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Question:  I just received a rosemary bonsai, and I am trying to find out how to care for it.
Answer:  Well, you don't say where you are or whether you want to keep your rosemary bonsai indoors or not, but be forewarned that rosemary is as difficult as it gets as far as houseplants go.  Rosemary at its heart and soul is fairly tough woody shrub that once established outdoors will get surprisingly big with little care.  But indoors, it is a finicky beast at best.  It will die if you give it too much water.  It will die if you give it too little water.  It will die if it doesn't get the right light.  It will die if the humidity is not right.  It will die if you look at it funny.  You get the picture.  Therefore, my first advice is to grow it outside in the ground if you live in zone 7 or up.  I planted a little sprig in my zone 7 garden that's taking over the southeastern US at this point -  and it gets no special care whatsoever, other than I made it a point to put it on a slope that doesn't allow for standing water.  Unfortunately, most varieties won't survive the winter if you are in zones 3-6, so you will have to keep it in a container, which raises the difficulty level considerably, even when it's outside.   You don't say what kind of container it is in, but if it is in one of those little bonsai containers, you might as well just take it out now and give it a nice roomy pot with good drainage and the best potting soil available.  This will give you a fighting chance. Your alternative is to say goodbye now because it won't last two weeks in a bonsai pot.    Put the pot somewhere with decent sunlight, but not somewhere so hot that it's going to burn up the plant while you are at work.  Morning sun and afternoon shade would be ideal.   If you manage to get it to the point of being an established plant, things will become much easier until winter comes, and then you will have to bring it in and do the best you can - bright window, never too dry, never too wet, misting daily. If there's any alternative to that like a crawl space under the house or an unheated garage, that might work too, but getting that plant through the winter is going to be a challenge.  As far as keeping it in shape, just shape it up with sharp scissors whenever needed and use the clippings for cooking or aromatherapy. Good luck!

Please also see the pages on Rosemary within this website.

Question:  We are currently stationed in Hawaii and I'm trying to get a little garden started, mostly potted flowers and plants. I made a purchase today of a plant that had a sticker labeled Violet.  I'm not sure of it's bloom and can't find much information on the internet.
Answer:  Violets are a well-known herb, and in-depth information on growth habit, culinary and medicinal uses, and folklore regarding Violets can be found here.   

Question:  I need information on what I need for planting mint in a container - watering, soil, sun?
Answer:  Planting mint in a container is a very good idea, because all the mints have well-deserved reputations as being aggressively invasive plants.  The reason they are so successful at taking over whole gardens is that they will thrive in pretty much any soil type and most any sun situation, and will tolerate moderate drought and fairly soggy soil too.  There's not much you can do to hurt mint in a container, but for optimal performance give your container at least 6 hours a day of sun, a good quality potting soil, and a container with a drip pan so you can see the water coming out the bottom when you have given enough water (you can also fill the drip pan with water for self-watering if you will be away for a time.   Mint will do best when the soil stays moist, but not soggy, so water every few days when the soil seems dry, but don't obsess with watering. Throw in a little balanced fertilizer every few months to keep your mint healthy once it is established.  Snip stems whenever you want for use in cooking or as a garnish for drinks or food. 

Please also see the pages on Mint within this website.

QUESTION:  I saw either Spanish lavender or French lavender this spring at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, AR. I live about 75 miles north of there. Am I too far north for this to grow? I think it is beautiful and I would love to have some.
ANSWER:   I'm guessing  you are in about zone 6 from your location description.  Unfortunately, you probably are too far north to grow Spanish or French Lavender, but you could easily grow English, which is really just as nice as the other two, and sports the sweetest smelling flowers of all.  In order of cold hardiness, English is reliable from zones 6-9, Spanish from 7-9, and French from 8-10.   I suppose you could try growing Spanish in a sheltered place with heavy mulch - you never know - I have stuff coming back every spring that isn't supposed to.  But for reliable performance, I'm afraid you will have to go with English, which is an aromatherapy powerhouse with fragrant foliage and beautiful deep purple flowers that attract butterflies.  It will bloom in the spring and maybe again in the fall.  Prune hard in the spring for best performance and provide well-drained soil and 6 hours or so of sun a day.  In the end, I don't think you will be disappointed with English lavender, and I have no doubt that you will come to appreciate it's reliability and relative minimal maintenance as time goes on as well. 

Please also see the pages on Lavender within this website.



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