Water Garden Ideas

If a pool is well constructed, if care is taken with the planting, and if the right planting compost material and aquatics (water plants) are chosen, water is easier to manage than grass. But with no other feature in the garden is the margin between success and failure so delicately poised. Great care is needed to hold the balance between clear water and a well-managed pool on the one hand, and smell, slime, green water and rank aquatics on the other.

The position of a water garden is very important, for water-lilies and most aquatics love the sun. The warmer the water, the more luxuriant the growth and the greater the number of blooms will be. The best position for a pool, therefore, is in the open, as far as possible.

The shelter of trees or a hedge to the north or north-east of the water garden can break the force of driving winds and will considerably extend the flowering season, but be sure to build the pool some distance from the trees or hedge, so that dead leaves do not fall into the pool and foul the water. Alternatively, if your water garden is close to trees or a hedge, you can spread wire-netting over the surface of the pool during the few weeks of the autumnal leaf fall.

A very deep pool can be a disadvantage since depth controls the temperature of the water, but the water must not be too shallow or it will freeze up in winter. Fifteen to 18 inches of water above the crowns of plants is shallow enough to induce free-flowering and yet sufficiently deep to safeguard the roots in winter. Rock garden pools are often only 1 foot or even less in depth, and should be protected during very bad weather, but such precautions are impracticable for larger pools.

Water gardens are either formal or informal, and should fit in with their surroundings. The formal water garden is usually the dominant feature of a garden – in a central position or perhaps the key point of an area to which all paths-lead. It is regular in shape (a circle, square, oblong or some geometric form) and its outline is defined with a raised kerb or flat, paved surround. Fountains can be placed in the water garden, but as a general rule running water is not desirable, especially if the water supply comes from a natural spring or similar low-lying source, because it will constantly lower the temperature and also destroy the calm on which water-lilies thrive.

Formal pools look better in conventional surrounds and do not blend with natural features such as wild or rock gardens or alpine meadows. Keep the vegetation in them low, using water-lilies and submerged and floating aquatics rather than marginals and bog plants.

An informal pool should not disclose its origin. The concrete or other material of which it is made can be hidden by keeping the outer edges below the level of the surrounding ground, and by the skilful use of marginal plants – bog and marginal aquatics being used to bridge the gap between the water and dry land. The informal pool blends with any natural setting, and is not, therefore, the best type of pool for a formal rose garden or similar tailored feature.

Plastic Greenhouse Panels

While many repairs can be undertaken fairly cheaply or easily, repairing your greenhouse can be a whole new matter entirely. Whether they’ve been damaged by a tree branch, strong wind or even a stray football, it can be difficult and expensive to do. However, it is important to keep on top of greenhouse maintenance to ensure that the plants you keep inside are properly cared for.

At this stage the majority of keen gardeners will think about replacing their old glass panel with yet more glass. However, more and more people are turning to alternatives as a way to keep costs down and prolong the life of their greenhouse panels. Glass, often thought to be a strong and reliable material, is actually very susceptible to cracking and it encourages the growth of moss when wet – neither of which is preferable for greenhouses.

The alternative that many are turning to is plastic – either in the form of acrylic or polycarbonate. These materials are incredibly suited to being used for outdoor applications and in, many ways, offer a better solution than glass. For one, they are impact-resistant to a greater extent than glass, making them less susceptible to breakage at any time. For instance, polycarbonate is used to make CDs which are incredibly tough – and it has even be used for bullet-proofing in some instances. Despite this, it is heavier than glass; in fact it’s much, much lighter which makes it better for the supporting structure and easier to install.

Rose Rosette Disease

Here are common symptoms of Rose Rosette to look for:

  • Stressed growth in leaves, canes, and blooms. This appears as growth that doesn’t look normal. Stunted, dwarfed growth in canes, narrow leaves, and odd looking blooms.
  • Bunching of stems, clustering, broom like appearance of stems giving it the name of witches broom of roses.
  • Bright red leaves and stems (not always abnormal, as in many rose cultivars, fresh new growth can be red or crimson). Look for mottled coloration and redness that doesn’t go away. This growth will also appear unusual.
  • Overall decline and eventual death of the plant.

Rose Rosette Disease is caused by a virus that is spread by a mite that feeds on roses called eriophyid mite also known as the rose leaf curl mite. These are not spider mites, but much smaller mites that are almost impossible to see with the naked human eye. They move on wind currents from rose to rose. It’s thought that this virus first showed up in wild, native rose populations in the US. It then spread to multiflora roses which are considered invasive, imported from Asia to serve as a plant solution for windbreaks and screens. From these invasive roses, the virus spread to infect landscape roses including the once thought to be disease resistant Knock-Out Roses series, and the Drift series.

