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Archives for September 21, 2013

New Hilton Head entry with dolphin fountain proposed

Driving over the bridges to Hilton Head Island, resident Leslie Richardson is often dazzled by the sparkling waters below.

But as she rides a little farther along William Hilton Parkway, she notices something amiss.

“There is a lack of a sense of arrival,” she says.

To address that absence, she and other members of the Greater Island Council have presented conceptual drawings to Town Council for an island entry beautification project, which includes a dolphin fountain, a new welcome sign, a shell monument wall, an expanded median and shoulder plantings.

The group is asking the town to help pay for the project’s estimated $1.6 million price tag, as well as commit to ongoing landscape maintenance. A specific amount of town funding was not mentioned.

“We really need to enhance the experience as visitors and residents land on the island that we have a very welcoming, green and park-like setting,” said project manager Mark Baker, president of island landscape architecture firm Wood + Partners Inc. “The arrival point is vague now. Motorists … crossing over the bridge are not sure they’ve arrived on the island.”

Plans also include:

  • Lengthening guardrails on the J. Wilton Graves Bridge spanning Skull Creek to allow for plants at the foot of the bridge.
  • Thinning vegetation on town-owned land along William Hilton Parkway to improve views of the marsh.
  • Installing public art along the corridor.

Work would be done in phases, beginning with the welcome sign, fountain, monument wall and landscaping near the entrance to Windmill Harbour, Baker said. That portion of the project is expected to cost about $634,000, he said.

Town Council members welcomed the project Tuesday but were hesitant to endorse it without detailed plans and community input.

“I have many times been asked … why we didn’t have something more beautiful to the entrance and gateway of our island,” Councilwoman Kim Likins said at the meeting. “You have that breathtaking (view) coming over the bridge, but it’s almost anticlimactic.”

Councilman George Williams Jr. said he supports the concept, but says more planning is needed to avoid disrupting access to businesses along the parkway.

Baker said the group intends to solicit input and support from island civic groups, as well as seek grants and private donations, before returning to the town with final plans.

“This is not intended to be final, but to interest people and get their ideas,” said project chairman Bruce Fairchild.

Video from the Town of Hilton Head Island

Note: Visit this story on a computer with Flash support to view video.

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Buying Here: Brentwood

Walking into this two-story home, the first thing that strikes you is its sense of style. Someone has put together a pleasing color palette, accented certain walls with color and positioned furniture just so. But who?

Meet Nathan and Nicole Davies. Mr. Davies, a Web developer by profession and a handyman by choice, credits his wife and HGTV for the creative design ideas found throughout the house.

“It’s something she’s always been interested in and it’s something that’s always on our TV on the weekend,” he said.

Built in 1940, the three-bedroom, red-brick house at 110 Koegler Ave., Brentwood, (MLS No. 960859) is on the market at $119,000 through Cindy Milcic of Northwood Realty Services (724-776-9705 or There will be an open house 1-3 p.m. Sunday.

When he purchased the house in 2010, Mr. Davies liked that it was on a quiet street with little traffic, had shopping within walking distance and offered easy access to Downtown and the North Side. It also gave him a chance to utilize the skills he picked up doing missionary work with his church in West Virginia and Mexico.

Ms. Milcic noted that the couple “had researched what they needed to do” and, with the help of family, got it done efficiently and fairly quickly.

“All the work’s been done. You can move right in,” she said.

The 18- by- 12-foot living room features a decorative fireplace with a tile surround and hearth and oak mantel. Its warm wood tones complement the engineered hardwood floor that stretches into the 12- by 11-foot dining room. Mr. Davis installed the flooring in his first summer in the house while working on the basement family room, which measures 20 by 12 feet.

“It is essentially soundproof, actually a recording studio, which is what I’ve been using it for,” Mr. Davies said. “The walls are insulated, including heavy plastic sheeting and acoustic panels in the ceiling.”

