Lavender (Grow it)

Lavender is such a romantic flower that every gardener sooner or later succumbs to the urge to grow it. Undeterred by the fact that it is a native of the Mediterranean and a lover of dry, sunny, rocky habitats, we give it a try anyway, hoping it will adapt.

Growing it,

Lavender plants will tolerate many growing conditions, but they thrive in warm, well-drained soil and full sun.Like many plants grown for their essential oils, a lean soil will encourage a higher concentration of oils. An alkaline, or especially chalky, soil will enhance lavenders fragrance.

Lavender is a tough plant and is extremely drought resistant, once established. However when first starting you lavender plants, don’t be afraid to give them a handful of compost in the planting hole and to keep them regularly watered during their first growing season.

What we need,

It is dampness, more than cold, that is responsible for killing lavender plants. Dampness can come in the form of wet roots during the winter months or high humidity in the summer. If humidity is a problem, make sure you have plenty of space between your plants for air flow and always plant in a sunny location.

Areas where the ground routinely freezes and thaws throughout the winter will benefit from a layer of mulch applied after the ground initially freezes. Also protect your lavender plants from harsh winter winds. Planting next to a stone or brick wall will provide additional heat and protection.


You can always grow your lavender in pots and move it to follow the sun or even bring it indoors for the winter. Although lavender has a large, spreading root system, it prefers growing in a tight space. A pot that can accommodate the root ball with a couple of inches to spare would be a good choice. Too large a pot will only encourage excessive dampness.

Insure that the pot has plenty of drainage. Root rot is one of the few problems experienced by lavender plants. Use a loose, soilless mix for planting and remember that container grown lavender will require more water than garden grown plants. How much more depends on the environment and the type of pot. Water when the soil, not the plant, appears dry and water at the base of the plant to limit dampness on the foliage.


Growing herbs is a simple way to add edible plants to your garden. Most herbs are very versatile, and grow well in the ground or in containers. Herbs, which generally are annuals except in very warm climates, make a great addition to a traditional flower garden, and are also a pretty, practical accent to windowboxes or containers near a grill or outside a kitchen door. Here few types of herb that can growing easily at your backyard.

  • Catnip is an easy-to-grow perennial grown primarily for its fragrant foliage that is extremely attractive to cats. A vigorous herb, catnip can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill or in a bright location outdoors. As with many mints, it can become invasive. Plant it in a location where it is easily controlled. And remove the flower heads before they mature and set seeds. Harvest catnip leaves at any time as a treat for your favorite feline. You also can dry the leaves and stuff them.

  • Chamomile’s dainty daisylike blooms glisten when dew-spangled and glow in moonlight. Carpet a garden path or patio with Roman chamomile, a flowering groundcover that releases a delicate fragrance when crushed underfoot.

  • With bright green, fern-textured stems, cilantro holds its own in beds or pots, forming a clump of sturdy, flavorful stems. Every part of cilantro promises a taste treat: spicy leaves, pungent seeds (known as coriander), and tangy roots. Most gardeners grow cilantro for the foliage, which boasts a citrusy bite that enlivens Mexican and Thai cooking. You might see this herb called Chinese parsley.

  • Common cooking ginger is a tropical plant that can be grown outdoors year-round in Zones 8-11, or in a container to bring indoors over winter. Ginger prefers moist soil and part shade. If you take the plant indoors over winter, reduce the amount of moisture and light to slow growth. You can start plants from gingerroot (actually rhizomes) sold in grocery stores. The plant has little ornamental value, so it’s not often sold in nurseries.

  • Basil dishes up classic Italian flavor in eye-catching bushy plants suitable for garden beds or containers. Grow this tasty beauty in a sunny spot, and you’ll reap rewards of flavorful foliage in shades of green, purple, or bronze. Basil lends a distinctive taste to salads, pizza, and pasta dishes. Use small leaves whole; chop larger leaves.

Planting Technique


  • Read the seed packet for directions on the depth and distance apart to plant seeds.

  • To plant small seeds, use your finger or the corner of a trowel to prepare a trench to the depth you desire.
  • Take a few seeds and scatter them down the trench, it doesn’t have to be perfect. In most cases, seeds are sown closer than their final spacing because having too many seedlings is always better than having too few. You can always thin out the rows later.
  • After sowing the seeds, spread a light layer of mulch or soil on top to protect them. This will also help the seeds germinate.
  • Make sure that you thoroughly water right after planting.


