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Gardening Articles

Fall weather is perfect for planting!

Crisp, cool mornings. Perfect "sleeping weather"at night. Plant catalogs and landscaping "how to" books piling up on the coffee table. It must be Fall! Fall is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, not just the wonderful weather. This is that special time of year when we prepare and plant now, anticipating a wonderful Spring and Summer a few months in the future. Let's take a look at four areas pertinent to the season: pruning, weed control, budgeting and tree selection. Pruning The end of Summer and the very beginning of Fall is a...

Crisp Fall days: Perfect for planting... and planning

When Autumn comes around we see our trees and plants getting ready for their "long winter's nap" and it's only natural to think that we can begin to take it easy too. However, with a little deeper thought, we can see that Fall is one of the most important times for us to pay attention to our landscape. In a recent column, I discussed some of the ways we can prepare the land for winter. Of course what we are really doing is setting the scene for the best possible growing conditions for next Spring and Summer. This is such an important topic that we're going to continue our thoughts...

7 Fall garden fix-its now save problems next spring

Here’s what you DON’T want to say next spring: “I wish I’d taken care of that in the fall!” To avoid giving yourself a dope-slap a few months from now, follow this fall fix-it checklist. The last of the leaves - Promise yourself not to put away the rake and the leaf blower until all the leaves have fallen from your trees. It’s tempting to allow the final leaves to form a carpet over your lawn, but even though grass “rests” over the winter, it still reaps benefits from sunlight. A final raking now will pay dividends in the spring when your lawn comes back fresh, green and perky. Buzz cut -...

Ornamental grasses enhance and showcase your flowers and shrubs

Your flower beds are finally free of weeds and you want to showcase your annuals and perennials with something special. This could be the perfect place for ornamental grasses. Last time in this column, I discussed the best ways to evict those wretched weeds from your flower beds and prepare the soil for planting. If you missed that column, you can find it archived at my Web site www.landsteward.org when you click on “The Plant Man”. Look for the one titled “Attack weeds early.” Sometimes, even the most beautiful shrubs can look rather forlorn, simply plonked down in a...

Finding natural solutions to garden and landscape

From time to time I hear from people who are interested in finding alternatives to chemical-based products to use as fertilizers or for weed control. One such enquiry came from a reader who signed the e-mail "Green Duck," and said: "I have a well system for drinking water and do not want to use chemicals on my driveway or in my yard. Do you know where I can find (or how I can mix my own) natural ways to kill grass where it's not wanted (flower beds, driveway, etc), natural poison ivy killers and weed killers for my lawn, and natural plant foods for fertilizing pine trees, flowers, vegetables...

Evergreen planting brings year-round life to your garden

This time of the year is perfect for planning some of the exciting projects you can get started on in the spring. This week I have a suggestion for a project that is a lot of fun to plan and will be very satisfying to create. And if the land outside your window is looking a little bare right now, this project will have the added benefit of remaining pleasant to look at year-round. We'll call this project an Evergreen Garden, but you could also refer to it as a Conifer Garden. This will work well in almost every plant hardiness zone as these evergreens do well in full or partial...

How To Make Birds, Bats and Butterflies Welcome In Your Garden

Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!)... It's my guess that you'd agree with Dorothy on this one. There are some critters you just don't want to invite into your landscape. Lions, tigers and bears are probably right at the top of your "keep out" list, closely followed by some more likely interlopers such as deer and coyotes. I'll have some ideas for turning away unwanted visitors in a future column. But today I want to talk about ways to attract wildlife guests that are both beautiful and beneficial: birds, bats and butterflies! Sorry about all those B's! Let's start...

"Easy care" plants for the horticulturally challenged!

"I have a brown thumb," a reader of this column recently moaned. She meant that she had the opposite of a "green thumb," a description we often apply to people who seem to have a knack of growing just about anything successfully. Our "brown thumb" reader went on to say that she seemed to have no luck at all when it comes to keeping plants alive and thriving. This luckless lady was one of several who have asked me for some tips on foolproof trees, shrubs and plants that even THEY are unlikely to kill! Today, I'll tell you about some of my favorites that are...