The couple gave their kitchen a facelift, refinishing the solid wood cabinets and resurfacing the counter tops. Stainless-steel appliances include a newer Kenmore gas stove, LG refrigerator and Frigidaire dishwasher. Adding to its modern feel is a light and dark laminate floor. There is plenty of storage in the kitchen with a separate pantry and an exit off to the side porch.

In the first-floor powder room, Mrs. Davies chose soft gray walls, rich red curtains and brushed chrome accents.

The full bathroom upstairs has a similar sense of sophistication with a solid white tub surround, white wainscoting and dark blue walls.

The sizes of the bedrooms are 14 by 12 feet (master), 12 by 10 feet and 11 by 9 feet. Mrs. Davies used accent walls in soft shades of gray and muted neutral carpeting to create a restful mood.

The couple’s attention to detail reaches outside to the neatly manicured lawn and landscaping. There is room for a bench on the covered front porch and a barbecue grill on the side porch. The backyard slopes to a level area near the house that is home to a Hot Spring hot tub.

The home has central air conditioning and each of the bedrooms have ceiling fans. Mr. Davies was told the compressor and gas furnace were replaced in 2006 and he replaced the electrical panel not long after moving in.

“The main breaker box has been updated, [as have] switches and outlets in the whole house and most of the wiring in the basement,” he said.

The 2013 county assessed value of the property is $91,800 ( Over the past three years, four other properties have sold on Koegler Avenue for prices ranging from $40,000 to $97,500 (

Expecting an addition of their own, the couple said they will miss their first home together. “Just knowing all the work that we put into it ourselves,” Mr. Davies said.


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ISU landscape students build wall for NCHS

NORMAL — A new 45-foot-long, curved sitting wall soon will grace the front of Normal Community High School, thanks to the work of Illinois State University students.

About 14 of ISU landscape professor David Kopsell’s Urban Landscape Management students got their hands dirty Friday for the project, which also includes 700-pound concrete benches for seating. The work, funded by $7,500 raised by the NCHS Alumni Association, is expected to continue today.

“The goal of this project is not only to provide NCHS students with an attractive and comfortable place to wait outside and possibly to meet for classes, but also to provide a great learning experience for ISU students as contributors to the quality of life in their college community,” said Mary Ryder, alumni board member and project coordinator.

When the alumni group wanted to do something to improve the area, they knew exactly who to contact. Kopsell and his students have been maintaining the landscaping there for years.

Earlier he had landscape design students come up with ideas for the project as part of their final exam, and the end result was an amalgamation of several student ideas.

“I love it. I’m an outdoorsy girl,” said student Sarah Kuppinger as she waited for the cue to start shoveling Friday. The Naperville senior said being part of the project will help her to learn things she can use in future work, at home and in landscaping competitions.

The wall’s yellow bricks and red accent details coincide with the color scheme of the existing building. The concave shape also compliments the curves of the existing structure, and the grade was carefully considered so water will flow slightly downhill and not pool on the surface, Kopsell said.

The wall has an added benefit of blocking litter that had blown from the parking lot into the landscaping.

Plants were chosen to withstand baking summers and icy winters and with a nod to NCHS’ orange-and-black school colors and mascot. Orange perennials were chosen along with an ironwood tree — a tribute to the Normal Ironmen that also is hardy and will be an appropriate size for the space, Kopsell said.

The plan includes paving blocks with an area that will remain covered with river rocks for now. Eventually the existing path of red bricks engraved with donor messages can be extended into the area.

Watching the joy on Kopsell’s face as he helped direct students, Kuppinger remarked, “He’s so passionate about this.”

The ISU group also worked with Brandt Bollmann, a professional landscaper whose father, Dave Bollmann, is NCHS’ principal. With a smile, he kindly showed one student when she was using a piece of equipment backward.

The materials cost about $5,000, and about $2,000 was set aside for ISU student labor. Materials were provided by Darnall Concrete of Normal.

