Gardening Tips

Great gardening tips and more.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wild Flower Garden

A wild-flower garden has a most attractive sound. One thinks of long tramps in the woods, collecting material, and then of the fun in fixing up a real for sure wild garden.
Many people say they have no luck at all with such a garden. It is not a question of luck, but a question of understanding, for wild flowers are like people and each has its personality. What a plant has been accustomed to in Nature it desires always. In fact, when removed from its own sort of living conditions, it sickens and dies. That is enough to tell us that we should copy Nature herself. Suppose you are hunting wild flowers. As you choose certain flowers from the woods, notice the soil they are in, the place, conditions, the surroundings, and the neighbours.
Suppose you find dog-tooth violets and wind-flowers growing near together. Then place them so in your own new garden. Suppose you find a certain violet enjoying an open situation; then it should always have the same. You see the point, do you not? If you wish wild flowers to grow in a tame garden make them feel at home. Cheat them into almost believing that they are still in their native haunts.
Wild flowers ought to be transplanted after blossoming time is over. Take a trowel and a basket into the woods with you. As you take up a few, a columbine, or a hepatica, be sure to take with the roots some of the plant's own soil, which must be packed about it when replanted.
The bed into which these plants are to go should be prepared carefully before this trip of yours. Surely you do not wish to bring those plants back to wait over a day or night before planting. They should go into new quarters at once. The bed needs soil from the woods, deep and rich and full of leaf mold. The under drainage system should be excellent. Then plants are not to go into water-logged ground. Some people think that all wood plants should have a soil saturated with water. But the woods themselves are not water-logged. It may be that you will need to dig your garden up very deeply and put some stone in the bottom. Over this the top soil should go. And on top, where the top soil once was, put a new layer of the rich soil you brought from the woods.
Before planting water the soil well. Then as you make places for the plants put into each hole some of the soil which belongs to the plant which is to be put there.
I think it would be a rather nice plan to have a wild-flower garden giving a succession of bloom from early spring to late fall; so let us start off with March, the hepatica, spring beauty and saxifrage. Then comes April bearing in its arms the beautiful columbine, the tiny bluets and wild geranium. For May there are the dog-tooth violet and the wood anemone, false Solomon's seal, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wake robin, bloodroot and violets. June will give the bellflower, mullein, bee balm and foxglove. I would choose the gay butterfly weed for July. Let turtle head, aster, Joe Pye weed, and Queen Anne's lace make the rest of the season brilliant until frost.
Let us have a bit about the likes and dislikes of these plants. After you are once started you'll keep on adding to this wild-flower list.
There is no one who doesn't love the hepatica. Before the spring has really decided to come, this little flower pokes its head up and puts all else to shame. Tucked under a covering of dry leaves the blossoms wait for a ray of warm sunshine to bring them out. These embryo flowers are further protected by a fuzzy covering. This reminds one of a similar protective covering which new fern leaves have. In the spring a hepatica plant wastes no time on getting a new suit of leaves. It makes its old ones do until the blossom has had its day. Then the new leaves, started to be sure before this, have a chance. These delayed, are ready to help out next season. You will find hepaticas growing in clusters, sort of family groups. They are likely to be found in rather open places in the woods. The soil is found to be rich and loose. So these should go only in partly shaded places and under good soil conditions. If planted with other woods specimens give them the benefit of a rather exposed position, that they may catch the early spring sunshine. I should cover hepaticas over with a light litter of leaves in the fall. During the last days of February, unless the weather is extreme take this leaf covering away. You'll find the hepatica blossoms all ready to poke up their heads.
The spring beauty hardly allows the hepatica to get ahead of her. With a white flower which has dainty tracings of pink, a thin, wiry stem, and narrow, grass-like leaves, this spring flower cannot be mistaken. You will find spring beauties growing in great patches in rather open places. Plant a number of the roots and allow the sun good opportunity to get at them. For this plant loves the sun.
The other March flower mentioned is the saxifrage. This belongs in quite a different sort of environment. It is a plant which grows in dry and rocky places. Often one will find it in chinks of rock. There is an old tale to the effect that the saxifrage roots twine about rocks and work their way into them so that the rock itself splits. Anyway, it is a rock garden plant. I have found it in dry, sandy places right on the borders of a big rock. It has white flower clusters borne on hairy stems.
The columbine is another plant that is quite likely to be found in rocky places. Standing below a ledge and looking up, one sees nestled here and there in rocky crevices one plant or more of columbine. The nodding red heads bob on wiry, slender stems. The roots do not strike deeply into the soil; in fact, often the soil hardly covers them. Now, just because the columbine has little soil, it does not signify that it is indifferent to the soil conditions. For it always has lived, and always should live, under good drainage conditions. I wonder if it has struck you, how really hygienic plants are? Plenty of fresh air, proper drainage, and good food are fundamentals with plants.
It is evident from study of these plants how easy it is to find out what plants like. After studying their feelings, then do not make the mistake of huddling them all together under poor drainage conditions.
I always have a feeling of personal affection for the bluets. When they come I always feel that now things are beginning to settle down outdoors. They start with rich, lovely, little delicate blue blossoms. As June gets hotter and hotter their colour fades a bit, until at times they look quite worn and white. Some people call them Quaker ladies, others innocence. Under any name they are charming. They grow in colonies, sometimes in sunny fields, sometimes by the road-side. From this we learn that they are more particular about the open sunlight than about the soil.
If you desire a flower to pick and use for bouquets, then the wild geranium is not your flower. It droops very quickly after picking and almost immediately drops its petals. But the purplish flowers are showy, and the leaves, while rather coarse, are deeply cut. This latter effect gives a certain boldness to the plant that is rather attractive. The plant is found in rather moist, partly shaded portions of the woods. I like this plant in the garden. It adds good colour and permanent colour as long as blooming time lasts, since there is no object in picking it.
There are numbers and numbers of wild flowers I might have suggested. These I have mentioned were not given for the purpose of a flower guide, but with just one end in view your understanding of how to study soil conditions for the work of starting a wild-flower garden.
If you fear results, take but one or two flowers and study just what you select. Having mastered, or better, become acquainted with a few, add more another year to your garden. I think you will love your wild garden best of all before you are through with it. It is a real study, you see.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Dead: Taking Care of Cut Flowers

