Gardening Tips

As Gardeners, we can be hurt by the sun. That is why we should protect ourselves from ultraviolet rays.

Sunburn is the gardener’s most common skin problem. Getting repeated sunburn early in the season can cause damage. And too much exposure to the sun can cause your skin to be adversely effected. So don’t forget to protect your skin.

Any sunscreen protection that blocks the UVB rays and has an SPF factor of 15 or higher will help. Wearing a long sleeved shirt is great. It also can protect your from bugs.

Gloves are important as well. They help protect your hands from being scratched by the soil. After all, no one like rough hands.

An important way to solve skin irritations, is to protect your hands while gardening. Simple things like wearing a straw hat or wearing gloves will keep irritations to a minimum.

So get your wardrobe together before your start your garden

Apron, Gloves, Straw hat, Sunscreen, Good Moisturizer, long-sleeved shirt are all very important. And depending on where you live,– a good insect repellent!

Happy Gardening,

Just have fun!

MAINTAING A GARDEN IN THE SHADE

MAINTAING A GARDEN IN THE SHADE

Though you may not have much sun, you can still have a beautiful garden by the way you place your plants. With me, I let my garden talk to me. I sometimes place the plant in the area I think I should put it. I look at it for a few and see if it belongs there.

For example, knowing a little about the plant is a big help. Knowing its height will help to determine where your place it. If it is taller than the plant behind it, then the beauty is lost.

As you can see, there is a science to everything, including planting. Most of the plant for shady gardens are green, so choosing plants with color is very important. It will make your garden beautiful to the eyes as well.

Plants like Roderdandrums are great in the sun. But they are also very good in the shade and have beautiful powder puff flowers. However, they have to be planted in the back. In that way, you can plant smaller plant in the front.

As for the Astillbe… I love the spike and tall flowers. Some other favorites of mine are Periwinkle, Bleeding heart, Ferns. (I love the leaves… that is where their beauty lies). Caladiums, … the colors of the leaves are beautiful! They are great for a border.

Hydrangea does great in the shade. The many colors of the flowers is phenomenal. The acid in the soil plays a part in the color of the flowers they produce. There must be different acidity levels in my ground because different locations have different color plants including one plant that has multiple color flowers.

But most importantly, most of the plants I choose, come back every year (perennial). That is why Spring is my favorite time of the year. I wait in anticipation to see which plant will come out first.

I like the Hostas plant. There are many species. Most of them are variegated and cover a lot of ground.

They are perennial. that means they come back every year. And they thrive in the shade. Because I have a lot of them, I use them to unify my garden by planting them in different locations.

My Garden Visitors

Birds in my bird bath

MY WONDERFUL WEEKEND

Friday I was out in my garden for a few hours and I saw a few butterflies,” WOW” what a beauty!My Garden Visitors
So I remembered going to a butterfly aquarium and one of the things they did was to put out orange slices for the butterflies. So, I decided to do the same.  I cut 2 oranges in half and put them in different locations.  About a half to an hour later, there were over 10 to 12 butterflies!  Can you imagine my joy and the praises I gave to my creator!  That’s why I love gardening. It helps me to appreciate nature.

POURING RAIN

Rain pouring outside and I can’t go out and play in my garden! Saturday afternoon is dedicated to the maintenance of my garden… but the rain keeps coming. Mind you,  I love the rain and I know my plants love it to!  For one thing, it means that I don’t have to water for a couple of days.

So, I decided to do a little research for my blog. Sitting at the window and looking outside… oh what a blessing!  And a wonderful feeling. The birds kept coming to the bird bath.  I had to run and get my camera.   The picture above is one I took from my window.

I was not disappointed at all. The Creator took care of my longing to be outside.

Thank you, Father.

Planting Succulents Indoors

The word Succulent comes from the Latin word suros meaning juice or sap. They store water in their leaves or stem and roots. That is why their leaves are thick and engorged. Because of their beautiful and unusual appearance, they are often grown as ornamental plants.

They have the ability to thrive with minimal care– with just mist or dew. That is why their habitat is in areas that often have high temperatures and low rain fall.  For example the desert.

 Not all succulents like direct sunlight…

They are built to withstand drought, and so they should only to be watered once the soil is dry or once a week. They are drought resistant plants. in which the leaves stem or roots have are more than unusually fleshy and able to store a larger quantity of water.

Since they have shallow roots, they are especially suited for small containers. But if you are creating a garden or using a larger container, then use more plants but use some fillers like rocks or small pieces of pine bark. Or crush granite. Because the more soil in the container, the longer it will take to dry out.

