Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Landscape with Evergreen Plants in Winter?

There are hundreds of varieties of evergreens. While many grow into massive specimens, dwarf selections (select as this bird's nest spruce) are perfect for planting in beds and borders. Try them between brightly colored plants to give your eyes a visual break.

Because they keep their foliage all winter, low-growing evergreens are perfect for planting around your foundation to hide it all year.

One of the most common ways to use evergreens is as a screen in the landscape. Tall, columnar varieties of arborvitae, yew, and juniper are great for small spaces. If you have room, be sure to include broadleaf evergreens, such as rhododendrons, as well.

Some evergreens (such as junipers and yews) have a tight growth habit that makes them perfect for shearing into fun shapes. Try growing two a few feet apart and wire them together to create a unique arbor.

Give your beds and borders a beautiful background with evergreens. Choose tall varieties that have dark green foliage to accentuate bright colors. Or select cultivars with colorful foliage (such as the blue spruce shown here) to add interest to your plantings.

Plant four modest-size upright evergreens (such as dwarf Alberta spruce) in a square to create a garden room. Even if you don't enclose the area with shrubs or other plants as walls, it will feel more intimate and inviting.

Enjoy a beautiful carpet by letting spreading evergreens become a groundcover. A creeping blue spruce (shown here), junipers, or spreading pine is perfect for filling a space with year-round color and interest.

Boxwood, yew, and juniper take well to tight pruning. Take advantage of this and clip them into fun shapes to add a bit of whimsy to your yard. A low boxwood hedge becomes fun with a mounded corner. Or try spirals (as this variegated boxwood has been pruned) and other shapes.

Plant artistically sheared evergreens (such as the junipers shown here) on both sides of your gate or along a path to give an entry a bolder, more formal feeling. They'll take yearly pruning to keep their swirly shape, but the effect is worth the effort.

One sure way to highlight the fall colors in your yard is to pair them with evergreens. Blue spruce, for example, looks smashing against bold reds and oranges. And bright yellows practically sing next to a dark green background.

Make garden design easy by choosing a theme and repeating it. For example, this garden makes use of circles -- a rounded boxwood echoes stone spheres along a path and the shape of an arbor farther along. You can do the same thing with just about any shape or color.

Big, bold evergreens can be perfect container garden plants if you have a large container. This Austrian pine, for example, adds a dash of color (and privacy) to a rooftop garden -- but you can get the same effect on a deck, patio, balcony, or even along a wide driveway.

Embrace flowering evergreens to add landscape drama. Rhododendrons, mountain laurels, and pieris add color in Northern areas; abelias, camellias, and loropetalum are perfect for warm-winter areas.

Keep cold winter winds from pulling all the heat from your home with a windbreak. Plant evergreen trees on the north or east side of your home and watch your savings grow.

Choose a particularly stunning evergreen (such as golden 'Chief Joseph' pine, contorted 'Emerald Twister' Douglas fir, or white-variegated 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' Korean fir) and treat it as a specimen plant in your landscape. Selections such as these are so eye-catching they don't need neighbors.

Your front yard will shine all year long if you fill it with a collection of evergreens. Choose varieties with different forms, colors, and textures and you'll put on a show without a single bloom.

Save yourself hours of effort every week by planting a collection of evergreens on a hard-to-mow slope. They'll keep it looking good all year long, stop erosion, and smother most weeds so you can just sit back and enjoy the view.

* Original resource: How to Landscape with Evergreen Plants in Winter? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Planting Onions in the Garden

Onions come in different sizes, shapes, colors and flavors, from mild and sweet to hot and strong. A full-grown onion plant has roots, bulbs and leaves. The leaves are long, thin and hollow. They stand straight up and thicken at the bottom to form a bulb.

Growing onions is easier than you might think. They're the perfect crop to tuck in between other plants or in corners of garden beds.

There are two methods of growing onions: from seed and from sets (small bulbs). Sets are easiest for beginners, although growing from seed is not difficult.

Onions are biennials, their life cycle is two years long. But they are usually picked during their first year before flowers form and the bulbs stop growing.

Onions grow best in loose, fertile soil. They can grow in many different climates.

