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Last week, I decided to get rid my older pots that I have in my front entry.

Years ago, I received these plants from a client who decided that she wanted fancier pots.  So, I took them home, painted them bright colors and installed them by my front entry.

While they have served me well for the past 13 years, they weren’t very big, which limited what I could plant in them.

For quite some time, I have wanted to get some nice, large glazed pots.  I realized that it was finally time to practice what I preach to my clients…

“Choosing colorful, glazed pots is a great way to add color to the landscape.”

So, my husband and I went out searching for three pots for our front entry.

I was thrilled to find all three at our first stop – Home Depot.  The price was good and they even gave us 10% off for a small chip we noticed.  No one will see the chip since it will be on the back side.

I had my plants all selected and was ready to go.

My son, Kai, offered to help.  So I told him to raid the recycle trash can and get an empty milk carton,  soda/water bottles and empty jars.

Kai looked at me like I was a little crazy, but he did as I asked.

He then put them into my new containers…

plastic containers

plastic containers

Can you guess why I had my containers filled with ‘trash’?

I’ll let you know why you’ll want to start collecting plastic containers for your next potting project in my next post…

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Today, my daughter, Rachele, is on a plane to Chicago.  She has joined the Navy.

I am so proud and happy for her!

But, I must admit that part of my heart has left with her. 

Rachele

I remember being sad when I held her by the hand and took her to her first day of preschool.  She had her pretty dress on and her curly hair was short and cute.  I stood outside her classroom for over a half hour, just watching her through the window.  

Then I went home and cried.

I have done my best as her mom and it’s time for her to stretch her wings and make her way into the world. 

This family photo was taken yesterday, just before Rachele left

This family photo was taken yesterday, just before Rachele left.

I just wish it didn’t have to hurt to let her go…

Why Adding Trash to Pots is a Good Idea

houseplants

houseplants

Who knew that you could grow ‘houseplants’ using kitchen scraps?

I was inspired to find ways to find gardening projects that could be done indoors for those gardeners who are stuck inside during cold winters because they are a large part of the audience that I write for on other websites.

The photos below were taken over a 14 day period from planting to what they look like just 2 weeks later.  I must admit that I am quite impressed.

I started with growing a radish…

houseplants

I am hoping that my radish plant will flower at some point because I have heard that radish flowers are quite pretty.

houseplants

My garlic cloves grew quickly and I will use the greens as a garnish, much like I would use green onions.  Garlic greens have a mild garlic flavor.

Kitchen Scraps

My lentils are quite pretty and delicate looking.  I am waiting for them to flower, which will make them even prettier.

Kitchen Scraps

I realize that many people have grown a vine from a sweet potato – but I haven’t.  The vine will be a pretty addition to my kitchen windowsill garden.  Now that the roots are growing, I will hopefully see some green sprouting on top.

Kitchen Scraps

I did have one plant that didn’t come up.  The book that I was inspired by said that you could plant fresh green beans, but mine didn’t come up.

**You can plant dried beans after soaking them overnight and they should come up.

The goal of this project wasn’t to grow ‘food’, but to enjoy the foliage of the plants themselves and brighten up a dreary winter for those who live in cold climates.

I have really had fun with this project.  I think it would be a great project to do with kids, don’t you?

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I have some exciting new writing projects coming up and I will let you know where you can read them if you like soon 😉

This week is off to a busy start.  My husband and kids went on a camping trip, leaving me alone for 24 hours.

I had great plans for what I would do while they were gone. 

I would work on writing blogs….

Work in the garden….

Plant seedlings indoors for a instructional video coming up….

Work on our taxes….

AND get a Redbox movie to end the day.

Well, I did achieve writing a blog and I did get our taxes done, but that was about it.  My oldest daughter asked me to watch my granddaughter for a few hours, which I was happy to do.  However, she had just returned from the doctor after getting her shots, so she was not too happy.  So I just held and cuddled her.

Then my daughter brought lunch over and we visited for awhile.  So I got started on my taxes a bit late.  I do like using tax software, but I don’t like having to get all my receipts together.

I ended the evening eating dinner at 8:00 and watching TV.

As I sat in my very quite house, I remembered where I was one year ago to the day.

We were on a cruise of the Caribbean with in-laws.  They had treated us all to the cruise, which was to be a great time to build memories while we still had my father-in-law with us.  

My in-laws always had their grandkids sitting their table.  My father-in-law couldn't smile or speak anymore, but he was able to communicate through his iPad.

My in-laws always had their grandkids sitting their table.  My father-in-law couldn’t smile or speak anymore, but he was able to communicate through his iPad.

We had a fabulous time.

Our first visit was to St. Maarten.  I had my camera with me and along with taking photos of the family, I also took pictures of the tropical plants.

I didn't know my husband was taking a picture

I didn’t know my husband was taking a picture 😉

At first, I was shocked at how blue the water was.  (I am from Southern California, where the ocean is gray blue).

