Spring Garden Maintenance to Start Your Garden Growing

A garden bed before spring cleanup
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Follow these easy spring garden maintenance tips and you will be enjoying your yard. Even after one weekend of spring garden cleaning you can have leaves raked, trees and shrubs pruned and ground ready for planting new plants. A little spring garden maintenance means less yard work in summer.

Arm yourself with a rake, weed eater or heavy shears, a tool belt, apron with pockets, basket, or pail, filled with clippers, gardening scissors, gardening gloves, old cloths, trash bags and, if available, a small garden saw. Start on one side of your property or garden and work across the yard and then clockwise around your house and other out buildings beginning with the front/main entrance. The point is to be able to go over all areas of your landscape so that you don’t miss plants.

Always begin an area by tackling the larger growing plants, whether trees or shrubs. First cut or saw out all branches that are dead, broken, touching or crossing. Then, if necessary, trim for shape. From the larger trees and shrubs, move onto smaller growing plants, such as ornamental grasses (which you will be cutting to the ground with either the weed eater or heavy shears), roses, evergreen herbs, perennials, ground covers, etc. Remember, if you haven’t pulled out the annuals that were planted last year, it is time to remove them now.

Once all plants have been pruned, shaped and otherwise cleaned up in an area, rake the clippings into the trash bag and move onto the next. By cleaning up an area completely, if you have to stop that day before finishing, you can begin with a new area the next time and you don’t have to back track. I find it easier to make sandwiches the night before to lunch on so I don’t have to completely stop my gardening. This way I am only taking a break and don’t lose focus on what I’m doing.

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Planting under Black Walnut Trees

What plants grow under black walnut trees? This is a question that we at Greenwood Nursery hear quite often. It is a good question, because not all plants thrive in close proximity to black walnut trees.

The black walnut secretes a chemical from its ...
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Juglans nigra, commonly known as black walnut, is the largest of the twenty species of Juglans native to the United States. It easily grows to a height of 100 feet; its strong, straight trunk and magnificent canopy enhance most any landscape that has an appropriate scale for the trees massive size.

It is prized by the high-end furniture market because of its uniformity, durability and the luxurious chocolate-brown color of its heartwood. Many landowners, who have a few acres to spare, are planting genetically superior black walnut trees as an investment which will mature in 25 to 30 years.

Horticulturists discovered that certain plants did not do well, while some withered and died, when planted close to or underneath the canopy of black walnut trees. Black walnut trees secrete a biochemical substance known as Juglone. These secretions sometimes drip from the leaves down onto plants and ground below and leaches out from the roots below ground as well. The process is known as allelopathy.

Though Juglone is a poison to many plant varieties, making it difficult in planting under black walnut trees. However, there is still a large number of shrubs and perennials that can be safely planted under the canopy or near black walnut trees that are resistant to the effects of Juglone.

Avoid planting the following near or under the canopy of black walnut trees: Apples, white birch, mountain laurels, blackberries, blueberries, tomato plants, azaleas, chrysanthemum, crocus, hydrangeas, lilacs and rhododendron.
And now for a few plants that can be planted near Black Walnut trees: most grasses, aster, shasta daisy, vinca, hostas, phlox, wisteria, Morning Glory, ajuga, solomon’s seal, and Virginia creeper.Tolerant trees and shrubs include arborvitae, white ash, american beech, catalpa, black cherry, flowering dogwood, forsythia, hibiscus, red maple, japanese maple, oaks, privet, eastern redbud, sumac, sycamore, tulip tree, euonymus, rosa rugosa, viburnum (except maresii), and heucheras.A word of caution: Many factors, other than the presence of Juglone, will affect the viability of your trees and plants. Soil, moisture, temperature, shade and sunlight all play a role so results in growth may vary.

Visit Greenwood’s page on Planting under Black Walnut trees for a selection of plant varieties that will grow under the canopy of the black walnut trees.

