLady wants her readers, in all parts of the world, to spread the word about Earth Hour and Earth Day and what they are doing. Spread the word to family including children, friends and acquaintances. And, I hope, you will personally get involved in their activities.

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TerraCycle – The Worm Poop People

In case readers have not yet heard of TerraCycle, Inc., the fantastic Ecofriendly company in NJ that makes the most wonderful fertilizer from worm droppings – they are the Worm Poop people, TheGardenLady wants to tell you about them. Please check out their website.

Many TV programs have not only been talking about TerraCycle Inc.’s fertilizer but recently they have had many featured stories about TerraCycle’s newest Ecofriendly endeavor- recycling your trash.

TerraCycle wants some of your trash to help keep this trash out of landfills and are recycling this trash into new and useful products. TerraCycle wants you to recycle your old soil / fertilizer bags, your old chip bags, your old yogurt containers along with many other items by giving it to them. One place you can take these items to is Home Depot (see here) who will ship them to Terracycle and Terracycle will re-use/recycle them and donate money to a local charity. When you visit the Terracycle website you can learn the place nearest to you to take your trash to be recycled.

Visit the Terracycle web site to see the large list of other items they accept.

Virtual Tours of Gardens

It is fun to start planning your garden now, before the real work of doing the actual gardening. But how does one begin?

A great way to plan one’s own garden is to visit beautiful gardens. Beautiful gardens can be private or public gardens. Sometimes one can join a docent led tour where you can ask questions. Get the 2009 Garden Conservancy book to know the dates some private garden tours are open in your area.

Even without a tour guide, good gardens usually have labels telling the names of the plants. When the plant  (tree, shrub or flower) is happy, it will grow. So take notes of the plant’s environment. Are the plants you want growing in the sun or in partial or full shade. Good horticulturists will have the plant growing in its ideal environment.

When you come home you can start doing research about the plants you have chosen by going to your local library, by going on-line, by reading plant catalogs or asking questions of horticulturists, plant enthusiasts or when you go to nurseries to purchase the plants.

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in Bryn Mawr


Carolyn’s Shade Garden

I first learned about Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in Bryn Mawr, PA, when a friend told me that the only plants Carolyn sold were really great quality. With that recommendation, I had to visit this garden. TheGardenLady’s garden is primarily a shade garden with huge sycamore trees. What could be better than to find excellent plants that thrive in a similar location? I went to this nursery and was delighted to see the lovely display gardens in the shade all happily in bloom. Many of the plants that were for sale had been dug out of these pretty gardens. And all the plants came with advice from their owner, Carolyn.


So this is another nursery that TheGardenLady decided to tell the readers about. As I wrote in another post, “People who love flowers and plants seem to be some of the nicest people on this planet. They love what they are doing and are generous with their knowledge”

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The Silk Tree – Albizia Julibrissin

Photo taken by pizzodisevo

When TheGardenLady bought her property in the 1970s, one of the trees on the grounds was the tree Albizia julibrissin commonly called the Silk tree, Mimosa tree or Silky acacia. Who can resist the lovely feathery pink flowers? Butterflies, bees and birds are attracted to the flowers that seem to bloom almost all summer on the 20 to 30 ft tall trees.

The tree is not native to the US; it is from Asia and Africa. It was brought to the US as an ornamental tree in 1745 and is still sold in some plant nurseries. It grows in Zones 6 through Zone 9 with reports of its living in Zone 5 (though the coolness of this zone makes it a struggle to keep alive ).

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