Author Archives: Adm1n

Gardening ServicesGarden upkeep is usually a bit of a challenge, particularly for individuals who have a busy lifestyle or disinterest in gardening as a hobby.

Fortunately, assistance is readily available, especially for those willing to add life in their home's exterior without making drastic changes. Creating a gorgeous garden is the final touch that every home needs. For people who are lucky enough to own one, gardening services could be needed for upkeep purposes.

Tidying is a word that is not usually used in relation to gardening. Nevertheless, it is one of the most regular areas of expertise that proficient gardeners provide on regular basis. Gardening services are usually affordable. Gardeners remove the stress of having to try and maintain a garden from those with little desire for the process of gardening itself.

One of the main methods that a gardener could help to improve is the layout of the backyard. They can also help to map out where particular plants are supposed to grow. Occasionally positions can easily be adjusted as desired by the expert. It might seem like there is very little carte blanche when it comes to transforming the whole design of the garden. Nevertheless, booking gardeners can actually make that simple and easy.

Gardening businesses offer some of the very best non-drastic alternatives to invasive property transformations. Simply by pruning trees, removing weeds, and rearranging the weeds where plants have grown, a gardener can create a place that is practically unrecognizable from how it was before.

For those who love the style of their garden, gardening services can be an excellent way to make sure that a backyard area remains in fantastic shape. This condition cannot be maintained with just a couple of minutes of weed eliminating every now and then. Gardeners go the extra mile when it comes to maintaining properties. They could additionally provide specific bug repellents or land supplements that encourage a garden to exceed its potential.

It is very astonishing to see how much a garden could change once it's been treated by a specialist. Further visits are a must for any individual planning to maintain long-lasting freshness in their plants. Gardeners also provide simpler tidying up tasks for example litter clear-up, hedge trimming, and lawn-mowing within the garden.

Gardening services are as broad or as precise as needed. The gardener must be consulted and familiar with square foot estimates in advance, considering that different sizes of gardens require different sizes of tools. The amount of time it can take for a gardener to finish a specific job is determined by the actual size of the outdoor space. It might seem like larger gardens could need more time to be accomplished. And yet a simple lawn-mowing task in a big garden will take up less of the gardener's hours than intricate pruning on a smaller property. It's up to those providing the service to give you a reasonable price based either on square footage or hourly service.

 

Culinary GardensCook up something great - herbs every gourmet needs

Why look any farther for fresh flavors than your very own garden? A culinary garden can be the ultimate inspiration for budding cooks and gourmet chefs alike. Like any recipe, start your kitchen garden with the basics. Think light, placement, planning. Place plants of similar size and water needs together, for example. You wouldn't want your woody rosemary to crowd out your herbaceous chives. More tips to get you cooking...

5 Cardinal Rules of Culinary Gardens

Location, location, location: Close to the kitchen, not to close for aesthetics. You want your culinary garden to be close enough to cut quickly. But remember, you'll be cutting your herbs often, so the plants might not be the prettiest. If it will bother you to have cut-back plants as your first view out the door, rethink placement.

Shoot for the sun: By and large, herbs hanker for the sun. Choosing a sunny locale gives you the best chance for overall success with your culinary garden. Added to that, they just taste better, with more nutrients and richer colors that add up to better flavor.

Flowers begone!: When herbs flower, their leaves tend to grow bitter. After that it's unlikely to go back to producing leaves. The best strategy? Every four to six weeks in season, plant new plants.

Prune your evergreens: Sage, thyme, rosemary... these are the evergreen herbs, and as such they'll need care and attention. If you aren't cutting them regularly, you'll notice branches that appear dead or dormant. Prune them at least once a year (spring or fall).

Beware the mint!: If you insist on mint, whatever you do, don't put it in the garden. Contain it in the pot of your choice, and keep it there. Invasive beyond a fault, mint will spread vigorously, choking out anything in its path. Space plants at least 12 to 18 inches apart.

