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We have them! Micro Terrariums!

Boo Boo Plants, Pet Plants, Whatever you want to call them, these tiny terrariums are wonderful, Portable and Cool!

Limited supply so hurry and Order your own Pet Plant! All plants are cute, tough and easy to grow. 2 drops of water per month will keep these Desert Plants going and growing!

Wear it as a necklace or key chain (key chain is included)

Plants are chosen randomly but if you request we will do our best.

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A website for practical garden advice.
Hello and Welcome to our website.
My name is Lisa Durante
aka "The Plant Whisperer" 

 I am a Master Gardener, certified by the University of Connecticut and a former "Garden Adviser" for White Flower Farm.  I've worked the ground up from nurseries to landscaping to learn about how to make the world a little more beautiful with flowers and plants in practical ways to fit one's budget. In fact, like most people in the horticultural field, I am still learning!  My specialty is herbaceous perennials and flowering bulbs are one of my favorite things to add into a landscape.

I am here to offer you information about gardening techniques as well as practical growing advice and love to share knowledge with the novice gardener as well as learn from the more experienced green thumbs. Welcome!


6" replica of Golgatha and the Empty Tomb
re-use and recycle

Winter Projects with a Interest!
This winter in the Northeast this year has me feeling a bit like a hermit. Lots of Seed Catalogs are arriving in my mailbox with dreams of the coming spring and summer. Browsing through Pinterest is a great way to find ideas for indoor projects as well as using recycled items in the garden and home. I just have become addicted to this website and use many of the ideas that come from the interesting bloggers. And not just in the garden! I get recipes, patterns, craft ideas and much more.  I try to include my own ideas as well but get a lot more out of browsing Pinterest than I give.
Below are a couple of pictures of what I believe are some great ideas that I found. One is a miniature replica of Golgatha and the empty tomb made with all kinds of things found in my left over bin of garden items. I used a 6" terra-cotta dish, a plastic shot-glass, some left over decorative stones from other projects and a pot of soil from a plant that passed over the winter. I used some twigs found outside to make the crosses and moss of of another potted plant. The cloche was a part from a cheese dish that had broken just waiting for a moment like this, it fits over the top perfectly and voila! 
This is a wonderful Christian gift for the spring that looks as if it came from a florist. I get to enjoy it until Easter. One can add grass seed or chia to get it green but I like the moss which is lees maintenance.


 New Seed Starting Idea
This is another great idea using things that are regularly thrown in the trash. A self contained seed starting tray with paper pots that can be planted right into the ground. It holds water so no messy spills. The black tray absorbs the sun rays to make it nice and warm for seeds starting. The lid is vented so not too much heat will build up.
 This no hassle way of starting seeds is a great idea, albeit not my own idea but that is what's great about Pinterest.
Lots of sharing things from all around the internet. I used a plastic container that held fried chicken from the deli (no I cannot fry my own) several paper towel empty rolls and toilet paper tissue rolls. Looking into my gardening cabinet I found another potted plant that passed and filled with soil that was just ready to go. It's soil was very light and mixed with quite a bit of peet moss so this was the perfect starter mix for my seeds. Cut the paper rolls up to fit into the tray, pour the soil over the top no worries for the spaces in between we will use them to plant a seed as well.
I  recommend soaking the dry soil with water and let sit for a day so the it will be ready to receive seeds very soon. I will include pictures as this project unfolds.
 Pair it up with the soil gel seed starts and this year it will be a breeze.

full grown Tree Wisteria Bonsai

A One Year Old New Planting


Training Tree Form Wisteria: Bonsai!



One of my gardening passions is taking a small tree whip or vine and shaping it into something special.  Potted up and pruned selectively one can train these vines and trees into a desired form and shape to be kept in containers.

The Wisteria vine, if left to grow any which way, can be quite messy and very hard to control. This same concept can be used for Trumpet Vine and fruit trees.  Hard pruning on mature plants can also be achieved to start over with a plant that has become a tangled mess but today we will start at the beginning.

The key is to start early and be patient. Begin in the spring by choosing a Wisteria offshoot or sucker branch that has a root system attached to it. These are easy to spot on mature vines because they come up from the ground. If you know someone with a Wisteria they will be happy to share as they produce lots of them.  I like to take ones that already have some nice leaf shape much like an umbrella.  Pot these up in black nursery pots with good drainage and regular garden soil, unfertilized. Once watered, place them in a bright shady place out of direct sun for a few weeks until a better root system is established and water regularly. I generally do at least three of the same type if possible in case one doesn’t make it through the first winter. Grow for the entire season and be sure to mark the color and variety if it is known.  I use a rock with permanent marker.

