Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 11/6/2016

ga_c79a1f75ca77b86d_spcms_0Colorful plants native to eastern and southeastern Asia, Camellias were exclusively cultivated in Japan and China for centuries, Camellias were introduced to Europe during the 17th century by the tea trade between countries. Camellli sinensis is the species of the plant used to produce tea. Where To Plant Camellias Camellias, a brilliantly colored flowering shrub that flourishes in dappled, overhead light, is an ideal plant for semi-shaded north-facing home gardens. In their native habitat, Camellias are an under-story plant found growing under the canopy of other trees at the edge of forests or wooded regions. Chose a well-drained location in the garden. Camellias can’t stand “wet feet” and will die in soggy ground with poor drainage due to the shortage of oxygen in the soil. Spring-flowering Camellias do best in neutral to slightly acid soil with a pH of between 5 to 7. If you have compacted clay or chalky alkaline soil, camellias with have a difficult time; leaves turn yellow and the plant fails to flower. Healthy camellias are an evergreen, retaining their deep green leathery leaves all year. Both the flowers and foliage add visual interest to the home landscape. Before planting camellias in the garden, do a soil test to determine pH levels. A pH level soil test kit is available form local home and garden supply centers. For a complete soil analysis, take a soil same to your local county extension office for a determination of pH content and a full report of what you can do to amend your garden soil. Camellias do best in regions of the country where the summers are not excessively hot and the air is moist and humid. Growing Camellias In Containers If you do not have the ideal soil or growing conditions: no worries. Camellias are perfectly suited to container cultivation and make excellent long-term patio or sunroom plants. If you wish to grow camellias in containers outdoors, find a sheltered location out of the wind, preferably on a west or north-facing wall. If you are in a northern climate subject to freezing weather, growing in pots is the way to go. Containers are brought indoors before the first frost and make a lovely houseplant through out the gray days of winter. When planting in containers, choose a pot large enough for the plant to grow, providing a weed-free loamy soil supplemented with well-aged herbivore manure (cow, sheep, goat, horse) to provide nutrients and to help hold moisture. Make sure the pot has excellent drainage. Positioning the pot on a rolling base makes it easy to move about the patio to take advantage of the best light and to move into the home or greenhouse when the weather cools. Replant every two to three years to a larger pot to allow for vigorous growth. When repotting, add fresh topsoil and aged manure to the potting mixture. An Abundance Of Flowers Camellias brighten shaded spots in the home landscape with bold bursts of color in shades of white, creamy yellow, sunshine yellow, pale pink, hot pink, lavender, orange, red, and burgundy. New hybrids offer a diverse array of variegated color combinations. Clip off spent blooms to encourage flower growth.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/12/2015

When the summer heat comes knocking, many people reach for soft drinks and artificially flavored beverages.  While this may temporarily cool you down while satisfying your sweet tooth, you're actually doing your body a disservice by dumping so many empty calories into your system.  Additionally, many of these drink options actually dehydrate you further, prompting you to drink more of them sooner.  Here are five easy alternatives to reaching for a can of pop, or a bottle of "enhanced electrolyte-infused super sports drink"....Whatever that is. 1. Juice on Juice - Do you make your ice cubes with trays in your freezer?  If you do, try swapping out the water with juice!  You can have a glass of OJ with OJ ice cubes.  As they melt, they won't water down your juice of choice.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own fruit juice combinations with matching juice cubes.  If you have a blender, you can make your own fruit slushies in a flash.  It's a pretty simple way to enjoy something flavorful, and you can feel better knowing that you aren't putting large amounts of empty calories into your system.  If you are craving something a little sweeter, why not try mixing in a little Stevia?  While relatively new to the US market, this wonder sweetener has been used for centuries by people in other countries.  Boasting a sweetening capability 300 times that of sugar, stevia has also been shown to have a negligible effect on blood glucose levels, making this sweetener relatively safe for people on carbohydrate-controlled diets. 2.  Cucumber Water - This is a relatively new concept to hit the mainstream, but it has been around for a long time.  Cucumbers are a perfect summer food...They contain vitamin C and caffeic acid, two antioxidant nutrients that can help protect the skin from the sun's damaging rays. Vitamin C boosts collagen and elastin, which helps keep skin looking vibrant. Caffeic acid protects skin cells from UV radiation. Cucumbers also help to prevent water retention, which will keep you feeling light and refreshed all day. There are a few different methods to make cucumber water, but I'll give the easiest here....Chop up a whole cucumber, throw it in a pitcher of water, and let it soak in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, drain the pieces of cucumber out, pour yourself a big glass of it over ice, throw a few slices of cucumber in as a garnish, and voila.  You have cucumber water.  Yes....It's that simple.  And you'll be pleasantly surprised how refreshing this new angle on water is. Raspberry Mint water - This is similar to the cucumber water, except that there's no overnight soaking required.  All you need is a water bottle, crushed ice, some fresh mint, and raspberries.  Throw five or six raspberries, a few mint leaves, and a small handful of crushed ice into a water bottle.  Shake well.  The ice will agitate the mint and raspberries.  Then, fill the bottle to the top with water, and shake again.  Goodbye, Crystal Light. Soda Water and Juice - If you find yourself craving the zip of bubbles in your beverage, try mixing plain soda water with citrus juices.  Two parts juice, one part soda water, and some ice is all you'll need to beat a soda craving.  Try mixing tangerine and grapefruit juice first, then move on to other juices. Iced Chai Tea - Chai has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine, but has come to be one of the world's most beloved teas.  Chai is a mixture of black teas and aromatic Indian spices.  Initially brought over to the west a few centuries ago, it has become a fixture in many coffeehouses and cupboards all across the United States, and can be purchased in your local grocery store.  If you like Iced tea, then take a chance on Iced Chai.  You won't regret it. Bring four cups of water to a boil, and add one chai bag per cup.  Steep for five to seven minutes, and transfer to a pitcher.  Allow the Chai to cool completely, and serve over ice.  You can add a bit of milk and sugar if you so desire, but the natural blend of Indian spice makes this tea flavorful all on its own. Here's to a healthy summer!

Tags: summer fun   ice tea   Healthy  
Categories: Family  

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/18/2013

The sun is out and it is the perfect time to use that solar energy to work and make some homemade ice tea. Not only is ice tea refreshing it is also very easy and inexpensive to make at home. You can even try using some of your favorite herbal teas.  Here is a quick and simple recipe: What you need: 6 to 8 tea bags 1 quart hot water (4 cups) 1 quart cold water (4 cups) 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey, optional Directions: Bring hot water to a boil in a 2-quart size sauce pan. Add the tea bags. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. If the tea sits for too long, it will be bitter. Remove the tea bags. Put the cold water into a 2-quart size pitcher. Pour the hot tea into the pitcher, over top of the cold water. Make sure to put the cold water in first. Add the sugar or honey if you like, stirring to dissolve it completely. Put the pitcher into the fridge to cool. Grab a chair outside and relax and enjoy your homemade tea. If you have a homemade recipe perfect for the warmer weather please share.