Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis) is a spring flower that gets it’s name from the heart like shape of the flowers it blooms. They are a pinky rose color that hang off of their stems. Even though most are a rose color, some come in white. The foliage of the Bleeding Heart is almost as beautiful as the flower itself. The leaves are a blue green color, and look almost fern like. This is one of the more romantic spring flowers. Bleeding Heart begins to grow in late spring, and continue into the early summer.
Growing Bleeding Heart Flowers
Red Bleeding Heart Flower
The best thing about planting Bleeding Heart bulbs is that they are perennials. So you can grow these gorgeous flowers year after year. They grow best in rich soil, with some shade. It is ideal to plant these in a partially shaded area.
This flower will grow between 2 to 2 ½ feet tall. They need to be spaced out a bit when you plant them. Plant them about 2 feet apart and they should grow nicely. They are a great flower to have for cutting and using in bouquets. They are sure to brighten up any flower arrangement.
There is also a fringed type of this flower. It is a little different from the original. They are slightly smaller and produce a different type of foliage. They have a lacy look to their leaves.
The fringed version lives a bit longer than the original. It begins blooming in late spring and continues growing into early fall. They sometimes die during a drought, but can begin to grow again well into the beginning of fall.
Just like the original, the fringed version grows best in rich soil with some shade above. The maintenance for both of these plants consists of mulching them in the beginning of spring, and keeping them hydrated.
Whatever version of this flower you choose they are sure to be a lovely addition to any flower garden.
Holly Bush (Ilex) is the December birth month flower. What better flower to have for the month of December then than this? It is a very important plant for the month of December, and especially at Christmas time. Who doesn’t love to decorate their home with these leaves at Christmas?
This is a shrub that grows outdoors all year round. Berries in colors of red, black, or yellow grow among sharp pointy leaves.
One of the great things about the Ilex plant is that it is virtually maintenance free. Besides being easy to care for, they grow to become lovely full shrubs.
The only caring they need is to be pruned back when they get too bushy. You will have to decide when your plant needs to be pruned.
This shrub is a very different kind of shrub. It comes in both male and female versions. Holly bushes grow berries, and for a good set, you need to have both, male and female bushes.
There are many different species of this plant. There are hundreds of different varieties for you to choose from depending on region and climate. Like I said, there are also male and female varieties, and both are needed to grow fruits.
The leaves of the plant are dark green, waxy, and have sharp points on the edges. The leaves are thick and pointy to help deter bugs and animals from attacking the shrub. Flowers can grow from this bush, and usually will grow towards the end of spring and into the beginning of summer.
If you want to grow a bush in your yard, you can plant them in a spot that is very sunny, or had some shade. They need to be planted in rich soil that is well drained.
You can begin to grow this plant in the spring, summer, or early fall. If you choose to plant it in the summer, make sure you are watering it daily.
They usually begin to grow during the second season after planting, and reach their full growth in about 5 or 6 years.
Continue to enjoy your plant year after year. They can be a little reminder of Christmas time all throughout the year!
The Azalea flower is another one of summer’s most beautiful shrubs. They actually begin to grow in the spring, and continue their growth in the summer months.
Azaleas belong to the Rhododendron family. There are about 25 different species of this shrub. They grow well in a flowerbed surrounded by trees and other shrubs. They sometimes even bloom underneath trees.
They come in many different types, shapes, sizes, and colors. The choice is up to you on which style, shape, size and color you like best.
I myself love a medium sized shrub with hot pink tubular shaped flowers growing on the leaves. The bright pink colors of the flowers really brighten up my garden and I love it!
If you don’t like hot pink, the flower comes in many other colors as well. Almost any color you can imagine: white, yellow, light pink, orange, lavender, and red.
Even though they are related to the Rhododendron family, they distinguish themselves with oval shaped leaves, and smaller tubular shaped blossoms. They also can be shorter then the Rhododendron bush.
