Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Bulbs

Fall Bulbs

As the Labor Day Weekend comes to a close that is our signal that the fall season will be coming very soon. We as gardeners know that we have a mental list of gardening duties to perform before the fall season ends. One of the gardening duties would be to plan ahead for planting fall bulbs in your garden. Fall bulbs are sold only for a limited time during the season and should be purchased in advance because a few of the bulbs mentioned require to be chilled in the refrigerator before planting, if you reside in USDA zones 11, 10, and 9. Crocus, Hyacinths, Narcissus, Daffodils, and Paperwhites all require 4 to 6 weeks of chilling. Tulips require 8 weeks of chilling. Bulbs are easy to plant and give you wonderful spring color.


Anemone. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 10 – 15”. Planting Requirements: 2 “ deep at 3 – 4” apart planting on their sides. Soak the tubers over night before planting and water well after planting. Planting months are from October through December, and to extend the blooming season you may plant the tubers at two-week intervals starting in late October. The flowers are good for cutting.


Calla Lily. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 14 – 18”. Planting Requirements: 3 to 4” deep at 1” apart. Planting months are from September through November, and to extend the blooming season you may plant the tubers at two-week intervals starting in late October. The flowers are good for cutting.


Crocus. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 4 – 6”. Planting Requirements: 1 to 2” deep at 2 – 3” apart. Planting months are from September through November and require 4 – 6 weeks of refrigeration before planting.


Freesias. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 18 – 24”. Planting Requirements: 1 – 2” deep at 3” apart. Planting months are from October to November, and to extend the blooming season you may plant the bulbs at two-week intervals starting in October. The flowers are good for cutting, and are very fragrant.


Hyacinths. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 10 – 12”. Planting Requirements: 5” deep at 6” apart. Planting months are from November through December and require 4 – 6 weeks of refrigeration before planting. The flowers are good for cutting and are very fragrant. The Dutch varieties are good for forcing.


Iris – Bearded. Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade. Height: 30 – 32”. Planting Requirements: ½ - 1” deep at 8 – 12” apart. Planting months are from August through November. The flowers are good for cutting.


Iris – Dutch. Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade. Height: 18 – 22”. Planting Requirements: 2 – 4” deep at 3” apart. Planting months are October through November. The flowers are good for cutting.


Leucojum. Light Requirements: Partial shade to shade. Height: 16 – 20”. Planting Requirements: 2 to 3” deep at 4” apart. Planting months are from October through November. The flowers are good for cutting.


Muscari. Light Requirements: Full sun. Height: 5 – 6”. Planting Requirements: 1 to 2” deep at 3” apart. Planting months are from October through November.


Narcissus – Daffodils. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 18 – 20”. Planting Requirements: 4 – 5” deep with 5 to 6 bulbs per square foot. Planting months are from November through December and require 4 – 6 weeks of refrigeration before planting. The flowers are good for cutting.


Paperwhites. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 14 – 16”. Planting Requirements: 4” deep with 5 to 6 bulbs per square foot. Planting months are from October through November and require 4 – 6 weeks of refrigeration before planting. The flowers are good for cutting.


Ornithogalum. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Height: 10 – 12”. Planting Requirements: 2” deep at 5 – 6” apart. Planting months are from October through November. The flowers are good for cutting.


Ranunculus. Light Requirements: Full sun. Height: 18 – 24”. Planting Requirements: 2 “ deep at 4 – 6” apart planting with the claws pointing down. Soak the tubers over night before planting and water well after planting. Planting months are from October through December, and to extend the blooming season you may plant the tubers at two-week intervals starting in late October. Can be combined with Anemones. The flowers are good for cutting.


Tulips. Light Requirements: Full sun. Height: 20 – 22”. Planting Requirements: 6” deep at 5” apart. Planting months are from late December through January and require 8 weeks of refrigeration at 48 to 55 degrees before planting.


Watsonia. Light Requirements: Full sun. Height: 4 – 6 feet. Planting Requirements: 3 – 4” deep at 4 – 6” apart. Planting months are from September through November. The flowers are good for cutting.


Tip: Keep your bird feeders full all year long, and attract more birds by providing a variety of bird feeders.


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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall Color Annuals

Fall Color Annuals

Before we know it the arrival of fall will be on the horizon and with this in mind I would like to mention planting fall color annuals. When we as gardeners think about the season of fall, images come to us such as cooler temperatures, Halloween, fall vegetables, and fall color annuals. Picture on the right: Pink Dianthus.Pink Dianthus

The beauty of fall color is that you will have color all season long; the plants can withstand freezing temperatures after being established in the garden, and require very little care or maintenance. Fall color can be used even if you only have a patio or porch. The annuals do beautifully in containers to give you a bit of color in your outdoor living spaces.

