"The Wise Gardener!"
The Sensual Pulse of the Tropics!


Readers Garden Beauty Tips

           (04-04-2000)  BPS from Ft. Lauderdale, FL writes:

Windchime broken?  Why not take some, or all, of the pieces and hang them in your favorite tree?  Take some small gauge fishing line, tie one end to of your chime piece where the holes are already drilled and tie the other end to a sturdy branch.   You may be able to tie them close enough together to still enjoy hearing your chimes or at least enjoy seeing them.

           (04-15-2000)  Angie Marshall from Kingston, Jamaica writes:

We have found a way to define planting beds in our hilly garden, here in the suburbs of Kingston.  We gather coconuts from our trees after a rainstorm.  (Many "nuts" usually fall in plentiful quantities after a storm!)  We, then, arrange the coconuts so that they are used like border stones!! They make a very interesting "edging" offering a natural look along with an interesting shape and texture. Sometimes we fill the bed, behind this coconut border edging with additional soil so a "raised bed" is achieved. We, then, can plant lovely flower gardens in these raised beds that require NO DIGGING at all!!  The beds are so easy to fashion that we can put circles of colourful flowers wherever colour is needed!  I hope this tip gives your readers some ideas about where they, too, can place these beds, and use nature's OWN gift: the coconut!!  P.S.  Prentiss and I adore your web-site!  We never were able to find a site before YOURS, that met the needs of us islanders!   Keep up the good work, boys!!

           (05-03-2000)  Peter Michaud from Lk. Charles, LA writes:

I discovered a really awesome product at a crafts' store here in SW La.  It's called "seaglass" and comes in pretty cool colors!!   I use it as an artificial stream bed!  I use blue and green glass colors and plant water lilies in this "stream"!  There's no algae to worry about and from a distance it looks just like a beautiful river!  I plan on building a Japanese-style footbridge over this stream-bed made entirely of colored mosaic glass pieces!!  That should look mighty neat!  I'll send you guys pictures of my finished project later this summer!  Best regards, Pete,  P. S.   Your web-site is the best site on gardening I've ever seen; I love the bobbing parrots on your logo!

       (05-11-2000)  Marna Wycoff from Tucson, AZ writes:

I never really gave this kind of thing much thought but you two boys have given the public something very new and fresh on the Web; it stimulates the brain and I've found that I'm not taking little things for granted anymore!  My Marvin and I decided to put our God-given brains to work, to create a more beautiful gardening environment!  We hung Strauss crystals all over our ocotillo tree and you should only see how the sun causes gorgeous sparkles to be reflected on my Dining Room walls!  The effect is equally gorgeous on the tree!  All our neighbors are complimenting us!  We said that we didn't want our yard to be boring like many of the yards here in Tucson!  I think they're all envious of us!  You two are geniuses!  I'm telling everyone about "thewisegardener.com!"

         (05-14-2000)   Kyle Staub of Honolulu, Hawaii writes:

I  plant mainly heavily-scented butterfly ginger rhizomes within all areas in close proximity to garden paths throughout our yard!   The perfume of these hedychium species of ginger:  (I hope that it is the proper spelling, Brad & Paul!), is strongly reminiscent of gardenias, and the pretty shape, I'd like to write, reminds my partner and I of butterflies in flight!  They bloom just about all twelve months, with perhaps, a brief "slowdown" in FEB.!   I buy rhizomes in netted packaging where I can readily see pinkish nodes emerging from the sides of the "bagged" rhizomes.  Please don't purchase ANY rhizomes that has not yet shown this budding.  That is because the chances of a sprouting young plant emerging out of the enriched soil, as maybe ONLY 50-50%, at best.   We both enjoy your beautifully designed web site designed especially for our "unique" Zones 10 and 11 gardening needs!  Keep the great information coming Brad and Paul, and we can say that we're now "thewisegardener.com" junkies!"   P.S., we looked at your "custom-crafted" gorgeous tropical & desert-themed notecards, and plan on ordering at least 10 boxes over these next few months!  You'd be surprised how meager the selection is here in Honolulu, HI and what is available are more expensive than are yours, (and NOT as beautiful!   Thanks, again, for this "stellar" gardening site on the Web!  We've told at least a couple of dozen of our friends, and family, and they've ALL said that they enjoy it tremendously, and regularly, guys!!

