Friday, December 30, 2011

Daily Inspiration

'California Gold'
Our Bougainvilleas have been blooming like crazy for quite awhile now. I covet the warm southern climate where these wonderful, tropical beauties flourish! Even though we can't leave them outside all year, they do make an excellent, easy-care houseplant! I water once to twice per week, and keep them in the sunniest location we've got. The picture is proof that they do well indoors! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daily Inspiration

This is the current state of my Improved Meyer Lemon Tree!
If you have a citrus plant inside, and have not had luck getting them to set fruit, it's most likely because there is no flying critters to pollinate it! To remedy this, take a feather or soft, thin paint brush and dab the pollen from one flower to the pollen of another. Continue until all flowers have been pollinated. I did this the last time we had blooming citrus inside, and had great luck (all of them went out the door with fruit set and growing)!

The smell of the blooms is to die for.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Daily Inspiration

I just ordered these! They will be here in the spring!

'Christmas Carol'

Isn't that an interesting color pattern on the foliage? 
I was also taken with the variety pictured below, 'Guido'. 
Unfortunately, they won't have any ready by sad.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daily Inspiration

Rex Begonia
Begonias are a plant that I could have many of, and still want more! They are the first houseplants I look for when looking at other nurseries on nursery tours (just in case they have some obscure variety that I haven't been able to order), and they are also the first category of plant I look at when a houseplant order arrives. Each one is so different! Couple their beauty, with the fact that they don't require (or prefer) much care and we have an absolute houseplant winner! 

4 Shopping Days Left!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas present to myself!

I thought this would be really fun to try:
These mushroom grow kits are available at!
It comes complete with grow box, mushroom 'seed', and mister bottle (replacement mushroom 'seed' bags are available for order as well, so you can keep growing mushrooms from the same box). All you have to do is mist it twice daily, and in ten days you will have a 1 1/2 lb. mushroom crop! You can yield up to 4 crops per box!
I'm all about trying new things, and learning all I can in the process! What fun!

Daily Inspiration

Apparently Bacopa, the blooming, trailing plant we most often use in summer pots,  also makes a good houseplant!  It's always fun to discover a plant that works well both in and out of doors! I always experiment bringing in a couple things every year; some successful, some not. Bacopa is a success so far! So, next year, when you are cleaning our your summer pots, remember to save your bacopa to bring inside! I have it planted in a basket that hangs in the sunniest part of our sunroom, and fertilize it every other week with Fox Farm's 'Tiger Bloom' fertilizer. 

Remember the Lipstick plant bud I showed you recently? Here is that bud, fully opened and beautiful...

6 Shopping Days Left!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Daily Inspiration

(Ipomoea alba)
(picture from

The moonflower belongs to the same family as the ever-popular, chartreuse-green potato vine that you see spilling out of many summer pots. The bonus with this variety- giant, white, fragrant blooms! Moonflowers are just as vigorous a vine, quickly growing 10'-12', covering trellises, arbors, etc. The most interesting thing about this plant is that the blooms open in the evening and last until morning, so be sure to plant this one where you will be able to see it at the appropriate times!

7 Shopping Days left!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Daily Inspiration

Sweet Pea
'Mammoth Salmon Cream'
Of all the pinks out there, salmon is our favorite. It falls somewhere between a warm and cool color palette, making it an easy choice in any spot (pairing it with reds could possibly be the only no-no). Put it with purples, blues, and whites, or with yellows, and oranges, and it will look phenomenal. 

I'm going to try this seed out next season. It's a fragrant, short climber, growing 4'- perhaps a fun choice to grow up a small trellis in a pot? 

8 Shopping Days left!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Daily Inspiration

Recycling at it's finest.

Lightbulb terrariums!

All you need is a clear light bulb, needle nose pliers and tweezers (for removing the insides of the lightbulb and for placing your objects inside), and a few ingredients from nature.

You first put a dot of silicone on the bottom side of the lightbulb so it sits the way you want it to. After the silicone dries, layer the bottom with sand, and last, place a few sticks, stones, and/or other elements to get your desired look. Air plants work exceptionally well for these terrariums as they don't need to be watered to survive- they absorb nutrients and moisture through the air. If you don't have any of those on hand (I didn't!), use anything that you think is pretty! I put a tiny homemade birdnest in the large bulb. (I am still trying to figure out what else to put in the small lightbulb- it's opening is less than 1/4 of an inch. The large lightbulb's opening is 1/2 inch.)

Thank you,, for the idea and the how-to!
They got a WAY better picture of theirs (I had a heck of a time with lighting!). 

On the 9th Day of Christmas...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daily Inspiration

If you are looking to seed some climbing annuals, this might be a fun, different choice for you!

Cobaea Scandens
Cobaea Scandens has a Willy-wonkaesque quality to me- with it's giant teacups that look good enough to eat! This vine is better off started inside, 4-6 weeks before last frost, because it takes a while to germinate (21-30 days). Once in the ground it will quickly grow 10-12', and will be covered in large purple bell-shaped blooms summer through fall! 

On the 10th Day of Christmas...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daily Inspiration

This is another flower seed that made it to my stash!

Five Spot
(Nemophila maculata)
This is an especially good annual flower for dry areas. It is a low-growing, carpet-forming flower that is great for borders or even containers. I am excited to see if it is a self-seeding annual or not (I hope so)! Five Spot blooms spring through summer!