The labor donation will help cover the students’ cost for participating in the Professional Landcare Network’s PLANET career days and national landscape competition, Kopsell said.

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Annual two-day Succulent Extravaganza includes presentations, demonstrations …

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The third annual Succulent Extravaganza will provide great opportunities for home gardeners to discover the appeal of succulent plants, and for avid gardeners to broaden their knowledge of these intriguing plants.

Succulent plants have evolved to store moisture in their leaves, stems or roots, and occur throughout the plant kingdom and in many parts of the world. They have many forms, colors and textures, leading increasing numbers of gardeners to value them in landscaping, floral arrangements, and craft projects, often in combination with other kinds of plants, or in settings that include only succulent plants.

An additional appeal of succulent plants is drought tolerance. Because they are so effective in conserving and storing moisture, they require less irrigation in the garden, thrive over extended periods without the addition of water and have remarkable abilities to recover from long dry spells.

They still require water, and look their best when watered regularly and planted in fast-draining soil. With that basic care, they are low-maintenance plants, as well.

The appeal of succulent plants also includes the ease with which they can be propagated from cuttings. A single plant can be multiplied into many small plants by simply placing stem cuttings into a growing medium that drains quickly and watering the cuttings lightly as they develop roots.

The theme for the 2013 Succulent Extravaganza, which takes place at Succulent Gardens in Castroville, is “Passion for Succulents.”

The event includes a series of presentations, tours and demonstrations by succulent experts. These are extraordinary opportunities to learn about cultivating and landscaping with several kinds of succulent plants, and developing artistic arrangements and craft projects. The presenters include Robin Stockwell, owner of Succulent Gardens and organizer of the event; Brian Kemble, curator of The Ruth Bancroft Garden (a famous succulent garden in Walnut Creek), Debra Lee Baldwin, author of three books on succulents, and additional experts.

These presentations include the following:

· Friday: Morning Stroll Through the Gardens: Brian Kemble

Plants that Drink Responsibly: Debra Lee Baldwin

A Photography Walk Through the Gardens: Candice Suter

Accessorizing with Succulents: Laura Balaoro

Coring Agaves, Why and How?: Tony Krock

Three Vertical Gardens: A Valley in China, Winnie the Pooh, and Sailing Sunset: Robin Stockwell

Making a Succulent Bridal Bouquet?: Marialuisa Kaprielian

The Globe from Concept to Completion: Robin Stockwell

· Saturday: Garden Tour: Brian Kemble

A Photography Walk Through the Gardens: Candice Suter

Pairing Plants and Containers: Debra Lee Baldwin

Planting Succulents in Vintage Containers: Kim and Kristin Scheidt

The Succulent Landscape: Who, How, and Why (and who to invite to the party): Tom Jesch

Designing and Creating a Miniature Landscape with Succulents: Gary Bartl

The Globe — Part 2: Robin Stockwell

The occasion also includes opportunities for exploring the extensive greenhouse area, which includes vast numbers of more than 400 varieties of succulent plants as they grow from very small to mature sizes. The Succulent Gardens’ 3-acre site also includes several outdoor beds of larger plants and display gardens that show ways in which these plants could be used in the landscape. Overall, visitors can enjoy leisurely, self-guided “behind-the-scenes” tours of this active wholesale nursery, the Succulent Gardens Growing Grounds.

A major attraction is the 10-foot succulent globe, which was introduced earlier this year at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, and then moved to Succulent Gardens for permanent display. The globe, designed by Stockwell, dramatically demonstrates how succulent plants could be the basis for unique artistic displays. Smaller works also are on display.

There will also be opportunities to purchase plants in nursery pots or decorative containers. Other products available for purchase include small vertical gardens (“living pictures”), vertical garden kits, decorative pots and garden art and crafts. Succulent Gardens accepts cash or check only (no credit cards).

