Monday, August 19, 2013

What's Blooming

Firecracker plant

Gladiolas - since this photo was take the grasshoppers have really wreaked havoc on the greenery of these.  I took care of them though.  It was brutal.

Day lilies - These were given to me by my sister a couple of years ago.

 Texas Sage.  The honey bees are loving it in the morning!

Not out in the garden but just as important as it holds a special place in front of the kitchen sink. 
varia.ated African Violet

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Zinnia's From Seed

I gain a tremendous satisfaction from growing flowers and plants from seed.  My repertoire is not large but I have, over the years, chosen several that do very well with me.  One of those plants are Zinnias.

They are bright, you can select a rainbow of colors and sizes.  And they are easy.

I gather all of my seed starting paraphernalia which includes plant markers.  I made these from an old plastic milk carton that was going to the dump.  Sharpie permanent markers work great to list the seedlings you are planting.

This past Spring I collected all sorts of aluminum pans and trays that were left over from a big bake sale at work.

With an ice pick I poked holes all over the bottom of the pan for drainage.

Start with a good Seed Starting potting mix that is light and soiless.  Those delicate roots need room to move easily.

Fill the container with the seedling mixture and dampen thoroughly but not muddy wet

Work the water and seed planting mixture until everything is damp.

Once planting medium is ready, separate your seeds out onto a dark piece paper.

Twist the toilet/paper towel rolls (cut to about an inch and a half) down into the planting medium.  These will be your little pots that will hold the seeds.

Using a pair of tweezers, place about 3 seeds in each container. 

Using a spray bottle, spritz thoroughly.  over the top of the pan with Saran Wrap to create a small green house effect.  Once you have sprouts, remove the plastic wrap and start maintaining your seedlings.

When you have two sets of leaves, very carefully tear off one set of leaves.  This will help the plant grow bushier.

Once they have several leaves, plant them in a sunny location in your garden

I've to see the geometrics of the buds as they open

 I love to watch the formation of a bloom

Once they start blooming they keep going and going.  Deadheading is a good idea; you'll get so many more blooms by doing so

 Zinnias make me smile

 Water them regularly while they establish and then they can be quite drought tolerant.. You'll be able to tell when they need water because their leaves begin to curl in.  They love the sun and the heat.  Perfect for our Texas summers.

 One more treat they provide is that they bring in an abundance of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to the garden.