When Should I Plant Grass Seed in My Yard?

Here’s an informative article on when to plant grass seed by Hidden Creek Landscaping.

Few things beat the feeling of cool grass underneath our bare feet. When it comes to starting a lawn from scratch, though, the best time to plant grass seeds in Ohio is late summer to early fall – mid-August to early October.

In this issue, the landscaping experts with Hidden Creek Landscaping will talk more about the process of planting grass seed, how to select the right type and how long it will take for your grass seeds to grow.

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Advice on When to Prune Shrubs – Mostly Wrong?

Here’s an informative article on pruning shrubs by Susan Harris for Garden Rant.

In a recent post I mentioned hiring an expert to teach my coop to prune their (damn) shrubs and linked to the pruning instruction that resulted. The shocker to me and most gardeners, I’m betting, is this bit of advice from the professional pruners:

she told us that euonymus can be hand-pruned any time of the year, and that almost all shrubs can be, too.

But-but-but doesn’t EVERYONE tell us to prune flowering shrubs soon after they’ve bloomed, to avoid removing the next year’s blooms? For example, typical advice for azaleas is that “If you prune azaleas after the beginning of July, you may not get any flowers on the bush next year.”

Yes, shearing would remove most or all of next year’s buds if done too late, but shearing azaleas is not advised, anyway.

The expert we hired, from a 29-year-old company whose sole job is to prune shrubs, told us that hand-pruning – for a more natural look, better plant health, and less maintenance – can be done any time the temperatures are above freezing, for all but a few plants.

What a revelation! I’d questioned the narrow timing window for pruning myself. “Hmm,” I said to myself, “if I’m just removing branches and flowers where I don’t want them, what’s the harm?” Or as our expert’s boss told me on the phone, instead of 450 blooms you may have just 420, but they’re where you want them and they’re displayed on a better looking plant. She added that here in the Azalea Belt of the Mid-Atlantic, “If we had to prune all the azaleas within a month after blooming, I’d have to hire 3 times the staff!”

Looks like another case of over-generalization in advising about plants, which may just be my pet rant.

Our expert’s general advice on timing?

When lecturing to garden clubs I always start by saying “the best time to hand prune your shrubs is…when you have time.” Our pruning techniques can be used any time of year (except for 5 shrubs) and they will still bloom beautifully on well shaped visually pleasing shrubs.

If you have the time and find it easy to remember to prune each shrub after it flowers that’s a good strategy too.  As long as you are hand pruning and not shearing, timing is what you want and need it to be.

So what ARE the five shrubs that can’t be pruned just anytime? The very few that should only be pruned in winter are roses, wisteria, buddleia, caryopteris and (sub-shrub) Russian sage.


Nature’s Candy: Growing and Eating Blueberries

Here’s a good article by Patti Estep on growing and eating blueberries for Garden Therapy.

Blueberries are easy to grow, taste fabulous, and are even good for you! If you have just a bit of space and some sun, blueberries are fun to grow and really are nature’s candy.

Love blueberries? Then gobble them up! Blueberries are low on the glycemic index, which means that even though they contain sugar, the overall impact on our bodies’ blood sugar level is minimal. They are full of antioxidants and studies show that they help improve memory.

Still, probably the main reason blueberries are so good for us is because they contain anthocyanins, the antioxidant flavanoids responsible for their rich blue color. Anthocyanins are known to help with a myriad of health issues such as improving heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and cancer prevention.

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How To Make A Stepping Stone Path

Here’s an informative article on making a stepping both path by the Editors at Better Homes & Gardens.

Transform your garden or backyard into a scene from a fairy tale with a stone path. This can be done in an afternoon!

A stepping-stone path is the most informal of paths and looks best when it has as many curves as possible.

The outline of the path doesn’t have to be precise. If the edges of some stones fall slightly outside the edge of the path, it merely adds to the appeal. Continue reading

DIY Bean Trellis

Here’s an informative article by BH&G Garden Editors on a structure to grow beans for Better Homes & Gardens.

Give your bean plants a structured place to grow with this easy-to-make arch that elevates your vines to be the star of the scene.

