Nurturing Seed To Bloom

Nurturing Seed To Bloom

The tragic events of the 11th of September 2001 changed the world, the way we view it, and how we relate to it. In the aftermath, more and more people are seeking solace and tranquility-their own quiet personal space. Many have turned to gardening for solace. Any time spent in the garden is beneficial-to the gardener, humanity in general, and to the Earth.

With all of the various aspects to gardening, it affords universal appeal-to young and old, males and females, beginners and experienced gardeners. Gardening affects people in a variety of positive ways. It can be calming, soothing to the soul, clearing the mind at the end of a day (explore the Zen of weeding and pruning).

As far as I’m concerned, anyone who gets his hands in the soil is a gardener. The very contact of skin with the soil helps to ground us (literally and figuratively) to the Earth. Getting down and dirty working in a garden-from planting seeds to watering them, from feeding plants to managing pests and diseases, and even cutting flowers to enjoy indoors-is one of the healthiest pastimes to engage in. Gardening incorporates good exercise with relaxation. Time in

Enhancing the Value of Your Home

Enhancing the Value of Your Home

The National Garden Bureau Presents
A Garden In Every Yard . . . Or Roof

The National Garden Bureau begins an initiative to encourage “A Garden In Every Yard…Or Roof” This slogan is our mission to convert people into gardeners to benefit the environment, our planet, and our communities. No one is exempt from our green movement; even urbanites can garden on roofs.


Spring is an active time in the real estate market. Agents are busy with open houses and showings as people move across town and across the country. Homebuyers are searching for that perfect new home for their family, while home sellers look for ways to make their house stand out from others on the market.

Both buyers and sellers are concerned with curb appeal—what someone sees when they drive by a house. An attractive, well-maintained yard and garden is a key part of that view. The first impression of a house and the surrounding landscape can make a potential buyer take a closer look at the property or immediately move on to the next house. For home sellers, attractive landscaping can help a house sell days or weeks

The Healing Garden

The Healing Garden

In the best of times flowers help us celebrate the joyous occasions in our lives—the birth of a child, a wedding, career or personal success. In more difficult times plants give us hope and inspiration to meet the challenges of life.

The role of the plants and gardens in healing is ancient. As early as 3000 B.C. the Chinese were using medicinal herbs. The Greeks built a temple for Aesclepius, their god of healing, set among mineral springs, bathing pools, and healing gardens. Green was a sacred color in ancient Egypt and represented the hope of spring that brought new vegetation and life.

In colonial America, the Quakers felt a deep attachment to nature and believed gardens were a place of creativity for the mind and body. Growing plants was a way to relax and restore the soul. One of the first programs to use plants in a therapeutic setting was established in 1879 at Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital after a physician noticed that psychiatric patients working in the hospital’s fields and flower gardens were calmer and that the gardens had a “curative” effect on them.

In more recent times, advances in technology and new drugs have been

Top 3 Tips for Restaurant Lighting: Choose the Right Windows and Artificial Light

Top 3 Tips for Restaurant Lighting: Choose the Right Windows and Artificial Light

Oshawa designers claim that light is one of the most essential part of a restaurant decor. Beautiful bulbs and customized windows can become the main interior focus in the place and at the same time create the right atmosphere for a cafe, restaurant and undoubtedly for a bar. Moreover, apart from the windows themselves you can add unique treatments so that in future change the ambience from sunny and fussy morning to gloomy and romantic evenings. Oshawa experts say that wrong windows and bulbs can either finish the mood and interior of your place or crash everything totally. So if you want your place to flourish and attract customers, make sure to read the tips below from windows and light experts.