Transplants are a good choice if you have a hard time getting seeds to sprout or if you live in an area with a short growing season. Before you start planting, you’ll want to determine the correct spacing recommendations for your plants and dig holes accordingly.

  • Dig a hole that is as deep as the plant container and about one and a half times as wide.
  • Remove all rocks and un-decayed organic matter so the roots have plenty of room to grow.
  • Remove the transplant from its container and examine the root ball. If several of the roots are circling around at the bottom, gently loosen them.

  • Try to disturb the root ball as little as possible. Use both hands when placing the plant into the hole and make sure the plants’ base is even with the soil surface, neither protruding nor sunken into the ground. Gently fill and tamp with your hands.

  • Transplants need water shortly after they have been planted. When you have finished, make sure to give your garden a gentle but thorough watering. If temperatures drop, you can protect your young plants by using row cover, plastic milk jugs, or other season extenders to keep them warm at night.


Transplants and newly sown seeds need to be kept constantly moist for the first few weeks. Water your new garden lightly every time the surface is dry or thoroughly twice a day in hot weather. Seedlings should emerge from the ground in a week or two. If the weather is cool, it may take a bit longer. Transplants take a while to recover once they’ve been planted. You’ll know they’re doing fine when you see them start to grow again (usually in one to two weeks).

Gardening Tips

  • If you can not use finished compost for a while, cover the pile with a tarp to avoid leaching the nutrients out of the compost.
  • Companion planting is an excellent way to improve your garden. Some plants replenish nutrients lost by another one, and some combinations effectively keep pests away.

  • Dry your herbs at the end of the summer by tying sprigs together to form small bunches. Tie them together with a rubber band and hang, tips down, in a dry place out of the sun. Keep the bunches small to ensure even circulation. Store dry in labeled canning jars, either whole or crumbled. Freezing is also a good way to preserve herbs.

  • Water in the morning to help avoid powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that are often spread by high humidity.
  • The longer the growing season, the more compost is needed in the soil. A longer growing season requires more nutrients and organic matter in the soil.

  • Attract ladybugs to your garden with nectar-producing plants such as parsley, dill, and fennel.

  • Make compost tea by mixing equal parts compost and water and let it sit. Pour this liquid directly onto the soil around healthy, growing plants. Dilute this to 4 parts water to 1 part compost for use on smaller seedlings. Any compost that has not gone into solution can be used to make more tea or used in your garden.
  • New beds require plenty of compost, soil amendments and double digging for that extra kick.
  • Keep dirt off lettuce and cabbage leaves when growing by spreading a 1-2 inch layer of mulch (untreated by pesticides or fertilizers) around each plant. This also helps keep the weeds down.

  • For an organic approach to pest control, build up your soil to encourage healthy microbes and other soil microorganisms, and earthworms. Healthy soil means healthy plants that are better able to resist pests and disease, thus reducing the need for harmful pesticides.

Potted Vegetable

Many vegetables will grow very well in containers. You may not be able to grow as much as you might in a vegetable garden, but container vegetable gardening can be quite productive. There are a few special considerations when growing vegetable plants in pots, but they are by no means deterrents.

Although any variety can be grown in a container, compact plants do best. Seed companies realize that homeowners have less and less space to devote to vegetable gardens and every year they come out with new vegetable plant varieties suitable for growing in small spaces.


Long carrots require 2 months or longer to mature and tending to a container of carrots can be tedious. However two options can make it easier: 1) Seed a few carrots with potted flowers. The ferny foliage is attractive and you will be pulling the carrots before the roots of the flowers take over the pot. and 2) choose a fast growing round or baby carrot, like ‘Babette’ or ‘Paris market’.

Carrots grow best and sweetest in the cool temperatures of spring and fall. The seedlings will need to be thinned to 1 – 3 inches apart,once they are about 1 inch tall, but other than that, the only thing you’ll need to do is make sure they get a regular weekly watering. The roots will toughen and crack if they are left to dry out.


Cucumbers that grow in a clump, rather than a long, sprawling vine, are considered bush varieties. They can still spread out several feet, but they should not require trellising and grow well in large, wide containers or even hanging baskets. Bush cucumbers tend to start producing earlier than most vining varieties.

Vining varieties do best when trellised. The pots can get very top heavy. To keep them from tipping over, a larger container is recommended for vining cucumbers. The leaves of all cucumbers can be very susceptible to fungus disease, so whichever type you choose, make sure the plants have good air circulation.


Growing eggplant in containers offers several advantages. Eggplants require warm temperatures, even at night, and planting in a dark container will concentrate and hold heat. You can also move the container to wherever the sun is or place it on a hard surface that radiates heat. Another big plus is that growing them in containers helps to control some common pests, like wire worms.