New features for the 2013 event include a self-serve potting bench where visitors can create their own container gardens, and a “cuttings store” where enthusiasts can gather cuttings for succulent projects.

Volunteers from the Monterey Bay Area Cactus and Succulent Society will be on hand to answer your questions about succulent plants and invite your membership in the society. Volunteers from the Monterey Bay Master Gardeners also will be at the Succulent Extravaganza to make your visit more enjoyable and productive.

If you go

·The Succulent Extravaganza takes place 8:30a.m. to 5p.m. Friday (with a free barbecue at 5 p.m.) and 8:30a.m. to 4p.m. the following day, Sept. 28, at Succulent Gardens, 2133 Elkhorn Road, Castroville. Learn more at and click on “Succulent Extravaganza 2013 Schedule.” For driving directions, click on “Contact Us.”

Inviting Passion for Succulents

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Landscape Now: Upgrade Your Landscape With A Water Garden

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

A water garden can add visual interest to your landscaping, and it’s something you can do with the right planning.

Throughout history people have been fascinated with bringing water into their landscape and gardens…fountains, birdbaths, water gardens and ponds. The calming sounds of a gentle waterfall, the sight of Koi swimming in a small water garden or a variety of birds visiting a birdbath create a peaceful setting, bringing nature into your landscape. In this age of crazy schedules, little down time and high stress having a piece of nature in your yard where you can go to relax, contemplate and unwind is extremely important! How can you create this little piece of paradise? Let’s look at 7 tips to designing, building and maintaining a backyard water garden.

1. The Design Comes First

Whether you are building a house, installing perennial gardens or constructing a paver patio, the design must be completed first…water features are no exception. Mistakes that result from the lack of a detailed plan can cause the water garden to experience problems with leaking water, unhealthy water quality and expensive repairs! Will your garden be formal or natural? Choose a location that is visible from your house or patio and in a mostly sunny location. Site will dictate what type of water falls, filtration system and whether the water garden will contain plants, fish or is pond less. Locating sources for electric, plumbing and low voltage lighting will be necessary before digging the hole! Consult local garden centers, building officials, and area landscape contractors for advice, plans, permits needed and estimates before you undertake the project.

2. Site Selection

If you desire fish you will need plants that will require at least 6 hours of sun each day. Try to avoid placing a water feature under a tree and low areas that will collect excess water during rain storms. Keeping grass clippings, mulch and lawn chemicals (another reason to use organic lawn treatments!) out of your pond will keep it clean and balanced to sustain fish and plants. Flat areas can support a waterfalls by using the excess soil from excavating the pond to create a mound and stream leading to the main pond. Be sure to test the area for rocks and boulders before digging to save you extra work to deal with impediments.

3. Water Garden Construction

Once you have your water garden marked out you can dig the pond by hand or hire a company to excavate the pond with a mini excavator or backhoe. If the pond is a natural, free hand shape be sure to include stakes and lines indicating the pond level. The pond must be level at the top so the water will not seep out at one end! A line level or transit will be essential to determine the top of grade and water level. Ponds typically are 3‘ deep so fish can survive winter conditions and are a safe depth for children that might wander in. Creating shallow ledges around the edges of the pond are important for water plants, to hold stones from sliding and pond access.

4. The Liner Comes Next!

After completion of digging the water garden it is recommended to smooth the sides, bottom and ledges with a soft sand or clay to provide a clean surface for the liner and underlayment. If you plan to have the water feature for many years a 45 mil EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) liner will be a great choice since it adjusts to a wide variety of conditions, remains flexible, contains no plastics and is certified fish and wildlife safe. Because of the shape of a pool, the ledges and depth it is important to measure the size of the liner carefully…better off with a little extra than too little! Contact a supplier with your pond dimensions and they can calculate the size liner you need.

