Rose Garden – 1 of 3

lone-roseBush roses are generally upright growing plants that bear flowers mainly on top of the plant. Needing no support, these roses may grow from 5 or 6 inches to 5 or 6 feet tall, depending on the type and climate. The types of bush roses include hybrid teas, polyanthas, floribundas, grandifloras, miniatures, and heritage roses.

* Hybrid teas are the most widely grown of all roses. The long, narrow buds open into large, many-petaled blooms, one each to a long stem. Blooming throughout the growing season, a wide range of colors are available and many are fragrant. The upright, branching plants grow 3 feet or more tall.

* Floribundas, recognized as a group since the mid-1940’s, are derived and refined from the hybrid teas. The hardy, compact, 2- to 3-foot bushes bear great quantities of flower clusters on medium-length stems all summer long. The foliage, flower form, and color range is similar to hybrid teas, with many varieties being fragrant. They among the easiest roses to grow and are excellent for landscaping.

* Grandifloras exhibit the best attributes of hybrid teas and floribundas, although the upright bushes usually grow much larger than either, sometimes reaching 5 or 6 feet tall. This makes them striking accent plants for the back of the flower border, for example. Beautifully formed flowers are borne in clusters on long stems. They are hardy and continually in bloom.

* Miniatures roses are a tiny version of any of the other types, usually growing less than 2 feet tall. Blooms and foliage are proportionately smaller, too, but still quite perfect in form. They are hardy and excellent for edgings and mass plantings, among herbs, and in raised beds and container plants.

* Heritage, or old, roses are those that were developed by plant breeders prior to 1867, the date established by the American Rose Society in commemoration of the first hybrid tea rose, La France. Basically direct descendants of the species roses, there are many different plant and flower forms among the heritage roses. Some of these antique types include the Albas, Bourbons, Centifolias, Damasks, Gallicas, Mosses, Noisettes, and Rugosas.

Climbing Roses have long, arching canes that don’t actually climb but must be attached to supports such as trellises, arbors, posts, or fences. There are many different colors and types of blooms available. The large-flowered climbers have stiff, thick canes 10 feet or so long and bloom either continuously or at least several times during summer and fall. Ramblers have longer, thinner canes with clusters of small flowers borne once in late spring or early summer.

Shrub and Ground Cover Roses grow broadly upright with gracefully arching canes. Most are very hardy and require little maintenance. Depending on the variety, they may be 4 to 12 feet tall with many canes and thick foliage, making them ideal for hedges as well as background and mass plantings. The flowers may be single (five petals), semi-double, or double and are borne at the ends of canes and on branches along the canes. Some types bloom just once in the spring while others flower continuously during the growing season. Shrub roses frequently produce red, orange, or yellow hips (seed pods) after flowering. These are high in Vitamin C and can be used in cooking; plus, the birds like them for winter food, and they can be used in flower arrangements.

Ground cover roses are prostrate or slightly mounding plants with canes trailing along the ground. Flowers may be produced just in the spring or repeatedly throughout the summer at the ends of canes as well as on branches along the canes.
texas-yellow-rose

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Pansies Add Color To Your Fall Garden

pansies Pansies will bloom into spring through early summer, with repeat blooming in the fall. In USDA hardness zones 7 – 9 can grow pansies throughout the winter and there are newer varieties, like the ice pansy, are bred to withstand light snows.

Pansies are popular and a recognizable cool weather annuals. Breeding has produced pansies that are better able to stand up to the cold, but there hasn’t been much luck producing more heat tolerant varieties. Many pansies are bi-colored, making them striking plants for their small size. Although delicate, they are surprisingly hardy.

Compact, low growers, pansies are ideal for edging and for squeezing between rock walls and paths, as long as they can be removed in summer. They’re a great choice for early and late season containers and complement spring flowering bulbs, flowering as the bulb foliage begins to fade. If you like the variety of colors but still want a sense of cohesion, select plants from the same series. They’ll be similar in size and markings, regardless of the color.

Pansies are not fussy plants, they will grow best in a loose, rich soil with a slightly acid soil. They flower best in full sun and will get spindly in deep shade. Pansies do not like heat at all and will begin to decline as the days warm up. When buying plants, choose pansies that are stocky, bushy and have plenty of buds. Avoid buying plants with full open blooms. **Note: Pansies can be difficult to start from seed.

You can allow your pansy plants to remain in your garden and rest during the hottest months, they will probably begin blooming again in the fall. Shearing the plants back when they start to set seed, will encourage new growth. Dead heading will encourage more blooms. Occasionally aphids will attack pansies. Insecticidal soap should remove them. A mixture of ‘Blue Dawn’ dish soap is a cheap and very effective in killing aphids.