           (05-23-2000)   Dean Outerbridge of Smith's Parish, Bermuda writes:

We often go down to the beach after a big storm and retrieve large "conch" shells that have washed up on shore.  They are a great "FREE" treasure!  My roommate Bartlett and I have collected QUITE a large assortment over our seven years together!  Bart decided to try a neat technique where he inserts about two handsful of sterile potting soil into the previously cleaned-out shell; he then packs a bromeliad that he picks off our live oak tree in the yard, into the shell with soil.  He gathers Spanish moss, (again, from the live oak tree!), and covers the soil, around the bromeliad with the moss!  It's so stunning as a centerpiece with a quintessential "tropical look!"  We give these as gifts, also, at Holiday Time, for a unique and VERY appreciated "handmade" gift.   The bromeliads bloom quite contentedly in this ready-made "container" and watering and other maintenance are minimal, as bromeliads are air plants and literally thrive on neglect!  Thank You "thewisegardener.com" for a quite fabulous web-site that is both thought-provoking and extremely fun and entertainingly written!   Bart and I give your gardening E-Zine "two thumbs UP!"

       (06-01-2000)   Genevieve Stoneham of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia writes:

I began reading your fabulous and truly DIFFERENT gardening web-site, ever since Matilda.au search engine has begun listing you!  It is incredibly witty and informative, loves!!  I wished to share with you two lads, (and your readers, of course, dears!), what my husband Giles and I have done to beautify our rather mundane, typical suburban landscape.  We wanted colour and vibrancy to be improved, so we've affixed stained-glass panels (each about 150 by 180 cm. long) onto rather sturdy fisherman's line through a hole fashioned onto each panel.  We've then hung each glass "pane" onto our palms and acacia trees!  Well, loves, you would adore the radiant rainbow of colours that are magnified by the sun's rays, as they pass through each piece of stained glass!!  It is a wondrous sight to behold!   We've now attached over 400 of these glass panes to our out-back and front yard trees and Giles is SO smitten by the effect that he has plans to order as many as 500 more panes by next summer: (Oct. for us in Brisbane!)   We plan on sending you boys several of the photographic representations of our efforts here at our property, and please, loves, feel free to use them on your delightful gardening web-site, if they can be considered helpful!  We've loved sharing our idea with you and look forward to reading about OTHER ideas that your creative readers have offered.  You two have truly given gardeners a unique way to express how they can fulfill a great need: beautifying our home---this earth!  Let us make it a more inviting GARDEN as it was meant to be!!

       (06-08-2000)  Maria Velez of Havana, Cuba writes:

When I want to make our hacienda's garden look "special" for warm summer evening fiestas, Roberto, my husband and I, cut coconuts in half; remove the delicious "meat", then place these coconut shells (with open end up) around the perimetre of our planting areas, and walking footpaths.   We, then, fill these shells of the coconuts with water and float candles in each shell half.  It is so very beautiful when night falls and all the candle-filled coconut shells are lighted!  Our guests can see the garden paths with ease, and the effect is so restful, and elegant! Roberto and I have placed over 150 coconut shell "luminarias" around the garden, and plan to set out many more in the months to come!  They are inexpensive, and most importantly, are quite beautiful!  I hope some of your readers will try this technique in their own gardens, Brad and Paul.  We love your web-site and look at it at least three times a month...there is so much to enjoy in every month's TWG!!

