Posts in "Featured"

Potted Plant Care for Summer: Water, Prune, Fertilize

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Summer is the season when many "once beautiful" potted plants start to look like they are about to die.

It doesn't have to be this way if you invest a few minutes each week to care for your plants.

 

Watering, pruning, and fertilizing are key gardening activities during the hot summer months.

If you are diligent, your container plants will look as glorious as the ones hanging on Main Street at Disneyland!

(I'm exagerating, of course).

 

Realistically, with proper care, you can expect your container plants to pump out flowers, grow in size, and perform as promised on the plant tags, all summer long!

If you are new to container gardening, these are some essential gardening skills that will help you care for your plants during the summer.

 

"Potted Plant Care For Summer By Shirley Bovshow"  video as presented on the "Home & Family" show on Hallmark channel.

 

HOW TO REHYDRATE A PARCHED PLANT

DRY PARCHED VINE PLANT EDENMAKERS.com

 

Take a close look at your parched plant.

Does it still have some green leaves and pliable, green stems?

Congratulations!

Your plant is still alive and needs your immediate intervention!

 

On the other hand, you have a very ugly looking plant that you may feel tempted to toss out.

Not so fast, you can revive it!

 

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When the soil in your container garden becomes parched or overly dry, you can't rehydrate it just by watering it in normal fashion.

Parched soil can become a dry, solid mass that repels water, refusing to allow water to penetrate through to roots of plants!

 

A tell-tale sign of parched soil is when the potting soil pulls away from the inside walls of the container.

Watering soil in this condition is futile since the water simply pours down the sides of the container and out of the drain hole.

 

Here's what to do:

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1. Fill a bucket or trough, (that is larger than your container), with lukewarm water.

2. Place your container inside the trough so that water can enter through drain hole and rehydrate plant from the bottom.

 

You may have to leave your container in the water for a few hours or overnight until all the soil feels wet.

Once the soil is rehydrated, remove the plant from the basin and allow soil to dry to the touch at 1-inch deep.

Begin watering your plant in a more regular fashion so that it doesn't become parched again.

 

Add more potting soil, compost, and fertilizer to your container as most of the nutrients may have leached out of the pot.

Make sure to keep a 1-inch gap between the top of the soil and top of the rim of planter.

Now that you've revived your plant, don't let it happen again!

 

HOW TO DEADHEAD OR PRUNE AN ANNUAL PLANT

 

Summer heat is  responsible for rampant growth and flowering of healthy plants, which is a good thing.

The flip side is that these flowers don't live forever and look unsightly after blooming.

Once an annual flower blooms, it begins to decline, eventually withers, sets seed, and dies!

This is why annuals don't last very long, but you CAN extend your its life by "deadheading!"

 

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Deadheading is simply pruning or cutting off the dead flowers and stems back to a node, or where leaves of the plant emerge.

If you remove the dead flower without removing the stem, chances are the seed is still on the plant.

Remove it all so that your plant can regenerate and give you another round of blooms!

I've been able to coax several flushes of flowers on my annuals through deadheading.

Give it a try!

 

HARDPRUNING ANNUALS

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Sometimes a plant looks VERY spent and is a mix of dead and living stems.

Going through a plant looking for the live stems may take too much time and 20/20 vision.

I don't have either.

In situations like this, I do a "hardpruning" of my annual plant, cutting back all stems to just a few inches long.

 

annual-plant-hard-pruned-to-few-inches-to-regenerate edenmakers.com

 

You can do the same provided you are not at the end of your summer and you have a mild fall and long growing season.

 

 

 FERTILIZE YOUR POTTED PLANTS!

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Put your potted plants on a feeding schedule during the summer growing season and you'll be impressed with its performance!

Potted plants are at your mercy for nutrients as they can only access what you provide them.

Regular watering is vital, but it also causes nutrients to leach from the soil.

Fertilize your plants!

