You have to live with plants, over long periods of time, to understand them intimately. Growing plants is an ongoing experiment. That's why it's illuminating to hear what people say about the plants in their lives. If you've watched a plant grow for years, watered it, fertilized it, pruned it, etc., then you have valuable knowledge to share about that plant.
Share your tips on plants and projects here!Share Your Knowledge
An Organized Landscaper....
- 1. Know what you want in a yard. 2. Research the items you like and see if it fits your ideas of what you want 3. Make a library of your ideas and make sketches for your design. I have been doing this for about 4 or 5 years and still am changing our landscape.
- —Guest Ron Woodhouse
- I, too had a reel mower for many years and used it regularly on our front and back lawns. We then moved to a huge property and my husband bought a sit-on mower. What a noise that makes and it does not do the job the reel mower did. I found the grass was thicker and more healthy with the reel mower. If you happen upon one get it and use it regularly, your lawn will love you for it and so will your neighbours.
Save Money on Japanese Maples
- Japanese maple trees are beautiful but can be a bit pricy, depending on what size you buy. Baby trees are cheaper and just fine. They will grow, and the leaves and shape are amazing.
- —Guest KKDdQeWDCOi
Cardboard for Weed Control
- Many people lay down layers of newspaper as a mulch to suppress weeds. I use cardboard instead of newspaper -- and have had great luck in suppressing weeds with it.
- —Guest Kim
How to Repel Cats
- Your article on dog repellents was most informative. I can share some information on how to repel cats. My daughter bought a condo and found that its small back patio flower beds had been the potty for the next door cat for years. She had quite a problem, since she wanted to grow vegetables. Also, she has a cat herself and didn't want to make the patio off-limits to her pet. She explained to me that besides the hygiene issue, she didn't want strange cats coming into the patio because they would get into a fight with her kitty, who is much too old for brawling. She dug out and replaced the icky soil, but still had a difficult time convincing Miss Betty (the offending cat) to find other latrine facilities. Two things worked: stone mulch and a commercial product to repel cats that contained capsaicin (a pepper extract). She only had to use the peppery repellent once, and Miss Betty decamped for good. Cats are critters of habit, and if you can get one to change, the change is likely to last, allowing you to stop using the repellent. At least it did in this case, and Miss Betty had been using that patio for her entire life!
- —Guest Ann B.
- I discovered last year (thanks to the deer) that garden phlox can be cut back as you would mums, in June, to promote side shoots for blooms. By doing the pruning you get shorter plants which don't flop over or need stacking and a nice-looking blooming plant. I can thank hungry deer for showing me the way.
- —Guest judy
Smothering Grass With Newspaper II
- In the March newsletter you advocate laying down newspaper and then putting mulch over it to kill off grass to make a flower bed. In Southern Colorado we get such high winds that this method doesn't work. The wind blows the newspaper all over the neighborhood, no matter how much mulch you top it with. Maybe gravel would work, but mulch does not. Just thought you should know.
- —Guest Karen
Smothering Grass With Newspaper
- I enjoyed seeing that you suggest [in an article I wrote about killing grass with newspaper -- ed.] the very method that I devised more than twenty five years ago when I moved in to my first house (and I'm still here!). The earth was impossible to dig into with so many tree roots and disuse that I did put down thick layers of newspaper and then I piled good soil enhanced with cow manure, peat moss and a bit of sand to lighten it up and planted just like that and mulched afterward. I managed to eliminate old roots, grass and create raised beds all in one step. Some of those gardens are still flourishing with tiger lilies after all this time and New England winters. This method also helped me push back the woods that were encroaching on the yard. I enjoy your site and all your great suggestions, Lynn
- —Guest Lynn
Islandscapes & Millgrove Landscaping
- A diverse blog that chronicles the design, install and creative process of Millgrove Landscaping. Before and after photos, plant selection, hardscape. Follow owner and designer, Tina Etter as she searches for inspiration. See the transformation of Ladera Hotel on St. Lucia, travel to local and far off destinations. Visit garden shows, trade shows and entertainment venues. http://islandscapestina.blogspot.com/
Creating Space for More Plants
- If you have less space in your yard where you want to have variety of plants, create a terrace structure where you can have 3-4 steps and plant different plants with different color and different structure.
Landscaping: Anyone Can Do It
- Landscaping doesn't have to be expensive, though it can be. You can find your own rocks, find specials and be creative. You can do it!
- —Guest stevep
Weed Control Idea
- To keep weeds somewhat controlled, I use empty coffee sacks for my vegetable and flower beds. I get the sacks free from a coffee roaster in Portland, then cut the sacks in half, lay over a prepared bed, and then cover with garden soil. The burlap breaks down over time, is sustainable, and keep weeds away. To plant, I just cut open the burlap enough to situate the plant roots and then adjust the burlap around the plant.
- —Guest fishtofly
- If you're looking for a hardy grass that provides ample coverage and greenery, a maiden grass bush is for you. It's a beautiful grass that requires no maintenance that will grow back each year. I planted this grass five or so years ago and it comes back each year bigger and healthier than before. The trick is to trim down close to the dirt each year, preferably in late Fall/Winter. By end of March/April you'll start to see the new green grass poking through. Beautiful how it just sways in the wind on a breezy day! Try it--I guarantee you'll love it!
A "Bloody Good" Fertilizer
- I kind of stumbled onto the fact that blood meal can be an excellent fertilizer for grass. I sprinkled some blood meal one spring over my crocuses, which are planted in a small area of the lawn. My purpose for using the blood meal was not as fertilizer but to keep the squirrels away from my crocuses (some of which they had already dislodged). The blood meal did its job, but it also did some "bonus work," as I later noticed that the grass in that area of the lawn was much greener than it was anywhere else. It was the nitrogen in the blood meal that did that. Unfortunately, blood mean does not come cheap, so it would not be practical to try to use it to green up the whole lawn (if you have a big lawn). But if you had one small area of grass that you wanted to "show off" for a special occasion (an area off of a patio, say, in conjunction with a late summer cookout), you could do worse than to fertilize it with blood meal several months in advance.
- —Guest Cesar Reese