Category: Garden

One Fern Day

I recently joined a group of fellow designing writers at West Elm to get a planting and terrarium-making workshop directed by designer Shane Powers, famous for his work since the design and decorating editor for Blueprint and Martha Stewart Living. Powers, who has developed products for brands such as Martha by Mail, collaborated with West Elm to make a collection of garden-vessel designs comprising his love for simple, organic forms.

Woodland-style terrariums are everywhere, so it was refreshing to see how Powers used succulents, cacti and sand to produce terrariums and other plantings with a sudden twist. These design tips out of his workshop will get you started producing unusual indoor gardens of your own.

West Elm

Powers started by adding maidenhair ferns to one of those ceramic vessels out of his West Elm collection. First he included a foundation of soil, then a layer of activated charcoal (the same substance used in aquariums). Then he nestled the ferns .

West Elm

Shane Powers Ceramic Wall Planters – $19

To plant an orchid in a ceramic boat, utilize orchid mix (a mixture of tree bark and charcoal). The origins should be green — remove any white or yellow ones. Orchids must be watered every 12 to 14 days.

Powers’ design suggestion for your orchids: Remove the plastic ties that often arrive with orchids and replace them together with twine.

Powers gave these ceramic containers a rounded, soft form — instead of an angular contour — because they’re intended to stand out from a wall socket.

West Elm

Powers also demonstrated how to make a terrarium in a fishbowl with succulents and different colours of sand:

1. Add a layer of grey sand (available at blossom markets) towards the base of the container)

2. Nestle succulents and cacti from the sand. You may leave them in their containers should you like.

3. Add a layer of smooth black stones.

4. Top with a layer of brick-color sand.

5. Clean sand the leaves off with a soft paintbrush.

West Elm

To earn a terrarium inside this glass boat, Powers started with an inch of gravel. Then he added a thin layer of charcoal and a few succulents (now taking away the plastic pots and loosening the origins ) inside the terrarium. He included dirt round the plants utilizing a skillet, to safeguard the glass and his palms.

West Elm

This fishbowl in the collection holds a delicate fern in a little pot.

Care suggestion: Avoid overwatering or pouring water directly on terrarium plants. Water ferns in a fishbowl vessel every 7 to 10 days, with a turkey baster or dropper to prevent spills. Check the moisture level of the ground by sticking your finger in the sand.

For succulents in a glass terrarium, Powers suggests waiting a month between waterings.

West Elm

Air plants do not need dirt, so that they can float anywhere in dirt-free glass vessels. Powers made these handblown containers to permit air circulation for those plants.

West Elm

To warm water air plants, just put them in a bowl of water.

Inform us: Are you currently growing ferns, succulents, orchids or air plants at home? Please share your design from the Comments section.

Dirt Optional — Beautiful Air Plants

Read more photos of plants under glass

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Fantastic Design Plant: Redtwig Dogwood

Each spring I find myself amazed and surprised by the newest growth and rebirth that happens on the exact same deciduous plants I was sure had been dead long since winter began. Pass a redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea) in January, and also any lingering uncertainty that these crops are not still consciously living is instantly drop.

Cold hardy and water tolerant, redtwig dogwood is an especially elegant garden addition throughout the year. Its crazy growth habit, delicate blooms and vibrant winter colour contribute to it being the absolutely untamed, yet sophisticated, design plant.

Tom Debley

Botanical name: Cornus sericea (syn. Cornus stolonifera)
Common names:Redtwig dogwood, red osier dogwood, American dogwood, red willow, redstem dogwood, redosier dogwood, creek dogwood
USDA zones: 2-7
Water requirement:Moderate
Sun requirement: Full sun to color
Mature size: 7-9′ tall, spreads to 12′ wide
Tolerances: Deer, soil — such as moist soil and clay soil
Safety advantages: Fruit attracts birds and wildlife; flowers attract butterflies

Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds

Distinguishing attributes. Redtwig dogwood is a shrub for many seasons. Having a compact multi-stemmed arrangement for a foundation, ovate green leaves cover its sleek green stalks in spring. Leaves are linked with creamy white floral clusters in summer, followed by creamy white or blue berries.

Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds

Transitioning from summer to autumn, stems and foliage turn a brilliant red, persisting into the onset of fall.