 

Fertilizers come in a variety of blends with different ratios of vital nutrients for plants.

There are organic blends and non-organic.

I prefer organic and like the Gardner & Bloome line.

 

Look for the three numbers on the fertilizer package in the photo above.

It reads, "3-7-4."

The numbers indicate the percentage of essential nutrients that the fertilizer provides.

Beginning with the first number, the numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in the formula, in that order.

You can see that there is more "phosphorus" (#7) in this formula, followed by potassium (#4) and nitrogen (#3).

 

Phosphorus and potassium are essential in bud and bloom production in a plant and so the fertilizer blend is aptly named, "Bud & Bloom" fertilizer.

You don't need to be a master gardener to select fertilizer for your specific need, there are many pre-mixed formulas.

The package comes with instructions for applying the right amount of fertilizer by container size, so you can't go wrong.

 

What you should be aware of is that fertilizers, even organic ones, have the potential to "burn" your plant if you get any on your leaves or flowers.

Apply fertilizer to the soil, scratch it in, and then water immediately.

Depending on the formula, the fertilizer can last anywhere from 10 days to 2 months. 

 

You'll be thrilled at how beautiful you can maintain your potted plants during the summer if you practice careful watering, deadheading and fertilizing!

 

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Garden expert and designer Shirley Bovshow on Home & Family show, Hallmark channel

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO READ A FERTILIZER LABEL!

Interested in understanding plant fertilization better?

Watch my video below.

Enjoy my fun video about fertilizing your plants.

You will learn so much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firescaping: Prepare Your Yard For Brush Fire Season!

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Prepare your yard for brush fire season!

In dry, drought-stricken California, fire season is year-round.

 

Yearly brush clearance notifications are sometimes met with the same dismissive attitude as many have towards a jury duty summons.

A false confidence that no one will notice a lack of response or complience drives some homeowners to inactivity.

 

We shouldn't take brush clearance orders lightly!

If we don't prepare our yards for brush fire season, we will bear the consequences that an unexpected fire can cause.

Not only are we putting our home and life at risk, we are endangering the safety of our community.

 

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Check out this map, dated as of the day that I write this blog post showing all the reported brush fires active today-  from Global Incident Map Displaying Forest Fires.

 

Extreme Fire Risk Areas

 

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If you live in a hillside area you may be at specific risk for brush fires because of the density of plants and other geological factors.

 

Homes  located near hillsides or urban wild land corridors are more vulnerable to brush fires because of dense plant life that can burn and spread fires quickly.
 

"Fire Triangle"

  • In summer, hot temperatures cause plants to dry, making them an ideal "kindling" or fuel for a fire to spread. 
  • "Fuel" is one of three necessary ingredients to create a fire, the other two are oxygen and heat.
  • These three elements form the "Fire Triangle" which is a simple way to understand the factors that make a fire.

If one of the three necessary ingredients are missing from the Fire Triangle, a fire is impossible to sustain.

 

There is very little we can do to control heat and oxygen factors, this is nature's domain.

"Fuel" is the only factor that we can control to a limited degree by maintaining a "firescape" or fire-resistant landscape.

The fuel comes from our plants and other materials in our yards, afterall.

 

At a very minimum, by complying with brush clearance ordinances, we may be able to slow-down or thwart flames headed towards our homes.

 

 
 

How a Brush Fire Spreads on Hillsides

 

 

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When dry brush catches fire, not only does it burn, it creates it's own environment that is conducive to spreading fire. 

 

  • A burning plant "pre-heats" the other plants that are near it, causing them to become dry and hot.
  • The burning plant also creates energy, in the form of it's own wind, which spreads embers onto nearby plants.
  • These plants catch fire, and in turn continue to "pre-heat" other plants around them as the fire continues to grow and spread.

 

When plants are closely spaced to each other, it's easy for the fire to spread by using each plant as a "fire ladder' to make its way up a tree canopy and move towards your home.