Because gardeners and landscapers have relied so heavily on both the Knock-Out and Drift series of roses for their ease of care and beauty, the Rose Rosette Disease has done a lot of damage in wide areas. It’s not known why some roses still seem resistant to Rose Rosette, but it’s been shown that Knock-Out and Drift roses are not immune.

What do you need to do if your roses have the Rose Rosette disease?

  • Destroy the plant – dig up plant and roots, then bag and destroy
  • Limit use of the surrounding soil
  • Remove multiflora roses within 100 yards of roses – if cannot then try not to plant roses downwind from the multiforas
  • Watch for regrowth from any remaining roots and remove
  • Avoid planting any new rose varieties back in the same soil

My ag inspector who lives down the road, stopped by recently and we talked about this rose issue. Her information said the soil where diseased plants were located could be tainted for up to 5 years.

Preventing Rose Rosette Disease

The mite is extremely difficult to kill, as typical mite killing chemicals don’t often work well on this species of mite. However, some pesticides may offer some protection such as Sevin, bifenthrin, horticultural oils and insecticidal soap when applied weekly during June and July.

The best course of action is prevention. When receiving your roses, inspect them carefully and look for the above signs of Rose Rosette. Only plant disease-free rose plants. When planting, give your roses plenty of room to breathe and allow air to circulate, as this can help keep the mites from spreading from one plant to another, although this isn’t very foolproof. And finally, don’t rely on one type of rose in your landscape. We’re not referring to color. Instead choose different species. If there are multiflora roses growing wild nearby, consider destroying them if possible as the mite can catch a summer breeze to your roses.

We hope this helps you avoid and end your infestation of Rose Rosette. It’s a heartbreaking disease, but with proper prevention and planning, you can avoid or diminish its effects on your garden and landscape.

We are committed to monitoring the new growth of our roses coming in from different growers. The Knockout and Drift Roses are anticipated to be in short supply over the next couple of years as many growers will be discontinuing their growing rights for these plants due to this terrible disease.

Growing Flowers and Fruit in Greenhouse

Growing both flowers and fruit may be as simple as designating a set of benches for flowers and another set for fruit trees, or as complex as creating independent zones in your greenhouse. The designation of greenhouse zones should take place during the greenhouse planning phase to prevent complications in the future. Zones are areas within a greenhouse that have their own specific temperature and climate; they are created by using interior walls to form sections in the greenhouse. Various temperature and humidity levels can be maintained by an automatic control system.

The use of grow lights can assist in the propagation of both flower and fruiting plants. For example, strawberries thrive when grown under a grow light; just be sure to utilize the “everbearing” strand, as “June bearing” strawberries will not grow indoors. High pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights are ideal for both fruits and flowering plants, and provide a high efficiency yellow glow with a life expectancy of approximately five years or 24,000 hours.

Every plant has its own growing requirements; some key factors to take into consideration when growing both flowers and fruit in your greenhouse include: lighting, humidity, and temperature. Lighting requirements for plants can range from full sunlight to heavily shaded environments. Some fruit, such as strawberries, need direct sunlight to grow while flowers, such as begonias, do well in shaded areas.

The level of humidity required by plants can differ greatly throughout the year. At first glance, growing calla lilies and tomatoes in the same area may seem like a good idea because they both require a similar humidity range of 80 to 90 percent, but a second look shows that tomatoes require a lower humidity level (65 to 75 percent) at night in order to thrive. Temperature range should also be taken into consideration. Most fruits will grow best in the warmer temperature ranges, while flowers can flourish in cooler temperatures.

Choosing Location for Planting Ginseng

There are certain plants to look for (companion plants) that can give you a clue that you’ve found a good spot

It’s not necessary to have all of the below mentioned shrubs. These plants are known as ginseng companion plants, or indicator plants, because they grow in the same environment that ginseng grows. In northwestern Arkansas, a very strong indicator is maidenhair fern.

  • goldenseal
  • bloodroot
  • black cohosh
  • maidenhair fern (my best indicator)
  • Christmas fern
  • doll’s eyes
  • rattlesnake or grape fern (also called sang pointers)
  • jack-in-the-pulpit

It likes a certain mix of trees

The identity of your trees is important. It’s okay to have a lot of hickory and oak, but that can’t be the only kind there because if it is, the ground-covering leaves will be too heavy for the ginseng plants to push up through in spring. Pine and cedar indicate the area might be too dry, but I’ve had some luck growing under cedars so it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The trees you really want to see include:

  • oak (but not too many)
  • hickory (but not too many)
  • beech
  • maple
  • dogwood
  • pawpaw

It’s already present

The very best indicator that ginseng will grow well in a certain area is that it’s already there! If you’ve found many of the companion plants listed above, take a closer look to see if ginseng is growing as well. If you find something you think might be ginseng, get positive i.d. on it by asking someone who knows. Take a photo of it and send it to me if you don’t have anyone nearby who can come see it. I’ll be happy to take a look at up to three photos to anyone who’s read this article. My email address is listed below.

