UNDERSTANDING SOIL TYPES

soilFor gardeners and property owners, there are up to five different soil types that you can utilize for lawn, garden and landscaping.  Each of the five is made up of a combination of three types of weathered rock particles: sand, silt, and clay.  The balance of how these three particles are combined defines the soil’s type—how it feels to the touch and how it retains water and nutrients. And so – how it helps plants and trees to grow.

1. Sandy soil, of all the types, has the largest particles.  It is dry and gritty to the touch and because the particles have huge spaces between them, it doesn’t retain water well.  Instead, water drains rapidly and falls straight through to the places where the roots, particularly those of seedlings, cannot reach.  The nutrients in sandy soil are not utilized by the plants because they are quickly carried away with the runoff.  The benefit of sandy soil is that it is lightweight and warms up quickly with the spring sun.  To determine how sandy the soil is that you are working with, you simply moisten it and roll it into a ball to check the predominant particle type.  If it is sandy soil, your effort to form a ball will fail and it will crumble through your fingers.

2. Silty soil has smaller particles than sandy soil, which makes it smooth to the touch.  When wet it is sort of soapy, slick, and when you roll it between your fingers there will be a coat of dirt left on your skin.  Silty soil retains water well but it doesn’t hold on to as much volume of nutrients making it just fairly fertile.  Due to its moisture-retentive quality, silty soil is cold and drains poorly.  Silty soil can also easily compact, so it is best to avoid trampling on it when working in the garden.  It can become poorly aerated, too.

3. Clay soil has the smallest particles among the three, so it offers good water storage qualities.  It is also sticky to the touch when wet and smooth when dry.  Because of the tiny size of the particles and its tendency to settle together, little air passes through its spaces.  It is also slower to drain and has a tighter hold on plant nutrients.  Thus, clay soil is rich in plant food, which is better for growth.  It takes longer to warm up in response to the sun because the water trapped within it also needs to be warmed up.  The downside to clay soil is it can be very heavy to work with, wet or dry.  In summer months, it turns hard and compact which makes it difficult to turn. To determine if you have clay, wet it and try rolling it up into a ball.  If it forms a ball or sausage-like shape, then you have clay.

4. Peaty soil is dark brown or black in color, soft, easily compressed due to its high water content, and rich in organic matter.  When peat is drained it turns into a good growing medium.  In the summer sun and heat, peat can become very dry and create a fire hazard.  The best benefits of peat soil are its ability to hold water during the dry months and protect the roots from damage during the very wet months.  It is also helpful to regulate the soil chemistry or pH levels as well as acting like an agent of disease control for the soil.  You can tell if you have peat in your hands by wetting it and trying to form a ball.  It won’t take shape, as it is a spongy material and when squeezed, water will be released.

5. Saline soil is usually found in extremely dry regions and is usually briny because of its high salt content.  It can cause damage by stalling plant growth and germination.  It can cause problems with irrigation too.  The salty content is due to the collection of soluble salts in the rhizosphere* – high salt contents prevent water uptake by plants, leading to drought and stress to the plant.  As with the other soils, it is easy to find if you have saline soil.  You will probably see a white layer coating on the surface, your plants aren’t doing well, and you will see leaf tip burn on the younger leaves.

Loam is the ideal soil type for gardening.  It contains a balance of sand, silt and clay that creates higher pH and calcium levels due to its previous organic matter content. The key characteristics of loam are its dark color and mealy texture, which is soft, dry and crumbly.  It holds nutrients well and yet drains well.  The touch test for loam is a smooth, partly gritty, partly sticky ball that crumbles easily.  Although loamy soil is the ideal material to work with, don’t despair if you don’t have it in our garden.  You can condition your soil by adding beneficial soil inoculents, cover your soil with compost or simply spray the area with compost tea. Don’t hesitate to ask your landscaping and gardening professional here at our center about how to improve your soil and growing power!

*The rhizosphere is a certain section of the soil in the ground and will be the subject of an upcoming article.

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Gardening in the wintertime…Grow some herbs!

