The Art Of Landscaping Your Garden

The Art Of Landscaping Your Garden

Landscaping is the one gardening endeavor that can consume lots and lots of your time and energy. If you are thinking of tackling it on a grand scale, you will need some major preparation. If you were to consider hiring a professional landscaper, you would most probably find that the costs would be quite horrendous.

 

Now that’s fine if money is no object, but I personally get great pleasure from my own endeavors, gardening is after all my great passion in life.I would strongly suggest however, that you have a clear idea in your mind about how you would like your garden to look, rather than simply starting off without a clear plan in mind.

 

Having said all that, here are simple but indispensable tips to guide you in making your landscaping activities extremely rewarding.

 

Draw Your Landscape Plan.

However not just any plan. It needs to be a well thought out landscape plan, or you are certainly doomed to lose money as well as time and energy. You really need to take account of the style
and function of your landscape, and a good idea of the plants that you also want to include. Focus on that area where you spend most of your time, because this is where your landscaping labors should all be directed.

 

Investigate A Free Planning Service.

 

Hiring an independent designer would probly cost you hundreds of dollars, but you might well discover that many nurseries offer a free planning service, particularly if you are likely to be
spending some money with them.

 

Take Account Of The Style Of Your Home.

 

When planning your landscape, the style should complement the design of your house and your personality as well. There are various landscape styles which you can choose for your garden:-

 

1. Formal – This style uses lots of straight lines and perfect geometrical shapes. Orderly arrangement of plants instead of random positioning is employed, and close arrangement and pruning
is used on many landscaped gardens with this style.

 

2. Informal – This kind of landscaping goes well with houses which have a cozy look to them. Beds with curved edges instead of straight lines and random placement of plants suit this landscape style.

 

3. English Garden – This style emphasizes on the harmony between the house’s architecture and the garden.

 

4. Formal/Informal Garden – This style often comes with a brick walkway that exudes formality. This walkway leads to the rear with a circle of plants. The arrangement of plants resembles the English garden style, but it has no formal borders.

 

5. Oriental – It is often the kind of garden found in houses with small backyards. It uses rocks, evergreens and water, and a wide variety of plants to create several angles with this style.

 

6. Woodland – This landscaping suits a house that has a wooded backyard and an inclined terrain.

 

Keeping those tips in mind will not only make your landscaping a very fruitful activity, but will save you considerable expense as well as time.

 

Don,t be frightened to use your imagination and flair for color in this project, after all it is primarily to please yourself and your family. I suggest that the satisfaction that you will gain from creating and designing your own personal landscaped garden, will make you feel like a true artist.

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The Benefits of Growing Fruits and Vegetables Organically

The Benefits of Growing Fruits and Vegetables Organically

Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature. Then, nature does most of the work for you. There are many benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables with this way. Growing them organically is also easy and you just need to learn some general principles.

Here are the benefits of organic gardening:

1. Organically grown foods are not sprayed with chemicals.

That means less health harming chemicals on the food that you and your family may consume. Keep in mind that pesticides are created with only one purpose, to kill living things. A certain kind of protection might be dangerous. Pest control must be done with utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and humans.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.Organically grown foods are nutritious and full of taste although they may not look as colorful and well presented as shop produce.

2. Cost savings

One example of organic fertilizer that you could make use of is as lowly as the stale coffee and coffee grounds. You don’t need to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are expensive. Besides, the main purpose of taking care of vegetables and organic gardens will be defeated if they become “tainted” with pest control chemicals. In organic gardening, pest control relies on a series of strategy, not on a highly toxic chemical. For example, you can plant suitable flowers to attract pest’s natural predators like wasps and lacewings.

Compost can be made using vegetable waste. You can also add tealeaves, coffee grounds, eggshells and banana skins. Although this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it would surely be one rewarding activity.