In cooler climates, onions may need fourteen to fifteen hours of daylight to start forming bulbs. In warmer climates, onions can begin developing bulbs with fewer hours of daily sun.

Barbara Fick, an extension agent at Oregon State University, says a faster way to grow onions is to plant what are called sets.

Barbara: "Well, onion sets are actually small plants, versus starting with a seed. So when you have a set, onion set, it actually is, you know, the small bulb. So it does not take as long to grow."

Organic material like compost or leaf mulch can help onions grow in heavy soil.The bulbs can be pulled from the ground once their tops have dried and fallen over. Onions can be stored for months. But Barbara Fick says stored onions need to be cured first.

Barbara: "Curing is a way of making sure those leaves on the outside are nice and dry."

Here are some directions from editors at the National Gardening Association.

First, dry the onions in the sun for a day or so. Then bring them out of direct sun for two to three weeks. Spread them out in any warm, airy place that is covered. Or cover the onions with a light cotton sheet held in place with stones along the edge.

The sheet will keep the sun from burning the bulbs. Don't worry about rain. And do not use a plastic or canvas sheet. Heavy coverings will trap moisture and keep the onions from drying fully.

Turn the bulbs a couple of times to help them dry evenly.

After curing the onions, you can hang them indoors in mesh bags to dry even more. There should be no wet spots on the onions when they are put in storage. Editors at the National Gardening Association say the longer onions are cured, the better they will keep.

Some people cut off the top leaves before curing onions. If you do that, do not cut the leaves any closer than two and a half centimeters from the bulb.

Growing onions takes patience, since all the action takes place under ground. If you can provide a rich soil and a full day of sun, you can grow a good sized onions.

At last, how to do harvetsting and storage?

Onions are fully mature when their tops have fallen over. After pulling from the ground allow the onion to dry, clip the roots and cut the tops back to one inch. The key to preserving onions and to prevent bruising is to keep them cool, dry and separated. In the refrigerator, wrapped separately in foil, onions can be preserved for as long as a year.

The best way to store onions is in a mesh bag or nylon stocking. Place an onion in the bag and tie a knot or put a plastic tie between the onions and continue until the stocking is full. Loop the stocking over a rafter or nail in a cool dry building and when an onion is desired, simply clip off the bottom onion with a pair of scissors or remove the plastic tie.

Another suggestion is to spread the onions out on a screen which will allow adequate ventilation, but remember to keep them from touching each other. As a general rule, the sweeter the onion, the higher the water content, and therefore the less shelf life. A more pungent onion will store longer so eat the sweet varieties first and save the more pungent onions for storage.

* Original source: Planting Onions in the Garden

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Planting a Garden in your Offce with 3 Steps II - Advantages of Owning a Workplace Garden

Step 1: Design a Green Space in your Workplace

Step 2: Advantages of Owning a Workplace Garden 


At the design company Wolff Olins, in the concrete jungle of London's Kings Cross, workers often arrive at the office early, particularly in the summer, to work on the sizeable vegetable garden on the roof.

Wolff Olins's building manager, Stuart Robertson, says the garden makes being at work more enjoyable. "Rather than just going from a house to an office, it gives you some interaction with nature during your day," he says.

The garden is maintained on a day-to-day basis by a staff club, but everyone in the company is encouraged to join in when they can. As well as providing employees with an opportunity to get their hands dirty, get outside and mix with colleagues from other departments, the garden also provides plenty of fresh, organic produce for the staff restaurant.

From a PR point of view, the garden is a visible symbol of the company's commitment to both environmental issues and employee welfare.

For The Office Group in London, which rents out office space, having a garden has brought financial rewards. "The roof garden definitely helps us rent the offices out," says Charlie Green, co-owner of the company. "People love it.
They have meetings up there, it has Wi-Fi, they can help themselves to freshly grown vegetables. It's one of the first things we show prospective tenants." The company's garden is maintained by a charity called Global Generation, which involves young people in environmental projects in the community.

Of course, not every firm will be able to rustle up a gardening club or find a local charity willing to take on the demands of looking after a full-scale vegetable patch, or have a sizeable roof terrace to hand. But even a small courtyard with some plants and benches can create a place for staff to escape and breathe in fresh air – as long as it isn't colonised by the smokers.

