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Archives for April 2, 2016

Garden design ideas for grassless spaces

These garden ideas are perfect for those without the luxury of a lawn – and after seeing these you won’t mind about your lack of grass! 

Potty for plants

You don’t need a long rolling lawn to achieve that archetypal English country garden look – this beautiful area features a variety of different flowers in pots to give the space that well-tended and established feel. Set against the stone of this rustic home and a half-hidden garden gate, we can’t get enough of this pretty secret garden-esque space.

Contemporary chic

If you love entertaining outdoors then make the most of this space with standout characteristics such as a modern water feature and statement lighting. Who needs a lawn when your outdoor dining area looks this good?

Create zones

Opt for defined zones in a garden with no grass – plants, ornaments and art are a great way to add interest. The canvas sails in this garden instantly turn this corner into a feature and add the element of height while the deep border of plants adds depth.

Cosy corners

Create an intimate area for entertaining or relaxing in the corner of a garden with a semi-open structure. Here pink soft furnishings, bright curtains and the use of natural materials add a warm feel to the space against the stark white.

Barbecue like a boss

If you enjoy nothing better than lighting up the barbecue as soon as warmer days appear, then go all out and create a bespoke outdoor kitchen. A hanging rack for utensils, a table and shelving will transform you into the king of outdoor cooking.

Poolside living

While this may be better suited to warmer climes, there’s no denying that a pool in the back yard is the epitome of luxury. Here, pale stone floor tiles blend in beautifully with the stone wall, allowing the blue of the pool to take centre stage in this stunning space.

Small but stunning

If a small garden is something you’re struggling with, opt for easy to care for decking rather than a cramped lawn – doing away with the mower will allow you more usable space after all! A few potted plants, a canopy for shade, bunting and a range of seating is all you need!

Monochrome magic

Add a pop of colour and some wow-factor to a small grassless garden with a striking screen. The bright table really stands out against the black and white stripes, creating a unique and interesting feature of the space. And not a blade of grass in sight!

Clean and contemporary

Give your garden that Miami feel with a pared back design. A unique hanging table creates an instant feature in the middle of this modern courtyard, while hanging plants add some colour and soften the look. And the only bit of grass certainly won’t need mowing!

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House to Home

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Ask Jennifer Adams: How to light a dark sidewalk

Q: I saw your article about outdoor lighting. Do you do consults? I’m in a three-story condo building in a downtown location, and we want to light the sidewalk along the entrance to our building. It’s very dark there at night.


– K.W.
A: Thank you so much for writing. Unfortunately, for many reasons, I can’t personally consult on a project like this. But I can provide some ideas that you can discuss with a local landscape contractor or electrician, as well as your building manager or homeowners’ association.

Use the least amount of light that will accomplish what you want. Do you need security-level lighting or just want to illuminate the sidewalk? Is this a walkway to just your door, or to the entire building? What kind of building is next to this walkway? Is there a strip of landscaping next to the sidewalk? All these answers will help you decide what kind of fixtures to use and how much light you need.

Hopefully, you have a light at the door itself. And if you don’t, definitely add light there if what you have is inadequate. At the minimum, attractive low-voltage lighting along the path itself would light the sidewalk nicely. Reduce glare by keeping these fixtures close to the ground. If there is landscaping next to the sidewalk, it might be easier to run wiring, but depending on your situation, an electrician can give you more ideas.

Clear party lights along a fence would add a festive touch, but not a lot of light. Wall-mounted sconces are a great way to accent the building itself but would need professional installation, and probably approval from your building manager or HOA.

Solar-powered light fixtures on a stake are a good idea for temporary use or in private, enclosed yards or terraces with sun exposure during the daytime. But they won’t last as long or be as effective as a hardwired solution. (Plus, they’re frequently stolen.) Higher-priced solar fixtures hold their charge longer.

Good luck, and let me know how this project turns out.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality. To contact her:

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Brainstorming session allows ideas for Core Area block to take shape

What should become of the Davis school district’s property at the corner of Fifth and B streets? It covers an entire city block that is widely regarded as prime real estate, with excellent potential for redevelopment, across the street from Central Park in the Core Area of Davis.

