Archive for the ‘How do I?’ Category

Rose cutting for arrangements

What could smell or look lovelier than a vase full of stunning roses? With just a little care, they can last a very long time in a vase.

5 Tips For Cutting Roses

1. Wait until after 3 p.m. to cut, when their nutrient levels are the highest.

2. Choose buds that have just started to open, only 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the process. Once a bud has fully opened, it’s too late to cut.

3. Always use a sharp, clean pair of shears. Dull shears crush the stem, and dirty shears can transmit diseases.

4. Don’t remove all of the leaves — keep at least 3 to help feed the bloom. Remove only leaves that will be below the water level of the vase.

5. Once you have finished cutting all the roses for the day, bring them inside to begin the water conditioning and hardening process.


9 Tips For Preserving Roses

Now that they are cut, the clock starts ticking.

The first threat to a cut rose’s health is the air pocket that entered the stem when you cut the rose outdoors. It will work its way up to the stem, cutting off the nutrient supply and shortening the bloom’s life.

1. Replace that air with water. The easiest way is to fill a bowl with hot tap water, as hot as you can stand to put your hands into.

2. Add any floral preservative you use, plus a few drops of bleach.

3. Place all of the rose stems into the bowl without the buds touching the hot water.

4. Use your shears to cut 1/4 inch off the end of each stem.

5. Leave the roses in the bowl until the water cools to room temperature.

6. Fill your vase with warm water, add a drop or 2 of bleach, and some preservative.

7. Finally add your roses.

8. Whenever the water starts to get cloudy, remove the roses, refill the vase with warm water, add another drop or 2 of bleach, and return the roses to the vase at once.

9. When the blooms begin to show signs of wilting, re-cut about an 1/8 of an inch from the stems and place them in hot water for an hour before returning them to the vase.

This little bit of extra work will vastly extend the vase life of your cut roses. Roses can live for an amazingly long time in a vase if you will help them.

DIY house or garden light

A simple DIY light with modeling clay

For those who do not know it, the modeling paste is a kind of gray putty made ​​from clay (not clay as such), which dries the air and, once dry, is completely rigid and white. This pasta, which can be purchased at craft stores, stationery and even Chinese bazaars, offers many possibilities: from ornaments and necklaces, to bowls and bowls, to the classical decorative figures. So today I bring you a simple DIY house light with modeling clay and some of them very handy for decorating the house.
This craft takes a little more work than before, but is easier to do than it sounds. We use cutters gingerbread house I taught for front and rear, but the roof and walls cut them by hand with a cutter.
Simply cut the dough pieces as we have seen before and use cutters of different shapes or objects to decorate the house and come out the light. We use a heart for windows front and rear, stars for the roof and the top of a lipstick for the side windows. In principle also cut the pieces to make a fireplace, but then decided not to put it because we liked it better without it.Cut the pieces and let it dry a couple of days, turning to not bend or putting some weight on top when it has passed one day
Once the pieces, sanded to smooth edges and stick with white glue (being a very porous material, the pieces remain tightly attached) are dry. If the pieces do not fit quite right, we can use small pieces of dough to fill the gaps wet parts with a little water to glue and, once dry, fix the pieces with glue . No matter that we see first coarse, then we will sandpaper (this time with a coarse sandpaper ) and be perfect, as you can see in the evolution of the picture above the photo below.
I recommend that the two pieces of the roof ye do them once the four walls are already mounted, so they can finish drying on the house (first on a flat surface and when the pieces have taken a bit of body, on the house ). We had to repeat because the were quite deformed in drying and did not fit well at all.
After sanding all together,  sandpaper across the surface of the house to give a smooth, even texture and put a candle inside.

house lights

rolling stone gathers moss

Here’s how it works:
– 3 cups of moss (gathered and washed so there’s not too much soil in there)
– 2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
– 2 cups water or beer
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– a bit of corn syrup (optional)

Using a blender, mix up the ingredients until smooth. It’ll end up with a paint-like texture. If it seems watery-drippy, add a bit of corn syrup until you have a good consistency. Then use a paintbrush to paint your moss design the same way you’d use regular paint. We recommend using a stencil, unless you’ve got a really steady hand.


After this, your work of art is going to require a bit of maintenance, especially if you live in a dry climate. After that first coat, check back weekly to spray the design with water or to apply more moss-paint. Depending on the climate, it could take a lot of patience for this thing to grow… but it looks like it’s totally worth it. And you could apply the same principles to come up with some pretty adorable decor for a wedding, event or even just your living room.


why not start growing your own peppers



Peppers are one of the easiest and most satisfying vegetable plants to grow, and a great christmas gift. From fruity sweet peppers in rainbow shades of yellow, orange, or red to habaneros hot enough to bring tears to your eyes, all peppers share a preference for a long, warm growing season.  Keep your seedlings indoors at night, and move them to a protected sunny spot outdoors during the day.

