By Doris M
Marvel at these garden annuals that will make your garden come alive with color, scent and foliage. When choosing your plants, aim for those all-summer-long bloomers.
The first question we always ask is "how much sun/shade will this container get each day?" The answer to this will determine which type of plants we suggest. Most plants will do best with 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, however there is a growing selection of shade choices these days. Our staff will be happy to help you find the best sun or shade flowers for your container. That's the best part of our job!
Second, we will need to know the size of the container. A 10" pot or larger would allow for a great display of color all summer long. Terra cotta or plastic, bowls, window boxes or baskets will all work.
After filling your container with Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil, you are ready to add your plants. We follow the "Thriller, Spiller, Filler" plan. Chose a tall, striking plant for the centerpiece as the "Thriller." Then choose plants that grow down, trailing over the edge of the pot as the "Spillers." And lastly, choose some upright growing plants to fill in the rest of the space as your "Fillers."
Watering will be important!!! if this is a tough area for you, we have ways to help. We might suggest more drought resistant kinds of plants for you or the use of water polymers such as Soil Moist.
Fertilizing will be just as important. Because containers get watered so frequently (on the hot days you should be watering daily), nutrients drain away with the excess water. The more you feed your plants the happier they will be. Weekly feeding with Jack's Classic Fertilizer will ensure greener foliage, more blooms and plants that will last til the first frost.
By David Paredez
A great way to get into the spirit of spring is to upgrade your yard with some attractive Garden Décor. This can be one of your best investments to not only add value to your yard but to make it beautiful for years to come. If you are looking for some ideas to decorate your yard, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming to do.
All you need is a little imagination and a little initiative to turn your yard into a creative masterpiece. A great place to get started is your local hardware or home center. Not only will you find some of the items you may be looking for but some stores carry publications dedicated to decorating a yard.
You may even want to stop by nearest bookstore or newsstand and look for ideas through some of the home & garden magazines they may have available. You may also want to visit a friend or neighbor's house just to see and get a feel for what is possible for your yard.
There are more choices today than ever before. You may want to start out small and add a bird house, bird feeder or bird bath to your yard or hang a decorative wind chime on your porch. Lawn ornaments are a favorite of many as are garden plaques to spruce up the dull cinder block walls surrounding a yard.
Adding a statue or a fountain to your yard is a great way to give it some flare. In recent years they have come down in price and are now available in different styles. You can now add cherubs, angles, animals and even children playing to any area of your yard.
If you want to add beautiful plants but don't have the room to plant them, you may look to add them in decorative pottery. You can find different shapes; sizes and many are now hand painted. Decorative plant shelves and racks are also available.
If you have a tree, you may want to add a hammock. What a treat relaxing under the cool shade during a hot summer day! They come in different styles and colors and if you don't have a tree, don't worry, you can purchase a stand in which the hammock is hung on.
Once you get the items you want, experiment a little. Play around with where you may think an item looks best. This is where all the fun is! A Cherub statue may look better in the south corner of your yard next to the fence rather than in the middle of the yard, for example. You can always change your mind later.
Whether you have a large or small yard, it will only take a few items to really change the overall affect of your yard. You will be surprised with what you can create. Most importantly you will have fun doing it.
Written by David H. Paredez @2008 - All Rights reserved
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Paredez
By Mary Hanna
As a group, flower bulbs are outstanding plants--colorful, showy, and generally easy to grow for container gardening. Many have evergreen foliage; with others, the leaves ripen after flowering and the bulbs are stored and started again, year after year. Some flower bulbs are hardy, others, tender, though what is, and is not hardy, in a particular area is a matter of winter temperature averages. In cold regions, tender types--tuberous begonias, gloxinias, and calla lilies--can be treated like summer in container gardens. This gives the gardener a wide variety to grow from earliest spring to late fall.
Dutch flower bulbs include crocus, snowdrops, eranthis or winter aconites, chionodoxas, scillas, grape hyacinths, leucojums or snowflakes, Dutch hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips, the pride of northern spring gardens. Though hardy, they are not adapted to garden containers outdoors where temperatures drop much below freezing. They require the protection of a shed, unheated cellar or cold frame. Gardening Pots can also be dug into a trench in the ground for the winter and covered with a thick blanket of marsh hay or straw. Where temperatures do not go below freezing, Dutch flower bulbs can be left outdoors in gardening pots over the winter.