First of all remember, that light is important to let your customers see what they are having on the plates. You can create a gloomy mood for the right atmosphere or you can do something absolutely different when your guests cannot read the menu or find their silverware. Experts in windows Oshawa advise to anyway choose the biggest possible windows for any kind of restaurant, because bigger is not smaller. It means that when having

Trusting a Professional Homebuilder Means Getting What You Want in a Home

Trusting a Professional Homebuilder Means Getting What You Want in a Home

Building your own house is an exciting venture, mostly because you know that in the end you are getting exactly what you want in a home. Of course, most people do not literally build the house themselves, but instead work with a professional home-building company that can assist in designing and building the home of one’s dreams. There are many home builders in the area, and they offer excellent services that include recommending floor plans, ascertaining your needs so that they can include everything you want in your home, and expertly building a home to your satisfaction. When looking for a professional home builder, there are a few tips that can help you choose the best one for your particular needs.

Homebuilders Offer Many Top-Notch Services

There are many steps to working with a professional homebuilder, including:

  • An initial consultation that allows them to determine and understand exactly what you want in your new home
  • Developing numerous concept plans, which are professionally drawn, so that you can choose which floor plan you prefer
  • Choosing the plan that is right for you, even if it means making a few adjustments in the design
  • Receiving a quote for the homebuilding

Herbs – The Name Game

Herbs – The Name Game

Etymology (the history of a word; tracing its development and transmission from one language to another) is fascinating. And nowhere more so than in the names of herbs—culinary, medicinal, dye, and other useful plants. Many herb names (botanic and/or common) have their roots in Latin or Greek. This often reflects its original purpose, which may be quite different from the modern application.

The common name of a plant can vary from region to region and country to country while the botanic name is the same throughout the world—only the accent varies. Of course, what can be tricky is that the derivation of the moniker, such as bloom time, may hold true in the region where it was named, but varies in other climates and latitudes. For clarity, the best-known common name as well as the botanic name are included here so that we are all focused on the same plant.

Carl von Linné, the Swedish botanist (1707-1778), who introduced botanical nomenclature (all those Latin words which can seem like Greek to many of us), even gave himself a Latin name—Carolus Linnaeus. One of his projects was a planted floral clock. He included chicory (Cichorium intybus) because its blue flowers reliably open and

Bountiful Harvest from Your Patio

Bountiful Harvest from Your Patio

At National Garden Bureau, we like to encourage even the brown thumbs out there to attempt gardening, even if on a small scale. And what better way to start than with produce grown on your own patio? Container growing offers many benefits, not the least of which is that you can put a “garden” just about anywhere. Cement balconies on a highrise building can become urban gardens, and a backyard deck or patio becomes a produce garden at your fingertips. Some of the top vegetable breeders are encouraging this trend by breeding smaller more compact varieties that still are prolific producers. Without a doubt, container gardens will require less weeding than their in-ground counterparts. This makes them ideal for busy people who love gardening but have limited time. However, watering has to be monitored more closely. Containers in hot sun can dry out quickly, and even a gentle summer breeze will wick moisture from plants. Be prepared to water daily or even twice daily during long, hot, dry spells. As for supplies, the shopping list is small: * Appropriately sized container (bigger is usually better) * Good quality growing medium * Young plants or seeds * Stakes or cages if growing vining edibles After that, with a little sun, a little water and a

Edible Flowers

Edible Flowers

Garnishing with edible flowers is nothing new but it certainly adds an exotic and creative touch of elegance to a meal or dish, not to mention a splash of color and culinary interest. Although edible flowers are readily available in your local market or grocery store, National Garden Bureau has created a great article about growing your own edible flowers here on our website. With the limited space in this newsletter, we’ll highlight a few points about edible flowers and then provide some helpful links if you wish to venture further.

Consulting a reputable book or website on which flowers are edible is always a good first step and National Garden Bureau finds extension websites to be a reliable source of information:

North Carolina State University offers this resource and table describing edible flower options.

Iowa State University’s Extension office has an easy-to-read brochure describing the most popular edible flowers in the midwest.

Colorado State University’s Extension office has a fact sheet that includes a lengthy table on edibles as well as a shorter list of garden plants with toxic flowers.