5. Filtration and Skimmers

In the past 10 years water garden filtration has improved tremendously…by mimicking nature. Gardens installed with natural bio filters and skimmers are able to cleanse the water naturally, without a heavy dose of chemical treatments. Equally important to maintaining a balance in your garden are the use of aquatic and shallow wetland plants along with fish which completes a natural cycle…providing oxygen for the fish and the natural breakdown of wastes creating an equilibrium for plant and fish survival and water clarity.

6. Plants and Fish for Your Water Garden

If you want to have fish (Koi, goldfish) you will need to have aquatic plants to provide oxygen in the water, shallow, ledge plants for fish protection and possibly an aerator to create oxygen if the water plants are not effective enough. Equilibrium will only be achieved with the correct balance of both fish and plants. One new type of water feature is the pond less feature that involves a water fall, deep basin and crushed stone. This feature can circulate water without having a pond, filter or fish!

7. Maintenance

The amount of maintenance you will have to perform will depend on the complexity of your water garden, where it is located and whether you have been able to create the equilibrium needed for a natural, sustainable water feature. There are chemical treatments that can be used to clean up a murky pond, but that can be better corrected by finding out what is causing the imbalance…not enough fish or plants, pond located in too much shade, insufficient infiltration or an imbalance of chemicals. In southern New England, if the pond is 3’ or so in depth, fish will survive frozen conditions. Place a small rubber ball or bundle of straw in the water before it freezes over to allow the escape of gases from the fish. Although water falls can run all winter long (except when the temperatures get near zero) it is safer to pull the pumps in late fall and blow out pipes so they will not freeze if the electric goes off. Water features are not maintenance free, however, with the proper design, location, balance of plants and fish they can provide many enjoyable hours in your yard as you bring nature, relaxation and peacefulness into your life!
In my next article I will discuss why fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs and transplant plants in your landscape!

“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.”
Slovakian Proverb

Frank Crandall, Horticultural Solutions. Frank is a R.I. resident specializing in coastal landscaping, organic land care, small business consulting, writing, speaking and photography and will be submitting biweekly articles about Landscape Solutions. Frank just published his third book, Creating a More Peaceful, Happy and Successful Life!. You can read more about his book on his website, Comments about Frank’s articles are welcome by contacting him at

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WaterSmart garden classes planned – U

San Diego area residents can learn how to save water and grow drought-resistant gardens through a series of workshops offered by the San Diego County Water Authority.

The WaterSmart landscaping workshops, offered on Saturdays at various sites in San Diego and North County, teach participants how to employ urban conservation in their own backyards.

Each three-hour class covers key concepts for water-efficient landscaping.

Participants learn to take a watershed approach to their yards by replacing turf with drought-resistant native and Mediterranean plants, according to the water authority.

They will learn how to capture rainfall through a living soil sponge rich with microorganisms that benefit plants. And they’ll evaluate their yard’s “microclimates,” noting soil conditions and identifying areas that are hot and dry, cool and shady, or windy.

Participants will learn how to select the right plants for each space, and how to group them for maximum benefit. And they’ll how to capture rainfall and how to efficiently use irrigation to minimize waste.

Class handouts will include: six elements of a California-friendly landscape, California-friendly landscape class resources, a sprinkler to drip retrofit guide, rain gardens and healthy soil, a sprinkler to rotary nozzles guide, and planning your project.

The classes will take place in San Diego, Escondido, Oceanside, Vista, at the Helix Water District and at the Olivenhain and San Dieguito Municipal Water Districts.

For a class schedule and registration information, call 619.533.7548 or visit

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Gardening Tips: Now is the time to plant a fescue lawn

Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 11:29 am

Gardening Tips: Now is the time to plant a fescue lawn

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Today is the annual 4-H Golf Tournament at Scotfield Country Club in Scotland Neck, the primary fundraiser for the summer day camp program at the 4-H Rural Life Center in Halifax. Since I’ll be spending the day on the golf course assisting with the tournament, I’ll be up close and personal with some finely manicured turfgrass. For this reason, I thought it would be a good time to write an article about grass.

