Composting is one of the amazing ways you can make use of your garden waste. Not only does it clear up your backyard but it also improves the soil making your garden a better place for planting plants, flowers, vegetables and fruits.
One of the joys of gardening is that it adds color to our lives, and by planning the use of color you can produce a garden to match your personal style, or create areas with entirely different atmospheres.
choosing a color scheme.
Plants are beautiful in so many different ways that they are extremely versatile in their use in the garden. The key to successful planting lies in establishing a good basic framework and building up a balanced collection of permanent and seasonal-interest plants.
Each time you set out a plant, the final planting step is usually to cover the ground around it with a blanket of mulch. Mulches are organic or inorganic materials that retard evaporation from the soil, smother weeds, and insulate the root zone of plants, keeping them cool in summer and protecting them from frost damage in winter. Organic mulches have the added benefit of attracting beneficial earthworms, which aerate the soil and contribute plant nutrients.
First impressions really do count, yet the front garden is all too often the poor relation of the back, where we spend much more of our time. However, an attractive and well-planned front garden is a real asset, giving a warm and welcoming face to your home.
When you create a garden of care-free plants, you are automatically taking steps toward reducing garden maintenance. When well sited, with the type of soil and exposure they prefer, the plants described in this book will thrive with little attention beyond minimal feeding, weeding, and watering. In this section we'll share tips for providing your plants with the minimal care they deserve, and we'll also help you time your efforts to the season when your care will do the most good.
This section includes information on getting more plant performance for less effort. You'll also find advice on warding off problems when buying, planting, feeding, and watering plants, as well as tips for the minimal weed control and pruning that these plants require to maintain their health and good looks. Discover easy methods for multiplying your plants. Despite the natural resistance of these plants, the occasional flying or four-footed pest will visit your garden, so we'll also describe methods of repelling and controlling these pests. A helpful Calendar of Care is a seasonal checklist for timing your maintenance tasks so that they don't get out of hand.
No one wants a landscape that's a source of tiresome work, and although some maintenance is unavoidable, here you'll find ways to make it more enjoyable. Experienced gardeners wait for good weather and favorite times of the day to work in their gardens, whether they are doing things they enjoy, such as setting out new plants, or more formidable tasks, such as mowing the lawn. In a garden stocked with care-free plants, you have plenty of opportunities to pick and choose the green-thumb activities in keeping with your mood and what you want to accomplish on any given day.
For enthusiastic gardeners, a greenhouse is an extension of the garden, enabling you to enlarge your range of plants. Within its protected environment the length of the growing season is longer and, if heated, tender plants and others at sensitive stages of their life cycle can be nurtured.
Mulching brings many benefits over and above its primary role in improving the soil. It gives your garden a neat, well-tended finish and reduces the amount of time and effort you need to spend on routine care.
Extreme weather is unkind to bare soil. Hot sunshine and winds dry and harden the surface, which causes heavy ground like clay to crack. Pounding rain turns the surface to a caked crust, and it washes away plant foods and even the topsoil itself. To protect your soil from these effects, cover the surface with a mulch.
To please the eye, every open space needs its focal point Unless there is something relatively strong to catch
the attention in the garden, the view, however well planted or laid out, can become directionless or dull. Focal points can take many forms and need not, in themselves, be particularly dominant, as long as they have
enough presence to bind the rest of the design together.
New plants benefit from watering often enough to keep the soil barely moist during their first season in the ground, because they are growing on skimpy roots. After a few weeks or months, depending on the growth rate of the plants, you can water less frequently. Plants with mature, extensive root systems usually do a good job of finding the water they need deep within the soil. And plants that are mulched during the growing season need minimal supplemental water, because the mulch shades the soil, keeping it cool and reducing evaporation of moisture just below the soil's surface.
