September 12, 2012

Sponsored DIY Videos by Moen, and Windowsill Plants from Summer Annuals

 ***This post is sponsored by the good folks at Moen*** Having a baby changes everything – especially homeowner to-dos. It’s time to transform this family’s bathroom into a shared space that works for the entire family.

This weekend, why not raise your own boxwood hedge from cuttings and save a grand? More about that after this....from the find people at MOEN.

 As my job is to keep you busy and inspired on weekends - this post, which is sponsored by MOEN, has a great video series about real DIY projects,  which they produced in a very smart and quite watchable style of a well-done DIY TV show. I also am including my version of a what just might be an equally cost effective way to multiply your favorite plants, so I wrote a DIY gardening post which is topical, as September offers us the opportunity for enormous cost-savings  if we propagate some of those plants that emptied our wallets last spring. Mainly, expensive annuals, tender tropicals and yes -box wood hedging. You can thank me later.

September is the best time to take cuttings from many summer annuals, patio tropicals and even boxwood. Many annuals make great house plants - and although you can dig a coleus or an impatiens up from the garden, pot it up as my mom used to do before every frost, and place it on your windowsill where the plant will bloom for much of the winter. The truth is, many of these annuals perform better if fresh cuttings are taken rather than digging up a plant which may be getting tired after spending a summer blooming outdoors.


In the 1800's, many annuals and tender tropicals would be moved into the greenhouse for the winter, where they could be re-trained after being cut back, and then brought into the late winter or early spring conservatory or estate windows. Plants such as abutilon ( parlor maples), fragrant heliotrope, and even marigolds would become winter-blooming potted plants. Today, many of these plants are making a comeback, but rather than digging up an impatiens or bringing in an overgrown wax begonia, fresh cuttings will result in a better plant.

September 9, 2012

Plant Collectors - Order These Now, or Wait Another Ten Years

Attention Plant Collectors - You can thank me later, but order these now if you can - since I have already arranged for most of these plants in my fall orders, I thought that I might share my discoveries with some of you too, in case you are looking to fill some gaps in your collections. As many of these plants are only available for a few weeks either while dormant, or while supplies last, I bid you Godspeed. Of course, this fine Agapanthus remains elusive, but I list it anyway.

A Bi-Colored Agapanthus - Agapanthus 'Queen Mum' PMN06

A Bi-colored Agapanthus - still out of reach for us here in the states, but it is in our near future - if anyone can help me get one, let me know. Bred and introduced by the Australian nursery Pine Mountain Nursery, I am still waiting for this beauty to be available here in the states.  I list it only as an FYI and to keep it on your radar.

Unusual Selections of Lachenalia aloides? Get them now.

In particular L.aloides var. bicolor, and 
L. aloides var. lutea 

Lachenalia are a passion of mine, and finally, some of the more unusual selections and species of the Lachenalia aloides group are currently available from, of all places, Nerines.com - the site that sells the choice, but costly, Nerine sarniensis collections from the world's most notable grower, Nick de Rothchild ( yeah, that deRothchild).  

Sure, we more serious collectors grow L. aloides var. quadracolor, but Nick has L. aloides var. lutea for sale, as well as L. aloides var. bicolor and L. aloides  'Pearsonii'  and 'Nelsonii', and he even has L. aloides var. Vanzyliae.  He also has an impressive collection of 120 other species of Lachenial besides the aloides group, but hurry. You probobly don't have much time to order, but since I now have mine, I will own-up, and share my 'secret source' for some of these harder-to-find varieties.

 Check out Lachenalia aloides at Nerines.com. The deRothchild's are in the UK, but they ship bulb to the US - I order every year and I have been very pleased with the service. As I said, the Nerine are costly, but the don't come any better than this, so one cannot grumble about cost, when there is only one source in the world. That said, the Lachenlia are very inexpensive, at $2.00 - $4.00 per bulb, plus shipping.

Rhododendron 'Cinnkeys' 

Finally, I have it! This plant is what started all of this sharing of hard-to-find plants post idea. Friday, I recieved an email from Singing Tree Nursery, who I have been hounding for two years now - begging, actually, to let me know anything about this plant. Finally, out of the blue, I got the email last Friday - they have it, and, they are only $19.95! I will have to grow this Rhody in a pot in the greenhouse here in New England, but if you live in Oregon or Northern California, you are in luck. Then again, you can probably find this gem in every Home Depot out there, right? Well, you can get one right now from Singing Tree.

Rhododendron 'Cinnkey's' is always in demand, so it is always scarce. A cross between R. cinnabarinum and R. keysii, it has waxy orange and gold bells. Get one now while they last, but be sure that you can grow it where you live, these are too precious to waste unless you are certain that you can provide the proper conditions. If you can grow Vireya's, then most likely you can grow 'Cinnkey's' - I assume Northern California to certain parts of B.C.

Peony Golden 'Angel' A Yellow Variegated Peony

Autumn is peony planting season, so what can be more perfect than a peony that offers more interest and color beyond the one week that peonies are in bloom? OK - at $125 this is not for everyone, but it is on my wish list ( not sure I will be able to order one this fall, but since I cannot order it in the spring, I may have to give in and forego lunches for a few weeks.  Get it now at Songsparrow Nursery.

Fierce Weather Marks a Shift in the Seasons in New England

Much of the eastern US experienced fierce weather yesterday, as a cold front and a stronger than usual storm system kept many of us under the threat of tornados, hail and severe thunderstorms. Thankfully, we only suffered from some minor flooding and wind after a full day of threatening clouds and warnings.  I was prepared for either no glass on the greenhouse today, or at the very least, torn foliage from hail, but we awoke to bright sunshine and cool, dry breezes - and for early September, we experienced what felt and looked like, a very 'spring' day.