Saturday, December 14, 2019

On The 12th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Well, here we are, Day #12 of Gardener Christmas Gift Ideas. I saved the very best, most personal things that you could give anybody during the holidays.
Love and Time

Spend time with the ones you love. If they love spending time in the garden, give them a Gift Certificate to help, like this:

     Offer them Gift Certificates of your time. Not only will you get to spend quality time, they will appreciate the help.
     Isn't that what the holidays are TRULY about?
     Love, time spent with family, and caring.

I hope you have enjoyed this series of posts as much as I have writing them?
From the deepest part of my heart I want to wish every person that reads this a

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanzaa
Insert Your Preferred Holiday Here
and a
Joyous and Prosperous New Year

Happy Growing!

Friday, December 13, 2019

On The 11th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Tomorrow, for the 12th day of Christmas I will have the biggest, bestest, nicest, gift of them ALL!
But first, for the 11th day of Christmas, let's bunch together the first 10 days in a neat little basket.

On the 10th Day of Christmas, we discussed little stocking stuffers.
On the 9th Day of Christmas, we discussed saving all that great food.
On the 8th Day of Christmas, we discussed gardening magazines.
On the 7th Day of Christmas, we discussed gardening memberships.
On the 6th Day of Christmas, we discussed indoor garden kits.
On the 5th Day of Christmas, we discussed organic pest products.
On the 4th Day of Christmas, we discussed garden fertilizers.
On the 3rd Day of Christmas, we discussed finding camellia plants.
On the 2nd Day of Christmas, we discussed many seed vendors.
On the 1st Day of Christmas, we discussed finding citrus plants.
On Black Friday we discussed The Citrus Guy's Books.

     So, how do we put ALL of this info into one neat little basket?
By putting them all in a NEAT LITTLE BASKET, of course!!

These are just a few ideas that I found on Pinterest. You can very easily use any of the links/ideas that I have been talking about for the past 11 days or more and create something special for your gardener.

This is again a Pinterest idea I saw. You can add some pretty artificial flowers, fruit or vegetables to yours to make it that much more personal.

     It does not even need to be a "basket" a pretty colorful pot, pail or bucket would work. What about a wheelbarrow, or utility cart? The only limits would be your imagination.

I hope you have enjoyed these Christmas gift ideas for your gardener. I enjoyed....what?
I didn't do the whole 12 days of Christmas? This only day 11?
Tomorrow is not here yet my friend.
The best always comes last!

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

On The 10th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Today, we will discuss a few smaller items that might be good for Stocking Stuffers or if you just need a small gift. These are miscellaneous things that, while by themselves may not seem overly exciting, they can and WILL be very useful! (Amazon Affiliate Links Alert)


My mother may disagree with me on this, but, tagging plants is very important! Especially when you have multiples of the same thing planted, i.e. seeds in pots. You need to know whether that little thing coming up is a carrot, fennel, tomato, or a weed. These multi-color tags are ideal for grouping things into different categories. All of your peppers could be blue, tomatoes red, etc.

#2-Twist Tie Roll-

This handy roll of 328 feet of coated twist tie material is ideal for tieing up tomatoes or other plants that are rather sprawly. Having a roll of this material with a handy cutter makes it easier to use as much or as little as you need for any particular job.

#3- Aluminum Plant Tags-

These tags are designed more for already established plants. I use them on all of my citrus, camellias, and fruiting plants. These plant labels are made of high-quality aluminum material, which is sturdy and durable, can be used for years in any environment. They are Waterproof and Sun Resistant and your label is permanent and remains legible for years. You have plenty of space to write on with a ballpoint pen, pencil, or another sharp object.

     Your gardener will love these little items. Again, they are not very sexy by themselves but believe me, they DO come in handy!

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

On The 9th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     For the 9th Day of Christmas, instead of the ladies dancing, let's have them preserving all of that glorious produce they will be harvesting!

     Like most gardeners, if yours is any kind of a farmer, they will have an overabundance of fruits and veggies come harvest time. What to do with all of that food?

Preserve it!
     I only have two items for you today, but they can REALLY be nice as gifts, especially if YOU end up being on the receiving end of the final product!

These will be Amazon affiliate links, and I use both of these seemingly constantly.

#1- Garden Master Food Dehydrator- I LOVE making my own pepper flakes, fruit roll-ups, and fruit chip snacks. There are many models available, but this is the one I use. It is expandable. As needs grow, this four-tray unit can be expanded with accessory Add-A-Trays, up to 20 trays (20 square feet.) Drying pressure adjusts automatically to the number of trays. Dries in Hours, not Days.

#2- Bernardin Canning Starter Kit- Maybe your gardener is more into pickling or jam/jelly. I LOVE making homemade Pepper Jelly with my hot peppers. So, if they want to learn how to do some canning like Grandma used to make, get them a starter kit.  This kit contains the essential tools needed for beginning canners or for those looking to upgrade their equipment. It includes a starter set of home canning recipes and a home canning "how-to" DVD (English/French).
Set of 12: water bath canner, canning rack, jar lifter, funnel, lid lifter, bubble remover/headspace gauge, 4 mason jars with lids, pectin, and canning DVD.

     The gift of food is always useful, everybody has to eat. This gift reminds me of the story about teaching a man to fish. You can buy pepper flakes and jelly at the store, but teach them to do it themselves and they save LOTS of money!

