Powdery Mildew: What is it and how to get rid of it!

I’ve received numerous questions these past 2 weeks asking what is the powdery substance on my plants and what can I do about it.  You will find it frequently on Crape Myrtles, Indian hawthorn, and roses – but no plant is immune.powdery mildew 2  It is the most common and easily recognized plant disease and is both treatable and, more importantly, preventable by using a fungicide – preferably one that is systemic.  The disease is caused by a fungus and is called Powdery Mildew.

Recognizing Powdery Mildew:  It looks like powdery splotches of white or gray on the leaves and stems of plants.  There are different types of the fungi but they all look the same.

What causes it:  The fungi is everywhere – it overwinters in leaves on the ground and begins producing spores in the spring which are carried by wind and insects to your plant.  High humidity seems to play a part in its growth.

What it does:  Although unattractive it isn’t usually fatal to the plant.  It will stress a plant and infected leaves will gradually turn brown and papery and often fall off prematurely.   If buds are infected they may not open.

powdery mildewThe Good News:  Powdery mildew is host specific – meaning if it is on one type of plant it won’t transfer to another type of plant.  For example:  the powdery mildew on a rose bush will not spread to any other plant except another rose bush.

Treatment:  Use of a systemic fungicide has been successful in treatment in the early stages of the disease and even more importantly in prevention of the disease.  Fertilome Liquid Systemic Fungicide II with propiconazole is recommended for use on powdery mildew.

Other Hints: 

  • Choose plant species that have resistance to powdery mildews. Some examples are the powdery mildew-resistant crape myrtles – most Indian names varieties are in this group.
  • Don’t let years of leaf debris build up in your beds.
  • Pruning or removing infected leaves or stems can help reduce the amount of the fungus.
  • Poor airflow to plants seems to contribute to the problem also, so avoid overcrowding of plants in your landscape.

How to Install a Disappearing Fountain (It’s Easier Than You Think!)

Disappearing Fountains – they offer relaxing sounds, a pleasant view for the eyes, and are a unique feature for any landscape. While they may look difficult to create, they are actually easier to put together than you think!

It is called a disappearing fountain because the water disappears into the rocks below, which disguises a basin below that holds the water and the pump. It’s a simple project to install, although it will take some time and some heavy lifting. It’s a great workout if your back can handle it. If you want the glory but not the grunt work, have someone dig out disappearing-water-fountain-2-disappearing-container-water-fountainthe hole for you—then you can set up the fountain! Get someone to help with the rocks if they are too heavy, or work on them in stages.

To install your disappearing fountain, you only need a few materials and a can-do attitude!

How to Install a Disappearing Fountain

Materials (all available at THGC)

  • Piece of Pottery of your choosing
  • Basin (which comes with a grate as well – size of your choosing)
  • Pump (you’ll need the appropriate GPH depending on pottery size)
  • Fountain Container Kit (if the items are purchased at THGC we will install this for you!)
  • Stones or Landscape Glass (to cover basin)

Preparing to Install a Disappearing Fountain

  • Measure the space for the basin. For example, if your basin is 45” x 45” x 14” deep, you’ll make the hole 48”x 48” x 15 inches deep.
  • Dig the hole for the basin. If the space is under mature trees, be mindful of the roots. Place the hole as far away from the tree as you can, and even then, be careful with the roots.
  • Tamp down the soil where the basin will go. You’ll want the hole to be level in all directions.

Install the Disappearing Fountain

Now you are ready to add the basin to the hole and backfill the areas around it with soil to hold it in place.

pondlesspottery001Now is the time to install the Fountain Container Kit. If you purchase your materials from THGC we will do this step for you!
Take your desired piece of pottery for the fountain and drill a hole into the bottom to install your container kit tubing – you’ll then install fountain kit as per the instructions. Again, if the materials are purchased at THGC we will do this step for you.

  • Place the pump inside the basin and Attach the pump kit to the fountain pump as per the manufacturer’s directions.

Testing and Adjusting the Fountain

  • Test the fountain by filling the basin with water so that the pump is totally submerged.
  • Plug the pump into an electrical outlet. Ensure the outlet is reachable without an extension cord, if not install an outlet closer to the fountain or have an electrician do it for you.
  • Adjust the flow valves for each hose so that the water is flowing up the piece of pottery in a pleasing manner.

The Final Design Work (all optional, but GREAT ideas!)