Be sure to follow precautions on proper identification of flowers, use pest control products specifically made for use on edible crops (or grow your

Native Plants for the Home, Garden and Landscape

Native Plants for the Home, Garden and Landscape

Native plants are among the best new plants for American gardens, yet they have been growing in North American prairies, woods, and deserts for hundreds of years. However, the term native is often misunderstood and misused because all plants are native to some region of the world. The term is used here to identify a plant that was growing naturally in what we now call the United States, Canada and Mexico before European settlement. A plant that was originally discovered growing in southern Florida is native even though it doesn’t grow in Minnesota or California. A native plant may also be called an indigenous species. Other plants, often referred to as exotics or aliens, were originally brought here from another part of the world, but have become established as part of a local environment. They are not native but often have become naturalized.
Many of these beautiful yet hard-working plants are equally at home in garden beds and borders as they are in larger wildflower plantings and prairie restorations. In fact many North American natives may already be growing in your garden. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica),columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), butterfly weed(Asclepias tuberosa), Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and black-eyed or brown-eyed

Beautify Your Community Signage

Beautify Your Community Signage

When you travel, what says welcome more than seeing a pretty sign and an exciting landscape full of color when you finally reach your destination’s front door, whether it’s a town entry, the front of a hotel, or a business!

Color attracts the eye and positive emotions are released when we see something beautiful.  Using this time tested theory, America in Bloom encourages cities and businesses alike to be cognitive of their gateways and imagine how visitors react to them.

The signs themselves should be easy to read at the speed required for the road where they’re displayed.

Ideally, landscaping around signs should offer four-season interest.  This is easy to do by including a mix of evergreens and deciduous shrubs and/or small ornamental trees.  The list below offers some suggestions for plants that thrive in most climates.

Evergreen shrubs may include:

Microbiota decussata – Russian Arborvitae

Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘prostrata’ – Japanese Plum Yew

Buxus ‘Green Gem’ – Boxwood

Ilex crenata – Littleleaf Holly

Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ – Spreading Juniper

Deciduous shrubs may include:

Itea virginica –Virginia Sweetspire

Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet Clethra

Rhus aromatic ‘Gro-low’ – Fragrant Sumac

Diervilla sessilifolia – Southern Bush-honeysuckle

Adding a mix of long blooming perennials brings color while reducing year-to-year costs:

Liatris spicata – Gayfeather

Aster nova-angliae – New England Aster


You Can Have Your Garden and Eat It, Too

You Can Have Your Garden and Eat It, Too

Somewhere, sometime, someone started a pesky rumor that growing vegetables is more work and trouble than growing flowers. Let us now lay that rumor to rest – it isn’t so. Keeping a vegetable garden is no more trouble than a flower garden and, for many gardeners; the rewards are even greater because (in one sense) you can have your garden and eat it too.

The Seven Joys of Vegetable Gardening

If you haven’t tried growing vegetables in your garden, you don’t know what you are missing. Not only does a neatly tended vegetable garden look great, but you can enjoy many of the fruits of your labors well into the winter months. Here are seven reasons to start or continue a vegetable garden

Exercise: Gardening does require some work, but this can easily be considered exercise. Stretch to pull that nasty crabgrass…dig to remove that dandelion root…breathe deeply to fill your lungs with fresh air. All of these gardening activities help to burn up calories and increase your physical well-being.

Food: An obvious benefit to vegetable gardening is that it results in good things to eat. And fresh vegetables always taste better than any store-bought produce. In fact, the exceptional flavor of homegrown foods

What Does A Seed Need?

What Does A Seed Need?

Seed is the least expensive component of gardening, so it makes good sense to buy the best quality seed you can obtain.

Start With The Seed Packet

The packet usually gives you a great deal of information about how to grow the seed successfully. Whether you purchase the seed packet from a retail store or a mail order catalog, the packet is the first place to look for guidance.

The Miracle of Seed

Seed is the botanical equivalent of an egg. It contains the very beginnings of a plant, along with enough “food” to get the seedling started. But a seed won’t sprout and grow unless four things are provided: light, heat, air and water.