Wondering what to include in your culinary garden? A few of our favorites (three or four plants of each should do it, except bigger woody plants like rosemary-one can produce for years):

Oregano - a staple in pastas, pizzas and stews

Nasturtium - flowers and leaves alike add a peppery kick to salads and other dishes

Basil - sweet or lettuce leaf, vital for pestos and versatile enough to do double duty

Argula - the mother of mixed greens, bringing flavor and spice to salads

Sweet marjoram - a tasty take on Greek oregano and an excellent accent in soups, eggs and butters

Dwarf ShrubsIn concert with our latest article on Basic Landscape Bushes, we thought we'd highlight some of the best, basic landscape dwarf shrubs that suit most all landscapes. We understand that many people who are installing new gardens or fixing up and old one may not know a lot about what's available and what they should choose for plant material, so highlighting the basic tried-and-true varieties could be useful. This is especially true for shrub choices.

Dwarf shrubs are necessary for basic landscape use, because they offer a transition between the more permanent shrubs that are larger and the perennial choices that tend to change more over time as plants die, fashions change, and landscape changes are necessary. Basic shrubs tend to stay the standard over time and their dwarf counterparts play that crucial intermediate role. Dwarf shrubs can also work in the landscape as small boundary line markers, anchor specimen beds, and can offer some screening use in smaller spaces as well as many other tasks.

Because of good breeding, many shrubs that are larger now come in dwarf cultivars so when choosing dwarf shrubs you're going to have a lot of great options. But there are basics that have been popular for decades, some for hundreds of years- for great reasons. Here are those basics and why they continue to be planted in gardens all over the world.

Boxwood shrubs are one shrub that has been in use for literally hundreds of years around the world. They are grown for their tight evergreen broadleaf foliage that takes to shaping and shearing perfectly well. They are often seen as an edging in English rose gardens, sheared into perfect mounds or squared-off edging. Chances are if you've been to a garden with green lush edging, it's probably been the boxwood that was used. You can use these dwarf shrubs in your garden for the same reasons. They make great foundation plantings and edging in sun or even partial shade, and are long lived and disease resistant. 'Sprinter' is a faster growing cultivar of boxwood shrub that is dwarf, making it suitable again for edges and even containers!

Spiraea shrubs are everywhere and are one of the most widely cultivated and bred shrubs in the nursery trade for landscape use today. If you live in the Midwest, there's a pretty good chance you have, or know someone who has, a white flowering spirea in the yard- especially around older homes. These spiraeas were planted when a new family built or moved into a home up to about 30 years ago as a tradition. Some people continue this tradition today. You may have also heard of this tradition with lilacs too. Today spireas are bred to be large like old fashioned bridal wreath spiraeas, but the more popular types are the brightly colored dwarf shrub types like 'Spiraea Gold'. Chartreuse foliage is topped with luminous bright magenta clumps of tiny blooms over a really long season- many will bloom from spring into fall when they are really happy.

There are lots and lots of other dwarf shrubs, often dwarf flowering shrubs that are really popular and very standard landscape affair. Some more unusual yet highly valuable dwarf versions of popular landscape shrubs include this wonderful dwarf crape myrtle, perfect for adding the wonderful aspects of all crape myrtles in smaller spaces. And of course, the wildly popular 'Chip" series of butterfly bush, like 'Lilac Chip' butterfly bush buddleia. Wonderful standards in tiny size for smaller spaces!

Orchids Care TipsTruthfully, growing orchids can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Most people get intimidated by them, thinking that is too difficult to care for them, but in reality is the complete opposite. To help you, I will share with you some tips that I have used in my own garden when growing and maintaining orchids that will have them lasting for years. First, let's talk about what you need to do. In order to be successful in their development, you will need the following:

1 - Light

Most orchids need little or no direct sunlight. In doors, you should look for a location near windows. Outdoors, it is important to keep them in the shade. Good light conditions are essential to stimulate flowering and growth.

2 - Water

Water, in addition to the light, is an extremely important element when caring for orchids. Try to use soft water when watering your orchids, such as bottled water, running water, or rainwater. Avoid water saturation of the roots. Good drainage is crucial to their growth. They need a light and porous soil to prevent compaction of the substrate. It is optimal to let the soil partially dry between watering.

