Vertical Gardening

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Gardening for Beginners

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Gardening for Beginners

There are many different types of gardening one can take on as a challenge. Today, the most common types include raised garden beds, lasagna gardening, container gardening, and hydroponic gardening. In this article, we examine the pros and cons of using a vertical gardening system.

In general, you don’t really see this type of gardens at home. You will see most of them in public places such as airports or in private hotels. The reason for this is because vertical gardening is pretty expensive. Compared to other types of gardening methods, plants that are grown vertically usually incur larger expenses. It also requires a lot of time and effort. For example, you need to make sure the soil is kept a specific condition. Otherwise, the soil will fall off easily from the structure.

One should also note that a vertical garden is not suitable for every plant out there. This type of gardening is generally done for decorative purposes. Therefore, if you were planning on growing plants such as vegetables and fruits then you are better off using other methods such as container gardening. So what exactly do people grow on a vertical base? In general, people stick to small things such as flowers and herbs. As you can probably tell, one can create a beautiful board of flowers by mixing flowers of different colors and sizes.

Although it may seem really difficult to grow this specific type of garden, there are certain benefits that comes with it as well. For example, you can save on a lot of space since you are growing the plants vertically. This works well for people who live in small spaces. If you have one of these gardens in place then you will also improve the overall environment of the surrounding area. The plants will clean the air and improve the aesthetics of the environment.

If you do want to try out this gardening method then make sure you invest in the right tools and equipment. The most important tool you will need is a solid vertical base. The material does not really matter. If the structure can withstand the weight of the garden then you are good to go. For beginners, it is highly recommended that you start off with something small. Once you have mastered the techniques for this particular type of gardening, you can move onto something bigger. When you build the garden structure, don’t forget to have a drainage tray at the bottom. There will be a lot of excess water so you don’t want to ruin the floor by not having a proper drainage system in place.

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Gardening for Beginners

Source by Benita Vickers

How to Grow and Care For a Heather Plant

Heather plants are hardy, colorful, low-growing perennial shrubs native to the heaths, moors, and woodlands or Europe and Asia Minor. Well suited to marginal pastures, heathers are low-maintenance plants that can thrive in acidic soil with little fertilizer in and near-drought conditions.

The evergreen plants provide year-round displays of color from flowers and leaves. Depending on the type of heather plant, the flowers bloom between July and November and come in pink, lavender, white, magenta, amethyst, purple and red. If a gardener plans it right, a field full of different types of heather will remain colorful for a longtime, with new plants blooming just when others begin to fade.

Just as important as flower color is the foliage color, which can be found in pink, red, copper, bronze, gold, silvery gray, and every shade of green imaginable. They keep their color though the winter, breaking up the dreary tans and browns of winter landscapes.

CLIMATE: The colder, damper climates of the New England and the Pacific Northwest are well suited to growing heather, however, and gardeners in the northern Midwest, Great Plains, and Rocky Mountain areas should have fair success.

SOIL: The heather plant will do just fine in rocky soil, making them good candidates for coastal hillsides where few plants grow. Slightly acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 – 5.5 will work well for this plant.

SUN: As a general guideline, heather plants should get four to six hours of sunlight daily. So it is best to plant it in a place with enough sunlight throughout the year. The more sunshine this plant receives, the brighter are its leaves and flowers. Not enough sun will cause the plant to look leggy and dull.

SPACING: When you are ready to start growing a heather plant, consider the space a mature plant needs to fully develop. On average, these plants grow up to twenty inches tall and three feet wide.

PLANTING: The best time to plant the heather is in the spring or beginning of fall. Seed, division and cuttings can start new heather plants. If starting by cuttings, the best time to take them is in summer when the wood is half-ripe.

WATERING: After getting the plants into the ground, water them until the ground is moist. Follow this watering ritual twice a week for a few months. As with most plants, do not over water them. If the soil remains too wet the plant will suffer and possibly die.

The heather plant is hardy and resistant to insects, common diseases, and small burrowing rodents.

Source by Steve Charles Habib

Flower Meanings & History of Flowers

The charming and delicate beauty of flowers has fascinated people of all nations and backgrounds for centuries. Flowers have been bred and cultivated for their decorative beauty as well as their ability to heal diseases. Flowers are the subject of poems and myths, and religious symbols are associated with flowers as well. Many girls are named after flowers. The main reason for the popularity of flowers though is their ability to bring good cheer.

For all fellow lovers and admirers of flowers here is some background information about flowers. This will help give your flower gift giving and buying a greater context.

Asters

There are over 600 species of asters, the most popular being the Monte Casino. Ancient societies believed that the odor of its leaves, when burnt, drove away serpents. While this might not be as applicable today, perhaps its connotation is still relevant: Giving asters means, “I am not sure whether you have been faithful to me”. Be careful who you send asters to!