For the annuals to be effective I prefer to plant masses of solid colors, and there is nothing more spectacular than complimentary colors massed together. For example: a mass of bright yellow pansies, and then a mass of dark purple pansies. Another color combination would be dark blue or dark purple pansies in the background and a wide front edge of white sweet alyssum. Your yard will be the hit of the season with these color combinations. You can even be very creative and plant your color in masses of diagonal strips, or horizontal strips. A few of the annuals do come in mixed colors such as pansies and there is a right place for these annuals, too. May I suggest when using mixed color annuals such as pansies either plant the mixed color alone with out using another complimentary color, or plant the mixed colors with solid pansies without “a face” (the dark center in mixed colored pansies is called a face). All the color annuals listed prefer the cooler temperatures of fall and winter, especially if you live in the south or southwest. For my newsletter subscribers that live in the northeast or northwest you may use the plants as spring color.

Red DianthusCalendula. Height: 12 – 24 inches. Spacing: 12 – 15 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Red Dianthus is pictured left.

Cyclamen. Height: 4 – 6 inches. Spacing: 10 – 12 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade.

Dianthus. Height: 6 – 15 inches. Spacing: 8 – 15 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Johnny Jump Up

Johnny Jump Up. Height: 6 – 8 inches. Spacing: 8 – 10 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Pictured right.

Mums. Height: 24 – 36 inches. Spacing: 24 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Mums make an excellent cut flower.

Ornamental KaleOrnamental Cabbage and Kale. Height: 15 – 18 inches. Spacing: 12 – 15 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Pictured left.

Pansy. Height: 6 – 8 inches. Spacing: 8 – 10 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade.

Petunia. Height: 8 – 12 inches. Spacing: 8 – 10 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Pictured right. Petunia

Primrose. Height: 6 – 10 inches. Spacing: 8 – 10 inches apart. Light Requirements: Partial shade to shade.

SnapdragonSnapdragons. Height: 6 – 36 inches. Spacing: 10 – 15 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Snapdragons make excellent fresh cut flowers. Pictured left.

Stocks. Height: 12 – 20 inches. Spacing: 8 – 12 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Stocks have a wonderful fragrance and make excellent cut flowers.

Sweet Alyssum. Height: 4 – 6 inches. Spacing: 4 – 6 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Sweet Alyssum has a wonderful fragrance and requires less water than all the other annuals mentioned.

Wild Purple ViolaViola. Height: 6 – 8 inches. Spacing: 8 – 10 inches apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Pictured left.

With the coming of fall we think of what fall brings to us. I think of Halloween Decorations, Fall Vegetable Gardening, Bird Feeders, putting on your gardening gloves, and the wonderful cooler temperatures that come with the season. What Images Do You Imagine With The Coming Fall Season? Check Out Our End of Season Sale. Hibiscus and More is having an early fall season sale to get you ready for the upcoming holiday - Halloween!!! New this Halloween Season we are offering solar Halloween Decoration garden products. Hibiscus and More has a solar jack-o-lantern and a solar spooky skull. Our early season sale will only last until September 18, 2009. This offer is for a limited time only. The jack-o-lantern is originally priced at $34.95 and with your early purchase you save 37% off the original retail price. The spooky skull is originally priced at $29.95 and with your early purchase you save 27% off the original retail price. Hurry!! This is a limited time offer to all my newsletter subscribers.

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Don’t Forget To Plan Your Fall Vegetable Garden: Click Here For More Information On Planning Your Garden. Tip: Keep your bird feeders full all year long, and attract more birds by providing a variety of bird feeders. Click Here To Order. Take advantage of Hibiscus and More’s End Of Season Sale On Hibiscus Plants in 4.5 inch Containers and Gardening Gloves. Click Here To Check Out The latest News From Hibiscus and More.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Fall Vegetable Gardening

With the arrival of August, and the month of September just around the corner we need to start planning our fall vegetable garden. There are numerous vegetables that require a cool growing season rather than a warm growing season. For my readers that reside in USDA Zones: 11, 10, 9, and 8 you get the benefits of having two vegetable growing seasons, one in the spring and one in the fall. As the weather cools in your area, and as gardeners we start thinking about fall and what fall brings to us; it’s time to start gardening again. With this in mind I would like to mention the wonderful benefits of a fall vegetable garden. Tomatoes

Home-grown vegetables have a richer, fuller taste and tend to be fresher than store bought since you pick them yourself. Home-grown vegetables are easy and inexpensive to grow as well. Vegetable gardening can involve the entire family from the little ones to the teens. As well as being an educational tool, the time the family spends in the garden is quality time spent together, and can give one a sense of pride.

In today’s economy more and more families are finding ways to save money, and one way to save money on your grocery bill would be to start your own vegetable garden. Vegetables can be grown from seeds or vegetable starts, and more retail garden centers this year are reporting that vegetable starts and seeds are up from last year’s sales; and as a result of our current economy more families decide to spend more time at home and in the garden.

