"In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.
The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful."
~Abram L. Urban
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
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|Roses flourish and bloom with at least six hours of sun every day. Roses will grow with less than 6 hours of sun, but they will not bloom very well.
Established roses need a lot of water. Water deeply once a week with one inch or more of water. Newly planted roses should be watered at least twice a week to prevent wilting.
Roses need good drainage and do not like to have "wet feet."
Roses are heavy feeders and need organic or chemical fertilizers to promote healthy woody growth, shiny leaves, and beautiful flowers.
Most roses require effort to reduce the effects of disease and insects.
Continuous-blooming roses need to be pruned annually, and "dead headed" after each bloom cycle. Once-blooming roses can be
pruned to shape after blooming.
Fertilize roses every six to eight weeks from mid-April through mid-August with Systemic Rose and Flower Care. This rose fertilizer helps stimulate new blossom development and helps kill unwanted insect pests. Roses need regular fertilizing to keep blossoms developing all summer. Do not fertilize your roses after the end of August, so the plants will have time to slow their growth down and get ready for the winter weather.
Roses growing too fast too late in the year are more prone to winter injury than those that are growing slowly. Be sure to "deadhead" your roses frequently until October, to help keep your plants blooming. Do not remove any
blossoms after mid-October, so the plants know that it's time to get ready for winter.
Roses are thirsty plants. Although roses will survive with skimpy watering, they'll bloom their best when their roots are kept moist during the growing season, especially during their blooming season. Water roses once or twice a week. Do not sprinkle roses. If water gets on the blossoms, the flowers will fade and fall off sooner than if they are left dry. Water on the blossoms also reduces the
fragrance the roses produce. Roses do not like to compete for fertilizer or water with weeds, groundcovers, grass, or other perennial flowers. Keep your rose gardens open and free of unwanted weeds and plants.
Spider mites, aphids, and thrips are the most common insect pests to watch for. Powdery mildew is the most common disease that you may need to control. Even with all the problems you may need to watch for, roses are still one of the easiest of all flowers to grow and enjoy.
|A bouquet of roses is a beautiful, fragrant addition to any room. To achieve the best results from fresh-cut roses, follow these steps:
Remove leaves that may decay under water. When removing leaves and thorns, do not cut through the green
bark. Air can enter the water-conducting passages through the injuries and restrict water uptake. Bacteria in the water can clog
While holding the stems under water or running water, cut about one inch off each stem with a sharp knife or shears. Do not let the newly cut end dry off before transferring it to the arrangement or other container.
Water in which a good floral preservative has been added is the best solution in which to arrange fresh-cut roses. Florists can provide small packages of floral preservative. Use it as recommended to provide additional days of vase life. Do not use a stronger solution than the manufacturer's recommendation. Avoid using water from a water softener.
Immediately after the stems are cut, place roses in a deep vase of warm preservative solution (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). If possible, leave the flowers in a cool, dark room or refrigerator to "condition" for two-three hours before arranging.
If a florist's porous foam material is used in assembling the arrangement, it is important that it is thoroughly saturated in advance in water containing a floral preservative. Use a vase large enough to keep the entire block of foam submerged. Be sure that the rose stems are inserted firmly, well below the solution level in the container.
Roses are thirsty flowers. It is most important to check to see that the vase is full and add preservative solution often. Be sure foam materials are completely saturated and the container is full daily.
Display fresh cut rose arrangement in a cool area out of direct sunlight and drafts.
Premature wilting is not necessarily a sign that the rose is old. It usually indicates that air is trapped in the stem and the preservative solution cannot flow properly up the stem. The end of the stem may be blocked. Look for a cut or scrape in the bark above the water level. Re-cut the stem above the injured section under water and then submerge the entire rose in a basin or shallow pan of warm water (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Be sure to keep the stem and head straight. A rose will usually revive within an
hour and can be placed within the arrangement.
Some gardeners shy away from growing plants in containers because of endless "failure" stories buzzing in their heads. Container plantings are not difficult, but you do need to keep a few things in mind--including selection of container, type of planting mix, feeding and watering needs. These are the variables differentiating growing plants in the ground from growing them in containers.
First of all, different types of containers will lead to different types of watering needs. For example, terracotta pots are probably the most porous of the clay pots. This porosity allows the soil to dry out more quickly. Glazed pots are next in line. The glaze on the outside of the pot actually helps to keep moisture in more than a non-glazed clay pot would. Thick cement containers probably fall in line together with the glazed pots. Finally, there are plastic and some of the new composite material containers. These containers will hold the moisture far longer than the other pots.
