Tuesday, September 26, 2017

One Fall Centerpiece~Three Tablescapes

 You may remember this centerpiece from my last post for a fall tablescape bloghop. 

Are you remembering the centerpiece now? More views here.

The flowers were still fresh after my last post so I decided to play around a little bit with some other looks using the same flowers. I began by setting the table in the dining room.
Paisley napkins with a fall look, different plates,  chargers, and cutlery changed the look.

 Copper mules added more texture and ball jars used as glasses repeated the blue color in the plates. To add some fall decor, I placed a little velvet pumpkin I made on the plate using a real pumpkin stem.

 The barley twist candlesticks were used again but  using a different table runner and different straw chargers. Using a different table, different dishes and linens would you have remembered the flower arrangement?

Now, for another look using the same centerpiece, I moved back to the kitchen, added a tablecloth, different dishes, silverware, glassware and napkins. 

 I changed the glasses again here still playing around but it was time for dinner so I quickly snapped a  quick pic of our grilled salmon, green beans and potato and carrot medley. My husband did the entire dinner while I was playing in the dishes. I am blessed he likes to cook!
Which is your favorite table?
One Centerpiece~ Three tablescapes!

And here's the encore some of you may have seen on instagram ~ another arrangement using the still fresh roses several days later for a total different look.
Do you like to play in the dishes and the flowers?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Getting Orchids to Rebloom from FTD

Do you love orchids as much as I do? But, I have never been able to get them to rebloom.  For the first time, I actually have two orchids still living months after they quit blooming. You are in for a treat today because FTD has shared another great blog for me to share with my readers and it is about orchids. You may remember the one about hydrangeas here and sunflowers here.  Enjoy!

How to Rebloom Orchids

how to rebloom orchids
Orchids are beautiful and exotic flowers that are associated with fertility, virility and sexuality. They look great in home decor adding elegance and grace to an area. However, many people struggle with how to rebloom orchids.
How long your orchid lasts greatly depends on how well you take care of it. The most beautiful part of the orchid is its blossom and unfortunately it can be difficult to maintain. Caring for orchids can be a tedious process that often ends in frustration. The key is to remain patient and attentive to the flower’s needs throughout its entire development.
The steps to rebloom an orchid for the first time can be difficult to implement without first knowing the general care tips for an orchid. So, we have broken up this guide into two sections for you. The first centers on how to care for your orchid. The second discusses how to make orchids rebloom. We have also included a visual guide at the bottom with the six most important care tips. Happy growing!

How to Care for Your Orchid

Orchids are some of the most commonly-grown houseplants, but they require specific growing conditions. It is important to remember that orchids are very different from most plant species and so the amount of time spent caring for them should reflect that.
Like humans, the manner in which orchids mature is dependent on their environment. So, using caution when maintaining your plant’s habitat is essential to its healthy development. Once you master the basics of orchid care, they become very easy to grow. Here are some quick and easy ways to help your orchid bloom to its full potential:


how to rebloom orchid lighting
  • One of the most difficult parts of growing an orchid is providing it with the correct amount of sunlight. Unlike most plants, orchids need indirect sunlight to bloom.
  • The best way to give your orchid the correct amount of light is to put your plant by east and west-facing windows. If you do not have any windows nearby, a fluorescent light will work too.
  • If your plant develops black tips on its leaves, then it may be getting sunburned. If this happens, you should put your plant in a space where there is less direct sunlight.


how to rebloom orchids environment
  • Orchids grow their best in moderate room temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can handle nighttime temperatures as low as 60 degrees and daytime temperatures as high as 85 degrees. However, this can vary depending on the type of orchid that you are nurturing.
  • It is best to avoid extreme temperature changes or drafts, so we recommend keeping your orchid indoors.
  • It is also important to keep your orchid away from any ripening fruits; they give off a gas that can be harmful to the plant.


how to rebloom an orchid water
  • Most orchids should be watered every week or two. When your orchids soil begins to feel dry, that means it needs to be watered.
  • The best way to water your orchid is to take it out of its container and put it in a plastic grower’s pot.
  • Next, put your orchid under a slow-running tap for 10 to 15 seconds. As you are watering, wet each side of the plant, but avoid the crown and leaves. You can also water your orchid using ice cubes is .
  • Before putting your orchid back in its original pot, let it drip-dry for five to 10 minutes so that the plant is not sitting in water.
  • When your orchid’s soil begins to feel almost dry, it is time to repeat the process.

