Blog posts from January 2016

Forage for Edible Flowers in Your Garden

Jan 31, 2016

Just because you don’t have a dedicated vegetable garden, doesn’t mean you enjoy eating from plants you’ve grown yourself. Springtime is the perfect time to discover edible flowers already growing in your landscape.

You’re probably familiar with common edible flowers, such as violas, which are often used candied or to decorate pastries. Nasturtium are another common garnish in salads. But you may not be acquainted with some of the other unexpected edible blooms growing right under your nose.

  • Have Gardenias potted on your patio or growing in your shady garden? Gardenia flowers have a fresh, light and sweet flavor.

  • Honeysuckle plants have popped into bloom all over Dallas. These fragrant sweet flowers are perfect tossed into salads for some added sweetness.

  • Are your Citrus plants still blooming? Add a lemony flavor to dishes with a few citrus flowers.

  • Pineapple Guava is one of my favorite “exotic” looking landscape plants. The beautiful flowers taste just like the fruit -sweet!

  • Hibiscus and Marigold flowers are also edible. Hibiscus blooms are wonderful steeped as a tea and marigold flowers have a spicy flavor.

  • Chives are a favorite garden perennial of mine. the flowers taste much like the leaves and make a wonderful garnish.

  • The tiny blue flowers on Rosemary plants are not only pretty, but have a bright savory, sweet flavor.

Have the weeds got you down? If so, you can get your revenge by popping off a few of their heads. Dandelion flowers not only make a potent wine, but are fine food as well.  Fry them up in butter and they taste just like mushrooms. Clover flowers have a sweet licorice flavor.

While there are many other edible-ish blooms in our Dallas landscapes, some contain chemicals that can irritate your system or exacerbate certain conditions.  Many, many of our landscape plants are poisonous if consumed. Also, take note that if you’re harvesting garden flowers to eat, avoid plants that have been sprayed with pesticides.

DON’T EAT THESE FLOWERS: azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, wisteria

Originally published for DHome Blog.

Can we talk roses? Rose Rosette on the rise.

Jan 17, 2016

Rose Rosette Disease: If you love your roses, then what you see in the photo above should move you to action immediately. The effect might seem "neat" but those witch's broom clusters of growth mean your roses have only a short time to live.

Rose rosette disease is a terminal virus that affects all types of roses. While your plants may limp along for an average of about 22 months after infection, death is inevitable. There is lots of research going on now to combat this destructive virus, there is currently no cure. It is a virus.

The best thing you can do for your landscape, and that of your neighbor's, is to remove the plants immediately.  Don't compost them. It is best to bag them and dispose of them. The virus is spread by a mite that moves from plant to plant. Leaving infected plants in the ground will only cause more plants to become infected.

I provided a link below to an article I wrote on Rose Rosette for an industry publication last year that you may find helpful whether you're in the green industry or a home gardener.

A Plague of Roses, Garden Center Magazine

Plants with Style Baby

Jan 16, 2016

Yes...there are gardening books aplenty out there these days for all of us with a plant addiction, but I have one more for you. You can never really have too many plant books and as far as all those jokers who say print is dead, they haven't talked to any gardeners or hort heads. We plantgeeks like our pretty on PAPER. We like our print magazines and we like our PRINT plant catalogs. And yes, this is coming from someone who makes a living in digital media. But I still buy an obscene amount of gardening magazines and I'm treating the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog like it's my precious.

So back to that book you need...I have a precocious little friend named Kelly Norris and he has oh such a way with planty things and words. Check out his latest, Plants with Style. He'll teach you how to blend your personal style with that of your garden and local environment. 

"A garden is the best way to savor life on earth." Tru Dat Kelly.

Time to Seed Tomatoes

Jan 15, 2016

It’s right about this time each year that I really start longing for my summer garden. I’m tired of my toes being cold and I’ve officially run out of my fall harvested tomatoes. If you too are looking forward to a bounty of vine-ripened tomatoes, then you’d better hop out of that winter armchair and grab those seed catalogs! Just because it’s January, doesn’t mean we get to rest on our gardening laurels here in Dallas.  If you’re planning on growing any heirloom or specialty tomato varieties, chances are you’re going to have to grow them from seed. If you’re going to grow them from seed, you need to do it now.

‘Celebrity’ hybrid and ‘Green Zebra’ heirloom tomatoes.

Tomato transplants take a good 8-weeks to germinate and grow into a transplant large enough to set out in the garden. Our average last frost date is March 17th, which means you’ll need to get those tomato seeds germinated by the last week in January if you want to make that planting date. Experienced tomato gardeners know that if they can get their transplants outdoors a tad bit earlier, it means a bigger harvest. But won’t they freeze if you plant them before March 17th? Not if you cover them with frost cloth (sometimes two layers are necessary). I typically set out my tomato transplants before March 10th…but sometimes even the last week of February. If you’re willing to hedge your bets and keep the frost cloth at the ready, you can get your tomato plants flowering earlier, which means more set fruit during optimal temperatures.

Planning on waiting until after all possible chances for a freeze have passed? Don’t bother. If you do, it will be too late to plant tomatoes, at least the 4″-pot sized plants. If you’re late to the game and decide to hit the garden centers at the end of April, don’t waste your money on 4″ tomato transplants. Look for 2-gallon or larger potted plants that already have flowers and some baby fruit on them. Or, start your fall tomato transplants from seed in May.

When starting tomato seeds indoors, remember that you’ll need to warm up the soil to speed up germination and a good 16-hours of supplemental light after seedlings sprout. Invest in a good seedling heat mat and grow light if you want your seedlings to mature successfully. Relying on that “bright” winter window typically results in a a disappointment as seedlings stretch for light, then topple over and die.

Blog Re-brand

Jan 15, 2016

After three years of running Halleck Horticultural full time, we've decided to re-brand our company blog and future content channels to better encompass the interests of green industry companies, professionals in the industry, and home gardeners. Ours is a quirky blend of content that we feel is relevant to both pros and their customers. It's all about how we each green-up our own lifestyle.

The new Plantgeek Chic brand will represent our blog and future projects such as podcasts and print media. Content will continue to focus on the utility, tools, trends and style of green industry business, while also providing behind-the-scenes insight and useful hands-on info to horticulture students, young professionals, green consumers, and gardening hobbyists.

Everyone, be you Plantgeek or wannabe Plantgeek, is stay tuned!

Plantgeek Chic

Jan 1, 2016

Welcome to the blog...Plantgeek Chic is our stream-of-consciousness channel for all things related to green industry business, marketing, and networking; as well as all things related to green lifestyle, plants, and gardening. Green industry businesses, Pro Plantgeeks, wannabe Pro Plantgeeks, and home gardeners equally served.

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