Do you remember when you could do this?  
Can you smell the leaves?

Brooks & Dunn - Believe
Brooks & Dunn - Believe

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Aloe Vera - Medicinal Plant 

Growing up in Maine, I got my inspiration for gardening from my mother, as she took the time to teach me how plants grew, and I spent many hours in the family garden with her and my dad. Houseplants were not very popular back in those days (1950's) but my mother did have two house plants that I can remember: an African violet and a scraggly looking aloe plant that never seemed to get any larger, as it was used so much on cuts and burns on us five kids.

My dad always bought her a new plant for Mother's day to help get us through the sunburn time of the summer. This helped the big mother aloe plant recover from being cut back all winter and spring long. My mother was a nurse and knew the qualities of this plant, especially with five kids.

Let me tell you about this wonderful plant and how to care for it in your home so you too can have something to help your family with cuts and burns. Aloe is a slow-growing plant indoors during the winter, but if you can leave it outside during the summer it will quickly fill your container before fall arrives. The aloe is a succulent plant, a plant that loves the sun. Many people think it is in the cactus family, because it is treated much like you would a cactus. It is tough and will grow almost anywhere as long as it gets half a day of sunlight. Give it sun all day and it will thrive even though you forget to care for it.

The plant is messy looking to most because it will make many small plants in the pot it is growing in. You will easily notice the original plant in the container and during the summertime, with lots of sunshine and warm weather, it will quickly make many new plants around its main stem. The mother plant can have long dagger-like foliage up to 12 inches long growing on a single stem while the new plants seem to develop in clumps around her with much shorter foliage.

Spring or fall is the best time to divide the plant and put all of those new plants in their own containers. By spring the small plants will have matured--and some may even begin to make new plants around them. When you transplant the new baby plants, use a good quality potting soil like Espoma's new planting soil or Black Gold planting mix to help the plants get established quickly in the new container. I always add a bit of Dynamite pellet fertilizer after potting so the plant will be fed properly for the next 90 to 120 days.

Give the plant a good watering to help firm the soil around the plant and help establish the new roots quickly. Once this is done all you have to do is water the plant every 2 to 3 weeks. I also fertilize the plant every month with Miracle Gro plant food year round.

There are very few insect or disease problems with this plant as long as you do not keep it wet. If you overwater during the winter the plant will develop black marks on the leaves and the plant will begin to rot, so keep the plant on the dry side during the winter, as it will grow very little due to the short days and weaker sunlight. This plant is very hardy and should last several years in your home.

The plant is easily recognized because it grows in a clump of gray-green dagger-shaped foliage, and you will notice small spots and short white lines all over the stems. The edge of these leaves will have small teeth, often pale pink in color. As the teeth mature they may begin to get a bit sharp but never dangerous. The leaves can grow 1 to 2 feet long when mature and 1 to 3 inches wide at the base of the leaf.

If you take good care of the plant, it will make a flower for you during the spring to summer time. The flower develops on a tall stalk up to 3 feet tall but usually under 18 inches tall. This stalk will contain many tubular flowers about 1 inch long and yellow in color. The tubular flowers will dangle from the main stem and crack open, revealing a white center. With a bit of luck your flowers will make a pod that will be filled with seeds. Allow it to mature and begin to turn brown before harvesting.

Sprinkle the seeds on fresh potting soil and press into the soil with the palm of your hand. The germination of these seeds is quite good if you water regularly to keep the soil moist but never wet. Seeds will take 2 to 3 weeks to germinate. This will work best if you use a small container with a clear plastic top to help hold the moisture and heat around those seeds.