 
 

Create a Defensible Space in Your Landscape

Defensible space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire.

Native plants and trees, (the ones that grow naturally in your area and that you didn't plant) are usually the focus of brush clearance, but may include others you planted.

 

 

defensible-space-diagram from pcfd.org shows spacing of plants and trees and other materials in high fire risk areas

 

Maintain a minimum of  30-feet of  "defensible space" or buffer zone between any  building on your property and the hillside or dense planting area that can bring fire to your house.

This is the amount of defensible space required in my neighborhood.

Yours may be different.

 

Buffer zone spacing is based on your specific fire risk area, the grade of hillside slope and other physical factors.

Check your local fire station for specific requirements.

Some areas require a 100-foot defensible space.

 

Firescaping "Do's"

 

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Prune tree limbs so that they are 10 feet away from your roof or walls.

 

 

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Trim the bottom branches of trees on your hillside and near your home 6-feet from the ground so that lower plants don't touch them and create "fire ladder."

 

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Space tree crowns at least 10 feet apart so that they don't touch.

 

Remove dead wood and liter from your landscape plants.

Plant *"fire-resistant" plants near your house to delay the spread of fire to the house.

Remove pine needles and leaves from roof and rain gutters

Remove wood shake roof which is highly flammable and install composition shingle, tile or other less combustible roofing material.

Keep firewood at least 50 feet away from structures.

         *Fire resistant plants are typically drought tolerant, slow growing, low maintenance, and store water in leaves and stems.
          No plant is fireproof.
          Check your local fire department for a list of plants for your area.
 
 

Firescaping "Don'ts"

  1. Don't allow plants and trees near your house to dry during severe heat waves, keep them hydrated!
  2. Don't plant pine trees, Cypress, junipers or Eucalyptus trees or other resinous plants within 30 feet of your structure- they are highly flammable!
  3. Don't use rubber mulch in garden beds near house because it is flammable.
  4. Don't allow wood bark or mulch to become dry during hot days- keep moist.

 

WATCH VIDEO SEGMENT FROM HOME & FAMILY SHOW: "FIRE RESISTENT LANDSCAPES WITH SHIRLEY BOVSHOW"

 

For more information about firescaping or preparing your yard for brush fire season, contact your local fire department.

Keep your landscape in complience to mitigate fire damage.

 

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Shirley explains firescaping do's and don'ts to Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare on Home & Family show.

 

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Shirley Bovshow prunes pepper tree during firescaping segment on Home & Family show on the Hallmark channel.

 

Do you have any questions about preparing your yard for brush fire season?

 

Shirley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Tiered Stackable Container Garden With Holiday Message

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I designed a three tiered, stackable container garden with a message for the Fourth of July for my gardening segment on the "Home and Family" show recently.

 

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Along the front of a trio of stacked, white terra-cotta pots, I painted the words, "God Bless America" in royal blue.

 

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Turn the planters around and the message reads, "Joy, Peace, Love," a perfect message for the Christmas holidays!

Painted with red letters, of course.

 

Stackable planters with messages are trendy these days and I always like to add my own design twist.

With "reversible" containers, I can extend the usefulness of the decorative garden display beyond the Fourth of July holiday.

 I can keep the patriotic planter on the porch from the Fourth of July until Christmas!

 

How To Make Stackable Holiday Planters

Watch my TV segment from the Home & Family show, "DIY Stacked Patriotic Planter with Shirley Bovshow"

 

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Select a small, medium and large terra cotta container and paint with white indoor/outdoor latex paint.

 

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Tape off the insde of container as shown and paint the inner lip white, stopping short of the soil line.

Paint an accent color under the outside rim of the planters, I chose red.

 

If you are good at freehand drawing, paint your desired message.

I don't trust my hand, so I wrote message in pencil and filled in with paint.

 

Begin with your large container and invert a sturdy plastic growing pot inside of it.

