Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to care for Daffodils

Daffodils are the classic heralds of spring. They
bring an element of surprise and excitement
each year as gardeners eagerly await their
emergence from the soil, closely followed by
their breathtaking floral performance.

Daffodils are easy to look after in the Garden

·    They grow in full sun to semi-shade but do best in a position with sun during winter and spring, when they bloom.
·    Daffodils also need plenty of sun when they've just finished flowering, as this is when the bulbs are taking in energy for the following year's display.
·    While they are dormant, daffodils should be left un-watered. If your summer climate is wet or soil is poorly drained, they can be lifted and stored in a cool, dark place and replanted in autumn. Otherwise they can be left to grow and multiply.
·    Daffodils are extremely drought hardy, however, to have them performing at their best I advise to mulch well. 
·    Resist the temptation to pull off or cut back leaves before daffodils have died down completely. Leaving them allows the goodness to return to the bulb in preparation for next season's flowering.

Daffodils are easy to look after in the Pots

·    The main key to success with daffodils in pots is to choose suitable bulb varieties, which are sturdy and not too tall, such as "tete a tete"
·    Always use a well-drained potting mix or a potting mix that has been designed especially for bulbs.
·    If you do bring pots of daffodils inside and you wish to keep the bulbs growing for as long as possible, place them in a cool position in the house, away from any heaters.
·    To have these pots of daffodils looking great year after year, it's necessary to renew the potting mix with slow release fertilizer and wetting agent annually, or to replant your bulbs into new potting mix.
·    Alternatively plant the bulbs into the garden after they've finished flowering, and replace them with new daffodil bulbs the following season.

Daffodils are versatile

·    Daffodils suit all styles of gardens, whether cottage or formal, small or large, and they can even be used successfully in contemporary settings.
·    Grow them in clumps in the garden, as borders, in containers, mass plant them in drifts, or let them naturalise - whichever way, they look stunning.
·    They are an ideal choice as an under-planting for deciduous trees that are bare-stemmed in winter.
·    Growing daffodils in pots enables you to show off the plants while they're looking their best, then move them to a  less prominent position while they're not putting on a show.
·    Dwarf Daffodils such as "tete a tete" look great in pots!

So there you have it. Daffodils look great, they're tough as nails, and they're  even cheap to buy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

S.T.A.M.P.S Watches = Uber Cool

We’re really enjoying our new S.T.A.M.P.S watches here at Bliss. We have been exclusive ACT stockists of them for several months now and just love having them around. So pretty to look at, yet so practical and useful at the same time (there's a joke here about husbands I think but I'll refrain...)

So what makes these watches so super marvellous I hear you ask? Well firstly, they look like a stamp and secondly, they’re a choose-your-own-adventure type watch which you can mix and match to suit your mood. There are heaps of funky faces to choose from as well as bands in all sorts of great colours. Simply choose your favourite face, match it with a band, snap it on and BAM - you're looking mighty fine!

You can also wear them around your neck with the nifty necklace 'stripe' accessory or just stick the face to the fridge, dashboard or computer. The ‘Full Metal Jacket’ accessory is a square metal frame that can be added around the face and is designed to appeal to the male consumer but not exclusively, many gals will love the chunky look it gives.

Founded in 1997, S.T.A.M.P.S are of German & French design and have spread in popularity around the world, with many artists clamouring to design for them. But beware - with the price of a face and band combo starting at just 60 smackers you may get addicted...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preparing a new vegie garden

As August rolls on there seems to be a
few warmer days and a distinct whiff of
spring in the air. But before you go ahead
and start planting, there’s a few things
you need to do, and August/September
is the perfect time to start.   

Do a Vegie garden Plan
  • Think of the location. You’ll need maximum sunlight, protection from the wind, water close by
  • Taller vegies should be at the south end, so as to not shade smaller ones
  • Allow space for later plantings, ie tomatoes, capsicum, egg plant
  • Allow space to walk through to weed and pick
Manure and Mulch
Really these are the two key ingredients. Cow, horse or chook manure is fine. Aged is best. If it's fairly fresh you need to give it a few weeks and try to dig it through. If you have terrible soil, ie. rocky or sandy, you might need to introduce soil. Most landscape yards will do various "manure soils" which would be great. If the ground is hard, just place this on top and plant straight into it.

Pea or lucerne straw is the best mulch in this situation. Not only will it keep your soil moist, but it is great organic matter for the garden structure, and is full of nitrogen which will release as it breaks down.

Vegies in Pots
Don’t have room for a vegie garden? Try putting vegetable plants in Pots! I think in some ways it’s easier, especially no heavy digging! 

The principles are the same as a normal garden. 
  • Choose a nice garden pot - The beauty of this is you can make your vegie garden a feature with a nice pot, but practically, a long trough is the best, especially if you want to line them up at the edge of a balcony or deck. 
  • Good potting mix - not garden soil. A good potting pix available at Bliss is Martins Premium. It has all the goodies, including slow release fertilizer, wetting agent, crystals, trace elements, and coir. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to ad some blood and bone too. 
  • Regular watering – It is also helpful to incorporate a soluble fertilizer weekly when watering. For leafy vegies, use something with a lot of nitrogen like Miracle Gro. For the fruiting vegies like tomatoes, use something with a lot of potassium like Phostogen. 
  • Most will need as much sunlight as possible.
 It’s so rewarding to grow your own Vegies. Give it a try this season!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Plant of the Month - Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidium Orchids are winter flowering plants that can be kept indoors for stunning and cheerful display over the colder months

Since they are native to Asia (eg. northern India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Borneo), they will cope with very cold conditions over winter but can also handle monsoon type conditions easily in the Summer. 

They generally have a reputation for being difficult to look after but are actually very easy. A local grower gave me some very simple tips for getting them to flower every year.
  • After flowering, place them outside where they get lots of sun although preferably not the harsh western sun
  • Give them regular watering, maybe even place them where a watering system comes on regularly
  • Place slow release fertilizer on top of the soil during summer
  • Bring inside in June when the buds appear
  • Give small amounts of water 2-3 times a week, making sure they don’t dry out
  • Feast your eyes on their beautiful flowering display all winter long
And yes, I have tried this and it worked!

We have plenty of Cymbidiums in stock right now at Bliss, they have been our bestsellers over the last month with gorgeous pinks and yellows the pick of the bunch this week.