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Category Archives: Garden

Ide for Design Small Garden

Design plans for gardens that have limited space work better as compared to mixing varied aspects of gardening. You can incorporate sitting areas with classy garden furniture, or something that reflects your personal taste and creativity. Factors to be considered for designing a small garden are highlighted below.

Garden Layout
Imagine your small garden as a whole component without dividing it into different sections. You can include hidden pathways in between the garden for maintenance purpose. However, the theme of the layout should be such that you can enjoy the garden stretch as a whole (in one view).

Gardening Approach
The first step is to be firm about what you want in your garden. You should consider whether you are maintaining a garden just to beautify your yard with flowers or if you want to grow seasonal vegetables too, and proceed accordingly.

Garden Components
Designing a garden within a small space does not mean that you cannot erect trellis, arbors, bridges, gazebos, or other structures. They serve the purpose of separating the garden space into two parts. You can plant vines and flowering climbers to give a completed look or make flower beds at different levels.

Selection of Plants
Think carefully while selecting the type of plants for your landscape. You cannot accommodate all the plants that you love to grow. Hence, pick the best of your choices considering the required care level and adaptability of the plant in your area. Make sure that the flowers bloom for at least two seasons.

Pattern of Color
While selecting plants for your garden, factors such as the plant height, growing conditions, blooming period, and maintenance should be taken into consideration. Instead of going for a blend of vibrant colored flowers, go for light colored ones, as this will make your garden space appear larger than it actually is.

Design Ideas
Include a water element, or if possible, make curved flower beds for creating diversity in a plain-looking garden. You can place ornamental rocks at the borders to improve the texture of the yard. A perfectly maintained hedge with evergreen shrubs and bushes will give privacy to you and your family members.

The plus point of a small garden design is that you can pay close attention to your garden, while spending less efforts in maintaining it. You should be watchful over the flowers, and remove those that do not survive well. So, implement these ideas and convert your garden into a great space that you’ll love visiting and revisiting.

The Benefits of Rain Gardens

Rain Garden Benefits

Rain gardening is crucial for maintaining a better and healthy water surrounding in our living area. Here are some vital benefits of rain gardens.

Gives Us a Beautiful Home: Rain gardens with variety of plants add to the exterior beauty of homes. Whenever you step outside, it is a great feeling to see a well managed, beautiful rain garden adding calmness and freshness to the surroundings. It has a great sense of aesthetic appeal.

Eliminates Risks of Unclean Drinking Water: When runoff water is not allowed to flow through the storm drains and pollute the lakes or water bodies in surrounding areas, water quality is maintained. No harmful pesticides or chemicals from the lawns flow along with the storm water to pollute rivers.

Helps in Restoring Underground Water Level: Local and regional underground aquifers or underground water levels are recharged with water, as the water seeps into the ground after being soaked by the soil.

Lowers Flooding and Drainage Problems: As aforementioned, runoffs lead to flooding and worst drainage problems in communities. Rain garden plantations can help us avoid problems like that.

No Mosquito Breeding: Stagnant water in driveways, rooftops is a haven for mosquito growth. When water is filtered through the soil and is soaked in the ground, there are no issues of mosquito threat.

Promotes Valuable Habitat: Butterflies, birds and insects are vital in the ecosystem chain. Beautiful rain gardens becomes a thriving place for them thereby helping in maintenance of ecosystem.

Prepare Us for Drought Seasons: For drought prone area or in places where water shortage is an issue, rain gardens are very beneficial as the underground water level is not lowered due to recharging with filtered water.

Easy to Maintain, Inexpensive Too: Rain gardens requires little care and effort to be maintained. Besides that they are relatively inexpensive. You needn’t plant anything special but the native vegetation.

Rain gardens are certainly a great choice for all gardening lovers and homeowners. Ask a group of three to four friends or family members to provide some labor and your rain garden will be ready without any mega efforts. If such little efforts and planning can help us to save our water bodies and build a healthy environment, it is the right time to incorporate them in our homes.

