Plentiful Pansies Please

Attention All Pansy Fans!

These  TRAILING  PANSIES  are a  “must have”  for  anyone  with  even  the  slightest  attraction  to pansies.  They  survive  very  cold  temps, they trail, and they bloom from Fall to Spring.  They also are an ideal choice in a setting where uniformity is important..  And these hybrids are trialing, which makes them perfect for hanging baskets and containers.  

The  colors  will  make  you smile from ear to ear — a great way to celebrate Spring and Summer .

Sometimes Size Matters – Dwarf Burning Bush

Don’t call the fire department because that’s not a fireball in your garden! The Dwarf Burning Bush (Euonymus alata “Compactus”) is a low-care, beautiful shrub. With its upright, bushy and vase-shaped habit, it’s a Fall garden’s best friend with its brilliant and intense fiery scarlet Red foilage. Your guests will do a “double take” when they see your Burning Bush as it really is that visually appealing. It is such an incredible garden wonder, it can serve as your Fall focal point.

The Burning Bush ranges from 6-10 feet high, and 6-10 feet wide, and it’s insect, disease, drought, heat, AND deer resistant, and tolerant of shade (but for the most intense fall color, plant it in full sun. ) It’s also versatile enough to use as a hedge screen en masse, so you can block an unsightly view while setting your landscape ablaze with color!

September Gardening List Day THREE

 

This weekend it’s all about September Gardening.  There are so many things to do this month that we’ve decided to make it a three day event.  Today, it’s all about water and your garden spaces. 

WATER 

· Maintain the water level in your water garden. Keep fountains and water features properly maintained.  As we approach winter, be sure your water features and are in good working order before you drain them and turn them off as the colder weather approaches.   

· Replenish mulches around trees and shrubs, and water every two to four days, three times a week if possible. 

· Late summer. Mature trees can lose hundreds of gallons of water daily through transpiration; unless this lost moisture is replaced, the trees will lose fruit and leaves.  Be sure to water the trunk of your trees and the upper canopies as well.  Water generously this month, especially after the hot summer we had this year.  Mow around the trees to remove vegetation that can use the trees’ moisture.  Mowing also creates a smooth surface for harvesting.     

·A dry month.   September can be very dry, so keep a close eye on the moisture in your container plants. It doesn’t take but one severe wilting of the plants to ruin the quality of the container display. 

 

 

September Gardening List Day One

This week and weekend it’s all about September Gardening.  There are so many things to do this month that we’ve decided to make it a three day event.  Today, it’s all about planting.

 · Fall is a good time to select and plant trees and shrubs. Fall planting encourages good root development, allowing the plants to get established before spring. Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of buildings to provide summer shade and to allow the winter sun to warm the buildings. 

· Plant spring-flowering bulbs from late-September to late-November. Add bone meal or bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil.

· In a well-prepared bed, seed radishes, spinach, mustard, collards, arugula, beets, broccoli, carrots and lettuce in early September for a fall crop.

· Plant new strawberry plants at the end of the month.

· Lightly till soil and plant wildflower seed mixes now for spring displays. The key to success is to make sure plants have enough time to germinate and establish before the first hard frost. That’s usually about eight weeks. They are naturally adapted to and benefit from fall rains and cold winter soils. Mixing wildflower seed with an equal or larger volume of sand will help you sow them more evenly.

· For areas left open until next planting, consider a cover crop to be turned under in the spring to help improve the soil.

· Winter pansies, snapdragons, pinks, flowering kale, flowering cabbage and fall mums may be planted now to give a little color to the garden when the summer’s flowers have faded away.

· Lift and divide crowded perennials. Amend the soil with organic matter before replanting. Set the divided plants back into the soil at their original growing depths, water well and mulch. Give extras to friends.

· Check to see if potted tropicals like hibiscus, allamanda, ixora or mandevilla need repotting before bringing in for the winter. Gently ease the root ball out of the pot. If the roots are visibly matted around the bottom or sides of the root ball, it is time to pot into a larger container.

