A Greener Lawn Is In The Bag!

Fertilizing Your Lawn

A greener lawn just seems to make you feel better. It makes your home and gardens more beautiful. But how do you keep it green? Just as you and I need our three square meals a day, utilizing all the food groups (of course), a lawn has similar nutritional needs. Your lawn’s needs are simple…it needs nitrogen for lush, green grass, phosphate for strong, deep root development and potash for growth and drought resistance. These elements are known as N-P-K for Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash. To keep it straight, just remember N (for nitrogen) is for everything above ground (grass leaf)-P (for phosphate) is for everything below ground (roots) and K (for potash) helps the lawn interact with the soil. These elements are present in most balanced fertilizer products. The percentage of each element might differ, but these percentages are listed on every fertilizer product. They are the three numbers listed in the formulation; i.e., 25-5-5 would 25% of the bag weight would be available nitrogen, 5% phosphate and 5% potash.

If you were to buy a 50 pound bag (10,000 sq ft coverage) of 25-5-5 fertilizer, then 25% or 12.5 pounds would be nitrogen, 2.5 pounds would be phosphate and 2.5 pounds would be potash. To finish the equation, you then divide the total pounds by the coverage area. In this case you would apply about 1.25 pounds of nitrogen. An average lawn needs 4 pounds of nitrogen (per 1000 sq ft or M), 2 pounds of phosphate (/M) and 1 pound of potash (/M) annually. Your lawn might differ from the average, but if you are looking for a “green-up” then look for high nitrogen fertilizers. If your lawn seems to wilt under the stress of summer heat waves, consider a fertilizer higher in phosphate and potash.

Now you know how to fertilize like a pro. There is an easier way. Most fertilizer companies now offer “four-step” programs for your lawn. It is usually sold as a set of four bags in 5-10,000 or now even 15,000 square foot sizes. It pre-packages everything your lawn needs for the year. Simply apply at rates shown on the bag at the times recommended. This ensures the proper amount of nutrients are applied at optimum timing.

Most folks like to see a quick green-up, but be careful, as too quick a top growth can occur at the expense of good root development. A good solution to this problem is WIN or W (ater) I (insoluble) N (itrogen). It allows the nitrogen to be released over a longer period of time. It is usually coated so that it is broken down over natural weathering process.

A great lawn is in the bag…literally. Knowing what’s in the bag should keep you and your lawn in the green! Stop by with any questions.

April’s Featured Houseplant: Calathea

The Calathea plant is a popular plant used for indoor office decoration purposes. It is often used in homes and businesses as well. It is a type of plant that prefers indirect lighting, which means makes it perfect for indoor usage and office buildings. Calathea plants are popular for indoor purposes because they are generally easy to care for and they look great, offering bright green plants to liven up indoor spaces. 

The genus Calathea includes some of the most beautiful and striking tropical foliage plants in the world. Calathea species generally have boldly marked, upright, oblong leaves in a dazzling array of colors held on long, upright stalks. Because of the plant’s bold markings, it goes by nicknames such as zebra plant, peacock plant, and rattlesnake plant, that reflect that. 

Grow calathea in medium to low light. This beautiful tropical doesn’t like much sun on its leaves, so shield it from direct light to prevent sunburn. Water calathea enough to keep it moist, but not wet or saturated. This isn’t a drought-tolerant houseplant, but it is relatively forgiving if you forget to water it from time to time. Extended periods of dryness can result in brown leaf tips or edges. 

Caring for Your Vine

When choosing the perfect vine for your home decide where and what it’s going to be used for. If you are planting it in a spot where it is ignored during the winter choosing if a vine that will go dormant or stays evergreen won’t matter. If you are wanting it in a place for example in front of your house you may want to lean with a vine that stays evergreen year round.

Knowing how your vine grows and climbs is important in your decision process as well. Take in mind if the vine you choose climbs by twining or by aerial roots. Believe it or not some vines are strong enough to pull out things that aren’t firmly in the ground or can cause cracks on bricks with their aerial roots.

Decide if you want a perennial vine that will come back after a year has passed or an annual that only lives during one growing season. Don’t forget to do some research on what requirements the plant needs to grow. Does it need full sun? Partial shade? These are vital factors in choosing where and what to plant. Make sure you also consider if your vine likes to stay moist or dry out and if it requires a certain pH level.

We have a variety of vines to choose from and we are hoping to get a bunch more in the next couple weeks.

Here’s a list of vines that blossom in the spring, summer, and then bloom in the fall:

  • Sweet Clematis
  • Carolina Jessamine
  • Morning glory
  • Coral Honeysuckle

When training a vine to climb on a specific area start by planting it at least four to six inches away from the site to allow the roots to expand. When training a vine to climb have some type of string or fabric to tie the vine to where you want it to grow. A cut-up pantyhose is a cheap and easy way to start. The cut-up pantyhose is flexible enough to allow it to still grow with ease. Some vines may require little to no help at all but others may need some assistant along the way.