OnionsSome of you maybe thinking to yourself I have never grown vegetables before, and I don’t think I can grow vegetables. One of my task as a professional horticulturist to a private estate was to grow home-grown vegetables, and my thoughts were exactly the same; and as a Texas Certified Horticultural Professional I would advise our retail gardening customer’s on how to grow vegetables, but I never grew vegetables professionally. I took my vegetable gardening advice that I gave to my retail gardening customers, and my horticultural experience and put all that knowledge to the test. The results of the vegetable garden test are in the pictures included in this article.

The vegetable garden that I planted last year had a wide variety of root vegetables and above ground vegetables. Root Fall vegetables would include: potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, beets, radishes, shallots, and asparagus. Asparagus is the only fall perennial vegetable. You need to find a place where it can grow undisturbed for many years. The key to growing root vegetables is giving enough space in between each plant so the actual root (vegetable) will mature and not be misshapen because of planting to close. I grew Georgia Sweet onions from onion sets, Cherry Belle radishes, and Tall Top Early Wonder beets, all from seeds. The wonderful aspect of radishes is that the radishes mature in 22 days, and to have radishes all season replant your seeds every ten days. I was amazed and thrilled at how easy it was to grow vegetables from seed. The above ground Fall vegetables include: peppers, tomatoes, (with the peppers and tomatoes there are varieties to plant for the fall versus varieties for the spring), spinach, lettuce, snow peas, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard, cauliflower, chard, and collards. For the above ground vegetables I grew from vegetable starts, green peppers, tomatoes; and from seed there was Snow Peas, Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce, Mesclun Sweet Salad lettuce, Little Caesar Romaine lettuce. For recommended varieties to your area, contact your local extension office.

When planning your vegetable garden, either from vegetable starts or seeds don’t forget to add a little color to the garden. In the last couple of years seed companies have established several different colors in vegetables. You can now purchase peppers, carrots, and tomatoes seeds that will produce a wide range of colors. You can purchase bell pepper seeds that come in ivory, lavender, chocolate brown, yellow, and orange. Wouldn’t some or all of those colors look wonderful in a fresh tossed salad or homemade stuffed bell peppers? Carrot seeds now come in colors of yellow, white, golden yellow, red, light and dark purple, and of course your typical orange. Your family will just go wild over the variety of colors that will adorn the family dinner table each evening. Tomato seeds are now available in different shades of red, orange, yellow, and even a dark brown. With all the vegetable colors that are available on the market today, you can now color coordinate your dinner plate with home-grown vegetables, and become the ultimate gourmet chef without paying a gourmet price tag.Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Vegetable plants can be grown in a container or a special designated area in your yard. When considering a container versus a designated area there are a few considerations to be reviewed before deciding. Containers are excellent for growing a small amount of vegetables and a good choice, if you have a nice sunny patio or have a small sized yard. When growing vegetables in your yard the designated area that you choose should be in raised beds versus planted in your local soil. Vegetables plants require a loose and peat moss soil mixture. Purchasing landscape timbers or landscape edging at your local hardware store or home improvement store can easily do this.

Deciding a Location: Choose an area that gets 5 - 6 hours of full sun; and if, you have an area that receives more than 6 hours of sunlight that’s all right, too.

Deciding a Container(s): Choose a container that is 14 inches or larger, but the lettuces and radishes can be grown in smaller containers than recommended above.

Deciding a Soil: There are several potting soils on the market and choosing one is a matter of your gardening preferences. Some of the chooses are inorganic verses organic, with moisture control or without moisture control, with timed-release fertilizer or without fertilizer. Some potting soils are especially formulated for vegetables. Romaine Lettuce

Deciding a Fertilizer: There are several fertilizers on the market and choosing one is a matter of your gardening preferences. Some of the chooses are water soluble, granular, time-release, slow-release, organic, or inorganic. Choose a fertilizer that is formulated for vegetable plants.

Choosing an Insecticide: Choosing an insecticide is a matter of your gardening preferences, and while I was growing the vegetable garden I had an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach method. I would only use Safer Soaps or Horticultural Oils on all the vegetables that I grew, and realistically I hardly had to spray the vegetables at all. I was constantly watching for any insect or worm that would start eating my prize vegetables, and when I did see one I would simply dispose of the insect.

