Real Mulch vs. Rocks Does it Matter?

In the Garden with Maria

One of the most frequent questions I get from neighbors is, “Why do you use pine straw for mulch instead of the rocks our landscaper encouraged us to use?”

Pine Straw - mlm cThe first thing to understand is that the sandy soil here is almost worthless, and needs to be amended with good top soil, cow or chicken manure, or compost, then covered with a good thick layer of a biodegradable mulch that will continually nourish your plants and trees, retain moisture, keep roots cool, and prevent weed seeds from getting enough sunlight to germinate.

The second thing to understandis that your landscaper wants your money — as much of it as possible. Rocks are far more expensive than good biodegradable mulch, and aside from being temporarily low-maintenance, there is nothing good rocks can or will do for your plants. Why do I say temporarily low-maintenance? Because they are rarely, if ever, put…

View original post 1,265 more words

Planting a Night Garden

In the Garden with Maria

Night gardens are are bright and pretty in daylight, and ethereal and romantic at night. If you ever plant one, you will never want to be without one again. These Florida Sunrise caladiums are the beginnings of my new night garden; and they will brighten up a dark corner of our back yard. This is part of the overall design of our back yard. As you can see, the turf grass in this spot is not doing very well because the area stays very damp because it wasn’t graded properly, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.  So I am filling this spot with plants that don’t mind  having wet feet. Caladiums are in the same family as elephant ears, and they need lots of water. What better place to put them?

Rear Caladium Sweep - mlm c@

By next summer (2016) the sweep of caladiums above will look like the ones below.

Sweep - mlm c@

This photo was taken in the late-afternoon, so the sunset…

View original post 328 more words

Visiting My Daughter, Planting Flowers, Making Jewelry, Teaching Her to Knit

In the Garden with Maria

Flower Photo

I left home last Wednesday to visit my lovely daughter. We have been staying up late talking and laughing, going out to lunch, and visiting lots of really neat little shops.

She wanted to brighten up the front entrance to her home. She lives in a Williamsburg-style townhouse with no yard, and only a tiny front porch. So we have some waxed begonia cuttings that we will put in a pot for her porch. Here they are on the right. These flowers are shade-lovers, and she has the perfect place to put them.

Bracelet I Made

We’ve also been making jewelry, going to Starbucks, of course, and just catching up with each other. I am so blessed to have such a close wonderful relationship with my daughter.

I’m making a bracelet like this one today, with her help, of course. You can see it on her Etsy shop. Here’s the link: Designs By LolaBelle

View original post 103 more words

Gardens Grow Even When the Gardener is Away

Checkout the bracelets my Mom made, with a little help from me, during her recent visit!! We had sooo much fun!!

In the Garden with Maria

Basil - picked - mlm c This is a lot of basil.

Whether you are at home or away, your garden keeps growing. On Monday evening, I returned from a wonderful visit with my daughter. Even though I was gone less than a week, I could see a lot of growth in my tiny garden. The basil had grown far too tall — one stem was trying to bolt, so I immediately pinched off that flower bud. The rosemary is getting tall, too. It will soon need trimming. My spaghetti squash plant had produced a new baby squash.

The next morning, I cut back the basil. The above photo shows how much I got from only 3 plants. This container is one of those buckets that you put ice into for keeping bottled and canned drinks cold during a party or cookout. It was running over with basil. That’s a lot of basil.

Normally, I wouldn’t cut more…

View original post 641 more words

My Aggies Have Gone to Seed – I Miss Them Already

In the Garden with Maria

L of N Close - mlm c

I’m missing my Aggies already. My Lily of the Nile, also known as African Blue Lily, but often affectionately called “Aggies” due to their botanical name Agapanthus africanus, have come and gone. We had summer-like temperatures early this spring, so they bloomed earlier than usual around here. They also seemed to last longer — what a pleasant surprise. I always hate to see them go.

These beauties live up to their name which comes from the Greek words “agape,” meaning unconditional, sacrificial love (such as that between parent and child) and “anthus,” meaning flower. They bloom in clusters of small blue, violet-blue, or white flowers that look like tiny lilies. Those clusters are completely round, globe shapes, called “umbels”, that can a have anywhere from 30 to 100 tiny flowers. Mine typically have about 80 – 100. These plants perform best in Zones 8 – 11. However…

View original post 424 more words