Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Garden for Children - Design Ideas

Many people think that their children would not care for a garden. but I believe that a garden is a wonderful way to encourage children to be creative.  Know that I believe that children need to be outdoors, playing in the yard and getting fresh air and sunshine on a daily basis, so a garden that is designed for children is ideal as it will be their special place.

My neighbors nine year old daughter helped me to plan a garden for your senses.  This garden featured a water fountain, wind chimes, a shade tree, ornamental grass garden, pink hydrangea, irises and in the spring pink and lavender tulips would bloom.   There was a wooden garden bench under the shade tree which allowed the kids a place to sit and read, draw or play or make a variety of flower crowns and necklaces. 

When the children were not busy being creative they would look at the clouds or daydream.  Know that every summer the neighborhood children would come to spend time in the garden.  They would plant flower seeds in the spring, water the plants and be so excited when the flowers would grow.

When it comes time to plan a garden it is important to involve your children.  Shop with them at garden centers or at Walmart.com  to find out what they like or dislike.  Pick out flowers and herbs that have fragrance or attract butterflies or hummingbirds.  Plan, plant and teach your children how to care and maintain the garden. The more involved the children are,  the more interested they will in learning.

Here is a garden design that I created for my neighbors children and the cats.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Garden Design - Small Space Gardening

Today one of my friends contacted me and asked me if they could hire me to design a garden for their front entrance.  My friend has always loved spending time in her garden but due to illness she had to sell her home and move into a townhouse which gave her limited space for gardening.

She went on to say that from her front window all she saw was a patch of grass, stone walkway and then sidewalk followed by parked cars.  This landscape was not eye appealing to her and she felt her home looked cold and unwelcoming.

When I asked what she preferred her response was colorful flowers that would attract butterflies, window boxes, perennials, Hosta plants a water fountain to attract the birds. Basically she desired a sensory garden in her front yard.  I noted her requests and went to my digital design board.  Took time to create a bird and butterfly garden that would appeal to her needs.

Sensory garden design for front of townhouse


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Add Color to Your Winter Garden with Pansies


I don't know about you but my yard and gardens are looking rather blah this late winter. The snowdrops are blooming and the crocus are coming up. The only green in my yard, besides the bulbs is the evergreens shrubs and the Baltic ivy growing up the side of my oak tree.

My winter weather this year is mild, we are twenty degrees warmer than the norm. So I though I would plant a container of pansies and get a head start on very early spring gardening. I like the idea of having a container garden of pretty yellow and purple pansies close to the entrance of my home. Or I may plant some purple tulips that I have in cold storage in the center of terracotta container and then plant a border of purple pansies.
Pansy Arragement


Grow pansies in container garden

Add color to winter gardens with pansies


The late winter/very early spring pansy flower containers will look nice growing on my deck. I will set them in a sunny location.
Know that pansies are easy to grow. You will need the following garden supplies; Container that has drainage holes on the bottom, potting soil that is amended with compost. Liquid fertilizer (I like spray and grow), mulch and winter hardy pansies.




Pansies can tolerate a light snow, but if it gets extremely cold I will cover them with frost protection or drag the containers into my mud room.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pruning Your Trees

I like my mature trees as much as the next person but it is wise to know which trees need to be pruned. Many times trees that are not maintained will become uprooted during a wind or ice storm and this will cause the property owner great stress; damage to home, gardens and expense to have the tree cut down and removed.

So before your trees become uprooted or fall down on your house. Make a point to prune them annually. Remove dead branches whenever you see them otherwise you would prune the tree after the flower blooms in the spring or after fruit is harvested in the fall.

Learn the three cut method of pruning trees and shrubs by viewing this YouTube video.  Learn the right way and your trees will benefit from the pruning.






Learn more about pruning trees and shrubs here 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Flash Flood Waters Unearthed Spring Bulbs

Last week my area had heavy rain, in fact we got 5.7 inches in an hour. Needless to say there was dangerous flash flooding warnings and a fast stream of water running through my yard.  This body of water unearthed the spring bulbs that I had planted last month and caused other yard and garden damage.



After the rain had stopped and water had subsided I went out to inspect the gardens for water damage. All of the mulch that I put down last month had washed into the lawn and many of my spring bulbs had been shifted, the top soil washed away from the bulbs but the deep rooted ones were still in the ground, however many had become unearthed.



I found seven daffodils bulbs right away.  I had planted 260 spring daffodils and crocus bulbs last month so I asked my husband to come out and help me search for any other bulbs.  


My search for the spring bulbs was careful and I did go into the woods to look for them. When all was said and done we had found just under three dozen spring bulbs. 

If other bulbs were washed off due to the flood waters then they will bloom in the lower level of our garden next to the retaining wall and next spring I can transplant them after they bloom back into my yard.



