The Mini Meadow Is A Gardening Trend Worth Keeping

With attention paid to the plight of diminishing wildlife, especially populations of pollinators such as native bees and butterflies, people have responded with an interest in ways they can help keep what pollinators are left and even help increase populations. This has resulted in a heavy interest in native plants as alternative choices in landscapes, and has changed much of the approaches we take when designing landscapes, as to make benefitting wildlife a priority in design. Ultimately, creating gardens and landscapes that resemble a healthy, established native ecosystem is the Holy Grail, but doing so takes a lot of space, money, and time. So what’s the typical eco-conscious gardener living in the urban jungle to do?

We’ve fallen in love with the ideas of mini-meadows. While it’s not acres of native restored prairie, it’s still a beautiful way to enjoy wonderful, healthy plants in the landscape while helping out the bees and butterflies (and birds and a plethora of other native wildlife). Mini Meadow

Native prairie plants have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in tough climate conditions. They can handle a wide range of weather- from heavy rain, to drought conditions, to heavy wind and high humidity. They do well covered in feet of snow, or in dry cold with no protective snow at all in the winter. In a varied prairie plant community, plants are blooming and going to seed throughout the entire year, so something interesting is always happening. And, animals that depend on the food and cover these plant communities provide can rely on a season-long home, which makes them extremely important.

In this garden design by Julie Farris, you can see how beautiful pairing formal lines and modern materials with the informal plantings of native prairie plants can look beautiful together. Mixing flowering plants (often referred to as “forbs” when talking about prairie and meadow settings) and grasses makes for a very beautiful and natural backbone for your perennial choices. Best of all, once established, these plants are all absolutely care free if you start with good soil and mulch each fall with natural mulch materials that feed the soil. Every 3-4 years, some division of perennials might be necessary, but sharing divisions with friends is a fun thing to do! Consider adding some native shrubs too, such as prairie roses and small trees like native dogwoods if you have the space.

A specific plant list of plants ideal for the mini-meadow or small prairie garden include:

And many, many more! Also check out our seed mixes for an easy meadow fast, from economical seed! Combine seed with sand or peat moss and rake out into bare areas ready for plants now, and they will germinate and grow well in the spring.

For further learning check out this article on perennial plants for wildflower meadows, as there are plenty more ideas for wonderful plants that would do beautifully in a mini meadow.

The Best Tall Growing Shade Trees

BEST SHADE TREES

The Shade trees are grown for their shade. The relevance ofthese trees lays in those regions which are very hot and where you need to grow plants in its shade. There are many such plants which can grow only in shade and thus they can be grown under the shade of shade trees. Shade trees are generally large in size with spreading canopies and are used in public as well as private gardens for decoration. Some of the best shade trees which are popular and liked in temperate areas are described here.

  1. RED MAPLE: It is the tree which grows very rapidly and is called as red maple because its twigs and buds are bright red. Though a faster growing shade tree, the red maple is a long lived tree. 
  2. TULIP POPLAR TREES: These trees are also known as ‘yellow poplar’ because beautiful yellow coloured tulip flowers blooms on this plant and poplar is a term to describe wood. The trees are quite long as the higher branches of this tree sweeps in only one direction. The green colored leaves and yellow colored flowers beautify the garden space.
  3. OAK TREE: It is the one of the fast growing shade trees with very hard wood. It has spirally arranged leaves which shades areas nicely. Oak wood has high density and stands strong. There are many species to choose from including Northern Red Oak, which is most popular.
  4. GINKGO TREES: This tree grows very well and is quite thick and dense which creates a nice shade. The leaves of this tree are fan shaped and are quite unique. Has beautiful golden fall foliage.
  5. DAWN REDWOOD: The leaves are very thin and long like spikes. These trees are generally used to fence the garden and are planted in rows on hedges or make excellent street trees.
  6.  WILLOW HYBRID TREES: These trees can have a life of about 25 – 30 years. This variety is fast growing and suitable to many types of soils. They grow quite dense and are perfect for planting as fence trees.
  7. POPLAR HYBRID TREES: Hybrid Poplars are quite tall growing shade trees which are used for windbreak as well as to maintain the privacy. Fast growing poplar hybrid trees make a great privacy screen or as nice shade tree when planted alone

Shade trees are best in the sense that they give a cooling effect to your place and thereby reducing the energy costs. You can make a garden space to spend lovely time in the lap of nature by putting up the chairs and tea tables under the shade of these best shade trees. You can find all of these and more at http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/categories/trees/shade-trees-for-sale

Vinca Fast Growing Ground Cover For Quick Ground Coverage

The basic purpose of ground covers in hilly areas is to bind the nutrients and water in soil and prevent the soil from getting eroded. Ground covers are grown for variety of reasons which include protection from soil erosion, protection from drought as the soil soaks water for the cover plants and to improve the aesthetic appearance of the place. This is why cover plants are not only grown in gardens but also at the road sides as well as at the entrance or the unused corner of the home. There are varieties of ground covers and one of the broadleaf fast growing evergreen ground cover that grows easily and is very beautiful is Vinca.

