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.
Winter has many of us focusing our gardening efforts on the indoors. One popular plant is the Peace lily with broad green leaves and white blossoms. But yellow and brown leaves are a common complaint of many gardeners growing this plant.
Drought stress is usually the cause of wilted and yellowing leaves on the peace lily (Spathiphyllum). Avoid the problem by keeping the soil slightly moist. These plants will let you know by their drooping leaves that you waited too long to water. They usually recover but at some point the plants start permanently wilting, the leaves yellow and the leaf edges start to brown. Try to water just before the leaves wilt.
Over watering can also cause leaves to yellow and turn brown. Adjust your watering schedule to fit the growing conditions. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the top several inches of soil moist, but not wet.
A bit more information: Increase the health and beauty of your plant by growing in bright or filtered light. And once you master one, you may want to try other varieties including Mauna Loa that grows 2 to 3 feet tall with 15 to 20 inch flower stalks or try the more compact 12 inch Wallisii.
Walk off some of those holiday calories and gather ideas for next year’s garden with a hike through your neighborhood, botanical garden or arboretum.
Look for plants that provide color, shape or form in the landscape. Exfoliating bark on river birch, heptacodium, oakleaf and climbing hydrangeas stand out once the leaves disappear for winter.
Late fall bloomers like witchhazel add unexpected color and fragrance to the shrub border.
Make note of trees and shrubs with colorful fruit you and the birds can enjoy now and throughout the winter. Viburnums, winterberry and chokeberry are a few shrubs to consider while crabapples, hawthorns and Kentucky coffeetree have fruit that persists into and through the winter.
A weeping katsura, spreading redbud or narrow upright Green Arrow chamaecyparis add interesting form to the winter landscape.
A bit more information: Don’t overlook the more subtle features some plants can provide. Seed and flower heads of hydrangeas and lilacs contrast nicely against evergreens, adding texture to the garden.
Berry covered branches of bittersweet are common fall decorations. But many gardeners find their plants produce all leaves and no fruit.
You need at least one mature male for every five female bittersweet plants for pollination and fruit development to occur. A close look at the small spring flowers will reveal the gender of the plants you are growing and which one needs to be added. The male blossoms have pin-like structures while the females have a swollen vase-like structure in the center.
Or consider adding the new First Editions® Autumn Revolution bittersweet to your landscape. It is self-pollinating so you only need one plant to yield the desirable fruit. The fruit on this bittersweet tends to be larger and more abundant. And give this vigorous vine a good sturdy support.
Avoid planting the invasive oriental bittersweet that is taking over many of our natural areas.
A bit more information: Too much nitrogen fertilizer and insufficient sunlight can also prevent flowering. Grow American bittersweet in full sun and avoid high nitrogen fast release fertilizers for best flowering results.
As the temperatures drop outdoors they may also drop indoors as we turn down the heat to conserve energy.
Fortunately most houseplants can tolerate consistently cool temperatures even in the mid 50's. In fact they often do better in cooler homes since the humidity is slightly higher.
Cacti and succulents thrive in the cooler winter temperatures and often flower in spring.
Move plants out of drafty locations and away from cold windows to avoid a chill. Moving the plant back just a foot or two can make a big difference in the temperature. And never trap your plants between the window and curtain. The pocket of air in this area can be too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
Keep a close eye on African violets, begonias and other houseplants that like it warm.
Monitor your plants and watch for wilting, discolored leaves, or poor growth and adjust their location as needed.
A bit more information: Temperature and light intensity influence watering frequency. Cooler temperatures and less intense light means you will be watering less often. If you keep your house warm and the plants receive bright light, you may need to water a bit more often. For more on caring for houseplants in winter listen to Caring for Winter Stressed Houseplants.
Plant hyacinths now for a bit of added fragrance and color indoors this winter.
Hyacinths like other spring flowering bulbs need a cold period to initiate flowering. Most hyacinth bulbs purchased for the garden need 12 to 14 weeks of cool temperatures around 40 degrees. Prepared bulbs have received some chilling but still need an additional 9 to 10 weeks of 40 degrees.
The refrigerator is the perfect place to chill the bulbs. Just avoid storing bulbs with apples and other fruit that give off the ripening hormone, ethylene, which can interfere with flowering. Consider using one of the hyacinth jars for a fun and artistic look. Fill the bottom of the jar with water until it rises just below the bulb. Place the planted bulb in the refrigerator for the required chilling. Once chilled, move it to a warm bright location and wait for flowers to appear.
A bit more information: Extend the bloom time of forced hyacinths and other forced bulbs and cut flowers by moving them into the refrigerator at night. And further extend your enjoyment by forcing several bulbs and staggering the times you bring them out of the cold chilling period and into the warmth to begin flowering.
You went on vacation or life just got busy and you forgot to water your houseplants. Some survived the neglect while others are wilted, looking near death. Try reviving them before moving them to the compost pile.
