Posts Tagged ‘lavender’

Ways to Use Lavender

January 28th, 2012

How to Dry Lavender:

  • Cut flowers in morning – after dew evaporates yet before heat of day

    English: Lavender fields of Bridestowe Estate,...

    Image via Wikipedia

  • (Rubber) band together in bunches of about a dozen or so stems
  • Hang upside down in a warm dimly lit space with adequate ventilation
  • Dry for one to weeks – until stalks are completely dried
  • Once dried – dislodge the buds by rolling them back/forth in a towel or newspaper
  • Store buds in an air tight container

Use your Hidcote and Munstead lavender plant blooms in late spring and summer dishes. Fresh blooms should be submerged into water for a minute to release any dirt or insects hanging on. Dry the fresh lavender by wrapping them in a towel and lightly squeezing them. Lavender mixes beautifully with herbs such as rosemarythyme and oregano.

Use fresh or dried lavender in the following dishes:

  • Chicken (especially roasted chicken – my favorite!)
  • Tuna or other strong flavored fish
  • Salads (fresh lavender preferably)
  • Stews
  • Custards
  • Sorbets
  • Chocolate
  • Jelly
  • Sweets – cookies and cakes
  • Heavy sauces (usually made with alcohol reductions/heavy creams)
  • Breads
  • Lavender honey – heat clean fresh blooms (no chemicals used) in regular or other flavored honey on low until lightly simmering. Strain flowers or leave in honey. Cool and enjoy.

 

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9 ways to brighten up your front entrance

April 17th, 2011

Boston - Beacon Hill "Red door on a brown...

Image by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr

1)    A fresh coat of paint on the front door in a lively color such as red or yellow

2)    Add a potted plant with all season color or leaf variegation such as Patriot Hosta

3)    Plant a summer bloomer near the door such as Pee Gee Hydrangea or Morning Star Hibiscus

4)    Add solar spotlights or path lights

5)    Plant lavender or rosemary plants for a scented entrance

6)    Add a window box with perennials, ornamental grasses and vines

7)    A friendly “Welcome” mat or sign

8)    Adding a Natural looking wreath such as forsythia

9)    Placing a couple of chairs and table to encourage sitting and talking

Visit Greenwood Nursery’s Accent plants to see what plants will brighten up your entrance.

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Earning My Green Thumbs

February 13th, 2011

Public Flower Garden in downtown Seattle

Image by FallenPegasus via Flickr

Post by guest blogger Cydney Langford:

I am the firstborn child of nursery owner parents. Plants, not babies. I can attest firsthand that green thumbs are born, not made. I had all the qualifications and knowledge, and yet, I can’t keep a peace lily alive for peat’s sake! (peat, as in organic humor) On the way to school most kids were quizzed on their spelling words for the day. I was quizzed on trees and shrubs that we passed along the way.  As previously stated, I had ALL the qualifications and even interest but still, houseplants browned around me. This was the norm until my first house. It had no landscaping whatsoever; a clean slate. This was my time to shine! I could show my parents and prove to myself that I was just a green thumb in waiting.

First up was the placement of beds. An herb garden was a must, as was a vegetable plot or two.  Also not to be forgotten was a cutting garden. My mom always had fresh flowers in the house and my nightstand is never without a small bouquet. It’s quite the homey touch. Now,,,, all this might seem like a daunting task for a new homeowner who hasn’t even unpacked, but I was determined. My thumb was going to be green.

Starting out, money was an object so I wanted hardy perennials and evergreens that would give me presence in the garden. For the herb plot I knew that patience was a virtue if I didn’t want to spend much money so I began with 3 in. pots. I found a great creeping Rosemary which blew me away with how fast it grew and thyme which, to my surprise, was an evergreen in my region. Two super easy starter herbs. Next was 2 varieties of lavender, lavender du Provence and lavender munstead, to which I dug the holes much bigger and added sand before planting. This reminds them of the Mediterranean of where they originated and they’ll thank you for it by growing better and faster than in clay soil. Other herbs such as oregano, chives,sage and annuals like dill, which goes to seed quickly and basil rounded it out. Quick tip: pinching off the blooms on the herbs promotes growth. That way all the energy it would have expended on the blooms gets redirected to the base plant.

