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English ivy

englishivy 300x199 English ivyLatin Name: Hedera helix

Description: What are English ivy plants? Botanically speaking, they are evergreen perennials. They are also classified as woody vines. Plant taxonomy refers to English ivy plants as Hedera helix. What are they good for? The fact that they spread quickly means that they could be useful in filling in a bare spot in your landscaping. But the problem is that their aggressive spreading is a double-edged sword.


Boston Ivy

bostonivy 300x199 Boston IvyLatin Name: Parthenocissus tricuspidata

Description: Boston ivy plants (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) are attractive, climbing vines that cover outer walls of many older buildings, particularly in Boston. It is the plant from which the term “Ivy League” derives, growing on numerous upscale campuses. Boston ivy plants are also called Japanese ivy and can quickly overtake the area in which it is planted, climbing by tendrils on any support nearby.


Tips On Starting A Beautiful Garden From Scratch

You may love gardening and have never had an opportunity to start your own garden. You buy a home and luckily it has a bare patch that can be transformed into a garden. How do you go about it? It is hard work, but it can be done, step by step.

Carry out a feasibility study

It is important to first assess the patch. It may not necessarily be a bare patch, and you may want to hive the garden off the lawn. You might have to kill the grass if it’s a lawn, and that is a process on its own. The size of the garden will depend on the area that is available, and the purpose of the garden. It could be a vegetable garden or a flower garden. Depending on what you want to grow, look at how much sunlight falls on the intended garden. If there no sunlight, choose plants that need little sunlight.

Design what you want it to look like

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Designing your garden may take any of two directions. You may decide to design and plan how it will look like, or you may hire a garden designer. Designing it yourself is more fun, and after buying a new home, you may want to cut down on expenses. You can start off by measuring and marking it, ready for the next move.

Clear the area

You have to get rid of any grass or weeds covering the ground. If there are none and it is a rocky patch, try to clear the rocks. Grass can be killed off by laying newspapers on it and adding compost on top.4 months later, both the newspaper and compost will have decomposed. If the area is infested by weeds, you can always pull them out. If you do not want to wait, you can also remove the grass by applying herbicide.

Improving the soil

If you have recently moved into newly constructed house, you will find that the top soil was removed during construction, and the sub soil beneath left exposed. After the construction is done, debris is covered over by soil used to landscape. You should have a soil analysis done so that you get an idea about the soil PH and other relevant information like soil type and texture. This allows you to make decisions on what additives to add to the soil. Top soil in Brooklyn can be purchased in a garden center, including other soil improvement agents.

Choose the appropriate plants

Pick the plants you want to plant, keeping in mind the season changes. Do your research online on the choices you have. If your garden is a flower garden, it is wise to have both seasonal and perennial flowers. Some vegetables like kales can withstand the cold, whereas tomatoes cannot. The bottom line is to identify which plants are appropriate for the area’s climate or soil type. Your soil could be clay, which has poor drainage. This means you have to look for plants compatible with the soil. Once you are done with these preparations, put your plants into the ground and water them frequently. You can also mulch them to keep weeds at bay and to prevent escape of moisture. Soon you’ll be well on your way to a garden bursting with health.

Getting a garden started is harder than it sounds. It takes months of dedicated hard work and patience. Starting from scratch takes a lot of research and following of instructions to the letter in order to get the desired results. After a while, your garden will start to take shape and flowers will start blooming. The vibrant burst of colors will make you glad that you worked this hard!


When Should You Prune Your Tree Branches?

There are many reasons why one may need to get Brooklyn landscaping service, and one of these is for maintenance purposes. For instance, if you happen to have a lot of trees in your compound, it would be important for you to get quality landscaping services every so often to maintain them. Unfortunately, it is evident that most trees will need regular maintenance in various ways in order to be healthier and to reduce the risk of accidents. However, the fact that this is a process that costs money means that you also need to be careful with how frequently you do it. You can use various criteria to determine when to do branch pruning so as not to overdo it. Some of these include:

The presence of broken branches

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Broken branches are most common after an event such as a storm or strong winds. For this reason, you are most likely to deal with this issue during the summer depending on which part of the country you are in. The presence of broken branches on the trees signifies reduced structural integrity of the tree. Some of the branches are likely to break due to the fact that they are weakened, and could therefore hurt people and property. This should be of particular concern if the branches involved are very large. If you happen to find that your trees have many broken branches, it would therefore be wise to get a pruning or landscaping expert to remove them for your safety.

Termite damage

Another potential problem you could face is finding that the branches are damaged by termites or other parasites. This leads to weakness of the affected branches and will also result in an increased risk of injury or damage to property. Once you have done the pruning of the affected branches, it would also be wise to also take care of the termite problem by consulting an exterminator. The goal is to ensure that the problem is contained once and for all, so that you don’t have to keep paying for the same service.

Branches growing close to overhead power lines

There are some homes that get their electricity from overhead power lines. If you live in one of these, it would be wise to do regular visual inspection of the power lines if you have trees growing close to them. Encroachment by close branches could lead to damage to the wires, and in some cases will even start a fire due to short circuiting. To prevent this, you should ensure that there is a reasonable distance between the overhead wires and the closest branches. If the branches start growing towards the wires, pruning them would be the next best step. Fortunately, most trees take a long time to grow, so you may not need to do this on a very regular basis.

Rubbing branches

It is common for branches from different trees to rub against each other, and in many cases this does should not be a reason for alarm. However, there are times when you definitely need to pay attention to this. For instance, there are some tree species which may have their bark removed due to the constant rubbing, and the exposed part of the tree may be further damaged by insects. In very hot countries, the constant rubbing during the summer could lead to a wild fire that may be difficult to contain. Pruning the trees to make sure that there is minimal rubbing is the best way to ensure that such problems do not occur. This will make you safe and will also be good value for money in the long run, since you won’t need to spend money on repairs after fire damage.


Plan Your Landscaping Project Well To Minimize Inconvenience For Your Neighbors

When doing landscaping, chances are that you will focus on doing things that will make your home look more beautiful. However, it’s usually a good idea to be more holistic when deciding on how to go about this. This usually means having to plan for the landscaping properly. There are many factors that usually need to be considered when carrying out such landscaping.

