Caring For Mums in Containers

chrysanthemum flowersMums are as ubiquitous as pumpkins in the fall. You can find them everywhere and anywhere from nurseries to supermarkets to gas stations. However, once you get them home they are incredibly easy to kill. They dry out in a nanosecond and need to be watered at least once a day. After the repeated stress of drying out, they often just up and die.

Here are five tips to keep your mums from croaking. [Read more…]

Keeping Young Trees and Shrubs Healthy

Hydrangea-limelight_100_1028MRIt’s hot out there for newly planted trees and shrubs. These plants may be struggling to survive the heat and drought because their root systems haven’t had a chance to get established in the native soil yet. That’s why it’s important to pamper spring-planted trees and shrubs during the first year after planting. Most trees fail after the first year of planting because they were stressed and never recovered from transplant shock. Here are some ways to take the shock out of tree planting.

  • Keep them watered. Young trees need moist soil to survive the first summer. If you have sandy soil, the roots will dry out quickly and the leaves may shrivel and drop. If you have clay soil, the dry ground will rack, exposing roots and causing them to dry out. You should water your trees a few times a week and deeply. Add 5 to 10 gallons of water per tree each time.


  • Use a gator. If you don’t want to be a slave to tree watering all summer, try this product. Tree gators are plastic-sleeved devices that wrap around trees. Fill them with water and they slowly release the water over time, keeping the soil around the rootball moist.


  • Mulch them. Keep the soil around the tree or shrub mulched with an organic mulch. This will help keep the soil moist, plus prevent weeds from growing. Be generous with your mulch ring size. Spread it outside the drip line of the plant. The feeder roots will be more likely to penetrate the native soil if there is no competition from other plants and the soil stays moist. Add a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of mulch around each tree and don’t pile it up next to the trunk or the tree may suffer from crown rot.
  • Stake or no stake? Staking usually isn’t recommended for newly planted trees. The gentle swaying from the wind helps the new roots get established. However, if you have a windy location, you may want to stake the tree for just the first year so it doesn’t blow over.

Planting Dahlias

kthread-dahlia-flower-220627-o-300x201If your perennial flower garden gets a little drab and boring come late summer and fall, think about planting dahlias. Gardeners are always trying to find colorful flowers to keep the show going into autumn, and dahlias are the perfect star to fit the bill. Dahlias just need a little more thought and attention compared to other perennial flowers.

Dahlias offer a wide range of flower types. There are flowers shaped like pom-poms, anemones, cactus, orchids, and water lilies. The flowers come with single or double petals and in almost any color of the rainbow from white to purple. Some varieties produce flowers the size of a dinner plate, while others have small flowers on dwarf plants. [Read more…]

Plant a Butterfly Garden

2198_monarch_1508921Medium-300x300It’s that time of year when butterflies gracefully spread their wings and float through the warm summer air. There is something magical about these winged beauties, and creating a garden to attract them is relatively easy.

One of the main requirements is a sunny location—an area that receives four to six hours of direct sun every day. Butterflies also need a source of shallow water; a mud puddle or a saucer with wet sand or mud will do the trick. If you can provide some shelter from strong winds and a few stones where they can sun themselves, that’s even better. Also, if you want to provide a haven for butterflies, don’t use pesticides. It’s true that these pollinators are attracted to particular plants, and that the larvae of different species prefer different types of food, but you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy butterflies in your garden. Instead, you can attract them by simply planting a variety of plants, including annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs. [Read more…]

How To Make a Raised Garden Bed

sourced from The Urban Farmer

raised-garden-bedsA raised bed garden can be used for yards that have poor soil and drainage problems. The idea of a raised bed is to build above ground, where you don’t have to battle against poor soil and bad drainage, where you have total control over the soil texture, contents and drainage.
What is a Raised Bed Garden?
A raised bed garden is a garden that is above ground and contained in an area with high sides. The gardener walks between the beds and it is a very organized way to garden. It can be any depth you choose and can be used for virtually anything you wish to plant. Herbs grown in raised beds have an advantage over in the ground growing for a few reasons.

Late Winter Planting Ideas

Sourced from The Urban Farmer
lettuce-300x225It’s time for garden catalogs to arrive in the mail! January is a great time to start planning what you will be planting in your garden. Look through your catalogs and find the vegetable seeds for your garden. Some flower varieties should be started in January. In a warmer environment you can plant certain vegetables but must be ready for a frost. Indoor herbs are always great to grow in a sunny windowsill. [Read more…]

Winterize Your Yard for Wildlife Friends

snowsquirrelThough you may be dreaming of Spring blossoms already, winter will still be around for a few more months and there are bound to be several cold snowy or rainy days. Now is the time to assess our backyard gardens to see how wildlife-friendly they are – or could be – with a little human help. By providing food, water, cover, and places for wildlife to raise their young, backyard gardeners can make a difference, even during the cold winter months. [Read more…]

Winterizing Your Plants

Winter sun and wind can have devastating drying effects on shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous. Flower and leaf buds will dry and die and evergreen foliage will discolor. Other causes of discoloration are from salt spray, lack of cold hardiness, and lack of moisture. You can ease them through this difficult time by using plants that are hardy in your zone and by taking some preventive measures in the late fall and early winter. [Read more…]