I love Asian cooking, or at least the American version of it. (I didn’t recognize anything on the buffet at the hotel in Bangkok!). Anything with plenty of onions, garlic, and ginger makes my mouth water. I’ve grown onions and garlic before, when I had more room for such things. But living in the cold part of Zone 5, any ginger I planted would have to be in a pot so I could bring it in for the winter. And at the rate I use ginger, it just didn’t seem to be worth the trouble.
Continue reading “Gorgeous Ginger”
Looking for a last minute gift for a gardening friend? How about a houseplant? At this time of year, when the world outside is dormant, I depend on my houseplants to feed my need for color. And while I appreciate healthy, green leaves, we certainly don’t have to stop there.
Continue reading “Colorful Houseplants”
My first thought was, is this for real? If I hadn’t seen it growing in the conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens, I’d have thought someone had been playing with Photoshop. I wondered what kind of plant could have leaves that are green, red, black, purple, orange, pink, yellow, and creamy white—all at the same time, and in crazy combinations!
My next thought was, can I have one?
Continue reading “Colorful Crotons”
With the holidays behind us, winter seems to stretch out as far as we can see. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for a tropical vacation! We can’t afford tickets to a balmy beach or verdant rainforest, but I can manage to plunk down a mere $19.95—or less—for a blooming orchid. My imagination will have to supply the rest.
Continue reading “Moth Orchids”
Should my jeans be high-waisted or hip huggers? Should my tops drape or cling? It seems that clothes go out of style the moment I finally break down and buy them. And it’s not just fashion—plants are trendy too. Houseplants are back in vogue. Recently, I’ve seen headlines like “The Trendy Gardener,” or this one from Sunset magazine: “9 Super-Chic Houseplants.” The Sunset article insists that spider plants are out, and fiddle leaf figs are in. But wait—another website reads, “The 13 Plants That Are Leading The Trends This Year: Say goodbye to the fiddle leaf fig (or at least give it a friend).” It appears that plant styles change just as often as hemlines. Continue reading “Not-So-Trendy Plants”
Are you stressed? You should grow houseplants! Just ask all the experts. Try an online search and you’ll come up with almost two million sites claiming that growing plants reduces stress. Even the National Institute of Health has jumped on the bandwagon with a study “proving” that houseplants reduce both physical and psychological stress, at least in young men.
Unlike the articles that tout huge benefits in air quality from including plants (especially spider plants) in your home (NASA said it so it must be true—but see my post here), there may actually be some basis for the stress-reduction theories. Or not.
Continue reading “Do Houseplants Reduce Stress?”
I’ve been down with a nasty stomach virus for the past week, more interested in the distance to the bathroom than in gardening. As a result, I’ve been perusing articles instead of writing them (it takes far less effort!). I’ve also spent considerable time reading bogus gardening advice on Pintrest—it’s an amazingly rich repository of horticultural mythology. One afternoon I focused on the idea that houseplants purify the air in our homes. We’ve all seen the articles…
Continue reading “Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality”
Flowers make me happy. I love gardens full of them. But while I do appreciate pretty bouquets, I prefer to receive flowers that are still attached to their plant. As my husband has learned—to bring a smile to my face, bring me flowers with roots!
Continue reading “Flowers with Roots, Please”
For an avid gardener, January can be a difficult time of year. Sure, we can dream. The seed catalogs that have been arriving for a month now are filled with post-it notes, dog-eared corners, and bright yellow highlights. At the same time, I’ve decided and re-decided (at least a dozen times) where I’m going to plant each seedling once the weather warms. I love the optimism of dreaming, but sometimes I just want to get my fingers into some soil—even if the “soil” came out of a bag of potting mix.
At this time of year, gardening outside is pretty much impossible. The ground is frozen, and there’s still a layer of snow in the shadows on the north side of the house. Besides, it’s cold out there!
Continue reading “Seeds to Start in January”
Imagine that it’s wintertime. Anything verdant and green has long turned to brown. Limbs lie leafless. A few berries may yet hang on the shrubs. We’re already eager for spring, but the growing season is still months away. Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to enjoy bright red tulips, or the sweet aroma of blooming narcissus? If you want to enjoy these and other mid-winter flowers, now is the time to start forcing bulbs.
Pretty much any spring bulb can be forced. All we have to do is fool them into thinking that spring has arrived—in the middle of January. To do that, we have to plan ahead—up to 15 weeks ahead.
Continue reading “Act Now for Mid-winter Flowers”