One that is most likely to escape your mind is the fact that you may need to consider your neighbors when making the plans. There are certain times when your landscaping efforts will result in both short term and long term inconvenience to your neighbors, and this could go as far as ruining your relationship with them. To ensure that this does not happen, some of the things you ought to do when planning for landscaping include:

Notify your neighbors of any likely inconvenience

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There are times when the landscaping process will result in various forms of inconvenience for your neighbors, such as damage to water lines that may lead to poor water pressure in their homes. If you think that your landscaping will result in this, it would be wise to discuss the issue with them beforehand. This way, they can then expect such problems and deal with them appropriately. For you to have a good idea of the kinds of inconvenience you may cause, it may be wise to consult a professional to help you out. When doing front landscaping in Brooklyn, for instance, getting a landscaper who has a lot of experience in this field will make it easier to identify some of the problems that might arise during the process.

In case of noise, opt to do the landscaping when you are least likely to cause disturbance

There are times when the landscaping process will require the use of machinery that produces a lot of noise. If this is going to be the case, it would be wise to schedule it in such a manner that it causes minimal disturbance for your neighbors. For instance, getting such work done during the holidays when your neighbors are away would make more sense.

The other way to deal with this is by consulting them. You could notify them that the landscaping process will involve some noise, so that you can agree on a way to get it done with minimal disturbance. If they have a newborn, for instance, they can give you information about when it would be most convenient for you to do the landscaping.

Be careful with how you fell trees

Landscaping may require you to cut down a few trees as you try to manipulate the looks of your front lawn. When doing this, there is the risk of the tree falling down on your neighbor’s property and damaging it. In addition to that, there is also the risk of some of the debris from the felling process reaching their compound. If this is anticipated, you may need to come up with a way to do the felling in such a manner that such problems will be avoided. If it turns out that making their compound dirty is not avoidable, you would need to plan on how to clean it up after you are done as it would be your responsibility.

Working with a high quality landscaping artist is the best way to ensure that the process is done with minimal disturbance to your neighbors. Through their expertise and experience, they can do the above and much more, and this will then result in you getting more value for money. It will also result in less tension between you and your neighbors.


Using Landscaping To Reduce The Risk Of Pest Infestation

When you own a home, you may want to do landscaping in order to improve the aesthetic quality of the house. The best way to get an excellent outcome is to first figure out the kind of look you want to get, and then put in place plans to get it. If you work with a reputable firm providing such services, you will find that they spend a lot of time discussing this. This is because the planning stage of landscaping in Brooklyn often sets the tone for the rest of the project. If it’s not done right, you are likely to end up spending a lot more on it than you anticipated, and the outcome may not be as pleasing.

Different people have different needs when it comes to landscaping. However, one that is usually very common is the need to reduce the risk of pest infestation. You will often find that the way in which your landscaping is done will influence the risk of various pest infestations. If you live in a part of the country where such problems are rife, the aim of reducing such infestations will form the bulk of your requirements in as far as the landscaping is concerned. Some of the steps you might need to take to achieve this include:

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Reducing the volume of undergrowth

Most pests tend to prefer areas that have a lot of undergrowth in the form of bushes and shrubs. This is particularly so if small rodents, reptiles and even some insects. By getting rid of such undergrowth, you will be denying them a habitat and therefore making them less of a problem for you to deal with. There are many variations for how you can achieve this. For instance, there are some people who would prefer to get rid of all low-lying plants on the entire lawn.

However, there are others who would only avoid them in areas close to the house. This way, the pests would rarely come close enough to the house to become a major pest infestation problem within it. You can discuss with your landscaper about the alternatives you can use to keep the lawn attractive even in the absence of such undergrowth.

Avoiding species that attract various pests

There are some plant species that are very well known to attract specific types of pests. For instance, there are some trees that usually attract many spiders or caterpillars at specific times of the year. By avoiding such plants during your landscaping, you would be ensuring that you would not need to deal with them in future. The only problem with this is that it requires one to know the associations between various plants and pests. However, if you work with landscapers worth their salt, this should not be difficult for them to figure out.

Destroying existing hideouts

There are some species that usually create various types of hideouts on a lawn. For instance, termites could create a mound in a part of the lawn that is inaccessible. You can use the landscaping process to get rid of such hideouts and habitats to ensure that the pests don’t have a place to live or hide any more. The beauty of doing this during landscaping is that even if the lawn’s aesthetics are destroyed, it will subsequently be made more appealing. For instance, you could dig out the termite mound, and then level the ground before planting the lawn afresh.

Of course, when you are doing landscaping, you will have several other goals including making the lawn look more appealing. However, if pest infestation is a problem that you are keen on avoiding, you could plan to do the above during the process in addition to everything else that you have planned. As long as you work with a skilled landscaper, the whole process should be a breeze.


Are Your House Plants Experiencing Stunted Growth?

Using plants to decorate your home or office is a good idea. When expertly executed, such a plan has the potential to convert any room into one that is comfortable, cool and generally a fun place to be in. However, before you can get to this position, you may need to go through some hurdles. One of these is simply making sure that the plants survive.

There are many people who enthusiastically buy plants, only to be later disappointed by the fact that they end up not growing as well as they expected. This could manifest as wilting or having the leaves become yellow with time. Though this can be frustrating, it only takes a few procedures to find out where the problem is, so that you can then solve it. The things you need to think about if you find your house plants not growing as well as you expected them to include:

You are watering them too little

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This is usually the commonest reason why such plants don’t grow as fast as they should. When they are not watered right, plants tend to lack the nutrients they need for metabolism, and this will manifest as wilting and yellowing of leaves. With time, the plant could also become stunted and die off in the most severe cases.

To avoid this, you should always find out what the watering requirements of each plant is, and then ensure that you provide it with the amount of water it needs. The stores that sell plants in Brooklyn should be a good source of information for this, so you should always consult them when buying the plants from them. Alternatively, you can always check the information online. This will require you to know the species of the plant you are growing.

You are watering them too much

Being overzealous with watering could also result in problems for some plant species. There are some that will not tolerate too much water, and could end up behaving in the same manner as plants that are not receiving enough water. Finding out how much water they need and then ensuring that they don’t receive much more will solve this. In addition to that, you may also need to ensure that the medium they are grown in is well drained. Soils that retain most of the water content get quickly waterlogged, and should therefore be avoided.