Meanings: charming, patience

Bells of Ireland

Although the name suggests these flowers come from Ireland, they originated in western Asia. Bells of Ireland have a spicy/peppery scent and are part of the mint family. They stand for good luck.

Meanings: good luck, whimsy

Carnations

Turn of the century dandies would not leave the house without a white or red carnation in the buttonhole of their suit. With the end of this tradition and the fact that carnations are so easily cultivated and grown, the flower has lost some of its popularity. However, carnations are not only beautiful and long lasting flowers, they also send a message: When you receive a red carnation bouquet, it means, “My heart aches for you” and when you receive white carnations the sender is saying: “I am still available.”

Meanings: fascination, devoted Love

Chrysanthemum

Imagine, chrysanthemums have been cultivated in Chinese gardens for almost 3000 years! The name chrysanthemum comes from the Greek chrysos (gold) and anthos (flower). Today some of the meanings associated with this flower are: innocence, cheerfulness and loyal love.

Meanings: cheerfulness, innocence

Dahlias

The dahlia is the national flower of Mexico and this is also its birthplace. An old Aztec document states that the Aztecs used dahlias as a treatment for epilepsy. Only in the 19th century did the flower come to Europe where it was bred and cultivated into today’s varieties.

Meanings: dignity, elegance

Iris

Did you know that there are so many different varieties of iris that they can be grown wild year round, in water and on land? Iris was most significant in history as the emblem of France — Fleur-de-Lis — established in the 11th century by the king of France. Today, it is the state flower of Tennessee and its meanings are faith, hope and wisdom.

Meanings: faith, hope, wisdom

Lilies

Lilies have been associated with many ancient myths. They are mentioned in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, and symbolize chastity and virtue. Even today, lilies are associated with purity and faith.

Meanings: purity, faith

Peruvian lilies or alstroemeria are named after the Swedish botanist Baron Klas von Alstroemer. He brought the flower seeds back from a trip to South America in the 18th century.

Meanings: friendship, devotion

Calla lilies were first imported from South Africa to America in the mid-nineteenth century. The waxy white blooms and spearheaded leaves of the calla lily stand for radiant beauty and sophistication.

Meanings: sophistication, beauty

Lisianthus

Lisianthus may sound like a Latin name, but it is one of several common names associated with this plant. It is also referred to as Prairie Gentian, Prairie Rose or Texas Bluebell. The flowers existing today are derived from an American wildflower that is native to prairies ranging from Colorado to Nebraska and down to Texas.

Meanings: outgoing, thoughts

Orchids

During the 19th Century, orchids were widely collected. With nearly 25,000 varieties, some orchids are among the most exquisite and expensive flowers available. In antiquity, orchids were correlated with love and fertility. It was common knowledge that they would protect against diseases. Given as a gift they stand for preciousness and seduction.

Meanings: seduction, preciousness

Snapdragons

Snapdragons are an old decorative flower, widely used by the Romans. From its origin in southern Spain the cultivated form was spread throughout the whole Roman Empire. Nowadays remnants of this original population which all belong to the species Antirrhinum majus are found among Roman remains like temples in southern France, Malta, and Italy. The flower, also called “gracious lady” stands for deception.

Meanings: desire, strength

Roses

With their far-reaching popularity, roses are the queens of flowers. After buttercup, the roses are the second oldest variety of flowers on the planet. Biologists can trace roses back some 200 million years! Although there is a huge number of meanings and symbols associated with roses, the most common of course is love, which originated in Greek mythology. When Aphrodite cried about the death of her lover Adonis, she had red “Adonis Roses” grown with his blood, – thus red roses are the symbol of never-ending love. Important to mention are the roses’ thorns, of which we all probably have some painful memory. Symbolically, love can be painful and full of suffering when not treated carefully.

Red roses: I love you, unconscious beauty

White roses: spiritual love, purity

Yellow roses: joy, gladness

Orange roses: fascinated, enthusiastic

Pink roses: grace, gentility

Tulips

Originally from Persia, tulips were introduced to Western Europe and the Netherlands in the 17th century. When growers started to hybridize the flower, they found ways of making it even more decorative. Hybrids of the flower were a scarcity at the time and a symbol of high status. Soon tulips became very popular as a trading product and bulbs were traded at the highest prices. The months of late 1636 to early 1637 would make history in the Netherlands as “Tulipmania”. A bed of tulips was worth up to $5,000, the value of a small house in Amsterdam. The bulbs became currency, and their value was quoted at the stock market.

Meanings: perfect lover, fame

Sunflowers

Sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun and this how they got their common name. They originated in Central and South America. Sunflowers are not only pretty to look at but sunflower seeds are power-packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamin E – all important to the nutritional quality of your diet. Wait! That doesn’t mean you’re supposed to eat the seeds out of your sunflower bouquet.

