Gardening Tips https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:44:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2016/04/ipad-icon-e1461272681961.jpg Gardening Tips https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com 32 32 What to Plant Late Summer and Early Fall – Vegetables – Flowers – Plants https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/fall-gardening/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fall-gardening https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/fall-gardening/#respond Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:44:00 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/2015/08/06/fall-gardening/ Families Online Magazine -

Vegetables, flowers and plants that grow well when you plant late summer and early fall. Vegetables Plant in August to September for a late fall crop  as far north as […]

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early fall gardenVegetables, flowers and plants that grow well when you plant late summer and early fall.

Vegetables

Plant in August to September for a late fall crop  as far north as Michigan.

Beets

All parts of beets are edible. The most  beets are red, but golden and striped varieties are now available. You can harvest beet greens when they are a about 2″  tall.  Beet roots are ready to harvest when they are approx. 1 ½ – 2″ in diameter. Larger roots are tougher. Harvest by pulling or digging out. Leave at least 1 inch of the leaves on, to stop bleeding while cooking.

Kale

Fall is the best time for growing kale in areas where winter doesn’t dip below the teens, or in cold farther north, because the leaves are sweeter when they mature in cooler weather. Kale is easy to plant. Set plants at the depth at which they are growing in the container. Space them 18 to 24 inches apart. The leaves will grow bigger if given a lot of space, but smaller leaves are the most tender. Pick the oldest leaves from the lowest section of the plants, discarding those that appear yellowed or ragged. Pick your way up the stalk, taking as many leaves as you like, as long as you leave at least 4 leaves intact at each plant’s top (or growing crown) if you want re-growth.

Celery

Is a cool-season crop, it needs moist ground in which to grow.   Start your celery seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the usual  frost date for your area. Soak the seeds before planting. Seeds need light but not direct sunlight. They grow best if  temperatures range from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the day and not below 60 degrees Fahrenheitat night. Plant seeds in new, clean potting soil, placing the seed no more than 1/4-inch deep. Translpant outside into feritzed ground. You can start eating celery when the stalks reach 8 inches high. Cut the stalks from the outside in, or just cut the entire plant at the soil level.

Flowers

Several flower varies need to be planted in the fall to grow in the spring. These flowers are often the first to be seen each spring.

Tulips

Plant when the soil is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and when a hard frost is about six to eight weeks away. Plant with  the bulb’s pointed end facing up, at least 8 inches below the surface. Cover the bulbs with dirt, water and add fertilizer. Further watering is necessary only during times of extremely low rainfall.

Daffodils

Daffodils are hardy and easy perennials and grow in most areas in North America. Daffodils like full sun or partial shade. Plant bulbs 1-1/2 to 5 times below the surface, spaced 3 to 6 inches apart. Cover with at least 3 inches of soil.

Crocus

Plant in a sunny area away from trees. Plant in hole about 6 inch deep and 3 inches wide, cover with soil about 2x the depth of the bulb. Pat soil.

Mums

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends planting in zones 3 through 9. there are many varieties, so check with your local lawn and garden store to find the best variety suited to your climate. Choose a spot with more sun in northern climates and at least four hours in warmer climates. Plant in a hole twice as wide and slightly shallower than the containers or root balls on transplant Allow space for each mum’s mature size. Leave stems uncut in cold climates, and mound up to 8 inches of soil or leaves over plants for added protection throughout the winter.

Ground Cover

Ajuga Black Scallop PW

A neat little fast-growing ground cover with deep, dark burgundy leaves and blue blossoms in spring, lingering into summer. I prefer this one to regular Ajuga bronze due to its larger leaves and deeper color.

Creeping Red Thyme

(Thymus praecox subsp. Arcticus) This is a fast-growing evergreen ground cover with wonderfully aromatic foliage. If you’d planted it last season, right now you could be enjoying a profusion of lovely red flowers. Easy to grow and good between pavers, too.

More Fall Planting Tips

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Full Sun or Shade: Groundcovers for Your Fall Planting List https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/fall-ground-cover-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fall-ground-cover-2 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/fall-ground-cover-2/#respond Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:44:00 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wordpfam/fall-ground-cover-2/ Families Online Magazine -

Full Sun or Shade: Groundcovers for Your Fall Planting List- The Plant Man from Families Online Magazine.

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Full Sun or Shade: Groundcovers for Your Fall Planting List

The month of August is winding down, the kids are back at school and we’re beginning to look forward to cooler weather. For gardeners, this can only mean one thing: fall planting is almost upon us.

