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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Gardening Tasks for March

It's coming...Spring is almost here and things will start a-poppin' before we know it. But did you see the forecast?  There are these awful little snowflake emogies showing up for the next three days, God help me please!!  I am SO sick of snow and winter and bulky clothes and extra laundry and bare trees and dead grass...

My theme seems to be my on-going struggle with the doldrums of winter. Chomping at the bit to get outside but the soil is still squishy and mostly frozen. A warm day for every four days at this point. Definitely not enough to break out the shovels and go to work in the garden unless you're far more hardy and cold-tolerant than the average Joe.

With all that said, what can we logically do right now to benefit the landscape?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Benefits of Snow for Landscapes

Buried underneath the nearly 15 inches of snow in my backyard lies my sleeping perennials. Hosta, sweet William, sedum, crepe myrtle, phlox, and so many others snooze under the pristine layer of white, waiting for sun and warmer temperatures.

So I started thinking today about just how, exactly, does all this snow benefit the landscape? There’s got to be a plus sign here somewhere.

And so there is…

Snow covered Nandina

Snow is Good

Snow insulates tender roots and prevents freezing/thawing that permeates deep enough to permanently damage a plant’s root system. Frozen soil around roots stops the plant from drawing moisture from the soil.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wake Up, Sleepy Gardening Blog!

Hello everyone. Staring out the window at a fresh 10 inches of snow in Maryland here. And all I can think about is when will the cherry trees bloom?

I need my gardening fix, as I'm sure many others do as well. Since I'm working a real job now, I've decided to rejuvenate my gardening blog and live vicariously through the written word for the rest of this winter and beyond, since my day job gets in the way of my flowers.

Gotta get my hands dirty somehow.

Looking forward to posting fresh articles specific to the great state of Maryland. And the hopes that very soon, I'll be able to see the grass again soon.
A little reminder: Check out these articles for relevant information for Maryland gardeners.

March Gardening Tips

The Best Time to Plant Flowers in Maryland