Blog/Stories

Caring for your Christmas Cactus

The Christmas Cactus is a popular holiday gift and also a subject of discussion amongst gardeners as to how to care for it and what it takes to make it bloom.  It always helps to know the origin of a plant to understand what makes it tick. This plant is a succulent, tropical type of …

Stokes Aster Flowers

When giving some thought recently about fall-blooming, perennial flowers the ever-popular chrysanthemum or mums as they are usually called, was the first to come to mind. However, there is another flower that is a fall bloomer called Aster. There are many different kinds with varying heights and flower colors. They are easy to grow and …

Asian Lady Beetle

Is Something Bugging You?                           Gardeners, farmers and orchardists consider lady beetles to be a beneficial insect because they feed on plant pests.  While there is no doubt that the Asian lady beetle is helping to control aphid and scale infestations outdoors, home owners are not as enchanted by the little pest finding their way indoors.  …

DIY Succulent Soil

Succulents are very popular plants with their wonderful shapes and colors and they are drought tolerant to boot. I have found that not just any soil will make them happy. Ordinary potting soil holds too much moisture for these plants so I have taken to making my own mix. It is cheaper than purchasing commercially …

August Gardening

I consider August as the last month of summer. A time when the gardens are overflowing with produce and almost everything is lush and beautiful.    Late July and early August can be a bit dry due to little, if any, rainfall. There are some perennials in my gardens that tend to look a bit ragged …

Pruning Tomato Plants

The main goal of pruning and staking tomatoes is to keep the fruits off the soil and promote air circulation within the foliage of the plant. Pruned plants produce bigger and earlier fruits because more of the plant energy is channeled into fruit production and ripening and not into the branches and leaves.  Pruning is …

How to Handle Suckering Plants

Lilacs are known for what is called “sucker growth”.  This is when the plant sprouts new growth from the root system.  Some varieties are more prone to this than others, so to minimize suckering, choose varieties that generally sucker less.  Do some research before making your purchase. Generally, most trees and shrubs have the capability …

White Grub Destruction in Lawns

Does your lawn show wilting and browning of irregularly shaped areas?  If so you may have an infestation of white grubs.  There could be many reasons for lawn browning, especially in late summer when rainfall is not abundant.  White grubs feed on the roots of grass.  Check the root zone of affected areas by carefully …

Rejuvenate an Old Asparagus Bed

I was recently asked how to rejuvenate an old, neglected asparagus bed. Asparagus beds, if taken care of properly, can produce for fifteen or more years. One of the biggest issues of poor producing asparagus beds is the competition for water and nutrients with weeds. Pull them, mow them off and/or spray them. Soft, moist …