Archive for Outdoor plants

There is so much being written about establishing a native garden. In some areas of the country, new developments are being landscaped using only native plants. Here is an article by Annie White , a research assistant, from The University of Vermont. It explains very well the benefits of having native plants.

A native plant, by definition, has existed for thousands of years in a particular region. Without the help of gardeners with watering cans, bags of fertilizer, and bales of straw mulch, these plants naturally adapted to the conditions around them.  A plant that is native to a particular region is naturally more tolerant of the local climate, rainfall trends, soils, insects, and diseases. These attributes can contribute to a lower-maintenance, longer-lasting, and environmentally friendly garden.  Here are five reasons why native plants will like your garden as much as you like them. Read More→

Nov
18

Types of Christmas Trees

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People have been decorating Christmas trees for hundreds of years. Fir, pine and spruce varieties are among the most popular.

There are about 30 million Christmas trees sold in the United States every year. Most of these are conifers, or cone bearing trees with needles. Pine trees have their needles in clusters of two, three or five while the needles on fir and spruce trees are individually attached. Needles of fir trees look flat and those on spruce trees are more squared. In the southeast, Cypress trees, particularly the Leyland Cypress, is popular as a Christmas tree. Its needles are arranged in flat sprays. Read More→

Hydrangeas are fascinating in that, unlike most other plants,the can change color. Many wonder how this can be, a hydrangea planted in early ed colors three times by October.Many think it is in the pH of the soil by itself but William B. Miller, a professor of horticulture at Cornell ‘t agree.Hydrangeas are fascinating in that, unlike other plants, the colors of their flowers can change dramatically. Many think that the color change is due to pH levels in the soil, but “It is not the soil pH by itself but the availability of aluminum,” said William B. Miller, a professor of horticulture at Cornell University.

Aluminum is very common in the earth’s crust, but is available to the plant only in low-pH, or acidic, soils, Dr. Miller said. The plant absorbs the aluminum through the roots.

When aluminum gets up into the sepals, the colored segments that surround the tiny hydrangea flowers, it joins two other things that make the blossom blue: a pigment called delphinidin 3-monoglucoside and a co-pigment called 3-caffeoylquinic acid.

“Both are present in both blue and pink cultivars,” Dr. Miller said. If aluminum is available, he said, the blossom is blue, and if not, it ends up pink.

“Pink cultivars can be blue, and blues can be pink,” Dr. Miller said, and some can go both ways. But white cultivars, like Sister Therese, cannot become pink or blue.

As for a multicolored plant, Dr. Miller suggested two explanations: In limey soil, a plant that started out blue may make a partial transition to pink; or near new construction, where fill soil has been brought in, some roots may be in acidic soil, while five feet away, others are exposed to aluminum ions.

Photo credit: Austin Home Improvement Blog

By Beth Botts

When you bring in houseplants from outdoors, there’s going to be culture shock. They are moving to a world of less light, bone-dry air and no beneficial insects. That’s important: Outside, predator insects curb most problem insects on houseplants by eating them for lunch.But inside our houses, it’s up to us.

Carefully inspect any plants that have returned indoors for signs of insects or insect eggs. A spray of insecticidal soap — don’t miss the undersides of the leaves — can be an effective preventive measure for bugs you can’t see. Use a soap that’s made for plants, typically sold at garden and home centers, and not a homemade concoction that might damage the leaf surface. Read More→

We cannot deny that for major parts of our country the temperatures are starting to fall. In the next few months, it will actually be cold. Oh how we wish we could leave all the plants in our landscape out for the whole winter. Well, your wishes may be on their way to being fulfilled.

Botanists developed a spray that, when misted over a plant, will help it endure temperatures 2.2 to 9.4 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it would without the spray, depending upon the species. The spray, called Freeze-Pruf, reduces the freezing point of water inside the tissues of the plant by means of a mixture that combines five ingredients in a water-based spray formula. One spray works for four to six weeks, lowering the temperature at which damage first becomes noticeable as well as the temperature that would normally kill the plant. Read More→

Sep
03

Can Plants Think?

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I spend a great deal of time researching articles dealing with plants for my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. It is amazing the things I learn and I am thankful for this professional development. As interesting as the articles have been, this one by Rebecca Boyle really opened my eyes. I know a great deal about plants but I never considered the possibility that they could actually think. I know that some of my readers will say it all depends on how you define “think” but it is interesting nonetheless.
In a new study, scientists have found a cabbage relative capable of remembering and responding to information

The Persistence Of Memory A Polish study showed plants send electrochemical signals in a way that can be likened to an animal nervous system. This image shows chemical reactions in leaves that were not exposed to light; they are reacting to a chemical signal from a leaf that was exposed. via BBC. Read More→

From Pychology & Sociology

Feeling sluggish? The solution may require getting outside the box – that big brick-and-mortar box called a building. Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive, finds a series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. And that sense of increased vitality exists above and beyond the energizing effects of physical activity and social interaction that are often associated with our forays into the natural world, the studies show.

“Nature is fuel for the soul, ” says Richard Ryan, lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature,” he says.

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Something that every gardener wishes for is an outdoor flowering plant that blooms all summer and stays green all winter even in norther climes. Well your day has come.

A horticulturist created a hybrid lily lookalike that expresses a lavender-lilac color, strong and upright stems, and winter hardiness. In gardens it blooms until the first hard freeze in the fall in the northern United States. In greenhouses it never goes dormant.

Fall is here — and that means the beautiful colors of summer will soon start to fade away. One man is Read More→

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