Monday, May 28, 2012

Double lounger at ChaiseLounges.com

Well the extension is almost complete; there are just some painting to be done and some d├ęcor to be put in. We’ll soon be able to enjoy our al-fresco cum pool area in summer. What we still yet to find is some furniture to go with the area. We have in mind a double lounger at ChaiseLounges.com which we’ve fallen in love with. It is perfect for what we have in mind.

Screening Wall

A familiar problem in any garden is the need for privacy, and the need to create a barrier to block unwanted views, such as an unsightly compost system or rubbish pile. Now a great way to create a barrier is to construct a screen. There are many materials available at the local hardware store, but for the budget conscious try constructing a screen from reusable materials, which can be collected at the tip.

The great thing about second hand materials is they are full character. But remember when collecting any materials wear safety gloves. To create a screen like ours, you will need to cut wood and metal, and put in some screws. But power tools such as a grinder, drill and saw, will also come in handy. If using power tools, wear safety goggles and ear muffs. To build this screen we have selected materials including an old pool fence, because it's roughly the size of the area to be screened; a saw blade for the end; some plywood pieces cut into strips, and compressed concrete sheeting, to create bands.

Firstly remove some of the bars from the pool fence to create flexibility and allow other materials to be threaded through. Once the bars are removed thread the compressed concrete sheeting through the fence, but you might need some help with this. Next make legs to support the screen. For this we used two pieces of timber and put them on either end. This provided structural strength, at the back of the screen. Use decking timber for the front, and sandwich the ends. Once you’ve found the right position for the screen and are happy with the level, backfill the hole, and use sand rather than cement. Cement holds moisture, so it will rot the post more quickly. Ram the sand in firmly. This screen looks fantastic as a backdrop for plants, and the colours of the materials blends into the landscape. It cost about $25 and would take a day to make with the help of a mate.

Ovation guitars

As you may or may not know my teenage boy is really into music especially guitars. He was asking me the other day to get him one of those ovation guitars. I have no idea what ovation guitars are but I was told they can be quite expensive but they are the best. I don’t mind paying a little more as long as it helps him with his guitar lessons. I will always support his enthusiasm.

Clematis

Clematis 'Golden Tiara' is an absolutely fabulous little plant. Clematis is one of about 200 different species that comes from both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres. They grow in tropical areas at quite high altitudes and are members of the buttercup family. They're also known as Old Man's Beard, because of the greyish plumes that look a bit beard like, and also Virgin's Bower because it's said that Mary and Jesus sheltered under one of these on the flight into Egypt.

Clematis 'Golden Tiara' is a hybrid and it's been in the industry for about four years. It will grow to about three or four metres, so it's perfect for a fence or maybe a small bower or arbour. But also try using it as a ground cover, either down a slope or across the ground. A disadvantage is that you're not able to look into the flowers in the same way as when it's climbing. As with most Clematis it's easy to grow. Plant roots in a cool, shaded position and allow the plant to grow up into the sunlight. The moisture is just perfect for it. It's easy to prune. Cut it back to between 600mm and a metre at the end of summer. It flowers from spring probably until early May.

It doesn't need much fertiliser. But one tip; if you grow it up a tree just prune it back from the edge so that it uses the whole frame of the tree to grow and for its display. Clematis 'Golden Tiara' is an absolutely exquisite new plant on our market.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blood test in Santa Clarita

Well my dermatologist now wants me to get a blood test. Something to do with my immune system or something like that. All previous methods have failed so now its getting pretty serious. I hope its nothing too bad..I need to get a blood test in Santa Clarita area. Anybody knows where I can go? I’m not very familiar in this area because I’m quite new here.

Seaweed

Seaweed is a wonderful fertiliser, a great soil builder and an excellent compost activator. All in all, seaweed is terrific stuff for the garden. There's a long tradition of seaweed being used as a fertiliser to improve crop production. For example Celtic and Scandinavian farmers have put it onto their fields for centuries.

Kelp is one of many different types of seaweed. One type is powdered kelp. It is convenient for adding to the garden. And what is it about seaweed that makes it such a good fertiliser? Seaweed contains complex carbohydrates and these really get the soil humming with life. This has two really important functions for the garden. Firstly, it stimulates the microbial fungi in the soil and these assist plants in their uptake of nutrients. They also assist in defending plants from soil borne diseases.

So adding seaweed fertiliser helps crop protection, and plant nutrition Of all the fertilisers, seaweed has the broadest and most balanced range of nutrients, to promote early flowering and cropping and increases the sugar content of fruit. All in all, it's very good stuff.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Metal garages

The new house we bought doesn’t come with a garage; it just has a car port. I need a garage not just to house the car but I also need a workshop, a man cave! So we either build a garage adjacent to the house or we could get one of those metal garages that we can easily put together in no time. I’ve had a look at some of them on display and I like them.

Acanthaceae

The Acanthaceae family is often overlooked because the plants are sometimes considered to be old fashioned, but they are interesting because they have many different features that are attractive for gardens. 

There are over 250 genera in this large family of vines, shrubs and perennials, and they occur all around the globe in warm and frost-free climates. It is the floral parts that unite a plant family and Yellow Candles Pachystachys lutea, a South American member of the family, displays these characteristics well. The flowers are often clustered in pyramidal spikes and the petals are fused to form floral tubes, with the floral bracts often outshining and outlasting the flowers.

 Another point of distinction is the naturally patterned foliage. The Zebra Plant Aphelandra squarrosa is often sold as freshly rooted cuttings for use as houseplants, but planted outside in the right conditions these plants can achieve impressive proportions. They all have some common cultural requirements. They all enjoy moist well-drained soils, surface mulch in summer, morning sunshine and shelter from gales. Firespike Odontonema callistachyum loves hot, humid weather and can be trained as a groundcover or a wall shrub. In warm temperate climates the plant produces one large display of summer flowers whereas in the tropics it flowers continuously.

 A general technique for pruning Acanthaceae is to lightly clip them to shape after flowering, if they do stop flowering. The clumps of contrasting foliage of two Graptophyllum cultivars like ones with yellow and a bronze leaves planted together, highlights the differences between them. Their slender upright habit also makes them very suitable for hedging, but they need all day sunshine to look their best.