async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: June 2014

About Me

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Gardening is my middle name. I have been an avid gardener for 50 years.  My goal is to help anyone who wants to start a Cottage Garden, be able to do so without the expense and frustration of beginning gardeners. I hope to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experience and help make this blog a knowledgeable and fun read.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

8 Winning Mini Landscape Window Boxes

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  Window boxes are the perfect solution for  wanabe gardeners who lack room, time and money.  Window boxes do not require much maintenance and for under a hundred dollars you can create a masterpiece.
Sprucing up a facade is just the start of the window box's talents. Its potted plantings also bring garden scenes up close and invite flowery perfumes indoors. And because window boxes are so prominently placed—and generally on public view—they claim more attention than patio pots without requiring any additional effort or expense. They're amazingly versatile, especially if you push past a mere gathering of geraniums, as pretty as those can be, for a layered mix with nuance and dimension




Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

As with ground-level beds, light conditions will determine what you can grow. Full sun accommodates blooming annuals, while shade best suits foliage plants, like coleus and caladium. To properly show off these displays, select a box that's the same width as the window.Use sturdy brackets to attach the box to your house, and invest in a high-quality potting mix.
Arrange plants on top of the soil until you're happy with how the design looks from inside and out. Then ease them out of the nursery pots and settle.

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Year Round Window Boxes

With a little effort, you can keep box displays going strong all year. Regularly check the soil, daily in hot weather, and water thoroughly when it feels dry a half inch down. Since nutrients wash out quickly from containers, fertilizer is a must. Good options include fish emulsion or liquid kelp, diluted to half strength and applied every two weeks.
Switch out cool-weather plants—pansies and cyclamen, say—for heat-lovers, like marigolds, as summer arrives. And as temperatures drop, try sneaking in edibles, like lettuce, for fall and a row of dwarf conifers for winter color.

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Spillers add Drama

Trailing plants balance upright growers while warming up walls with their soft textures. Good picks are plants with naturally vining or spreading habits.

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The stems of bacopa, dichondra, and parrot's beak drape down as geranium, lobelia, 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia, and calibrachoa add welcome color.
 
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Ivy geranium drapes over the box's edge, while the cool hues of purple verbena and wispy gaura enliven the window's crisp white trim and shutters and contrast with the yellow-flowering hedge below.
 
A dwarf Alberta spruce, which gives privacy to the room behind it, is offset by dwarf Hinoki cypress and a ruffle of pink petunias.

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Greens and Creams

As flowering annuals go in and out of bloom, foliage plants maintain their eye-catching impact. Some, like grasses that plume in fall, change with the seasons, while others, like coleus, need flower buds pinched to keep leaves robust.

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Butterfly Haven

A mass planting of caladium, rex begonia, dichondra, coleus, and plectranthus weaves a tapestry of Pollinators flock to variegated Jacob's ladder. Its foliage is a showstopper amid sweet alyssum, penstemon, bacopa, lobelia, and 'Apple Blossom' nicotiana.variegated leaves in varying sizes and shapes.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How to Plan the Perfect Cottage Garden

Plan a Cottage garden today and enjoy a spring floral show. Planning a Cottage Garden does not take a lot of work but will take a multitude of  inspiration and creativity. A Garden Cottage is  whimsical and naturalistic, and it speaks to you, “Come, stroll, stay a while”.
A good cottage garden plan will incorporate many elements, including a butterfly garden, a small water feature, curved  paths, quiet sitting areas, seasonal plants and a herb garden. Cottage Garden’s tend to be a free for all with a plethora of plants and colors and textures and not to mention all sizes and shapes. In a naturalistic cottage garden you will have something blooming all season with the most favorite traditional cottage garden plants being  hollyhocks, foxglove, four o’clock, delphiniums, daisies, coneflowers, echinaceas and last but certainly not least is the lovely roses.

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The  steps in planning your  cottage gardens are listed below:
  1. Make a list of the elements and ideas  you want in your cottage garden
  2. Draw your cottage garden on paper (it is easier to erase than transplant)
  3. Make a list of trees, plants and seasonal plants to buy
  4. Garden by thirds, evergreens, deciduous plants, seasonal plants
  5. Add some curving paths to your cottage garden plan
  6. If you have room for it add a small garden shed.
  7. Add some visual interest such as large pots or flower containers
  8. Add yard art, such as Birdhouses.
Stroll with me in the garden and find some inspiration for your own Cottage Garden plan.
  Plan the Design


The Cottage Garden style is free form, but there are certain consistent elements in every cottage garden. Take a long look at your yard, and then draw a sketch of the perimeters and put your thoughts on paper first. It is a lot easier to use an eraser than re-digging with a shovel. Try to incorporate some soft flowing curves so when you are walking each little turn should bring a surprise. Plan your Cottage Garden to meander with curves. A curving walkway delivers more photographic interest than a straight path and accentuates the garden around it. Construct curves around points of interest like a scented tree or bush, boulder, and a lush floral container planter.


Plant the Large Trees

 
A good backyard landscaping idea is to use trees and stout bushes. They will   add a stately nature to the feel of your home while keeping it welcoming and   warm. They will give the yard the structure and the stability that it needs for a good backyard landscaping idea and design.
A small dogwood tree or weeping cherry lend height and width to landscape   and in the spring delight with visually spectacular blossoms. Deciduous      shrubs such as lilacs and tree peonies lack winter leaves, but their woody    structure holds interest and form in the winter and in the spring they excel.
Hardscape


Another good backyard landscaping idea is to use hardscape. This is the use of things like rocks, fences, and walls. These can make your yard look very interesting during all of the seasons. You can have climbing plants on it in the summer and spring and pretty trees around it that will look great in the winter. When looking for a good backyard landscaping idea you need to look for other options besides just plants. It is much more to landscaping than just plants and trees.
Walls and fences can frame your property beautifully and using them is such a great backyard landscaping idea because they will just accent all of your other wonderful backyard landscaping ideas. They will frame your yard as a picture frames a gorgeous painting. Look at this kind of backyard landscaping idea as well in your search for the one.

