Lasting the Winter Through
When winter weather arrives it comes with a punch that can turn your lovely lawn and garden into piles of twigs.However, just because winter is on its way doesn’t mean that your garden has to die.There are plenty of beautiful plants that can survive harsh winter weather.Here are a few plants and flowers that will keep your garden looking its best even in the dead of winter.
While the coneflower will not maintain its vibrant purple color in freezing temperatures, it will promise to come back in the spring if properly cared for during the winter months.These flowers love sunlight so they should be planted in an area that receives full sun.Once the flowers go dormant, trim the dead stems and cover with about 1-2 inches of mulch to insulate the plants.At the first sign of spring these bright blooms will reemerge giving your spring garden just the pop of color you want.
Don’t be fooled by its dainty leaves.This plant is tough and can thrive in practically any soil and climate.It also loves shade making it an ideal choice for areas that only get partial sunlight.As an added bonus, this plant is poisonous to deer and other animals so you can be sure critters won’t be munching on its blooms.
The blue spruce tree is a picturesque winter plant.Its needle coating resembles that of a Christmas tree making it a great addition to your winter garden.If you are looking for a plant that stuns even when it’s covered in snow, the blue spruce is an ideal choice.
If you want to enjoy a little greenery in your garden even in the middle of winter, this hearty plant is another great option.It is a versatile plant that looks lovely in planters and can also be used as a hedge.Do be sure to cover its roots with an adequate amount of mulch for protection from the cold.
This lovely plant comes in a rainbow of colors and is a favorite among shade gardeners.They are hearty plants that will still provide plenty of color during the winter months.Again, be sure to add 3-4 inches of mulch to cover their roots before the temperatures drop.
If you are looking for a bright cheery bloom that will survive for much of the winter, look no farther than pansies.These cheerful flowers can survive sudden cold snaps and are sure to brighten up your landscape for much of the winter.
If you are looking for a perennial that blooms in late winter, consider primrose.While most primrose bloom in early spring, there are certain species that peak in later winter months, adding pops of color to your winter garden.
Hot, dry summers can be tough on plants, especially those that are not native to the area.High temperatures hamper plant growth, burn foliage, and speed up their normal living process.Most plants can handle temperatures up to 90 degrees, but anything above that can cause some plants to suffer.Furthermore, the longer the high heat persists, the greater the injury to the plant.Therefore, if you live in an area with extremely dry, hot summers you might want to avoid planting these varieties in your garden.
Impatients are lovely flowers that bloom in in bright and muted shades of pink, red, blue, coral, white, lavender, and yellow.They are a favorite landscape flower because they can add lots of color to gardens, pots, and even hanging baskets.However, the ideal temperature for impatients is around 70 degrees.While they can withstand hotter temperatures with plenty of water and the right amount of mulch to protect their roots, they aren’t the best choice for extremely hot and humid conditions.
Begonias are sensitive to bright sunlight and should be protected from intense heat.They grow best in shade and prefer a cooler climate.While they are an excellent flower to brighten up that shady spot in your garden, they are not ideal for bright, sunny spots that might endure high temperatures.
This green climbing ivy provides lush ground cover and is also capable of climbing 20-80 feet with the right support.It is a great choice for locations that experience cooler weather because it is a winter-hardy plant.It is happiest in moist, well-drained shaded conditions.While it can sometimes survive hotter conditions, it is most ideal in cool shady areas.
These perennial plants add interesting color and a lush woodsy feel to your garden.However, most ferns prefer moist shady areas.While there are some varieties that are more heat tolerant, ferns typically only tolerate partial sunlight, meaning they aren’t the best choice for full sun areas that would experience high heat.
Pansies are a classic cool weather flower and a favorite fall and winter flower for many gardeners.While you might want to enjoy their bright cheerful blooms year round, they don’t tolerate the heat well and will likely begin to wilt and sag in hot temperatures.
Ornamental Cabbage and Kales
Ornamental cabbage and kale is in the same species as edible cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower but are prized for their large colorful rosettes more than their flavor.While they make a lovely addition to your garden, they do not tolerate heat well and are a preferred spring or fall plant.
