Showing posts from January, 2018

Shrubs Prune and Rejuvenate

This is an ideal time of year to prune shrubs either to reshape, clean up or completely rejuvenate them.

Rejuvenation or renovation pruning can mean taking shrubs completely to the ground or just above the ground. When done to healthy shrubs, they will quickly grow from the stump and via new stems.

The Burford Holly shrubs in front of our house began as one-gallon container size from Lowe's. They were precisely planted the same distance apart and allowed to grow there with minimal trimming for 16 years. Now they are 15-feet tall and 20-feet wide.

 Since they are evergreen, they are a great privacy screen from the dog walkers, bicycle walkers, cars and pedestrians. In addition, I can sit on the screened front porch in privacy. However, they've reached a point where they have to be rejuvenated: They are too big for their space, too tall to top prune and have almost leaves inside their woody structure.

Not all shrubs are amenable to this hard a cutting so pruning back by one-thi…

Beefsteak Begonia Propagate Stem Cuttings

Every two years Beefsteak Begonias, Begonia erythrophylla, benefit from being pruned and propagated. This is a very easy plant to take care of and the worst you can do to it is to keep a water filled saucer under it. These plants enjoy being dry.

In two years, the stems become long and move out over the edge of the pot, making the plant's mass too large for most environments.

Ours live on the screened front porch in the summer which has a western exposure. In the cold months, they live under full spectrum lights in the living room. 
They flower their hears out in either location, adding delicate pink bouquets wherever they are growing.

My original, single, leaf came from a leaf I plucked from an office dweller's plant that was 4 feet across and hung 3 feet down on those long stems. I grew that plant in a clear plastic to go box on moist vermiculite.

The stem you'll prune is the leggy part that has dropped its leaves. Make 4 to 6 inch long cuttings, cutting stems just below a b…

J. L. Hudson Seedsman Ethnobotanical Catalog

The seed bank, J. L. Hudson, Seedsman, is a unique catalog that continues to be a successful, non-commercial venture in La Honda CA.

Keep your computer or smart phone handy because you have to have the botanical name of what you are seeking in order to find it. Common names often appear in the description but not in the listing titles.

I've bought seeds from them several times over the 15-years I've been growing from seed. They have all manner of unusual and common seeds, some of which they categorize as Open Access and Reserved Access.

Every page of the seed list has a search engine that allows shoppers to find out if they have what you are seeking. Serious seed growers, shoppers and browsers can find many special items to try.

The catalog is typeset and very informative, albeit in black and white. No hideous Photoshopped flower and plant pictures but you can always find those on an image search.

Go browse around to find something new to try this year!…

Richters Herb and Mountain Rose Herb

The two best known and trusted herb seed and plant companies are Richters Herb and Mountain Rose Herb.

My herbie concoction making friends use Mountain Rose pretty much exclusively. I've used them both successfully.

Richters sends me a print catalog every year so, of course, I tend to select items from them - I can see and read about potential selections. Being able to sit with a cup of tea and a pencil makes it much more likely that I'll find things and then go to the website to get others.

In addition to seed packets, Mountain Rose has bulk herbs, teas, aromatherapy supplies, butters, oils, salts, extracts and syrups, facial care, body care and bath, containers for your concoctions, books, kitchen stuff and pet supplies.

For those of us who grow sprouts in the winter, they also have a few sprouting seeds.

One item that caught my eye is "Tasty Tea Collection". It's seven seed packets: thyme, tulsi, valerian, vitex, white sage, wood betony, wormwood, yarrow and ye…

Black Cherry is Prunus Serotina

Native Black Cherry trees are a really good idea if you can add some wildlife beneficials to your yard.

Cold hardy in zones 3 to 9, Black Cherry is an ideal addition to your habitat shrub row.
Happy in sun or part-sun, these trees bloom in April and May providing nectar for pollinators and sweet scent for humans.

They have a long tap root so they have to be planted young and will resist being transplanted. Eventually, they grow 50 to 80 feet tall so keep them away from overhead wires.

The berries are said to be good for jam but the birds and other wildlife eat them all before we even notice that they've ripened.

NativNurseries offers them for under $5 apiece. This nursery has been recommended to me by habitat gardeners.

Dudley Phelps at NativNurseries said, "We will be growing plenty more this spring, and should have them back up on our website for sale beginning around the month of August. You can order then and request a ship date for when it is a good time of year for you t…