Using garden décor, such as statues, in the landscape can make some gardeners nervous. Although, bright, fun garden décor can add a whimsical element to flowerbeds, they can also make a bed look too busy if not utilized correctly. No one wants to end up the joke house on the block with all the pink flamingos. Statuary and other garden décor are generally meant to be accents in the landscape, not the focal point. Garden statues may also be used in somber or formal gardens, as memorials to loved ones or beloved pets who have passed away. Regardless of the garden’s style, the placement of statuary and other garden décor can make or break the design.
More and more homeowners are turning their yard spaces into outdoor living spaces. When you think of your garden as just another room of your house to decorate, the task seems less daunting. You can think of the plants in a bed as the furniture of a room, then add garden statues, stakes and/or spinners as accents, just like you would add accent tables or other décor to a room. Hang matching or complimentary metal wall art on garden or fence walls to make the space feel even more like an outdoor extension of the house.
Finding these accents is easy with Happy Gardens, an online retailer of garden statues, metal wall art, bird baths, rain chains, spinners and other garden décor. Their garden art is handcrafted by artisans from all over the world. They offer a variety of whimsical garden statues, such as animal statues made from large river rocks, perfect for pet and wildlife lovers, and these pieces make excellent gifts too. They also specialize in beautiful metal garden art, such as spinners, stakes and wall art. Many of these are available in designs that have matching pieces. For example, they carry different unique enameled floral pieces available as stakes, spinners, rain chains and wall art, giving you a number of complimentary pieces to choose from.
Happy Gardens also carries a unique line of cairns for the garden. A cairn is a pile or mound of stones that throughout history have been used as a memorial or landmark. Traditionally, cairns were placed on burial mound or graves. In the home garden, cairns are often placed near memorial trees, plants that remind us of our lost loved one or memorial gardens. Cairns are also used as landmarks or markers. On large properties, they can be placed to mark out paths or beds. Other garden statues, stakes and spinners can also be used to mark out paths or bed edges.
Everyone has their own taste and style. When choosing garden statues and other garden décor, you should select pieces that you like or that serve your purpose. The exterior of our home can reflect just as much of our unique style as the interior. Whether your taste in design is whimsical or formal, your outdoor living space should make you, above anyone else, feel happy and comfortable.
I’m the proud grandmother to two fabulous, intelligent, curious grandchildren. I like to think that some of my curious nature and pursuit for knowledge has been instilled in each of my precious girls. With that in mind, when we play, we are often learning something too. I’m a gal who loves to get my hands dirty. My garden is my sanctuary, my teacher, my solace and my gym. So when I get the girls for a weekend or afternoon, and I’m looking for something to keep them busy, entertained and educational, I naturally turn to the vegetable garden.
When gardening with kids, however, adult sized garden tools can overwhelm them. So to begin a garden of their own or to help work in an existing one, you need to have some kid sized gardening tools handy. ROCA Toys is a great place to start looking with their fun set of kid sized tools. The ROCA Gardening Tools for Kids includes a rake, shovel, trowel, watering can and gardening bag plus a STEM based learning guide to teach them the basics of home gardening and help them understand where their food comes from. Remember, learning through playing and hands-on interaction is the best teaching tool.
Naturally, with tools of their very own, the kids will want a vegetable garden plot of their very own too. So be sure to take the time to sit down with them and plan out the garden beforehand. What do they want to grow? Shoot for easy, quick-growing veggies like radish and old-time favorites like cherry tomatoes and peas. Make sure the location for the garden in easily accessible and has plenty of sunlight too. Let them be in charge of its overall care, with a little help, of course. Pretty soon everyone will be happily digging, planting, and watering.
Suffice it to say, as with my grandchildren, having a set of garden tools all their own and just their size is a big hit, allowing them to play/work while learning too.
During this week’s giveaway (March 19-21, 2018), the folks at Happy Gardens will be doing what they do best – making gardeners happy! Five lucky winners will receive one of the following five garden decor items from Happy Gardens:
Please do the following anytime from Friday 3/19 through midnight Sunday 3/21:
Go to the Gardening Know How Facebook page. Find the Happy Gardens giveaway Facebook post pinned at the top of the page. Make a comment underneath this post with your answer to the following question: Which Happy Gardens outdoor decor item featured in this giveaway are you most excited about winning?