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If you plan to add a Garden Shed, now is the time to add it. Garden Sheds can enhance the appeal,  interest and usability of your Garden. They can be a simple design or a whimsical Cottage structure.

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A Cottage Garden essential is the Trellis or arbor. Climbing roses or clematis will add height and scale to your Cottage Garden plan.   Powder Coated Iron Scrollwork And Lattice Garden Arbor Our intricately designed arbor makes any garden more special

        Seasonal Plants
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These plants are typically the flowering plants of spring and summer, and a garden would not be a garden without them. They are considered the lifeblood of the garden border.  These seasonal plants come in an array of color and heights. When selecting these plants,   consider  their overall contribution to the garden in regards to the duration of bloom, when they bloom and their sense of place in the garden. If your aim is to have a naturalistic garden, then varies the seasonal plants the garden as to shape, height and foliage to give it a natural cottage garden appeal.

  Sitting Area



All Cottage Gardens should  have a quiet spot for reading and relaxing.. A solitary bench   or chair at the end of the path suggests “takes a seat and smells the roses” Wicker furniture   popular in the 19th century remains as charming today as ever.


Decorative or Antique  Ornaments
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This is where you can let your creativity soar. Birdhouse and Birdbaths are an eye appealing yard art, but you can also use an old wheelbarrow, butterfly house, Urns, statues, Armillary, and old watering cans. The ideas are too numerous to list.






















Monday, June 9, 2014

Can You Use a Smart Pot?

 

imagesAN18VBDT  Gardeners have known for over thirty years that    Smart Pots grow better plants because of the fabric used in their construction. The tough, long lasting   Smart Pot material has just the right amount of porosity to promote air root pruning, excellent drainage and allow excess heat to escape, producing superior plants.

 

What are Smart Pots? They're soft-sided, fabric containers that feel a lot like felt, but aren't made of felt-it's a polypropylene material. These pots are good solutions for container gardening because they're reusable, weigh less than terracotta, stone and metal pots; even less than their alternative fiberglass pots. Their light weight also makes them ideal containers for older gardeners, gardeners with mobility issues, balcony gardeners and rooftop gardening.

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Description

  • Bag made from durable, heavy-weight, black polypropylene material
  • Design encourages healthy root structure and growth
  • Porous material is better than plastic for releasing heat
  • 14 Sizes, from a diminutive 7X6 inches all the way to a raised bed size of 50X24 inches.
  • Prices range from $3.50 for a one gallon container to $49.95 for a raised bed 200 gallon size.
  • Even the largest size is light enough to carry, when empty.
  • Hoses off for easy cleaning
  • At the end of the season you can fold or roll Smart Pots up for storage

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As a frugal urban gardener who often creates container gardens from buckets and other items I have a hard time recommending gardeners buy pots because they're so expensive at garden centers and nurseries. But after trying some Smart Pots in the garden this year I've discovered some pots I'm happy to recommend. Smart Pots are a smart solution to container gardening.

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Since Smart Pots are made from a permeable material plant roots don't circle the pot and eventually become root bound like in traditional containers. The root tips emerge outside the fabric only to be "pruned" by being dried out by the air-causing the plant to send out more roots at the root ball. This is called "air pruning." The result are stronger, healthier plants.

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Smart Pots because are more affordable than building raised beds and they're portable. Similarly, Smart Pots could replace the need for urban farms and urban agriculture projects to build raised beds on asphalt and concrete. As I garden in the caleche soil of the desert, I find smart pots the perfect solution for gardeners with “bad” soil. They're also pretty affordable and within the my  means on a budget.

 

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While the pots come in a variety of sizes, but it would be nice for urbanites with gardens in small spaces to have rectangular pots as an option. Amazon was the best buy on these Smart Pots.

                                 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Birds and Bees in my Cottage Garden

DSC02675The Birds have come home to roost but not in the birdhouses I so diligently built this winter, the bees have taken over the birdhouses and are busy making honey.





I think the bees decided to nest here because they were busy all day in the garden and it just made sense to stick close to the “feeding grounds” now all they have to do is fly out the door into the garden which is only 3 feet away then come back home in the afternoon, what could be easier?
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I used some old flower vases and a bowl I haven’t used in awhile and glue it together with gorilla glue and then put some bird food in the bowl, and sit this about 2 feet from my front porch rocker, and the birds enjoy the feast but not as much as I enjoy watching the birds.  This I where I have my early morning coffee. Just me and the birds (and bees of course)!
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The hummingbirds love the new yard art I made and converted to a feeder, all at peace in their world.  It is true the saying “build it and they will come” just maybe not in the order or place you think or want, but all’s good. I made this feeder using an amber candlehholder, the last of a set of three from Bombay, and an amber antique bowl I’ve had for years. Glued together with Gorilla glue and pour a little hummingbird food in the bowl, and wit back and watch them come!

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The bees and hummingbirds love these red roses
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Birds and the bees and hummingbirds like the nectar of this small Zebrina Malvas
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