Take all of these factors into considerations when choosing the right vine to take home. Do your research, explore different methods, and lastly enjoy the process. If you have any questions feel free to ask us by calling, messaging us on social media, or simply stopping by. We’ll see you in the garden.  

Providing Food, Water, and Shelter To Birds

When learning about what is needed to correctly provide the right food, water, and shelter for local birds you also learn a lot about what they require in order to survive. It is a great experience to have and we highly recommend looking into providing shelter and food for the lovely birds in our area.
Variety is key when it comes to the type of feeder, food, shelter and so on that you use. Also, take in mind the existing plants you have in your surroundings and the number of chemicals you use in your yard has an effect on these birds.
When it comes to what bird feeder to use a tube feeder is a must have. Tube feeders allow a wide variety of birds to feed of it and keeps the seeds dry. Mesh feeder allows birds like woodpeckers to grasp on to something while eating. This also helps prevent a larger more aggressive bird from invading the feeding area. Lastly just using a simple bowl feeder that is in a sheltered area where the seeds stay dry is a great feeder to start with.
Using a good quality bird food such as Pennington Bird Seed is a simple way to attract local birds. Try to look for a mix that has seeds that provide plenty of energy for birds, for example, sunflower seeds. Some birds prefer different types of food so keep that in mind when choosing what to get. Including at least one suet cage is important because it provides a crucial source of energy for these birds.
When providing food and water to birds who have to remember to regularly clean the containers used to hold the water/food. Remember to always dump out the existing seed/water when refilling it. Cleaning your birdbaths and bird feeder regularly is also very important. Just use soapy water and a bottle brush to scrub away harmful bacteria. All this helps prevent the spread of disease, built up of mildew, and mold.
During colder climates, birds require a dry/warm shelter that is protected from things such as rain and harsh winds. Like I said variety is everything when dealing with birds so make sure to give these birds options that best fit their needs. During the hot summer, local birds will be searching for a place to cool off. Placing a birdbath in a shaded area will allow birds to cool off and be protected from the harsh sun. This is the time to take advantage of your surrounding. Having a couple of trees and thornless shrubs in your yard will give birds some nice shade during the hotter seasons.
One last thing to keep in mind is what products you are using in your yard. Try to limit your self on the use of pesticides and insecticides. These harsh chemicals affect birds greatly. The fewer chemicals you use on your yard the better.
Taking all these things into consideration go out and experiment, learn what works best for you, and have fun! If you have any question never hesitate to give us a call or message us on social media. Yes, we do have a large variety of birdbaths, birdhouses, and feeders so take a trip to see what we have available to you. We’ll see you in the garden.

Got Spring Fever? Visit the flower gardens at Keukenhof in Holland!

Have a bad case of Spring fever? Let’s go to Holland! Ok, maybe we all can’t hop on a plane, but we can take a video visit to Keukenhof where you will experience the gorgeous views of blooming Dutch tulips and other flowers for which Holland is famous. Keukenhof is the most famous and largest flower park in the world and lies not far from Amsterdam.

7 million flower bulbs

 


Tulips from Holland are world famous. If you want to see the Dutch tulip fields in bloom, you should visit Holland in April and May. This is the same period in which the biggest flower park in the world, Keukenhof, opens its doors.

Keukenhof is a park where more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted every year. Gardens and four pavilions show a fantastic collection of: tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers. You will be overwhelmed by a spectacle of colors and perfumes.

March Houseplant of the Month – Pothos

Whether you are new to houseplants, or have a tendency towards killing anything you bring home, have we got a plant for you. Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, is a lovely plant that is probably the easiest houseplant to grow. You have probably seen them in dorm rooms, offices, or even tropical locations like steamy bathrooms. Speaking of tropical, you might have even seen a few whose trailing vines have grown to 10, 20 or even 30 feet long. They are not a terribly finicky plant as they tolerate low light and lax watering habits. They are perfect for those of us who are too busy, or consider ourselves non-plant people.  It is a great plant for those looking to find fulfillment caring for houseplants.

Pothos plants do well in ordinary, well-draining potting soil. They tolerate low natural light (even growing under fluorescent lights), or shady spots in a warm-weather garden. Ideal is bright, indirect light. You should let the plant dry out between waterings as too much water will rot the roots.

Due to their trailing habits, Pothos are a great way to get trendy by growing yours in a cool macrame hanger. Want another reason to pick up this popular plant? They are an air purifier removing harmful chemicals. So if you are looking for a starter plant, or just a plant that’s as easy to care for as it is easy on the eyes, bring one or two home today!

An Easier Approach To Roses

Maybe it’s time to break up with your roses.

