Resolutions for Gardeners

A new year typically brings about resolutions right? Be they for losing weight, being more organized or simply an overall “being better” wish, resolutions are good goals to have.

Gardeners are no exception to wishing for the better; better gardens, better planning, better record-keeping, etc. Following are five resolutions that we wish every gardener, no matter their level of expertise, will embrace in the new year:

1. I will not blame myself for gardening failures. Oftentimes, Mother Nature is not our friend when it comes to gardening. Or life gets in the way. We do not want you to despair! Simply try again and learn from experience. Your garden, and your gardening friends, are both extremely forgiving.

2. I will not be afraid to ask questions. How else can you learn? Take advantage of the experience of your neighbor, your aunt, the garden center employee or the local extension agent. If they are like typical garden fanatics, they will appreciate your interest and be flattered that you want to learn from them. And learn you will!

3. I will try something new. This is kind of a no-brainer, right? Have you ever met a gardener who didn’t want the

Planning Your Garden

Key Planning Tips

Start Small. If you decide to plant up some new areas this year, start small so that you can test for success and appearance. You can always make it bigger next year.

Consider water access. If you are planting an area far from a water source, figure out how you are going to get water there. If a long hose isn’t practical, you may have to carry water there, or plan on carrying the plants (assuming they are in containers) to the water source.

Try something new each year. If something in a seed catalog or in the garden center captures your imagination – try it. Starting on a small scale and a new spot, you can test the plant without a lot of expense or disappointment if it doesn’t please or doesn’t succeed.

Go for variety. Even within the confines of a color family you can achieve a pleasing mixture of different flower forms, heights and textures. While large displays of a single flower can be awesome, too much of a good thing can be boring.

Keep a “cookbook. In a notebook, write down which classes and varieties you planted where. Often you can just tape

What are Seed Tapes and How Can I Use Them

They are a pre-sown product of single or multiple species of seeds that are already spaced between tissue layers at the correct distance for growing. As well as the simple, linear tape, there is a wide range of other shapes and sizes, such as discs, mats and carpets. Many flower, vegetable or herb seeds can be purchased already incorporated into these products.
Advantages include:

  1. Even seed spacing prevents oversowing, especially with crops like lettuce, greens, carrots, wildflowers, etc. This also eliminates the need for thinning the young seedlings.
  2. The lightweight tape prevents birds from eating freshly sown seeds
  3. The tape, when covered with additional soil, won’t wash away in a sudden spring downpour, ruining evenly spaced and sown rows.
  4. Almost all seed tapes are biodegradable to protect wildlife and have no damaging impact on garden ecosystems.
  5. For gardeners experiencing arthritis or other mobility issues, a seed tape is a quick and easy way to sow tiny seeds.

Types:
Seed tapes:Come in various lengths, single track or multiple tracks, both available with the option of one seed variety or a multiple of seeds – suitable for salad, mixed vegetable and flower collections.

Seed discs: Small discs, from 8-12cm diameter are for standard flowerpots

Make the Most of Your Garden

Sometimes during the holidays we don’t get to travel, so why not make your garden or patio as relaxing as a vacation? Here are some tips on how to turn a normal garden into a relaxing spot. The thing you have to consider first is the sun exposure.

You can’t enjoy yourself if it is too hot, so I recommend getting big umbrellas and I don’t mean the kind you take to the beach. You can get large, stylish umbrellas at your local garden store or home improvement store and this will not only be a pretty addition but one that you will be glad you made when the summer arrives.

Secondly you need furniture for entertainment purposes such as a table and chairs. Go to this site and you will find rattan direct. When family comes over you need a place to have them sit or to enjoy a nice brunch outside. I recommend getting a wooden table and chairs and preferably a bit on the ticker side so that it doesn’t sink into your grass. Metal chairs are thin at the bottom and once someone sits on them they sink

Fitting Concrete in Your Landscape

When improving the look of your landscape, it is more practical to use materials that are long-lasting, cost-efficient and attractive. While concrete is always seen as a material used for pathways and sidewalks alone, it can also be used in improving the appearance of your landscape. Concrete landscaping can give you smart and practical solutions that’s why it is a better choice in establishing your landscape.

Why Choose Concrete in Landscaping?

