Friday, July 27, 2012

Do You Know What Time It Is?

August is almost upon us.  People with gardens ought to have a general idea of the needs of their patch of earth each month.  Fortunately, in this internet age there are a plethora of gardening websites providing calendars for gardeners.  Here are a few that we find helpful for August:

The Garden Helper. Annuals, Perrenials, Bulbs, Shrubs, Trees, Fruits, and Vegetables; even Lawn Care.  A comprehensive concise rundown of August tasks for those in the Ben's Creek hardiness zone (7-8).

The Green Mountain Gardener, of the University of Vermont Extension, has some nice tips for those of you of a Northeastern persuasion.

The venerable Farmer's Almanac has a musical allusion followed by some August tips, probably the most important of which is to simply "...sit back, iced tea in hand, and behold all that you have worked for."

Fairy Gardens. Need a pick me up in the August heat? How about some garden color? Fairy Gardens lists some particularly colorful August plants and trees, along with a copious list of to-dos.

Gardener's Paradise. Scroll down for links to tips for bulbs, flowers, vegetables, and more!

This ought to keep you busy through August. Meanwhile, I intend to follow the advice of The Farmer's Almanac and pick up a case of ice tea. After 200 years, they must know something about August.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cover Up!

Ground cover. This sounds like something you might pull over a wet baseball field, but it actually refers to plantings that perform a variety of useful functions, e.g. preventing soil erosion, weed control, or simply filling in ugly bare patches. However, you don't have to settle for a "plain green" look. Nancy Ondra of Fine Gardening covers all the bases regarding flowering ground covers:
 ...numerous spreading perennials do an equally good job protecting the soil and crowding out weeds while producing a bounty of beautiful blooms. Mass plantings of these easy-care perennials are great for new gardens because just a few can fill plenty of space, easing the strain on your budget. In established landscapes, linking individual shrubs into larger beds with flowering ground covers dramatically cuts down on tedious mowing and trimming chores.
 Let's see, soil protection, easy on the budget, reduces tedious yard chores; what's not to like about flowering ground covers?

Read the whole article here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

How long do trees live?

 Here is a neat link from Virginia Tech, showing the probable lifespans of many different types of trees.  For instance, the Bald Cypress.  You might pay anywhere from $300 to $500 to install this tree; what are you getting for your money?  A landscape addition for -- 600 years on average.  And 1,800 years if it lives to the maximum.  Now that's value!

On more reasonable timescales, when you plant a tree you certainly want something that will thrive and grow for  30 or 40 years and beyond.  As the Virginia Tech link shows, most trees should exceed such time periods easily.  But this comes with a caveat: different trees are different.  That is, there are good trees and bad trees, which is why it's important to seek professional help in selecting and installing trees.

Iles Farm - Ben's Creek Nursery

Monday, July 16, 2012

July - Play it By Ear

"Play it by ear." That's the advice for July we get from Marie Iannotti of Not very specific, is she? However, that's the problem with July, it's not very specific either.  With its intermittent rainfall and fluctuating temperatures, July waffles between the growth days of early Summer and the dog-days to come.

Even so, Ms. Iannotti gives us a nice list of things we might do in July - assuming we have the ear to hear what our garden needs!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

To Prune or Not To Prune

Pruning is one of those year-round garden activities - but not everything should be pruned at the same time. Kathleen Huddy of consults "the experts: horticulturalists, gardening associations, and master gardeners," and gives us a year round guide on what and when to prune.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Mulch in Time Makes a Nice Design!

As we reported way back in 2010, mulch is an important building block of your yard and garden. However, it can also bring a distinctive flourish to a yard design, as one of our customers can attest!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Heat!

Let's face it: summer heat can be really, really hot. And as we watch our lawns go brown, our flowers wilt, and our shrubberies shrug, we feel we have to do something, anything, to help our plants. However, Julie Day of tells us that
It’s easy to overdo it in hot weather, especially if you’re an attentive gardener who believes you can coax your plants back if you only work hard enough. Ironically, during the heat of midsummer, sometimes the best thing you can do is to leave your plants alone – many chores we consider “TLC” will only stress plants further.
In other words, we can actually care too much - and end up hurting what we are trying to help! Read the whole article for some summer gardening do's and don'ts.