Once the plants start bearing fruits, they will get top heavy. Some staking may be required, to prevent the branches from drooping. They can also tip over, if the diameter of the container is not large enough to balance them.

The slender varieties tend to produce more fruits and can be picked while young, short and tender. Some of the newer varieties, like ‘Hanzel’ and ‘Little Fingers’, are ready to harvest at 3 inches and they grow in cluster, so they produce more fruits.

Gardening tool and equipment

If you are a beginner at gardening this helpful list with pictures will explain basic gardening tools and equipment available and their uses. Even if you are an old hand at gardening, it may be worth you taking a look as you may find tools, equipment or accessories which you’ve not come come across before. It’s also useful if you need to replace old tools.

This is a long handled tool with 3 angled prongs used to break down large clods of earth when preparing garden beds If you have a large plot it may be worth investing in a mechanical cultivator.

Plant Ties
Used for tying stems of plants to supports.

Used for sowing seedlings.

Hand trowel
This is a short handled version as above suitable for use on smaller areas

A long handled tool traditionally  used for digging, shovelling soil and compost.  They are available in various sizes and can often be bought as a set together with a garden fork

Garden Fork
This is a long handled fork which has 4-5 rounded prongs or tines used for digging soil in situations where using a spade may be difficult and also for turning the soil over to make it more workable.

Used to protect plants from birds, pets & other wildlife. Usually plastic coated.

Seed Trays (Plastic)
Used for sowing seeds prior to planting out

Sprayers (Pressure)
Used for spraying plants with water or chemicals

Compost Bins
Used for making compost from garden and kitchen waste. 

Mini Greenhouses
Ideal for when space is limited but you wish to grow tender plants. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes which can be free standing or placed against a wall for added insulation. Generally made with non-rigid plastic sheeting

Tool and Potting Sheds
These come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs.

Benefical Insects in the garden

As gardeners, we are often tempted to think of all insects as bad, especially the less attractive insects. But there are plenty of beneficial insects that make your garden a well functioning ecosystem. Beneficial insects feed on pests, clean up debris and help pollinate. That’s why it is so important to not spray insecticides randomly. You do not want to kill all the good guys, too. If you spot a pest, like aphids, wait awhile and see if any beneficial insects jump in to take care of the problem for you. Hopefully, they will stick around.

1.  Syrphid or Hover Flies

These little guys masquerade as bees, but they are actually flies. You can tell the difference by the wings; Syrphid flies have only 2. The adults actually do hover in mid-air, before darting off. It’s the larvae that do the actual feasting on aphids, while the adults spend their time flitting from flower to flower and aiding pollination.

2.  Lady Beetles or Ladybugs

These beetles and their alligator looking larvae can virtually vacuum the aphids, mealy bugs and spider mites out of your garden. Not all lady beetles are beneficial, but these Spotted Pink Lady Beetles are munching on Colorado potato beetle eggs.

3.  Parasitic Wasps

There is no need to fear these wasps; they have no interest in hurting you. There are several species of parasitic wasps that inject their eggs into other insects and the larvae eat their way out. Perhaps you’ve seen parasitic wasp larvae poking out of a tomato hornworm.

4.  Green Lacewing

One of the prettiest beneficial insects, this delicate little insect with the large, translucent wings can devour a deceptively large amount of soft bodied pests, like aphids, Scale and thrips. Their larvae can even help out with caterpillars.

5.  Ground Beetles

Most ground beetles will never win a beauty contest, but they are winners in the garden. They generally come out at night and forage their way through the soil, eating cutworms, caterpillars, maggots and slug eggs. Hey, somebody’s got to do it.


How to start gardening?

Small Garden

You may have visions of drifts of color, wild flower prairies or bushels of tomatoes, but get your feet wet first, with some gardening basics. For flower gardens, choose a site close to the door or with a good view from a favorite window. Place your garden where you’ll see and enjoy it often. This will also motivate you to garden more.

The front lawn shown here is small, but the homeowners still found an attractive, sunny spot to add some color and curb appeal. No matter how busy they are, they can enjoy their garden everytime they pull into their driveway or look out their front window.

Choosing Plant

Start with what colors you like. Rather than basing your dream on a photograph from a magazine, take a look at what your neighbors are growing successfully. They may even be able to give you a division or two.

Take a walk around a couple of garden centers and read the plant labels. Then play with combining the plants that strike your eye until you find a combination of 3-5 plants that pleases you. Make sure all the plants have the same growing requirements (Sun, water, pH…) and that none of them are going to require more care than you can give them.