Types of Growing Vines

A trailing plant or climber is commonly known as a ‘vine’. The word was commonly used to refer grapevines. However, it got associated with climber plants later on. A common feature seen in today’s gardens, the different types of fast growing flowering vines are used to cover wall surfaces and in landscaping. These are also grown for the beautiful flowers they produce.

Vines or climbers form an important part of gardening. These plants are used to cover fences, trellises, and poles for decorative purposes. There are different types of climbers which grow in a variety of soils and climatic conditions.

Fast growing vines are chosen for covering a given area in quick time. Some of them have been discussed in detail in this article.

Trumpet Creeper Vines

These vines attract a lot of insects and hummingbirds. Their growth takes place too quickly, and therefore, it is necessary to keep them in control. It is one of the fastest growing flowering vines, which produces reddish-orange blooms that are brightly-colored. Their blooming season is a long one.

Honeysuckle Vines

These vines are sometimes exclusively grown for privacy which can survive in very less amount of water. The honeysuckle vines are drought-tolerant in nature. Just like trumpet creeper vines, these too attract desirable insects and hummingbirds. They are also used for building nests by birds.

Five-leaf Akebia

The Five-leaf Akebia is also known as ‘chocolate vine’ and grows up to a height of 10 meters. These vine plants attain healthy growth in full sunlight. They are characterized by a blue-green colored foliage that is normally oval in shape. They act as an evergreen plant in warm climatic zones, while in cool regions, they exhibit a deciduous nature.

Wisteria Vines

This has a hardy nature and looks beautiful in the flowering season. The American Wisteria is suitable for being grown in northern America. Chinese and Japanese Wisteria are commonly grown in southern USA.

Silver Lace Vine

Amongst the different types of vines found in nature, the Silver Lace Vine is one of the most important and fast growing perennial vines. These vines grow up to a height of 15 meters and have a bright green foliage. The fragrant flowers produced by this vine have colors ranging from green to white. The fast growth of these vines takes places by means of rhizomes.

Clematis Armandii

It is a fast growing vine which climbs up to the height of 20 feet. The Clematis Armandii grows over an area of 5 feet. White-colored, star-shaped flowers, is its specialty. These take the support of walls, poles, etc., by means of leaf stems.

Steps to Grow Shining Azaleas Indoors

Step #1: Purchase plants from a nursery that have a few blooms or buds. Make sure the color of the leaves is dark green leaves.

Step #2: Keep the plants in the porch or on a windowsill as this will provide them with maximum sunlight during the day; however, make sure the area has a shade as the plants require partial sunlight. But do make sure that the temperature in these areas is always between 55―60ºF. Growing the plants in controlled temperature will prolong blooming throughout the season, as compared to just a month.

Step #3: Keep the soil moist during the day. The soil should feel damp when you touch it, and not soaked completely. Do not drown the plants in water. If the flowers haven’t bloomed yet, use a spray bottle filled with water to clean the leaves at least once a day. You can use tap water to mist and water the plants. If you live in an area where you get alkaline water, add a tablespoon of vinegar to a gallon of water while watering, and not misting the plants.

Step #4: Always make sure to remove any dead or damaged flowers and leaves off the plants. Pluck them out and discard the deadheaded blooms as well. Also remove the dead flowers that may have fallen down in the dirt.

Step #5: Purchase an acidic houseplant fertilizer and use it on the flowers once a month. The bag should either say “acidic” on it, or should contain sulfur in it. The only time you will use the fertilizer is when the flowers have died, and not when the plants have proper blooms.

Step #6: Once the plants grow in number, repot them during late summer or early fall. Most azaleas need repotting every 2 to 3 years in bigger clay pots. For repotting, add peat-based potting soil in the new clay pot and then transfer the plant along with the root system. The correct way is by holding it from its base and gently tipping the old pot upside down. This way the plant will slide out of the pot with ease and can be replaced in the new pot immediately. You will need to use potting soil to cover the roots.