Growing pots can usually be found in recyle pins or at landscape centers for free.

Ask around.

 

 

 

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This upside down container will serve as a platform to set the medium size planter on top of.

You may need to stack a few empty containers until you are happy with the elevation of the medium container.

 

Once the inverted growing pots are stacked as high as you like, fill the space between them and the garden container with potting soil.

Move on  to the next level, stacking the growing pots and then place the last container on top!

 

It's time to plant!

 

This patriotic planter design features red, white and blue plants and I kept the variety of plants to a minimum on purpose.

Too many different plants creates a busy feeling and that's not what you want.

 

Plant Selection For Shirley's  Patriotic Stacked Planter

 

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RED

Zonal geraniums

Celosia- to add texture

 

WHITE

Nemesia

Gaura

Gerbera Daisy

 

BLUE

Lobelia

 

Planting Tips

Start planting from the top and work your way down.

This way, you won't spill soil on top of the plants in the lower levels.

 

Plant lower-growing annuals like the blue lobelia beneath the words so that it won't grow up and cover the message!

Cascading plants like the nemesia should be planted along the sides of the container.

 

Invest in a sturdy, strong plant caddy with casters so you can spin your container arrangement around when the holiday changes!

 

 

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Isn't this fun?

 

Small, Narrow Garden Bed Makeover: Design Ideas

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A small, narrow garden bed is not a design dilemna, it's a creative design opportunity!

Do you have a small, narrow garden and crave style but lack design ideas?

 

 

Watch my garden makeover segment as seen on the Home & Family show!

 

I recently presented a garden makeover for a tiny garden bed that measures 12 feet long by 4.5 feet wide on the Home and Family show on the Hallmark channel.

The garden bed is in a key area because you see it from inside the dining room where we tape lots of interviews.

Such is the case with many small, narrow garden beds- they are difficult to ignore, especially when they are ugly!

 

This is the condition the garden bed was in before the makeover.

 

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A neglected artichoke falls among the roses.

All of the plants in this garden bed were in bad shape and the area lacked a focal point.

 

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I was determined to bring order to the garden by creating a focal point and an appropriate plant pallet.

 

The Garden Design Plan

My design goal was to:
  • Create a multi-level garden with elements that are tall, medium and short but not too busy looking for a narrow garden bed.
  • Create a focal point with an arbor that functions as a  hanging plant support structure so plants hang down from it instead of growing up it.
  • Create a sitting area with garden bench.
  • Create a colorful garden using low maintenance plants that have an extended bloom time.
Take a closeup look at the new garden!
 
 
 
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A tall,  white arbor anchors the small garden bed and functions as a hanging plant structure.
The backless garden bench is in perfect scale for the small space and is a mid-height element.
 
 
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This is the opposite view where you can see that the yellow daisy topiary trees are not planted in the ground, but in containers!

When planting a small space area, use containers to raise the level of accent plants and free the ground for other plants.

 
 

Arbor and Hanging Garden Details

 
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Notice how the vinca major vine sits above the arbor and hangs down along the front like a pair of curtains?

 

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This gives the arbor "instant coverage" and softens the look of the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The area under the arch creates a framed alcove for the hanging plants that hang at different levels.

There is also a hanging metal planter on the lattice in the background for additional depth.

 

 

Hanging Plants From the Arbor

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I selected three main plants and a few accent plants to hang and plant in the ground. 

Small space gardens should have less variety of plants and more of each variety.

Less is more.

Thank you to HortCouture for the beautiful selection of plants!

 

Geranium Glitterati, "Ice Queen"
 

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On the arbor, I hung a stylish geranium with scarlet orange flowers and green and white variegated leaves, called, "Ice Queen."

It is a cross between a zonal and ivy leaf geranium.

 

What makes "Ice Queen" different from other geranium varieties is more vigor, garden performance, and they have much more flowers! 

I planted these geraniums in the ground, underneath the arbor to create a multi level effect and grow as a ground cover.