Choosing a Vegetable Support: Some of the vegetable plants that I mentioned above will need to be staked or in need of a vegetable cage such as tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peas, cantaloupes, and sometimes peppers.Radishes

Watering: Of all the ingredients that I have mentioned for vegetable gardening success, water, is the most important to a successful vegetable garden. The soil for your vegetables will need to be consistently moist at all times, and the water source should be city water or treated water. This is one of the reasons for one of last’s years E. coil outbreaks; the vegetables that were recalled received untreated water during the growing process. More gardeners are starting to grow their own vegetables this year versus last year due to the recent E. coli outbreaks in store-bought produce. Just another reason to start growing your own vegetables, you supply the water, you supply the insecticide, and you know exactly what ingredients went into your vegetables. For states that are currently under water restrictions, you can water your food crops, personal food garden, or personal vegetable garden without penalty. Wash all vegetables before eating or cooking.

Planting: There are a few vegetables that do not like to be planted next to each other, and the vegetable combinations to avoid are:

Onions with peas or beans. Tomatoes or squash with potatoes.Beets

Carrots with dill or fennel. Beans with onions and garlic.

Planting tomato Plants: Another planting rule that has always worked for me is to plant your tomato plants deeper than the original soil line, even if you grow your tomatoes from seed. When you are ready to plant your tomato plants remove two sets of leaves or four leaves total and plant the tomato plant that deep in the soil. You just do this with tomatoes and the reason for this procedure is that tomatoes will establish more roots along the stem where you removed the leaves, and tomatoes require a lot more water than the other vegetables mentioned in this article, and tomatoes are one vegetable that is a heavy feeder, i.e. tomatoes require a steady supply of fertilizer.

Put on your gardening gloves and reap the rewards and benefits of a fall vegetable garden. Tastier vegetables than store bought that you harvest on your own. As a vegetable gardener you know the ingredients, and there is nothing more rewarding than tasting the “vegetables” of your labors.Gardening Gloves

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All photographs and digital images are ©Cheryl Ann Meola 2007. All Rights Reserved. All photographs and digital images displayed in this article are for viewing purposes only and cannot be duplicated.Lettuce