3 - Nutrients

There are two methods of providing nutrients to orchids. First, nutrients can be provided through irrigation water with fertilizers specific to these plants through the roots. Second, orchids can obtain nutrients through foliar fertilization, which is absorption through the leaves. To encourage flowering, formula 10:30:20 is commonly used. During other periods, the balanced formula 20:20:20 or 18:18:18 are preferred.

4 - Temperature

Always keep in mind that orchids are mostly native to the tropics. They should not exceed exposure to temperatures above 30 degree Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit. Moisture is one of the most important environmental factors for their care. Orchids need warm temperatures with high humidity of about 40% or higher.

5 - Reproduction

Orchids are one of the most advanced plant species in the plant kingdom that have developed different methods of reproduction. Typically, sexual fertilization from the pollen is undergone. On the other hand, asexual reproduction consists of cutting a flower stem (above a node and below a dried spike) after flowering to cultivate new flowers. Carefully remove the thin skin that covers the tip of the node. That way, it is able to receive more light and stimulate the keiki.

6 - Transplant

During their lifespan, orchids will need a few transplants. If compressed, they are able to live well even in small containers,. In fact, this could even stimulate flowering. Do not make a transplant during flowering period because a sudden change in the environmental conditions may cause the flowers to fall.

In summary, if you'd like to enjoy orchids in the serenity of your own space, attempt to follow these simple tips. I'll ensure you that your orchids will be healthier and more vibrant than ever. Keep in mind these key factors: light, water, and nutrients, after that reproduction will occur. If you use the ceramic balls in the base of the pots to hold water, do not allow them to make contact with the roots of the orchids. Lastly, always consider a small fountain in the middle of your garden to provide humidity for the orchids to thrive.The running water will help sustain your orchids, even while you're at work. Like little kids, orchids just need a hand to help them grow and blossom.

 

Elegant AzaleasElegant azaleas can add a stunning impact in your garden. I have a faint pink azalea with darker markings on the petal edges that is gorgeous with prolific blooms from the bottom of the plant to the end of every branch.

I bought this evergreen azalea last spring and transplanted it this winter into a larger container where it busted out in a plethora of new growth filled with blossoms for the spring fashion show, the only thing missing is fragrance. The good news: azaleas can bloom for several weeks.

Two years ago, I planted a Red Bird Azalea that expanded and I had to transplant it after it doubled in size in one year. Some varieties are smaller and more compact and it is good to choose the correct size for your garden area.

When I was young, we lived in Chamblee, Georgia near Atlanta. At our new house, my Dad planted several azaleas in the front yard and they looked grand with their cranberry blossoms each spring. The azaleas grew well under the pine and dogwood trees in the right environment, in the shade with acidic soil.

This spring, I added eight new azaleas for containers throughout my front and backyard. Azaleas prefer shade or tree cover with acidic soil either in the ground or containers. I have them in containers on the side of the house, on the front porch, on the deck, and on the patio. As long as they have some shade, they develop profusely.

Azaleas are either evergreen or deciduous plants; my plants are evergreen, providing green serenity in between numerous flowering plants in my garden.

During planting, I add soil amendments prepared specifically for azaleas, organic acidic azalea food, seaweed organic fertilizer, rainwater. These organic planting methods ensure healthy soil, healthy leaves and roots, prolific blooms, and sturdy growth.

Prune the plants soon after they bloom to avoid reducing next year's buds. You can prune some of the branches every other year to ensure buds for the next spring. Mulch your plants two to three inches deep with pine straw, leaves or bark.

By providing azaleas with their favorite environment, your plants can produce abundant blossoms and healthy foliage for you to enjoy in your garden setting throughout the year. As a shrub, azaleas provide formal foliage throughout the year or you can prune them in a more casual, branching style.

Perhaps I can help you with your garden design or container gardening to make an impact at your entranceway, porch, or deck. For your commercial business or residential property, I will prepare a plan for your microclimate to make your entrance more inviting with a sense of place and beauty.