Meanings: adoration, sunshine

Source by Josh Grossman

Let Your Flowering Peach Tree Bloom With These Planting Tips

The flowering peach tree is a very familiar tree for most people. This tree is recognized for its vase shape that can grow up to 25 feet in height and bears lots of fruits. People also love the pink flowers that bloom from the peach tree.

The peach tree is part of the Rosaceae family and genus Prunus. It goes with the almond tree in the subgenus of Amygdalus. They are distinguished by their seed shells that are corrugated.

The leaves of the peach tree are categorized as lanceolate that grows from seven to fifteen centimeters long. The peach fruit has a very delicate scent and almost velvet-like skin.

The flowers of the peach tree bloom every early spring even earlier than the leaves get to grow.

The petals can either be solitary or paired depending on the variety. They generally consist of five petals that can come in different colors of pink, white or red.

The peach tree took its scientific name Persica from the belief in early Europe that this origin from Iran which was known back then as Persia.

Today, it is established that the tree is actually a native of China which was only introduced later on to Persia.

There are several varieties of the peach tree that have been already propagated. This gives lovers of the peach tree flowers a good selection to choose from.

Here are some of the more commonly known types.

Double White – This kind is emphasized by the name. It has a profuse shape and paired white petals.

Helen Borchers – The flowers of Helen Borchers have extra large pets in pink. They are in sandy pets.

Peppermint Stick – The peppermint stick variety is distinguishable with its paired white petals and pink stripes.

Late Double Red – This variety consist of red petals in pairs. They remain a perfect sight even when winter time comes as they are able to avoid well the frost.

Weeping Double – The weeding double varieties have pendulous branches. They can come in colors of pink and red.

Royal Redleaf – The Royal Redleaf consists of good foliage in bright-red at the early part of their blooming. They later turn into bronze-green which remains a delightful view.

Tips for Growing the Flowering Peach Tree

1. Correct Climate

Flowering peach trees are also very choosy in the climates that they thrive in.

Most of the varieties require a chilling requirement, making it rather difficult for them to grow in the extremely cold areas. They can not tolerate the cold in later winter.

Typically, the peach trees varieties may be able to tolerate temperatures of negative 26 to negative 30 degrees Celsius, but such a condition tends to kill the buds of the flowers so growing fruits is impossible.

The flowering peach trees actually seeks a lot of the heat of the summer time to be able to let its fruits mature. Temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius would be most favurable.

2. Proper Soil Characteristic

Peach trees require the right soil characteristic in order to grow fully and bear colorful flowers. Avoid as much as possible too much moisture in the soil. They do not like heavy quality of soil too.

Just make sure the soil has the right amount of fertilizer and aeration. With the right kind of soil, the peach tree will surely grow fast and healthy.

Fight the Pests

It is very important to protect the peach tree against pests that may invade their environment. This could impede the growth of the tree and the blooming of the flowers.

The main enemy to be cautious of is the peach tree borer. There are also some insects and fungus that can threaten the tree. This may require occasional or regular application of pesticides or spraying.

Conclusion

Bring nature closer to your home. Plant a flower peach tree and enjoy the delights of its view, flowers and fruits

Source by Lee Dobbins

Rainforest Plants – Hibiscus

Family: Malvaceae

Genus: Hibiscus

Species: rose-sinensis, cameronii, fuscus, and others

Common names: rosemallow

General Description: Hibiscus is a highly diverse genus with about 220 species of annuals, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees. The shrub is the one most commonly known. Hibiscus shrub is a tropical plant that needs both light and warmth (more important) to do well. The shrubs grow to twelve feet in height. They need a lot of sunlight to bloom.

The shrub is an evergreen whose leaves resemble those of a maple tree. It is well-known for its showy flowers and is primarily used as a landscape shrub or planted in a patio pot. Hibiscus is aptly seen as the Queen of the Tropics and is also a recognized symbol of Hawaii.

Uses: Hibiscus is renowned for its beauty as well as its medicinal uses, and gardeners around the world plant this species for its showy flowers. It is used in teas, wines and tonics in tribal communities as well as the modern world. Hibiscus tea is caffeine free, with an usual and appealing taste. It is grown for worldwide distribution in Southeastern Asia, Mexico, the Caribbean, China and many African nations.

The leaves of this plant are high in vitamin C and other health properties are also attributed to its use. Hibiscus is used widely in Cuba as a tea; it is easily available there and the climate contributes to respiratory ailments that the tea seems to alleviate. In addition, white hibiscus is said to have medicinal properties according to Indian ayurvedic medicine. Hibiscus is also the source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or hydroxycut) an element of some weight-loss formulas. Hibiscus powder has more of a laxative effect than other forms of this herb.

A red beverage known as Karkade is made from Hibiscus. It contains citric acid and salts and acts as a diuretic. Hibiscus is also used in making soap and tea bags for bathing.

