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Filling Out Our Garden

There are many ways to gather plants to fill out our gardens. In the beginning of the gardening season, we usually start with young plants or bare roots bought from Garden Centers or nurseries, or we sow seeds. Once the plants are growing, though, we can add more. There are four ways to do this for free:

Search for plants in the wild or dying plants that are thrown away and nurse them back to life.

  1. Sow seeds from the plants.
  2. Divide roots of over crowded plants
  3. Place plant cuttings into the ground.

We’ve discovered that it is best to research plants carefully first, for several reasons:

  • If we don’t know the plant, it can hurt us, like poison ivy, or like Angel Trumpets, which are big, beautiful, and poisonous to eat.
  • If we don’t know the plant, it can hurt our other plants, like invasive plants that strangle out other plants or plants thrown away because they are infected with a contagious virus.
  • If we don’t know the plant, we can kill it by accident, like our poor ivy!
  • If we plant it at the wrong time of year, it won’t survive or it won’t grow properly. Some plants need to be started in the spring; others in the fall; and still others can grow several times during a northeastern gardening season.
  • We’ll get frustrated often, like when we sowed some beary big cabbages that sprouted and then died before we could eat them, or like the hyacinth beans, which were transplanted, before we discovered why they should never have been transplanted. (They root deeply, and, if you yank some of the root away, it can’t survive.)

When we search the Internet, we check out five to seven sites, since it’s hard to find the same information in more then one site. We’d give you different places to check out, but it really depends on each kind of plant. Corn grows differently then chives, and a passion vine is different then lavender.

Dividing roots also needs to be researched, since sometimes, we think plants can be divided, but we’re wrong! Plants with big, fleshy roots, like bulbs or corms, should be divided after one to seven seasons, but we be careful dividing roots, or you'll do what we did to Poor Ivy!

Cutting to grow more plants is one of our favorite things to do. There’s several ways to cut though, so we need to learn how to do it for each kind of plant. But, just because we wanted to or because a bad storm broke some of our plants’ branches off, we didn’t research carefully, before trying it on some plants anyway.

The easiest cutting is to simply cut stems, pull off the bottom leaves, push them into specially prepared soil, make sure the soil stays moist, but not wet, and see if the cuttings grow. Other ways to start new plants through cutting, include pushing a branch into the soil and see if it roots; cutting leaves or other parts off, then apply rooting hormone and plant them carefully into the soil; and cutting plants for bouquets, but keeping then in the vase long enough to root, before planting them in the soil. (There is also air layering, but we don’t understand how to do that yet. Here's a link that teaches how to do cuttings.)

Teddy Bears' Garden

Our Potting Bench

Gate | Path | Garden Gems | Young Buds | Potting Bench | Basket | Harvest | Hitching Post | Flower Show Photos | Shelter | Birdbath | Teddy Bears' Web Den

The Sad Tale of Poor Ivy

Ivy was growing so well, as if made specifically for the pot she grew in. But, like a Hermit Crab, she was outgrowing her home, and needed a new one. Ivy came to our garden to fit on our new shelf, so we hadn’t planned well what to do when she got longer, We love Ivy, so we bought her two terra cotta pots, and hoped to divide her into the two pots, giving her a twin, and much more room to grow again. We are stuffed animals, so we have gnome-garden magic and thought we could do anything we wanted in the garden.

Ivy happily outgrowing her pot.
We'll use Gnome-garden magic to divide her into these two pots.

We divided her roots into half, thinking Ivy’s three branches were three separate plants. It was too late to fix her, after we found our mistake. We googled to find how to fix her, but the sites said that we were a’posed to divide her up when she got overcrowded, and, if we wanted to make more, just push one of her branches into the ground, so it could root there, like she would have naturally done, if she was growing in the ground.. We put Ivy-with-the-most-roots in one of the terra cotta pots, and put the other Ivy with-just-a-little-root into the other pot. The branches that fell off were put into a vase, in hopes of sprouting some roots, but after three weeks, no roots sprouted, even if they did stay green. We push those branches into some sandy soil and kept it as wet as possible. Unfortunately, the second Heat Wave hit – for eight days – and sand dries out quickly in the baking sun, so they died, as did Ivy with-just-a-little-root. Beary sad!

After we discovered our mistake.
Valentine and Lady try to make Ivies feel better.

Ivy won’t talk to us, but we don’t think she is angry with us. She is busy trying to survive what we have done. We bring her water every day, let her sit in the sun to gain her strength, feed her some plant food once a week, and talk to her often. The only thing we can think to say is how sorry we are. We hope it is enough to give her strength, and hope she will forgive us. Gnome-gardening magic is good to have, but it doesn’t replace learning how to help plants. We hope that Ivy will be happy that she taught stuffed animals a good lesson, one day.

Cuttings and Terrariums

After a storm damaged some of our Yellow African Daisies, we decided to try to start new plants with them. We also like the little Purple African Daisies (all daisy-like plants that aren’t white with a yellow center originated from Africa), and our variegated-leaf (that means it has two or more colors) butterfly bush, so we decided we could try growing more of all of these plants without hurting them.

A storm damaged our yellow daisies.
Lady pulls them out, adds a few purple daisies, and leaves from our Columbine.

Val pushes a butterfly bush stem into the soil.
She then cuts a few branches to see if they'll grow in soil.

A closer look.
The one pushed in is right below the flower, but not the same branch.

Tine and Dee show off their terrariums.
Lady's cuttings are under one dome and Val's cuttings are under the other.

