Thursday, December 8, 2011

Norfolk Island Pines: Living Christmas trees

Norfolk Island Pines(Araucaria heterophylla) is not a true pine but it is a tropical conifer belonging to the genus Araucaria which is represented by 19 species endemic to many Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. The Norfolk Island pine is native to Norfolk Island in the Pacific ocean located between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. Sapling Norfolk Island pines are popularly sold as live Christmas trees and these plants can make excellent houseplants when small. They are also a popular landscape tree in warmer coastal regions of the United States, such as south Florida, coastal California, south Texas, and Hawaii. It is also a popular landscape tree in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil, Honduras, and South Africa. This tree is hardy in USDA zones 10-11 and possibly in zone 9 if it is planted in a protected microclimate. This species has high tolerance for salt and winds making it popular in coastal areas. This species when kept as a houseplant prefers moderate lighting. Never Keep this tree below 40 degrees F. Water once a week when the soil becomes dry. This species can be a bit challenging because it has relatively high humidity needs. When the tree gets to tall larger stems can be cut down and the tree will produce branching offshoots from the roots, or it can be replaced. This species is a slow grower and is moderately easy to grow. Overall this is one of my favorite houseplants to grow and makes a nice green houseplant and or a perfect live Christmas tree. I just picked up a seedling tree at Wal-Mart today. They are available around the holidays at most big box stores, supermarkets, and garden centers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cherokee Purple Tomato

I just wanted to share with everyone the heirloom Cherokee Purple Tomatoes I grew this year. They are delicious, they are very flavorful. They Probably are the best tomato iv ever eaten. They do look a little bit scary though because of their dark coloring reminds me of a poison apple or something. This variety reportedly originated in Tennessee among the Cherokee Native American Tribe.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's ALIVE!!!! The Palm Tree Survived

The Chinese Fan Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) I planted last spring has survived the winter. I wasn't sure it would survive here in USDA zone 6-7, but it did.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I love these little cool season gems that come out and bloom in the spring and the fall. They really are cute little flowers. They remind me of something out of Alice in Wonderland. They are easy to grow as well and they reseed. The photo on the right is a 'Helen Mount' Viola that sprouted up as a volunteer.

Plant Facts

Common Names: Viola, Johnny Jump ups

Scientific Name: Viola cornuta

Life cycle: Annual, Biennial

Origin: Pyrenees Mountains in Spain, and France

Uses: Beds and Containers

Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Height: 6 in

Spread: 6 in

Bloom Duration: 6 Weeks

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Seed Companies I have Ordered from

So it's time for seed shopping and starting so I thought id share with you two great seed companies I have ordered from for several years. - I highly recommend this company. They have great quality seeds and they have good prices. They also have some hard to find seeds and many heirloom varieties. - This is a good company and they have been around a long time. They have a lot to choose from but are kind of expensive if you order online. This companies seeds are sold in many retail stores for much cheaper.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Palm Trees in Illinois?

Well I live in extreme Southern Illinois and I thought id try growing a Chinese Windmill palm outdoors so the year
before last I bought 2 of them on E-bay and they were shipped to me from N. Carolina. The first winter I kept them inside on an unheated covered porch. Sadly the next summer was really hot and dry and one of them died but the other one seemed to be doing well. So I left it outside put a tomato cage around it, stuffed it with leaves and straw, wrapped it in several layers of bubble wrap than covered the top with a trash bag to keep it try, because rotting I hear is a problem. When I checked it in January it still was green so hopefully it will pull through the winter. Here are some before pictures taken during the summer and pictures of it all protected outside in the snow.