On the site now are former classroom buildings built in 1949 that currently house the school district’s administrative offices.

Ideas for future uses for the site were discussed during two brainstorming sessions Thursday organized by the Urban Sustainability Accelerator Program at Portland State University, and supported by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, in partnership with the Davis school district.

Participants and observers were a mix of Old North Davis homeowners, business community representatives, at least two former mayors, a representative of a church close to the site and school district officials.

The session began with Robert Liberty, director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator, laying out the parameters for the brainstorming session. He explained that the school district needs about 26,000 square feet of office space for administrators plus 10,000 square feet of educational space for the Davis School for Independent Study. An additional need is 3,000 square feet for a classroom used by adult students.

A redeveloped site might house the district’s current operations in a multi-story building, which could leave other portions of the block available for other uses. These could include additional office space that could be leased out, or multi-unit housing or perhaps some retail space.

But how dense should a redevelopment project be, and how high should it go? And what if a different site is found for the school district’s needs?

The Fifth and B property presents a rare opportunity to do a redevelopment project that would cover a full city block in an older part of town. And Liberty emphasized that “no decisions have been made about this project” — not even preliminary ones.


To help with the brainstorming exercise, Liberty and his crew set up several tables with large tabletop mats showing an aerial view of the current layout at Fifth and B (one-story buildings and a parking lot). With each mat came a set of wooden blocks cut to scale, representing different kinds of buildings color-coded by their use (green for residential, yellow for school district, blue for other office uses and red for retail). There also were photographs representing different styles of architecture.

Liberty also asked participants to be aware of parking.

“Surface parking costs approximately $5,000 per space. Parking inside a building costs $25,000 per space. Underground parking costs $50,000 per space,” he told the participants.

Bruce Colby, associate superintendent of the Davis school district, reminded the participants that the district “has no surplus buildings, and no place to move (the district office and DSIS) somewhere else, or money to build more space.”

He added that the district does not regard the site as “surplus property.”

And then teams of brainstormers were asked to use the maps and blocks to create a potential development concept for the property. They were asked to think about the height and mass of the buildings as well as their uses, with no need to include all of the potential choices — office, residential and retail.

Leaves and twigs were distributed to represent potential landscaping.

Plenty of different ideas were the result, and photographs were taken to document the concepts that each table had developed.

Among the participants was John Meyer, former Davis city manager and retired vice chancellor of resource management and planning at UC Davis.

“The school district should be applauded for seeking the views of neighbors and other interested community members this early in the planning process,” Meyer said. “This site has many positive qualities, but it’s certainly no jewel now — hopefully, it can be re-imagined to benefit the school district, its students, the neighborhood and broader community.

“I believe the project also has great potential to foster even more joint use between the school district and the city, if approached creatively.”

Liberty said he was impressed by the “cooperative and collaborative spirit that I saw between Davis residents with very different perspectives.”

He said the next steps in the process are a final brainstorming workshop on April 15, followed by a review of what was learned and some analysis of market feasibility of the ideas presented.

“The brainstorming sessions are about interesting possibilities,” he added. “But these are early days, long before the outcome of the planning process will be known.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

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Indoors & Out: 10 influential homes, designer boot camp, gardening hubs and more

Worth watching

If you love houses, check out PBS’ fascinating “10 Homes That Changed America,” premiering April 5. The hourlong show highlights 10 influential homes that transformed residential living, from grand estates to the tenements of New York City. You’ll discover what was influential about well-known homes, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. You’ll also learn about lesser-known transformational dwellings, such as the Langston Terrace in Washington, D.C., a 1930s public housing project designed by African-American architect Hilyard Robinson, who believed in the power of architecture to transform lives.

There’s plenty of eye candy, including a lavish look at the Gamble House, the California retreat of the wealthy Gamble family, whose handcrafted details by architects Charles and Henry Greene helped inspire a bungalow boom.

