Garden Plants Gardening Tips

Plant Iris in the Garden

Plant Iris in the gardenPlant Iris in the garden for spring time blooms that stand tall in the perennial bed. Iris make a great back drop with their leaves during the summer months as your other perennials such as daylilies, coneflowers, and salvia bloom.

Iris are not like other perennials when it comes to planting them. Iris have rhizomes that do not like to be buried deep. As a matter of fact, they love to have the tops of the rhizomes exposed to the sun. You can divide and move Iris spring through fall and require no special fertilizers or soil. I have red clay soil and my Iris thrive. Iris are susceptible to aphids and Iris borer. Iris do not like wet conditions and this past spring several of my Iris clumps started to rot. (You can save rhizomes many times from Iris borer and rot by cutting away bad part which I will write about soon)

Plant Iris in the gardenI have over 15 colors and varieties of Iris. It is my favorite flower. My absolute favorite is an almost black- a very dark purple that I was given over 23 years ago! That is when I realized I have to have Iris in all my gardens.


Right now my Iris are sitting waiting for their new garden beds. I am selling my current home and dug up all my Iris. It is hard to be without my gardens but knowing that one day next spring I will see this beauties blooming once again.


Plant Iris in the gardenThank you for stopping by and soon I will write more about the care and cure for anything that ails the Iris. There are so many choices to love. Here’s a short video on how to plant Iris on my Youtube channel.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016-17 copyrighted material C Renee Plant Iris in the garden, gardening quote by me


Here’s my tips for growing a Parlor Palm houseplant

Here's my tips for growing a Parlor Palm houseplantParlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)(Neanthe bella) is an easy to care for house plant that will grow in low light conditions in your home or office and in the shade and humidity of summer. I was given a scrawny Parlor Palm that my girl friend had about a year and a half ago that she had been growing in the same pot for years. The Palm was not happy and so I agreed to take it home.

I have a lot of windows but not a lot of sunlight. I live under 13 Oak trees so in the summer the plants all go outside on the deck under a gazebo or in my potting area in the dappled shade. If you want to see a plant grow, put them outside in the right conditions and they will grow-fast. I had never grown a Palm before because I thought they required a lot of humidity (which they prefer) and they just never really appealed to me. However, I cannot pass up a free plant especially one that comes from a friend.Here's my tips for growing a Parlor Palm houseplant, Parlor Palm blooms

Last summer the Palm sat in the shade back by my potting area from March-November. All my house plants stay outside until the temps dip to 40s consistently at night because many plants need the chill for winter time blooms. The Palm tripled in size from October 2014 through November 2015. In December (2015) I noticed funny stems emerging from the fronds and panicked that something was wrong (like a weed growing in the pot). I had no idea Palm trees bloomed.

Now I have been growing house plants for as long as I can remember and I have found that the experts are not always 100%. I discovered this winter through experimentation with fertilizing that my Parlor Palms developed 2 stems filled with blooms. One stem started to bloom in January and in February the 2nd stem ‘bloomed’. These are very insignificant blooms but they are blooms! There are seeds and the experts say they are not fertile (I think I will try to germinate them and see).Parlor Palm blooms and seeds

How did I get it to bloom? Fertilizing with diluted fertilizer once a week, put in an East Window, and watered every couple days with rain water and made sure it never dried out (but stayed moist).  In the winter my home is at 65 degrees and my houseplants seem to thrive at this temperature. I also think growing outside during the peak hours of spring, summer, and early fall triggered the fern to grow and bloom.

I am about to admit that my Parlor Palm also sat on a chair on top of my heat vent too which is for most plant people is a no no. However, it never bothered my Palm tree as long as I kept it watered and fertilized. I will keep the Palm in the same pot until it is too top heavy for the pot because I found out these palms have a weak root system and love to be pot (root) bound.Here's my tips for growing a Parlor Palm houseplant, bloom stem

Parlor Palm might also be sold under the names Chamaedorea elegans or Neanthe bella. I have searched for the differences and have found none. It is a commonly sold house plant and is one plant that you do not prune. The only time you take scissors or pruners to the Parlor Palm is when a leaf turns brown or yellows and when the blooms are spent. The Parlor Palm grows from the terminal bud or the main stem of the plant which can cause the plant to stop growing. No worries because the Parlor Palm is not a house plant that will take over the house any time soon with heights reaching anywhere from 2-4′ depending upon the variety.

