“Off with her head” the queen shouted at Alice in the Lewis Carroll story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Now I’m not sure if Lewis had an interest in gardening but he could well have been giving us some horticultural instruction which will give us a longer flowering season. There is a technique known as dead-heading, it is a simple task which takes a few minutes however adds days and sometimes weeks to your flowering display.
10 Beneficial Insects For Gardening
1. Aphid Midge: These insects look like a delicate, small wasp. The larvae eats more than sixty varieties of aphids from the garden. You can attract them by growing plants with a lot of pollen and nectar.
2. Big-Eyed Bug: This is a fast-moving bug with large eyes and very small black spots on itís head and thorax. They are usually found in field crops and orchards. The big-eyed bug eats leafhoppers, spider mites, plant bugs, aphids, and small caterpillars. This bug is a real asset to gardening.
3. Ladybug: The ladybug ranges in size from 1/16 to 3/8 inch and have round red, orange or yellow bodies with black markings. They prefer gardens that have a large amount of pollen and nectar-producing flowers. The ladybug is fond of aphids, mealybugs, small insects and scales. The Mexican bean beetle is related to the ladybug but is not beneficial.
Summer flowers and bedding plants are a great way to instantly add color to your lawn. Summer flowers start appearing in garden centers in the early spring, but you should be careful to plant only after the danger of freezing weather has passed. Summer flowers produce the best results when purchased ready to plant rather than trying to grow them yourself from seeds. Selecting the right summer flowers for your area can be quite a task, especially if you are planting your first flower garden. Here are some suggestions as to which flowering plants may be right for your situation:
A flower garden can be a peaceful and beautiful refuge from the rest of the world. Sitting in the midst of fragrant flowers while reading a book or strolling along paths lined with flowers in cheerful colors can help you to wind down after a busy, stressful day. With some planning and work, a lovely flower garden can be yours to enjoy.
Planning Flower Garden Designs
Creating beautiful flower garden designs takes much planning and consideration. You will need to consider the types of flowers and combinations of colors you desire for the garden. You will also need to think about the placement of borders and shrubs as well as seating and ornaments. It is a good idea to choose an overall style for the garden and stick with it. When you begin your flower garden designs project, you should make a scale drawing of the design to help visualize your concepts.
Shapes in Flower Garden Designs
Decide upon the shape and pattern for your flower garden designs. Rectangular flower garden designs are a traditional shape and always popular. Circular shaped gardens add interest to the standard rectangular lawn. Flower gardens planted on a diagonal to the house can make a lawn appear larger than it actually is.
Styles of Flower Garden Designs
There are a number of styles of gardens that you can plant, and many of them are not too difficult to achieve. Some favorite flower garden designs are listed here.
Rose Flower Garden Designs
Rose Gardens are easy to plant and beautiful to see. In addition to modern roses, include fragrant, old-fashioned varieties of roses whose scent will delight. Plant bulbs in the beds and border them with seasonal flowers to keep the garden full of color during the blooming seasons.
Cottage Flower Garden Designs
Informal cottage gardens have an old-fashioned, rustic look about them. These flower garden designs incorporate the use of flowers, plants and vegetables.
Shade Flower Garden Designs
Shade gardens are good flower garden designs for spaces with many trees blocking the sunlight. There are many flowers that do well in shady areas, including impatiens, begonia, azalea, hosta and viola. The lack of leaves on the trees in spring allows spring bulbs to grow, filling the space with color.
Wildflower Flower Garden Designs
Wildflower gardens are flower garden designs that feature plants indigenous to the area where the garden is located. These gardens tend to require less pampering than some of the other types listed here, usually not requiring much weeding or amendments to the soil.
Butterfly Flower Garden Designs
Butterfly gardens are delightful flower garden designs, planted with flowers known to attract butterflies. Plants such as marigold, lilac, coreopsis, lavender, black-eyed susan and goldenrod are all good choices for butterfly gardens.
Hummingbird Flower Garden Designs
Likewise, hummingbird gardens are a good choice for those who enjoy spotting these small birds. Hummingbirds like richly colored flowers with sweet nectar and a tubular shape. Red and fuschia flowers in particular tend to attract hummingbirds. Some hummingbird garden favorites are morning glory, petunias, azalea, rose of sharon, delphinium and honeysuckle.
When should you start preparing your rose garden for the onset of spring and summer? Well, if you live in an area where you can start seeing the promise of spring in late March or early April, then you’re an “early spring” rose gardener. However, if you live where March and April still brings icy rain and snow, then just keep waiting out old man winter until your turn at spring arrives and then follow the tips in this article.
Early spring is a time of great activity in the rose garden as you prepare for the beautiful buds that will be sprouting almost any day. Here’s a summary of what needs to be done in order to prepare your roses for the tough growing season that lies ahead.
If you covered your roses with dirt or mulch, your first step is to gently remove the protective materials so you can introduce your dormant bushes to the warming spring sun and rains that lie ahead.
Before beginning your spring pruning activities, cut back any dead and damaged canes that did not survive the winter. Be sure to clear away any debris and residue from around the bushes as well.