If you’ve been to Chicago, you’ve probably noticed the round, scalloped high-rises of Marina City. But did you know that they were bankrolled by the janitors’ union in 1962 in hopes of revitalizing the city’s downtown at a time when the middle class was fleeing the city for suburbia?

The show concludes with a look at the Glidehouse designed in 2004 by and for architect Michelle Kaufmann. Compact, green, modern and prefab, it’s inspired many other design professionals and homeowners to follow her lead.


The Minnesota Dahlia Society is holding a one-day sale April 9.

Trowel & Glove: Marin garden calendar for the week of April 2, 2016


Gardening classes: The Mill Valley Public Library offers free seasonal gardening classes most Saturdays and occasionally on Sundays. Call 415-389-4292 or go to

Gardening classes: Armstrong Garden Centers in Novato and San Rafael offer free classes to gardeners of all skill levels on Saturdays. Call 415-878-0493 (Novato), 415-453-2701 (San Rafael) or go to

Workshops and seminars: Sloat Garden Center has five Marin County locations that offer gardening workshops and seminars on a weekly basis. Check for schedule, locations and cost.

Workshops and seminars: The Marin Master Gardeners present a variety of how-to workshops, seminars and special events throughout Marin County on a weekly basis. Check for schedule, locations and cost.

Gardening volunteers: The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks seasonal volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 415-899-8296.

Nursery volunteers: Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays, or 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Marin Headlands Nursery; or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Muir Beach, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 415-561-3077 or go to

Nursery days: The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 415-663-8590, ext. 114, or email to register and for directions. Go to for more information.

Garden visits: Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 415-473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

Garden volunteers: Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to or email

Around the bay

Landscape garden: Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to

Olive ranch: McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tours, workshops and special events. Call 707-769-4123 or go to

Botanical garden: Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to

— Compiled by David Emery

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 2 megabytes and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

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Speakers will help you master your garden

We are fortunate to have Kerry Ann Mendez as the keynote speaker. She is very much in demand as a speaker all over the United States. She has 15 speaking engagements in April and eight in May. She is the owner of the landscaping business called Perennially Yours in Kennebunk, Maine. Mendez is a “passionate perennialist,” mixing humor with practical tips for creating low-maintenance, high-impact gardens. Thousands have been inspired by her approach to breathtaking, sustainable gardens and landscapes. Mendez is the producer and presenter for seven of Horticulture magazine’s national gardening webinars. She is an author of three books, “The Right Size Flower Garden,” “The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Top Ten Lists” and “Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens.” The books will be available for purchase and for signing.

Mendez has won the gold medal award from the Massachusetts Horticulture Society in 2014, and has been featured on HGTV as well as in major magazines: Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate and Better Homes and Gardens. She is the national spokesperson for Proven Winners and Espoma. Her garden was one of five nationally featured in the 2014 Garden Gate magazine, “Amazing Gardens” publication.

Two local garden experts will also speak. Henry Rafferty from Johnston’s Evergreen Nursery will speak on “Catching up on Conifers.” Josh Skarzenski from Stan’s Garden Center will talk about “Edibles in the Landscape.”

Following the seminar attendees will get a tour the Penn State Arboretum by Ann Quinn, the director of Greener Behrend.

Cost: $35; includes a light brunch and educational materials. Register online at, or call Roberta McCall at Penn State Extension for details, 825-0900, ext. 236. The registration deadline is April 20.


Seminar schedule

– 8:30 a.m.: Registration.

– 9 a.m.: Kerry Ann Mendez will lecture on “The Right-Sized Flower Garden: Exceptional Plants and Design Solutions for Aging and Time-Pressed Gardeners.” Change happens — job demands, kids, hectic schedules, aging bodies and changing interests have led to gardens that are not in balance with our lifestyle. This inspiring lecture provides easy-to-follow right — sizing strategies, recommended no-fuss plant material, and design tips for stunning year-round gardens that will be as close to “autopilot” as you can get.

– 10 a.m.: Questions and answers with Mendez and book signing.

– 11 a.m.: “Catching up on Conifers” with Henry Rafferty, Johnston’s Evergreen Nursery.

