Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hebe And Cotoneaster Blooms In Summer

The hebe shrub I transplanted from its spot next to the rhododendron last year has established itself well next to the climbing roses and is growing bigger. I'm really pleased with how readily the hebe took to being transplanted and the growth it has shown itself to be a hardy plant. The shrub has grown much bigger since being transplanted, growing faster in this full sun position. The hebe has not only grown bigger but is starting to produce a few purple blooms on the tips of the branches. I'm very excited to see the blooms begin to form and can't wait until the shrub produces more and officially opens its purple blooms.

The cotoneaster shrub has really taken off this year, growing much wider with arching branches, very pretty sitting in front of one of the climbing roses. The cotoneaster this year is filled with white flowers, which means more berries this fall and winter on the branches. It was slow going for quite a while with the cotoneaster but it is looking very good and I'm hoping eventually will be very large and spreading at the base of the climbing roses in the corner against the fence. I have a few heaths and heathers planted in front of the cotoneaster, they are growing very well, especially the heath which is a good two feet wide and foot high, sporting evergreen leaves and covered in magenta color blooms.

The hebe was originally planted between the rhododendron and the pestemon. With the expanse of the pestemon and rhododendron the hebe was getting less sun and less room to grow, hence the transplanting to under the roses. The rhododendron has been growing very slowly but is a little bit bigger every year. The rhododendron has bloomed every year since planting, producing beautiful deep fuchsia pink blooms. The pestemon grew huge within the first season of planting, apparently liking its sunny position in the garden. The pestemon is a good three feet tall and two feet wide, with masses of garnet red tubular blooms hanging off the plant late spring through fall. I've taken a few pieces of the pestemon to root in water since I'd like a few more of these spectacular plants in my garden. I rooted a pestemon from a stem last year but went directly into the ground and the cutting didn't flourish. This time I will plant up the rooted cutting in a few pots and grow the plant bigger before planting it in the garden. The hebe and rhododendron continue to grow slowly as the pestemon grows vigoursly, all three plants have ended up being wonderful additions to my garden.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gardening Article: Using Plants to Spice Up Your Patio

A patio is a wonderful thing to have for entertaining and just enjoying the great outdoors. It creates an inviting space in your backyard to enjoy the outdoors while still being a functional and useful place for many different things. That being said, adding plants and small gardens to your patio will not only spice it up but it will make it even more inviting and engaging to all those who enjoy your patio.

Adding colorful flowering plants is one of the best ways to add intrigue to your patio. Using plants such as these can turn a dull and bland patio space into a beautiful and scenic environment. Some perfect plants to try are geraniums, petunias, daisies and begonias. These will bloom well in the spring and summer and will keep flowering throughout the season. They do well in pots as well as in the ground. Try finding some pots or planters that fit your style and decor tastes and plant some of these beauties in them. Place them in open spaces on your patio such as by the door and outer edges to break up some of the color. If you prefer to plant them in the ground you can find some decorative edging or border such as stones or bricks to create a small flower bed. Either way these plants are sure to spice up your patio.

If you prefer to stick with greenery instead of flowering plants there are some popular choices that do well in an outside environment such as a patio. You could try some ornamental grass or plants such as hostas. These are beautiful plants that will add a splash of green to your patio. They are also relatively easy to maintain and will return every year. Just as with the flowering plants you can plant these in planters or in the ground depending on your preference. The sleek look of ornamental grass or the leafy look of hostas is sure to engage your visitors.

Last but not least there are shrubs and trees that you can add to fill in your space even more. There are some that stay small and some that grow large so it really depends on the space you have available and your planting preferences. Of course most of the larger trees and shrubs do better when planted in the ground but if you decide you want to keep your shrubs small you can dwarf them by planting them in the ground inside the pot. This will keep the shrub or tree small but still allow it to thrive in the ground. Furthermore there are many options available. You can pick from beautiful braided trees with unique trunks or colorful trees such as hibiscus which stay moderately small and create beautiful blooms in the summer. Basic green shrubs are also perfect because you can be creative and trim them into any shape you want adding a touch of your own personal style and taste to your patio.