The image of this flower is ancient, appearing on Chinese silk tapestries that are centuries old.

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

Source by Tony Mandarich

Capiz, Philippines, Asia Cut Foliages and Cut Flowers

Background

Following the collapse of the prawn industry in the mid-80’s, an interesting industry slowly emerged in the early 90’s as dynamic and aggressive women entrepreneurs turned their expensive hobby into a multi-million profitable and enjoyable “sunshine” industry. This paved the way to the birth of the Floriculture Industry in the Province of Capiz. From an obscure industry, it grew to become one of the rapidly expanding agri-business sectors in the province today involving more than 5,000 stakeholders, florists, landscape artists, contractors, technologists, input providers, farm technicians and gardeners.

Capiz is a major producer of potted orchids and orchid cutflowers, landscape materials, fresh foliages and potted ornamental plants in the whole of the Visayas. It is also recognized as one of the sources of the best and rarest ferns in the country today. Presently, it is slowly building a name as the premier source of exportable cutfoliages in the country.

Roxas City leads in the number of producers in the province with ten (10) commercial farms located here. It is also considered as the marketing center with the presence of 4 trading outlets such as the Paseo de Catedral, Balay Kapisnon, Teodoro Arcenas Trade Center, and Talon Garden Center. It is followed by the municipalities of Sigma, Dao, Panay and Ivisan. As of December 2005, total land area devoted to floriculture is estimated to be more than a hundred hectares.

Underlying the strength of the industry is the Capiz Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CMPC) which serves as the primary coordinating body of the cutflower and ornamental plant growers province-wide. It works closely with relevant national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs) and industry associations to provide an enabling business climate for the industry to develop and grow. All of the big producers in the province are members of the Capiz MPC. It is a duly registered organization with the Cooperative Development Authority and Department of Trade and Industry.

The local ornamental industry cluster is composed of the core industries, the supplier industries, and other industries that provide related and other services. The cluster is made of interlinked and interdependent key and supporting industries and institutions.

Vision

A unified, self-reliant, environment-friendly and globally competitive Floriculture Industry towards the improvement of the quality of life of its members and the community and be known as the “Cutfoliage Capital of the Philippines”

Service & Input Providers – this category include the following:

Landscape Artists – those who provide landscaping services to households, public and commercial buildings, subdivisions, memorial parks, others. There are about 9 known professional landscape artists in the province at present.

Floral Artists -those who provide floral arrangement services for such occasions as weddings, funerals, debut, graduation, product launching, grand openings, etc. Most of the floral artists are concentrated at the Paseo de Catedral located near the Roxas City Metropolitan Cathedral since they are also cutflower traders.

Cutflower/Ornamental Plant Traders – are those who are engaged solely in selling cutflowers and ornamental plants. They either sell in a permanent stall/place (such as Balay Kapisnon, Paseo de Catedral) or are ambulatory (as most of the traders during municipal/city market days).

Input providers – include those who are engaged in selling of garden inputs and accessories such as organic fertilizers (Hacienda Olive), terra cotta/plastic pots, and soil-less plant medium.

Industry Status and Performance

Production

Cutflowers

The province produces only few varieties of cutflowers in commercial-scale. These are orchids (white dendrobiums), roses, and asters (white & lilac). Other low-grade varieties produced in limited scale include dahlias, azucena, African daisies, assorted heleconias, and gladiolus (orange). Orchid cutflower and heleconias were at their production peak from1995 to 2000 with 4 commercial farms producing an aggregate yield of 1,500 dozens per week. Production volume slowly dropped over the past 5 years as more and more flowers coming from outside of the province flooded the local market. Presently, only 1 farm is growing orchids.

Fresh foliages and Live Plants

The foliage plants comprise 80% of the ornamental plants industry in Capiz and has become an important source of livelihood for many families. Most foliage plants are grown in commercial farms and backyard gardens of Sigma, Dao, Panay, Ivisan and Roxas City.

The foliage plants are sold either as cut, potted or live plants. Potted plants serve as indoor and landscaping plants, while cutfoliages are for floral arrangements.

The demand for foliage plants is increasing. For the last 10 years, foliage plants whether as cut or live, have the biggest share in the export market. At present, Capiz is the only province exporting cutfoliages to Japan in the whole of Luzon and the Visayas.

Major Products Sold

The products and services of the industry include cutflowers, potted flowering plants and greens, cuttings, cutfoliage, landscaping materials, non-soil rooting media, floral arrangement services, landscaping services.

A. Cutflowers – are so called because they are detached from parent plants and are formed into bouquets, leis, arrangements, centerpieces and the like. They are grown and traded for their aesthetic value. They are given away in appreciation and as an expression of love, joy, and encouragement on such occasions as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and special events like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and All Saints’/Souls’ Day. Major cutflowers produced by the province are orchids such as dendrobiums, and vanda terrete; roses, puto-puto, heleconias and gladiola.