Cold Weather Gardening: 7 Tips to Keep Your Plants Healthy
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, you are probably spending less time in your garden. However, your green thumb is still itching to do something outside in the yard.Lucky for you there are plenty of things you can do to ensure your plants are well protected for the winter weather that is yet to come.Here are a few gardening tips that might satisfy your need for some wintry fresh air while also keeping your plants safe and healthy through winter.
#1 Add Plenty of Mulch
Mulch isn’t just for making your garden look nice in the spring.It also helps to keep the soil warm and moist.This is an important part of keeping your plants healthy in the winter.A healthy layer of mulch can go a long way in protecting roots and bulbs from frost.Also, winter tends to be a dryer season than spring and summer so the mulch will help to retain moisture.
#2 Dig Up Bulbs
If you live in a colder climate with harsher winters, you will want to dig up your bulbs and store them in a cool, dark location until the last frost has passed. Once you dig them up you should separate them before storing them.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high turnover rate.Some of these include lower salaries, lack of upward mobility, excessive workloads, and inflexible schedules.Regardless of the reason, it presents a significant challenge for nonprofits.However, knowing the reasons and understanding how to minimize these factors can prevent such high turnover rates.Here are few ways nonprofits can be better prepared for staff turnover.
#3 Cover Plants
While some plants can survive harsh winters, blossoms on other plants aren’t so lucky.In some plants, the entire buds can freeze and drop off the plants.Oftentimes the flowers will turn brown and fall to the ground.To avoid losing these flowers, cover plants that have open buds and open flowers with an old sheet or a frost cover.
#4 Add Compost
Garden beds that sit vacant in the winter can be enriched with compost.Simply add rich compost to your garden and cover it with a cloth.The cover will prevent too much moisture from getting in to the compost.Come spring you can remove the cover and your garden will be filled with a rich soil that is ready for spring planting.
#5 Protect Young Trees and Shrubs
If you live in an area that experiences harsh winter weather, you should take the time to bundle up any young shrubs living in your garden.Natural materials like burlap are a great choice for protecting large plants from frost.
#6 Bring Potted Plants Inside
If container plants are part of your landscape you will want to bring them inside for the winter.Otherwise, they might not survive the harsh weather. For some plants, a gradual transition to the indoors is advised so you don’t shock the plant.
#7 Prune Deciduous Trees and Shrubs
Winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs.If you prune them in the winter when they are dormant, it will encourage faster and healthier growth come spring.Prune any dead branches first and then remove overgrown and smaller branches next.
Small and Superb
There is truth behind the old adage that “good things come in small packages.”You don’t have to have a sprawling backyard to have an incredible outdoor space.Even a small backyard can be great for gardening and entertaining.Just because your yard is lacking in space doesn’t mean it has to be lacking in pizazz.The trick is to make the most of every inch and be smart and creative about planting.Check out these tips that will help you make the most of your small backyard.
Garden in Containers
Even if you don’t have much soil for digging, you can still get your gardening fix by planting in containers.You can plant veggies, flowers, and even trees in containers.Container planting offers greater flexibility and is a fantastic way for gardeners to experiment with planting and design.They are a great way to brighten up dull spots in the yard and provide instant, yet easily interchangeable results.The containers themselves add an element of style and they can easily be moved anywhere in your yard.Here are some of the best plants for containers: Cosmos, Impatients, Clematis, Hosta, Ivy, Skimmia Japonica, Coral Bells, pine, juniper, fir, and cypress trees.
Use Vertical Space
When you have a small yard to work with, you need to use vertical space to its advantage.Hang planters on walls or fences and fill them with your favorite flowers.Add texture to walls by growing climbing plants such as Ivy, Honeysuckle, Leather Flower, or Virginia Creeper.Beautify the space and enjoy fresh herbs and vegetables with a vertical vegetable or herb garden.
Get Multifunctional Furniture
Just because you are limited on backyard space doesn’t mean you have to choose between a garden and a seating area.With the right furniture, you can have both!Go for pieces that double as both seating areas but also include built-in planters.This allows you to bring lush greenery right into your seating area.
