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. 


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;

Learn more about Netherland bulbs by reading my product review.