This is the first yellow chrysanthemum with over 1400 blooms to be showcased at Longwood and the largest in North America
Last week I had the good fortune to visit the lovely city of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and viewed the Butchart Gardens with a special behind the scenes look at their greenhouses. The Butchart Gardens are a National Historic Site although they are still owned by the Butchart Family. They are open 365 days a year and maintain year round beauty. November is probably the most “off season” for them, so they give weekend greenhouse tours just during this month. It requires sign up in advance and they fill up early.
The gardens are host to more than a million visitors a year and have a staff of gardeners that is around 250 in the off-season and can grow to over 600 during the peak months of July and August. They are open 365 days a year and due to their location in a sheltered valley with 215 frost free days and 30 inches of rain, it is more of a Mediterranean climate than one would expect this far North.
It is hard to pick among the many lovely views, but I thought the cove was particularly picturesque that day.
The sunken garden is particularly dramatic and was created by carting loam into an abandoned limestone quarry. There is a “before” and “after” picture from a sign at the gardens that gives some idea of the dramatic change. The inspiration behind these gardens was Jennie Butchart who began the project in 1904 and is a reflection of the early 20th century beautification movement.
The Greenhouse tour was quite interesting. They have 25 greenhouses and use beneficial insects to help with pest management. I learned a new use for Sprite. Apparently a diluted mixture when sprayed on ladybugs will keep them from flying off to care for your neighbor’s gardens. They don’t use ladybugs themselves, but buy beneficial insects from a local company that propagates them. Here is an example of a container of Brown Lacewings that they received.
I am sure it is much more lovely in summer, but it was still a dramatic and interesting visit.
Perennial Plant Swap, Sale and Give Away!
October 5th, 2013 10:00 – 12:00
(on Stacy Blvd. next to Bocce and Tennis Courts)
Bring a plant and get a plant or just get a great deal for new perennial plant color in your next year’s garden.
Now is the perfect time to dig and divide. Bring your extra plants to swap!
The first 50 attendees will receive a free coneflower plant. Proceeds will be used to help maintain the public planting areas in Gloucester, MA.
For more info contact Susan@GenerousGardeners.com or call 781-346-1363
Mosaïculture at the Montréal Botanical Garden – finally – how to use brown weeping sedge grass (Carex ‘flagellifera’)
The displays took my breath away and not just because there was finally a display of carex that didn’t look like dead grasses. Of course, there was much, much more than an adorable furry dog using exclusively that perennial (not grass). There were prancing ponies over twice the normal size with flowing carex manes in fields of Rudbeckia. There was a 3 story high display of exotic endangered birds and Mother Earth appearing serenely huge among her bountiful flora and fauna (of flora). Birds and Buffalo, Frogs and Fish, Flowers made of plants and so much more will amaze the senses if you make the trip.
Over 3,000,000 plants went into this exhibit of over 40 sculptures designed by over 200 horticultural artists. The exhibits are made from frameworks of wood and wire netting with interior watering systems covered with plants that were grown just for this event. This amazing exhibit appears every three years in different countries and is on display in Montreal until September 29th. It is well worth the trek for gardeners and non-gardeners and is frankly a bit overwhelming. Be prepared to be exhausted by the immensity of it all.
For more info see www.mosaiculturesinternationales.ca/en/
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to be in Aspen, Colorado when many of the wildflowers high up in the mountains were blooming. The plant life has such a short growing season (80 days versus our New England 210), that they put on a powerful, albeit brief display.
Courtesy of our daughter, Courtland, who is a summer naturalist at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, we had an educational hike along the “Lost Man” trail. We saw fireweed, blue gentian and a very cool flower, Elephantella, that really does have flowers shaped like an elephant face. Here are a few cool pictures.
Toronto, Ontario has lovely botanical gardens with no admission fee. Canadians know how to do a lot of things right and gardening is certainly one of them. It is billed as a magical oasis in the city and it is quite lovely. There are 17 contemporary themed gardens over 4 acres. There is even a vegetable garden where I confirmed that a mystery plant I planted as a remainder from my Spring plant sale is indeed Jerusalem Artichoke. This is an unusual vegetable that spreads with runners. I quickly, and carefully removed all traces of it as soon as I got home.