Yes, it’s cold out. Yes, there is snow on the ground or if not, there will be soon. You sigh as you look out the window, missing the sunny days tending your garden. Well, that knack for nurturing green things can be put to good use during cold winter months, by growing herbs to cook with! Save money, and have some fun, and take pleasure in the herbs that do well and end up in your meals!

First, get veggie friendly potting soil and place into a window box or other gardening container, and make room at one of your brightly lit windows! Find the sunniest window you’ve got. Now, go to your landscaping and garden store (ours! ) and pick out herbs you and your family like. Oregano and basil are hardy and fairly easy to grow. Oregano needs the most light. Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, and Mint are other grower-friendly choices.

Chives can be used in dips, spreads, salads (like onion). Mint can be used in teas, desserts, and soups. Rosemary is known for lamb but try it with beef or pork or chicken too. Oregano – and pasta – a match made in heaven! Also any Italian dish will welcome your Oregano.

You CAN place each herb in a pot (4 inch, 5 inch) and sit them on your window ledge. But be sure there is a hole in the pot for water to drain or roots will rot. Read the instructions for the right watering amount. If you have outdoor herbs growing, you can move them inside – too late for this year, but something to consider next fall.

Most herbs need 4 to 6 hours of good light, ideally. Another one that is a good kitchen-growing herb is savory. Less known, but just as tasty as those named above. Savory is used in meats, stuffing (dressing), soups and sauces.

You may want to talk to your gardening pro about what soil works best for which herbs. Some need less fertilizing than others. You can also ask about feeding your herbs, and buy the right feed (they’ll need nutrients after the first few weeks).

The neat thing is that, after some experimentation, you’ll end up with ingredients for dishes, and can proudly say, “I used my basil in this dish, see it over there on the window ledge?” It is not uncommon for an herb or two to die out of every 3 to 5 planted. It’s a bit tricky, and you’ll get better at it as you go. So don’t be bothered if your frankincense fizzles or your cilantro curls up and disappears. Be patient, play around a bit, and find your fit with certain herbs. Let the kids help too, for a fun winter project.

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Ideas for Autumn – Enhancing your home

The front porch and entryway is the place where your home makes a first impression. Let’s get this important asset to your home shined up and ready for the festive season, with visits from friends and family!

Replace old hardware
House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, your doorbell plaquard, and an overhead light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home’s exterior appeal. If any of these things are out of date or dingy, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you would like. These elements typically add the most appeal when they function collectively, rather than as mix-and-match pieces. So replace one or all of these features for an instant front-of-the-house facelift! Also, clean off any dirty spots around windows, doorknobs, lightswitch plates, and other apparatuses. Use metal polish on the door fixtures or even the hinges. Oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary ones.

Apply a fresh coat of paint
Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or by installing a custom wood door. For bare wood, use a primer. If it has been painted, lightly sand the surface to improve adhesion, making sure to scrape and spot-prime peeling areas. Your entry should also reflect the home’s interior, so choose an overhead garland or a wreath that reflects your personal style, picked up at your favorite lawn and garden store! (wink wink)

Use color
Create a big impact with your fall displays by using contrasting and complimentary colors. Stick with cool colors, like blues, purples, and greens, to complement different shades of red, orange, and yellow leaves. If decorating with fall foliage or greens, add some color that contrasts the color of your house.

Accent your walkway
Here’s an inexpensive outdoor idea that’s also a cinch to execute. Simply layer a stocky glass vase with faux-snow and real cranberries (or fake, if you’re worried about animals). Tuck in a pillar candle. Align your walkway with fir bundles topped with these pretty luminaries that are easy to make. Pick up some pinecones and they too can be placed in glass squares or cylinders with faux snow and a battery-operated tealight or votive.

Create perfect symmetry
Symmetry is not only pleasing to the eye, it’s also the simplest to arrange. Symmetrical compositions of light fixtures and front-door accents create welcoming entryways and boost curb appeal. A door flanked by two sidelights or lantern-style sconces not only safely guide visitors to the door, but can also be coordinated with the door hardware and matching urns placed in the corner or on either side of the door. Urns can be filled with cinnamon brooms, pussywillows, or other branches, silk or real.