Your local garden center will have mini greenhouse available. These Mini Greenhouses are wonderful to start all your seedlings for the spring garden and also to root cuttings of your favorite houseplants. If you want to speed up the process, place this container on a heating pad set at the lowest setting and cover the heating pad with a hand towel to help spread out the heat more evenly and prevent hot spots.
John Denver - Annie´s Song
John Denver - Annie´s Song

Split leaf Philodendron

The weather is changing fast now and it's time to move your gardening skills indoors for the next few months. Whether you're new to gardening indoors or an experienced gardener, let's talk a bit about an easy-to-grow foliage plant that will grow just about anywhere in your home. Are you looking for a plant that will tolerate occasional neglect, no direct sunlight, low humidity in the air due to your heating system, and will grow well, even in the corner of the room? If you are, then I want you to consider the Split-leaf Philodendron, because this was the plant that started the idea of keeping plants indoors year-round.

The Latin name of this plant is Monstera deliciosa and it means a strong, large-growing plant that is pleasing to look at. In the wild, it will produce clusters of white berries with tropical fruit flavor. In Mexico, where it is native, it is referred to as the Mexican bread fruit or fruit salad plant--I bet you did not know that about this plant as it seldom makes fruit in our homes.

If you have this plant in your home now, look at it closely and you will notice something unusual about it. All the leaves are in the shape of a heart but no two leaves look the same! Some of the leaves are solid, some have oval elongated holes in them, and some even have splits on one or both sides of the leaf. The slits that give the plant much of its character occur when there is the most amount of humidity in the air of your home. So foliage that forms during the summer months when the windows are open and the humidity level is high will have more slits and oval holes in them. When the heat is on in your home during the winter months, the air is dry and the foliage that forms will have little splitting to them, unless you mist the plant frequently, so expect normal foliage during the winter months.

The split-leaf philodendron is really a vine that will climb 50 feet or more in a warm climate outside but in your home it will grow 1 to 2 feet a year while attached to a piece of bark or sturdy stake. When you purchase a plant be sure that there are several plants in the container to help give the plant some body and help it to look full and thick.

Split-leaf philodendron will grow best in a rich soil that has 50% compost and is well drained. Plants should be repotted every other year in a container that is 2 inches larger and has room to hold a sturdy wood stake to support the plant as it grows larger. Many garden centers sell a wood slab that has bark on the front of it, to make it more decorative looking in your home. If your philodendron plant is happy growing in your home, aerial roots will form on the plant, as thick as a pencil and these roots will give your plant additional character.

If some of these aerial roots reach the container, push them into the soil and they will help move moisture and food to the upper part of the plant faster. Aerial roots that develop high on the plant can be removed or tied to the stake that holds the plant up in the container. In nature these aerial roots would attach themselves to the tree they are climbing on for support.

Your plants will grow best in a room with moderate to bright light, but no direct sun on the plant. It will also do well but not thrive in a low light room as long as the walls of the room are painted a light color and reflect the light well. You can put the plant outside for the summer months to help create more splitting on the foliage as long as it is in a shady location. Put outside in May when the threat of frost is over and bring back indoors in mid to late September.

Plants will do best in a room with temperatures 65 degrees or warmer. They will tolerate temperatures as low as in the 50's but will not tolerate a drafty area with doors that open and close often during the winter months, chilling the plant. Water moderately during the growing season but allow the plant to dry on the surface 3 inches before watering again. Water less often during the winter months and always poke your finger into the soil 2 to 3 knuckles deep and feel the soil for moisture before watering again.

Yellowing of the lower foliage is a sign of overwatering. Keep the soil moist but never let the plant sit in a saucer of water; drainage is very important. Mist the plant when possible to help increase the humidity around the plant and increase the splits on the new foliage.

Fertilize the plant every other week during the spring to fall season to encourage new growth and once a month from the October to May. Use a fertilizer like Neptune's Harvest or Espoma Grow--if you forget to feed your houseplants, as many of us do--use Dymomite time release pellet fertilizer spring and fall, and every time you water the plant it will get fed.

The foliage is beautiful, deep green in color and glossy. Use a damp cloth and wash the leaves several times a year to keep them shiny, especially if you have forced hot air heat. The dust in your home will make the foliage lose its shine just like your coffee table does. Once cleaned, you can also spray the leaves with a leaf shine for additional gloss and make them stand out even more. Clean leaves help all house plants grow better, especially during the winter months when available light is less, due to the weather and shorter days.