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

On The 8th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     On the 8th day of Christmas, gardener gift ideas, we are going to imitate day 7 slightly.

     But first, a recap in case you have missed any.
For Black Friday, I discussed my books.
On the 1st Day of Christmas-Citrus Plants
On the 2nd Day of Christmas- Seeds
On the 3rd Day of Christmas- Camellia Plants
On the 4th Day of Christmas- Fertilizers
On the 5th Day of Christmas- Organic Pesticides
On the 6th Day of Christmas- Indoor Garden Kits
On the 7th Day of Christmas- Memberships

So, how are we going to imitate day 7?
This gift will also remind them of you, ALL year long!

Sadly, this one, which was my favorite, went out of business.

Garden Magazine Subscriptions
(These will be Amazon Affiliate links)

Here are my top three, but there are many others.

#1-Birds and Blooms- Most gardeners enjoy attracting birds to their gardens, and "Birds and Blooms" combine the two interests into one magazine. There are tips on plants for attracting particular birds, education for those of us who can't identify all the birds that come to our gardens, and of course, crafts and projects and lots and lots of photos.

#2-Fine Gardening- If you only read one gardening magazine, I recommend "Fine Gardening." They just seem to know what's important at the moment. There are regional departments, and the writers come from all over and from all aspects of gardening.

#3-Garden Gate- "Garden Gate" has no advertisements, just lots of colorful pages of gardening how-to and tips. They have regular features like Before & After, Design Challenge, Container Recipe, and Weed Watch. "Garden Gate" always offers something new to learn.

     I mentioned earlier, there are many other fine magazines out there, it will only take a Google Search to locate them. I am familiar with these three and have enjoyed them in the past.

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Monday, December 9, 2019

On The 7th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     For the 7th day of Christmas, your gardener will be swimming with the swans all year long, if you get them one of these ideas. I only list three, BUT, if your gardener is not interested in any of these, there are MANY others out there. I will explain in a moment.

     The Gift of Membership- Giving them a membership to their favorite plant society or other horticultural/gardening group for a year will have them remembering YOU all year! Every time they get a magazine, e-mail, or something else from the group you will come to mind.

My three favorites are:

#1-The American Horticultural Society- They offer unique gardening information through The American Gardener magazine, seed, and plant discounts, and more.

#2- Azalea Society of America-  The Azalea Society welcomes membership by anyone interested in azaleas, from all cultures and disciplines. They invite those who wish to learn and those who know and wish to share their knowledge. Some of the major benefits of membership is an association with like-minded gardeners, along with a quarterly 24-page color journal The Azalean.

#3- American Camellia Society- Being as heavily involved as I am in the Camellia world, I saved my absolute favorite for last. There is SO MUCH associated with being a member of this society, things like Quarterly issues of the Camellia Journal, A copy of the American Camellia Society Yearbook,  Free admission to Massee Lane Gardens, and Free or reduced admissions to participating gardens available through the American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program. There are over 300 gardens that participate in this alone!

     Like I said, these are my favorite three, but there are literally dozens, if not hundreds more. A simple Google search of their favorite plant(s) will give you a nice list. For example, do they like Cactus and Succulents?
     What about Daffodils?
If you can think of a plant that they like, chances are there is a group they would LOVE to hear more from.

     This might be a great gift for somebody on a fixed income that would enjoy the magazines, meetings, and other things that membership can bring.

As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

On The 6th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     On the 6th day of Christmas, we will discuss a little indoor gardening. There are many folks that, scratch that.......NEED to garden all year long! Sadly, if you live in parts of the north, you may get one good week of gardening a year. (I am, of course, joking)

     Today's gift ideas are for those that LOVE herbs, want to do more year-round gardening, or perhaps, can't get outside to garden anymore and truly miss it.
     Indoor Garden Kits are lots of fun and can even be educational for those kids and grandkids that want to learn more.
     (As I have mentioned before, these are Amazon affiliate links, I do make a small percentage off of them.) I have also actually tested all of these out and wrote a review ARTICLE on them.

#1-Click and Grow Smart Garden- Love gardening but your space is limited? Get yourself this self-watering garden. Ideal for indoor use, either on the kitchen counter, window or living room. Place it anywhere you want and grow your favorite plants and herbs all year long!

#2- AeroGarden Harvest- Grows Naturally in Water, 5X Faster Than Soil.
Save yourself the hassle and mess of growing indoors with soil. You'll use less water and your plants will grow faster, getting everything they need from the water and plant food in your AeroGarden.

This was Buttercrunch lettuce after only 10 days in this thing.

#3- Ideer Life-Indoor Gardening Kit Hydroponics Growing System Kit w/Natural Bamboo Frame- If you go and read the Review Article that I wrote, this was going to be a link to my favorite one. Sadly, everywhere I looked they are temporarily unavailable. Keep checking the link from the article, hopefully they will have it back in stock soon!

     There you go, no geese a-laying, though the last item is a big Goose Egg for right now. Reminds me of the Cabbage Patch Dolls from the '80s

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

On The 5th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Normally, the 5 Golden Rings would be the ultimate gift today, but who can afford THAT much gold!?
     No, we are going to deal with the ugly side of gardening today, pests. The ones that want to eat your plants before you get a chance to eat it yourself. All three of these are organic in nature, so there is no worry about toxic chemicals, recalls, or personal safety. Two are actual products to put under the tree, one is a gift certificate because, well, it could get ugly on Christmas morning.
(The first two are Amazon affiliate links, so, while you do NOT have to use them specifically, I always like to notify you of them.)

