Category Archives: Gardening

Protect Your Garden from Unhealthy Chemicals

These days many of us use our driveway and yard as space for car maintenance.  Often we will take the hose out and wash the car down, use a vacuum to clean out the interior, scrub the tires and wheel rims, and even give it a good coat of wax.  Rarely do we consider what effect these chemicals and work has upon our yard and garden.  The chemicals and solvents contained in the detergents used when washing down the car exterior can be extremely harmful to delicate plants.  That is why it is a good idea to do your auto maintenance and upkeep somewhere removed away from the yard area where you most valuable garden and decorative plants are growing.  You certainly don’t want your garden vegetable plants to be soaking up water that was been imbued with car wash detergent, or soot that has washed from the car’s body.  Nor would you want your favorite roses to get a dose of unleaded gas in their next watering.

Check the containers of any fluids you use in your car maintenance work to see what contents they have and whether there are any warnings or instructions concerning the way they should be disposed.  While most auto detergents may not contain hazardous contaminants, fluids used when working on engine parts or lubricants may not be desirable to have leeching into your topsoil.  Any hazardous disposal instructions they may have mean that you don’t want them oozing into your flower beds.  Also avoid leaving used auto parts on the bare ground for extended periods of time since any oils or lubricants can also seep into the soil.  When you replace worn parts with new ones from Advance Auto Parts try to see that the replaced items are correctly discarded.  And don’t just put them in a recycle can; many recycle services lack the treatment facilities to collect and remove used grease and oils.

Try using a Groupon coupon to save money on the purchase of the replacement parts you will be installing on your car.  The money you save can be used to further improve the health and well-being of your garden.  By following these simple steps your car can look as attractive as your garden will.  And both will be equally healthy.

Choose Artificial Grass for Your Garden

If you are thinking of creating a beautiful garden, then here are the 5 best reasons to choose artificial grass for it.
Artificial grass comes with same aesthetic beauty as that of natural lush green grass

Believe it or not, the first and prime reason to have a garden is to enjoy the lush green grass underfoot. Moving along on these grasses has an awesome feeling and this is the reason why people prefer to be in their garden area to relax their senses. One of the reasons why people are opting for artificial grasses in their garden is because it looks exactly the same. Not just looks, these grasses have that feeling too which drives our senses crazy.

The durability factor

While buying anything, the one thing which is always there is the durability factor of the product. How long is it going to last? And in this case… How long is it going to look beautiful and lush green? Well, the answer is quite long. Artificial grasses come with impressive warranty periods which proves that durability is not the concern. These are made from the finest of synthetic fibres for long lasting and hard wearing features.

The maintenance cost

The maintenance cost is another important factor and it qualifies here as well. Most of the grasses come with a characteristic of no maintenance at all. This means now you don’t have to worry about wasting your time in watering or mowing your grass, unlike natural grass which requires these tasks to be performed on a regular basis.

Reduces electricity bills and is eco-friendly

This also reduces the cost of your electricity bills as most of the mowing is done through lawn mowers and they consume a lot of energy and at the same time, it also saves you a lot of time and human labour.

Kitchen Gardening

In kitchen gardening plants are grown for consumption in house, majorly kitchen gardening is considered as growing of vegetables for consumption in house, but kitchen gardening is more than production of vegetables only. Kitchen gardening or home gardening is an art, technology and technique of maintaining nature and growing fruits, vegetables, spices, condiments and medicinal herbs in a family house, for in house consumption or in either way for kitchen use.

It is said, that there are certain limitations for practicing kitchen gardening, that, this system must comprise of a family house, having a recreational area or a garden, for practicing this technique but, our point of view is, that it can also be practiced on roof-tops by using containers and pots.

If there is no availability of space on the ground then this healthy gardening activity can be practiced on house tops by the use of pots and containers. Requirement of spare time for garden establishment and management is a considerable factor; a person can only spend time in this gardening activity if he has interest in it, so to develop interest in gardening is a key factor for establishment and management of kitchen gardens. For practicing garden activity one should know the skills to establish and manage a garden. So, space, time, interest and skills are some major aspects needed for establishment of kitchen gardens.

While thinking about a kitchen/home garden, the main motive which comes in one’s mind is providence of healthy and nutritious food but benefits of kitchen/home gardens are far more than that. Garden plants and their various colors stimulate healthy brain activity.

Green colour can also act positively in enhancing brain efficiency. Children and youth should also be involved in such practices; by this they can increase their exposure to fruit and vegetable consumption. For increasing children and youth involvement in garden based activities there is a need for garden based educational programs. These garden based educational programs will increase healthful eating behavior in children as well as in youth, leading to self-aware and healthy generation.

