Tips for Container Gardeners

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Garden Care, Gardening Information

Container gardens are wonderful for city dwellers who don’t have the land to garden. Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Container gardening allows you to easily vary your color scheme, and as each plant finishes flowering, it can be replaced with another.  Make sure there is variety in the height of each plant. Think of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.

Experiment with different containers, you might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with wood or tiles.  If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores. Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect.  When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or wood floors rotting. Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers this will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.

If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will look wonderful. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for the shady part of your yard because they won’t do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden.

If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will look much better than two similar plants placed on each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring. Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective.

With a little determination and creativity you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Roses and Disease

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Garden Care

Spotting trouble with your prized roses; keep them healthy, following these simple tips:

1. Black Spots on Leaves

This disease is commonly known as black spot, black spots appear as circular with fringed edges on leaves, they cause the leaves to yellow. Remove the infected foliage and pick up any fallen leaves around the rose. Artificial sprays may be used to prevent or treat this kind of rose disease.

2. Stunted or malformed young canes

Known as powdery mildew, this is a fungal disease that covers leaves, stems and buds with wind spread white powder. It makes the leaves curl and turn purple. Spray with Funginex or Benomyl to treat this fungal disease.

3. Blistered underside of leaves

Known as rust, this disease is characterized by orange-red blisters that turn black in fall. It can survive the winter and will then attack new sprouts in the spring. Collect and discard leaves that are infected in fall. a Benomyl or Funginex spray every 7-10 days may help.

4. Malformed or stunted leaves and flowers

This is caused by spider mites. They are tiny yellow, red or green spiders found on the underside of leaves where they suck juices. The application of Orthene or Isotox may help in treating this infestation.

5. Weak and mottled leaves with tiny white webs under them

This is caused by aphids, they are small soft-bodied insects that usually brown, green or red. Often clustered under leaves and flower buds, they suck plant juices from tender buds. Malathion or diazinon spray may help roses to survive these bugs.

6. Flowers that don’t open or are deformed when they open.

Thrips could be the reason behind this problem. They are slender, brown-yellow bugs with fringed wings that also suck juices from flower buds. Cut and discard the infested flowers. Orthene and malathion may also treat this problem.

Roses are hungry feeders that require good fertilization to become healthy bushes.

Landscaping your Garden

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Garden Care, Gardening Information

Landscaping is usually a fairly big task, consuming much time and energy. But before you hire that professional, here are some tips that could save both time and money.

Your first decision should be what type of garden you would like to have:

a. Formal. This style uses lots of straight lines and perfect geometrical shapes. Orderly arrangement of plants instead of random positioning is employed. Close arrangement and pruning is seen on many landscaped gardens with this style.

b. Informal. This kind of landscaping workds well with cosy cottages. Beds with curved edges instead of straight lines and random placement of plants suit this landscape style.

c. English Garden. This style emphasizes the harmony between the house’s architecture and the garden.

d. Formal/Informal Garden. This style often comes with a brick walkway that exudes formality. This walkway leads to the rear with a circle of plants. The arrangement of plants resembles the English garden style but it has no formal borders.

e. Oriental. It is often the kind of garden found in small backyards. It uses rocks, evergreens and water. A wide variety of plants create several interesting angles with this style.

f. Woodland. This landscaping suits a house that has a wooded backyard and sloping ground.

Next, spend some time thinking about exactly how you want the final design to be. You need to take account of the style and function of your landscape. Do you want to include an area for entertaining? A barbeque? Is there to be an area for children to play, a fishpond or a swimming pool? An idea of the plants you want to be there will also help. Focus on the area where you spend most of your time. That’s a good place to start.

Think twice before hiring a pro, an independent designer might cost you hundreds of dollars when you may be able to access free plans on the internet or at a nursery, but if you have an awkward block such as very steep ground, a pro might give you the expertise to save costly mistakes.

The style of your home must be taken into account, for example if you have a rural cottage, formal gardens surrounding it will look out of place. Think also about your lifestyle; do you want to spend hours caring for many beds of annuals or pruning beds of roses? If so, go ahead and plant them, but if you’d rather spend your free time at the beach, then go for an easy-care garden and landscape.