Not enough light

If your house plants are not growing right, you may be surprised to find that this is simply because they do not receive the amount of light that they need. A good example of this is when you grow tropical plants in a hallway where there is too little light, most of which is artificial. If you have to grow plants in such an environment, it would be wise for you to choose those that are accustomed to low light situations.

There could be a pest problem

Just as is the case in nature, the cause of stunted growth for your house plants could simply be down to pests and weeds. It’s easy to neglect this cause of stunted growth, because most people don’t think that it happens to house plants. However, if you have done everything you can to make your plants healthy but are not succeeding, it would not hurt to check this aspect. You may need to spend money on pest control services to get rid of any identified problems. Examples of this include small insects that damage parts of the plant resulting in poor growth.

Identifying the cause of poor growth in a house plant requires you to be systematic and in many cases to think outside the box. Once you have identified and dealt with the problem, there should be no difficulty in ending up with lush, healthy-looking plants.


Indoor Plant Selection Tips For Individuals With Allergies

Having a few plants around the home is usually an excellent idea. This not only gives the home a nice vibe, but could also make it more comfortable. For one, the green color that the plants have usually creates a more calming environment, which is essential if you want the house to feel more like a home.

In addition to that, it has also been shown that the presence of plants in the house could also improve the air quality. This is due to the fact that plants use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, and some could even get rid of some radicals in the air. By having a few plants growing in your house, you could get rid of some of the stale smells that might be there.

However, one of the challenges you are likely to face when it comes to having plants in your home is the issue of allergies. If you or any of your family members in your household has allergies, it would be important for you to carefully select the plants you should keep in the house. This is because some of them have the potential to produce substances that could induce an allergic reaction depending on one’s immune status. Some of the factors that you need to keep in mind when making such decisions include:

Test a few plants before investing in them

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If you happen to have allergies and have decided to buy a few plants for your home, it would be wise to conduct a few tests to figure out what would work for you and what would not. This means getting into contact with a few plants so that you can know if you can tolerate them or not. If you are allergic to a specific plant, you may find yourself developing reactions such as having a runny nose after a few minutes.

This way, you can then avoid buying that specific species, knowing that you would not be able to live with it. There are several ways of conducting this test. The first would be to buy a single plant, and then keeping it at home for a few days to find out if you can tolerate it. The other would be to get in contact with the plant at the nursery. If it turns out that you can tolerate the plant, then you could buy more if it to decorate your home.

Avoid the common culprits

The other strategy you can adopt is to avoid the common plants that usually cause problems for people who are allergic. To do this, you may need to buy the plants from NYC nurseries which are staffed by knowledgeable staff members. This way, they will be in a better position to identify such plants for you, so that you can avoid them.

Avoid all plants that produce pollen

Of all the plant products, it is pollen that is recognized as causing the greatest degree of allergic reactions. This is why health problems such as rhinitis often occur during the summer, when many plants are producing pollen. If you are shopping for a plant you can place in your home, avoiding the ones that produce such pollen would be advisable. Once again, you may need to depend on the expertise of the nursery staff for this information. Buying from a high quality facility is the only way to be guaranteed of getting genuine information you can rely on.

If you have allergies, you don’t have to avoid all plants in order to be safe in your home. The key to choosing the best plants is to simply identify the ones that will induce the allergic reaction, and then avoiding them altogether.


Permaculture Can Help You Become A Smarter Gardener!

Creating a low-maintenance landscape in perfect synchronization with the surroundings is an important part of smart gardening. Imagine a garden filled with edible vegetables, gorgeous flowers, trees, ornamental shrubs, fruits, and so forth. All of these plants play an important role in assisting the environment by luring beneficial insects, deterring pests and improving the soil.

For example, synergy ties the apple tee to the plants underneath it, while the comfrey offers mulch. The yarrow draws insects needed for pollination while the leek repels gophers. A trellis vine offers shade in hot weather and fruits for the birds. All these plant and environment relationships are an excellent example of permanent agriculture (permaculture). Permaculture offers a sophisticated ecosystem balance in your garden.

What really is permaculture?

Think of permaculture as having gardens that literally take care of themselves. These kinds of gardens require less money, fewer resources and work. To be effective, permanent agriculture must occur without depleting or polluting the available natural resources. Take water, for instance. Water is one of the most precious and limited resources you can ever think about. Conserving it is something that we all need to do. We are constantly looking for ways to cut down on the amount of money we spend on our water bills. To effectively do this, we need to reduce the pressure we put on rivers, lakes, aquifers, and other resources like these.

You might want to reduce the amount of water you use in your home by reutilizing rainwater that gets recycled back into the garden during the summer season. The added bonus to using rain barrels is that rain water is loaded with nutrients that your plants require to stay healthy. So rain barrels are effective and practical way to recycle rainwater for use in your garden.

Take advantage of benefits offered by deciduous plants

Deciduous plants lose all their leaves in the winter, but fast gain them during the warmer seasons. Winter is when you want the sunlight to come through unhindered, whereas in the summer, you want as much shade as you can get, like that offered by a grape trellis. By creating more shade in the summer, you might be less inclined to switch on the air conditioner. An additional benefit is that there will be grapes for the wildlife, birds and your family. When you apply this concept closer to your home, the benefits are all there to be seen and experienced.

Deciduous plants utilize less space

Having some choice deciduous planted around your garden is an excellent way to utilize limited space. Make use of an herb spiral to put plenty of plants, vegetables and herbs into a small space to create an attractive landscape feature. For this type of garden design or garden landscaping in Brooklyn to work, you require to first lay down the cardboards to eradicate weeds and grass. The cardboard will ultimately breakdown letting the plant roots and water to penetrate the soil.

The next step is to add a drip irrigation system for regulated watering of your plants. Some gardeners use mini-sprinklers that are adjustable to water their plants. In this regard, temporary stake pegs are used to hold the tubing in place. You might want to push the existing soil into the shape of a mould for water and nutrients retention purposes. Use a piece of wood to tamp the soil into the shape of a pyramid.

To distinctly contour the landscape, make certain to use a series of rocks. The created spiral has the capacity to hold at least twenty five plants. When you have positioned the rocks to your liking, simply remove the stakes and then do the planting. In this way, you will have edible vegetables and fresh flowers throughout the year. Permanent agriculture or permaculture simply means gardening throughout the year regardless of where you live.


Here’s What To Plant In Both Low And High-Maintenance Gardens!