  • Place lights around the fountain so that the water can shimmer at night as well as the spotlight the surrounding plants. I would also recommend LED lights inside the top holes of the fountain to remove some of the shadows.
  • Place 2”-6” river rocks, landscaping glass, etc. around the base of the fountain to cover the basin.
  • You can add large landscaping rocks into place creating a natural structure and add more river stones if desired.
  • Add plants to the garden beds around the fountain, to make it look like it has been there forever!

We have everything you need and MORE to create the Disappearing Fountain of your dreams at The Home & Garden Center! Come see us today to get started!

smooth-vase-fountain

 

 

Going “Bananas” for the Banana Tree Plant

Banana trees are one of the common trees that come to mind when dreaming of the tropics, but did you know that it is not really a tree? It is the world’s largest herb.transparent-banana-9

The trunk is composed of the main fruiting stem enrobed by leaves. Still, due to its size, it is commonly thought of as a tree.

How to Grow a Banana Tree

You may plant a single banana plant but you will end up with several – so choose a spot that will accommodate several plants.  There are different varieties available, the main difference being their height and leaf color.

The question we get the MOST is “Can my tree produce bananas?” Sadly, our growing season is not long enough to produce ripened bananas.  They will set fruit and it is most interesting to watch them change from the flower stage to bunches of small bananas.

  • Light

Banana plants prefer full sun.

  • Soil

The soil should be well-drained, deep, and organically amended. Slightly acidic soil (5.5 to 6.5 pH) is preferred.

  • Water

Since banana trees are tropical and hail from rain forests, they need a lot of water and plenty of moisture in the air. They do best when planted in groups rather than as single specimens. Being close together helps them retain moisture in the leaves. Provide 1 or 2 inches of water weekly or MORE (especially during the heat of July and August) and check frequently to make certain the soil stays evenly moist. Make sure they are not over-watered, so you do not develop root rot. The soil should always be moist but not soggy, if possible.

  • Temperature and Humidity

Bananas thrive in warm, humid conditions. When temperatures drop, growth slows down, and very cold temperatures cause plants to die back.  It is best to cut the plant down to ground level and cover with mulch for the winter.  Only in the extremist winters have we lost hardy banana plants due to prolonged below freezing temperatures.

  • Fertilizer

Banana plants should also be fertilized very well. Use a balanced fertilizer once a month. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant in a circle extending 4 to 8 feet from the trunk. Do not allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the trunk. Feed container plants on the same monthly schedule using about half the rate for outside plants.

What’s Mulch Got To Do With It?

Want to save $$ and water your flower beds less – maybe even 50% less?

Proper use of “nature’s moisturizer” – that’s what some call it, can make that big of a difference.  I’m talking about mulch – and that’s only one of the advantages of its use.mulch before and after

What is mulch?  It is any type of material that is spread over the surface of the soil.  Shredded wood, pine straw, shredded leaves, pecan hulls, gravel to name a few.

  • It is used to retain the moisture in the soil and to cut down on evaporation when spread at 3” deep.
  • Shielding plants’ roots from temperature extremes is also another benefit. Mulch provides protection from heat in the summer and cold in the winter.
  • By blocking out light to the soil it also discourages the growth of weeds.
  • It can add color and texture to the space between plants, giving a flower bed a finished look.

mulch 2The most asked question is, “How much mulch do I need for my bed?”

  1. Find the total square footage of the area: length X width = square footage.
  2. One cubic foot will cover 4 sq. ft. 3” deep.
  3. Ex: your bed measures 10 x 5 = 50 sq. ft.  50 divided by 4 = 12.5 cubic feet to cover the bed 3” deep.
  4. (Or you can call us and we can calculate it for you)

A word of caution, don’t mound mulch up on the trunk of trees or plants.  This will keep the trunks too moist and the plant will develop problems.

Shredded bark mulch can be purchased in bags or more economically by bulk loads.

Your mulch will decompose over time, so check to make sure you have good even coverage at the proper depth.  You can add an additional inch to thin existing mulch and gain another year of protection.

What’s the Deal with Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation is the most efficient method of irrigating.

While sprinkler systems are around 65-75% efficient, drip systems typically are 90% or higher. What that means is much less wasted water!  It is easy to install, easy to design, can be very inexpensive, and can reduce disease problems.

