God in Nature

Sometimes it is hard for me to understand how people can not see some existence of God when they look at the beauty around them.

This video is not to influence your beliefs but to challenge you to truly look at the amazing beauty around you and wonder

National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

Springtime, perfect for having picnics, wearing shorts and admiring the Cherry Blossom in DC. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an two-week (per annum) event that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan.

DC Attractions include multiple festivals, museums, monuments, and more. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization that coordinates, produces, and supports creative and diverse activities promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and the environment, and community spirit and youth education. It’s also begins peak season for an influx of tourists to Washington, also brought in by the thousands of historical landmarks, museums, and other buildings, The National Museum of Crime & Punishment, located in Washington, D.C. is one of those such buildings, with excellent depictions of historically famous crime scenes along detailed information concerning past wars, forensics, organized crime, and more.

Gardening Tips I Found in My Grandma’s Cupboard

dscf1441.JPGI told you earlier this week that I would share some treasures that I found in my Grandmother’s cupboard. We are in the process of moving into my grandparent’s home and there is a lot of remodeling to do, both on the inside as well as the outside. It is amazing the things you find while undertaking such a project!

So, what did I find? I found some old gardening tips taped inside her old cupboards. Now, I don’t know whether to necessarily recommend these tips or not, but they are fun to read. I do know that Grandma always had beautiful plants.

Here are the tips I found:

Treatment of gladiolas in spring

Peel and soak bulbs with 2 TB Lysol to 1 Gallon Water. Soak 1 hour to overnight.

In the fall, dig and dry bulbs. Sprinkle generously with Seven Dust. Put in storage (cool). DO NOT FREEZE.

Amaryllis Bulbs

After the blooms have faded, the stalk should be cut off 2 inches above the bulb. But do not disturb the foliage. Keep the pot moist and leaves growing until the Amaryllis can be planted outside.

After all danger of frost in the spring, put the bulb—pot and all—into the ground, buried up to the top edge of the rim of the pot. Remove the dried leaves. Nutrients found in fish emulsion or bone meal are excellent when used at the manufacturer’s recommended amounts. No blooms will occur during late spring and summer, only leaves. This is the time when the flower bud is formed within the bulb.

Around September 1st or just preceding anticipated frosts in your area, lift the pot. Scrape excess planting mix from the top of the pot, and store in a dry, cool (40? to 55? F.) place. DO NOT WATER. Approximately 6 weeks before blooms are desired, remove old leaves and move pot to growing temperatures of 65? to 75? F., and begin to water. Then keep moist at all times. After the Amaryllis blooms, repeat the cycle as before.

Christmas Tree Saver

1 Gallon water

6 TB sugar

6 Aspirin, crushed

Green food coloring

Cut ½ inch from the bottom of tree. Shave bark and cambreum off the depth of water. Keep watered at all times.

If you use any of these, let me know how they worked. I would be interested in knowing how it worked out for you. If you have any other old tried and true gardening tips, leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear about them.

Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to the Garden

butterfly.JPGMost people welcome butterflies and hummingbirds into their gardens. If you choose the right plants, you can even encourage them to stay for awhile. Butterflies will find a sunny area such as a meadow that is sheltered from the wind to be the most welcoming. They will especially love such amenities as leaf litter, rock crevices, damp places, brush piles and even weeds.

When you choose plants for your garden, keep in mind that not every plant will attracthummingbird.jpg butterflies in every region. You should also be very careful to not use pesticides unless you are able to target the specific pest without harming the butterflies.

Hummingbirds ingest half of their food every day. Flowering plants provide nectar; spiders and insects supply protein. Hummingbirds will visit a wide variety of plants. The following plants and flowers are some of their favorites.

Flowers

Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Achilla(Yarrow)
  • Alcea–(Hollyhock)
  • Allium–(Chives)
  • Anaphalis–(Pearly Everlasting)
  • Antirrhinum–(Snapdragon)
  • Aquilegia–(Columbine)
  • Arabis–(Rock Cress)
  • Armeria–(Thrift)
  • Asclepias–(Butterfly Weed)
  • Aster–(Aster)
  • Astilbe–(False Spirea)
  • Borago–(Borage)
  • Calamintha(Calamint)
  • Catananche(Cupid’s Dart)
  • Centaurea–(Cornflower)
  • Centranthus ruber(Jupiter’s Beard)
  • Crysanthemum–(Shasta Daisy)
  • Coreopsis–(Coreopsis)
  • Cosmos–(Cosmos)
  • Delphinium–(Delphinium)
  • Dianthus–(Pink)
  • Digitalis–(Foxglove)
  • Echinacea–(Purple Coneflower)
  • Echinops–(Globe Thistle)
  • Erigeron–(Fleabane)
  • Eupatorium–(Joe-Pye Weed)
  • Fuchsia–(Fuchsia)
  • Gaillardia–(Blanket Flower)
  • Heliotropium–(Heliotrope)
  • Heuchera–(Coral Bells)
  • Iberis(Candytuft)
  • Iris–(Siberian Iris)
  • Knifophia–(Red Hot Poker)
  • Lantana–(Lantana)
  • Lavendula–(Lavender)
  • Liatris–(Gayfeather)
  • Lobelia–(Cardinal Flower)
  • Lobularia(Sweet Alyssum)
  • Lupinus–(Lupine)
  • Mimulas–(Monkey Flower)
  • Monarda–(Bee Balm)
  • Nasturtium–(Nasturtium)
  • Nepata–(Catmint)
  • Origanum–(Oregano)
  • Penstemon–(Beard Tongue)
  • Petunia–(Petunia)
  • Phlox–(Phlox)
  • Physostegia–(Obedient Plant)
  • Rudbeckia–(Gloriosa Daisy)
  • Salvia–(Sage)
  • Scabiosa–(Pincushion Flower)
  • Sedum–(Stonecrop)
  • Tagetes–(Marigold)
  • Veronica–(Speedwell)