For some year round color, evergreens were in order. I chose the fast growing Green Giant. These gave the perimeter of my yard a quick and easy hedge. Dwarf Sungold Cypress adds a pretty yellow green splash of color.  So, I put several of those together for a sunny grouping. My backyard is shaping up quite nicely by now.

Next up was the vegetable plot. I’ve always admired how neat and tidy raised beds look. They also give the garden an English cottage look which I love. I built my own using three 6” x 8’ boards per bed. One on each side with the third board cut in half. Then I secured them to the ground with stakes attached on the inside.  It’s so easy! I painted them white to complete the cottage look.  Our local farmer’s market has some great venders that grow organic vegetable seedlings. I ended up getting all my veggie plants there as well as some local honey and baked goodies. I love the farmer’s market! After planting all my vegetables I mulched them in with some black cow and gave a good watering. Next up, my flowers!

Now with the cutting garden, I absolutely had to have roses. I love roses! However, anything I’ve ever read about roses talks about maintenance and upkeep and fertilizing and so on, etc. Ugh! How can I develop a green thumb when all I’ll be doing is researching rose growing tips and rose trimming tips, how to cover them for the winter & snore, snore, snore! I want to have a life as well. What’s a girl to do? Dum, da, dum dum! Knockout roses to the rescue! You can’t kill these things and they look amazing! I started with two 1 gallon containers and they’ve quadrupled in size in just three years. Beautiful blossom filled bushes with the roses just begging to be put on display in my house. They’re fantastic plants. When we entertain in the summer, no one can believe that I am the one responsible for the growth of these magnificent flowers! They also ask for the name of my gardener or how often my parents “stop by”.  I just reply that it may have taken a while, but I have earned my stripes in gardening and I now am the proud owner of not one, but two green thumbs.

By guest blogger Cydney Langford

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Lavender Book Ahead Sale

January 24th, 2011

Bee on lavender flower
Image via Wikipedia

This week kicks off Greenwood’s Member’s Weekly Specials with our Lavender Book Ahead Sale. Between Friday, January 21st and midnight Thursday, January 27th, book yourlavender plants and SAVE 10% OFF your already low member prices. These are specially priced plants and will not be included on the Members Monthly Value Page.

When I think about my own garden, the first plants that come to mind are always my lavenders. They are planted near the garden gate and follow the walk down to the side porch and are even planted across from it. There is a small sitting area just off the side porch which on warm summer evenings you will find my family and me sitting, talking and enjoying the slight breezes of my lavender plants. These plants are also a delightful hangout for the local bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Word gets around!

This year we offer the English Lavenders, Mustead and Hidcote Blue, which are the lavender varieties used for culinary purposes but are, also, used dried in craft projects. Our French Lavenders are the Grosso and Provence which with their strong fragrant buds are used dried in crafts and distilled for their oil. The most adorable lavender variety is the Spanish Lavender with its bunny ears or pineapple shaped blooms like the Kew Red Lavender.

Special Lavender notes: The Grosso and Hidcote Lavenders are especially good for cooler climates. The Kew Red performs better than other lavender varieties in humid areas.

How to Dry Lavender:

  • Cut flowers in morning – after dew evaporates yet before heat of day
  • (Rubber) band together in bunches of about a dozen or so stems
  • Hang upside down in a warm dimly lit space with adequate ventilation
  • Dry for one to weeks – until stalks are completely dried
  • Once dried – dislodge the buds by rolling them back/forth in a towel or newspaper
  • Store buds in an air tight container

Use your Hidcote and Munstead blooms in late spring and summer dishes. Fresh blooms should be submerged into water for a minute to release any dirt or insects hanging on. Dry the fresh lavender by wrapping them in a towel and lightly squeezing them. Lavender mixes beautifully with herbs such as rosemarythyme and oregano.

Use fresh or dried lavender in the following dishes:

    • Chicken (especially roasted chicken – my favorite!)
    • Tuna or other strong flavored fish
    • Salads (fresh lavender preferably)
    • Stews
    • Custards
    • Sorbets
    • Chocolate
    • Jelly
    • Sweets – cookies and cakes
    • Heavy sauces (usually made with alcohol reductions/heavy creams)
    • Breads
    • Lavender honey – heat clean fresh blooms (no chemicals used) in regular or other flavored honey on low until lightly simmering. Strain flowers or leave in honey. Cool and store.