Photo Courtesy of NC State Extension

#1-Neem Oil- This is my absolute #1 go-to product for pests. It has many uses. It controls black spot, powdery mildew, rust, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, & other insect pests. The link will take you to my favorite brand, but any Neem Oil is excellent to use.

#2- Bacillus Thuringiensis-The active ingredient of this product is Bacillus thuringiensis, also known as Bt. Bt is a natural occurring, soil-borne bacteria that has been used since the 1950s for natural insect control. I don't even bother trying to say this one, just use BT. This is what you use on Caterpillars that are munching down all of your plants. 

#3- Gardens Alive- THIS is the one that getting them a gift certificate would be MUCH better on Christmas morning. You can BUY live GOOD bugs! Things like ladybugs, lacewings, and others that eat the bad bugs. While some people would find it cool or funny to have hundreds of ladybugs flying around Christmas morning, it might not go over very well with most folks. Best to stick with a Gift Certificate here.

     Pests will eventually happen to every gardener no matter how good they are. That is nature. Give your favorite gardener a little advantage, they may not need any of these products until later in the season, but when the pests rear their ugly heads, it is nice to know they are ready!

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Friday, December 6, 2019

On The 4th Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Here we are, one-third of the way through the list. Everyday Christmas gets closer!
     I have discussed my BOOKS.
     I have told you where to buy CITRUS TREES
     I have seeded your interest with SEEDS
     I have enticed you with CAMELLIAS

     Now, let's just say that you have bought any or all of those for your beloved gardener.
     Those plants are going to need to be fed.
      Today, I bring you some of the BEST fertilizers I have ever used.
(Please be aware that these affiliate links will take you to Amazon and I do get a small percentage of these sales.)

     You will see a pattern to these products, they are all made by the same company, Espoma. You will not go wrong using ANY product by them, but I wanted to list the 3 favorites that I use all of the time.

#1-Bio-Tone Starter Plus-Bio-tone Starter Plus is an all-natural plant food enhanced with biostimulants, beneficial bacteria, and mycorrhizae. It contains hundreds of thousands of living microbes and both endo and ectomycorrhizae plus humates that have been proven to promote faster establishment, deeper roots, and superior soil structure.
     I add this to all of my plants when I pot them up or when I plant them in the ground.

#2- Holly-Tone-Make sure your azaleas and evergreens have all the nutrients they need, use Holly-Tone. This environmentally friendly compound introduces 15 essential nutrients to the soil without containing any sludge or toxins. Because it offers a slow-release formula, this product will not burn your plants.
     I use this on all of my Camellias and in a pinch, can be substituted or replaced with the next product on the list.

#3-Citrus-Tone-  An all-natural and organic plant food enhanced with thousands of living microbes and is approved for organic gardening. It is perfect for all citrus, fruit, and nut trees and provides a safe, continuous, and complete balanced feeding. It helps in the development of the entire tree.
     Of course, The Citrus Guy uses this stuff!! I actually use it on ALL of my fruiting plants. PLUS, like I mentioned earlier, I have been known to sub this with and for, Holly-Tone.

#BONUS-Tomato-Tone-  It is perfect for all tomatoes, helps prevent blossom end rot and provides a safe, continuous, and complete balanced feeding. It is specifically formulated to produce consistently plump, juicy tomatoes.
     If you are going to attempt to grow tomatoes, you owe it to yourself to have every advantage. This stuff works!

     Well, there you have it, give the gift of fertility. You DO NOT have to buy it through these links, these products are available at any good garden center. While it is always nice to make a few dollars, the intention of these posts are to give you ideas for gift giving.

 As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

On The 3rd Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Welcome to day 3 of Gardener Christmas gift ideas.
     Today, I want to tell you about one of my other passions and how you can get some of the ones I grow and show.

     There are four selections today, and again, I know these places and they only sell top-notch plants.

#1-Camellia Forest Nursery- These folks have been in business for over 40 years and are located in North Carolina. They offer gift certificates and you can pick what camellia you want by many different ways, either by name, color, bloom size, bloom time as well as others.

#2- Larry Bates Nursery- Coming out of Louisiana, Larry has over 300 different grafted camellias available. His site has pictures, ordering information, growing information and links to other good information and societies. There are a couple of his that I have on my wish list and will hopefully be ordering soon!

#3- County Line Nursery- CLN is a world-class grower of camellias down in Georgia. He ships smaller camellias for the folks that are having a hard time finding certain plants. His plants are beautifully packaged and will show up at your door without a scratch.

#4-Nuccio's Nursery- This is the Nirvana of the camellia world! They are in California and have been in business since 1935. This company has created and registered more camellias than I can remember. If you want something really unique, check these people out.

     As I have mentioned in previous Christmas gift posts, there are many other camellia growers and sellers online, a quick Google search will reveal them. These four I have had personal dealings with and love them!

     If a new Camellia is on your gardener's wish list, I urge you to check these folks out.

As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

On The 2nd Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     On today's second installment of gardener Christmas gift ideas, I am going to seed. Your beloved gardener is really wanting to get outside and do SOMETHING! For the most part, the weather is a hindrance and most places are not even selling seeds this time of year.