Dwarf sizes grow to only be about two feet tall, while some species can grow to be 20 feet! My Azaleas all seem to grow to be about 4 feet tall.
They truly are a versatile plant that can grow in flowerbeds, on there own, or even in flowerpots. They look beautiful no matter where you choose to plant them.
Azalea care is important so they grow to their best potential, they need to be planted in a spot that is shady. They can have some sun throughout the day, just make sure it is not too much sun. The more shade the better.
They should be planted in moist well-drained soil. They can be victims of root rot, so when planting your bush, do not cover the roots in too much soil. Mulch the plant instead. Dig your hole, put the shrub in, and then cover the roots and the base of the plant with mulch.
Water the plant regularly if in a drought. Fertilize the plant every spring to ensure re-growth is at its best.
Each year check the Azalea flower to see if there are any dead parts that need to be removed. Prune any and all dead parts to keep the bush looking beautiful.
Organic gardening has become more popular as consumers become more aware of environmental impacts, and the effects synthetic inputs have on harvested goods, there has been a move towards using less synthetic chemicals and a corresponding increase in organic gardening. Growing organically doesn’t mean leaving plants to fend for themselves to fight off nutrient deficiencies, weeds, diseases and insect pests without any help. Instead it means solving problems without the use of synthetic chemicals and relying on natural, sustainable solutions.
Organic gardening also means not using GMO (genetically modified organisms) seed or plants grown from GMO seed. The focus on organic gardening is to reduce the amount of synthetic pesticide residues on produce, decrease toxic chemicals introduced into the environment, and foster a more natural, holistic ecosystem.
Organic Gardening Soil Testing
One of the most important aspects to successful organic gardening is starting with fertile soil that can provide your plants the nutrients needed for growth. Good healthy soil will lead to strong, healthy plants. The best way to determine the quality of the soil is to have it tested; this can be done by a home testing kit or by sending a sample off to the local county extension office.
For a relatively small amount of money, the guesswork on how much fertilizer to apply is minimized. Soil testing results often come with recommendations as well; make sure it’s known the garden is grown organically so results are tailored and contain organic products. Some of the best organic fertilizers are teas made from compost, composted manures from plant eating animals, bone meal, blood meal, fish and/or kelp emulsions, worm excrement or castings, and commercially available organic products.
In the case where soil testing isn’t in the gardening budget, focus initially on the amount of humus in the soil. Humus is the soil’s organic component. It is typically made up of decomposed plant material such as leaves and yard clippings, compost and manure. When these materials are broken down by plants and microorganisms in the soil, there comes a point where nutrients are depleted and the remaining matter is unusable. This leftover material is humus.
With three important functions in the soil, it becomes invaluable for productive gardens: humus acts like a large sponge that can hold up to 90% of its weight in water; it has a negative charge that holds onto many nutrients found in the soil, keeping them available for root absorption; and humus is key for good soil aggregation. Aggregation makes soil loose and “friable”, improving the soil structure and allowing plant roots to penetrate easily with access to nutrients, water and oxygen.
Organic Gardening Tips
Once the soil composition is better understood, organic gardening has some basic tenants to help ensure you are setting your garden up for a successful growing season. Start off by choosing appropriate plants based on the local growing conditions and the specific area of the garden where they will be planted. Most gardens have gradients in the soil quality and amount of light/moisture received each day – determining the garden layout with these factors in mind will encourage plants to thrive and ward off attackers.
Water roots of plants early in the day to minimize evaporation, minimize foliar damage and decrease the likelihood of fungal and bacterial diseases. When it comes to keeping an organic garden weed free the best option is old fashioned, manual labor and using tools used for gardening. Yes, pulling weeds by hand. This is a simple, inexpensive (albeit labor intensive) way to forego chemical applications.
Organic Garden Carrots
Organic Gardening Pests
Garden pests are one of the greatest challenges facing organic gardens. In conventional systems it’s easy to go to the local gardening center and buy a chemical to solve the problem. In organic gardening this can be more challenging. To help minimize the incidence of pests in organic gardens, preventative measures are highly encouraged.