3. Less harm to the environment.

Growing foods organically can protect the topsoil from erosion. As an addition, it has residual effect on ground water. According to The Environmental Protection Agency, 38 states have cases of contaminated ground water.

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way of getting closer to nature. The independence and satisfaction that can come from growing your own food is as rewarding as the peace of mind you have when you know exactly how the food was grown. By doing it, you have participated in safeguarding the future of the next generations.

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The Best Flowers For Spring

The Best Flowers For Spring

After a long, cold winter, you are probably anxious for the first signs of spring. Springtime automatically brings thoughts of flowers. Choosing the best flowers for spring can be difficult and it is often confusing. Perhaps the most effective way to ensure spring flowers that bloom each year is to plant bulbs in the fall to mid-winter. There are of course flowering plants that you can purchase from your local nursery, but you will want to make sure any chance of freezing weather has passed before planting and in many areas of the country, spring does not arrive until late in the season and by that time you will want to plants flowers in anticipation of summer. You always have the option of purchasing bulbs that have been grown in pots over the winter and are in stock in most garden centers beginning in the late winter months. Here are a few choices of flowering plants that are suitable to plant now and will produce early spring flower:

Winter Aconite, or Eranthis hyemalis, will give you yellow flowers approximately three inches in height and resemble common buttercups. These particular bulbs may begin to flower as early as January if you live in a warm area and you will get the best results if you plant them in masses as they grow low to the ground.

Glory Of The Snow, or Chionodoxa luciliare, produce flowers that are bright blue with a white center. The plants will grow between six and ten inches tall, making this particular plant very handy for walkways, borders, and rock gardens. You may also be able to find white/pink varieties depending on the area in which you live

Spring Snowflake, or leucojum vernum, give you bell-shaped flowers that droop from the green part of the plant. These plants will be six to twelve inches in height and are white in color with small green spots on the ends of the petals. You will get the best results if you plant them in clumps and you can expect to see blooms in late February to early March. As with any other springtime bulb, they are best planted in the fall but you can plant in the mid to late winter if you purchase potted bulbs that have already begun the growing cycle.

Netted Iris, or iris reticulate, are wonderfully scented and are most commonly purple in color, although you can also find light blue and white irises in many areas. Irises are one of the earliest blooming plants and you can expect a beautiful display of flowers in early March. As with any other type of bulb, after several growing seasons you will have to thin the bulbs from time to time, as they tend to reproduce rapidly and could actually begin to stunt the growth of the plants due to over-crowding

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What Bonsai Supplies Will I Need?

What Bonsai Supplies Will I Need?

Growing Bonsai is a rewarding hobby that is accessible to all. You hardly need any room at all and you’ve probably got most of the tools already lying around the house and garden. The only ‘specialist’ equipment you may need to go and by will be a pair of chopsticks (yes, you read that right), a Bonsai pot and of course the tree or plant that you intend to turn into your Bonsai masterpiece.

You will need a small pair of sharp scissors as well as a larger pair. You will need wire to shape your branches and fine wire cutters. A small set of garden shears and a large set of garden shears just about completes the set however as you throw yourself more and more into Bonsai (once you’ve got the bug there will be no stopping you) you will probably want to consider purchasing slightly more specialist Bonsai tools including miniature Bonsai rakes and root combs. Don’t panic though, the price tag size matches the tool size and most are very affordable.

Where can I get Bonsai supplies?

Bonsai is becoming increasingly popular around the world and no matter where you live there is a good chance that you aren’t too far away from a Bonsai shop. Many garden centres and nurseries now also stock the tools you need and if you’re still struggling or if you like to shop from the comfort of your own home the Internet is literally awash with suppliers of everything you could need from compost to rakes with everything in between.

My best word of advice here is to find out exactly what you want and then shop around. Visit your local stores and have a look on the Internet. Always try to build up a relationship with whomever you are buying from in case you ever need that vital piece of advice that can mean the difference between a small, brown conifer and a beautiful Bonsai masterpiece.