     While there are dozens, if not HUNDREDS of seed companies online, here are three that have some very unusual items for sale, as well as the standard fare, but also offer Gift Certificates so your gardener can at least feel as though they are doing something by looking, ordering, and dreaming of Spring.
     Just as with everything else that is and will be on these lists, I have ordered from these companies and were not disappointed with my purchases.

#1-Trade Winds Fruit- I LOVE the very unusual Tropical Fruit seeds section of this company. Where else can you find things such as Crataegus pinnatifida a.k.a. Chinese Hawthorn or Parmentiera aculeata a.k.a. Guajilote.
     When I tell people that I grow things that they have probably never heard of, THIS is where I got them from.

#2- Whatcom Seed Company- This is another one of those companies that, if your gardener likes the unusual, they will be in hog heaven! They carry fruits, vegetables and some really crazy flowers! Things like Crepis rubra a.k.a. Pink Hawksbeard or Scabiosa atropurpurea a.k.a. Black Scabiosa just to name a few.

#3- Totally Tomatoes- Even though their name is Totally Tomatoes, that is only their main thing, they do carry other vegetables, fruits, and other garden supplies. But, come on, if your gardener loves growing tomatoes, how can you POSSIBLY go wrong with Totally Tomatoes. They have everything from Amish Gold Slicer Tomatoes, which is an heirloom variety to hybrids like the Original Goliath Tomato with fruits averaging 10 to 15 oz!

     As I mentioned earlier, there are many, MANY other seed companies online and I invite you to look for those too. I only listed these three for simplicity's sake and because they have unusual things as well as my seal of approval.

I will have another post tomorrow on other great gardener Christmas gift ideas.

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

On The 1st Day of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style

     Christmas is all about love and giving of one's self. I thought it would be fun to help out some of my friends in the horticultural business, give you some ideas of what to get a gardener in your life, and to show folks what I use or recommend in my gardening life.

     So, what better way to do it than play off of the 12 days of Christmas and attempt to write 12 days of Christmas-Citrus Guy Style. I mentioned my BOOKS is a previous post, so you can go back and think about them.

     Today, I wanted to mention some places to get Citrus trees shipped legally unless you are in a Citrus producing state, then this list is null and void.

#1 Lemon Citrus Tree- These folks have some of the nicest trees I have seen. The variety is great and they have trees in various sizes for every budget. I have gotten a few trees from them and they did not disappoint! Contact them and tell Nancy that The Citrus Guy sent you!

#2 McKenzie Farms- Stan McKenzie and I have been friends for years. We met through the Southeastern Citrus Expo that he has been putting on in different locations since 2003. Stan's trees are good for areas that are a little colder than the normal citrus belt. Tell Stan I sent you!

#3 Four Winds Growers- These folks specialize in dwarf and semi-dwarf trees that are perfect for container growing. They have a huge selection and very nice trees. They also have some unusual varieties.

     If you have somebody that has been wanting to attempt to grow their own citrus trees, I urge you to use any or all of these vendors. Success is better with quality trees and these three will send you just that!

     I will have another post tomorrow on other great gardener Christmas gift ideas.

     As always I am available to answer any questions, please e-mail me at or .net.
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out my WEBSITE

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
Happy Growing!

Friday, November 29, 2019

BLACK FRIDAY-The Citrus Guy Style!

Here we are, on the brink of another holiday buying season, Black Friday.
The day that all retail business owners fear and love at the same time!

There are many jokes out there about how we were so thankful for everything we have on Thursday, Thanksgiving, only to cause chaos, riots, and blood baths, at department stores the next day.

Look, I get it.
The holidays get expensive and you want to save as much money as possible, yet get everybody on your list something special.

Why not get them the gift of education?
Gardening can be relaxing, healthy, fun, and even useful if you grow your own food. So, get the gift that can help do all of these things.
Yes, you read that right, books!
Technology is great if used properly, but sometimes just having a book in your hands is even better.

Let me share links with you on some books that I think would make great Christmas gifts or Hanukkah gifts.
These are shameless self plugs and are Amazon affiliate links.

#1-How To Grow Citrus Practically Anywhere- A book for people outside the traditional "Citrus Belts" that want to grow their own Grapefruits, Oranges, Limes, Etc. A how-to book on the ins and outs of growing citrus trees in containers, including fertilizing, soil mixes and of course, cold protection. Want to see more of what is inside? Check THIS out!

#2-Growing Camellias for Contemplation and Competition- Growing camellias can be fun and relaxing or a boost to your competitive side. This book will take you into the world of both by teaching you how to grow them to enjoy and showing you how the world of flower show competition works. In the first part of the book, Mr. Sheriff covers growing them in the ground and in containers. When and what fertilizers to use, pests problems you might encounter, and general growing tips. In the second part, he discusses where to find the information to enter shows, how to find shows, and what is needed to compete. Including dozens of photographs and speaking in a non-technical way, Mr. Sheriff offers you one of his lectures in book form, with extra benefits. He discusses the various forms of camellias such as singles and formal doubles. Gives a list of nurseries to purchase camellias, how to propagate them yourself and how you can get involved in a camellia society near you.
You can check out the different chapters and their content HERE

#3-A Beginner's Guide to Lowcountry Gardening and Landscaping- A book for newcomers to the Lowcountry of South Carolina to help them figure out what grows there, what doesn't and where to find the best information. To learn more about this book, check out this ARTICLE

