July 12, 2009

Giant Zinnias

This week for Just Plant This, we'll be talking about giant zinnias in the garden.Giant zinnias are annuals which means their life cycle from seed to bloom to seed is just one year.

I have 2 varieties of zinnias in my garden: giant enchantress (pink) and giant lavender gems. They are said to only grow to 2-3 feet high but they can grow up to 3 1/2 feet or so and they spread out about 2-2 1/2 feet wide. So if you're going to add these to your garden - be sure to have a bit of space.The plants end up with about 15 or so blooms each, are really beautiful and have a nice fragrance. Zinnias make for nice cut flowers to bring indoors and they attract bees and hummingbirds. Which I love! Hummingbirds are so fun to watch!

What I find most interesting about the blooms is that when they burst open, they not only have beautiful layered full petals, but right in the center there is a circle of small yellow flowers. Cool right?

July 1, 2009

Aloe Vera

Most people see aloe vera as a plant that helps heal and take the sting out of burns. That's true ~ but it's so much more than that!

Externally, Aloe Vera can be used not only for burns, but cuts, eczema, aging skin and acne. The elements in the aloe vera plant stimulate regeneration of the skin and 'cools' redness or burn from the skin. This is due to the natural phytochemicals within the aloe vera plant itself.

When using aloe vera, choose the lowest leaves to harvest (cut), as they are the oldest and hold the most medicinal value. Once you have the leaf, just cut the sides off and fillet it like a fish to expose the insides. You can use that to rub directly on the desired area. When the leaf seems to have dried up, use a clean knife to slice across, exposing more aloe vera juice to use. Any unused portion can be wrapped and kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Taken internally, the aloe vera juice is said to help digestion. The plant is also being tested for its healing powers for certain cancers and AIDS - although the results are not in yet. But that is pretty exciting research!

So, get yourself an aloe vera plant - they are very easy to grow and maintain and are useful to have around.

June 26, 2009

Marigold Seeds for Sale

Hey everyone!

I have just listed orange marigold seeds for sale on ebay. The packet I've put together is 50 seeds but if you mention this post in your paypal payment, I'll add another 50 to your pack.

They are seeds that I collected from my own garden and I have never used pesticides or any chemicals on my plants. The marigold seeds have produced beautifully for me!

Check it out on ebay:


June 23, 2009

Grape Wreath Bird Bath

I was reading Family Fun magazine and they had a birdbath project in there that was simple and really turned out nice! Check it out..

You'll need: a grapevine wreath - mine is about 18 inches but you could get a smaller one, a ceramic plant saucer that fits in the hole - mine is about 15 inches, and some twine - I bought some 47lb test jute at the craft store that seems to work nicely.

Cut 3 strips of the jute about 5 feet long a piece. Tie them in a knot at the bottom, leaving a little tail. Spread them out evenly and place the wreath in the center. Tie it up where you want it outside - place the saucer in the wreath and fill it with water.

Voila a birdbath!

June 19, 2009

The Great Sunflower Project

Part of the reason that we have so many sunflowers in our garden is because we are participating in a project called The Great Sunflower Project.

The organization sent us sunflower seeds and we agreed to: plant them, register our garden and record the comings and goings of different types of bees. We're helping them count bees! Cool, right?

You can participate too. Go to http://www.greatsunflower.org/ and sign up! You can't get free seeds but you can buy lemon queen sunflower seeds anywhere, so get going and get planting!