Search My Garden Blog with Google Custom Search


Haworthia cuspidata

I got this Haworthia from the greenhouse at a local Home Depot in Chicago. They had just gotten a shipment in of Cacti & Succulents from Altman Plants. I was drawn to this succulent plant because of it's variegation and particularly the ghostly offset you see in the photo. I was equally impressed by the tiny flower and the way it matches the colors in the leaves.



A Tree Grows In Chicago

When I was a kid the neighbor's yard was the place to be. During the summer it was large enough to host softball games and in the winter it could hold an army of snowmen that would rival the Terracotta Army. At one point the yard was home to several fruiting the pear tree you see in the photo is all that remains of what was once an expansive lawn and mini orchard.



Houseplant Photo Contest

This past weekend I was preparing my houseplants to summer outdoors and grow outside the confines of the indoor garden. During the summer my houseplants go outside and become part of the garden in some way. While I was rinsing down plant leaves with the garden hose and checking on their general health I started thinking of all of the houseplant entries I've seen on other garden blogs and the searches for houseplant information that bring people to my blog.

As luck would have it today I started an e-mail conversation with Gary Antosh about gardening and blogging and I mentioned to him that I had been having a conversation with another blogger about doing a blog based contest and awarding prizes. Gary agreed to give away three copies of one of his indoor plant eBooks that sell for $17.00 as prizes.

The contest will have three winners in three categories.

Best Photo:
The photo that best shows off a houseplant. It could be a photo of the whole plant or a close up photo of a houseplant that shows off the leaf texture or flower.

Best Story:
Did you go to great lengths to acquire your favorite houseplant? Maybe it was handed down to you from a family member or you got it as a gift. For this category the story of your houseplant will matter more than the quality of your photo.

Rarest/Most Interesting:
Do you have a houseplant that is not very common? Or maybe your prized houseplant has an interesting growth pattern or is something you've grown from a seed from the produce department. Here the unique qualities of your plant also matter more than the quality of your photo.

How To Participate:
Between April 26th and May 6th upload your photo to your blog and provide a description of your plant and or the story behind your plant, anyone with a blog can participate. You don't need to be a gardener to take part in the contest you just need a family friendly blog where we can visit it and view your entry. If you don't have a digital camera to take a photo of your houseplant with you can use a scanner or camera phone. You can e-mail me the link to your blog entry or reply to this post in the comments section once you have uploaded to you blog.

A free eBook packed with tips and secrets the professionals use to grow healthy houseplants.

Who will judge:

Gary Antosh. Gary has grown indoor house plants commercially for over 25 years. His desire to help others learn about plants brought him to start Plant Care in 1997. He's the author of four eBooks on plant care and publishes a regular newsletter with a subscriber base of over 20,000.

Carolyn Choi. Carolyn is a garden designer and blogger from Chicago, Il. Her garden blog Sweet Home and Garden Chicago is regularly updated with tips for gardeners.


"Lily limp"

Last night I had the chance to watch the documentary First Flower, that aired Tuesday on PBS. I was reminded of the story of English botanist Ernest Henry Wilson. Wilson is credited with discovering Lilium regale while on a trip to China sponsored by the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts. While collecting Lily bulbs Wilson's expedition was hit by a landslide and his leg was broken by a boulder. He splinted his leg and was about to make his way out of the area when a mule train came down the narrow path they were using. Not being able to move Wilson decided to lay on the ground and hope that the 50 mules would step over him.


"Green" Items In The News.

Air Force Embraces Solar Power

"The largest solar power plant in North America will soon be providing electricity to an Air Force base in the Nevada desert.
The military says the plant, scheduled to power up at Nellis Air Force Base by the end of the year, shows that solar energy can effectively meet part of the country's energy needs."

Some Chicago restaurants are going greener by saving table scraps that are then collected and turned into compost for raised bed gardens on empty city lots. To see if your favorite restaurant is participating visit If your favorite restaurant isn't part of this program talk to the owner and or manager and tell them to jump on the bandwagon. If you're gardening in Chicago and would like to start composting learn about composting resources available to you.


I Want My GreenTV

"As global concern over climate warming mounts, a new generation of "green TV" programmes touching on environmental issues and green living is capturing prime-time viewing slots around the world."