Flowering Plants That Attract ButterfliesIn order to attract butterflies to your garden, you need to know exactly what they look for nectar. Plant annual blooming plants amongst your perennial blooming plants to ensure continuous nectar throughout the year. Asters and Parsley are two of the perennials that provide food for the larval hosts. Remember that the more food you provide, the more species of butterfly that you will attract. Plant a garden that will provide continuous bloom as butterflies are active from spring to fall.

Additionally, they like sunny open spaces, shelter from the wind, and freshwater. Specifically, they look for host plants to lay their eggs. Herbs are very attractive to butterflies because they provide a great environment for their eggs.

The following are some of many flowering plants that are attractive to butterflies:

Lilac: comes in seven different colors, but most of us are familiar with the lilac color. They are perfect for your garden due to their pleasant fragrance. Most lilacs which bloom in the northern states for 2 weeks in late may. They also bloom in early- mid- and late season. They can grow from 5 to 15 feet. They need full sun exposure.

Ironweed: is a late summer bloomer. Ironweed sends flower stalks up to 7 feet. It lasts well into the fall season. It provides nectar for the butterflies that mate in the later seasons. Some species can be used as edible leaf vegetables, such as Vernonia Calvoana, Vernonia Amygdalina, and Vernonia Colorata. Lastly, Ironweed is known to be a larval host for the American Painted Lady butterfly.

Parsley: is the favorite food of black swallowtail caterpillars. It looks beautiful as a border in your flower bed or spilling out of a hanging planter. Parsley is a familiar herb that provides an attractive decoration and a special flavor and nutritious value to dishes.

Coneflower: is easy to grow and provides masses of tall purple bloom. It is also known as a butterfly magnet for its wide variety of colors and prefer by gardeners for its beauty.

Butterfly weed: is a must have in every garden. It tolerates dry soil well, is low maintenance, and has a beautiful flower that can be used as green foliage in your garden when it is not bloom.

Sunflower: is alluring to butterflies, hummingbirds as well as songbirds. They are easy to grow as long as the soil is not soaked. They make an excellent cut flower.

Citrus: are a common place for butterflies to lay their eggs. Popular citrus plants for butterflies include lemons, limes, and oranges.

Dahlia: are big and beautiful shining plants in the garden.

Joe-pye weed: are clusters of pink-purple blooms with a fragrance similar to vanilla. They bloom well into the fall season. Joe-pye weed looks great in a cultivated flower bed.The entire plant can be used, including the root and fresh flower, for herbal tea.

Pentas: are plants that have hairy green leaves and clusters of flowers. They come in many shades of white, red, pink, and purple. Pentas are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

With this information in mind, choose some of these beautiful plants to add to your garden. It'll be pleasant to sit down and look at all of your different flowering plants in bloom. You'll add some color and vibrancy to your garden decor. It will give you great pleasure to know that you contributed to the environment by providing shelter for butterflies while bringing beauty to your yard. It'll also make a great ambiance to bring friends and family. Don't forget that it is important to know which kinds of butterfly are native to your area when pickings your plants!

CompostingWhat should you compost?

It's recommended to compost vegetable waste, shells, flowers, fruits, tea leaves, droppings of household animals, leaves, small branches. It's not recommended to compost weeds with seeds still in them. Once this kind of compost is distributed in soil, it becomes polluted. You can't compost carcass meat, pieces of meat and fish, boiled vegetables. This kind of waste attracts rats and smells terribly.

When should you begin to compost?

It's best to begin in the spring or at the end of the summer - August and September due to the good weather conditions and dry soil.

Where should you compost?

It's recommended to compost in special containers or on specially prepared places on the ground. Using containers is more convenient since it takes less space and the right temperature rises much sooner. Containers provide faster maturity of the compost, and it's easier to sustain humidity. On top of that, it's easier to maintain and take care of the compost this way.

How should you compost?

The two most important things to take into consideration is temperature and ventilation. In order to have great compost, temperature needs to be at least 122 °F. Weed seeds disappear in this temperature. It is also essential to provide the container with enough oxygen. Therefore you have to mix it and don't press too much.