Here are some of the pictures on a lovely Wednesday in August.
GLOUCESTER GARDEN TOUR 2013
We were so lucky to have great weather and so many perennial flowers in peak bloom for the day of the tour. If you missed the Gloucester Garden Tour last Saturday, check out our photos below of the eleven gardens you could have visited.
This was a first time collaborative effort between GenerousGardeners.com and the Harvard Club of the North Shore to host a garden tour. We started with a shoestring budget and learned on the fly how to organize, promote and operate a one day garden tour. At times the committee of five felt overwhelmed with the never ending to do list of editing the program, drawing maps, posting signs, soliciting sponsors, organizing volunteers, maintaining public gardens, finding advertisement without paying a fortune, etc, etc….
It was all worth the effort. This was a great learning experience and such a pleasure to be part of a local organization bettering their own community. Visitors were surprised at the four acre plus size of several of the private gardens. Many homeowners were actually present to discuss their plants and inform guests that they were indeed the only gardener as well. Comments were positive and encouraging. Many gardeners mentioned how inspired they were to create new gardens at their own home.
In hindsight we probably could have sold a few more tickets with a volunteer stationed at the Chamber of Commerce or The Visitor’s Center at Stage Fort Park. We will remember that for next time.
Funds raised amounted to just over $5000. This will help support the butterfly gardens in the new HarborWalk and the Fishermen’s Wives Memorial gardens.
Thank you to all the local sponsors, organizers and volunteers that made the Gloucester Garden Tour 2013 possible.
Enjoy the pictures!
Several Generous Gardeners wearing their green aprons marched in the Horribles parade to promote the Gloucester Garden Tour. Susan and Terese decorated their hats with flowers. We all handed out candy to the children and reminder cards to the adults.
It was such a well attended local parade that unfortunately, we ran out of candy and cards half way through the parade route. Yikes! Who knew there were so many cute little kids with large ziplock bags waiting for a treat. We even sent someone running ahead to buy more candy along the way and we ran out again. Oh well, next year we will make sure we are well stocked with candy and an extra thousand cards.
Please come spend a memorable summer day on Cape Ann taking in the great gardens, restaurants, beaches and scenery!
Gloucester Garden Tour – Saturday, July 13, 2013 from 10:00 to 4:00. It starts at the GenerousGardeners tent at exit 12 (right off of Route 128 North) in Gloucester, MA. This tour benefits the new HarborWalk and the Fishermen’s Wives Memorial gardens. Info and tickets online at www.GloucesterGardenTour.com
Hope to see you there!
Ta Da! We were in the home stretch.
We really enjoy going on garden tours and there is nothing better than spending a day on Cape Ann in Massachusetts during the summer.
Rockport’s garden tour is always a treat to see. There are big, beautiful homes with lush landscapes and sweeping lawns going down to the ocean. Luckily, the rain held off despite the forecast and we quickly toured all the properties. Check out a few of the photos taken during the tour last weekend.
Don’t forget to come see the Gloucester Garden Tour on Saturday, July 13, 2013 from 10:00 to 4:00. We will be in the Generous Gardener tent at exit 12 right off of Route 128 in Gloucester, MA. Spend a memorable summer day on Cape Ann taking in the great gardens, restaurants, beaches and scenery! Info at www.GloucesterGardenTour.com
Have a great day!
I am sure that somewhere, someone is paying good money for just that plant.
Today was finally a nice enough day to be outside gardening. I started to clean up one of the flower beds and found many small volunteer plants. I potted them right up for our May 18th plant sale in Gloucester, MA.
Wherever you live, there is probably a garden club having a sale. You can also list them on www.GenerousGardeners.com and maybe you can help a neighbor and make a new gardening friend by giving them away.
The Desert Botanical Garden in Pheonix, Arizona
I am amazed by the soaring Saguaro Cacti and the natural beauty of all the arid climate plants in the Sonoran Desert.
