|July 6, 2007 18:24 - Gadgets, Butterflies and Digging
I am a sucker for gadgets. I am always interested in any new gardening tool that comes on to the market. So "Gadgets for your favorite gardener" by Susi Elkins immediately caught my eye. But her first two suggestions, hand cream and a straw sun hat, are hardly what I would class as gadgets. Read on and the list improves. The Leatherman Hybrid multi-tool sounds handy and the Plant Corral is something that I would be tempted to buy. Read more..
Butterfly gardening is always a popular topic and , although I have read countless articles on the subject, I am ever ready to read another. This one from K-State Research and Extension contains a lot of useful information. Butterflies need a safe source of water and the right plants and shrubs to entice them into your garden. Birdbaths should be kept for the birds and an alternative is suggested for the butterflies. A comprehensive plant list completes this worthwhile article.
Pointless, soul-destroying and bad for the back is how Tom Petherick describes digging. This comment comes in at number four in his seven point plan to safeguard your soil and build fertility. This is one of a series of articles on organic gardening with the subtitle "Kick the Chemicals". Read more..
If you're looking for a bargain Gardener's Supply Company have just announced their "Hot Summer Sale" with reductions of up to 63% on over 200 home and garden accessories. You could even pick up this cheeky little fellow for just $6.88.
July 16, 2007 11:35 - Gardening Coaches, Rainwater and Naturescaping
Life coaches have been around for many years, so why not gardening coaches? It seems that there is a demand for this service. "People are just overwhelmed. I hold their hand and it makes all the difference in the world," said gardening coach Susan Harris, who has been initiating clients into the mysteries of their backyards for the past three years. "A lot of them are new home owners. They have no idea what is a weed. Others don't know where to start, how to prune the shrubs".
If you want some inspiration and new ideas for your backyard, go to a garden show. This report about Flora International will give you plenty of food for thought. "Fifty separate small gardens have been designed by very talented landscape designers from Quebec and elsewhere. Ranging from very traditional concepts to some that could be called abstract, these exhibitors stretch belief in what can be done in the residential garden." Read more..
Did you know that the EPA estimates that as much as 70 percent of the pollution in our streams, rivers and lakes is carried there by storm water? In his article Charlie Nardozzi explains how you can help to reduce this problem by building a rain garden. Unfortunately the article has now been taken down, but here is an extract:
"Your rain garden should be located at least 10 feet from your home in a low spot where water naturally collects. It should have at least one-half day of sun and a gentle slope leading from your roof downspout, driveway or walkway to the garden. You can create a low swale from the roof downspout to the rain garden to ensure that water drains into the garden.
To build the rain garden, mark out a 150- to 450-square-foot area, depending on the size of your house and amount of paved areas. Remove the sod and dig a shallow depression about 6 inches deep. Use the soil to form a berm on the lowest side of the garden to retain water. A 6-inch-deep rain garden should drain water within 7 hours. If the rain garden is deeper, the water may stay longer, creating a mosquito-breeding site.
Select regionally adapted plants that can withstand periodic flooding and offer seasonal color and interest. "
Now it seems that landscaping is not enough, naturescaping is what you need. "Through Naturescaping learn how to combine the hobby and tradition of gardening with the enjoyment of wildlife viewing. Naturescaping is a way to beautify your yard by planting native plants and creating habitats for birds, butterflies and other pollinators.
Some benefits include: not needing any pesticides or artificial fertilizers to develop a lush landscape, offering a home to our local animal species, reducing the amount of introduced flora in the area, and finally, personal gratification. Native plants are perfectly adapted to our climate and soils and therefore are hardier. They are also far friendlier to our local birds and animals than exotic species."
And finally a reminder that the July edition of Garden Ramblings is now online.
July 27, 2007 12:49 - Water, Mathematics and Compost
For many people no garden is complete unless it has a fish pond or, at the very least, a small water feature. According to Stephanie Gottschalk "The element of water brings an unmatched beauty to any outdoor space -- movement, color, and ambiance. Water gardens are highly prized for the relaxing sound of the flowing water, and the sense of being at one with nature". This article contains some useful tips on creating a new mini water garden small enough to fit a deck or even a balcony.
Once you get past the mathematical title you will find some useful information in this piece by Gerald Klingaman. He explains that good garden design involves "masses and voids" and that to achieve the desired effect you sometimes have to remove plants, shrubs and even trees. The first step is to look round and ask yourself "Does that need to be there?" Read more..
Whenever organic gardening is discussed you can be sure that compost making will feature prominently. This article is by an English writer, Tom Petherick, but the tecniques of compost making do not vary greatly from country to country so should be of interest. Read more..
Deer-Proof flowers probably sounds too good to be true for people who have problems with these creatures. One variety that is recommended by Dutch Gardens is Echinacea, the coneflower. This one is called "Fragrant Angel".