Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for May 1, 2017

6 expert ways to save on your garden renovation

Whether you’re designing a new garden or remodeling an existing one, bringing your dream landscape to life can be a pricey endeavor. Luckily, with some strategic thinking about design, plants, and hardscape materials, you can keep costs in line without sacrificing style.

Here are some tips on when to splurge versus when to save, from large-scale projects (building a deck or stone patio) to something as small as choosing to plant a shrub over an annual flower.

1. Get professional advice. Be honest with yourself about your gardening knowledge and hardscape installation ability. Ask yourself, “Do I know what plants thrive in my climate without much care?” “Would I be comfortable building a raised garden bed?”

If either of these questions gives you pause, getting help from landscape professionals can save you from making costly mistakes during your garden renovation. Depending on the complexity of your project and the size of your budget, it may be worth investing in hiring a landscape designer, landscape architect, or landscape contractor.

If hiring a professional is not in your budget, invest in self-educating and taking the time to do your research. County extension programs, horticulturists at local universities, and Master Gardener programs often offer free advice on topics such as getting started with growing a kitchen garden or using native plants in your landscape.

Worth splurging: If you don’t have much experience with plants or hardscape, or are hung up on a design problem, it can be well worth it to bring in an experienced landscape professional, even if it’s only for a two-hour consultation. (Plan to pay about $75 to $150 per hour for a consult.) He or she may be able to offer you a design solution to a tricky situation or suggestions on what will grow well in a spot where plants previously failed, improving your design and saving you money on replacing plants down the line.

Decorate Your Garden With Yard Statues

2. Do some of the work yourself. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put some sweat into your garden project, you can save money on the price of installation.

If you’re working with a landscape designer, ask him or her to order the plants for you and place them where they should be planted around your yard. Instead of having the designer’s team dig holes and plant them in the ground, do it yourself with the help of family, friends, or anyone else you can recruit.

If you’re comfortable with building projects, consider constructing a fence, arbor, trellis, or raised beds on your own to save on contractor fees.

Worth splurging: If you’re not experienced with installation, hire a professional for projects like laying a brick patio, pouring concrete paths, masonry work, or building a deck. Fixing installation mistakes on large-scale hardscape projects can cost you big bucks down the line and, in the meantime, shoddy installation can create an unsafe environment in your yard.

3. Choose less expensive hardscape materials. In general, hardscape areas like pathways and patios are much more expensive in terms of materials and installation than planted areas. Significantly cut down on your costs by choosing less expensive hardscape materials, or consider planting more areas.

“Be mindful of your paving choices early in the design process, as these can range dramatically,” says landscape architect June Scott. “Treatments such as gravel are relatively inexpensive, as both a material cost and labor to install, compared to mortared-in stone, which can be quite high,” she adds.

Instead of shelling out for expensive flagstone, cut stone, or other materials, consider making walkways from gravel, mulches, walkable ground covers, or a mix of materials like flagstone with gravel or ground covers in between. Another option is to look for used stones, old bricks, and other building materials that may be left over from construction sites, or “second quality” cut stones or pavers at building supply yards that may come at a reduced cost.

Worth splurging: In small areas where hardscape is the focal point of a design, it can be worth it to go for your top choice of material and look for other areas to save money. If your original plan for the backyard included an expansive bluestone patio and bluestone walkways, keep the patio in bluestone pavers but reduce its size, and replace walkways with bluestone stepping stones — fewer stones that are easier to install.

Find an Outdoor Fireplace Within Your Budget

4. Get smart on plant choices. While hardscape will eat up the majority of your budget, purchasing plants to fill a backyard — or even a single garden bed — adds up quickly. While it’s easy to get carried away at the nursery, keep in mind that not all plants are created equal. Some plants take more water, fertilizer, and care to look good — this can lead to higher long-term costs for maintenance. Other plants like annual flowers require replacing every year and require additional annual costs.