Tips for Indoor Planting

When you think about an indoor garden, you need to ensure that you take into consideration all possible points before actually starting it. First, you need to decide what kind of plants you’ll be planting. Then you need to pick a good location. If the plants that you’re planning to plant need sunshine, then you’ll obviously have to pick a spot near the window where they are exposed to sunlight. If they need shade, then you can have them under the window sill, where they are protected from the sun. Next, you need to make sure that the area is properly cordoned off. Nothing from the inside of the garden gets out, and nothing from the outside goes inside. This way, your garden remains clean and so does the rest of the home. The next thing you need to take care of is proper drainage of the water. All plants need water. So you have to make sure that the water that seeps out gets properly drained and does not mess up the entire room. Given below are some ideas that you may want to try out.

Herb Garden
Nothing looks prettier in the interior of a home than a herb garden. The lush green herbs, together with their tantalizing aroma all mixed together in the air, render a sense of peace and exquisite ‘flavor’ to the house. If you don’t want them on the ground, you can have them in hanging garden planters all around a room. Your options for herbs can be coriander, thyme, mint, etc.

Flower Garden
Nothing says garden better than flowers. And if you don’t have the space for a full-fledged landscape, you can have your own little miniature flower garden inside your home. Pick one flower that blooms in different colors. Roses, gerbera daisies, and orchids are good options but tulips definitely take the cake in indoor flower gardening. They look stunning, especially when they bloom against a wall in a contrasting color.

Vegetable Garden
Another popular idea is a vegetable garden. It is practical and very useful. While most of it will be container gardening, if you have a balcony, you can allot a corner and plant the vegetables directly into the ground too. Chillies and tomatoes are very good options. Avoid roots and tubers for indoor vegetable gardens as they could get quite messy.

Cactus Garden
An unconventional yet fabulous idea for an indoor garden is a cactus garden. Go to your local nursery and get different varieties of cactus plants. The best part of this idea is that since cactus plants are really hardy, you do not have to bother about watering and taking too much care of them. They do that for themselves.

Indoor gardening can bring a sense of peace and calm to your home. It beautifies your home and makes it appear more friendly and relaxed. So, get started on one for your home right away.

Decorative Indoor Plant Pots

From large pots to small ones, to plant hangers, the variety available is endless. Combine the greenery with cool and warm shades of pots, and enhance all that nature has to provide to you. Take a look at the types of pots for indoor plants you can use to elevate the beauty of your interior space.

Plastic Pots
If you are looking for cheap plant pots, then plastic is your best bet. Not only is it cheap, it is also durable and requires extremely low maintenance. Furthermore, plastic pots, unlike clay pots are not porous, which means your plants will require lesser attention from you in terms of watering. On the other hand, since it is not porous, it also means oxygen will not reach the plants well. As such, you must use a well-draining potting mix. Like any other pot, even plastic pots for indoor plants must have holes or a tray to collect the excess water, which should then be drained.

Terracotta Pots
Terracotta pots are the most traditional plant pots that have always been used by gardening enthusiasts. Since they are porous, they overcome the disadvantages of a plastic pot. However, indoor plants kept in terracotta pots require regular watering, as the pot tends to absorb excess moisture from the soil. Drainage holes in these pots are a must. If you wish to use terracotta pots indoors, it is advisable to keep potted plants that do not have high watering needs, as they can otherwise get a little messy. An ideal plant would be an aloe vera plant or any other cactus.

Ceramic Pots
Recent and more interesting additions to container gardening and pots for indoor plants include ceramic pots. The variety in shapes, sizes, colors, and designs make them unique additions to your interiors. They provide all the advantages of a plastic pot, but are definitely better looking. Place them on the floor, or on plant stands, they can only look extremely appealing. Even if you don’t place plants in them and simply the empty pots in strategic locations, they will serve as wonderful focal points for your living space.

