Posted in DIY, gardens, grandkids,

Propagation Project, Seeds and Cuttings

Recently I told you about a project my seven-year-old granddaughter and I started in between her online classes. We gathered seeds from my gardens as well as the kitchen, then tried to sprout them in a mini greenhouse. A month later and we have success. Well, some success.


Our melons were the quickest out of the gate, and are looking the best so far…


Others, like hibiscus, red peppers and lemons are a bit slower, just starting to show signs of growth…

Roots from cuttings

For another project we tried placing leaf cuttings in water so they would form roots. I had read that coleus are particularly fond of this treatment, so I took several cuttings of the numerous coleus I planted in gardens this past summer. They were so gorgeous I just had to give propagating them a try. We are also trying to root some begonias that looked spectacular next to the coleus in containers I planted at our local hospice…

Bingo, the coleus rooted up well, in less than one week! The thicker, fleshier begonia stems are still a work in progress. Eight rooted coleus stems have now been promoted to pots with soil:

Rooted coleus

Potted coleus

Lessons Learned

When many of our seeds showed no growth at all, I investigated further. Rural Sprout for told me some seeds just don’t germinate well straight from the garden or kitchen. We will keep trying though.

We learned to water the seeds from below (inside the tray the pots sit on) instead of from above. This prevents the formation of mold on the soil surface. It also prevents the stems from rotting once they start emerging from the soil.

With the cuttings, we learned to remove all but one leaf from the stem and keep that leaf out of the water. You learn this from the foul smell that the water quickly emits if any leaves touch (rot in) the water. I knew this from fresh cut flowers in vases, just forgot to apply the knowledge to this project. To prevent the leaves from touching the water you can use plastic wrap over the jar of water with holes poked in for the stems.

I have a perfect solution in a glass vase spacer, basically a glass disc with holes in it that fits on the top of a vase. In this case, it sits on a cup full of water…

Glass disc with holes is perfect for tiny stems

I have a kitchenette in my basement with lots of counter space, a sink, and a nearby window to provide natural light, providing a perfect setup for these botany projects.

Come spring we should have lots of plants for our gardens and containers. Any ideas of other seeds we can try? We’ve got lots of time!

Posted in gardening,,

Late August Blooms in Gardens4me

With September fast (unfortunately) approaching my Gardens4me are changing yet again. That is the beauty of perennial gardens though, they change constantly.

Some things featured in early August are still shining brightly…

While new blooms are now strutting their stuff…

Now that we have received more rain, evenings are cooler and dew keeps the lawn damp for hours each morning, my grass is (amazingly) recovering. Even my south facing, previously scorched lawn in my front yard has recovered. These pictures actually include the lawn in my backyard that I was embarrassed to photograph earlier this summer….

The vines I planted at the base of my garden work bench (scaffolding constructed by my son years ago) have scrambled up the poles…

Gardens4me has a handsome inspector that likes to perch atop one of the planters on my back deck…

At one of my favourite gardens recently (check out the evolution of this garden on my website) I snapped some photos of the containers I planted there in May…

My personal favourites for containers this summer have been hibiscus and coleus for sun and shade respectively.

I love the coleus so much I think I will attempt to take cuttings of each variety this fall before frost kills them off. Unfortunately they are only annuals in my climate, so have to be replanted at the beginning of each season. That makes them perfect for containers though…

These yellow rose buds (my absolute favourite of my roses) are a sign of things to come…

Posted in gardening,, zone 4

Early August Blooms in Gardens4Me

The summer is flying by, August is upon us. We were fortunate to receive some much needed rain last week so my Gardens4me are looking pretty luscious this week.

A few blossoms pictured in my late July post are still hanging around, surprisingly. A perennial geranium is reblooming, even though I did not get around to cutting it back as I usually do to encourage a repeat performance…

New this month are the heliopsis or false sunflowers, providing splashes of vivid yellow at my gate and amongst the greenery of my “jungle” as my 6 year old granddaughter calls it.