Groundcovers are chosen by everybody because of the fact that they cover the areas which otherwise would have kept bare and dull. Vinca is one such fast growing ground cover which grows in your garden area for whole of the year. It falls into the perennial category of ground covers and are quite deep rooted plant. So before planting make sure that this is the place where you wash to grow it because it is very difficult to uproot it. Here are some of the properties of Vinca Periwinkle ground cover.

  1. ADAPTABLE TO ALL TYPES OF SOILS:This plant is adaptable to all types of soiled and therefore it is found in majority of areas. The best soil where it grows much faster is slightly acidic in nature and moist.
  2. HEIGHT: The reason why it is chosen as the groundcover is that its height barely reaches more than 4 inches which rules out the necessity of trimming them frequently.
  3. GROWING REGION: It is suitable for growing in fully sunny, semi-shaded and shaded regions as well. Periwinkle growth is most favourable in semi-shaded region. Vinca tops the list of shade loving ground covers.
  4. SPREAD: the plant is quite favourable to growth and therefore a small plant can spread to the area covering 8 feet. Thus you can grow a small plant depending upon the area where you want it to be spread. The Vinca vines keep on spreading and cover the ample area.
  5. WATER AND CARE: These plants require proper water and care. The weeds are to be removed periodically and they should be watered adequately so that they don’t dry up!

It is one such flowering ground cover which doesn’t conjure up the vision of boring green and plain foliage! The blue glittery flowers are very beautiful in sight and give a new colour to your garden. Vinca Minor is other species in this category which is best for shady regions and isgenerally grown in those areas which have poor or barren soil. But they can be used as a hedge and surround your garden space with Periwinkle blue blossoming flowers.

Vinca periwinkle ground cover is available at Greenwood Nursery Ground Covers at very reasonable price. Green wood nursery supplies potted plant as well as bare root which are packed professionally depending upon your requirement. You can book it online and it will be shipped at your doorstep within the mentioned time frame. 

Grow PawPaw Trees

Now available for sale pawpaw trees. Grow your own paw paw fruit. The pawpaw fruit is tasty and resembles tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes and papayas. Pawpaw trees are native to the eastern US and are easy to grow smaller trees that are wide spreading.
Buy pawpaw trees online at Greenwood Nursery.

 

Pawpaw tree fruit

Fall Gardening and Overwintering Plants

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Master Gardener Kent Phillips talks about planting in the fall and overwintering plants through the cold months of the year. Many people think that gardening season is over when summer ends, but you can continue planting in autumn and produce delicious vegetables.

This video is brought to you by the Home and Garden Information Center, part of University of Maryland Extension. provides resources and encourages people to start their own food gardens.
http://extension.umd.edu/growit

Learn about our Grow It Eat It campaign, check out our facebook page for more gardening advice:
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Animation by Chris Heuer, Freefall FX, LLC

Shot and edited by Brett Wooldridge and Emily Heimsoth

Get Going with Fall Gardening

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It’s Fall Y’all! Get Your Gardening On!

Fall gardeningThat’s right, today is the first day of autumn. Thanks to Google’s doodle, I have been informed of the arrival of autumn. And, appropriately so, a cold front blew in last night. This is a perfect day to remind you that fall is the BEST time for gardening. In fact, all of the other seasons could just disappear and I would be happy, happy, happy to bask in the glory of fall. Why? It is the time of…

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How to Carve Incredible Pumpkin Faces ⎢Ray Villafane⎢Martha Stewart

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Artist Ray Villafane shares techniques and tricks for carving life-like faces into Halloween pumpkins.

Brought to you by Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com

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The Martha Stewart channel offers inspiration and ideas for creative living. Use our trusted recipes and how-tos, and crafts, entertaining, and holiday projects to enrich your life.

