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Showing posts with label Tootsie's Gardening Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tootsie's Gardening Tips. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Shady Border

Shade is often one area of the garden that gives gardeners the most trouble. I would like to take some time today to share some great suggestions for plantings in a shaded area.

For the purpose of this post, shade will be described as an area of your garden that gets some morning or evening sun.   I have used photos that are not mine...they are from a book...and I am sorry, but I can't credit you if I don't know where the photo came you see YOUR photo in my post...please message me and I will happily edit my writing to include you deserve the credit!
Now...back to the best stuff...

The first thing you will need to do is to chose your area. When choosing your location, try to avoid making a bed under very large trees, as their roots often use up too much water. Building a raised bed under a tree can, at times, cause the tree to become distressed. When extra soil is added, the roots will be unable to breathe and the tree could suffer and eventually die.

Prepare your area by loosening /digging the soil up to a depth of about two feet. This will help you in removing all perennial weeds and their roots and make mixing in compost, manure or peat moss easier. (For more information on building a new flower bed...see this post…Building a new flower bed from scratch)
Once you have prepared your soil it is time to plan the plantings! (For more information about soil preparation/amendment see this post …Making Dirt Into Soil) Set out your plants and move them around until you find their most attractive spots and are showing their best side. You may also want to soak the plants in water before you plant them. This will cut down on some of the root shock. Keep in mind that it is best to plant any shrubs in early spring or fall to give them time to establish a healthy root system.

Now that you have planned out your garden still in their is time you start to plant it. Carefully knock the plant out of it's container and scarify the root ball a little bit. (you should check to see if the tag says not to scarify...some plants will not like it, but most will...)

SCARIFY: The act of roughing up the root ball a little to loosen the roots as to stimulate healthy growth.

Place the new plants into their respective spaces and stand back to be sure they are perfect to you. Water the new additions in using a fertilizer or plant food of your choice. This will help reduce root and plant shock and will also encourage new growth.

Need a list of possible shade lovers?

Lets begin with a few perennials:
I will describe all the plants in the above photo ( oh how I wish this was in my garden)

Height: 3-15 ft.
Spread: 6-10 ft.
Beautiful blue or pink or white flower heads in the summer...Most are zones 6-9...but for us Canadians, Pee Gee Hydrangea is very tough ...can handle our -40 winters!

Height: 1-3 ft
Spread: 3-4 ft
White or lilac flowers, but this plant is most often used for it's impressive foliage...there are many different variations of Hosta to choose from. And they are hardy to our cold Canadian winters too!

Height: 6-12 in
Spread: 2-3 ft
Flowers early in the summer, is an excellent ground cover, but will need to be protected over the suited for zones 4-8.

Height: 2-4 ft
Spread: 6-8 in
This plant prefers sin, but will tolerate some light shade. Orange, red or gold flowers will appear in late summer. Protect in winter in cooler suited for zones 5-8.

Rosa Rugosa
Height: 3-6 ft
Spread: 3-6 ft
This hardy plant blooms pink in the fall. Will grow in Canada! zones 2-8.

Height: 15in
Spread: 24 in
Small purple flowers will appear in the spring with this ground cover. Very hardy plant...zones 2-8!

Height: 4ft
Spread: 2 ft
This is a pretty orange flowering plant that will bloom late in the summer in zones 4-9.

Smoke Tree
Height: 15 ft
Spread: 15 ft
This is called a deciduous or evergreen plant. Ball shaped flowers will appear late in the summer. Not hardy at all...zones 5-9

Height: 30 in-5 ft
Spread: 1-2 ft
Pink spikes appear in the summer, is self seeding and is a biennial.. I have some here that is hardy...but most only live in zones 4-10. (I am a zone 3)

Did you know there are different types of shade? Here are a couple of plant choices for them:


This plant features round greenish yellow flower heads in the spring...gets about 3ft and is only a perennial in zones 7-10....would be an annual in my area!!

Gladwin Iris
Tall fast growing plants with bright pink berries in the fall...sounds interesting...Gets to about 5 ft and is hardy to zones 5-7. I once made an entire hedge out of these along a pathway.