Drip irrigation works by applying water slowly, directly to the soil. The high efficiency of drip irrigation results from two primary factors. The first is that the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run off. The second is that the water is only applied where it is needed, (at the plant’s roots) rather than sprayed everywhere.

If you have access to a water faucet then you can install a drip irrigation system in your flower beds, garden, planters, and containers.  By adding a timer you can schedule when and for how long the system will run.

The basic idea is to run ½” tubing through your landscape beds and attach ¼” tubing to it which will deliver water to each plant. The amount of water per plant is determined by the size of the emitter (1/2, 1 or 2 gallon).  You can also use spray stakes, bubblers, drip-a-long tubing, etc. in your design.

It is easy to add emitters to your system as you add new plants to your landscape or increase emitter sizes as a plant grows larger.

Components used in drip irrigation (listed in order from water source) include:dripguide1

  • Pump or pressurized water source
  • Water filter(s) or filtration systems
  • Backwash controller (Backflow prevention device)
  • Pressure Control Valve (pressure regulator)
  • Distribution lines (main larger diameter pipe, maybe secondary smaller, pipe fittings)
  • Hand-operated, electronic, or hydraulic control valves and safety valves
  • Smaller diameter polyethylene tube
  • Poly fittings and accessories (to make connections)
  • Emitting devices at plants (emitter or dripper, micro spray head, inline dripper or inline drip tube)

Ready to get started on your own drip irrigation system? We have all the parts you need at THGC today! Give us a call for more information or come in-store and see for yourself!

8 Low Maintenance Perennials to Add to your Landscape

Want your flower garden to keep blooming year after year with minimal effort? Then low-maintenance perennials are your best bet. Perennials are not only easy to care for and cost-effective, but they’re beautiful and can easily enhance your current landscape. If you’re a newbie to gardening, growing perennials is a fantastic way to gain experience.

Coral Bells ‘Heuchera’coral bells

A star of any landscape or container, Coral Bells come in a variety of bright colors and mixes that suit any taste. The primary appeal? It’s foliage – from deep purple and burgundy, to red and lime green – the flowers are NOT the star on this plant. While Coral Bells DO produce flowers, they aren’t flashy – the extent of them being on a large stalk in the middle of the plant with little clusters of flowers on top. They are hardy and reliable, and while they do BEST in the shade, they don’t mind a little sun.

Yarrowyarrow.jpg 

If you’re a lover of feathery foliage, then Yarrow is for you! This long-blooming plant features a flat-topped flower that grows easily in most climates and soils. Yarrow also attracts butterflies and comes in a variety of colors! It’s one of the most low-maintenance plants around, and its foliage can add some greenery to your garden. Plant it alongside perennials with similar needs and you’ll see how well it complements other flowers and shrubs, like the Hosta.

Black-eyed Susanblackeyed susan

If you’re looking for some color in your garden, then you need to plant some Black-eyed Susans ASAP! These flowers are quite resistant to drought and the perfect choice for someone new to gardening.

 

 

Dianthusdianthus

They are the quintessential cottage flower.  Carnation looking blooms in a variety of pinks, reds and whites start blooming in early spring and continue through early summer.  It has grasslike, blue-green foliage with abundant starry flowers which are often spicily fragrant.

 

Shasta Daisyshasta daisy

Bright, white flowers bloom throughout the summer on this easy to care for plant.  It is evergreen in our location (meaning it does not die down in the winter).  The flowers can be enjoyed on the plant or as cut flowers.  Deadheading will increase the speed of new blooms appearing on the plant.  A great addition to any garden!

Salvia ‘May Night’maynight

Looking for an upright, clump-forming perennial? You’ll find it in wood sage. This flower blooms from late Spring to early Summer and features dainty, tubal flower petals, which come in a variety of shades such as blue, purple, and lavender. ‘May Night’ Salvia grows to about 2 feet tall and can be grown in dry to medium and well-drained soils under direct sunlight.

Coneflowerconeflower.jpg

With a bloom time from June to August, it’s not hard to see why the brightly-colored Coneflower should be planted in your garden. Cheerful and exotic looking, this Coneflower is tolerant of hot temperatures, humidity, drought, and even poor soil. This beautiful plant grows in clumps and even self-seeds — make sure to deadhead to improve appearance.

 

Hostahosta

If you crave mounds of heart-shaped, shade-loving foliage for your garden or container, then the Hosta, with its lily-like blooms, is the perfect choice. This drought-tolerant ground cover is the ultimate garden filler and is a great way to add texture and depth to your flower beds. Combine with your favorite colorful perennials, like the Hydrangea, for a striking contrast!