Keep an eye on the plant because it will send out long reaching vines. It is important to clip these vine-y parts off the plant through the entire season by just snipping. Watch the shape and determine which way you want it to grow by pruning it every week or so. In Late Autumn, re-pot the plant (which should now have a great root system) in a nursery pot 2 times the size that is needed and sink them into the ground for the winter in a sunny location. A good pruning will encourage flower buds to form after the second or third year. (If you cannot put them in the ground, bring them in a garage or cold area that will not freeze during the winter months for overwintering.)  After the first season, repot the Wisteria in late spring to allow room for growth. This will force the plant to form flower buds for spring. When mature enough, first growth that will emerge is the flower buds which look like acorns and will grow larger, longer and spread out when ready to bloom. This may take several growing seasons to achieve but each year the plant will get larger and the same steps should be followed until the size you wish to have is achieved.  Wisteria is generally very late to break dormancy (show growth) be patient.  Pruning through each and every season is important to maintain the shape and encourage great blossoms.

Once the plant has matured, when repotting, the root system will need a pruning as well in late spring to keep the plant from winding around its own roots. This should be done after blossom so as not to disturb the blossom and growth and recover through the season. This maintenance can be done each year or at least every two years.

I Love training plants into tree form because they can be moved to any part of the yard. This can be done by growing the Wisteria in the ground but takes much longer and a lot more patience.  Whichever way you choose to grow them is well worth the effort the first time you see the beautiful fragrant blossoms hanging from the branches of the Tree Wisteria.




                            Oxalis Versicolor is much more than a Clover!

I saw a picture of the candy striped Oxalis Versicolor on the internet this past fall and just had to see what these Clover plants were all about. The red outline on the blossom can really only be seen from the back side of the (pictured) and are abundant on the plant.

The foliage is three very narrow petals on each leaf and is not much like the clover we are used to seeing. From what I understand with my research it is a rare form of Oxalis or decorative Shamrock plant. From the price I would say that this is true going anywhere from about 15 dollars for three bulbs up to thirty for five strait from a grower. The bulbs are very tiny, about the size of a fingernail. Once received in the mail I suggest planting them immediately.

Start the 3 bulbs in a small ceramic or clay pot filled with garden soil. Full southern exposure window for as much of the winter sun. The thin plants will spring up in no time at all and are to produce many dainty 1/2" flowers. I recommend watering once the soil has become dry, however, do not soak.

So far so good for a growing habit but because it is winter they are not as full. The next step is to put them together in a larger pot so the plant will become denser in the spring.

I Love finding something new in the pant world and learning how to grow it. This was a wonderful challenge and if you are interested, you are in for a treat with the Oxalis Versicolor!


I made this one for Margaret-)

Imagination at work in the soil – Fairy Gardens

Do you have a tiny mind? Are you a believer in Faeries?  Whether Gnomes, mushrooms or even miniatures are your delight, a fairy garden may be just the thing. I have a couple of friends who build these tiny gardens and loved the creativity that went into them so I decided to give it a whirl. Most fairy gardens are actually “in” the garden or at the base of a tree hidden in plain sight and a surprise to the wanderer. Others are made as a dish garden or even smaller in a teacup or other abandoned piece of crockery.

The theme is to use things that are already on hand.  Store bought items are fine as well but this was my personal challenge. Broken crockery, small decorative pots and anything teeny tiny I could find around the house tossed in those catch-all’s we have in almost every room including the jewelry box. Plants from the garden, Succulents like Hens & Chickens or creeping Sedum are good choices as well miniature young plants such as Clover, live Moss, bits of tree bark and so on.

Oh how I was truly involved and love what a creative mind it inspires to make it all fit. I do believe that I have already changed this piece ten times! It is thrilling process to watch the dish garden change and build into a miniature fantasy that will tell a story of a favorite gnome or fairy.

Start with a saucer or dish of any kind; it can be an old piece of ceramic or a plastic dish that is at least 1.5” deep. Fill with soil and begin your creative journey.  I shopped at a local Goodwill and found some medium and large terra cotta saucers but just about anything that will hold soil will do, again use your imagination. Here in the photograph, I used pieces of a favorite Orchid cachepot that had been knocked over and did not want to toss as a fence surrounding the entire diorama. Some smooth river stones mark the walkway into an upturned flower pot. I used a simple small Clover plant under another broken piece of crockery and some pieces of rooted Creeping Sedum. Moss will work well covering a roof of a broken balsam birdhouse I had for a gnome home.  A dried leaf will shelter the miniature adobe from the heat of the sun.  Give it a try and see what you can come up with. Send me your photographs of your fairy garden at www.PlantWhisperer.com  or share them on our FB page.