 

"Ice Queen" will be available in 2015 at independent garden centers across the country.

I have the good fortune of being able to preview these plants!

 

Petunia, "Glamouflage Grape"

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Also hanging from the arbor and planted at the foot of bench is the glowing annual, Petunia, "Glamouflauge Grape."

I like how the petunia looks next to the broken ceramic mosaic stepping stone made by Kenneth Wingard on the Home and Family Show.

 

This special petunia has a vibrant purple flower on striking cream and green variegated foliage.  

The variety does great in sun or partial shade, in baskets or mixed containers. 

Petunia, Glamouflage Grape grows about 8 inches tall and spreads up to 12 inches wide.

 

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Paired with lavender, this petunia has very good heat and drought tolerance.

 

 

Detail Plants in the Small, Narrow Garden

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Yellow daisy trees, and pink petunias in wall planters round out the plant selection.

 

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I tucked in the succulent, "String of Pearls" on the inside ledge of the arbor.
Nice texture and contrast to the flowers.
 
 
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So much detail in this garden, yet so little space!
I really like how it turned out.
 

Maintaining a Hanging Garden

My new hanging gardens will need specific care in order to grow, thrive and look good for a long time.
 
Here's my maintenance plan:
 
  • Mulch to keep weeds down
  • Water the hanging plants when the soil feels dry to touch
  • Fertilize with a diluted  solution every week to promote new flowers.
  • Pinch off spent blooms to encourage new ones to grow.
  • Rotate hanging baskets for even sun exposure

 

More Narrow Garden Beds

Beyond the area where the arbor sits are more narrow garden beds along the Home & Family house.

I planted these beds with matching plants to add continuity to the back of the house.

 

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Upright rosemary, (growing against lattice) geraniums, petunias, lavender and a fragrant, David Austin English rose tree fit into narrow garden beds.

 

EdenMaker, Shirley Bovshow

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EdenMaker, Shirley Bovshow next to her small, narrow garden bed makeover.

I hope you enjoyed this detailed account of my project.

Please leave your questions below and watch my garden segments on the Home & Family show, weekdays at 10AM PST on the Hallmark channel!

 

Shirley

Celebrate Earth Day With “The Power of Poop!”

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Hi Friends of EdenMakers Blog!

Happy Earth Day.

 

I have a special message from a talented and inspiring film maker, Denis Thomopoulos whose mission in life is to educate people, (children in particular), to understand and care for our earth.

Please watch the video trailer and if you like, purchase or rent the video to share with your family.

Proceeds from the sale go towards offset projects administered by Conservation International.

 

The-Power-of-Poop-Logo by Denis Thomopoulos?

Here's a message from Denis explaining his creative and entertaining cartoon video called,  "The Power of Poop" that is debuting today on Earth Day 2014!

 

 

As you may know, there is an immediate urgency to stabilize our climate.

This is a very serious issue I care deeply about — even though — as a cartoonist, I work to make people laugh.

 

The Power of Poop (and other ways to save the world!) is a half-hour cartoon musical with the big ambition of caring for the planet while having fun too.

 

I hope you can take a moment to watch this clip.

If you enjoy it, please share, write a review, or even embed the player so others may enjoy it as well.

We can inspire kids of all ages to take actions that make a WORLD of difference.

 

Thank you and please feel free to reach out to Amy or me if you have any questions or would like to see the whole film to write a review.

 

Best regards,

 

Denis

 

About Denis and Hippo Works

 

Denis Thomopoulos turned a Masters degree from Oxford into an early career working for world-renowned filmmakers such as David Puttnam and Irwin Winkler – only to realize his heart was in cartooning and the environment.

 

So Denis took a red hippo named Simon he’d drawn for a best-selling t-shirt in college and made him the star of his new eco animation studio, Hippo Works.

