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Archives for December 7, 2013

Garden gift ideas

You’re making your holiday shopping list and checking it twice, and here are some gift ideas for the gardeners — naughty or nice — in your life.

BEST BOOK. The new book “Gifts from the Garden” combines the beauty of the bounty with the skills of the crafter for the green-fingered DIYer who wants to make the most of harvests throughout the year. From the edible to the decorative, author Debora Robertson shows how to make a unique something for every occasion — potted bulbs in teacups, personalized seed packets, herbal teas, floral-scented lip balms and indulgent body scrubs. Using fruits, veggies and nuts, she shows how to make spice rubs and fresh pesto, chile jams and tomato chutneys — gifts from the heart of your kitchen. $24.95;

BIRDIE TREATS. Give your best birding friends a basket of treats meant for their feathered friends. Fill a basket with a trio of special blends that include sunflower meats, peanuts, safflower and pecans or sunflower meats infused with fiery hot habanero chilies to keep the squirrels away. A nutberry blend combines all of nature’s best in one bag — fruits with insect suet kibbles and whole kernel sunflower meats. $12.99-$17.99 per 5-pound bag.

Or, stock a basket with a suet cake feeder and the cakes to go in it — $1.69-$1.99. Cole’s Wild Bird seeds and foods available at wildlife stores and garden centers nationwide; find a retailer at or 770-426-8882.

GARDENIA GOODNESS. No air freshener can compete with the sweet fragrance of a flowering gardenia. The Heavenly Scented Evergreen Gardenia brightens a room with its clear white blossoms, and comes in a golden sparkle ceramic container that’s about 7 inches tall and wide; plant care information is included, $59.95. Jackson and Perkins; or 800-292-4769.

CLASSIC WISDOM. The 222nd edition of the 2014 Old Farmer’s Almanac entertains and inspires throughout the year. In addition to gardening tips and plant profiles, the periodical features pie recipes and then ideas on how to lose the pounds after eating all those homemade desserts, $6.99. The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids with magical pumpkins, towering beanstalks, Salsa princesses, buzzing hummingbirds, bug costumes and friendly farm animals, $9.95. Available at garden centers nationwide or or 877-717-8924.

EASY DOES IT. If flower-arranging makes you feel uneasy, the Easy Arranger removes all that anxiety. The elegant hand-woven wire grid is placed on top of a vase and gently pressed down around the outer edge. Each petal of the crown then serves as a compartment for a stem and guides the user to perfect placement. Add flowers between the wires to make flowers stay where you want them. The bendable, reusable and decorative grid in 5-, 6- and 8-inch diameter sizes, can be used over a variety of vases and other vessels. Holiday special, $6 from The Gardener’s Workshop; or 888-977-7159.

BEST WEEDER EVER. Take out carpets of weeds in one swipe, using the Japanese hand hoe. Forged of high carbon steel, it maintains a sharp edge. Holiday special, $19.95, or 888-977-7159.

COMFY, CUTE LOOK. If the gardener on your list is a gal, Garden Girl USA’s trim-fitting gardening pants, $93.99, or capris, $89.99, might be the thing. Made of durable fabrics, with pockets galore, Garden Girl’s signature hip/waist stretch panels provide “give” in all the right places, making it easy to bend, lug, haul, squat or crawl through typical days in the garden. They’re also ideal for comfort when hiking, dog-walking, tending toddlers, cleaning, or bopping around town. Floral-patterned Wellington boots, $85.99, complete the look; or 866-610-5459.

ROSY DREAMS. Treat your special gardening friend to a David Austin gift voucher. Request that the confirmation, complete with 120-page “Handbooks of Roses” catalog, come straight to you for gift-giving. The roses will be shipped in spring at the right time for planting as bare rootstock. Two beauties to ponder: Munstead Wood, a deep crimson rose, $27.95 each or three for $71.25, and yellow climber Golden Celebration, $25.99 each or three for $66. or 800-328-8893.

TWEET TIME. Watching wild birds from the window is especially sweet in winter. For close encounters with interesting birds of all kinds, consider The Winner Multi-Purpose Window Feeder, $35.99, which attaches to the outside of windows with three suction cup mounts and holds up to ½ pound of seed, suet or fruit. Another possibility is Dorothy’s Cardinal Feeder, $59.99, designed to attach to a post or a hook; this 13-inch feeder is topped by a height-adjustable, 15-inch clear-view dome that protects birds and feed from weather, while warding off unwanted larger birds. or 800-352-9164.