  1. Sturdiness

Concrete is practical to use in landscaping because it can last longer compared to other materials like metals and natural stones. Molds and moisture cannot weaken concrete, which can stand extreme weather. You don’t need to be worried that your landscape’s appearance will get ruined through time because concrete is durable.

  1. Variation

Concrete is a material that comes in different varieties. It can give you different kinds of designs and functions by just adjusting the proportion of the mixed materials to make concrete. This makes landscaping more fun and manageable because concrete allows you to personalize your landscape style.

  1. Flexibility

Concrete is one of the most flexible materials that you can use for home and landscape improvement. The fact that it can be used in building runways, bridges and more makes

How a Drought Affects Ant Pest Control

Ants don’t like wet weather, but neither do they like extreme weather. In the United States, California is facing a severe drought–one of the severest on record. With food and water sources drying up outside, ants and other insects have been heading indoors–to the consternation of thousands of home and business owners. And ant pest control companies have had to come up with new methods for meeting the upsurge.

 

Droughts & Pesticides Cause Ants to Multiply

Droughts contribute to a higher ant population. Normally, ant eggs are destroyed by rain and wet conditions during the winter. When there’s a drought, more eggs survive the winter, which translates to a massive increase in the ant population.

 

Pesticides and boiling water have also often increased the ant population. If the pesticides are fast-acting, they destroy worker ants, which means that all the queen ants say, “Oh dear, we need to replenish our workforce!” So the queens produce even more ants.

 

Traditional Pest Control Methods Sometimes Fail

The Argentine ant is one of the most prevalent ant species in the California drought area. These ants originate in South America,

How To Create Your Perfect Garden

How would you go about creating your perfect garden? What ideas do you have that you would like to see come alive. Do you fancy the idea of a country style cottage garden with narrow winding pathways and fruit trees or would you rather see a grand splendour of lights, colour and clean-cut modern lines? Regardless of style, the best garden designs stem from those who inject personality into their landscaping ideas.

The first step is learning how to utilise the space you have. As the saying goes – it’s the size you have but what you do with it that counts. There couldn’t be a better statement in gardening terms. Many small town gardens have some truly stunning designs. In fact, in my town there is an annual ‘secret gardens’ day where local people open up their gardens for anyone to come and take a peak. There is also a prize for best three at the end of the day. It’s a large affair and although the number grows each year, there are usually around 200 participants and many more visitors.

Gardening is often described as an art form. I am no artist but I do love to look out of

Improve your home with home renovation experts

Whether you are looking for selling your home or if you want to make your home to be a more comfortable and enjoyable place to spend more time, the best thing is to improve your home’s look, beauty and value by remodeling. Home renovating is the best way to get the home you want besides increasing its value.

Homeowners always prefer to remodel their home according to the latest trends. Renovating your existing home can really add more beauty and more value to your home. When you think of home remodeling, home renovation experts play an important and vital role. Getting the guidance from home renovation experts has become more popular now-a-days. In fact this has become a trend when thinking of home remodeling.

Qualified renovation experts can make smart exterior and interior renovation for your home. Home renovation experts specialize in Residential Remodeling, Room Addition, Kitchen Remodeling, Bathroom Remodeling Basement Remodeling, Roofing, Siding and Replacement Windows. They can even guide you in establishing the current home remodeling product and techniques that best fits your home and budget. Home Renovation Experts also help you to save time and money in the process of making your dream home.

Including Patio covers, Awnings,

Garden Arches A Must Have Feature For Any Garden Design

It is sometimes said that every garden should have an archway. However, whilst this may not be strictly true, it’s certainly true that garden arches can have a part to play in many garden designs. Garden arches come in many shapes, sizes, designs and materials and so consequently they can also have many different uses within a garden.

Uses of Garden Arches Within a Garden Design

One of the most common uses of arches within a garden is as an entrance. This can be an entrance to the garden itself, or often arches can be utilised to create entrances between different areas of a garden. Using the arches a doorways between outdoor rooms creates a sense of progressive realisation and a sense of journey within the garden. On a similar theme, they can create a sense of intrigue to a garden visitor. Arches act as a draw to people, drawing people towards the arch to see what lies beyond.