Every year it’s the same… the snow melts and the rose bush in your garden that has been lying dormant all winter springs to life with the hope and promise of summer. You gently lie your soaker hose under it, and comment how lovely it is looking this year. It flirts with the unfurling of tender, green leaves, and soon colorful little buds are sprouting. You give it a sidelong glance…you think this time it will be different.

However, by mid-summer it’s the same story. You’ve mulched, you’ve watered – taking special care not to dampen the leaves, but one day you see it: the dreaded spot. And by mid-summer the rose bush that you were certain would be a blushing beauty, looks more look more like a sad, spindly bundle of sticks with a few dried out buds and some black-spotted leaves hanging on for dear life. Where did you go wrong?

Don’t blame yourself…

Anyone who has devoted their time and attention to cultivating roses knows they have the reputation of being a bit touchy. Typically, if you see a rose plant with full, lush foliage and heaps of blooms all summer, it has probably had a fair share of coddling to get that way, and even then, they are susceptible to a number of maladies.

The main thing to remember is you shouldn’t blame yourself. Sure, it would be great to be one of those people who can grow magnificent roses. Fact is, you probably are one of those people. That’s right, it’s time to confidently declare that you, yes you, can grow a great rose. It’s easy – when you start with the right plant.

It’s Oso Easy

All of the plants that carry the Proven Winners® ColorChoice® name go through rigorous trials before they reach your favorite garden center. Roses, especially, are subjected to a gauntlet of challenges to make sure they merit inclusion in your garden. The process starts by growing the roses in containers in a greenhouse. They are never sprayed with fungicides. They are overhead watered each day, and kept in the same container for 2-3 years until they’re so stressed that most of them succumb to disease. Survival of the fittest. Only if they’ve made it through the first 3-4 years of the trial with clean, disease-free foliage, vigorous growth, and abundant flowers do they make it to the next phase. On average, the process takes ten years. Though hundreds upon hundreds of rose selections have gone on the trash heap in these trials, fifteen have been deemed worthy of introduction and have been honored with 32 prestigious awards.

One such success story is At Last® rose. Available in garden centers this year, At Last rose was one of the few that proved itself in these rigorous trials. It was chosen for its superb disease resistance and ability to continuously bloom all season long, combined with a rich spicy fragrance that, until now, has never been found in a disease resistant rose. At Last roses never fail to impress with a season-long display of large, sweetly perfumed, sunset-orange blossoms complimented by handsome, glossy foliage. Blooming from late spring through frost with a vigorous, rounded habit, this no-nonsense beauty is ideal in any landscape or flower garden.

Rigorously trialing plants is hard work and time consuming, but it is also rewarding to be able to introduce beautiful, easy care varieties like Oso Easy® roses. With the broadest color range of any landscape rose, all 12 varieties are dressed for success with an impressive display of non-stop color. Oso Easy roses also boast surprising hardiness (some varieties thrive down to USDA zone 3) and are strong rebloomers with dark green, glossy foliage and exceptional disease resistance – plus their tidy habits make them ideally suited to all your gardening and landscaping needs.

Still not sure you have time to take care of rose plants? Low maintenance is the hallmark of Oso Easy and At Last roses – they are self-cleaning, meaning their petals fall off when the flowers fade, instead of turning brown and withering on the plant. That’s right, they require no deadheading or pruning, just give these roses at least 6 hours of sun a day and regular watering, and they’ll give you year-after-year of natural, easy-care beauty all season long. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

All About Butterfly Gardens!

Creating your very own butterfly garden is a fun and exciting process. If you are thinking about creating a butterfly garden there are some things you need to take in mind.

Do your research! Knowing what plants butterflies use for feeding, laying eggs, and resting on is essential to the success of your garden. Start with a diverse selection of native plants.

Know the importance of color, shape, and fragrance for your garden. Butterflies are guided by color and pattern when searching for nectar. Try using pink, orange, purple, and yellow when deciding on a color pallet. Did you know that some species of butterflies can’t see red? Take those things in mind when designing your garden.

Don’t be fooled. Not all bright colored flowers bear nectar. Plants such as roses do not. The form of the flower is also a big factor in attracting butterflies. Choose flowers that have a single apex or large petals for an easy place to land.

The next step to take when choosing what plants to use is the fragrance. We recommend using pungent flowers like butterfly milkweed, Texas lantana, wooly butterfly bush, blackeyed beebalm, blackeye Susan, and eastern purple coneflower.

Remember with the following essentials.

  • Determine the species of butterflies you want to attract and base that off of what plants you choose to get.
  • Chose a place that is protected from wind and rain but gets plenty of sunlight.
  • Don’t forget about host plants! Plants such as dill are a great addition to your butterfly garden.
  • Lastly, choose plants that will simultaneously bloom together. This is very appealing to butterflies.

As long as you stick with the essentials listed above you can start looking forward to enjoying a variety of butterflies visit your garden! Don’t forget to come and check in to see what’s new in the garden. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to messages on social media or give us a call!