Hawthorn Tree

A mature tree will grow up to 15m tall and is characterised by its dense and thorny habit, although they may grow with a single stem as a small tree. The bark is tangled, fissured and is grey to brown colour. The twigs are slim and brown in colour with thorns covering most of them.

The leaves are about 6cm lengthwise and have teeth shaped lobes. Before falling in autumn they turn to a dull yellow colour.

Hawthorn trees are hermaphrodite; this means that the male and female reproductive organs are found in the same flower. The white or sometimes pink flowers are sweetly scented and have five petals which grow in topped clusters. Insects pollinate them and they turn into red fruits called ‘haws’.

Interesting fact: the hawthorn is known as the May-tree because of the trees flowering period. It is the only English tree that was named after the month to which it blooms in.

Many different insects are supported by this tree, more than 300 as an estimate. Lots of caterpillars from many species of moth eat the foliage including the orchard ermine, light emerald, vapourer, rhomboid tortrix and the small

Polywood Tables

The use of polywood has been going on in outdoor construction since 1990. In recent years, the compound of recycled plastics had made its way into the furniture industry. Polywood tables are a wonderful example of being planet friendly and still useful, practical, and beautiful.

Polywood tables can be found in many fun, vibrant colors. Like its predecessor, the flimsy plastic furniture, the new polywood stands up well to the elements. It has progressed because it also stands up to the sun. The polywood is designed so that ultraviolet rays do not cause fading – this means no more painting of the furniture each spring (unfortunately it doesn’t end the entire honey-do list).

Another unique feature of the new plastic furniture is that it is designed to look like wood. The polywood tables have been molded to resemble natural wood in look and in texture. Unlike real wood, these tables will not fall prey to water, insects, or other pests. Polywood tables give consumers the strength of wood without carrying all the hassles that come from the natural product.

The price of polywood tables is extremely reasonable when you take into account all of the

Start a Compost in Garden

By definition, compost is the humus like material that results from the decomposition of organic matter. When we grow and remove healthy crops in our gardens, we also remove many of the nutrients in the soil. For sustainable agriculture to thrive, even in a small backyard garden, we must replace what we have taken out of the soil. Good compost consists of elements that are essential to productive gardening, such as nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, etc.

The most basic type of composting is simply a pile established near your garden. There are two components required to start your pile. So called, ‘brown” materials laden with Carbon such as fall leaves, dried grass clippings, dead flowers, old corn stalks and even shredded newspaper make up part one. Part two consists of “green” materials loaded with Nitrogen like vegetable kitchen waste (excluding meat), animal manures from chickens, horses, cows, etc. and fresh grass clippings.

Start your pile by laying at least six inches of brown material on the bottom. On top of this add a few inches of the green materials about four feet high and make sure you keep the whole thing moist. The pile

Saving Water for Landscaping

To water our landscaping, we use either some type of automated sprinkler system or a sprinkler that is dragged from spot to spot. Right from the big corporations right down to the homeowner with just a speck of a lawn, most people use or want to use some type of automated watering system. You have probably seen water from automated sprinkler systems running off the grass and running down the street. I don’t know about you, but here in the arid West, when I see this, it makes me quite angry. This even can be seen in droughts where a typical homeowner may have to water his plants with saved waste water from inside his home. This is not exactly an efficient use of water. All around the country there are problems with having clean water. It just doesn’t make sense to waste water.

Yet most landscaping owners use an inefficient and wasteful watering system. Here are a few tips to make watering your landscaping more efficient and less wasteful.

Watering systems for your landscaping vary. Find one that

Landscaping For Bungalow

You just purchased a bungalow, and as such you would like to have it landscaped. You have decided that you would like to landscape it yourself. However, your yard is small, so you are not sure how to go about doing bungalow landscaping. Thus, what you need is bungalow landscaping ideas.

The first thing you need to consider is the dimension of your yard. Wherever you have the most room is where you should start with your bungalow landscaping. If you have more room at the front of your house, consider using flowers.

You might prefer flowery bushes to actual flowers, but the reality is that since your bungalow is small you do not want the bushes to get too big, and thus become a problem to maintain. Thus, it is best to keep it simple with flowers.

You can either use potted plants in your bungalow landscaping, or you can plant the flowers in the ground. Whichever you choose, be sure that you do not overdo it. For example, if you have a front walkway, plant flowers on either side of the walkway as borders. If you choose to have flowers in pots, place

Preparing Flower Beds for Winter

Plant Debris

One of the essential tasks of winter preparation is to remove dead heads and plant debris from the flower beds. Not only does this make the flower beds look better but it removes many of the winter hiding places for insects. This debris should be thrown away, not thrown in the compost pile.