For best results in a container garden, start with fresh, firm, large-sized flower bulbs each fall. Insure good drainage in the bottom of each garden pot and use a light soil with bone meal added. If in clay pots, plunge during the rooting period in damp peat moss to prevent rapid drying out. If this occurs too often, roots will be injured and flowers will be poor. When weather permits, after the danger of freezing passes, put your container garden outside where they are to flower or in a nursery row until they reach the bud stage. After blooming, move your container garden where foliage can ripen unseen.
For fragrance, concentrate on Dutch hyacinths, excellent for bedding large planter boxes or raised beds. Daffodils look well grouped around trees or large shrubs, as birches and forsythias. Tulips, formal in character, combine delightfully with pansies, violas, wall flowers, forget-me-nots, marguerites, English daisies, and annual candytuft in container gardens.
As already indicated, in cold areas, Dutch flower bulbs cannot be potted or planted in small window boxes and left outdoors unprotected for the winter. They can, however, be set out in large planters and boxes, deep and wide enough to contain plenty of soil. The garden pots should be one and a half to two feet deep and about two feet wide. Set flower bulbs, with at least six inches of soil above them, planting them early enough in the fall so that they can make root growth before soil freezes hard. In penthouse gardens in New York City, Dutch bulbs have been grown successfully in this way, but it is always a risk. It makes no difference whether garden pots are made of wood, concrete, or other material; it is the amount of soil they hold that counts.
Actually, it is not the freezing of the soil that injures flower bulbs (this occurs in open ground), but it is the pressure and counter pressure exerted by frost on the sides of containers, which are firm and do not give. As a result, flower bulbs are bruised and thrust out of the soil, their roots torn. Where there is no hard freeze, but sufficient cold weather, hardy flower bulbs can be grown successfully in garden containers of small size.
Here is a partial list of flower bulbs that thrive in container gardens. They will help you with your container garden design
Achimenes are warmth-loving trailing plants with neat leaves and tubular flowers in blue, lavender, red and white. Related to gloxinias and African violets, they are nice in hanging baskets and window boxes or in garden pots on tables, shelves, or wall brackets. Start the small tubers indoors and give plants a sheltered spot with protection from strong sun and wind. Achimenes, an old standby in the South, is worthy of more frequent planting.
Agapanthus or Blue Lily of the Nile is a fleshy-rooted evergreen plant, with strap leaves, often grown in tubs and urns on terraces and steps during the summer, when the tall blue spikes unfold. Culture is easy, but plants require a well-lighted, frost proof room or greenhouse in winter. This is an old-time favorite, often seen in the gardens of Europe. It is a perfect flower bulb for container gardening.
The Calla Lily is Showy, and outdoors in warmer regions, but a tender pot plant in the North. Most familiar is the white one with large, shiny, heart-shaped leaves. Start bulbs indoors in February or March in rich soil and, when weather settles, transfer to large gardening pots and take outdoors. Calla lilies do well in full sun or part shade, are heavy feeders and need much water. There is also a dainty yellow one with white-spotted leaves. Rest your flower bulbs after foliage ripens and grow again.
Colorful and free-flowering Dahlias provide bounteous cut blooms. Tall, large-flowering kinds can be grown only in large planters and boxes, but the dwarfs, even freer flowering, are excellent in small garden containers. Attaining one to two feet tall, they grow easily from tubers in average soil in sun or part shade. They may also be raised from seed sown indoors in February. If tubers are stored in peat or sand in a cool, frost proof place, they can be grown for years. Check bulbs during winter, and if shriveling, sprinkle lightly.
Gladiolus, the summer-flowering plant has spear like leaves and many hued spikes. Corms can be planted in garden containers outdoors after danger of frost is passed. Set them six inches apart and four to six inches deep. The best way to use these in container gardening is to planting a few every two to three weeks, giving you a succession of bloom in your container garden. Stake stems before flowers open. After the leaves turn brown, or there is a frost, lift corms, cut off foliage and dust with DDT to control the tiny sucking thrips. After dusting, store corms in a dry place at 45 to 55 degrees F for future planting.
Gloxinias, another Summer-flowering plant and tender with large, tubular blooms of red, pink, lavender, purple, or white, and broad velvety rosettes of leaves. Start tubers indoors and don't take outside until weather is warm. Since the leaves are easily broken or injured by wind or rain, put plants in a sheltered spot. The low broad eaves of contemporary houses, with restricted sun, offer an appropriate setting for rows of pots or window boxes filled with gay gloxinias.