 

We have all these perennials in stock and so much more at The Home & Garden Center. Give us a call to check if your favorite is in stock or stop by today to check them out in person! We are located at 4513 W. Loop 281 in Longview, Texas and our store number is 903-753-2223. Open 7 days a week!

The Word on Worm Castings: How do they work? What can they be used for?

Worm castings are the richest natural fertilizer known to humans. That’s right: as little as a tablespoon of pure worm castings provides enough organic plant nutrients to feed a 6″ potted plant for more than two months. 

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Worm castings stimulate plant growth more than any other natural product on the market. Unlike animal manure and artificial fertilizers it is absorbed easily and immediately by plants.

 

What Can Worm Castings Be Used For?

Worm Castings can be used as an ingredient of potting soil (as plant nutrients) for plants in and around the house. It can also be used as a planting additive for trees, vegetables, shrubs and flowers and because Worm Castings will never burn plants, you can use as much of it as you like.

Benefits of Worm Castings

  1. Removal of toxins & bacteria
    • The humus in the worm castings extracts toxins and harmful fungi and bacteria from the soil. Worm Castings therefore have the ability to fight off plant diseases.
  2. Assists with nutrient absorption
    • The worm castings have the ability to fix heavy metals in organic waste. This prevents plants from absorbing more of these chemical compounds than they need. These compounds can then be released later when the plants need them.
  3. Works as a barrier in undesirable soil pH levels
    • Worm Castings act as a barrier to help plants grow in soil where the pH levels are too high or too low. They prevent extreme pH levels from making it impossible for plants to absorb nutrients from the soil.
  4. Stimulates plant growth
    • The humic acid in Worm Castings stimulate plant growth, even in very low concentrations. The humic acid is in an ionically distributed state in which it can easily be absorbed by the plant, over and above any normal mineral nutrients. Humic acid also stimulates the development of micro flora populations in the soil.
  5. Increases water retention
    • Worm Castings increase the ability of soil to retain water. The worm castings form aggregates, which are mineral clusters that combine in such a way that they can withstand water erosion and compaction, and also increase water retention.
  6. Reduces carbon and increases nitrogen in soil
    • Worm Castings reduce the acid-forming carbon in the soil, and increase the nitrogen levels in a state that the plant can easily use. Organic plant wastes usually have a carbon-nitrogen ratio of more than 20 to 1. Because of this ratio, the nitrogen is unavailable to plants, and the soil around the organic waste becomes acidic.

How to use Worm Castings:

For Germinationwiggle magic_01

Use 20 to 30% Worm Castings with sand as an excellent germination mixture. It will also ensure continuous and lush growth for about three months, without you having to add any other plant food.

As a Soil Conditioner

If you hoe a layer of barren soil, add a layer of Worm Castings and give it some water, you will be surprised at the growth of your first season’s plants.

As a Fertilizer

Sprinkle Worm Castings around the base of plants or lightly dig it in, and then add water. They can also be sprinkled on a large scale with a spreader. Remember: you cannot use too much Worm Castings, they cannot damage your plants.

As a Liquid Fertilizer

Worm Castings can easily be mixed with water. Use 1 cup Worm Castings for every gallon of water and wait 1 week. This liquid mixture can be used as an excellent fertilizer or leaf foliate spray. It also helps to control insects. Many people prefer this method of application.

We have known for hundreds of years that earthworms are the best way to improve plant growth and to increase plant yield, such as fruit.

How to fertilize palms the RIGHT way!

windmill-palm-1Elements your palms need to stay healthy

Applied in correct combination; magnesium, iron, and manganese will keep fronds from yellowing or curling. How much and when depends on where you live.

Here in East Texas, a bag of 8-8-8 is sufficient in keeping your palms healthy and happy!

Steps to establishing a new palm:

  1. Water plays huge role in establishing a new palm. Water every day for 45 days until the risk of transplant shock has passed.
  2. Apply the fertilizer away from the base of the palm, staying around 18″ away from the base. Banding fertilizer around the base of the palm tree is considered a poor practice because it can damage the roots.
  3. Wait about 4 to 6 weeks after planting to fertilize.

