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Archives for December 2, 2014

JoAnne Skelly: Helpful tips from aging gardeners

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my body demanding that I change my overly athletic approach to gardening. The following are some great ideas that readers sent me on gardening smarter.

Patty suggests Flexilla lightweight garden hoses because they are easier to drag around and coil up more easily than most hoses. Another helpful suggestion was to use a lightweight plastic snow shovel with a long handle as a dustpan for raking and sweeping to reduce bending.

Anita, reports, “I, too, love to garden but feel the march of time. Some recent changes I have made include changing my 30-year-old wheelbarrow for a light, heavy-duty plastic, two-wheeler. The capacity is the same but lighter and no strength is needed to keep it balanced.” She recommends not to garden in the heat of the day.

Debbie too is addicted to gardening. She has a four-wheel cart that she can sit on or use to move things around the yard. She does say it is just not the same and she misses what she used to do. She calls it, “The universe’s idea of a bad joke.” While many books suggest raised beds as we age, she has tried them, but found them too small. It didn’t help that her dogs loved to dig in them as well.

Kathi wrote about some indispensable gardening items she discovered. One was a garden seat called the Garden Hopper that is perfect for scooting around on to pull weeds. The other is an ergonomic digger that has a leverage bar, which she says makes all the difference when digging up pesky weeds. The Hula Ho is another helpful tool for weeding.

My friend Maud had an unusual idea to simplify her garden chores after her “lawn mower moved away to go to college.” She got Toulouse geese and has had them for over a decade, one or two at a time. They mow the lawn and fertilize as they go. Since the geese first came, she has changed her grass from traditional lawn varieties to short sheep fescue. Since this type needs much less mowing, she thinks the current gander Lautrec will be their last goose. She also replaced much of her lawn with stone pavers, further reducing maintenance.

Remember, as my friend Angela says, “We are not growing old, we’re growing plants!”

The product information given is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Cooperative Extension is implied. JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at skellyj@unce.unr.edu or 887-2252.



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Article source: http://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/local/13983264-113/garden-gardening-helpful-joanne

Planting is easy if you water, pick a good spot, and more gardening tips from …

It may be too cold to start a garden, but you can start planning and doing research now so that when the warmer months arrive you’re ready to begin! PennLive’s gardening columnist George Weigel has written “Pennsylvania Getting Started Gardening Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Groundcovers,” an updated version of Liz Ball’s 2002 “Pennsylvania Gardener’s Guide” and it’s a great tool to help you start planning.

Weigel said the book is one of several in a series of regional gardening books, aimed at helping readers pick the best plants for their area. According to him, so many new plants have come out since Ball’s book was published that he started with a “clean slate” for his book.

He said the regionalized book is sure to help Pennsylvania gardeners, both novices and advanced. 

“[In] a national book, they’re going to talk about Hawaii and New England, Florida, Alabama,” he said. “So you’ll start reading and say ‘oh I like the sound of this,’ but unless you know better [you won’t] think ‘well wait a minute that’s a plant that doesn’t tolerate our winters. It works up to Virginia, but when you get north of Virginia it doesn’t make it through the winter. Those plants aren’t even available in our Garden Center.'”

The book features 170 plant profiles, organized by plant type, with various icons that indicate if they are critter-resistant, edible, attract butterflies and resist droughts, as well as how much light they require. 

“I leaned towards plants where you get the most payback with the least amount of effort,” Weigel said. “Things that are going to bloom a long time, things that have colorful foliage [and], above all, things that are unlikely to die. They have to be pretty likely to survive in our own soil, climate and erratic weather.”

Here are the five biggest takeaways from our interview with Weigel and his book:

  1. Don’t start planting just yet. According to the book, the best planting times are March through May and Labor Day through October. Weigel said Garden Centers start to pack up a lot of their inventory after October because of the cold weather.
  2. Do your homework. Research various plants before you begin gardening. Understand the difference between the various plant varieties under each species. Don’t just shop on price or what sounds familiar.
  3. Know you area. Research the plants that will survive Pennsylvania winters, local bugs and diseases and thrive in your area’s soil.
  4. Pick the right spot. Having a good plant isn’t enough. “You can’t just put any plant anywhere you feel like it. Even a good plant is going to struggle in the wrong spot,” Weigel said. Each plant profile in the book features a symbol that denotes the amount of light that it needs.
  5. Don’t overspend on tools. “You can go to the Garden Center and spend hundreds of dollars on all kinds of stuff if you want to make things easier, but [all you need is] some way to water, some way to dig and then mulch would be the other thing,” Weigel said.

