Archive for January, 2012

I was not familiar with “Profusion Zinnias” until our MG group toured the home of Karen Hehl two summers ago.  In her garden were rows of these great mounds of very bright and colorful zinnias that just knocked your socks off!  Our entire group was drawn to these plants and Karen advised us that she had started them from seeds.  Well, I can tell you that when the seed catalogs started arriving last January my priority was to find and order those seeds.

I bought two packages of each (25 seeds to a packet), yellow, white and cherry intending to only use the yellow and white at my home and the cherry at Hack House Museum.  I very carefully planted each color in separate containers and marked them well.  When the seedlings were ready to transplant I again carefully segregated the colors and put them in separate flats with visible identification.  Ah, the best laid plans…..I won’t even tell you what happened over the course of growing them on, before planting them in the garden, but when it was time to plant there were several containers that I didn’t have a clue about and others I was quite sure about but even using those caused surprise – as you can see in the photo – when they started to flower.  This photo was taken in late summer – colors had faded some but were still vibrant.

If you like a colorful bed of annuals I believe Profusion Zinnias are one of the best flowering annuals available.  They bloom the entire summer and stay looking good because the new leaves and 2″ flowers cover the old ones so deadheading is not required.  The seed books state “they are very tolerant of mildew (true) and other foliage diseases that plague many Zinnias, are easy to grow and can even be direct-sown.”  They are available in many colors, with double or single flowers, and a mature plant is about 15″ tall and 15″ wide!

Think Spring!


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I had the pleasure of visiting the Ford Edison Estates in Fort Myers Florida when visiting my daughter.  There are beautiful gardens and much history to learn about there.  During our walk through the garden I photographed a few of my favorite trees. The Banyan tree, a fig, that has an aerial root system extending from the branches.   It was not in bloom during my visit.  Another that I enjoyed was the Kapok that has large root system protruding above the soil. The tree was nearly 100 feet tall.  It too was not in bloom, however I learned that the fiber from the seed pod was used in floatation vests for the Navy.  Today it’s often used as an alternative fiber in stuffed animals and pillows.   The Royal Palms with all their majesty were lined along the walk in front of the estate.  My favorite was the Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia).  It was in full bloom with beautiful red flowers and a fern like leaf.  A seed pod forms after the bloom falls.  These pods are about a foot long and are extremely hard cased.  There was a beautiful specimen outside my daughter’s apartment.  We gathered a seed pod and I planted it.  Today it’s about two fee high in a pot.  Someday I hope it will bloom.  Of course it’s tropical so must be kept inside during the winter.  The most interesting tree was the Sausage Tree  ( Kigelia pinnata).  Growing from it were huge sausage appearing pods.  It also has an interesting flower.  One of the buds had fallen to the ground and I photographed it.  These trees have a somewhat prehistoric appearance.  These are just a few of the over 120 trees on the estate.  Make sure if you are in that area that you take the time to tour these gardens.

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FotoFriday 1/6/12

For the first FotoFriday of 2012 we have additional photos taken by Linda of Krones Conservatory in Cincinnati.

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Krones Conservatory

Last Summer I visited Krones Conservatory to see their Butterfly exhibit.  Within the Exhibit there were these baskets at various levels and heights filled with flowers.  I knew this was something I wanted to try in my garden.  I have a few areas that need height.  I’ve been searching since then for these holders.  Still haven’t found the exact ones that are shown here, in the photos.  However, I found some online that are very similar.  The basic difference is the pole.  These use a 4×4 instead of an adjustable round pole.  I certainly will use this method in my garden this summer.  If anyone is interested in these as well, you can find them at http://www.gardenartisans.us/borderandpatiocolumns.aspx.  There are some great photos there of the kits used.  If you click on the section at the top “Pamela Crawford’s Side Planting Container Gardens” you will be re-directed to another page.  This shows her planting some of the baskets.  For a full PDF Tutorial click on “View Planting Demos here”. (about midway down).  This PDF can be saved for future warm weather.   Kits are available for purchase there.  If you’re handy you can make your own.   The ground spikes can be found at a home improvement store. They are in with deck materials.  I actually purchase 4 of them for my arbor but never used them.   The 4×4 material can also be purchased there.  Just cut them to the various levels and paint them.  The ones included in the kit are black, however I suggest you add bright color on the posts for interest.  An alternate wood block or metal block can be  used to clamp the basket to the top of the post and stabilize it.  I also thought plexiglass may work well for this.  It would be less noticeable  Then you just need some  U shape clamps to hold the wire basket in place or the large staples you hammer in. These are located in plumbing & electrical section of the store.  They use these for holding wire, conduit and pipes in place.  We can’t do a lot of outdoor gardening now, so it’s a great time to plan and prepare.  I plan on using those 4 spikes this coming Spring.  Enjoy your planning.

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