Plants & Soils

Nothing frustrates me more than the marketing machine pushing a product and product information that is either misleading or clearly not true.

 At this time of the year, it is all about spring-blooming bulbs! The marketing/merchandising of bulbs is a big business…but it has competition in the stores with Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise. This pressure to sell has created a monster: pushing the sale of bulbs way before it is the right time to plant. 


Written on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

 

“Disease prevention must be the primary goal since no chemicals cure a Phytophthora-infected plant, “ says Penn State Extension.  Most extensions and other gardening information sites state similar things. But there still are Extension sites and horticultural companies, advocating the use of fungicides. Who are we to believe?

 

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Written on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Between winter holidays, work and taking courses, I didn’t have time to start many seeds this winter. But fortunately I can still start plants from seeds outside!
Nasturtium seed

 

 


Written on Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Pumpkin questions caught my attention at the Master Gardeners plant clinic this year. Pumpkin flowers, pollination and fruit set. 

Pumpkins at the Dallas Arboretum

Pumpkins at the Dallas Arboretum


Written on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

I don’t usually grow orchids.  Many growers and gardeners advocate precise lighting, nutrition, water, temperature and soil conditions. Way too finicky for me! But since the mini-orchid was given to me, I thought I would give it a try.

I was in for a big surprise. 

Mini orchid


Written on Thursday, February 14, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

This summer hot dry weather caused many plant casualties. In my case, it unearthed an underlying health problem with one of my recently planted maple trees. 

Amur maple with vertcillium wilt


Written on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Autumn (Fall) offers the perfect opportunity to catch up on your gardening chores. Not only is it cooler and more comfortable to work in autumn, but autumn gardening tasks also mean less work and expense in the busy spring season.


Written on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

What’s hot this year? Haskap berries. At least that’s what I think. But I am biased. I’ve converted my backyard into an edible and ornamental delight, so all things edible are foremost and forefront in my mind. How about those haskap berries?

New haskap berry. Photo courtesy of President’s Choice


Written on Friday, May 4, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

With weeks of warm weather in March, many trees and shrubs’ buds broke and started growing and perennials sprung out of the ground. Some gardeners — with uncharacteristic enthusiasm – planted their vegetable seeds.

But now the weather has returned to April temperatures…and risk of spring frosts. Northern gardeners started to worry about frost damage on even the most cold hardy plants. But there are ways of protecting our prematurely growing plants. Read on…


Written on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Last year I found out that plant breeders follow fashion to determine colours for their annuals. I was surprised. It’s not the gardening community that was setting the colour trends. So I wondered, how are other gardening trends set?

Canada Blooms Pallet Garden by bsq. design
www.bsqdesign.com


Written on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva