Wednesday, October 10, 2018

It's Almost Time To Force The Amaryllis Bulbs ....

As soon as the leaves have fallen, the windows are closed, and the heat inside the house is on ... you very well might start thinking it's Amaryllis Time. There is nothing more beautiful than Amaryllis blooming inside over the Christmas holidays right through the Winter.
If this is your first time growing Amaryllis ... you can start anytime between October 1st and March 1st.  After planting, you should have blooms in approximately 6-8 weeks. Just follow these 5 simple steps to begin your adventure:
1. Start with nice, fat round Amaryllis bulbs. You can buy single bulbs online as well as purchase them from Big Box Stores. You can also buy all-in-one kits containing a bulb, pot, and a compressed soil disk. Personally, I really don't care for the kits. I'd rather buy just the bulbs. 
2. Buy a flower pot with drainage holes. A 6-7 inch pot is fine for one bulb.
3. Buy potting soil.
4. To begin, moisten some of the potting soil and add it to the pot til it's about 2/3 full. Place an Amaryllis bulb on top of the soil and gently spread the roots out over the top of the soil. Now add a bit more moistened potting soil so that only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the top of bulb is visible.
5.Place the pot in a warm, brightly lit room. Water sparingly at first. When leaf growth begins water more often. Now .... be patient.

                                                          Voila! Success!

 Once your Amaryllis is blooming, the flowers will last longer if you move your plant to a cooler spot with indirect light. 

 If you buy extra Amaryllis Bulbs and pots, and stagger your planting times, you can have flowers blooming all winter long.  The chart below gives approximate planting and blooming times.  Happy Planting!

PLANT                 BLOOM
Oct 15           Nov 26 - Dec 10
Nov 1            Dec 13  - Dec 27
Nov 15          Dec 27  - Jan 10
Dec  1            Jan 12  - Jan 26
Dec 15           Jan 26 - Feb  9
Jan  1            Feb 12  - Feb 26
Jan 15           Feb 26 - Mar 11
Feb  1            Mar 14 - Mar 28
Feb 15          Mar 28 - Apr 11
Mar 1            Apr 11 -  Apr 26

Have any questions? Suggestions? Or just want to say "Hi" ?  Drop me a line in the comments section. Would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dang Squirrels! Leaves My Bulbs Alone!

                                                 Yep, it's that time again. Fall is here!
In addition to the colorful leaves and crisp cool air, bulb planting time has  also arrived. And so the battle begins ....
Squirrels. Don't be fooled by their cute little faces and those tiny little claws. Beware. You know those daffodil bulbs you just planted ...?
Guess who just dug them all up?! 
And your pumpkins?
They're not safe either. Evidently, squirrels find them delish! One of the little devils stole one of my mini pumpkins right off the front deck railing! And here's the evidence!

So what is one supposed to do?Well, difficult times require drastic measures.  So ....
You improvise! Some leftover strips of wire fencing laid over newly planted bulbs, and then covered with heavy stones, was my first shot at a temporary fix. 
For my second attempt, I found something even better! Leftover pieces of this other wire fencing (same as the fencing in the first photo), covered with a few heavy stones, was much easier to work with.  I've got Anemone Blanda Mix bulbs planted here. I also have 2 other spots where I intend to plant about 50 more daffodil bulbs, and I have plenty of this fencing left to cover those areas. 
 Yay! I just found 2 packages of these in my garage! Now I can ditch the large stones. Garden staples are really nifty!  Just anchor them through just about anything ... wire, burlap, netting ... whatever, and push the pins all the way into the soil. They hold up really well through all seasons. 

Now, as far as the decorative real pumpkins on the front deck rail ... I guess I will just have to cave.
I'll just have to decorate the deck rail with fake pumpkins ... hee hee.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September Goings On In My Pocono Mountain Garden 2018

Hard to believe it's September already. Some of flowers are starting to wind down ... and others are still going strong!
My Lauren's Grape Poppies have all gone to seed now, but they were so beautiful when they were in bloom.
My tall Garden Phlox had finished blooming, but a few weeks ago I cut them back, and now I'm getting a second flush of flowers!
My tall climbing Nasturtiums like the sun, but they look so much brighter when the temperatures are cooler. The Bees and Hummingbirds love them!
The Petunias in the window boxes are still blooming their heads off! I must have cut them back 3-4 times during the Summer.
A pot of annual Dianthus has looked great from late Spring right through Summer. I have cut them back quite a few times, too.
I love my late season blooming Morning Glories! Grandpa Ott's are especially pretty!
The last, and my favorite of all ... evening blooming Moonflowers ... which are temperamental to say the least.  They are very late bloomers ...  mid to late September here in the Poconos. This photo, though, was taken this past mid-July. Extremely early for Moonflowers here. If I remember correctly, I believe we had a mini heat wave for quite a few days around that time and I had about 3 blooms.  Then the plant sulked for quite awhile after. I am happy to say though ... 
she produced more buds, and hopefully, will flower again later this month.