As well as the essential tools and specific Bonsai equipment and compost you can buy decorative figurines, ornate pots and just about any other addition you could possibly imagine. The Internet provides you with the world’s largest marketplace for any items you may want so you aren’t at all restricted to the items you can buy at your local plant store so whether your needs are for manufactured, good quality and affordable equipment to hand thrown pots you will have no problem finding what you are looking for.

Why I Decided To Plan My Next Years Garden Last Fall

Why I Decided To Plan My Next Years Garden Last Fall

Every year spring comes and I get so excited to get outside and plant my garden. I can just taste those fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and all the other wonderful produce that I will grow this summer.I stop at all the seed displays and see if there is anything new that I want to try and grow this year and take pleasure in my anticipation to dig in the dirt.

I watch the weather and am careful not to plant to soon, I don’t want my plants caught in a late spring freeze of course. Then the time comes when I just can’t stand it any longer I head to the nursery to buy my plants. I of course get way too many of everything and then I patiently haul them outside every morning to get some sun and then bring them in each night until the big day arrives.

I get my garden area all rototilled and ready and invest in some plant food to help my little darlings along after I get them planted. I’ve got my stakes and string ready to make neat little rows of carrots and radishes. I’ve got my wire cages ready to place over my tomatoes plants and am just itching to get started.

Finally the day has arrived and I can plant my garden. I start out the morning with enthusiasm and get everything planted just so. It is a little more crowded than I would like because I seem to always try to fit too many plants and seeds into the area, but I tell myself it will all be worth it.

All through June and July I lovingly cultivate my plants, weeding and watering with a vengeance. August comes and we are thoroughly enjoying all our fresh vegetables. But by then it is getting a little hot out and weeding isn’t quite as fun anymore. Toward the middle of August I have vegetables coming out my ears and it is time to can and freeze all this freshness for winter.

I start out with salsa and then move on to tomatoes and pickles. Then of course I need to get those strawberrys in the freezer. And I don’t want the corn to get too mature before I get it into the freezer. After a week or two my kitchen is a wreck and I am tired of spending the last of my summer days inside. If I never see another tomato or ear of corn I will be extremely happy. Between getting ready for the new school year and freezing and canning all my great produce I am thoroughly exhausted. Plus it seems like with this heat watering my garden, let alone the lawn is a never ending chore.

But of course we don’t want anything to go to waste so I head down to get more canning supplies and keep at it. When it is all said and done I have way too much for my family to use so of course I give it away. You don’t want those vegetables to go to waste you know.

By this time I look out and my peaches and apples seem just right for picking and the process starts over with them. While I am working on my fruit of course the garden is still producing and even though I quit canning and freezing from there I can’t let it go to waste so I make sure every morning and night I pick what is ripe and give it away to those that will surely appreciate it. Because by this time the thought of eating anything out of the garden is not very appealing, neither is cooking in my kitchen that has become a canning disaster area.

Then the next big day that I can’t seem to wait for, the big freeze. Finally my gardening job has ended. All I have to do now is get everything in the compost pile, re-rototill, and fertilize.

As I look at my kitchen and see all the fruits, vegetables, pickles, and jellies ready for winter I am proud, but really really tired. I vow next year I will not take on so much. Last year I went ahead and planned my garden in October and made specific counts of just how much I was going to plant. I made counts of just how much I had frozen and canned to see just how much we would use in the coming year. I made little footnotes of my thoughts on the subject as well.

Well spring is approaching, well kind of there is still snow on the ground, and I got out my garden plan and looked at all the produce my family still hasn’t eaten and thought about how much of it I had given away this winter already and thought maybe I should follow this new garden plan as I started to unfold all my notes. I vaguely remember thinking Pace salsa is almost as good as my own, and who really can tell if the canned tomatoes came from the garden or not after they have been cooked.