More info on plants that will and will not grow under or near black walnut trees:
Ohio State University Extension Black Walnut Tree Fact Sheet 
Purdue University 
West Virginia University Extension Service 

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4 Ways to Stay Fit Through Winter

Weight-walking
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Winter is  the time of year most that of us reduce our physical activity and begin hibernating – just like nature. Lack of movement and eating comfort foods causes us to put on a few pounds. I’ve listed the best ways to stay fit and feel great during winter and the holiday season. Pick your favoriteways to stay fit. Join me and let’s commit together!

 

– Use the house as a gym –

If you’re like me, you don’t really have a lot of time to get to a gym 3 or 4 times a week. So, I found a way to bring the gym to me. Just a few things can keep the body moving and the heart pumping.

  • Walk up and down stairs for a good cardio.
  • Run in place while you’re watching TV.
  • Rowing machines are a great source for a full body workout – check out craigslist.org for great deals on simple exercise equipment.

 

– Going outdoors –

With doors and windows, closed homes become a bit stuffy; take it outside. Finding a park in your area is a great escape from stress. Even a brisk walk can change an attitude and burn calories.

Here are few other ideas as well:

  • A cool day is just the thing to use your garden to keep fit. Raking leaves, bending over to pull out dead plants or weeds, reaching out to do some pruning on shrubs and trees will work most all muscles in the body as well as the satisfied feeling you’ll get for a job well done.
  • Bicycling is a great cardio workout and you can do it in city or off road.
  • Hit the trails for good run or just a walk and see some nature on the way.
  • Visit trails.com or contact your local parks and recreation for trails in your area.

Also, this is the season for shopping. Try to park as far away from the store as you can to get a good walk in before you start your shopping.

 

– Take it to the gym –

Lets say there is time to spend at the gym. Use it! Gyms have great cardio programs and equipment to utilize; treadmills, elliptical, rowing machines, and stationary bikes are but a few. For the best results, ask the front desk about seeing a personal trainer for a good plan that suits you and your lifestyle. Just a few sessions to get yourself on the right track and have a custom designed workout that you can do at the gym or at home. It may just be one of the best investments you make.

 

– Healthy snacks –

While Panettone is my snack of choice during the holiday season, I do have to practice will power not to eat it all in one sitting. However, I do enjoy other snacks that will give me a boost of energy as well.

  • Nuts such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews.
  • Granola is a fun healthy snack for children and adults.
  • Protein shakes are not just for muscle building. Try out whey or soy based protein shakes and you will feel the energy surge.
  • Laughing Cow cheese snacks are great with an apple will keep you going.
  • Even something as simple as hummus with some carrots for dipping.

 

These are only a few things that can help keep you in shape through the holidays. Be creative by using everyday items to incorporate into a well-rounded workout each day. Keep active and your attitude and energy levels will remain at an all time high.

 

 

About the author: Nick Jones dedicates himself to working out at least 4 days a week to keep fit. His diet is mostly vegetarian sometimes adding in fish or seafood. However, he does indulge in the guilty pleasures that the Christmas Holiday Season brings. Currently working on his physical training certificate, he cannot allow the extra winter lbs. to creep up on his body. Join Nick in keeping fit this winter.

 

 

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Winter Window Box Ideas

 

Window box
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Looking for window box or planter ideas that will survive the holidays?

Click onto the link here Winter Window Box Ideas for examples of how using smaller sized container plants allows you to pull together some really great window boxes. Using small ornamental grasses, young evergreen trees and shrubs, potted ivy and herbs, you will find yourself with endless ideas on decorating containers, planters and window boxes. I’ve even provided a listing of plants that in small containers are perfect for your project. Next spring or fall, plant them in the ground allowing them to grow to maturity.

Visit Small Evergreen Shrubs for window box plant ideas.

Animals are optional!

Cat in Flower Box
English: This is a picture of a PVC window box...
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La viña en el balcón 13082006(050)byCme
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