Light. Once sprouted, all plants need sunlight to grow. But some seeds germinate better in darkness, and some seeds germinate better in light. Again, the seed packet should indicate this, or a good garden reference book will tell you. Germinating seeds that like darkness is simply a matter of covering them with the growing mix or germinating mixture you sow them in. For complete darkness, put the seed flat in a black plastic bag after you have watered it. This will also help retain the moisture for germination. Check the

Using Flower Color Effectively

Using Flower Color Effectively

Using Flower Color Effectively

Originally published in April 1994

Few topics are as interesting as color, and few things affect the overall look of a garden as much as color. Used effectively, color can create a feeling of calm, graciousness, spaciousness, excitement, or just about any mood a gardener wants to achieve.


Home Improvement


If you are planning gardens near or around your home, it is natural to want the color scheme of the flowers to complement the exterior colors. If your home is basically neutral – beige, gray or white – you have a relatively easy task because you can use just about any color scheme you like. If, however, your home is accented with a colorful trim, you may want to pick colors that echo that color or complement it. Red, for example, is the direct complement of green, so red geraniums, salvia or petunias, etc., would be a good choice for a neutral house with green trim. Unless you are an expert at using color, stick to two or three colors that you repeat in your annual plantings. This will give a planned, unified look to all your garden spots, and avoid the hodgepodge look

The Magic of Seeds

The Magic of Seeds

It’s no surprise that Jack (of fairy tale fame) was traded “magic” seeds for his cow. By their very nature, seeds are magical. They’ve laid dormant, just waiting for the right conditions to come along so they can burst forth with entertaining growth and continue the fanfare to a summer long display of flowers or vegetables.

Seeds let you start at the beginning. It’s a satisfying, personal involvement that starts with your decision of which seeds to grow. Seed catalogs and seed packet displays offer you a much wider selection of flowers and vegetables than you will find among started plants. You get to choose exactly which plants you will end up with – size, shape, color and even the name you like. Seeds are inexpensive, so you can afford to “try something new,” or go a little “crazy” and buy all your favorites.

Seeds are as “natural” as you can get. You can watch their life cycle from beginning to end. Even if you aren’t an aggressive recycler, seeds naturally lend themselves to being started in egg cartons or other “throw away” containers that let you feel good about what you are doing.

For most of us, seeds take only a little

Growing Herbs

Growing Herbs

Basil, Sweet (green) and Purple

To grow this tender annual from seed, sow in flats about 6 weeks before last frost. Sow seeds and cover with the growing medium to about twice the depth of the seed. Keep soil at 70-72 degrees F, and keep moist. Basil seedlings are very sensitive and most losses occur due to low moisture and low temperatures. If not crowded in the seed flat, do not thin, but let them grow to 3 to 4 inches before transplanting. Basil likes the warmth of full sun to grow best. Lift transplants carefully by the leaves instead of the stem. Set outdoors only after soil and air temperatures are warm. One chilly night can set plants back.

Basil can be directly sown in the garden after soil has warmed up and nights are not too cool. Be sure to sow to a depth of twice the size of the seed or heavy rains may wash the seeds away. Purple basil, lacking chlorophyll, is more susceptible to shock in the early stages.

Sweet green basil can be dried, frozen in ice cubes, or used fresh. Blended with pine nuts, oil and cheese, this basil is the prime ingredient in pesto. It

Green Side Up Planting an “Instant” Garden

Green Side Up Planting an “Instant” Garden

They are usually called “bedding” plants (they go in your garden beds), although some people think of them as just “plants,” but it isn’t the terminology that counts. What counts is that these started plants give you a handsome beginning on your garden; both in design and success, and gardening could hardly be easier.

If displays of bedding plants haven’t started showing up at your local chain store outlets, greenhouses and garden centers, supermarkets or even hardware stores, they will soon. And after a winter of not having had much to look at in the way of flowers and plants, you may find yourself irresistibly drawn to the rows of neat, green flats topped with buds and blooms as a dieter drawn to an ice cream sundae. But wait! Before rushing in and buying plants with the greatest eye appeal, take a moment to become a savvy shopper.