Start with a gentle shower of lukewarm water. Then partially fill an old dishpan or other container with several inches of water at the same temperature. Set the pots in the water for about 45 minutes. Remove the pots from the water and allow them to drain. Once the water stops dripping you can return the plant to its usual location and wait to see if it recovers.
This method also works on potting mixes that have dried to the point of shedding water. The water rolls off the surface, down the sides of the pot and out the bottom. Rewet the potting mix with a soak in lukewarm water. Adjust your watering schedule in the future to avoid these problems.
A bit more information: Your finger is the best moisture meter. Poking it into the top few inches of potting mix is the best way to monitor your plants’ watering needs. Most plants benefit from a thorough watering when the soil is just starting to dry.
The change of seasons often generates lots of plant debris. Fall leaves, faded perennials, landscape trimmings and more. So how do you neatly and effectively turn this green debris into valuable compost?
Simply put your green debris in a heap and let it rot. The materials will eventually break down over time. Only use insect and disease free plant debris. Do not add meat, dairy or fat that can attract rodents. And do not include perennial weeds, weeds that have gone to seed or invasive plants.
Compost bins are designed to contain and hide the compost process. You can use a couple metal T posts and cylinder of wire mesh to contain the materials. These are portable and easy to open when turning the pile. Or wire several old heat-treated pallets together to form a bin. Visit www.mastercomposter.com for tips on buying and plans for making your own compost bins.
A bit more information: The more effort you put in the composting process, the faster the results. Adding a layer of soil every 6 to 12 inches and a bit of fertilizer can speed up the process. Turn the pile occasionally, moving the material from the center to the outside and the outer layer of materials to the center. Your efforts will be rewarded with wonderful compost for your garden and containers.
Add a little floral beauty to your indoors this winter with miniature roses. These small-scale roses make attractive centerpieces, party favors, hostess gifts as well as colorful additions to your own indoor garden.
Keep your miniature roses blooming indoors by growing them in a sunny window that receives at least four hours of direct sun. Or grow them about 4 to 6 inches below artificial lights. Use a grow light or combination of cool and warm fluorescent lights to encourage healthy growth and continuous bloom. Set the timer so the plants receive 14 to 16 hours of artificial light each day.
Keep the plants healthy by growing them in a cool draft-free location. Water thoroughly when the top inch of potting mix is just starting to dry. And fertilize actively growing plants with a dilute solution of a flowering houseplant fertilizer or slow release fertilizer according to label directions.
A bit more information: Spider mites are the biggest pest of roses growing indoors. Weekly showers with a strong blast of water will help reduce the risk. Plus, keeping your plants healthy will help them better tolerate this and any other pest problems.
Honor a veteran by planting a tree now or donating to one of many tree planting programs. This living tribute honors the veteran while improving the environment for current and future generations.
There are many local and national memorial tree planting programs across the US and Canada. Select one that best fits the veteran you’re honoring. The American Forests (www.americanforests.org) is the oldest nonprofit conservation organization in the country. Since 1990 they have planted over 45 million trees in the US, Canada and 43 other countries. Many of these were memorial trees. The Veterans for Trees, a nonprofit organization, works with veterans, their families, and friends to memorialize each veteran’s service with a tree. They plant trees in public and private spaces throughout the US and Canada.
Most botanical gardens and arboreta have memorial tree planting programs.
A bit more information: Or plant a tree in your veteran’s favorite place. Many public parks, golf courses and green spaces appreciate the donation and are happy to work with you to plant a living tribute.
Fall is a great time to start seeds that need a cold treatment, known as stratification, to break dormancy, sprout and grow.
Sow seeds at the recommended depth in pots or trays filled with a well-drained potting mix. The planting depth for most seeds is usually twice the seed diameter. Gently water the potting mix and cover the container with plastic to keep the potting mix moist.
Move the pots and trays to a location where the temperatures remain around 40 degrees for at least four to eight weeks. An unheated garage, porch or coldframe can work but should be monitored since the temperatures in these locations are influenced by the weather outdoors. A spare refrigerator is a perfect alternative since the temperatures are constant.
Once the weather warms or the seedlings start sprouting, remove the plastic, move to a sunny location, and water as needed.
A bit of information: Don’t be alarmed if the seeds do not all sprout at the same time. Some seeds will start growing soon after the weather warms or they are moved to a warm sunny location. Others may take several weeks to a month.
Getting Excited for the Megashark
A few shark enthusiasts - okay, I guess they're scientists - got mega-excited about spotting a megashark.
Watch the video to see just how excited they get. It was part of Shark Week, but it's the first time I've seen this clip.
And maybe you can make a new drinking game out of it.
Take a shot of whatever you like every time you hear the phrase "the biggest shark I've ever seen in my life."
You'd better stock the bar now...
It's Still Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Right?
It's hard to believe that candy purists are in an uproar over the new Reese's Christmas Tree candy.
On the outside, they have squiggly green lines to suggest the candy might look like a Christmas tree.