– 11:40 a.m.: “Edibles in the Landscape” with Josh Skarzenski, Stan’s Garden Center.

– 12:15 p.m.: Wrap up and door prize drawings.

– 12:30 p.m.: Arboretum at Penn State Behrend Tour by Ann Quinn, director of Greener Behrend.

We are fortunate that the master gardeners were able to bring such a high-caliber speaker to Erie. I hope you will take advantage of this interesting and informative seminar.


Asbury Woods programs

Backyard Beekeeping Workshop, Wednesdays, April 6 to 27, 7 p.m. Cost: $50, members; $60, nonmembers.

Maple Festival, April 9 and 10, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: $5, members; $7 nonmembers, free, ages three and under.

Build Your Own Rain Barrel, April 23, 2 p.m. Cost: $45, members; $55, nonmembers.

Build Your Own Bat House, April 30, 10:30 a.m. Cost: $20, members; $25, nonmembers.

Asbury Woods Nature Center is located at 4105 Asbury Road. Call 835-5356 or visit


Garden club meetings

Waterford Garden Club, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., Stan’s Garden Center, 5001 Buffalo Road. Les Frost will give a behind-the-scenes tour. Call Cindy, 602-0866.

Gospel Hill Garden Club, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Wesleyville Borough Hall, 3421 Buffalo Road. Kristen Currier, Environmental Educator for Erie County Conservation District, will talk about vermicomposting. New members and guests are always welcome. Call Jane, 899-5982.

Heather Club of Edinboro and Town and Country Garden Club, Tuesday, Edinboro Municipal Building, 124 Meadville St., Edinboro. Joint meeting. Judy Acker from Audubon Pennsylvania will talk about “Audubon at Home.” Call Pat, 734-1554 or Ellen, (630) 917-3098.

Lawrence Park Garden Club, Tuesday, 1 p.m., Lawrence Park Township Building, 4230 Iroquois Ave. Member Donna Knight will demonstrate the art of making flowers from seed pods. Call Bonita, 824-4310.

Presque Isle Garden Club, April 13, 10:30 a.m., 4703 West Ridge Road. Lisa Danko, Presque Isle Audubon Society Education Chairman, will talk about the hummingbird. Call Jan, 476-7259.

SUE SCHOLZ is a member of Presque Isle Garden Club. Send garden news to

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How does your garden grow? Gemma Wood, Wye Valley Sculpture Garden, Monmouthshire

I remember being scared of the garden when I was a toddler, because it was so vast. Back then, my grandfather used the garden to practise his ideals of working with the land and nature, organic growing and raw foodism. It defined everything he was.

When my parents took it over in the 70s, they set up one of the first vegetarian BBs in the UK. The guesthouse thrived, and I grew up in a really interesting, buzzing place. My father would bring in magnificent organic vegetables from the garden every day. We went to the market for citrus fruit, but everything else came from the garden.

The short period of spare time my parents had each afternoon was for gardening, and they became plant collectors. When I returned home 20 years ago, I wanted to add structure to the garden, so I rented a JCB. My parents were excited about my vision, but it was a challenge.

The clash continues today: I might want to landscape an area to make it flow better, but I can’t because prize-winning snowdrops are there. The creation of these plant collections involves so much time and effort, you want to make sure they are not lost. I understand how important it is to conserve them – in fact, it’s part of my need to leave a legacy.

The inspiration for my sculpture is the Wye Valley. I missed this place every single minute I was away, and coming back was coming home in every sense – I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I did a lot of landscaping in other people’s gardens, and when I was in those places I was passionate about them, but I was never at peace the way I am here. What I try to express in my art is that sense of connection.

I love working in the garden at this time of year, when there is a touch of warmth in the sun. I have many trees, so I work with what I have. Once I’ve found my piece of wood, I think about how it is going to perform, or split. The first cuts with the chainsaw are quite easy, but the longer I work on a piece, the more terrifying it becomes, especially if it happens to be a big, old piece of wood I’ve been loving for ages.

My favourite spot

From the summerhouse, you get a fantastic view across the valley. I love it on a grey day when I am not feeling so inspired about the garden itself – I glance over and become captivated by the beautiful Gorillas In The Mist effect.

