Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Making Mulch out of Christmas Trees

Before you drag your Christmas tree to the curb for trash pickup, think about recycling it by turning it into nutrient rich  mulch for your yard and garden.

My husband never wanted to make mulch out of the Christmas tree but when he saw all the mulch that he got that was free of charge he realized it was a great savings.  My husband collected all of our neighbors trees that were put out for the trash and by doing this we had enough Christmas tree mulch for our gardens and for our trees or shrubs.

There is some work in getting your tree ready for the wood chipper.  But before you remove all of the branches call your areas recycling center to see if they can chip the whole tree for you.  If not do the following;

1.   Remove all of the branches and stack them neatly in a rubber 32 gallon trash bin. When all of the branches are remove set the tree trunk on top.
2.   Call a buddy to see if you can borrow their wood chipper if none is available you may be able to rent one for the day or take your Christmas tree branches to a recycling place that makes yard and garden mulch free of charge.
3.   Use the trash bin to collect your mulch. Then apply the mulch to your garden beds or encircle your shrubs and trees with the fragrant and nutrient rich mulch.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

End of Season Gardening

I am very sad to see the growing season come to an end as it represents an end of my gardens life.  Presently I have only a few flowers still blooming, pink clematis, yellow mums and the white sweet autumn clematis.  All other flowers have died back and all that remains is the seed heads.
Tomorrow there will be a hard frost and then I will cut back all the garden beds for the winter season. And will cover the gardens with a thick layer of leaf mulch as this organic mulch will aid in protecting the flower roots that are close to the soil surface from snow or ice.

Now that the growing - gardening season is coming to an end I am not doing much other than trimming back the dead tree branches, collecting seeds and keeping the gardens weed free. 
Cleanup irises by removing leaves and weeds

Garden Notes:
  1. I never collect all of the seeds as many flowers like the sedum and ornamental grasses are attractive throughout the winter season.  I also leave the seed heads on the black-eyed Susan’s, sunflowers and the coneflowers as they provide food for the songbirds.
    Ornamental grass plumes add winter interest to garden
  2. This year we covered our small pond with a layer of chicken wire to keep the leaves from accumulating and clogging up the water filter. 
  3. The small tabletop fountain provides the song birds and the stray cats with a reliable water source, although we mu constantly remove the leaves and change out the water daily.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Getting Container Gardens Ready to Come Indoors

The weather forecast indicates that there will be a light frost on Sunday night which means it is time to get the outdoor container gardens ready to come indoors.
Before bringing Plants indoors do the following:
Herbs grown in containers

  1. Check to see if any of the plants are root bound or in need of a new container.  Transplant now if needed with new soil. 
  2. For all other container gardens; look over your plants to make sure there are no grasshoppers, snails, or spiders. 
  3. I found spiders and fleas on my plants and treated them all with a soap soak to get rid of all unwanted garden pests on the leaves and then I mixed a handful of spent coffee grounds into the soil.
  4. You do not want your plants to go into shock due to a change of outdoor and indoor temperature, so bring them in before it gets too cold outdoors. Best to bring the plants in before you turn on your furnace heat.
  5. Pick plastic drain saucers to protect your floor from water stains.  Find them garden centers;  Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart may have some also.
  6.  If you cannot find saucers put containers in plastic under the bed storage container.  You will be able to fit a few small pots in one container.

Other Yard and Garden Posts by Sgolis

Attribution Freerangestock.com

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Netherland Bulb Company Product Review

I have been doing business with the Netherland bulb company since 2008 and find that the landscaper wholesale prices are fair, shipping is prompt, and product is good to excellent, with customer service accommodating.

All spring and summer bulbs that I have received had no gray mold or soft spots. I am impressed with the bulbs and the customer service and buy from Netherland Bulb Company annually.
Narcissus Dutch Master

Finding what you want online is easy, you can also order from a wholesale price list catalog.  I normally take my clients orders first then figure out how many bulbs are needed to create their spring gardens. 
Narcissus Dutch Master & Giant Grape Hyacinth

For me it is easier to fill out the order form from the catalog before ordering online. Before placing an order I will contact my client to let them know about special sales or any bulb collections that may be available then I will order the bulbs online.
Crocus Pickwick

Netherland Bulb Company is the nursery that supplies the spring bulbs for Untied States of America Whitehouse gardens.  The gardens are exquisite so that will confirm the quality of the bulbs sold at the Netherland Bulb Company.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autumn Season Gardening

The autumn season  is a busy time for me as I was able to line up a few contracts for garden cleanup, planting mums and as soon as the weather is an average of 64 degrees during the day I will plant the spring bulbs.