Three factors to consider to maximize your plant budget:

  • Plant type: Rely on evergreen trees and shrubs for structure. They fill beds and look good year-round. Choose perennials and flowering shrubs that bloom year after year, rather than annual flowers that will be replaced after a season. Adding plants native to your region, or those that are well-adapted to your region, will also cut back on irrigation and care requirements — native plants support local wildlife and pollinators to boot.
  • Number of plants: Landscape designer Beth Mullins advises clients to avoid the temptation for “instant gardening” — overfilling a bed with flowering plants, grasses, and shrubs planted too close together. Instead, space plants, and purchase plants accordingly, for what the garden will look like in three to five years, taking into account the plants’ mature sizes. “Plant for the long term, in a way that is best for the plants to grow in over time,” Mullins says, “and avoid having to toss out or transplant plants that are planted too closely.”
  • Plant size: Plants like ornamental grasses, many perennials, ground covers, vines, edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables grow in quickly and can reach mature or nearly mature sizes in a single season. For these quick growers, you can size down at the nursery, saving money while still enjoying a lush-looking garden in a few months.

Worth splurging: Save your budget to size up on plants that make a big impact in your space. “It’s a good idea to get trees and slow growers in larger sizes — if budget allows — so you’re not waiting forever for those key plants to grow,” Mullins says. If you do choose to purchase a more mature tree, ask for the help of a professional for siting and installing in order to reduce the risk of the tree experiencing shock when transplanted.

6 Alternative Plants for Butterfly Bush

5. Plan according to your maintenance budget. Different garden styles, hardscape materials, and plants require different levels of care. Before you begin, consider how much of your budget — or your own time and effort — you’re willing to put toward keeping weeds at bay, plants trimmed, grassy areas mowed, and walkways swept, and plan your design accordingly.

Don’t want to spend too much on maintenance going forward? Choose evergreen and shrub-heavy planting designs, and limit the number of labor-intensive flower beds. If you’re installing a lawn, consider reducing its size or choosing a no-mow turf blend to cut down on the need for frequent irrigating and mowing.

If you have a large property, leave sections of it wild or planted only with natives that thrive with little care or additional water.

Worth splurging: Budget to hire a landscape professional at least once a year to tackle tricky garden projects — like tree pruning — that will affect how your garden grows in. “I think it’s crucial to hire people who know the climate, plants, design intentions, and how the space will evolve over time,” Mullins says. “In the long run, a client will get the best overall effect in the garden.”

6. Break up the project. Splitting a project into multiple phases may not save money in the long run, but it will certainly save you funds now and allow time for you to replenish your savings.

Whether or not you’re working with a landscape designer or landscape architect, if you’d like to break your project into phases, come up with a master plan for the finished garden before you begin.

This can be as simple as drawing a map of your backyard, including the size needed for your top priorities, like outdoor seating, a dining patio, or a garden shed. “A master plan is key,” Mullins says, “so that work is not being redone later. Also, the client and contractor, if you’re hiring one, should be in sync about what size project and dollar amount makes sense for each phase.”

Article source:

Weekend Reload: 5 stories you may have missed this weekend

An old favorite, in a bit of new packaging, is back in Vineyard.

When Grant Holdaway closed the Vineyard Garden Center on Christmas Eve 2015, many locals were sad to see him go. So there’s an understandable buzz now that the same place is sporting a new name, but a similar purpose.

The Shade Home and Garden Center on the Vineyard is open for business, and anticipating a grand opening May 20. Todd Moyer and J.J. Lund approached Holdaway late last year about reopening the location under their management. Lund credits his friend, Shawn Holdaway, who is Grant’s nephew, for helping them work with Grant.

Moyer and Lund started remodeling the garden center in December, and as locals and former customers enter the new doors, the gasps of surprise are audible. Moyer and Lund’s garden center is a mixture of old and new — a homage to Holdaway’s many years providing vegetables and succulents to locals, while featuring new trends in modern landscape design.

While the new garden center will sell some edibles, it has a new focus. Moyer and Lund both come from a landscaping background, so they are bringing that experience to their store. They wholesale sod and large shrubbery and trees to area landscaping contractors. They also provide retail landscaping and home décor supplies.

“We wanted this to be upper scale. We wanted to show the younger generation that you can be different with your landscape. It can be new and cool,” Moyer said.

The entrance of the retail space reflects this. There are two hanging outdoor beds suspended from the ceilings, bookended by a water feature and a large planter. Moyer and Lund source those from local builders. Homemade shelves and a “living table” sit adjacent to these.

“We incorporated pieces of the old building into the remodel,” Moyer said pointing to the retail center’s walls. Rusted corrugated metal from the old buildings, and old boards from Holdaway’s growing tables now are the siding for the walls.

Moyer said they plan to pattern their plant merchandise with this same idea — to create experiences for their customers.

