Modern Funky Balcony Planter

TheGardenLady is always scanning the Internet or nurseries for unusual or new gardening items. I just saw a funky new design of pots that cleverly hang on railings. The company that makes these pots is called Greenbo. Check out the website of this company.  These pots would be great for those gardeners who live in an apartment where the only place to garden is a small balcony with railings that are not too thick- not more than 4 inches wide-that you don’t want to or can’t hammer nails in to hold window boxes.  And the design of these pots the advertisement claims is such that they won’t fall off the railings. They better not if they are used on balconies in a high rise apartment. That’s the only thing about the design that makes me a bit nervous. I wish they had a secondary security system. But look at the design to see if they will work for you.

Want to Know What Flora Jesus Saw?

Mount of Olives flora_2197 by hoyasmeg

As this holiday season has been approaching, I have been dreaming that it would be nice to go to the source of the holidays. I am a dreamer.

Then I read this post and saw that there is an Ultimate guide to Christmas in Israel where you can not only see where the events occurred in the Biblical portion of the Christmas holiday but you can also see the flora of the area that Jesus saw when He lived in Israel. And, you can also buy Christmas decorations and see Christmas trees.

Of course, you will probably not have a white Christmas there as you might have in other parts of the world. But since I don’t ski, I wouldn’t mind missing the cold.

If you are Jewish, why not take the kids to Israel to light the menorah or Hanukkiah and spend 8 days admiring the beauty of the country where the Maccabees had their military victory in 165 BCE that gave the Jews in Judea independence for 100 years. Even though Hanukkah is a minor festival, there are many Hanukkah activities in Israel or you can plan your own environmental tour to see the flora and fauna of the country.  See here.

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Israeli Flower Websites

Gorgeous flowers on the hillside of the Hinnom Valley

Purple Flower by WKeown

This April people around the world will be celebrating both Passover and Easter. This year you might like to decorate your house with flowers that Moses or Jesus might have seen or trod on. You may want to buy flowers that are native to or are grown in Israel. If you wonder what flowers are native to Israel and much of the Middle East and what flowers grow in Israel, TheGardenLady thought some websites about Israel’s flowers might be interesting.

One of my favorite sites is called Spring Awakening in Israel.  The homepage says Flowers in Israel, “That they all may blossom in a beautiful world beyond war.” My wish completely. This site gives the Latin name, the English name, the Hebrew name and some have the Arabic name of each of the flowers. It gives the names of the flowers that were in the Bible. From flowers listed as native to Israel, some of the flowers that I believe we might find in our local flower stores to create more authentic bouquets for the holiday table could include Anemones, Madonna Lilies, Jack in the Pulpits, poppies and irises. To walk on the hills of the Galilee in the spring among the red poppies is a sight to remember. Put that on your “bucket list.”*

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Fruit Fantasy – Exotic Fruit From Around The World

tropical fruit world by mralan

Winter is the time when TheGardenLady dreams of delicious freshly harvested fruit. We are lucky to live in an age when we can buy and eat fruit all year long. But between harvesting the fruits in countries like Chile and eating them when one buys them in the Supermarket here in the Northeast during the winter, leaves a lot to be desired, tastewise. Sadly, most fruit sold is tastless.

I recently read a book about people who travel around the world hunting for exotic fruits. The book is called The “Fruit Hunters” by Adam Leith Gollner.  The book is filled with fascinating facts about fruits and about people who are obsessed with finding them. Someone said that there are about 2 trillion different types of food in the world on the 7 continents. Even if there aren’t that many fruits and vegetables, there are just a handful of fresh fruits and vegetables sold in our supermarket with very few fruit choices ( with the new Asian food stores popping up around the country, there are a few more fresh fruits offered for sale.)

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Raising Plants in the Desert

Tomato Plants in the Negev

It may be winter here and across most of the US, but I think back to the terrible drought that Texas and other parts of the Southwest had this past summer and the potential for water problems in these areas and the West in the future.

I recently read an interesting article about new desert technology that is coming out of Israel.  There at the Center for Experiments in Desert Farming “researchers joined with scientists from the Ben-Gurion University, the Vulkani Institute, and the Hebrew University to figure out how to grow tomatoes using brackish water. At the experimental station, organic tomato plants are all irrigated with salt water mixed with floodwater and recycled waste water. Using sophisticated technology, researchers carefully monitor the plants to determine the correct percentage of salt needed for each species to thrive. ” Israel produces “15,000 tons of ‘Desert Sweet’ tomatoes in 250 acres of hothouses in the desert, ranging from organic tomatoes to especially small strains of cherry tomatoes that are sold at a high price to restaurants and hotels throughout the world.”

“In addition to preserving precious freshwater in this thirsty desert region, growing tomatoes with brackish water has a pleasant, if unintended, side effect: as a reaction to the pressure that the salt exerts on its cells, the tomato plants produce more sugar, making their flesh even sweeter than those grown in central and northern Israel.”

At the Yair Agricultural Research Station in Israel’s desert they are using what they call “popcorn” soil which is ” actually a stone that gets heated to 5,000 degrees, causing it to pop and act like a sponge. When wet, it can irrigate the plant continuously and is therefore much more efficient than sand.” In Israel’s desert, “an area with an average rainfall of only 20 millimeters a year, farmers manage to raise 60%” of Israel’s produce for export.”

I think it is important to learn from other country’s successes in agriculture so that we can improve our growing methods. If readers read about new agricultural improvements coming out of other countries, please let the readers of TheGardenLady blog know about them, too. We learn by sharing ideas.