Archive for Home remedies for plants

Spring 2018: I’m back – thank you for waiting!

Welcome Spring!

Welcome Spring!

Hi all! It’s been a looong while since I’ve written a blog, and I have lots of catching up to do and some explaining as well. It seems that this entire last year has been a mess of frustration with construction and neighbors. Every one of the homes on my street has had multiple pieces of huge equipment visit for weeks on end, causing all kinds of mayhem and thoughtless behavior, making it impossible to get a worthy photo for my blog. So thank you all for putting up with my absence for so long. I will do my best to show you what I’ve been up to lately…

I wasn't kidding when I said that there has been HUGE equipment parked all around my property! definitely doesn't make for a pretty photo.

HUGE equipment parked all around my property 7 days a week, all year, definitely doesn’t make for a pretty photo.

And then there were 4 chemical spills by thoughtless neighbors, very illegal.

Thoughtless contractors and neighbors dumped illegal chemicals and detritus. Storm water management officials to the rescue. They explain to the offenders the right way to dispose chemicals, so that they don’t impose a health risk to the environment. Thank you beyond measure!

 

 

Even our feral kitty Stomper was greatly upset-

Even feral kitty Stomper was greatly upset…

Since I couldn't work outside, I got of projects completed inside. The flooring on the main level was all refinished, 2 bathrooms re tiled, and kitchen was updated quite a bit. How I missed the garden!

Since I couldn’t work outside, I  completed projects inside. I refinished the flooring on the main level. This is actually a deck finish! The nice thing about it is that it has UV blockers, and very little odor. We also re-tiled two bathrooms and updated the kitchen appliances.

Last fall I worked on repairing some of the damage to what used to be a beautiful view. 17 very large bushes were carefully transplanted by me, and when spring came, I was thrilled to see that they all survived the transplant and are looking healthy.

Last fall I worked on repairing some of the damage to what used to be a beautiful view. I carefully transplanted 17 large bushes, and when spring came I was thrilled to see that they all survived the winter and are looking healthy.

It was also touch and go for the last couple of years with this pyracantha. It had one after another issue- fungus killed half of it, then scale, whitefly, powdery mildew all took a great toll. After radically pruning and treating it with horticultural oil, and then spraying it with  a mixture of milk and water, it is now a picture of health! So glad for small miracles!

It was touch and go for the last couple of years with this pyracantha. It had one issue after another  — fungus killed half of it, then scale, whitefly, and powdery mildew all took a great toll. After radically pruning and treating it with horticultural oil, and then spraying it with a mixture of milk and water, it is now a picture of health! These are all earth friendly remedies. So glad for small miracles!

There were some beautiful moments last week when the sun popped out. The flowers all opened up on the same day! After such a nasty winter, I can even begin to say how much I appreciated it!

There were some beautiful moments last week when the sun popped out. The flowers all opened up on the same day! After such a nasty winter, I can’t begin to say how much I appreciated it! Each morning I add the coffee grounds to the base of a different plant to provide some natural feeding. By the end of the year, I’ve made it all around the garden. The plants love it!

And another couple of beautiful old faithfuls that never disappoint!

And another couple of beautiful old faithfuls that never disappoint!

Growing so fast you can literally watch the new foliage burst open to welcome warmer weather.

Growing so fast you can literally watch the new foliage burst open to welcome warmer weather.

The violas and pansies are having their last hurrah during this needed rain. I'm ready to be back out in the garden and have some more projects underway to show you next time. Here's hoping for some return to civility around this neighborhood, and for some lovely time outside-

The violas and pansies are having their last hurrah during this needed rain. I’m ready to be back out in the garden and already have some more projects underway to show you next time. Here’s hoping for some peace and quiet to return to this neighborhood and for some lovely time outside.

 

January 3rd – Is It Winter or Spring?

There is still a lot of new growth on many plants that would normally have gone dormant by now.

There is still a lot of new growth on many plants that would normally have gone dormant by now.

Well, it’s January 3rd and I’m already gardening! You know I can’t stay away from it for more than a few days.

We have had such a warm start to winter. Even when it has gotten cold overnight, the days are pleasant — so pleasant that here in the mid-Atlantic region, we have daffodils sprouting and cherry blossom trees flowering. Although it’s warm now, we will pay for it in February and March, according to the weather people. A classic El Niño with ice storms to come, so until then, I am getting as much done as I can and enjoying every minute in the garden!

I was a lucky gardener and received some fun gardening-oriented gifts for Christmas, too. A really nice gardening seat and tool tote, a pointsettia, a rosemary topiary and some beautiful allium bulbs. These were such thoughtful gifts! I spent this weekend planting the allium bulbs. Normally one would not do that this time of year, but because our temperatures have remained in the range you would expect an October day to be (between 50-70 degrees), I went ahead and got them planted. I just know they will be gorgeous this spring!

The pointsettia doubled in size this last month, and is loving the east exposure.

The pointsettia doubled in size this last month and is loving the east exposure.