Prepare the soil to nurture your plants by adding some organic compounds. You can either buy pre-packaged organics from your favorite garden supplier, or you can mix up your own recipe using composted manure or mushroom compost, or any of the usual meal blends which can include alfalfa, cottonseed, fish or blood meal. See below for some suggestions.
Work your soil with a spade or hoe if it has become too compacted during the winter or if you notice standing water after watering your plants. Roses require well-drained soil to thrive.
After soil preparation is done you can plant any new additions to your garden including container grown roses.
Next it is time to begin your fungicide spraying regiment either immediately or, if you prefer to wait, approximately 14 days after you complete your pruning. Opinions on the best time differ. The choice is yours.
Remember to rotate through different fungicides during the year to prevent any fungi from becoming immune to any one product.
Don’t use any pesticides unless you see evidence of damage, but remember to keep a sharp eye out for aphids which are as much a sign of spring as April showers are. Hit them with a blast of water to remove them, or apply insecticide in a mister to the affected areas.
Imagine how hungry you’d be if you just woke up from a long winter hibernation! Well, your Roses are hungry too. The best way to coax them from dormancy to budding is to feed them now and every other week through the remainder of the growing season. Water well after feeding! Feed with a fertilizer balanced for Nitrogen (N), Phosphates (P2O5) and Potash (K2O). Nitrogen stimulates the growth of leaves and canes and increases the size of the bush. Phosphate stimulates the growth of roots, canes and
stems and speeds up flowering. Potash stimulates the production of top quality blooms and improves the drought and disease resistance of the plant. A good balanced fertilizer with these elements is 10-10-10.
Another popular spring fertilizer is Osmocote which is a controlled release fertilizer that releases nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium depending on soil temperature. The 18-6-12 (8 to 9 month term) formulation is recommended for this area. Osmocote is also available with trace elements added in a product with the name of Sierra 17-6-10 Plus Minors Controlled Release Fertilizer
There! Your rose garden is ready for spring, but remember your work is far from over. If spring is near then summer can’t be far behind. Read our summer article at http://www.RoseGarden-How-To.com to learn how
to prepare your roses for the coming summer heat.
In any recipe calling for herbs, use fresh herbs. Preparing the herbs for your dish is easy. The more tender herbs like mint, parsley, basil and cilantro can be gathered in a bowl and snipped with scissors. This is the fastest and safest way to chop the herbs. If your recipe calls for the more hardy herbs like oregano, rosemary, or thyme you should use the stripping method. Hold a branch of the herb upright in your fingers and run the fingers of your other hand down the stalk stripping the tiny leaves free. The flavor will be more intense if you have gathered the herbs from your herb gardens or container gardens because they will be absolutely the freshest herbs available.
The best way to have fresh herbs is to plant and grow them yourself. No longer is there a designated herb garden. They can be found in your flower beds, along walkways or in pots on your porch. Many ambitious gardeners are finding new ways to incorporate herbs into their garden beds and their container gardens.
Many gardeners are unaware of the beauty of flowering herbs and never consider planting them within their flower beds. Some herbs that have beautiful flowers are purple coneflower, catmint, bee balm, yarrow, pinks, lavender, pot marigold, borage, feverfew, and nasturtium which is particularly lovely in fresh salads.. Many other herbs, such as parsley are excellent next to flowers of all sorts because of their spectacular foliage. When planting red or blue flowers, place purple basil around them for an artful arrangement.
Another area to consider is to use herbs as ground cover. The herbs that are suitable to this are the low growing oregano, chamomile, woolly and other creeping thyme, mint, and rosemary. Not only will it look pretty but it will be absolutely fragrant. Just be careful of the mint family, they tend to take over everything.
One of the best ways I have grown herbs is in containers. In fact, I like container gardening so much I wrote my eBook Container Gardening Secrets (available at ContainerGardeningSecrets.com), so everyone could enjoy this type of gardening. The beauty of a container garden is that it is portable and can be changed at a moment’s whim. When there is no more room in your garden, start a container garden which you can place on your door step or patio. Use them to fill in bare spots that come up during the gardening season or put them on a sunny window sill in your home for easy harvesting. Best of all you can bring your herb containers inside over the winter months and continue to harvest for months to add to your tasty meals or to be used for medicinal purposes.
Another way to employ pots in your garden is to plant invasive herbs such as mint into a pot and then plant pot and all into the ground. This is an easy trick to keep those creepers from taking over your garden beds.
Plant a container garden near your door with the cherry pie scented blue flower heliotrope and other fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil. Every time you walk by you will be greeted with there delicious scent.
Some herbs that have grown on rocky hillsides over the centuries such as thyme, oregano and lavender are perfect for cracks in flag stone paths or walls and rock gardens. They thrive in hot dry areas with good drainage. Some believe that those herbs grown in these conditions produce much better flavor.
Now is the time to plant your herbs, whether it is in a garden bed, a cracked wall or a container garden. Use your imagination. Consider color height and texture when planting your gardens. Not only will it be visually pleasing but your cooking will improve too!
Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.
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