B. Filler Flowers – includes white and lilac asters, and baby’s breath.

C. Cut and Containerized Foliage Plants – refers to fresh leaves, twigs and branches cut fresh and utilized in floral arrangement, evergreen, and foliage plants grown in container for interior and exterior decorations. Major cut foliage produced by the province are dracaenas, polycias, palmeras, song of India, song of Korea, kamuning, cordylines, bottlebrush, rhappis and ferns.

D. Pot Plants – flowering annuals, shrubs, herbaceous perennials grown in containers used for exterior and interior decorations. Most popular flowering pot plants grown here include orchids, euphorbia, hibiscus, and bromeliads.

Landscaping Materials – plants consisting of evergreen and flowering trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, grass covers and furglass used for landscaping purposes. The following are some of the high-value palms grown in the province: Champagne, Bismarck, Hawaiian Fox Tail, Red & Blue Palm, and Sugar Palm. Meanwhile, some of the widely grown ground covers include mundo grass, golden peanuts, carabao grass, Bermuda grass, and chichi Rica.

Non-Soil Rooting Media- coco coir/dust, organic fertilizer, drift woods, fern wood and chips.

Organic Fertilizer – locally produced and manufactured soil enhancers. One of the brands commonly used is RANCAP which is made by Hacienda Olive in Pontevedra.

Services – landscaping, flower arrangement, plant cliniquing/ consultancy

Existing Trade Houses

1. Paseo de Catedral

Arsobizpo St., Roxas City

2. Balay Kapisnon

McKinley St., Roxas City

Tel. No. (036) 621-3445

3. Talon Garden Center

Primer de Mayo Street, Roxas City

VII. Industry Potentials

The industry has vast potential for development because of the following factors:

Available Technology and Support

§ Availability of suitable production technologies from external sources.

§ Government and research institutions such as DTI, DA/BPI, DOST, PCARRD could very well provide the needed technical and logistical support for the development of the industry.

§ Production technologies are available for essential oil extraction which has big demands in the domestic and export markets.

Strong labor force and growers’ association

§ Affiliation to industry associations at the national level

§ Existence of the Capiz Multi-purpose Cooperative, which serves as the umbrella organization of all cutflower and ornamental plant growers in the province.

§ The province has a supply of trainable labor force.

Favorable Environment

The province has no pronounced dry or wet season which is well suited to grow ornamental plants. The province is likewise seldom visited by strong typhoons.

Vast tracts of land are still available for development.

Growing Demand

Growing international and domestic demand due to the growing appreciation of the aesthetic value and environmental importance of ornamental crops.

Proximity to other Asian market which places Capiz in a good position to serve emerging markets.

Opening of the Iloilo international airport enhances capability for international trading.

VIII. Projections

Imports (intra-national & international)

Fresh cutflowers will dominate the province’s imports of ornamental plant products. These imported flowers are those which are not locally produced due to climatic conditions such as chrysanthemums, lilies, roses, anthuriums, stattice, gerberas, carnation and some varieties of gladiolas. Coming in close, will be other live plants, cuttings and slips which will also be used as planting materials or mother plants. Far in third rank are orchid seedlings. Flowers have seasonal demands

Source by Duane Cartujano

Feng Shui in the Garden

Having had a garden design business for many years, one of the most important things we adhered to was installing good healthy plants. Plants in poor growth, or even worse dead plants or trees are detrimental for prosperity. Bad company image. So you can imagine that we had a healthy, and thriving business as a result. When the Feng Shui of ones garden is correct it creates auspicious good fortune and attracts happy Chi into your home and your life.

Feng Shui and Gratitude.

First and foremost, we need to take stock of the many blessings we have in our lives; our families, our relationships, our work, our health, our friends and children, along with any other attributes we can focus on such as our skills, our caring and compassion, our appreciation for nature in fresh flowers for example etc. etc. It’s a good idea to make a list of these and refer to them often. As we think of them, make additions to them as we think of more. It builds an incredible picture of how lucky we already are.

Make daily affirmations.

Here are two simple examples. One works, whilst the other one leaves us lacking

For prosperity in the garden, try this “I am blessed to be surrounded with a constant flow of abundance and prosperity in my life”

Rather than “This garden will make me rich. I’ll have loads of money from it”

The reason the former works and the latter does not is because the future is never here. It keeps prosperity out of reach and not attainable today. The former focuses on the now.

Prosperity in money, friendship, love, health, family, knowledge, happiness, peace and spiritual wealth are all intertwined, so give lots and receive even more. Display this kind of energy, practice these, carry them out in your daily activities and prosperity will be banging the door down.

Waterfalls

Waterfalls represent wealth. More auspicious when flowing towards the house. Not only does the user benefit more from the visual impact of the waterfall flowing in this direction, but it can signify loss, and lost opportunity if it flows away from the house.