The ideal location will have all the right conditions, but it’s not a lost cause if you can’t meet them all. I’ve planted in various places to test the suitability and found some surprises. The ones I planted under a cedar tree are doing pretty good and I’d always heard they don’t like cedars.

Choosing A Bonsai Pot

Deciding On A Bonsai Pot Colour

This isn’t as easy as you may think. You need to take into account what colour your Bonsai trees ordinary foliage is, and also the colour of the foliage if the tree changes during a particular season. Take a typical maple tree as an example. Its normal foliage is a greenish colour. However, during the autumn months the foliage changes to a brilliant vivid yellow. The golden rule therefore is to understand the colour changes your Bonsai goes through throughout the year and choose a Bonsai pot that best complements these colours.

What Type Of Bonsai Pot

Once you have decided on a colour you then need to think about matching a pot that best suites your tree. Whether you choose a rounded, square or rectangular pot is really a personal choice, but try to imagine what pot will best harmonize with your tree. You shouldn’t choose something that is jazzy over-elaborate in design. After all, the art of Bonsai is to reflect in miniature a naturally growing tree. With this in mind when choosing a Bonsai pot, less is so often so much more.

Bonsai Pot Size

This is another important aspect that is often overlooked. As a general rule your Bonsai pot should roughly be as wide as the longest branch, and as deep as the trunk is wide. This should ensure a pretty good living environment for your Bonsai and help determine the correct water levels that the tree needs to remain healthy.

Bonsai Pot Alternatives

Not everybody has easy access to a specialist selling Bonsai pots; therefore there are a couple of household items you can use as an alternative. These included, believe it or not, pie and casserole dishes. Just remember to allow for drainage and you will have a crude but acceptable home for your Bonsai tree. However, in my opinion there is no substitute for an authentic Bonsai pot.

Naturally Dispose of Weeds

Get rid of all the weeds in your gardens. Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s no fun, but if you get all of them out now you can maintain a weed free garden all season long. Well, almost weed free. Weed control is an all summer task, but it shouldn’t be difficult or overwhelming.

Most people fail at weed control because they never get it completely under control. So here’s what you do. Start loosening the soil and removing all the existing weeds. Then put down newspaper at least 8 pages thick and cover that with about 2″ of mulch. You can also use brown paper grocery bags, they work great!

I don’t like those weed barrier fabrics that you can buy in the garden stores because… when I was in the landscaping business I pulled out miles of that stuff. Why did we pull it out? Because it was a horrendous mess with weeds growing up through it! You couldn’t pull the weeds because they were all tangled up in the so called weed barrier material.

That’s why I like newspaper or paper bags. They go away! And that’s really important in your gardens. Don’t put things in there that won’t go away. Newspaper and mulch are biodegradable.

What about all the magic weed control potions that you can buy? Do they work? Yes they do. But most people don’t use them properly so they get really poor results. Products like Preen and other pre-emergent weed control products are just that, pre-emergent. That means they only control weed seeds. Controlling weed seeds is important, but if you don’t have all of the existing weeds and weed roots under control first your pre-emergent weed control is doomed from the start.

So you have to completely clear out all of the existing weeds from your gardens then apply the pre-emergent weed control formulas. I still recommend the newspaper because the pre-emergent weed controls will not control weeds that come from roots left in the ground. The only way to control the weed roots from growing is to starve them of sunlight and you do that with newspaper and mulch. If they can’t get sunlight they cannot grow.

Keep Gardening Expenses at a Minimum

The first tip is to only invest in tools that will make a definite improvement to your gardening experience. Before you purchase a new tool, ask yourself the following questions. How much of a difference would it make if I purchased this particular tool? How often would I be using this tool? If you have a positive response to each of these questions then go ahead and invest. Remember, there is no need to purchase expensive gardening tools unless you are doing it at an industrial scale. Sometimes, it is simply better to do gardening the old-fashioned way. Instead of using automated gardening accessories, you can simply use a shovel to get most of the work done.

The second tip for those who want to reduce their gardening expenses is to participate in seed or plant exchanges. If you live in a community that does a lot of gardening then this is a great way to reduce costs. Perhaps your neighbors are growing a plant that you also want to have in your garden. If you can come to an agreement that it is better to exchange seeds then to pay for them. These plant exchanges can also be found on online gardening communities so be sure to check them out.

The third tip is to use recycled materials whenever you get the chance. For example, rather than purchasing compost, you can easily make your own using organic materials such as leftover food wastes and dead leaves. This will reduce gardening expenses by a significant margin because you are employing sustainable methods to the gardening process. Recycled materials can also be used for other things. For example, if you plan on doing container gardening then you can use recycled materials as makeshift containers.

