Thursday, January 28, 2016

Home Grown: Ferns Freshen Flats

Ferns bring life into a room any time of year.

In airtight winter homes, they also can be champions at filtering the air. Of 86 plants tested by researchers, ferns topped the list at formaldehyde removal. In fact, seven of the top nine performers were ferns.

The other great filterers of formaldehyde were (#7) lavender and (#9) geraniums (Pelargonium sp.)  These findings were reported by Kwang Jin Kim and associates in an article published in the October 2010 issue of HortScience.

Other researchers have ranked ferns in the top 15 percent of plants in air purification.

Continued in... Ferns Freshen Flats

Home Grown
Growing Guides
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Boston Fern

Monday, January 25, 2016

Home Grown: Saving Holiday Gift Plants

Ornamental plants like poinsettias, Christmas cacti, Christmas Kalanchoe, amaryllis bulbs and miniature Christmas trees are often given as gifts during the holiday season. Unfortunately, these plants usually don't come with plant care information. And the gift getter may not have a green thumb.

Many people mistakenly leave these plants outside without realizing they aren't very cold hardy. Freezing winter temperatures can quickly turn your new plants to mush. Then your plant-gifts are only suited for the compost bin.

Continued in... Saving Holiday Gift Plants

Home Grown
Christmas Cactus
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Amaryllis

Friday, December 25, 2015

Home Grown: Recycling Christmas Trees

After selecting, decorating and enjoying a fresh-cut Christmas tree it is time to consider how to recycle the tree following the holiday season. Many communities have recycling programs — some offering curbside pickup — and will convert the tree into mulch.

Another possibility, for those on or near an acreage, is to convert the tree into fish habitat. Sunk into private fishing ponds or lakes, Christmas trees make excellent refuge and feeding areas for fish.

Extension wildlife specialists suggest anchoring the tree in a large coffee can with concrete first. The concrete weights the tree down so it stands upright. This natural fish attractor will draw bream and bass and offer a safe haven for young fish. For safety's sake, drop the tree well away from swimming areas.

Continued in... Recycling Christmas Trees

Home Grown
Christmas Trees
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Nordic Elf Skier with Tree

Monday, December 14, 2015

Home Grown: Tabletop Christmas Trees

Not everyone is able to enjoy a full sized Christmas tree in their home. For some, budgets may be stretched or space can be at a premium. Others may not have the time to put up a tree this holiday season.

Whatever the reason, an alternative to full sized Christmas trees are tabletop plants that can be decorated for the holidays, offered as holiday gifts, and in some cases can be used for several years.

Continued in... Tabletop Christmas Trees

Home Grown
Christmas Trees
Christmas Ornamentations
Artwork: Snow Tip Pine/Berry Tree

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Brighten Winter With Holly

How can we brighten up a bleak winter landscape?

One way is by incorporating evergreen and semi-evergreen shrubs into landscape plantings.

For centuries Europeans have been using hollies to dress up their winter landscapes, indoors and out. To brighten up your surroundings, consider these holly and holly-look-a-likes in your landscaping plans for the coming year...

Continued in... Brighten Winter With Holly

Home Grown
Christmas Ornamentations
Artwork: Holly

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Living Christmas Trees

A living Christmas tree is a wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas holiday and then cherish the memory of those special times throughout the year.

Before planting a living Christmas tree, however, some preparations and precautions will greatly increase chances of tree survival.

First, be sure you have a suitable site for planting the tree. Heavy clay soils are not ideal for planting most evergreen trees because they will not tolerate wet feet and it may be necessary to create a berm or mound of topsoil to assure good drainage.

Continued in... Living Christmas Trees

Home Grown
Christmas Trees
Artwork: Fresh-Cut Fraser Fir Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gifts for Gardeners

If you have gardeners on your shopping list, whatever you do, don’t give them cheap tools. Give them something they’ll remember.

Most serious gardeners would much rather receive one high-quality garden tool than a bunch of cheap ones that won’t last a year. And please don’t give an adult a set of child-size tools.

Continued in... Gifts for Gardeners.

Home Grown
Garden Tools
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Garden Cart