Garden arches provide a vertical element within a garden design, providing a point of differentiation if most aspects of the design are in the horizontal plane. What is more, they provide instant height within a garden. Although planting can ultimately provide height, unless mature

The Garden Benches Enhance the Beauty of Any Garden

Spending a lot of time in the garden can produce the best results that is being able to show off its splendor to the friends. Some pieces of garden furniture can certainly enhance the beauty of the garden and provide the invited friends with a place to sit and chat. Not only is this a good way for you to show off your work but this is also is a good way for you to enjoy the work that you have put into ensuring that your garden is stunning. Many online sites offer various kinds of garden furniture and it is very important to search for all the companies who sell the items for a greater choice. Garden furniture is also sold through furniture shops around the vicinity although sometimes the stocks on hand can be limited hence making the choice possible through only a few pieces. Since you have done a lot for the garden in order to make it beautiful, don’t you think that picking out the finest furniture is the next alternative?

You may be considering some benches and some tables for the garden, so how would you do it? Why don’t you add a hammock that can

How To Create Your Perfect Garden

Garden landscaping ideas are always handy when planning garden designs. Be it a flower garden, herb garden or even a water garden, there are some basic princpals you should follow.

How would you go about creating your perfect garden? What ideas do you have that you would like to see come alive. Do you fancy the idea of a country style cottage garden with narrow winding pathways and fruit trees or would you rather see a grand splendour of lights, colour and clean-cut modern lines? Regardless of style, the best garden designs stem from those who inject personality into their landscaping ideas.

The first step is learning how to utilise the space you have. As the saying goes – it’s the size you have but what you do with it that counts. There couldn’t be a better statement in gardening terms. Many small town gardens have some truly stunning designs. In fact, in my town there is an annual ‘secret gardens’ day where local people open up their gardens for anyone to come and take a peak. There is also a prize for best three at the end of the day. It’s a large affair and although the number grows each year,

Visit us at the Cincinnati Home & Garden Show

In a while many Cincinnati area residents are using technology to help thwart cybercrimes, others are putting themselves at risk of identity theft by failing to adopt simple prevention habits. For example, six in 10 area residents do not have locked mailboxes at their homes and about third of those who do their banking online still get statements mailed to their homes.

Stop by the AARP booth at the Cincinnati Home & Garden Show to learn about easy steps you can take to help stop fraudsters and scam artists from infiltrating your neighborhood. You can start with timely alerts from the AARP Fraud Watch Network, and while you are at our booth be sure to spin our prize wheel to win a gift.

AARP members can buy two tickets for the price of one (that’s a $13 value) for Cincinnati’s largest and longest-running home and garden showcase.

We will be at the Cincinnati Home & Garden Show in the Duke Energy Center, 525 Elm St., from February 28 through March 8, 2015. Show your AARP membership card at the box office to buy tickets at a two-for-one discount, or enter the code REDISCOVER to buy discounted tickets online at www.cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com.

Want to volunteer

Best way to rid a garden of pesky snails, Use your strong throwing arm

The new study published May 16 in the journal Physica Scripta has used statistical models to show that simply killing the snails you find in your garden offers little advantage if you want to remove them completely.

According to the researchers gardeners should revert to damage limitation, as their results proved that snails are part of larger colonies that live in the garden and come and go as they please using a homing instinct.

As opposed to simply killing a snail, throwing it over the wall is pretty effective, and the results showed that if snails are moved out of the garden by a distance of 20 meters or more, the likelihood of those particular snails finding their way back home into the garden was almost zero.

Co-author of the study Professor David Dunstan, from Queen Mary’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We showed that the number of snails regularly or irregularly visiting a garden is many times greater than the number actually present at any one time in the garden.

“As such, gardeners shouldn’t be setting out to eliminate their gardens of snails. To achieve such a feat would require the gardener to rid the whole neighbourhood of snails,

Math story time at home bolsters achievement in school

Adding math talk to story time at home is a winning equation for children’s math achievement, according to new research from the University of Chicago.

The study from psychologists Sian Beilock and Susan Levine shows a marked increase in math achievement among children whose families used Bedtime Math, an iPad app that delivers engaging math story problems for parents and children to solve together.