Denis has syndicated and licensed Simon along with a host of animal characters to companies such as AOL, National Geographic Kids, Paramount Vantage, SWAPE (Soil Water Air Protection Enterprise), Care2.com, Con Edison, and Clear Channel, among others.

 

The Power of Poop (and other ways to save the world!) is his first half-hour cartoon, with purchases of the film saving 1000 sq. ft. of jungle through Conservation International.

His characters also appear on organic products at Whole Foods in Southern California and on an egg sculpture for Faberge’s Big Egg Hunt in New York, April 2014, which is being auctioned at Sotheby’s to raise money for The Elephant Family, a nonprofit that protects Asian elephants’ migratory corridors.

Common Poisonous Plants: Protect Kids and Pets

Lily of the Valley shrub, Pieris japonica in bloom. Can be a poisonous plants keep small kids and pets away from seeds, flowers,

The first step in protecting your kids and pets from common poisonous plants is to know the plants in your yard and know your child and pets behaviour. 

Do you know what kind of lawn you have?

How about your trees, hedges, shrubs, vines and flowers?

Can you name them?

 

Curious Kids and Hungry Pets Stay Away From Poisonous Plants!

 

Is your child prone to exploring the world by putting everything and anything in his or her mouth?

"Things" meaning plants, bark, seeds, flowers- the place where plant poisons reside.

 

Does your dog or cat forage and nibble on plants and grass?

Does your dog like to fetch sticks?

 

If your answer to the above questions is "YES," and you don't know what plants are in your yard, please educate yourself!

 

The only way a plant can poison humans or animals is if one actually touches, smokes, or eats it.

Plants will not chase and attack you but they can stop you dead in your tracks if you try to eat them!

This is natures way of protecting plants from predators and securing the safety of their seeds for future generations.

 

 

You may have watched my presentation on "Poisonous Plants with Shirley Bovshow" on the Home & Family show on the Hallmark Channel recently.

This is it!

 

Check out these common poisonous plants that have landed people and pets in hospitals fighting for their lives.

There's a good chance you have one of these plants in your yard or have seen them in someone else's.

 

NERIUM OLEANDER

 

Nerium-Oleander-Poisonous-Plant-EdenMakers-Blog

 

There's a lot to like about this dangerous beauty.

Oleander is an attractive and fragrant evergreen shrub, popular in warm climates.

As a hedge, it's an excellent choice, growing rapidly as a vertical screen and it doesn't need good soil or much water to flower prolifically.

Some people call it the "freeway plant" because it's a popular freeway shrub.

 

On the other hand, Oleander is one of the most potentially poisonous plants on earth.

Neither human nor animal is safe from a toxic encounter with Oleander.

Touching or brushing up against the Oleander leaf may cause major skin and eye inflammation.

 

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Photo by Jeremy Lee for Crown Media 2014

 

Eating one leaf is enough to cause death in a small child or small animal within hours!

Oleander sap contains "Oleandrin," a cardiac glycocide that regulates heart rythym.

  • Never use shredded Oleander leaves, stems and branches as a mulch or firewood.
  • The Oleandrin is released into the air causing respitory distress.
  • Wear gloves when handling the Oleander plant and never let Fido fetch a stick from this plant!

Do you have Oleander in your yard?

Lot's of people do.

Proceed with caution.

 

LILY OF THE VALLEY (PIERIS JAPONICA)

 

Lily of the Valley shrub, Pieris japonica in bloom. Can be a poisonous plants keep small kids and pets away from seeds, flowers,

 

For hundreds of years, "Lily of the Valley," (Pieris japonica) has been written into literature as the "poisonous plant" used in countless murders!

Yes, this gorgeous plant has a shady reputation and for good reason.

LIly of the Valley shrub has over 30 different chemicals that act as "cardiac glycocides" that will take your heart for a deadly ride!

 

Are you a fan of the hit show, (now available on Netflixs), "Breaking Bad?"