As you can see adding plants to your patio is the perfect way to spice it up. There are many different choices and many different ways you can create a lively and intriguing patio just by using plants such as flowers, trees, bushes and shrubs. So, if you want to spice it up go ahead and take a look at your local garden store or greenhouse and see what fits into your style.

This article was written by John for, a home and garden store featuring BBQ grills, artificial Christmas trees, and other popular patio decor goods.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heathers In A Barrel And In The Flower Bed

Last year I set up an old barrel with new dirt and five small heathers to provide some color and evergreen growth outside the dining room window. These heathers are all very different. One has a deep red tinge on the edges of the dark green leaves and grows upright, branching out. Another is very small and grows closer to the ground, with vibrant yellow tips with a salmon color mixed in with the yellow and green leaves. The wider of the plants is a heather with medium green leaves and tips of chocolate brown, with a wide spread and upward growth. The final two heathers are deep green shades that will produce blooms to complement the rest of the heathers. All of these heathers will produce flowers that bloom in pinks and lavenders.

There is some slight growth since last year, but since we hit spring there is a filling out of the leaves and more color on the tips of the shrubs. I paired these heathers with small purple windflowers at the base of the shrubs. These windflowers are very delicate looking and daisy like, opening full when there is a cloudy day or some sun, but the flowers closing up tight when raining. The leaves of the windflowers look similar to chrysanthemum shaped leaves. These windflowers grow so small that the barrel is an ideal place for them to be showcased, hovering below the branches of the colorful leaves of the heather shrubs.

The oldest heathers I have were planted in the large back yard bed, the flower bed that needs to be torn down, this photo is of one of these heathers after a year or two of being planted. I have one other old heather I brought with me from Petaluma that is doing well in the front yard and blooms profusely with pink flowers every summer. The old front yard heather is about a foot wide, whereas the old heathers I planted when we first moved here over four years ago are a good two feet wide and almost as tall. Both of these heathers get creamy colored tips of yellow and orange in spring then blooming follows. At some point I will need to move these two huge heathers into a sunny location, probably in the front yard. It is possible to replant these heathers into the new flower bed in the back but I think this flower bed will actually become an herb bed. I think herbs in the garden are a great match with flowers, they look great and provide green through much of the year, are aromatic, and you can cook with them too. My old heathers really do love the spot they are in since it is one of the sunniest areas on our property. They may just have to join the herb bed or convince me to create a heath and heather bed there instead.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gardening Article: The Gardener’s Peskiest Pest

Ah, gardening. For those of us who love to garden, gardening time is prime time. Non-gardeners are sometimes hard-pressed to understand it, but when we’re out in our gardens raking, hoeing, watering, planting and sweating, we’re at our happiest. There’s just something about working close to the earth that is relaxing and restful, no matter how hard we may be toiling physically.

But in the spring and summer months when gardening is at it’s peak, idyllic hours spent in the garden are sometimes ruined by an unwelcome intruder – mosquitoes. Though mosquitoes are no fun for anyone, mosquitoes can be particularly tormenting for gardeners.

After all, most gardening tasks turn us into easy targets for mosquitoes. Planting, hoeing, weeding, or whatever chore we’re doing as we slowly work our way down a row of plants leaves us quite vulnerable to attack as the mosquitoes zero in on the carbon dioxide we exhale.

And isn’t it a special delight when a mosquito alights upon your cheek while your hands are encrusted with soil - or something even less savory? You’re forced to choose between letting the mosquito have its way with you or slapping yourself in the face with your grimy hand!

Mosquitoes Are Deadly Serious Business

Unfortunately, mosquitoes are much more than just simply a nuisance that can spoil your outdoor activities. Mosquitoes are directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people every year. The mosquito spreads diseases such as West Nile virus, various forms of encephalitis, and the most deadly mosquito-borne disease, malaria.

So although mosquitoes may ruin your gardening fun, leaving you a mass of itching welts, consider yourself lucky if that’s all they do to you. Millions of people each year are considerably less fortunate.

You Can Take Back Your Garden…

You don’t allow weeds or any other pests take over your garden; you don’t have to let mosquitoes take over, either. And you also don’t have to resort to smearing smelly mosquito repellents on your skin.

There are a number of modern mosquito control products that are quite effective at either repelling or killing mosquitoes. One such product that is particularly suited for gardeners is called the ThermeCell Mosquito Repellent Appliance.