Even children who used the app with their parents as little as once a week saw gains in math achievement by the end of the school year. The app’s effect was especially strong for children whose parents tend to be anxious or uncomfortable with math.

The findings appear in the Oct. 9 edition of Science. UChicago PhD students Talia Berkowitz and Marjorie Schaeffer are the lead authors of the study, along with senior authors Beilock and Levine.

Previous research from this group has demonstrated the importance of adults’ attitudes about math for children’s math success. For example, a recent study found that math-anxious parents who help their children with math homework actually undermine their children’s math achievement.

The new findings demonstrate that structured, positive interactions around math at home can cut the link between parents’ uneasiness about math

A volunteer’s garden Fresh air is a great tonic

What does my garden say about me?

“I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors; fresh air is a great tonic. I don’t feel like I’m retired – I’m busy all the time. I like having the time to do what I want to at last.”

What this garden says about Mary

What a lovely garden. Sunlit and thriving, it looks almost magical; an enchanted woodland in a fairy tale. And how far it is from the suburban gardens of English tradition. No manicured lawn, no rose bushes in rows, no attempts at hedge topiary. Not even any tomato frames. This is not a garden designed to win rosettes at summer fayres. It is about nature, growing.

Urban gardens – and this is one – are for nurturing vegetables and herbs, sometimes meadow flowers. Urbanites don’t yearn for the burbs, but they can get misty over the countryside, about getting in touch with the earth and the sky, about feeding themselves from their own efforts rather than nipping to the supermarket. City gardeners don’t want too much neatness: they are freestyle and fashionable, and, though it might not seem it at first glance, this is a fashionable garden. It’s also vaguely left-wing. Gardens like this aren’t attached

Enhancing the Value of Your Home

Spring is an active time in the real estate market. Agents are busy with open houses and showings as people move across town and across the country. Homebuyers are searching for that perfect new home for their family, while home sellers look for ways to make their house stand out from others on the market.

Both buyers and sellers are concerned with curb appeal—what someone sees when they drive by a house. An attractive, well-maintained yard and garden is a key part of that view. The first impression of a house and the surrounding landscape can make a potential buyer take a closer look at the property or immediately move on to the next house. For home sellers, attractive landscaping can help a house sell days or weeks faster than other houses on the market. It’s estimated that trees and gardens can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.

All homeowners, especially those trying to sell a home, need to do an outdoor cleaning. Investing a little time and a few dollars can make the outside of your home sparkle. Mow the lawn and rake up leftover leaves or debris. Trim trees and shrubs by removing broken branches and any

New Beginnings

This is the time of year for new beginnings. Spring signals the start of another cycle of growth. The warming temperatures and longer days reawaken nature and people. This year try something new yourself—become a gardener.

Garden for tradition—old or new.  Gardening has been part of the human culture for centuries. Not long ago most families still had gardens and relied on it to provide food for their family. Remember visiting grandma’s house as a child and picking deliciously scented flower bouquets—or the thrill of pulling on green tops and being surprised with a carrot to eat right from the ground? Recreate some of those memories for you and your family to enjoy again.

If you’ve never tried to garden, start a new tradition. You don’t have to dig up the entire yard. Begin with a small container or border area for flowers. If you want vegetables, get some large pots or create a small garden area and fill with easy-to-grow lettuce, delicious tomatoes, or rambling cucumbers. Gardening is a wonderful activity for parents and grandparents to share with the younger generation while creating pleasant memories for the future.

Garden to save money.  Gardening is a great way to have the freshest vegetables

The Healing Garden

In the best of times flowers help us celebrate the joyous occasions in our lives—the birth of a child, a wedding, career or personal success. In more difficult times plants give us hope and inspiration to meet the challenges of life.

The role of the plants and gardens in healing is ancient. As early as 3000 B.C. the Chinese were using medicinal herbs. The Greeks built a temple for Aesclepius, their god of healing, set among mineral springs, bathing pools, and healing gardens. Green was a sacred color in ancient Egypt and represented the hope of spring that brought new vegetation and life.

In colonial America, the Quakers felt a deep attachment to nature and believed gardens were a place of creativity for the mind and body. Growing plants was a way to relax and restore the soul. One of the first programs to use plants in a therapeutic setting was established in 1879 at Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital after a physician noticed that psychiatric patients working in the hospital’s fields and flower gardens were calmer and that the gardens had a “curative” effect on them.