I don’t know if I will be able to stick to this streamlined plan when my green thumb starts itching to grow things but I keep telling myself if we run out of salsa, jelly, corn, or tomatoes it won’t be the end of the world. They are readily available at the grocery store and in the long run may cost less than me putting them up myself. I was totally convinced in October, kind of convinced now, but I am wondering come May if I will be able to stick to it.

I have a feeling when the grass starts turning green, and the tulips show their colors all my best laid plans for a more relaxing late summer are going to go by the wayside. Oh well, I guess their could be worse addictions. I wonder is there such a thing as a 12 step program for those addicted to gardening in excess?

Growing The Greatest Flowers Around

Growing The Greatest Flowers Around

Most every gardener strives to grow the best, most stunning flowers around, but that goal is hard to get hold of. Whether you want to raise prize-winning blooms or just have a home garden filled with of beautiful flowers, there are some things you can do in order to ensure your garden is in the best shape possible.

Soil chemistry counts
The chemical make-up of the soil is one of the biggest factors that contribute to the success or failure of your garden. If the soil in your planting beds is poor in nutrients, it is unlikely that your plants will thrive or produce those beautiful flowers that you want until you enrich the soil with the nutrition the plants need.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the soil chemistry is the same all over your yard. It is important to test the soil in each area of your property that you plan to plants, especially if the areas are away from each other. This can be important if part of your property is on a slope, or if it has been used for other things in the past.

The slope of the land and the soil type in your area are important considerations to make. A complete analysis of the soil in your yard will give you a good place to starts and a help you to monitor the quality of the soil as your garden matures.

Know what your plants will need to thrive
You probably already have an idea about what you want to plant in your garden, so it is important that you understand what those plants will require in order to grow and flourish. Although many types of annuals, perennials, and bulbs can grow and thrive in a broad range of soil and weather conditions, others can have special requirements for food, water, and soil conditions.

For example, if you are interested I n cultivating roses in your garden, you will need to know the pH level of your soil, and adjust it if you need to. Roses are commonly acid loving plants, and therefore they will not thrive in soil with a higher alkaline level. Getting some humus and tilling it into the soil can amend alkaline soil. If the humus does not do the job, adding sulfur to the soil can raise the acidity level.

Keeping an eye on nutrition
The nutrients in the soil will dictate the health and vitality of your plants and flowers. If the phosphorus and nitrogen levels, as well as the presence of other types of organic matter are not sufficient, your plants may be malnourished, and not thrive at all. Nutrients can be added to poor soil by suing humus or any number of good-quality fertilizers.

Now you understand why the chemistry of your garden soil is so important in growing your ideal garden. Having the best flowers around is a big task to fulfill. Make sure that your garden soil is ready for the duty.

Growing Fruits And Vegetables The Way Nature Intended Them To Be

Growing Fruits And Vegetables The Way Nature Intended Them To Be

Gardening can add more quality to the way you live and even to some extent may also add quantity to one’s life. There are many benefits of gardening, particularly organic gardening that can make one can forget about whatever is bothering him or her.

Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature.Why would one want to indulge in organic gardening?

1. Organic gardening is less boring.

One can easily make his own compost from garden and kitchen waste. Though this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it would surely be one rewarding activity.

2. Less health harming chemicals on the food that you and your family may consume.

Pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose kill living things. One of the best known benefits of organic gardening is the zero tolerance for pesticide use. This is the most widely know reason for the boom of organic gardening and is also the best of what we get from the benefits of organic gardening.

3. Less harm to the environment.

Organic gardening has residual effect on ground water. The Environmental Protection Agency says that 38 states have cases of contaminated ground water.The protection of the topsoil from erosion is another concern dealt with the practice of organic gardening.The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 – 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year. Commercial farming causes this.

4. Cost savings

One does need to buy costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides with organic gardening. One example of organic fertilizer that one could make use of is as lowly as the stale coffee and coffee grounds. If one wishes to attract off aphids from vegetables, plant marigolds.
One frugal garden pest spray could be concocted through mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants.Mulch, which is used to keep moisture in and weeds out, could be in the form of grass clippings and pine needles.