Home Garden

The planning and design of any kinds of gardens are both extremely important elements to consider. If you are creating a home garden for the purposes of home outdoor décor, you can choose excellent garden equipment and merchandise. Design, plant, till, or install, as well as maintain the very best garden for you. As a result, I assure you that your overall enjoyment of the outdoors (from your very own back yard, front yard or patio door) will immediately increase.

Here are just some of the decorative gardens available to choose from:

Firstly, you can use a specific kind of plant as a motif in your garden, such as the fern, a particular flower that will thrive in the given space, a rose garden, a vegetable garden, a cactus garden, a rock garden, an herb garden, a wildflower garden and more. Some gardens are a specific type of style – if not a distinct style of all your own design. French formal gardens are a very popular kind of garden for many homes – as are formal, traditional English landscape gardens. There are lovely rock gardens of high interest by landscapers and home – owners such as the Japanese garden, geometric gardens, and Alpine gardens.

But wait – it doesn’t stop there! Perhaps a Chinese or Japanese garden will do. These kinds of gardens are extremely popular. Some people are able to maintain a beautiful bonsai or miniature garden – often depending on the weather (light, wind, and humidity) conditions particular to that area. People can also adapt or create their gardens under certain conditions perfect for a tropical garden, a nice, cool Zen garden and other types of popular gardens.People also love to grow food – not just as a part of his or her personal garden – but also in the context of community gardens. Community gardens often grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, for the community. However, sometimes a community will want to design and maintain a children’s garden, flower garden, or park.

Gardening is a form of natural art

A gardener’s inspiration and motivation for gardening can vary, but most of the time, gardening is a hobby done either as a recreational form of natural art, or as an experiment in self-sufficiency. And with so many plant varieties available ranging from flowers to vegetables, it would be quite rare to find two identical gardens.

Getting your gardening materials ready

Once you have determined how your garden will be physically laid out, you’ll need some basic tools to get started. A hoe or small plow will be needed to turn the soil in which you will plant. For small flower gardens, a hoe or even a small trowel may be sufficient. For larger gardens and for many vegetable and fruit gardens, a plow, or rototiller, would probably be more desirable.

After you have planted your seeds or plants, they will require water. A garden hose or watering bucket can be used to help irrigate the garden, particularly in months when rain may be at a minimum. Automatic sprinkler and irrigation systems may also be installed to maintain your garden.

Finally, some gardeners insist on the use of fertilizers and plant foods. While these may not be necessary, they may have a significant impact on your garden. If pests and other insects may be a problem, you might also consider investing in a safe insecticide for treating your plants.

Common challenges faced in gardening

We aren’t all “green thumbs,” but everybody faces the same basic problems in the planting and maintenance of a garden. First of all, insects and other pests can cause serious issues for an otherwise healthy garden. Many nurseries can offer you guidance in common pests and plant diseases that might be prone to your region or type of plant, and should be able to help you pick out a pesticide.

The weather can also seriously hamper your efforts at maintaining a successful garden. Brutally hot temperatures, lack of rain, and other weather conditions during the growing season can stunt growth, prevent blooms, or even kill entire gardens. And, of course, unexpected changes in the weather can catch even the most experienced gardener off-guard. Be prepared for anything in terms of weather, and this will help prevent surprises later on.

Gardening for beauty

Flower gardens greatly add to the overall landscaping of a home or business, and can add color at any time of year. Understanding the difference between annuals – which bloom only once and typically die at the end of the season – and perennials – which, if cared for properly, will return again season after season – can be of great benefit to establishing a garden.

Many flower gardens feature a set of perennials as part of the landscape, requiring the gardener to simply fill in the open space with annuals each year. Popular annuals for flower gardening include impatiens, begonias, daisies, tulips, and pansies. Some gardens may be designed around a color scheme or theme, and are often designed to be incorporated into the larger landscaping theme of the home or business.

Gardening for food

Many gardens are created for the sole purpose of growing and harvesting edible fruits and vegetables. In some regions of the world, fruit and vegetable gardening is so popular that nearly every home on every street or road has at least some size garden filled with fruits and vegetables.While planting and growing flowers from seed is fairly simple, knowing when to plant seeds for a vegetable garden can be a more of a challenge. Many novice gardeners choose to purchases small plants to grow, leaving most of the work in maintenance of the garden.

 

Garden Animal Pests

Dogs in the Garden

Dogs can quickly do serious damage in your garden beds. The best way to keep dogs out of your vegetable garden is to fence off the area with wire fencing where you will be planting. You can also use electric fencing to keep dogs out of the garden, but you’ll have better success with using multiple strands of electric wire at various heights rather than just one strand. Some dog repellents are available on the market to keep dogs out of the garden, but the majority of these require the gardener to reapply the product after any rainfall, limiting the time for you to just enjoy the gardening experience.