Ornamental Grasses Add Year-long Garden Interest

Ornamental Grasses Add Year-long Garden Interest
There's grass... and then there are GRASSES! You mow the grass, but ornamental grasses get a whole different treatment. You scowl and say, "Darn it! Look how long the grass is getting!" Then smile and say, "Look at those beautiful grasses!" There's something very special about ornamental grasses than can make a fan out of the most avid lawn-care grumbler . For one thing, they are relatively easy to grow (and hard to kill) and they can be quite spectacular without requiring a lot of expertise on the part of the homeowner. Ornamental grasses add year-long garden interest. Ornamental grasses can...

Container gardening opens up new landscaping options

When it comes to getting creative with your landscaping, don't overlook containers! Perhaps you haven't really considered container gardening because you think of it as only for apartment-dwellers and others who have little or no land in which to grow plants. However, I believe that creative incorporation of container gardening into your landscape can add an exciting element with comparatively little effort on your part. I have suggestions for plants for your containers, but let's start with some of the benefits of container gardening... Move ‘em around!...

Best ways to use flowering shrubs and evergreen shrubs

Best ways to use flowering shrubs and evergreen shrubs in any garden or landscape: Shrubs are virtually maintenance free . Our living fence shrubs and evergreen shrubs help you to maintain your privacy . Several specimens of the same variety can be planted in garden plant groupings for a stronger visual effect. Different plant varieties can be grouped together for diversity and harmony of form, foliage or flower. Use flowering shrubs to give a sense of volume in a flower bed and can be used to set off garden accessories such as statues, birdbaths, fountains...

Tips for Growing Strawberry Plants and Eating Strawberries

Just the thought of strawberries brings to mind summer, shortcake, jelly and chocolate. Bite into a strawberry and it explodes in your mouth making your tongue tingle with delight. With the red heart shape of the strawberry, no wonder it’s the symbol for Venus , the goddess of love. Maybe that’s why strawberries go so perfectly with chocolate and champagne. A member of the rose family , it is documented that strawberries have been enjoyed as a domesticated fruit as early as the 1400’s. Now, we know the strawberries nutrition . They contain amino acids and beta-carotene as well as...

Free Online Gardening Courses

To further your knowledge and interest in landscaping and gardening, Greenwood Nursery provides this listing of free online gardening and landscaping courses. BBC How to be a Gardener http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/htbg/ Houseplant Maintenance Introduction to Organic Gardening Low Maintenance Gardening Perennial Gardening Wildlife in the Lawn and Garden http://www.gardening123.com/courses/default.asp?MS=10 Free gardening mini-classes: https://www.craftsy.com/gardening/shop/free-gardening-classes Note: While these courses are from reliable sites to the best of our knowledge, we take no...

Best Winter Gardening Tips to Get a Start on Spring and Summer Yard Care

Apply these best winter gardening tips and you will get a head start on your spring and summer yard care . There are moments when you look outside during winter and wish desperately for the warmth of summer . Don't fret. Make winter the season of preparing for a long relaxing summer. These winter gardening chores are the first steps to making a relaxing summer possible is to prepare your garden and what better time than mid to late winter. Trim the shrubbery and tree lines into something of beauty with light pruning Mulch your perennials and win the fight against weeds before they have the...

Making the Garden Safe for Pets and Children

When designing a new landscape or reevaluating an older landscape, don't forget to work in spaces especially for children such as: a sandbox, jungle gym, and/or open grassy areas for football or net games like volleyball and badminton (not just for children). A sandbox or jungle gym can be tucked into a corner or other small area. For jungle gym or other physical activities a thick layer of shredded bark mulch on the ground will help to reduce the impact of falls. Introduce children to gardening and yard maintenance early on so that as they develop, they gain an appreciation and...

Attack weeds early... and replace with elegant backdrops

Weeds! If you already see them poking their nasty little heads above the surface of your flowerbeds, now is the time for action, if you’d prefer NOT to break your back (and do a lot of cursing) throughout the spring and summer! Today, I’ll have some tips to ease the landscaper’s least-favorite chore... and a suggestion about adding a whole new texture that will also help to control weeds. If you think of your landscape as a battleground with the weeds as the enemy, here’s the most important strategy you can employ: Attack early! At the start of the season, weeds are at their most vulnerable...

Garden Plants for Allergy Sufferers

Gardening with allergies can be a wonderful experience with some planning. The low allergy garden is full of beautiful plants that have one thing in common. They are insect pollinated plants which eliminates wind blown pollen. There are many, many trees, shrubs and perennials that are pollinated by insects that the low allergy garden is well rounded. All herbs, including rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, sage, mint and chives , are welcome here as well as vegetable and fruiting plants. Ground covers are used most effectively here. Covering...