“Pennsylvania Getting Started Gardening Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Groundcovers” is currently available at stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as on George Weigel’s website. Books purchased through his website will be autographed.

Article source: http://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/12/planting_is_easy_if_you_water.html

Richard Beales to design Princess Diana Garden


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Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/richard-beales-design-princess-diana-garden/landscape/article/1324534

Division Street gateway upgrade in works

The city of Spokane is ready to move ahead next spring with a long-sought beautification project for the Division Street entrance to downtown at Interstate 90.

New landscaping and walkways will be combined with a series of themed sculptures to create the impression for drivers that they have arrived.

A sculpture of a Native American spear fishing is identified as one of the themes in the $665,000 proposal.

Calls for beautification of city gateways have been sought for years.

City Councilman Jon Snyder, a supporter of gateway improvements, said he thinks that local government has been myopic in their vision for creating attractive entranceways.

He said he has been unable to gather enough support to fund improvements to all of the major gateways to the urban area, including those in Spokane Valley, the West Plains and the North Side.

“This is a really important gateway to improve,” Snyder said of the Division Street entrance. “The Maple Street gateway is just as important.”

The resistance to change was outlined in a city planning report on the Division project last March. “Past attempts to secure adequate public funding for design and construction have not been successful,” the report said.

“In the meantime, hoteliers, real estate brokers, developers and property owners have identified improving the gateways into the city from the Interstate 90 off-ramps as one of their highest priorities,” the document said.

Now, city staff plan to brief City Council members this morning on the Division project during a meeting of the council committee on planning, community and economic development.

Funding for the project would come through a loan from the city’s investment pool and be repaid by the under-freeway street parking revenue fund, said Julie Happy, spokeswoman for the city.

She said the Division entrance will act as a way-finding feature to point visitors to the core of downtown, Riverfront Park and Spokane Falls.

Themed sculptures at the off-ramps will match up with the shimmering metal fish on the outer wall of the Spokane Convention Center at Division and Spokane Falls Boulevard, she said.

The concept is being used in many other cities, including Coeur d’Alene where Northwest Boulevard has had a series of gateway features for years. There, more than $5 million went into improvements completed in 2001.

Happy said such improvements “really change how you feel when you are entering a city. You’ve arrived.”

In 2004, then-Mayor Jim West was turned down by the City Council on a similar plan to use $250,000 from the under-freeway parking fund for the Division Street gateway. Council members cited a looming budget crisis for the denial.

The eyesore that has been the Division entrance got enough attention that the Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane donated $25,000 from their ongoing fundraising work to install a welcome feature at Fourth Avenue and Division adjacent to the freeway in 2010. The garden clubs’ landscaping included five “Spokane” hybrid lilacs.

Happy said the current plan calls for retaining the garden clubs’ work.

City Hall initiated more planning work in a 2010 Division Street Gateways Corridors project that looked at street changes from the entrances at Third and Fourth to Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Snyder said the study called for changes in lane configurations to increase pedestrian and bicycle access, but those ideas died under the current administration. He said the intersection of Division and Sprague Avenue is still in need of safety improvements to reduce accidents there.

Back at the entrances, problems go beyond the need for landscaping and sculptures, Snyder said.

The area along the freeway attracts transients who gather in the area as well as panhandlers who stand at curbside with signs asking for handouts. Drug dealing has been a common occurrence at the freeway skate park east of Lewis and Clark High School. In addition, a number of private properties are in disrepair, including a vacant motel at Lincoln Street and Third Avenue.

“That whole area has big issues, and this project is one aspect of it,” Snyder said.

The Division project is slated to eliminate overgrown shrubs used to hide transient activity, Happy said. The overgrowth will be replaced by basalt boulders, trees, low-growing plants, irrigation and new sidewalks. In areas without plants next to traffic lanes, the proposal calls for using crushed basalt rock as a ground cover.

Article source: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/dec/01/division-street-gateway-upgrade-in-works/

Jenkintown’s AquaReale specializes in recycling rain water for aesthetic …







An example of a general pond installed by AquaReale. Cary Beavers — Montgomery Media

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JENKINTOWN Matt and Laura Reale have been in business together for about 15 years. What started out as a landscape business, which by their own admission breaks no ground unless the specific job calls for it, has morphed into an environmentally friendly venture that is quite unique.