SPACE SAVER. Easy access to organized gear is the dream of every gardener, athlete, outdoor enthusiast or homeowner with too little space. Boulder-based offers pre-fabricated single room structures designed for use as garden sheds and storage, as well as backyard home offices, art and music studios and more. Cost for an 8-by-10 Studio Shed storage model with unfinished interior and block/metal siding starts at $6,300, plus installation and shipping, starting at $900 each. Less expensive Small Shed DIY Kits are also or 888-900-3933.

HAND TOOL SETS. The Gardeners Hand Tool Gift Set from Joseph Bentley contains the small tools that are used most often by gardeners of all skills — trowel, transplanting trowel and hand fork. All three tools have carefully finished solid oak wooden handles and polished stainless steel heads. The tools are presented in a wooden seed box and nestled in shaved wood, $39.99 in gardening stores and at, and

STYLISH COMPOSTER. The Green Cycler is a clean, odorless kitchen countertop solution that turns kitchen scraps into “black gold” for the garden in a matter of days rather than weeks and months, $99-$139. or 855-432-6866.

HUMMER HEAVEN. Hummingbirds are territorial and will use this swing, with a shimmering copper finish, as a perch to watch over their food source, according to birding experts. Simply place this swing near feeders and enjoy watching them sit and swing. The red glass bead attracts hummingbirds, $16.99. National Wildlife Federation at or 800-822-9919.

HOLIDAY HAPPINESS. The bird seed wreath is perfect as a holiday treat for backyard birds. Made with black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, colored safflower and red millet, this 8 ½-inch wreath weighs a hearty 2¼ pounds, $19.99. National Wildlife Federation at or 800-822-9919.

WELCOME EVERYONE. Welcome friends and family to your garden with a whimsical “Welcome to my garden” plaque. Handcrafted from 100 percent recycled aluminum and made in the USA, the sign measures 12 inches wide and 7 inches tall, ground stake included; two to four weeks for delivery, $39.99. National Wildlife Federation at or 800-822-9919.

FINE FEEDER. Turn your fruit feeder into a piece of artwork for your backyard. This heavyweight feeder holds two fruits, such as apples, and gives the birds a place to perch. Made of long-lasting beautiful copper, $29.99. National Wildlife Federation at or 800-822-9919.

MASON JAR MAGIC. Reminiscent of the vintage blue glass canning jars used in the 1800s, the Perky-Pet Mason Jar Collection brings rustic chic to any outdoor space. The three styles include a wild bird feeder, hummingbird feeder and wild bird waterer, $17.95-$19.95. or 855-PERKY-PET.

DIY GOODIE. Got kids or DIYers in the mix? Give them an “experience” with NativeCast’s DIY planter kits. This eco-concrete container is perfect for crafters, DIY lovers, party favors, crafty kids, and stocking stuffers. The kit includes NativeCast’s custom eco-concrete mix, a mold, organic potting soil, and herb seeds, $15-$35 and up

LIVING ART. Topiaries created with moss and succulents are living art that delights anyone who loves animals and wildlife. From a life-size bull frog to a full-size giraffe, Gardens by Teresa in Yorktown, Va., can create it. Her online gardening shop also features handcrafted wire topiary frames that look nice on their own; custom topiary orders accepted. or 757-532-0080.

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December gardening tips

As our temperatures cool, lengthen the days between watering plants. Most established landscape plants will need deep watering 1-2 times in December and January. Cover frost-sensitive plants if evening temperatures drop below freezing.

Annuals: Plant annuals. (African daisy, calendula, geranium, candytuft, Iceland poppy, larkspur, pansy, petunia, snapdragon, stock, sweet alyssum, lobelia, dianthus, primrose)

Bulbs: This is the last month to plant spring-flowering bulbs (amaryllis, anemone, bearded iris, crinum, crocus, daffodil, Dutch iris, freesia, ranunculus, and gladiolus).

Grapes: Plant bare-root Thompson seedless grape stock in a sunny location. Prepare a hole 1½ ft. deep and wide and plant grape stock, leaving 2 inches of stem above ground. Water well. Do not prune grapes until all leaves have fallen off the vines.

Groundcovers: Plant Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Mesa Yellow’ (a groundcover with bright-yellow, daisy-like blooms), moss verbena, asparagus fern, wandering Jew and vinca.

Perennials: Plant brittle bush, penstemon, chocolate flower, ruellia, chaparral sage, Texas sage, desert marigold, carnation, geranium, English daisy, globe mallow, and agapanthus.