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Monday’s Thought Of The Day

An Old Man’s Perspective: Ten things to consider.

1. I’m not saying let’s go kill all the stupid people. I’m just
saying let’s remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out.

2. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People move out of the way much faster now.

3. You can tell a lot about a woman’s mood just by her hands. If
they are holding a gun, she’s probably mad.

4. Gone are the days when girls cooked like their mothers. Now
they drink like their fathers.

5. You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like
someone you’ve just met? That’s common sense leaving your body.

6. I don’t like making plans for the day. Because then the word
“premeditated” gets thrown around in the courtroom.

7. I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes 1,500 days in a
row.

8. I decided to change calling the bathroom the John and renamed it the Jim. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

9. Dear paranoid people who check behind shower curtains for
murderers: If you find one, what’s your plan?

10. Everyone has a right to be stupid. Politicians just abuse the
privilege.

Don’t Kiss That Chick…..en – You Can’t make This Stuff Up!

Source CDC: Don’t kiss your pet chicken

Big Smile, Just how many people do you know that gives a big old kiss to a chicken, turkey duck or goose?

Use a bit of common sense, wash your hands after handling poultry. Hehehe, wash you mouth out with soap after kissing said birds!…….

Center for Disease Control(CDC) put out a warning asking chicken owners not to snuggle or kiss their birds for fear of contracting salmonella.

Dr. Robert Glatter said “Chickens actually have salmonella naturally and they don’t get sick from it, but humans do, and the main symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.”

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Food Waste – Don’t Do It!


Here I go ‘Again’ my annual rant about Food Waste.

My daughter shops on Friday. Before putting away her groceries she checks the dates on food in her refrigerator and pantry. If she sees a date any date that has passed she throws out the food produce.
She refuses to believe if food is canned is frozen it is still safe to ate and sends it to the pigs.

Call me a pig. If I am present, I collect up all the food and take it home. Many time I will have 2 or sometimes 3 days worth of food that I have collected from my daughter. That’s ‘Free’ food for me.

Studies in the U.S.A. and the UK have found that the average family sends up to 1/3 (33 percent) of their food budget to the land fill needlessly. The main cause is people in general don’t understand Best used by date stamped on food packages really means.

Best if used by date Does Not, let me say that again, Does Not mean that the food has gone bad and is unsafe to eat after ‘Best used by date. What it does mean is the Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.

EXAMPLES OF SHELF LIFE:

Recent scientific studies on dehydrated(dry) foods have shown that food stored properly can last for a much longer period of time than previously thought. This research determined the “life sustaining” shelf life to be the following:

Dry Food Item Shelf Life
Wheat, White Rice, and Corn 30 years or more
Pinto Beans, Apple Slices, Macaroni 30 years
Rolled Oats, and Potato Flakes 30 years
Powdered Milk 20 years

Hint: I use 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon canning jars to store dry food products.
Fill your jars all the way to the top eliminating all air space.
Light is your enemy. Consider spray painting your jars black to protect your foods from being exposed to sun light.

U.S. Army study. If a product is correctly processed, it should remain safe until opened or the seal is broken. The U.S. Army has found that canned meats, vegetables and jam were in “excellent states of preservation” after 45 years.
However, long storage is not recommended. For high quality (versus safety), the broadest guideline given by the U.S.D.A. is to use high-acid canned food (fruits, tomatoes and pickled products) within 2 to 3 years, and low-acid (meats and vegetables) within 2 to 5 years.

Oscar Pike a food scientist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah said “It (canned foods) lasts a lot longer than we thought. Certain foods like sugar and salt can be stored indefinitely.
In one study, researchers taste tested rolled oats that had been stored in sealed containers for 28 years. Three fourths of tasters considered the oats taste acceptable to eat.

It is important to first identify what is meant by “food storage” and “shelf life. Best if used by date “Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.
Life sustaining shelf life – Length of time food preserves life, without becoming inedible.

Food storage Hints:
Temperature: Excessive temperature is damaging to food storage. With increased temperature, proteins breakdown and some vitamins will be destroyed. The color, flavor and odor of some products may also be affected. To enhance shelf life, store food at room temperature or below; never store food in an attic or garage.

Moisture: Excessive moisture can result in product deterioration and spoilage by creating an environment in which microorganisms may grow and chemical reactions can take place.

Oxygen: The oxygen in air can have deteriorative effects on fats, food colors, vitamins, flavors, and other food constituents. It can cause conditions that will enhance the growth of microorganisms.