If your plant becomes too tall, cut the stem just below a leaf that has an aerial root and pot up the cutting in a container of fresh soil. Make sure the aerial root is in the soil; if several of these roots can reach the soil, push them in also for faster development. Keep moist and in the shade until the plant becomes established.

The split-leaf philodendron will make a wonderful floor plant for any room in your home without much care or effort from you. Insect and disease problems are few with this plant but--like most plants--it is possible, so when you water or fertilize the plant look it over and check the plant for possible problems.

If you're looking for a good gift plant for a new homeowner or first time gardener, this is the one plant to consider. This plant is in the same family as the heart-leaf philodendron used in small containers, dish gardens or hanging baskets for your home except that it grows much larger. As the name states: Monstera deliciosa. Enjoy.
Alan Jackson - Sissy's Song
Alan Jackson - Sissy's Song
Swedish Ivy 

If you are looking for the easiest hanging plant to place near or in front of your window at your home or even at the office, look no further than the Swedish ivy. This hanging plant is the most popular of all the hanging indoor foliage plants sold today, and it's the easiest to grow, no matter where you live or what your experience level is with growing plants. The plant is perfect for the beginner, for your first apartment, for the dorm room in college or even for a teacher in a cool classroom--if neglect is likely, this is your plant. Think "foolproof" and it will grow better with little attention; even thrive in your window if you leave it alone except for a bit of fertilizer now and then and water when it needs it.

I have no idea how this plant got its name, since it is not in the Ivy family and is unable to climb an upright vertical surface as all ivies do--and it's not even from Sweden, it's a native plant to Australia and the Pacific Islands. It is a member of the Mint family but the Swedish ivy is able to cascade as much as 3 feet over the side of a hanging basket, and if it likes where it is growing, it will reward you with flowers in the late spring that will last to mid-summer.

Let me tell you about this plant. It will start as a bushy growing plant, upright at first, and as the strong thick stems begin to grow longer, they will fall over the sides of the pot. The plant does grow best in a hanging basket so you can better see the wonderful foliage from all sides. The foliage is rounded, the edges are scalloped and the edges have indentations on them. The foliage is also glossy, medium to deep green in color and has 1 to 2 inch long stems holding the leaf from the stem. You will also enjoy the deep veins running through the leaf giving it additional character.

In the spring, flowers will develop all over the plant at the base of the leaf and quickly poke their way thru the foliage often covering the plant. These flowers develop in the shape of a spike opening from the bottom of the spike first and slowly moving to the tip of the spike. These flowers will range from white to pale lavender and are often spotted with lavender dots. The flower spikes are short--2 to 4 inches tall--and attractive but not as showy as the foliage.

When the flowers fade, remove them, then cut back the plant to encourage new branches to develop on the plant. The pieces you remove from the plant can easily be rooted in a glass of water, or dip them in rooting powder and place several 3 to 4 inch long cuttings into a container filled with fresh potting soil. Roots will develop in just a couple of weeks in soil and a bit longer in water. When the roots grow to 3 inches long in water, pot them up in fresh potting soil and place 3 to4 rooted cuttings in a 4 to 6 inch container. You can cut back the plant at any time of the year to control the size of the plant.

Keep the soil moist, but never wet, or the roots will rot in the wet soil. Water sparingly during the winter months. The plant can stay indoors all year long but it will do quite well outside from May to October if kept in a shady location or in morning sun only. You can also repot the plant at any time of the year; just use a potting soil that is rich in peat moss or compost. When you repot the Swedish ivy, cut the plant back by 1/3 to make the transplanting easier, especially if the branches are long. This will help encourage new growth from the base of the plant and help thicken plants that have all their growth over the edge of the container.