Keep the variety of plants limited. It makes a better composition to have more plants of less varieties than to have one of this and one of that.

  • Water the plants in their pots the day before you intend to plant.
  • Don’t remove all the plants from their pots and leave them sitting in the sun for the roots to dry out.
  • If the roots are densely packed or growing in a circle, tease them apart, as shown in the photo, so they will stretch out and grow into the surrounding soil.
  • Bury the plant to the depth it was in the pot. Too deep and the stem will rot. Too high and the roots will dry out.

  • Don’t press down hard on the plants as you cover them. Watering will settle them into the ground.
  • Water your newly planted garden as soon as it is planted and make sure it gets at least one inch of water per week. You may have to water more often in hot dry summers. Let your plants tell you how much water they need. Some wilting in noonday sun is normal. Wilting in the evening is stress.

Gardening! (About)

What is?

Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs, are grown for consumption, for use as dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use. Gardening is considered to be a relaxing activity for many people.

Gardening ranges in scale from fruit orchards, to long boulevard plantings with one or more different types of shrubs, trees, andherbaceous plants, to residential yards including lawns and foundation plantings, to plants in large or small containers grown inside or outside.

Gardening may be very specialized, with only one type of plant grown, or involve a large number of different plants in mixed plantings. It involves an active participation in the growing of plants, and tends to be labor-intensive, which differentiates it from farming or forestry.

Garden is art!

Garden design is considered to be an art in most cultures, distinguished from gardening, which generally means garden maintenance. Garden design can include different themes such as perennial, butterfly, wildlife, Japanese, water, tropical, or shade gardens.In Japan,Samurai and Zen monks were often required to build decorative gardens or practice related skills like flower arrangement known asikebana. In 18th-century Europe, country estates were refashioned by landscape gardeners into formal gardens or landscaped park lands, such as at Versailles, France, or Stowe, England. Today, landscape architects and garden designers continue to produce artistically creative designs for private garden spaces. In the USA, professional landscape designers are certified by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

Gardening is hobby!

People can express their political or social views in gardens, intentionally or not. The lawn vs. garden issue is played out in urban planningas the debate over the “land ethic” that is to determine urban land use and whether hyper hygienist bylaws (e.g. weed control) should apply, or whether land should generally be allowed to exist in its natural wild state. In a famous Canadian Charter of Rights case, “Sandra Bell vs. City of Toronto”, 1997, the right to cultivate all native species, even most varieties deemed noxious or allergenic, was upheld as part of the right of free expression.

Daisies (How to Plant)

Gerber daisies can be so vividly colored, you will wonder if they are real. They are. Gerbera is a large genus in the same family as sunflowers (Asteraceae). They are native to South Africa, but a lot of breeding has gone into developing the large daisy-like flowers we see today. They were initially bred to be cut flowers and are still the 5th most common cut flower in the world. They can be grown from seed or plant and are popular as houseplants and outdoors in containers and beds, however they are not frost hardy.

  • Leaves: Plants form basal rosettes that slowly spread. The leaves are lobed or pinnate and often toothed.
  • Flowers: Large flowers heads have rayed petals around a center disk or green or black. The disk is composed of the actual tiny flowers. Petal colors range from pale pastels and cream to bold oranges, yellows, reds and bi-colors.
  • Light Exposure: Full sun to partial shade. Gerber daisies do not like intense heat. Give them morning sun in warmer zones, and full sun in cooler climates. Try not to plant them near a foundation or stone wall, that would reflect heat back all day.

  • Bloom Period: Early summer through frost, in colder climates. They can bloom year round, in warmer climates, but they bloom best from fall to spring.

  • Water: The plants need regular watering, about 1 in. per week, more while first getting them established and during hot, dry spells.
  • Soil: Soil: Gerbera do best in a slightly acidic soil pH of 5.5 – 6.5. Higher pH levels can cause chlorosis which manifests as yellow stipes on the leaves. Too low a pH and you will see black spots or patches.

  • Fertilizer: Feeding depends on the quality of your soil. Start with a rich soil, high in organic matter. Since they will be repeat blooming all summer, monthly feeding with a water soluble fertilizer is advised.
  • Starting from Seed: Gerber daisies are slow to develop, one of the reasons they are so expensive. Start seed indoors, about 12 – 18 weeks before your last frost date. Sow the seed in peat or paper pots, because they do not like to have their roots disturbed by transplanting.


Just another WordPress site