Friday, July 24, 2009

I Love Sunflowers!

From the gardens at Disney World to the bird feeder outside my backdoor,
Sunflowers are awesome! I always let the birdseed sit where it falls and huge sunflowers emerge. I thought I would share a few pictures of a flower that just so happens to be my favorite color! Sunflowers just say SMILE!

Advice from a sunflower.....
Be outstanding in your field.....Hold your head high...
Spread seeds of happiness...Feed the birds...Think solar....
Keep on the sunnyside...Grow UP!

Springing into Summer

As with any project, it starts out strong and then can lose a bit of its momentum. You need to stay focused to stay on track. Well, such is my dilemma. The Spring is the height of our busy season at my retail garden center as well as a home landscaper/gardener. The momentum of my blogging just fizzed out when I got busy at Wakoola and in my own yard. But better late than never!So here are some of my greatest hits and some of the misses that worked in my landscape this season.

I discovered why my front porch garden looked so wrong last season! It was full of variegated plants, such as Hosta's, Lamium "Dead nettle", & liriope "silver dragon",just to name a few. Too much green & white stripe going on. So this year I tried to remedy that by adding some color as well as plants with dark leaves and leaves of one shade. I planted Heuchera "coral bells" in- between the liriope which broke up the pattern of the grass, however the liriope has grown much faster than the heuchera, so next year I will thin the liriope by half. I hate to waste plants so I will find it another home somewhere else in my yard. I planted Zinnias and Delphinium this year and it is beautiful. Of course the Delphinium bloomed for a short time and now I am waiting for the second blooming after cutting it back. The "black eyed susan" that line the porch have found thier "happy place" and they are thriving!
As my garden grows and my shady areas increase with tree growth I search for plants other than "full" sun perennials and annuals. I love the ever changing canvas of my garden, it is wonderful to explore new ideas and find new plants to enhance the beauty of my world!

Keep Digging!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Plants that look great in the winter

When its cold outside we sometimes overlook the beautiful accents to our landscape provided by evergreens. Not all shrubs and trees loose their beauty in the winter, some become the focal point of the winter landscape. The true test of a well balanced landscape plan is one where there is year- round "seasonal" interest. so here are some of my "PICKS" for picture perfect winter plantings.
NANDINA or it's common name is heavenly bamboo. Unlike true bamboo it will not take over your garden. Its berries are a wonderful contrast to the grays of winter, and provide birds a treat. The leaves turn a variety of colors including a deep scarlet. This variety is Nandina domestica "firepower".
Miscanthus sinensis or commonly known as "Maiden Grass".
This is a wonderful addition to any garden. Easy to maintain in all seasons and can be divided to create more plantings throughout your property. During the cold months the foliage turns a soft brown that will contrast beautifully against an evergreen backdrop. The best part however is when the plumes catch the frost and sparkle in the sunlight. It makes for a nice display.

Polystichum acrostichiodes
or commonly known as "Christmas Fern"
This fern provide a splash of green in an otherwise brown winter forest. As with most shade plants it prefers moist loose soil. It is best to plant the fern in the spring or fall, this way the plant will have a chance to settle its root systems before the heat of summer. It is a low maintenance fern and once established its clumps can be divided and placed to create a wonderful shade garden.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winter tasks for the garden....

If you are like me, your "to do" list is long and UN-ending. Remember gardening is a process and will never be complete. But you can feel great by making a task list and crossing those items off as you accomplish them. Here are some items you might consider putting on your list.
Dead Head your perennials.
Remove leaves from the beds.
Replace mulch, or add more mulch where needed.
Mulch over tender bi-annuals to encourage them for the spring return.
Do a final mow on the lawn.
Clean off your tools. Sharpen and oil them if needed.
Make a layout of of your garden and plan a start date for seeds.
Plant spring bulbs.
Keep bird feeders full, as well as birdbaths (check on frozen birdbaths)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The scoop on dirt.

As we come to end of the year and the leaves are falling from the trees, we can begin to think about some of the improvements we can make to our landscape or garden areas.
The fall is a great time to amend the soil. If you have cleared out your garden area now is the perfect time to add compost and other soil amendments to enrich the soil for spring planting. Adding them now versus in the spring will give the soil a chance to settle in and not make the soil to "hot " to plant in by amending to close to planting time.

Some basic soil amendments are: composted hen manure, mushroom compost, worm castings, or your own compost as long as it is broken down and will not take eliments out of you soil to continue the composting process. The trick about compost is the odor. If it is a strong odor it needs to "cook" longer. Good compost smells like dirt. Good luck and dig deep.