Now all I need is some type of character to complete my story.  “Once upon a time…”

“May your gardens be weed free for weeks at a time!”



A Few Days show Bean in the jar. Peas were planted

A Fun Way of Starting Seeds

Seed starting in the Northeast is a necessary task in order to have a maximum harvest in some varieties of garden veggies. Beans, Pumpkins and Gourds are examples of what can be started early indoors and grown for a nice transplant in the spring. Fickle New England weather can wreak havoc in the garden if patience is not exercised. Now that we can start a few seeds, here is a cool way to get them started.

Recycle an old mason jar and use clear crystal earth found at most craft stores. fill the jar half way and throw in a packet of seeds. Place in a sunny area. Each day you will be able to observe the germination process and share it with others. First the seeds growing, swelling then bursting open with the roots and first leaves finding their way out into the world. 

By the time they get going the jar will be filled with life and each seedling will be easy to take out of the jar to transplant into a 6" pot filled with nutritious new soil that is well drained and well fed. Don't let the seedlings get too large in the jar because they will become entangled. What a great project for school kids to learn the anatomy of a plant-)

I do not recommend this project for small children as the little beads may prove to be tempting to eat. 

Peas take a day or two to germinate and mine are already in the ground for 2012. 

As you can see the seedlings will be easy to transplant into 6" diameter pot with a fertilized potting mix. These can be grown indoors until planting time. This will help give them a great start and an earlier harvest!

It's Spring...here we go!

Tree Peony

                                                                       PEONY’S FROM HEAVEN

  A visit to “Cricket Hill Garden” Thomaston, Connecticut

     Tree Peonies or Paeonia (pronounced Pee-oh-nee) have been part of the Chinese culture for hundreds of years and is the national flower of China. Tree Peonies are a highly regarded plant and were not available for many years. Festivals are dedicated to these beautiful woody ornamental plants that have blooms as large as 10” across. David & Kasha Furman, Owners of  “Cricket Hill Garden” in Thomaston took some time out from their busy schedule to show me around the Peony farm, which has been in business since 1988. “We got our first plants from China in 1990-1991 and have been buying them from China ever since.”  Furman has a wonderful sense of humor and welcomes conversation as well as questions.


      As you drive into “Peony Heaven” at Cricket Hill Garden, there are paper umbrellas placed strategically over several of the plants to protect the blooms and is a most exotic sight. Tree Peonies (woody plants) bloom a bit earlier than the herbaceous type (die back each fall to the ground). Kasha Furman works with the Herbaceous Peonies, which also come from China as well as Central Asia (Chao Dynasty). Typically blooms start around early to mid June and peak just as the Herbaceous Peonies start to show off their colors in late June. The Oohs and Ahhs never stop from one plant to another. Furman says the most popular variety changes as the plants bloom “It depends on what’s blooming that day.” When people see these beautiful and fragrant flowers, that’s the one they want to purchase. When asked what his personal favorite is he states with humor, “That’s like asking me, what’s my favorite Son?”


       Planting must be done carefully and the Furman crew offers a step-by-step video to their customers. Peonies must be planted while they are dormant (not yet growing). There is a small window of opportunity in early spring between late March and early April, just as soon as the ground can be worked. Most planting in the northeast are done in the fall starting in late September to early October and that is the recommended time for transplanting or moving a Peony plant. 

         Peonies have a complicated root system. The planting hole should be at least 2’ around and should be planted with the crown no more than 2” below the surface. Planting a Peony too deep can cause poor flowering. Place the roots into the hole with a mound built up in the center, fan out roots and place soil over them. Water the hole (this is called “mudding in”) and repeat this step several times until the hole is filled in being careful about the plants depth in the soil. Winter protection (not mulch) should be used after the ground has frozen to prevent the root system from being heaved out of the ground by frost. Mr. Furman also states that he only uses organic fertilizer for his plants. “We are very careful about the ponds here and our birds.” which is alive with the sounds of frogs in mating season. When asked if this couple takes care of the farm all by themselves, Furman squints his eyes and says that he and his wife put out bowls of porridge each night and “The pixies do the work.”

     Cricket Hill Garden is located on 670 Walnut Hill Road in Thomaston, CT. Kasha and David Furman will answer your calls at 860-283-1042 and they have a wonderful website at www.treepeony.com with a treasure trove of information. The Furman’s have visiting hours while the Peonies are in bloom. Call ahead for details. Prices range for a plant that is at least 4 years old are from $60.00 to $150.00 (depending on how difficult they are to grow). They have one 10-year-old plant that sold for $600.00!