Share the Happy Gardens giveaway Facebook post on your timeline.
The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See rules for more information.)
Dogwood trees have slender, graceful branches, but most gardeners invite them into their yards for the eye-catching spring flower display. If your tree remains flowerless, check the care you are giving it. Dogwoods need sun and adequate irrigation, so an absence of either can preclude flowers. The most common issue involves fertilizer. Dogwoods planted on lawns absorb lawn fertilizer and all that extra nitrogen keeps the leaves growing at the expense of the blossoms.
Dogwood trees are naturally graceful and attractive, so you probably won’t want to trim off too much. And don’t prune dogwoods in spring, since it can attract borer insects. In early winter, trim back dead, damaged or crossing branches. Remove suckers and enough lower branches to provide access, if desired. You can also remove undersized twigs to open up the canopy and allow air and sunshine in.
You can easily grow dogwoods from seeds collected from native trees. Take the seeds in late fall and soak them a few days to soften the pulp, then remove it by rubbing the seed against a fine wire screen. Plant the seeds that don’t float to the top of the water. Insert them into a growing medium of peat and sand, about 0.5 inch deep and 1 inch apart. The seeds germinate in spring and you’ll want to keep them watered through the growing season. Transplant in their first or second winter.
If your soil is not acidic, you can use an acid lover’s fertilizer like that used for rhododendron. Use a ratio of 12-4-8 or 16-4-8. Don’t fertilize dogwood trees the first year, but once they are taller than you are, use ¼ cup of fertilizer in early spring, then feed again three months later. Dig in the granular fertilizer around the edges of the root zone then water well. Give mature trees ½ cup per inch of trunk.
If you need to move your dogwood tree, you’ll want to do it while the tree is dormant, at some point between the time the leaves fall and bud break. Wait until the soil is workable in spring. Transplanting when the sap is running risks root injury or rot.
One of the ways that dogwoods react to stress is by dripping sap. Try to figure out what is causing the tree stress. Look particularly carefully for pests, especially at branch junctions. Are you giving it adequate fertilizer? It may just be that the tree is reaching the end of its life. Dogwoods only live 10-15 years.
If dogwood leaves are dropping in fall, it’s perfectly normal. The tree is deciduous. If your tree’s leaves are falling during growing season, it may be water stressed. Be sure it’s getting at least 2 inches (5 cm.) of water every week. It may also have a fungus that is killing the leaves. Treat the tree with a fungicide just in case.
A tree with no leaves in spring is a tree that is suffering from distress. The first thing you should do is check the water the tree is getting. Failure to leaf out often indicates water stress. The tree needs a couple of inches (5 cm.) of water every week. You should also remove all grass and weeds in the area that may be competing for water and nutrients. If this doesn’t help, call in a tree expert to help you help the tree.
If your container is big enough to give the tree roots elbow room, your dogwood should be happy enough in a container. Keep in mind that container grown dogwoods will need additional watering and may need to be root pruned to prevent their growth from becoming too much to handle.
It’s fun to grow new dogwood trees from cuttings. Take the cuttings in spring as the tree finishes blooming. Make the cuttings between 3 to 5 inches (5-13 cm.) long. Remove the bottom leaves and cut the others in half. Dip the bottom end of the cutting in growth hormone then plant it in a small pot of sand and perlite. Keep the medium moist by misting the leaves and keeping the entire pot in a plastic bag. Roots should appear within six weeks.
In Success With Succulents, co-authored with Robert Reidmuller, readers are provided with tips and techniques to get the most out of their desert dwellers. Read on to learn more and enter below to win one of two copies of this Quarto Group book.
1. What is the allure of succulents for you?
I’ve been fascinated with all types of plants during my career. Especially with their ability to adapt to some of the harshest environments. I admire succulents for their stamina, but it is their fantastical shapes, sizes and odd and alluring flowers that really piques my interest.
2. What are some of your favorite succulent varieties and why?
The range, hardiness and versatility of agaves, along with their specific life spans attracts me. Also, any type of mimicry plant or those with phenomenal flowers. Epiphyllums, kalanchoe and Starfish cactus have flowers that beg for attention. I also like the foolproof hybrid forms of sansevierias. New hybrids of echeverias and aeoniums are beautiful. Maybe a shorter answer would be to list my least favorite types, but it would require a lot of thought.
