Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Stunning Herb Garden Ideas You'll Want to Steal

We recently visited the Herb Garden at the Cooperative Extension Botanical Gardens and took a tour of the many different varieties of herbs grown as a demonstration for what's possible in our desert climate.

Any misconceptions about
 growing herbs in a hot, dry place, would surely dissipate upon entering the herb garden courtyard that is maintained by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Master Gardeners
The area is full of inspiration and is a perfect example of how careful placement and design can yield beautiful results.

This unique setting allows for morning sun and afternoon shade, ideal for growing herbs.
Interplanting of flowers allow for great pollinator activity and a thick layer of wood mulch on the ground suppresses weeds while holding moisture near the plants to conserve water. 

The are some fun and creative ways to use containers for growing herbs mixed into the garden.
A  potted bird bath is a double feature for growing Variegated Lemon Thyme while providing much-needed water for when our feathered friends come to visit.


A spiral support for potted herbs is a great idea for gardening in tight spaces, such as patios or balconies.

A short walk further into the demonstration garden, past the masses of Penstemon and the scent of Chocolate Flower, leads you to rows of various herbs surrounded by large shrubs of Lavender.

The Master Gardeners are growing several different varieties of Lavender in this area, as well as multiple varieties of other herbs like basil, oregano, and sage.

The garden was designed in such a way that no matter where you are standing, you are overwhelmed with the brilliant contrasts of foliage as well as an assortment of color from the flowers of annuals or perennials mixed with the flowers of the herbs themselves.

The addition of scent from the leaves of the herbs as well as the flowers is intoxicatingly fresh, leaving you with an overall sense of relaxation and well-being.

Herb gardening has many benefits that reach beyond the visual aesthetic of the plants, and with a little care, consideration, and planning, you can reap the many health and wellness rewards of having your own herb garden oasis.

Click here for more information on the Cooperative Extension Botanical Gardens or here for the UNCE Master Gardeners.

Don't forget to take a look at our Star Note #215 Growing Herbs In The Desert!

Friday, June 16, 2017

5 Epic Dad's Day Gifts!

We rounded up some great gift ideas for Dads who love to be outdoors!

The backyard fire pit is where everyone wants to hang out on a summer night!
Whether you're roasting marshmallows or snuggling up in the cooler months, this gift would be the perfect memory maker.

Find a new use for something that needs a new life!
These truck succulent planters are fun and manly at the same time.
The possibilities are endless!

If you're handy with a paint brush, these pots would be perfect for anyone that's a fan 
of Star Wars and plants!

This gift keeps on giving! Give dad an endless supply of his very own limes to go with his relaxing backyard brew!

Give dad the ultimate place to relax with his very 
He'll be able to practice his putt until his heart's content
 right in the backyard.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Ultimate Guide For A Fuss-Free Summer Yard!

Second application of Pre-emergent weed control.  Depending on the amount and timing of your first application, it may have become ineffective by now. Weeds will continue to start from seed throughout the warm season (especially with the summer rains).

Do NOT fertilize your regular (non-Palm) plants with high nitrogen (over 7%) now!

Fertilize palms 2-3 times during this period with Dr. Q’s® Palm Tree Food (14-4-14) to provide the special nutrients needed for vigorous growth and rich, green color.

More is not always better! Resist the temptation to water everything to death in the heat. Just because a plant “looks dry” does not mean it needs more water. If the soil is too often watered, the plant can not breathe, and can not take up the water in its soil.
Consult your watering guides. Check out Star Note #900A and Star Note #900B.

Prevent and control Spider Mites on evergreens like cypress and juniper by using a high pressure hose to wash the foliage every 2-3 weeks. Symptoms include a dusty, off color or rust colored appearance and fine webbing on the foliage. Apply a miticide like MalathionBug-b-Gon or InsectMite & Disease Control if infestation becomes severe.

Keep your lawn healthy without excessive growth by using a balanced, high iron fertilizer like Dr. Q’s Triple Play (7-7-7) or Super Iron Plant Food (9-9-9). Watch for summer weeds like dandelions and spurge. Pull by hand or spot spray with a broadleaf weed killer. Don’t spray your whole lawn. Herbicide-temperature interaction could cause severe damage.