“We won’t just have rows of plants,” Moyer explained. He wants people to be able to easily see how to landscape their home through the design ideas presented at the store. “We want them to see the design and go incorporate that into their space. To get inspired and get confidence to go home and do it themselves.”

While focusing on new trends, Moyer and Lund won’t forget Holdaway’s legacy there. They both realize Holdaway created a sense of community throughout the many years he worked at the same location, and they want to continue that.

They’ve already planted a grape arbor area. In just a few years, grapevines with wind their way up and over a large pergola, creating a natural outdoor reception center — where Moyer and Lund envision hosting weddings, farmers markets and other community events.

Lund said he’s even trying to figure out a way to do Holdaway’s Pumpkinland event. Lund’s won’t be exactly the same, but he plans to do something special for every season.

“I made my first corn maze myself about nine years ago, by cutting an entire five acres of corn with a chainsaw,” Lund said. Though the Garden Center doesn’t have room for that, he still is excited to see what he can do in the space.

“I love that sort of thing, families having fun. I want to have that here,” he said.

The Shade Home and Garden Center on the Vineyard is located at 435 S. Geneva Rd., Orem.

Article source:

Beautiful Canvases

The Columbia Green garden tour

Robert Clark

There is nothing quite like Columbia in the spring. The sweet fragrance of the tea olive, the subtle blush of the camellia and the iris leaf pushing its way up through the dirt bring a sense of a new beginning and clarity. Columbia is home to many majestic gardens, each unique in its own right. While some are manicured down to the very inch, others grow wild and with abandon. For the past 25 years, the Columbia Green Festival of Gardens has been celebrating the many exceptional gardens across the city.


The Festival of Gardens is Columbia Green’s signature fundraising event in support of the organization’s goal to promote beautification in the greater Columbia area. Columbia Green is most recognized for its partnership with the City of Columbia in landscaping medians and public spaces with colorful, seasonal plantings. Money raised from the festival and its memberships provides funds for grants to civic and neighborhood associations and other non-profit organizations for beautification projects across the capital city.

“Columbia Green’s garden selection committee visits potential neighborhoods that would be suitable for a tour, many times using suggestions from friends and neighbors,” says Susan Thorpe, co-chair of the 2017 Festival committee. “The committee looks for innovative landscaping and unusual plants since participants appreciate seeing interesting landscaping solutions for gardens of all sizes.”

The 2017 Festival takes place May 5 and 6 in historic Elmwood Park and will feature tours of 10 private gardens, along with the Roy Lynch Butterfly Garden, which received a community grant from Columbia Green. “Columbia Green prides itself on featuring garden ideas, not only to our members but also to the public,” says Cathy Kennedy, president of Columbia Green. “To paraphrase Lady Bird Johnson, ‘Beautification is contagious, and it starts at home.’” 

The 2016 tour featured, among others, three grand estates in the Wales Garden neighborhood, each bursting with its own colors, fragrances and histories.


The Gordon Garden

As one of the oldest suburbs in the city, the lots in Wales Garden are very expansive — in some cases a lot and a half. Paula and Malcolm Gordon have made wonderful use of every inch of their large backyard with ample seating areas and substantial flower and plant beds.

To be sure, the Gordons’ backyard is a special place, as it was there, underneath a beautiful dogwood, that the two were married. Just one week before the wedding, Malcolm was laying the brickwork in an adjacent flower garden, aptly nicknamed “The Love Garden.” It’s easy to imagine the soothing, romantic music beckoning from the harpist that played during the ceremony. It’s no surprise Paula would want to get married under a dogwood, as she is a self-proclaimed flower girl. “I always have a flower and herb garden in the summer,” says Paula. “My goal is to take something in from the outdoors every day — regardless of the season — to place on my windowsill. Pansies help when I’m in dire straits. It just makes me happy.”

Paula relishes the fact that her garden takes on different personalities, depending upon the season. “You can’t just come one time and see my garden,” she says with a laugh. “It looks completely different throughout the changing seasons.”

Various plant and flower beds are located around the yard. Shade gardens of hydrangeas, ferns and azaleas provide texture and interest during the spring and summer, while sasanquas provide a punch of color in the fall and winter. During the summer, the cascading water of the fountain on the pergola drowns out any nearby traffic. The bench placed on the pergola was Paula’s great-grandfather’s cemetery bench in Cincinnati, where it was common for visitors to have lunch at the cemetery by their loved one’s gravesite. When that practice went away, Paula inherited the bench from her parents. The beautiful piece provides a great sense of tradition to the space. 