(not finished to be continue)
* Series articles: 
= Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps I: Design a Green Space in your Workplace 
= Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps II: Advantages of Owning a Workplace Garden
= Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps III: Start Now!

* Original Resource: Planting a Garden in your Offce with 3 Steps - Advantages of Owning a Workplace Garden

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Planting a Garden in your Offce with 3 Steps I - Design a Green Space in your Workplace

Step 1: Design a Green Space in your Workplace

Spring may not yet be here, but it's not too early to start thinking about how to plant the seeds of a happy working atmosphere. Adharanand Finn recommends getting your hands dirty.

Sue Beesley spent 25 years working in the IT industry before leaving to become a gardener. "I spent all my time craving some green space, something green to look at," she says.

These days she designs gardens for offices, to provide spaces where workers can relax during their lunch-breaks." It's a real sensory lift, a pick-me-up, having a garden to wander out into on a sunny day," she says.

Gardens don't fit easily into the world of work. Amid all the strip lighting, computers and concrete you can be lucky to find much more than a few shrubs planted between car parking spaces.

Trying to convince a hardnosed, time-is-money employer of the value of a garden may be as pointless as preaching the value of vegetarianism to a lion. But for the enlightened few, the benefits are bountiful.

(not finished to be continue)

* Series articles:

= Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps I - Design a Green Space in your Workplace

= Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps II - Advantages of Owning a Workplace Garden

= Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps III - Start Now!

* Original post: Planting a Garden in Your Offce with 3 Steps I: Design a Green Space in your Workplace

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting Started with Roses in the Garden!

Brief: You can buy roses from a garden center or by mail order. You can buy potted roses, also known as container roses, or bare-root plants. Each kind has its fans. Now, let's getting staterted with planting roses in the garden!

Most kinds of rose plants come from Asia. But roses are also native to other areas including northwest Africa, Europe and the United States.

In nineteen eighty-six, Congress chose the rose as America's national flower. Technically, Congress and President Ronald Reagan declared it the "national floral emblem." Whatever the name, the decision did not smell sweet to supporters of other popular flowers.

Some people say roses are difficult to grow. But you have a good chance of success if you start with a few suggestion s from experts. You should plant your roses where they can get sunshine for about six hours on bright days.

You can buy roses from a garden center or by mail order. You can buy potted roses, also known as container roses, or bare-root plants. Each kind has its fans.

Some gardeners say potted roses are easier to plant. They say the roots develop better. But Jeffrey Dinslage, president of Nature Hills Nursery in Omaha, Nebraska, points out that bare-root roses come without soil. So they weigh less to transport.

The University of Illinois Extension advise s getting bare-root roses as close to planting time as you can. If they arrive before you are ready to plant them, make sure the packing material is moist. Keep the plants in a cool, dark place.You plant the roses while they are dormant. The resting plants have no leaves but still need water.

When growing roses, the soil should feel moist deep down. Watering should be done in the morning. That can prevent problems called black spot and mildew.

But do not water too much. People often ask him about unhealthy discoloration on rose leaves, the spots are usually caused by too much water. After heavy rains or too much watering, he advises pulling away mulch temporarily from around the roots. This will help dry the soil.

In normal conditions, placing mulch around rose plants is a good idea. Mulch suppress es weeds and holds moisture in the soil. You can use mulch made from bark, pine needles, cottonseed or oak leaves.

If your soil is very dry, you can add peat or compost, which returns nutrients to the soil. If aphids, thrips or other insects invade your rose bushes, you may be able to force them off with just a strong spray of water.

* Original post: Getting Started with Roses in the Garden

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rainbow Radish, Pleasing while Nutritious!

Rainbow Radishes

The healthiest foods aren't usually the ones that tempt our tastebuds or turn our heads.

But two new additions to the supermarket shelves could be about to prove that theory wrong.

A healthier and sweeter variety of broccoli goes on sale today
alongside eye-catching crunchy carrots in colors such as purple, yellow and amber.

The multicolored carrots have been grown naturally in Norfolk after being cultivated from old varieties which were no longer produced commercially because orange has been the favoured colour for hundreds of years.

So try these rainbow radishes today, they are pleasing while nutritious!

* Original post: Rainbow Radish, Pleasing while Nutritious!