There are so many different types of plants that can be chosen for your kind of a garden. However, when planning your garden, it is advisable to be realistic about how much time and effort you can afford to keep it looking its best. In this case, you might opt for a low or high-maintenance garden, depending on how much time you have available for its upkeep.

High-maintenance gardens

High-maintenance gardens tend to be stocked with a wide variety of choice plants that require specific growing needs matched for their proper growth. Regular manipulation of growing conditions and careful placing of the plants keeps these kinds of garden looking their best all though the year. They also require constant attention to keep them from outgrowing their space.

Some plants you might consider for high-maintenance gardens include tulips, Plumosa aurea (Sambucus racemosa), some varieties of roses, Melianthus major, lilies, lavender (lavandula), Hosta, Helenium, Erysimum, Echinacea purpurea, Dicksonia Antarctica, dahlia, Cornus sanguine, Buxus (if kept clipped), Astrantia, canna, Aster (some), etc.

Filling your garden with dense growing plants mostly reduce weeding, but increases competition for water and light causing a wide array of issues. Most of high-maintenance plants require planting and lifting each year. Annuals grown from seed have specific pruning, feeding and watering needs. Some of them are prone to diseases and pests. Apart from this, the garden requires weekly upkeep to keep everything looking good.

Low-maintenance gardens

These kinds of gardens are perfect for people that have little time to spare but still want a magnificent outdoor space. Ordinary lawns can be replaced with decks or patios, and the soils covered with special membranes to cut down on weeding, and then topped with cobbles or bark after planting. For this kind of gardening to work, quality irrigation systems need to be installed, and the plants selected that don’t require much attention.

Some low-maintenance plants you can choose for this kind of gardening include Vinca (periwinkle), Trachelospermum asiaticum, Stipa tenuissima, Phyllostachys nigra, Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, Phormium, Nandina domestica, Mahonia, Jasminum nudiflorum, Ilex aquifolium ‘Silver Queen’, Hemerocallis (day lily), Fatsia japonica, Cotoneaster horizontalis, Choisya ternata Sundance, Aucuba japonica, Arbutus unedo, Acer, and many more.

Why opt for low-maintenance gardens?

These kinds of gardens offer year-round interest, and yet require little attention. Evergreen trees and shrubs are perfect because most of them require little pruning and do not drop leaves during the fall season, meaning that they will keep your garden looking great throughout the year. Large specimen plants offer immediate impact. But whichever the case, minimal utilization of herbaceous plants has the positive effect of lessening end-of-season work. The use of well-spaced large plants decreases the need for constant trimming and watering.

When is the best time to prune your low-maintenance plants?

Specialists based in Manhattan garden centers recommend pinching and pruning your plants while they are still young so as to keep them in shape. If you allow them to become overgrown before pruning, it might take an entire growing season to gradually reduce the size of your plants without causing them undue stress. Wait until early spring, just as new growth starts, and remove around one-third of the length of the stems.

Typically, removing unnecessary stems encourage new growth from below the cuts. During the growing season, make certain to remove spent blooms and take some of the steps too. This encourages bushy growth while keeping the width and height of the plants under control. Almost all types of low- maintenance plants could have this sizes reduced this way. To keep them looking attractive all through the year, simply cut back the stems after the flowers are spent. New flowering stems will be produced lower down on the plant.


5 Tips For Creating A Perfect Kitchen Herb Garden

Do you know you can convert some of that extra space in your backyard into a magnificent herb garden? Yes, planting a simple herb garden only a few steps away from your kitchen is a possibility if you know how to go about it. The best herbs for planting in limited space such as backyards include basil, cilantro, chives, parsley, rosemary, lavender, sweet marjoram, common thyme, oregano and sage.

There is nothing like adding some freshly chopped herbs such as cilantro to a bowl of guacamole or even some black bean dip to bring out the flavors. The green parsley-like herb is increasingly gaining popularity in American cuisine, and is one of the best to plant in limited spaces like backyards. Like so many other herbs, cilantro offer many benefits when consumed.

For instance, it is quite effective when it comes to removing heavy metals from the body. Moreover, the herb has been shown to lower blood sugar and effective for regulating diabetes. It also has antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Let’s explore some tips on how to go about creating a simple garden to grow this herb and others in your small backyard.

Picking a suitable location

Start by selecting an appropriate spot in your yard for your herb garden. A perfect site would be a few steps from your kitchen. However, any location that gets approximately seven hours of sun a day is okay. If you have some space in front of your kitchen window, you can also plant some herbs in small containers meant for indoor gardening.

Preparing your spot for planting

Your spot must be properly prepared before any kind of planting could commence. Start by loosening the soil. If your soil consist of heavy clay or is heavily compacted, you can improve drainage by adding some course sand, peat moss or compost. Work the material into the top foot of soil prior to planting your herbs. To prevent the transplants from wilting in the midday sun, it is recommended that you plant early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Digging holes and planting your herbs

Since you are starting herbs from bedding plants, dig some large holes for planting your herbs. Each hole should be dug approximately twice the width of the root ball of the new plant. Space your plants around 18-inches apart to give them room to spread out and grow. Short growing herbs such as cilantro and parley must be planted at the front while taller ones such as marjoram, rosemary and sage toward the back of the garden.

Labeling and watering your herbs

Adding labels to each of your freshly planted herbs is a great idea to make it easier to identify them when harvesting. Furthermore, it is advisable to give new transplants plenty of water for optimum growth. When your herbs become established, ensure they get an inch of water each week throughout the growing season.

Harvesting your herbs

Start harvesting from the herbs as soon as they are mature. However, make sure to take only a little bit each time you harvest. Note that each time you remove more than a third of the plant, it takes longer to recover and produce new foliage. Keep the tops of the plants pinched back in early summer to promote healthy branching. A large majority of herbs can be harvested multiple months with judicious picking. Harvest your herbs early in the morning for enhanced taste. Remember also that fresh herbs are most flavorful if harvested just before they bloom.

For more information on how to grow beneficial herbs such as cilantro and others, why don’t you consult specialists based in reputable garden centers in NYC? Not only will they offer great information on how to start a herb garden in your yard, they will also advise you on the best tools and supplements you need to maintain the garden well.


Can Mulching Actually Damage My Plants?