I also finished getting the roses ready for winter. They were still blooming until just this week! The last of the leaves dropped, so I scooped them all up. Its a good practice to always do that, as the leaves can harbor diseases which can cause black spot on the next year’s growth if left on the soil below the plant. Better safe than sorry, so I collect them. I had a little bit of it on my older roses this last summer and tried something new: a spray of half water/ half spoiled milk, and much to my surprise, it worked! I removed the affected leaves, sprayed, and within a couple of weeks new growth had sprouted showing no signs of the black spot. Remember this for next year in case you see any. I love it when there are simple home remedies that work! And have no harsh chemicals, either.

Rosemary is a fantastic plant to have inside over winter, the scent is wonderful, it cleans the air and you can cook with it . How great is that!

Rosemary is a fantastic plant to have inside over winter, the scent is wonderful, it cleans the air, and you can cook with it. How great is that!

Inside the house, I re-potted my rosemary topiary and lightly watered the pointsettia. They both really don’t need much water this time of year, and both like bright light. I have the perfect east facing window that I keep the pointsettia next to, and in previous years this has proven to be just the right exposure. It even kept color long into March. I love to have the rosemary in my kitchen, and can’t resist brushing by it to release the wonderful scent. I often use it in cooking, and it is just so pretty, too! These are also natural air fresheners.

Looking forward to seeing what kind of weather tomorrow brings, but I’m hoping to get back out there in the garden. Hope to see you!

This Heat Is Good for Something — Weeds!

With all the heat and rain, we are getting lots of unsightly weeds.

BEFORE: With all the heat and rain, we are getting lots of unsightly weeds.

With the temperatures in the triple digits these days, I am seeing lots of weeds coming out of the cracks in the pavement, especially along the gap where the curbing meets the asphalt.

I have a super easy, inexpensive and totally earth friendly way of getting rid of them — VINEGAR! In the heat of the day (the hotter and sunnier the better), just spray it on the weeds. The weeds will be dead the next day. (I buy a huge jug from the warehouse store — about $2.99 — which lasts the whole summer.) I prefer to scrape them out with the edge of a shovel, never to see them again. If you choose not to remove them, they will eventually disintegrate on their own.

AFTER: One day after spraying with vinegar- all weeds are dead and gone!

AFTER: One day after spraying with vinegar — all weeds are dead and gone! Much better.

Happy Weeding!

Happy Weeding!

The alternative is expensive weed killer, which is very toxic to wildlife and the waterways, so I urge everyone to give vinegar a try. It works great for me, and I hope it will for you, too.

Now if I could just find a great way to keep the wire grass from growing into my garden without having to dig it out — that would be fantastic!

Earth Friendly Home Remedies for Plants

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to all! I love this time of the year here in my garden with everything springing back green and healthy. With that comes a few challenges in the “beat the clock” arena as well: fungus, mildew, slugs and hungry deer to name a few. I have some great Earth friendly and inexpensive ways to thwart these challenges before they even start — can’t beat that! Here are a few of my favorites.

Chamomile tea is a cure-all for fungal diseases. It has antibacterial and fungicidal properties. Mix a really strong brew of 16 chamomile tea bags in 1/2 gallon of water,  simmer for 20 minutes, and allow the tea bags to steep for several hours.  Use as a spray.

Another easy home remedy for fungus: 2 dissolved aspirin (325 milligrams each) in 1 quart of water, used as a spray. I haven’t tried this one, but I am going to — simplest remedy of the bunch!

Use these sprays on the rose foliage to keep them disease free through out the season.

Use these sprays on the rose foliage to keep them disease-free throughout the season.

A spray for black spot and powdery mildew on roses is 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish soap per 1/2 gallon of water. Shake the bottle before spraying to keep the baking soda mixed in. Use this throughout the season for beautiful, healthy rose foliage.

The next four tips I’ve talked about before, but they really work great:

• Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide sprayed on weeds kills them in hours.

• Borax for ant control.

• Epsom salt to soften up stumps for removal.

• Red pepper sprinkled around flower beds to keep squirrels at bay.

If you can stand the smell this next one works well. 12 rotten eggs and 4 beef bullion cubes in a gallon of water (left to spoil for a week), then sprayed on plants to keep deer (and probably everything else) away.

Spread coffee grounds around the base of hostas and other tender leafy plants like these lily of the valley, to keep slugs at bay.

Spread coffee grounds around the base of hostas, and other tender leafy plants like these lily of the valley, to keep slugs at bay.

Used coffee grounds spread around the base of hostas, or other leafy plants, like lettuce and cabbage will deter slugs. Also, the grounds are high in nitrogen, so they will provide a nice slow release of nutrient. This is one of my favorite tips. I spread the coffee grounds around a different plant in the yard every morning, works great!

There are so many of these easy home remedies for plants that are very Earth friendly. Why not try a few rather than spread harmful store-bought chemicals into the environment?  Your wallet will thank you, too.

Enjoy these beautiful days!