A waterfall which is too fast moving, or energetic mirrors rushing, flowing Chi which also indicates fast paced spending habits, and money going out. Oftentimes prosperity comes with conserving spending habits. Waterfalls need to be balanced in many respects. Choose a design which adds a meandering, gently moving stream. Water gently cascading over natural rocks and stones achieves a much more desirable effect. As with all the elements involved, the key is to have them proportioned properly, balanced nicely thus avoiding any imbalances.

Most suitable locations include placing waterfalls off the porch or deck (Wealth) and near, beside or within view of the Kitchen (prosperity). Even better, have it within some wildflower patch, as the flowers will energise the prosperity of a business. Red flowers, and red structures, red flowering shrubs, red leaved trees examples…Japanese maples, Holly berries, red Azelas, red Ponisettias. Red correlates with wealth, fame and reputation.

Feng Shui…Entrances and Prosperity

First point here is to work with the conditions we have. There is no point in trying to move a door, re-route a drive way, or to make any drastic changes. People living in communities need to bear in mind whatever restrictions the home owner’s association have in place. People can make very simple, inexpensive and effective changes.

Here are a few suggestions which people can adopt without too much effort, and hopefully with little interference from the association. Place an ornamental dragon (not necessarily a red one) for the best auspicious Chi at the entrance. These are sure to bring good luck, joy, wealth, abundance, good energy and prosperity.

Close to the entrance consider the colour red. Red for wealth. One can plant red Flowering Shrubs such as;

• Hibiscus. A favourite and relentless flowerer. Easy care. Let it grow naturally.

• Red flower carpet roses (Rosa flower carpet a wonderful plant. I give it marks 10 from 10. Pest and disease resistant variety, low in height and very tolerant of many conditions even neglect, absolute masses of crimson red flowers, and incredible abundance with lengthy flowering periods),

• Red Azelas, Red flowering annuals

• Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) for a great display of red berries in fall

• Punica granatum (Pomegranate) Valued for its brilliant flowers

• Ixora sp. Var. Lauritzen, a fantastic red flowering shrub

• Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinstettia). Much significance of joy and wealth.

• Ixora “Petite” (Dwarf hybrid Ixora)

Perennials

• Canna X generalis (Red garden Canna)

• Etlingera elatior (Torch Ginger)

• Heliconia. Many suitable Heliconias incl. H. rostrata (Lobster Claw), H. Stricta, H. •Caribaea (Caribbean Heloconia)

Climbers

• Red Bougainvillea, a wonderful plant which can grow easily in a splendid, graceful arch above garage doors, creating a dramatic, Mediterranean feel whilst bringing great auspicious Chi and wealth to the dwellers within the home.

• Passiflora coccinea (Red Passion Flower) Another terrific opportunity to grow a beautiful red flowering climber. This one has not only good Feng Shui for prosperity but has important religious connotations also. Either way, it’s a great plant.

Trees

• Delonix regia (Royal red Poinciana) If space permits, this is a must have. What a lovely tree, even when not flowering.

Above are a few short examples introducing a fabulous opportunity to plant something red, and welcome prosperity into one’s life.

Try a red structure. A chair or bench perhaps. Even better, a red bench with arbour above to plant your favourite flowers. Consider a red framed mirror. The mirror will accentuate the area, and make it look more open and spacious, bright and inviting. Try draping a piece of red silk, artfully displayed. Get three old Chinese coins, tie them with red silk or red thread and place them beneath a stone near the entryway. These additions are really simple, but will bring great prosperity, auspicious Chi and abundance.

Water

I enjoy the challenge even more when space is restricted. These are among my favourite situations to make great change with astounding impact. Small, tight and confined spaces result in a much more intimate setting. In small spaces we are closer to everything. Closer to all the elements. Sound, fragrance, the visual aspect and textures are all magnified. We feel very secure, protected, calm and safe. I love designing entryways, courtyard spaces and urban style gardens. I let my imagination do the work, and always seem to come up with a more than satisfying result. Obviously it’s perfectly functional, but people tend to focus on the aesthetic outcome, and don’t even pay attention to the fact that “it works” When space is restricted, we can employ the vertical element. Use the walls to plant flowers on a trellis or climbing frame. Use the walls to secure wonderfully abundant hanging baskets. Think of a hanging basket as a miniature suspended garden full of flowering plants. It has all the components of a garden, except on a smaller scale. The flowers and healthy growing plants will energise even the smallest of spaces.

Put in a small water feature. Any kind of a water feature brings good fortune and wealth, especially in the North. I can design a water feature from almost any material. Get the ingredients…. Add a little imagination and……Presto! One time whilst travelling in Italy, my wife and I bought a mural of a town square which was made from ceramic tile, and came in about fifty pieces wrapped up in a box. We carted this heavy package around with us for the rest of our trip. (She thought I was crazy, as usual) When we got back here to Naples, I arranged the tile within a frame, fed a narrow pipe behind it, mounted it on a wall on the lanai, and attached it to a small pump which spilled water into an oversize terracotta pot filed with natural beach-like stones. It’s beautiful. The ceramic art captures the scene perfectly, reminds us of the great times we had in Italy, and provides such a peaceful atmosphere on our space restricted lanai.