Cut flowers in a vase are the perfect decoration for your home, they bring a waft of fresh air in the room and make people happier. Women enjoy receiving cut flowers in a bouquet. Men enjoy picking up the most beautiful cut flowers for their loved ones. But after several days of joy and happiness, the wonderful bunch of cut flowers start to wither in their vase, and have to be thrown away. We don’t need to be as sensitive as Exupery’s Little Prince to feel sadness when our beautiful roses are fading in their vase. But what can be done about it, you may ask, that is the natural process and it can’t be stopped. Yes, it cannot be stopped, but at least it can be delayed by conforming to the following tips:

First you have to make the vase suitable for placing the cut flowers in it. Put the bunch aside in a temporary container and wash carefully the vase in water with household bleach. Fill the vase with fresh water and pour half a teaspoon household bleach for each litre of water.

After you have cleaned the vase, it is time to take care of the cut flowers before you put them in it. You need to remove all the leaves which will show below the waterline of the filled-up vase, because otherwise they will start rotting in the water and will make it foul. Before putting the cut flowers in the water, you should remove about 20 mm from the base of each stem. After you do it, immediately place the cut flowers in the water- that will remove any air bubbles.

The last thing you have to bear in mind is to take daily care of the flowers. Put fresh water in the vase every day. Keep the bunch away from heaters, or any other electricity device, such as TV sets and computers. Cut flowers will look as vivid as possible if you place them away from direct sunlight or drafts. Another thing to be taken into account is fruit. The vase shouldn’t be close to fruit, because of the fruit midges and little flies that can ruin the delicate flowers.

If you keep these tips in mind, you may preserve the fresh look of your cut flowers for over two weeks.

Article by Robbie Darmona - an article writer who writes on a wide variety of subjects. For more information click Cut Flowers

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Planning Your Patio Garden

A patio can be a wonderful place to relax during the warm days of spring, summer and autumn; or all year if you live in warmer climes. At times when the lawn may be too wet or even muddy, the solid floor of a patio means you can sit outside even after heavy rain and make the most of the fresh air, and visual pleasure of your garden. You can even turn your patio into a patio garden to make it more interesting.

