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Blue Hills Newsletter
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Blue Hills Nursery News October 18, 2018
featured quote

Featured Quote:

"Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise."
~Michael P. Garafalo



It's that time of year. Succulent pumpkins!

Succulent pumpkins now available by order for the holidays. They are not cut in any way. Last year people had them on display from Oct until Feb!

Small pumpkin $19.99

Large succulent pumpkin $89.99

Large pumpkin with orchids $120.

We also have some in the store that are ready to go.


Pottery

We have some beautiful pottery - visit us and take a look!


Fall Fun

Garden decorations and pots for Halloween!


Indoor Window Box Plants

Popular years ago, indoor plants are making a huge comeback. Their lush, green foliage can truly perk up a dreary interior environment and can be a beautiful addition to any home or office. Not only are they attractive to look at, but indoor plants also convert the carbon oxide that we breathe out into oxygen, thereby refreshing our indoor surroundings.

Most indoor plants are hybrids that grow wild somewhere in the world. The key to successfully growing plants indoors is to replicate the environment they naturally grow in. The main factors are location, lighting, water, humidity, and feeding. A few minutes of care each week help your plants flourish, providing years of enjoyment.

Bright windowsills are a perfect location for a number of indoor plants to thrive and help chase the winter blues away. (Just make sure to move them in the summer if the area receives direct afternoon sun.) Rotate each container after a few days so that all parts of your plants get an even amount of sunlight.

As a rule of thumb, keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Ensure that the pot has good drainage for excess water. Too much water locked in the pot rots the roots. Most indoor environments are dry and have little humidity. So, use a mister to spray water on the leaves on very dry days. You can also place your pots on containers full of pebbles. Pour water in the container often. This will hydrate your plants from the bottom.

Even though indoor plants tend to grow much more slowly than they would outdoors in their natural environments, they still require an infusion of nutrients throughout the year. We recommend using a balanced plant food such as Gro-Power (use as directed).

Indoor plants add color and can dramatically cheer up a home or office, especially during the dog days of winter.

We invite you to visit us and pick up a few of these gems today!

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One of the great mistakes many people make in Mediterranean-style landscape design is to incorporate plants that don't blend in with their natural surroundings. To make matters worse, the home owner (or the home owner's gardener) then prunes everything perfectly round or, worse yet, in geometric shapes--giving their home the look of a stage set from the movie Edward Scissorhands.

A house needs to connect with its natural surroundings to feel truly at home. With a little planning you can select the right plants to not only blend your home with the wilder landscape around it but also to create a garden that stands up to the sun and reflects the best that its rays have to offer. The key is to soften plants with formal growing habits by pairing them with free-form shrubs, perennials and grasses.

Most Mediterranean designs use Italian cypress, arborvitae, boxwood, laurel or yew (Taxus) to define the garden and give it some stature. Now consider house or garden walls that might be softened with the addition of a clinging vine such as Boston ivy or creeping fig. You could also incorporate grape vines on arbors, fences or pergolas.

The next thing to do is introduce motion to your garden with the addition of ornamental grasses. Start with a few closer in the foreground and then consider planting groups of three or more as you move farther out. Ornamental grasses change with the season just like the ones that cover the hills, making them great transitional plants. They are wonderful at reflecting sunlight and many have attractive showy plumes that add another shape to the garden. Consider varieties such as Kalamagrostis 'Carl Foerster,' Miscanthus, switch grass (Panicum), green or red fountain grass (Pennisetum), or feather grass (Stipa).

To give the garden some more visual punch, plant flowering perennials that you might expect to find in a field, such as agastache, aster, coreopsis, gaillardia, geranium (species), lavender, rudbeckia, salvia, and veronica. For some extra color and movement also consider tall stemmed daylilies and statice (Limonium).

Finally, for real standout color, consider adding roses to the landscape. You could create a formal hedge using a pure white rose, or just plant roses randomly throughout the landscape and let them blend in. Roses look great in Mediterranean gardens because it is natural to see roses at the end of grapevine rows throughout Tuscany.

To ensure healthy plants, amed your soil with G&B Organics Soil Bulding Conditioner. To help conserve water, make sure to cover your planted areas with some type of decorative mulch, such as Decorative Bark. To complete the look of your sun garden, consider adding a small-scale fountain water feature and some empty decorative glazed containers. These will add style and form to the garden as well as reflect additional sunlight, sending rays of light throughout your new garden.

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You don't need to be a botanist to coax flowers into bloom for the holidays.

