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antique roses

In Memory: Antique Roses for the Departed

We know cemeteries as place to remember those who have passed on, but many are also a haven for forgotten specimens of flowers like antique roses. This is because many years ago, family members would plant the favorite flower of a loved one next to his or her headstone, and in some cases, those flowers live on many hundreds of years later.

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Putting Your Garden Beds to Bed for Winter

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Prepping your garden beds for winter will make it easier to get a jump start on planting in the spring because working in a soggy, spring bed is a difficult task! It’s far smarter to do that work in the fall when the beds are dry and the weather is nice.

So, if you’re wondering how to tuck your garden beds in for a long winter nap and have them wake up refreshed, start with these five tasks:

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Bridal Shoot at Moss Mountain

The gorgeous scenery of Moss Mountain Farm makes it a virtual wonderland for photographers and videographers, and when you pair this stunning backdrop with a beautiful bride, the results are breathtaking.  Jake Reeves from Betwixt Magnolias shared this beautiful behind-the-scenes footage of a recent bridal shoot at the farm, and we were struck by how gracefully the bride interacted with the gardens.  It was like watching someone float through a dream. Take a look!

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boxwood basil

Two-for-One Plant: Boxwood Basil

Once you recognize the boxwood shrub, you’ll see them everywhere. In most neighborhoods, they are more ubiquitous than speed bumps. But what if I told you the boxwood basil has the same aesthetic as the sought-after boxwood shrub, but it pulls double-duty by also being pesto-ready at any moment. And like the traditional boxwood, this basil is beautiful for edging your garden or shaping into a topiary. I bet you never thought your basil could also look like a bunny.

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Seize the Daylily!

If your grandmother had a garden, chances are good she grew daylilies. This easygoing perennial has been a favorite for generations, but the newer kids on the block are definitely not for the old guard.

I always recommend daylilies for a garden because they’re low-maintenance, showy in the garden and the late-blooming varieties will offer bold, trumpet blossoms until fall. If you choose several different varieties that bloom early, mid and late in the season, you can extend their bloom time throughout the entire season.

The scientific name for daylily is Hemerocallis, which translates from Greek to “beauty” and “day.” The blooms only last one day, but don’t worry! Daylilies grow in clumps with many blooms on each stalk. Much like fireworks, they’ll give you one exploding bloom after another for many weeks. Bloom! Bloom! Pow!

Daylilies are perfect for slopes, beds, near foundations or even in containers. They need at least six hours of direct sun per day to thrive, but they will bloom even better in a full day of sunshine. When planting a daylily, set the plant in the ground or in a container at the same depth it was growing in the pot you bought it in. You want to avoid planting it too deeply. Space plants 10 to 12 inches apart in the ground or grow just one as a “thriller” in your combination container. For best results, add some compost, especially if you have heavy clay or sandy soil. Water your newly planted daylilies consistently during the first growing season as they establish themselves

You’ll find one of the best things about growing daylilies is they multiply! Divide and share with friends or plant elsewhere in your garden. Spring or late summer is the best time to divide and share daylilies. To do this, carefully lift the clump out of the ground with a shovel and divide it with a sharp knife, removing any sickly looking foliage. Cut the foliage down to about half its height and then transplant the divided pieces back into the garden immediately.

Because of their association with grandmothers, daylilies have a vintage feel, but I prefer to call them “timeless.” Though they’ve been around for generations, newer varieties have improved upon the older ones, making them stronger, brighter and more generous with their blooms. The following varieties are colorful, floriferous and vigorous; everything you expect from a daylily, but more of it. They are certainly Proven Winners in my garden, and I recommend them for yours.

'Primal-Scream'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Primal Scream’ Hemerocallis

  • Very large 7 ½ – 8 ½” flowers
  • Glimmering tangerine orange, gold dusted flowers with twisted, ruffled petals
  • Blooms in early midsummer on 34” tall scapes loaded with buds
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Mid-season bloomer

 

 

'Going-Bananas'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Going Bananas’ Hemerocallis

  • Lightly fragrant, lemon yellow, 4” blooms
  • Reblooming variety that begins flowering early and continues into fall
  • Heat tolerant
  • Relatively short; 19 to 22 inches tall
  • Early season blooming

 

 

'Ruby-Spider'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Ruby Spider’ Hemerocallis

  • Gigantic 9” flowers
  • Blooms are ruby red with a radiating yellow throat
  • Tall scapes reach up to 34”
  • Mid-season bloomer
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What’s the Fig Idea? Find out in the summer e-mag

The summer issue of our Naturally magazine is full of recipes, architecture, DIYs and more. Be inspired to party with sweet figgy bourbon cocktails, spicy green beans and sunny, heat-hardy flowers that will brighten up your home all summer.

In this issue, learn how easy it is to grow and harvest your own baby broccoli, get a peek into an historic piece of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and learn how to make the most of your water feature. Click below to start reading!