Install outdoor lighting to welcome visitors
Low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal while also providing safety and security. Fixtures can add accent lighting to trees or the house or can illuminate a walking path. If you aren’t able to use lights that require wiring, install solar fixtures (but understand that their light levels are not as bright or as reliable).

Conceal that unsightly air conditioner
Plantings conceal the unit and also help save energy by shading the air conditioner’s condensing unit for part of the day when the sun is shining. You can use low-care plantings that look great and don’t take up a lot of time. Incorporate hearty plants with shrubbery, which your friendly landscaping professional at our store will gladly recommend! You want to make deer-resistant choices.

Don’t forget the mailbox
If your box is out front on a post, consider a new post, or give it a fresh coat of paint. Maybe it’s time for a new mailbox! Don’t forget to add a festive bow that can share cheer from Thanksgiving through the New Year!

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Trees and their Uses

Any landscape professional will tell you that trees can add a lot of interest to your property. They surely can, but there are also other benefits, like shade – and barriers from wind or noise. In fact, trees provide a lot more for us than we ever consider. The uses for and benefits of trees are many, whether you are looking for fun or function! Read below to learn more about this popular backyard staple.
Benefits

A young healthy tree can provide a net cooling effect similar to ten room-sized air conditioners operating for 20 hours a day! (According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Not only may this save you money, but in particular, trees save energy. Especially if the tree will cast a shadow on your home as it grows. Not to mention that later in the year, trees near the home can also provide a barrier from cold weather temperatures. They can prevent snowdrifts piling up against your home as well.

Trees also benefit your entire yard. They do this by saving water and soil, and cleaning the air. Surprisingly, this all starts with water evaporation from your own yard. The roots of a tree act like a sponge and not only drink the water, but hold the soil in place. The water is then evaporated back into the atmosphere surrounding the area, and you guessed it — increases the moisture. Simultaneously, odors and other gases from your lawn or neighbor’s lawn are absorbed and filtered by the leaves and bark. It really is better under the shade of a tree! Your air there is actually fresher!

Types of Trees
So, now that you are sold on the benefits of trees in your yard, let’s dive in to learn about some types of trees that you can utilize in your space.

New to landscaping or taking care of a lawn? No problem, because there are still trees for you! Three of the easiest trees to care for in the Northeast are listed below so you won’t be able to go wrong.

Red Oak Tree
This is not the only type of oak tree planted in the Northeast, but it is known mostly for its’ pretty leaves, which have a reddish tint come fall. These trees can grow up to 90 feet, providing plenty of shade, and are fairly tolerant of harsh conditions and soil.

Black Birch
This tree’s bark is commonly confused with wild cherry bark. The trunk of this tree does not grow very wide, but the height can grow up to 70 feet. It is recommended to place this tree in a low point in your lawn to ensure that it collects enough water. This tree adds another special something to your lawn environment, as a scent of wintergreen oil ascends from the twigs. If you are feeling ambitious enough, you could try to make birch beer or tea!

Sugar Maple
A great ornamental and shade tree is the sugar maple. In fall, this tree will have pops of brilliant color, and in the summer it will provide shelter and relief as its’ crown can grow dense and wide. This tree is extremely tolerant and does not require much water, making care very easy for you in your yard.

Really, we could go on and on about trees. However, this article is simply to spark your interest. Where can you go wrong with healthy air and clean water? Not to mention some color for your enjoyment in the fall, and please don’t hesitate to contact your professional landscaping and gardening experts at our center. Not only can we recommend the perfect tree for your needs, but the hassle of the planting can be taken care of for you as well. For your next planting project, try a tree!

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ADDING SHADE TO YOUR PROPERTY

We love the summer sun, with the way it makes things like swimming pools, lemonade, and wildflowers enhance our summer days. But sometimes, it’s too hot, and we seek escape from that same sun that we love! If you want to make your backyard, front yard, sideyard, driveway or walkways – any area of your home – more shady, read on for tips from HighTech Landscapes, your lawn and garden professionals.

Most people like to do pockets of shade – having a mix of sunny and shaded areas. Here we share several ways to add shade to various spots around your home.