U. of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden

It is in winter is when redtwig dogwood is extremely noticeable, and it’s for this seasonal transformation that redtwig dogwood is named. The stems of the tree turned into a fiery shade of red before losing its leaves for the season. In Alaska and Newfoundland its winter colour is especially vibrant — starkly contrasted from a blanket of white snow.

The ‘Baileyi’ cultivar, shown here, is similar in colour but lacks the spreading look of the straight species.


The best way to use it. Consider adding a rain garden to your landscape to curb stormwater runoff. Found naturally in damp areas, redtwig dogwood is inherently suited wet conditions.

In a time of year that many crops are on hiatus, redtwig dogwood is in the peak of its visual attraction. A fast spreader and soil stabilizer, redtwig dogwood produces a fantastic hillside or bank room filler. Plant in mass to get a lush green display in spring and summer and a fiery red landscape accent in fall and winter.

U. of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Keep it growing. Whilst redtwig dogwood transplants well and simple to grow, its rapid growth rate and spreading nature can sometimes take over the landscape. In order to restrain the spread of redtwig dogwood, cut back branches and roots that touch the earth, preventing suckers.

Following its seasonal display of colour, the plant goes dormant before leafing out again in spring. Take this opportunity to lessen the shrub so as to permit for new growth. It’s about the younger stalks that you will observe the most spectacular red color.

While the plant was proven to be susceptible to leaf and twig blight, maintaining air circulation and light penetration are two good ways to become proactive and preventative.

More great design crops:
Hens-and-Chicks | Snake Flower | Toyon | Black Mondo Grass | Feather Reed Grass | New Zealand Wind Grass | Red Kangaroo Paw | Blue Chalk Sticks | Catmint | Slipper Plant

Great design trees:
Manzanita | Japanese Maple | Persian Ironwood | Smoke Tree | Bald Cypress | Tree Aloe

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The best way to Take Good Care of a Midnight-Blue Rose Bush

Countless cultivars of roses exist, but Rosa “Midnightblue” stands apart for its deep purple flowers, compact dimensions and resistance to illness. It grows between 2 and 3-feet high having a tidy, rounded form, therefore it’s ideal for container gardening or as an addition to smaller gardens within U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 to 9. Simply because they require minimum maintenance once proven caring for Midnightblue roses is easy. They need to be developed in full sunlight, and supplied with fertile soil, normal water and mild pruning to look their best.

Plant Midnightblue roses in a mattress with drainage and full-sun exposure. Amend the soil in the planting site using a 5 inch- layer of compost worked to the bed in a depth of 15-inches.

Feed Midnightblue roses with 6-8-6 ratio fertilizer tha%6th 6-8-6 ratio fertilizer that is for6-8%6Midnight Blue roses with 6-8%68%6Midnight Blue roses with 6-8-6 ratio fertilizer that’s formulated specifically for roses. Use the fertilizer in springtime as the buds type at full-strength and once the shrub begins to bloom. After feeding to distribute the nutrients into the soil, water thoroughly.

A 2 inch layer of mulch in a 10-inch-diameter across the bottom of the shrub each spring to assist control moisture level and the soil temperature. Replace the mulch every year from colonizing the roots of the shrub to avoid parasites and fungi.

Water Midnightblue roses seriously but relatively occasionally. Run a hose in the bottom of the shrub before the soil feels moist in a depth of 5″. Water only if the top 2″ of soil dry entirely. Avoid spraying water on the leaves and canes, because excessive moisture on the part of the plant will lead to illness.

Prune Midnightblue roses in springtime after all risk of of frost has passed. Thin out the heart of the shrub to improve air circulation. Snip crowded branches or off crossed, and sucker development in the idea of origin using pruning shears. As you are going to destroy the obviously rounded form of the shrub don’t prune the ideas of the branches.

Spray ruin and the foliage and canes with oil in spring ahead of the shrub blooms to stop thrips. Use the oil using a spray bottle, spending unique interest to the undersides of inside and the leaves of the shrub.

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The best way to Use A3-In-1 Soil Tester

A 3-in-1 soil tester is a steel pronged instrument which is inserted to the soil to check moisture ranges, light intensity, and soil pH. A soil tester requires a few of the guess-work out of where and the best way to plant trees, shrubs or your flowers. It’s possible for you to use the tester to find out the present amounts of the soil, and alter them according to the particular requirements of the crops you want to place there. Plant grasses, trees, flowers or shrubs that need related problems in one location, with these needing various circumstances in a separate region of the lawn or backyard.