It's imperative that the temperature in the container not be too high. Once it reaches around 158 °F, the amount of nutritious substance reduces in number. To avoid this problem, use a Yimby Tumbler container to water and mix your compost with ease.

It's also important for the temperature not be too low. If the pile temperature is not rising, it could mean one of the two - too much humidity or it is too dry. Dryness can be dealt with by watering the compost, while humidity is taken care of by adding dry substances.

Humidity is also crucial. It should be about 50 to 60 percent. The pile should represent something like a sucked sponge - it's not dry, but it no longer has any water to give. This kind of humidity should be maintained all the time.

It's mandatory to mix the compost frequently. Once it reaches its highest point, the temperatures lowers itself in the next four to five weeks. During this period it's recommended to mix the compost so it gets enough oxygen. Once the shifting of temperatures disappear, leave the compost for another two months to decompose. Matured compost is powdery, almost black color, and smells of forest soil.

To improve the compost, you should use additional fertilizer. You might consider adding elements of phosphor and potassium if your compost is mostly made of grass and leaves.

In order for compost to be without disintegrating mixtures, sieving is required. Mature compost is sieved through a net in order to get rid of small branches, pebbles and other unwanted materials.

How to use the compost?

You can use compost to by spreading it in the soil's surface or digging and putting it deeper. It can also be used for house plants.

In order to protect the compost from infection, it's mandatory to get rid of damaged waste and use completely decomposed compost. Not doing so may attract centipedes, who will cause damage by eating strawberries, potatoes, beans and peas.

Herbs to Grow in Your GardenWe all find ourselves busy and worn out because our lives are packed with so many tasks. Quite often we forget to go to the grocery store after a long day of work to get herbs for a meal. I find myself getting home after work and realising that I didn't get basil for the pasta dish we planned to cook. That's when I decided to grow my own herb garden in the back yard.

My garden was already decorated and complete with a braai area. I have flagstone walkways with grass alongside them, along the walls of my fence I have rose bushes, and the braai area is paved with cladding. So I had decided to allocate a small section of about half a metre by two metres nearest to my kitchen's back door. This section runs along the wall of my house. It doesn't get too much direct sunlight during the day, because I didn't want the herbs to be exposed to direct sunlight all day long. I placed one layer of bricks to partition this area. Then I added copings along the edge of the bricks to give it a rounded and neat appearance. I went to the garden centre to get soil that is ideal for planting herbs, and I bought a few seeds. In our home we use herbs such as basil, rosemary, coriander, garlic, parsley and thyme. I planted each herb's seeds in a rectangular space within the herb garden. In other words, each set of seeds were planted in a half metre by 1/3 of a metre area. I simply placed a piece of string to indicate each sub-section. Then I placed a note on a skewer stick and wrote the name of each herb I planted in each sub-section. Over the next few weeks the herb plants started to sprout and with great care and watering them daily, they grew into fully fledged herb plants.

If you are not an avid gardener, you could get a number of medium plant pots for the herbs and plant each herb in one plant pot. This will give a more decorative set up. You can place paving stones, such as flagstones, to half of your backyard and place five or six identical plant pots along the backyard wall. For added decoration, you can add cladding to the backyard wall to create a feature area for your herb garden.

The type of herbs that you can grow in your garden will depend on which ones you use in your meals often. Also consider the temperature fluctuations of the area that you live in. Overall, you can be quite creative with gardening while enjoying the fresh herbs in your meals every day.

Malva MoschataGeneral Information and Description

Malva moschata or musk mallow as it is often more commonly referred to due to the basal leaves having a slightly musky scent, is probably one of Britain's prettiest native wild flowers.

A deciduous, hardy perennial in most parts of the United Kingdom and with rounded leaves, the foliage is delicate and almost fern like. Musk mallow flowers from mid-summer through to early autumn with a succession of the prettiest, fairly large, saucer shaped flowers in the most delicate of pale pinks, a delightful sight in any herbaceous border.