The first part of September was warm with temperatures in the high 90’s so I worked only in the mornings.  Basically I got the garden beds ready for planting.  Last week the weather was cooler so I finished the planting of the Chrysanthemums.   This week we have three days of rain which is good for the newly planted mums.

Tomorrow I plan to work in my yard and garden to clean up the garden beds so they are ready for planting in a few weeks.  I bought the spring bulbs crocus Pickwick which look like they were painted with purple stripes on white they will bloom in early spring, and then the 100 narcissus Dutch master bulbs will bloom in mid spring followed the purple grape hyacinth in late spring.

The spring bulbs will be planted in my feature garden that is located next to my sandstone patio.  I can view this patio through my picture window and think the location is perfect.

In addition to planting spring bulbs in feature garden beds I also plan to keep a few narcissus's bulbs in cold storage and force them to bloom.  I want to plant the bulbs in pretty containers and give them as Christmas gifts to my elderly neighbors as the blooms will good cheer for them this winter.

Attribution: Morguefile

Monday, August 26, 2013

Working in Yard Opens Door for New Business

While working in my yard last week a neighbor stopped by to view the yellow mums that I had planted along my front walkway and remarked at how pretty they looked.   I took her remark as an opening where I could offer my gardening business card and speak to her about my services. 

The conversation changed to her yard and she asked me if I could plant yellow mums along her front walk also.  Along with my planting services, I also informed the pending client that I could purchase the mums for her, transport 30 mums to her yard and along with planting I would mulch, set up a soaking hose on a timer fall for or one fee.    I told her I would draw up a contract and drop it off to her the following day. 

Today I got a call back and the client agreed to the terms.  My services meant that the client need not do anything except water the newly planted mum and then enjoy their beauty in the fall.

I have been fortunate because all of my gardening clients have come by way of word of mouth and from handing out my business card to my neighbors.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Late Summer Flowers are Blooming

Today when I walked in the garden I saw that there were only a few late summer flowers blooming; belladonna lilies, four O’clocks, toad lilies and the sweet autumn clematis. When these flowers bloom I know that the summer season is coming to an end and that the fall mums will start to bloom soon.

The toad lilies remind me of dainty orchids.  They are such an exotic looking flower but have no fragrance.  They grow amongst my Hosta plants and their beauty brightens the shade garden.

The fragrance in the garden today was glorious.  The sweet scent of the belladonna mixed with the vanilla scent of the clematis and the sweet scent of the four O'clocks  attracted wildlife; bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  They were all busy buzzing around in the yard. 

I spent a few hours in the yard, watching the light and when it was just right I took some photographs.  If you like flowers as much as I do, then I know you will enjoy these photographs of my late summer garden flowers.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Understanding the Garden Color Wheel

When it comes to planning your garden color theme it is important to choose colors that are complimentary.   A garden that has good color flow is a sight to behold.

Many gardeners will choose a monochrome color as their main color; white, yellow and red are popular flower colors.  These colors look nice with the greenery contrast.  Other gardeners will choose three complimentary flowers for their gardens and will plant them in sections.

In my garden my primary color is yellow and my accent colors are pink-red and purple.  The yard where my gardens are is large and can support these bold colors. 
Yellow daffodils with purple crocus bloom in the spring followed by red tulips and then yellow and purple irises, periwinkle and ajuga. 

 In the summer the color or my garden is as follows; yellow lilies, with \purple verbena and magenta four O’ clock flowers and zinnias. These are the primary colors of my gardens and I find the color wheel to be appealing.

View this You Tube video to learn more about successful gardening with color.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Slug Control in Hosta Garden

This week I find that I have a new garden pest to battle.  The slug has taken over my hosta garden.  My husband used an old gardener’s remedy by putting out a saucer of stale beer mixed with yeast in center of the hostas .  The slugs are attracted to the yeast and will crawl into the small pool of beer.  Once inside the dish of beer the slugs cannot get out.  
Hosta Leaf with Slug Damage

Another way to rid your garden of slugs is to spray your garden with a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of horticultural oil and one gallon of water.  Mix well and pour into a garden sprayer.  Spray the leaves, stems and the garden bed early in the morning or late after; any time when the sun is not intense.  

View this video on how to make the beer slug and snail pest control for garden.