Clean the prongs of a cloth as well as the tester with water before use, and between uses. This tapwater or can keep the readings from struggling with the pH of a prior check.

Insert the prongs to the soil you want to calculate. The first-reading that seems will be a pH, which can be measured on a scale with 1. Seven is a neutral pH. Most crops will grow in a pH between 6 and 7.5. The soil tester actions pH ranges from 3.5 to 8. Alter soil pH by sulfur to reduce it, or adding limestone to increase it.

Press the button on the tester to look at the moisture readings. The tester measures the proportion of moisture content in 10% increments, from no dampness to full saturation. Most crops will will require soil that is moist in the midrange. Sand may be added to improve drainage features for exceptionally moist soil.

Press the button on the tester to see the readings that are mild. Readings measure light intensity in footcandles from 0 to 2,000. For reference, indoor house lighting that is typical is is just about 100-foot-candles. Plants requiring complete sunshine might be planted in the ranges that were mild, and crops requiring shade might be planted in the lower locations that were light.

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Succulent Ground Cover Plants

Plants consist of more than 50 genera. Many kinds make perfect groundcover for their drought-tolerant qualities. They function nicely as crops that are xeriscaping. The bulk of floor addresses that are succulent WOn’t endure foot-traffic, but need little maintenance and supply landscaping advantages that are other, while adding elegance to your own space. The climates zones of sunset differ by plant, although succulents are native to warm, frost free, dry climates floor addresses will prosper in moist conditions.

Low Upkeep

One advantage of floor addresses that are succulent is their need for upkeep that is small. Little treatment is required by most, but for a mild feeding once a year in the begin of the period as well as the elimination of dead flowers. Floor addresses that are succulent are usually pest and disease tolerant and free of poor soil. Many withstand fluctuations in climates and temperatures — from warm spells. Miniature blue chalksticks (Senecio serpens) are one type of succulent that tolerates cooler climates down to the mid20s Fahrenheit. It’s an instance of a cold-hardy, low-maintenance succulent groundcover for the environment zones of Sunset 21 and 16, 17 .

Drought Tolerant and Xeriscaping

Succulent floor handles’ drought-tolerant characteristics make them perfect xeriscaping crops. In a few areas, water limitations have been in place, making it important to seek out. Succulent floor stems handles shop water in their own roots or leaves, decreasing the quantity of water required. Sedum, also called stonecrop, provides several types that tolerate a variety of temperatures and soils. English stonecrop (s. anglicum) is one of these; it’s a reduced-expanding, drought-tolerant, succulent ground-cover hardy in Sun Set environment zones 1 through 2-4.


Floor handles that are succulent offer visible curiosity, even when maybe not in bloom. The numerous species provide eyecatching textures, a broad-variety of designs and a variety of foliage that is coloured to fillin areas between stepping-stones or generate geometric styles in gardens. Many types of ice crops choke out weeds and create colourful blooms. One often developed succulent groundcover, Cooper’s ice plant (D. cooperi), generates showy, cylindrical leaves and purple flowers all summer long in Sunset’s environment zones 2 through 2 4.

Fire Resistance

Homeowners in locations which might be susceptible to fires that are wild require to consider pre-Cautions to keep their houses risk-free. Along with utilizing fireresistant constructing components, crops which might be fire resistant inside their landscaping can be used by homeowners. They do supply a fuel split to to dam the residence from in Tense warmth while the crops aren’t fireproof. Varieties of Sempervivum, such as the cobweb houseleek (S. arachnoideum), supply some slack to safeguard domiciles in hearth-prone places in Sunset’s environment zones 2 through 2 4.

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The best way to Grow Phlomis Russelliana From Seed

Jerusalem sage, or Phlomis russeliana, is a species of plant grown for the leaves and spectacular whorls of yellow flowers that are buttery. As a native of the Mediterranean, Jerusalem sage thrives within 14 to 17 and Sun Set Environment Zones 7 to 9; nevertheless, it it takes a sunny place in zones 1-4 to 17. Gardeners propagate Jerusalem sage at home utilizing various methods. They occasionally take as much as two months to sprout, therefore it’s best to start them indoors 2-3 months prior to the last spring frost even though the seeds germinate reliably.

