Tuesday, April 7, 2015

6 Tips for Creating an Eco-Friendly Landscape

I'm a big fan of blogs. The life experiences of one individual provide a wealth of knowledge for everything each one of us do every single day.

One of my favorite blogs is the Eastern Shore Gardener blog. While I'm located in the middle of the state, I have plenty of family and friends who live in a very different growing condition than what I see here in central Maryland.

Eastern Shore Gardener author Barbara Ellis published a fantastic article about creating an eco-friendly landscape.  And guess what? Eco-friendly landscapes also cut down on maintenance as well. Enjoy!

5 Great Patio Trees

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend and is enjoying the Spring weather - FINALLY!

Landscape planning seems to be the theme of the blog at the moment so enjoy this educational article on choosing patio trees.

 5 Great Patio Trees

A magnolia in full bloom

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Planting Helper - USDA Hardiness Zone Map for Maryland

We're very lucky in Maryland. Our growing season is fairly long - April through early November and boy, do we ever luck out at the abundant and varied flora available to grow in our landscapes.  Beautiful trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals thrive in our climate. A definite joy for any gardener or nature lover.

Hardiness zone maps are helpful for choosing plants and for timing plantings to coincide with the weather. Have you ever seen those folks with annuals lining their walk in late April? It always fries my potatoes that tender annuals such as petunias and marigolds go up for sale so early in the growing season. My rule, and it's been a good one for me, is to never plant annuals until after my father's birthday of May 13th.  I don't ever lose annuals to frost.

With all that said, what is the USDA Hardiness Map?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Caring for Ground Covers

Planting ground cover on your property requires careful consideration of the best type of plant for the location. Ground covers might be the perfect plant for tough locations but they do require maintenance. To perform the correct function of beautifying your landscape, these plants require fertilizing, mulching and weeding like any other plant in the landscape.

Enhancing the Soil

Plant care begins with soil preparation. The best case scenario features adding peat moss, compost or another type of soil conditioner to the garden bed before planting the ground cover. If not, don't panic. You can still carefully stir up the soil between juvenile plants to add organic matter to the soil. Use a rake, hoe or wheeled cultivator between plants. Strain out and remove any weeds during this process.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Soil pH Primer

Spring is a great time of year to create a plan to improve whole landscape health. Gardens and lawns both benefit greatly from soil additives and amendments. The root cause of failure to see drastic improvement with any landscape amendment is lack of proper planning.

Soil pH is absolutely key to selecting the correct additives to apply to your landscape. Before you purchase a bag of lime, manure, peat moss or anything else, take a soil sample and run it up to your nearest gardening center for evaluation. The minor cost of the test will save so much money and time in the long run, preventing the wasted expense and application time of very costly soil amendments.

Check out this article for more basics on soil pH A Beginners Guide to Soil pH

Photo: Wikimedia Commons,  Public Domain.