Reale Landscape Design was created in 1999. Matt ran that company, while Laura ran her own business while helping Matt. They couldn’t compete with larger companies with 30 or more employees while they had fewer than five.

“I just couldn’t get to that point,” Matt said. “It was ridiculous.”

Laura also described a variety of problems the couple had with the employees they could afford to bring on board, leading them to a level of frustration that forced them to rethink what they were doing.

Turns out, it was the best rethought they’ve ever had.

Since then, they’ve turned their traditional landscaping and landscape design company into AquaReale. The first part of that name should make it obvious where the company’s new focus is: water.

“We needed to find a niche and fill it,” Laura said, “where could we fit in that would complement what Matt does. From there, we looked at two main areas and went to eco-friendly natural landscaping and the direction of ponds.”

The pond idea went beyond digging a hole, installing a liner and filling it with water and fish, which is what countless amateurs have done to spruce up a backyard. They got in touch with a Chicago-based company, Aquascape Inc., which calls itself a franchise without a fee. AquaReale is an Aquascape certified contractor.

They started working with Aquascape and learning as much as they could about ponds. They ended up learning something that would ultimately change the course of their business.

“We realized how much ponds and stormwater have in common,” Laura said. “And how water in general was taking over our business.” Continued…

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That prompted the company’s 2009 name change to AquaReale, which, Laura said, means Royal Water. A happy coincidence indeed.

The happy coincidence led the couple to finding their niche, Laura said.

“We’re helping people live within their environment as opposed to changing their environment,” Laura said. “We started learning a lot more about stormwater management, which had become more and more important thanks to the weather.”

This led to the rain exchange system, which the Reales have in their own front yard. They’re not just the company’s owners; they’re also customers.

“It’s a way of collecting rainwater that you can harvest and use,” Laura explained.

Matt points to the change in weather patterns as something that makes his services both a luxury and in some cases a property-saver.

“Storm are becoming less frequent but more severe,” Matt said. “All this water runs somewhere and it’s taking yards with it. We got more involved because we saw a problem. We offer eco-friendly solutions. I found unique ways to deal with it rather than just dropping pipes into the ground.”

They create rain gardens, bioswales and retention areas.

“I realize a lot of guys in my field just didn’t know how to deal with new ways of dealing with stormwater,” Matt said. “They just knew A, B and C. We wanted to offer D.”

The pair admits that their ideas are not for everybody, but that group is shrinking. Continued…

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“A lot of people as the years have gone by have really been more open to the idea of creating something to go into their environment,” Laura said.

Matt gave a specific example.

“You have this stormwater … and you can dam it up, create a rain garden with plants that attract wildlife and certain types of bees that are declining because [too many people] are destroying the environment.”

AquaReale installs reservoirs, or rainwater harvest systems as Matt calls them, that allow homeowners to store rainwater for use in later projects. The Reales have a 500 -gallon reservoir on their property. Such uses could include washing a car, watering plants and a variety of other household chores. Most people think nothing of recycling bottles, cans and paper. More are now thinking of recycling water.

Matt explained that the reservoirs are modular and can range from 500 gallons to 30,000 gallons. AquaReale is starting to work with architects and landscape designers “that are savvy with this kind of stuff,” Matt said.

“You could design this in with your [new construction] and you wouldn’t even notice it in your mortgage payment,” Matt said.

Right now, the practice has caught on in urban areas more than in the suburbs because in urban areas there are fewer choices. You can’t discharge excess water into sewer systems, for example, Matt said.

The suburbs are catching on, though, Laura said.

“Matt gave a talk to Radnor Township last year because they’re creating such strict laws about what you can do with your runoff,” Laura said. “Matt gave them ideas and suggestions about how to handle the runoff.”

Matt has become an expert in something that’s always been close to his heart, which is the environment. Continued…

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  • See Full Story

JENKINTOWN Matt and Laura Reale have been in business together for about 15 years. What started out as a landscape business, which by their own admission breaks no ground unless the specific job calls for it, has morphed into an environmentally friendly venture that is quite unique.

Reale Landscape Design was created in 1999. Matt ran that company, while Laura ran her own business while helping Matt. They couldn’t compete with larger companies with 30 or more employees while they had fewer than five.

“I just couldn’t get to that point,” Matt said. “It was ridiculous.”

Laura also described a variety of problems the couple had with the employees they could afford to bring on board, leading them to a level of frustration that forced them to rethink what they were doing.

Turns out, it was the best rethought they’ve ever had.