Control insect pests like roaches, ants, black widows, earwigs and so (roly-poly) bugs with chemical or pyrethrin based insecticides. When using any pesticide, read complete instructions and follow package directions exactly! (top)

For more information on the Gardener's Calendar, check out Star Note #100.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cutest Father's Day Garden Gift!

Here's a fun, homemade keepsake for the 
Dad that's always out in the garden!
Dress up a plain plastic Hand Trowel with colorful paints and a clever way to tell Dad how awesome he is!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Hand Trowel (Fiskars)
  • Assorted Paints (use acrylic)
  • Paper plates for paints
  • Paint Brushes
  • Tacky Glue
  • Ribbon
  • Small amount of Small Rocks (bagged or bulk)

Start by removing any dust or stickers from the hand trowel.

Use a larger paint brush to paint several layers of paint onto the inside of the trowel.
You can also paint the handle a different color if you wish.
Use a smaller paint brush for the lettering or any other smaller details.

Pick complimentary or contrasting colors that you know 
dad will love!
Acrylic paints give the best results and dry quickly.

With a paintbrush, dab a generous amount of tacky glue to the bottom tip of the inside of the trowel.
Place a few rocks onto the glue and allow to dry thoroughly before holding upright.

Top it off with a colorful ribbon and your gift is ready.
Made with Love!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

5 Essential Tips For Growing Succulents

Succulents are fun and can add a fresh and trendy edge to any indoor or outdoor space!
They're easy to mix and match, since they all have similar light and water requirements.
Here are some tips to ensure your succulent growing success!
Tip #1
Use sandy, well-draining soil.
Succulents don't perform well in a traditional potting soil so be sure to look for a soil that is specifically for cactus & succulents.

Tip #2
Empty drain plate after watering.
Soggy roots are a recipe for succulent death. 
If container doesn't have holes in the bottom for water to drain out, place a layer of gravel or rock in the bottom.

Tip #3
Let soil dry out between watering.
Indoor succulents can go weeks between watering, possibly months!
Outdoor specimens will need to be watered every week to month depending on sun exposure and temperature.

Tip #4
Place them in bright direct or indirect light.
Succulents will not perform as well if placed in a shady or low light location.

Tip #5
Make sure there is adequate airflow surrounding plants.
Terrariums are a fun way to display succulents, just remember to keep the top of the container open to allow air to the plants.

Succulents are one of the easiest and forgiving plants you can grow and they make great gifts too!
Have Fun!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Perfect Plants To Attract Birds & Butterflies!

Butterflies and birds provide a source of enjoyment and education for many of us.  
Here are some of the plants, usually found in this area, that attract them.

For Butterflies:

Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii

It's all in the name!
This variety reaches 5 x 5 feet with clusters of fragrant dark purple flowers in summer. Likes full or part sun well-drained soil and moderate water. Cut back heavily in early spring. Feed with Dr. Q's Rose & Flower Food.

Halls Honeysuckle
Lonicera japonica 'Halliana'

Vigorous fast-growing vine with fragrant white and yellow flowers that attract many butterflies. Used on walls fences or trellises, good ground cover on slopes. Full sun any soil and deep infrequent water once established. Prune heavily in early spring.

For Birds: 

Chilean Mesquite Tree
Prosopis chilensis

This complex hybrid is the most frequently used landscape variety.  Grows rapidly to 20 x 20 feet and produces a seed pod that provides food for birds. Young trees may have thorns. Best in full sun with good drainage and deep infrequent water. Prune to open canopy and prevent wind damage.

Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia phaecantha

Spreading spiny variety to 4 x 10 feet! It has large yellow flowers followed by rose-red fruit in late spring and early summer that the birds will love. Give this one some room in any desert landscape. Deep water every 2 weeks; withhold water in winter.

For Hummingbirds:

Autumn Sage
Salvia greggii

Hummingbirds adore this popular desert shrub! It grows to 3 x 3 feet and has tube shaped red flowers most of the year. Also comes in coral, pink, white and purple. Plant in full sun amended well-drained soil, water moderately. Prune after bloom cycle to keep active.

Cape Honeysuckle
Tecoma capensis

This vigorous heat-loving vine is a winner to attract hummingbirds in the cooler months. It grows to 8 x 8 feet and has clusters of red- orange tubular flowers in spring thru fall; colorful accent. Prefers amended well-drained soil and moderate water. Prune as needed for form and control. Protect from frost & freezing.

For more plants that attract wildlife to 
your yard see Star Note #545.