It's simple, especially when they're Hippeastrum bulbs. Although marketed in the winter as amaryllis, most belong to the genus Hippeastrum from South America.

For the largest number of flower clusters, select the largest bulb. Plant it in a well-draining pot, 6-8 weeks before you want the trumpet-shaped flowers to appear. Make sure the upper third of the bulb is peeking above the soil and water sparingly.

Then stake the flower stalk for support, put a bow on it, and voilà! Don't you wish all your holiday preparations were this easy?

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jack-o-lantern

At this time of year, when the temperatures are cooling, a the children are gearing up for Halloween and the ubiquitous Jack-o'-Lanterns.

First consider where your pumpkins will be placed. If they are to grace the stairs leading up to your front door, select smaller pumpkins for carving. For a focal point on your porch, or a centerpiece for your table, go for a larger one. Just be sure that you choose pumpkins that are uniformly colored with no bruises or discoloration, and are either tall and narrow, or more rounded, depending on the design of your carving.

safety first!

Next, your tools. A long thin-bladed knife is best for cutting the top hole and large pieces out of the face of the gourd, with a paring knife used for detail work. All of your tools should be sharpened before and after carving, so make this a family affair with parents in control of all carving tools! The little ones can draw the desired face on the pumpkin with a simple crayon.

Begin by cutting a 5- or 6-sided hole in the top of the pumpkin, about two-thirds the diameter of the pumpkin. Angle the knife so that the lid and hole will be somewhat cone shaped; this will help prevent the lid from falling into the hole.

Scrape the seeds and stringy membrane out with a large spoon, keeping certain to scrape the bottom flat so that the candle sits squarely. Then carefully carve with your paring knife the face you've drawn on the best side of the pumpkin. Finish up with a white votive candle in a clear glass holder. Or be safety-first with a battery-powered LED flickering tea candle. You may need a couple of these to light your Jack-o'-Lantern sufficiently.

Fire safety should be paramount. Never leave a lit candle unattended, and never leave children alone with a lit pumpkin or any candles. Follow these rules and your pumpkins will be your scary pals throughout the holiday!

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Garden Primer
How often do I need to re-pot my plants into larger containers?


Answer:

Unfortunately, plants are not like the fish in your tank that only grow to the size of their home. Plants grow root-bound when the amount of plant root volume exceeds the amount of soil volume in their container.

To check, gently lift out your plant from its container. If you can see mostly roots and very little soil, then it is time to transplant your plant into a larger container.

Select a container that is about 20% larger in volume than your existing pot. A good rule of thumb is not to use a container that is more than 4 inches wider and deeper than your existing root ball. Use a good potting soil and make sure that the top of the existing root ball is even with the top of the soil in the new container.

When you are done, you should have no more than 2" of new soil surrounding all sides of the root ball. Add a little plant food like Gro-Power Bud 'n' Bloom, water in and you're good to go!

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Featured Recipe: Six Cheese Bow Tie Pasta

The amounts of cheese may look like quite a bit, but you will want every bit of it in this dish!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 cup smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cream Havarti cheese, grated
  • 1 cup provolone cheese, grated
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 12 ounce box of bow tie pasta

Step by Step:

  • In a large pot, bring eight cups of water to a boil, put pasta in boiling water, and bring back to a boil. After the water returns to a boil, turn off the burner, cover and let sit for 13 minutes. (This is a perfect, fool-proof recipe for perfect pasta every time! )
  • In a separate sauce pan, heat heavy cream and butter over low heat; gradually bring the heat up as the butter melts.
  • When the heat is at medium, add the cheddar, mozzarella, and cream Havarti cheese; whisk until smooth and creamy.
  • Drain pasta, do NOT RINSE.
  • Put pasta back in the same pan used to cook it in, add in all the unmelted cheeses, stir, then add your sauce mixture; stir until completely smooth.
  • You can either serve right away, or put in the oven with bread or panko crumbs sprinkled on top, and bake for 10 minutes to give a nice crust.
  • This is the PERFECT comfort food for those long fall nights!
Serves 4-6 people. For 2-3 people, cut the recipe in half.

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While many plants will hunker down soon for their winter dormancy, there is a whole host of plants that actively grow during the winter season. Winter annuals such as snapdragons, stock and pansy need a continual feed to keep them blooming.



Contact Information:

Telephone:
(562) 947-2013

Address:
16440 E. Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90603

Hours:
Open 7 days a week, 8:30 am-5:00 pm

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