Instead of planting these unearthed bulbs in the ground I have decided to grow them in containers. I may force them to bloom and give them as gifts on Valentine's Day.    View this video to learn how to force bulbs to bloom indoors for winter color. 


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Friday, January 1, 2016

Recycling Christmas Tree

When it comes to buying our Christmas tree we always buy a real tree. We love the fresh balsam fragrance and the fact that we can give back to nature when Christmas has past by recycling.




After we have removed all of the decorations we will decide on the best method for recycling.  One way to recycle the tree is to take it to our cities recycling plant. There they will make mulch out of our tree and we are welcome to take a scoop full for our yard and gardens.  If we pass on taking the mulch it will be used in city parks.



In the past we have recycled our Christmas tree by tying a cement brick to the tree and then tossed it into the center of our pond. The brick enabled the tree to sink to the bottom of the pond and this tree created a habitat for the fish, water turtles and other pond creatures.



An easy way to give back to nature is to create a thicket in your yard. It is best to do this in the back section of your yard. We have a large yard so we started our Christmas tree thicket off to the side of our yard. Husband set the tree on its side at the base of our retaining wall. Then all of our tree trimmings and branches were set on this thicket.  When the trees broke down they became a safe and warm shelter for wildlife. 
Thicket made from recycled Christmas trees and Oak tree tree trimmings/branches
Small tree and branch thicket at base of wall 
After several years the trees turned into a safe shelter for animals in the woods
Note:  Cat Adoption Guide is my other Blog




Another way to recycle your Christmas tree is to use it as a bird feeder. You will enjoy watching the songbirds that are perched on the tree branches for the next few weeks.


Consider setting up the tree close to a window and decorate the tree with birdseed ornaments. You and your family will enjoy watching the songbirds.



Buy birdseed ornaments at these fine online stores.  Here are few that I recommend.

GardenersSupply Company birdseed ornament set of 3
MonticelloShop birdseed ornament assortment
TractorSupply Company (4) Peanut butter Suet balls





Snowdrop Flowers are Blooming in Garden

Today  the weather had warmed to 38 degrees and I thought I would take a walk in the garden. I went into the garden to watch for nature and to check to see if any of the spring bulbs were blooming. To my surprise I saw that the snowdrop flowers were blooming. A patch of 8 to 12 flowers were in full bloom.





This flower is a perennial in the Amaryllis family. There are 75 different species and varieties of the snowdrop. All of the flowers are white in color. The species that grows in my garden and most gardens is the Galanthus Nivalis (snowdrop) Galanthus in Latin means milk-white-flowers.  These milk white colored flowers have bloomed in my garden for the last 15 years and when I saw that they were in bloom a month early I was delighted but surprised.


People call this flower a snowdrop, because it usually does not 
wait for the snow to melt. It usually is the first flower 
to bloom in a winter garden. 

This winter has been very warm, 20 degrees warmer than last year. Although we have had cool to cold weather this past week with snow flurries on Christmas day, but prior to that the weather has been spring like. Overall I think that the spring bulbs are confused because they normally bloom the end of January - first week in February.




Planting tips:



  1. Plant in fall six weeks prior to a hard frost and the snowdrops will bloom the following spring. Grow snowdrops in well drained clay, sandy soil in an area that has morning sun exposure with part to full shade in the afternoon. 
  2. I think snowdrop flowers look nice when grown under evergreens or other trees and shrubs.  These flowers look especially nice when grown in a rock garden with other spring bulbs, such as crocus and daffodils.
  3. Remember to space the bulbs when planting because they multiply quickly. Snowdrops are deer resistant



If you are interested in growing this long lived spring blooming flower in your garden then I would recommend that you shop for the bulbs at the following stores;


Brecks.com
Americanmeadows.com
lowes.com
ebay.com

netherlandbulb.com


Learn more about Netherland bulbs by reading my product review.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I Like Zazzle Rain and Garden Boots

 When it comes to working in the yard during the spring months I have to wear rubber boots. In the past I have picked up boots at Walmart and other discounted shops and these boots were okay to use for walking in the rain.  They were not good for working in the yard.   They were not comfortable, and the sole did not keep my feet in one place.  My feet paid the price because there were no comfort soles, plus the sole did not have good traction and the inexpensive rain boots were not suited for working in the garden.


Then I bought Slogger rain boots at ebay.com, and I thought that this boot would probably be wonderful but they were too wide for my feet.  I ended up giving them away.  

Presently I like the Twoalit  rain boots at zazzle.com  These boots will suit my comfort, and fashion needs, plus they cleanup easily which is a big plus for anyone who works outdoors in garden, yard or farm. 

I like that these clear boots are made in the USA and they can be hosed off after I work in the garden. But what I really like is the prints...instead of wearing a boring black pair of boots I can now wear adorable fashion rain or garden boots.

Okay so these boots were made for rain and working in the garden...but are these boots comfortable?  