3. Is it difficult to attain success with succulents and how does your book help us to be successful?
Even the worst cook can boil water and dump in some ramen noodles. The analogy can be carried out to those who claim to have “black thumb.” If you can’t grow a Sansevieria, it’s because you don’t want to. While they are extremely tenacious survivors, many other types of succulents are not much more difficult to maintain. Our book offers simple instructions and tips for those who want to get beyond the “boiling water” stage of succulent care.
4. When it comes to plants, the more wacky and weird the better for me. Are there any unusual nuggets of joy mixed in and can you tell us about them?
Whose face hasn’t smiled at the sight of an Old Man cactus with googly eyes affixed or been fascinated at the grafted color tops of the Moon cactus? Many of the plants and animals of Madagascar are threatened, but easy to grow and maintain if they can be acquired. Succulents from this isolated habitat are about as weird as they come in the plant kingdom. Seeing a Pachypodium blossom for the first time is especially gratifying.
5. Just how many varieties of cacti and succulents are in existence and was it tough whittling your book down to feature 100 of them? How did you decide what made the cut? What can readers expect from the 100 plants that you profile?
There are almost 2000 species of cactus alone and many hundreds more varieties in those species. Non-cactus succulents may be tenfold this number. Our book describes 100 types that gardeners are most likely to come in contact with and provides information on how to extend this hobby. Suffice it to say that unlike Alexander the Great, an enthusiast will never have to bemoan not having any more varieties to obtain.
A vegetable garden is only as good as your ability to enjoy the harvest. Producing a lot of extra vegetables that you can’t eat right away is great, but only if you have a good solution for storage. If you need a more practical, easier, and affordable solution to storing your overflow harvest this year, consider True Liberty Bags.
Challenges of Storing Fresh Vegetables
Storing your vegetable overflow can be a real challenge. You put a lot of time and effort into your garden and you want to enjoy the produce, but there is only so much lettuce or zucchini you can eat in one day. You can freeze your extra, keep it in bags, can and preserve them, but these all have downsides. Paper bags won’t keep your produce fresh for long, and most plastic bags are not very durable. Canning takes a lot of time and changes the flavor. Freezing is a simple and long-term solution, but you need the right storage receptacle.
Sturdy Bags for Vegetable Storage
What you need is a heavy duty, safe bag that will keep your produce safe for longer periods. Most plastic bags are not very sturdy, will not keep your produce dry or fresh for very long, and can’t be used with good results in the freezer. But there is a high-quality bag you can use for a lot of purposes around the house and kitchen, and that might just be perfect for storing your extra harvest.
True Liberty Bags are unique in that they are sturdy, heavy-duty bags made from nylon. They are FDA-approved and free of BPA. They protect and keep produce fresh longer than typical plastic bags, up to two weeks longer, even delicate things like herbs. You can even use them to store your veggies in the freezer for longer periods of time, and you can cook vegetables right in the bag. Just drop it into boiling water or even a crock pot. The bags are resistant to heat and cold.
TIP: When storing produce in the refrigerator, it often helps to insert a paper towel to collect potential condensation, especially for herbs and lettuces. When using in the freezer, it helps to remove as much air from the bag as possible. Also, be sure to close the bag properly by twisting the end and using the included bag tie, or the bag can be tied closed just like tying a balloon.
If you don’t have a good solution or a way to store your vegetables that you’re satisfied with, give these bags a try. The company that makes them in the U.S. guarantees that customers will love True Liberty Bags, so if you don’t, you can get your money back. These bags come in a range of sizes and are useful for much more than storing vegetables. Give it a try this season at no risk.
I like how their Flock O’Bags Multi-Pack comes in numerous sizes so there’s no need in having to buy separate boxes if you’re in need of more than one size – like one small bag and a larger size. While it’s not exactly harvest time just yet in my area, I still tend to grow lots of leafy greens in pots and pick these almost daily. And, yes, sometimes I struggle with what to do with all of it storage wise. A person can only eat so much salad. I put one of the smaller bags to use just for this purpose, and I love the fact that it’s BPA free. No worrying about harmful chemicals getting into my edibles. I will definitely be using them for my garden harvest this season. And since they’re both freezer safe and hold up to heat, I look forward to cooking up some veggies right in the bag too.