It’s impossible to overlook the front yard of the Gordons’ home, where a massive Japanese Maple tree makes a statement. The tree was planted in the early 1900s and is said to have hailed from the Chicago World’s Fair. A snowball bush flanks the other side of the house and is often a topic of conversation for passersby due to its billowy, puffy white buds. Each year, Paula plants 200 tulips, her favorite plant, under the dogwoods in the front yard. Paula attributes this passion to the story of her father buying her mother pink tulips when she was born. This is just another example of Paula infusing her home with memories of friends and family.

Iron and aucuba plants line the home and lead to the side of the estate, which features a Charleston-style garden replete with ferns, hostas and an elongated brick pathway. Containers dot the path and lead to the woodlands garden, which is highlighted by grand Evergreen Oaks that are close to 100 years old. “When we look out from our bedroom upstairs, we feel like we are in a treehouse,” says Paula. It’s a sanctuary that Paula and Malcolm have built on their own — with blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of love.


The Davis Garden

Dorothy and Keith Davis have lived in their beautiful Wales Garden home for more than 40 years, where they have added to the splendid plants and trees over time. A unique feature at the Davis home is the cluster of majestic camellias that line the front of the home. The bush features different-colored blossoms on the same branch. How it does so is still a mystery to Dorothy. Monkey grass billows over the walkway, seemingly bowing to guests as they walk to the backyard.

The pristine landscape is dotted with blooms that have grown so beautifully from bulbs Dorothy has planted over the years. Stately sago palms sit at attention across the landscape, while oakleaf hydrangeas and perennials provide beauty and interest to the space. Dorothy prefers to plant many of her summer plants in pots, so that she can move them out of the full sun. For Dorothy, she plants whatever catches her fancy. 

“I don’t know the proper name of my plants,” she says. “If I get them and they grow, fine. I lose the tags, and that doesn’t matter to me. I’m not a master gardener; I just enjoy trying things and seeing what works.” Her method is relatable to many, for Dorothy is truly interested in relishing the fruits of her labor. The picture window in her kitchen looks over the backyard, where she and Keith take in the beauty of the scenery from the comforts of her home. “Unless I am working in a flower or plant bed, I really prefer to sit in the air conditioning and look out at the garden,” says Dorothy.

In this yard, there is a lot to see. A water garden sits in the center of the yard, where lilies quietly rest atop the water and goldfish glide underneath. Hawks, herons and other varieties of birds are known to take residence near the water garden, a key reason Dorothy no longer puts koi in the pond. The water feature is the anchor to this stunning space, and beside it sits an inimitable Edgeworthia plant. The plant is unique in that its golden blooms appear on bare limbs before the tree’s leaves come in; only once the plant blooms do the leaves then appear.

Directly underneath the picture window, a bevy of wind chimes hang during the winter. In the spring, they are replaced with hanging orchids that deliver an unmatched elegance and beauty to the area.

The brick walkway is dotted with interesting pieces, including a concrete butterfly nestled among of bed of daffodils. A walk down the pathway leads to a life-sized bronze flautist that sits upon a concrete bench. The statue is on loan from friends who have moved out of town, but it appears this area of the landscape was made for this stunning piece. 

From the beauty of the plants and the strength of the trees to the peacefulness of the water, the Davis garden delivers a sense of tranquility that even the hottest of Columbia summers can’t burn out. 

The Linder Garden

Lynne and Bill Linder have two distinctive gardens. The front, formal garden features viburnum hedges and boxwoods that line the neatly manicured front walk. The different shades of rich greenery are a first hint at Lynne’s affinity for variegated plants. “I love the variegated look,” says Lynne, whose plants include Fallopia, Aspidistra and Fatshedera. In many cases, these plants started as a houseplant or a gift from a friend. They have since grown to be a special part of Lynne’s garden, bringing with them the memories of those who gave them and offering new memories to those who are able to enjoy them. A beautiful brick walkway leads to the backyard, where it’s hard to miss the massive space left by one of Lynne’s treasured oaks that was lost in a storm. While the new space will allow for new growth and plantings, it’s a bittersweet opportunity. “When the oak tree blew over, it changed the life of my garden,” says Lynne. The powerful oak fell against a majestic magnolia in the back, stripping a part of the tree but stealing none of its beauty.