The soil mix itself should breathe and should be light and airy. We recommend using an all organic potting soil for most plants. But be sure to use the right type of potting soil for your plant. Most plants do fine in normal potting soil, but the reason you'll see things like "cactus mix" on the shelves is that some plants have special needs.
Because plants in containers have a limited amount of soil area, they will need to be fed more often than plants in the ground. We recommend feeding most plants every two weeks with a liquid or water-soluble plant food or every two months with a dry fertilizer. Again, some plants have different needs, so adjust as necessary for your own container garden.
Plants in containers can often suffer from dehydration, especially in the summer months of the year. Water those that need moist soil frequently, especially if your container is made of a more porous material. Drought-tolerant plants will like a pot that dries out quickly, but a water-needy plant will want to have consistently moist (but not wet) conditions.
If you let your potting soil dry out too much, the root ball will shrink and the water will run straight down the sides and out of the bottom of your container. If this happens, you will need to leave the water dripping into your container for a long enough time to rehydrate the potting soil. If the container is small enough, dunk it into a big bucket of water and let it sit there for a few minutes until the root ball expands again and properly fills the pot.
Container gardening is a wonderful way to add splashes of plants and color in all areas of your outdoor rooms, and for those with only small patios, container gardening is the only way to go. Just remember not to treat container plants exactly like in-ground plantings, and you'll be fine.
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A backyard retreat means something different for each of us. It could be a quiet corner in the shade with a comfortable chair for reading, or a chaise longue in the sun. Perhaps it's a table for two for quiet dining or a large table near an outdoor kitchen or fire pit. Whatever your needs and desires, it helps to include other features such as a bubbling fountain, koi pond, or trees and flowers in a container arrangement.
Most of these ideas can be incorporated in part, no matter what the special area is for this special retreat. It could be a balcony, tiny patio garden or large backyard. Everyone can have a private customized retreat.
When designing a garden retreat, first take time to envision your dream retreat. A multitude of ideas should come pouring into your mind as you begin to envision your future garden retreat. If you are coming up blank, consider what your answers are to these questions:
1. Do you want a retreat for serenity after hectic days at work; do you want a space designed for entertaining?
2. How much space do you have? Is this a patio transformation, a small grotto along the side of your house, or the entire backyard?
3. Whatever your desire, next consider what "look" you would like--be it tropical, formal, informal cottage garden, or Asian.
4. Color and texture choices: Color and textures can be added in many different ways: through the plant foliage, fabrics, walls and flooring (you could paint them!), pottery, statuary, garden art and more.
5. Sound: Quiet water, bubbling water, splashing water, birds singing and/or leaves rustling in the breeze?
6. Water feature: Do you want a fountain, pool, pond, pond with waterfall?
There is much to consider when planning your very own backyard retreat. Join us at here at the garden center. Wander through our fountains, pottery and plants--and you'll be sure to have your own backyard retreat in short order.
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If you have an herb garden you know what a great pleasure it is to have access to your own home-grown herbs--ones that are exactly to your taste, rather than a generic supermarket blend. Drying or freezing some of your herbs can give you that pleasure year-round. Along with the taste advantage, your own herbs are much, much cheaper.
The method of preparing herbs for storage that gives you the best flavor and fragrance is air-drying. But if you don't have a warm, dry area that is suitable, or you have herbs that aren't suited for air-drying, don't despair! There are other methods that work almost as well.
Sturdy, low-moisture herbs are best suited for air-drying. Some examples are bay leaves, dill, oregano, marjoram, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. This method is also effective for large batches of herbs. Basil, lemon balm, and most mints have high moisture content--these can mold if not dried quickly.
Air-Dry Method 1:
- Cut large stems/branches from mature plants. Shake them to get rid of any insects, then remove any damaged leaves.
- Rinse them with cool water and gently pat them dry with towels or paper towels. Turn the branches upside down and take off some of the leaves along the lower stem (the top, after you've turned them upside down). Gather five or six branches together in a bunch.
- Get a large paper bag and make several holes in it for ventilation. Put the bunch upside down inside the bag, gather the opening around the leafless stem ends, and tie securely. The bag will protect the bunch from dust and other pollutants. (You can skip the bag if drying for sachets - but keep them away from direct sunlight; that will tend to reduce the fragrance.)
- Hang the bag in a warm airy place and leave it alone for several weeks.
- When the leaves are dry, check for any signs of mold growth; if you find mold, discard the whole bunch! If the bunch is clean, strip the leaves off of the stems and toss the stems. Store the whole leaves in small airtight containers (plastic "zip" bags are great). Label them and store them in a cool, dry, dark place.