#4-Plants Are Our Friends-A Children's Picture Book- Plants are called our friends because friends share things. We give and share things with plants, such as carbon dioxide, the air that we exhale. Plants give us oxygen to inhale and food to eat which allows us and other things to survive. Children need to be exposed to the connection that all life on earth has with plants. This picture book asks your child if they are friends with plants. It tells them what plants do for them like how they share food, create places to play, and make pretty things to look at and smell. This book also tells them how plants are important for other animals by providing homes and food for them. As you read "Plants Are Our Friends" to your children, or if they are reading it themselves, it offers ways to interact with them by asking questions that will cause them to think and showing ways that plants are beneficial. The intentions of this book are numerous.1) To get kids interested in the world around them and how it impacts them.2) It motivates them to seek out a different perspective on why there are plants and what they do.3) Hopefully, it will get them to lay the electronics down for a little while and see what nature has to offer. Our future depends on plants, not just for beauty and fun, but for survival. Farmers rely on plants to grow to make all kinds of things. Children need to be exposed to nature so that they will understand that apples, for instance, do not just come from the grocery store. This book will also help teach that friendship is not a one-way street. There should be a give and take, that is what makes a good friendship.

An article and some reviews can be found HERE.

Well, there you have it, four books for that gardener in your life, or beginning gardener.
I would be honored if you were to give any or all of these books as gifts this holiday season.
If you live anywhere close to where I am, and you follow me on Facebook, I have been known to sign copies when I am doing events.

2020 looks to be an exciting year! I hope to be able to do lots of different events, lectures, and who knows what else. Follow me on social media, you NEVER know where I will crop up next!

If you have any questions about this article, my books, or anything garden related, you can also send me an e-mail- OR .net

Happy Growing!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Citrus Info for the Holidays-Calamondins

     As I prepare to make a permanent move to North Carolina, I would like to assure folks that I will still be The Citrus Guy and available for questions and some lectures. This move will give me a chance to prove how well my book, "How to Grow Citrus Practically Anywhere" really does work. Which is available online via the link.

      I will, however, basically be starting over with my own collection, due to the fact that I currently live in Charleston County, South Carolina and with the Quarantines in place, I sold all of my trees. Not to fear though, the Southeastern Cold Hardy Citrus Expo (follow them on Facebook) is the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and I plan on getting a bunch of seeds there.

     I also have a few friends online that I like to order from. One of which is my good friends at Lemon Citrus Tree the other is Stan McKenzie, also a good friend of mine and he can be found at McKenzie Farms

     One of the trees/seeds that I will be in search of is a Calamondin. It was my very first citrus tree that I got back when I first started this whole Citrus obsession. It is also known as Calamansi.

     What is a Calamondin you ask?

     Most likely of Chinese origin. Botanically it is × Citrofortunella microcarpa making it a Kumquat hybrid. The Calamondin is thought to basically be an Orangequat resulting from a cross between a sour, loose skinned Mandarin and the Kumquat. The peel is thin and smooth, yellow to yellow-orange and easily separable. It was introduced in Florida in 1899.

They look like this:

                                             Image courtesy of Brite Leaf Citrus Nursery

     Calamondins make excellent container-grown specimens and the fruit can be used for many things. Marmalades, Chutneys, or they can be halved or quartered and served with iced tea, seafood and meats, Some people boil the sliced fruits with cranberries to make a tart sauce. They were commonly used in Florida before limes became plentiful.

     My favorite use is to substitute it for lime or lemon juice and make gelatin salads, desserts, custard pies or chiffon pie. A Calamondin Meringue Pie is my ultimate favorite. You eat the entire fruit, peel and all.

     Calamondins are usually fairly easy to obtain. If you can't find one, check with your Citrus growing friends or look online. Calamondin trees may be easily grown from seeds or as rooted cuttings. You can easily get fruit within 4-5 years from seed and as early as 2 years from cuttings.

     The flowers are self-fertile and require no cross-pollination. They are as cold-hardy as the Satsuma orange. The tree seems able to tolerate a wide range of soils. There is also the possibility of having ripe fruit and flowers at the same time. When it comes to growing them, treat these tasty little fruits just as you would any other Citrus tree.

There is even a Variegated Version:

                                     Image Courtesy of Four Winds Growers citrus nursery.

     The fruit is variegated when it is young, but will turn orange when ripe. I have discovered that the seeds from the variegated variety almost always seem to come up albino, so they don't seem to work well. Best to buy these plants or vegetatively propagate them.

     I have had both of these trees and really enjoyed the fruit they produced. Hopefully, this will entice you to find them and grow one for yourself! I have listed a few of my favorite places to obtain citrus trees from throughout this article,  please contact any of them for your citrus needs and tell them "The Citrus Guy" sent you.

     The holidays are coming and my book and a citrus tree or two might just make the perfect gift!

     If you have any questions about this or any of my other writings, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at
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And check out my recently redesigned Website.

Happy Growing!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Not Mealy Mouthed about Mealy Bugs

I had an article come across my email a couple of days ago that, unfortunately, seems to becoming a more common occurrence.