Wal-Mart Touting Green Products
"Wal-Mart launched a national ad campaign Wednesday touting environmentally friendly products like light bulbs and organic cotton pajamas, part of what analysts call a move by major retailers to test exactly how much demand there is from "green" consumers.

Wal-Mart's 30-second television ads on national broadcast and cable stations that will be aired on such programs as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America", each feature a woman urging Wal-Mart shoppers to help the environment by buying low-energy light bulbs, organic cotton clothes or concentrated laundry detergent, which reduces packaging..."


Home Depot will be labeling environmentally friendly products in it's stores.


"First Flower"

I was watching PBS last night and saw a commercial for a new documentary called First Flower. It grabbed my attention because of all the floral imagery and some time-lapse photography of blooms and the voice over spoke of discovering the origins of flowers.

"...Flowers have long been at the center of human life. They grace our gardens, brighten our homes, express our gratitude, and even reveal the secrets of our hearts. But they are also essential to human survival. Flowering plants—which include not just our favorite roses, daffodils, and orchids but also wheat, rice, and corn—provide food and medicine and drive national economies. Yet for all our love and need of flowers, until recently, the basic questions about how flowers evolved into the most important and prolific of plants have confounded scientists. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin himself called the dazzling variety of flowers "an abominable mystery," and the puzzle of how flowers came to make up 95 percent of all plants on Earth continues today..."

There is also a companion website for the program with added features and videos. The companion site has a cool feature where you can test yours skills of matching up a flower and pollinator, can you match all seven flowers and pollinators?

First Flower-Tuesday, April 17 at 8pm


Google Accquires Double Click

If you monetize your gardening blog like I do with Google's program you may soon have some different options, it was announced today that Google will acquire Double Click. A few moments ago I got an e-mail from Double Click that lead to a press release that states in part:


Garden Bloggers As Scientist is calling on gardeners to become citizen scientist and help document "climate change data on the timing of leafing and flowering of trees and flowers in your area." The project focuses on native plants and trees and will be used to compile "valuable environmental information that can be compared to historical records to illustrate the effects of climate change," according to the project's website.

This is something that many garden blogger already do regularly but if you'd like to participate in the project and save scientist the trouble of visiting your garden blog log onto and document the phenological events in your garden. You can also back date the reports if you have been keeping a journal or garden blog for years.


Seeds Of Change Sows Displeasure With Some

Seeds of Change which sells 100% certified organic seeds has decided to switch to plastic envelopes to store and ship seeds to it's customers. A statement on the company's website states in part:


Senecio Radicans: 'String Of Bananas'

A couple of weeks back I picked up two String of Bananas plants at Home Depot greenhouse here in Chicago. I already owned String of Pearls (Senecio Radicans) and have been wanting to add this plant to my cacti and succulent collection. Since I've owned my String of Pearls it has flowered twice for me and I didn't know until the flower had died.
  String of Bananas Senecio Radicans

Chicago Sun-Times adds A Garden Blog

Today I got an e-mail from Carolyn (a fellow Chicago garden blogger) that reminded me that I was going to mention the latest addition to garden blogging. The Chicago Sun-Times has added a gardening blog to their website but it looks like they're going to do things a little different than the Tribune's gardening blog. The garden blog from the Sun-Times looks like it's going to be a collaborative effort between several writers.


"Google For Gardeners" Updated

"Google for Gardeners" is a Google Custom Search Engine that I've been experimenting with. What I've been doing is hand selecting websites that have content that we as gardeners are looking for. When you search Google for something you always get the most popular results first but sometimes the most popular results are websites where you can buy plants or garden products.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

This past fall I couldn't resist buying a couple of 1 gallon Sedums for the garden after they had been discounted. I planted the two Sedum 'Autumn Joy' plants in the garden hoping they would still have enough time to establish themselves before winter hit.

Sedum Autumn Joy


Affordable Cloches

In the indoor garden there is nothing quite like a cloche to really make a plant stand out. There's something about a plant protected by glass that automatically makes it seem special. Lately I've been seeing cloches used more as garden accents with sporadic instances of them actually serving a use in the garden. You can use them to start and protect seedlings or use them to root cuttings.

Garden Cloche