Fertilizing palms DO’s:

  • Thoroughly read the directions on the fertilizer bag.
  • Water BEFORE AND AFTER fertilizing, especially when using a quick release material. Under-fertilize rather than over-fertilize.
  • Under-fertilized plants just don’t grow as fast; over-fertilize them and they may die. Pick a fertilizer with an approximate NPK ratio (like an 8-8-8).
  • sago-palmAn ideal palm fertilizer has the right mix of microelements, magnesium and calcium.
  • Fertilize your palm trees three times a year: spring, summer, and fall.
  • You can also augment with organic fertilizers such as blood meal, bone meal, fish emulsion, and worm castings.
  • Fertilize completely around the plant, distributing the granules over the entire root distribution area (approximately the size covered by the mid-day shadow of the plant).
  • Work fertilizer into the soil if possible.
  • Rake the garden of debris, apply their fertilizer, and finish with a top dressing.
  • Soil test for salt content, especially in container plants. Inexpensive pronged meters easily tell you when you have problems.
  • Keep turf well away from your palm trees. This will make it easier to fertilize your palms and will help keep diseases away from your palm.

 Fertilizing palms DON’Ts:

  • DON’T fertilize on dry soil, as it can lead to plant burn and death.
  • DON’T over-fertilize as this can lead to plant injury.
  • DON’T Throw granular fertilizer down the crown of the plant.
  • DON’T Throw all the fertilizer in one pile at the base of the plant. Scatter it.
  • DON’T Throw the fertilizer against the trunk of the plant in a big pile as this can lead to necrosis or scaring of the trunk.
  • DON’T Use the cheapest, highest concentration quick release fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate 30:0:0 (lawn fertilizer), as this can lead to plant burn or injury.
  • DON’T Put fertilizer directly in contact with the roots when repotting a container plant, especially if using a quick release fertilizer.
  • DON’T Put manure into the hole when planting a palm. Too often the generated heat and solute concentration are damaging to the palms roots.
  • DON’T allow rain to fall on your stored bags of fertilizer as this may solidify the granules or leach out the fertilizer. Protect the bags with a tarp.

Hydrangeas: The Colorful, Bloom-filled, and Shade-loving Shrub

Many flowering plants are given as gifts on Mother’s Day and I’d say Hydrangeas top the list in popularity.  With so many colors and bloom types to choose from it is easy to choose a different variety each year.endless-summer-shrubs-2634b3-64_1000

Japanese legend associates heartfelt emotion, gratitude for understanding and apology with the hydrangea after a Japanese emperor neglected the girl he loved in favor of business and gave hydrangeas to her family to show how much he cared for her.

In addition, hydrangeas are beautiful plants that have evolved from the big ball-shaped flowers to lacecap flowers consisting of clusters of tiny blooms accented by larger blooms and large cone-shaped panicle flowers.  The colors range from white, pink, blue, purple and multicolor and even blooms that change colors as the flower matures.

endle summer blue hydrangeaThese beauties require shade and can handle some morning sun.  They like a well-draining soil that is kept moist but not soggy.  Mulching will help moisture retention and cool the soil in the summer heat.  They will bloom throughout the season giving you a lot of showy blooms.  An added bonus is that they easily make great dried flowers.

IMPORTANT:  Hydrangeas are deciduous and lose their leaves during winter.  Do no prune them at this time or you will cut off buds and will have no flowers.  Prune right after they are through blooming.   They develop blooms on previous year’s growth, so cut only stems that produced flowers this year or do not prune at all. Panicle hydrange

If you have a shady spot in your landscape add a hydrangea and enjoy their many blooms.  No shade in the yard – then plant in a container and place it on a shaded patio or porch.  These lovely ladies are wonderful additions and it is easy to see why they are such a popular gift.

Moisture Meters: How to Utilize this ‘Secret Weapon’

Ever ask yourself – “Why did that plant die”? or “Why does that plant look so bad?”  Believe it or not, the most frequent cause is either over or under watering a plant.moisture meter   It’s hard to know how much to water a plant if you don’t know how wet or dry the soil is.  Sticking your finger into the dirt is one way of determining the moisture content, but I have a much cleaner, faster and accurate method to share with you…..

It’s a moisture meter.  These simple, inexpensive, measuring devices consist of a metal probe on one end and a small meter on the other.  When you insert the probe into the soil it immediately measures the moisture content and registers it on the dial readout.   It is easy to read and tells you if the soil is dry, moist or wet.