How to Make Orchids Rebloom

Once your orchid has stopped blooming, it will enter a stage called dormancy. It may seem like your plant is dead at first, but it is not. This dormancy stage is a resting period where the plant has time to replace nutrients that were dispensed during the blooming process. This dormancy stage usually lasts about six to nine months. After that, your orchid will have the energy to rebloom again.
However, sometimes orchids need help with this process and require even more attention than they did before. With the right amount of tender love and care, you can get your orchid to rebloom.
how to make an orchid rebloom
Here are three easy steps to make your orchid rebloom:
  1. Once your orchid enters the dormancy phase and stops blooming, begin fertilizing it. Most orchids will need a balanced houseplant fertilizer (20-20-20). This should be done monthly or weekly depending on the type of orchid that you have.
  2. Move your orchid to a cooler area where the temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your orchid in indirect sunlight at all times.  Do this until a new flower spike emerges.
  3. Once a flower spike has emerged, give it a couple months for the plant to reach about 5’’. Once this happens, it is time to start supporting your spike! You can do this with a loose tie and a stake. If  a couple months pass and you do not see a flower start to emerge, try moving your orchid to a different location. It might not be getting the right temperature or indirect sunlight that it needs.
Once your orchid has started to rebloom, your work is not done! Continue to water and care for your orchid like you normally would and its bloom should last between 30-45 days. If you are lucky, your orchid may be able to bloom twice a year!

Eight Reasons Your Orchid is Not Blooming

Sometimes, even when you give your orchid all the time and care that it needs, it still may not bloom. Here is a list of eight reasons your orchid may not be blooming:
how to rebloom an orchid

1) Not enough light
Orchids should be placed in areas with indirect sunlight. If you plan on putting your orchid somewhere where this is not possible, such as a bedside table or home office, we recommend investing in a grow light.

2) Too much light
Unlike most plants, orchids will die when exposed to too much sun. Direct sunlight will result in the orchid’s leaves becoming sunburned. Make sure your orchid is placed in an area that receives indirect sunlight. If you are planning on using a grow light, set timers to replicate the natural night and daylight process.

3) Temperature
Orchids need to be in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and cannot handle drastic weather changes. For this reason, we recommend keeping your orchid indoors at all times.

4) Fertilizer
If your orchid is in a sterile inorganic potting mix, it may not be getting all the nutrients that it needs. In order to give your orchid the nutrient boost that it requires, we recommend purchasing an urea-free fertilizer.

how to repot an orchid

5) Repotting
When orchids outgrow their containers, their roots can suffocate from lack of proper ventilation. In order to tell whether or not your orchid needs to be repotted, pay attention to your orchid’s roots rather than its foliage. If the roots look brown or are creeping out of the container, it is time to repot.

6) Season
Unlike most garden flowers, orchids bloom their best in the fall. So, you are going to have to pay a lot more attention to your orchid when trying to bloom it in the summer.

7) Too much water
Over-watering your orchid is the number one reason why it may not be blooming.  When you notice your orchid’s leaves wilting or its roots turning brown, this means that it is receiving too much water. If this happens, let the plant dry for about a week before watering again.

8) Too little water
In the same way that over-watering your orchid can negatively affect its growth, under-watering it can do the same. If your orchid’s leaves are looking dry, make sure to water the plant and give it the proper attention that it needs.

Basic Orchid Care In Six Easy Steps

Before you become too overwhelmed with the information we have given you, take a deep breath and review the basics. To make things easier we have created a visual guide of the six most important care tips for you to remember. Once you have these down, getting your orchid to bloom and rebloom should come at ease!
How to rebloom an orchid infographic
Hope you enjoyed the lesson on orchids.
Thank you, FTD. For a full page link click here. Check out their instagram, pinterest, u-tube videos and blog. Please also follow me on instagram, pinterest and sign up to receive my blog in your email.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Late Summer Garden


Today, in my garden, the cardinals are chirping, the squirrels are running from tree to tree, butterflies are flitting about and the hummingbirds are fighting each other.  The sights, sounds, and smells in the garden are like a symphony with each instrument having a turn. Let's view a few sights in my late summer garden.
I enjoy this little bird feeder because I can easily photograph the birds in it. I saw five cardinals gathered around it recently, three of them I believe were juveniles, but unfortunately they didn't stay still long enough to get a picture.
Chickadees are so cute!

I was hoping the squirrels would leave my new feeder alone! They come down the tree and jump onto the feeder. I am afraid they are going to damage it. They are quite greedy and drain the feeder quickly.