I love the name of this plant. It is also known by a less glamorous name - Anemone. It sports cub shaped blue, pink or white flowers in the spring. I have some that need to be protected but is safe in zones 5-8. Will be about 5ft.

Fringecups (Tellima)
Small bell shaped creamy white flowers will appear on this plant in late spring. It will be about 18 inches and will grow as a perennial in zones 4-9


White pink or burgundy plumes show themselves in summer months. Will grow between 1-4 ft tall. Can be grown as a perennial in zone 3 if placed in a sheltered area and protected in the winter, but is best grown in zones 4-8

Royal Fern.Beautiful bronze plumes on dark green leaves...very tender plant. Will only grow in zones 7-9 and will be about 1-3 feet tall.

Pink or red flowers will appear in the spring and the leaves of this plant will be red - green. It will grow to about 18 inches. Very pretty and is hardy for zones 3-8. Finally one for the Canadian girls!

Marsh Marigold (buttercup)
This plant will be about 24 inches tall and will sport yellow buttercup type flowers in the summer months. Will also grow in zones 3-8


Spotted Laurel
This is a shrubby plant with evergreen foliage that will produce red berries in the fall. Will grow to about 8 feet and is best grown in zones 5-9

(see dry shade)

Bears Breeches
Tall spikes with white and purple flowers in the summer make this plant a great addition. It will grow to about 4 ft. Good for zones 8-10

Globe Thistle
This plant will show blue globes of spiky flowers in the summer months. Will be about 2-3 ft tall. Zones 3-10

Now should you want to have some annuals in the mix...there are many that I grow in my own shade beds...I even have some full sun plants that do quite well it there!

Lobelia crystal palace
Lobelia (hanging )
Forget me not
Snap Dragon
Dusty Miller
My shade is not deep and my beds get about 4 hours of sun each day...(for complete plant descriptions of the annuals, including photos of each...see this post: 5/22/08 called What Makes my Gardens Tick? Plant Directory.)

Now this is my shade garden a few days has since been weeded and has already changed quite a bit....(thank goodness for warm weather) also...please excuse the mess you see in both of these shots...HEY...I am only one girl!
You all now know all that I know about shade gardening!

Until next time….Happy gardening!

*)*)*) People inspire you or they drain you. Pick them wisely, and watch how you treat others!

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(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

original posting 7/9/08

Monday, April 29, 2013

When Their Roots Are Growling….FEED THEM!!! Plant’s Get Hungry Too!!!

A quick tip for fertilizing/ feeding your plants... do it first thing in the morning. Plants are waking up and getting their juices flowing...they will benefit the most from a morning feed.  After all...don't they say "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?"
Loads of questions have been coming my way about Fertilizing and feeding ... I thought I would take that as a hint to post and share with you some of the things I know about the topic...
It is possible to simply stick your plants into the soil and walk away. Watering alone will help keep them alive, but if you want to see them THRIVE…give them a kick in the roots and add a little fertilizer or organic plant food to your regimen. Fertilizer/ plant food gives your plants the added nutrients that your soil may be missing . These nutrients help keep them strong and healthy, and loaded with blooms.
Chemical Fertilizer is made up of three primary ingredients:   Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium . These will be listed on the label of the fertilizer in number.
Nitrogen (N) will always be the first number.
Phosphorus (P) is the middle number, and
Potassium (K) will follow up last.
If your label reads 26-13-0 that means that you have 26% Nitrogen, 13% Phosphorus and 0% Potassium.
Each element in the fertilizer recipe accomplishes a different task.
Nitrogen helps the leaves and stems grow and stay green.
Phosphorus aids in healthy root growth, flowering, and fruit/seed production.
Finally Potassium helps the plants stay healthy and resist disease. It also helps to keep the actions of the first two ingredients in balance.
When purchasing a fertilizer/ plant food you will need to consider a couple of things:
How often you want to apply the product, and what you are looking to accomplish with the product are the best questions to ask yourself.
The specific rules of fertilizing/ feeding are different for each brand, or plant, but in general you should follow a couple of simple guidelines. NEVER fertilize/ feed a seriously dry (to the point of wilted or collapsed) plant. Pre- water the plant to allow the roots to be ready to absorb the food and then apply the fertilizer treatment.
When watering newly seeded plants, it is best not to water with fertilizer or plant food at the first sign of germination. It is best to wait until the plant has it’s second set of true leaves. The sprout that first pushes out of the soil is very tender and may be burned by the fertilizer of any kind. At this point, the soil should have enough nutrients to sustain life for a few days or weeks until more foliage develops.
More is NOT better when fertilizing/ feeding your plants. It is possible to burn the leaves and roots of a plant by over-fertilizing/ feeding.