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to survey your landscape and see which areas need a little TLC.

Groundcover Planting Time

Perhaps you’ll see a bare patch that would benefit from some low-growing, easy-care groundcover. If that patch receives full sun, take a look at a couple of Creeping Phlox varieties such as Apple Blossom or Emerald Blue.

Apple Blossom Creeping Phlox creates a carpet of bright, candy-colored blossoms with vigorous green foliage when not in bloom. As you might guess, the Emerald Blue variety produces masses of bright blue blooms atop a mat of dense spreading foliage.

Both perennial Creeping Phlox varieties bask in full sun, grow 6 to 12 inches tall and are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.

How about that bare patch that’s more shade than sun?

The perennial Ajuga Burgundy Glow (Ajuga reptans) is a creeping, mat forming, groundcover that just loves shady areas. Ajuga Burgundy Glow spreads rapidly by stolons and gets only 6 inches tall and spreads to a width of 24 – 36 inches.

In late spring and early summer, it produces dark blue flowers borne on spike-like whorls, and is hardy in zones 3 to 9.

More About Fall Planting

Gardening Books

We can all use some help and inspiration when it comes to our gardens. Just as “foodies love to read cookbooks, gardeners enjoy a good garden book. Here are a few that you might want to dig your fork into…

The All New Square Foot Gardening

Mel Bartholomew (Cool Springs Press)

Sub-titled “Grow more in less space, the publisher claims that the original Square Foot Gardening is the popular gardening book of all time. Author Bartholomew is a civil engineer by profession (and, he says, a frustrated gardener by weekend). His engineering brain told him that conventional single-row gardening was a waste of energy and output. He condensed the unmanageable single-row space to 4×4 feet, amended the soil, and found he had developed a gardening system that yields 100% of the harvest in 20% of the space.

Square Foot Gardening is a simple concept to follow, made easier by Bartholomew’s friendly guidance and the scores of detailed how-to photos in this book. Highly recommended for those who are strapped for space.


The Green Gardener’s Guide

Joe Lamp’l (Cool Springs Press)

Author Joe Lamp’l is the host of the PBS series “Garden Smart and DIY Network’s “Fresh From the Garden. He has a passion for gardening and environmental stewardship, something close to my own heart.

His book is logically divided into sections with titles such as “Conserving water in the garden, “Landscaping to control runoff, “Turning waste into gardening gold and “Consuming less energy in the landscape.

Lamp’l asserts that by mulching all landscape beds on your property, you can reduce the runoff and accompanying loss of soil to erosion by as much as 80 percent. Additionally, if every gardener in the U.S. planted trees for shade and windbreak, they would reduce heating and cooling needs by as much as 40 percent and cut CO2 emissions by 120 million tons per year. Most of all, he delivers simple, practical information in bite-size chunks anyone could use to “green up their landscape.

The New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques

American Horticultural Society (Octopus Books)

I suggest you might want to add it to your Holiday Wish List!

It would be hard to find experts with more qualifications than those at the American Horticultural Society who have edited this encyclopedia. It has a highly readable layout and hundreds of photos and watercolor illustrations to aid gardening techniques and identify plants and pests.

And as you prepare for fall planting, stop by my Web site www.landsteward.org for a large archive of Plant Man columns and other helpful articles to guide you along. Fall is in the air!

The Plant Man, , is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to steve@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org

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Lawn and Garden: Never Too Early to Plan Fall Planting https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/fall-planting-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fall-planting-2 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/fall-planting-2/#respond Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:44:00 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wordpfam/fall-planting-2/ Families Online Magazine -

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Never Too Early to Plan Fall Planting

Fall planting? But it’s only just summer! It’s way too early to be thinking about fall planting, isn’t it?

Nope.

This is an excellent time to be thinking ahead to the cooler days of fall and what you can plant to enhance your landscape. What makes “right now” so special?

Right now your landscape is probably at its high point. The foliage on shrubs and trees is full and lush. Many of your late spring and early summer plants are in bloom. Take a look around your landscape. Walk around and see it as if with fresh eyes. This is the best time of year to see where the gaps are. Later in the year, and of course in winter, this is less obvious as deciduous trees have shed their leaves and even evergreens are more dormant.

What do I mean by “gaps in your landscape? I don’t mean to suggest you should necessarily fill every square foot of soil with plants. But when you look at your landscape, as if for the first time, you’ll see areas that don’t look complete, somehow.