When you begin with the best-quality care-free plants you can find, you can look forward to excellent results from your efforts in the garden. It is wise to buy plants in the proper season, which is spring for most annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees in most parts of the continent, although in areas with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, many plants are best set out in the fall. In any season, shop early, when the selection is good, even though you may be buying plants that are just emerging from, or going into winter dormancy. Purchasing plants that have already gone dormant, and planting them in early spring, is a smart investment. As plants begin their most active season of aboveground growth, they are also poised to develop vigorous new roots over the long, upcoming growing season, and a strong root system will carry them safely through their first winter in the ground.
A soil that is both moisture-retentive and well-draining is achievable, but it is helpful to know how soil holds water -- especially if you need to improve the drainage of a waterlogged area or lawn.
The vast majority of plants can be grown from seed, and starting your own seeds, or buying commercially grown seedlings, are often the best ways to begin when you are growing annuals. However, several other methods of propagating plants provide faster and better ways of increasing your supply of perennials, bulbs, and sometimes even shrubs. Modern nurseries sometimes use high-tech tissue-culture methods to propagate plants, in which a cluster of cells is nurtured into a plant grown in a test tube. This has become an inexpensive way to produce disease-free, identical plant cultivars, but it can only be done in a laboratory setting. At home you can use more time-tested methods, such as dividing or rooting cuttings to increase your supply of plants.
When well-sited, any plant will be healthier and more resistant to problems, and the plants in this book have been chosen because they are naturally healthy and pest and disease resistant. But in any garden pest problems will pop up sooner or later. Whether those problems are due to insects or diseases, prompt intervention greatly improves your chances of saving plants from unnecessary suffering. Check your garden plants often for signs of trouble, and be prepared to administer first aid right when the need arises.
We cannot all achieve the perfect loam treasured by gardeners, but we can go a long way towards improving our soil, provided we understand it and know how to treat it.
To get the best out of your greenhouse, decide first on the right position and then establish firm foundations of the correct size well in advance of construction. If you are erecting the structure yourself, choose a fine day when you and your helper are not pressed for time.
Although very few gardens contain marshy ground, it is not difficult to replicate these conditions artificially. In this damp environment a rich selection of moisture-loving plants with bright flowers and luxuriant foliage will flourish, even in the height of summer. Ponds and bogs are complementary garden features. But an area of water is by no means essential and a bog garden can work extremely well in its own right. Constructing a bog garden is similar to, but simpler than, making a pond. It basically consists of excavating a hole, lining it with a waterproof membrane and filling with enriched soil.
Gravel is an adaptable material that has many practical advantages in the garden. It can protect drought-loving plants from suffering in wet climates, re-create desert or alpine conditions, and even offer a solution for coping with desperately dry soils.
All patios benefit from planting, but with a little extra thought and care you can transform an outdoor seating area into a delightful oasis of color and fragrance.
Given that flowers are a relatively short-lived occurrence in the yearly life of a plant, it pays to concentrate on getting the best combinations of plant shapes and foliage for your garden.
Shape and texture play a vital role in successful planting schemes, helping to guarantee the long-term interest of your borders. Not only does each plant have an overall shape, which can be distinctive, but individual leaves also differ greatly in size, shape and texture.
Trimming off withered blossoms and tattered stems does much more than make your garden appear neatly groomed. It also coaxes plants to produce more stems and blossoms, extending the flowering time of many plants. While most perennials and shrubs will bloom all at once no matter what you do, and some plants can shed their old flowers without aid, most annuals and a few perennials depend on you to relieve diem of old flowers. When deprived of the opportunity to produce seeds, annuals have no choice but to flower again and again, in an attempt to set seeds.
Almost all vines require some type of trellis, and you can be endlessly creative as you devise or purchase arches, iron or wood trellises, or panels of wooden lattice that will hold wandering stems aloft. Single upright pillars and openwork obelisks tend to become unstable after they become heavy with plants, so it is crucial that they be deeply and firmly anchored in the ground. Arches are less likely to topple, but if you live in a windy area, it may be best to grow vines on wooden trellises that are securely attached to walls.