Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garden Ideas for Small Yard

A friend of mine contacted me for assistance in creating a garden in her small yard. She lives in a townhouse and her backyard is very small and not private. If she put up a privacy fence then all she would need would be two panels on the sides and I thought she might feel closed in so I suggested that she invest in a lovely grass garden instead and create a private garden in her small yard.

The ornamental grass garden would add privacy and movement to her landscape plus the flower plumes are pretty. A grass garden is pretty summer through winter and is easy to care for too.

Along with the grass garden I suggested planting some low growing daylilies and garden decorations; birdbath, outdoor bench, wind chimes and window box planted with colorful coleus plants.

Here is the digital set that I created for my friend who is a client. This set was used to show my friend how a few ornamental grasses can transform her yard and create a comfortable resting area where she could read a book or sip a cup of herbal tea.

When it comes to creating an ornamental grass garden I always choose tall grasses and then taper downward, ending with low growing border grass.

I recommend buying ornamental grasses at This online nursery has a good selection grasses. My favorites are;

  1. Karley Rose Grass; Features dark green foliage pretty rose color flower plume
  2. white or pink pampas grass for showy flower plumes
  3. Add contrast to the ornamental grass garden with Red Rooster Carex grass.
  4. Accent the grass garden with low growing Elijah blue fescue grass with blue foliage or Lirope/ lilyturf with its dark green leaves and purple flowers in the fall. Both are low growing in a mound and will make the grass garden look eye appealing.
I buy my coleus at garden center and online I would suggest or grow coleus by seed, start in early spring and grow in seedling starter kits.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Getting Vegetable Garden Ready for Planting

A few weeks back I planted my cold season vegetables in the greenhouse and all are now ready to be transplanted. Normally I plant my lettuce in March but this past winter has been extreme and has set me back in planting my cold season vegetables.
Now it is April and weather is warmer with no snow in forecast so I got busy with getting the vegetable garden ready for planting the seedlings.
Things to do:
  1. Removed the cardboard that was on top of the garden.  
  2. Rake away the natural mulch, leaves from under the cardboard
  3. Take away the newspaper that set on top of the soil
  4. These layers helped to nourish the soil and encouraged worms to aerate the soil.
  5. Pull out any weeds or grasses that are growing
  6. Till the top six inches of the vegetable garden bed.

Now that this chore is completed I can sow my transplant my spinach, peas, carrots lettuce and cabbage into the outdoor vegetable garden.


Removing Leaves from Spring Flower Gardens

Removing leaves from my yard and gardens is a two season project; in the fall and then again in April. Not all of my oak trees lose their leaves and this year the leaves did not fall until the new leaf buds started to appear in late March. Come the first week of April I have leave in my flower gardens.

In the fall the city will remove our leaves when we put them at the curb. They will then turn the leaves into mulch. However in the spring leaves are not needed for mulch and today I found out that there is a fee for spring leaf pickup so we are going to rake and put them in lawn bags for trash pickup.
Know that I reside in the woods so keeping all of the leaves for compost recycling is not wise. I will keep only small amount of leaves for my compost but the other leaves must be removed as they harbor borer insects that will eat the tubers of the irises, dried leaves are also are good nesting ground for ticks, fleas and snakes.
Along with the removal of leaves from the flower gardens I am also removing the mulch because it will enable the new spring flowers to emerge from their sleep without difficulty. I use a rubber rake or my hands to gently remove the leaves and the mulch from the flower gardens without disturbing the plants underneath.

Gardening tips by Susan:

  1. Late spring or early summer is the best time to apply the mulch as it will help to retain moisture.
  2. If you used leaf mulch then add all leaves except oak to your compost pile. Oak leaves attract mites and other bad for the garden insects that are harmful to your plants.
  3. If you have oak leaves I would recommend that your burn them or bag them for trash disposal.