Perhaps there’s an awkward space between plants that looks empty, like a smile with a missing tooth. Maybe a dead plant had been removed and never replaced. Or perhaps an older plant has outgrown its usefulness, dwarfing smaller plants around it and preventing sunlight and rainwater from reaching them.

Not only that, but at this time of year you can look at your landscape and see some of your favorite plants at their best and decide if it would be a good idea to invest in one or two more. At our nursery, it is not unusual for Cheryl and me to hear from customers who bought shrubs from us one or two seasons ago and want to buy more of the same, once they’ve seen how well those plants enhance their particular garden plan.

As a general rule, it makes sense to place low-growing plants at the front of the beds with medium sized plants behind them and the taller shrubs in back. Now is the time to look at your beds and determine if there are some plants that are “out of whack” in your landscape. Instead of waiting until fall or next spring, decide now if any plants need to be retired and replaced, and which ones you’d like to see more of next summer.

Need some idea starters? Here are some plants you can research right now and probably pre-order for fall planting.

Let’s start with the low-growers

Ajuga Black Scallop PW

A neat little fast-growing ground cover with deep, dark burgundy leaves and blue blossoms in spring, lingering into summer. I prefer this one to regular Ajuga bronze due to its larger leaves and deeper color.

Creeping Red Thyme

(Thymus praecox subsp. Arcticus) This is a fast-growing evergreen ground cover with wonderfully aromatic foliage. If you’d planted it last season, right now you could be enjoying a profusion of lovely red flowers. Easy to grow and good between pavers, too.

Moving back to some medium-height plants…

Heuchera Lime Ricky PPAF

This would be superb choice to plant behind the Ajuga Black Scallop (or adjacent to any dark foliage plant such as Black Elephant Ears or Black Mondo grass) because the scalloped leaves are a glowing chartreuse in spring turning lemon-lime in summer, emphasizing the contrast with black Ajuga foliage. Mature height: around 2 feet.

Heuchera villosa Tiramisu PPAF

Imagine these splashes of brick red color spattered around your garden, lightening to chartreuse in summer with a light silver overlay.

And now some taller plants…

Carolina Allspice

(Calycanthus floridus) A dense, deciduous shrub that can grow to 5 or 6 feet (or more) at maturity, Carolina Allspice has lustrous dark green foliage and very fragrant, brown to reddish-brown flowers.

Buddleia Bi-Color

Easy to grow and extremely fragrant, this variety sports two different colors on the same bloom stalk: rich lavender and butterscotch yellow. It will bloom all summer and attract swarms of colorful butterflies to your garden. Mature height: 5 to 6 feet.

Survey your landscape, plan for improvements and pre-order plants now for fall planting. Let me know if you need some more suggestions.

The Plant Man, , is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to steve@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org

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Spring Gardening Tips https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/spring-garden/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spring-garden https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/spring-garden/#comments Mon, 13 May 2019 18:21:14 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/2016/03/01/spring-garden/ Families Online Magazine -

It’s been a long time coming, but spring is finally on its way and we can all enjoy some much deserved sunshine. Now is the time to start preparing your […]

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tulips

It’s been a long time coming, but spring is finally on its way and we can all enjoy some much deserved sunshine. Now is the time to start preparing your garden for its main growing season. Here are some great tips to help your garden spring into action:

Tidy up

All gardens need a good tidy up after a long, hard British winter. Rake up leaves and cut back any dead branches. Start the battle against weeds early to give yourself a head start later on with the ground clear it’s easy to spot the invaders at this time of year.

If you didn’t get round to doing it in the autumn, now is the time to turn the soil. Being careful not to damage any delicate roots, turn a fork’s depth over, breaking it up as you do. If you have any piles of leaves left over from the autumn, sprinkle on top to discourage the weeds and provide a lovely layer of nutrients.

Finally, mow your lawn it will instantly transform how your garden looks, and the smell of newly cut grass instantly makes you think of warmer weather!

Take a good look at the trees in the garden and remove any dead or diseased branches which may be dangerous. Call a professional tree surgeon    for the removal of large limbs or high branches which are difficult to reach.

Sow your spring garden

With such a late spring, the ground is not warm enough yet to plant seeds. Wait until the soil has warmed up, and we are past the risk of frost. If growing under glass or plastic, you could warm the soil in advance with a thick layer of manure, or if that doesn’t appeal, plastic sheeting can do the job. Cover the area where you want to plant your crop, secure the plastic with bricks or pallets, then leave for 2 or 3 weeks to allow the soil to warm.