 

Remember, this Lavender Book Ahead Special will end midnight Thursday, January 27th. Lavender will begin shipping early to mid March. Book your order now to get your order scheduled.

Don’t forget to “Like” our NEW Fan Page to keep informed on new plants, specials and planting news from Greenwood Nursery.

Click here to view our Tips for Growing Lavender Video.

Questions? Feel free to drop me an email: Email Questions. As owner of Greenwood Nursery, I have always made myself available to our customer base to help with questions or concerns.  I’m here. Just let me know if you need any help.

Until next time…….Cheryl

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Selecting Plants for Borders and Edging

October 25th, 2010


Selecting plants for bordering or edging a garden or path can be just as frustrating as accessorizing a room or an outfit. You want the overall picture to look pulled together with your choices. I like to divide plants for this purpose into two divisions: compact and spreaders. These plants grow in the 3 foot and under height range. Compact plants are just that. They will grow within a defined space only getting slightly larger over the following years. If the area needs a strong barrier, consider a low growing shrub or grass such as Hameln Grass, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Hypericum Blue Velvet or the dwarf Nandina Firepower as they will work hard year round to keep the garden defined.

Spreaders and drapers will creep into the garden mixing with the other plants or spill over the edge of the garden bed. They will work well in any garden, but can really show their talents when planted along the edge of a multi level garden. Along the edge or border of a garden is a key spot to introduce additional colors and textures. If the primary color of the garden or landscape is green, for example, edge the bed with contrasting color plants such as Heuchera Plum Pudding or Black Mondo Grass. If the garden is alive with lots of color, then going low key would be more effective with something like an ornamental grass, liriope, thyme, lavender plants or dwarf boxwoods.

Here’s a listing of plants that I have complied for these 2 divisions:

Compact plants for borders and edging:

Grass Hameln, Chives, Heucheras, Aster, Hostas, Ferns-such as Autumn Brilliance, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Lavenders, City Line Hydrangeas, Liriope, Armeria Dusseldorf Pride, Veronica Royal Candles, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Barberry Crimson Pygmy, Hypericum Blue Velvet, Nandina Dwarf Firepower, Daylilies, Sedums, Grass Black Mondo, Grass Acorus Minimus, Grass Acorus Gramineus Ogon, Potentilla Gold Drop,

Spreaders and Drapers:

Wooly Thyme, Red Creeping Thyme, Creeping Phlox, Creeping Rosemary, Elfin Thyme, Hypericum Calycinum, Drift Roses

This listing of plants should give you many ideas of what size, colors, and type of plants you can use for edging your garden or bordering your landscape. Don’t feel limited to these varieties.

Be creative with plants. They offer so much color and texture. That’s part of the fun and the learning experience of gardening.

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How to Make the Garden Safe for Pets and Children

September 21st, 2010

When designing a new landscape or re-evaluating an older landscape, don’t forget to work in spaces especially for children such as: a sandbox, jungle gym, and/or open grassy areas for football or net games like volleyball and badminton (not just for children). A sandbox or jungle gym can be tucked into a corner or other small area. For jungle gym or other physical activities a thick layer of shredded bark mulch on the ground will help to reduce the impact of falls.

Introduce children to gardening and yard maintenance early on so that as they develop, they gain an appreciation and respect for plants and the landscape. These learning sessions are the perfect opportunity for teaching them about plants and how they grow. This reduces the chances of children ingesting any poisonous parts of plants.

For those with pets, work into your garden or landscape an area for them to run and play. Gravel can be irritating to their paws and hot in summer, so use shredded bark mulch for this area which also works great for their potty areas as well. Place dog houses in protected areas such as nearer the house/garage or tucked into corners (great where there is a fence for additional protection). Sun and wind protection are other points to keep in mind.

Be flexible. Some dogs just like to dig and no matter what, you can’t keep some plants. I’ve experienced this with my dogs. I replaced a couple of small trees damaged by a freeze a few years ago with dynamite crape myrtles. The next day, I came home to the plants dug up and dried out. I had to replace with 2 more new plants. The following day, I came home to them dug up and dried out, again. The dogs were scolded, of course, but we didn’t want to waste, yet, 2 more plants. So, I planted the newest crape myrtles in large containers with a few annuals. It isn’t what I really wanted for the landscape, but, this is a spot on the outside of my garden gate, so the container thing works fine. Planting in containers and raised beds can be a good solution for keeping plants off the ground so that they aren’t dug up, time and time again.