If I had to choose, I would choose to err on the side of caution and add a little bit less than to risk adding too much. It is best to feed during daylight hours.   Watering at night leaves us open to a host of issues with moisture and and rot, and problems. (a whole other post in itself)


In the past, I have tried the fertilizer sticks that you add to the side of the soil in potted plants. I have not found them to benefit my houseplants in any way. In fact, a few months after inserting them into the soil, they were in exactly the same condition as the very first day! My plants seemed to take no benefit from this form of feeding.   I have tried many different types of organic and chemical fertilizers in the past.   I think it depends on personal preference and availability as to what will work best.   

I have not touched on the different types of fertilizers/foods today,  but will say that there are MANY different brands and techniques.  I did not want to focus on specifics as I do not endorse any particular brand or type of feeding.   I also did not want to cause a huge fight…there are a lot of people who have very strong feelings about fertilizing/ feeding of any kind.   For some this is a very HOT topic.   I choose to keep my preferences to myself…and not dredge up any drama!  I really love ALL my followers, and do not want to offend anyone!
I will say that I am quite intrigued with the latest trend in organic/natural feeding products that are out there, and have been trying a few of them on my houseplants.


In the case of my gardens…I would love if any of you have any ideas how I can use some of the organic type of plant foods to feed them…I have a LOT of watering to do…and I don’t want to spend the entire day watering with a watering can…I need to use the garden hose to do this…and would love some advice on using one of the sprayers to feed organically!

Water with warm water! Watering with cold water will shock the roots of your plants and stop them growing until they recover. Just think of it as bathing yourself in a pool of ice water…how long does it take you to warm back up?

Well…that’s all I that I know about Fertilizing and/or Feeding the plants!  

Until Next Time…Happy Gardening!
*)*)*)   Silence and a smile are two powerful tools. A Smile is the way to solve many problems but Silence is the way to avoid many problems.
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(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

All of my house and garden plants are planted in Sunshine potting mediums.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Creeping and Crawiling and Climbing All Over...Just The Way We Want Them To!

When it comes to vines...there are no limits...

oh my!!! is a dream of mine....

Oh!!! … and here is another...TOOTSIE!!! QUIT DAYDREAMING AND GET TO IT!

Climbing plants bring height to our gardens. They offer us attractive alternatives to the view of our gardens AND offer a feeling of lusciousness that other plants do not. They also help us hide some of the less attractive areas of the garden. Any vertical surface will offer a place of support for climbers to grow on.
Yep! This vine is one that I grew myself.  This was my house!…before the move.

There are climbers that will support themselves, such as the Trumpet Vine, the Ivy's such as Hedra Helix, Virginia Creeper, Climbing Hydrangea, and Boston Ivy to name a few. These plants will require a little bit of help in the beginning, but once established, will cling to pretty much any surface they come into contact with. Others will require constant help to stay in the upright position. This is where the Trellis comes into play.

great idea....

Trellis's come in a variety of styles. There are the ones that offer an attractive backdrop until the vine has covered it up...these might be made of wood, wire or even plastic. The choice of trellis will depend on your location, taste and the type of plant you will be using on it. They come in virtually any shape or size to cover almost any surface imaginable! You can even be creative and make your own to suit your exact needs.

okay...this might be a little over the top...but you get the point.

A trellis that is attached to a wall or fence should be done in such a way that as much air can circulate behind it as possible. This can be achieved by putting a piece of wood attached to the structure or wall and attaching the trellis to that wood. Another thing to consider when attaching a trellis to a wall or a fence is structure maintenance. Make the trellis easily that when the time comes to paint or repair the can do it easily by removing the trellis and laying it down during the repair, and re-attaching it afterward.