Cats in the Garden

One of the biggest pests in the garden is cats, mainly because they find the loose garden soil a prime area for relieving themselves. If you have cats as pets, your best control option to keep cats out of the garden is also going to be wire fencing or electric fencing. If the cat visiting your garden is a stray or a neighbor’s cat, it would be wise to either have the stray caught and taken to the local humane society and for the neighbor’s cat, have a nice talk with the neighbor and express your concerns in a polite way.

Deer in the Garden

Probably every gardener’s worst animal pest in the garden is the deer. Deer are very fond of virtually every plant growing in a vegetable garden. From bean plants to corn to a nice big head of lettuce ready to harvest. “When you see one deer, watch out for more!” A herd of deer can quickly diminish your vegetable garden overnight. The only true way to keep deer out of your garden is to build a very tall wire fence, about 8 feet in height, or alternatively 6 feet with two strands of electric fence at the top of the wire fence. Commercial repellents are also available to repel deer, but again, most of these have to be reapplied after any rainfall amounts.

Rabbits in the Garden

Rabbits bothering your vegetable garden plants are mostly a concern to those living and gardening in rural areas. Since using firearms in rural areas is mostly permissive, this is the most often used form of prevention for keeping rabbits from eating vegetables from your garden beds. A more humane alternative is to trap them in a wire cage and release in a more secluded spot.

Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour

A bit of history about the Mary Lou Heard: In 1985, Mary Lou Heard opened Heard’s Country Garden Nursery, a magical nursery tucked away on a seldom traveled road in Westminster, California. The gardens were full of unique and often old fashioned annuals and perennials such as “Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate”, “Bleeding Heart” and “Four O’Clocks”. These, along with whimsical garden art, English and old garden roses, scented geraniums, herbs, vines and small trees made the nursery a delightful and special place to visit

In 1993 Mary Lou came up with the notion of a garden tour, “real gardens by real people”. This is a self-guided tour, where you drive from home to home at your leisure to view the gardens listed on the tour. The Heard’s Garden Tour was an instant success, bringing in over 800 garden lovers the first year and in later years, drawing in thousands of visitors. In 2000 Mary Lou Heard was diagnosed with cancer and two years later she would close her beloved nursery, and in her final Heard’s Country Garden Newsletter she wrote. “Though there are still many more gardens in my heat that have to be planted – the body is calling for a rest. Saying good-bye is the hardest thing I have had to do.”

The annual garden tour continues today, thanks to the Mary Lou Heard Foundation.

For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Mary Lou Heard, this memorial garden tour holds a special place in our hearts. And for me, it’s especially significant, because it was at Heards Country Gardens Nursery,  I especially remembered waiting in line to purchase a chrysalis from the teacher, Cathy, the “Butterfly Lady”, but to my disappointment, by the time I made my way to the front of the line, Cathy was out of butterfly chrysalises. She did however have a couple of caterpillars, and upon assuring her I was growing pesticide free fennel in my garden, she sold me one of her Anise Swallowtail caterpillars. I ever so carefully took it home, fed it, fretted over it, until finally that memorable day came when my Anise Swallowtail Butterfly emerged from it’s chrysalis, I knew I was hooked.

Butterfly Garden – Wood’s Wildlife Wonder

This story brings me to tell you about one of the gardens on the Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour, it’s at the home of Helen and Ken Wood. The “Wood’s Wildlife Wonder” is filled with plants and trees selected to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Helen is a master gardener, her garden is certified as a North American Butterfly Association certified butterfly garden, Monarch Way-station and Native Habitat. Last summer I had the pleasure of attending a “butterfly tea” at her home and was amazed at the number of butterflies visiting her garden. If you live in the Orange County area, I urge you to take the Heard’s Garden Tour, and don’t miss stopping by the Woods Garden

A Healthy Garden

Gardening is an art form, and it requires a lot of care and work in order to grow the beautiful plants and vegetables that you want from it. So it’s important to choose the right tools in order to maintain your beautiful garden so that you can have it for a long time. Knowing how to choose the right tools will go along way in sustaining the look of your garden.

When selecting the right gardening tools for the job, you should know that a lot of tools come in packages. These packages will vary based upon the type of garden that you want to grow. So the first step in selecting your gardening tools depends on the type of garden that you want to create. Do you want a rose garden? A vegetable garden? A fruit garden? Or a general garden with beautiful plants and flowers that can add life to your home?

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to start looking for the right tools. You should have to spend more than you have to on the right tools, since most tools will do the job even if your garden is large or small.