I highly recommend adding some kind of water feature, however small, close to the entry way. Be careful when choosing a water feature which will bring prosperity. Balance is key. Rather than have a stream of water rush directly into a body of water, it’s better to have the water gently cascade over something like stones. It creates a much more soothing sound, a more subtle sound using the same volume and flow of water. It just seems more musical when the water’s path is interrupted in some small way. With the added benefit of not feeling as if you need to go to the bathroom, every time you pass it. This is an important step in creating a great water feature for a space restricted area, such as an entry way. Get some help if you get stuck.

Water enhances the energies of the North Stock the pond with Koi, or a small ceramic turtle ornament. These make the garden extremely auspicious. Fish create yang energy. Turtles activate the symbolic celestial creature of the North. Keep water moving constantly. It allows oxygen in to do its job. Stagnant water allows dead Chi to accumulate. Fish energise the water and prevent stagnation. If other wildlife comes, such as frogs, encourage them. Keep the water clean…always, as it prevents hampered Chi being created. Good filtration does this for you. If anything dies, replace it immediately.

The sound of the trickling water attracts Chi, especially when sunlight plays on it. Don’t have water in the shade in the North. Don’t overpower it with plants. Plants are intended to make it natural, and to enhance it. Plants should not detract from the main theme here, water.

A South Entrance.

Associated with the fire element. Better if the garden here opens from a living room rather than a kitchen. Kitchen (fire) which would cause an imbalance. A well light garden, using lights at different levels, especially in winter in the South, will bring good luck by stimulating your fire energy, and fame enrichment. Put in an ornament of a Crane, or even better a Phoenix, the celestial bird, symbolic of longevity.

Plants for PROSPERITY

Magnolia. Symbol of purity, hidden jewels or accumulating great wealth.

Orange trees. Symbol of abundance and wealth. Good fortune, wealth, happiness and general prosperity. A pair are regarded as extremely good Feng Shui. Chinese use lime and lemon trees indoors as their flowering times coincide with the lunar New Year. It is no accident that in the Victorian era, orangeries were very common way to over winter frost sensitive, fragile trees. Summers would see avenues and walkways lined with orange trees in great enormous terracotta pots.

Another travel opportunity brought us to discover much of Spain. We stopped in Seville for a few days on our way to Granada. We stayed beside the cathedral, in the most romantic orange tree planted square. All the balconies had the most amazing hanging baskets and window boxes drape their flowers over the railings. The shade the orange trees provided in the square at the cafes created a nice peaceful, park-like urban setting. We happened to be there when the oranges were ripe. Great big marmalade oranges hung from the trees, in a rich display of orange contrasting sharply with the dark green, healthy and vibrant foliage. Perhaps the town planners didn’t know much about Feng Shui, I doubt they did, but the orange trees made the whole place an incredible heaven of peace with a great energy. It’s true that oranges represent prosperity as this square was bustling with cafes, boutique hotels, guest houses, restaurants, craft shops and a prosperous thriving spot away from the main thoroughfares. I bet the orange trees have hidden, mystical qualities which attract people in to sit and relax.

Cherry Blossoms.

Plum tree. Regarded as pure and superior

Peonia denotes prosperity and romance.

Magnolia immortal and prosperous.

Lotus. Inspires peace and contentment, symbolizing the opening of opportunities.

Money Plant.

Plants with round, full, dark leaves are known to be auspicious and the best symbolizing money and gold. Eg

The Jade plant……money and prosperity

The silver crown

Money Plant.

The Narcissus plant or other bulbs, symbolises great fortune. Normally given as auspicious gifts in the New Year.

One should try to use their garden or out door space as much as possible and use it as a Sanctuary, you’d be amazed at how better you will feel, sitting in the sunlight, watching the wildlife, enjoying the serenity of one’s surroundings.

Source by Brendan Moran

The Easy Way to Compost

Having an ample supply of good rich compost is the gardeners’ dream.
It has many uses, and all of those uses will result in nicer plants. However, composting can be time consuming and hard work. I place a reasonable value on my time, so spending hours and hours turning compost piles doesn’t qualify as a worthwhile exercise, at least in my book. Nonetheless, I do compost, but I do so on my terms.