As a matter of fact, mulching is one of the best things that can ever happen to your plants. However, incorrectly applied or too much mulching can cause a lot of problems. How so, you might ask. The common practice of mounding too much mulch against the plant’s base has proven a fatal one for a wide variety of plants. What has made the problem worse is that many of the plants on commercial properties have heaps of mulching piled against their bases, often a perfect circle of 8 to 10 inches thick. Since these plants are under professional care, this has helped to create the false impression that it is the proper way to mulch plants in our yards.

The neat, clean appearance it gives their landscape is appealing to a lot of people. As such, you will find a lot of garden owners asking if there is a mold they can purchase to easily make the mulching heaps on their own. What they don’t realize is that in their quest for a gorgeous landscape, they are unknowingly sacrificing the health of the plants in their gardens in the long run.

Why does it harm plants?

To start with, the bark on the roots of a plant is quite different from the bark on its branches. For one, it is able to tolerate moisture in addition to lower levels in the soil. On the other hand, the above-ground portion of your plants, which starts at the root flares, have barks that contain millions of small openings which are utilized to release toxins and gases from their systems. On plants such as forsythia (cherry trees), these tiny spots are easily seen as small white dashes or dots on the bark, and which are commonly referred to as root flares. By piling heaps of mulch against them, you are simply preventing natural respiration from the bark, causing a buildup of toxins and gases in the bark tissue.

What’s the issue here?

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If heaps of mulch or soil disrupts the natural respiration of the bark, the plant eventually responds in one way or another. On thin-barked young plants, or plant species with naturally thin bark, such as linden, beech, and the likes, this disruption causes a lot of wounds or cankers on the trunk. Cankers appear as spots of dead tissue that then offer a chance for decay to enter the plant. Some plants respond by sending out extra roots from the trunk.

The additional roots will end up encircling the trunk and becoming girding roots in the future. Studies have proved that plants such as trees with girdling roots and excessive mulch and soil build-up are more prone to snapping off at the base in wind and snow storms. The longer the problem has existed, the more damage will occur.

Chances of correcting this kind of an issue at this stage are significantly reduced. However, it should be noted that all plants will not respond the same way when excess mulching is applied. As such, the plant’s health, age and species all need to be considered when trying to examine the effects of the past damage. Plants such as the willow tree are quite adaptable to the change of grade and hence are unlikely to show any issues at all.

Can the issue of excess mulching be fixed?

If caught soon enough, the problems associated with excess mulching are easy to reverse. Nevertheless, if it is found that huge cankers have already formed, and decay is present, or the plant has developed too much girdling roots, the best way forward is to completely remove and replace the plant than to attempt to save it.

Proper mulching

While it is quite common to see 4-6 inches of mulch around plants, this is normally too much. The recommended level is 2-3 inches properly placed in a ring around the plant with the center around the trunk empty. How wide the ring is made is up to the gardener, but the farther the better. All in all, properly mulched plants in Brooklyn often have fewer issues than any others around them.


Understanding The Japanese Beetle And Their Control

Most gardeners tend to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor, as well as the beauty of what they have created. But wait, why do leaves of the linden trees seem to have a tattered appearance? What is that insidious cluster on the rose blossoms? Upon a closer look, you realized that you have the company of the Japanese beetles.

What are the Japanese beetles?

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They are destructive insects that measure around 3/8 inches in length and which are metallic-green in color. They mostly appear from the ground in late June and feed in groups, starting at the tops of your plants working their way downwards. On their own, Japanese beetles do not consume much. However, in a group, their damage is normally devastating, if not heartbreaking. These insects feed on more than three hundred varieties of plants ranging from shrubs to full grown trees. They are particularly fond of plants that grow rapidly in direct sunlight. These include a majority of landscaping plants. Worst of all, their larvae live on the soil for number of months and wreak havoc on the roots of irrigated vegetations and turf grass.

Where did the Japanese beetle come from?

The first sighting of Japanese Beetles in this country was in 1916, most likely arriving in the soil of imported nursery vegetation stock. Unfortunately, they have steadily moved outwards at a rate of around 50 miles a year. While most states have put in place rigorous controls on the acceptance of out-of-state nursery stocks, these pests have still been able to infest all portions of the country.

Unfortunately, the damage caused by these pests is particularly bad at the outer reaches of their territory, and for a good reason. There are very few natural controls that exist in the newly colonized locations. Japanese beetles spend their first 10 months of their lives hidden in the soil as grubs, mostly starting from August and September. While in this state, they also cause a lot of damages on the roots.

Natural enemies

While quite a number of birds eat Japanese beetles, they mostly prefer feeding on the grubs. Unfortunately, in their effort to search for these grubs, birds tend to tear up pieces of your turf. This is a small problem compared to lawn damages caused by skunks and moles when trying to search for grubs to feed on. Insects such as the praying mantis also occasionally feed on grubs and adult beetles, and so do a few native flies and wasps. Nevertheless, the role they play in controlling this pest is relatively minor.

Natural control

The Japanese beetles are not considered a major pest in places such as their native Japan and Korea. The main reason for this is that there are a few natural controls in place. These include:

• A bacterial disease referred to as milky spore, that infects and kills the grubs

• Microscopic worm that gobbles the grubs

• An intestinal parasite commonly referred to as gregarine which attacks the grubs

All these controls were introduced in the U.S. several years ago and have kept the beetle in check. Unfortunately, on small-scale basis, natural control hasn’t been very effective because adult beetles are able to easily fly into and out of the treated areas. Moreover, natural controls are effective only on grubs and not adults beetles.

Chemical control

It is quite hard to control adult Japanese beetles with chemical sprays. Furthermore, these products also eradicate beneficial insects such as bees. Rose fertilizers with systematic insecticides also have no effect because individual beetles actually consume very little. Simply irrigate and fertilizer your vegetation to prevent grubs from damaging your lawn.

All in all, when it comes to controlling Japanese beetles, you actually have a number of options, each of them offering differing degrees of effectiveness. In good gardens, pests are controlled either naturally or chemically. These two approaches are effective, simple and safe. Simply put, defeat your enemy before he actually defeats you!

If you need pest control products for your garden at home, visit one of the reputable Queens garden centers and let the experts there guide you further.


Landscaping Secrets: How To Attract Birds Of Your Choice To Your Backyard

It is agreed that creating an eye-catching and pleasing lawn is an integral part of enhancing your home’s individuality and uniqueness in your neighborhood. Just as it’s important to put up the brightest lights during Christmas, the same applies to your flowers, trees and other general plant decorations. A luxury landscape design can have a lot of practical applicability for your home too, rather than just being used to complete the look of a pleasant residence.

