Here are a few suggestions for things to do in the garden or around the yard this time of year.
Sow seeds for lettuces like bibb, butter crunch and romaine. Use large garden pots with lots of loose soil. Start seeds like broccoli, cabbage,and cauliflowers indoors. If you have warm spot like on top of a refrigerator this is really good. New seeds love the warmth. You can also sow beets, bok choy, carrots, chard, collard greens, cucumbers, green onion, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
Cut back on the ornamental grasses that you have potted around the patio. Cut back bamboo, bull grass, bush muhly, deer grass and pink muhly to about 1 foot high. This will help with regrowth once the weather warms up a bit more. This is also a good time to plant some Eremophila or Valentine....it has big red blooms and will bloom from now into March. The foliage takes on a purple cast in cold weather and if you plant it in a bright white garden pot it is totally stunning.
Take some time and learn about low water gardening. Find rain barrels, native plants, gravel mulches and low bowl like terracotta containers. Look for garden shows to attend, magazines to read and websites to visit. The main thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself.
Station houseplants properly, providing each plant with the recommended amount of sunlight.
Throughout winter, water plants when the soil in each pot container becomes dry. Mist plants several times each week. Something as simple as misting really does make a big difference.
Because indoor heat is extremely tough on houseplants, prevent problems by washing plant stems and foliage regularly with warm soapy water and rinsing thoroughly. If insects are present on a plant, spray the foliage with an insecticidal soap, mixing and applying the solution according to label directions.
After a couple of weeks, if necessary, repeat the insecticidal treatment. Treat persistent infestations of aphids and mealy bugs by rubbing foliage with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. Apply the treatment sparingly because alcohol is capable of damaging tender foliage.
To leach salt from houseplants, select a nice day and move the houseplants outside. Flood the soil in each container until water overflows. Scrub down the outside of containers to remove the white salty residue.
Before transporting houseplants back inside, remove all dried or yellowed foliage, allow all excess water to drain thoroughly, and empty all the saucers.
Now is the time to check the planter for cracks. Replace any damaged unslightly containers with new fresh designs. Something as simple as a new plant container can make a huge difference in the feel of the room where you keep your plants.
Of course, we recommend shopping at ArizonaPottery for all your pottery needs. The idea of shopping in winter from the comfort of your home is very inviting this time of year!
With the wide selection we carry and new styles arriving all the time, you should be able to find everything you need to make your own houseplants shine. Try mixing materials like, ceramic, clay etc and find the look that fits your style.
Coax the sweet spring-flowering bulbs into winter bloom in pebble and water filled glass bowls.
Fragrant, snowy white flowers atop grass like foliage make paper whites (Narcissus)favorite indoor plants in winter.
Forcing the bulbs to bloom for the holidays - ahead of their normal spring cycle - couldn't be easier. Just nestle a few bulbs among pebbles in a water filled bowl and set them in a cool place with bright daylight until buds start to swell (typically in 3 to 4 weeks). Then display them on an entry table, coffee table or dining table in clusters.
Unlike some bulbs, paper whites don't require chilling, so you can force them as soon as you get them They will bloom for up to two weeks.
In order to get a bloom by Christmas you should start by late November.
Step 1 - Pour about 1" of pebbles into the bottom of the bowl. Set the bulbs on the pebbles, leaving about 1/4" between them.
Step 2 - Add more pebbles around the bulbs to cover at least the lower two-thirds of each bulb. (Paper white roots are vigorous and can push bulbs out of their containers, so it's important to nestle bulbs firmly among the stone.) Tops of bulbs should sit just above the rim of the bowl.
Step 3 - Fill the bowl with water just up to the base of the bulbs, then put it in a cool place (40 to 50 degrees at night) with bright daylight. Check daily and keep water level at base of bulbs as roots and foliage grow.
To minimize floppy foliage (classic paper whites grow 14 to 18 inches tall) display the blooming bulbs in a cool place (60 degrees is ideal) with bright indoor light. Another way to help keep foliage from flopping is to add alcohol to the water, using a formula developed by Cornell University researchers: After roots develop and stems have grown about 2" tall, replace the water in the bowl with a mix of 1 part 80 proof liquor (gin or vodka) to 7 parts water. Continue using the mix for the rest of the the growing season.
Whether it's a view, a specimen plant, or a favorite vessel you want people to notice, focal points draw attention and lead the eye from one distinct area or object to the next. They pull you in for a while before you're lead off to enjoy other parts of the landscape or, better yet, another captivating combination. Without them, your garden is absent of focus and direction.
Container combinations are often the focal points in many gardens. Their artistic and architectural features act as punctuation marks to make one pause; to add emphasis; or to establish an end to a particular area, a grouping of plants, or a garden destination. Containers can bring a sense of unity to areas.
Sometimes part of your landscape just needs a little extra spice. Container plantings can offer a quick fix by directing attention their way, making the sometimes lack-luster garden act as the backdrop.
Get the best of both worlds with high impact, low input plants!
The large, low profile glazed bowl (shown above) works well, providing the right level of interest. Succulents are all about high impact with low input. The textured paddle plant (1) grabs attention even from a distance, while the vertical African milk tree (2) adds needed height. A smaller succulent grouping balancess the design without competing with the focal point. (3) Midnight Aloe (4)
Peacock echeveria (5) Dwarf Jade.
The bowl is large and glazed with a rough texture. It is sturdy and can handle the large plants shown. The rock top-dressing really helps to keep the soil moist during the warmer months and also adds charm and texture.