Towering trees are great for shading large areas. An
example of a large shade tree would be a fern-leaved Catalina Ironwood, which
grows 45 to 55 feet in height and can be placed in the center of the yard to shade
a large lawn area, or beside a patio or deck to shade a certain seating area.
Crimson King Maples have a gorgeous maroon color and also grow 40 to 50 feet
and provide good shade. These trees like all types of soil so you can plant
them just about anywhere – they are an easy to grow, adaptable tree

If you want a tree that grows quickly, we suggest the Silver Maple. But it does spread and can be considered a nuisance tree by some, so look into fast growing options. We’ll share those in an upcoming article.

Another good shade tree that is medium sized for shading slightly smaller areas would be a Muskogee crape myrtle or a Mimosa Tree. Mimosa trees are rather uncommon but they are lovely ornamental trees that attract hummingbirds. They grow to a height of 20 to 35 feet. Note that the first couple of years, branching is light, but they gain many branches as
they age. Mimosa trees are considered easy to grow, and drought tolerant.

To shade a small area, consider erecting an arbor. These are a lovely visual focal point and can be planted with a beautiful winding vine such as Wisteria or Honeysuckle. An arbor covered with colorful blooms and thick leaves not only looks lovely to the eye but is a nice source of shade. Ask your landscaping professional to help you choose climbing, blooming plants for an arbor or trellis, and explain what coaxing you may need to do to get
them to grow the way you wish.

To shade a walkway, you want plants and shrubs two to four feet in height. You can achieve a uniform look using all of one shrub, or mix and match. You have to consider both the soil and the amount of sunlight when choosing the plant to line a path or sidewalk, so this may be time to ask your landscaping advisor. A good hardy choice is Boxwood, and others are Spring Heath or Buttonbush. Decide in advance if you want just greenery, or a blooming border for your pathway.

Add some plantings and beat the heat! Call High Tech Landscapes – central New Jersey’s choice for gardening.

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Flowers of the Northeastern United States

Despite the harsh winters throughout the northeastern region of the country, there are an abundance of plantings that are robust in color, of all shapes and sizes, that thrive despite their location.   They range from towering trees, bushes, and ground covers to blooming and flowering plants. And, unlike more  tender garden flowers, Northeast natives are very cold tolerant.  These native flowering plants and trees survive even frigid winter conditions.

Native Flowering Vines

The Ground Nut (Apois Tuberosa or Americana) grows from 15 to 20 feet and spreads 4 to 6 feet in late spring or early/mid summer.  It likes sun to partial sun and develops pinkish-lavender and maroon flowers, which form in clusters that are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.  The flowers are fragrant. Please note, this plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering
seeds.

Woodbine (Clematis Virginiana) grows 12 to 20 feet and spreads 3 to 6 feet from August through October with full sun to partial shade, and blooms with fragrant white flowers in late summer through early fall.  If given support, it will climb rapidly with the aid of tendrilous leaf petioles to 20’. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled ground cover.

Native Flowering Trees

Magnolia are beautiful flowering trees that produce 3-to 4 inch-wide pinkish, white blossoms each spring. These trees grow best in acidic, well-drained, moist soil with either full sun or partial sun exposure. Magnolias can grow up to 30 feet tall and have an average
spread of between 15 and 30 feet wide. They are relatively slow-growing trees
that can take up to 20 years to bloom from the time you plant them. Gardeners
recommend pruning these trees in late summer and late winter to avoid sap
bleeding and ensure a healthy framework.

Pagoda Dogwood is named for its horizontal branches that resemble a pagoda. It produces creamy-colored, yellowish white blossoms that give off a sweet aroma. The pagoda dogwood also produces berries that feed a variety of Northeastern bird species and other
animals. This tree will grow up to 25 feet and survives best in cultivation
zones 4 through 8. Though the pagoda dogwood will survive in partial sunlight, it
thrives and produces the most blossoms with direct sunlight. The tree prefers
well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Other common names for the pagoda dogwood
include pigeon berry and alternate-leaf dogwood.

