Monday, June 22, 2015

Super Soft Lamb's Ears

Lamb's Ears (stachys byzantina) was one of my favorite plants as a kid.  We had a small one that would grow in our backyard.  I used to get excited when I would see the fuzzy leaves start to pop up.  The leaves are extremly soft on this plant.  I never thought about having one in my own garden until last year when I noticed one on clearance at Lowe's for less than two dollars.  I was concerned the plant wouldn't come back the next summer, considering it was half dead when I bought it. Just look how huge the plant is this year!

Maitenance: literally, nothing so far this year! When the weather got cold, I trimmed back all the dead leaves and stems. It has flourished so far this year...I haven't even watered it yet!
The tall stem in the middle is where the plant is about to bloom. It does provide small purple flowers.  Be sure to check out my updated post to see. Cut back the stems after the plant has flowered to promote more plant growth.

Lamb's Ear is great for flower beds and can be easily divided to fill up other available spots.  My plant is in the bright sun for the majority of the day and does great. I recommend placing them in easily accessible areas for the kids, they will love it!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Baby Plants!

Propagating plants is an easy and cost effective way to fill your garden. The concept is simple- start with a momma plant and end up with extra baby plants. Required ingredients: plant, dirt, two weeks...that is it!  Here are the simple steps I recommend following:

Do a quick google search and see if your plant can propagate from cuttings. 

Find a small container that can drain. I recycle old plant containers my annuals come in (left in black), plastic plant starters (middle picture), or use my favorite- Keurig Cups (on right in white, just poke holes in bottom)! Fill with potting soil.


1. Choose a healthy, bug free plant. Find a branch and snip right below a leaf node. You want the cutting to be at least four inches.                                                                      

2. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. This step is important because the new roots grow out of the stem where the leaves used to be.   

3. Leave three or four leaves on the top of your cutting. Tear off any extra leaves, flowers, or buds. You want the plant focusing all energy on producing roots, not flowering.  

4. (This step is optional but will speed along the rooting process) You can use rooting hormone to help the plant get a jump start on producing roots. Place the stem in water and then stick into the powder. Shake off any access rooting hormone. 

5. Moisten your dirt in the starter container. Poke a hole in the middle of the dirt then place your stem in.

6. Provide sunlight and water. Wait two weeks and your plant will have a root system.  You can now plant this cutting into a new container. 

You can see new roots from my 'Wandering Jew' cutting.

I took cuttings from my favorite plant container (see blog post on how to create your own container)  and created a miniature arrangement of it in a new flower pot!  In a month this will be another full, beautiful arrangement for my back patio. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2015 MVP

My all time favorite plant this year is the clematis!  My neighbor had a bright pink one grow up her mail box each year and it took me this long to figure out what it was. The blooms were always bright, beautiful, and perfect. The purple clematis was my one splurge purchase this year. We went to our local nursery and purchased a $20 Jackmanii Clematis.

Hubby picked me up this awesome 72" metal windmill from menards.  I thought this would be perfect for my clematis! By next summer, the clematis should be filled in all the way to the top (I hope).
Penny's Tips:
-This is a climbing plant- you will need a trellis
-Some grow much taller than others, read the details on the tag
-Bury the crown of your plant two inches when you are planting
-MULCH!! It is important to keep the roots moist