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden



Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden
Attracting Hummingbirds to your garden can be very easy. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps and you will have these wonderful creatures visiting your garden on a daily basis. You do Autumn Sagenot need to redesign your entire landscape or hire a professional landscaper to design a Hummingbird garden for you, because by providing a few key elemental ingredients and plants you can attract beautiful hummingbirds to your garden. There are certain plants that are Hummingbird magnets that you can use to attract Hummingbirds in your area.
To attract and keep Hummingbirds returning to your garden we need to discuss the key elements and simple steps to follow:
  • Create a habitat to encourage Hummingbirds to nest and feed.
  • Provide at least 3 Hummingbird feeders.
  • Provide Nectar rich, tubular flowers.
Creating a Habitat for Hummingbirds to Nest and Feed would involve providing trees or places for the Hummingbirds to nest. This can be Autumn Sageprovided for the majority of Hummingbird species by having horizontal tree limbs, and shelter from surrounding tree limbs. The material used by most Hummingbirds to build their nest is organic in nature, and is available to your Hummingbirds in most back yard habitats. A few of the organic items used by Hummingbirds are: downy plant material, bits of leaves, bark, fallen leaves, and moss. A Hummingbirds diet consists of 90% of their food coming from nectar, and the other 10% of their diet consists of insects. When attracting Hummingbirds to your garden you’ll need to be aware of the use of insecticides on the plants that the Hummingbirds feed upon. There are two ways to approach the use of insecticides in the garden. One way would be let the Hummingbirds take care of your insect problem, or you can use organically friendly insecticides that are safe for Hummingbirds. By providing a consistent supply of nectar rich flowers and an additional supply of nectar coming from the Hummingbird feeders you will have very happy Hummingbirds in your garden. Blue Porterweed
Providing at Least 3 Hummingbird Feeders will entice more Hummingbirds returning repeatedly to your garden. By providing an additional, and constant food source you will encourage Hummingbirds to stay in your garden for food, and to nest. Place your feeders where you can see all the Red Columbineactivity going on. You can place the Hummingbird feeders in any tree limb near your patio, or hang from eaves outside a kitchen window, or an exterior window(s) that you frequently visit. By placing your Hummingbird feeder near the places you frequently visit outdoors your Hummingbirds will eventually become accustom to your presence and no longer be afraid when you are present. There are two key ingredients to remember when using Hummingbird feeders in addition to nectar rich plants.
1) Always keep a good supply of nectar in the Hummingbird feeders. Butterfly Bush
2) Always clean your Hummingbird feeder once a week to keep your Hummingbirds healthy.
Hibiscus and More has a beautiful selection of Hummingbird Feeders. Click Here to Order Your Hummingbird Feeders.
Providing Nectar Rich, Tubular Flowers will give your Hummingbird garden an additional food source that will keep your Hummingbirds coming back each year. Attracting Hummingbirds to your garden is an art. Nutrition for the Hummingbirds, and how to attract Hummingbirds year-round, all must be taken into consideration. An abundance of nectar rich flowers, at least 3 Hummingbird Feeders as an additional food source, creating a habitat for nesting and feeding all need to be provided. The more nectar plants that are provided and Hummingbird feeders provided will attract more Hummingbirds to your garden for years to come.
To bring numerous Hummingbirds to your garden you need to plan for masses and clumps of nectar rich perennials and annuals. Both perennials and annuals should be planted, but perennials are more useful since they bloom year-round, thus attracting Hummingbirds throughout the year. The blooming periods of the annuals should be staggered also, in order to attract Hummingbirds year-round. Both flower shape and flower color are important in regards to attracting Hummingbirds to feed are the best. Hummingbirds prefer single flowers with a tubular shape and upright blooms for feeding, and they also prefer flowers with bright colors and a distinct scent, Firebush Plantwith shades of red, from pink to orange being their favored colors. After planting the plants and hanging your Hummingbird feeders it will take some time for the Hummingbirds to find you, and as the year’s progress you will see more Hummingbirds visiting your garden. Each year the Hummingbirds will come back to the same area as the year before. My father’s house in Georgia has a Miss Huff Lantana bush and that same year the bush was planted the Hummingbirds were frequent visitors, and continue to this day to visit the Lantana bush each year. Some of the plants that I will mention will also attract butterflies to your garden as well. Firebush Close up
Autumn Sage: Salvia greggii 'Maraschino'. Type: Perennial. Height: 3’ – 4’. Spacing: 18” – 24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Bee Balm: Monarda spp. Type: Perennial. Height: 3 – 4”. Spacing: 24 – 30” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Blue Porterweed: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. Type: Perennial. Height: 2 – 3’. Spacing: 24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant. Firecracker Plant
Butterfly Bush: Buddleia davidii 'Pink Delight'. Type: Perennial. Height: 4 – 6’. Spacing: 4 – 6’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Columbine: Aquilegia 'Cardinal'. Type: Perennial. Height: 24 – 28”. Spacing: 18 – 24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Garden CannaFirebush: Hamelia patens. Type: Shrub. Height: To 15’. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Firecracker Plant: Russelia equisetiformis. Type: Perennial. Height: 36” – 48”. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant. Miss Huff Lantana
Garden Canna: Canna X generalis. Type: Perennial. Height: Depends on variety, but can range from 3 – 5’. Spacing: 1 – 2’ apart for rhizomes, and 3 – 5’ apart for container plants. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Homestead Purple Verbena: Verbena canadensis 'Homestead Purple'. Type: Perennial ground cover. Height: 6 – 10”. Spacing: 12 – 24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, heat and drought tolerant.Purple Verbena
Korean Hyssop: Agastache rugosa. Type: Perennial. Height: 3 – 4’. Spacing: 12 – 18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Lantana: Lantana camara 'Miss Huff'. Type: Perennial. Height: 4 – 5’. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Lemon BottlebrushAdditional Uses: Butterfly attractant, heat, and drought tolerant.