Both young and small plants are at risk of having dogs urinate on them, which if allowed to continue, will eventually kill the plants. Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the area and around the base of the plants.

Neighborhood cats can be a big problem. Two successful ways of keeping them out of landscapes and gardens is to lay pine cones around the area or lay sections of chicken wire, secure to ground and cover ever so lightly with mulch. The pine cones, chicken wire or anything prickly will help to keep them at bay.

Here is a short listing of plants that are generally safe to use around pets and children:

  • Bamboo
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Crape Myrtles
  • Forsythia
  • Cat Mint
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Heucheras
  • Sage
  • Herbs (many other varieties including annual varieties)
  • Sedum
  • Tulip poplar

This is just a short list of plants that can be planted safely in the garden. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a great site with information on a listing of the 17 top toxic plants to pets, great articles on pet care (dogs, cats and horses), and animal poison control hotlines.

Poisonous Plants

Pawprints and Purrs, Inc is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating pet owners, preventing animal cruelty and pet abuse. Check out their website and you will find articles on everything from pet ownership to traveling with your pet to alternative medicines for pets.

If you have a question about whether or not a specific plant is toxic or safe, always ask your pet’s veterinarian.

The following link is to a short article on backyard safety for kids. It offers some good advice to keeping children safe and happy at play.

Backyard Safety for Kids

 

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Growing Lavender

May 17th, 2010

If you have never grown lavender in your garden or landscape, you are
missing out on the most fragrant plants available. My experience with
lavenders is that they are ever dedicated to making my garden a mysterious,
magical wonderland and me a better person because of it. This may sound
pretty far out there, but if you have lavender in your garden, you know what
I mean.
We have a small sitting area on the perimeter of my garden (next to the
house) where Steve and I sit looking out over our garden. I have lavender
growing along the fence (its amazing as a low hedge) and in groups on the
berm in front of the sitting area and lavender plants sprinkled throughout
the garden.
During summer and early fall evenings, we enjoy this enchanted world right
in front of us. A soft summer evening breeze brings entrancing smells of
lavender as nature comes to life. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are
all attracted to the lavender buds. If a garden were an amusement park then
lavender would certainly be the roller coaster.
Greenwood has lots going on with lavender this spring. We are offering some
wonderfully new varieties. In addition to our regular English Lavenders of
Munstead and Hidcote, we are adding the Jean Davis which is has blooms so
soft pink they almost look white. The Kew Red blooms look like tiny
pineapples which is typical of the Spanish Lavenders. Grosso and Provence
are amazingly fragrant French Hybrid Lavenders.
The English Lavenders are early bloomers beginning in mid to late spring.
Once they complete their first round of blooming, they begin again. So if
you want all season blooming, plant Munstead, Hidcote and Jean Davis. The
Hidcote Lavender grows especially well in cooler climates.
Spanish Lavenders typically bloom around mid to late spring. They are also
referred to as Rabbit Ears or Butterfly Lavender because of the petals at
the top of the bloom. The blooms are not as sweet as other lavender
varieties so they will not attract swarms of fliers, yet honeybees seem to
enjoy them. This variety is note worthy, also because it performs better in
humid areas than other lavenders.
French Hybrids are cultivars of Lavandin (lavandula x intermedia) which are
cultivated mostly in France for their oils. Both Grosso and Provence are
excellent choices for strong fragrant buds and for craft projects such as
drying for bouquets and wands. Grosso is especially cold hardy.
The favorite edible varieties are Munstead, Jean Davis and Provence.
Here is a short video that I have put together with tips on growing
lavender. A little advance planning makes Lavender really easy to grow and
even easier to enjoy.
Tips on Growing Lavender Video
What better way to enjoy the fruits of your labor once your lavender begins
blooming than to toast to your plants with a glass of wine. A red table wine
would be perfect as it also carries the taste of lavender in the wine.
Mmmmm, delish!
Visit us at Greenwood Nursery. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

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Bringing Balance to Your Garden

May 17th, 2010

Bringing the four elements to the garden can open up many avenues into
oneself. Just as Feng shui corrects the positive and negative influences of
interior placement, incorporating the elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth
can bring balance and peace to the garden.

