The December Greenhouse - Ramblings

My normally quiet winter greenhouse has been very busy this year, with a lovely Christmas Pop-up Market and two wreath making workshops. Hustle, bustle, and holiday cheer ensued.

Here are some handy yuletide tips and tricks to make your holidays jolly and bright.  

Christmas flowers...  Poinsettias - This popular, traditional Christmas flower adds an instant feeling of holidays and festivities.  - Pick up as your last purchase on the way home, place in a warm car, drive straight home so that it does not get too chilly. - Prefers to be on the dry side, will not fare well if sitting in water. When watering, remove the pot cover (festive party hat), place in sink, water thoroughly, let excess water drain out, place back in party hat, good to go for another week.   - Keep away from drafts, both hot and cold. Do not place near heating vents, fireplaces, or in doorways.  - Likes a bright location that is cool-ish in temperature. 

 Amaryllis... These beautiful flowers take from 4 to 8 weeks to…

November In The Greenhouse (Ramblings)

This month in the greenhouse is all about puttering around for me. The hard work is done, the greenhouse is spotless, the plants have been repotted, sprayed for bugs, and I can take it (pretty) easy till spring seeding time.

Planning for the holidays... 
What kind of puttering am I doing then? Playing around with bulbs for Christmas. Planting amaryllis in clay pots and forcing paperwhites in glass vases. Holiday decorating is just a few weeks away.. gulp!

Rustic Glam... Adding a bit of bling with gold leaf gives these simple clay pots a touch of chic holiday charm.

Planting bulbs...
Do not bury Amaryllis bulbs completely, leave the top third of the bulb above soil level. Adding a foot long, pretty twig to the pot will help to keep the blooms straight and tall, thus giving the tall blooms more stability.

If you want to add moss to the top of the pot, make sure to not over-water as moss retains moisture.
Please, remember that a lot of what you see on Pinterest is about staging, looking pr…

Garden Ramblings - What To Do In The November Garden

Wow, does it ever feel like the month of October just flew by! Garden chores aplenty kept me busy, busy, and here we are in November already.

The vegetable gardens are cleaned up and top dressed for the winter, feeding the soil throughout our wet winter, ready for me to plant up again in spring.

The perennial flower beds still await, however. I leave everything standing for as long as possible, to feed both the birds and the bees. 
I attended a bee seminar in mid-October, and learnt that our native bees, here on the island, are actively feeding from February through the month of October. In fact, I saw some as recently as yesterday, buzzing around the pots of heather and mums. 
The Anna's Hummingbirds stay here on the island year-round, so leaving perennials standing in fall keeps them supplied with both plant nectar, plus the insects they need for protein. If you feed your hummers in summer, please keep the feeders up all winter, too. They will be counting on that sugar water as…

How To Grow Great Garlic

Growing your own garlic could not be any easier, and you'll feel like the most accomplished gardener when you lift those great, big bulbs from the garden! You grew this! You totally rock at gardening! 
Plus... After you taste your own, homegrown garlic, you will never, ever want store bought again. 
Organically grown garlic from your own garden is plump, fresh, sticky with garlic juices, each clove so full of flavour! Store bought garlic has been bleached, is dry and stale tasting, and was grown in who-knows-what or how. Check into 'night soils', if you are brave enough. Ugh.          
Prep the soil...  A few weeks before planting, ideally, amend your soil with manure or compost. Lightly scratch it into the surface. Do not dig it down deep, garlic is shallow rooted. This can also be done at the time of planting. 
Your soil should be loose and friable so that you can easily push the cloves straight into the soil, garlic will not grow as well in compacted soil.  
As a no-dig…

October in the Greenhouse (Ramblings)

This month is a busy, busy time in the greenhouse. The garden beds have been cleaned out and winterised, so is time to move on to readying the greenhouse for winter. 
We do our annual, super duper thorough, clean up in October, after the water restrictions have been lifted, but while it is still warm enough to be spraying water ... and getting thoroughly soaked in the process.    
With the days getting shorter daily, sparkling clean walls, inside and out, help let in more of that weak winter sunshine. 

We start by emptying pretty much everything out of the greenhouse. All the plants, furniture, bits and bobs. Anything that you do not want power washed should be hauled out.

Then do a thorough sweep before adding water to the mix ; )

Wash up any unused pots, store away till they are needed again. I call this part 'doing the dishes' ; ) 

The tracks along the sides of the greenhouse, where the walls meet the foundation, always fill up with 'stuff' throughout the summer (…