Lemon Bottlebrush: Callistemon citrinus. Type: Shrub. Height: To 12’. Spacing: 4 – 6’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: N/A.
Mexican Sage: Salvia leucantha. Type: Perennial. Height: 2 – 4’. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, and drought tolerant.
Pentas: Pentas lanceolata. Type: Perennial. Height: To 3’, depends on variety. Spacing: 24 – 36” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, heat and drought tolerant.
Petunia: Petunia X hybrida 'Purple Wave'. Type: Annual. Height: 4 – 6”. Spacing: For a thick coverage, 12 – 15” apart, 3’ apart for regular coverage, plants will spread 3 – 5’. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, heat and drought tolerant.
Pineapple Sage: Salvia elegans. Type: Perennial in USDA zones 9 – 11, treat as an annual outside zone 9. Height: 3 – 5’. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant. Crushed fresh leaves in fruit salads and drinks; the fresh flowers can be used in salads and desserts.
Mexican SageTexas Gold Columbine: Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana. Type: Perennial. Height: 18 – 36”. Spacing: 12 – 18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant.
Texas Hummingbird Mint: Agastache cana. Type: Perennial. Height: 24 – 36”. Spacing: 12 – 18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. AdditionalPentas Uses: Butterfly attractant, and drought tolerant.
Trailing Lantana: Lantana montevidensis. Type: Perennial, annual outside USDA zone 8. Height: 18 – 24”. Spacing: 3 – 4’ apart, can spread to 5’. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, heat and drought tolerant.
Tropical Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Type: Shrub, annual outside USDA zone 9. Height: To 12 – 15’, pruning can control height. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, and heat tolerant. Hibiscus and More is having a sale on 4.5” container Hibiscus plants. Click Here To Order Your Plants.
Turk's Cap: Malvaviscus arboreus. Type: Shrub, annual outside USDA zone 9. Height: To 12 – 15’, pruning can control height. Spacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, and heat tolerant.Purple Wave Petunia
Wax Begonia: Begonia X semperflorens-cultorum. Type: Annual. Height: 6 – 12”. Spacing: 8 – 12” apart. Light Requirements: Partial shade to shade, the bronze-leaf varieties will tolerate more sun. Additional Uses: None.
Yellow Elder: Tecoma stans (Stenolobium stans). Type: Shrub, annual outside USDA zone 7. Height: To 12 – 15’, pruning can control height. Pineapple SageSpacing: 3 – 5’ apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly attractant, drought, and heat tolerant.
Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Well ok…I’m back Mr. H. I. Biscus Not wanting to be hobbled like James Caan by Cathy Bates in Misery I have been persuaded to come to you again from the depths of sincere investigation of barley and hops to appear in mere letters of which you can glimpse upon for your amusement and subsequent query. The Earth that has done so well in providing us with her wealth has given us two flying creatures that at this point, sans hobbling hammer, need to be discussed. Apparently in Mother Nature’s wisdom we have been given at the least two flying forms of her beauty. I speak of the loping possibly heat thermal driven Butterfly and the nectar driven Hummingbird.
Now understanding that my current sponsor of this literal extravaganza has impressed upon me that I speak of not only the beauty of these two wonderful creatures she has suggested to me that I speak of their functionality in the eco system. Therefore it has come upon me, Mr. H.I. Biscus to relay what I know upon these electronic forms of said information.
If you have ever seen a hummingbird and questioned its ability to fly then I would suggest reading a little further and then stopping, because it would simply be easy enough to crush them and go back to making your crystal meth. But as you breathe out your latest breath and realize that that small ****ing flying creature of God’s will came from I guess a nest probably sniffing the fumes from your “lab” you probably wonder why you are cooking meth in the first place. Put down the pipe, at least for now. If you have seen a hummingbird fly then keep the pipe up and watch in slow motion.
Now as far as the Eco-system goes I now will post some comments about hummingbirds and their relation to us all: Please note that these excerpts are taken randomly. (Thanks)
I am a bit new to hummer watching but since I've started, I've noticed a few of them squirting out a clear liquid from their tail feathers from time to time when they are feeding. (Wow how about that) what did that Hummer watcher see?? What did their special other say??? (Sorry)
And now:
They consume so much sugar water; I thought that perhaps it could be poop but not sure.
Gives a whole nother thought about sugar water doesn’t it. (Alright calm down).
Sorry there’s more:
I sometimes get squirted as they "unload" before takeoff... if you let it dry, you'll see white stuff and black stuff, both pee and poop. (What can I say)?
From one that has learned:
I love these little boogers but I sure hope they don't 'get' me with that.
GOD LOVE HUMMINGBIRDS!!
Butterflies…Such wonderful creatures. I would tend to think that most are female. This apparently is a misconception on my part, as I once saw a butterfly drinking a cosmopolitan at a bar in San Francisco. I think I got Barfly and Butterfly mixed up but it was a good night anyway. Not a whole lot to say about Butterflies as they are a fleeting creatures but they do have a very distinct correlation with all human kind as professed in the following excerpts:
At a recent wedding, we were given envelopes that contained a live butterfly. At a signal, everyone opened the envelopes, and the butterflies flew out as the bride and groom exited the church. I noticed three small brown stains in the envelope, and a child nearby asked, "Do butterflies poop?
Well Virginia it quite possibly is an explanation to our query. No mention of the gender of the “bride & groom”, but we should move on…
One more that should put this whole article at rest:
Butterflies, like all insects, digest their food inside a tube (called the alimentary canal) that runs from mouth to anus. To eat, a butterfly uncoils its long snout (proboscis) and sucks in nectar. The food enters the alimentary canal, gets digested, its nutrients absorbed, and waste excreted.
Ok no more San Francisco funnies. But in all actuality Hummingbirds and Butterflies have purpose in this world and if that purpose be that they poop in your garden then be happy for the free fertilizer.
Thanks for reading, until next time don’t let the cops think your hibiscus is pot.
I M
Mr. H I Biscus
All photographs and digital images are ©Cheryl Ann Meola. All Rights Reserved. All photographs and digital images displayed in this newsletter are for viewing purposes only and cannot be duplicated or copied. Scroll over the picture to view the plant name.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mosquito Repellent Plants