· Cool-season turfgrasses, like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and creeping red fescue can be seeded September 1 until November 1. All established cool-season lawns should be fertilized once this month. Do not fertilize warm-season lawns (Bermuda and zoysia) now. Over-seed old lawns with fresh seed to help fill in the bare spots and crowd out weeds and mosses. If you over-seed your warm-season lawn with a temporary winter lawn grass like annual ryegrass, the optimum dates to do this are September 1 until November 1.    

· Plant some spring-flowering bulbs in pots to enjoy over the winter. If you intend to force early blooming for the holidays, put your bulbs in the refrigerator now.

 

 

Compost in the City — It’s GardenWise!

(A great post today from our Fabulous office manager, Stacy Baker)

Composting in the city can be done! Whether you have a yard live in a tiny apartment with no yard, here are some interesting and fun facts about “composting in the city.”

What is composting: It is a process that occurs when microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi, digest organic matter such as leaves, grass, and food scraps. The by-products of composting are heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide, and at the end of the process you are left with a nutrient rich, soil-like substance called com post.

Why should someone start a compost bin: Composting has a lot of great environmental, physical, chemical, and biological benefits; it reduces the amount that you throw away due to distasteful orders, and fruit flies caused by rotting food. By containing it and disposing of it on your own property you use the “green” method to convert waste into useful soil, in which you can start a garden, or add to house plants as a natural fertilizer. For those with kids, starting a bin could be a great science project.

If composting intrigues you, below is a list of materials that you will need to start your own compost.  All you need is a good mix of green and brown materials:

*One part green (coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, etc.)*Three parts brown (leaves, paper, dryer lint, wood chips, soil, and cardboard)*One air tight container*Charcoal liners to keep the smell down if you choose to compost inside your house (your choice)*Biodegradable bags to put inside the bin (your choice but comes in handy if you are composting inside your house)

If you’re lucky to have a yard, try using Tumblers for composting. They’re made out of plastic, less labor intensive, keep the materials out of site and are great for small spaces. Since this does not have contact with the ground, remember to add a shovelful of soil to the mixture to increase the diversity.

If you don’t have a yard, have no fear!  There are ways to still have a compost bin. If you are the hands on type, try our method above and create your own. If not, there may be places located near you to you set up and even collect your own compost.  In DC there’s a wonderfulcompany located at compostcab.com. 

 

Red Prairie Coneflowers are GardenWise

Red Prairie Coneflowers & Brightly Colored Gardens

I was going to do a lengthy post today about fantastic colors for your spring garden, pointing to the Red Prairie Coneflower, pictured, which is a beautiful coneflower  that will add fantastic and eye-catching color to your garden.  You won’t be able to pass by this beauty without stopping to get a closer look each time you walk by.  

But I found a story in the Kansas City Star from this week that expresses exactly what I was going to write about by syndicated garden writer  Marty Ross, with the headline,  “Consider Color in Context for Spring Gardens.”   Marty expresses it so well, I’m going to urge you to read her story, below link, and to “Brighten up: Color is in the Forecast!”

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/05/2691676/consider-color-in-context-for.html

Lovely Bones are GardenWise

Late spring is a great time to take a close look at your garden to decide where you need to make some changes.  Truly memorable gardens get their character from lovely bones — benches, water features, garden accents,  sculptures, containers and planters,  stone work, arbors/pergolas, custom fences and gates, terraces, patios,  garden  lighting, and edging around  your plant beds.
 
Many first time gardeners are often surprised and discouraged when they find their  lovely  and very expensive collection of plants are nothing more than too many random plants piled together in a forgetable outdoor space.  Take the time out now to think about your garden’s bone structure.  
 
When you add architectural elements to your garden spaces that can include a bench, stone accents, an arbor, landscape lighting, a patio of flagstone, and a curving stone path to lead to your large grouping of beautiful plants, your  garden will come to life, and you’ll forever change your home life.

GardenWise project in McLean, VA