Air-Dry Method 2:
- The second way to dry herbs is to spread them out to dry.
- With fine-leafed herbs such as oregano and thyme, simply remove the foliage from stems and spread the leaves on a cookie sheet or piece of clean window screen and set in a warm, dry, airy place away from direct sun.
- Stir them up every few days to turn them over. Once the leaves feel crisp, you can store them in an airtight container for later use.
Drying in an Oven:
This works well for herbs that tend to mold if not dried quickly--but can also be used if you don't have a warm, dry, well-ventilated (and convenient) place to hang herbs.
For oven-drying, heat the oven to a low heat (150-200F), place the herbs on a baking sheet in the oven, keep the oven door open and bake the herbs until they are dry. This will take several hours, maybe longer if you are drying high-moisture herbs. Keep an eye on them--you want them dried, not burned!
Some people dry herbs in the microwave--we don't advise that, as it takes out a lot of the flavor and fragrance. If you must dry this way, put about 4 branches in the oven between paper towels. Heat for a minute or two on high. If the herbs are not brittle and dry when removed from the oven, repeat for 30 seconds more each time until dry.
Don't freeze herbs to use as garnish--they may become limp and unsightly. Some herbs that freeze well: basil, borage, chives, dill, lemongrass, mint, oregano, sage, savory, sorrel, tarragon, and thyme.
If they are to be used in soups or stews, you can do a quick and handy freeze in an ice cube tray. Chop up the leaves and put a teaspoon of the herb in each section. Fill with water and put the tray in the freezer. To use, simply remove the pre-measured herb in the ice cube, and drop as many as you need in your soup or stew.
You can also simply put a few bunches in a freezer bag or other container and put them in the freezer.
With summer here, garden herbs are kicking into high gear, producing lots of pleasing, aromatic foliage that is great for cooking and potpourris. Freshly harvested leaves are wonderful for cooking, but you might want to preserve some to use later in the year or to create sachets that will fill your home with wonderful scents.
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When the weather is hot and dry and there is no measurable rain, even rookie gardeners are aware that most plants will not survive without regular watering. Unfortunately, just giving them a squirt with the water hose isn't going to do much to relieve their stress. Wise gardeners give their plants the amount of water each one needs in ways that save time, effort and water.
It is important to use the right equipment. Much water can be saved in the summer by watering each part of the garden by a method appropriately suited for it. Briefly, hand sprinkling is fine for sprouting seeds, but all other watering should be done with conventional irrigation systems or drip systems. Reserve watering by hose for filling furrows and basins around trees and bushes, when these are not equipped with bubblers. (When you water this way, put the hose right down on the ground, and let the water sink in slowly.)
In summer (or anytime for that matter), it is best to irrigate deeply but less frequently to encourage plants to send down deeper roots that are protected from the summer heat. Vegetables and annual flowers, though, will have to be watered more frequently since they don't produce deep root systems. For most grass lawns, watering to the point of runoff every 2-3 days is sufficient. Always water your garden in the early morning hours between 4:00 AM and 8:00 AM to reduce water evaporation.
Be sure to give special care to plants in containers. Plants in containers often suffer at this time of the year. Water them frequently, especially plants in terra cotta pots. These porous containers “breathe,” allowing water to evaporate faster than plastic or glazed ceramic pots. If you take good care of your plants in summer, you will be rewarded throughout the rest of the year.
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What does the term "systemic" mean on a chemical label?
"Systemic" is a term that refers to a chemical that can be absorbed by a plant through the foliage or root system.
- Systemic insecticides not only kill insects and disease on contact but also remain in the plant and kill insects when they feed on the foliage.
- Systemic fungicides remain in and on the plant longer to not only kill disease on contact put provide a layer of protection to prevent future attacks for some time.
- With weed control sprays, the chemical is absorbed by the plant all the way down to the roots, completely killing the weed.
Most systemic products should not be used on any edible plants or crops.
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- 1/3 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mango chutney
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves--cut into strips
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped mango
- 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
- 8 cups torn romaine lettuce
- In a small bowl, blend vanilla yogurt, lime juice, mango chutney, rice vinegar, honey, cumin, coriander, and paprika.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place chicken, ginger, and garlic in the skillet. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
- Mix mango, red bell pepper, and green onions into the skillet. Cook about 5 minutes, until pepper is tender and mangoes are heated through. Stir in the vanilla yogurt mixture. Spoon over romaine lettuce to serve.
Yield: 4 servings