Mar
06
2012
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Why do vases come in different shapes?

quirky-vasesA vase is a container for the display of cut flowers. Vases come in many shapes. Is the choice of shape purely a stylistic preference, or are there reasons to prefer certain shapes? Suppose you wish to display a single rose. You would probably want the rose to stand vertically, so naturally you would choose [more…]

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May
31
2009
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How do you grow rosemary for cooking and fragrance?

Rosemary growing in Spain   (Photo by soltenviva - CC-BY)Rosemary is delicious in all kinds of savoury cooking, and it’s simple to grow in climates not too different from its home base around the Mediterranean. If you plant it near a path not only can you enjoy its scent when you brush past on sunny days, but on rainy days you can easily pick [more…]

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May
27
2009
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Can you use flowers in food and drink?

Nasturtiums on colourful composed salad  (Photo by Sancho Papa - CC-BY)The first flower salad I ever saw was covered with bright nasturtiums like the visual treat in the photo. It impressed me with the idea that some garden flowers are not only edible, but look wonderful on food. You can grow them as well as the better-known herbs to add interesting colours and flavours to [more…]

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May
13
2009
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How do you grow lavender for fragrance and cooking?

Lavender in full bloom (Photo by Per Ola Wiberg - CC-BY)Lavender likes a temperate climate with sunny summer days and cool winters. It will grow in most of Europe and in American zones 5-10. While it is happier on well-drained soils than on damp clay, it’s not too fussy otherwise. Mix sand into the earth round lavender roots to help it cope with heavy, wet [more…]

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May
11
2009
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How can I add cottage style to my garden ?

Deep red hollyhock and bright poppies in a generously planted Dutch cottage garden - (Photo by Benjamin Rossen - CC-BY)Creating your own cottage garden is about building up an overall effect, not about following hard and fast rules. Aim for a nostalgic, informal look, with plenty of old-fashioned flowers – sweet-scented if possible. This style can suit not-too-hot parts of North America and Europe as well as anywhere in the UK. A traditional cottage [more…]

Apr
19
2009
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What May Day traditions can children enjoy?

May blossom for May Day - also called hawthorn, whitethorn, maythorn etc. - photo by D.H.Wright - CC-BYIf you want to celebrate May Day as a family, or with a larger group of kids, try planning some activities based on old traditions. Creating your own festival is just as good as going to see a parade, or watching other people dancing round a maypole. And you can do both! May Day in [more…]

Jan
20
2009
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How do you grow geraniums?

Greenhouse Geraniums - courtesy Wendy Piersall - CC-BYWhy would anybody want to grow something as ‘common’ as geraniums (technically pelargoniums)?  Reliability for one thing. When grown outdoors, they are used as bedding plants, for hanging baskets, in pots and window boxes. Indoors, they are popular blooming houseplants. The easiest way to start Geraniums is by purchasing plants, because seeds take around 5 [more…]

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Jan
20
2009
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How do you grow peonies (herbaceous)?

peonies - courtesy DavidK-Oregon - CC-BYCommercial growers dig their peonies in the fall and this is the best time of year to plant them in your garden. Herbaceous peonies planted in the early fall will have opportunity to put out a number of feeder roots before the following spring. I’ve noticed in my Ohio garden that fall planted peonies have [more…]

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Jan
19
2009
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How do you grow Dahlias?

Dahlias From A Friend's Garden - courtesy KaCey97007 - CC-BYDahlias vary widely in height and foliage color, as well as bloom size, color, and form.  Dahlias with giant 10 inch+ blooms are dramatic and fun in your garden. A 12″ dahlia flower is an amazing thing to see. Dahlias with smaller blooms will bloom earlier and rebloom quicker giving you more flowers over the [more…]

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Jan
19
2009
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How do you grow chrysanthemums?

Tube Chrysanthemum - courtesy tata_aka_T - CC-BYChrysanthemums come in so many different shapes and sizes, color and texture you can imagine. There are chrysanthemums that have petals seemingly as fine as hair, petals that curl,  pom pom style or buttons, even as single as a daisy.  There is a wide variety of texture in foliage as well.  Chrysanthemums come in every [more…]

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