Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Woodland Plants for Your Garden Part I

Republished from my blog

Woodland plants work well in shady gardens and are plentiful in terms of varieties to choose from. Woodland plants prefer a good soil with plenty of leaf material or compost. Most of these plants do well in partial shade to shaded conditions. If you have a shady area in your yard a good starting point is to choose one of the many varieties of ferns, they lend a feeling of the woods to your yard and are low maintenance. Sword ferns are an easy entryway to provide a woodland feeling, or get ambitious and plant an Australian tree fern as a focal point in your garden.

Azaleas (beautiful flowers, smaller than Rhododendrons, many varieties and colors to choose from)
Barberry (prickly thorns with red coloring)
Bear’s Breeches (very pretty display of huge leaves and tall stalks of flowers)
Bugle (low growing with colorful flowers)
Clematis vines (many varieties and colors, grow them up trees and shrubs or alone)
Conifers (huge variety of shrubs)
Cotoneaster (great as a ground cover)
Cyclamen (low growing and colorful flowers)
Glory of the Snow (colorful low growing bulb for spring)
Ladies Mantle
Columbine (re-seeds readily)
Elephant’s Ears
Flowering Quince
Heather (hardy shrub, make sure they have a minimum of six hours of direct sun a day to thrive and is a variety that takes semi-shade planting)
Lords and Ladies
Montbretia (can be invasive bulbs, if they love where they are planted they spread quite a bit)
Nettle-Leaved Bellflower
Perennial Cornflower
Perennial Forget-me-not
Rhododendrons (beautiful displays of flowers, give them plenty of room to grow large)
Spotted Laurel
Wood Anemone

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fall Coastal Garden

The annual heather trip was great as usual. I picked up about seven heathers with colorful foliage of orange, red, green and brown. One of the heathers has white flowers, something a little different for the garden. The property has tons of heaths and heathers planted in the field and a lot of fruit trees, including numerous apple trees and a fig tree. There is a beautiful tall blue spruce that sits near the apple trees too. It is a lovely location out in the country and a nice way to take a moment to relax and enjoy the fall weather. I plan on planting the newly bought heathers in another barrel, this time I'd like to set a barrel right next to the back steps so I can see the heathers when I take a break on the deck.

We've got lots of pruning to do before the rainy season starts in November. The kiwi vines are way overgrown so that's the next job on my list in the garden, along with finishing up cutting back the front yard roses. The curly willow tree has grown so big it shades most of one side of the front yard. The drooping cherry tree has gotten wider and taller, I don't think it will ever be over six feet tall, which is the perfect size for our front yard. The drooping cherry tree is full of leaves this year and bloomed quite a bit more this spring. I think this is the first year it has looked this good since we moved here. What is really unusual is that the drooping cherry tree usually starts to drop its leaves in early October, here we are towards the end of the month and only a few leaves have dropped.

The three October Glory Maple trees planted in our front sidewalk are coloring very slowly this October. It could be because they are getting taller and older and perhaps the leaves and color will stay a bit longer on the trees, at least that's what I'm hoping for. The trees usually drop their leaves entirely by the end of October. The maple trees were planted by a city beautification group and we were happy to have three planted in front of our house. For me there is nothing more pleasing in the fall garden than watching leaves change color as the weather turns cold.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gardening Article: Five Reasons why a Garden Pond will Benefit Your Home

Thinking of installing a pond into your garden? Here are five benefits that you’ll get from adding a little mini sanctuary in your own back yard!

1) Environmental Benefits:

A small garden pond is a fairly low-maintenance garden element; it uses less water than a lawn and requires less energy and water consumption to keep it looking beautiful. It also attracts plant and animal life, creating a safe haven, rather than taking away from the natural environment. Additionally, the pond can serve as shelter for wildlife. The pond also provides food through the plants you add around the pond, helping any habiting animals thrive.

DID YOU KNOW: It’s thought that a pond can actually offer outdoor “air conditioning” through its ability to create evaporative cooling. This provides a great, natural way to stay cool outdoors!

2) Ambiance Benefits:

The sound and sight of running water is a delight to the ears and eyes, creating a sensory experience. The pond’s water sounds can mask other manmade sounds (such as street traffic) to improve relaxation in the garden.

