Bone Structure is Key to a Garden’s Success
Home owners are often taken aback when they realize, after many hours of prep time and intensive labor, their lovely and very expensive collection of plants in the garden are nothing more than too many lovely and expensive plants in a forgettable outdoor space.
The most memorable and eye-catching gardens are those with strong internal hardscape structure. Too many plants not separated and defined by hardscaping, a word landscaper architects and designers use to describe more permanent fixtures that give a garden its shape, depth, and framework for the plants, can be uninspiring and over- whelming.
Great landscapes get their character from lovely bones: stone work, benches, water features, garden accents, sculptures, terraces, garden lighting, containers/planters, patios, arbors/pergolas, custom fences and gates, and the edging around your plant beds. All the elements that aren’t plants!
When you add a bench, a large rock, or a delightful curving stone path to a large grouping of your beautiful plants or a garden bench, suddenly the garden comes to life with its own story to tell. Your garden will capture the attention of your guests, and if you look closely, you’ll see them leaning in as they marvel at your gardens, as if they’re listening to your garden tell its story for the very first time.
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.
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.
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.
Home & Design Magazine Article ‘A Modern Landscape’
When J. Mark White of GardenWise was called in to restore the garden of a 1920s Colonial Revival, he was already familiar with the property, having previously landscaped the front and back yards. After fire struck the Cleveland Park home, the owners turned to the landscape architect for a redo.
Older Trees Make Excellent Garden Focal Points
We’re re-posting this 2009 “Problem Solved” profile of one of our DC projects as it appeared in SOUTHERN LIVING magazine. We’ve worked with SOUTHERN LIVING on four profiles of four of our projects to date, and this was my favorite garden to shoot. It was a great project (with wonderful clients) that centered around an old tree that was to be saved at all costs.
There may be homeowners right now considering the removal of older storm-damaged trees. If I could post a big red siren right now I would, instead I’ll use caps — OLDER TREES CAN AND MUST BE SAVED!!! Always remember that an older tree should be cherished, and can successfully be incorporated into any landscape design plan. Please read on!
Enjoy Your Garden Through the Cold!
As cold fronts start to roll through, don’t turn your back on your garden! Our gardens are to be used and enjoyed year round, and you can take pleasure in your landscape and its healthy plants and various bright colors during all parts of the year.
Colder weather causes the water inside the plant to freeze, which ruptures cell walls and causes the plants to die. When this happens, it’s too late to save your plant. The trick is to stop the freezing of your plants before it starts, no matter what kind of plants you have.
The most important thing you can do to give your plants the best chance of making it through a cold snap is to mulch your garden now. Mulching will allow for moisture to be held in the plant’s roots while protecting and insulating the root system from sudden changes and bursts of cold weather.
An added bonus? The mulch will decompose and add vital nutirients to the soil, feeding your plants during the winter.
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.