The backyard opens up to a series of original vignettes, many of which share a sense of whimsy and history through their featured pieces that sit amongst the glorious bushes, flowers and trees. In one, an ivy-covered antique bike sits in deference to the cyclists in Lynne’s family — her husband, son and daughter. In another, a majestic antique spire cap obtained from Trinity Cathedral during its restoration is surrounded by Lenten Roses.

While each part of Lynne’s garden has its own personality, the real focal points are the glorious trees. Century-old pecan trees form a canopy over the landscape, while a massive fig tree and pineapple/guava shrub soak up the space with beauty and grandeur. An interesting weeping cypress is beginning to sway over the walkway in its path, serving as its own entryway into the vegetable patch behind the garage. “I love the idea of entrances into spaces,” says Lynne. “What better way to create one than with glorious trees and plants?” 

While Lynne loves the formal look of her front yard, her goal for the backyard is to create a fanciful space that her family can enjoy and where her granddaughter can play hide-and-seek. A playhouse, nestled in the backyard, is flanked by two purple benches where family can relax and enjoy the view. A beautiful pergola provides additional seating space and interest to the back area. It’s the ideal location to take in the beautiful blooms of Lenten Roses and Chardonnay Pearl Deutzia plants that dot the landscape. Rich green hostas and other greenery cover the grounds, some seemingly escaping from their designated beds to add color and ground cover to the nearby land. Hope springs eternal with these seeds. 

Fennel stalks are abundant in one flower bed, hearkening back to Lynne’s mother, who often used fennel in her recipes. Just enough okra is planted to add the perfect accompaniment to the butter beans on the stove. The colors, the flavors, the aromas and the textures are a song for the senses. For Lynne, her garden is an anthem to friends and family through the plants they have given her, the pieces that reflect upon them and the joy that they bring.


Like a painter, each of these Columbia Green Tour homeowners has created their own canvas with individual palettes of flowers, plants, colors and memories. The final masterpieces delivering motivation and inspiration for those looking to create a backyard oasis of their own.

Tickets to this year’s tour can be purchased at

Article source:

Gary’s Garden Center in Forest grows into Rustic View Home and Gardens

After doing business in Forest for over 25 years, Gary’s Garden Center is under new ownership and a new name.

Now called Rustic View Home and Gardens, the store is owned and managed by Chris Templeton along with his landscaping and yard maintenance business, CLC Landscaping. Although Templeton first took over the store at 5169 Waterlick Road back in July 2016, he didn’t change the name until March to show regular customers he didn’t intend to change much about the business.

“We didn’t change the name for several months so people didn’t know anything had changed,” Templeton said. “Once they got the feel that service wasn’t going to change or it got better, we introduced the idea of changing the name.”

Don’t miss out! Sign up today for the free Work It, Lynchburg business news email.

Since taking over, Templeton has added a wider selection of larger trees and shrubs, cleaned up both the interior and exterior of the store and added a new selection of outdoor furniture for customers.


LNA 05012017 Rustic View 02

Rustic View Home and Gardens owner Chris Templeton talks with H.C. and Mona Rudder as they shop on April 27, 2017. Photo by Lathan Goumas

Lathan Goumas

Templeton said the landscaping component of the business adds to the customer service experience because his staff is familiar with what plants do well in certain environments and can answer question about problem lawns.

“I feel like you can buy plants anywhere, but what we’re trying to excel in is the service and the plant knowledge,” he said. “What we bring to the table is that we’ve done install for so long, so if you ask, ‘Will this work here?’ we can tell you yes or no and why.”

No staff members were let go when ownership changed. Templeton said he added four new positions to the store and moved one employee from the garden store over to the landscaping side of the business.


LNA 05012017 Rustic View 03

Marigolds sit among other flowers in the greenhouse at Rustic View Home and Gardens on April 27, 2017. Photo by Lathan Goumas

Lathan Goumas

One employee who stayed on is Nelson Garner Jr., one of the former owners. Garner was kept on as a manager due to his extensive plant knowledge as well as the relationships he has built with customers over the years.

“I enjoy working with the plants and working with my good regular customers,” Garner said. “I’m in second generation with a whole lot of them, so their children are coming in to buy plants for their homes and apartments.”