Fill a 2 inch-deep nursery – starting within 1/4 inch of the best. Spritz the compost using a water- spray bottle till it feels moist in the very best inch.

Spread the Jerusalem sage seeds over the the top of compost. Leave 1-inch of room between the seeds. Cover them using a layer of compost. Spritz the compost together with the spray bottle to to be in it.

Place the nursery tray on a heat-mat near a huge, south-facing window. Set the temperature on the heat-mat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t reduce the temperature at night before the seeds germinate.

It feels dry just just beneath the area moisten the compost. It until the leading inch feels somewhat moist but not saturated. Don’t keep it although don’t allow the compost to dry entirely.

Watch for germination 1 month after sowing, however don’t be disheartened if it uses up to 60-days for the seeds to sprout. Thin the seedlings every 3″ as soon as they develop to 2″ tall and create a set of leaves that are mature. Remove the least seedlings.

Transplant the Jerusalem sage seedlings into 3inch pots filled with planting medium two weeks after th inning the seedlings. The potted crops that are individually outdoors against a sheltered, south-facing wall during the best portion of the afternoon with shade.

The Jerusalem sage seedlings out doors after the frost when s Oil and air temperatures reach a regular 6-5 F until under sheltered problems. Transplant the crops with draining s Oil 2 to 3-feet aside in a mattress.

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The best way to Mulch With amp & Maple; Oak Leaves

Autumn maple and oak leaves aren’t just pleasant for his or her fall colours; they’re also an efficient — and free — supply of nutrients for grass and crops. Due to their dimensions, maple and oak leaves have to be shredded before they’re employed as mulch to ensure they don’t mat down — especially maple leaves, which tend to lie flat. Research done at the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center of Michigan indicates that utilizing as mulch on grass lawns raises springgreen-up, as well as decreasing the dandelion populace that is typical. Leaves that were shredded labored in to backyard soil enhance drainage and aeration.

Mulching Grass Garden

Allow leaves of oak and maple trees in your garden where they drop on the grass to stay.

Remove any hurdles and particles in the region where you’ll be using the mower.

Inspect your mower to be certain the air-filter is clear as well as your blade is sharp. If one is connected remove the grass catcher attachment from your lawn mower. A typical mower can do the work too, although a mulching mower is created to mulch grass clippings.

Mow the garden as well as the leaves which have fallen enabling clippings that are mulched to to feed the mower blades and straight back onto the grass. Make three or two passes over each area to break leaves down into parts that are smaller.

Allow the leaf litter that is mulched to remain on the garden, where it serves and ultimately decomposes as organic fertilizer.

Mulching Gardens

Wait to drop from oak and maple trees, as they come-down, leaving them.

Attach the grass catcher when it is not currently in place of the mulching mower.

Mow the garden grass as well as the leaves lying gathering the clippings that are mulched in the grass catcher. As is essential to get the optimum sum of leaf litter, make as many passes. Using a grass catcher to catch the leaves that are mulched is more easy and much more time successful than raking them.

Transfer the leaf litter that is mulched to wheelbarrow or a basket in the grass catcher, and then transport it.

Place the leaf litter in a thickness of or about bushes beds or an inch of s O on vegetable backyard beds. In order that it’s several inches a way in the bottom of plants apply mulch. In the event you wish work the leaves to the soil using a spade; otherwise enable maintain in dampness and the chopped leaves to protect the s Oil surface.

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The best way to Grow Sharon Fruit

Sharon fresh fruit (Diospyros kaki), also called Japanese or Asian persimmon, is a Self pollinating tree that will grow up to 30-feet tall and 22 feet wide. The fresh fruit from this tree may be eaten fresh or used in pies, breads and puddings. Using its shiny green foliage that turns red, yellow and orange and its 2- to 3 inch diameter almost fruit, decorative interest can be added by this upright grower to your garden.

When and Where to Develop Sharon Fresh Fruit

Plant Sharon fruit-trees after the last possibility of frost. Aside from injury, when subjected to high temperatures, this China indigenous can lack fresh fruit or get sun-burn. In the U.S., this deciduous tree is suitable to Sunset’s Environment Zones H-1, 6 to 9, 12, 14 to 16 and 18 to 24. They’ll also developed in places that are shady although Sharon fruit-trees thrive in portions of the backyard. To prevent injury to the brittle branches of the tree, choose a sheltered area from high winds.

