Tips For A Healthy, Beautiful Lawn

The saying "the grass is always green on the other side" is never more true than this time of year.  Do you find yourself driving through the neighborhood wondering how in the world your neighbor has managed to keep their lawn so green and lush even in this heat?  You aren't alone.  We seldom speak to a homeowner who doesn't want a greener, healthier looking lawn.  

Most people assume it is too much work to bother with and ultimately give up.  We are here to tell you that is not necessarily true.  It is possible to have a beautiful, healthy yard without spending every second of every day taking care of it.  

Use A Sharp Blade. 

A sharp blade will cut rather than tear the lawn.  Maintaining your lawn mower and sharpening the blades could mean the difference between yellow, damaged grass and a beautiful green lawn. Cutting as opposed to tearing means your grass will need less water and nutrients to maintain the beautiful green lushness you are looking for. 

Adjust Your Mower's Cutting Height.

Adjusting the high of your mower blades is dependent on the weather.  In the early spring you may cut it at one and a half inches.  During the hottest part of the year raise it to 2 inches and only lower it again when temperatures begin to drop for the summer.

Soak It

Instead of watering a little every day consider soaking your lawn three to four times a week. Soaking the lawn allows your lawn to develop deeper roots.  The deeper the roots the less you have to water.  

Try this cool trick from The Family Handyman: "to find out how much water your sprinkler delivers, set out a cake pan, turn on your sprinkler, then time how long it takes for the water to reach a depth of 1 in."

Time It Right

Whenever possible water your lawn first thing in the morning.  The cooler morning temperatures mean you will lose less water to evaporation.  Also, it will have the rest of the day to dry, helping you avoid mold and fungal diseases that occur with constantly wet lawns.

Leave The Clippings

Leaving the clippings will allow moisture to be trapped better and help avoid total evaporation

Aerate

Oxygen is just as important as water and nutrients.  Aerate your lawn every fall to allow oxygen to get to the roots.

If you have any questions or need any help maintaining your lawn visit our website or call us at 443-794-8138 

June Gardening Tips

Is was a mild spring with more rain than normal.  What does that mean for your garden?  Your grass is probably healthier than ever, your plants are fuller than ever and your flower beds have fewer weeds right now.  As June comes in we can expect some of this to change,but there are ways to keep everything looking as beautiful as it does right now.

1. Keep your lawn and garden hydrated - Don't over hydrate but keep to a set schedule and make sure your lawn and garden stay hydrated as the temperatures rise.  You will need to cut your grass but keeping it longer will allow it to stay green and healthy throughout the month.

2. Divide overcrowded plants - Now that your garden has bloomed you can get a better feel for what needs to be divided.  If you still have too many plants and cannot transplant them in your own yard consider sharing them with neighbors.  

3. Fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons - June is the perfect time to fertilize your azaleas and rhododendrons.  Also keep a close eye on insect damage. If you have not pruned these bushes yet, there is still time but don't wait too long.

4. Deadhead flowers to encourage more blooms - With school coming to a close this is a great daily task for the children.  It gives them a sense of purpose and helps them to love the garden as much as you do.

5. Start planning for the fall - It may seem early but this is the perfect time to plan where you will be planting bulbs for the fall.

Looking for more gardening tips?  Follow our blog and look for new posts each week.

Many of us enjoy time in the garden.  But nobody wants to be tied to it.  If you need help this summer, call us and schedule service while you are on vacation or simply too busy to be puttering around in the garden. 

 

Edible Container Garden

We have written before about using containers to add color to porches, patios and decks.  But have you considered creating an edible container garden amongst your flowers?

While flowers are gorgeous, adding edibles to your garden are a  practical way to add greenery that you can use in your kitchen.

herbs container.jpeg

5 Fruits and Vegetables to Grow in Your Container Garden

1. Herbs - If you are only going to add one sort of edible, we suggest starting with herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary or mint.  These may also be moved inside when the season ends as long as they receive enough light.

2. Lettuces - If you want to add something that makes you feel a little more like a proper gardener, try lettuces. You may be surprised by the variety of lettuces you can grown, adding both taste and color to your container garden. Speaking of taste, nothing compares to the taste difference between home grown lettuces and store bought.  You will be amazed.