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Bone Meal vs Blood Meal. What’s the difference?

Feeding plants is complicated. However, you should remember you’re not feeding the plants, you’re feeding the soil. The plants use up nutrients in the soil, yes, but much like the human gut, soil is made up of microorganisms with specific jobs. They break down nutrients, so the plant can absorb them and stay healthy.

If you’re new to gardening or a new homeowner, a soil test would be beneficial. Or for a short-term solution, ask neighborhood gardeners about the soil quality in your area. Take a sample of soil to your local extension office for testing. Here in Arkansas, a basic soil test checks for: pH factor, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulfate, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, and salinity. Soil tests done by your local Cooperative Extension Service generally include fertilization recommendations. If you’re curious about the general pH levels of your soil, it’s possible to determine through a variety of home testing methods, like the ones on this site. For organic gardeners, we recommend the certified Bone Meal and Blood Meal options from Jobe’s Organics.  Here’s a quick rundown on the uses and benefits of these additives.

 

Blood Meal
16_05581Blood meal, which is a slaughterhouse byproduct, adds nitrogen back to the soil in a very efficient manner. Nitrogen is the nutrient that fluctuates the most in soil. Many plants are heavy nitrogen feeders, too, like corn, tomatoes, squash, lettuce, cucumbers and cabbage. Blood meal is water soluble and can be used as a liquid fertilizer. If you’re replanting the same garden bed year after year, blood meal will be beneficial, as plants have a tendency to deplete the soil. Blood meal will also make your soil more acidic, lowering the pH value. Blood meal acts quickly in the garden to fix nitrogen deficiency and a single application can effectively feed plants for 6 to 8 weeks. However, be careful when applying nitrogen to young plants, too much can burn them.  For best results, try dissolving it in water or mix some into the soil when planting.

 

Bone meal
16_05543Bone meal adds phosphorus and calcium to the soil. It’s available in powder or granular form, and the powder form can be dissolved in water for a fast-acting fertilizer. Granular bone meal is more of a slow-release additive. Unlike blood meal, bone meal won’t burn your plants if you add too much. If your soil testing indicates a shortage, add bone meal to your soil to help plants grow and flower. Again, pH testing is important because if your soil has a pH of 7 or higher, bone meal will be relatively ineffective. The acidity level must be addressed first. In addition, mixing bone meal with high nitrogen soil additives can balance out high nitrogen fertilizers like rotted manure. Note: if you have pets, keep bone meal away from them. It can be dangerous if ingested.

In short, your garden soil needs a variety of nutrients to thrive. Bone meal and blood meal are suitable substitutes that can help your garden be stronger and more productive.  Blood meal is considered an appropriate additive for organic gardens. When it comes to using gardening products sourced from animals, organic is the safest bet.

Jobe's Organic Blood Meal
Jobe’s Organic Blood Meal
Jobe's Organic Blood Meal
Jobe’s Organic Blood Meal
Jobe's Organic Bone Meal
Jobe’s Organic Bone Meal
Jobe's Organic Bone Meal
Jobe’s Organic Bone Meal
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Farmers market oddities and how to use them

If you take your time to browse the farmers markets this summer, you might see a few things you’ve never tried before. Like a knobby circle of kohlrabi, or a strange looking lemon-shaped cucumber, or greens like watercress or Italian dandelion. Give them a shot! Make a resolution to try one new fruit or vegetable a week throughout the growing season, and see where it takes you. You never know! You might find a new favorite. Here’s a little background information on some of the more common oddities in the farmers market and a few ways to use them.

 

Kohlrabi:
KohlrabiA vegetable that’s a cross between broccoli stems and tender cabbage, the kohlrabi should be peeled first and foremost. Get that tough outer layer out of the way. Then try it raw. If that taste suits you, slice it thinly and add it to salads. If not, you can roast it with potatoes and other root veggies for a sweeter flavor. Or add to an omelet, a casserole, or any other dish with a medley of vegetables.

 

Lemon cucumber:
It may look like a lemon on the outside, but it’s still a cucumber on the inside. Don’t try to squeeze juice out of this one. Add it to your cucumber and tomato salad for an unexpected color variation on a standard Southern dish.

 

Watercress:
WatercressThis little green is growing in popularity. Known for its peppery flavor, watercress can punch up a salad or soup. Simply remove the thicker stems and sprinkle on top of your plate or bowl. Watercress might be best raw, but you can also add it to pizza or a hot sandwich with cheese. Treat it like peppery basil and you can’t go wrong.

 

Italian Dandelion:
Italian DandelionDandelion? That’s a weed! Not exactly. The leaves are similar, but this edible variety has deeper green coloring and is packed with nutrients. They can be bitter, so go carefully. Add it to fruit smoothies. Rinse, squeeze dry, then sauté with olive oil, salt, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and maybe a shot of honey to mellow the flavor. Basically, you can use Italian dandelion anywhere you might use kale.

