garden gadgets (etc.) that have caught my eye…

It’s definitely spring!

No matter how many seasons I go through in my little garden, I always *forget* how busy autumn and spring can be in a Florida garden.

For most of winter, my basic task was watering, and a little planting, and a tiny bit of pruning. This week, that all changed- I went out there one morning with the plan of just seeing if a Nasturtium seed sprouted, and emerged 90 minutes later with three big pails full of pruned leaves, branches, spent flowers, etc. And I have been pruning every day this week. It’s almost like the plants double in size overnight.

We also did a bit of shifting things around- we planted two large jasmine in the front garden (one grown from seed and the other from a tiny little seedling) and removed the rosebush- it was in BAD shape, so we trimmed it way way back and put it in a large pot on one of the side steps so that I can give it some TLC and see if I can get it back. I’m hopeful. And I think the jasmine will be much happier in the front. Now that little square of our front yard has a hibiscus, a miniature rose (Angel Wings), two lantana, two jasmine, a bunch of Crown of Thorns, the odd sunflower (from the bird seed in the feeders) and some coleus. It’s a nice little garden and my art studio looks out on it, so I get to see my plants while I’m working.

Anyway, in addition to there being more stuff to do in the garden, I also noticed an influx of gardening/seed catalogs arriving in the mail and there were a few things that caught my eye, and I thought I might share.
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Mason Bee House

For those of us who can’t have hives, I thought this Mason Bee House was EXTREMELY cool. Here’s the product information:

“Boost your garden’s productivity by providing a happy home for peaceful, non-stinging Mason bees. Slightly smaller than honeybees, mason bees are incredible pollinators. Each one visits as many as 1000 blooms per day — 20 times as many as a honeybee! Hang this natural bamboo house against a tree or wall where it will get morning sun and attract bees. Female bees fill the bamboo tubes with their eggs, and nectar and pollen for the young to eat.”

I bet you could also build one of these, but I think the price is really fair.

If you are looking for something even more inclusive, check out the Habitat Hotel:

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It’s space for all sorts of beneficial insects and pollinators, plus space to add “treats” for birds. I have to admit, I’m probably going to ask for one of these for my birthday. I’d love to have a few sprinkled around the house.

 

Then there’s the SunCalc. I desperately need this. One issue I have is the way the light constantly changes in my garden- I’m in the back half of a screened in lanai, and as the light changes in the year, different things cast shadows. And often I can only tell light has changed by how a plant reacts, and I’d rather not have to wait until a plant is doing badly before I realize a “full sun” spot has changed into “partial shade”.

 

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Of course, there are plants:

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These Revolution Hydrangea plants are CRAZY beautiful. I love hydrangeas, and I love when they are in the process of blooming and changing color, so these multi-color blooms make me swoon.

However, they are fairly expensive, and hard to maintain in my container garden. I have had some great successes (the color-changing hydrangea last year after I changed the soil acidity mid-bloom) and some fails (all the leaves falling off a full-grown plant- they did grow back, but I lost a year!) so this may be a plant that I admire from afar.

 

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Corn on Deck (container corn) How cool is this? Not only do we eat corn, but Winnie, our parrot, LOVES corn, so I might have to try this one out. I have to check out pollination requirements and see if it would work with my space and climate, but it would be neat to try out. I also read about some container-specific apple trees that came out recently, and I’d LOVE to try that.

Finally:

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Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Since we only live a few hours from Disney, we’re there a few times a year, both for day trips and longer visits. However, we’ve NEVER been there during the Garden Festival. It’s during “spring break” on the calendar, and we tend not to go to the parks when they are crowded (for sanity sake). But every time I see a TV ad or receive info from Disney about it (via our passholder newsletter) I get a little pang in my gut. It’s on my list.

I’ve heard some good things about it- it’s designed for the general public, so it’s not super-specific to gardeners, but there’s supposedly a ton of great information and exhibits for people who are into gardening and growing.

I thought I might mention it in case anyone is either in the area or planning a Florida trip in the next few weeks- it might be worth buying a day pass to Epcot (which is a cool park- make sure to check out the Living with the Land greenhouse tour/boat ride) to go see it.

 

 

Comments 2

  1. misti wrote:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about mason bees lately. I think it would be pretty easy and neat to build a small hive for them to find and utilize in addition to our honeybees.

    Posted 08 Mar 2013 at 1:31 pm
  2. james wrote:

    good read, thank you.
    james

    Posted 28 May 2013 at 6:58 am

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