How does your garden grow? Email

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Helpful tips for organic gardening in April

Very little winter and an early spring brought wildflowers to peak in March.

To learn more about wildflowers, visit Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin or online at To have wildflowers in your own landscape, plan on planting seeds in late September or early October for next spring’s flowers.

Pruning chores this month include azaleas, wisteria and climbing roses after the flowers fade. Roses such as Lady Banks, Veilchenblau, American Beauty and the Swamp Rose bloom only in spring. Remove any dead, old or crossing canes. Lightly prune remaining canes after blooming and refrain from additional pruning until after next year’s bloom.

If you missed fertilizing in March, feed plants with a slow-release organic fertilizer now. Azaleas respond well to organic fertilizer and a three-inch layer of mulch such as pine needles. Cottonseed meal is technically not a fertilizer, but contains six percent nitrogen, two percent phosphorus and one percent potassium. It is particularly beneficial to acid loving plants such as azaleas and camellias.

Fertilize grass around April 15 with a slow-release fertilizer that contains no more that 15 percent nitrogen. High nitrogen fertilizers can cause thatch and are more likely to pollute the environment. Texas AgriLife Extension does not recommend the use of weed and feed combination products for two reasons. The herbicide in those products will weaken or even kill trees and shrubs. The application timing of herbicide and fertilizer differ.

Continue to spray the foliage of plants, including vegetables, weekly or bi-weekly early in the morning with dilute applications of seaweed extract, fish emulsion or compost tea. Mulch all flower beds with pine needles, shredded leaves or native mulch to deter weeds and keep the soil moist and cool.

Deadhead roses by pruning canes above outfacing leaves that have five or seven leaflets. Or cut off at the neck (just behind the blooms) the bush will re-bloom sooner and produce more roses over the season. So if you want more blooms, just cut off their little heads and throw out the conventional pruning wisdom.

Vegetables to plant: transplants of peppers and tomatoes until mid month, transplants of eggplant. Seeds to plant include butterbeans, bush green beans, corn, cucumber, cantaloupe, okra, southern peas, watermelon, and until mid-month, summer winter squash. Watch potato and squash plants for clusters of eggs on the underside of the leaves. Remove the eggs and save yourself damage from beetles and squash bugs.

All summer-blooming flower transplants can be set out in April; however, wait until the end of the month or May to set out vinca transplants. Vinca likes a well-drained hot spot and is susceptible damping off, caused by a soil-borne fungus, when soil temperatures are cool. According to scientists, the disease is greatly decreased when seedlings are watered with a four percent solution of fish emulsion. Temperatures have moderated enough to move plants like orchids and plumerias outside.

Most summer-blooming flower seeds can be planted now. Wait until the end of April to plant zinnia seeds. Plants that are given good air circulation and full sun have fewer fungal leaf problems. Dig and divide crowded fall-blooming bulbs such as lycoris and perennials such as aster and chrysanthemum, especially if they failed to bloom well last fall.

Tender herbs, such as basil, can be planted now. If growing basil for culinary use, do not allow it to bloom. According to the late Madeline Hill, the taste of the basil changes if allowed to bloom.

When adding new turf or plants to the landscape, consider their water requirements and choose wisely. Group plants according to water requirements. Check out the Texas AM website:

Evaluate the plants in your landscape. If you find yourself constantly battling insects or disease on any plant, get rid of that plant. Replace freeze-damaged and insect-prone plants with natives. Call the Texas AgriLife Extension office at 936-539-7824 to receive information on native and well-adapted plants for this area. The floral and vegetable demonstration gardens at the Extension office are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for county holidays. Check out our website at for upcoming events and classes.

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Mike Malloy: Tips for gardening indoors

An orchid

By Mike Malloy

If you are like me you’ve been gardening for years. The outside of your home is meticulously landscaped, every inch, and maybe just a little of your neighbors, just a little over the property line.

You have fully used every inch of your vertical gardening area to the fullest. The lanai is stuffed to within an inch of you not being able to even sit out there to enjoy your lush garden. Where do we go next? Indoors, of course!