A native New Englander is considered, “a non-desert dweller” out in Pheonix, AZ.
The Desert Botanical Garden has an interesting collection of desert plants displayed on multiple thematic trails. There is wonderful educational signage to help you learn more about the Sonoran Desert plants along the “People and Plants of the Sonoran Desert Garden Trail”, which describes the various uses of desert plants for nourishment, construction, fiber, medicine and tools.
The newest theme collection is the “Agave and Yucca Garden” with striking examples to look at viewed from above on a new bridge
On the “Garden Desert Discovery Trail” are examples of desert plants from around the world and desert wildflowers are highlighted on the “Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail.”
There are frequent daily tours, docents available to answer questions and many special events taking place throughout the year.
The Spring Butterfly Exhibit was open and filled with photographers.
Also, on special display during my visit was the artwork of Phillip Haas, the “Four Seasons.”
I spotted my first hummingbird of the year, just outside the gift shop.
Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring an umbrella or hat, sunscreen and water. Visit early in the day to avoid the heat. Enjoy!
The Desert Botanical Gardens are located at 1201 N Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ 85008
Are you pinning on Pinterest?
If the answer is yes, please check out Generous Gardeners new boards at pinterest.com/generousgarden. We also have a new community Generous Gardeners board for any generous gardener that wants to share pictures of their own garden!
If you are not familiar with the online site www.pinterest.com, then you are in for a treat.
This three year old San Francisco based company lets you collect, organize, upload and store any pictures on the web for free. It is similar to creating an old fashioned bulletin board with the ability to pin pictures on it.
You can create and find numerous boards (bulletin boards) with pins (pictures usually linked to information) of various subjects such as planning a dream kitchen, organizing a wedding, finding flower photos with a link to cultural information, garden advice articles, window boxes, recipes etc… I even collect outdoor skating photos from around the world on one of my many boards. If you have ever collected anything in your life, then you understand the desire and fascination of seeking and acquiring new pieces or additions to add or complete your set.
Pinterest brings back memories of collecting things as a kid; except, it is neat and clean — and not collecting dust in my house.
The Pinterest site has become wildly popular, possibly because there isn’t really any social interaction and you don’t even need to use your own name, but most people do. It’s all about collecting either beautiful inspiring photos or good information linked to a picture. The best part is that everyone is sharing. This allows you to follow other pinners (people that put pictures on boards) that share great info or like the same things you do.
No one cares who you are, just how good your info is and that your pictures are appealing.
Are you the go to person for a certain subject such as great seafood recipes, clever ideas, antique ice skates or garden ideas, then share your best recipes, ideas and pictures for everyone to enjoy. It’s easy to find new collections of information. Everything links back to the original source for credit.
Let’s face it, pictures are worth a thousand words and everyone likes to look at beautiful, inspiring pictures. Each snapshot captures a visual memory in time and records it. Pinterest helps spread that record of time for all to enjoy and can link to great information behind the picture.
It may sound foreign at first (pins , boards, pinners, repins) but once you get over the initial learning curve of finding your way around the site, you will enjoy using the search box opening a world of information you didn’t know existed. Click on the Pinterest button and find a category you are interested in and browse or search for particular info or collections. Follow other pinners’ boards to see what is new on their collections.
At times, I feel as if I have people working for me, collecting information on the things I’m interested in, but it really is a collaborative effort of passionate pinners getting the best pictures with the best information.
Pinterest is a clean and neat way to catalogue all your collections of recipes, craft projects, gardening info, without ever having to create a file in a file drawer. My husband loves that I am no longer ripping magazine articles out, no more saving paper info, pictures or ideas that clutter up the house. I simply pin these pictures and scraps of information to an online pin board.
I will warn you that Pinterest is highly addictive and you may find that an hour or two flew by while you looked at pictures and gathered info and recipes. Also, if you log in with a Facebook account, please shut off the settings that post every picture you pin or your friends will think your hogging their Facebook newsfeed.