Flowers don’t necessarily require their own private garden.Some of the prettiest flower displays are those that are planted as a border.Your yard might not be large enough for a separate garden, but bordering existing trees with flowers is a great way to add visual interest to your yard. You can also plant flowers and shrubs to border walkways and patios.
Small yards are sometimes the most elegant and charming. All it takes is a little bit of creativity to turn your small yard into an outdoor space you can enjoy all year long!
Container gardening is a popular alternative to gardening in the ground for many reasons.Some people love it simply because they love the beautiful pottery that houses the plants.Others prefer it because the containers are portable so the plants can be easily transported to different spots and are perfect for front porches, balconies, and patios. It is also popular for people who have a smaller yard or no yard at all.Whatever your reason, container gardening is a great way to enjoy the beauty of plants both indoors and out.If you do choose to grow plants in a pot, be sure to educate yourself on the various types of pottery.While pottery is certainly lovely to look at, it can also be problematic at times.Here are a few of the most common pottery problems and how you can solve them.
These traditional pots are a popular choice among homeowners.Their warm, neutral color can easily match just about décor or style and they look absolutely beautiful when filled with colorful plants. Unfortunately, terracotta pots are susceptible to certain problems.
Problems: They can crack or break during the winter; therefore, it is important to store your terracotta pots indoors during the winter months and avoid excess exposure to harsh winter weather. They are also porous, so they will wick water away from the soil and leave your plant thirsty.You can avoid this problem by soaking the pot in water prior to planting.Lastly, terracotta pots are susceptible to lime and moss stains.You can remove these stains with a mixture of soap, water, and vinegar and scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush.You can prevent these stains by applying an acrylic sealant on the inside and outside of the pots.
Plastic pots are inexpensive and can be found in just about any store.They are also lightweight which makes them easier to move from one place to another and also makes them suitable for balconies and decks.They come in a variety of shapes and colors so they you can easily find one to match your style and taste.
Problems: They don’t usually last more than a season or two, especially when they are left outdoors.Over time sunlight begins to degrade the pot, causing it to become fragile.You can extend the life of plastic pots by covering them when not in use and also keeping them out of the sun.You also want to look for thicker plastic, as this will be more durable and last longer.
Concrete pots are durable and will last for many years when cared for properly.They are also good insulators so they are suitable for climates with more extreme weather changes.
Problems: Concrete is a porous substance and therefore needs to be cured properly in order to avoid impacting the soil alkalinity.Concrete is also high in lime, which is toxic to many plants.Before planting, you should water the pot several times and allow it to drain out to rinse away excess lime.You can even let it sit outside in the rain for a few weeks so the lime will leach our prior to planting.
Your Personal Playground
In today’s day and age, more and more children seem to be glued to video games and electronic devices.This means children are spending less time outdoors and experiencing nature.However, as humans, nature is essential to our mental and physical wellbeing.Children can learn so much just by spending time outdoors and observing nature around them.And… there continues to remain that childhood fascination with nature and wildlife.Why not give them an opportunity to experience nature firsthand by creating a garden that doubles as a natural playground?Parents often think the garden is a place where kids need to stay out, so they don’t destroy the plants and flowers.But, what if your garden was a place that invited them in?Check out these awesome ideas for creating a garden space that is as playful as it is beautiful!
Make a Mud Kitchen
What kid doesn’t love getting their hands dirty and playing in mud?Give your child a place where they can cook up mud pies and mud cakes until their hearts content in a place that’s far away from the hardwood floors! The best part about mud kitchens is that they don’t have to be neat and pristine like a real kitchen! That means you have the ability to be as creative as you want when creating the kitchen.Find some old sinks and galvanized tubs from yard sales or thrift stores and pair them with old pots and pans and a few inexpensive utensils.Your kids will be stay busy for hours playing with one simple ingredient…mud!
