Monday, September 30, 2013

Echium or pride of Madira

Light: Full Sun
Height: 5 feet to 8 feet
Width: 5 feet to 6 feet
Bloom Color: Blue
Leaf Color: Green, Silvery
Special Features: All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Not North American native
Shape: Rounded
Fertilizer: Sea sol Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
Want to know where Pride of Madeira will thrive in your house or garden? A Plant Sensor will give you a plant's-eye view of your environment to measure soil, sunlight, temperature and humidity.

Plant Care

Sow seeds of annuals species in spring; sow perennial and biennial species in summer. Root semi-ripe cuttings of shrubby perennials in midsummer.

Plant Growth:
Echium grows best with full sun, and thrives in areas with hot summers. Species are drought tolerant, but cannot withstand temperatures below 30ºF. Where hardy, grow Echium in an annual, mixed, or herbaceous border. They also make good container plants. Elsewhere, raise Echium indoors.

Flowers are borne from spring to summer. They attract bees, butterflies, and birds.
Soil that is too rich will hinder flower formation.
Soil and Irrigation:
Outdoors, Echium does well with poor, dry soils. For indoor plants, use a standard soil-based potting mix. Water freely during the growing season; water sparingly in winter.

Plants should be cut back hard before winter.
Slugs are known to attack young growth. Other pests include whiteflies and spider mites.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Effective Composting

The Zeal Group

What is composting?
Composting is nature’s own recycling program. In time, organisms will break down the ingredients listed below into rich, dark crumbly compost - nature’s own nutrient-rich fertiliser.

How does composting work and how long does it take?
Natural composting, or decomposition, occurs all the time in nature. Home composting generally takes two months or more. The more you turn and mix the contents - adding air in the process - the more rapid the composting action will be.

The right conditions include
the right ratio of nitrogen to carbon - equal amounts of ‘greens’ (kitchen scraps) for nitrogen and ‘browns’ (fallen leaves and woody material) for carbon
the right amount of water (feels like a damp sponge)
good drainage (to remove excess moisture)
enough oxygen (turned often)
What can you compost at home?
Vegetable and fruit scraps
Fallen leaves
Grass clippings
Finely chipped branches
Used vegetable cooking oil
Tea leaves, tea bags
Coffee grounds
Vacuum cleaner dust
Egg shells
Sheets of newspaper
Paper bags
Shredded paper
What can’t you compost?
Metal, plastic, glass
Meat and dairy products (attract rodents)
Large branches
Plant bulbs (need specialised treatment)
Droppings of meat-eating animals (e.g. dogs)
Grubs in your compost?
Sometimes in compost bins there are many segmented brown grubs. These are the larvae of the beneficial Soldier Fly. They are not pests, nor will they cause health problems.

Mulches can prevent up to 73% evaporation loss and they are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make the most of water in the garden.
The best mulch is a well-rotted compost which will also improve the soil structure and stimulate the biological life of the soil. Place the mulch away from the trunk to prevent collar rot.
Do not apply mulch more than 75-100 mm in thickness or water may not easily penetrate into the soil.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Planting Bulbs

The possibilities when gardening with bulbs are endless.

Bulbs are loved the world over for their clear colors and some for their unique fragrance. Tulips, freesias, daffodils, hyacinths and many more will enhance your garden and give pleasure to your senses.
Most bulbs prefer to be planted in sunny spots, but you will find that they will also grow with some shade.Easy to grow, bulbs require only a little care and attention to give a beautiful and colorful display. You can have a spectacular spring garden outside and spotted color inside.

VARIETIES - There is a big and interesting range of bulbs to choose from. For full sun, choose anemones, daffodils, Dutch iris, ixia, lachenalias, ranunculus, sparaxis and tritonia. For areas with some shade choose bluebells, daffodils, freesias, grape hyacinths, tulips and hyacinths.

WHEN TO PLANT - The best time to plant for most bulbs is between March and May - tulips in May and hyacinths in March/April.

WHERE TO PLANT - The majority of bulbs prefer sun but will accept broken shade, or shade for part of the day. They do not like poorly drained, wet soils and definitely prefer cool soil. Bulbs such as anemones, ranunculus and sparaxis prefer sunny spots.

PREPARATION AND PLANTING - It is not difficult to prepare a soil suitable to grow beautiful bulbs. Loosen the soil in a sunny well drained spot to spade depth and add some YATES BULB FOOD, raking it through. Add some compost too to help keep the soil rich and friable. When planting bulbs, you can choose how you want them placed, either individually

You should only fill the container so that the the tips of the bulbs are level with, or just above the rim. Once this is done, fill the pot to the rim, and firm the mixture around the bulbs. Create an artificial winter for hyacinths and tulips by keeping them in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for about 2 - 3 weeks prior to planting. The container of flowering bulbs may be brought indoors when the flowering commences.

FEEDING - The major cause of failure to flower is under- feeding of bulbs. Like most plants they require some fertilizer from time to time. Incorporate a liberal dressing of YATES BULB FOOD into the soil about one week prior to planting. Feed the bulbs as they grow, and add some more YATES BULB FOOD just before the buds show color. Feed with PHOSTROGEN every three weeks during the flowering period. About a month after the flowers have finished, before the foliage has died down, feed again with YATES BULB FOOD.

WATERING:- Once planted, you should water occasionally for 8 - 10 weeks, so that they don't dry out. Don't be too heavy handed but gradually increase the watering as the plants grow.

- Posted by Zeal Property Maintenance P/L from iPad.