St Maarten

St Maarten

The plants were very colorful and I recognized some….

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Vinca

Vinca

There were other plants that I had no idea what they were….

This plant is rather unusual

This plant is rather unusual.

St Maarten
St Maarten
St Maarten
St Maarten

St Maarten

You know, it didn’t matter that I didn’t know what all the plants where.

It was enough to know that they were beautiful….

A Wonderful Memory…..

I am always looking for creative ways to display plants in my garden.

On two recent trips, one to North Carolina and the other to Amish country in Indiana, I saw some ‘beds’ of flowers that I thought were not only beautiful, but also very creative.

This first one I saw along the main street in Shipshewana, Indiana, which is a quaint town in Amish country.

beds of flowers

beds of flowers

I love how they painted the bed headboard and footboard of this old bed, don’t you?

Although this next one is not painted, I like the old rusted look of this head and footboard.

beds of flowers

This ‘bed’ of flowers was located in the old section of Asheville, North Carolina.

In the same area, I came upon a ‘tub’ of plants…

'Tub' of Plants

This tub was filled with kale, white violas and pansies.

I would love a ‘tub’ full of plants in my own garden.  Even an old washtub with drainage holes would work well, don’t you think?

Have you seen any creative planting containers like these?

I’d love to hear about them.

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I apologize for being a bit late in posting this week.  Life has been awfully busy.  After giving a presentation on citrus care to a garden club Tuesday morning, I then headed to our local children’s hospital where my 13-month old nephew, Dean, had major surgery and one lobe of his right lung was removed.  He is at our local children’s hospital and is doing well and they are doing their best to manage his pain.

We all went to visit him today and it was nice to see that he recognized us even though he was pretty ‘loopy’ on all of his pain meds.  We are hopeful that he will be able to go home by Monday.

Today, I am going up to one of my favorite places – Rio Verde, where I have 3 consults scheduled.

After this week, I am thankful that I have nothing more scheduled this weekend besides church 🙂

I hope you are all having a great week!    

Adventures in Amish Country and a Farmhouse Visit

Recently, the drought that is being experience in Texas has dominated much of the news. I have a friend who lives in Dallas and she says that it is pretty bad.

For those of us who live in the Southwest, the idea of a drought is not foreign to us.  We have some years with plentiful rainfall and others with little at all. Cycles of drought are normal. If you happen to live in the desert in the Southwest and you look at the desert around you, it is clear to see that most of the plants weather drought very well.

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

Have you ever wondered why?

Well, if you really look closely at many native desert plants, you can see how wonderfully adapted they are in regards to how they are designed to conserve water.

For example, let us look at the ‘Rio Bravo’ Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’), which is native to the Chihuahuan Desert.  

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

If you look closely at the flowers above, you can see tiny hairs that cover the surface. What you cannot see is that there are also tiny hairs that cover the leaves, giving them a grayish cast.

The tiny hairs help to reflect the sun and help to keep moisture inside the flowers and leaves.

Here is another great example….

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

Here are the leaves of my Palo Blanco tree (Acacia willardiana), which is native to the Sonoran Desert. The leaves are so tiny, which helps to limit how much water is lost to the atmosphere.

It helps to think of it this way – plants lose water through their leaves (in a process called transpiration). The more sunlight, the more water that is lost.

**At this point it is probably rather obvious that I am somewhat of a ‘science geek’.

Now, did you know that there is a reason that cacti have spines? 

Spines of a Saguaro cactus

Photo:Spines of a Saguaro cactus

Besides providing protection from animals who may want to eat them, the thousands of spines provide shade on the surface of the cactus, which helps reduce the amount of water lost.

Lastly, is one of my favorite trees….

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

How Do Plants Deal With Drought

Palo Verde trees are perhaps most famous for their green trunk. Well, besides being beautiful, the green trunk serves as an important survival mechanism when drought occurs.

In the Sonoran Desert, you will find Palo Verde trees growing all over.  Now unlike the Palo Verde trees found in a landscape setting (above), that receive supplemental irrigation the Palo Verde trees in the desert survive on rainfall alone.

So what do they do in drought conditions?  Well, they drop all their leaves, which greatly reduces the amount of water lost to the atmosphere.

Now most trees would die soon without leaves to continue to make ‘food’ for the tree (photosynthesis).  But, the green trunk of the Palo Verde can make ‘food’ for the tree, even in the absence of leaves.

Pretty cool, huh?

So, you have all ‘heard’ some of what I talk to people about when I meet with them in person regarding their landscape.  In addition to helping people learn how to care for their plants, I love to tell them more about the amazing plants that they have in their garden.

I hope I didn’t bore you, but I find the ways that plants adapt to their environment just fascinating.

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I hope your week is off to a good start.

This is what I call my ‘writing week’ when I work on my gardening articles.  I haven’t been given my subjects yet from my editor, but I am writing in advance for the month of November.  After a long summer, I am so looking forward to fall 🙂

Drought Tolerant and Beautiful: Aloe Vera