I built two composting bins. Each bin is five feet wide, five feet deep, and four feet high. I built the bins by sinking 4” by 4” posts in the ground for the corners, and then nailed 2 by 4’s and 1 by 4’s, alternating on the sides.
I left 2” gaps between the boards for air circulation. The 2 by 4’s are rigid enough to keep the sides from bowing out, and in between each 2 by 4 I used 1 by 4’s to save a little money. The bins are only 3 sided, I left the front of the bins open so they can be filled and emptied easily. Photos of my compost bins are on this page: http://www.freeplants.com\composting.htm

I started by filling just one of the bins. I put grass clippings, dried leaves, and shrub clippings in the bins. I try not to put more than 6” of each material on a layer. You don’t want 24” of grass clippings in the bin, you should alternate layers of green and brown material. If necessary, keep a few bags of dry leaves around so you can alternate layers of brown waste and green waste.

When we root cuttings we use coarse sand in the flats, so when it’s time to pull the rooted cuttings out of the flats, the old sand goes on the compost pile. In our little backyard nursery we also have some plants in containers that do not survive. Rather than pulling the dead plant and the weeds out of the container, and then dumping the potting soil back on the soil pile, we just dump the whole container in the compost bin. This adds more brown material to the mix, and is a lot easier than separating the soil and the weeds.

Once the bin is full, the rules of composting say that you should turn the material in the bin every few weeks. There is no way that I have time to do that, so this is what I do. I pack as much material in the bin as I can, before I start filling the second bin. I pile the material as high as I possibly can, and even let it spill out in front of the bin. Then I cover all the fresh material with mulch or potting soil, whatever brown material I can find.

Then when I’m out working in the garden I set a small sprinkler on top of the pile and turn it on very low, so a small spray of water runs on the material. Since I have a good water well, this doesn’t cost me anything, so I let it run for at least two hours as often as I can. This keeps the material damp, and the moisture will cause the pile to heat up, which is what makes the composting action take place.

Once I have the first bin completely full, I start using the second bin. As the material in the first bin starts to break down, it will settle, and the bin is no longer heaped up, so I just keep shoveling the material that I piled in front of the bin, up on top of the pile, until all the material is either in the bin or piled on top of the heap. Then I just leave it alone, except to water it once in a while. The watering isn’t necessary, it just speeds the process.

Because I don’t turn the pile, I can’t expect all of the material to rot completely. The material in the center is going to break down more than the material on the edges, but most of it does break down quite well. The next step works great for me because I’ve got a small nursery, so I keep a pile of potting soil on hand at all times. But you can really do the same thing by just buying two or three yards of shredded mulch to get started, and piling it up near your compost bins. If you do this, you will always have a supply of good compost to work with.

Shredded bark, left in a pile will eventually break down and become great compost. The potting soil that I use is about 80% rotted bark. I make potting soil by purchasing fine textured, and dark hardwood bark mulch, and I just put it in a pile and let it rot. The secret is to keep the pile low and flat, so that it does not shed the rain water away. You want the mulch to stay as wet as possible, this will cause it to break down fairly quickly.

So I keep a pile of rotted bark mulch near my compost bins. When both bins are completely full, I empty the bin containing the oldest material by piling it on top of my rotted bark mulch. I make sure the pile of rotted mulch is wide and
flat on top so that when I put the material from the compost bin on top of the pile, the compost material is only 5 to 10 inches thick.

My mulch pile might be 12’ wide, but it may only be 24 to 30 inches high. Once I have all the compost on top of the pile, then I go around the edge of the pile with a shovel, and take some of the material from the edges of the pile and toss it up on top of the pile, covering the compost with at least 6” of rotted bark. This will cause the compost material to decompose the rest of the way.

Once you get this system started, you never want to use all of the material in the pile. Always keep at least 2 to 3 cubic yards on hand so you’ve got something to mix with your compost. If you use a lot of compost material like I do, then you should buy more material and add to your pile in the late summer or fall, once you are done using it for the season.

Around here many of the supply companies sell a compost material that is already broken down quite well. This is what I buy to add to my stock pile. But I try to make sure that I have at least 3 yards of old material on hand, then I’ll add another 3 yards of fresh material to that. Then in the spring I’ll empty one of the compost bins and add the compost to the top of the pile.

The pile of usable compost will be layers of material, some more composted than others. Kind of like a sandwich. So what I do is chip off a section of the pile from the edge, spread it out on the ground so it’s only about 8” deep, then
run over it with my small rototiller. This mixes it together perfectly, and I shovel it onto the potting bench.

Having a pile of rotted compost near your compost bins is great because if you have a lot of leaves or grass clippings, you can throw some rotted compost in the bin in order to maintain that layered effect that is necessary in order for the composting process to work well.

Sure this process is a little work, but it sure is nice to have a place to get rid of organic waste any time I like. Then down the road when I have beautiful compost to add to my potting soil, I am grateful to have done the right thing
earlier, and I know that I have wasted nothing.

Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit his most interesting website, http://www.freeplants.com and sign up for his excellent gardening newsletter. Article provided by http://gardening-articles.com. If you use this article the above two links must be active.