Since then, they’ve turned their traditional landscaping and landscape design company into AquaReale. The first part of that name should make it obvious where the company’s new focus is: water.

“We needed to find a niche and fill it,” Laura said, “where could we fit in that would complement what Matt does. From there, we looked at two main areas and went to eco-friendly natural landscaping and the direction of ponds.”

The pond idea went beyond digging a hole, installing a liner and filling it with water and fish, which is what countless amateurs have done to spruce up a backyard. They got in touch with a Chicago-based company, Aquascape Inc., which calls itself a franchise without a fee. AquaReale is an Aquascape certified contractor.

They started working with Aquascape and learning as much as they could about ponds. They ended up learning something that would ultimately change the course of their business.

“We realized how much ponds and stormwater have in common,” Laura said. “And how water in general was taking over our business.”

That prompted the company’s 2009 name change to AquaReale, which, Laura said, means Royal Water. A happy coincidence indeed.

The happy coincidence led the couple to finding their niche, Laura said.

“We’re helping people live within their environment as opposed to changing their environment,” Laura said. “We started learning a lot more about stormwater management, which had become more and more important thanks to the weather.”

This led to the rain exchange system, which the Reales have in their own front yard. They’re not just the company’s owners; they’re also customers.

“It’s a way of collecting rainwater that you can harvest and use,” Laura explained.

Matt points to the change in weather patterns as something that makes his services both a luxury and in some cases a property-saver.

“Storm are becoming less frequent but more severe,” Matt said. “All this water runs somewhere and it’s taking yards with it. We got more involved because we saw a problem. We offer eco-friendly solutions. I found unique ways to deal with it rather than just dropping pipes into the ground.”

They create rain gardens, bioswales and retention areas.

“I realize a lot of guys in my field just didn’t know how to deal with new ways of dealing with stormwater,” Matt said. “They just knew A, B and C. We wanted to offer D.”

The pair admits that their ideas are not for everybody, but that group is shrinking.

“A lot of people as the years have gone by have really been more open to the idea of creating something to go into their environment,” Laura said.

Matt gave a specific example.

“You have this stormwater … and you can dam it up, create a rain garden with plants that attract wildlife and certain types of bees that are declining because [too many people] are destroying the environment.”

AquaReale installs reservoirs, or rainwater harvest systems as Matt calls them, that allow homeowners to store rainwater for use in later projects. The Reales have a 500 -gallon reservoir on their property. Such uses could include washing a car, watering plants and a variety of other household chores. Most people think nothing of recycling bottles, cans and paper. More are now thinking of recycling water.

Matt explained that the reservoirs are modular and can range from 500 gallons to 30,000 gallons. AquaReale is starting to work with architects and landscape designers “that are savvy with this kind of stuff,” Matt said.

“You could design this in with your [new construction] and you wouldn’t even notice it in your mortgage payment,” Matt said.

Right now, the practice has caught on in urban areas more than in the suburbs because in urban areas there are fewer choices. You can’t discharge excess water into sewer systems, for example, Matt said.

The suburbs are catching on, though, Laura said.

“Matt gave a talk to Radnor Township last year because they’re creating such strict laws about what you can do with your runoff,” Laura said. “Matt gave them ideas and suggestions about how to handle the runoff.”

Matt has become an expert in something that’s always been close to his heart, which is the environment.

“We were always interested in it but nobody else was,” Matt said, adding that he used to harass Laura about recycling paper.

While they consider what they do very important to the environment, the modest couple don’t view themselves as any kind of environmental trailblazers.

“It’s just a different way of looking at the same problem,” Laura said.

For more information on AquaReale and the services it provides, call 215-880-6811 or visit aquareale.com.

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Article source: http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2014/12/01/glenside_news_globe_times_chronicle/news/doc5476353608a47314665645.txt

Realogy franchisor builds suggestion box for real estate tech

Ever had an idea for a cool real estate product or service that would make life easier or better but didn’t know where or how to share it so that it had a chance of inspiring a product? Now there’s a place.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has launched what it calls “Idea Shed,” a website for the real estate industry that collects and displays ideas for real estate solutions in five broad categories: prospecting, technology, service, recruiting and “out there.”

Anyone can submit an idea, but the site’s not for those looking to build upon it themselves or take legal credit later. To access Idea Shed, all users must agree to the site’s terms, which, in part, has visitors acknowledge “that you will surrender all rights now and in the future for content you submit to the Idea Shed.”