A new plant pest has been found in Florida attacking Citrus trees and fruit. It is the Lebbeck Mealybug (Nipaecoccus viridis) a.k.a. the Spherical Mealybug. The original article can be found HERE

Lebbeck Mealybug (Nipaecoccus viridis) a.k.a. the Spherical Mealybug
Image courtesy of

The article goes on to say that the Lebbeck mealybug is approximately 4 millimeters (mm) long by 3 mm wide with body color black, purple to blue-green and covered by thick white, creamy, or pale yellow wax. Females produce an ovisac with a wax that is sticky when touched. In high densities, waxy secretions may appear as a continuous layer of wax, which will obscure individual mealybugs. Wax may turn yellow in older infestations. Specimens do turn black in 70% alcohol. This might be a good, quick field diagnostic, but species confirmation will require slide mounting.

I put those last few words in bold to bring me to the point of today's article. Yes, the last thing the Florida Citrus industry needed was another insect. My question is, how good do you have to be to tell the difference between one mealy bug and another?

If I had seen the above picture or the one in the article, I would have just assumed it was one of the ordinary mealies. I know I am not an Entomologist, and I knew there were a few different species, but just how many of them are there!?

So, I dug a little deeper.
While I could not find a total number of species in the world, there are over 170 species of mealybugs that occur in California alone!
And I also found this.

While adult females are wingless, which are the oval blobs in the above picture, the adult male mealybugs, which are rarely seen, are tiny two-winged insects with two long tail filaments. Personally, I had never even SEEN a male mealybug before this picture.

Many mealybug species can reproduce asexually without mating. The big fancy word for this is through a process called parthenogenesis. In this type of asexual reproduction, the female can generate an embryo without the help of a male's sperm. (Insert your own joke here)

Depending on the species and the environment, mealybugs may have anywhere from two to six generations a year. Where climates are warm or plants are growing indoors, such as a greenhouse, all stages may be present throughout the year.

Many types of perennial plants are affected by mealybugs. Among the fruit trees, citrus has the most problems, but mealybugs may sometimes be found on stone fruits such as peaches. I can tell you, I know full well that they like citrus fruit.

  I found this in the navel of my Cara Cara Orange once. 
Citrus mealybug -Planococcus citri

Mealies are piercing/sucking insects that suck the juices from a plant, reducing the plant's vigor. 

Many natural enemies feed on and kill mealybugs on fruit trees and woody ornamental plants in the landscape. These beneficial insects generally can be relied upon to keep numbers at tolerable levels. Natural enemies include a number of species of parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in or on developing mealybugs. Other naturally occurring predators of mealybugs include lady beetles (Lady Bugs), green and brown lacewings, spiders, minute pirate bugs, and larvae of predaceous midges.

If the natural predators are not controlling them well enough, then Insecticidal Soap is a good alternative. If you are not familiar with that product, Insecticidal soap is based on potassium fatty acids and is used to control many soft-bodied plant pests. Because insecticidal soap works on only direct contact with the pests, you must spray them directly for it to work. It literally dries them out to death. You can also use horticultural oil, or neem oil insecticides applied directly on them.

 The mealybugs’ waxy coating may repel most contact insecticides, and their habit of aggregating in hidden locations makes them hard to reach, so using a combination of predators and insecticides is a good idea. No, the soap does not harm most of the good bugs, just try not to spray them if you can.

A word of caution here, there are MANY, MANY homemade recipes on the Internet to make your own Insecticidal Soap. Most of them use some kind of dish soap. Read your labels carefully, if there is any kind of grease cutter in the soap, it could do more harm to the plant than the pest would have.

Mealybugs have a symbiotic relationship with ants because the ants protect them from predators and parasites. They also herd them around to different parts of the plant to "spread the wealth" as it were. 

You can find these pests on a wide range of plants, the most serious ones are that which feed on citrus; as mentioned earlier, other species damage sugarcane, grapes, pineapple, coffee trees, cassava, ferns, cacti, gardenias, papaya, mulberry, sunflower, and orchids as well as many other plants.

The good news is, you can limit their introduction into your home and garden. Mealybugs are often introduced into landscapes (and especially into indoor areas) on new plants or on tools or pots. Because adult females can’t fly and can’t crawl very fast, they don’t rapidly disperse in the garden on their own. Inspect any new plants thoroughly for mealybugs before bringing them home.

Hopefully, this has opened your eyes more to the world of mealybugs and for the fact that quarantines are in place for a reason. That Lebbeck Mealybug did not buy a ticket on its own and move to Florida, it was on something that either should NOT have been introduced into the area, or somebody didn't inspect a plant very well.

Either way, let's hope that this is an isolated incident and more will not be found.

If you have any questions about this or any of my other writings, please feel free to comment below or send me an email to

You can also follow me on FACEBOOK
Or check out my WEBSITE

Happy Growing!

Growing Citrus Video

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million!

The idea of writing a blog, writing articles for magazines/websites. and books are definitely worthy of anybody's time, especially if they have something important to say. Information is power and the more you have the better you are at anything.

I have written many articles on growing citrus over the years and it has helped lots of folks get their trees back into shape and producing again.

Well, today, I am going one step farther in my advancement to educate on citrus growing.

My lectures are always well attended. When I announce on social media that I will be speaking somewhere, inevitably, there are folks that will contact me and tell me they wish they could come but are working, they will be out of town, or just can't make it for whatever reason.

Will you be recording it?
That is a common question after the above statements.
My typical answer was, no, sorry, I don't have the ability to do that.

Well, times are a changing!

Through a chance encounter, some time investment, and the stars aligning themselves just right, I can now say, YES, I have one of my growing citrus lectures available online as a video.