Light: The exposure of foods to light can result in the deterioration of specific food constituents, such as fats, proteins, and vitamins, resulting in discoloration, off-flavors, and loss of vitamins.

It is important for you to keep food stored at as cool and steady a temperature as possible (below 75 degrees but above freezing). This is the best and most important thing individuals can do to keep their long term food viable. If done correctly, your food storage could last 20-30+ years, depending on the product and storage conditions.

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Spring Flower Gardens – Plan Now!

Spring flowering bulbs, need to ordered soon, spring flower beds will need to be dug and amended with compost and fertilizer. It won’t be all that long until we are nearing the optimum planting time in northern cool/cold weather states.

Flowering bulb Planting Chart

Garlic while not a flowering spring bulb, needs to be planted about the same time you plant your spring flowering bulbs. Plant individual cloves 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart.

Bulb beds ‘Must’ be well drained. Bulbs like damp not wet soil. Bulbs exposed to prolonged periods of cool wet soil will soon rot in the ground resulting in a waste of both time and money and a failed spring flower garden.

For a longer blooming season, mix your garden with early, middle and late season blooming bulbs. Tulips and other bulbs have very well defined bloom times. A bit of research and planning can keep color in your garden for many weeks. Whether you purchase your bulbs locally or mail order them, keep your bulbs cool.
If you’ve purchased bulbs early, when you can get the best selections, store them in a cool, dark place. A basement or an unheated closet is good choice. Don’t store bulbs in plastic containers. You’ll shorten the life of your bulbs if they aren’t exposed to fresh air. Use brown paper bags or boxes. Handle your bulbs gently they are easily bruised and this may cause them to rot in the soil after planting.

Till your bulb bed soil deep as possible, 10 to 12 inches deep, amending your soil with peat moss or well decomposed compost.

Bulbs will grow better in well drained and aerated soil. Grouped, but random. Scatter bulbs randomly in groups of 6 to 18 for the best combination of color and natural appearance. Be sure to maintain the minimum spacing specified on the packaging your bulbs came in.

Proper planting is important. Dig your planting holes, see planting chart for recommended planting depth. When you place your bulb in its hole, remember roots {large} end down, pointy side up. Don’t allow your bulbs to lay on their sides when covering them with soil.

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Weather Scientists – You Got To Love Them

Last week the poles were melting and many major cities of the world would be flooded. Crops would fail. Droughts would engulf the world. Thousands would die from the heat and starvation.
Grin … but this week scientist warn us to stock up on fire wood and buy wool clothing.

Weather Scientists say “Earth heading for ‘mini ice age”. Within 15 years River Thames could freeze over in the 2030s when Northern Hemisphere faces bitterly cold winters.

Scientists have predict a “mini ice-age” that will cause bitterly cold winters. Solar researchers at the University of Northumbria have created a new model of the sun’s activity which they claim produces “unprecedentedly accurate predictions”.
Solar activity will fall by 60 percent according to Prof Valentina Zharkova.

In the cycle between 2030 and around 2040. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum'”.
Maunder minimum, indicating low sunspot activity, was the name given to the period between 1645 and 1715, when Europe and North America experienced very cold winters.

Source The telegraph News Site.

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Hibiscus syriacus (Hardy Hibiscus) – Rose of Sharon

blue rose of sharon Hibiscus syriacus (in the USA commonly called Rose of Sharon), name is misleading. These plants originated in the Far East but, because winter can be harsh in their native home, they are well suited to many climate zones, cold, hot, moist and dry growing conditions.

They are unusual, they can be bare of leaves until May. You might be wondering whether your plant has died, and then, one day, it regains its oak-like foliage.
Summer may be just turning into autumn when the leaves turn yellow and fall, leaving more flower buds still to open.

white rose of sharon The flowers of the single varieties are composed of five petals, from which obtrudes an imposing column of stamens. ‘W R Smith’ has had its admirers half a century, but now it is being challenged by the beautiful `Diana’. Both are of American origin.

French gardeners, skill in tailoring woody plants exploited, hibiscus bushes are often trained as standards(small tree form). The practice could be adopted any where that you can grow hardy Hibiscus.
Hibiscus responds well to hard annual pruning in the same way rose bushes do.