How it works.  Insert the probe about 4 – 6 inches into the soil in the root zone of the plant and read the results on the dial.  Move the probe to another area on the same plant in order to gain a true picture of the soil moisture.  To measure a newly planted shrub insert the probe close to the base of the plant – usually within 3-5 inches of the stem.  An established plant that has been either potted or planted for some time will have a larger root system so you can measure further out from the main stem to get an accurate reading.  Read the scale to find what your moisture level is and then water accordingly.  Only one moisture meter is necessary to check all of your plants – don’t leave it in the plant or outside in the rain or direct sunlight.

Not all plants are alike.  If you are unsure as to how much water a particular plant needs you can find the answer quickly by searching the internet for information on the plant – or call one of us at The Home and Garden Center and we can help you.

No more guess work is necessary when watering either houseplants or shrubs in your flower beds.  Not all plants like the same amount of water – some like it on the dry side, while others require a consistently wet soil.  By using a moisture meter you can accurately measure individual plants and help maintain the correct water level for all plants.

Healthier plants perform to their fullest and providing the right amount of water at the right time is very important to their health.  Lack of water creates extra stress for the plant making it more susceptible to disease.   It can cause plants to wilt, with their leaves curling and dropping off.  Dry conditions or infrequent watering can result in plants losing their lustrous color, they fade to a duller shade of green.  On the opposite end of the scale too much water can drown a plant and cause its roots to starve for oxygen.

Other watering tips: Make sure to use mulch in your flower beds to help not only block weed growth but to help prevent evaporation of moisture from your soil.

Install drip irrigation that waters the root zone of each plant – it is very efficient and cost effective.

Water the soil not the leaves.  Water droplets can act like mini-magnifying glasses and burn your plant.

Don’t rely on rain to have watered your plants sufficiently, check anyhow. Sometimes a plant’s foliage and flowers can act like an umbrella and actually keep water from getting to your soil.

Don’t let your soil dry out completely between watering. Extremely dry soil won’t absorb water – it seems to repel water.  A good soaking is required to bring the soil back to the correct moisture content.

Building Curb Appeal

15 Seconds……………

That’s about how long you have to create a good impression when a buyer first views your home. The moment they pull up, even before the car door opens, they’ve formed an opinion and you had better be sure it’s a good one!

“Because today’s buyers have much more to choose from in the way of inventory, any home for sale must make a positive first impression,” according to the National Association of Realtors.®

But the good news is, you can shape your prospective buyer’s opinion by maximizing your home’s curb appeal – and it’s not going to cost you a fortune.  Here are some ideas of how you can quickly improve the appeal of your home so that it doesn’t stagnate on the market and fetches the best possible price.   These same ideas work for those of you who just purchased a new home and wish to improve upon your existing curb appeal.

  • Eliminate Weeds

Kill them, pull them, dig them – whatever method you choose is up to you, but      get them out of your flower beds, sidewalks, driveways, and paths.

  • Prune or Trim existing plants and trees

Overgrown beds hide the beauty of your home.  Trim back overgrown shrubs,       prune branches from trees, thin out overgrown areas in your flower beds.  If you      are unsure how to properly trim or prune your shrubs and trees look on the internet for advice.  Neaten up any overgrown beds.

  • Plant Rye Grass (if selling in the fall / winter)

Make your yard stand out by having a bright, cheery, green lawn all through the    fall and winter.  It is simple and inexpensive to over-seed your existing lawn with           rye grass.  Just make sure you have not applied a pre-emergent to your lawn – it will prevent the rye seed from germinating.

  • Apply Pre-Emergent

If you are not going to over-seed with rye grass then apply a pre-emergent on your lawn.  This will prevent any cool season weed seeds from germinating and growing into weeds.  Your lawn won’t be green, but it won’t have weeds either.

  • Freshen Mulch

Spread a thin coat of mulch in your existing flower beds and it will make the bed   look much cleaner and new.

  • Replace Dead Plants

            If you have dead plants in existing landscapes then replace them with healthy       plants.  Dead plants give the appearance of neglect and a potential buyer will     wonder what else hasn’t been tended to other than just the plants.

  • Create an instant garden

Container gardens add a welcoming feel and colorful appeal to any home exterior — quickly and affordably. You can buy ready-made containers or create    your own with your favorite plants.

