Perennials come back year after year and give an excellent return on a gardener’s investment of time, energy and money. Perennials can provide a beautifully shifting display of texture and color throughout the seasons, without the removing and replacing of plants that would be needed to bring a fresh look to annual plantings. Most can be divided, after 3-5 growing seasons, providing additional plants to expand the landscape or share with other gardeners. Compared to Annuals, time and money demands for feeding and watering are also much less and the tasks of transporting, planting, removing and disposing of them every season are unnecessary.
Benefits of Mulching
Long before modern day use as a purely decorative element, mulch had an established history of benefitting plants, soil and gardeners. This is still its highest calling. A good layer of beneficial mulch can reduce stress on plants by regulating soil temperatures and reducing moisture loss and competition from weeds. In the veggie garden it also helps keep leafy veggies from getting splashed with dirt each
time it rains. Beneficial mulches do their final good deed when they break-down and enrich the soil as they age. All of these benefits mean the gardener gets healthy soil and plants with less time spent on watering, weeding, fertilizing…and washing grit out of salad greens! Not applying chemical fertilizers and reducing watering also means fewer chemicals in the environment and more green in the wallet.
Miniature gardens…. a refreshing take on container gardening, an enchanting way to introduce children to the world of plants, and for those of you who must succumb to the changing of the seasons, a miniature garden is the perfect way to continue your love of gardening through the dismal days of winter. These little landscapes are simple and fun, can make a superb hostess gift or centerpiece for special occasions, and can even be therapeutic. Continue reading A Garden to Have and to Hold – Creating Miniature and Fairy Gardens
Pruning of trees and shrubs can help them stay within a certain size limit to fit the confines and aesthetics of a garden space. More importantly, pruning encourages fuller plants – thus more foliage for photosynthesis, more blooms to attract pollinators, more fruits for you and any creatures you share them with. Continue reading Pruning Landscape Trees & Shrubs
Hosta and ferns are standards for the perennial shade garden. They have similar growing condition requirements and the contrast of fine-textured fronds and broad Hosta leaves does bring dimension and quiet contrast. All well and good for a supremely serene retreat, but what if you’d like to energize your shadowy shade realm a bit? Continue reading Lighten Up! Brightening and enlivening the shade garden
Recycling in the garden can be a trash-to-treasure happy ending for your storage space, the environment and your garden! Here is a sampling of creative ways in which potential discards can be used for containers, edging or fencing, labeling, supports and just plain fun in the garden.
What is it?
Hardscape is not a catchy term for overly difficult gardening sites. It simply means the hard, durable parts of the landscape…the non-plant elements. Hardscaping elements are often chosen for function and directly or indirectly add beauty as well. Hardscape can be used to: provide definition of different areas within a landscape, direct views and traffic, frame or screen views, provide shelter, ambience and ease of access, and create containment.
To ensure attractive healthy annuals all season, choose full, well branched plants with good foliage color and – on flowering annuals – an abundance of buds. Don’t go for the biggest plants or most open blooms, these are more likely to be leggy and burned out too soon. If the latter is all you find, you can improve their appearance and longevity by pruning them back by about one third to encourage branching and fresh growth. Continue reading Tips for Annual Selection & Care
Late winter into early spring is when we crave fresh growth, a bit of color…some sign that spring is really returning!! Swelling buds on Pussy Willow and dainty Snowdrop blooms – which might be overlooked or scoffed at if amongst the lushness of summer plant life – bring excitement, praise and hope! These are soon followed by bolder displays, as the likes of Forsythia, Tulips, Magnolias and more burst into bloom and cement our certainty of spring’s return!
If you’d like to indulge in some of this excitement, look around your neighborhood and local parks this spring to note which plants catch your eye. Snap their portraits with your smart phone or camera, then seek them out at your local nursery to plant in your own yard as personal mood boosters come next spring!
Here’s a short list to spark your imagination:
Perennial Flowers (can be planted spring through autumn)
Flowering Bulbs (should be planted in autumn)
- Narcissus sp.
Flowering Shrubs & Trees (can be planted spring through autumn)
- Pussy Willow (the fuzzy catkins are flowers)
- Flowering Quince
- Rhododendrons & Azaleas
- Witch Hazel
- Winter Daphne
Take a break from the garden and turn on your reading lamp or e-reader to enjoy some truly entertaining titles that give insight into obscure and fascinating plant facts. Continue reading Funky, Fun & Informative Plant Books
Air Plants are funky, fun and trending right now! Air Plants (Tillandsia genus) live on air in the sense that they pull moisture and nutrients from the air through their leaves, rather than from soil. They do not possess true roots, but root-like structures that help them anchor to trees and rocks. Many have colored foliage or interesting blooms and often the leaves mature from green to red before flowering and then dying. No worries, though…they live several years and produce offshoot “pups” to continue the family line! Continue reading Air Plants…easy, artsy, fun…for every level of gardener
Terrariums seem to cycle in and out of style every few decades, but are always enchanting. The current day terrarium trend fits perfectly with our desires to connect with nature and the “be green” joy of reusing and repurposing a variety of objects. They are also wonderful outlets for creativity and self-expression.
While the basic terrarium components of container, “soil”, plants and ornamentation stay the same – the end result runs the miniature-world gamut. Terrarium compositions can be Zen minimal to lush as a fairy tale forest. Plant selections, containers and potting medium can be selected to create environments ranging from rainforest wet to desert dry – no longer restricted by old definitions that required full enclosure and high humidity. The container itself might be shot glass tiny, aquarium large or anywhere in between.
Look for finished terrariums at floral and gift shops or surrender yourself to the full enchantment and create one (or more!) yourself. Check the following resources for guidance and inspiration, as well as materials, tools and even classes!
Helpful, Fun & Inspiring Terrarium Resources
The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature
by Tovah Martin and Kindra Clineff
Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds
by Amy Bryant Aiello, Kate Bryant, Kate Baldwin
Tiny World Terrariums: A Step-by-Step Guide to Easily Contained Life
by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow
Orchids are some of the plant world’s most beautiful and persistent survivors, with origins dating back to the time of the Tyrannosaurus! They come not from one genus, but from over 800 natural genera with more than 100,000 hybrids. While some Orchids grow in soil, many of the Orchids popular for our homes today actually grow in trees in their native habitats. Continue reading Those gifted Orchids…a Bit of History
The mere presence of a lone Peace Lily tucked in the corner of the living room is nice. But, with a bit more thought and effort regarding placement, arrangement and interaction with houseplants, benefits similar to those received from being outdoors in nature can be achieved. Of course, this is all based on having more plants than one….lone…Peace Lily. If a home is to truly be a plant boosted sanctuary, plants should be placed throughout the home. No worries – there are houseplants suited or adaptable to every level of light and a bit of research or experimentation will likely show there is really no need to be limited to one sunny windowsill. Continue reading Houseplants as an Indoor Nature Connection
Grow- your-own goodness right at your fingertips!
How are Windowsill Herbs Green & Healthy?
- Chemical free growth – protects environmental & personal health
- Fewer bags, tins, bottles – reduces landfill waste
- Live plants provide oxygen and help clear air born toxins – promotes environmental & personal health
- Provide low calorie, vitamin rich seasoning – makes it easy to create healthier meals for a healthier body