Gardening with Physical Limitations

Let's talk about how to make gardening easier for those with disabilities, whether they have arthritis, are in a wheelchair or are visually impaired. Maybe you or someone in your household has difficulty getting around in the garden. These steps can be taken to make it more enjoyable for them. - Gardening in raised beds and planters. It makes the plants much more accessible to reach. About a 2-3 foot wide raised bed area (wider if access is on both sides) should work for most people and its height should be according to the person gardening in it. For example: a person...

Favorite Ways to Use Lavender

How to Dry Lavender: Cut flowers in morning – after dew evaporates yet before heat of day (Rubber) band together in bunches of about a dozen or so stems Hang upside down in a warm dimly lit space with adequate ventilation Dry for one to weeks – until stalks are completely dried Once dried – dislodge the buds by rolling them back/forth in a towel or newspaper Store buds in an air tight container Use your Hidcote and Munstead blooms in late spring and summer dishes. Fresh blooms should be submerged into...

Tips to Grow Fern Plants in the Outdoors

When you think of fern plants , the first thing that comes to your mind is their long attractive leaves. Fern plants are interesting for many reasons. They can thrive in the shaded areas to great heights, texture and color. Ferns flourish better in a woodland garden that requires at least partial shade. When grown in a sunny garden, they will require protection from the hot afternoon sun. If your have a large maple or an oak tree in your yard, the fern plant would be one of the best shade-loving plants you will want to include. There are different types of fern plants that can be...

Planting Flowering Shrub Hedges

Our Flowering Shrub Hedge Plant collections offer beautiful flowering shrubs , many of which will bloom from summer to frost. The Cistena Plum, though it doesn't produce long lived blooms, does have brilliant burgundy foliage that provides interesting color spring and summer. Choose from the following flowering shrub hedge plants . Click onto the individual varieties for plant descriptions: Hibiscus Aphrodite Hedge Hibiscus Ardens Hedge Hibiscus Diana Hedge Hibiscus Lady Stanley Hedge Hibiscus Lucy Hedge Hibiscus Morning Star...

Hummingbird Plant Magnets

Attract Hummingbirds to your garden this summer with These Plant Magnets: Miracle on The Hudson Rose Hibiscus Lucy Shrub Agastache Rosie Posie Orange Trumpet Creeper Pineapple Sage Russian Sage 'Little Spire' Monarda Fire Ball Salvia May Night Black Knight Butterfly Bush Choose plants that produce summer blossoms in the colors of red, purple and bright pink.

Vertical Gardening Tips for Home Gardens

One of the latest gardening trends buzz phrase is vertical gardening . Vertical gardening is landscaping or using plants to draw the eye upwards which creates a larger, more airy space. Any space or landscape can benefit from vertical gardening, especially small yards, apartment balconies, limited spaces as well as large unused exterior walls for wall gardens. The new trend in vertical gardening is to build up. Pallet gardening is one way to build up. Other ways are trellises, arbors, teepees, window boxes, hanging baskets, varied sizes of containers, or merely planting shrubs and...

Growing Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas grow and bloom the best in morning sun with afternoon shade. Don't expect them to do well in heavy shade. The Pee Gee variety is hardy enough to grow in full sun. They prefer plenty of moisture and should be monitored for additional watering over the first and second year after planting and especially during droughts. Hydrangeas enjoy a regular fertilizing schedule. A good slow (timed) release applied 1-2 times a year will keep them happy. In zones 6-8, fertilize in May and July. For zones 5 and further north, one good fertilizing in June will work due to the shorter growing season...

Protect Your Garden Plants from Frost Damage

Quick ways to protect your garden plants from frost damage . 1. Drape tender plants, potted plants or fruits and vegetable plants loosely with old sheets and blankets, bulap, towels or large scraps of fabric. Secure with string, twine, rocks, bricks or stones. Heavy covers may need support to prevent crushing the plants. Support these heavy fabrics with stakes or sturdy branches. The next morning early remove all covers to prevent suffocation. 2. Water the soil up to 2 days before the expected frost. Damp soil holds heat better than dry soil will. Generously misiting...

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