Usually, in Southwest Florida we never think of indoor gardening because we are always outside, working on (if you are like me) the “close to a code violation” garden we already have. What would also be nice and add a little life to your living room would be a tree or two or maybe three. Now in the bedroom you may or may not need to add a little life; but a live plant here and there makes a big difference.

Then there are all those shelves in almost every room of the house in so many homes here. What do they call them? Plant shelves. These can be a challenge because they are high and usually out of reach, so unless you are very tall or love to climb a ladder or just want to drag the hose into the house, I suggest you think about this one. The best choice in this case would be large succulents in a dramatic pot. Easy care can add drama to an otherwise empty space.

Following are a few suggestions of some of my favorites; there are many more available. The fun part, as I’ve always said, is finding some treasures on your own.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

This needs very minimal care, and it can be a bush or tree. It makes a great statement in any room and a favorite of interior designers according to my design-savvy wife. They like indirect light and little water —every week or two is probably enough.


Boston fern do well in indirect light, and they should be watered weekly. You can hang them in a planter or use in plant stands. But when they get old they can be messy, so keep up with trimming.

Aloe Vera

I had to include this plant because at some point in everyone’s life they had one of these on a sunny windowsill. They like a sunny windows with very little water and their sap is great for healing small cuts.

Orchid Phalaenopsis

This orchid does so well in the house with little water. My wife has them everywhere. They are so easy and exotic looking, you can’t go wrong with those.

Tillandsias (air plants)

They will grow almost anywhere, no soil, hardly any water and come in so many different varieties and shapes. This will be a separate article because I just love them.

Dracaena (dragon tree)

This one may be one of my favorites. It requires indirect light, and water every week or two. It can be a plant on a table or a large tree in a corner or anything in between. The best part for me is that it can have great structure and can look like a work of art.


These plants can take a lot of abuse but give great color in the home. They require very little care and water, once a week fill up the cup in the center and give them some bright light. You can just throw this plant into the bushes it will grow and multiply. That’s how easy they are to grow. The varieties almost seem endless and they seem to come up with new hybrids every week.

Many other plants that can grow inside are philodendrons, spathiphyllum (peace lily), potted cactus and succulents; let’s not forget terrariums — lately they are making a comeback. Also, anthurium, jade plants, snake plants.

Ok, I will stop here because I can see the blank looks on everyone’s face from information overload.

Don’t forget: To help save the monarchs, plant milkweed. And keep butterflying.

Mike Malloy, known as Naples “butterfly guy,” sells host and nectar plants for butterflies as well as tropical at the Third Street South farmers market every Saturday morning.

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This week’s gardening tips: watch for spider mites, plant flowering perennials

This week’s gardening tips: Watch for spider mite damage on many vegetables and ornamentals during dry weather. Very tiny, spider mites are not easily visible to the naked eye. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the plant, and look for the tiny red or green eight-legged mites. Infested plants get a dull, dusty, unhealthy look to the foliage, which eventually turns brown.

The spider mites are primarily under the leaves. Spray with a horticultural oil, insecticidal soap or Malathion.

Check your local nurseries for flowering perennials. These colorful plants brighten the landscape and live for many years, giving them an advantage over annuals, which must be planted every year.

Many nurseries are carrying perennials in gallon containers. These large, well-established plants are best for planting this late in the season and make an immediate impact in the flower garden. Some outstanding perennials for Louisiana include perennial salvia, bee balm, butterfly weed, coneflower, coreopsis, gaillardia, dwarf ruellia, daylily, mallow, rudbeckia, stokesia, verbena and yarrow.

It’s time to move container plants that over-wintered indoors to the outside. Remember these plants have grown accustomed to low light and must be gradually introduced to higher light conditions outdoors. Start them off in shade the first week, and then gradually introduce sun-loving plants to more light to prevent scorching their leaves.

Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for’s weekly home and garden newsletter, and you’ll get Dan Gill’s latest tips as well as stories about gorgeous local landscapes. It’s easy and free. Just click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the’s New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

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