Headlines have called dirt the new Prozac. We dig it! Educators, parents and community members that have read studies that show how working in soil makes people more relaxed and happy – and possibly smarter – might want to get students involved in gardening projects. For those planning projects for the upcoming school year, take inspiration from this schoolyard […]
Are you a beer lover? Or perhaps you love to see plants grow before your very eyes? If so, and if you’re looking for gardening inspiration, you might want to consider growing hops! These vigorous vines make Jack and the Giant Beanstalk looks like a rookie. Here are directions on how to get hippity hopping next spring with a plant that – according to the owner of the hops plants below – grows more than 6″ per day in the peak season.
Looking to get started on a gardening project earlier? Love fruit? This fall/winter consider putting in an espaliered apple tree that can go against a shed (as in this photo) or be used as a natural fence. Harvest Power’s soil products – and tips for planting trees – can help you get your fruit fence established.
What gardening project are you planning?
In this post we add a new dose of landscaping inspiration presenting a backyard garden that mixes a berry patch, gardens, raised beds and whimsy. What we really liked about this backyard garden is the mixing and blending of function, fashion, chaos, order, whimsy, and practical. Here is a virtual tour.
On the south side of the garden, in the late spring/early summer, the raspberries produce a bumper crop of berries, perfect for a morning bowl of granola or evening fruity dessert.
The heart of the garden features an abundance of greenery with plants every which way that create a wild feel. Bursts of flowers provide colorful accents amidst the tomatoes, peppers, kale, lettuce, squash, and other veggie plants. Yet just when it feels too wild, a clear pathway of bricks and stepping stones allow access and create a sense of order.
In addition, throughout the garden, veggies planted directly in the ground grow alongside potted plants and container plants, such as this chard next to a barrel of cosmos and dahlias.
On the outskirts of the foliage where the garden transitions to a bit of lawn lies a sweet retired wagon that serves as a mini raised garden bed. The 3-inch layer of quality potting mix, plus a blend of flowers and herbs, creates the perfect accent to a small space.
This garden also integrates a bit of whimsy, illustrated here with a ceramic chicken nestled in the greens. (A nice juxtaposition to the real chickens hanging out in their coop in the corner.)
Curious: Which of these garden features appeal to you?
During my career in the nursery industry, I was lucky to encounter an amazing wealth of experts in many parts of the United States. As a result, I am able to enjoy something in bloom during every month of the year in my home garden.
There are lots of choices for flowering plants during the spring and summer. This is the period when garden centers are full of blooming shrubs, trees and perennials. What takes more research is to extend the excitement of flowers in the fringe seasons, fall winter and early spring.
In the late summer when most perennials are finishing up their flashy display, I look forward to the flowers that herald the coming of fall. Most of my landscape is dappled, dry, sandy shade, with few full sun locations. August is when such flowers as Tricyrtis, or Toad lilies, begin to bloom. These unusual flowers are easily grown to fill in the empty patches where spring bulbs have gone dormant.
While most people have to buy replacement fall mums every year, there are varieties that are truly perennial. I have a sunny spot that is planted with Montauk Daisy, a somewhat woody shrub that blooms in the mum season with white Shasta Daisy style flowers. Cut it back in winter to about 18” and by bloom time it will likely be 4’ across and 3’ tall.
Back in the woods, with an eastern exposure, the fall Camellias begin blooming in October, usually lasting until Christmas or later except when an early winter cold snap freezes the last of the buds and blooms. In some of the milder winters, spring Camellias begin blooming just as the fall bloomers are finishing. (Photo courtesy freestockphotos.biz)
Also in October, hardy cyclamens come out of dormancy and grow new leaves that usually persist through winter. These tropical looking perennial bulbs begin blooming in February and last about 2 months. Happy in part shade, these plants make small colonies, spreading by seed and developing corms that can grow as big as a dinner plate over time. Two species are the most available: Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium. Coum begins blooming earlier than hederifolium.
Christmas rose, or Helleborus niger begins its bloom season in late December or early January, with its flowers preceding the new leaves. Flowers are usually white or creamy green. Its cousin, the Lenten rose or helleborus orientalis, is named because it flowers during Lent. It has a wider array of flower colors, from charcoal black, to burgundy to pink, yellow and white. Flowers can be double, semi double or single. The spent flowers stay attractive long after the color fades. Cut the old foliage back before new flowers emerge.
About the Author
Jim McFall manages accounts and inventory for Harvest Power out of the Pittsville, MD location. He says, “I’m in Delaware, about 5 miles inland from the ocean and about 2 miles from the Indian River Bay, so those water bodies help to moderate temperature extremes in both summer and winter. It is weather zone 7b. Southern Delaware climate, topography and soil structure is different than northern Delaware.”
Friends of Harvest Power often ask us for garden- and landscape- inspiration. We saw these two ideas at a garden show and wanted to share.
Inspiration #1: Clothespin Labels
Do you like to label things in your garden, either so you remember what it is, or help guide guests towards what they’re viewing? We do, too, only we don’t always like the labeling options available at the store. (Drum roll please….) We saw this cute idea of using clothespins as labels. They’re simple, scalable, easy to move around, and you can customize them to meet your needs.
Here is one for Salad Bowl Lettuce, and another for Italian Parsley.
Inspiration #2: Pallet-Based Greenroof
As you know, we are all about green roofs and their benefits to storm water management and runoff. Some folks want a green roof, but cannot remodel their home. Or perhaps they just need a bit more surface area to garden but don’t have space on the ground. Voila: pallets! Pallets can give shape to a simple greenroof that you can put on an outdoor shed or children’s playhouse. Just line the pallet with liner, add potting mix, and your favorite shallow-rooted plants.
What garden inspirations have you seen recently?