The first element of Fire, representing the South, opens the flow of chi to
the head, neck, shoulder and arms. Its color is commonly red and can be
found in the fire from a fire pit or candles, Knockout Double Red Roses,
Japanese Red Maple, Weigela Wine and Roses, Echinacea Tomato Soup,
Gaillardia Burgundy, Monarda Fire Ball, Pineapple Sage, Arctic Fire Dogwood,
Nishiki Willow and the Cotoneaster Coral Beauty. Presence of Fire in the
garden can increase Productivity.

The second element of Water, representing the West, opens the flow of chi to
the abdomen and human emotion. Its color is commonly blue which can be
applied to a water fountain, bird bath, blue reflection ball, Russian Sage,
Nikko Blue Hydrangea, English Country Aster, Veronica Royal Candles,
Hibiscus Blue Satin and Hibiscus Blue Chiffon. The presence of Water brings
Serenity.

The third element of Air, representing the East, opens the flow of chi to
the chest and lungs. Although yellow is the color commonly used, air can
also be found through the use of whirligigs, wind chimes, windsocks and
fragrant plants such as Lavender, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary Arp, and Mock
Orange. Yellow can be found in the plants Lilium Painted Pixie, Yarrow
Moonshine, Forsythia, Sungold Cypress, Knockout Sunny Roses, Angelina Sedum,
Echinacea Mac-n-Cheese, and Black-Eyed Susans. The presence of Air in the
garden brings Happiness.

The fourth element of Earth, representing the North, opens the flow of chi
to the feet, legs and lower abdomen. Earth is green; the color of nature,
but can also be found in objects taken from Earth such as rocks/stone for a
path or wood from a fallen tree might be used to build a bench. Green can be
found in plants such as Heuchera Lime Ricky, Ornamental Grasses, Hostas,
Ferns, Spartan Juniper, Emerald Green Arborvitae and Boxwood Wintergreen.
Build Confidence with Earth in the garden.

The fifth element, and most forgotten, is Akasha. This element will open the
flow of chi to the human aura and the brain. Akasha, the center of the
universe, is the only element that we can’t see, feel, smell or touch. It is
energy or inner spirit. The colors of white and/or purple are the associated
colors for Akasha. Center your garden with Mock Orange, Hibiscus Violet
Satin, Hydrangea Incrediball, Anemone, Shasta Daisy, Echinacea White Swan,
Black Knight Buddleia, Old Fashion Lilac, Persian Lilac, Hibiscus Diana,
Hibiscus Morning Star, White Profusion Buddleia, Viburnum Japanese Snowball
and Lavender. Akasha in the garden creates harmony with the mind, body and
spirit.

Yes, I do have Russian sage in the Western area of my garden, Moonshine
Yarrow in the East, ornamental grasses in the North, Japanese Red Maple in
the South along with Mock Orange for Akasha and those are just the
beginning. Maybe that is why Steve and I feel so centered when we retreat to
our garden.

Whether you get your compass out and place the elements to their
corresponding colors and directions or just include these colors within your
garden or landscape, you can still reap the benefits of their presence. To
keep the positive/negative balance, place at least one corresponding plant
in each of the corresponding elements direction. This will allow the
elements to work together in unity.

Other ways to make your garden magical is to bring in plants that provide
fragrance and plants whose leaves or blooms will reflect the moonlight.
Fragrant plants will include: Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Oregano,
Spice Bush, Roses, Mock Orange, Old Fashion Lilac, Persian Lilac and
Sweetbay Magnolia. Plants whose leaves or blooms will reflect moonlight will
include: Variegated Solomon’s Seal, Burgundy Lace Fern, Limelight Hydrangea,
Incrediball Hydrangea, Russian Sage, Pink Muhly Ornamental Grass, Pee Gee
Hydrangea, Heuchera Mystic Angel, Fire & Ice Hosta, Patriot Hosta, and the
Nishiki Willow.

Check out our full line of trees, shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, herbs and groundcovers: Greenwood Nursery. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

Visit us on YouTube. You will learn the basics of planting
container grown plants and tips for planting lavender and other herbs.
Greenwood Nursery Videos

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