Hibiscus Care|Space Gardening

Hibiscus flowers are one of the most spectacular blossoms a container gardener can grow. The blooms are large, colorful and incredibly graceful. The foliage of the hibiscus plant is also beautiful – the dark green, glossy leaves, provide a wonderful contrast with the extravagant blooms.


Caring for hibiscus is easy and can make any container garden feel luxurious and exotic. Here are some important information to care your hibiscus the best way:

  • Sun Requirements – While most plant tags will tell you that hibiscus takes full sun to partial sun, in reality, if you live somewhere hot and light, you should go more towards partial sun. In Northern climes, your hibiscus will probably be happier in full sun.
  • Drainage and Watering are Key – Hibiscus are thirsty plants and will only thrive and produce blossoms if they are given enough water. Depending on heat, wind and humidity, your plant may need to be watered daily – in extremely dry conditions – twice a day. These are tropical plants, so they don’t like to dry out. They also don’t like to be soaking wet, so you have to be careful not to drown your plants. Keep the soil moist, watering your plant slowly and deeply. If your hibiscus is dropping leaves, or you’re seeing yellowing leaves at the top of the hibiscus, chances are it’s not getting enough water. If your hibiscus has yellowing leaves in the middle or towards the bottom of the plant, chances are it’s suffocating from too much water.
  • Pot Size – For consistent production of hibiscus flowers, you don’t want to transplant your hibiscus in too deep a container. If you do, your plant will be healthy, but will spend more energy producing roots than flowers and top growth, so you may see fewer flowers until the roots have hit the bottom of the pot. However, if you are doing a mixed container, you will want to put the hibiscus in a larger pot, so optimally, look for one that is wider than the nursery pot, but not much deeper.
  • Fertilizer – Chances are good that when you buy your hibiscus, it has a slow release fertilizer mixed into to the soil so you probably don’t have to worry about feeding your plant for the first few months you own it. After that feed it regularly. I use a diluted, liquid fish emulsion, seaweed combination every other week.
  • Overwintering Hibiscus – If you live in a northern climate, it is possible to overwinter hibiscus indoors, though it’s not easy. Your hibiscus will need at least 2-3 hours of direct sunlight. Try putting your hibiscus in an East, West or South facing window. Though your hibiscus will need less water in the winter, be aware that once you turn on your heat, your air will be dry, which can be hard on tropical plants, so you will need to water more often. If you see any buds remove them – you don’t want your hibiscus to flower in the winter. In the spring, cut the plant back and put it back outside, once the nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50°F.
  • Happy Hibiscus – If your plant is consistently producing hibiscus flowers, it is happy, so keep doing what you’re doing. If your plant is not producing buds and flowers, try moving it into an area that has either more or less sunlight.

Allium For Garden|Space Gardening

Allium giganteum_25 copy

With their classic, plump flower heads, which seem to hover like purple clouds above other plants, alliums are one of the highlights of the summer garden. You might be surprised at the range of flower shapes and colours available among these ornamental onions – bright blue, white, gold, darkest purple and pale pink hues, as well as pendulous flowers, flat blooms and enormous flower heads like fireworks.

How to grow alliums


Plant bulbs at 2½ times their own depth in autumn and space them about 8 inches (or 4 inches in the case of smaller bulbs such as A. triquetrum). Some alliums have rhizomes (underground stems) instead of bulbs – these are the ones that look more like spring onions than dry bulbs on arrival. Plant these in autumn just below the soil surface and 4 inches apart.

Allium giganteum

Allium giganteum


Alliums aren’t too fussy, but a sheltered spot with well-drained soil in full sun is their ideal position.

For impact, plant alliums in groups. Create a year-long display with spring bulbs and hellebore hybrids in spring that will die down to make way for late-flowering herbaceous perennials, such as Japanese anemones, that will hide any untidy allium leaves and provide colour once the alliums are over.


After care

To keep alliums tidy, gather up the dead leaves in early summer and remove any stems that become detached at their bases in late summer. Although all on trial stood up well, in a very exposed site you may need to provide support for stems. Keep an eye out for rust and cut back diseased foliage. Alliums are hardy in Britain and can be left in the ground all year round.

