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Lucky Bamboo is Dracaena sanderians, Goddess of Mercy's plant

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In our family and probably in yours, there are things you can do and foods you can eat that are believed to increase luck. For example if you carry a rabbit’s foot on a keychain or eat black eyed peas for New Years. 
Lucky Bamboo is also thought to attract luck, happiness, success and health and it is for sale in many oriental stores as well as big box garden centers.
Dracaena sanderana or sanderiana is not a Bamboo at all but a tropical plant from West Africa where it grows to 3-feet tall. Eastern cultures, Chinese in particular, assigned Lucky Bamboo with mystical properties in Confucian times. 
The art of Feng Shui, arranging work and living spaces to attract the best energy (chi) has been practiced for a thousand years but became popular in the US 30 years ago and Lucky Bamboo was a part of that system. Bamboo is said to be strong even in a storm, swaying with the wind so having a container of Dracaena sanderana brings an element of that strength into homes and offices.
Lucky Bamboo r…

Houseplant Care

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Taking care of indoor plants involves watering, pruning, and pinching, plus watching for diseases and insects.

The heated air inside our homes is dry. Plants need moisture to maintain healthy cells but too much water can lead to problems.

Check your container-plants’ moisture level before watering. Press a finger an inch into the soil and if it is dry at root level, water it. Allow the excess water to drain off,  then empty the saucer.

Recently repotted plants need less water because the soil keeps roots moist. Slip plants out of their pots to see if roots fill the space. If so, this is a good time to give them a bigger home or divide them.

Pruning and pinching makes plants more attractive and strengthens them. Bare stem sections between leaves or between the container and the end of the stem is an indication that the stem should be pruned. Stem cuttings can be used in vases and to start new plants.

Pinching back the top-most leaf buds will reduce plant stretching and make more compac…

Houseplants for Low Light Indoors

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Indoor plants are a rewarding hobby whether they are grown to be used as room dividers, cheerful decorations, or to reduce inside air pollution. Some plant varieties sold as houseplants thrive indoors only if you give them plenty of care, such as daily misting or if the live in a terrarium, under a glass cloche or inside a glass house called a Ward. 
Those plants make excellent hobbies, too, but only if you enjoy providing daily plant care (Seehttps://bit.ly/2CvBmlz for more information.)
Since the appearance of a houseplant is the main reason to have it around, shop for plants in person rather than on the Internet. Look for insect-free, healthy leaves and notice their environment. Are they under grow lights, protected from direct sun or in filtered sunlight?
Office plants have to be especially tough since they are abandoned on weekends, watered by everyone or no one, receive minimal light, breezes from heat and air conditioning, and have to survive variable room temperatures.
Some tough …

America's Christmas Traditions

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For thousands of years, greenery such as holly, ivy and mistletoe have been used to decorate the dark interiors of homes. The Romans exchanged evergreens in January to bring good luck and the ancient Egyptians brought palm branches indoors in the winter. 
During the Middle Ages, red apples were hung on greenery to represent the fall of Adam during Paradise Plays. Other historical references to holiday red include holly berries and Catholic Bishop’s robes.
According to Religion News (https://religionnews.com)  Christmas as we know it was not celebrated much at all until 1849 when New York declared it a holiday. By 1785 NY was banning guns and fireworks on the day because such festivities were considered rowdy by the Puritans.
Washington Irving invented Santa Claus to draw all the diverse American nationalities and traditions together.  Then, in 1823 Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas” that began with the words, “Twas the night before Christmas…”. As the poem was reprint…

De-icing Salts Can Kill Plants

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Snow and ice on our driveways, sidewalks and streets are safety hazards and salt is one of the primary treatments. Unfortunately,  heavy applications of salt cause problems for waterways, wildlife and plants. There are better ideas for the health of your driveway, pets and landscape. 

Deicing salt is so strong that it can degrade concrete, stone and metal. Each teaspoon of salt applied can pollute 5 gallons of ground and stream water, killing fish, insects and amphibians. Salty water around landscape plants is absorbed by their roots, dehydrating and burning the plants.
Use push and scoop shovels to remove and scrape snow off surfaces. Then, sweep away as much snow as you can so ice does not form and then let the rest melt. 
If deicing salt is necessary, remove the snow first and use as little salt as possible, applying it on critical paths. Spread it sparingly and evenly with about 3-inches between salt grains.
A 12 ounce coffee mug of salt is enough to treat ice on a 20-foot driveway, a…

Suncatchers by Jan Meng at Hungry Holler

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In the winter, the view out the window is calm while plants rest and as much as we enjoy the structural beauty, we also miss color. One way to enjoy nature’s colors is to hang suncatchers so when the sun is out colors are reflected into the room, creating rainbows on drapes and walls. 

Glass beads date back to 3,000 B.C. and stained glass itself was seen only in churches until Tiffany popularized it in lampshades in 1895. Native Americans from the American Southwest made the original glass sunlight catchers we know. 
Artist Jan Meng designs and creates complex glass suncatchers at Hungry Holler Art Refuge in Eucha OK. On a single suncatcher strand she creates items that are made of 10 or 12 tiny pieces of glass interspersed with single glass beads or a series of glass cubes and mirrors.
 “I want my pieces to be dazzling and fabulous,” Meng said. “With suncatchers in your windows the passage of the day is made manifest as sun moves through the room. I notice it all the time; I’m never un-…

Gifts for Gardeners

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Gardeners may be the easiest people to have on your gift-giving list since their interests range from houseplants and herbs to landscaping, water gardens and vegetable production. Gift ideas can range in price from free garden help to high end power tillers with decorative containers and seed packets in between. 
Easy to find items such as gloves, small tools and a magazine subscription can be combined in a gift basket. For stocking stuffers consider nature-themed ornaments for pots, binoculars for bird watching, an Eco newspaper pot maker or a rain gauge.
For more ideas we visited Grogg’s Green Barn in Tulsa, a local resource for everything organic. They have squirrel-proof bird feeders with an outer wire cage where birds can perch and an inner wire cage where the seeds are placed. 
Grogg’s also has Water Right Featherweight hoses, Tumbleweed WormCafe above ground worm farms, Gorilla Grow Tents available as complete indoor growing systems and Rokz Spirit Infusion Kits.
Many grateful gard…