Mosquito Repellent Plants
AgeratumAs summer fast approaches, I would like to suggest plants that will repel mosquitoes in your landscape and how to use these plants to enjoy the outdoors during summer. In addition to the plants that repel mosquitoes I would like to suggest additional, eco-friendly ways to keep mosquitoes from your outdoor living spaces. The picture on the left is Ageratum.
Some areas of the southeast have had drought busting rainstorms and even with the tremendous amounts of rainfall, these areas are still considered to beBasil under drought conditions. With the severe amounts of rainfall that comes into an area, and the warmer temperatures of the season that is a sure sign the pesky mosquito is not far behind. The picture on the right is Basil.
The plants that I am suggesting will repel mosquitoes from your outdoor living space. There are a few suggestions when planning to use the plants mentioned to enhance the natural repelling abilities:
v Use the plants in containers around your patio, deck, or outdoor living space such as patio tables and chairs.
v Use the plants in containers or planted in the ground by your front door and your back door.
v Lemon Grass is the #1 recommended plant to grow in the landscape and in containers to use around your patio, deck or outdoor living spaces to repel mosquitoes during the summer.
v Before having outdoor activities brush the Lemon Grass to release more of its fragrance.
v Lemon Grass can be used in cooking.
Here are a few suggestions recommended to do in addition to using the recommended plants:
v Fix all outdoor facets that drip.
v Drain your birdbath twice a week and refill your birdbath.
v Turn your empty outside pots and containers upside down to prevent the containers from collecting water.
v Drain your plant saucers that collect water once a week, mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant water.
v To reduce numerous other flying insects, including mosquitoes, plant marigolds in containers or in the landscape.
Cadaga TreeThere are additional benefits to adding mosquito-repelling plants to your landscape. A few of the benefits are that the mixture of plants listed can be used in addition to repelling mosquitoes, but also used as herbs in cooking, the trees listed will attract additional wildlife such as birds to the garden to give natural predators of mosquitoes a safe heaven, the majority of the plants are nectar and larval food plants for butterflies in your area, and the Silver Dollar Tree can be used in your fresh cut flower arrangements as greens. The picture on the left is Cadaga Tree.
Ageratum or Floss Flower: Ageratum houstonianum. Type: Annual. Height: 6-12”. Spacing: 6-8” apart. Light Requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly nectar plant.
Basil: Ocimum basilicum. Type: Annual. Height: 2 feet. Spacing: 18-24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly nectar plant, the leaves are used in cooking. Click To Purchase.
Cadaga Tree: Eucalyptus torelliana. Type: Tree. Height: To 80 feet. Spacing: 20-30 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Attracts wildlife to the garden.
Catmint: Nepeta faassenii. Type: Perennial. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 12-18 “ apart. Additional Uses: Butterfly nectar plant, and your catsCatmint will love it. The picture on the right is Catmint.
Catnip: Nepeta cataria. Type: Perennial. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 12-18 “ apart. Additional Uses: Butterfly nectar plant, and your cats will love it.
Citronella Grass: Cymbopogon nardus. Type: Perennial in USDA Zones 9 and 10, annual outside zone 9. Height: 5-6 feet. Spacing: 3-5 feet Catnipapart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The oil from the plant is used in citronella candles. The picture on the left is Catnip.
Clove Tree: Syzygium aromaticum. Type: Tree. Height: 20-30 feet. Spacing: 25 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The flower buds are the spice of commerce, and attracts wildlife to the garden.
Horsemint or Lemon Beebalm: Monarda citriodora. Type: Perennial. Height: 12-30”. Spacing: 12-24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The flowers can be used in fresh cut arrangements, nectar plant for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia. Type: Perennial. Height: 18-24”. Spacing: 12-18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Nectar plant for butterflies, flowers can be dried, in potpourris, and sachets.
Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis. Type: Perennial. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 12-18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: All leaves can be used in potpourris, flavor hot and iced teas, and used as a substitute for lemon peel in cooking.
Lemon Grass: Cymbopogon citrates. Type: Perennial to USDA zone 8, treat as an annual elsewhere. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 3-5 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The leaves are used in cooking. Clove Tree
Lemon Scented Geranium: Pelargonium crispum. Type: Perennial. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 12” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Nectar plant for butterflies, leaves are used in cooking, in potpourris, and sachets. The picture on the right is Clove Tree.
Lemon Verbena: Aloysia triphylla. Type: Perennial to USDA zone 8, treat as an annual elsewhere. Height: To 4 feet. Spacing: 18-24” apart. Light Lemon GrassRequirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The oil is used in perfumes; the leaves are used in flavoring teas and jellies. The picture on the left is Lemon Grass.
Mexican Marigold Mint: Tagetes lucida. Type: Perennial. Height: 24-30”. Spacing: 12-18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Butterfly nectar and larval food plant, fresh flowers are used in salads, leaves are used as a substitute for French tarragon.