Get your kids planting their own herbs, flowers, and plants by allowing them to create their own planting container.Reuse old cans and let your kids transform them into creative planters.Give them old pots to paint and then let them plant their own flowers inside.Let them even make quirky containers from old boots, pots, wagons, or tubs.Your kids will love getting to add their own creations to your garden.
Give Them a Mini Garden
Designate a small portion of your garden to be their garden. Mark it off with a stone or wood border and let this be a space where they can play freely.They will love digging with shovels, plating their own little flowers, and even driving dumb trucks through the dirt.Sometimes kids just need a chance to get dirty and let their imagination run wild.
Build a Hideout
Kids love forts and what better place to build a fort than in a real garden?Kids will instantly feel like they have been whisked away to a magical forest when they enter their own garden fort.Since kids love to build, let them help you construct a simple tent out of bamboo canes or large sticks.Cover it with an old blanket or canvas to create a cozy outdoor hideaway.Place decorative stones throughout your garden as a walkway that leads kids right to their secret fort! You can even hang a few lanterns in the trees so the fun can continue even after dark.
Feed the Birds
Gardens are about more than just having pretty flowers to look at.They are also about welcoming nature.Younger children will love this simple project that will encourage birds to come to your garden.Collect a few pinecones to serve as birdfeeders and tie a string to the top so they can be suspended from a tree.Smear soft lard or nut butter onto the pinecones and roll them around in birdseed to coat the entire pinecone.Hang it from a tree and wait for the birds to come and enjoy their treat!
Create a Rock Garden
Line part of your garden with bricks, pavers, or cement blocks and then fill it with various rocks.Your kids will love taking their dump trucks, shovels, and wheel barrow out and filling them with rocks.To add even more fun, give them sidewalk chalk or sidewalk paint and let them decorate the pavers.Once it rains their artwork will wash away so they can recreate masterpieces again and again.
Add a Tire Swing
Invite your kids into the garden with a homemade tire swing.Your kids will enjoy hours of fun as they swing through the trees and enjoy the beauty of the nature around them.
Holiday Inspired Garden Planters
Decorating your home for the holidays is one of the best parts of the season.Whether you prefer a natural rustic look or bright festive colors, it’s fun to transform your home inside and out!Holiday inspired container gardens are a fun and festive way to bring the spirit of the holidays to your deck, patio, front porch, or balcony.They are a perfect way to decorate your patio for guests or simply to add a little holiday curb appeal to your front porch.Check out some of these beautiful container garden ideas that are sure to bring out your holiday spirit!
Start with the Right Container
When choosing a container for an outdoor Christmas planter, there are a few things to consider.First, is the container the right size for the space.Your front porch will require larger planters than perhaps a smaller balcony.Next, will the container be able to withstand the harsh winter elements.Some materials are susceptible to cracking and breaking due to cold temperatures and snow, so be sure to choose a container that is suitable for outdoor conditions.
Mix Live and Dried Elements
Live and dried ingredients can be combined to create an arrangement that is stocked with color and texture.Start by filling a container with florist’s foam and then tucking in cedar branches all around the top of the pot to really give the arrangement that Christmas feel.Next, add a few taller elements such as yellow dogwood, mossy fruitwood, and lichen driftwood.Attach pinecones to wooden picks uses wire and stick them in the arrangement.Finally, sprinkle with sugar to give the appearance of being dusted with snow.
Use Plenty of Greenery
When we think of the holiday season the first colors that come to mind are red and green and your holiday planter should have plenty of green! Evergreen trees and shrubs such as magnolia, eucalyptus, boxwood, and holly privet are all popular choices for the holidays.Other popular plants and trees include conifers such as pine, cedar, and spruce.You can’t go wrong with any of these green plants and you can easily mix and match them.
Add Some Berries
The easiest way to turn any planter into a Christmas planter is to add some berries.These bright red berries will add a splash of color and really give your planter that festive look.Simply stick the berries into the arrangement wherever you want to add some color.Finnish the arrangement off with a bright red bow around the planter to complete the look!
