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.
Unlike many exercise options, when keeping up with a growing garden, you can be involved in what you’re doing, stay healthy, AND still take time to smell the roses!
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.
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.
Capture Your Garden & Share with Family & Friends!
This is coolest gift for anyone interested in watching a living plant bloom & grow – The PlantCam!
The PlantCam is a digital garden camera, and a great spring gift for the gardener in your life who starts every day with a quick tour just to see how well everything is blooming. It’s a four-megapixel time-lapse digital camera that captures mini-movie frames of your plants as they grow. It costs less than $100.00 and operates with a motion-sensor camera that also photographs wildlife at the backyard perch, feeder or nest. It can zoom in for closeups of sprouting seeds or capture an entire garden in wide angle. It comes in a weatherproof case, and takes about five minutes to install.
The best feature? It‘s PC and Mac compatible, so you can share your garden’s progress with family and friends on facebook and YouTube!
As the snow fell in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland, I kept thinking about how my garden would survive. I repeatedly saw homeowners salting their gardens on the local news, and I cringed each time I saw it. Put down the salt, and check out these Washington Post tips on how to help your garden/landscape recover from the snow storms.
*Stop Salting Your Garden! Repeated use of salt will damage plants and change your soil structure. If you used a lot of salt in the past couple of weeks, be sure to thoroughly water your lawn and landscape in the spring.
*Snapped branches should be cut cleanly just outside the swelling or collar where the base of the branch joins the trunk, but there is no need to be hasty. Waiting a month or two won’t harm the tree.
*Shrubs, which have multiple stems and denser branching, are more willing than trees to fill in from breakages, so cleanly remove the broken stems and sit back.
*The best thing you can do for azaleas, Japanese hollies or any other shrub buried in wet snow is to leave it alone. Trying to excavate it will only damage stems and buds. Flattened plants will spring back, perhaps not immediately, but they will want to reach for the sun again. Once the snow is gone, find broken branches and cut them cleanly where they meet another stem.
For more tips . . .
I received my Plant Cam as a Christmas gift, can’t wait to set it up!
If you live in Washington, D.C., consider the different landscape and hardscape spaces you can create to occupy the space between your home and the street. In the district, front garden spaces can be a major challenge as some of our front doors can be a mere 3-5 feet from the sidewalk/street. As a native Washingtonian, I’ve faced these very challenges for many years with my own homes, and I’m here to remind you there are no limitations — only possibilities!
Your front space can be a secure, lush, and green, where you can spend many hours of enjoyment throughout the year. With the right design plan incorporating various hardscape elements, such as new walls, stairs, walkways, and patios, and landscape elements, including plants, shrubs, trees, flowers, and plant containers, your home will come to life before your eyes. By adding other landscape design elements such as custom iron work, new lighting, and a new front door, an unused and uninspired front yard space can be transformed into an eye-catching, lush, and sophisticated space. You’ll enjoy more of your home in a way you never dreamed was possible, and the 10-15% increase in your home’s value is an added bonus. Below are before and after pictures of a small front yard space I designed and installed on Capitol Hill.
I hope you will contact GardenWise, Inc. via email or at 202-543-3422 to discover all of your possibilities!
A well designed garden can be like adding a room to your home. And I’m passionate about creating landscape designs that can change how my clients use and enjoy their outside spaces. Below are before and after pictures I took with my iPhone of one of my favorite Washington, D.C., projects this year. The D.C. homeowners are just terrific, and they allowed GardenWise to go all out and create and install a bold garden design with a very dramatic outcome. I can’t wait to have photographer Lydia Cutter shoot the garden for us once the work is complete. Check back here for some new photos next month !