Now you have some great ideas for your container garden design. It's time now to start planting your flower bulbs.
Happy Container Gardening!
Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mary_Hanna
By Stephen Jay Jackson
Before getting started on planting a few flowers, you will need to take some time and prepare your garden soil. Clay, silt, and sand will all need to be mixed perfectly in order to prepare your soil to provide the best possible environment for your plants. The ideal soil conditions that will promote excellent plant growth will be 20% clay, 40% silt, and 40% sand. There are many different tests that are used by gardeners that will provide the information you need to know about perfect soil composition. The first of many tests that can be used is to simply put the dirt in your hand and compress it. The soil will need to hold its shape because if it doesn't, the sand ratio is probably off. While you still have the compressed dirt in your hand try to poke it, and if it doesn't fall apart chances are the soil has too much clay.
If you're still confused about the type of soil you have, there is another technique that you can use that will separate each ingredient. Dump a couple of cups of dirt into a bucket of water. If you take the bucket and shake it around for a while, you'll see that the dirt will separate. Let it settle for a little while and you will actually see it separate into three different layers. From the bottom to the top you will see, sand, silt, and clay. At this point you'll be able to determine which of the three you have too much of.
After you've checked, and double-check, and you have found that your soil is low on a certain ingredient, it's time to do something about it. Sand or silt is probably the easiest to deal with because if there is too much, you can always add a little bit of Peat Moss. Also, Peat Moss and sand are an excellent combination if you have too much clay. Peat Moss works really well because when it gets moist it allows the other ingredients to combine a lot easier. If you've played around with the soil to the point where you can't get the right mix, head over to your home improvement center or your hardware store and find a product that can help you determine the quality of your soil. There should be several different products available that can help you.
When working with your garden soil, you'll also want to make note of the water content because this is also important. Water poses the biggest problem if your garden is located in the lowest area of your yard, where all the water drains too. If you have a garden in this area, the best thing to do is raise the garden at least 5 to 7 inches above grade. This will prevent saturation and provide a maximum amount of drainage.
Mixing nutrients with your soil is extremely important at this point, and the reason is many different soils found in urban areas do not contain many of the good nutrients your plans will require. So, at least one to two weeks before planning your garden, you should begin to mix in some fertilizer in your soil. Make sure to mix it in extremely well, and then allowed to sit for a few days. After this is done the soil will be prepped and ready for whatever type of seeds you plan to grow.
The job is not done because even after your seeds have been planted, you will still want to pay attention to what's going on with your soil. You will notice that in the first couple of weeks your seedlings will be using up a lot of the different nutrients around them. This will slowly but surely allow them to sprout into unique plants. You don't want them to run out of food so about a week or two after the initial planting, you'll want to make sure you add at least the same amount of fertilizer as you did before planting your seeds. You want to use your fertilizer sporadically, but you don't want to use it all the time. Rule of thumb for adding fertilizer will typically be every couple of weeks, because this will be plenty to keep your garden green and growing.
When preparing your garden soil the process can be done quite simply by making sure that the soil is more than adequate, if you have a problem with the drainage take care of it, and make sure you have plenty of fertilizer but you don't want to add it all the time. If you follow the directions in this article you will have a wealth of plants that will provide greenery, beauty, or food to eat, in no time at all. If you're having a problem with any of these steps you can always talk to your local nursery, and let them know exactly what you've done so they can help. You'll find that many of the people that work at the plant nursery are very knowledgeable, and willing to help you prepare your garden soil so you can begin to grow some plants.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_Jay_Jackson
Malara Gardens has the soil you need!
We proudly carry the Black Gold brand of potting mix and compost. We also have top soil, cow manure, sheep and peat, and peat moss. All of these products are available in different size bags. Although we are not able to offer bulk product from our store, we do contract with Permagreen to have bulk soils and mulches delivered to your site. Please contact us for further information.
We currently stock Western Red Cedar Mulch in gold and red, along with Bark nuggets in medium and large chip. These generally come in 2 or 3 cubic foot bags.
Whether you are an expert gardener or just a beginner, you probably need few more things to get started this spring besides soil and plants. We carry traditional and organic products in our fertilizer and insecticide lines. We also have a nice selection of quality hand and watering tools.