It’s also a good idea to wait a little longer to buy your bedding plants (despite the beautiful displays in your garden centre). A late frost could finish them off or at least weaken them and destroy delicate leaf tissue.

Caring for Bulbs

Spring bulbs are a pleasure at this time of year and a sure sign that the weather is improving. Once the bulb has flowered, wait before cutting down the leaves. Let the plant yellow and drop before cutting it down, so that all the nutrients go back into the bulb for the next year. If the plants have started growing too close together, or have produced smaller flowers than usual, they may be overcrowded and not getting enough nutrients. Don’t be afraid to dig them all up and replant.

Feeling jealous of your neighbors” bulbs? Now is the time to plant summer bulbs, such as Lily and Dahlia. They offer a wonderful splash of color in the summer months and are always such a pleasant surprise when they break through the soil.

Grow your own vegetables

Creating a vegetable garden is a real adventure, and a fantastic way to teach children about where our food comes from. If there’s still frost on the ground (and let’s face it, it’s likely!) you can start growing tomatoes in a greenhouse or windowsill. Spinach, lettuce and peas can be planted in early spring, and once it looks as though winter is finally behind us you can add carrots and leeks. Children will love the excitement of cooking with freshly grown vegetables, and it may even help them try something new.

Preparing your garden for spring is hard work, but once you’ve finished you’ll be rewarded with a tidy, attractive outdoor space that’s ready for you to enjoy as soon as the warmer weather finally arrives!

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Plan Your Spring Garden https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/plan-garden/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=plan-garden Mon, 13 May 2019 18:03:00 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/2015/02/20/plan-garden/ Families Online Magazine -

Dreaming of spring, triggering an itch to get out of the house and into the garden. But while you are fighting a full-blown case of cabin fever, plant explorers and […]

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vegetable garden

Dreaming of spring, triggering an itch to get out of the house and into the garden. But while you are fighting a full-blown case of cabin fever, plant explorers and outdoor décor vendors are turning up a whole slew of new green goods.

From homegrown vegetables and patio-ready plants to ever-blooming shrubs and funky glazed containers.

Hip Harvests 

vegetable garden plan 8 x 8
Illustration by Rene Pais120

Fresh from the garden vegetables and herbs are a true luxury guaranteed to make your summer recipes taste even better. From spicy basil and red-stemmed spinach to super-sized lima beans and tomatoes that look like bell peppers, breakthroughs in breeding are making vegetable gardening easy and en vogue. This season you can dazzle your dinner guests with meals created using ingredients harvested right from your own garden.

Patio Ready Plants 

Add color to patios, balconies or terraces with clematis bred to be grown in a container, and are available in bold reds, dark purples and mauve. The long-blooming patio clematis grow only 3 feet, and provide vertical columns of color from spring through fall.

Color Your Landscape with Shrubs 

Replace your boxwood with colorful, “Drops of Gold’ Japanese Holly. Ideal as a hedge or foundation plant, it offers striking foliage of bright gold when exposed to the sun. Or perhaps Photinia Pink Marbleâ„¢, a preppy reddish pink & green landscape shrub, known for its extraordinary foliage and low maintenance.

And don’t forget shrub roses! Ever blooming and disease resistance Knock Out® rose from Star® Roses bloom almost continuously, available in three colors, are easy to grow with little to no maintenance needed.

Give Your Plants a Boost 

Great gardens begin underground with nutrient-rich soil. Products like LazyManâ„¢ Liquid Soil Aerator and LazyManâ„¢ Organic Soil Conditioner and Miracel Grow make it easy to enhance soil quality for naturally healthy lawns and gardens.

Turn up your plant’s own growth and defense systems with  Eden Bioscience. This revolutionary new plant care product is like a vaccination for your plants, increasing plant vigor while protecting its health. Environmentally safe, this breakthrough product enhances disease resistance. Spray it on throughout the growing season, and Messenger® will improve the overall performance of plants both indoors and outdoors.

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Lawn and Garden: Call 811 Before You Dig This Spring https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/811-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=811-2 Mon, 13 May 2019 06:18:22 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wordpfam/811-2/ Families Online Magazine -

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Call 811 Before You Dig This Spring

So you’ve decided to plant a couple of trees in your landscape this weekend. What’s the worst thing that could happen? An aching back? Blistered hands? Not even close!