First off make sure to diversify the types of plants being grown. Boosting plant biodiversity will circumvent having a large amount of one plant type to entice species specific attackers. Encouraging natural predators such as frogs, toads, lizards, birds, and beneficial insects will also help ward off detrimental visitors. If natural predators are lacking and cannot be enticed into your garden, ladybugs can be purchased easily and can be incredibly beneficial.
If these preventative methods fall short and organic pesticides are needed it’s fairly easy to make inexpensive, all natural, bug-busting organic products using the following ingredients:
To treat spider mites mix two tablespoons of Himalayan salt crystals in one gallon of warm water and spray on infested plants.
Neem is a powerful, all-natural product used for centuries containing over 50 insect insecticides. Mix ½ ounce of high quality, organic neem oil and ½ teaspoon of mild organic liquid soap to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly to incorporate; add to a spray bottle and immediately use.
To combat an ant problem mix 10 drops of a citrus essential oil with one teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add one cup of warm water, shake well, and then spray on affected areas.
Flies, bees and wasps can be treated by sprinkling a few drops of eucalyptus oil around plants that are being swarmed.
Onion and garlic spray works well too. Finely mince one medium organic onion and one organic garlic clove. Add these to a quart of water, waiting one hour. Then incorporate one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of mild liquid soap to the mix. When stored in the refrigerator this organic spray will maintain its potency for a week.
Organic Gardening Vegetables
Organic Gardening Benefits
Switching to an organic gardening system from conventional methods will add some extra challenges, and require a little more time and ingenuity on your part. The benefits of organic gardening over conventional methods easily make up for this extra cost and work. With no reliance on synthetic chemicals, the environmental impacts are much lower and there is no risk of synthetic chemical residue on or in harvested crops. Another way to garden organically is with hydroponics which offers many advantages over traditional gardening.
A more natural approach to gardening also increases ecosystem sustainability: no pesticide applications that can wipe out beneficial insects, increased soil organic matter, less risk of surface and/or groundwater pollution, and overall improvement of garden health.
Knowing the harvested product is free of synthetic chemicals, nothing harmful has been added to the soil ecosystem, and the organic methods used are enhancing the soil sustainability for long term benefits certainly outweigh any negatives.
Forsythia is a shrub that you see growing in the spring. They are full of small yellow flowers. The flowers line the stems from bottom to top. Small green leaves also accompany the flowers.
They grow out wide, and tall. They can get to be as tall and wide as 6 to 8 feet. If you decide to prune it don’t do it to much, the flowers will not grow correctly.
Pruning them is something that is not needed often. Instead only prune the bush every few years. Only trim it back about 1/3rd of the way.
These bushes look great planted anywhere. You can use it to pair up with other plants or you can use it as a border in your gardens. I have even seen it used as a stand-alone plant, and it looks spectacular.
The little bell shaped yellow flowers seem to hang delicately off the stems. It’s wild look of the branches splaying everywhere looks like a wild spring day.
If you have begun to grow the plant indoors, and you want to start to grow it outside, simply take the plants out from late winter to early summer and plant them.
If you have bought the plant, space them out about one whole plant apart and plant them in the ground,
They require little to no care at all. In the beginning you just have to make sure to keep the soil moist. You can grow this shrub in sunlight or partially shaded areas.
This is a great plant to have because animals tend to stay away from it. Therefore you can keep them nice and full. No critters biting off flowers are a plus!
At the end of its growing season, cut off all dead stems, but be careful of too much pruning. Remember pruning your plant too much will result in poor flowering the following spring.
If you like the looks of your plant outside, cut a few pieces off and take it indoors. It will look very pretty mixed with some other spring flowers in a vase as a centerpiece on a table.
Whatever you choose to do, you can enjoy them all season long!