The ThermaCell is a portable mosquito repellent device that creates a safe-zone from mosquitoes. Whether you clip it to your belt or just place it close to where you’re working, the thermacell will create a safe-zone of 225 square feet (15 feet x 15 feet) in no-wind conditions.

Other modern mosquito control products include traps that use carbon dioxide to lure mosquitoes to their deaths, and set-and-forget sprayers that automatically spray mosquitoes with a natural insecticide.

What About Mosquito Repellent Plants?

For gardeners, what could be a more perfect form of mosquito control than growing plants that repel mosquitoes?

Unfortunately, though, there aren’t any plants that just by their mere presence will repel mosquitoes. Though there are many plants that are hyped as being repellent to mosquitoes, according to experts, growing these plants will have little impact upon the mosquito population in your garden.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are many plants you can grow which do have some mosquito repellent properties when the leaves or stems of the plants are crushed to release the natural oils of the plants.

You can use these plants as a natural repellent applied to your skin, and while they probably won’t be as effective as using DEET, they can help to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. These plants include:

• Ageratum
• Basil
• Beautyberry
• Catnip
• Garlic
• Horsemint
• Lavender
• Lemon grass
• Marigolds
• Onion
• Rosemary

The Worst Garden Pest?

As gardeners, it often seems as if we’re constantly battling one pest or another. Whether it’s invasive weeds, armyworms, flea beetles, cucumber beetles, thrips, or any other of a myriad of gardening pests, it seems there’s always something that wants a piece of what we’re growing.

But the argument could be made that mosquitoes are the very worst of all the pests we face. After all, they don’t simply want a piece of what we’re growing; they want a piece of us!

Image courtesy of eHow.

About the author: Visit the author’s website:, to learn more about the mosquito and the best and most effective mosquito control products and repellents.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gardening Article: Having Fun in the Summer Garden

Summer is finally upon us. Really, is there a better way to spend the long lazy days than by growing living things in the rich soil? Few activities provide us with more rewards than gardening. Whether you choose to have a garden bursting with the bright colors of summer flowers or enjoy growing the fixings for a spectacular summer salad, you are nurturing something that will bring joy to anyone who happens to see it or taste it.

Great Choices for a Summer Flower Garden

Depending on where you live, your mileage may vary, but some great blooms to include in your summer garden include:

-- Geranium
-- Marigolds
-- Amaranthus
-- Chrysanthemum
-- Lavender
-- Cosmos
-- Dahlia
-- Iris
-- Freesia
-- Gladiolus

Really, the list goes on and on. Group your plants together and enjoy fragrant bursts of color, or spread them out for a delightful cottage garden effect. Don't feel left out if you live in an apartment -- container gardening is a wonderful way to go and summer flowers are perfect for the slightly harsher environment of a balcony.

Great Choices for a Summer Vegetable Garden

Fewer things give more pleasure than heading out to your garden and selecting your dinner and food never tastes as good as when you grow it yourself. Summer vegetables provide a bounty that not only work well as your salad, but can also help create your main course. Stuffed zucchini is a favorite summer treat! Some excellent summer vegetables to try:

-- Green and wax beans
-- Corn
-- Cucumbers
-- Arugula
-- Bell peppers
-- Tomatoes
-- Zucchini
-- Broccoli
-- Carrots
-- Leeks
-- Snap and snow peas

It's Not Too Late!

Worried that you missed the summer cutoff for planting? Not a big deal at all. You can still enjoy a garden full of flowers and veggies. While growing your plants from seeds probably won't garner you a harvest at this point, you can still get seedlings and fully grown plants from local nurseries. The best part? At this time of the year they are practically giving them away! You will be able to score excellent deals on plants and may be able to have an even bigger garden than you dreamed possible.

Avoid the supermarket gardening departments and head to the local nurseries. They will have great advice on what will grow well in your area, based on the soil and local weather conditions. Check their clearance sections, but don't compromise on quality. If you are planning a container garden, make sure to pick up some high quality potting soil as well.

You can still enjoy a fantastic summer garden. Get out there and get dirty!

Image courtesy of

About the author: This helpful information was provided by the research team at, home of the HP coupon. Find coupons, cash back, deals, and much more at

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