(06-09-2000)  Bart Thompson of Perth, Western Australia writes:

Abby, my lovely wife of 33 years, and I just are "crazy" about wildflowers and their propensity to draw butterflies so we have devoted one entire section of our estate (facing the Indian Ocean) to nothing BUT wildflowers that are well-known in this vicinity to attract butterflies!  We've ordered seeds from an Australian purveyor over the last two years, and now, in the third year, our 30 by 20 hectares' area which is devoted to this type of garden has produced a bounty of both flowers and winged creatures!  It is, indeed, a vision of beauty!!   I enjoy not having to maintain all this land in lawn care either.  Abby and I have been featured in the "Lifestyle" section of the SUNDAY Perth Guardian seven times; we didn't realize that we'd become such "celebrities", but the real celebrities are the bounteous flowers and magnificent butterflies!  We plan on devoting still another extension of this "Wild Kingdom" garden next year!  Cheers!  P.S.  We have enjoyed your site regularly over these past several months and have enlightened our gardening friends about your site's existence and they also have just recently become TWG devotees!   Good work, boys!

          (06-11-2000)  Karl Werner of Los Angeles, CA writes:

We have a rather compact yard of 15 feet by 25 feet and we desired color to enhance a drab backdrop of a shadowbox fence and ficus benjamina hedges on each side border.  We decided to paint each fence slat in pastel "sherbet" colors and paint oak barrel halves (7 in all), in more intense "primary" colors.  These oak barrels were evenly spaced along the fence row.  In three barrel halves, we planted dwarf citrus trees: an orange tree, a lemon, and a lime.  These provide color in the ripe fruit and a wonderful gardenia-like fragrance in the blossoms, each spring.  In the four alternating oak barrel halves, interplanted between the three citrus-filled barrels, we've planted "seasonal" annuals like poppies, delphiniums, and geraniums.  The color is really quite pleasing and is "perfect" for our Southern California "outdoor" lifestyle!  The yard looks "alive" all twelve months of the year:  for example, at Christmas-time, poinsettias replace the annual flowers, and white lights festoon the citrus trees (of about 6 feet in height!) and our "boring" ficus hedge material!  This project was accomplished in only two weekends, and cost us a total of about  $250.00...a small cost for our totally refreshing and "new" year-around garden symphony of color, scent, and delicious citrus fruits!  Please, Paul & Brad, keep TWG "going strong"; it's the greatest gardening site on the web for people in the sub-tropics!!

          (06-14-2000)  Ben Weintraub of Coral Springs, FL writes:

I have always found the absence of seasonal color to be one of the "biggest" negatives about living here in the South Florida area.  I thought that the tropics were SUPPOSED to be a veritable "kaleidoscope" of colorful plants, but for whatever reason, the landscaping that I "inherited" from the builder was "green" and that's about it!  After living with this for three boring years, (and missing the daffodils and tulips of a Northern spring and the fall's gorgeous color palette in the leaves of the great hardwood shade trees of "up North"), I decided to take matters into my own hands!  I little-by-little ripped out the foundation shrubs and trees that were "thrown in" by our builder.   I, then, began the arduous task of planting "color" on all sides of the property:  jacarandas (purple), poincianas (orange-red); cassias (pink and yellow);   and out front a beautiful triangular bed of Cherokee crepe myrtles (vivid red)!!!!    For understory plantings, I chose gingers (white and pink), heliconias (orange, red and yellow), and shrimp plants (a gorgeous coral pink)!!!  What a joy to behold all year-around, now!!  It's truly the envy of all our neighbors, here in West Ridge.  I hope that you have enjoyed my exacting description, and will improve your yard's colors too!   

       (12-04-2000)  Iliana Gonzales-Mercado from Utuardo, PR writes:

In Puerto Rico, we has difficulty creating a "Christmas Mood" due to warm temperatures!  Often it is 88 degrees F. (on X-Mas Day!  Terrible!)  So my madre gave all nine of us ninos and ninas a way to create a "festive" Christmas atmosphere!  She had us gather all the styrofoam egg cartons that we had collected all year, in many colores, and cut out the bottom portions, (The part that holds the huevos!)

We then put these foam "cups" onto all our agaves, and cacti, or any other plant that has spines, like bougainvilleas!  The results is mucha linda (very pretty!)  These "cups" can be decorated further with sparkles glued on them, and also they can be hung from all the trees if you put a string through the top of them.  We now have literally hundreds of these egg carton decorations and the neighbors all love them very mucho!

We love reading your "wisegardener.com"!!   It is a very beautiful web-site with musica Caribbiana and very pretty colores!   Gracias!