Monthly Archives: March 2016

Making Gardening Easy With Perennial PlantsGardening for some, no matter the amount of work goes into it, is a very enjoyable task - from hauling the dirt, to cutting the brambles, to pulling the weeds - it's all good stuff. But for many of us, we love our gardens and don't mind a little weekend upkeep, but we certainly don't find the idea of making it a full time job enjoyable. Thankfully, there are some pretty awesome gardening hacks that make gardening a whole lot easier. Great tools and time saving materials and habits like putting down a good mulch regularly are a couple of hacks that help, but one is so simply obvious yet dismissed that it might boggle the mind. Simply put, if you plant the right perennials in your garden, your life will be a lot easier. It's true - many perennial plants make gardening easy.

Here are some of our favorite perennials that make gardening easier with the biggest amount of "WOW" factor to boot!

Perennials in their own right save you a lot of time and headache. Once established, they come back year after year without a lot of help from you. They tend to be healthy plants that resist disease. They sometimes naturally fill in spaces beautifully, or remain in neat and tidy clumps all their lives. But with some careful picking and choosing, you can even make your perennials pull double, or triple duty. They can serve purposes in terms of water saving, producing edibles for the table, offer shade and respite, and even protect your home and property.

Succulent plants such as ice plant, sedums, and hens and chicks are all drought tolerant and conserve water. There are many forms of succulents, from the tall background stately plants like yucca plant, to the mid-ground succulents like upright sedums, to lovely ground covers such as hens and chicks, there's a succulent perennial for every need in the hot garden that doesn't receive a lot of water. You won't have to water these once they're established and will save you money and time.

Perennial edibles are also wonderful multi-purpose plants that save you energy in the garden. Many herbs are wonderful perennials, such as rosemary plant, sage plant, and mint plant. Catnip plant is perfect for kitty of course, but catnip can also be grown in the garden as a beneficial insect attractor. Yarrow plant is another perennial that has herbal qualities, and is also a good wildlife attractor. Some of these perennial herbs can be spreading and somewhat invasive, so employing raised bed gardening when growing these (especially the mints) will help you keep these wonderful garden perennials under control.

And finally, adding one or two very interesting and unusual "Wow!" perennials will make your garden stand apart from the crowd. Ornamental banana plants are beautiful and have high-impact in the garden for example. In many areas, hardy ornamental bananas can be grown year round right in the ground. Dwarf varieties can be grown in large pots and brought inside when cold weather hits if you live in a colder climate. A few ornamental bananas in the garden gives a tropical feel that suits the hot summer garden wonderfully.

Perennial plants make gardening easy if you know what to pick and how to use them to their full potential.

 

Grow Healthy Plants With Effective WateringWatering the garden is one of those things that many gardeners think they are getting right, but they probably are not. The most common mistake that gardeners make is watering their plants too quickly.

Typically gardeners might either turn on a sprinkler system or just use a hose. They see puddles of water everywhere and think they are getting the job done, but in reality water is being wasted and it's not even making it down deep to the plant's roots.

What's really happening is that the water is being spread out due to runoff. When water is applied too quickly the soil doesn't have a chance to soak it in. So the water that can't be soaked in gets spread to surrounding areas.

Instead of the water only being used for the intended plant, it spreads out and waters weeds. This can waste quite a bit of your gardening time, because you'll be spending it weeding.

With this big mess of water everywhere it may seem like the plants are really getting hydrated; however, if you take a shovel and dig down you might be surprised to find out that the water may have only made it down a couple inches.

Another downside to applying water too quickly is that puddles form at the top of the soil. When water just sits there it has a better chance of evaporating, and that's wasted water that could have been used for your plants. If you happen to live in a drought prone area it is extremely important to not be wasteful.

The obvious solution to fixing this problem is to water slowly. Fortunately there are many gardening tools to help you water slowly without wasting your time and manually doing it yourself. These tools use drip irrigation to apply water slowly.