Bugs. We have to talk about bugs on your Parlor Palm (or any other house plant). Palms are notorious for attracting spider mites which can lay and hatch within days. Believe me when I say that you have to keep vigilant about bugs on your plants because even experienced plant lovers can get bugs. Many times a gentle shower with Dawn (or Ivory) to kill the bugs and a gentle rinse to wash away the remains will work. I also now use more natural and organic methods like Neem Oil. Here's my tips for growing a Parlor Palm houseplant

Thanks for stopping by. If you ever have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique




Can You Control a Groundcover?

Can you control a groundcover? Invasive plant to avoidCan you control a groundcover? Maybe. I can tell you from experience that you cannot control many grouncovers once they take off (unless you want to spend countless hours pulling and chopping to keep them in their designated area). Seriously, a groundcovers is just that- they cover the ground and choke out anything in its path.

I see many garden centers stocked with 2″ or larger pots of groundcovers every spring and I want to cringe. Why? Because many unsuspecting homeowners do not realize that groundcovers have to maintained and controlled once they are established. There are some grouncovers that cannot be stopped even in a pot because they will climb up, over, and and even out the drain holes in a pot. Groundcovers such as ivy and WinterCreeper Euonymous will go over, through and around any obstacle, pot, or tree and choke out any plant that is in its path.


Running Cedar- a Native with a Christmas Past

Running Cedar- a Native with a Christmas Past, Diphasiastrum digitatumI was so excited to find this a couple months ago in the common areas of my subdivision. I have seen this plant off and on for years never knowing its name but loving the way it hugs the woodland floor usually peeking through the brown crunchy leaves of Oaks. The beautiful green coniferous plant is actually not related to cedars despite its name and leaves that resemble cedar branches. Running Cedar is closely related to woodland ferns and Clubmoss and spread through deciduous and coniferous wooded areas by rhizomes or runners and forming colonies which spread slowly under the fallen leaves of the woods.

This beautiful groundcover is threatened in many areas because of its coveted use as Christmas greenery. I can see why it was used to make wreaths so many years ago and still sought out in areas today. This is a slow growing evergreen that can take years to recover from being dug up. The colonies I found in my wooded areas were near each other and very small with maybe stems of 3- 5″ above the ground. The Running Cedar was in areas that were undisturbed by residents which makes me wonder how many more colonies there are hiding under all the yard waste and invasive plants growing in our common areas. Running Cedar- a Native with a Christmas Past, Diphasiastrum digitatum

It is a shame that this native beauty is almost gone from many woodland areas. If you enjoy walking in the woods, then I would be on the look out. I would love to hear back from you if you have it in your area. Please do not dig it up unless it is a large colony and you are going to move it and transplant it with great care and love. This native evergreen may not be a food source for wildlife; however, it is home to spiders, salamanders, mice, and frogs. Despite being a groundcover, Running Cedar is not invasive because it grows too slow (unlike some invasive plants such as ivy, vinca, and pachysandria).

I first spotted the Running Cedar in October. I read that this plant is supposed to send up spores (just like ferns) to reproduce in the fall but I did not see any spores or cone-shaped spikes above the flat fan-like evergreen leaves. I am going on another long walk today to an area that I believe to be ‘undisturbed’ to see if I spot any colonies there. This is a gorgeous groundcover which I am tempted to see if it can be propagated so that I can help nature out by filling in other areas of the common areas. If I do, I will only take a small piece to see how and if it can be transplanted. Diphasiastrum digitatum, Running Cedar- a Native with a Christmas Past

Working with nature can be rewarding and it also takes patience. Looking for natives in my area has been an obsession for a while. It drives my family nuts because I cannot leave without a camera and carry on a conversation while walking without my eyes roaming the woodland floor.

Thank you for stopping by and be sure to check back to see what else I spy on my walks in the woods!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2015 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @the Garden Frog Boutique

Running Cedar (Diphasiastrum digitatum)

Height: I found it around 3-5″ tall

Family: Lycopodiaceae – Club-moss family


Tropical Pitcher Plant- tips to grow these carnivorous plants

Tropical Pitcher Plant- tips to grow these carnivorous plants
Taken May 2014

I have had my Tropical Pitcher Plant for 3 years now and have learned a lot. Within the first couple months I realized that I was not caring for this cool tropical plant correctly.

The tropical Pitcher Plant does not like temperatures to dip below 50 and seems to thrive in the house in the fall/winter  with temps around 65 in the east facing window where it receives morning sun. In January and February I moved the plant to the kitchen window above the sink where it faces south but does not receive direct sun because of the trees. The Pitcher Plant will not do well in full direct sun but loves a room with bright light.