Xerophytes

“Xerophytes” is the name given to plants such as these Succulents because they can adapt to different climates. They also are able to make their leaves smaller, so they use less water.

Succulents can be a great addition to any garden, and can make excellent houseplants. Once you adhere to the routine, they are really easy to take care of.

A FEW TIPS FOR THAKING CARE OF YOUR SUCCULENT.

  • Plant in containers with good drainage to avoid rot.
  •  Take extra care if you are planting in an unusual container like tea pot, watering can or birdcage. You may have to make adjustments when watering.
  •  The fact that they absorb water from the surrounding air and not through direct contact, is why sitting in wet soil causes their roots to rot and their leaves to fall apart and causes the plant to die.

ARE YOU USING THE RIGHT SOIL.

Though, watering is a major cause of death with succulents, the correct soil is a much bigger factor.

Make sure your plant soil is completely dry before you water.  When you do, try to water thoroughly. Because they ideally spend life outside, we should give them as much sunlight as possible.  Preferably. inside by the window– facing the south.

Remember, most garden soil holds moisture.  So, to avoid your plant from rotting, use a well draining soil blend of your own. There are soils specificly for succulents. The cactus soil can be used because it does not hold moisture.

Because of their shallow roots they grow slowly, so feel free to pack them tightly.

While most Succulents prefer lots of sunlight, some prefer the opposite. So research your specific plant.

Treat them like houseplants, watering them sparingly and when it is time for watering water deeply.

The succulent family is enormous, they grow in different shapes and sizes, with the most popular being “Hen and Chicks”.

This may seam like lots of information! But just remember:

  • Let the soil dry out completely before watering.
  • Lots of sun.
  • Proper drainage.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • Treat your succulent like houseplants
  • Use specific cactus soil or make your own.

 

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It Takes a Village to Raise a “TREE”

As humans. We tend to look at the world around us with eyes that see only what appears immediate.  We do the same with trees. When we look at a tree, we see it as a still, stable object.  But is it?

The same applies to the forests and the trees that make up the forests.  The life we humans live now is 70, 80 or 90 years.  Compare that with is a Spruce tree in Sweden that is known to be over 9,500 years old.

Trees Communicate

When you contemplate the incredible difference in life span between us and trees, you can begin to understand the difference in time scale.  To us, a tree seems still, never moving, but in it’s reality, it is extremely active and communicative.

The electrical impulses which is one of the ways trees communicate, travel through their roots at 1/3 of an inch per second.  So, when one tree sends a communication to another through its roots and fungi in the soil, in our human

understanding, it seems like nothing is happening—as if there is no communication.

But in reality it is communicating.  Just very slowly in relation to our human world.

Trees are a Community

On this matter of different worlds, I might add the misconception we have  when we think we are helping the forest by not allowing it to become “too dense”.  We think that by clearing away some the older trees, we are allowing the newer generation of trees to grow and thrive, as now they have more direct sun.

Sadly, we’ve forgotten that there is a design in all living things.  Societies that are not so technically absorbed have known this for generations.  Our great grandparent’s great grandparents knew all about this as well.

Because we tend to look at trees as just suppliers of wood, we may overlook the fact that trees in a natural forest environment are a community of families and also raise their young.

Trees Raise Their Young

You may be thinking, “Now that’s going too far! How can a tree raise another tree?”.  We’ll, before you dismiss the idea, think about how younger trees grow in the midst of the older trees.

In particular. Lets consider a forest of beech trees.

The older trees shield the younger from the direct sun.  The natural forest is able to keep a balanced microclimate with high humidity and dim light.

The mother tree as well as the other mature trees of the community shade the little ones with their enormous crowns.  The crowns close up, creating such a dense covering. Only about 3 percent of the sunlight filters through to the forest floor.

 Trees Discipline Their Young

This allows the little ones just enough light to photosynthesize.  That is, just enough to keep living.  Not very much left over for growth.  These young trees are actually being deprived of sunlight. But, there is a purpose behind this.  It’s for their protection.

Slow growth during the youth of a tree is important for its future survival and longevity. Normally a tree on its own  at about 80 years of age, would be considered by us humans as mature and would have plenty of wood to supply.

But in the forest, a 120 year old tree is still a youngster.  It typically will have a trunk as thin as a pencil.  It will be no taller than you or I.  The deprivation of light actually slows the growth, which makes it denser, tougher and much more resistant to breakage.  It’s able is able to resist fungi and heal quickly if anything causes it damage.