Break Off Some Branches
Birch branches are beautiful pieces of wood and they are great for those who prefer a more rustic holiday look.If you want to incorporate birch branches into your planter, place some florists foam into the bottom of your planter and stick the birch branches in first.Be sure they are nice and snug in the foam so they will stay in place.You can then build the rest of your arrangement around the branches.Birch branches add that nice whitish gray color that is reminiscent of winter and they also add just the right amount of height to your arrangement.
Make a Tabletop Arrangement
You can make a smaller version of these arrangements to use as a decorative display on a bistro table, outdoor dining table, or on a small outdoor coffee table.Choose a rustic wooden box that is rectangular in shape and fill with your favorite festive cuttings.Wrap a wool or knit ribbon around the box and you have a gorgeous table centerpiece.
10 Things on Your Autumn Checklist
The leaves are beginning to change color and the nights are getting cooler.That can only mean one thing… fall is here!Gone are the days of laying out by the pool but now it’s time to start cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoying the beauty of the fall foliage.Just like the seasonal transition means changing out your wardrobe, it is also the perfect time to put away your summer décor, clean out your gardens, and prepare your outdoor living space for fall. Consider the following checklist to get your garden and patio ready for autumn.
Clean Out Your Flower Beds
- It is the end of the summer growing season which means it’s time to clean out your beds and prepare them for the next season.You will want to walk around your garden and weed, cut faded blooms, divide overgrown plants, and remove summer annuals.
Add Mulch to Your Garden
- Once you’ve cleaned out your beds you will be able to determine which areas are bare and could use a bit of new mulch.Not only will new mulch make your garden look cleaner, but it will provide healthy soil for any new fall plants.
Plant Some Fall Flowers
- More than likely your summer annuals have had their day in the sun.It’s time to replace them with cooler weather flowers such as pansies, mums, chrysanthemums, or aster.This will brighten up your garden with the perfect combination of fall colors.
Prep Your Lawn
- The first few weeks of fall are the perfect time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye.They will have an opportunity to germinate and develop a healthy root system before the freezing winter temperatures arrive.
Fertilize Your Lawn
- Fall is an ideal time to fertilize turf-grasses because they can store these nutrients during the winter months which leads to a healthier looking lawn come spring.Early fall is also a great time to apply a second pre-emergent herbicide.The first is typically done in the spring to eliminate weeds that grow in the lawn while the second application helps to cut down on weed seeds that were deposited over the summer months.
Clean Up Your Outdoor Furniture
- You made excellent use of your outdoor furniture, umbrella, and dining table during the summer months but now it’s time to clean it all up and make your patio a little more seasonal.Clean and store your umbrella and brightly colored summer cushions.Exchange those summer cushions for some that showcase the beautiful colors of fall.
Make the Most of Your Planters
- Don’t leave your pots and planters boring and empty this fall.Get rid of your summer annuals and replace them will colorful mums, pansies, and other autumn favorites.You can dress up your front porch or your back patio will fall inspired planters.
Accessorize Your Porch and Patio
- There is no better way to welcome fall than with a few pieces of seasonal décor.Grab a bale of hay, a few pumpkins, some mums, and even an old wagon and turn your patio into a charming and cozy space.Get inspired with a few unique and crafty fall decorations or simply adorn your patio with your favorite fall flowers.
Heat Things Up
- Fall is the perfect time to gather around a warm fire with family and friends.A fire pit or outdoor fireplace is the perfect addition to your patio for fall.Whether you just want to relax and cozy up after a long day or you want to entertain your friends, an outdoor fire provides all of the warmth and ambiance you need to enjoy a crisp fall evening.
Add Some Lights
- In the fall you will start to notice the days getting shorter and this is all the more reason to put up a few extra lights.String some bistro lights across your patio or add some twinkling lights to a few trees in your garden.You can also add lights to your fall display for a fun and festive way to enjoy those autumn evenings.
What Fire Pit is Right for You?