 

Leeks:
LeeksIf you’ve been eyeballing those leeks for awhile but you haven’t tried them yet, it’s time. I can understand the confusion. They look like green onions. What’s going on here? Yes, they’re related to onions and garlic, but the flavor is milder. Chop them up and add to salads and stews. Or try them in an omelet or frittata. Sauté in lemon juice and broth and serve with salmon. The possibilities are endless.

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Plants for Color All Summer

Life is hard, gardening shouldn’t be. Here are seven plants you can grow that will be colorful all growing season without a minute’s trouble.

 

LUSCIOUS® Bananarama Lantana                                       
BUY

  • Tough-as-nails annual is extremely heat and drought tolerant, tolerates poor soils; protect from frost
  • Large clusters of bright sunny yellow flowers on mounded plants
  • Blooms all season without deadheading
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, not preferred by deer
  • Full sun

 

LUSCIOUS® BERRY BLEND™ Lantana                                  

  • Tough-as-nails annual is extremely heat and drought tolerant, tolerates poor soils; protect from frost
  • Large clusters of fuchsia, orange and yellow flowers on mounded plants
  • Blooms all season without deadheading
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, not preferred by deer
  • Full sun

 

COLORBLAZE® KEYSTONE KOPPER® Solenostemon(Coleus)
BUY

  • Richly saturated orange-bronze foliage
  • Bred to bloom very late or not at all, making the plant last into fall with little maintenance
  • Wonderful in large containers and landscapes
  • Heat tolerant and less preferred by deer
  • Full sun to shade

 

COLORBLAZE® LIME TIME™ Solenostemon(Coleus)
BUY

  • Vigorous selection with bright chartreuse foliage that brightens up any combination or landscape in sun or shade without burning
  • Bred to bloom very late or not at all, making the plant last into fall with little maintenance
  • Wonderful in large containers and landscapes
  • Heat tolerant, less preferred by deer, and mildew resistant (which can be a problem with other chartreuse coleus)
  • Full sun to shade

 

COLORBLAZE® ‘RAINBOW RHYTHM®’ Hemerocallis                      
BUY

  • Enormous 7 ½ – 8 ½” flowers
  • Glimmering tangerine orange, gold dusted flowers with twisted, ruffled petals
  • Blooms in early midsummer on tall scapes loaded with buds
  • Full sun to part shade

 

AMAZING DAISIES™ ‘Banana Cream’ Leucanthemum
BUY

  • Picture perfect, large 4-5”, lemon yellow flowers age to creamy white
  • Disease resistant variety with strong stems that are great for cutting for long lasting fresh bouquets
  • Blooms begin in early summer with some rebloom from secondary buds; benefits from deadheading
  • Full sun

 

LO & BEHOLD® ‘Lilac Chip’ Buddleia                                    
BUY

  • Award winning, seedless butterfly bush that won’t sow its seed around the garden
  • Soft lavender pink flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds from midsummer to frost without deadheading
  • Dwarf, compact habit grows only 1 ½-2’ tall x 2-2 ½’ wide
  • Perfectly sized for containers and small-scale urban landscapes
  • Full sun

 

Trash-Can-Rain-Barrel

Trash Can Rain Barrel

Supplies:
1 32 Gallon trashcan
1 roll of window screen
1 90 foot hose
1 Nozzle set
1 set of 3 conduit locknuts
2 1/2 inch boiler drains
4 flat metal washers
4 rubber washers

Tools:
Utility knife
Scissors
Staple Gun (optional)
Twine
Pliers
Screwdriver
Dremel tool (optional)

Directions:
1. Make sure trash clean is clean.

2. Use the utility knife to cut a hole in the trash can for the faucet several inches from the bottom of the can. The rubber washers will keep any of your harvested rainwater from leaking out of your rain barrel, but be careful not to make the hole too big.

3. Thread the metal washer onto the faucet first then the rubber washer.

4. Place the faucet through the hole and put another rubber washer on the inside of the trash can.

5. Use the pliers to help screw the locknut on tightly. The tighter you get it screwed on the less likely you are to have leaks.

6. Repeat this process for the second faucet several inches from the top of the trash can. This will act as an overflow valve.

7. Lay the screen over the top of the trash can and cut enough to cover the top.

8. Tie cut screen with twine around the rim of the trash can (staple gun is optional).

9. Use the scissors to trim off the excess screen.

10. Using the utility knife cut out an opening in the lid of the trash can. This will be the intake for the downspout from your gutters. Put the lid on over the screen and your rain barrel is complete.

11. To install a rain barrel, cut down your waterspout to desired height using a utility knife or Dremel tool. Then, reattach curvy part of a waterspout and set your rain barrel underneath lining up with the hole cut on top of the lid.

12. You can also attach a hose at the bottom faucet for watering your lawn and landscape.