While these younger trees have to wait, the parent trees are actually passing sugar and other nutrients to them through their roots.  The parents in their own way, nurse them and sustain them until the parents pass off the scene, leaving a gap of sunlight for the youngster to grow wide and large and take its place in the community.

UKOKE GARDEN TOOL SET

Each time I go out in my garden I take my Ukoke garden tool set with me. My favorite piece is the apron with the storage pocket. By putting my gloves or the smaller tools in the apron pockets, It helps me to be more organized while gardening. The pruning blades are great!  They’re made of high carbon Steel. (Compared to most garden tools which is made from aluminum).

The garden shears allow me to prune, trim and shape the plants as I go along. By cutting the dead flowers, the plants are enabled to continue flowering.

  • The complete gardening tool set is perfect for all your gardening needs. The Rake for loosening the soil, the Spade for transplanting and cultivating the soil. There is a Weeder, and a Trowel for digging. All the tools are easy to use. And there is a hole for hanging and storage.
  • As I mentioned, the apron is my favorite part of the kit. Did I also mention that is waterproof? The Kneeling pad is very useful. It provides firm support for your knees when you are getting down to business while gardening. The high quality packing box can be used for storage.  The soft grip handles are comfortable, and help reduce hand and arm fatigue. The Glove its called the “Genie” Gloves because you can use it for pruning your Rose bushes as well as everything else in your garden while it does a Genie’s job of protecting your hands.

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Ideas For Garden Containers

Having a container garden

The idea of having a garden could be overwhelming to some, but it really doesn’t have to be. It could be as small as you Ideas For Garden Containerswant or as big as you want it to be.  I think any form of garden is good because of the benefit it provides.

Just the fact that plants exhale oxygen and breath in what we exhale (carbon dioxide) is beneficial to both plant and you. While you are tending to your plant, they are purifying the surrounding air.

That is why container gardening is great because you can incorporate plants in your home to help in purifying your home and keeping the air cleaner.

Find the best location

The idea for Container gardening is beautiful. Besides using a variety of plants to create a beautiful scene, you’re able to move your plant to different locations.  if you are like me, I’m working mostly with a shady yard, so I have to know where the sun is shining. Then I can move my container to different part of the yard. But because I know my yard, most of my plants are for shady areas. So you need to know your area as well.

I like cluster potting.  That is, putting 3 or 4 containers together to create more of an effect.  In that way, you can put different plants together to make beautiful scenery.

Container gardening history

No one knows exactly when container gardening began. Some used to plant herbs for cooking. When country folks moved to the city, they would find different containers to plant.  They would find a spot in their home to place them.

I have spider plant in my home. I love the cascading effect it provides! it also purifies the air. I also put containers on my steps, I use the right side and from top to bottom I lay it with a varieties of plants.

Benefits of container gardens

Also, by using containers you can transform any hard surface into a living Ideas For Garden Containerslandscape.  Whether it is a basket, a stairway, terrace, balcony, a blank wall, or porch, it all depends on your finances and the area you have to work with. As I mentioned before, sun is very important. So if you are not willing to move your plant from one location to the other, be sure that the plant you chose will have enough light or shade.

Ideas for garden containers

The sky is the limit in finding ideas for containers to work with… crate, barrels, recycled containers, old mail boxes, driftwood, old pallets, PVC piping, tires, terracotta pots,…  it all up to you. let you imagination go wild! Make it YOU.

If you also live in the are where it snows, containers are good to use for taking your less than hardy plants inside— to protect them for throughout the winter.

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Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress what is it?  And how can we find ways to cope?

image of a woman under stress

First in order to deal with stress we need to fine out how and what causes it, before we can find ways to relieve stress.
We know it is our body response to things around us, like work , health , and death.  Things that overwhelm you, and when that happens your brain causes hormones to flood your system.  This, in turn, increases  your heart rate, expands  or constricts  your lung capacity and increases your blood pressure and tenses your muscles.

And before you know it, your body is primed for action.  When the stressful episode is over, your body comes off high alert and returns to normal.

Good and bad stress

While stress can help you to deal with dangerous situations, beneficial stress can enable you act or react quickly.  A certain amount of stress is also good.  It can help you to perform better and reach your goal.   Like during a job interview, or during an exam.

However, extreme or prolonged stress can be very harmful.  When your body is continually in high alert,  you may continue to suffer emotionally,  physically and mentally.

Chronic stress can lead to substance abuse , even the way you treat others may change.  It may even spiral into depression, burnout or thought of suicide.