I tried to keep the cost as reasonable as possible at $14.99
It runs 72 minutes and you will be able to see all of my Powerpoint slides plus hear my narration.
This was filmed in front of a live audience as well as remote audiences in different parts of the country. So there were some questions asked during the talk that I answered.

If you have ever wanted to hear me speak but lived too far away, were not able to get to one when I was in your neighborhood, or just like listening to things in the comfort of your own home, here is your chance!

Follow this LINK
The trailer link will give you the first three minutes for free, so you can decide whether the format is right for you.
If you have ANY questions that were either not answered during the presentation or you have a slightly different problem, PLEASE, feel free to contact me!

My e-mail address is
You can follow me on FACEBOOK
Or get all kinds of other information on my WEBSITE

I look forward to hearing from you, if you need help, have a comment (good or bad) about the video, or any questions in general about horticulture, you know how to get a hold of me!

Happy Growing!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Book About My Other Passion

Yes, I know, where the heck have I been?!
BUSY is not even a good word to use!

I have been writing for a new website, which I invite you to check out all of their cool stuff.
You can find it and my articles at You Had Me at Gardening.
I have been testing some products for them and they are working on a giveaway for some that were being tested, so check them out for that!

Well, today, I come to you with another of the reasons I have been absent, my newest book!
It is live and currently available on Amazon by clicking this link:

"Growing Camellias for Contemplation and Competition"

You all know me as The Citrus Guy, and Citrus will always be number one on my hit parade. Camellias come in a REAL close second. I only have 55 varieties of Citrus, but I have over 200 cultivars of Camellias.

I discuss in the book how I got into growing Camellias, pretty much by accident. It all started with the couple that the book is dedicated to. Let's just say it's their fault! LOL

But, honestly, it was a good fit for me. I am a competitive person by nature and this gives me a chance to burn some of that off, even if it is only friendly competition. I enjoy it completely!

Here is an excerpt from the Welcome Chapter:

Please know that this book WILL NOT be strictly about flower shows and competitions. I will cover as many aspects of actually growing them as I can. Even though I got into the whole camellia culture by mistake, it is really a good fit. I enjoy growing things and I have a very competitive nature, so the show circuit, which I will cover in Chapter 8, is something I look forward to. It is not at all cut-throat, the matter of fact it is really a friendly competition, but you will learn more of that later.

This book is going to be very straightforward, like all my other books, I tend to write as if we are talking one on one. Things come across much easier and with a little dose of humor thrown in. It will be very much like you are attending one of my lectures.
Let’s get started!

Chapter 1-Camellia History
There are tons of books on the market that cover this topic, so I will not try to rewrite history. There is really nothing new that I can add. I will cover a brief synopsis of the long history, just to kind of get your feet wet or give you a tiny taste so you will go and search out the Camellia History Buffet.

Chapter 2- Species
There are many different species of camellias, I am going to focus on the main four (with a little dabbling of a few other minor ones). Camellia sasanqua, Camellia japonica, Camellia reticulata, and Camellia sinensis will be my main fixations in this book. Here is a little tease about chapter 2, did you know you may be holding and drinking a product of one of these species in your hand while you are reading this book?

 Chapter 3- Flower Forms
When people think of a certain flower, let’s say a rose for example, they pretty much have one shape, form, and size in mind. I am not saying there are not different ones in the rose world, what I am saying is, the range of sizes, forms and colors in camellias are quite extensive and easily out number roses.

Chapter 4- The Basics
Luckily, most of the things that the different species I will discuss have the same requirements, fertilizer, water, and soil pH. The lighting will be the only minor difference, but I don’t want to let that shine through yet.

Chapter 5- Propagation and Pruning
If I have done my job well, after reading this book, you will be itching to go out and get a bunch of these beautiful plants. The rub is, they might be a tad harder to find than your average azalea. If you have patience, some camellia friends, and some time, you can end up with dozens, if not hundreds of camellias. If you are really lucky, you might even be able to name your very own camellia!

Chapter 6- Pests and Diseases
No matter how good a gardener you are, no matter where you live, you will end up with some kind of a pest or disease. The good news is, except for one of the diseases, all of the subjects in this chapter are easily thwarted. One of them might actually be your friend.

Chapter 7- Show Use Mostly
This is where I start talking more about competition and showing. The things in this chapter are mainly for folks who are going to start showing blooms in flower shows. They are easy to do, to some degree. They may seem odd. They can all be done even if you are not going to show blooms. One of them could almost be considered legal cheating, don’t worry, it really is legal. No, seriously, I promise, it is perfectly legal!

Chapter 8- Flower Showing
If you live anywhere in the lower third of the United States, up the east coast to Maryland, and up the west coast into Oregon, there is at least one flower show near you every year. This chapter will delve into some of the rules of the show, how to prep flowers, what kind of things you can win, and how much fun it really is to be doing this with dozens of your friends, which they will all become.

Chapter 9- Nurseries
Yes, I covered how you can generate your own plants in Chapter 5, but there will be times that you see the most beautiful bloom at a show, and you MUST have it now! These are some of the best nurseries around, though you may have to actually visit them, some do not ship.

Chapter 10- In Conclusion
A tidy little sum of what this whole camellia craze is all about, some interesting stories that really happened, and ways that you too can get hooked into this world.

All of that in 169 pages and dozens of photographs. If you think you might enjoy growing Camellias or know somebody that might like to learn, this book is for them.