My attitude about the squirrels has not been good. I did some research about deterring them from feeders. One article said to sprinkle ground cayenne red pepper in the feeder and it would not hurt the birds and squirrels did not like the smell. I tried it and it worked. However, you have to reapply after every rain. I also read that they do not like safflower seeds. I have been buying black oil sunflower seeds. When my supply runs out I am going to try the safflower seeds. Apparently, birds do like safflower seeds but squirrels won't eat them. Sounds worth trying to me.  You would think the squirrels would be satisfied with the abundance of hickory nuts and pine cones in my yard. 
Herbs are both pretty and fragrant in the garden as well as useful for cooking. Spreading rosemary shown in this pic is about to bloom soon. My husband uses  rosemary for his grilled lamb.
Other herbs are in pots to cut for cooking. It has been a good year for basil I think because it rained so much.
 I have parsley growing in an urn that the butterfly caterpillars have devoured three times this season and more have just hatched. More on that later. Thyme is a herb that adds a great subtle flavor in many dishes. Since mint is invasive I keep some in a pot, but if it dries out, it turns brown easily, at least it does for me. 

This urn of white begonias has some purple basil. I love to smell basil, don't you? Dill is another favorite herb but I can only grow it in cold weather. My husband uses lots of dill on salmon so we keep dried dill on hand and sometimes I buy fresh in the summer months.
White begonias and white impatiens line a garden path.

Here is my urn of parsley that has provided food for three generations of butterflies. It is worn out. The last batch literally ate the green off the stalks. I've fertilized it and its growing but not fast enough because there are more caterpillars on it. I will have to buy another plant and add to the urn to sustain the hungry caterpillars.They have voracious appetites.

Look closely to see many little instars (larval stage of growth). To view stages of metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly go here and here.
I strolled around my summer garden today touching the herbs and enjoying their scents. Then I decided to cut some and make a bouquet garni for the kitchen. Smells evoke memories of certain foods and experiences. So why not create a bouquet garni to decorate your kitchen, add fragrance to the room and infuse a dish with flavor. 

My garden tends to be dark because of so many trees so adding pops of white brings light. Caladiums  add that white color and do well in the shade so I have white caladiums in pots in three spots. However, before the winter sets in I am going to try planting them directly in the soil. Our climate in lower Alabama is quite mild so I am going to try to overwinter the plants. That will save me time and expense next spring. It's worth a try. In harsher climates, digging up the corms and hanging them upside down in a dry place saves the plant. Rather than doing that, I am going to try experimenting this year just planting them directly into the soil instead of pots. 
I believe the variety pictured above is called, Merry Christmas.

This variety of caladium(don't know it's name) in an urn is the focal point of  my cutting garden. Imagine colorful zinnias  surrounding the urn. That was my plan. The rabbits had other plans.

White caladiums accent a pair of chairs in the side garden.  

Milkweed continues to flourish. I'd cut it back so it would thicken and not be so lanky but I would hate to cut off the blooms and deny the butterflies the nectar. They love the nectar from the milkweed. I planted the seeds from their seed pods and they are doing quiet well. No wonder the plant is considered invasive. If only, monarchs would come and feed on my milkweed.
Seed pods from milkweed have sprouted.

My late summer garden has a few blooming ginger lilies and pine cone lilies.
Pine cone lilies
Ginger lilies

New to my garden this week was a giant swallowtail. It was exciting to see a new butterfly species visit my pentas. It was fun to get the butterfly book out and identify this species that was new to me. 

In the late evening a gorgeous after glow from the sunset enveloped the garden.

 I have enjoyed sharing a few of the sights, sounds and smells from my late summer garden with you today.

                                           A Gardener's Prayer by Edith Craddock

Father of all Gardeners, we thank Thee that in the long ago Thou didst begin the world in a garden.

We thank Thee for the morning and the singing of the birds.

We thank Thee for the quiet and peace of eventide and the blessings of sleep which comes with the night.

As we rise in the morning to work in our gardens, grant that the toil of our bodies may bring tranquillity to our minds; That the growth of our plantings be exemplified in the growth of our souls.

That the fruit of our lives, as the fruit of our trees, be the perfect attainment, the crowning glory of a life dedicated to Thee.

Encourage us to lend  helping  hand to the needy, to speak words of sympathy to hearts that mourn, to bear the burdens of the weak, to make the waste places of human need to blossom as the rose.

Exterminate the weeds of doubt, sensitize the roots which nourish our inner being that these roots may drink from the still waters by which Thou dost lead us.

For the gift of Thy Son who suffered in a garden, we thank Thee, and in His name we make this prayer. Amen

My heart hurts for those who have lost their homes and loved ones in the devastating floods in Texas. Continued prayers are with them. We have elderly relatives in Houston who had to leave their home. Thankfully, wonderful neighbors took them in. We are so grateful to them for caring for them.  They had minimal damage and we are also grateful for that. They did not lose power and we were able to talk to them all along which helped tremendously. It was a helpless feeling that we could not get to them. 

Happy Gardening 😃🐛

 Have a wonderful week.

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