3. Squash - Many people think of squash as needing a lot of room.  However, if you use a bigger, taller pot you will get draping vines.  The great thing about growing squash is that it is very hardy and can grow just about anywhere.

4. Peppers - Peppers serve two purposes in your container garden.  First they are delicious and can be added to so many dishes throughout the season.  But just as importantly they add color and shape to your garden.  However, keep in mind they need a lot of light.  Make sure to put them in a bigger pot so they are not shaded by the other plants in your garden.

5. Sugar Snap Peas - Like lettuces there is a night and day difference in taste of home grown and store bought peas. Although peas are easy to grow and like squash will grow just about anywhere, keep in mind that you will need a small trellis to allow the peas to grow.

Do you already have an edible container garden? If so what do you grow in it? Share your photos and stories by email

 

 

Knockout Roses Not Blooming? Why?

Why are my knockout roses not blooming?

Knockout roses are gorgeous.  They are fragrant.  They add color to your garden and if you are like most people who add them to your garden you look forward to watching them bloom each spring and continue their blooms throughout the summer and into the fall.

Unfortunately, for a lot of our customers they experience more frustration than joy while waiting for their roses to bloom.  

Why?

There are several reasons why your roses may not bloom.

Not enough sunlight - These roses need a lot of sun.  Unlike many things in life, this is quantifiable.  Roses need at least 8 hours of sun a day.  If there are nearby trees or shrubs that shade your rose bush for even part of the day, chances are they will not bloom well. In one case we realized that it was not a building or a tree that was causing a customer's problem but a van that parked in the same spot every day blocking the light for several hours of the day.  Yes, these bushes are that picky.

Too much food - When you feed roses too much they will not bloom.  They may become fuller with more healthy looking leaves but they will not bloom.  Try not feeding them for a while and see if this helps. When you do feed them, start with a slow release fertilizer.

Improper watering - Knockout roses need to be watered from below.  Watering them with a sprinkler may actually spread diseases such as black spot.  Try to keep the leaves as dry as possible when watering. 

Dry soil - In an earlier post we wrote about the benefits of mulch.  Mulching around your rose bushes will help to hold in the moisture and keep it consistently moist.  

Do you have beautiful knockout roses you would like to share with us?  Do you have a secret to growing these bushes that was not mentioned above?  Email us and let us know.

 

Yuck! What's Happening In My Mulch

You mulch your garden for several reasons but one of the most popular reasons is because it makes your yard look nicer.  So, it's a bit of a gut punch when you walk out into your newly mulched garden to find what some describe as a looking like vomit on their mulch. Don't worry, there haven't been any wild frat parties in your front yard while you slept and your dog is probably not sick.  Instead this is a natural process.

What Is Growing in My Flower Bed?

What you are seeing is fungus?  Sometimes you see it in the way of mushrooms but these piles of "pukey" material you find in your mulch serves the same purpose.  They are helping to decompose natural material in your garden.  In this case, it's your mulch.  There is no one sort of mulch that is more susceptible to this problem.

Slime Mold

In this case you are looking at a slime mold.  According to the University of Connecticut, slime molds feed on the bacteria that are feeding on the mulch, not actually eating the mulch directly.

While it causes no damage to your yard, most people choose to get rid of it.  The easiest way to do this is to shovel it off, being careful not to break it up as the small spores will spread elsewhere and continue to plague your gorgeous garden. 

If you have questions you would like us to answer in our blog click here to email your question and we will address it in a future issue.

 

Holes In Yard or Flower Beds?

What are these holes in my flowerbeds or yard?

Mole Hole

Mole Hole

Our customers call us on a daily basis about the holes in their yard or flower beds. Unfortunately there are a lot of things that could be causing the problem.  

It could be kids, your dog, squirrels, groundhogs, or voles. Unless you actually see it happen though, it is mind boggling. Where do they come from and what damage are they causing?

 Luckily there are clues that help us figure out these issues.

 

Vole Hole

Vole Hole

Follow the Clues

Mole, vole and insect holes are usually throughout the yard.  But each animal digs differently, leaving different clues.  Mole holes are covered by a hill of dirt, while vole holes are not.  Both of these holes are bigger than holes left by worms and birds.  Whereas Groundhog hole are much easier to spot as they are several times bigger than the biggest mole hole.