Stainless Steel Pots
Sleek, modern and stylish, stainless steel pots for indoor gardening take the entire process to a whole new level. If you have a modern living space, then these stainless steel pots will do wonders for the aesthetic appeal of your interiors. The sleek stainless steel with the soothing greenery of houseplants makes for an excellent combination that can be used to enhance the indoors. Square, cylindrical or long rectangular pots, take your pick from any that suit your taste.

Indoor Plant Pot Hangers
If you don’t want to occupy floor space with potted plants, then indoor plant hangers are for you. Placed on a lone pillar, or hanging in your balcony, these provide the beauty of greenery without occupying too much floor space. These are of course ideal for hanging indoor plants. A combination of a couple of potted plants kept on the floor along with these hanging plant pots, will make the entire look perfect. Plant hangers are available in all the aforementioned materials, so you can take your pick depending on your personal taste.

When selecting indoor plant pots, keep in mind certain pointers. For one, no matter what material you select, the pot should look good with the plant, and the space in which you are going to keep it. Keep in mind the larger picture rather than the momentary vision. Secondly, the size of the plant should be proportionate to the pot you are going to keep it in. A round bush growing in a rectangular pot will look silly, though these may be beautiful elements individually. Apart from the terracotta pots, none of the other materials mentioned here are porous, which means they will require you to follow the regime mentioned for the plastic pots.

Types of Seeds for Plantation

With organic farming gaining popularity day-by-day, the planters are left with two choices: whether to go for genetically modified hybrid seeds or to opt for organic seeds to get an organic yield. In my opinion, organic seeds are a better choice, as they are more safe and natural. However, while selecting a particular type of seeds for sowing make sure the variety of seeds, whether organic or hybrid, has been used before and has given a healthy yield.

Seeds for Growing Cereal Plants
You can find these plant seeds for sowing at a farmers market, or order them online. Select good quality seeds to grow your cereals, and seek advice from the supplier for the care instructions. Some of the cereal plant seeds are bran, wheat, rice, corn, etc.

Seeds for Growing Fruit/Flower Plants
Fruit and flower seeds are easily available at a nursery; again make sure you select good quality fruit tree seeds, and select the variety of fruit you want to grow. For example, there are various varieties of apples, try to get your hands on the seeds that are native to your region. Some of fruit and flower plants grown using seeds are peaches, apricots, nectarines, roses, sunflower, etc.

Seeds for Growing Vegetables
Again, you can find seeds to grow vegetables or herb plants at your local nursery. Pick out healthy, non-bruised, and large seeds to get a healthy yield. Examples of easy-to-grow vegetables by using seeds are tomato, squash, beans, cucumbers, spinach, etc.

Seeds for Growing Grass
To grow beautiful grass you can buy seeds from online suppliers or at your local nursery. It is okay if you go with the quality grass seeds which are non-organic varieties, as grass is used only for decorative purpose.

Seeds for Growing Herbs
Herbs add great flavor to a recipe. Many people tend to keep a small herb garden near their kitchen. It is possible to grow herbs in small containers, and many herb plants don’t need much maintenance. Some examples of easy-to-grow herbs are parsley, mint, rosemary, sage, and chives.

Types of Edible Seeds

Some of the above types of seeds also fall in the edible seeds type, for example cereals, many fruits, and vegetable seeds are edible such as cucumber seeds and tomato seeds. Given below are the types of edible seeds used in the kitchen and the ones used to feed birds.

Seeds That Can Be Eaten Raw
Many seeds can be eaten raw, and can be found at a supermarket. Make sure you select a packet of good quality ones. Some examples of such seeds are: mung bean seeds, peanuts, radish, sunflower, clover, etc.

Seeds That Need to Be Cooked Before Eating
There are many seeds which need to be soaked for many hours. After some time these seeds sprout, and become edible. While some seeds are soaked for hours, and then cooked well for them to become edible. Some examples of such seeds are pinto, kidney beans, white kidney beans, green gram, soybeans, broccoli, etc.