5. Organic gardening makes one feel better knowing he is doing his part in safeguarding the future of the next generations.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.

Garden Flowers: Tulip Trees

Garden Flowers: Tulip Trees

The Tulip Tree has got its name from its tulip shaped flowers. The flowers of a Tulip Tree are located at great heights and typically reach a size of 2.5 inches. The Tulip Tree produces monoecious flowers with yellow-green petals. The corolla has a beautiful vivid orange shade. Some people find the leaves of the Tulip Tree similar to tulips too, at least with a little imagination. The leaves are four lobed and have a notch at the tip. A Tulip Tree leaf will typically reach a length of 4-6 inches in diameter. The leaf colour is bright green and will turn yellow in autumn.

The Tulip Tree is sometimes called “The King of the Magnolias”. It is called Liriodendron tulipifera in Latin, and it belongs to the Family Magnoliaceae. The Tulip Tree is related to the Chinese Tulip Tree (Liriodendron Chinese).

The Tulip Tree is utilized as timber and is very appreciated among carpenters since the wood is easy to work with. Tulip Tree wood has a pale yellow color and is particularly popular in furniture, wood carvings, cabinetry, veneer, jewelry boxes and musical instruments. Earlier, the Tulip Tree was frequently used in canoes created by Native Americans. The Tulip Tree bark has been used as a substitute for cinchona in traditional remedies.

The popular Tulip Tree is known by many names in English, including Canoewood, Saddletree, Tulipwood, Whitewood, Canary Whitewood and American Whitewood. The Tulip Tree is not a poplar, but it is still commonly referred to as Tulip poplar, Hickory poplar, White poplar and Yellow poplar.

Apart from being an appreciated timber tree, the Tulip tree is also planted as a shade tree and ornamental tree. It is a remarkably fast growing tree and can grow 50 feet tall in eleven years.
During spring and early summer it will blossom with beautiful flowers. The twigs of a Tulip Tree will turn red and become shiny during the winter, which will add colour to the garden.
The fruits of the Tulip Tree are also very beautiful. Immature fruits are green and will gradually turn brown as they mature. In fall, they will be ripe and have the shape of small cones. Tulip Tree fruits are popular among squirrels, rodents, rabbits, birds and other wild animals. Bees and butterflies will instead eat the nectar from the flowers, and the deer will happily browse the new twigs.

The Tulip Tree is though, adaptable and will withstand most tree diseases and pests. Plant your Tulip Tree in moist and nutritious soil, ideally close to water. Tulip Trees are very found of moist soil and will often grow near marshlands, streams and rivers. Acid soil should be avoided. The Tulip Tree requires direct sunlight, but this is usually not a problem since the Tulip Tree grows fast and becomes very tall. The oldest known Tulip Trees are older than 15 years.

In North America, Tulip Trees are found from the Great Lakes to Florida in the south. Forest growing Tulip Trees will typically reach a height of 100 feet and form a tall limb-free bole. If a Tulip Tree is planted in a more open area, it will instead grow a pyramid shaped crown that eventually turns oval with age.

Grow your own organic flowers

Grow your own organic flowers

Compost tea is easy to make, pick your compost (stinging nettles, goat/sheep manure or homemade compost) then fill up an old pillowcase with you organic material.
Tie the pillow case and attach a weight, a couple of bricks will do nicely.
Sink this in a large water filled container, cover the container and leave for a couple of days. Hey presto you now have a light liquid feed, you can leave it longer if you need a strong liquid feed, the left overs in the pillowcase can be used as a bedding mulch

If you go fishing or are creating large quantities of good compost you will probably be using lots of worms or maggots, the liquid build up in worm colony containers can be used as a liquid feed, it needs to be diluted though ten parts water to one part worm excrement. This feed is an excellent source of phosphorus and potassium.