You can turn the plainest of patios into a patio garden with the good use of containers or outdoor planters. If you are starting from nothing, and designing and building (or having designed and built) a completely new patio, then it is worth giving the garden aspect of the patio some forethought.

The reason for the pre-planning is that you have an opportunity to create something very special with little extra expense beyond the foundation work and the patio floor. Here are just a few thoughts to build in at the design stage, so your patio garden can be more than just a flat area of paving slabs.

Colour Scheme for the Patio

When planning a new patio it is best to consider the colour scheme beyond just the colour of the paving slabs. If you want a patio garden, then you will need containers to grow plants in. Try to be sure that you can obtain containers or planters which blend well with the colour of the slabs. For example, light brown paving slabs above may look very nice, but are not so easy to blend in naturally with surroundings, or find complementary planters for.

Natural grey stone, on the other hand, is much easier to find suitable planters for, and can have a much more natural appearance in the garden.

That is not to say paving slabs other than grey cannot be used, but just bear in mind the rest of the decor you will need to fit in to make your patio garden attractive.

Consider Height

As with many aspects of garden design, height is important when planning a patio garden. This can be achieved in a number of ways, which can all be used at the same time. Here are some examples:

1. Consider having a wall around the patio, on which you can put a few containers. On a patio or terrace, columns and balusters can be very attractive, and add a distinctive style.

2. Consider having a covered or partly covered patio. That gives you the opportunity to not only provide shade and cover, but allow for trellis on one side. That way you can grow climbing plants on the patio which add that all important height to the patio garden.

3. Choose some high containers that will immediately contrast with your smaller containers.

4. Choose some tall growing plants and container suitable shrubs, to contrast with the low growing and trailing plants.

Consider Your View and Adjacent Garden

It is best not to design the patio in isolation, but consider it in conjunction with the view you would most like to see. This means that the positioning is especially important, as are the garden design considerations in the surrounding garden.

For example, if you want sweet smelling plants to fill your senses on a warm evening, you can plant them next to the patio. Or, if you want a private area in which to sit, some taller shrubs outside the patio in that area may provide you with just that.

By using a combination of the above features, you can develop a patio garden that will be a pleasing and impressive feature of your garden overall, and also be a great place to relax on those balmy sunny days. Try to visualize it in full before starting work on construction, and your garden patio could end up as your dream garden patio.

This patio garden article was written by Roy Thomsitt, owner author of the gardens and decor web site.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Relaxation in the Garden Starts with a Hammock

This summer’s new product for relaxing in the garden or by the pool will be the hammocks. The hammock has been penned by many designers as the “garden chaise lounge”.

Hammocks come in many different styles and finishes, although the overall theme is the same, allowing the user to lie flat out in comfort whilst rocking gently.

How to choose a hammock

1. Firstly take into consideration whether you will be using the hammock on your own or whether there may be times when two people will want to use it at the same time, maybe those romantic moments. If there is going to more than one person on the hammock then you definitely need a double hammock.

2. Some hammocks come with removable fabric which may not be waterproof, so ensure that if you intend leaving it outside all year round or even at nigh, you need a waterproof fabric such as Textaline, which is made from plastic.

3. You should always measure the area where you are going to locate the hammock and ensure that it will fit comfortably and allow for easy access around the hammock.

4. If you intend sleeping on the hammock then try to buy a model that comes with pre-installed cushions.

5. Ensure that the make up of the metal frame parts are powder coated as this will lengthen the products life.

6. If you opt for a wood hammock, remember that it may need treating with a stain or preservative every year and if you are not prepared to undertake the work, then opt for a powder coated metal framed hammock.

7. Make sure that the hammock can be easily dismantle if you intend storing it inside during the winter months.

A lot of people buy hammocks instead of a camp bed and use them for accommodating guests. This is particularly useful if you are short of room in your house as most are fully collapsible. One point worth remembering is that the bed does rock or swing, so you will have to put something under the rockers to stop the movement.

Unlike the hammock which gives a sideways rocking movement, hammocks give a forward to back rocking movement and do not hug the body as much as a hammock. They are a totally different concept to the hammock and provide an equally enjoyable sitting or lying space.

In recent years they have become extremely popular around swimming pools and set to become a great must have product for the coming seasons.

Jenny Edwards is the Operations Manager of Arboreta Garden Furniture Store. She is responsible for the buying and importing of new products.