…fun for the kids to do!  They can play inside this trellis after it fills in!

I'm in love with this idea...

When you have decided on the location for your climbing can start to think about the type of plant you will want to purchase for this area. Make sure you do your homework before you choose the that you will be guaranteed a better chance at success.
If you want to see an ever changing view...annual vines are a good choice. You can change them each year and see something different. Morning Glory and Sweet Pea are good suggestions.
july 2 2006 022
I used to plant morning glory on my little greenhouse to hide it in the summer months...
rash 129
...Once I got all the seedlings planted into the was used as garden storage.  The vines did a great job of camouflaging what was inside.
If you have a flag pole, or telephone pole you want to hide…
Don’t forget to dress up the top of the pole…ha ha…like I did to my parent’s (Grammie and Grampie’s) flag pole…I added a garden gnome as a joke…and they love it!

If you are going to be planting in a shaded area...Chocolate Vine, American Bittersweet, Clematis (some varieties), Hydrangea, Boston Ivy and Honeysuckle are good choices.

If your climber is to be planted in a sunny area, you might consider Kiwi, Blue Passion Flower, Jasmine, Grape Vines, or Wisteria.

What if you are looking for a sweet smelling plant? Try Clematis Armandii, Clematis Montana, Japanese Honeysuckle, Rose bushes, or Wisteria.

When you have selected the perfect plant for your will need to practice a few simple rules when you plant:
1. Do not plant the vine any closer than 18 inches from the wall or fence. This distance will help make the drying effects of the wall or house less of a problem. Structures are often less hospitable for plantings as they tend to be sheltered from the moisture of rains etc. You will need to remember to add water to the area at regular intervals.
2. Young plants will require a little help in the training process. This means you may need to tie the branches of the vines to the trellis for the first little bit until they become established.
3. Follow planting directions for each plant species. Clematis for example likes to be planted fairly deep. This will guarantee you a better chance for a healthy plant, as all plants have particular likes and dislikes.
4. After you have dug yourself the initial hole for the plant, angle it at about a 45 degree angle toward the trellis. This way the plant will be inclined to grow toward the structure instead of away, or straight up.
5. Remove the support that comes with your plant from the nursery BEFORE you plant it in your garden. It is much easier to remove before rather than after you plant them. Trust me on this one...I know all too well...
6. Cut back to a healthy place. Remove any damaged or unhealthy looking stems as soon as possible. This gives your plant a better survival rate. If you plant it with damaged or broken stems, the plant will concentrate on those rather than on establishing new growth.
7. Dead head and prune regularly. Remove spent blooms as soon as they show signs of wear, to encourage more blooms to appear. If you leave spent blooms on the vine, they will become seed pods and your plant will think it is finished for the season...not to mention look rather icky. Cutting back your vines a little at the appropriate time of year (for each plant this might vary) will encourage new growth and more branching.
By starting out with a good and healthy plant, of good quality and characteristics appropriate for your location, you are sure to be rewarded with plenty of new growth and a lovely display on your trellis.
So, that's it in a nutshell, that is all I know …at least for today!   Long enough post for ya?  :)
If I have missed discussing  anything here...please let me know. After all....I have never claimed to be a professional...and I admit I am self taught. All I know how to tell you is what has worked for me!
I look forward to seeing you all again …hopefully within in the next day or two with some of the progress I have made on my home decorating projects!

You will notice in the comments that there are some dated from 2009.  That is because I had originally written this post WAY back then.  I have since learned a few things, and had some great photos to add and some more experience to contribute!  Thank you for taking the time to stick around if you have already read it!


Until Next Time…Happy Gardening!

*)*)*)   Be with somebody because they make you want to be a better person, NOT because that somebody wants to make you into their version of a better person!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.
***I apologize, that I did not have the credits for the origins of the photos that are not watermarked in this post. I had collected them years ago ....before pintrest..and I do not know who to credit.   I believe most of them were just a simple Google search.   ***