Soil Needs

Sharon fruit-trees aren’t fussy as it pertains to the kind of soil they grow in. However, a deep, well-drained, loamy soil encourages the greatest progress. Aim to get a soil pH range between 6.0 and 6.5. Perform a soil test. Include sulfur to reduce it, or incorporate lime to improve the soil pH. A layer of compost can help market drainage.

Planting the Tree

Sharon fruit-trees have a root system that will easily get broken when transplanting the tree into its place from its nursery container. Dig a hole that is broad enough to to allow for the root ball and deep. Remove pulverize clumps and any rocks which will inhibit root development. Plant the Sharon fresh fruit tree in a depth that is related as it was in the nursery container. When planting over one tree, room them a-T least 15 toes aside. By soaking the s Oil soon after after planting water the tree.

Sharon Good Fresh Fruit Tree Treatment

Sharon fruit-trees aren’t drought-tolerant — the tree to drop its leaves and fruit may be caused by prolonged drought intervals. Do not permit the s Oil to dry entirely. Water the tree about water it a week, and throughout hot-weather 2-3 instances per week. If it h-AS rained, reduce watering. In the event the tree grows less than 1 foot per yr and whether its foliage is not deep-green, feed it a well-balanced, 10 10 10 fertilizer in late-winter . spring or early Prune the tree to keep it powerful and motivate new development.

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The best way to Keep Cauliflower White Throughout Growing

If left to its own products, cauliflower crops generate greenish or yellowish heads that seem unappealing compared to the snowy-white-heads in the create area of of the grocery shop. Cauliflowers are set by gardeners via a procedure called blanching to to show the heads white. Some kinds of cauliflower aren’t designed to be white. “Purple Head” and other types using the word purple in their own name mature into a deep purple colour that fades to green when cooked. Green types like “Chartreuse” create heads that resemble broccoli in both colour and taste.

When the the top measures about 3″ across pull the leaves up over the the top of cauliflower. So the head is coated spread them and fasten them together over the middle of the head using a rubberband or twist-tie that was extended. The the top grows rapidly now, therefore fasten the leaves to enable area that is developing.

Check the the top everyday. The the top is ready to harvest, when it’s white. It’s possible for you to leave the head-on the plant a couple of additional days, but harvest it while the curds are limited and tiny. When the buds start to disseminate the the top is past its prime.

Cut the heads, leaving 1- to 2-inches of stem underneath and a ruffle of leaves across the sides to to increase the storage period.

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The best way to Restart a Compost Pile

Making your own compost is a useful technique for for utilizing your grass clippings and yard waste as opposed to paying to have them found in the curb. When natural materials undergoes decomposition compost, which occurs, is not an exact science. Besides grass clippings, kitchen vegetable waste, sod, leaves, hay and several other natural components can be added by you for your pile. A compost pile that hasn’t been turned lately, or one that’s become too moist or too dry, might need some consideration to re-start the microbial action required for for decomposition.

Restaring an In Active Pile

Place your hand on some substance within the pile, then on some substance on the outside the pile. If you don’t identify any heat accumulated in the within of the pile, it’s a signal the compost has become inactive.

Turn any lately extra components using a pitch fork to mix them properly with older components of the pile. This re-generate heating and may encourage decomposition.

Make the pile larger by including more substance. A compost pile needs natural components that are enough to measure about 3-feet deep, broad and high to sustain microbial action.

Restarting a Damp Pile

Smell the pile. An uncomfortable “rotten egg” odor can show the pile has become anaerobic due to inadequate aeration.

Turn the pile carefully using a pitch fork to introduce oxygen.

Break up any large chunks of moist, compacted materials using re and a pitch fork -layer the pile.

Add materials like grass clippings or leaves when they’re well and loose -shredded.

When it is available to the air cover the pile using a tarp.

Restarting a Dry Pile

Examine a handful of the compost. If it falls apart in your hand and does not hold, it’s dry.

As you do s O, turn the compost having a pitch fork, integrating water to the pile. Shower the pile using a light spray of a garden hose or a big watering can every time you start a layer of substance, so your water is evenly distributed.

When it is available to the air-to assist cover the compost having a tarp sustain sufficient dampness in the pile.

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