September 16, 2014

Potting Up Foliage Cuttings

When I went to look after He-Who Mowed went around the edges of flower beds, he'd gone a bit close here. Chartreuse Alternanthera was clipped off and covered with grass clippings. Most of Melampodium was gone, not a great loss since it volunteers where it will and gets left to bloom undisturbed until the mower comes by.

After the Mower.

If I'd gone out and edged the beds the way they needed, everything would still be neat and pretty. Heat and humidity made me a lazy gardener. 

Chartreuse properly edged and mulched.

I picked up the best of what would make cuttings and stuck some Chartreuse pieces in a pot of soil; the longer pieces went into a mug of water. 

Last September's cuttings. I am a week ahead.

Fairly long pieces of Setcreasea went into a vase of water. I want another long container of Purple Heart cuttings to grow over and hang down like a waterfall but I was not ready to prepare that just yet.

Last Spring's box of Purple Heart and Persian Shield.
I want Purple Heart to hang down like a waterfall.

Maybe I could just dig up the above where I planted it out.

I still have to edge those beds.

September 15, 2014

Items I Buy at the Dollar Store

I've seen ladies buying items for holidays and birthdays or showers who ran up a hundred or two hundred dollars in one big buggy full of merchandise.

Since I have no particular occasion, my purchases can usually be carried out in one bag. Here are some of my favorite items.

Colorful cache pots head the list. I started out with only green and yellow. Then I added orange, then red. Once in a while there would be a cobalt or black or even maroon. I want them all. The thin plastic pots just fit as liners, elevated on a few stone so they're not over watered. Tiny frogs love to hide in the pots between pot and liner and underneath.

In spring, I buy seeds. Alyssum, zinnias, marigolds, parsley are my favorites. Black Swallowtail butterfly larvae like Flat Italian Parsley and that's what you get. As it turned out this year, all my marigolds and most of the zinnias from mixed packets were orange, my favorite. If you want hybrid seeds or a particular variety, these are not for you. These are for fun annual plantings and filler.

Seeds packets pictured are on a little chrome-look tray from the bridal section. I don't know what happens to these trays if they're actually used for something, I just like the way they look. 

For greenhouse pebble trays I used steel filled 9 x 13" cookie pans with river gravel.  

When I posted pebble trays made of cookie pans, someone pinned it and said she liked the idea but she would use something 'nicer.' I wondered what she had in mind? 

Dollar tree photo

If this were more than a hobby greenhouse, I would go to a sheet metal shop and have galvanized pebble trays fabricated. As is, I use dollar tree pans that rust that just fit on benches made of scrap lumber and plywood. I use big stainless cookie sheets that do not warp for baking.   

I shade the greenhouse on the west end with plastic party tablecloths. This is where I need to buy 'nicer' -- they self destruct in the hot sun in less than a season.
I use spring paper clips to attach them. Next summer I may try using window screen like Tootsie does.
A green frog monitors the condition of my shade set-up.

 Other items finding their way into my dollar store shopping basket are remainder books, gel pens, markers, shower curtains. Shower curtains make great tarps, or they did until they got so thin. Dollar shower curtain liners now are about as thin as garbage bags.   

Oh, almost forgot garden gloves. I buy the jersey kind and the plastic coated kind. I don't like the knit ones with rubber coating on the palm and fingers.  I have 'nicer' garden gloves for jobs like using post hole diggers but the dollar gloves are great for most jobs where I don't want to touch potting soil which makes my hands itch or get dirt under my nails.

What did you find at the dollar store that comes in handy in the garden?

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