Vines

Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Campsis–(Trumpet Vine)
  • Clematis–(Clematis)
  • Lonicera–(Honeysuckle)

Trees

Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Aesculus–(Horsechestnut)
  • Malus–(Apple)
  • Salix–(Willow)

Shrubs

Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Buddleia–(Butterfly Bush)
  • Caryopteris–(Bluebeard)
  • Chaenomeles–(Flowering Quince)
  • Cornus–(Dogwood)
  • Lonicera–(Honeysuckle)
  • Mahonia–(Mahonia)
  • Philadelphus–(Mockorange)
  • Pontentilla–(Cinquefoil)
  • Ribes–(Currant, Gooseberry)
  • Sambucus–(Elderberry)
  • Spiraea–(Spirea)
  • Syringa–(Lilac)
  • Vaccinium–(Blueberry, Lingonberry)

Now you have an idea of some of the favorite plants for butterflies and hummingbirds. Which of these do you already have planted in your yard or garden? Which ones are you planning to add to your garden or yard?

Photos by Prisonbreak and Bert Glibbery

How to Prune Your Trees

Many people feel that pruning your trees and shrubs is a difficult and confusing process. But it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next pruning session:


Use the Right Tool
It is far easier to use the correct tool for the job. Be sure that your tools are sharp as this will be safer for you and healthier for the plant that you are pruning.

• Hand Pruners-Depending on the size, these can be used for branches up to ¾” in diameter.

• Lopping Shears-These are best used on branches which are ¾” to 1 ¼” in diameter.

• Pruning Saws-This tool should be used on branches which are larger than 1 ¼” in diameter.

Follow the Steps in Chronological Order

• Remove any branches which are dead, broken or diseased.

• Remove any branches that crisscross, any water sprouts and any weak crotches.

• Thin out as needed. This will encourage blossoming and increase the air circulation of the plant.

• If necessary, prune to shape and reduce the size of the tree or shrub.

Other Helpful Tips

• Remember that what you leave is the most important, not what you actually remove.

• You should make all of your cuts above the union of a branch or a bud that grows in the direction you desire.

• Do not ever leave a stub.

• Leave the collar of the branch intact when pruning large branches back to the trunk area.

• You should never “top” a tree. This will result in growth that is rapid and weakened. You will end up with “witches’ brooms”.

• Remember that how much you prune will directly influence the re-growth. Light pruning will equal light re-growth and heavy pruning will equal heavy re-growth.

• Pruning in the spring will produce more breaks and re-growth than pruning in the summer.

• Prune your spring blooming shrubs right after blooming. This will encourage blossoming the next year.

• Prune apple trees and pear trees to the modified central leader. Stone fruit trees should be pruned to open the center.

• Shear your hedges in a slightly pyramidal shape to keep them full to the ground. Do not prune in an inverted pyramid shape.

• Pruning sealers are really not necessary. However, they do help to prevent the entry of borers on roses.

• Remember that pruning and disease control go together. One should not be done without the other.

• Sterilize your pruners between plants, using a 10 % bleach solution. Sterilize your pruners between each cut if fire blight or another disease is suspected. This will aid in not spreading the disease. Rinse your pruners after use to avoid corrosion.

Following these suggestions will help you to have beautiful and healthy trees and shrubs. Please share any other pruning tips that you may have learned over the years.

Preparing Your Yard For Spring

graceymorguefilecom.jpg The sun is shining and the birds are beginning to sing their sweet songs. The flowers are pushing their heads up through the fresh soil announcing the arrival of spring. So what can you do to prepare your yard for spring? There are several things that you can do to ensure that your yard receives the proper start to a fantastic year.

Flower Beds

* Rake-Clean up the leftover debris from last year. This will include items such as leaves, twigs and any garbage that has blown in during the winter.

* Uncover any plants such as roses you have protected during the winter.

* Maintenance pruning-clean up any winter damage.

* Amend the soil-add compost to create a rich soil for this year’s plants.

* Fertilize-choose a slow release fertilizer and add it to all of your flower beds, roses and perennials for a healthy start.

* Add pre-emergent weed preventers-this ensures weed-free gardens throughout the summer.

Lawns

* Apply a humic acid based fertilizer such as Natural Guard Soil Activator. This can be found at your local garden center. Applying this at the beginning of the season aids in nutrient enhancement without stimulating premature growth.

* Mow-if you allowed your grass to grow long during the fall, an early maintenance cutting is recommended.

* Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass and weed preventer. This will cut down on or reduce the amount of weeds that will develop in your lawn throughout the season.

Trees

* If you have ornamental trees, then pruning is recommended in the spring.

* Prune-do any necessary repair pruning that might have come from winter damage. This is also a great time to thin out any excess growth in your trees.

* Apply a dormant spray-this will depend on which type of tree you have. But a dormant spray will help to control any overwintering insect eggs and funguses.

* Fertilize with a tree and shrub specific fertilizer. This will give your trees a great and healthy start for the year as they wake up from their winter slumber.

Taking these general steps in the spring will help you to have a yard you can be proud of during the summer months. Where do you begin when you are preparing your yard for spring?

Photo provided by Gracey