While stress may not affect everyone the same way,  it can contribute to a wide range of diseases.   And it can affect nearly every part of the body.

HOW CAN STRESS AFFECT YOUR BODY

Endocrine system

Your  glands produce the hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol, which help the body to react to stress.  Your liver increases your blood-sugar level to give you more energy.

Too much stress can lead to:

….Diabetes, lower immunity and increased illness, mood swings and even weight gain.

Gastrointestinal…

The way your body process food is disrupted.

Too much stress can lead to:

Constipation, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

….Reproductive system…

Stress can affect sexual desire and function.

Too much stress can lead to:

….Impotence, disrupted menstrual cycle.

Musculoskeletal system…

your muscles tense up to protect you from injury.

Too much stress can lead to:

….body aches and pains tension headaches, and  muscle  spasms.

Nervous system…

Your nervous system causes hormones such as Adrenaline and Cortisol to  be released . These increase your heart rate, your blood pressure, and the glucose levels in your blood– all of which enable you to respond quickly to danger.

Too much stress can lead to:

…..irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches,  and insomnia.

Cardiovascular system.

Your heart beats faster and harder to distribute blood throughout your body. Blood vessels dilate or constrict to direct blood where your body needs  it the most.

Too much stress can lead to:

…..High blood pressure, heart attack, stroke.

Ways to Relieve Stress

That is why I love  gardening!   It is my form of relaxation.  Where I am taken to a different place,  a place of relaxation.  {It helps me a lot ).  So if you need any help in setting up a small garden,  I’m here.   Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, the rewards Gardening is another one of the ways to relieve stressare wonderful!What’s your hobby?

Gardening is one of my hobbies.  I used it for “de-stressing”.  What do you like to do for a hobby?  Is it walking, cooking, or just relaxing with a glass of wine and some friends …?

It can help to set reasonable goals,  and live one day at a time. Why be anxious for tomorrow… we have today to deal with.

Avoid setting unreasonable standards for yourself or others.  Keep a sense of humor.  When you laugh, even when something goes wrong,– you  relieve tension and brighten your mood.

The book…. “Overcoming Stress”– By  Dr. Tim Cantopher, has a chapter entitled “Kill Your Stress with Kindness”.  “Treating others kindly”, according to the author, “can promote health and happiness”.  I recommend this book, if you’re looking for more ways to relieve stress.

Do Trees Communicate With Each Other?

Can Trees actually communicate with each other?  You would be surprised to know that they can! It’s true you probably have never heard a tree talk, except perhaps in the movies or in a fairy tale or children’s story.

But, trees do communicate. Not through noises. We cannot audibly hear them speaking. But they use a means of communication that should not be that strange to us. Communication through Scent.

The type of communication they use is scent. –Or smell… Or a better word would be odor.  This is not that foreign to us humans. We communicate by scent as well. This is why we wear deodorant and perfume. Our odor says a lot about us.

In this way, we actually do use odor, smell or scent as A means of communication. So, how do trees use scent as a means of communication with other trees? Well, trees live in communities and rely on one another.

How a Tree Uses Scent as a Defense

If an animal starts to graze upon the leaves of one tree, the tree will create toxins that will be pumped into its leaves to make it very distasteful To the animal. Not only does it defend it self, but it also will warn the other trees in its community by sending out in ascent that will alert the other trees In the area of the danger. They, in turn will pump toxins into their leaves in preparation to defend against the intruder.

Trees also enlist the help of other creatures by giving off a scent that will attract them. When for example a caterpillar starts to eat the leaf of a tree. The tree detects the caterpillar’s saliva. By detecting the saliva, it shows that the tree has the ability to taste. Once it has detected the type of caterpillar that eating its leaves, it sends off an odor  to attract  a predator of the caterpillar.

Of course, sending a scent as quick as it might be, has limitations. It can only be sent so far, as it is subject to weather conditions. Trees also have another way of communicating with each other.

The “World Wide Wood”

They have an underground network of routes that in most cases intertwine. It’s almost like an Internet. In fact, scientist have called it the worldwide wood. They also have the help of fungi in the soil. This also is chemically able to send messages through the soil underground from one root to another. So, just like we humans, trees actually survive best when they are in a community of trees.

So in answer to the question, “Can trees communicate?”  All the evidence shows they communicate in their own way.  It’s up to us to study them, learn and understand them.

So you may be wondering where I get such a variety of plants on Long Island…

here’s one place:  Seeds Now

here’s  another place : Succulents Box