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The Garden Mix

Make plans now to join Melinda on her famous Garden Walks at Boerner Botanical Gardens in 2014!

Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.

Cyclamen a Great Holiday Gift Plant

Consider a cyclamen for this holiday season.  The uniquely shaped flowers come in a variety of colors and stand above attractive variegated leaves. 

Select a healthy plant with just a few open flowers on stiff upright stems and lots of buds tucked under the leaves for maximum enjoyment.  Grow this Mediterranean plant in a cool bright location indoors.  Consider moving your plant to an even cooler room at night to extend the bloom time.
Water the plants thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil evenly moist.  Always pour off excess water that collects in the foil wrap or saucer.  Over- and under-watering are usually the cause of failure.
Start fertilizing your cyclamen about one month after purchase.  Use a dilute solution of flowering houseplant fertilizer and remove faded flowers for a neater appearance and better bloom.
Once the plant is done blooming, the leaves will begin to turn yellow and the plant will enter a normal resting period. 
A bit more information:  Stop watering when all the leaves are yellow and dry.  Allow your plant to rest by moving it to a cool dry place for several months.  After the rest period you can bring your plant out of dormancy and encourage it to bloom. Begin watering and place it in a sunny window.  You can also repot your plant at this time.  Move potbound cyclamen to a slightly larger container.  Plant it so that half of the tuber is above the soil surface.  Fertilize with a dilute solution of flowering houseplant fertilizer about once a month.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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12/10/2012 1:19PM
Cyclamen a Great Holiday Gift Plant
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Eco-friendly Control of Thrips
Poorly developed flowers, stunted plants and silvery streaks on leaves are indications thrips may be feeding on your plants. These tiny insects have file-like mouthparts they use to puncture the outer surface of leaves, stems and flowers and suck out plant sap. They are very small and difficult to detect. Hold a white piece of paper under the plant and shake. Or remove the petals of damaged flowers, place in a sealed jar with 70% alcohol and shake the jar to dislodge and detect the pests. Control is difficult and often not needed as the damage is discovered after the thrips have finished feeding. Provide the proper growing conditions and care for your plants. Avoid excess nitrogen that promotes lush succulent growth these pests prefer. And remove spent flowers that tend to harbor the insects. Manage weeds in the garden and keep thrip-susceptible plants away from weedy areas where the pest populations tend to be high. A bit more information: Beneficial insects like predatory thrips, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs and some parasitic wasps feed upon plant damaging thrips. Invite these good bugs into the garden by planting a diversity of plants and avoiding persistent pesticides. Visit the University of California IPM online for more details on this pest. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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