More benefits than you can imagine

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For starters, just picture that you are visiting an open house at a property that has a majestic collection of flowers, shrubs and trees that are very systematically parceled and planted throughout the lawn. You will definitely have a good impression and remember this property because it got your attention from the get-go. The good thing is that this can be achieved with landscaping services in Brooklyn. And it will be one of the most sure-fire ways to ensure that your home will also be memorable to potential buyers is to prep it with gorgeous landscape scenes. Therefore, the idea of selling your home at a much higher price is possible and justifiable.

Additionally, great landscaping can also keep your home partly secluded under the protection of strategically planted trees. Large landscape plants can actually double as a natural sound barrier to block out unpleasant neighborhood sounds that come from lawnmowers, pets and even traffic. You heard that right! A well-landscaped home can transform your home into a pleasing sight and keep your ears safe from noise pollution around the estate or neighborhood.

How to start attracting birds

Some homeowners enjoy the clean lines of a modern landscape while others prefer to spice up their backyard with a little more life and wildness. If you are interested in the latter and want to attract animals such as birds or squirrels, you have come to the right place to get started. First, you will also have to know that birds can bring many benefits to your backyard such as decreasing unwanted bug population as well as chasing away predators and pests like mice and squirrels. With that in mind, one of the most important things you will have to do is to set up various feeding stations around your yard. Common feeders can include:

• Suet feeders: These are used to attract insect-eaters like wrens, crows, sparrows, bluebirds and blackbirds

• Hanging feeders: These are great for perching birds such as warblers, thrushes, wrens, shrikes, swallows, larks and finches

• Platform feeders: They can help you attract ground-feeding birds like cardinals, juncos, towhees, doves and native American sparrows

Using food to attract birds

You are just a few more steps to make your backyard look like a scene right out of a nature book! Another thing you will need to know is that foods can be used to attract specific birds as well. You can use sugar water or nectar for hummingbirds; nuts for titmice, magpies and blue jays; suet for woodpeckers; and sunflower seeds for songbirds.

While altering your landscaping in a dramatic fashion to attract more birds is undeniably a good idea, try to use the above suggestions as well for better effect. Always make sure that your feeders are full and simply enjoy the view afterwards! One more thing, always get professionals to design your home’s landscape for you. They can provide comprehensive services that allow you to choose from quality watering systems, flowers and even elegant stone walking-paths.

If you require more advice and tips on landscaping, don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak to one of our friendly representatives.


The Various Benefits Of Placing Indoor Plants In Your Office

Are you having plans to create a healthy and green office? That is actually a great start to help boost you and your employees’ productivity and energy while at work. You can achieve that goal by simply placing and adding indoor plants to your workspace. Indoor plants in NYC are able to give you a nicer and calmer environment to work in. Not only are such plants a great addition to office decor, they also introduce a variety of health benefits to everyone.

Office plants bring a more convenient and relaxing vibe to the work environment. With that, everyone can focus and work more effectively without tiring out before the day ends. If you wish to know more on why you should visit your local garden center and get an indoor plant for your office, here are some great reasons why:

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Promote a more ideal workplace

With the presence of real plants within your office space, you get to work in and enjoy a more pleasant environment. Since most of your time is dedicated to your job, why not make the place even better? Therefore, it is pertinent that you ensure you feel comfortable whenever you are in the office. In addition to that, plants can create a more welcoming space for clients who visit your office. It will help make them feel more at ease. When they feel that way, it will be easier for you to break the ice and proceed on with further business matters.

Produce cleaner air

By placing several indoor plants in your office space, it will quickly enhance the air quality. Since offices and buildings mostly contain sealed air, they may have more pollutants compared to outside air. Hence, it will be a brilliant idea to add some indoor plants inside your work space to balance and stabilize humidity levels as well as clean the air you breathe. Now, who wouldn’t want a fresher supply of air?

Reduce noise and other audio disturbances

Not known to many, green plants actually have the ability to reduce noise pollution! Yes that’s true! And this is the reason why there are a large number of plants being placed along highways and roads. By utilizing this similar concept within your own work space, you will be able to lessen noise levels of up to 5 decibels. You will be able to work in an effective manner without any distractions around your desired radius. And it is proven that the quieter an office is, the more you can do and be focused on your tasks at hand.

Increase productivity levels

As mentioned, a better working environment is linked to increased productivity. If fresh and well-maintained plants are present in an office, then there will be significant and positive leaps in an employee’s productivity. With these additions, workers will be able to concentrate better for longer hours and may even complete their stipulated tasks quickly. According to some studies, people who work in a greener workspace tend to perform better than those who work in a different environment.

Fight off stress

Office plants are able to promote better well-being and performance to employees. Tons of research and tests have shown that green plants can lessen the cortisol levels in an employee, especially in a work environment. Hence, if you add plants in your office space, then it is said that you are likely to perform better and lift your spirit at the same time.

All in all, office plants are an excellent way to beautify your space and bring to you both physical and psychological benefits. Wait no longer and start getting impressive and striking plants for your office today!


6 Trees That Could Work Well In Your Small Garden

A small garden is not necessarily a bad thing. Most people would argue that gardens require a lot of space and that larger gardens are way better than smaller ones. The reality however is that regardless of the size, a garden will only look as good as you want it to. Small gardens are particularly hard to landscape because there is very little space to manipulate. This however does not mean that you cannot have a tiny and yet exquisitely beautiful garden. Here are six of the best trees that can accentuate your small garden and make it look divine.

Stewartia Pseudocamellia

This is a deciduous tree that has a tendency of attracting a little too many pollinators in summer. The white flowers are not only attractive during this season, but also deliciously scented to appeal to the tiny insects that come to pollinate them. During autumn, the tree will however be crimson colored without the flowers; this is actually beautiful still.

The Acer Palmatum ‘Dissectum’

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This has lacy foliage in amazing autumn colors that are sure to add some life to your garden. The trees require a sheltered spot in your garden, preferably away from too much direct sunlight. If you get it right, you will be able to add some color to your garden, especially with the nicely shaped purple and green leaves. This tree would actually work for any garden given how beautiful it looks whether alone or in clusters.