The Swedish ivy will grow best in moderate light all year long but tolerate direct sun during the winter months. Indoors, keep plants at a temperature from 60 to 75 degrees and avoid drafty areas where doors open and close often. Fertilize every 2 weeks from spring to fall and monthly during the winter months with Neptune's Harvest or Espoma Grow. If your foliage is pale green and has darker green veins that may even turn purple, it's a sign that the plant needs to be fed more often. If you usually forget to feed your houseplants, go to your local garden center, purchase Dynomite fertilizer pellets and feed the plants with them. These fertilizer pellets will slowly fertilize your houseplants for 90 days or longer with just one application and help keep the foliage nice and dark green.

If you plants begin to get dull looking, bleached out in color, and droopy, they may be getting too much sunlight. Move to a different window and fertilize them to help bring back the foliage color and help make the plant strong growing again. If your plant has never flowered or makes only a few blooms, change your fertilizer to one with less nitrogen in it. A fertilizer with more phosphorous in it has a higher middle number on the package.

Swedish ivy has two insects that can bother it--but not very often. The first is mealy bug; this insect pest will make it look like the plant has small pieces of cotton at the base of the leaf or under the leaf. The second is red spider mite; this insect will produce a spider web-like material on the foliage and between the stems of the plant. If you see this, move the plant away from other plants and quarantine it at the first sign of a problem.

Spray the plant top to bottom and under all the leaves with a product called All Season Oil. This is a wonderful non-chemical product that will smother the adults and the eggs at the same time--killing them both. Repeat with a second application in 7 to 10 days. During the winter months, these insects are more of a problem. The oil spray is not toxic to you when you breathe it or even touch the plant.

If you like unusual foliage colors, this family of plants has many new hybrids. Look for the green leaf type that has a lovely bright white edge along the margin of the leaf - called "Variegata."

Also available are varieties with as much white as green on the leaf and other variegations. There is a wonderful green and pale yellow variegated leaf type and both of these varieties will occasionally have new leaves on the plant that develop with all white or all yellow.

Your local garden center may also grow the green leaf type with purple veins on them and some also have a purple underside and so are the stems called "Purple Majesty." I also love the new silver-gray leaf variety that seems to be covered with fine hair like African violets have.

Also, if you're looking for something different for your outdoor planters, use Swedish ivy in them instead of vinca vines next year. That will look wonderful, especially when you use the variegated varieties in them.
"My grandfather use to say, that once in your life you will need a Doctor, Lawyer, a Policeman and the Preach.  But everyday, three times a day, you will need a farmer.  "

Brenda Schoepp
Berry Patch Crème Brulee

This mixture of fresh berries will give your Crème Brulee a flavor packed taste to every bite of this creamy dessert. The classic Vanilla Creme Brulee with the wonderful taste from your garden of fresh picked from the grocer will have your family wanting more!

2 ½ cups of mixed fresh berries like sliced strawberries, whole blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, so choose your favorites for this fabulous dessert.
6 Jumbo egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for the topping
1/3 cup of mascarpone or sour cream
1 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of Raspberry liquor

{1 Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Reserve ½ cup of your mixed berries for garnish. Place six standard Flam dishes in a baking pan and then divide the berries evenly into them.

2} In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color. Whisk in the 1/3 cup of sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the mascarpone or sour cream, then gradually whisk in the heavy cream. Stir in the Raspberry liquor.

3} Divide the custard mixture among the 6 Flam dishes filled with berries. Pour warm water into the baking dish to come up half way up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center of each custard stills jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and lift the Flam dishes from the hot water. Let cool briefly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the next day.

4} When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet and evenly sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of sugar over each custard. Using a hand-held blowtorch, caramelize the sugar until golden brown. Garnish with remaining fruit on top of each dish with the remaining berries. Serves 6 Enjoy!!

Days to look forward
Thursday, November 17- Homemade Bread Day
Thursday, November 24 - Thanksgiving Day
Click here on picture and it will take you to our national park's trip!
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Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

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