How about swinging a pickaxe, hearing a clang and getting drenched with a geyser gushing from the water main you hit? Or maybe pulling back the lever on your rented Bobcat and realizing you’ve just ruptured a gas line or torn up a buried electrical cable?

It’s safe to say that any of those could pretty much ruin your weekend. You would also earn the wrath of your neighbors whose utilities were cut off until crews could repair your damage, and it’s likely you’d be responsible for the cost of repairs and possibly even open to legal consequences.

You might think that the hole you are digging for that new tree isn’t deep enough to cause a problem, but that can be a dangerous assumption. For one thing, some utilities might be closer to the surface than you imagine.

Additionally, you have to remember that tree roots can go deep and wide as the tree matures, and planting over or close to underground utilities is like burying a green time bomb that can dislodge and break lines many years in the future.

Fortunately, this is a problem that has a very simple (and free) solution.

All you have to do – BEFORE you dig – is ca call a single 3-digit phone number: 811. When you call 811 from anywhere in the country, your call will be routed to your local One Call Center. Local One Call Center operators will ask you for the location of your digging job and route your call to affected utility companies. Your utility companies will then send a professional locator to your location to mark your lines within a few days.

Utility companies have offered this service for many years, but with so many companies with so many phone numbers spread across the country, there was a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Hence the start of a national one-call service and a unique phone number, 811.

Some homeowners believe the 811 service is solely for contractors but that is incorrect. Utility companies are just as happy to mark their lines for your DIY projects as for professional excavation jobs.

I should add that, even if you hire professional contractors to build that new deck or fence on your property, don’t assume they will call 811 before they begin work. I recommend that you ask the contractor if they have already done so, or you can simply call 811 yourself and tell your contractor that you’ve made the call.

Within a few days, you’ll see some little colored flags or lines of colored paint criss-crossing your land, indicating what lies beneath. Here’s what the colors indicate:

Red – Electric

Orange – Communications, Telephone/CATV

Blue – Potable Water

Green – Sewer/Drainage

Yellow – Gas/Petroleum Pipe Line

Purple – Reclaimed Water

White – Premark site of intended excavation

As you can see, white paint or flags are used to indicate where you or your contractors are planning to dig. It’s a very good idea to mark the dig location before the utility locator teams come out. But be sure you use only WHITE markers to avoid any confusion!

While the marker teams are looking down, you should take a few moments to look up. Overhead power and telephone lines are so much part of our lives that they almost become invisible to us.

But a tree planted under or close to an overhead power line can be a major problem. Before you plant a tree anywhere near overhead lines, double-check the possible mature height and canopy spread, and if necessary err on the side of caution and plant it a little further away.

Special thanks to Alecia White, representing The Common Ground Alliance, for reminding us that more than 256,000 underground utility lines are struck each year in the U.S. If you’d rather not be part of that statistic, simply call 811 so you’ll know what’s below before you dig.

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Lawn and Garden: Deer-Resistant Plants Mean Less Landscape Damage https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/deer-resistant-plants-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=deer-resistant-plants-2 Sat, 09 Mar 2019 03:34:35 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wordpfam/deer-resistant-plants-2/ Families Online Magazine -

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By Steve Jones, The Plant Man –

I think we’d all agree that deer are hungry critters. However much you enjoy wildlife, you can be disheartened, or even outraged, to find your prized shrubs chewed down to the stumps with tell-tale hoof prints in the surrounding soil.

In the previous Plant Man column, I described ways to determine if deer are the real culprits, and I took a look at some deer repellent products, both commercial and home-made. If you missed that column, you can find it at my Web site www.landsteward.org

Today, we’ll take a look at some deer resistant plants. As far as I know, there are no “deer-repellent” plants; the kind that would send deer scurrying away in panic. No such luck. So your best bet, if deer are a potential problem, is to select plants that hold the least possible attraction to deer. Unfortunately, in times of scarcity, deer will eat almost anything green, but you can put the odds in your favor so they will ignore your landscape in search of greener – and tastier – pastures.

Do a little homework and you’ll quickly discover which plants attract deer and which plants they find less desirable. A good place to start is http://njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance/ a Web site hosted by Rutgers University.

That Web site consists of a long chart of alphabetically-listed plant names, color-coded to indicate which are rarely damaged, seldom severely damaged, occasionally severely damaged or frequently severely damaged.