A staggered, asymmetrical arrangement of 3 to 5 pots creates a dynamic setting or flank both sides of the door with single matching pots.  Choose bold colors to add the “wow” to the neutral color of most homes.  The current trend is to combine several different type of plants into your pots designs – small shrubs, ornamental grasses along with an area for seasonal color.  The best part is you can take them with you if you are selling your home.

  • Add Outdoor Fountain to cover road noise

If you happen to be on a busy street and road noise is an issue in your outdoor     seating area you can minimize it with the sounds of falling water from a water           feature.  Offered in a variety of sizes and styles (ornate, contemporary, earthy) let the burbling sounds of falling water take the place of the sound of cars rushing by. Place fountains on level ground in optimum hearing and sight vantage points.

  • Add Seasonal Annual Color to Existing Beds

            Colorful annuals planted in groupings can make a statement that is easily seen     from the road.  These pops of color brighten up the yard and can help draw            attention to them and away from another area of the yard that you might want to          de-emphasize.

  • Create a new planting bed

Add contrast and color to your home with a new planting bed. Prime spots are at the front corners of the yard, along driveways or walkways, and immediately in         front of the house. When creating a new bed, choose features that will frame your home rather than obscure it.  Take advantage of our  “Plant by Number” design program – we design it and you plant it.  Best of all it’s free.

  • Outdoor Lighting

Low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact on your home’s curb            appeal while also providing safety and security. Fixtures can add accent lighting to trees or the house or can illuminate a walking path. If you aren’t able to use lights that require wiring, install solar fixtures (but understand that their light levels are not as bright or as reliable).

Mosquito Madness & How to Avoid it!

Mosquito season is upon us – and they are vicious this year.  Do you miss sitting outside on the deck or porch, on the boat dock or by the pool without being eaten alive? cartoon-mosquito-ready-eat-illustration-90768434 Have you tried using plants to keep mosquitos away?  There are a number of plants that naturally repel mosquitoes which grow very well in our area – let me share their secrets with you…..

How it works:  One way mosquitoes find their victims is through chemical sensors – they can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet away.  Mosquito repelling plants mask these scents that attract mosquitoes.  These plants can be planted in the ground or in pots near your outdoor seating area and will help you “hide” from the mosquitoes.

Mosquito Repellent Plants: 

  • Scented Geraniums (mosquito plants)
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon Grass
  • Catnip
  • Mint

The scented geranium is a fast growing plant that grows well in our summer heat and can be moved indoors during the winter months.

Citronella

Scented Geranium or “Citronella”

Another name for the plant is “mosquito plant or citronella plant” since it smells so much like citronella.

Like people, they can get sunburned so shade during the afternoon is preferred, however they will grow in full sun.  Water them when the soil dries out then give them a good soaking.  They have small pink blooms and grow to 2’-2 ½’ tall.  You can prune them to keep them bush like or clip off the bottom leaves to shape them into more of a tree form.  Run your hands through them when you go outside to help spread their scent around.

Rosemary is not only grown as an herb but it too can repel mosquitoes.

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Rosemary

 

This evergreen plant (stays green all year round) can grow quite large, 3-4 feet tall and wide, so give it room if you choose to plant this in the ground.  It has delicate blue blooms, smells heavenly and doesn’t require much care at all.  Plant it in well-drained soil, water it very little and it will thrive.

Lemon Grass is a flowering edible grass that grows to over 3 feet tall.  It has a fresh lemony smell that people like but mosquitoes don’t.  In our area it is considered a tender perennial, meaning if we have a cold winter it will not come back in the spring.  You can plant it in pots and bring them indoors during the winter.  They will not be an attractive houseplant but you can keep them alive over the winter and they will bounce back once moved outside in the spring.

Catnip contains nepetalactone, a terpene proving many times more effective at repelling insects than toxic DEET.  The same substance that attracts cats also repels termites, mosquitoes and cockroaches.  Walker’s Low variety grows to about 18” in height and has blue flower spikes.

All types of mint are repulsive to insects.  When the plants are brushed against or crushed the scent is released and so is their repelling power.  Mints grow really fast, and can easily take over your garden, crowding out other plants so for that reason it is best grown in pots.

Plants can be beneficial in so many different ways and many times are natures remedy to everyday problems.  Combine these plants in your garden or in pots placed around your seating area.  Although they won’t protect you completely from those pesky mosquitoes they do help while filling your outdoor space with sweet smells.