Using organic fertilizers is beneficial because they can be safer for plants, people and animals than chemical fertilizers. In addition, organic fertilizers tend to work like slow release fertilizer, slowly releasing low doses of nutrients over a period of time. This allows plants to take up the nutrients better and also prevents fertilizer burn. Most of us are familiar with compost, which is one of the best types of organic fertilizers you can use. But what other types are there? These days there are many organic fertilizers available to purchase for the garden, and many of them include age-old tricks that farmers and gardeners have passed down through generations.
Here are 5 of the top organic fertilizers and their benefits:
1. Bone Meal – Bone meal is an organic fertilizer that is high in phosphorus and calcium. It is low in nitrogen so it does not burn plant roots. It slowly releases nutrients into the soil. Bone meal is made from pulverized, powdered animal bones, usually obtained from slaughter houses. Using bone meal as a fertilizer became popular in the early 19th century and has remained a go-to source for phosphorus and calcium in the garden.
2. Fish Meal/Fish Emulsion/Hydrolyzed Fish – Native Americans and many other ancient cultures used fish waste and byproducts as a natural fertilizer. Fortunately, today fish fertilizer products are available already made and deodorized. Fish fertilizers provide an excellent source of nutrients for plant, especially readily available nitrogen. Fish fertilizers are available in three forms: fish meal, fish emulsion and hydrolyzed fish. Fish meal is made from dried fish waste. Fish emulsion is a blended mixture made from fish waste. Hydrolyzed fish is made from the entire parts of fish. Fish fertilizers make excellent foliar sprays to green up chlorotic plants.
3. Earthworm Castings – Earthworm castings are, in short, earthworm poop. They are an excellent fertilizer for flowers and edibles. In addition to providing valuable nutrients organically, they also help repel pests like aphids, spider mites and nematodes. Earthworm castings can be bought in most garden centers or hardware stores, or you can make your own at home with a process known as vermicomposting.
4. Kelp Meal/Seaweed – Kelp meal, seaweed meal and calcified seaweed are all nutrient-rich organic fertilizers made from seaweed. Seaweed is the ocean’s natural filtration system. As water flows past seaweed, it collects and absorbs a wide variety of trace elements and nutrients. Organic fertilizers made from seaweed are becoming increasingly popular because of the nutrients they provide plants, but also because it quickly grows back after being harvested.
5. Animal Manure – Using animal manures as organic fertilizers goes back to the dawn of agriculture. While packaged manure products are available for purchase, many homeowners these days are choosing to raise chickens, horses and cows and use their own homemade composted animal manures. It is important to note that raw manures are extremely high in nutrients and can burn plants. It is recommended that animal manures be composted or cured prior to use.
It’s almost that time again, my favorite time of year! Time to get my hands dirty and my nails ragged, prepping the garden space for another season. It’s almost tomato planting time and if you’re tired of planting the same tomato cultivars each year, even if they are tried and true, why not mix things up a bit and try something new this season? Play around with a new tomato cultivar or two, or three.
This can be an exciting endeavor, but before you go all out willy-nilly and buy plants, be sure to arm yourself with some information. Fire up the internet and take a look at the Burpee seed and plant site. They’ve been providing non-GMO varieties for over 140 years, so it’s fair to say the company is not only reputable but you can count on their word for recommending new tomato varieties for the garden, or containers if your current growing space is limited.
-placead-For example, we recently added a deck to our home, so I started looking for just the right tomato to grow in a container for this area. It isn’t a big deck, so I didn’t want a huge plant. Sure enough, Burpee has a number of tomatoes that fit this space. The one that caught my eye wasn’t a cherry tomato either but a beefsteak! Yes, you heard me right.
‘Atlas’ hybrid tomato
The ‘Atlas’ hybrid tomato is a big, tasty beefsteak variety that “combines modern performance with old-time flavor.” Best of all, this tomato plant was made just for growing on decks or porches. It’s a bushy yet compact (36-40 inches across) plant perfect for growing in containers or small spaces, like my deck. It’ll be close to the barbecue, and we’ll be having freshly sliced tomatoes, and I mean FRESH, every night of the week.