3) Educational Benefits:

For your family and friends, the pond can become a great educational experience, especially the first-hand contact with all types of living things that are attracted to living in the watery habitat. You might see dragonflies, frogs, toads, pond snails, zooplankton, snakes water beetles, mayflies and all types of birds visiting your pond. These critters and animals come in search of a home and food, plus they use the bathing facilities. Meanwhile, you get the joy of watching nature in its element, plus an opportunity to teach the youngsters about how the ecosystem works.

4) Social Benefits:

A pond can create a great talking point for your family and friends, providing hours of entertainment. The garden pond can even become a focal point at a backyard barbecue or dinner party, becoming part of the decorations - especially if you have highlighted it with solar powered LED lighting or garden ornaments (we love strings of mirrors that twinkle as they reflect the sunlight).

A beautiful pond can offer intangible feelings of relaxation, as you have effectively created a little sanctuary in your backyard.

TIP: Building a pond with the family can bring you all closer together too. Finally, we bet your neighbors will comment on your pond-building efforts and compliment your beautiful garden once its finished!

5) Value Benefits:

Some research suggests that a garden pond can increase the property value of your home. While this may hold true for those buyers who would enjoy having a pond, it’s important to remember that not every buyer is looking for the commitment and responsibility of maintaining a pond.

A garden pond will ensure your house stands out against other comparable houses, which will make a difference to a potential buyer who truly appreciates the beauty of that beautiful garden pond and a little natural sanctuary.

The garden pond can also add to the curb appeal and accentuate the finer features of your home’s architecture as well as offer the advantage of a low-maintenance yard that so many busy families can greatly appreciate.

On all fronts, it is hard to find any downside to having a garden pond!

Image © Public domain, via

About the author: This article was written by Carly on behalf of Swallow Aquatics. When not writing, Carly enjoys training her first 5K race and walking her two cute doggies.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

YesComUSA Flexible Expandable Water Hose Review

YesComUSA was kind enough to send me a free Flexible Expandable Water Hose for review. You've seen this expandable hose hawked on TV for the 25 foot size at $24.99 (YesComUSA's price is $14.99) price point. YesComUSA has the 75 foot version of the hose on sale at $39.99, the market price is regularly $54.99, which is a great deal!

I was eager to test out this flexible garden hose. I received the Flexible Expandable Water Hose via UPS, it was packaged in a short box and securly wrapped. When opening the package the Flexible Expandable Water Hose was in excellent shape, the hose was wrapped in plastic with detailed instructions for using the garden hose, and the green color was the same as the photos of the product online.

The Flexible Expandable Water Hose is extremely lightweight and easily affixes to the water spout and my watering wand. The garden hose fittings for the threaded end of the gardening hose are black and fit both the water spout and attached to my watering wand perfectly. The top part of the hose fitting has a lever to control water output. The hose is small and lightweight for storage, when it becomes filled with water it expands easily and stretches to 75 feet long. One note on this, if you are looking for a quick spurt of water it takes 30 seconds or so for the hose to fill up for spraying and the same for it to release the water once you turn off the water.

The best part is the hose is still very lightweight, making watering the garden and storage of the hose a cinch. The material feels very sturdy once it is filled with water and does not kink. Anyone who waters their garden by hand knows what a PAIN it is when the hose kinks and you are halfway down the lawn watering and have to trudge back to unkink the hose. You'll never have this problem with kinks with this expandable hose. I also noticed the water flow through my watering wand was much better using this hose. I highly recommend the Flexible Expandable Water Hose for gardeners who want easy hose storage, a lightweight hose when watering and no more hose kinks when you water! If you are interested in the 25 foot version of this hose you can check it out on their gardening equipment page.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Plants for Hanging Baskets - Part IV

Republished from my blog

Plant up a basket of brightly colored chiles for your kitchen. Hang your chile basket near the back door for eacy access to your chiles. Smaller chiles are hotter, choose hotter or milder chiles to fill your basket. Plant up a few varieties of small peppers with an herb like cilantro for a colorful kitchen basket. Plant one variety or two or three varieties together in the basket depending on the size of the pepper plant. There are also brightly colored ornamental chile plants available in nurseries if you just want color in your basket. Choose your chiles using this helpful list with information and pictures of chili peppers, and a link at the end of the page to the scoville scale of peppers. This site has a beginner's guide to growing chiles and plenty of information to get you started.

Chile de Arbol
Mini bell peppers
Ornamental peppers

Hanging baskets need the same attention as container plants, water them regularly as they dry out quickly and are often dried out from wind where they are positioned.

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