Archive for October, 2007

Plants on Sale!

I was out running errands today and I found some stellar garden steals. I got a Mexican Heather for a $1.00 at Lowes. I also found some coleus’ on sale at Walmart for only 2.00. The plants were huge, probably around 2 feet tall. I got a pretty chartreuse green one, a bright purple/green one, and a dark purple one. I’m going to set them out on my patio and collect cuttings from it to propagate and grow them in the spring. I suspect that Walmart is trying to clear all their summer annuals for more of the fall perennials and annuals. Lucky me!

I also found a large Christmas cactus with white flowers. There were three plants in the pot and I’m contemplating separating them into individual pots after they bloom. I’ll, of course, propagate these during the winter months for fun, but I’ll wait until after it blooms to do that. I also got an ornamental pepper plant on sale too. It was I think $1.40 and it had the cutest little yellow peppers on them. I might just let one of them mature to collect the seeds and see if I can start them under my lights.

I also got some coleus seeds at Lowes to see if I can start some this winter. I’ll use them as houseplants to brighten up our little place.

I got my seeds that I ordered from Groco Seeds. They are the best place to get seeds that are at a reasonable price. This time I ordered some celery seeds, lamb’s ear, lemon balm, coleus, and lemon basil. I’ve ordered from them before and the quantity you get for the price is great! They come in plastic bags so you can see how many seeds you have. Groco actually tells you how many seeds you’ll get and they definitely give you that number plus more! I can’t say enough nice things about them!

This morning, I was busy cleaning up my new garden. We moved into a one bedroom apartment with a decent size backyard when we got married but the only problem is: it is full of weeds! It has a ton of grass weeds all over the place. It was too much to hand pick the weeds so I tilled the ground and started throwing clumps of grass into the corner of the backyard. I’ll use that side as my compost pile. I want to plant some peas, beans and radishes before it gets too cold here. Those are frost-tolerant veggies so they’ll be fine with some cover. The last frost is expected to be in the middle of November but it’s been so warm I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come at the end of November or beginning of December.

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Plant Shopping Spree…Yippee!

These are the grape hyacinth bulbs I’m forcing. I’ve never tried forcing before so I thought I’d give it a try. Most of the websites I’ve looked at say it is pretty simple. I got the glass jars at a dollar store (2 for a dollar) and also the pebbles. I placed the pebbles in the bottom and poured tap water until it reached the top of the pebbles. I put the bulbs on top of the rocks and waited. This picture is at 6 days and it looks great. After it gets a little bigger, I’ll put them under my grow lights until they bloom. Wish me luck!

Anywho, to make-up for lost time, I went on a shopping spree and got some more houseplants! It all began with my wish to do two things: 1. Get more coleus to grow as a houseplant and 2. Get a plant for my living room. First, I went to Osh to find another houseplant that would complement and balance my spider plant that I have next to my tv. To no avail, there was none that fit the bill. I then went to Lowes and found that they were putting most of their houseplants on clearance to clear up room in the store for all the Christmas decorations. So, I picked up an African Violet with white flowers for only $1.00, some potting soil, compost, and two hanging baskets.

I then went to Target and I found some 6-packs of coleus so I bought two of those. I got the wizard mix pack. I potted several of them in a hanging basket and they look gorgeous! (click on the image for a larger pic)

I then went to Wal-mart and found a plant that was perfect for my living room: a dark green pepperoma, but as I was leaving the garden center, a big pot of vincas (aka periwinkle) caught my eye and it was on clearance for $4.00 so I, of course, bought it along with the pepperoma! All in all, I had a great day of plant shopping. The first is the pepperoma and the second is the vincas.

Pepperoma Plant


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Ivy and Boxwood Cutting Experiment

Since I have more time on my hands, I’ve been hopelessly devoted to cleaning up my garden and adding new plants to our apartment. This includes propagating some plants I’ve been wanting to try like ivy and boxwood. My apartment complex has the best landscaping. We have geraniums flourishing at every parking entrance, tulips and bearded irises sprinkled across the apartments, hydrangeas popping up everywhere, rose bushes, ivy, boxwoods, and even an Olive tree which is oddly placed over the garbage place. The gardeners don’t mind if we take cuttings from the plants since it kind of helps them out with trimming! I’ve actually gotten a lot of nursery pots and seedling trays from them too. After they plant the plants in the ground, they have no use for them so I asked them if I could have them and they are more than happy to give it to me! Plus they know who I am since I’m the only one with 9 feet tomatoes peaking over the fence and a very busy garden in the back.

The other day, I decided to try to root some boxwood and ivy cuttings. i think the boxwoods will take a bit longer since they were all semi-hardwood cuttings that I took. All the websites suggested that it would take 5-6 months for them to root. I’ll just wait and see. For the boxwoods, I basically dipped them in water and them in rooting hormone (I use “rootone”) and stuck them in some potting soil. I covered them with a plastic bag to retain constant moisture content for the cuttings and now I wait patiently!

For the ivy, I basically went out and cut some very long vines from the bushes we have in front of my apartment. The stems were fairly thick and some of them actually had started producing little roots so that’s always a good sign when you want to propagate something. I cut 4 inch pieces below the leaf nodes and stuck them in the soil. This time around, I decided to try two different methods: rooting in water and rooting in soil. The majority of the cuttings went into the potting soil and covered with plastic but I took a handful of them and put them in a jar of water. Some websites I’ve read say to change the water every 2 days. I’ll stick to that and see how long it takes. Here’s hoping we get a lot of ivy plants to give away!

On another note, I received a couple of garden catalogs the other day and I have been drooling over the different types of veggies and plants out there. I recently got two kalanchoes and an african violet from the 99 cent store the other day so hopefully the kalanchoes will bloom and last for awhile. I’ll try to propagate them but we’ll see. They were only 99 cents so it might be worth it to just go get some more.

The african violet I got needs some tlc but the flowers are these little bright pink flowers that I love. I’ll try and propagate a leaf from it to ensure I have more of those to come. I am absolutely in love with african violets. They are so easy to care for and they bloom for most of the year. I’ve propagated several leaves from my african violets and they are doing really well. To propagate some of your own, click on this link for directions.

I’ll keep my ivy and boxwood cutting experimented updated in the next couple of months. I’ll of course post pictures of the progress…Wish me luck.

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Been So Busy…

I’m back from a 2-3 month hiatus.

I recently got married in September and we’ve been super busy setting up our little place so I haven’t had time to post.

To catch up, I moved from my little studio apartment with a wonderful garden to a one-bedroom apartment with a big space for a garden but no time for gardening right now since it’s only 1 month away from frost. I think I’m still going to give it a good try though and try some onions and radishes.

The wedding and honeymoon was wonderful! I’ll post pics when I get them off my camera.

Gardening right now consists of caring for my overabundance of houseplants which include coleus, african violets, spider plant babies, aloe, hydrangeas, palms and tangerines. I can’t wait to start getting garden catalogs and plan for the next year! I’m itching to start seeds and grow yummy vegetables. I might try starting some peppers inside just for the heck of it. The weather isn’t so bad, it’s around the mid 70’s. Wish me luck!

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