Organic Material

Once the annuals are removed, you’re ready to add organic material to the soil. This can be manure or compost. If you chose to use manure, you can find bags at your local gardening center, or you can check with nearby farmers. Just be sure it is “aged” manure–not fresh.

Compost is easily made from kitchen scraps and soil. You can have a compost pile, use a compost barrel, or simply work the material directly into the flower bed.

You’ll want to use a rotary tiller to incorporate the organic matter into the dirt. While it may be tempting to buy a large tiller, if you have bulbs, you’ll want to use something more delicate. There are several smaller-sized tillers on the market. If you use one of these to work your way around the bulbs,

Mixing Hydroponic Nutrients

Never combine concentrated hydroponic nutrients in very little water

Two- and three-part nutrients are in separate “parts” for a certain reason. If the “parts” are mixed when they’re still concentrated or in very little water, a white precipitate will form. And depending on the nutrients’ formulation, this could occur within 60 seconds or so. Most of the precipitate is normally calcium sulfate. The longer the dilution is delayed, the tougher (or even impossible) for dissolution to occur. Plants could only make use of nutrients that are completely dissolved in plain water. So the precipitate is the food which plants won’t be able to get.

So to prevent this from happening, make sure you add most of the water prior to combining your nutrients; and stir very well before adding each part.

Which should come first, A or B?

The first part to add should be the one which contains phosphate. Note that the sequence of adding nutrient part could impact the stability of the nutrient solution, especially if the water is high in alkaline. “Alkalinity” (carbonate and bicarbonate) is a component of natural water which causes high pH level. Adding nutrient dose to water

Care for a Juniper Bonsai

Some tree species are better suited for this style than others. Juniper and Cotoneaster are the two most popularly used to develop cascade bonsai because of their natural tendencies. Both of these species naturally grow close to the ground and are commonly used as ground cover. With a little wiring, you can easily train both of these species into cascade bonsai.

Other trees that are used to make great specimen cascade bonsai are Japanese Black and White Pines, Mountain Pine, and Scotch Pine. Pines are typically best for this style, but with some extra work, just about any species can be used. If you are ambitious and use a broadleaf species, make sure that the sun is not beaming on the undersides of the leaves.

It is best to start this process in early spring while the branches are the softest. Clean all dead wood and foliage out so you have a clean tree to work with. You may want to trim about half of the branches off of the tree. Start with the smaller branches first, then see how it looks after those are removed. After that, decide where you want the apex of the

Care For a Hibiscus Plant

Hibiscus Basics

You can consider the hibiscus a small tree or a large bush. These plants produce the hibiscus which is a large, vividly colored, horn-shaped flower.

Today’s hibiscus are descendants of the natural ancestors that were native to Fiji, Madagascar, Mauritius, China and, yes, Hawaii. These plants are self-flowering (pollinating) that grow tall and willowy, almost like large green cotton.

There are many different color variations available with today’s hibiscus. These colors include: yellow, orange, red, white, brown and lavender. There are also a vast amount of color combinations, shades and flower forms.

Care and Growth

The hibiscus is highly susceptible to colder temperatures. If the temperature where you live falls below the 35 degree Fahrenheit mark then your hibiscus is probably going to be in trouble. You may be able to protect a hibiscus plant for a few cold days and nights with frost cloth but not much more than that.

Hibiscus requires a 50/50 split of sun and shade during the days at a minimum. Make sure your hibiscus is planted with plenty of sunlight for the proper care and growth.


Keep in mind, hibiscus have

Creating Outdoor Rooms

  • Determine where the garden room will be located and the size of the room.
  • Choose a floor surface such as dirt, grass, decking, stone, gravel or brick.
  • Create garden room walls with fences, hedges or flower beds. If I want to completely separate the room use a tall formal hedge or privacy fence. To keep the rooms open and more connected I might choose to use flower beds, containers or just a different type of floor surface.
  • I stand in the space and look up. I can then decide what type of ceiling I want to incorporate into the space. The sky usually acts as the ceiling, but I could choose to use a pergola, covered porch, a canopy of trees, a garden arbor or an umbrella.
  • Once the work is complete, I can accessorize the casual living patio furniture with container gardens, outdoor lighting, plants, fountains, fire pits and weather-resistant fabrics.

I have my plan in hand and head to my local garden center where I purchase the needed supplies to make that plan a reality.

The work is complete now and I am enjoying my new outdoor room with casual