Bean plants climb and cover anything in their path, but can sometimes look messy and tangled. Try making this arched bean trellis for your garden to give them a structured path to follow for a tidier look. When grown densely, this trellis gives the garden a magical, country garden vibe that also keeps crops off the ground.

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This Year’s Outdoor Living Trends Bring The Comforts Of Indoors To Your Backyard

Here’s an interesting article by Kristina McQuirk on outdoor living for Better Homes & Gardens.

Staying in is the new going out, and outdoor design has never been better. This year’s trends push outdoor spaces to work harder to create the experiences you crave in a stylish, thoughtfully designed atmosphere.

Outdoor living in 2020 reflects the same expectations you have for your home’s interior. But until now, design details were mostly saved for inside. To bridge the divide between indoors and out, your backyard, porch, or patio should support everyday life, not just supplement it. So how can you bring the decor ideas you love outside? We talked to designers and style experts to uncover the latest trends in outdoor living, including natural elements, warm colors, and fetching finishes that provide interior-like comfort and style. Continue reading

How To Landscape Around A Deck For A Backyard You’ll Be Excited To Show Off

Here’s an interesting article by Andrea Beck on landscaping around a deck for Better Homes & Gardens.

Enhance your outdoor living space by adding some beautiful landscaping around your deck.

A little landscaping can go a long way toward making your yard an even more pleasant place to relax and entertain. One of our favorite spots to hang out with friends and family is on the backyard deck, so we like to surround it with as many of our favorite plants as we can. Landscaping around a deck can be a rewarding weekend DIY project, but like any planting project, it’s best to do in the spring or fall. We’ll show you how to break it into manageable steps and guide you through the basics. Our tips will help you tackle tasks like laying out a border, removing existing turf, installing edging, placing landscape fabric, and arranging your plants. Before long, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful haven you’ve created. Continue reading

Ultimate Guide to Concrete Block

Here’s an informative article on concrete by the team at Better Homes & Gardens.

Did you know concrete blocks come in more than just one shape and size? Before you start your home or garden project, take a look at our guide to learn your options.

Low material and installation cost, along with outstanding durability, make concrete block a practical choice for walls. Concrete block (often called cement masonry units or CMUs) are less expensive than other wall-building materials, are relatively easy to install, and won’t rust, rot, or decay. Many blocks now have decorative face patterns, offering options to plain structural blocks. Continue reading

Backyard Bartending: Growing Hops At Home

Here’s an interesting article on growing hops by Karen Weir-Jimerson for Better Homes & Gardens.

What’s brewing at home? Beer! Beer making is on the rise as a hobby and a business. Luckily, growing your own hops—one of the key ingredients of beer—is easy.

Hops are one of the most beloved plants for carrying the secret ingredient to America’s treasured beverage—beer. The part of the plant that is used to make beer is the flower of the Humulus lupulus. The green pinecone-looking flower is also called a strobilus or seed cone. From a gardener’s perspective, a hop plant is a perennial vine that grows up to 25 feet long (in a single season!). From a brewer’s perspective, hops are an essential ingredient for beer. Initially, hops were used to preserve beer; they were added to the cask after the beer was fermented to keep it fresh. Hops add distinctive flavor to beer that is described as bitter or zesty (as in citrus zest). Ales, German-style Pilsners, and IPAs are considered hoppy and can thank the flowers of this vine for their distinctive flavor.

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Get Ahead Of Garden Pests With This Simple Bug Prediction Tool

Here’s an informative article on dealing with garden pests by Megan Hughes for Better Homes & Gardens.

Based on data from citizen scientists, The Big Bug Hunt can alert you about when to take preventive actions in your garden.When you have a garden, you’ll likely also have to contend with hungry bugs that want to nibble your prized flowers or move into your lettuce patch. But now you could have a secret weapon to help deal with them, thanks to The Big Bug Hunt. This citizen science project aims to give you a heads-up when certain pests like cucumber beetles and cabbage worms will arrive in your region so you can be ready for them instead of caught by surprise. It recently launched a free pest prediction service that will provide you with a weekly alert about the most common and destructive pests appearing in your area. Continue reading