Friday, April 20, 2012

Tulip Time, For Some

The plants in Central Illinois are a month ahead of last year's schedule. Tulips planted last fall have all bloomed and gone. This Spring I planted some tulip bulbs that had been pre-cooled (vernalization) by a grower. They are coming up right now as if it was our normally scheduled programming. It's fun to be the only person in town with a few tulips beginning to opening.



Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to: Create a succulent container


These low maintenance mini-gardens are all the rage. Grow succulents in containers or in the ground. If you use plants that are hardy, you can leave them in the ground. These are durable little creations that really let you play with color and texture. Don't over water these plants. They are drought tolerant (they do need some water) and low maintenance. Making  your own succulent container is easy, inexpensive, and fun.
  1. Find a suitable container.
    The one above is a clear acrylic drawer divider bought from the local grocery store. I can put tender exotic plants in here that can over winter inside. It fits perfectly on the interior window sill.
  2. Find plants that interest you.
    I was able to purchase the large Hen and Chick (Echeveria sp.) at a big box store, the smaller Hen and Chicks (red and dark green Sempervivums sp.) and Angelina Sedum (Not in photo, Sedum rupestre 'Angelina') came straight from my garden. The smallest succulent, is a hardy ground cover and came from a friend.
  3. Add soil.
    Use a high-end, sandy soil with organic matter that won't hold too much water.
  4. Add plants.
  5. Enjoy.
Living walls, vertical walls, green walls, so many of them incorporate these wonderful distinguished plants. Check out this display that was at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.

"Celebration of Succulents" by Craig Bergmann, 2012 Chicago Flower and Garden Show.
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