Some of the most noteworthy ornamental alliums include:


  • Ornamental garlic (A. aflatunense) – lovely lilac-colored, spring-blooming type.
  • Giant onion (A. giganteum) – one of the largest blooming species, with globe-shaped flowers that grow up to 5 feet or more.
  • Golden onion (A. moly) is beautiful, especially when placed in a rock garden. Its yellow, star-like flowers make an impressive sight in the garden when planted in drifts too.
  • Bride’s onion (A. neapolitanum) – spring-blooming with star-shaped white flowers and narrow, green leaves.
  • Rosy garlic (A. roseum) – with its sweet-scented pink blooms, this allium species is great for adding to beds and borders.
  • Drumstick allium (A. sphaerocephalon) – these have reddish-purple globes and fit in nicely with companion plants like hosta. Their blooms, even once faded, still remain attractive throughout fall and winter.


Sunflower House|Space Gardening



Building a sunflower house is an easy and rewarding project. The seeds of the giant varieties, when planted in a square or circle formation, create the perfect setting for a reading nook or gathering space!And don’t forget to leave a space for a door…


  • A packet of sunflower seeds – choose a tall variety like Mammoth or California Greystripe
  • Stakes
  • String or twine
  • A hoe
  • Compost for fertilizer

sunflower fort
Note: seeds should be planted after the last frost date in your area.

  1. In early spring, locate a suitable location with good soil, flat ground, and at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight during the growing season.
  2. Decide (with the help of your child) whether the sunflower house is going to be a square or a circle. Decide the shape of your sunflower house and decide how big you want it to be.
  3. Now that you have your site picked out and the shape chosen, stake off the agreed design in the chosen location.  Tie a string to one of the stakes and stretch it around the perimeter to designate the walls of the house – remember to leave an opening for the doorway, approximately two-feet wide.
  4. Remove any rocks, grass, and weeds from inside the perimeter – have your child help!  To make the “floor” of your house weed-free, place flattened layers of cardboard inside the marked area, then cover the cardboard with seedless straw or mulch.  Later you can plant a cover crop inside the house to form a comfortable “carpet”!  Using the string around the perimeter as your guide, use a hoe to clear the perimeter area.
  5. Use a trowel to dig a small hole, 1 inch deep, every foot along your market outline.  Have your child place two seeds in each hole, following the packet instructions.  Cover the seeds with loose soil.  If birds are a problem, cover the seeds with window screening secured with rocks while they are germinating.  Water seeds thoroughly.  When they sprout, remove the window screening.
  6. Fertilize the flower as they grow: you can use a blend of liquid kelp and fish emulsion.


  • Plant corn interspersed with the sunflowers.  This is a great example of companion planting!  The corn drives some varieties beetles away from the sunflowers, and the sunflowers in turn protect the corn from fall armyworms.  Choose any kind of corn you like, although multi-colored looks especially festive.
  • Plant a carpet of white clover inside the house to create a soft “carpet.”  Also consider planting some herbs like spearmint and chamomile inside and around the house to give off soothing aromas.
  • Alternate the tall sunflowers with a shorter variety so the children can better examine them

Mailbox Makeover|Space Gardening


A small garden around the base always adds curb appeal to a traditional wooden or metal post mailbox. Keep in mind that whatever you plant in your mailbox garden needs to be hardy since this area of the yard is often subjected to people walking their dogs, storm-water runoff, street salt from winter snow, traffic fumes and other less garden-friendly factors. At the same time, you don’t want to plant something sharp and spiky, like a yucca that could injure someone (like your mail carrier) or scratch car surfaces.

Flowering climbing vines can be an ideal natural decoration for the mailbox and Callahan singles out clematis as a favorite choice because it is a “super simple, easy bang-for-your-buck. The only issue is if they do well in that spot, they will require a little bit of maintenance because they grow quickly and you do need to tie them up so they don’t cover the mailbox.” ‘Albina Plena’ ,‘Blue Dancer’ and ‘Pink Flamingo’ are all good examples of winter-hardy, disease-resistant clematis.