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Friday, September 20, 2013 11:29 am.

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Lauterbach: Help your tomatoes ripen by following these tips

Are your tomatoes ripening? Many are not, even though they’re at a mature size.

The blame may lie with the heat we’ve experienced most of the summer. It seems to have moderated now, so ripening should proceed. Ripening or color change depends on temperature and naturally-occurring ethylene gas. You could put a tomato in a sack with an apple (which emits a lot of ethylene gas) to hasten ripening. Supermarket produce suppliers routinely expose green tomatoes to ethylene gas to promote ripe colors.

You will get a tastier tomato, though, if you let it ripen by itself in its own time either on its vine or indoors. In the house, store tomatoes out of direct sun.

The most effective temperature window for tomato ripening is 68 to 77 degrees F. We all know our daytime temperatures have been far above and below that, but as it rises or falls, there are times when the temperature is within those numbers.

Some folks think that wrapping green tomatoes in newspaper hastens or promotes ripening. If it does, the tomato is likely to ripen and then rot before you discover the outcome of that extra labor. Don’t bother with that, but prior to hard frost put those that are near mature size (I keep all tomatoes larger than about two inches in diameter) in shallow boxes, no more than two deep, so you can easily see color changes.

If you’re sold on newsprint’s aid in ripening, lay newspaper over the top of the box. You’ll only have to lift it to see what’s ripening instead of unwrapping each fruit.

I’ve never experienced a tomato that did not ripen, but it is possible that the trigger to produce lycopene and carotene, those pigments that produce ripe color, can be permanently disabled. They are not active when the temperature is above 85 degrees, but permanent damage would be evidenced by a sickly orange color of the fruit.

How about those “long keeping” tomatoes? They’re said to last six to 12 weeks after picking, but some of my regular open pollinated tomatoes have lasted that long after being picked green to avoid frost damage. The yellow stuffer tomatoes are the longest lasting I’ve ever grown.

I’ve never liked the taste of some of the long-keepers either. One variety tasted like hot dogs.


Since our soil, climate, and/or prevalent diseases and insects are different from those in other parts of the U.S., nationally-published garden information must be taken with our own needs in mind.

Some garden references advise liberal use of lime and/or fireplace ashes, either of which will boost our already-alkaline soil to a pH that will not allow plants to thrive. Nevertheless, there are some garden references that can be useful if you keep our own needs in mind.

Sunset magazine’s advice and Garden Book are pretty good resources, but it’s important to remember their hardiness zones bear no relevance to those of the USDA.

One of my favorite magazines is Mother Earth News (MEN). That magazine does a very good job with all-round information on small farm livestock raising, energy independence, and gardening. Garden information spans the gamut from sowing seeds to post-harvest treatment, containers to greenhouses, raised beds to structures.

Barbara Pleasant writes most of the garden articles in MEN in down-to-earth practical useful language. The magazine also often features articles by William Woys Weaver, a food historian who entices us to grow exotic or historically significant foods.

Another excellent resource, more specially about gardening, is the quarterly “The Heirloom Gardener,” published by Jere and Emilee Gettle (owners of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). Weaver is a contributing editor to this publication too.

Fine Gardening, from Taunton Press, is excellent for ornamental gardening.

Send garden questions to or Gardening, The Statesman, P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707.

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Balcony Gardening Tips For Couples

If you are staying in an apartment and love to get your hands dirty with fresh soil and fragrant flowers, then you need to make sure that your balcony is decked with your favourite flowers. Balcony gardens is one of the latest trends which young couples are opting for. The main reason why many couples are turning to balcony gardens is because it is the only space you get in this concrete world. If you are one of those couples who want to grow a balcony garden, take a look at some of these gardening tips we have listed below.