Roses: Begin researching roses to plant in January. #1 grade roses are recommended. Climbers, floribundas, grandifloras, hybrid teas, and miniatures all grow well in Yuma. Prune dead canes and dead-head old blooms. Do not prune roses heavily this month. If leaves show powdery mildew, spray both sides of leaves, Dec.-March, with Neem oil on a cool day.

Shrubs: Plant butterfly bush, myrtle, gardenia, orange and yellow bell, fairy duster, greythorn, honeysuckle, desert barberry, Baja senna, Cape plumbago, lantana and datura. Do not fertilize or prune established shrubs.

Trees: You might wish to purchase a potted Christmas tree this year and transplant it in your yard after the holidays. Aleppo pine, Afghan pine, Italian Stone pine, Arizona cypress, and Mondell pine grow nicely here. Fruit trees can be planted now (choose a variety requiring less than 400 chill hours to set fruit). Fertilize established fruit trees. Water citrus trees once a month and fruit trees every three weeks. Do not prune fruit trees this month.

Vegetables: Continue to plant vegetables from seeds or transplants to insure a continual supply of produce. (Asparagus, beet, artichoke, salad greens, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, peas, radish, green onion, spinach, and turnip) Continue planting herbs. Thin seedlings. Plant strawberries.

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Teague: Tips for keeping holiday plants fresh this month

Holiday plants (such as azaleas, cyclamens, forced bulbs, topiaries, kalanchoe, poinsettias), cut greens and live wreaths and trees aren’t really meant to live indoors forever. They do best in cooler, moist air outdoors, but they can be kept in good condition indoors for several weeks if we try to replicate their natural environments.

Place holiday plants in cooler spots in the home, away from heat sources like fireplaces and furnace vents. Provide bright, indirect light, but not direct sunlight. In winter, the angle of the sun’s rays is lower on the southern horizon and shafts of sunlight are not deflected by overhanging eaves. Southern light will be strongest in the house and, unless the sunlight is filtered through shades or shutters, the rays and heat can dry out or scorch tender needles and leaves on holiday plants and greens.

Remove paper or foil wrappings and place the pot on a saucer or into a cachepot to prevent damage to furniture. If the pot doesn’t have a drain hole, use a nail to poke several holes in the bottom of a plastic pot or re-pot into a pot with a drain hole. Empty the saucer or a decorative cachepot after every watering.

Different houseplants require differing levels of soil moisture and differing methods of watering. Kalanchoe (pronounced cal-AN-cho) and Christmas cacti (shlumbergera) need consistently moist but not soggy soil while in bloom. Cyclamen are susceptible to gray rot if the crown of the plant is kept wet; pour water around the cyclamen but not over the crown. Poinsettias die quickly if the soil is allowed to dry out completely. Phalenopsis or moth orchids draw their water from the damp orchid bark; a couple of tablespoons of water a week is usually sufficient to keep the bark moist. Use your trusty finger (the best tool for determining moisture levels) and water azaleas, rosemary and ivy topiaries, poinsettias and forced bulbs when the top of the soil is dry.

Daily misting will lower humidity levels, but make sure that any lights on live holiday plants and trees are UL-approved outdoor lights. Anti-transpirants help prevent moisture loss from leaves and needles. You can find anti-transpirants at most garden centers and well-stocked nurseries. Cloud Cover and Moisturin 5 are two brand names. Spray anti-transpirants outdoors before decorating the greenery.

Before you set your tree into the container, make a fresh cut on the trunk. Then fill the container with sweetened, not diet, clear soda like 7Up or Sprite and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The sugar in the soda provides nutrients and the lemon acts as an anti-bacterial agent. This recipe also works well to keep cut flowers fresh longer.


Elinor Teague is a Fresno County master gardener. Send her plant questions at or (“plants” in the subject line).

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How to prepare poinsettias for the holidays

Will it hurt my liriope if I prune it now? It grows along my sidewalk and makes shoveling snow difficult.

Liriope has done plenty of growing already, and pruning will not kill it. However, as long as the leaves are green it’s carrying on photosynthesis and producing carbohydrates to store, so you may want to wait for a snow forecast before you cut it back.

Is it too late to divide and transplant my ligularia?

While almost all perennials can be transplanted in fall as long as the soil is not yet frozen, ligularias are an exception and division should be done only in the spring. It is recommended to divide ligularia every three years to maintain vitality. Be careful to ensure that they never suffer dry soil.

