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.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Cozy cocoons, rooftop gardens, organic treatments and other trends
By: Dennis McCafferty
In this economy, any edge will help a landscaping business. The best way to maintain an edge is to stay on top of developing trends that could expand your customer offerings, thus increasing sales opportunities. Here are five trends to watch in 2012:
Photo Credit: Lydia Cutter
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.
To read the story in its entirety, please visit LOWE’S
GardenWise Garden an SL Style Solution
Just what we all need, a better view of our gardens from our porch — or at least MORE of a garden view. Southern Living editor Todd Childs uses a GardenWise garden in a video feature on how to create an ideal indoor / outdoor living space while adding better garden views. This porch space shows off a relaxing and intimate area with white louvre shutters and chartreuse seat cushions and pillows. To make the most of the home’s garden spaces, we designed and installed a wrought iron and glass panel railing to allow for sweeping views of the rear gardens from the porch. The homeowners make this porch with its new garden views a daily retreat from their very busy lives.
I design our gardens with multi-seasonal interest, which is very important since we experience all the seasons here in the DC-area. Creating a garden that will display great visual appeal each month of the year is GardenWise’s goal, so I was excited when I read this story in The English Garden called ‘A Plan for All Seasons’ and wanted to share this multi-seasonal garden in action.
“Clockwise from Top left – In winter, grasses such as Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ and stipa, and the yew tower give height and form; red tulip ‘Queen of Sheba’ nectaroscordum and ruby Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fern Cottage’ at the far end; alliums and Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus in late spring/early summer; in late summer and autumn the bed is packed with blue Eryngium bourgatii ‘Picos Blue’, veronicastrum, yellow hemerocallis and notable Kniphfia ‘Timothy’ and K. ‘Tawny King’. ”
Winter is A Season + 1 Day Away — Let us Help Get Your Garden Ready!
Also Check Out These Great Fall 2010 Tips from AARP The Magazine
Mark was featured as a March profile in the popular Homes and Gardens publication — below is an excerpt from the profile in which Mark is described as a “Gifted ” landscape designer:
“When Southern Living last year described the work of J. Mark White, ASLA, president of GardenWise, Inc., as ”stellar”, we knew we had to learn more about this omnipresent landscape architect and his design work that shows the essential role architecture can play in organizing the garden landscape. White’s gardens are rich in color and texture, and flow into the surrounding landscape, which makes him a gifted landscape designer, and our March 2010 profile. ”
Phot Credit: Lydia Cutter
Simple Ways to GO GREEN!
There are some very easy tasks we can all do to invite green living into our lives and gardens. My favorite starting points? Plants and shrubs for shade, and recycling kitchen water to areas of the garden, container and potted plants.
Look at your home and determine where you can place plants, shrubs and trees to block the sun from hitting your house. Doing this alone can save you hundreds of dollars a year in cooling costs.
Do you boil an egg each morning? If so, let the water cool, and when you come home from work, use it to water parts of your garden or containers. The single act of recycling 2-4 cups of water a day, a few days a week, can lead to recycling DOZENS of gallons of water each year.
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!