The Lily of the Valley makes an important appearance on the show, but I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't watched!

 

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There's another plant with the common name, "Lily of the Valley, " (Convallaria majalis)  that has toxic parts whose flowers look very similar to Pieris japonica.

Both have leaves, flowers, stems and seeds that are poisonous if ingested.

Potential side effects include:

  • heart arrythmia
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • mental confusion
  • coma
  • death from heart failure

Needless to say, "Please don't eat the Lily of the Valley" and keep foraging pets away from it!

 

On the other hand, if you don't have kids or pets who eat plants, the Pieris japonica is an extraordinary flowering shrub for the shade garden.

Urn-shaped, pendulous white flower clusters ornament this spring blooming plant.

Slight fragrance too.

 

Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

 

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Surprised that Wisteria is on the list of "poisonous plants?"

I am!

NO wonder they named the show "Wisteria Lane" after this dangerous plant!
 

I love the cascading clusters of purple flowers that make a romantic show during spring time.

From the seeds to the stems, to the flowers, Wisteria has the toxic glycocide, "Wisterin," that's present in its seeds, pods, and bark.

Sometimes mistaken for bean or pea pods, curious children and hungry pets are especially vulnerable to Wisteria seeds.

 

Side effects include:

  • Digestive upset
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • trouble breathing
  • fatal (when large amounts are consumed)

 

Exploding Wisteria Seeds!

 

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Photo by Jeremy Lee for Crown Media 2014

Safegaurding your children and pets away from the Wisteria plant is important, but you must to be aware of "exploding wisteria seeds" that can sabotage your plan!

Even if you block access to the Wisteriavine, Wisteria seeds "explode" from their pods in the summer and scatter all over the yard!

Wisteria seeds can be found up to 50 feet away from the vine, making them "accessible" again.

 

Nature has encoded plants with a "will to survive" and exploding seeds is one of the ways to ensure that seeds have a chance to sprout on fertile soil.

 

If you don't have hungry kids and pets, enjoy your Wisteria vine, there's nothing like it!

 

 

CALLA LILY (Zantedeschia aethiopica) 

 

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Calla lilies aren't "true lilies" but part of the Arum family and a plant to "watch" when kids and pets are around.

Showy tall flowers emerge from slender stems in spring, just in time for Easter.

 

All parts of the Calla lily are poisonous if ingested, exuding oxalic acid and other potent chemicals.

The roots are most toxic.

Once oxalic acid enters the bloodstream, it binds to it and can't be released from the blood resulting in toxicity to the kidneys, nerves, brain, heart, eyes and skin.

If you compare the toxicity of Calla lilies to other plants in the "Lillium" genus, or "true lilies," it seems less dangers.

Read on!

 

 

Plants in the Lilium Family are Lethal, Especially to Cats!

 

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Daylily- Hemerocallis

 

"Lilies" are one type of plant that you want to remember the scientific name of.

If you see "Lilium" on a plant tag and you have a cat, keep these plants out of your house!

Liliums are "true lilies" and lilies are not your cats best friend.

 

Plants in the Lilium family are lethal to cats and it takes only a small dose of it's toxins to gravely injure or kill your cat.

Lilies include plants commonly known as:

  • Asiatic lilies
  • Easter lilies
  • Tiger lilies
  • Daylilies

There are others, but this is a good list to start with.

 

The poison in lilies are found throughout the plant including the stems, flower, seeds and pollen!

 

What makes lilies especially scary for cat owners is that pollen from lilies fall onto tables, get on your clothes, and can end up on your cats fur or nose!

If your cat grooms himself and ingests small amounts of lily pollen, time is of the essence to get to your cat to the veterinarian.

Irreversable damage to vital organs can begin within a few short hours!

Lilies are the #1 plant related poisoning leading to feline death according to medical sources.

 

Lilies are also poisonous to humans and dogs but not to the extreme degree of cats.