Plant of the week

Winterberry holly

Ilex verticillata

Winterberry, our native wetland holly, makes a stunning specimen for the winter garden. Its autumn leaves turn yellow and fall to reveal a breathtaking view of thousands of brilliant red berries clinging to bare stems. What a joy to have such color in the middle of winter. Bird watchers appreciate seeing birds flock to the berries for a midwinter feast. Winterberry reaches heights of 6 to 10 feet with equal spread and is also available in dwarf varieties such as Maryland Beauty. Plant in moist, acidic organic soil. Females set fruit best in full sun and require a male pollinator. Some female varieties must be matched with a particular male variety. —Shelley McNeal

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Holly wears the crown – Gardening tips for Christmas from Alan Titchmarsh

Not to worry – plant one of each if you can then you will have a holly bush with wonderfully golden variegated leaves and – in the case of  ‘Golden King’ – berries as well.

Do not worry that the bushes will eventually eat you out of house and home.

They are relatively slow growing and if you plant them with a view to cutting a few stems every Christmas you can keep them within bounds by means of this annual pruning.

They make great back-of-the-border plants and are a terrific backdrop to other plants in summer.

Look around and you will find all kinds of variation in both leaves and fruit – some of the berries are red, others orange and there are even yellow varieties.

Some leaves are variegated, others dark green, some have very few spines on the leaves, others, like hedgehog holly Ilex aquifolium “Ferox” have so many spines they erupt through the centre of the leaf as well as appearing on the edges.

There are even blue-leafed hollies – well, blue-ish leafed – to add to the variety.

None of these is too fussy about the growing conditions. They will do well in sun or shade, though leaf variegation will be less dramatic in deep gloom, and they can cope with most soils.

Plant a container-grown holly now and if it is already in berry you can risk taking a few sprigs this Christmas as well as looking  forward to masses more in the Christmases to come.

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and every day in the Daily Express. For information on his range of gardening products, visit

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Novel garden design show to swop printed 3D models for plants

07 December 2013

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Eye of the Day Garden Design Center to Relocate Its Northern California … – Virtual

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center, one of the leading distributors of Italian and Greek terracotta pottery, will be relocating its northern California location from San Rafael in Marin County to Napa Valley. The relocation is part of an aggressive expansion to increase its showroom sales to private consumers as well as landscape, design, and architecture firms around the world.

Carpinteria, CA (PRWEB) December 05, 2013

One of the leading distributors of Italian and Greek terracotta pottery, Eye of the Day Garden Design Center, will be relocating its San Rafael showroom in Marin County to Napa Valley. The relocation is part of Eye of the Day’s aggressive expansion to increase its showroom sales to private consumers, as well as to landscape, design, and architecture firms and industry specialists from around the world. The headquarters, located in Southern California on Carpinteria Avenue, will remain as is.

The headquarters will continue to feature designer and internationally famed lines of planters and terracotta pottery. The design center specializes in high-end European décor, and offers Greek and Italian pottery and terracotta planters, as well as French Anduze pottery. Additional garden accessories include fountains, pedestals, columns, statuary, birdbaths, and furniture design ornamentation of the highest quality from trend-setting manufacturers in Italy, France, Greece, Spain, and the UK.

Eye of the Day also happens to be one of only seven Gladding McBean distributors, which is a line of handcrafted terracotta pottery. The line, which will be offered at the headquarters and relocated showroom, is known throughout the world for its colorful glazes that can be found in 25 shades on its modern and classical vases, garden planters, fountains, and sculptures.

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center has worked with clients from around the world, including Ralph Lauren and Tommy Bahama, and has been featured on the DIY Network. Eye of the Day has also appeared at the Stanford University Shopping Center, one of the most high-volume shopping venues in the world.

“We’re excited to be expanding into Napa Valley, which is known for its mild climate, its lush vineyards, and its scrolling landscape. I honestly can’t imagine a better scenic view – I look forward to educating customers about some of the antique vessels I’ve picked up during my European travels with a glass of wine from a neighboring vineyard in my hand,” said owner Brent Freitas.

The new store is expected to relocate in January 2014, and store hours will be announced around that time.

About Eye of the Day Garden Design Center

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center is a retail showroom that features more than an acre of high quality garden landscape products, including Italian terracotta pottery and fountains, Greek terracotta pottery, French Anduze pottery, and garden product manufacturers from America’s premier concrete garden pottery and decoration manufacturers. Eye of the Day is a leading importer and distributor of fine European garden pottery, and caters to private consumers, and landscape design and architecture firms around the world.

To see what Eye of the Day Garden Design Center can do for your business, visit

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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