Organic fertilizers

Bird manure is a super source of nitrogen the catch is that fresh bird manure can burn the roots of your flowers, you need to leave for a couple of months and then mix with hoof and horn, alternatively you can use the bird manure pellets that are now being sold.
This mix is ideal to create strong growth the best time to apply this is in spring or early summer, you will get a gradual release of nitrogen and in turn create strong shoot and leaf growth.

Wood ash is a great source of potassium it can be added directly into your soil or your compost heapBone meal creates very good root growth it is best used as a base dressing prior to planting, good source of phosphate

Propagation of seeds and cuttings

Making an organic potting mix is quite easy and most importantly does not need any additional fertilizer. One of my favorite organic materials is coconut coir sometimes called coconut peat, you can save on watering by as much as 50% if you use this I also find it is far superior to common products like peat moss.

Free draining materials like perlite promote good drainage but also allow precious oxygen to flow to the rootsYou need to add the coconut coir and perlite together in equal measures, this is best done by hand, ensure there are no lumps in the final mix. That’s it you now have a perfect organic potting mix that can be used to propagate seeds and flower cuttings

Gardening Tools. Nurturing Your Garden

Gardening Tools. Nurturing Your Garden

However, he or she might collect all the tools they can, but some tools are definitely more useful than the other and which the garden simply cannot do without.Here are a few gardening tools that will make a definitive difference to gardening efforts.

Shovels

These gardening implements have a round or pointed blade. They help a gardener to move soil, dig hole or even in the process of planting. You must also try and select a garden shovel that has a flat edge at the top of the blade. Your foot gets a better surface purchase this way.

Hoes

Weeds and a garden go hand in hand. You can’t have a garden which does not have weeds and they are a fact of gardening life. You can’t just get away from them; but hoes help you get rid of them. You can also use hoes to break up the soil, if needed. Your selection of a garden hoe must be dependant on its strength and hence try going for a rolled steel blade that has been riveted to the handle. Such hoes are more reliable.

Hoes with a smaller blade will enable you to get in between the plants, if necessary, and clear the weeds.

Trowels

A trowel is a tool that will offer immeasurable help during planting. If you are looking for durability, and most people are, then a steel blade trowel is the one to choose. If you are looking for an easy grip then choose a trowel that has a soft rubber handle. If gardening is your passion, and you plan to spend long hours working in the garden then you would do well to get trowels which are ergonomically designed, which help in taking off the stress off your wrist.

Rakes

Rakes will help get rid of all the fall leaves from your garden and also enable you to collect all the debris that gets collected in the garden. You can either use a narrow rake or a wide rake. If you use a narrow rake, it’s easier to maneuver around or between the plants, but a wide rake will get rid of the fall leaves easily and quickly. So, its best that you have both types of rakes and here again, choose only those with ergonomic handles.

Pruners

This is yet another gardening tool that a gardener cannot simply do without. This is because the process of shaping of a plant, their pruning, and deadheading goes on throughout the year. So, if you want a cleaner cut on the plants then you should use pruners. The do not rip or tear the plant.

Typically, there are two types of pruners that you can choose from – the anvil pruners and bypass pruners. A word of caution here; buying pruners can be a costly exercise, so be very careful in your selection.

Garden Forks

If you want to break up the garden soil, then a garden fork is the best bet. Compared to a pitch fork, garden forks are thicker and shorter. Don’t go for ones that have flat tines, but for those who have square tines. You can use a garden fork in place of a spade if it’s of the right size and shape.

Water Cans

A good watering can is a must-have, if you are the proud owner of a garden. A good watering can makes it easier for you to water your plants. It can be easily tilted and can easily be maneuvered and balanced in your hand.

These are just some of the gardening tools that are popularly used in a garden. They are many more, but if you have these, then you wont face any trouble in your gardening activities.