Balcony gardens are best preferred over backyard gardens since you have only a small occupation which you need to look after. It is surely an advantage for working couples who love small gardens. These gardening tips for your balcony is unique and if followed you will see a lot of beautiful flowers booming right through the year.

Balcony Gardening Tips For Couples

Take a look at some of these gardening tips for your balcony garden:

Place the correct plant

For a balcony garden, you can only keep plants that are small in size. Herbs and shrubs are some of the best plants to grow in your balcony garden.


When it comes to watering your balcony garden, you need to make sure that the water does not stand in your balcony. Water the plants according to the size of the pots and the requirement of the type of plant it is.


When you have a balcony garden, the first thing you should do is to place pot plates below the pot. Placing pot plates will help to keep the water in one place and prevent it from flooding the area.


There are certain types of plants which need a lot of sunlight. Place the flower pots or the plants in a specific area where it receives ample amount of sunlight. If your balcony garden lacks sunlight in a certain spot, shift your plants to where the rays shine.


One of the main gardening tips to keep in mind when you have a balcony garden is to see that there is no stagnation of water. When water stagnates, there is a higher chance for insects to thrive on your plants. Spray natural insect solution on your plants.

These are some of the gardening tips for you to follow when you have a balcony garden. Follow these gardening tips in order to look after your small garden.

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8 fall gardening tips

The gardening season is coming to a close, but it’s not entirely over yet. If you’re an avid green thumb, you can still squeeze a little more out of the growing season. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the end of the year and how to get your garden set up for next year.

Plant Bulbs For Spring Flowers

Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs like tulips, irises and crocuses, which need a winter freeze to start their growing process. By getting them in the ground now, you will ensure a colorful garden by early spring. For best results, plant bulbs once temperatures are in forties and fifties, but several weeks before the ground completely freezes.

Look for Discounts

Get a jump on next year’s garden by buying gardening equipment, seeds and plants at discounted prices. Many garden centers slash prices in the fall months to move unsold stock. Store seed packets in the freezer to keep them fresh, and keep discount seedlings going indoors until you can replant them next spring.

Repot Overgrown Plants

If a summer’s worth of growth has caused your plants to outgrow their homes, take some time this fall to replant them in larger containers. Dense or compacted soil, poor drainage, or roots creeping out of the bottom of a pot are sure signs that plants are root bound and struggling for more space.

Winter-Loving Plants

Depending on what region you live in, winter doesn’t have to be a dead season. Some hearty plants like kale, lettuce, broccoli and chard thrive in colder temperatures and can even tolerate the occasional frost. As long as snow stays off the ground and the temperatures don’t dip below freezing for too long, these plants will continue to grow, allowing you to garden into the winter months.

Plant Some Quick Growers

September isn’t too late to grow a final crop. Many vegetables can go from seed to table in as little as four to six weeks, giving you vegetables by late October or early November. Radishes can be grown in around 25 days, and some leafy greens like spinach take as little as 40 days to grow, so get in a final few vegetables before the frost sets in.

Plant Shrubs and Saplings

If you plan on adding trees and shrubs to your yard, fall is the best time to do it. By planting these plants in the fall, you’ll give their roots a chance to get established and avoid the withering effects of the summer sun. You’ll want to plant trees and shrubs in the ground a few weeks before the first frost, and if you live in an area with colder temperatures and heavy snows, wrap their  branches and leaves in burlap to protect them from their first winter.

Trim Perennials

Once your garden has gone to seed and perennial plants have run through their life cycle, it’s time to trim them back. Not only will it clean up an overgrown garden, but it will give the plants more energy next year, and limit potential garden problems like powdery mildew or insect infestations.

Fertilize the Lawn

While it might look like your lawn has shut down for the season, a little lawn care in the fall months will guarantee a lush, green garden next spring. Growth slows above the surface in autumn, but beneath the soil, your lawn is still hard at work establishing strong roots. Help it out this fall with a good mix of phosphorus-rich fertilizer, which helps strengthen roots.

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