In any case, don't give lilies to friends with cats, don't bring them into your yard or house if you have a cat.

I've said my peace.

 

Learn more about poisonous plants:

Cornell University

ASPCA

 

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Do you have any stories about your experience with poisonous plants?
I want to hear about it.

Shirley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Bunny Rabbit Topiary From Tomato Cage!

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My fingers are still tender from working on my DIY bunny rabbit topiary made from a repurposed tomato cage and floral netting!

After trying six different design approaches for the bunny topiary, I finally settled on using a tomato cage as a support.

You can't beat the 2 dollar price tag and the small tomato cage frame is the perfect size to fit a 1 or 5 gallon size plant.

And so, I presented my design on the Home and Family show on the Hallmark channel where I appear as the garden design expert.

 

I love the challenge of coming up with new ideas and garden design projects every week for the show.

The bunny topiary was a challenge because it had to be easy enough for most people to do, use inexpensive materials, and be structurally viable.

I was excited when I finally thought of using a tomato cage and estatic when I put it together and it actually looked kind of cute!

 

Want to make one?

Here we go.

 

Materials for Shirley's DIY Bunny Rabbit Topiary From Tomato Cage 

  • Small tomato cage (used as topiary support)
  • 4 packs of green floral wire netting by  Panagea  12" x 48"-inches ( $3 each Joann's)
  • 1 pack 22g green floral wire
  • 1 lightweight plant container
  • 1- 5-gallon African Boxwood plant (SEE NOTE)
  • 3- 4"-inch English Daisies
  • 1-4"-inch Festuca blue- (to use as bunny's tail)
  • 1-pack "sew on eyes" (.50 cents at Joann's)
  • Sphagnum moss

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NOTE: Use an evergreen plant for a topiary frame so it looks good year-round.

Select plants with small leaves and dense, green foliage that looks good when sheared.

Examples include boxwood, myrtle, syzygium, laurel, privet, rosemary, ivy, creeping fig vine.

Buy compact varieties of these plants for small topiaries and regular growing varieties for large landscape topiaries.

 

Create the Bunny Topiary Frame

  1. Check  that your inverted tomato cage fits over your plant and sits on the soil of the container.
  2. Remove your tomato cage from plant and wrap with floral netting, securing with floral wire beginning at the base of cage and work your way up.
  3. Pull your netting as you wrap it around so that it is not loose.
  4. Cut off the metal stakes that stick up from the tomato cage with wire cutters.
  5. Place the covered tomato cage carefully over your plant.
  6. Reuse the cut metal stakes to secure the cage to the planter by bending them in half and inserting in soil.
  7. Cut a 8"-10"- inch piece of netting and press it on top of a round object to curve it- this will become the top of the bunny head.
  8. Secure the netting to the top of the topiary form, closing the gap and creating the top of the "head"
  9. Cut another 8-10"-inch netting and shape on top of round object- this will become the bunny's face.

10.Secure the "bunny face to the top of the frame and "head"

Add Appendages

 

FEET

Cut 2 pieces of netting 8"-inches tall by 6"-inches wide.

Fill each piece with moist moss and fold in half lengthwise.

Close with wire and attach to frame with wire.

Bend feet upwards.

 

PAWS

Cut 2 pieces of netting, approx 4"-inches tall by 6"-inches wide.

Fill each with moss and fold in half lengthwise.

Close with wire and attach to frame with wire.

 

BUNNY EARS

Cut two pieces of netting, 12"-inches tall by 6"-inches wide.

Fill each with moss and fold in half lengthwise.

Close with wire and attach to frame with wire.

 

FINAL DETAILS

  1. Attach the "Sew on Eyes" with a piece of wire onto the "face" 
  2. Plant the Festuca grass where the bunny tail would be.
  3. Plant a few English Daisies along the rim of planter
  4. Finish with a hand painted sign that reads: "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" 

 

HAVE FUN!

 

Watch the video of my segment on Home and Family