Native Flowering Shrubs

Buttercup winter hazel (Corylopsis Pauciflora) has clusters of dangling yellow flowers that appear in early spring and last for about two weeks in cool weather.
Buttercup winter hazel is a small shrub, spreading to about 4 feet tall
and wide. It has small, beautifully pleated leaves and a rather delicate
appearance, but it is a tough shrub. Plant it in part shade.

Azaleas are spring-bloomers that put on a dazzling show every year in the dappled light under tall trees. One in particular, the Pinxterbloom azalea (Rhododendron Periclymenoides), is a deciduous shrub known for its white, pink, or violet flowers in early spring. This native azalea grows naturally on the banks of streams and in woods, and
looks very pretty under trees in woodland gardens. It grows up to about 6 feet
tall and is amazingly drought-tolerant.

Native Flowering Plants

Wild Anemone (Anemone Canadensis) is an easy-to-grow, easy-to-love plant that thrives in moist soils rich in organic matter. Its large white flowers are a highlight of the spring border. A vigorous groundcover, it can happily fill in a large space within a growing
season. It likes shade to partly sunny and well-drained soil.

The Common blue violet, or common meadow violet (Viola Sororia), is the state flower of both Rhode Island and New Jersey. This flower grows in the moist soil of woody areas in the Northeast, and the plant grows up to 6 inches in height. Its purple flowers bloom from
April through June.

New Jersey is home to all of the above, and if you are interested in knowing more
about any of them, to consider enhancing your own lawn and garden, just ask
High Tech Landscapes of Branchburg.

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Creating the Ideal Landscape for your Home or Property

Most likely, everyone has a different vision of what the “perfect landscape” is. To that we would say the only requirement is that it needs to be unique to you and be something that YOU like! Your home is your castle.  No matter the size,  no matter how modest or grand, the space around you affects your quality of life. Now may be the perfect time to create the perfect surroundings for you /  your family.

There are so many different attractions and visual elements that can be incorporated into your space. You can be a minimalist, or go big! Not sure how to begin? Here’s a good way to begin the process…Think of  landscaping as “PLANT!” Plan-Labor-Aerate-Nourish-Trim.

1. PLAN

First, know yourself. Do you want to have
to clean up leaves and trim bushes weekly? Would you prefer a low maintenance
outdoor space? Not only that but would you wish to have a special garden or a
pond to add interest? A professional landscaper can help you with these options
in a simple consultation that could make all of the difference!

Now before you go getting overwhelmed, you can start with the basics. The building blocks. Many designers and planners will tell you to picture the big items. The main areas of sight such as a tree, your patio, or larger plants that you have and want to keep. Now you can enhance them by surrounding them with a ring of smaller plants or shrubbery. Or
strip the dirt bare around them and add gravel and one statue. It really is up
to you! The initial visualization stages are important, and you should sketch
it out. If your home and project are large, have your landscaper draw it up for
you.

2. LABOR

Once you have a plan, you now need the work to be done. For many this stage can be the toughest. Let’s say you’d love a patio in your backyard, but you need to move dirt and flatten the area to get one. Maybe you have to erect a fence, or dig out an old stump. Do what you can on your own, but be realistic.

Anything beyond basic landscaping most often requires assistance from a professional, and someone to come in to do the grunt work, if you are a busy working professional. Patios, ponds, deck projects need a certain level of expertise. Plan your labor time and costs accordingly.

3. AERATE

Aerate in this use means, “clear the area”. Open up your space so you have a more
blank canvas to start with. Remove the debris from the ground to begin laying down the gravel, sod, or native grasses that you’ve chosen. Consider your soil type back in the planning stage. Ground cover looks great, it’s an instant way to make a bare or drab area look nicer.

4. NOURISH

Now that your grasses, plants, trees or shrubs are in place – there is some care
involved. Whether you went with two big potted plants and the rest of the area
is mulch, or you planted a dozen bushes and a row of flowers, you have to
nourish them as needed, with the right amount of water and the occasional food
or fertilizer. Read the info that came with your plantings, or ask a gardening
professional.