Using the Rutgers chart, you can determine if a plant on your wish list might be better replaced with a less deer-yummy one. Although it’s a long list, I can think of other plants that you could select when deer are a potential problem. Here are some to consider:

boxwood evergreenBoxwood Wintergreen (Buxus microphylla)

 

I’ve found that deer don’t particularly care for the taste or aroma of boxwoods under normal circumstances. This popular low growing evergreen shrub is commonly seen as a low hedge or border defining the edges of formal and informal gardens. The Wintergreen Boxwood offers dark green lustrous leaves and creates a striking hedge with year round color, holding its green color all winter long. Suitable for USDA zones 5 – 9.

Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Goldsturm)

Black Eyed Susans are true perennials, returning larger each year. They are great for mass plantings and provide wonderful contrasting colors when paired with ornamental grasses, Shasta daisies, Russian sage or dianthus. Black Eyed Susan should be deadheaded regularly for continued blooms. They are a native North American wildflower as well as being deer and rabbit resistant yet attracting butterflies. Zones 4 – 9.

Barberry Rose Glow  Barberry Rose Glow (Berberis thunbergii)

 

This is an eye catching form of Japanese Barberry, emerging with early foliage that is a rosy glowing pink color that turns a crimson burgundy as it matures. Full sun produces the best foliage, looking good as foundation, border or mass planting. Barberry Rose Glow needs a well drained area and can tolerate some drought in zones 4 through 7.

American Holly (Ilex opaca)

American Holly (Ilex opaca) probably wouldn’t relish eating holly and, as a rule, neither do deer. Left untrimmed, American Holly can reach a height of
30 feet or more with a spread of 18 to 30 feet. Bear in mind you will need at least one of each sex to produce berries that will attract birds and butterflies but not deer. Hardy in zones 5 to 9.

 

Bamboo Sunset Glow (Fargesia rufa)

A favorite of the Giant Panda but not that attractive to deer. This is a clumping (non-running) variety. Growing to 8 feet in height, the orange-red sheaths and deep green leaves will provide a nice hedge or screen at maturity when planted in groups. USDA zones 6 – 9.

 

 

Sage, Thyme and Chives

Deer don’t particularly care for these herbs but humans do, so they’re not a bad choice as attractive groundcover and as a great, fresh addition to many home-cooked dishes.

Again, no plant is 100% deer-resistant. But when you select plants that are less attractive to deer and employ some of the deterrents we discussed in the previous column, you should find that deer will generally look elsewhere for their salad buffet.

The Plant Man,
Steve Jones, is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to steve@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org

LandSteward.org is based on the concept that our goal should be to leave the land better than the way we found it. Or at the very least, to do it no harm.

Lawn and Garden: Planting is Easy…. When You Know How

Lawn and Garden: Call 811 Before You Dig This Spring

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Preparing Your Garden and Backyard for the Spring https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/garden-prep/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=garden-prep Thu, 07 Feb 2019 22:49:57 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/?p=21471 Families Online Magazine -

With winter reaching the end, it’s time to start planning your garden makeover and a few outdoor projects. The harsh weather conditions have probably caused a lot of damage to […]

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backyard garden

With winter reaching the end, it’s time to start planning your garden makeover and a few outdoor projects. The harsh weather conditions have probably caused a lot of damage to your backyard, so it will probably require quite some time and effort to create something beautiful.

Whether you’re an avid gardener or just enjoy spending time in a beautiful exterior, there are a lot of great projects that can boost the appeal of your outdoor space. You just need to start on time and plan everything in advance, so you have enough time to create the best design.

Start with the soil

Before you start making plans for your flowers and plants, you need to dedicate some time to the quality of the soil in your garden. Early in the spring, the soil isn’t hard at all, so you can use fertilizer to enrich it and prepare it for the plants.

Depending on the type of plants you want to use and the condition of the soil, there are different types of fertilizers that will help you create the base for planting. Pay attention to things such as weed and insects, and react before adding plants and flowers, just to avoid dealing with these problems later in the future.

 

Prepare the lawn

raking yard

Having all that snow covering your lawn surely helped you a lot because you didn’t have to mow it all winter long. However, now’s the time to continue this process every single week, but before that, you need to prepare your lawn for the new season. The cold weather and snow can harm your grass, and it’s possible that there are certain parts of your lawn that just don’t look that attractive anymore. Let the grass grow a bit and then introduce a mowing routine every five days for the first month. This will allow the grass to start growing equally, and your lawn will look amazing before you know it.