If there is a gene with a predisposition for hoarding, I may have it; evidence being that, I have more perennials out back than some garden centers. By using Pinterest, my husband will never have to deal with all the stuff I’ve collected on my numerous boards. It’s my version of online hoarding.
Happy pinning on Pinterest!
Please feel free to pin pictures of your gardens on our community Generous Gardeners board. Simply send me an email Terese@GenerousGardeners.com with your Pinterest link, so I can find you on Pinterest and send an invitation to pin on our board.
I know when the novelty of winter has worn off and I’m anxious for spring to begin. On Thursday, Susan drove with me for almost five hours round trip to visit two different flower shows. We both wanted to see some nice landscaping and smell the flowers. We were fully aware that these shows would be small compared to The Philadelphia Flower Show, but it was nice to see some green and take in the fragrance of the trees, shrubs and flowers.
First stop was the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford to see the 32nd Annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show which was running from Feb. 21 – 24, 2013. The show theme was “Love In Bloom” and had seventeen landscape displays and over eighty hours of seminars and demonstrations. Tickets cost $16.00 for adults to see the landscape designs that encompass just over an acre and 300 vendor booths along with the educational seminars and demonstrations. Parking was inexpensive and the Convention Center has easy access right off Route 84. Favorite displays of ours were from Adam’s Watergardens with their heart shaped display of pink and white heather and colorful hellebores. The Connecticut Horticultural Society had a fabulous display embracing ecological awareness by asking show-goers to break up with their lawn and start with a ‘Dear John’ err — Dear Lawn letter and become less chemically dependent. Nicely done!
Here are a few photos from our visit.
Next stop the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI. This convention center also has easy access right off a major highway (Route 95) with available parking near the building. The Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show is in partnership with the RI Horticultural Society and they were celebrating twenty years of shows. There were 25 displayed gardens and vignettes, and approximately 170 vendors in the marketplace. Tickets at the door were $19.00 for adults and $16.00 for seniors and students. There was a Food and Wine Festival going on that looked interesting but we didn’t get to attend.
The show also has the same dates as the CT. show from Feb. 21 – 24, 2013.
Favorite displays included the beautiful pink and white tulips at Celebrating “Life and Hope” and the spectacular moss and fern display at Nature in Motion. “Celebrate Your Own Personal Paradise” was a very inviting landscape that anyone would love to have in their back yard.
Unfortunately, the lighting was not great for taking pictures but here are a few photos from Thursday.
On a recent visit to my local supermarket, I was caught by surprise at the sight of at least fifty beautiful blooming Phalanopsis orchids. The very popular Phalanopsis or commonly called Moth Orchids were on display with their graceful arching, long sprays of colorful flowers.
Many people assume orchids are only for the experienced gardener. This myth is simply not true and that is one of the reasons these orchids are showing up in every supermarket. Phalanopsis orchids are not difficult to maintain and may possibly be one of the easier flowering houseplants to have in your house. The bonus is that they can bloom for months in late winter and early spring.
When I consider that my orchids flower for a such a long period of time; I realize they are more cost effective than buying two or three bouquets of flowers that only last a week each. Orchids will also live for years and give you another chance at seeing it grow and flower. Half the show is watching it grow. Get ready, get set and go buy a new orchid.
- What to look for when buying a new orchid.
Purchase a Phalanopsis or Moth Orchid that is already flowering because seedlings can take years before they bloom, plus it is always nice to see and select the color you want. Check that it has several unopened flowers for a longer display of blooming.
Look at the pot it is in. Orchids need lots of drainage. They should be growing in an orchid plastic pot with slits up the side or a clay pot with lots of drainage holes.
Inspect for bugs and always check the roots to make sure they are not all shriveled up from being too dry or worse, finding them sitting in water. Use your nose. Just like buying fish, if it smells yucky- pass on the purchase.
- The ride home
If it is cold outside (temperature below 60 degrees) as it frequently is here in New England, then make sure the store clerk carefully wraps the orchid and it’s long stems to protect it from the elements for the ride home. Don’t leave it in a freezing car while running other errands.
