All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

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"The Best Everblooming House Plants"

It's always nice to enjoy flowers indoors, especially during the long winter months when outdoor flowers are but a memory. There are many different everblooming house plants that provide year 'round color indoors. They're always in bloom. Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Chenille plantOne of my favorites I grow for year 'round bloom is chenille plant. Chenille plant is a shrubby house plant that bears unique flowers unlike any others. It has long, velvety, red tassels that hang down from its branches. The flowers can reach a foot long or more and remain attractive for months. New flowers are always appearing along its stems for year 'round bloom. It has large, pale-green leaves and can grow to three feet tall.

Two of my favorite everblooming house plants are white heliotrope and Heliotrope 'Fragrant Delight.' Not only do they bloom all year long, they also bear highly-fragrant flowers that are absolutely wonderful to enjoy, especially during the long, dreary days of winter.

White heliotrope bears large, pure-white umbels of fragrant flowers atop medium-green foliage. Flower fragrance reminds me of baby powder. Others have told me it smells like vanilla. Heliotrope 'Fragrant Delight' bears large umbels of deep-purple flowers whose fragrance closely resembles cherry pie. Both heliotropes are also great container garden plants. I like to plant them in my windowboxes so their fragrance comes inside on the breeze during summer.


African GardeniaOf all of the everblooming house plants I grow, I think African gardenia is one of the best for many reasons. First, it's easy to grow, unlike its relative, the common gardenia. African gardenia blooms reliably indoors all year long. Its small, star-shaped flowers are pink in bud and open creamy white. The flowers are held in clusters all along its stems and even the smallest stems will have a few flowers. There are dozens and dozens of flowers in bloom at any one time and, most importantly, their fragrance is wonderful!

African violet is another everblooming house plant. It's also one of the most popular house plants. It bears showy flowers atop a neat rosette of leaves. Flower color is extensive, with just about every color of the rainbow represented. Many have unique spotted, freckled, or bicolored flowers. Many also have variegated foliage that is an attractive complement to the flowers.


Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Protect Gardens from Underground Animals"

Q. I enjoy reading your column. Last year I experienced heartache beyond the widespread winterkill. For years and years I've been planting several hundred grape hyacinths each fall, in an attempt to create a springtime "sea of blue" in my early gardens. To my horror, last spring I noticed several smallish "holes" in the gardens after the snow melted, and suspect they were created by voles or moles. On Easter morning, my precious little miniature dachshund turned the little holes into little craters while my attention was diverted to another area of the yard. Once able to step back and appreciate the humor of the sight of perhaps 200 little craters created by a very industrious and trying-to-be-helpful pup... I realized I saw no displaced grape hyacinth bulbs in the rubble, and my fears about voles or moles were confirmed. My question is probably obvious to you by now...HOW DO I RID MY GARDEN OF THESE RODENTS? Three years ago I applied milky spore diligently after skunks tore up areas of the lawn in search of grubs. I need a "two-pronged" attack: one for voles, one for moles -- and whatever I do needs to be safe for pets and the environment. I'd much rather repel or "re-direct" the critters than kill them because they obviously have some purpose other than annoying me and disintegrating my spring spectacular. (At least I got to see the hyacinths looking glorious the year before.) Thank you for any suggestions you might be able to provide.

A. I get a lot of questions about underground and burrowing critters. It seems there has been a population explosion of them in recent years.

As you know, these animal pests can do significant damage and kill many plants. The best way to protect your garden is to spray Underground Animal Repellent on all of your garden now. Spray all of the plants, the ground around the plants, and also spray any holes or tunnels you see. I use this repellent to repel all sorts of underground and burrowing animal pests including rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, and voles from flower gardens, lawns, landscaped areas, and vegetable gardens.

This unique product is an organic, all-natural repellent and is safe for humans, pets, and the environment. Its unique formula repels both by odor and taste. It is very long lasting - one application will last up to two months. What's nice is it will not wash off in the rain or snow.

Every year I treat my garden to protect it from all of the underground pests including voles which eat plants. (You know you have voles if you see tunnels ON TOP OF the ground when the snow melts.) I had a similar problem to what you experienced where voles had eaten paths right through a large planting of bulbs and perennials one year and I had to replant the whole area. So every year since then I treat everything and I haven't had any problems since. So you don't lose another plant, you should treat your garden now and every couple of months throughout the year.

For your other problem with moles, one application of Milky Spore Powder, another organic product, will control the grubs they're looking for. One application lasts at least 20 years or more.

Click here to read more about Underground Animal Repellent and Milky Spore Powder Grub Control and order them from Pernell Gerver's Online Store

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