Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Poinsettia care and re-bloom

Poinsettia Care and Re-bloom

If your poinsettia is wrapped you will want to make holes in the bottom of the wrap to allow proper drainage. Or, after watering, wait 30 minutes and pour the excess water out carefully.
Water your poinsettia thoroughly then allow drying a bit before watering again. Poinsettias love light and dislike breezy locations. Water every 5-7 days. I like to feel the weight of the pot to determine if it needs water.


Enjoy your new poinsettia for the holidays.

Be careful not to over-water and give it plenty of light.

Prune back your poinsettia and fertilize.

Allow your poinsettia to get plenty of bright light. You may put your poinsettia outside in a protected area, to begin with, and then gradually move it to full sun if you wish, so that it gets plenty of light. Continue to water regularly and fertilize. You may want to pinch the top out of the poinsettia to encourage more branching before September.

You will want to begin to shorten the light exposure for your plants. Bring them inside, place a cardboard box over them or put them into a closet at night and increase their dark time to 12 hours per night. Be sure the plants get plenty of light in the day. When the bracts begin to color, you do not need to keep it dark at night. Do not fertilize after the bracts show good color.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Jim's Holiday Treats

We here at the nursery are often blessed with Jim's culinary gifts. These are two of our personal favorites that we want to share with you for the holidays.

Image result for italian cream cake
Jim's Italian Cream Cake

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups of sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
5 egg whites, beaten

Cream butter, Crisco, and sugar together. Add egg yolks. mix well. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk. Add vanilla, nuts, and egg whites and coconut. Bake in 3 - 9" round layers at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

12 oz cream cheese
1 & 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar
3/4  cup margarine
2 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients. If too thick add a Tbs of milk, one at a time to achieve a smooth consistency.
You may add 1/2+ cup chopped pecans or sprinkle the top.

Jim's Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups of sifted flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add oatmeal and raisins. Mix well. Add sifted flour, soda, and salt. Blend into mixture.
Drop mixture from teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 min or until golden brown.
Coconut, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or nuts may also be added.


Rooted in Giving

Every year we all search endlessly for the perfect gift-one that is perfectly tailored for the recipient.
How many times have you searched so long that you ran out of time and ended up just grabbing something thoughtlessly?
Have you ever thought about giving something that will be around and give enjoyment for years to come? Like maybe a plant? Usually, December is not the time that most people think about buying plants but the options are truly endless.
House plants are a good choice at any time of the year. There are many choices that are very easy to care for and require little attention. Or, if your recipient is a little more of a green thumb, there are options that require a little more care and skill. Some people would find excitement in the challenge.
Succulents are growing in popularity. What a perfect gift to brighten up a college dorm room, nursing home, or a stuffy office or cubicle. They are easy to care for and some varieties don't require a lot of light. These are perfect for busy people who love nature but lack time to invest in the care of maintaining it within their home.
The one thing that you probably never thought of in your gifting searches is trees and shrubs to be planted outside. It seems counter-intuitive to purchase these in the wintertime, but believe it or not, you can plant any time the ground is not frozen. While a lot of trees are dormant and lack their beautiful foliage during the winter months, there is still a lot of promise for springtime days ahead. Not only that, but it can be quite fun to dress your tree for the holiday in lights and ornaments and put it in the ground after the holiday.
Christmas decorations are not just for your pines or conifers.  However, buying a conifer for gift-giving is also a great option. You can put it in full holiday regale and enjoy it yourself before you give it away. There are too many options to list, but a point to remember is how important plants are to air quality. So if nothing else, you can consider it a beautiful air purification system for your loved ones. If you are wondering which ones to consider for their air quality, you can visit our blog post HERE and read about the best choices.
So when you are out shopping don't forget to stop by your local garden center or nursery and take a look at what is available for the plant lover in your life.

The 5 Best Plants for Air Quality in Your Home

Natural Air Purification

In today's world, it seems we are all on an endless search for quality of life. We spend countless hours trying to direct our lives on a path that allows us to be productive members of society while still supporting our need for sanctity and sanity.
The urban growth is at an all-time high and with more people filling more spaces, there is less and less space for nature and plant life. It is our instinct to enjoy our surroundings and delve into the oasis that we know as nature. So we, as a species, are looking for new ways to create these spaces in our urban living areas. 
Bringing the outside, inside, seems to be a  growing trend as our housing lots grow smaller and the structures we build on those lots become larger. The average American home size has increased by more than 60 percent since the early 1970s. In 2018 the average home contained 2,641 sq. ft. That is 1000 sq. ft. larger than in 1973. However, the average size of a housing lot is shrinking, coming in at just under 1/5 of an acre of land in 2016. So, it is only logical that we are reaching out to bring nature in.
There are many plants that help to improve the air quality within our homes by filtering out some of the harmful things such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzoin. However, a lot of these same plants that clean our air are toxic to pets and children if ingested. Be sure to find out about toxicity before you decide which plants are right for you.

Snake Plant

This easy to care for plant is very low maintenance and is one of the best plants for air purification in your home or office. Let the soil dry between watering. During the winter you will want to cut the water back to about once per month. Snake plants can be rapid growers and may need to be divided annually. This should be done in the spring.We have one in our office that is about 30 years old and it has thrived on neglect.

English Ivy

This ivy has been a favorite among homeowners for generations but its popularity is being reduced because of its need for water and light. People are passing up the ivy for things that need a bit less care and attention. But let us not forget that this is still one of the best options for cleaning the air around you. This ivy needs water often and a monthly application of 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer to optimize its beauty. Mist your ivy once daily to reduce the chances of spider mites. If you do notice spider mites you can treat your ivy with insecticidal soap.

Spider Plant

These do well in hanging baskets or on plant stands where the "baby" plants can grow and hang over freely. These are rock-stars when it comes to removing carbon-monoxide from the air and you can re-pot the "babies" to start a whole family of these oxygen cleaning dynamos. They are happiest in a bright sunny window and prefer to have their soil to dry just a bit between watering. Do not let your spider plant stay too soggy as it will surrender to root rot. Also be sure to water thoroughly when you water, letting the water drain out of the pot and then pour it off. This keeps the tips from turning brown. I like to put it in a sink to water, so the water runs through and out. Then move it back to its place.

Aloe Vera

Known to cleanse the air of formaldehyde and benzene, they also have healing power in their leaves. Pick off a leaf and squeeze out the gelatinous substance inside to soothe a burn or sunburn. They do require bright indirect or artificial light. You only need to water your aloe about once every 2 weeks as they are a succulent and do not require a lot of attention, making them a favorite among homeowners.

Chinese Evergreen

This tropical is fond of low light and humid conditions. That makes them perfect for most bathrooms. They are known to clear the air of formaldehyde and benzene, found in a lot of makeup and detergents, making the bathroom an even more perfect location. Your Chinese evergreen will begin to yellow if it receives too much water or not enough water so it may be necessary to pull the plant from the pot to check the root ball to determine which it is. The darker the leaf, the more tolerant the plant is of low light. The light variegated one pictured would need bright indirect light or a north facing window.