 

Do some cleaning

Apart from the plants, the rest of your backyard requires additional attention and you need to take care of everything. If you have a pathway, look at different ways of upgrading it and using it to balance the exterior design. This will allow you to move through your garden and backyard without walking all over the lawn. If you have a tile pathway leading to your house, think about using tile sealing services before the spring.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a pathway in your garden, think about investing in one. You can opt for any material that’s sturdy and resilient to all the weather conditions. Look at it as a practical way to add some style to the design, but also as creating a more welcoming area in the backyard.

 

Trim the trees

This is probably something you did in the fall, but you couldn’t have known then which branches won’t make it through the winter. That’s why you need to repeat this process once again and remove all the branches that didn’t start producing new ones to make sure they don’t jeopardize the growth of the entire tree.

Apart from that, you can trim the bushes and other perennial plants, letting them grow and enjoy some nice weather. This will allow your backyard to really blossom with the first days of spring and show all the truly amazing colors and plants. Also, your garden will look cleaner and more beautiful because all those clean lines will accentuate the green surfaces and make them pop even more.

Add some cozy furniture

outdoor picnic

With the first appearance of the Sun above your backyard, you’ll probably feel a desire to start spending more and more time outside, breathing in all that fresh air. In addition to your simple garden chairs, there is a lot of cozy outdoor furniture you can add to your exterior, and enjoy the comfort.

For starters, think about the number of people you’d like to entertain there and add enough furniture for everyone. A great way to add some style and promote sustainability is adding wooden pallets and producing eco-friendly furniture that looks good and is also very practical.

This has become a huge trend in the last couple of years and people really enjoy this addition that’s easy to assemble and incorporate into any garden design. Just add a few decorative pillows and you’ll be ready to throw a party to welcome spring and show everyone how amazing your new backyard really is.

Preparing your outdoor space doesn’t have to mean too much work and a large budget.

If you plan everything in advance, you’ll be able to finish your projects before the spring arrives and start enjoying the nice weather straight away. Make sure to start on time and pay attention to every little detail to avoid starting everything all over again.

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5 Easy Winter Lawn Tips For Early Spring Green https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/5-winter-lawn-tips-for-early-spring-green/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-winter-lawn-tips-for-early-spring-green Sat, 02 Feb 2019 19:12:00 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/2016/01/19/5-winter-lawn-tips-for-early-spring-green/ Families Online Magazine -

By Domonique Powell The later months of fall can be the ideal time to get your lawn ready for old man winter. It can also better prepare your lawn to bounce […]

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tulips in snow

By Domonique Powell

The later months of fall can be the ideal time to get your lawn ready for old man winter. It can also better prepare your lawn to bounce back when spring makes its appearance. With the proper mowing height, removing leaves and debris, aeration and last minute fertilization, you’ll find winter lawn preparation to be beneficial for the condition of your lawn.

1) Fertilizer Treatment

A late season fertilizer treatment plan can prepare your lawn for spring. Since your lawn is growing at a slower pace and doesn’t need to be quite as long, the nutrients of the fertilizer will go directly to the roots of the blades of grass. This makes for a better start to the condition of your lawn come spring. Plenty of important nutrients can be lost throughout the winter months, and you need your lawn to absorb the fertilizer before the first frost of the season. Come spring, your lawn will become thicker and more lush and green. 
 

2) Mowing Stages
As summer winds down, you’ll want to gradually lower the setting of the blades of your lawn mower. Keeping your grass at a moderately short length can protect any new growth and deter infestations of moles, mice and other burrowing species of insects and animals. Be sure to remove cut grass that overlays the lawn to prevent smothering the roots and blocking the essential sun-rays from getting inside. The blades of grass are more sensitive than one may think. Hacking at the grass in one mowing transforming from long to short can shock and damage your lawn. This gradual shorter setting can also prevent your lawn from experiencing diseases and mold from the snow. 
 

3) Aerate Soil
Aerating the lawn is another helpful tip that can aid your lawn in remaining healthy and disease-free as spring approaches. Aerating is a simple process that allows you to improve the way your lawn drains and help the air to flow freely toward the root system. This is also helpful before the first major frost and can cut down on unhealthy conditions that can damage the state of your lawn. There are few tools needed to perform this task. However, you may want to consult a professional landscaper such as the ones at www.arbor-nomics.com to help you decide the right equipment needed for your yard.
 

