Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cactus Propagation from Stem Cuttings

Never touch the cactus -
no fail method to propagate
Cactus can be straight forward to propagate and you can do it without injury from spines. The trickiest part is making sure you don't get poked in the process!  Here are my tips for getting more of your favorite cactus. This is a good late fall or winter activity for many cactus are not actively growing now. 

Make a Cutting:

First you need to get a piece of the parent plant. For this you need just two tools. Best way to do this is to cut the stem with a very sharp knife. I tend to use a serrated knife work - like a bread knife, which has just come out of the wash and I know it's clean and sterile. This will helps limit risk of bacterial diseases.  The second tool that you need is my secret weapon for

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dividing Potted Succulents

Repot Me PLEASE!!!
Several years ago I started this succulent (I believe a Gasteria) from a cutting received at the Huntington Garden.  It is a very slow growing plant - so just this spring I decided to divide and repot it. This is a clump-forming succulent plant, so as soon as the container is "full" the plants are clearly outgrowing their assigned space and need to be divided. It's similar for aloe, some sedums, agave, hens & chicks, and the like. For most succulents Spring and early summer are the best times to divide since it's before their growing season. However, there are succulents who's main growing season is winter - so double check before you proceed. 
Here's my approach for dividing and repotting succulents

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring Flower Show - Garfield Park Conservatory

For the Love of Tulips
Spring Showing in my Yard
Today I visited the Spring Flower show, entitled Sun Showers, at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  I look forward to spring flower and garden shows to get my creative fix. I also start thinking about the ephemeral and bulbs that will be breaking through in my own yard.  Plus it's just so great to get into a warm space that is bursting with color and fragrance! 

At Garfield Park Conservatory flower shows - one display house, the show house, is taken over by the display items. At times the explosion of flowers also spills over into Horticulture Hall and the lobby. This show was no exception. 

Please  enjoy the photos.  I'm not sure the colors are 100% true, but here are the shots of my favorites :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Planning My Vegetable Garden

Home Grown Goodness! 
One of my favorite garden activities in the winter time is planning out the plantings for spring and summer. This year I'm getting more serious about the vegetable garden. That is because I'm eating lots more veggies this year :) and my neighbor cut down mature ash/elm trees which were along the property line and reducing the sun available to my garden.

Last year I broke my wrist in the spring so the vegetable garden never really got planted. It sat fallow all year. So this year it should be ready to burst forward with an abundance of produce!

There are many great resources for planning a vegetable garden. Advice for site selection, soil preparation, and more available. My task was selecting the plants and arranging them.

Monday, December 8, 2014

DIY Upcycled Coffee Bags - Gunny Fashion

DIY Upcycled Coffee Sack Pouf (Footrest)
I have a few friends that are just head-over-heels for burlap. One is doing her whole wedding around this fabric - yes, it's even in her bridal bouquet! Thus, when I came into a large supply of jute coffee sacks, I just had to explore the opportunities to up-cycle, recycle, reuse and repurpose them!

Gunny sacks, Burlap, Jute, all very fun to use for crafts and DIY projects.

Coffee sack burlap/Jute is a great sustainable material. It’s a natural, biodegradable, and strong fabric.  In my garden I use it to layer-in a weed barrier prior to planting in the flower beds or vegetables. I use it for mound gardening and mulch with it too.  I drape some of the old fabric and threads on shrubs for birds to use for nesting. Using the coffee sacks for crafts was a little messy - so I have been cutting it outside. 

The most ambitious project was the creation of the burlap pouf - footrest shown in the photo on the right. I really like the look of the item and custom made to just the right height. This project required precision so that all the pieces matched up and the writing on the coffee bags all faced the same direction :) (BTW that beige chair was rescued from curbside and my neighbor reupholstered it!)