Though the Realogy-owned brand launched the site, the ideas it fosters are for the industry at large and not just for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and its Realogy cousins like Century 21 Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Real Estate, according to a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate spokeswoman.

“We want to leverage the collective ingenuity of real estate professionals, and the collective innovation of solution providers to bring real estate to the next level,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, in a statement.

When submitting an idea, users designate who it’s for (brokers, agents or consumers), include a summary of a problem they see, their suggested simple solution to that problem and a high-level draft of a business plan. They can also submit sketches of the idea as an attachment and suggest a name for the product or service.

A team of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate editors reviews each submission before publication to ensure it fulfills the site’s mission.

Currently there are five posts in Idea Shed, ranging from an idea for a training platform that will help small- to medium-sized independent brokerages scale their training as they grow to a concept for a new online lead-routing system for brokerages that gives them more information about Internet consumers so they can direct them to the best agent for their needs.

Those who want to track when a new idea is submitted to Idea Shed can sign up to receive alerts by submitting their email address in a form at the bottom of the site.

“I believe that by sharing my ideas with the people and companies who can act upon them, I am having a direct impact on the industry,” said Eric Post, vice president and principal broker at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Realty Partners in Portland, Oregon. Post submitted a product idea to the site that centered on making more detailed property detail information, like details about any remodels or landscaping, available to buyer’s agents and their buyers.

Article source: http://www.inman.com/2014/12/01/realogy-franchisor-builds-suggestion-box-for-real-estate-tech/

Irrigation systems give lawns and gardens renewed life and beauty

Briscott Landscaping in Oakville, Ontario will be the first to tell you that good quality, effective irrigation is more important to the health of lawns, gardens, and landscapes than many homeowners tend to realize. Overall, watering your lawn and garden may seem straightforward enough, but doing so improperly, or using an ineffective irrigation system, can cost you money and even harm or kill some plants.

A proper irrigation system can mean everything to the health and vitality of your landscaped trees, shrubs, and grasses. Plants that are subjected to over-watering will be more prone to insect problems and disease. For many types of trees, if the roots are not watered sufficiently, including in the late fall; it can lead to the demise of the tree. Conversely, young trees can be killed by over-watering. Understanding the types of plants on your property is one thing, but utilizing a good irrigation system for the benefits of those plants can ensure healthy growth throughout each growing season.

One of the challenges of properly irrigating landscapes and gardens is that, all too often, different types of plants are grouped together; each with different root depths and systems, and each with different water requirements. Generally speaking, adjustments can be made for this:  by example, watering the area to a depth of about one foot is typically considered to be a response to this. But it’s far more preferable to have a well-designed landscaped yard that accounts for the differences in plants – and, to have an irrigation system that waters effectively to uphold the best health of the plants while also saving you money in the use of water.

The good news is that homes and businesses in the regions of Peel and Halton, and the Greater Toronto Area, can benefit from expertly designed and installed irrigation systems by Briscott Landscaping.

Briscott Landscaping is an owner-operated landscape firm with over 25 years’ experience delivering services that include landscape design and construction, tree and shrub care, ground and landscape maintenance, and irrigation system design and installation.

Irrigation systems provided by Briscott Landscaping are well planned and implemented. The firm uses CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to design new irrigation systems or upgrade your existing system so that it’s more efficient. Briscott Landscaping is fully committed to dependable and trouble free installations to ensure all customers receive exceptional service.

The company’s sprinkler and irrigation services and products include:

Irrigation systems design

Installation

Systems service and repairs

Winterization

Complete line of retail sprinkler parts

Fully insured

Brands include: Rain Bird, Hunter, Richdel, Nightscaping, Hunter and Hunter Pro-Spray.

For more information about irrigation and sprinkler systems, or for anything to do with landscaping, contact Briscott Landscaping by calling 905-825-5783 or by email at turfpride@aol.com. Briscott Landscaping is located at 2212 Wyecroft Road, Unit 5 in Oakville.

Read more at www.briscottlandscaping.ca.

Article source: http://www.insidehalton.com/shopping-story/5145971-irrigation-systems-give-lawns-and-gardens-renewed-life-and-beauty/

Area students triumph in soil judging competition

Licking County FFA (www.ffa.org, www.ohioffa.org) students participated in the annual county soil judging competition held Sept. 23. Teams consisting of four students evaluated three soil pits to determine the soil properties, limitations, recommended conservation practices, and appropriate land uses. Students also completed a written test during the event held at the Licking Park District’s Lobdell Reserve in Alexandria.