How to Carve Incredible Pumpkin Faces ⎢Ray Villafane⎢Martha Stewart
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How to Make Halloween Pumpkins

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How to make/carve pumpkin ideas ready for Halloween. This video shows you five great pumpkin related tips for you to try this Halloween. Carve your Jack-o’-lantern to another level!

Includes:

How to make pumpkin teeth and pumpkin fangs
Carving out eyes
A pumpkin mirror ball disco lantern
Using a pumpkin stem for a nose
Table tennis ping pong ball pumpkins, which light up!

Simple to follow video tutorial with step by step guide.

Music: Look Busy – Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Pumpkin Carving during Halloween Time | Disneyland Resort

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From “it’s a small world” to “Frozen,” the pumpkin carvers at Disneyland Resort are showing their Disney Side each day at the Halloween Carnival in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. Come see how the pumpkins turned out: http://di.sn/jwZ

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About Disneyland:
Disneyland is where imagination is the destination. For young and old, big and small — it’s The Happiest Place on Earth! So gather with all the people who make you the happiest and come to the place where dreams come true.

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Halloween Time Pumpkin Carving | Disneyland Resort
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Let’s Talk about Raised Beds

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When we first moved to the farm last August we made the haste decision to plant a fall/winter garden. We rented a tiller from the local Tractor Supply and sowed some seeds into the beautiful loamy soil. The reward of having a bounty of winter squash, cabbage, swiss chard and numerous other veggies that we worked so hard on was all so very exciting!

The excitement dried up real fast (just like all the ponds that summer) once we realized we lost the fight against the grasshoppers, extreme heat and bermuda grass.

First let me explain something about these grasshoppers; they were ridiculously huge and very VERY abundant. I mean there were at least 10 that flew every step you took in the yard. Disgusting. We put over 15 plugs of cabbage, bok choy and broccoli in the soil and those suckers ate every single one. We were pissed. We tried a pesticide (not proud of this but we were desperate and time was not on our side to try and find an organic substitute…) and no luck.

Regarding the extreme heat we watered and watered..and watered. Thank the heavens above we have two wells at the farm because I couldn’t even imagine what type of water bill that would have been. Even though we watered and kept the soil very moist we still had burnt leaves.

Lastly the bermuda grass. The gah dang bermuda grass. We love it in our yards but we don’t love it in our gardens. It took over our garden and not matter how long we spent ripping it out of the ground we just couldn’t get it under control. Damn.

Soooooo there we were late fall with nothin but a mess of garden (if we can even call it a garden) and no bounty. We were heartbroken. How can two people with bachelors degrees from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources not be successful with a freaking garden. UGH.

We thought about our garden over the winter and what we learned. We researched, discussed, planned and came up with an experiment (cause we’re scientist) for our spring garden: raised beds. 

I’m familiar with raised beds and used them for my environmental education programs at the nature center I interned with in Texas. We knew that we would have more of a controlled medium for the plants to grow in and most likely more success. Here is the OSU fact sheet on the benefits of raised bed gardening. There are tons of kits out there for raised beds but hey they ain’t cheap. So we built our own! We went to our local home improvement store and bought 2’x8’x8” untreated (very important to get untreated so the chemicals won’t leach in the soil) yellow pine boards and made four 8’x4”x8” beds.  Here are some pics of our beds:

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We ripped up the top 3 inches of the ground each bed would be over to prevent the bermuda infestation.

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This little piece of hardware holds the beds together.

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We filled the beds with a top soil compost mix we bought at our local nursery. We then put untreated (always untreated..chemical leaching people is not cool) red cedar mulch on top to prevent soil water loss through evaporation.

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Our beds with a two foot walkway so our wheel barrel can get between the beds.

The beds weren’t hard to build once we figured out how the hardware worked. Total price for the lumber and hardware was $76. The soil for each bed was around $35. Mulch was $10 per bed. Total cost per bed was approximately $65. Pretty good considering some kits I found range from $85-$350 and these don’t include the soil (which is the most expensive part)!!!

We are hoping that these beds solve the problems we had with our fall garden. Of course we will still have to weed occasionally and compensate with more water due to the soil being above ground but hopefully the mulch will decrease these issues. Plans and funds are being formed to build hoop house framing around each beds for shade cloth this summer to address the heat and even the grasshopper infestation. We are pretty proud of our beds. We are hoping that with the benefits of the raised beds we will have a high yield of produce this summer. This is our hypothesis anyways. Let the test begin!

-Jeri’