Seeds That are Used for Making Beverages
There are some specific seeds which are not eaten, but used to make beverages. The most common example is of coffee beans. Coffee is one of the most popular beverage around the world and many prefer to grind these beans at home to make fresh coffee, rather than using the store-available powder. Similarly, chia seeds are used to make energy drink, while rose hips are used to make tea.

Seeds to Feed Birds
For feeding the birds there are various kinds of seeds used. However, certain bird seeds attract specific group of birds. The seeds used to feed birds are sunflower, millet, cracked corn, thistle, wheat, oats, etc.
Some Interesting-looking Seeds
Many people tend to collect seeds which are beautiful. Given below are pictures of some interesting seeds, some are in their pods, some have a hard shell, while some have a fuzzy cover on them. There are also few interesting seeds like that of the Chinese lantern plant which after drying gets a hollow, intricate-looking shell.

Tips Keep Cats Out of Flower Beds

Tip 1: Before you can implement any steps to stop the cat from ruining your precious flowerbeds, it is advisable to talk to the owner of the cat and know if it is domesticated. However, if you are that unfortunate a cat owner, it is recommended that you look into options like cat proofing your garden or building cat enclosures. Believe me, it will not only make your neighbors happy, but your cat will be safe as well. Building a toilet area for your cat, like a sand pit, is a great idea.

Tip 2: There are many commercial cat deterrents available in the market. Most of these chemicals contain the active ingredient, methyl nonyl ketone, which should not be used near food crops. Any of these can be used to protect your flowerbeds.

Tip 3: This is one method that I am sure will work, even if for a limited time. As soon as you see the cats near your flowerbeds, just squirt some water on them. Since cats HATE water, they will probably just get flustered and not come back again. There are certain motion-activated sprinklers, that use infrared to detect the animal and shoot a jet of water on it. If the cat belongs to someone you know, it is advisable that you tell them of the plan and assure them that you will not hurt the cat. This method is, however, severely limited by the fact that some weird cats might actually think you are playing with them!

Tip 4: A great way to keep the cats off the flowerbeds, is by spreading peels of lemon, orange, or grapefruit on it. For some reason, cats seem to have a developed distaste for citrus smells. Drops of citrus oil or coffee grounds also seem to do the job just as well.

Tip 5: By installing a fine garden netting over the soil in the flowerbed, you can ascertain that the cat does not dig away the soil. Placing it an inch or two above the flowerbed ensures that they are not walking on it either. You can also try spreading pine cones, by adding it to the mulch on the flowerbeds. Since cat paws are sensitive, they would usually avoid such places. Alternately, you can cover the ground with rough-surfaced rocks or use the branches of a thorny plant.

Tip 6: Most gardeners around the world have the ‘perfect plant solution’ and it involves planting certain plants in the garden that repel cats. Marigolds are a great option in this case. Not only do they look good and are fairly easy to grow, but they also possess a scent that keeps cats away from the flowerbeds. Plants such as geranium, pennyroyal, rue, lavender, garlic, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and other strongly scented plants are also unpleasant to cats. A weed originating in Europe, known as ‘coleus canina’, deters the presence of cats, by emitting an odor offensive to them (but not to humans).

Tip 7: High frequency sounds emitted by ultrasonic devices usually send the cat running, while causing no distress to your ears.

If these tips do not seem to work, try to make your garden less cat-friendly, by doing away with the huge cat magnets, like bird feeders and birdbaths. If you have catnip plants, please do away with them unless you want cats from miles away, swarming into your garden. There are people who also recommend getting a dog. However, I do not think it’s a good idea because if the dog attacks the cat, you could be fined. Also instead of the cat ruining the flowerbeds, a dog may destroy it in completely different ways and then you would probably end up reading an article on ‘how to keep dogs out of flowerbeds’.

