Archive for October, 2010

Selecting Plants for Borders and Edging

October 25th, 2010

Selecting plants for bordering or edging a garden or path can be just as frustrating as accessorizing a room or an outfit. You want the overall picture to look pulled together with your choices. I like to divide plants for this purpose into two divisions: compact and spreaders. These plants grow in the 3 foot and under height range. Compact plants are just that. They will grow within a defined space only getting slightly larger over the following years. If the area needs a strong barrier, consider a low growing shrub or grass such as Hameln Grass, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Hypericum Blue Velvet or the dwarf Nandina Firepower as they will work hard year round to keep the garden defined.

Spreaders and drapers will creep into the garden mixing with the other plants or spill over the edge of the garden bed. They will work well in any garden, but can really show their talents when planted along the edge of a multi level garden. Along the edge or border of a garden is a key spot to introduce additional colors and textures. If the primary color of the garden or landscape is green, for example, edge the bed with contrasting color plants such as Heuchera Plum Pudding or Black Mondo Grass. If the garden is alive with lots of color, then going low key would be more effective with something like an ornamental grass, liriope, thyme, lavender plants or dwarf boxwoods.

Here’s a listing of plants that I have complied for these 2 divisions:

Compact plants for borders and edging:

Grass Hameln, Chives, Heucheras, Aster, Hostas, Ferns-such as Autumn Brilliance, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Lavenders, City Line Hydrangeas, Liriope, Armeria Dusseldorf Pride, Veronica Royal Candles, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Barberry Crimson Pygmy, Hypericum Blue Velvet, Nandina Dwarf Firepower, Daylilies, Sedums, Grass Black Mondo, Grass Acorus Minimus, Grass Acorus Gramineus Ogon, Potentilla Gold Drop,

Spreaders and Drapers:

Wooly Thyme, Red Creeping Thyme, Creeping Phlox, Creeping Rosemary, Elfin Thyme, Hypericum Calycinum, Drift Roses

This listing of plants should give you many ideas of what size, colors, and type of plants you can use for edging your garden or bordering your landscape. Don’t feel limited to these varieties.

Be creative with plants. They offer so much color and texture. That’s part of the fun and the learning experience of gardening.

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Tips for Fall Plant Care

October 19th, 2010

With fall in sight, there are a few projects which need to be done to move the garden and landscape into the next season. A little planning and some late summer maintenance can encourage a new burst of growth and color that will last for weeks, depending on where you are located maybe months, beyond the new equinox.

Here is what I do to extend my gardens energy:
Deadhead– both annuals and perennials- if you have a hedge trimmer, it makes this so much easier, especially for wide spreaders such as Shasta daisies and lavender
Pull out all annuals and perennials that have died or are on that path
Stake all taller growing perennials
Deadhead/prune knockout roses for gorgeous late summer growth
Pinch blooms from herbs. After most herbs bloom, their leaves begin to lose flavor, so pinch the blooms to encourage last minute growth.
Continue watering container plants regularly
Apply a fresh layer of aged compost mix to enrich the soil over winter
Weed– no one likes to hear it, but hand weeding is the best and safest way to control the situation in most gardens. Regular weeding walks through the area can help to keep them in check.
Note what annuals, perennials and shrubs performed well over the season and what colors/plants would be good for next years gardening
Here is a listing of shrubs and perennials that perform at their best from late summer through fall. This is the time to mix a few of these into your garden or landscape for more color and texture. Plant coneflower, sedum, black-eyed susan, shasta daisy, Russian sage, Knockout Roses, Anemone, Ornamental grasses, asters, rose of sharon, herbs, salvia, yarrow, butterfly bush, carolina allspice, burning bush euonymus shrubs, oakleaf hydrangea, smoke tree, viburnums, american bittersweet, and Japanese maples.
I clip tiny branches from my herb plants to display in my tiny bud vases all during summer. With basil in the kitchen, rosemary in the bathroom and thyme in the bedroom, what a way to tickle the senses.
If you have herbs in your garden that will be maturing over a few weeks time, you will definitely want to harvest and dry or freeze the leaves for fall and winter cooking.
These are just a few chores to perform on a beautiful weekend. You’ll get exercise, feel great and your garden will look amazing. Why not open the windows to air out the house while you work in the garden. Then the house will have that wonderful outdoor smell!

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Controlling Deer Damage in the Garden and Landscape

October 8th, 2010

White-tailed deer in Toronto, Canada

White-tailed deer in Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Controlling deer in the garden and landscape takes a well thought out plan that can be painlessly executed. With urban areas creeping outwards from cities, deer, as well as other wildlife, are losing their natural habitats. New home developments are taking all of their survival resources which leave deer to creep into our yards for food. Begin by selecting plants that are deer resistant. Implementing two or more measures listed here will help to keep deer at a distance.

When deer are hungry and their usual food supply is gone, they will and do eat anything, which makes deer resistant plants more suggestion than fact. Plants touted to being deer resistant are still helpful as deer do not find them tasty and will eat from other shrubs and perennials before attacking these varieties.

Deer repellents are available, as contact or area repellents, and must be used regularly for best results. Area repellents emit a foul odor which is supposed to keep deer away. It will keep people away as well. Contact repellents are much more tolerable. Many are available which are environmentally safe and biodegradable so can be used around children and pets. Choose a contact repellent that will adhere to the plants structure, is rain resistant and will last for about a month.

To protect sensitive areas such as vegetable gardens, deer fencing may be necessary. Deer fencing is available in all shapes and sizes and with as many pricing variations. The most common is a mesh type. It is more flexible and can be attached to nearby trees or posts. Six to seven foot height is the most frequently used.

Tree shelters are often called deer guards. One study found that deer generally limit their browsing to under 42 inches. To take advantage of this study, use tree shelters that are at least 48 inches tall.

Homemade remedies that sometimes work are mesh bags filled with human hair (dirty not freshly shampooed hair), shreds of soap, hanging pie tins from branches or stakes, scarecrows, and even using small mirrors and glass fragments around some of the more bothered plants.

There are steps that can be taken to control deer in the garden or landscape. The first step is to select plants that are not as attractive or tasty to them to limit their browsing. Further steps include the use of deer repellents, deer fencing, tree shelters or homemade remedies. Implementing these measures with regular use, you will have a much better control of the deer in your yard.



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