Thursday, May 28, 2009

Delosperma ‘Stardust’

I didn’t plant any petunias this spring.  I can’t stand the amount of maintenance they require! 

When you deadhead petunias, they leave behind a sticky substance on your fingers.  I inevitably wipe it on my pants.  Did I mention I do most of my quick plant maintenance right before I leave for work in the morning?

Along the lines of deadheading, petunias require so much pinching – DAILY – in order to get a bushy flowering plant.  If you don’t pinch, you end up with stringy vines with sparse flowers – very unattractive. 

It was a little bit of a bummer having to wait a bit longer to plant my annuals, but it was worth it to avoid the summer long aggravation. 

In order to remedy this problem for next year I’ve decided to plant Stardust Ice Plant.  It blooms early and requires almost no maintenance.  I don’t even have to plant it each year – it’s a perennial!

I now present, Delosperma ‘Stardust’

Category Perennial
Common Name
  • Ice Plant
  • Delosperma
Formal Name Delosperma floribunda ‘Stardust’
Description A really cute plant with 2” purple blooms with white centers growing on dark green, succulent foliage.  This drought tolerant ground cover is great for those dry areas of your landscaping.  A hardy plant with blooms from spring to frost make this a beautiful addition.



  • Landscaping
  • Groundcover
  • Containers (it’s a spiller)
  • Rock Gardens
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil Requirements Tolerates almost all types of soil.  Sandy, clay, loamy – it doesn’t care!
Water Requirements From dry to moist & well-drained.
Height About 6”
Spread About 12”
Growing Zone 5 – 8
Manicuring or Pruning Cut back the dead stuff from the prior year in the spring.  Otherwise, leave it alone.
Fertilization Early spring, then again in mid summer
Growth Cycle Spring to frost.  Semi-evergreen in very mild climates.  Perennial that remains healthy with occasional division.
Bloom Time Early spring thru frost
Bloom Color Purple with white centers
  • Seeds
  • Cuttings
  • Division (early spring every 2 - 3 years)
Maintenance Level Low maintenance.  Baby it in the first year by making sure it has a good amount of water and fertilizer in order to get it well established.  Subsequent years require almost no maintenance.  That’s my kind of plant!
Special Features
  • Pest Resistant
  • Disease Resistant
  • Drought & Heat Tolerant
  • Attracts Butterflies 
Known Issues Unknown
Planting Instructions Surface sow seeds in moist soil.  Germination will occur after about two weeks as long as the temperature remains above 65 degrees.  Can be transplanted to 3” pots until they are ready to be planted directly in the ground.  Plant 12” to 15” apart.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Like Me!

Thanks so much to Squirrel Queen for the Most Wonderful Favorite award!

It gives me a lot of pleasure to know I'm helping people with my posts. It also gives me hope because I'm not the only lost gardening soul out there :)

The rules:

Deliver this award to eight bloggers who then must choose and deliver the award to eight more and include the following text into the award:

"These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

Without further ado, please take a minute or two or three to visit:

1. Three Bedroom Bungalow

2. From the North Fork Long Island

3. I Need a Martini Mom

4. Newlyweds Next Door

5. Red Rain Rants

6. The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

7. The Little Web

8. The Crazy Suburban Mom

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Attracting Beneficial Insects

I recently planted Zinnias in my garden to attract some beneficial insects to our garden plot at the Pleasantville farm.  And, as promised, I’ve put together a table listing the pests and the flowers that attract insects to combat them.

If you see any of the five insects below, let them live.

These are the good guys!

Beneficial Banner

Let the Garden Wars begin!

 Beneficial Table


Now, there are plenty of other pests that flowers just aren’t going to attract the right insects to kill them off. 

In a lot of cases, there are these nifty, microscopic worms that can take care of them.  They are called Beneficial Nematodes.  They occur naturally and are not harmful to humans, pets or plants, but sometimes you need an infusion of them so you can place an order with (it is sold by the pint so I’m thinking it’s a liquid spray).

Beneficial Nematodes are known for going to war against:

Ants, Beetles, Japanese Beetles, Black Fly Larvae, Billbugs, Cabbage Worms, Cinch Bugs, Cranberry Girdler, Fleas, Flies, Fungus Gnats, Gail Gnats, Grubs, Loopers, Mole Cricket, Mormon Cricket, Saw Flies, Sod Webworms, Soil Swelling Pests, Squash Bugs, Boll Weevil, Root Weevil, Vine Weevil, White Grubs, and hundreds of others.

I can’t guarantee planting flowers or spraying nematodes all over your yard will get rid of all the pests, but at least you’re trying!

Good luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


We started our garden at the Pleasantville Farm! Thus far, we’ve selected lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, basil, oregano & strawberries. They didn’t have the Albion strawberries I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but a strawberry plant of any kind is ok in our book.

“Beneficial” flowers are recommended in a vegetable garden. What the heck is a beneficial flower, you ask?

Beneficial flowers attract beneficial insects. Such insects are ladybugs, lacewings, mini wasps (not the paper wasps everyone is afraid of), etc. These bugs either pollinate or take care of other garden pests.

Diane’s Seeds has some great descriptions of what flowers attract what kind of beneficial insect. Where as, Garden Insects tells you what insect you need for a type of pest. I was going to suggest you use the two together to come up with a cross reference, but how about I put together a cross reference for my next post? I like you guys, so I’ll do that for you.

Not all flowers are allowed according to the agreement we signed when renting our plot. Anything invasive was out and typical bedding plants (petunias, geraniums, begonias) don’t necessarily attract the right insects.

To be quick about it, I choose a flower I knew I liked. I was buying a package of seeds and I didn’t need that many for the bed (only 10% beneficial flower plantings are allowed). So I wanted to pick something I would be willing to plant in the landscaping and/or containers at home too.

Without further ado, I present, Zinnias

Category Annual
Common Name


Formal Name Zinnia elegans
Description This easy-to-grow annual is an all-time garden favorite. Zinnias generally bloom profusely throughout the entire summer until fall.

Zinnia Seeds - small Sorry, I only have pictures of the seeds right now.

I’ll replace with a picture of the real thing once they start popping up.

  • Cut Flowers
  • Mid to Rear Flower Garden
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil Requirements Thrives in a wide variety of soils
Water Requirements Moderate watering until maturity (allow surface to dry between waterings)
Height 3’ – 5’
Spread 9” – 12”
Growing Zone 3 – 10
Manicuring or Pruning Excellent cut flowers – cut just before peak of bloom. Cut individual stems after flower fades.
Fertilization Minimal fertilization required
Growth Cycle Annual
Bloom Time Late summer to early fall
Bloom Color Orange, Yellow, Pink, White, Red


Maintenance Level Low
Special Features
  • Attracts Birds
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects (hoverflies & mini parasitic wasps)
Known Issues Unknown