Depending on the climate zone where you live, here are some other suggestions for flowering vines:


  • Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) has evergreen leaves and produces trumpet-shaped flowers that are strongly scented and attract pollinators.


  • The sweet pea vine (Lathyrus latifolus) produces flowers that look like tiny orchids and attracts butterflies and bees.


  • The morning glory loves full sun, blooms all summer long and makes an ideal climber for walls, trellises and mailboxes with “Sunspots’ and ‘Heavenly Blue’ as two popular cultivars.


  • The black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is a striking ornamental plant that typically produces orange flowers with dark centers and grows well in southern regions of the U.S. such as Texas and Florida.


Mailbox with Purple Flowers

Callahan recommends petunias “around the mailbox base if you want that constant pop of color.” Some homeowners might do a single annual color scheme for their mailbox garden, as with petunias which can make quite a pleasing visual impact in a mass planting. Other hardy, colorful annuals to consider are marigolds, vinca, portulaca, coleus and zinnias.

The beauty of perennials, of course, is that they come back seasonally and require less maintenance than annual plantings. Callahan, who resides in the Chicago area, suggests lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantine), a dense, low-growing, drought-resistant plant with white, woolly foliage.

“A good one that is green and variegated is lilyturf,” she states. “Another favorite is called threadleaf coreopsis and it is bright yellow. That’s particularly pretty with a combination of a salvia, so you’d have the purple with the bright yellow.”

You can find some tips about choosing plants for mailbox gardening following this video.

Bonsai Styles|Space Gardening

The Bonsai styles


Hokidachi (broom) Bonsai style  

Broom style Bonsai

The broom style is suited for deciduous trees with extensive, fine branching. The trunk is straight and upright and does not continue to the top of the tree; it branches out in all directions at about 1/3 the height of the tree. The branches and leaves form a ball-shaped crown which is also a stunning sight during winter months.



Chokkan (formal upright) Bonsai style


Formal upright Bonsai style

The formal upright style is a very common form of Bonsai. This style often occurs in nature, especially when the tree is exposed to lots of light and does not face the problem of competing trees. For this style, tapering of the upright-growing trunk must be clearly visible. The trunk must therefore be thicker at the bottom and must grow increasingly thinner with the height. At about 1/4 of the total length of the trunk, branching should begin. The top of the tree should be formed by a single branch; the trunk should not span the entire height of the tree.



Moyogi (informal upright) Bonsai style




Informal upright Bonsai style

The informal upright style is common in both nature and in the art of Bonsai. The trunk grows upright roughly in the shape of a letter ‘S’ and at every turn branching occurs. Tapering of the trunk must be clearly visible, with the base of the trunk thicker than the higher portion



Shakkan (leaning or slanting) Bonsai style


Slanting Bonsai style

As a result of the wind blowing in one dominant direction or when a tree grows in the shadow and must bend toward the sun, the tree will lean in one direction. With Bonsai, the leaning style should grow at an angle of about 60 – 80 degrees relative to the ground. The roots are well developed on one side to keep the tree standing. On the side toward which the tree is leaning, the roots are clearly not as well developed. The first branch grows opposite the direction of the tree, in order to create a sense of visual balance. The trunk can be slightly bent or completely straight, but still be thicker at the bottom than at the top.



Kengai (cascade) Bonsai style



Cascade Bonsai style

A tree living in nature on a steep cliff can bend downward as a result of several factors, like snow or falling rocks. These factors cause the tree to grow downwards. With Bonsai it can be difficult to maintain a downward-growing tree because the direction of growth opposes the tree’s natural tendency to grow upright. Cascade Bonsai are planted in tall pots. The tree should grow upright for a small stretch but then bend downward. The crown of the tree usually grows above the rim of the pot, but the subsequent branches alternate left and right on the outermost curves of an S-shaped trunk. These branchings should grow out horizontally in order to maintain balance of the tree.