Hibiscus flower on this season’s growth, so hard pruning that leads to the production of many side shoots makes them flower prolifically. Every sub-branch that springs from the main trunk(branches) and is cut back will produce four new shoots in three or four months, each bearing clusters of flower buds by late summer. If these are cut away the following season, another relay of shoots and flowers will spring from the cut branches.
To make sure that hardy hibiscus produce plenty of flower buds, it is important to plant them in an open sunny position. They also like plenty of humus worked into the planting sites. An annual dose of rose fertiliser will promotes tough growth.

Hint: To train a bush into a standard, select the strongest main branch and tie it to a cane pushed into the soil at the base of the plant. Remove other branches but shorten only the shoots that spring directly from the selected branch. Tie in the tip as it elongates and shorten to a couple of inches any side shoots that develop. After the standard has reached 4ft, remove the tip in spring and encourage the branches that form to become the head by letting them develop to a foot or so. Cut them back by half the next spring. Only when the head has formed and the trunk thickened enough to stand without support, should all side branches be removed.

How to grow: Hibiscus The (London) Telegraph.

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Lamb That Glows In The Dark(GMO) Sold For Human Consumption

A genetically modified research lamb bred to have the DNA of a jellyfish was sold to a slaughterhouse

According to ABC News, “The lamb was born to a genetically modified ewe that had a gene derived from jellyfish, resulting in a ‘green fluorescent protein’ that makes certain cells florescent.

The incident is believed to have been a deliberate and malicious act resulting from tensions among the staff.

Note: This occurred in France. However it clearly demonstrates the dangers involved in controlling GMO’s.

Send a loud NO message to companies that are involved in Genetic Modification of plants and animals.

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Apples and Bamboo Who Knew

The 2 – dwarf Red Delicious and 1 – Golden Delicious apple trees arrived last Wednesday, however the soil has been far to wet to dig and plant my trees.
They are bare root but I am well pleased. All 3 stand 4 feet tall and about 5/8 inch at their trunk base. Well worth the $9.00 per tree investment, even if it is a really bad time of the year to plant bare root trees.

These trees will go in the ground in the morning. Staking may not be required but with our sometimes stiff winds I will feel better if I stake them. Hehehe… better safe than sorry.

FYI – I selected the Red/Golden Delicious varieties because they will produce well in-spite of my normal summer heat. Many varieties do not produce or grow well south of zone 5 or 6a.

I off on a new Adventure. While in Dallas, Texas this past week, daughter Michelle L saw a planting of Bamboo and fell in love with it. So, being a old guy Grin … with a lot time on my hands, I did what any one would do. I Googled it!

Much to my surprise, the first business I looked at has 300 That’s Right, 300 Bamboo Varieties in their catalog. Even more amazing to me was the number that are cold hearty as far north as USDA Zone 5.

Bamboo is not cheap. Prices range from $20.00 to $100.00 plus shipping for a 1 gallon potted plant.

The truth is I don’t think any Bamboo that gets over about 15 feet tall can stand up to our 60 or sometimes 70 MPH winds and cold hearty to -10 degrees. With this in mind it limits my choices to about 7 varieties.

The sales pitch.

A.-gigantea2 Arundinaria gigantea Common Name: River Cane or Canebreak bamboo
Diameter: 1 inch
Hardiness: -10° F

This species, along with its shorter form, ‘Tecta’, are the only bamboos native to the United States. It was once widespread in the southeast, growing in Florida and as far north as Ohio and Maryland.
The ‘Tecta’ form looks similar but only grows 6-8 feet tall and is tolerant of wet soil.
A variety called ‘Macon’ is rumored to grow more upright and to be cold tolerant to -22 F. We cannot verify if this is true.

P.arcana'Luteosulcata' Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’
Diameter: 1-2 inches
Hardiness: 0° F

This rare bamboo has zigzag culms that look different than the more common “Yellow Groove” . The yellow strip along the sulcus is also brighter. A small to medium height Phyllostachys with slender, smooth canes. It is best used as a specimen plant in a visible area where people can appreciate its unusual curvature. It is adapted to grow in most places within the United States, from zone 6 through 10.

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Alata' Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Alata’
Common Name: Crookstem Bamboo
Diameter: 2 inches
Hardiness: -10° F
This is the all-green form of Yellow Groove Bamboo. It has many culms with sharp bends near the base. This attribute gives this plant its common name. This form is larger than the species. Crookstem bamboo although having the crooks near the base is very erect and makes a good hedge or screen.

Happy Note. The area selected to plant Bamboo is 10 feet wide 20 feet long and is bordered by a concrete curb 12 inches in the ground. This should contain this plant in the event it likes it here and grows well.

With $36.00 shipping cost, 3 different bamboo varieties in 1 gallon pots will cost about $111.00 shipped to my front door.

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