Happy Gardening To All

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Surprises In My Rainy Pocono Mountain Garden In July 2018

Rain, rain, go away.  Come back ...  in late August ... when things are usually bone dry. Right now my gardens are somewhat waterlogged and the slugs are having a field day! Bleh!  I am handling the situation as creatively as I can  ... and I'm kind of surprised by some of the results. 
In my front garden, my tall garden Phlox are, surprisingly, doing very well. Not much slug damage, considering. Before the deluge, I had been putting out recycled cat food cans filled with beer and successfully drowning the buggers. When the rains came, the beer trick no longer worked. So, I switched to granular slug bait. Works just fine. Been using it in all my gardens.
Flower pots can be a different story. With my herb pot (Lemon Balm, Rosemary & Basil) when the rains came I began noticing slug damage. So, I sprinkled granular slug bait on the soil surface and moved the pot close to my sliding glass door off my back deck. Now being under an overhang, the pot no longer gets drenched. Although the plants are not getting the bright, dry sunshine they would like, the sun will shine again. That's when I will move them back to the sunny side of the back deck.  Summer is far from over!
I also moved my pot of Mexican Sunflowers over there, too. No flowers yet, but they are late bloomers. I don't normally have flowers til the end of August, but they are so worth waiting for!
Slowly climbing up a trellis on my back deck is also a combo of Grandpa Ott Morning Glories & Moonflowers. Since the pair take their sweet time, I started them indoors in May and planted them out in June. Although they really don't get going til late August, they usually never fail to bloom their pretty little heads off! Just hope we have a lot of sun and heat return in the next few weeks to make them happy!  Oh, almost forgot ...
with my flower pots that can't be moved, or really can't be covered with an empty pot or whatever, I improvised and covered the base of the plants with loosely packed plastic bags from the supermarket. Sort of a "raincoat" for the plants. Surprisingly, it really does help.

 On a different, but another really positive note, sometimes plants will behave in ways you wouldn't expect.
On my front deck, I also have a trellis planted with Moonflowers, but with them, I planted Heavenly blue Morning Glories instead of Grandpa Ott's. I had started them both indoors as well. In the last week, I have had two Moonflowers bloom already. I was initially surprised when I saw them forming buds so early in the season. Must have been the mini heat spell  of about 4 days we had in June. Anyway, the first one bloomed about 2 in the afternoon on a cloudy, dreary, misty day.  The second, bloomed a few days later. The Heavenly Blues haven't even started forming buds, yet. Go figure. They will ... eventually. What can I say? I am thankful for small miracles.

Happy Gardening to all!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

In The Poconos ... A Walk In The Woods In Early June

Springtime in the Poconos can be very different from year to year. Cool and rainy seems to be the norm these past few years. Since my gardens aren't really showing any color right now, my hubby and I had recently decided to take a walk on one of the nature trails at nearby Tobyhanna State Park to enjoy the view of the lake.
The lake was calm with barely a ripple across the water. The trees were fresh and green, and the air was warm and a bit muggy. We headed down the trail at a leisurely pace as the sun began to peek through the clouds. Parts of the trail were still muddy from the rain earlier in the morning. Sidestepping the puddles, I ventured closer to the shoreline hoping I might spot a frog or two. 
No frogs, but I spotted this small, star-shaped wildflower.  I quickly pulled out my pocket camera. What is is? Don't know. Cute, don't you think?
As we walked along, I quickly spotted the red berries on this ground cover.  No clue what it is. CLICK!
Further down the path I noticed this pretty little flower. Swamp Buttercup ... maybe? Of course I couldn't resist and SNAPPED another pic. 

This low-growing flowering shrub (no idea what it is) caught my eye a little farther down the trail.  SNAP!
Then we came upon these. They look like a forest of mini pine trees! CLICK!
99% sure these are wild blueberry bushes! SNAP!
Fleabane ... at least I'm pretty sure that's what this is. CLICK.

Pine cones ... absolutely certain. SNAP!
No idea. Interesting and pretty though. CLICK!

A Dandelion Puff ... go on and make a wish!