4) Remove Debris
Leaves, branches and other debris can damage and smother your lawn throughout the winter months. These items can also be instrumental in stunting the grass growth in those areas of your lawn and create the perfect environmental conditions for mushrooms and bare spots in spring. To prevent unnecessary damage and maintain the wellness of your lawn, you’ll want to do a thorough sweep throughout the winter months. You can make several passes with the mower to mulch the leaves left dormant on your lawn. You should also remove toys, outdoor furniture and wood piles from your lawn. Rake leaves and dispose of them properly.
 

5) Redirect Traffic
Walking on your lawn in the winter months repeatedly can cause breakage to occur when the grass is frosted with ice. The crushed grass dies and sits as a limp area that is shown as a brown spot during the thaw. It can also make it difficult for its recovery in spring. You can redirect your traffic pattern toward a sidewalk or driveway pathway, so you won’t be tempted to cut through the grass. 

Dependent on where you live, Mother Nature can be unpredictable and bring with it variable temperatures and weather related conditions such as snow and ice. To ensure that your grass comes back healthy, you’ll want to follow the above winter lawn maintenance tips to a greener and lush lawn in spring. 

About the Author:

Domonique Powell is an avid gardener and enjoys a beautiful lawn. She believes that a beautiful lawn can be obtained year round. She searched www.arbor-nomics.com online, and found information which led to the inspiration for this article.

 

 

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Wetlands on the Rebound in the U.S. https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wetland-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wetland-2 Tue, 09 Oct 2018 06:34:33 +0000 https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wordpfam/wetland-2/ Families Online Magazine -

Wetlands on the Rebound in the U.S.- The Plant Man from Families Online Magazine.

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Wetlands on the Rebound in the U.S.

If the world hands you lemons, make lemonade. And similarly, if Nature has given you a consistently wet section of your landscape, make a bog garden.

In recent years, there has been increased interest in protecting the world’s wetlands. Over the past couple of centuries, many thousand acres of wetland had been eradicated either for real estate development or for conversion to farmland. For example, more than 90% of New Zealand’s wetlands have been drained since European settlement.

But now, efforts are being made to preserve remaining wetlands and even create new ones. New laws have been passed in the United States to limit wetlands destruction and requiring developers to create artificial wetlands should they need to drain existing natural wetlands.

Previously, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been involved in draining parts of the Everglades. Now, a new policy is under way to restore the Everglades as a protected wetland area as a habitat for plant and animal life and as a method of natural flood control.


So what IS a wetland?

The EPA’s definition is: “those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.”

Unless you have a very large tract of land, it is unlikely that your landscape encompasses what the EPA considers “swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas. However, you do need to exert extreme caution if you are thinking of draining an area that might be protected by laws designed to preserve wetlands.

In this column recently, I addressed some problems sent to me by readers who had waterlogged areas. I should have made it very clear that you need to be certain you aren’t about to divert or destroy a protected wetland.

What should you do?

For a start, visit http://www.epa.gov/wetlands/ a helpful and easy-to-follow Website set up by the EPA to provide a lot of information about the preservation of wetlands and the laws and guidelines that relate to them. At the EPA site, be sure to click on the link titled “Landowners.

Secondly, it would be a good idea to check with your nearest Cooperative Extension Service. This is a program funded by the Federal Government to provide information and assistance with land-related issues. The advice is free and I’ve always found the folks there to be friendly and helpful.

To find your local Extension Service, go to http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

Click on the map and you’ll be taken to your state and then to your county. You can call a local number and ask if your landscape would fall under wetlands regulations.

If you are still not certain, you could also call your county or city administration office and ask if there is an official map that defines wetlands in your area. If so, you can check to see if your real estate is within that area.

You can also visit “National Wetlands Inventory, a Web site hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, located at http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/ However, I find that site to be rather complex and difficult to use. You might have better luck!

You might think that, in order to have a wetland area, you would need to live in an area that receives a considerable amount of rainfall. There are wetlands in southeast Asia that average 200 inches of rainfall a year. But there are also areas in the northern U.S. that average less than 6 inches per year.

Regardless of your geographic location, if you have a consistently moist area on your landscape that you cannot (or don’t wish to) divert or drain, you can make lemonade from your lemons and create an attractive feature that will become a miniature ecosystem for plant and wildlife.

In the next Plant Man column, I’ll give you some ideas on planning and maintaining bog gardens and similar water features.

The Plant Man, , is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to steve@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org

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