Category Archives: advice

Random Horticultural Things I’m Either Loving or Loathing, and a Few I Haven’t Quite Decided On

Here’s an interesting article by Scott Beuerlein for Garden Rant.

For whatever they are worth, here are some stray observations that have rattled around in my noggin lately when I’ve had too much time to think.

Let’s start positive! Why not? Here’s something I’ve been loving—the Fashionably Early series of Phlox. They’re some kind of hybrid. I don’t know the parentage. I wish I did, but it’s probably one of those things where one could possibly “know too much.” I’m thinking that if I were to find out, someone would have to kill me. Possibly Hans Hansen, who bred this series, but maybe not. I would think it’s way more important for Walter’s to keep him in the field and away from the rough stuff, so it makes more sense that there would be another among them who makes the call to the “guy who knows guys” that would set my offing in motion.

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Groundhogs In My Garden!

Here’s an informative article on garden intruders by Susan Harris for Garden Rant.

I suppose most suburban gardeners have some mammals to deal with in their garden – squirrels, rabbits and deer being the top nuisances in my area, so far. That is, until this fat-and-happy groundhog took up residence under my neighbor’s shed, and we think it has a mate, too. (We’re not sure – they all look the same to us.)

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13 Things To Know Before You Build A Fence

Here’s an informative article on what to know before building a fence by Sheryl Geerts for Better Homes & Gardens.

A fence can improve your home’s curb appeal, provide security, increase privacy, and offer protection from the elements. But before you start building a fence, there are a few things you should know first. Here are our top tips for planning, designing, and building a fence for your home.

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8 Landscaping Ideas For Maximizing Your Curb Appeal

Here’s a good article on ideas for increasing curb appeal by Kelly Roberson for Better Homes & Gardens.

These tips will help you make your front yard more welcoming while improving the value of your home. Plus, you might even get compliments from neighbors passing by.

Landscaping for curb appeal is at the top of many gardeners’ to-do list. Maximizing your yard’s attributes and minimizing its problems to create a beautiful street-side view doesn’t have to be difficult, daunting, or expensive. And there can be some amazing pay-offs, like increasing the value of your home; according to the National Association of Realtors, houses with high curb appeal usually sell for an average of 7% more than similar homes without the same landscaping. No matter your style or plant preferences, these tips will help transform your front yard into a beautiful, attractive space without breaking the bank or tearing up your entire property.

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How To Maintain Backyard Oasis That’s Safe From Pets, And Safe for Pets

Here’s an informative article on backyards and your pets by Borst Landscape and Design.

Are Lawn Fertilizers Safe for Pets?

According to veterinarians, most fertilizers are generally pretty benign in terms of pet safety. In fact, most lawn fertilizers contain natural elements, like nitrogen, potash, and phosphorus that are generally non-toxic. If your dog eats some grass that fertilizer right after fertilizer was applied, it rarely leads to serious poisoning. However, if your dog gets into the bag of fertilizer and starts to eat it directly, health problems ranging from gastrointestinal distress to tremors and seizures can result, so be sure to keep fertilizer products away from your pets. Experts recommend that when you fertilize as part of your lawn maintenance routine, be sure to water the product of the leaves. After doing this, it is safe for pets to return.

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What Is A Natural Way To Eliminate Fleas, Ticks, And Mosquitoes In Your Yard?

Here’s an informative article on ways to eliminate pests in your yard by Borst Landscape and Design.

Getting rid of pests is an important step to enjoying your outdoor space, but concern for the environment and the safety of your family members may give you pause. No one wants to spread potentially harmful sprays and chemicals on the lawn if there is a possibility it could be dangerous. Using an organic mosquito, flea, and tick spray is a natural way to eliminate pests like fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. Borst’s organic insect control can keep your family members and pets safe while also protecting the environment from harmful chemicals. By spraying your yard monthly with an organic mosquito, fleas, and ticks treatment that is also environmentally safe, you don’t have to choose between protecting the environment and ridding your yard of unwanted pests.

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Landscape Water Features

Here’s an informative article on water feature by Hidden Creek Landscaping.

Landscape water features give you a natural sanctuary providing a respite from the stresses of the day right inside your own backyard. There is a richness and diversity that water features produce as both people and nature respond to the refreshing and soothing qualities of moving water.

Whether it is a water fountain nestled among your flowers, a pool waterfall with underwater lighting as a focal point, a pond stocked with exotic fish, a stone waterfall, or spillways that feed into a meandering stream, we have ideas and tips for creating, planning and installing water features that cater to your specific desires.

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Deck vs. Patio Paver?

Here’s an informative article on deck vs. patio paver by the staff at Hidden Creek Landscape.

The decision for the right design for your outdoor living space can be a tricky one. Two worthy opponents vying for your attention are decks and patios.

Both are good choices, but which will work best for you? How will either hold up in the often-harsh Ohio winters?

In this article, we’ll give you a deep dive into decks and paver patios so you’ll be armed with the right information to make the best decision for you.

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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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