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.
Plant Stress Symptoms and Solutions
Here at GardenWise we read a lot about landscape architecture, going green, garden recycling, garden design, and the latest news and updates on new plants and flowers. We also write a lot – but we found this wonderful article about stress and your plants by Suzanne DeJohn of National Gardening Association that we want to share with you today.
“Sometimes when plants look sick or appear to be under attack by insects, the symptoms are actually a sign that the plant is being stressed by environmental factors,” DeJohn writes in her first paragraph, which made us sit up and want to read more. Below are some common symptoms of stress and the conditions that cause them from DeJohn’s story, which can be read in its entirety at gardeners.com
“Wilting can indicate insect or disease problems, but is most commonly due to a lack of soil moisture. Don’t assume plants have enough water if the soil surface is moist. . . “
“Off-color foliage can be caused by a nutrient deficiency. If the color is paler than normal, it may indicate a nitrogen deficiency. If the leaf veins are green but the area between them is yellow, suspect an iron deficiency . . .”
“Bleached areas on the foliage of new transplants or plants that have been moved from indoors to outdoors, can indicate sunburn. Discoloration will be most pronounced on the leaves most exposed to the sun . . .”
“Black areas on leaves can indicate frost damage. The most exposed leaves will show more damage if the plants have been nipped by a light frost. Foliage that has been damaged by a late-spring frost will not recover, but the plants will usually outgrow the damage . . .”
Nice feature on designing healing gardens by Claire Letane, ASLA, from the November 2009 issue of Landscape Architecture, the publication by American Society of Landscape Archites (ASLA). Click on the image to make it larger!
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 . . .