Crab apple

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If you’ve heard of crab apples in the context of their fruit production, you probably think of them as food for the wildlings. The reality however is that this tree is one of the most beautiful additions that would fit perfectly in a small garden. If you have the space, you could always go for the bulkier ‘John Downie’ variety that will give you a lot of crab apples.

If you are really short on space, however, the ‘Golden Hornet’ should be a perfect fit. It is upright and less saturated in terms of the leaves and fruits. This means you won’t have to feel cramped out in your garden. The crab apple trees are especially colorful owing to the bright fruits and pretty green leaves especially during spring.

Espalier apple trees

These are both beautiful and functional if you have some space in your outdoor garden. An ideal choice would be the ‘family tree’ that offers a variety of apples. Other than being highly productive, espalier trees will give you the shade that you need in the garden. The fruit supply is also something that you can look forward to if you take care of this tree adequately.

Pyrus Salicifolia ‘Pendula’

These have slim and elegant branches that look rather graceful in the wind. They are usually silvery, and they enjoy a sunny spot in the garden. They also provide a very attractive blossom in the spring, meaning that you’ll be able to enjoy the creamy white flowers that also have a really sweet scent. They’re ideal for small gardens that will enjoy their exquisite aroma during spring.

Topiary Shapes

These are hardly trees, but they too are really pretty and functional in terms of their aesthetics. If you are simply looking to accentuate your garden, you can consider lollipop, spiral or pyramid topiary shapes. These allow your garden to borrow a great look and feel without really having to invest in a tree.

Whichever way you go in terms of trees for your small garden, remember to conduct a thorough research first. You can start by checking out the nurseries in Brooklyn and speaking to the gardeners there in order to establish your options depending on your location and resources.


Major Do’s And Don’ts Of Indoor Gardening

Planting an indoor garden always seems like a wise and rather exciting idea, regardless of how much space you have. Recent studies actually indicate that people are embracing indoor gardens, even while living in apartments and high rise buildings that are traditionally known for their limitations in terms of space. This means that gardens have finally become appreciated in the mainstream society. But before you make that trip to the nursery with a list of items to start your indoor garden, here is a list of do’s and don’ts that you really need to grasp.

Do your homework

This is a rule of thumb for every new gardener. Before you go to the nursery to shop for a new indoor garden, find out more about the plants that you have in mind. Each plant is rather unique and has specific needs in terms of nutrients and growth conditions. The only way for you to get to appreciate that garden is if you will be providing your plants with all their necessities for optimal growth. As such, you must know what they need and be prepared to give it to them.

Speaking to a professional at the nursery may help, although online resources are also heavily recommended for your research. The best tip here would be to start early so that you know enough about the plants before you make up your mind about including them in your garden.

Don’t make assumptions about natural light

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Most people don’t even stop to think about the relationship between plants and natural light. Just because your house is well lit doesn’t mean that plants will thrive in it. You need some very calculative considerations when determining whether your indoor garden will have access to enough natural light, and in some cases the answer will depend on the plants that you intend to have here.

If you find that the indoor garden is limited in its access to the natural light, consider using LED lights. Plants need ample light to experience optimal growth and having an indoor garden that does not get enough light simply implies growing a limited garden in terms of the yield and growth potential of the plants.

Don’t treat the plants like they’re outside

If you’ve established that your garden needs some more lighting, the least you could do is to incorporate this little detail into the nutrient provision. Under LED lights, your plants will need 30% less nutrients than they would have required while under natural light. The significance of this calculation here is to ensure that you give the plants the exact amount of nutrients instead of saturating them with excess nutrients and thus limiting their growth and development. Overfeeding the plants is just as bad as underfeeding them.

Schedule regular checkups

Being indoors, your garden is more susceptible to accumulation of water. This is because there is less evaporation going on. As such, you need to keep checking the garden to ensure that this does not happen. Too much water in the soil could damage the roots and thus destroy your plants. Also, remember to always check for pests and diseases so that you can prevent an outbreak by catching it early. Being indoors does not imply that this garden is safe from the common challenges of a regular garden.

If you’ve been looking into the idea of an indoor garden, pass by reputable Manhattan nurseries and get as much information as you can about the plants that you would like to have, their needs and any other special requirements that you will need in order to support them fully. A garden is an investment, and with the right information and commitment, it will be a great investment.


How You Can Keep Your Garden Safe From Fungal Diseases

Everybody loves a beautiful and healthy garden, but sadly, not everyone gets to have one. One of the greatest deterrents to a healthy garden is the fungal diseases. There are so many types of fungi that could infect your plants and threaten the health of your garden and in most cases there isn’t much you can do to completely avoid them. Here, you need to understand that no matter how hard you try there will always be an incident with some form of fungi on your plants. You van however, reduce the risk that your plants face by doing a number of things.

First, cleanliness is key

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Keeping your garden clean will limit the growth of fungi and bacteria, thus reducing the probability of a fungal disease. This means the first step towards a disease free garden is keeping it clean. Clear any plant debris after weeding and ensure that the garden area is free from decomposing plant matter. While these may be considered as beneficial to the soil composition with regards to nutrients, the decaying matter will only encourage the growth of fungi, thus exposing the plants in your garden and eventually resulting in a fungal outbreak.

Keep the pests and insects away

Your garden is pretty much exposed, meaning that there are many ways through which fungi spores can come in and start multiplying. Insects and pests are however the most common carriers of the fungi spore as they move from one plant to another or from one garden to the next. This means that by controlling the pests and insects in your garden, you should be able to limit the possibility of fungal disease to a bare minimal. However, you need to be careful on how you do this. Natural insecticides and pesticides are the best solution since they will not contaminate your plants or destroy the environment.

Isolate affected plants as soon as you spot them

Fungal disease is highly contagious and once one plant gets infected, chances are that the disease will spread across the whole garden in a short time. This is why you will have to check your plants regularly and ensure that any infected ones are removed from the bunch. Think of this as a quarantine system, especially if you cannot just throw out the affected plants. You could simply remove them and place them away from the rest while you try to deal with the fungal disease. Keeping infected plants with the rest of the plants in the garden increases the chances of a full blown fungal outbreak in your garden.

Give the plants their space

Some gardens look beautiful when the plants are crowded, but if you are looking to avoid fungal disease, this is not even an option. Fungi spores are able to spread from one plant to the next rather too quickly if the garden is crowded. This means that you’ll have a better chance at beating the disease if the plants have enough space between them. Here, when one plant is infected you will be able to remove it long before those around it can catch the spores.

