Tuesday June 18, 2013
"Coffee has been dumped in compost, used to deter slugs and side-dressed as a mulch, but what about those paper filters?" asks Marie Iannotti. In this FAQ on composting coffee filters, About.com's Gardening Guide tackles the question from a number of different angles, including:
- Is it safe to put coffee filters in your compost bin?
- Are coffee filters biodegradable, and if so, how fast do they break down?
- Since coffee filters are treated with bleach, is there any place for them in organic landscaping?
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Photo ©2006 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)
Monday June 17, 2013
In last month's report, I said that I was holding back on telling you about a few of my stars: there were so many potential nominees, it seemed like overkill to mention all of them at once. Plus many would still be blooming in June, so why not include them in my June report, instead?
Well, now it's time to recognize some of those stars of my yard that have yet to receive their due in my monthly landscaping reports for 2013.
So without further ado, here are my stars for the last few weeks:
How about you? Vote in my poll below and let us know what plants are shining most brightly in your own yard right now.
Sunday June 16, 2013
The front yard is often a strange amalgam between the public and private spheres. Many homeowners keep their front yards largely open to public view, out of fear that a more private setting would tempt burglars. But this approach to front-yard landscaping is riddled with its own drawbacks.
Myself, I'm the retiring sort. I treasure my privacy. And many others feel the same way. I'm also very goal-oriented. If I want to socialize, then I'll put my socializing hat on and have at it. But if I'm going out into the front yard for the purpose of trimming a hedge, then that's precisely what I wish to do. I'm not especially keen on having such work interrupted every 5 minutes by passersby who wish to shoot the breeze.
There's sometimes a misconception about those of us who cherish our privacy. It's not that we wish to hide anything behind our privacy screens. It's just that we don't want to live under a microscope.
Even good neighbors don't enjoy feeling obligated to wave "Hello" every time they step outside, as if needing permission before continuing on their business. "Good fences make good neighbors" is an old adage made famous by Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall. Even though Frost's intended message in the poem probably differs from the wisdom in the adage, I think the latter is just as valid today as ever.
Read article: Front-Yard Landscaping
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Photo ©2007 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)
Saturday June 15, 2013
The botanical name for rose of sharon is Hibiscus syriacus. Many gardeners who grow the plant in northern climes don't typically think of it as a Hibiscus, though, as they may reserve that term for the tropical flowers of the same name that they see growing in greenhouses. But the syriacus part of the name is what's most confusing, so let me delve into a bit of history to help explain it:
"Rose of sharon" is a name found in Song of Solomon 2:1 and may be a biblical name for God. Initially (but erroneously) thought to be native to Syria, its namers dubbed it syriacus. Botanists later discovered it to be native to China, but the species name stuck.
Rose of sharon is also sometimes referred to by the common name, "althea." That's because the flowers of mallow (the Althaea genus) are similar to those of rose of sharon.
But by any other name, rose of sharon is a shrub with much to offer. One of the stars of my Landscaping Forum, John76, lists some of the selling points for rose of sharon:
- It flowers in late summer, when few other shrubs are blooming
- It is floriferous, with an attractive (although not huge) blossom
- A rose of sharon hedge can grow tall enough to function as a living privacy fence
- It is easy to propagate
Put in your 2 cents: What Are Your Favorite Plants?
Photo ©2008 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)