for April 18, 2015
This Week's Gardening Ideas:
The most popular images last week from our plant database:
Noteworthy acorn tips given this week:6 people gave for a photo of Rhododendrons (Rhododendron) by jon
4 people gave for post #826039 in "Blooming Bulbs 2015" by gemini_sage
2 people gave for post #828839 in "Banner for April 14, 2015 by Lestv" by Lestv
2 people gave for the idea "Azalea: Spectacular Shrub of the South" by SongofJoy
2 people gave for post #829392 in "How to kill Johnson Grass in Asparagus bed???" by dyzzypyxxy
2 people gave for post #831032 in "Micro badge idea thread" by Horntoad
2 people gave for the idea "Japanese Irises" by pardalinum
2 people gave for post #828858 in "What would you do?" by Leftwood
One person gave for the Multi-Plant Photo #2863 by Paul2032
One person gave for a photo of Tall Bearded Iris (Iris 'Autumn Explosion') by UndertheSun
The most active threads this week:
Some new reviews from the ATP Green Pages:
recommended Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses, Inc.
Received my 9 African violets today from Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses. They arrived well wrapped in little tubes
Each of the tubes had an individual plant marker taped to it:
They were all very healthy looking, and 5 of the 9 had flowers.
recommended Heirloom Seeds
I've always had good luck with seeds I've ordered from Heirloom Seeds. They are a very small, family-run business so shipping can be quite slow at times. But for me, the quality of the seeds compensates for the delivery times. Generous seed packets and very reasonably priced.
recommended Dixondale Farms
I've resisted writing a review of any company over the years. This is my first evaluation. They all (in my opinion) try to maintain a good reputation by supplying reasonable products with satisfactory service and costs. I guess this is called competition in the marketplace, but there is one company out there that excels above the "norm" for good customer service, quality, prices, and dependability. It is, of course, Dixondale Farms. I've ordered from them since about 2008, and I have never encountered a problem of any kind that I can recall.
Their service is excellent without question. Orders are shipped in two-day flat-rate boxes, always arriving in good condition. The quality of their plants is the finest I've seen anywhere, and their prices are very reasonable, if not the best -- including local nursery offerings. Monthly newsletters from Dixondale give tips for growing, fertilizing, and harvesting onions: all from an expert in the business, Bruce "Onionman" Frasier. Here are some pictures of onions I've raised from them.
recommended Tropical Plants & More
When I decided to grow orchids again, after an almost twenty-year hiatus, I was a little worried: My original attempts had been in Houston, Texas, where you can succeed merely by hanging your plants from trees or fences with dappled shade. Need more orchids? There are several commercial growers with wide varieties of species. Want a book or two? Bookstores abound.
Now, however, I am permanently ensconced on a ranch in, as we say, "thuh meedull uv eyus Tayxus." Immediately after moving here, I became aware of several serious obstacles to successful orchid growing (besides understanding whut thuh fowks wur sayun): Humidity? None. Heat? Can you say "112 for 90 consecutive days?" Dappled shade? My section of East Texas has scattered Live Oaks which have total shade, a few pines, and thorn trees with thorns big enough to hang an orchid--if you live through the hanging! "That's the end of my orchid growing," I thought.
And then--well, you know, you can't live without them. Shopping on the Internet seemed the only possibility. I ordered a few plants here, a few plants there with mixed results. Some growers sent what Ken would describe as "babies," some sent okay plants with roots so brown and wizened that they were terminally bound from the start. I got plants packed in wads of cotton, plants packed exclusively in duct tape, plants in peanuts, in wadded newspaper, in nothing. They were identified with little flags on sticks sorta stuck in the medium, with little plastic tabs identifying the plant with smeared pencil, with tags on wires which cut into the plant, with no plant attached. How was one to know? They all looked beautiful in the sales pictures.
And then I found Ken. With Ken, plants are wrapped like babies (you will notice that he refers to them as "he" and "she"). They arrive in layers of packing: moss around the base, followed by carefully-wrapped newspaper, held in place by nice, strong but easy-to-remove masking tape. The plants are then boxed in good sturdy boxes filled with peanuts. No surprise that they are in great shape when they arrive.
Because of my problematic growing conditions, I needed lots of advice, and there was Ken, by phone and by Internet, with advice about whatever I need advice about. My plants prospered, grew and bloomed. I ordered more (no more shopping for growers, of course!). The new plants arrived quickly and healthy, because Ken monitors the weather and ships accordingly.
After a year, one of the multitude bit the dust (literally), a victim of heat, direct sun, and too little water. Obviously my fault, right? Wrong! Next time I talked to Ken, I mentioned it, confessing my sins or omission, and told him it was a plant I had ordered long ago, with my first purchase. He immediately said he'd replace it--just get him the name..
Ken's stock includes other tropicals and I am now waiting for a plumeria to arrive, but primarily Ken's my go-to guy for orchids; he should be yours.
recommended Edible Landscaping
I received my order of Currant and Elderberry bushes yesterday. I was truly impressed. The plants looked sturdy, were of good size and very healthy, and they were perfectly packed for shipping. I give this nursery a big thumbs up!
We keep growing, because ATP is where all the excitement is these days! Check out these numbers from last week:
- 386 members joined.
- 5,051 posts written.
- 1,609 images posted to the plant database.
- 660 plants added to personal inventory lists.