Gardening, like many other rewarding ventures, has its fair share of risks and in this case, fungal disease is the serious problem that continues to wreck some serious havoc for gardeners. It is not however enough reason to keep you from starting your own garden. With the right skills, you can always put up a good fight and actually win. So go out and visit garden centers in NYC for impressive gardening ideas and tips on keeping your plants healthy, and get to enjoy the blessings of nature in your home.


Winter Protection Tips For Nurseries

Protecting your nursery plants and flowers during the winter is very important, especially coming from the fall season when they have flourished. While there are some plants that are stronger than others, knowing how to prepare for the winter season to protect the nursery plants can determine whether or not they will make it to the spring season.

With tropical plants being the most commonly damaged plant variety during the winter when temperatures go below 35 degrees, proper care should be taken. These shrubs and plants will include the tropical bird of paradise, boxwood beauties, the young citrus trees, pygmy date palms, Lantana, bougainvillea and the hibiscus.

By following some of the tips below, protecting your nursery plants can be achieved without causing you much worry.

Covering plants and trees

Before sundown, it is essential to cover up the plants and ensure that the wind does not remove the cover at night. By using frost cloth, you insulate the plants and trees while at the same time ensuring that they retain the heat coming from the soil. Plastics should never be used, but cloth materials and burlap can. You should ensure that the plants remain covered until the rise of the sun when temperatures are above the freezing point.

Moon juice and water

One of the best ways to prepare your nursery during a cold evening is to heavily water the plants and flowers in the night of the freeze. This usually creates humidity which leads slightly more warmth than dry air. With the frost cloth in place, this creates a microclimate that provides added protection for the nursery. By also using super charged moon juice, plant and flower moisture intake is increased along with vital nutrients needed for growth. This protection enables the nursery plants to have a jump start when spring begins.


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It is very essential to avoid pruning 6 weeks prior to winter starting. If this is done, it usually leads to bud breaks which result in the plants not hardening enough before winter begins. At times, this pruning can cause wounds which fail to close till when spring arrives. This means that the plants end up decaying. Due to infection from organisms. Avoiding pruning, thus ensures that the plants are properly hardened for the winter season.


Using older warming bulbs can also help protect the flowers and plants in your nursery from the winter frost. When you focus the light on the plants and flowers in the nursery, this creates heat that dispels frost from forming. With the rise in the use of the LED and fluorescent lights, finding incandescent bulbs is becoming harder.

Nursery site location

Since soil properties, the canopy cover, surface reflectivity and elevation also affect the heat radiation in the nursery, it is essential to refrain from placing the plants in open and exposed areas or where the cold air is known to settle. Putting them next to a west or south-facing wall which has absorbed heat during the day and radiates it during the night is always best. You can also ensure that where the nursery is located has boulder, shrubs and fences to act as protection from the cold wind.

While the first reaction to do when you notice frost damage in plants in your nursery is to dig up the plant or prune off the affected areas immediately, it is important to note that plants can be quite resilient at times. The winter can prove to be quite harsh for nurseries in NYC when the season comes but with proper preparation, you can always be sure that your plants will weather that period well. So, as the winter season draws near, try out some of the mentioned tips for the winter protection for your nurseries!


Yard Landscaping Ideas For You To Try Out

With variety being termed as the spice of life, this can be extended to include your garden or yard. Whether you are looking to add color all year round to your yard or just want a change, trying out the various landscaping ideas below can ensure you spice things up.

Greeting guests with flowers

The welcoming appeal of flowers in your home cannot be understated. By placing perennial and annual flowers at the entrance of your home, you can keep color all year long. You can also include Lily-of-the-Nile, petunia, snapdragon and the Gertrude Jerky roses to make it even more appealing.

If the space between the street and your home is small, you can install a low fence at the front. This results in the illusion that your house is further away from the street than it is. Also, it can double up as extra space for planting your plants and flowers.

Planting rambling vines

Adding clematis can be a good addition for your yard. With its different color blossoming features of red, purple, white, blue and pink, when left to grow on a trellis, fence or inside a container, they result in a very appealing look. The clematis is best grown during fall and spring. In the other seasons, you would require to feed them with organic fertilizer labeled for roses and tomatoes monthly.

Driveway dressing up

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Hiding an unattractive driveway can be easily done by carefully designing the landscape and also identifying the proper materials and plants. To start with, you can build a slightly elevated island of lawn at the center of the drive. Thereafter, you can proceed to incorporate a low boxwood hedge having annuals, roses, and perennials rising in front of the hedge that points backwards toward the island. Adding a variety of textures, heights and colors can brighten the look. For height, you can use the ‘crystal fairy rose’, ‘butterfly deep rose’ pentas for color and lamb’s ears for texture.

Planting no-fuss lilies

Adding crinums to your yard can really be beneficial. Since they are not affected by drought, thrive in hot, humid summers and do not require fertilizer, they are indestructible and over time, they develop into huge bulbs. Also, during fall, spring or summer, they develop into fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers adorned in many colors.

Deer-proofing your garden

If your yard flowers are being swallowed by deer, you can opt for flowers that are more appealing to people. Opting for perennial like globe thistle, purple cornflower, butterfly weed or ‘royal red’ butterfly bush can make for a good replacement.

Baskets and planters for height

Having different dimensions in your yard can be accomplished by having hanging baskets and raised planters. These create a beautiful landscape color. The added benefit of this is that your plants will adore the good aeration and drainage that the elevated planters bring.

Blooming shrubs appeal

Getting a good spot to grow the Chinese snowball can be a good addition to your yard. With the 6 to 8 inch white flower clusters that appear in its branches in late spring, the plant can grow from 12 to 20 feet in height and width. While it may be mistaken for a hydrangea, people should know it’s a viburnum.

Garden surprise planning

Creating that garden paradise you long for in your yard can be achieved by intersecting meandering streams, inspiring vistas, hidden rooms and trails. These small hideaways can be used for gathering people for drinks. By mixing the informal to formal, this can lead to its stimulating the visual tension.

Having a place where you can entertain your guests or an area where you can have some alone time while enjoying the scenery can be easily achieved by smart landscaping. With a little work, you can transform your yard into a paradise!