Drip irrigation works exactly how it sounds like it would; it drips the water onto the soil where it has a chance to soak in. Because the soil actually has time to absorb the water, very little is wasted and the water has a chance to soak in deeply.

One of the main benefits of water soaking deeply into the soil is that the plants roots are being trained to reach deep into the ground to retrieve water. The water that makes it deeper also stays in the ground longer than water at a shallow level. You are helping your plants become more drought tolerant if you give them an occasional deep soaking instead of frequent shallow watering.

Some of the tools that you can use to take advantage of drip irrigation include soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems that include drip tape or individual emitters. All these options vary in price and complexity. You could have a very simple hose with emitters or you could install an entire system with a timer.

Soaker hoses would be a good option for people not looking to spend very much money. Soaker hoses are porous and the water looks like it sweats out of the hose. An advantage of soaker hoses is that it is flexible and can bend around plants. A disadvantage of soaker hoses is that they don't water very evenly. Typically more water gets emitted towards the beginning of the hose than at the end. They can also be prone to blowouts if the water pressure isn't regulated.

A drip system is probably the best way to water a garden. A drip system can be customized to water exactly what you need and even less water is wasted than with a soaker hose. Because a soaker hose emits water all along the hose, water is being wasted on bare areas if your plants happen to be spaced out. In a drip system you can have individual emitters for plants that are spread out or drip tape for plants that are more crowded.

If you'd like to see how drip irrigation works without actually purchasing anything this can be done using a milk jug. Just fill the empty milk jug with water and poke a small hole at the bottom with a needle (or something of similar size). You want your hole to be small enough that the water just drips. Then you can place it near a plant you would like watered.

This milk jug trick is great to use if you ever have to be away from your garden for an extended amount of time.

 

Rose of Sharon Shrub Hedges in Your GardenGrowing a Rose of Sharon hedge in Your Garden is an excellent way of creating a private garden area during the summer season. Changing the appearance of your garden can be easily done. Regardless of the size of your garden, you don't have to spend more time, money, and effort in improving its appearance. With your knowledge about Rose of Sharon shrubs, your problem can be easily solved.

Like other homeowners, you shouldn't miss to ignore the benefits of Rose of Sharon bushes. These are the common names of the different species of flowering plants, hardy hibiscus, hibiscus syriacus, and althea. They are one of the few shrubs that bloom in the summer garden. Compared to others, they are low maintenance and the Rose of Sharon shrubs can grow upward to 12 feet. Therefore, if you want the shrub to appear as a tree, just prune away the lower branches in early spring.

One of our favorite things about Rose of Sharon bushes is their appearances. Their flowers have beautifully distinct colors such as blue, red, pink, white, and purple. Most of these bushes also grow from 8 to 12 feet tall and roughly six to ten feet wide though some varieties have a more columnar shape. Hardy Hibiscus plants show good pollution tolerance which makes them a good choice for urban gardens.

Tips on planting and growing Rose of Sharon hedges in your garden:

Pick Your Planting Site -- Rose of Sharon grows in full sun areas. They also grow well in a part sun or part shade areas though blooming may be limited. Prepare the Planting Site -- You can do this through digging the hole approximately 4 to 6 inches deeper than the root system and about a foot wide. If you have clay soil, mix into the fill dirt aged compost or aged manure mix and some coarse sand for drainage. Put the Rose of Sharon Shrubs in the Planting Hole -- Do this step carefully, fill holes and water. You may need to add more soil around the plant and water it again if it settles too deeply. Fertilizers -- Fertilize can be applied in spring after the plant begins to leaf out. A balanced timed release is best. If using aged compost and aged manure mixes as mulch regularly, there should be no need for a fertilizer application.

With Rose of Sharon, you can easily change the appearance of your garden. Since these shrubs and flowers are easy to grow and maintain, you don't have to monitor them regularly.