New Colors Can Transform your Garden
An exciting and inexpensive way to bring the “pop” back into your garden spaces is to add new colors to your existing color pallette for a nice dramatic change. Each winter we look forward to new and interesting color ideas for the upcoming year.
There have been new Petunia colors over the past couple of years that have quickly become a staple in many gardens, and one in particular, the eye-catching Sophistica Blue Morn, which was hailed by Better Homes & Gardens as a real show stopper. It’s a flower that is easy to plant and care for, that will add wonderful bright color to your garden spaces.
I also liked some other Petunia offerings a coupel of years ago, including the Rhythm and Blues, Supertunia Pretty Much Picasso , Famous Violet Picotee and the Shock Wave Denim Petunias. Be sure to take a look at the Tex Mex Hot Pink Geranium, which is one of the more heat-resistant Geraniums.
We found this great story from Feb. and wanted to share some of these tips on plant nutrients.
When it comes down to it, most old-fashioned gardeners have plant care imprinted on their fingers. We add water as needed and allow oxygen to enter the soil by not compacting it. Certain natural soil amendments address specific needs: dried blood or cottonseed meal produce quick, nitrogen-fueled growth, for example, and bone meal provides phosphorus for healthy roots.
If you buy fertilizer labeled with the letters N, P, and K, in percentage amounts, you know how much nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that fertilizer contains. Those are the three soil elements that plants need the most for growth. It is also good to know that calcium (Ca), sulfur (S) and magnesium (Mg) must be present in significant quantities. Required in trace amounts are certain micronutrients such as iron (Fe). And of course, in order to survive, plants need oxygen (O), hydrogen (H) and carbon (C), which they get from water (H2O) and from carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air.
Read more from Barbara Damrosch on plant nutrients
Sunday is National Gardening Exercise Day, and many who have a passion for maintaining our gardens know that working with plants is good for us both physically and mentally.
Gardening is a moderate, and sometimes strenuous form of exercise that incorporates many important elements of exercise regimes, such as stretching, repetition of movement, and even resistance principles similar to weight training, while expending calories. It’s important to remember to warm up your muscles by stretching a bit before gardening. We should also use proper techniques for lifting objects, bending, and carrying — don’t forget to bend with your knees! You don’t want to end up in your bedroom on a beautiful Sunday morning with a pulled back muscle.
We’re always looking out for fun family garden projects — last season we wrote about a fun Fall project centered on planting bulbs for Spring. Now you and your whole family can start your herb and vegetable garden indoors! Yes, starting cool season seeds indoors is a great project for the whole family. Cool season herbs and vegetables can be started from seeds indoors over the next two weeks for plantig outside in April. Each member of the family can be in charge of two or three vegetables/herbs each, with an assigned space in the yard. Seeds you can grow indoors right now include lettuce, celeriac, spinach, arugula, endive, onions and leeks. A second project for next month can include planting peas, radishes, and carrots, which should be sown directly into the soil in mid-to-late March.
The main maintenance task for hyacinths is called deadheading. Deadheading is simply pinching off old blooms to encourage new growth and transfer energy from making seeds. However, if you bought a self-sowing variety do not deadhead because you will lose the seeds.
The only other concerns for hyacinth bulbs is the occasional animal or rodent. If you notice missing bulbs and see signs of them being dug up, put up a barrier or fence to discourage intruders. If no signs of digging around missing bulbs are apparent then you may have a rodent problem. In this case you can protect the bulb by simply digging it up and putting a wire mesh in the hole to surround the bulb.
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How Thirsty Are Your Plants?
Author and gardener Pamela Crawford is profiled by Steve Bender in the April 2010 issue of Southern Living. Pamela is an expert on growing beautiful flowers while saving water, money and time. In the profile, Pamela provides Southern Living readers with a ranking of nine popular plants according to their water needs , Teetotalers (“these stalwarts never take a drink”), Moderate Drinkers (water 3x a week), and Problem Drinkers (water 6x a week).
Click below to enlarge the picture.
Don’t let the January thaw fool you. Winter is far from over even here in the Mid-Atlantic, but winter shouldn’t keep you from thinking about your garden. These warmer days that will soon become cold unpredictable days are great for planning; mulling over plant catalogs and books looking for new and unusual plants to add to your garden or even starting all over with a new Landscape Master Plan for your entire yard. A strong, well thought out design is critical to building a cohesive space that is a joy to use. Developing a Master Plan with the help of a skilled landscape design professional will make the project implementation easier, more comprehensive and enjoyable in the long run.
I often think of things like drainage, plant texture, succession of flower color, seasonal interest, hardscaping and water features.
Remember those bulbs you planted last fall? They may try to push through the surface during these warmer winter months. But don’t fret, as it gets cold again they will just go back into dormancy; awaiting the warmer days of spring. And since we are speaking of bulbs, now is a good time to order summer blooming bulbs. These are the ones that aren’t hardy to plant in the fall like Calla lilies, Canna lillies and Caladium. They should go in the ground when you can work the soil in Spring. However keep in mind, unfortunately in our zone 7, these bulbs need to be lifted in the fall and replanted every spring. The extra work is worth the effort as these types of bulbs can bring a flush of color after the spring blooming narcissus and tulips are done for the season.
As the weather warms this spring in late February or March consider freshening up your garden by cutting back last years dead perennials, adding fresh mulch and maybe some early color with hardy pansies.
Transitioning from Indoor to Outdoor Living is GardenWise!
Ease of movement and flow are essential when connecting your indoor and outdoor spaces. This can easily be achieved, especially in an older home, with a few inexpensive additions. Changing a door style from solid to french, and adding a few wooden stairs, will create the connection between the two spaces. Create areas in your outdoor space for entertaining, as well quiet conversation.
Here are before and after pics of a project we designed and installed in Georgetown, featured in Home & Design, that shows how a bare space can be transformed into a zen and beautiful outdoor getaway. The transformation of the interior is amazing.
By adding an arbor and a table and chairs, you’ll create an intimate sitting area and a gathering spot for friends & family. A water feature as a focal point by using an urn in a bed of decorative stones will add a couple of visuals while lending the wonderful soothing sounds of water. Strategically placed potted plants with bursts of color and texture will soften the space while lending to an oasis quality. A garden space with plantings and trees can nicely frame and enclose a space while blocking views to a neighbors yard or an alley.
Staying Ahead of the CurveCozy cocoons, rooftop gardens, organic treatments and other trends By: Dennis McCafferty
Pictured: A GardenWise, Inc. Designed and Installed Landscape Project in Washington, DC.
Private, secure and even cozy spaces are now growing in demand among families seeking quality time with friends and loved ones at home. This is leading to a number of landscapers establishing “cocoon” design niches, with raised planter/seat walls, built-in water features and privacy arbors/fencing, says J. Mark White, owner of Arlington, Va.-based GardenWise Inc. Colorful plantings are also often part of the package, as well as elegant stone terraces. “With the current economic situation, these intimate spaces give homeowners a private, verdant sanctuary in their own backyard,” says White, who regularly appears on HGTV’s Curb Appeal.