When growing peppers, choose a range of varieties, for a wonderful mix of both flavors and fruit sizes. Under hot summer conditions, varieties that bear huge fruits may shed their blossoms, but small, thin-walled peppers often keep going strong. Small-fruited peppers also ripen faster.

As peppers change from green to yellow, orange, or red, both their flavor and their vitamin content improves dramatically.



Behave or Behive

Thinking of installing a behive?

People who have gardens and appreciate the importance of bees in the natural environment may seek to keep bees of their own…..Learn how to make a honey bee box to begin the beekeeping process…read more

Fortnum and Mason behive

Fortnum and Mason installed behives on their roof in London CBD on July 22, 2008 in London. Each hive currently contains 4000 Carnolian bees from the Italian Alps. In this first season on the roof – they produced 200-300 jars of Fortnum’s London honey.

handwoven behive/skep

Handwoven skep

handwoven skeps

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.46.00 PM

beehive in winter

gameandgarden blog beekeeping



DIY: Simple Steps to a Beautiful and Lush Lawn

DIY – Simple steps to a beautiful verdant lawn

These are some tips to get you started:
Aeration –  Your lawn needs to breathe properly, so begin with remove the debris from the lawn once done then aerate your lawn with a lawn aerator or you can also do this with a garden fork.
Some people just seed bare areas in their lawn, but it is a good idea to give your lawn an all over seeding to promote new grass growth. This is called over-seeding. Select the type of grass that is right for your lawn. If your lawn is mostly shady, choose a grass seed that works with shady lawns.  There are also shady/sun mixtures out there for those lawns that have a mixture of both. Sprinkle your lawn with a dose of water to wet the leaves and then fertilize it.
It is important to follow the directions on the fertilizer bag regarding the number your spreader should be on. If too much fertilizer is put down, you will end up burning your lawn and not feeding it as you intend to. I use alternative methods ie epsom salts. Tip – fertilize  a dry lawn and then water well afterwards. Be sure to keep the seeds moist by watering appropriately. If they dry out, they will not grow.
The next important step to a beautiful lawn is to water your lawn appropriately. Too often people either over or under water their lawns. Over-watering promotes weed growth. The key to a lush lawn is to water it well when you do but to allow several days pass before watering it again. This will allow the roots to deepen. Too many frequent light waterings will promote shallow root growth, resulting in grass that is easily pulled up and not healthy. In the heat of summer, always water in early morning hours to prevent the grass from burning. Water the lawn long enough so that there it gets between 2-4 inches of water at a time.
The other thing that people often do not do correctly is mowing. Too often we think the grass should be mowed short. Longer grass blades will allow more sunlight to penetrate which promotes deeper root systems and you will have fewer pest problems. Keep the blades between 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches long.If you follow these steps, you are sure to have a thick and green lawn which will add much appeal to your home.

sprouts and sprouting

Types of seeds available for sprouting:

mung bean
green pea

Sprouting Equipment;
Glass jar with a meshed(muslin) lid fitted with an elastic band
Place the amount of seed overnight in a container or jar filled with water. The seedsí size will increase many times over during the soaking and sprouting process.
keeping the mesh lid on keep the jar in a cool darkish place.
Wet the seed  twice a day and immediately drain the water properly.
Keeping the jar free of excess water is important as the water could cause the seeds to rot.
There are ways to sprout indoors for salads or sarmies
Seeds to use:
Mustard, Cress
Radish seed
leafy vegetable seed
Fill an old wooden vegetable/fruit box or plastic container(with holes), with soil. place in a shaded or sunny area, not in a dark area.
To sow, scatter the seed thickly on the bed and cover with soil. If open in the garden, cover the spot with orange bags or netting since after planting, the birds are very fond of these seeds and find the spot amazingly quickly.
Quantities of 100gms would be enough for a month’s supply of high protein salad greens.


Planting the tops of your veg in water.
Use the tops of radish, carrots, turnip and beetroot. Most root vegetables may be sprouted so. Trim the
leafy part of the vegetable and cut so that about 2cm of flesh of root remains attached. Place in a dish with
water to the level of the flesh of the root. The green tips will regrow supplying fresh salad vitamin A and C enriched greens

Raising chickens in the garden for eggs

Wanna raise your own free range chickens? Developing a relationship with these birds is incredibly rewarding and there is nothing better then having your own fresh eggs.

Chickens eat and scratch around in the garden, pecking new shoots and pretty much polish off your lawn, so you’ll need to be careful if you let the birds roam free range. If you want them to eat fresh grass and but want to protect your crops and garden, I would suggest having a few fenced off areas(run) that you can move them to using a rotational method. this way you can keep move them out of an area before they eat the grass roots. I wouldn’t suggest confining your chickens to a coop as they have a pretty varied diet and need to be able to forage for it.