It was a year in the making and a blast the whole time!
As always, if you have any questions about this article, my books, or anything garden related, please feel free to drop me a line to

You can follow me on FACEBOOK
Or get onboard my WEBSITE

Happy Growing!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Speaking of Education

Anybody that knows me knows I am big on education.
Learning is power.

Every Monday morning I get an e-mail from a friend of mine. She runs Mirelli Entrepreneur Training for Woman. They are a growing community of powerful, like-minded women who want to Learn, Connect, Grow and Prosper together.
Why do I get the e-mail?
I believe in what she is doing and we have become friends over a couple of years we have known each other. We have helped each other in business endeavors.

What has any of this got to do with plants and horticulture?
Well sit a spell and let me explain.
If you are reading this, more than likely you have listened to a speaker, either myself or someone else, talk about gardening, plants, or something horticultural.

Have you ever stopped to think what went into that talk?
The following is mainly the e-mail I got this morning, with editorial comments added by me in Italics.

What Do Public Speakers Actually Do?
Many people think they would like to speak more in public, but sometimes they don't realize everything that goes on before a speaker goes on stage. Here's a quick look at what a Job Description for a public speaker might look like:

Seeking a Public Speaker to deliver speeches and seminars to live audiences in an engaging way. Must be prepared to travel a significant amount of time, especially on weekends. Individuals with charisma, strong emotional intelligence, and excellent communication skills can do particularly well.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Perform Pre-Speech Research

The successful candidate will spend significant time completing in-depth research before making a presentation. They will research their topic to make sure they are well informed. The Public speaker shall also learn about their audience in order to present in a personalized and relevant way. They may also have handouts or giveaways.

Write and Outline Speeches

The Public Speaker shall spend time creating a speech that educates and motivates a crowd. They make sure that all talking points are sharp and concise. The most successful Public Speakers outline speeches that are engaging, informative, and persuasive. Or, in some cases prepare a powerpoint.

Rehearse Speeches

The Public Speaker does not speak off-the-cuff. Public Speakers rehearse. Practicing speeches prior to delivering them live is critical for Public Speakers. They prepare and rehearse to make their presentations more effective. Public speakers use rehearsals to simplify their message and find new ways to engage their audience through stories, analogies, and other interplay activities.

Give Public Presentations

The Public Speaker shall be expected to stand on stage and deliver live presentations and seminars. Their talks shall hold audience attention and encourage participation to be successful. A public speaker may talk to small groups of 10 or large groups of 10,000. Some presentations have a training and development component while others are more inspirational.

Promote Their Activities

Prior to any public event, the Public Speaker will assist event organizers in promoting the presentations, workshops, and seminars they will be delivering. The Public Speaker will provide the event organizers with requested materials for marketing, such as headshots, biographies, speech headlines and presentation descriptions. The Public Speaker will let their circle of influence know about ticket availability and event agendas.

Interacting with Audience Members

The Public Speaker, especially those who work in a training capacity, are expected to interact with audience members after their speeches. Through these conversations, they gain speech feedback, which they incorporate into future presentations. They also answer individual questions from audience members.

 Public Speaker Skills and Qualifications

The successful candidate will possess the following essential skills:

Clear articulation The Public Speaker must be able to speak loudly, clearly, concisely without distracting verbal fillers and rambling sentences

Good body language  The Public Speaker shall use vocal tone, facial expression, body language, and timing to communicate their points. Persuasive use of body language accents words and transforms presentations from boring to interesting and engaging

Sales skills  Depending on the situation, the Public Speaker may need to generate sales and add allure and interest to products and services

Teaching skills The Public Speaker shall use adult learning principles to create educational presentations that are easy to understand

Memorization The Public Speaker will not rely on reading from notes or a screen but will memorize the majority of their presentations

Audience assessment skills  The successful Public Speaker will evaluate their audience regularly and adapt their presentation content to crowd receptiveness and characteristics. Sometimes a crowd is very responsive and the speaker will feed off of that. If the crowd is quiet and the speaker is at least somewhat engaging, it can make for a long session.

Interpersonal skills  The Public Speaker will interact with people continually and needs a positive demeanor and relationship skills to be effective at this job. Please don't be afraid to answer questions when the speaker asks, or, if the speaker has said that it is okay to ask questions during the talk, go ahead, there is bound to be somebody else with that same one.

Are you ready to apply?

So why did I bring all of this up?
I want folks to realize that there is a LOT that goes into presentations. Some speakers charge a lot of money and get fussed at for charging so much. The person booking the talk may have no idea what is really involved. A garden lecturer has to know about many different plants, diseases, pests, and other issues that are encountered in any particular garden. They never know what is going to be brought up.

I also wanted to mention something about the cost of plants. Just like everything else, the cost of plants is going up. There is a LOT that goes into that too! In the industry, we still get folks that say something like, "it's just a plant, WHY does it cost so much?" Well, I wrote an article about that too!
You can read it here: Behind The Bushes

The short summary of this entire article is this, Please be considerate of other people's time, efforts. and energy. Yes, they may thoroughly enjoy what they are doing, but there is still a lot of effort put into a good product, it should be rewarded. If you enjoyed or learned something from somebody you heard, pass the name along to others so they too can learn.

If you have any questions about this or any of my other articles, Please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail-
Or you can find me lurking around my website

Happy Growing!