In rural soil judging, participants evaluated the soil based on its suitability for agriculture, forestry, pasture and wildlife management. Team winners in the rural division were Jacob Roe, Jordan Ellis and Sam Bell from Licking Valley in first place; Mackenzie Delauder, Trevor McGee, and Samantha Edwards from Johnstown in second place; and Lindsey Burnett, Katelyn Dunn, and Emily Wesley from Utica in third place. Jacob Roe of Licking Valley received top individual honors in the rural division.

In urban soil judging, students determined the soil’s ability to be used for roads, lawns and gardens, landscaping, home building sites with basements and on-site septic systems.

Team winners in the urban division were all Johnstown students, including Travis Higgins, Nate Taylor, Mitch Montgomery, Justin Walters, and Dustin Gardner in first place; Ashley Dillon, Fischer White, Dylan Carr, Taylor Evans, and Kyle Dillon in second place; and Haley Martin, Caleb Writesel, Fred Kettell, Mason Campbell, and Kaylee Rigo in third place. Ashley Dillon of Licking Valley received top individual honors in the urban division.

High-scoring individuals move on to the FFA six-county District event and may qualify for the state competition where scholarship funds are awarded.

Article source: http://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/2014/12/01/area-students-triumph-soil-judging-competition/19729105/

Grow flowers and bushes that suit your garden climate

By Laura Firszt, Networx

Flowers, bushes, and flowering shrubs add eye appeal to any home’s outdoor space. If you would like to feature ornamental plantings in your garden, you’ll achieve the best results when you choose species that are suitable for the local climate and your property’s own individual conditions. Not only will they tend to be healthier and better blooming, your plants will be greener in the figurative sense. They will usually need less care and feeding, and you will be contributing toward the restoration of flora native to your area.

Gardening Zone

The first step is to determine the correct gardening climate zone for your location. The USDA issues a plant hardiness zone map, which has been updated several times as new data are incorporated. However there is a limitation to the USDA map, because it indicates only the winter temperature (based on the annual average minimum) for each zone. In response, Sunset magazine has come up with a series of climate zone maps that take into account the total climate of each region, to indicate where various plant types will thrive year round.

Other Climate Factors

In addition to your location’s geographic latitude, a whole host of other climate factors come into play. In windy regions, for example, hardy flowers are less likely to be uprooted by blustery weather. Higher elevations, with their strong sunlight and cool temperatures, also affect plant survival; robust flowers and bushes are best suited for these elevations. Proximity to seawater exposes plantings to salty ocean breezes. Even very local differences such as a garden’s position on a hill can make a great deal of difference. Flowers and shrubs planted on the hill’s side will enjoy warmer temperatures than those on either the hilltop or the valley, for instance.

Soil Quality

The quality of the soil in the microclimate of your own garden should also be taken into account when selecting plants. Different soils contain varying amounts of nutrients and pH levels. Experts recommend testing your soil every 3-4 years, as its composition can change over time. Soil testing kits are widely available through university extension services. In addition, it’s helpful to determine which type of soil you have — sandy, clay, or loamy (usually considered the ideal, as it balances good drainage with moisture and nutrient retention). If you find that it is less than perfect, you can take two actions; first, choose shrubs and plants that will flourish in your soil type and second, remediate the problem by adding organic matter.

Amount of Sun Exposure

Another important aspect of your garden’s microclimate is the amount of sun it’s exposed to. This will be affected by a number of conditions, some of which can be modified. To illustrate, it’s possible to trim overhanging tree branches so that the flowers and bushes in your garden receive more sunshine. However, shadow from your home, other nearby structures, or geographical features is a more permanent situation. In this case, you will need to choose shade-loving plants to make your garden bloom.

Native Plants and Xeriscaping

There is a growing trend nowadays to fill home gardens — and sometimes even to replace grass lawns — with either native plants or xeriscaping. Native plantings preserve and restore the plants which historically are indigenous to your locale. Native plant societies all over North America work toward this conservation. Xeriscaping, on the other hand, is a kind of eco-friendly landscaping designed to reduce garden watering needs, especially for naturally dry regions. It consists of selecting plants, which may or may not be native to the area, for their low water consumption needs.  

Source: http://www.networx.com/article/grow-flowers-and-bushes-that-suit-your-g

Article source: http://www.wptz.com/grow-flowers-and-bushes-that-suit-your-garden-climate/30003738