Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Echinops
Echinops is a perennial thistle with exceptional globe-shaped, golf ball-sized, blue composite flowers on a plant that grow 3 - 4 feet tall with long, straight stems, ideal for flower arrangements. Echinops demands fast draining soil, moderate water, and is a bit fussy to get started in the garden. However, once established it will return year after year.

Clever Gardening Technique

Create an Artistic Container
Scratched or unwanted vinyl records can be made into decorative planting containers by heating them in the oven to soften prior to rearranging the shape. Set the oven temperature to 200 degrees and center the record on an ovenproof bowl for a few minutes, or until it begins to droop. Once the vinyl begins to soften, tuck it gently inside the bowl, folding the soft plastic until it takes on a shape that pleases you. The fluted edges are attractive and artistic-looking.

Once you have achieved the desired shape, remove the bowl, with the record still inside, from the oven and allow to cool. Once thoroughly cool, fill the inside with fresh potting soil and plant something pretty -- perhaps an African violet. The drain hole is already built in!

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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