Know that these boots come with comfort soles; “Comfort Soles are included with your boots! These comfort soles only need to be worn if you plan to wear the clear boots without your TwoAlity boot liners! If you wanted to wear the clear boots with your own tall socks, you will need to insert the comfort soles first." quote from boot website.





Please note that "if you try to wear the comfort soles and the boot liners at the same time, the boots could be snug! Boots are made by TwoAlity™ and are designed to brighten up your rainy, snowy or muddy day! You can choose from a variety of boot liners! Customize your TwoAlity boot liners by adding embroidery". Know that these boot liners are the perfect way to show off your name, or other text, even a logo. Learn more about these rain and garden boots at zazzle.com

Here are my Walmart.com rubber boots.  They are great for rain wear



I LIKE ZAZZLE BOOTS: BUY BOOTS HERE




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring Gardening


Normally my spring garden would not be on my mind, but today the temperature  was 70 degrees Fahrenheit   and this spring like day has got me thinking of my garden. Normally the weather is cold, with snow but this year the weather forecast is calling for warmer than usual.

Know that we do need a hard frost and bitter cold temperatures to kill off the ticks and to enable the spring bulbs to sleep before awakening in the late January – early February. But nature this year has a different idea because today when I removed a patch of leaves in the yard I saw the grassy foliage of my crocus had broken ground and the green stems were two inches above soil.

The spring bulbs breaking ground has got me thinking about gardening and getting a head start on my preparations.   I went out to my greenhouse today and sterilized some pots for planting. Normally I start my annuals, herbs and vegetables in mid to late January in the portable greenhouse that I bought at the tractorsupply.com last year. But since we are having spring like weather I thought I would get a head start with my gardening chores.

I am thinking that by the end of December I will have my window-boxes sterilized and painted also. This year I am thinking of planting the tulips and crocus that I have in cold storage,  I have had good results with forcing the spring bulbs to bloom and will probably force the bulbs to bloom indoors and give the containers away as gifts. 

Here is a video that will show you how to force spring bulbs to bloom in approximately five weeks indoors.



Getting ready for spring in December is an activity that I am not accustomed to but do like that i can get many tasks done now while the weather is warm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Caring for Christmas Poinsettia


Its the season for the Christmas poinsettia plant for gift giving and home decorating.  The poinsettia is a beautiful plant that comes in a variety of colors; crimson red, pink white or bi- color leaves along with dark green leaves. It is one magnificent plant and is known as the plant of Christmas.

Know if you reside in a mild climate where the average temperate is 55 to 60 at night and the high is 70 degrees Fahrenheit then you can feature this plant outdoors on your porch or in your feature garden. However if you reside in an area where the weather is cold then poinsettia must stay indoors.

Here are some photographs of poinsettia plants; 




Red poinsettia plant by pixabay
Healthy red poinsettia gets plenty of light by window

Red poinsettias grown in outdoor feature garden.

Shop for live poinsettias at Teleflora.com This quality plant is best for gift giving. 
 Also shop at Lowes.com or at their store. I saw gorgeous poinsettias there and they were reasonably priced. 
Target.com and Walmart.com also have poinsettias in their seasonal departments.

Here is a crimson red poinsettia plaque that I designed from a photograph. It is a close up that will show you how lovely this plant is. You can buy this plaque at my zazzle shop.



Buying Tips


When you go to buy a poinsettia I would recommend buying a healthy plant that does not have drooping leaves or brown sots as this would be an indication of not adequate water, which would cause the poinsettia to have stress.


Caring for Poinsettia 


Bring your poinsettia home in a covered bag so that it does not get too cold or suffer a cold draft. Remove your poinsettia from the foil holiday pot wrapper and set it on a plant draining saucer. 

 The best location for your poinsettia is in a sunny room where the average temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your poinsettia needs an average of six hours of bright light so if you do not have a room that has a lot sun light then set in under a table light. (I do not recommend setting your poinsettia in direct sun light) 

At night poinsettia prefers cooler temperature so a room that is an average temperature of 60 to 70 degrees will keep your Christmas season poinsettia healthy.

Maintain your poinsettia plant by checking the soil daily. Know that poinsettias grow best in soil that is allowed to dry out some in between watering. Test the soil daily to see if the soil is dry by inserting your index finger into he soil about one inch. If soil is dry then water the plant until it drains out the bottom. Let all the water drain from the plant container, but do not set the pot in the water in the saucer. Instead dump the water out.  Poinsettias do not like wet soil.  


Other


Know that my friend resides in  Florida and she does grow her poinsettias outdoors. She told me she planted it in her yard after Christmas in an area where soil was well drained, plus the plant got six hours of  sun daily with part sun in the heat of the day.   Her poinsettia grew into a shapely shrub in her  Florida outdoor garden.

Here is a video where you can learn more about your Christmas Poinsettia.