Easy to grow and requiring no maintenance, musk mallow has a bushy habit and will grow in most moist but well drained soils, although a rich soil can make it liable to flopping.

Plants are available from most good garden centres with the variety 'Rosea', probably the prettiest of them all with its deep pink flowers, whilst f. alba is a delightful albino variety. Seeds can also be purchased from garden centres for those who wish to have a go at raising some themselves.

Attractive to bees, musk mallow is ideal for flower beds and borders, wildlife and wild flower gardens or for low maintenance, informal and cottage gardens.

How to Grow & Plant Malva moschata

Suitable for planting in most, moist but well drained garden soil, avoid rich soils to prevent the plant from flopping. They like and do best in full sun in either a sheltered or exposed position.

How to Grow Malva moschata from Seed

Indoor sowing is best carried out in a cold frame between February to June or September to October. The seeds should be sown in pots or trays on the surface of a compost that has been pre-soaked and drained. Cover the seeds with a light dusting of compost and then place in a cold frame, ensuring the compost is kept moist but not waterlogged. Germination is quite quick and normally takes between seven to twenty-one days.

As soon as the seedling become large enough to handle transplant into three inch pots for growing on, ensuring you handle the seedlings by their leaves and not the stem. Plant out in early summer to their final growing positions with spacing's of about twenty inches between each plant.

Musk mallow can also be sown directly outdoors where they are to grow between April and May. Prepare the soil well first, raking to a fine tilth and then scatter the seeds. Rake lightly, firming down well and keep the area well-watered, but ensure you don't over water and drown the seeds. Remove any competing weeds as they appear and as soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle thin out to about eighteen inches apart, discarding any weak ones.

How to Care for Malva moschata

Requiring very little maintenance, dead head as required and tidy up the old foliage and stems by cutting back to the basal foliage in spring.

How to Propagate Malva moschata

Propagation can be by either basal cuttings or seed, which can be collected in the late summer.

Pests and Diseases

Musk mallow is generally pest and disease free although it can be subject to leaf spot and rust disease

Soil: Most moist and well-drained soil, although rich soil is best avoided

Position: Full sun in a sheltered or exposed position

Height & Spread: 36 inches x 24 inches

Flowering Period: June to September

Colour: Pink

 

 

Vegetables in Your GardenIt's not surprising that many people are opting to grow their own vegetables, especially since the food prices continue to rise. Many gardeners find themselves planting and tending to various plants and flowers, so why not add vegetable plants also. There are quite a few vegetables that you can grow in your own garden. Of course, you need to consider your climate when you choose particular vegetables.

Firstly, you need to designate a certain section of your garden as a vegetable patch. Create a pathway with cobblestones that leads you to the vegetable patch. You can build a low brick wall around the vegetable patch and add some cladding to the wall to give it a modern appearance. Within this section, check the soil and dig to loosen it. Then remove all the weeds before you plant anything. You may need to get a quality soil and fertilizer.

Once your vegetable patch is ready, you can go to your local garden centre to get a few vegetable seeds or young plants. Be sure to keep your climate, and the season, in mind when you choose the vegetables that you want to plant in your garden.

There are many types of vegetables that you can plant in your garden which include tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, beetroots, peppers, pumpkin, sweetcorn, and sweet potatoes, amongst others. Along with your vegetables, you could include herbs too. Allocate a small section along one of the sides to plant the herbs. You could plant the following herbs: basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, and coriander.

Most vegetable plants require a reasonable amount of maintenance which include watering, pruning, trimming and keeping pests away. You need to remember to check on your vegetable patch regularly to ensure that they are growing sufficiently. Also, remember to pluck any ripe vegetables. Give them a thorough wash before you cook or eat them.

Incorporating vegetables in your garden is rewarding because your family is able to enjoy fresh vegetables that have been grown by your own hands. Plus you're able to create a decorative area in your garden with cobblestone walkways and beautiful wall cladding paving stones. This is the modern age so gardening is no longer an old fashioned hobby and planting your own vegetables is the latest trend. Remember to plan your garden layout before you get started, so that you have a good idea of which areas to pave to create a contemporary garden.

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