- Find the right spot in your house.
At home, carefully unwrap and place the orchid in a room with bright, indirect light. That means NO DIRECT SUN! If you place a flowering phalanopsis in a hot area or a sunny window you can kiss your chance of a long flowering period good bye.
A north or east facing window is usually a fine location for your new Phalanopsis. If you only have a sunny, south or west facing window, then a sheer curtain covering the window is a must and move the plant as far from the window as possible. Sunny windows are reserved for different types of orchids such as Cattleyas, Oncidiums and Dendrobiums.
Always place the flowers pointing toward the greatest source of light. After a month of being in your home , a simple way to know if your Phalanopsis orchid is happy with the light, is to check the foliage color of its leaves. If they are deep, dark green, then they need more light. If they are slightly yellowish-green, then all is well and they are located in the correct spot.
Phalanopsis like to be in average home temps between 60 – 85. In the late fall, a short three or four week period of lower temperatures at night (just below 60 degrees) will induce flowering. A new stalk will form in about a month. Don’t leave your orchid in a room that you shut the heat off for the winter.
Phalanopsis are epiphytes (fancy word for a plant that grows on another plant, but is not a parasite). Because Epiphytes do not grow in soil, their roots try to grab water out of the air in the form of humidity. Providing extra humidity to your Phalanopsis will make it a happy camper. Create a little micro-environment by placing a waterproof tray filled with stones and water under your potted orchid to increase humidity for the roots. Make sure the orchid pot is sitting above the water in the tray. Never, ever let the roots sit in standing water! Smelly rot and eventual death will follow.
- WATERING – NOT MISTING
Wait until the potting medium (that is the bark and sphagnum moss in the container) is almost dry between waterings.
Watering once a week is generally best for the indoor Phalanopsis with more water required in hot weather and less in cold weather. Also, note that clay pots dry out faster and need more water than plastic pots.
Take the orchid to the kitchen sink and let the the room temperature water filter right through the container and out the drainage holes.
Only water the plant growing medium, not the flowers and not the leaves. Normally, avoid getting the leaves wet because it can promote diseases. If they do get wet, dry them gently with a tissue. However, once or twice a year I give the leaves (top and bottom) a shower of room temperature water to get rid of dust and clean them up a bit, then I dry them throughly with a soft cloth. Phalanopsis do not like to be misted as that will leave them cold, wet and prone to disease.
I must repeat - Never, ever, let the roots sit in standing water! Smelly rot and eventual death will follow.
Buy a small bottle of orchid food. These bottles seem to last forever. Water the plant as usual with room temperature water letting it drain out then apply food as directed on the bottle either once a month or use a very weak application weekly.
- Future repotting.
Repot every two years in the spring after flowering has finished in a slightly bigger pot. Phalanopsis orchids like to be tight in their containers or they don’t produce flowers and instead put their energy into making more roots to fill a pot that’s too big. Keep it simple and buy premixed orchid mix found in small bags at garden centers or box stores. It is soilless and commonly has bark, sphagnum moss, coconut husks, vermiculite and perlite mixed together. This makes it a lot easier than making your own mix. Wash off the old mix from the roots and snip away dead, dying or diseased looking roots with a sterilized knife or shears.
- My orchid routine.
I find it easiest to keep my orchids growing in a clear plastic orchid container that has drainage slits up the side and holes on the bottom for fast drainage. I then place this inside a decorative pot that sits on top of a humidity tray. That way I just slip the light plastic orchid container out of the heavy decorative pot and take it to my kitchen sink for weekly water and food. When it is done draining I slip it back into the decorative pot.
I also prefer using liquid orchid food and feed a weak solution weekly. In November I give the orchids a regular amount of food instead of a weak solution because they are supposed to be producing flowers during that time. I often don’t even feed them in the winter. As my daughter would say “Easy Peasy”
Remember, plants are similar to people. We like to eat, drink and have an occasional bath, well — so do the plants.
Cheers to the Phalanopsis — a long lived happy houseplant!
P.S. Special thanks to my friend Sue for taking pictures.