Be careful when excavating these holes to find the cause though as some of them may be made by wasps looking for a place to lay eggs.

Earthworm Hole

Earthworm Hole

The location of the hole might also be a clue. Holes nearer to trees may be chipmunks or worse, rats.  Holes in your flower bed could be squirrels or birds looking for food.  This time of year you might also notice a lot more 1-inch holes left by earthworms who are particularly.  Earthworms are easy to suss out by looking for a granular hill around their holes.

And finally mother nature herself may be the cause.  Water running away from your home may create a stream underneath your yard leading to a cave in.

If you need help discovering or solving your issue, please call us

Fire Pit - Safety Tips

Adding a fire pit is a great way to extend the use of your outdoor living space each year.   By adding a fire pit you can start spending more time outdoors earlier in the spring and later in the fall and create an inviting living space.

However, there are a few safety rules you should consider when installing a fire pit and when using it.

Fire Pit - Installation Safety

  1. Build On Even Ground - This is important from a seating standpoint as you don't want your guests to tip towards the fire.  But it is also important because you want to avoid letting the fire escape the fire pit area.
  2. Create Space - When deciding on placement for your fire pit make sure to build at least 10 feet from your home and the nearest tree, fence, or other flammable items.
  3. Choose Stones Wisely - Use stones that are rough and dry.  Using stones that maintain moisture, such as river stones, can be dangerous as these stones can explode and cause serious injury.

Fire Pit - Guest Safety

  1. Avoid Accelerants - Gasoline or lighter fluid can escape the fire pit putting your home and your guests at risk.  Instead always use firewood and kindling that can be contained within the confines of the fire pit.
  2. Plan For The Worst - Make sure there is a fire extinguisher of some sort near to hand.  This can be a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or even your garden hose. This way if something does go wrong you can be ready immediately.
  3. Educate Your Guest - This is especially important with young children.  In addition keep an eye on guests as the evening progresses. Also keep an eye on your pets.
  4. Never Leave the Fire Unattended - Even if it appears to be out, unless it is cool to the touch there is still a danger of fire. Never leave the fire unattended.

If you are interesting in creating an outdoor living space with a fire pit but would like professional help creating it, call today.

 

5 Perennials To Keep Your Garden Blooming

The blooms and blossoms of spring bring a new joy to life.  You have probably already noticed many plants blooming in your garden this spring. But spring is not the only time to have a blooming garden and bringing seasons long color to your garden can bring equal joy.  Try planting these five perennials to have your garden blooming all year long.


Hellebore

This two foot wonder plant will be one of the first plants to bloom in your spring garden but it's beautiful green foliage is what makes it a summer long treat for your garden.  What makes us call this a wonder plant?  It's not only drought resistant but deer and rabbit resistant as well.

Variegated Solomon's Seal - 

The variegated coloring on this perennial will help your garden look fresh and clean all summer long and fills in a garden nicely.  Surround it with more colorful plants such as bleeding heart plants to enhance it's natural beauty.  


Japanese Forestgrass

Japanese Frostgrass not only adds beautiful color but also amazing texture to your garden.  Perfect for the shadier areas of your garden.  These grasses are stunning when paired with golden or purple flowering plants such as hostas and bugbane


Catmint

This is one plant you will  always find in my summer garden.  We are become big fans as it fills in an empty bed and with a hard pruning half way through the summer blooms into early fall.


Border Blue Veronica

Another colorful plant to bloom in your garden all summer long is the Border Blue Veronica. This two foot tall plant is gorgeous when planted alongside the lower growing  moonbeam coreopsis.


When we run through our neighborhood or drive through someone else's it is easy to look at a gorgeous garden and feel envy, believing we can never achieve a similar look.  But gardening is as much science as art.  With effort and research, finding the right plants to plant together, and planning a garden is possible for any of us.  

Of course, we are always here to help.  If you don't know where to start or are simply too overwhelmed.  Please call us to schedule a design and installation appointment.  We do this every day and love to help turn your yard into the garden of your dreams.