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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Benefits of Mulch in the Garden

Learn how mulch benefits the health of your plants by retaining moisture and enriching the soil.  Mulch is an organic substance that is laid on top of the soil and around the plant tree or shrub. The mulch may be derived from leaves, pine needles hardwood  chips or bark. I have also used ground pine cones, corn cobs and coconut husks. 

Many people use grass clippings as it is a nutritious from of mulch.  The grass must be dried before it is applied to the garden and a thin layer will benefit your garden.  Heavy grass will prevent the water from getting to your plants roots.  I use dried grass in my tomato garden.  It really is good for the soil.
Whenever I plant I always apply mulch directly after watering.  The best way to apply mulch is to layer it around the plant but not cover the stem region, leave that area mulch-free so the air and water can get to the plant.

Gardens Benefit from Mulch
Mulch is a protective layer that helps the soil to retain moisture.  It also will keep the roots of the plant cool and the mulch will deter weed growth.

When you apply two inches of mulch to you gardens then you will not have to water as often.
Another benefit for using mulch is that the natural substance will break down over time and the nutrients will enrich the soil.

Mulch should not be heavy during the growing season as it will prevent the water from getting to the roots of the plants.  

Normally I will add one to two inches of mulch to my garden beds in June to keep my plants cooler in the summer and to help retain moisture.  

 In late fall when I am getting my gardens ready for winter I will apply up to three inches of mulch.  The winter application of mulch will protect the plants with roots that are close to the soil surface from being damaged from wind, ice or snow.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Get New Clients with Business Card

I never leave home without my business cards because a garden client could approach me throughout the day and my business card could open doors for a new contract.

A few weeks ago while walking my dog in the neighborhood I saw a walker approaching me and they greeted me with a friendly hello and stopped to chat.   They asked me if I was the gardener at the end of the block next to the nature sanctuary and I said yes. Then told me that a group of neighbors viewed my backyard and liked what they saw.  I took this comment as an opening statement for a possible new client and reached for my gardener’s business card.   
The neighbor wanted to know about my skills as well as brief work history.  I responded by mentioning a few clients that I did work for in the neighborhood and pointed out my skills and expertise as noted on my business card. I answered their questions and then ended the conversations by telling them to call me if they needed my garden services while they were on vacation or for general garden maintenance or specialty planting.  

Here are a few gardening business cards that I like.  Some were created by me (Susang6) and others are zazzle finds. 

Today while tending to my  gardens I happened to glance at my driveway and saw the neighbor coming toward me.  They said that they were going on vacation and asked if I would look after their container gardens, tomatoes and water their yard as well as pick up their mail.  We agreed on fees for my services and my new client signed the contract. 

I have been tending to gardens for a long time and have not needed to advertise my services.  All new and repeat clients were due to word of mouth or from a casual conversation that ended with me handing them a business card.   

My business card may have been tossed in the drawer but when they needed gardener they called me and for this I am thankful because I have a new client and a July contract.