To get help, you should go by your nearest gardening supply store and ask for some advice. Simply tell them your agenda and the type of garden that you’re looking to build, and they will point in the right direction in the form of a certain product or a gardening specialist. But no matter what solution they recommend, make sure that it doesn’t exceed your budget and the most you’re willing to spend on tools.Another tip is to consider the type of gardening store that you’re going to. Depending on the type of garden that you want to grow, you should visit the local store that specializes in the kind of garden that you want. There are indoor gardens, rooftop gardens, outdoor gardens, vegetable gardens, and more. So know which type of garden you want to make and select the store that mostly resembles it.

Holiday Gifts For Gardeners

If you missed the boat this year, forget about giving the same old garden gloves or trowel set and offer something more imaginative. Here are my top recommendations for the best holiday gifts for gardeners.

1.  Among the new tools I’ve pounced upon are ratcheted loppers with telescoping handles that extend at the push of a button, and ratchet pruners. Both forestall that wrist and thumb pain that becomes so common as we age. Gardeners who suffer from arthritis will find they can last longer, with less pain, by selecting tools that are specifically designed to substitute leverage for strength.

2. . It’s hard to go wrong by purchasing gift certificates for a gardener’s favorite local plant nursery. Such gifts are really more than the plants themselves, since the gardener gets to spend a pleasant spring morning outdoors, choosing exactly what tickles his or her fancy.

3.  Cash toward longed-for garden ornaments, structures, antiques, gates, fences, etc., mean a lot to gardeners, since such items are usually chosen as focal points after much soul-searching, and may represent more to the gardener than meets the eye. They are also costly, so the recipient will be grateful for the contribution you make. Gifts like this will be seen every day and the giver(s) remembered for their thoughtfulness.

4. How about paying for a month of gardener coaching or an online gardening class? A prepaid consultation with a landscape designer? A weekend’s worth of labor? A backhoe rental? Or installing a deer exclosure?

5. Garden books make welcome presents, though well-meaning friends and relatives of long-term gardeners are taking a chance by making a selection themselves. A better choice might be a gift certificate to a bookstore, or to Amazon, where an armload of used books can be purchased for a pittance. Since the information in gardening books rarely goes out of date (except, perhaps, for pesticides, preservatives, and pests), think about buying a collection of early books by garden writers, landscape designers, or photographers whose works your gardener admires.

6. Another option is art-quality picture books or videos of famous gardens from around the world. Even dyed-in-the-wool hands-on dirt gardeners enjoy being transported on an imaginary tour in the dead of winter. I particularly enjoy movies that feature beautiful gardens, such as Howard’s End, or My House in Umbria, even though the story may not be about the garden itself.

7.Garden tours abound locally in warm weather months, hosted by garden clubs, art and historical societies, and museums. Internationally, commercial tour operators who specialize in garden tours to far-off places, such as London, Paris Thailand, China, and South America offer trips year-round. Tickets to tours, near or far, will be warmly received.

Home and Garden Books For Every Beginner

Top  Home and Garden Books For Every Beginner and Designer

1. The Well Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques by Tracy DiSabato-Aust is a classic. Tracy is well known in the gardening world for her 20 plus years experience in maintaining gardens and in this book she tells you exactly how to prune perennials. Also, In the very first chapter, she speaks of designing a garden with its maintenance in mind.

2. Landscaping With Perennials by Emily Brown is another favorite of ours. Advice on garden layouts for slopes, shade, bogs, parking strips, creating cutting gardens, island beds, or a fairytale woodland garden is all here. Included are line drawings, photographs, plant lists and more. A real delight to read.

3. Gardening With Color by Mary Keen. A garden designer and consultant herself, Mary has filled this book with gorgeous full page photos. Excellent advice on designing with the six color categories for gardens including: blues, reds, greens, grays and white, and yellows makes this book another great choice for your library.

4. Armitage’s Garden Annuals: A Color Encyclopedia by Allan Armitage helps the gardener select proven specimen annuals that are interesting, important, and often overlooked. Armitage is a horticulturalist, teacher, and respected expert in his field and this plant reference guide is a perfect companion to his earlier Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-Hard Perennials. Attractive and easy to use with inspiring pictures.

5. Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook by Jennifer R. Bartley was published in 2006 but I’m just now finding out about it. This lovely book describes how to create a garden that is not only beautiful and well laid out, but is also productive. Who wouldn’t want a kitchen garden, or potoager, as part of their landscape? If you love growing your own fresh fruits and veggies, learn how to do it in style!

6. All New Square Foot Gardener by Mel Bartholomew is my new favorite gardening book. This method has been around for 25 years so you know it works. I was skeptical at first. How can you “grow more in less space” like he says in 4’x4′ square boxes? Pictures with detailed instruction explains how to build these raised beds for your garden or deck. Great for everyone as well as kids and wheelchair bound gardeners

7. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin helps gardeners to not become compost failures. Unique, easy to implement techniques using heaps, bins, or enclosed composters make composting easier to create and tend.