Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Comes Early to Las Vegas Gardens




Geraniums winter over in my small Garden Shed/Greenhouse.  They bloom all winter and really put on a show in February and March.  the dry hot heat of the Las Vegas desert clime does not agree with them so they go semi dormant and wait until cooler weather to bloom again.




The Nectarine is an early bloomer but still behind the peach and apricots and the apples.  Fruit trees seem to love the desert soil and heat and they appreciate the “no insects”.  Other than the birds we have a near perfect crop of fruit.


Petunias love the cool weather and bloom through the winter and on until mid summer and then the heat bids them ado. The petunias act like a perennial and can last several years.


  My apricot proved to be a real winner in this heat. It grew over 20 feet in two years and has produced bushels of apricots which went right into apricot preserves.

 Hardy Stock never lets me down. It grows and blooms most of the year and last for many years without replanting. The fragrance of the stock planted near the back porch is heavenly when evening comes and we all gather on the  porch.


  


The never ending nasturtiums. Once planted you will never have to plant again. As the weather starts to warm they emerge out of the ground and quickly spread or climb and is in constant bloom.




Chinese Pear tree abundant blooms and mid summer delicious fruit.


Fruit already emerging from the apricot trees. Very early this year. Started fruiting in early February.

I love the lovely fragrant pink blooms of my Gala apple.  So early and bears well.



The lovely blooms of my Gala apple tree.


I love the contrast of the white geranium, and with so much color in the garden it is a nice balance.



I was so happy to see all 7 of my clematis coming up, can’t wait to see the profusion of blooms.


This lavender blooms all year and the hummingbirds love this plant. It gives a nice filler between the roses.





Malvis   “Zebrina” It grows everywhere, I find it in the rocks under trees, anywhere the wind blows the seeds it germinates, very hardy and prolific bloomer. 




Citrus trees in full bloom,  I will look forward to delicious oranges in late summer.



Pink Stock. So fragrant.


  

Monday, December 28, 2015

6 Steps to Growing Perfect African Violets






1.  Provide adequate light for the flower. It is the most important factor in promoting flowering. Place plants near any window that has bright, but filtered, light. An east window is best because it gets morning sun. A thin curtain will be necessary if placing plants in a south or west window. In order to develop a nice symmetrical form, plants must be turned 1/4 turn every week. If a good natural light source is not available, plants can be grown under fluorescent lights. Use double tube fixtures with one cool white bulb and one broad spectrum bulb. Lights should be 8 to 10 inches (20.3 to 25.4 cm) above the top of the plants and turned on for 12 to 14 hours a day. If plants have tight centers or seem to be bleaching out, reduce the number of hours to 8-10 a day.



2.  Water at the right times. Most violets die from over-watering than from any other single cause. Violet soil should be kept evenly moist and never allowed to become soggy. Water only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Always use tepid water.


                 
   3. Water them the right way. You can water from   the top, bottom, use wicks or use self watering planters. However, about once a month, plants should be watered from the top to flush out accumulated fertilizer salts. Never allow plants to stand in water (unless wicked or Oyama Planters are used). If water gets on the leaves, dry with a paper towel to prevent leaf spotting.


                            
4. Use a good growing medium. A potting medium suitable for African Violets should be sterilized, and light and airy to allow root penetration. Soil-less mixes are ideal - they contain sphagnum peat, vermiculite and perlite.


         
5.  Provide the right atmosphere. Temperature and humidity are important factors. Most violets can tolerate temperatures between 16-26°C (60 and 80°F). Ideal temperatures are 22-2°C (72-75°F) day-time and 18°C (65°F) night-time. The preferred humidity range is 40% to 60%. A humidifier or bowls of water placed near plants can be used to increase your home's humidity during heating season.



6. Fertilize. Lack of regular feeding is one of the reasons an African violet will not bloom. The best way to feed is to use a dilute fertilizer solution every time you water. Use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. fertilizer to one gallon of water. A balanced fertilizer should be used such as 20-20-20 or 12-36-14. Find a fertilizer with a low nitrogen urea content as urea burns the roots. Some brands are Peters, Optimara, Miracle Grow, Schultz. Formaldehyde, Copper Sulfate, and Nitroglycerin, if added to the soil with extreme care and moderation, may enhance the lives of your plants. Turpentine, Iodine, and common table salt are some other examples of excellent soil additives, as they assist in preventing weed growth.

        

Tips

  • Avoid wetting the leaves. This can cause brown spots on the delicate foliage. The soil should be kept damp, but avoid over-watering, which can cause root or crown rot. The average plant should be watered once a week or whenever the top 1" of soil feels dry. It is best to water from below by placing a saucer of water under the pot, assuming the pot has proper drainage in the bottom. The ideal plant medium is 25% air, 25% water, and 50% soil.
  • African violets need consistency of care.
  • You can easily propagate African Violets yourself which should be done in spring. Simply cut off a healthy leaf with its stem using a sharp knife (cut the stem right at the base). Trim the stem to about 1,5 inches and stick it into the growing medium. Water it thoroughly, but make sure that you don't drown the leaf and that it doesn't get moldy from a lack air ventilation. Roots should appear after about a month, with the new leaves and plants taking another three weeks.

Reprint from Wikihow