Selecting plants

Generally, bedding plants are grown in small “packs” divided into three, four, or six sections, each containing one or more growing plants (if you read a garden center ad for a sale on “6-packs,” think plants, not beer). Larger, plastic “flats” hold 12 to 24 packs. Packs are often individually priced a little

A Child’s Garden – a Special Place to Grow

A Child’s Garden – a Special Place to Grow

“What’s best for the environment?” is often asked these days. Well, what’s best for the environment is teaching our children respect and concern for nature. One way to start this training early, and have some fun doing it, is a child’s garden. The immediate and long-term benefits of encouraging a child to plant his or her own garden are enormous.

Through school and the media, many youngsters, even preschoolers, are already very aware of nature and ecology. The garden is an excellent place to reinforce what they have heard and learned and a great place to encourage their creativity and self-discipline. They will be exposed to the beauty of Nature, a beauty they will help nurture, and through growing vegetables they may learn a degree of self-sufficiency. A childhood start on understanding and respecting the environment plants the “seeds” for future responsibilities. We all know it needs to be done, so let’s do it with fun.

Lions and Dragons

Did you ever “snap” the jaws of a snapdragon, or “see” fantastic faces in pansies, or savor the tangy aroma of fresh mint when you crushed some leaves in your hands when you were a child? Whether you did or you didn’t, there are

Grow Your Own Salad Bar

Grow Your Own Salad Bar

One of the self-satisfying things about growing your own vegetables is the knowledge that you are providing healthy food for you and your family. Many claims have been made for various classes of vegetables, from helping to lower cholesterol to reducing the risks of certain types of cancer. We make no particular health claims for vegetables, but they have been recognized as being good sources of vitamins and minerals, and have long been thought of as “health” foods.

Salad Feasts

While flowers and ornamental plants may be a feast for the eyes, a salad you’ve grown in your own garden is truly a feast for the body.

One of the beauties of your own salad garden is its versatility. You can make an “enthusiastic salad” – where you put everything you have into it – or keep things as simple as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. And if you have family members that may not be the avid fans of the leafy greens and their companions that you are, getting them involved in the salad garden project will often whet their appetites.


Salads today go far beyond the simple fare they once were. Practically anything and everything can go in a salad. This means that

Container Gardening: Anytime, Anywhere

Container Gardening: Anytime, Anywhere

Container gardening offers many advantages that people can tend to overlook: containers can be less work because they can be placed closer to a water source; they offer a smaller soil area to have to weed; they can be placed at a height that can minimize bending for watering and tending; movable containers can “follow the sun” if you have changing exposure; they can provide a garden plot even in high-rise apartments or homes with no space for a traditional garden; and just about any plant—flower or vegetable—can be grown in a container.

Selecting a Container

Virtually anything that will hold soil and water is a candidate for container growing. From a bag of soil with holes punched for planting and drainage to wooden tubs, old riding boots, milk cans, hanging baskets and fancy ornamental pots. You can choose the size, shape and cost to fit your needs and desires.

The deeper the pot the less watering it will need. Pots with a small soil volume will dry out faster and require more frequent watering. Unlike plants in the ground, plants in pots or hanging baskets in the yard, on a deck or on a windowsill are exposed on all sides to the

Planning Your Garden

Planning Your Garden

Key Planning Tips

Start Small. If you decide to plant up some new areas this year, start small so that you can test for success and appearance. You can always make it bigger next year.

Consider water access. If you are planting an area far from a water source, figure out how you are going to get water there. If a long hose isn’t practical, you may have to carry water there, or plan on carrying the plants (assuming they are in containers) to the water source.

Try something new each year. If something in a seed catalog or in the garden center captures your imagination – try it. Starting on a small scale and a new spot, you can test the plant without a lot of expense or disappointment if it doesn’t please or doesn’t succeed.

Go for variety. Even within the confines of a color family you can achieve a pleasing mixture of different flower forms, heights and textures. While large displays of a single flower can be awesome, too much of a good thing can be boring.

Keep a “cookbook. In a notebook, write down which classes and varieties you planted where. Often you can just tape a plant label to a