Problem: Few or no blooms. Solution: Your flowering plant may need more light. Try giving it brighter light, such as an eastern exposure, or put it in a spot that gets more hours of light each day. Be careful not to give it direct sun, however; windows can intensify sunlight and cause leaves to burn. Orchids with few blooms may take a little more diagnosis. While they could need more light, they may also may require a drop of about 10 degrees F. between day and night temperatures. Some need a rest period between bloom cycles, when you cut back on watering and stop fertilizing. Check with a local orchid grower or nursery for more advice.
A pretty perennial in Zones 4 to 9, anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) brings a pop of purple to the garden. The eye-catching blooms are pollinator magnets, attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Harvest leaves or purple petals to flavor teas and water. You can use either leaves or flowers fresh or dried. Anise hyssop thrives in full sun in well-drained soil.
Depending on the layout of your patio, an outdoor shower could be part of your design and create an interesting focal point. If you have outdoor plumbing, you are on your way to making this possible, says Leigh Spicher, Ashton Woods’ national director of design studios. Frame a small enclosure and treat with a teak accent. This one by Ashton Woods designers extends above the wall, but yours would be less detailed and require fewer materials. You also can use the shower to water your container plants.
If they’re keep in a cool spot (but out of drafts), poinsettias can last long past the holidays. Give your plant bright, indirect light and water when the soil starts to feel dry. As with most houseplants, avoid overwatering, and drain the saucer, so the plants’ roots won’t rot. Use a balanced fertilizer every couple of weeks to feed the poinsettia as long as it’s actively growing. Getting the plant to rebloom next year is difficult; most people compost their poinsettias and buy new ones each season. You can also keep them to enjoy as green houseplants after all the red "leaves" drop.
Position microgardens on balconies where there is structural strength. Moist soil gets very heavy, so consider the total weight (soil + pot + plants + water) of each container, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. You may need to consult an engineer to find out if the structural capacity can handle the additional weight. It is wise to position heavy pots close to the strength of the structural wall or around the perimeter.
Rain gardens can even pop up and work effectively on parking lot areas. After removing asphalt, a rain garden basin could be built along this parking area of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a shipping and cargo company at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. A traditional rain garden basin planting features a mix of shrubs, perennials and ground covers. The green container is a rain garden in a box. Rain gardens at this site handle roughly 250,000 gallons of rain water runoff annually, which reduces the amount of toxic pollutants washing into nearby Commencement Bay. If designers can build a working rain garden on a parking lot, you can make one work in your yard.
If you can provide impatiens with enough humidity, these pretty annuals will add color to your windowsill garden for weeks. While they tolerate the average home temperature, they need at least 50% humidity. Group them with other plants, grow them in a bathroom or near the kitchen sink, or sit their pots in shallow trays filled with pebbles and a little water to give them the moisture they need. Another option: mist your impatiens daily.
Problem: Lower leaves turn yellow and drop. Solution: Several issues can cause foliage to turn yellow and fall off. First, be sure you’re not overwatering or underwatering. To check for signs of overwatering, gently ease the plant out of its pot and look for rotting or blackened roots. Leaf drop can also result from insufficient light, so try moving your plant to a brighter spot. Finally, make sure you’re using the right fertilizer for your plant, and feed as directed on the label. This Zamioculcas, or ZZ plant, seldom has these kinds of problems. It's tough enough to tolerate low light and little water.
The Huron River, a 130-mile-long river runs through Ann Arbor before emptying into Lake Erie. Running through several parks, the Huron River is a hub for outdoor recreation, including canoeing, kayaking and fishing. With a generally slow current and only minor rapids or obstructions, the Huron River has prime canoeing conditions. Fishermen can find blue crappie, largemouth bass, rock bass sunfish, catfish, trout and more varieties of fish living in the water
A semi-tarnished champagne bucket or used water pitcher can make a chic and unique flower vase, says Michiel Perry, founder of Black Southern Belle. If you have a covered porch or patio, don't be afraid to buy indoor pieces and spray paint them with outdoor protectant, she adds. Also, you can create a bar cart by buying an existing side table or thrift store steal and gluing a tray you already own to the top it. Then paint it or stamp it with your initials or a welcome message for guests.
You can still grow a tasty crop of spring peas even if you don’t have a big yard. Look for container pea varieties, like this yummy sugar snap type, Little Crunch. With container peas, you may or may not need a trellis; it depends on how tall plants become. Little Crunch grows 24 to 30 inches tall, which makes it a perfect fit for a typical tomato cage. When growing peas in pots, don’t forget to water. Consistent soil moisture—especially once flowers start appearing—helps ensure a sweet harvest. If you battle rabbits in your yard, growing pots of peas can make it easier to beat the bunnies without having to fence a pea patch. Just know that rabbits (and deer) love peas, so you may need to protect pots on an open patio.
Many trees, especially fruit trees, produces water sprouts. These stems grow from the root system and typically don’t produce fruit, which is why they’re also called suckers. Sucker stems can grow large—even to branch size. To remove suckers, you need to dig down to find the starting point and cut it there. Clip suckers at ground level, and the next year two (or more!) will sprout where one grew.
Delicate-looking maidenhair ferns love high humidity, and Victorian gardeners provided it by growing them in Wardian cases, terrarium-like structures made of glass. To give these plants the moist air they crave, mist your fern daily or keep it on top of some pebbles in a tray filled with a little water. These feathery beauties can be finicky, demanding moist, well-draining soil and indirect sun. Don’t let them dry out completely or stand in drafts
While pastel toned tulips are often associated with spring, red tulips are a perfect fit for the holidays. Once cut and placed in vessels, tulips can last up to ten days. Change the water every day or two and also cut the ends of the stems at an angle to ensure the tulips receive proper hydration. For a touch of texture, mix juniper sprigs in with the tulips.
Garden designer Holley Jaakkola's gorgeous home in Savannah's coastal Isle of Hope community 15 minutes from downtown can often suggest a film set. This beautifully manicured, idyllic, old-fashioned 1850 home sits on a quiet country road where children in bathing suits ride bikes and the pace is calm and removed from the fracas of modern life. The home is separated from the water by that narrow road and the entire Isle of Hope community has a sleepy, lost-in-time attitude.
Try something new this year with a space-saving, alternative Christmas tree that can even display cards from friends and family. You'll need: 4x8-foot sheet of luan; latex paint or water-based stain; staining pad (if using stain); drill; 1/2-inch paddle bit; colored craft string; upholstery tacks or push pins; 6-foot strand of 12-gauge wire; tennis ball; picture nail; hammer; battery-operated LED twinkle lights; duct tape in metallic finish; scissors; chalk.
Get the look of an ornamental grass with ‘Bowles Golden’ sedge (Carex elata). This grassy plant pumps out gold leaves that bring a soft glow to part shade bog gardens. Sedge can grow in water 2 to 3 inches deep and does best in acidic soil. Most importantly, it needs constant moisture to thrive. ‘Bowles’ Golden’ carex looks great planted with blue hosta or dark leaf heuchera. Plants grow 24 to 36 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
You can buy commercially-prepared echinacea to make tea, but beware. WedMD warns that some echinacea teas are mislabeled and may contain harmful or even toxic ingredients. Some gardeners make their own tea by brewing a teaspoon or two of dried echinacea in boiling water, and adding a little honey for sweetening. These plants are often used to fight flu and other infections. Shown here: ornamental Big Sky™ 'Summer Sky'™ coneflower Echinacea purpurea x paradoxa.