Han Kengai (semi cascade) Bonsai style


Semi cascade Bonsai style

The semi-cascade style, just like the cascade style, is found in nature on cliffs and on the banks of rivers and lakes. The trunk grows upright for a small distance and then bends downwards/sidewards. Unlike the cascade style, the semi-cascade trunk will never grow below the bottom of the pot. The crown is usually above the rim of the pot while subsequent branching occurs below the rim.



Bunjingi (literati) Bonsai style



Literati Bonsai style

In nature this style of tree is found in areas densely populated by many other trees and competition is so fierce that the tree can only survive by growing taller then all others around it. The trunk grows crookedly upward and is completely without branching because the sun only hits the top of the tree. To make sure that it looks even tougher, some branches are “Jinned” (without bark). When the bark has been removed from one side of the trunk, the trunk is referred to as a “Shari”. The idea is to demonstrate that the tree has to struggle to survive. These trees are often placed in small, round pots.




Fukinagashi (windswept) Bonsai style





Windswept Bonsai style

The windswept style also is a good example of trees that must struggle to survive. The branches as well as the trunk grow to one side as if the wind has been blowing the tree constantly in one direction. The branches grow out on all sides of the trunk but will all eventually be bent to one side.



Sokan (double trunk) Bonsai style


Double trunk style Bonsai

The double trunk style is common in nature, but is not actually that common in the art of Bonsai. Usually both trunks will grow out of one root system, but it is also possible that the smaller trunk grows out of the larger trunk just above the ground. The two trunks will vary in both thickness and length, the thicker and more developed trunk grows nearly upright, while the smaller trunk will grow out a bit slanted. Both trunks will contribute to a single crown of leaves/canopy.


Kabudachi (multi trunk) Bonsai style



Multitrunk Bonsai style

In theory the multi trunk style is the same as the double trunk style, but with 3 or more trunks. All trunks grow out of a single root system, and it truly is one single tree. All the trunks form one crown of leaves, in which the thickest and most developed trunk forms the top.

Yose Ue (forest or group planting) Bonsai style  

Forest Bonsai style

The forest style looks a lot like the multi-trunk style, but the difference is that it is comprised of several trees rather than one tree with several trunks. The most developed trees are planted in the middle of a large and shallow pot. On the sides a few smaller trees are planted to contribute to one single crown. The trees are planted not in a straight line but in a staggered pattern, because this way the forest will appear more realistic and natural.



seki Joju (rock planting) Bonsai style


Growing on a rock Bonsai style

On rocky terrain, trees are forced to search for nutrient rich soil with their roots, which can often be found in cracks and holes. The roots are unprotected before they reach the ground so they must protect themselves from the sun: a special bark grows around them. With Bonsai the roots grow over a rock into the pot, so caring for this tree isn’t really different from caring for any other style. You will find Juniper bonsai are suitable for this style, but also the Bonsai ficus.




Ishisuki (growing on rock) Bonsai style





Growing in a rock Bonsai style

In this style the roots of the tree are growing in the cracks and holes of the rock. This means that there is not much room for the roots to develop and absorb nutrients. Trees growing in rocks will never look really healthy, thus it should be visible that the tree has to struggle to survive. It is important to fertilize and water often, because there is not much space available to store water and nutrients. The rock in which the Bonsai grows is often placed in a shallow pot, which is sometimes filled with water or fine gravel.


Ikadabuki (raft) Bonsai style


Raft Bonsai style

Sometimes a cracked tree can survive by pointing its branches upward. The old root system can provide the branches with enough nutrients to survive. After a while new roots will start growing, eventually taking over the function of the old root system. The old branches which now point into the air develop into trunks with multiple branchings as a result of the increased influx of nutrients. These new trunks contribute to one single canopy.



Sharimiki (deadwood) Bonsai style



Shari Bonsai style

As time passes, some trees develop bald or barkless places on their trunks as a result of harsh weather conditions. The bald part usually begins at the place where the roots emerge from the ground, and grows increasingly thinner as it continues up the trunk. Intense sunlight will bleach these parts, forming a very characteristic part of the tree. With Bonsai the bark is removed with a sharp knife and the barkless spot is treated with calcium sulfate in order to speed up the bleaching process.