The final tip is to use rain barrels. Utility bills can get pretty expensive in some states. Therefore, you can save some money by collecting rainwater. This is especially good for places that receive a decent amount of rain. Again, this is another method you can employ to become a sustainable gardener. If you make use of these four tips then you will definitely be spending less on gardening expenses over the long term.

Start a Backyard Garden With Raised Beds

There is nothing quite like producing your own fresh food and it is very easy to do. No matter what size your backyard may be, or even if you just have a patio or deck, you have room for a garden by building raised beds, pots, window boxes, or just about anything that will hold soil.

First, you must decide how much space and time you may want to devote to your new project. Like most new endeavors, starting small is a good idea, and as you learn from experience you can grow and grow from one season to the next. If all you have is a patio or deck, you should consider what we call “container gardening”. This is nothing more than something like a five gallon bucket or maybe a whiskey barrel or maybe a used wheelbarrow. Even an old bathtub would do the trick! Just fill them with clean composted soil and you are ready to plant.

If you have a little more space, raised beds are the way to go. These are constructed with organic pressure treated lumber and range in size from four feet wide, one foot deep and to as long as you would like (10 to 12 feet is most common). It is important to limit the width because you must be able to reach the center of the bed without stepping on the soil. If you are going to use raised beds, it is a good idea to put pencil to paper and figure out how large an area you are going to work with and how many beds you want to build.

Because your garden is new, this will be your best chance to fill it with clean weed free soil. If you are just doing container gardening, you can purchase bagged soil at any nursery or garden center. For raised beds, you will need to have soil or loam delivered by a local landscape service or mulch supplier. You will need approximately 3/4 of a cubic yard for each 4×12 foot bed. Make sure you specify composted loam for vegetable gardens. Upon delivery, mix in a small amount of peat moss to lighten up the soil, about 5%. Fill up your containers or beds and you are ready to plant.

Herbs are quite easy to grow and don’t require much space, which makes them ideal for container gardens. Select whatever varieties you commonly use such as dill, thyme, parsley, chives, sage, oregano, etc. Many herbs are perennials, meaning they will grow back year after year without replanting every season. Chives are wonderful because a small bed will come back to life early in the spring and require very little maintenance. Many herbs that you plant in containers can be over-wintered inside and returned to the patio the following spring.

Regarding vegetables, tomatoes are an obvious choice along with cucumbers, lettuce and peppers. These four items alone will provide you with salads all season long. Green beans are very popular too and with staggered planting, you will be able to harvest them for several weeks in a row. Onions grow very well throughout the United States and should be planted as “sets”. These are just immature onions about 4 inches tall that have been commercially grown for transplanting to home gardens early in the spring.

Study With Online Horticulture Courses

  • Planting Design
    Even an experienced gardener may find that it’s easy to get in a slump when designing gardens. Planting design courses can enhance garden designs by teaching about specific plants and their characteristics and attributes. Once you understand more about plant textures, colors, form, seasonal colors, and more, your garden will come to life. You will understand how to properly select flowers, grasses, trees, bulbs, and shrubs in order to create a garden of vibrant color, form, and texture. These courses are valuable in designing any size of garden, large or small.
  • Vegetable Gardening
    If you’ve attempted to grow vegetables, you know that there is much more to it than planting a seed and watering it. Vegetable gardening courses can help you increase the yield of your vegetable garden by teaching principles of land selection, quantity of land necessary, and other factors that are important before you plant your garden. You will also learn about timing, increasing yield, and keeping the crops healthy. If organic produce is important to you, you can also learn about chemical-free fertilizers and pesticides. If self-sufficiency is your goal, you can learn the best ways to grow crops year-round in order to obtain this goal.
  • Architectural Rendering
    An important step in garden design is an actual visual rendering of the finished product. Hand rendering courses can teach you how to draw professional-looking designs that can not only guide you throughout the construction process but are extremely valuable for individuals who design gardens as a profession. Designers of any type are likely to benefit from learning these rendering techniques.
  • Floral Design
    Perhaps you don’t consider yourself to have a “green thumb” but enjoy horticulture immensely. You may want to consider floral design instead. Not only will you learn the practical aspects of floral design, such as the equipment necessary to hold together the arrangement, but your creativity can be enhanced as you learn about bouquet and arrangement design elements. You will also learn about contemporary ideas for containers and unique ways to present flowers.
  • Insects
    You may be surprised that you can learn more about insects as part of online horticulture courses. You can learn about trees, shrubs, and flowers that attract wildlife. This can help you learn if it’s possible to discourage undesirable wildlife, while attracting birds, bees, and other pollinators to your garden by using certain types of nectar, seeds, and pollen. You can also learn about natural bee keeping by understanding a bee’s life cycle and supporting their natural behaviors.