5. TRIMMING-

Trimming in this article not only means that you may have to trim something back once in a while, but also, it means “applying the final touches” to your ideal landscape. You may enjoy decorating your overall outdoor space! Consider adding finishing touches such as: lanterns or lights, furniture, stepping stones, crystals or prisms, wind chimes…or whatever else you like to have around you! Be creative and be sure to play off the overall look and feel of your home. After spending all of this time improving your outdoor area, you can then reap the benefits – sit back, relax, and enjoy! (Have a friend come over to admire your work!)

Contact High Tech Landscapes in Branchburg to begin your initial consultation and planning process! We can assist in any of the areas described above. After all, it is never to late to have the escape you always dreamed of right outside your door!

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Make a Summer Splash – with Windowboxes

A colorful, beautiful garden on a miniature scale – essentially, that’s what you are creating when you hang and fill a windowbox. Windowboxes come in many sizes and styles – shop your local garden center for one that matches your home or ask  your gardening professional to choose one for you. There are wood and metal styles, rustic to sleek and sophisticated.

Once you’ve chosen your boxes, it’s time to choose the plants. The benefit of window boxes  is that they enhance your home with greenery and summer colors – without blowing your budget. All you need is good container potting soil and an assortment of hardy plants and blooms. Some ideas for you, which look very pretty in windowboxes, include:

Pansies

Caladium

Ivy

Holly Fern

Impatiens

Periwinkle

Coral bells

Flowering kale and Sedge work well for a longer life/longer season

It’s good to choose flowers that have pretty leaves/lots of leaves, so that when not in
bloom, the box still looks nice and full. Experiment with what grows well in
your window area. Some plants need more sun than others so keep the location of
your windowboxes in mind when selecting plantings. However, another great thing
about windowboxes is the ease with which you can remove a single dead or dying
plant and replace it, without redoing the whole box.

Box gardening, container gardening – these hobbies are becoming more popular. As a
society, we have less space to work with and less time, so confining plants and
flowers to urns, bowls and boxes enables us to enjoy nature’s beauty, without a
lot of muss and fuss. Have fun filling your container – get a child or teen
involved. When they plant it, they have more incentive to care for it.

You can get creative with box plantings too. Windowboxes can brighten any eave or dormer. They can line the railing of your front porch or balcony – or line the fencing
around your backyard or deck. Take a walk around the outside of your home and
look for dull or drab spots where a hanging box or hanging planter, or a plant
stand holding a large bowl or plant pot would look attractive and add some
color. Kick it up a notch by adding a small box/planter on or beside your
mailbox stand, that matches the planters on the front of the house.

 

Window boxes typically need watered just once or twice a week. Depending on plantings
chosen, you may want to add plant food pellets or spikes. Ask your local
professional how to care for and feed the plants you’ve chosen. At HighTech
Landscapes, we welcome all questions and are happy to help you choose plants
and flowers for your home. We are New Jersey’s landscaping choice, based in
Branchburg, NJ. We know what plants thrive best in this area.

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Summer Color

Did you know that 25% of Americans look forward to summer for
the sole purpose that they get to enjoy their beautiful surroundings outdoors? This is especially true for occupants of the northern states. So why not add to your enjoyment of your surroundings by enhancing your backyard or outdoor living space with some summer blooms?

There are many perennials that bloom during the summer and are
available right now. In this article we will discuss some of the easiest to
care for, which are full sun flowers. These flowers are common to your
neighborhood plant store. Why? Because, most people like low maintenance
plantings. Read below and be sure to brighten your summer days.

Daylilies

This awesome flower actually withers on a daily basis, but do
not be concerned! The next day another bright bloom will be replaced on the
same stalk, keeping the color consistent in the warmer months. There are
actually two different varieties of daylilies, as well. The yellow, pink, and
pastel colored blooms need full sun attention, while the darker colors (purples
and reds) need shade. They are also one of the more adaptable landscape plants
growing in zones all over the country. You really cannot go wrong with this
bright perennial.

Black-eyed Susans

You probably saw fields of these as a child, but what is great
about a Susan is that they can fill a space in a quick amount of time. Growing
over three feet tall, their yellow petals average about six inches long. The
perfect summer appearance, the black-eyed susan blooms from June to October. So
you can enjoy them all summer and into the fall. They are perfect along
driveways or walkways.