Fairy Garden House|Space Gardening

I have shared some fairy garden ideas on my previous post and today I thought of sharing how to make a fairy house for your fairy garden. You can follow this simple steps to make your own fairy house with stones or pebbles from your garden.

Making a fairy house:

1. To make the house, I used a bag of stones I bought at the garden store. Most of the stones were about the size of a quarter. Using a hot glue gun, I glued them in a square shape and built the house. I then built up the front and back of the house in a triangle to support a roof. I left an open space for a front door. Hot glue cures so quickly that it was easy to build this. However, do be careful and make sure kids are not doing this step. It is easy to burn your fingers on that hot glue.

building a house of stones 

2. To the make the roof, I used small wooden craft sticks. I found these sticks to be very easy to work with since you can easily cut the sticks to the length you need with scissors. Again, an adult should do these steps, but I think you will find that your kids will love watching! Lay them side by side until you have enough sticks to fit the length of the house. Secure them together by gluing on a stick horizonatally, as shown.


3. Attach the roof to the house by using a hot glue and adhering to at the peak, and to any stones it may touch of the sides. Don’t worry if you have some gaps in the house between the walls and the roof, we’ll fix that later.

fairy garden house roof

4. Paint the roof dark brown or any color of your choice. This is a fun step for children to help with.

painting the roof

5. When the roof is dry, you can use smaller stones to fill in any gaps you may see. This is where you have to be very careful with the hot glue gun. After applying the hot glue to the small stones, you can pick them up with a pair of tweezers to place them so you fingertips won’t accidently touch that hot glue. Believe me, I am speaking from experience!

6. I added a bit of sheet moss to the roof. I just pulled some off of the sheet moss and glued it on.

moss on roof

7. To make a door, once again gather some small wooden craft sticks and place them side by side. I wanted my door to have a curved top so I staggered the sticks as shown. Once again, I held them all together by gluing a craft stick (which had been cut to length with scissors) horizontally across all the sticks. Once dry, the bottom was cut off blunt to make the door the proper height.

making the doormaking the door

8. The door was painted and a small pebble was glued on as a door knob. I then glued the door on the house, and filled in any gaps between the house and the door with small stones.

You can make a fairy garden using plastic bottles, cardboard, polymer clay or anything that you find magical. Here’s a link given below you can follow to learn how to make a fairy house using polymer clay.
I hope you’ll enjoy making your fairy house!!

Container Garden-“Thriller,Filler & Spiller” Concept|Space Gardening

When it comes to container gardening, you don’t have to be a professional garden designer to get professional quality results. In fact, you can have picture-perfect custom containers no matter what your experience level.


For container gardening and patio containers, one common way to start designing is to use the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” concept. This design technique utilizes three different types of plants to create well-rounded and upscale looking containers.



The Thriller is the show-stopping centerpiece of your container design. It adds height, drama, and movement. Thrillers can be flowers, ornamentals or even grasses, just as long as they are the focal point of your container garden arrangement.

If your container will be visible from all sides, place the Thriller in the center of your container for maximum impact. If your container will only be visible from one or more sides, place the Thriller toward the back of the container.

Some of our favorites include: Angelface Angelonia, Butterfly Argyranthemum, Graceful Grasses and Ornamental Grasses.




The Filler does exactly what its name implies – fills the space. It adds medium-height structure and color.

If your container will be visible from all sides, place Filler plants around the Thriller, keeping them toward the middle of your container. If your container will only be visible from one or more sides, place Fillers between the Thriller and the visible sides.

We love: Superbells Calibrachoa, Supertunia Petunia, Superbena Verbena and Diamond Frost Euphorbia.

snow princess k


The Spiller is a trailing plant that will drape over the edge of the container. It adds low-growing dimension and softens the edges of your container garden design.

Place Spiller plants around the outer edges of the container on all visible sides.

Great spillers include: Snowstorm Giant Snowflake Bacopa, Snow Princess Lobularia, and Sweet Caroline Ipomoea (Sweet Potato).

You can follow this video link to get a clear idea on the thriller, filler and spiller design technique.

Here’s some more container gardening ideas following the design technique “Thriller, Filler & Spiller” concept.