Tomato ‘Shimmer Hybrid’
Of course, your search doesn’t have to stop here. How about something new for the garden proper? Perhaps you have a little more space for tomato planting and just want to add something different. Again, Burpee has the perfect selections – like their new ‘Shimmer’ hybrid tomato. It’s larger than a cherry tomato but smaller than a Roma and perfect for munching straight from the vine. You’ll need plenty of space for this indeterminate type though, as it may reach 7-8 feet in height but it’s a high-yielding variety, so expect lots of fruit. And, it’s so pretty. ‘Shimmer’ lives up to its name with its almond shape and gilded shimmering skin touched by green striations. Sounds like another winner to me (our editor has already put her order in)!
Burpee does it every time. Now how about the rest of the garden? Let’s see…
Burpee® has everything you need to create the perfect garden with a large selection of seeds, plants and gardening supplies. They offer vegetables, fruits, perennial flowers, annual flowers, herbs, garlic, bulbs, roots and so much more!
Enter to win a prize seed collection featuring some of the finest quality non-GMO seed that Burpee® has to offer in this weekend’s giveaway (March 16 – 18, 2018) . One lucky winner will be the recipient of this $50 seed prize collection containing the following 10 selected seed packets :
Please do the following anytime from Friday 3/16 through midnight Sunday 3/18:
Go to the Gardening Know How Facebook page. Find the Burpee® giveaway Facebook post pinned at the top of the page. Make a comment underneath this post with your answer to the following question: Visit www.burpee.com. Which Burpee® seed or plant variety are you most excited about growing this year?
Share the Burpee® giveaway Facebook post on your timeline.
The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See rules for more information.)
Do you absolutely love gardening? If so, you’ll understand that nothing will hurt your garden quicker than parasites. Of course, ticks and fleas are worse. These pests will turn your backyard into a mess and they’ll also target you and your pets. These parasites want to feed on the blood of humans and pets. If you do not get rid of them right away, you’re going to have huge problems on your hands. So, how can you keep your garden free of fleas and ticks? You’ll find out in the comprehensive guide below.
If you want to get rid of the fleas as quickly and safely as possible, you should think about using water. Water is completely safe and it is enormously effective. This is the case because flea eggs and larvae will not be able to survive the water. With this in mind, you should flood them out. The water will also be able to wash away all of the feces in the yard. This will eliminate their chance of survival. Water is a cheap, quick and easy way to eliminate fleas. However, you’ll need to be cautious and use it safely or you’ll harm your plants. Just turn on the water hose and let it rip!
Use Cedar Wood Chips
Another excellent way to keep fleas at bay is by using cedar wood chips. Believe it or not, fleas absolutely despise the smell of cedar chips. Once you’ve placed these chips all around your yard, you can guarantee that the fleas will rush in the opposite direction. You can sprinkle cedar chips around your fence to prevent them from entering your yard altogether. Cedar wood chips are completely safe and they’ll keep those pests at bay. You can find them at pretty much any local hardware store.
Insecticides are a great way to deal with this problem as quickly as possible. According to a leading petcare website, some insecticides are dangerous to humans and animals while others are safe and effective. With this in mind, you should carefully consider your options. Insecticides will work, but you’ll want to be very cautious about harming yourself, your family members and your pets. Obviously, you do not want this to happen. Choose products that are safe for everyone in your home. Then, use these products sparingly to ensure that you get rid of the ticks and fleas, without causing unnecessary harm.
Limit Access to Wildlife
With a beautiful garden comes many challenges. One of these challenges is going to be keeping out the urban wildlife. It is likely that moles, squirrels, deer, rabbits, and raccoons will all be attracted to the vegetables that you are growing. Unfortunately, these warm-blooded animals are carriers of fleas and ticks. If you find that you are constantly facing the threat of urban wildlife, you might want to consider making your garden less appealing or making it more non-animal friendly. Squirrels are oftentimes attracted to bird seed, whereas mice like to feed of shrubbery and berries. Keep the wildlife away and those pests will steer clear of your garden