But when you open it up, it's really just a sort of shapeless blob.
Honestly, it looks just the same as the Reese's Easter Egg.
But some consumers are highly disappointed, finding that it looks like a turd.
If you were decorating around the house with these things, then I'd get the uproar.
But let's face it, it's just a delicious blob of chocolate-covered peanut butter.
Quit bellyaching - until eating all that candy gives you an actual bellyache.
DTN USA: Reese’s fans think special edition Christmas tree candy look like 'turds': The chocolate peanut butte... https://t.co/gO4kfXRM4V
— DTN USA (@DTNUSA) November 30, 2015
Well, That Looks Intense
Another sneak peek trailer has been released for Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice.
This one looks pretty intense.
Just 49 seconds long, and we see Batman chained to a ceiling in some subterranean tunnel.
Superman, looking uber-unhappy, strides purposefully toward Batman, and yanks off his cowl...
And Ben Affleck does NOT look happy about it either.
There's a full trailer coming our way this Thursday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Tuning in for that?
And This Will Sell Tires...
The folks at Pirelli Tires are famous - some might say infamous - for their annual calendars.
They usually feature supermodels either nearly or completelly unclothed.
Naked women = bald tires = trip to the Pirelli retailer nearest you?
I don't know if that's the actual marketing formula - I could be guessing.
For 2016, Pirelli's turning away from the supermodels, instead presenting "powerful women of achievement," according to the Huffington Post.
Directors, actresses, singers, authors, all photographed by Annie Leibovitz. They're calling it a "calendar for our time."
Two of the best known models: Amy Schumer and Serena Williams, both of whom are shown nearly naked, with strategic points covered up.
We can't show them to you, but the folks at Huffington Post have them.
Be warned - they are not safe for work.
Unless of course you work at a Pirelli retailer...
Which Starship is Better?
Neil deGrasse Tyson is arguably the world's leading astrophysicist.
And he's also a guy who makes science cool.
So naturally, it falls on him to settle one of the biggest geek debates of all time: which starship is better, the USS Enterprise from Star Trek or the Milennium Falcon from Star Wars?
And he settles the question, once and for all.
Some of you may be absolutely surprised by what he has to say...
Sometimes Fake Plays Work - Not This Time Though
The play was a fake field goal.
But it looks like everyone on the field was ready for it when the Pittsburgh Steelers tried one against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Everyone but the back up QB for Pittsburgh, Landry Jones, tossed it right to Jeremy Lane, corner for the Seahawks.
Pretty messed up play.
Check it out. If you're not a Steelers fan, you'll enjoy it.
Welcome back, Jeremy Lane! https://t.co/yPOk6FIHJQ
— BSSN SPORTS® (@BSSN_Sports) November 29, 2015
Another Jenner Changeover?
Maybe there's something in the water at the Kardashian/ Jenner Compound.
Kendall Jenner seems to have transformed.
Half-shark, half-bikini model.
A publication called Love Magazine has photos of Kendall wearing a hammerhead costume on the top part of her body, and almost nothing on the bottom.
It's part of their advent calendar, which seems to be their December calendar...
I'm not 100% sure what it's all about.
I'm not 100% sure I WANT to know what it's all about...
#loveadvent 🎅🐳💗 #kendall #sharky
A photo posted by LOVE MAGAZINE (@thelovemagazine) on Nov 26, 2015 at 9:46am PST
Don't Go Breaking My... What?
So here's an interesting pairing.
During a recent concert at London's Wembley Stadium, Ed Sheeran invited a veteran performer to join him on stage.
Not just a veteran. English performing royalty.
Sir Elton John, glittered coat and huges spectacles and all.
They sang a couple of songs together, including one of Elton's standby favorites, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."
Ed took the Kiki Dee part. It's pretty cool.
You Almost Don't Want a Logical Explanation
There's a video that's been circulating showing a very bizarre traffic accident in China.
Three cars at an intersection, near a crosswalk on a major roadway, are tossed into the air.
Explanations fly, just like the cars.
Freak force of nature? Illusionist nearby practicing for a big show?
Turns out a telephone repair crew had laid a heavy cable across the road.
Cars could simply drive over it, no harm done
Except for a street sweeper, which picked up the cable and spun it tight, catching the three cars and causing them to lift and flip.
Me, I like the non-logical approach.
Watch the video below. If you speak Mandarin, maybe you can verify the explanation.
If not, you'll have to trust what I've read on Unilad...
Slash Kicks Off Battle of Los Angeles
Every year, the football teams from the University of Southern California and the University of California - Los Angeles face each other.
They sometimes call it the Battle of Los Angeles.
The USC marching band enlisted some star power to help with their rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Slash, Guns 'N Roses' guitarist, started things off with a Hendrixesque performance, with the at-that-moment stationary band joining in about halfway through.
Pretty cool to watch.
And if you're interesed, USC won, beating UCLA 40 - 21.