If you live in town, you probably want to keep the birds in a coop but they need a soil for bathing, grass which you can grown in trays and fresh air. create a fenced area(the run) attached to the outside of their coop for fresh air and sunshine. chickens need fresh clean water and a variety of grains and seeds to supplement their diet if they are living in a confined space, their coops need to be cleaned everyday and throwing down lime, once or twice a week will help with the mites. They need a cosy warm place to lay eggs, I use lucern straw which needs to be replaced quite during the breeding periods. they need to roost at nite on poles above the ground and make sure the coop is designed so that they are able to poop without pooping on each other or hard to clean areas.

Keep in mind when building a coop that you will need that the coop needs to be the right size with good ventilation, protection from predators(chicken mesh) and you will need roosting poles and nest boxes .

here is fabulous option for urban style coops which I found on Karen’s blog –









Hydroculture – Indoor Gardening

Hydroculture – growing plants without soil Indoor

Getting started:

  • a young plant
  • A plastic mesh basket pot, with mesh sides.
  • A larger pot that can hold the mesh pot and that can contain water
  • Clay granules
  • A water indicator
  • Special Hyrdroculture fertilizer
  • Tap water

Here are the easy steps in making your on hydroculture plant:
1. Remove the young plant from its soil tray. Wash all of the soil completely from it. Then find a mesh plastic pot. Now place the plant in the bigger container.
2. Pack clay granules around the roots carefully without damaging the roots of the plant.
3. Find a larger watertight container. Place about 1/2 inch of clay granules to the bottom of the container. Insert the mesh container into a larger watertight container.
4. Insert the water level tube inside the first container (the mesh container that is containing the plant).
5. Secure the inner pot and the water indicator with more clay granules, so that the inner pot can not be seen.
6. Sprinkle special hydroculture fertilizer over the clay granules.
7. Wash the fertilizer down into the granules as you water the plant up to the maximum level on the water indicator. Water again whenever the water indicator shows that the plant is dry. Always fill with plain tap water.

The ranges of plants that are suitable for hydroculture are wide:

cacti, succulents, yucca
begaonia manicata
codiaeum – (“garden croton” or “variegated croton”; syn. Croton variegatum L.)
hoya- an Asclepiad genus of 200–300 species of tropical plants in the family Apocynaceae (Dogbane)
vriesea genera of bromeliads
The water indicator shows that the plant needs watering. Then wait a few more days before filling again. Don’t keep topping the water to keep the indicator showing the maximum level. It is important that air is allowed to penetrate to the lower levels of the plant.

Always use tap water. The special ion-exchange fertilizer depends on the chemicals in tap water to function properly.
The water must be room temperature and definitely not cold. There is no soil to protect it. If you use cold water the water will chill the plant and this is the number one reason why hydroculture plants fail.
Replace the fertilizer ever six months. You can just sprinkle it on the top of the plant and water it like you did in the beginning. The watering will wash the fertilizer down to the roots of the plant.
The plant will need to be repotted at a later stage. It may take a bit longer because the roots usually grow smaller when planting this way because they do not have to search for water. You can usually tell when the plant needs repotted because the leaves of the plant will look out of proportion with the pot. When repotting the plant, be careful not to damage the roots. You may have to cut the inner pot away from the plant, depending on how the roots grew. You can tell this after you remove it from the larger container.

Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

I love the idea of Hydrangeas in the garden and am constantly being asked where they will grow best in the garden.

Where to plant your Hydrangeas in your garden:
When planting give them room to spread. All hydrangeas will bloom and grow well in morning sun and afternoon shade. No Hydrangea will grow well in heavy shade or under a shade tree. The blooms will be sparse and not develop well.

Choosing the colour chemistry:
If you want the pink and lavender blossoms grow in neutral soils and in slightly acidic soil, they’ll be deep blue. If you live in a hot climate, it is unlikely you will ever see a “true red”
much lime is added to the soil, one can only achieve a very deep or dark pink, 
but not a true red. 
It is much easier to change a hydrangea from pink to blue than it is from blue to pink by adding aluminum to the soil one can change a hydrangea from pink to blue. Changing from blue to pink by removing aluminum from the soil f the soil naturally contains aluminum and is acid (low pH) the colour of the hydrangea will automatically tend toward shades of blue and/or purple.

The choice of fertilzer will also affect the colour change. A fertilizer low in

Phosphorus and high in potassium is helpful in producing a good blue color (25/5/30 is good. Potassium is the last number).Superphosphates and bone meal should be avoided when trying to produce blue.
To obtain a blue hydrangea, aluminum must be present in the soil. To ensure that aluminum is present, aluminum sulfate may be added to the soil around the hydrangeas. Water plants well in advance of application and put solution on cautiously, as too much can burn the roots.To make the aluminum available to the plant, the pH of the soil should be low (5.2-5.5). Adding aluminum sulfate will tend to lower the pH of the soil. Another method for lowering the pH is to add organic matter to the soil such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, grass clippings etc.

WHITE HYDRANGEAS can not be changed to pink or blue by the grower.