Garner and his father, Gary Garner Sr., first opened Gary’s Garden Center in 1980 in a small building adjacent to their current location. It offered a small selection of summer annuals and other plants.

After growing its customer base, the business expanded to its current building in 1993. Three years later, the building was expanded to include a large showroom and more space for products.

When Templeton approached the Garners looking to buy the business, they thought it was a good opportunity for Garner Sr. to retire.

“It was about time for Dad to retire,” Nelson Garner Jr. said. “I wanted to stay on, but cut back on my hours so I would be working more reasonable hours. Now I’m working a 40-hour week instead of an 80-hour week like I was before.”

Anna Lee Mead has been shopping at Gary’s Garden Center since it opened and has continued to come back to buy plants for her Lynchburg home after the ownership change.

“I like coming here because I know I can find the plants that I need that are different than I can find at other places,” she said, gesturing to her cart loaded up with a variety of hibiscuses. “I’ve known [Garner Jr.] since he was just a teenager.”

Although the store is not under his ownership anymore, Nelson Garner Jr. is happy to see his legacy and his father’s continue.

“I’m very glad to see it continue and I’m hoping it does a whole lot more growth in the next few years,” he said.

Article source:

Fayetteville sustainable landscape competition runs through May 26

Thep Thai Restaurant won the restaurant category in the 2016 landscape competition. / Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

The Fayetteville Urban Forestry Advisory Board is taking nominations for its annual landscape competition.

Two awards are given each year, one for commercial and one for residential properties that serve as good examples of sustainable landscapes. Winners will receive a recognition sign to be displayed on their property.

This year, a team of judges will determine the winners from two categories; Best Edible Residential Garden (gardens producing vegetable, fruits, herbs, or spices) and Best Sustainable Commercial/Civic Property (gardens with landscaping using native plants, low watering needs, and other environmental and/or social benefits).

The three winning participants in each category will receive a landscape recognition sign that may be displayed for the following year at the winning property, as well as a certificate of award and a prize. A tour of the winning gardens will be open to the public.

Applicants must have addresses within the Fayetteville city limits, and should be prepared to give judges a brief tour of their property between June 5-19.

To apply, visit

Entry forms will also be available at the Saturday Farmers’ Market on the Fayetteville square at the managers/information table, and at the Parks and Recreation Department office, 1455 S. Happy Hollow Road.

Applications must be received by 12 p.m. on May 26. Winners will be notified on June 30.

For more information, call Lee Porter at 479-444-3486.

Article source:

This week’s gardening tips: remove Louisiana Iris seed pods, mulch …


If you need to spray an insecticide to control a pest problem, spray only those plants that are affected or are likely to be affected to minimize the impact on non-target organisms such as beneficial insects. Use the least toxic insecticide that will do the job.

After an amaryllis bulb finishes blooming, cut off the flower stalk where it emerges from the foliage. This will keep the plants looking neater and prevent them from wasting energy producing seeds that are not needed. Also remove the seed pods from Louisiana irises after they finish blooming.

Be sure to mulch newly planted beds with a two-inch layer of leaves, pine straw, pine bark or other materials to control weeds, conserve moisture and keep the soil from packing down.

Save some of your own seeds from your cool-season annuals to plant again in your garden this fall. At this time of year, collect seeds from sweet peas, violas, nicotiana, poppies, calendulas and cosmos. Make sure the seed pods or seed heads are mature before harvesting.

If you intend to put out soil fill this spring, remember that shade trees will not tolerate more than two inches of fill placed over their root systems. Also, lawn grass will not grow through more than about two inches of fill. Avoid spillway sand as it is more likely to contain weeds.

Article source:

Gardening tips from Agromin: Moderate May weather makes gardening easy

Temperatures in the 70s are the norm for May so being outdoors in the garden for extended periods is a pleasant experience – before the heat of summer kicks in, says Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly compost products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California cities.

Residents can obtain Agromin soil products in bulk or in bags at Rainbow Environmental Services (gate seven) in Huntington Beach and in bulk at South Coast Supply in Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos.

Prune Spring Flowers: Winter rains meant early blooms. Some of those flowers are starting to lose their luster. Prune spring flowers from shrubs and plants. Many will bloom again in summer.

Still Time to Plant Vegetable and Flowers From Seed: Plant zinnia, marigolds, impatiens and petunias from seed. Heat-loving tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squashes, melons, pumpkins and most beans stalks can also be planted from seed in May directly into garden soil.