Since the beginning of time, people have treasured the awesomeness and beauty of a glowing fire.Its warmth and dancing flames provide just the right ambiance and focal point for any patio.A fire pit is a great way to liven up any outdoor space with a place to cozy up, get warm, and gather with family and friends.If you are considering adding a fire pit to your home, there are many different factors to consider.Here is a breakdown of the different kinds of fire pits so you can decide which one best suits your needs.
Propane Fire Pit
Propane fueled fire pits are a lovely addition to your patio.They resemble permanent fixtures but can easily be moved around a yard or patio. Many of them also double as tables when not in use.They are convenient in that you simply turn on the propane to get your fire going.You don’t have to fool with buying firewood and working to get your fire started.You can enjoy a fire with the simple flip of a switch. It is also a great option for people with asthma or other sensitivity to smoke.Their main drawback is the fact that you have to purchase propane and the flame is much smaller in comparison to the large dancing flames produced by a wood burning fire pit.They also give off less heat than wood burning fire pits.
Wood Burning Fire Pit
For some people, a fire just isn’t the same without the crackle of the flames and the smoky aroma of a good old fashioned fire.Wood burning fire pits can be a great option because they are affordable, easy to move, and don’t require a gas line or a propane tank. They also provide the warmth, smell, and lovely dancing flames that so many people enjoy.The drawback to a wood burning fire pit is that it can be a little more difficult to start and it can be messy.You will have to clean out your fire pit, sweep up the debris, and find a place to store your firewood.Also, some people are sensitive to the smoke produced by a wood burning fireplace.Nonetheless, a wood burning fireplace provides the warmth, aroma, and ambiance that homeowners love.
Hard Line Fire Pit
If you love the convenience of a gas fire pit and are ready to fully commit, a hard line fire pit might be the right choice for you.These fire pits are installed into your home’s gas line providing you with an instant fire anytime you want!It also allows you to control the warmth of the fire and the height of the flame so you can truly make the most of the experience.The drawback to this type of fire pit is cost and planning.It can be quite expensive to install a hard line fire pit and will certainly take more effort and planning than placing a portable fire pit on your patio.You also want to consider the fact that it cannot be moved once it is installed.Despite the price and effort, a hard line fire pit provides an experience like no other!
How to Achieve Paver Perfection
When planning for your outdoor space there are many elements to consider.Which plants should I include in my landscape?How will our family use the outdoor space?What is our budget?While there are endless choices, there is one material that manages to find its way into just about every outdoor design project: pavers.There are so many varieties, styles, materials, colors, and textures available for pavers making them one of the most versatile materials you can buy.Pavers are a great solution for building patios and walkways for your home and can fit into any style and budget.Check out some of these fantastic ideas for incorporating pavers into your outdoor space.
Create a Designated Seating Area
Pavers work extremely well when you need to define a space.They are ideal for creating an outdoor seating and conversation area.Choose from cobblestone, flagstone, brick, concrete, or stone just to name a few.You can lay them any shape you want (square, round, rectangular) to create a truly unique and customized seating area.Once they are in place, just add some outdoor seating and a fire pit for a fantastic gathering space for friends and family.
Mark a Path
There is nothing quite like taking a stroll through a beautiful garden.It is such a magical and enchanting experience.Pavers are an amazing solution for creating a path through your garden.Since pavers are so versatile, you can choose just about style and place them in any type of ground surface and any elevation.
Design a Walkway
Thinking about adding a stunning walkway to your front porch?Pavers are a fantastic choice for creating this designated walking path.You can easily connect your pavers from one to another creating a seamless path of movement through your yard.Add instant curb appeal to your home with a paved walkway.
Add Visual Interest
If you have an area of your yard that isn’t necessarily used as a functional space, give it a purpose by adding some interesting pavers.Large stone pavers do an amazing job of adding visual interest to an area in your yard and tying your landscape together.They could be placed in front of a fountain or beside a fire pit as a means of connecting one part of the yard to another.
Create a Modern Design
Pavers are often used as a means for designing walkways and patios but they can also act as a natural décor.Place square pavers around a planter or alongside your driveway to add texture and visual appeal.Give your garden a modern vibe with the help of pavers.They can be cut to any size and shape so you can really be creative with your decorating style.