In more recent times, advances in technology and new drugs have been the focus of treatment at medical

Homegrown In The City

Cucumbers are cool and peppers are hot as many people are showing renewed interest in growing their own vegetables. Today’s vegetable gardens come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles, and can be found in a backyard, on a patio, even on a rooftop.

A national survey from the Garden Writers Association Foundation found that vegetable or fruit plants are second on the list of plants gardeners plan to purchase this spring – up from fourth place just a year ago. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of consumers plan on buying vegetable or fruit plants, behind lawn and grass (54%) but ahead of both annual (35%) and perennial flowers (31%), as well as trees and shrubs (35%).

There may be several reasons for this increased interest in vegetable gardening. Skyrocketing gas prices and increasing food costs at the grocery store are pinching our wallets. Food-borne illnesses and safety issues make us unsure about the food we buy and where it comes from. Concern about the environment is forcing us to look at how best to use our natural resources.

Vicki Nowicki of Downers Grove, Illinois, a gardener for more than 25 years, loves to grow her own vegetables because “I can just walk outside

Bountiful Harvest from Your Patio

At National Garden Bureau, we like to encourage even the brown thumbs out there to attempt gardening, even if on a small scale. And what better way to start than with produce grown on your own patio?

Container growing offers many benefits, not the least of which is that you can put a “garden” just about anywhere. Cement balconies on a highrise building can become urban gardens, and a backyard deck or patio becomes a produce garden at your fingertips. Some of the top vegetable breeders are encouraging this trend by breeding smaller more compact varieties that still are prolific producers.

Without a doubt, container gardens will require less weeding than their in-ground counterparts. This makes them ideal for busy people who love gardening but have limited time. However, watering has to be monitored more closely. Containers in hot sun can dry out quickly, and even a gentle summer breeze will wick moisture from plants. Be prepared to water daily or even twice daily during long, hot, dry spells.

As for supplies, the shopping list is small:

* Appropriately sized container (bigger is usually better)
* Good quality growing medium
* Young plants or seeds
* Stakes or cages if growing vining edibles

After that, with a little sun, a little water and a little patience, you’ll soon have fresh delicious

Edible Flowers

Garnishing with edible flowers is nothing new but it certainly adds an exotic and creative touch of elegance to a meal or dish, not to mention a splash of color and culinary interest. Although edible flowers are readily available in your local market or grocery store, National Garden Bureau has created a great article about growing your own edible flowers here on our website. With the limited space in this newsletter, we’ll highlight a few points about edible flowers and then provide some helpful links if you wish to venture further.

Consulting a reputable book or website on which flowers are edible is always a good first step and National Garden Bureau finds extension websites to be a reliable source of information:

North Carolina State University offers this resource and table describing edible flower options.

Iowa State University’s Extension office has an easy-to-read brochure describing the most popular edible flowers in the midwest.

Colorado State University’s Extension office has a fact sheet that includes a lengthy table on edibles as well as a shorter list of garden plants with toxic flowers.

Be sure to follow precautions on proper identification of flowers, use pest control products specifically made for use on edible crops (or grow your

Native Plants for the Home, Garden and Landscape

Native plants are among the best new plants for American gardens, yet they have been growing in North American prairies, woods, and deserts for hundreds of years. However, the term native is often misunderstood and misused because all plants are native to some region of the world. The term is used here to identify a plant that was growing naturally in what we now call the United States, Canada and Mexico before European settlement. A plant that was originally discovered growing in southern Florida is native even though it doesn’t grow in Minnesota or California. A native plant may also be called an indigenous species. Other plants, often referred to as exotics or aliens, were originally brought here from another part of the world, but have become established as part of a local environment. They are not native but often have become naturalized.
Many of these beautiful yet hard-working plants are equally at home in garden beds and borders as they are in larger wildflower plantings and prairie restorations. In fact many North American natives may already be growing in your garden. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica),columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), butterfly weed(Asclepias tuberosa), Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and black-eyed or brown-eyed Susans(Rudbeckia triloba and R. hirta) are among