Also new this month are the garden phlox (as opposed to the creeping variety) in bright pink and white…

as well as tickseed…

Also thriving after our heavy rains are the weeds in my lawn. My granddaughter (the same one that loves my “jungle”) helped me mow the weeds one day, until a thunderstorm sent us running into the house…

I love the fact that my grandchildren enjoy my gardens, hopefully they will remember these days in years to come. I know I cherished the time spent in my own grandmothers’ gardens.

Today I stopped by the hospice that I volunteer at to check out the gardens and containers I planted. I am particularly thrilled with the progress of the coleus spilling out of these containers in the shade. Every year there appears to be more varieties available; their colours are striking!

What’s happening in your gardens?

Posted in gardening, nature

Coleus in annual planters provide colour highlights in shade gardens

When planting containers of annuals in the spring, I try to choose annuals that will look good for a long time. These coleus certainly fit the bill in the shade of this garden.  They are still going strong after a few light frosts.  I didn’t have the heart to disturb them while performing a fall cleanup in a client’s garden last week. Recently I wrote a post about the wonders of COLEUS and how adding them to your gardens can provide pops of colour, especially in shady areas.  These planters provide that burst of colour all summer long under the shade of several large trees.

Posted in gardening

Spectacular coleus for your gardens

These pictures of various coleus plants were taken in a client’s garden.  They were planted to fill in bare spots between perennials and are quite striking at this time of year, brightening up shady spots in gardens.  Their leaves look like red velvet with splashes of green  The coleus are annuals that will die off when frost hits so new ones must be planted each season.  Coleus prefer shade, but will tolerate some, but not full sun.

I do not usually plant annuals to my gardens each season, preferring to use them in containers only.  After seeing the display these coleus put on each season however, I decided to try some in my garden this season.  They do not look as beautiful as these ones do, but are still nice pops of colour in my garden.  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Posted in gardening

Plants of the week from Gardens4u, take five

These are my favourites for this week…

Traditional perennials: hostas

hostas are great at the front of a border or bed and thrive in deep shade through part sun.  Most hostas prefer shade, but those with yellow leaves or fragrant flowers prefer more sun.  They come in many colours and sizes these days from miniature to huge.  If you do plant the large ones, be sure to give them lots of space as they do not look their best when crowded.

Modern perennials:  geraniums, not the red annual type your grandmother planted, but the perennial variety

Perennial geraniums also look great at the front of borders or beds.  They tolerate shade and part sun.  I love them because they are the first to green up in the spring, offer some colour with the blooms, but look great even when not in bloom.  They come in many colors and sizes.  Some of the larger ones can tend to be floppy, so I stick to the smaller ones.

Shrubs: Black Lace Elderberry

The deep wine colour of Black Lace Elderberries look wonderful mixed with all of the shades of green in your gardens.  They die down to the ground each winter in my area, and are often slow to come back in the spring, but can grow to heights of six feet or more. This spring was so late and the winter so cold, I thought my black lace had died.  Thankfully I decided to give it another week, and sure enough, one week later it was one foot tall!  The pale pink flowers are pretty but I consider them a bonus as they don’t last long.  The dark coloured lacy foliage is the reason I love this shrub.  This season it is a great backdrop for my lily trees featured in the third picture.

Vines:  Silver Lace

Although the Silver Lace vine blooms in the fall and so not blooming this week, I am always suggesting it to my clients.  It is quick growing, covering any structure very fast with white lace like flowers, a beautiful sight in September through November.  Unfortunately I lost mine this past winter due to the severe cold weather we experienced.  It is only hardy to zone 5 which is pushing the envelope for my Ottawa garden.

Annuals: Coleus

Coleus are great for filling in blank spots and contributing splashes of colour in shady spots of your gardens.  I never used to like them, but after seeing them tucked in among perennials in a client’s garden, I’ve changed my mind and added some to my own gardens this year.  Coleus come in many combinations and shades of pink, red and green; all make vibrant additions to a garden or container.

Stay tuned for next week’s choices…