After poking holes in the bottom of these pots for drainage, and placing terra cotta shards over the holes (coffee filters work, if you don’t have shards), Dee and Tine filled the pots with sand and moistened it. (Sphagnum peat moss can also be used. Sand or the peat moss is used as a potting medium because it drains quickly and doesn’t have the virus that causes Damping Off, which causes young plants to die quickly.) Their mommies cut the stems with sharp bypass shears, and cut the bottoms off of two 2-liter soda bottles, (It’s safer to let grown ups use sharp tools.) After carefully pushing each stem one–third of the way into the sand, the girls carefully lined up the plastic bottles over the plants, making sure not to touch any of the plants, before pushing them deeply into the sand. Since the homemade terrariums needed to be in indirect sunlight, they pushed the pots underneath the potting bench.

As long as the bottles have condensation on the inside, the sand is moist enough. If it gets too hot out, the terrariums must be removed, or the young plants will be steamed to death. If the terrariums are removed, we will continually make sure the sand is moist without being soaked.

P.S. The daisies and columbine didn’t survive, but the butterfly bush is still alive, but not growing much yet.

Pineapple Propagation

Propagation just means growing new plants from plants. We just included the word so you would know what it means when you research “How to Grow Plants.”

Pineapples grow all year round in the tropics, and it takes about two to three years for a pineapple plant to produce a fruit, but we wanted to grow one on our own, even before we found out the whole plant grows to be six feet tall and six feet wide. Because we do not live in the tropics, we had to start it in the heat of summer and we will have to bring our plant inside this fall, if it lives. This is one of those plants that we researched online and found seven different versions on how to grow it on seven different web sites. We’ll show you how we did it, after reading all the directions.

Here is the list of what’s needed to plant one:

  • A pineapple from the produce aisle of your grocery store. (A couple of sites recommended using only organic pineapples, but we didn’t find any.)
  • A pot large enough to start it in. (Later on, if it does grow, it will need a much bigger container.)
  • Soil (some sites suggest sand, sphagnum peat moss or both, but, since it needs to stay moist and those two mediums are hard to keep moist, we went with the sites that said to use regular soil.)
  • Phosphorus to grow roots well
  • Long lasting fertilizer – we used Osmocode™
  • A place to mix the soil (We use a 5-gallon bucket that has no holes in it.)
  • A trowel, and, if you don’t want your paws dirty, garden gloves

Cut the top off your pineapple, leaving about an inch of flesh. (We enjoyed the fruit after Teddy and Spaulding grilled it in thick slices on our grill in the garden.) Scoop out the rest of the flesh underneath carefully, so you don’t hurt the root buds, which are those round thingies that look like the eyes on the sides of the fruit, if you don’t cut enough of the outside away. Then, leave it alone with the underneath higher then the leaves, until it hardens off (dries out) – a couple of days. Take it to a place where you don’t have to worry about making a mess -- like a potting bench – and pull about two inches of the bottom leaves off, tossing them into the compost pile.

Prepared to plant our pineapple.
The Garden Gals gather the fertilizers, pot, soil ingredients, and pineapple together.

A close up of the pineapple.
Notice how it's dug out, still has its root buds, and is hardened off.

Dee mixes sand and peat moss into the soil.
It helps drain better. She also adds a little fertilizer now.

Lady places it carefully into the soil.
She carefully fills the pot up to the leaves with Dee's soil.

Val adds a little more fertilizer,...
and then she chooses where to put it in our garden.

We mulched it to keep the soil moist longer. We won’t know if it will work for many weeks, possibly not until the end of the outdoor gardening season. Pineapple takes a beary long time to root and grow. We do have to make sure it gets enough fertilizer though, so we’ll add more Osmocode once a month, following its directions carefully.

Menu Details

We know why we chose each title for each section of our garden, but we also know that doesn’t mean visitors will understand. We also know that it’s not fun to keep scrolling up and down. This is to s’plain what each theme is and to give our visitors the option to click to another section from the bottom or top of each area.



Our Garden Gate

Our Home Page. – Entry into our beary special garden.

Our Garden Path

The path we’ve taken to create our garden. How our garden plans are progressing through the years.

Our Garden Gems

Gardens are multifaceted, like gems. Glimpses of what makes our garden so special to us.

Our Young Buds

Gardens need children. Our kids, our Young Buddies, teach us how to make gardens with and for them.

Our Potting Bench

Where we work – transplanting, creating homemade terrariums to grow new plants, and experimenting with growing from produce, Learning doesn’t have to mean success!

Our Basket

Where we gather ideas for gardens – money saving ideas, our Dos and Don’ts, Checklist for Buying New Plants, taking care of tomatoes, and other assorted information we’ve learned.

Our Harvest

We garden to grow produce, herbs, flowers, and pretty plants. We want to show the results and how we use our harvest in recipes.

Our Hitching Post

"Hitch your wagon to a star." We dream big! This is how we get some of our inspiration.

Our Shelter

Gardens need to be safe shelters for plants, families, birds, and good bugs, like butterflies and ladybugs, and scary for pests and diseases. This is what we do to protect.

Our Birdbath

Since gardens have birdbaths, not water coolers, we gather here to ask and answer questions, have polls, give links, and find out if visitors want us to include a gardening forum for kids. We sure hope so!

Teddy Bears’ Web Den

Our garden is really in the backyard of the T. Bears’ Web Den. Click this link to go to our other web site.