Fall Flowers for Garden

Whether its winter or summer, spring or autumn, a garden always blooms if cared for. However, to make your garden evergreen, implementing creative gardening ideas is essential. Usually, novices, make the mistake of not planting fall flowers. Thus, by winter time, the garden gets covered with layers of snow, which makes it look dull and white. And who doesn’t like to see a cozy, heart-warming and well pruned garden on a Christmas eve?

The arresting beauty of Asters, will make your garden come alive in the winter. Native of New England and New York, Asters are found in pink and deep purple. Plant them early in June, along the border of your cobbled pathway, to get the authentic picturesque look. They grow about 3-4 feet tall and survive well in moist soil. A good breed of asters will thrive well in the fall season. Plant them with supports so that they do not get too droopy.

Joe Pye Weed
This one is my favorite. You can make the best fall garden with Joe Pye Weed. The botanical name of this plant is Eupatorium. This plant thrives in moist soil and will grow well if you plant it by early summer. The deep pink color of these flowers is a great eye catcher! You can alternate, the pathway border with a purple Aster and a pink Joe Pye Weed, which will make your garden look brilliant!

‘They flash upon that inward eye,
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.’

Couldn’t help quoting these lines. Helenium are total show stoppers! These daisy look-alikes, with their brilliance of yellow, will make your garden come alive. You should be aware of the various fall flowers in order to prepare the garden, and know when to plant these. If you plant them early in summer, these plants will develop a healthy cycle.

Some Gardening Tips

Weed Control
If you think weed only grew in monsoon, you are clearly wrong. Chickweed grows abundantly in winters. Remove these weeds to prevent them from growing all over your garden. You can also use some herbicide in case the problem persists for a long time.

Compost Pit
Withering of flowers and shedding of leaves is a characteristic of plants and trees in winter. Don’t burn these leaves or throw them away. Make a compost pit and put these leaves in the pit. This will give you some good manure by summer, which can be used for composting the plant so that healthy fall flowers spring up by the next fall.

Pale Purple Coneflower

Pale purple coneflowers are perennial plants, that can grow up to three feet in height. As already stated, the wild ones have a single main stem, whereas those in gardens have many stems. Usually, the stems are green in color, but some plants have shades of purple or red. The stems possess coarse hair, which are whitish in color. Most of the leaves are concentrated near the base of the plant. There are very few leaves on the stems, and the basal leaves have long stalks. The leaves have rough surfaces, parallel veins, coarse white hair, and tapering tips. The leaves of this plant can have a maximum length of ten inches, and a width of up to two inches.

Normally, a single daisy-like flower can be seen at the tip of each stem. The width of the flower can be between one to three inches, and the color of the petals ranges from pale rose to purple and white. In pale purple coneflowers, the petals are ray florets, that can be around 12 to 20 in number. They are slender, long, and drooping. The reddish-brown cone of disc florets in the center are surrounded by these narrow ray florets. The flowering season starts with the early summer, and lasts for at least three weeks. As the season ends, the ray florets shrivel away, and the color of the disk florets’ cone turns to black. The fruits, called ‘cypselae’, have angled edges. These plants have a deep spindle-shaped taproot system.

Range, Habitat, and Planting

The pale purple coneflower, which is native to the south central United States, is widely distributed in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, and Texas. Though found in the states of Tennessee and Wisconsin, it is a threatened species in these regions. Their habitat includes dry black soil prairies, savannas, abandoned fields, limestone glades, and open areas adjacent to railroads.

These plants are mainly grown for prairie landscaping, native gardens, roadside gardens, wildlife food, medicinal uses, etc. A seedbed should be prepared for planting the seeds. It should be firm enough to plant the seeds 1/8 inch deep. The seedbed can be subjected to chemical weed control measures. Most people prefer dormant seeds for planting, as they give good results. It takes about two months to break dormancy, provided the environment is cold and moist. Fertilizers should be used sparingly, to reduce the growth of weeds. Regular weeding is necessary for the healthy growth of the plant.