Mindanao Gum Tree: Eucalyptus deglupta. Type: Tree. Height: To 225 feet. Spacing: 30 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Attracts wildlife to the garden.
Pennyroyal: Mentha pulegium. Type: Perennial. Height: 6-12”. Spacing: 12” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: A groundcover, nectar plant for butterflies, the leaves are used in the flavoring for fish dishes.
Peppermint: Mentha piperita. Type: Perennial. Height: 24-36”. Spacing: 12-18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Leaves are used fresh in hot and iced teas, butterfly nectar and larval food plant. Mexican Marigold Mint
Pitcher Plant: Nepenthes alata. Type: Herbaceous perennial. Height: To 14 feet, usually grown in a hanging basket. Spacing: N/A. Light Requirements: Partial shade to shade. Additional Uses: Will attract and capture all types of pesky insects from your garden. The plant is available Mindanao Gumat local garden centers in hanging baskets and can be placed in tree limbs or placed on patio plant stands. The plant uses the insects it captures as fertilizer. The picture on the left is Mindanao Gum, and the picture on the right is Mexican Marigold Mint.
Prostrate Rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostrates'. Type: Perennial shrub or groundcover. Height: 12-18”. Spacing: 2 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The leaves are used in lamb and fish dishes, butterfly nectar plant, drought tolerant plant.
Red-Flowering Gum Tree: Eucalyptus ficifolia. Type: Tree. Height: 25-30 feet. Spacing: 20-25 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: After establishment in the landscape the tree is very drought tolerant, the leaves are fragrant, attracts wildlife to the garden, very showy red flowers in spring and summer.
Roman Wormwood: Artemisia pontica. Type: Perennial. Height: 18-24”. Spacing: 12” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Nectar and larval food plant for butterflies, drought tolerant plant.
Rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis. Type: Perennial shrub. Height: 4 feet. Spacing: 3-5 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: The leaves are used in lamb and fish dishes, drought tolerant plant, and butterfly nectar plant.
Silver Dollar Tree: Eucalyptus cinerea. Type: Tree. Height: To 20 feet. Spacing: 25 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun. Additional Uses: Attracts wildlife to the garden, the foliage is used in fresh cut flower arrangements as greens, and dried floral arrangements.Pitcher Plant
Tansy: Tanacetum vulgare. Type: Perennial. Height: 3-4 feet. Spacing: 12-18” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Prostrate RosemaryUses: Nectar food plant for butterflies. The picture on the left is Prostrate Rosemary, and the picture on the right is Pitcher Plant.
Wormwood: Artemisia absinthium. Type: Perennial. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 18-24” apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Nectar and larval food plant for butterflies, drought tolerant plant.
Wormwood: Artemisia 'Powis Castle'. Type: Perennial. Height: 2-3 feet. Spacing: 3 feet apart. Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Additional Uses: Nectar and larval food plant for butterflies, drought tolerant plant.
Mosquitos
I find this to be a great subject to start, what shall be my award winning series delving into monthly newsletters.
RosemaryI find the little bloodsuckers to be a nemesis of all that is true to babes, beer and bar-b-que.
First of all Babes….Guys, these are the women that you married, the ones that come complaining to you because these little critters (mosquito’s) are flying around sucking on all the friends that your babe invited to your palatial kingdom for an afternoon/evening of food and festivities. Not only are they sucking on flesh that well…we’ll leave that to your imagination. Obviously this is a problem that you will have to deal with to keep your babe..shall we say babe-o-lisous (after the party clean up). (The picture on the left is Rosemary.)
Next Beer…. With mosquito’s this should not be much of a problem, as it would take a pretty darn big mosquito to wrestle a good cold beer from one of YOUR buddies (if not get bigger buddies). If a large mosquito did manage to do that I’m sure your buddy would kill it, take his beer back and suck the blood out of him just for fun. Texas style.Silver Dollar Tree
Finally Bar-b-que…. This also should not be much of a problem, when you have a good smoking fire going. Most of the mosquitos that I hang out with (and I have been known to do such) do not like flying around in smoke unless they are at Snoop Dog’s party!!!! Keep the pit going good, hot and long (he, he) and the little flying blood donation receptacles will probably stay away. (The picture on the right is Silver Dollar Tree.)
Please note that the aforementioned plants in this newsletter have been known to keep the little flying critters away. Also you always have your local mega mart to help you with the problem. If you do have to go your mega store please mention hibiscusandmore.com as they have no idea who we are, but we are trying our best to make your gardening/after gardening experience all that it can be. (The picture on the left is Silver Dollar Tree - Leaves.)
Silver Dollar Leaves
With peace for all and grounded roots,
H I Biscus
Editor’s Note:
Mr. Biscus will be here indefinitely. We would appreciate all comments and concerns to be voiced through your registration and e-mail to cheryl@hibiscusandmore.com. As always your comments on products are always welcome through your membership at www.hibiscusandmore.com Tansy
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All photographs and digital images are ©Cheryl Ann Meola 2009. All Rights Reserved.
©Cheryl Ann Meola 2009.
All photographs and digital images displayed in this article are for viewing purposes only and cannot be duplicated. Place your cursor over the picture for the plant name.