On the 11th Day of Christmas...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Daily Inspiration

As we get our 2012 seeds in, I get inspired (and impatient!). I love to collect seeds of flowers, veggies, and herbs that I haven't grown yet, or those that I haven't even seen before. 

Here is a pretty one I am going to try this year:
Hummingbird Salvia
'Coral Nymph'
We get this seed from Renee's Garden. The description says: This premium variety is more compact and earlier blooming than other salvias, with clouds of nectar-rich, orchid-like blossoms in an enchanting shade of salmon-coral with tiny white stamens. Hummingbirds seek out and flock to Coral Nymph plants literally from dawn to dusk, and sprays of these charming flowers are lovely in mixed bouquets. Coral Nymph grows readily in a wide range of conditions throughout summer. Ideal for big containers or as easy-care, free-flowering border plants. 

On the 12th day of Christmas...

Today marks the first day of our annual 12 Shopping Days of Christmas sales event! 
For the 12 days leading up to Christmas, we will be putting a different item on sale. Once that item has gone on sale, it will remain that way until Christmas! Take advantage of this sale, and find the perfect gift for anyone on your list!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daily Inspiration

A teapot with purpose!
This silver teapot is the genuine article...but it has a broken handle. 
As long as it isn't good for serving up some hot beverage, why not use it for something else!? 
Possibly something a tad prettier or whimsical? 

In all the English garden and homes my family has toured, there was a common theme that we all noted- no matter how formal the garden, there was always something of a whimsical nature tucked in here or there. This is what gave even the stuffiest of gardens a 'real' quality and a charm that we all love to see in gardens! 

P.S. Here are the first signs of lavender! Woo hoo!
 (Seeds were started Dec. 1st.- with the help of the seedling heat mat and grow light, we beat the stated germination date by 8 days!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Daily Inspiration

Lipstick Plant
(Aeschynanthus radicans)
One of our Lipstick plants started to bloom today! Lipstick plants are an easy-care, hanging plant- good for almost any room! They tolerate low-light and dry conditions better than most, and bloom intermittently throughout the year. I love the way this plant sends out dark purple calyces which are followed by bright pink tubes of lipstick!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Daily Inspiration

Terrariums have always been interesting to me. I love that every single one of them is different--each one utilizing different and unique containers and materials. I have terrariums at home ranging from a large, free-standing iron and glass terrarium that has room for several plants and larger decorative items, to a small copper-bottomed terrarium that has room for only one, small plant. When my nieces visit, they always look very intently in them to see if some sort of living creature is hiding somewhere in it. Who knows, there might be!

For most terrarium projects, you can find almost all the supplies you need just by looking around your home with a creative eye. You need any size/shape of clear glass container, and a few other supplies to get going! I started with an old, copper, plant mister that I'm sure was longing to be useful again! The actual glass part stands only 4 in. high and wide, with the opening being only 1 inch. I also found a little sand, moss-covered sticks, polished stones, a butterfly that had been pinned to the wall for I don't know how many years, and some seed pods to use. With a little patience, I got them all stuffed in the mister and arranged so that the lid can easily screw on and off (I warned everyone else not to shake it...or else!). It's helpful to have a pair of long, slender tweezers (or a skewer) if the opening of your container is small. 

Butterfly on moss-covered sticks.

Seed pod and stone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Inspiration

African Violet
'Blackie Bryant'

You don't see an African Violet with variegated leaves and double, ruffled flowers very often!
 I'm in love with this variety!

A lot of customers say they have a hard time with violets. Through trial and error, I have found the easiest way to care for them is to let them dry out, not completely- but close, before watering, and then I water them from underneath (meaning I fill their saucers up with water and let them drink it up)! Violets bloom best on stress, that is why I let them dry out fairy well before watering! They also like consistent feedings. Ours are fertilized every two weeks with Schultz African Violet food. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daily Inspiration

I'm a winter girl for about 1 week, after that, I have had quite enough and find myself wanting spring so bad I can taste it. To ease the dreary, freezing, winter days, I cleared off a spot on our indoor potting bench and set up a seed-starting, plant-growing station. To speed things up, I use a seedling heat mat that stays on constantly to keep the soil temperature 10-20 degrees above the room's temperature, and a grow light set on a timer to give the new seedlings 16 hours of sun (sounds pretty ideal, doesn't it? I wouldn't mind at all having a human-sized station like that set-up!). 
Here's what's coming-up! 
'Sweet Italian' Basil
I used a mixture of one-part Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Mix, and one-part milled sphagnum moss/no damp off seed-starting mix.

Looks like I am going to need to do a little thinning...

On the other side of the flat is  'French Perfume' Lavender
No sign of it yet.
 (Germination time is 18-28 days- maybe a bit shorter due to the consistent soil temperature- we'll see.)

Now is a great time to start herbs on your windowsill. You don't need all the fancy gadgets, just a container with drainage, seed-starting/potting mix, saran wrap to make a make-shift grow dome, seeds, and a sunny windowsill! 
I like to grow basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, rosemary, and salad greens on my windowsill! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Daily Inspiration

We just received a huge load full of them! 
Traditional reds, whites, and a plethora of pinks and painted varieties!