Start An Herb Garden: There is nothing like fresh herbs when cooking. Herb gardens are easy to start and maintain. They do particularly well in spring and summer and don’t require lots of watering. Basil, dill and cilantro are annual herbs. If planted now, they will last until fall. Other herbs are perennials. Once planted, they need to be cut back from time to time to produce almost year round. These include sage, rosemary, Italian basil, oregano, parsley, mint and thyme.

Plant No-Fail Vegetation: Don’t have a green thumb but still want a beautiful garden? Here are plants to add to your garden that are so hardy, they are almost impossible to kill. They include Lily-of-the-Nile (purple flowers), African iris (usually white or yellow flowers), sea lavender (looks good even when the flowers dry) and California fuchsia (red or orange blooms). All need little water or fertilizer. They can be neglected for months and will still manage to survive.

Get Rid of Weeds Now: Remove weeds while the soil is still somewhat moist from winter rains and before the weeds have a chance to flower and spread their seeds. Be ready to commit to a day of serious weeding. Ideally, weed by hand, making sure you pull the weed from its roots.

Weeding is important if you have dogs. Foxtails, California bur clover (with small spiky balls) and hedge parsley (yellow flowers but sticky burrs) should all be removed on sight. Adding a few layers of mulch over the soil can prevent weeds from regrowing.

Thin Fruit Trees: Many of the small immature fruit appearing on trees in May will naturally fall off this month. Thin smaller fruit from the branches. By doing so, stronger fruit will grow larger and tastier.

Plant A Fig Tree: An easy-to-grow fruit tree is the fig. It loves hot, dry summers and cool wet winters and is drought tolerant. Figs don’t mind Santa Ana winds and poor soil. Best of all, your fig tree can be pruned to any size that fits your yard and still produce fruit.

For more gardening tips, go to

This article was released by Agromin.

Article source:

Experts give tips for UP gardening

Karen Moore, president of the Delta County Master Gardener Association (DCMGA), said the best way to achieve a thriving vegetable garden is to reduce the amount of tilling on the soil. By tilling, the seeds of the weeds in the ground are churned in the dirt and existing seeds of vegetables are essentially “killed,” thus creating more weeding and less vegetable yield.

“The least amount of tilling is the best,” said Moore. “The soil is better when it’s not tilled as much.”

In place of tilling, Moore suggests placing black plastic over the desired planting area to let the sun “bake” the soil, allowing the warmth to kill off any weeds that may be resting in the soil.

Since it is too early to start planting officially, Moore said those wishing to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers should start now by growing them indoors, giving them at least six to eight weeks before transplanting into a bigger garden. These types of plants are considered warm climate crops and take 60 to 90 days to produce any fruit once transplanted, noted Moore. By starting early, it gives the vegetables a chance to get a head start.

After June 1 is when the real gardening season can begin, noted Moore, adding this is when the danger of frost is lifted.

When considering a flower garden, Moore said some perennial plants should be sprouting soon. Perennial plants, such as hostas, daffodils, or prim roses, grow and bloom over the spring/summer and die back every autumn/winter.

To maintain a hosta plant, which has bright green leaves and produces a lily flower, Moore suggests gardeners should divide the plant, to avoid an extreme amount of foliage, while also expanding the garden.

For annual flowers, which only bloom in the spring and summer months, the best way to know which ones can survive in the area, is looking at the labels before purchasing, said Moore. By doing so, gardeners will be able to determine which zone the flowers will thrive in. Zones determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a location based on minimum winter temperature and hardiness of the plant.

Moore said buying plants that are included in zones five, four, or three will do the best near the lakeshore because the water provides some warmer temperatures as the wind comes across it, creating less frost.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture website,, many species of plants begin to gain cold hardiness in the fall when days are shorter and temperatures are cooler. A blast of extreme cold weather in the early fall may injure plants too, and similarly, “exceptionally warm weather in midwinter followed by a sharp change to seasonably cold weather may cause injury to plants as well,” stated the website.

Also by reading labels, Moore explained the gardener can determine if the plant needs adequate sunlight or lots of shade in order to grow properly.

Overall, Moore said having a plan or vision in place before planting is also important because it allows the planter to consider location and what types of vegetables or flowers they want to plant before making the commitment to do so.

Article source: