Gardening tips: plant a Hydrangea for summer-long colour

Beautiful colourful Hydrangea flowers in kent
Beautiful colourful Hydrangea flowers in kent

 

Plant hydrangea ‘Kardinal Violet’
 Hydrangea ‘Kardinal Violet’ is compact enough for most gardens. Photograph: Alamy

Blooming in spring and summer, the hydrangea is considered a shrub. But despite their ability to be rather large showstoppers in your yard, how to grow hydrangeas isn’t a question even the novice gardener will need to ask – these beauties all but grow themselves. Reaching up to 15 feet in height, the hydrangea grows quickly and often fills in a space in just one summer. You’ll find hydrangeas growing in hardiness Zones 3 to 7 as perennials. With flowers starting in spring and often last throughout summer into early fall, hydrangea flowers can be the foundation plant of your landscape.

Plant this Looking for a flowering shrub with zing? Try hydrangea ‘Kardinal Violet’. On acidic soil, its flowers are violet and purple; on neutral or alkaline soil, they are pink. Bred to flower all summer, at 1.5m x 1.5m it is compact enough for most gardens. It likes a moist spot in full sun or partial shade.

List of some herbs to grow inside the home.

indoor herb garden

Low Bamboo LED Grow Light Garden
Modern Sprout Brass Grow-Anywhere Growhouse

Between the convenience of having flavourful herbs on hand whenever you need, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you grew them yourself, there are lots of reasons to consider starting an indoor herb garden. Imagine seasoning your fresh tomato sauce with a few leaves of freshly picked basil, sprinkling a pinch of cilantro in your homemade guacamole, or tossing a sprig of rosemary on your roasted vegetables. As idyllic as it sounds, though, these little herbs pose big challenges for the aspiring indoor gardener. Most require at least six to eight hours of bright light each day and enough water to thrive – but not so much water that their roots will rot.

Here’s a list of great herbs that you can grow right in your home!

Lemon Balm

Grow lemon balm plants for a single year for best flavor. Plant it indoors in the fall, grow indoors through winter, then you can plant it outside for spring and summer.

Chives

Chives grow almost anywhere. Harvest them at the base (like cutting grass), no more than one third of the bunch at a time.

Mint

Growing mint indoors may be the best plan for most of us. Containerizing mint keeps it from growing all over the yard and garden. All varieties are suitable for indoors.

Parsley

If you choose to start parsley from seed, soak it in warm water to crack the seed coat before sowing it.

Basil

Use the smaller globe types of basil for indoor growing. Many of the larger types are too large and will cause space problems.

Bay Laurel

Also known as bay leaf. This shrub can get quite large if left unpruned. It works well indoors through the cold months, but performs best if kept outdoors in warm weather.

Cilantro

Cilantro is short-lived by its nature. Start a succession of seedlings at two or three week intervals to keep a supply going all the time.

Thyme

Thyme is adaptable to pots as small as four to six inches. Simply repot it from a nursery plant, or divide a larger plant that has grown outdoors. Like rosemary and sage, it is easy to propagate from cuttings as well.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass can be grown from seed, purchased as a starter plant, or propagated in water from the fresh herb in the grocery store.

Oregano

Oregano is easy to propagate from cuttings or by division. Take a few cuttings at the end of summer and root out in a cup of water. Fresh oregano is much milder than dried. Use it at the end of the cooking process so that its flavor is not lost.

Rosemary

Take cuttings of outdoor rosemary at the end of summer to grow indoors through winter. Start with a four inch cutting from a branch tip, strip the lower foliage and stick it into potting soil. Cover with plastic to retain humidity as it roots.

Sage

Buy a starter plant or start it from cuttings off an established plant. Simply snip off the growing tips from a plant outdoors and stick them in a pot with good potting soil. Keep the cutting moist and it will root in a few weeks.

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir lime is another woody plant used for its foliage. As with bay laurel, give it outdoor time in the summer if possible.

Mileece is a sonic artist and environmental designer who developed technology to hear the sonic song of plants.

Mileece sonic artist music from plants

In this episode of Sound Builders, we went to Los Angeles, to meet with Mileece. She’s a sonic artist and environmental designer who’s developed the technology to give silent seedlings a portal to their own sonic expression.

Channeling a plant’s sentience into an instrument is no obvious feat. Mileece’s background as an audiophile and programmer dovetailed to turn a garden into an organic medium for music. She pulls this off by attaching electrodes to leafy limbs, which conduct the bio-electric emissions coming off living plants. The micro-voltage then gets sucked into her self-authored software, turning data into ambient melodies and harmonic frequencies.

It’s simply not enough for these green little squirts to just spit out noise. All this generative organic electronic music must sound beautiful, too. As a renewable energy ambassador, Mileece’s larger goal behind her plant music is to enhance our relationship with nature. And if plant music can have a pleasing aesthetic articulation then hopefully we all can give a greater damn about our environment.

While some may see the paradox in an organic medium generating electronic music, Mileece does not. She sees this as a symbiotic relationship, a vital one, and one that hints to a larger relationship she’s been trying to unify, which is that between humans and nature.