Shasta Daisies

Countless games of “he loves me/ he loves me not” took place
with these flowers as children. It is a classic addition to any backyard, and
just shouts “summertime”. A fun fact is that daisies are actually said to be
America’s favorite flower! Probably because they grow in full sun and bloom
year after year after year. If you plant these in your backyard, there’s a bonus…you
will probably get even more pops of color. These unassuming flowers attract
butterflies!

Cranesbill Geraniums

There is great variety in the geranium family itself. These
flowers are most commonly used in rock and retaining walls. The way that they
grow looks like they are “spilling out” of the pot, soil, or nook or cranny.
The most common type is the salmon colored Wargrave Pink. They grow constantly
throughout the summer in most regions of the US. These flowers need almost no
care at all, and do well in semi-shade and sunlight. They can grow 18-24” tall
and are sure to attract the eye!

So there’s your recipe for enjoyment of summer color and the
great outdoors. Head out to your favorite landscaping store and grab your
palette. You can’t go wrong with low maintenance blooms like these…and visitors
to your home will enjoy the colors, too!

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Manageable Steps for Your Spring Garden & Lawn

Every season brings creative opportunities in the garden. Spring is an ideal time for gardeners as you get ready for the beauty of your garden to come alive after the winter slumber.  Sometimes the nurturing will feel like a lot of work (sigh….) — but it
is easier to master when you prioritize and organize. Here’s what we hope will
prove to be a helpful To Do List.

1. Pruning

Forblooming shrubs such as berries, juniper, and dogwoods, prune as soon as bloomshave passed. This is also the perfect time to prep your roses.  Please note, not all types of roses need to be pruned, other than for clean-up and size control, but if you are going to prune your roses, early spring is the perfect time.

(TIP: Pruning before the leaf buds open causes the rose bush to
put its full energy into new growth. If you are uncertain how to prune roses or
which roses need pruning, touch base with your favorite gardening expert or do
an internet search).

2. Deadheading

Many gardeners do not think of deadheading as an art, but instead as a chore.
Maybe it is more of a chore but, one worth doing since you are tending to your
garden in a most intimate way. To deadhead a flower, you must look at it and at
the plant it is growing on. Notice the plant’s health, how well it is doing in
regards to the plants around it and the state of the weed population. This is a
perfect time to evaluate whether or not to leave a seed pod on your pansies or
daffodils.  Consider how you wish to set the stage for how these well known standards in the Northeast will do in your garden moving forward or maybe you want to find room to add some geraniums, orange honeysuckle or something new.  Which leads us to…

3. Weeding

Get ready to get dirty and pull weeds from your beds and borders before they
have a chance to make them their permanent residence and spread.  Enough said about the joys of weeding…

4. Composting

If you piled up lots of organic matter in the fall you may be surprised to find
that it has broken down a bit during the winter.  This material can be used as a great mulch or you can simply combine new material with it and still use it as planned for compost.

Never made compost before? GOOD NEWS! Compost is one of the
easiest (and cheapest!) ways to amend your soil. It’s organic matter decayed by
the sun and soil microorganisms. It can be used to improve the overall health
(soil structure) of your earth by adding nutrients and promoting the
microorganisms that assist in soil temperature regulation and improve pH.  And, the task of making compost is easy.  You know you’re mission is accomplished when the
pile has become dark brown and crumbly (actual time depends on the environment).

5. Tools

Now is the time to take inventory of what you need for the season.  Make repairs or new purchases (TIP: Garage sales are great source for the budget conscious). Your list should include pruning shears and to find out the best for you – ask your favorite gardening professional.  You will be pleased when you have what you need when you need it (and more so, if you didn’t break the budget) when summer sets in.

6. Plant

Time to let your creative juices flow as now is the time to select and add new
plants. (TIP: Be sure, the threat of frost has past and the earth has thawed). Consider trees, shrubs, hardy annuals, and summer blooming bulbs.  And, ask your favorite gardener for suggestions that are ideal for the conditions (sun, shade, dry, moist, etc.) in your garden and region.

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