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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Short, Tall and In Between
Design tips for a beautiful garden at all levels

Each gardener, whether novice or experienced, begins a new garden full of fresh hopes and desires. Desires vary – one gardener may wish to grow fanciful flowers in a cutting garden; others may want a wildlife habitat with diverse plantings to feed birds, bees and butterflies. Another may want to grow a vegetable garden, with an added desire to make it as beautiful as it is functional.

>> read “Short, Tall and In Between”       #Advice   #Design
How Much Should I Plant?

Picture this: You are sitting by the fireplace in January and the stack of seed catalogs is next to you. You have a hot cup of cocoa and you are looking forward to digging into the catalogs. You have your Post-It Notes right there, too, because you are going to mark everything that you want to order and plant for the vegetable garden. You place all of your orders, and then all of sudden it's planting time and you can't quite figure out how you are going to fit all of those seeds (let alone the plants that you just picked up at the garden center) in your garden. Expanding the garden is not an option (at least that's what my husband keeps telling me every year but somehow it just gets bigger and bigger!).

Does this sound familiar? I used to be really bad at over purchasing seeds and plants. I figured that since I have room, it would be OK to just let the garden size creep another foot or two. Until this got out of control and I had an epiphany one summer a few years ago: A lot of the produce that I was planting was just going to waste. So I started planning my vegetable garden according to what we would consume ...

>> read “How Much Should I Plant?”       #Design   #Seeds   #Vegetables
Sculpture in the Garden

On a spring morning while visiting Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston, SC, I left the main pathways and walked onto a narrow trail that led among Spanish-moss draped magnolias and bald cypresses. The trail went past an open glade, wild in its tangle of wisteria vines and solitary azalea and camellia blossoms. It had an eerie and deserted look about it, and I was startled by a white figure standing in the far distance like a mirage. When I looked closer, I realized that it was a white marble statue of a woman. Suddenly this abandoned space came alive. It was inhabited by this lovely sculpture, and my eyes focused on the glistening figure standing evocatively among the tangled vegetation.

>> read “Sculpture in the Garden”       #Decorating   #Design   #Misc
Japanese Style in the Garden

Japanese gardens have weathered the test of time.

Principles originating centuries ago still guide and inspire garden designers in search of harmony and beauty. Japanese gardens are often described as beautiful, simple, serene and harmonious. For the aspiring designer, intimidating also comes to mind. Some design principles are consistent across all design disciplines, while others seem new and challenging to a Western-minded gardener. Let’s explore the Japanese garden and discuss a few concepts that make this approach so enduring.

>> read “Japanese Style in the Garden”       #Design   #Themed Gardens   #Unusual
Natural Hardscaping
Using natural materials for your landscaping

More and more gardeners and landscapers are heading “back to the land.” In addition to self-sufficiency, less pesticide use, growing heirloom vegetable varieties, urban homesteading, hardscaping using natural materials is also becoming more popular. This provides a wealth of natural materials for landscaping and design work.

>> read “Natural Hardscaping”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Natives
How to Build a Living Fence

Fences can fill a number of needs in the garden: They can enclose a space and define it, they can keep the dogs in or the neighbor’s cats out, they often tell the gardener where to stop planting. But they can also become part of the planting and design scheme itself. That is, they can support plants and allow their form to be seen in their best light. Of course, the typical cottage garden picket fence does a great job – but construction is not always easy or cheap. There is an alternative though – a wood and wire fence.

>> read “How to Build a Living Fence”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #How to
Movement in the Garden

Wind blowing, water flowing, grasses swaying and children playing – movement brings a garden to life.

It seems unimaginable for a garden to be still. Do you often find yourself looking at something moving from the corner of your eye, or do you look to a sound made by the moving wind? Movement engages you in the garden. Movement can be introduced with plants or personality; look around your garden to see how you can add more movement in your garden.

>> read “Movement in the Garden”       #Design   #Misc   #Ornamentals
Between a Rock and a Hardscape

A few years ago, a friend was installing night lighting in a garden for his client who wanted stone features as accents among the plants and around a backyard patio where he entertained family and friends. My friend invited me to accompany him to a garden center specializing in stone products. I was amazed at the choices of stone available – from small natural stone, to flat cut stone, to relatively large boulders. Displays showed examples of stone for terraces, walls, benches, paths and water features.

The possibilities seemed endless, and I began to see stone and rocks in an entirely different way. I began to notice them in fields and woods, along roadsides and in other natural settings. I began to realize that no garden could be complete without stone.

>> read “Between a Rock and a Hardscape”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Misc
Bridges in the Garden

The most admired image of a garden bridge is the one at Giverny in France, immortalized in paintings by Claude Monet and photographed by scores of visitors intent on capturing Monet’s vision. Gently arching over a narrow part of the lily pond, this Japanese-style bridge has green railings and an arbor that rises above it, entwined with trailing wisteria vines. Looking across the glistening pond filled with waterlilies, the bridge creates a romantic and dreamy background in harmony with the graceful weeping willows and the green lushness of the garden.

Garden bridges can be both purposeful and enchanting. They not only provide access across a pond, a small stream, a ravine or a swale, but can also create a dramatic focal point. Bridges are a symbol of transition and passage, and are often considered a metaphor for life. Crossing a bridge and looking down into a swiftly flowing stream or still pond opens up vistas into and across the water. It also gives you a new perspective as you view the garden from such a vantage point.

>> read “Bridges in the Garden”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Misc
The Thrill of a Threshold

New beginnings are easily born on thresholds. Whether it’s in the garden or in life, this point of transition symbolizes a new beginning. For brides, being carried across the threshold of a new home marks the start of a new phase of life. For my own wedding in 1988, my husband and I were married on the banks of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, Va., on a dock that served as the threshold of our new life together.

A threshold is where one moves from one space to the next – an arbor, a bridge, a gate, a break in the hedge, a set of dramatic steps leading to a level change or even a pair of columns – made of either shrubs or trees, or hardscape materials. They punctuate a space, alerting visitors they are about to experience a change in scenery.

>> read “The Thrill of a Threshold”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Misc
The Art and Science of Concrete

The hardscape of a landscape provides the “bones” of an overall design. Typical hardscape features are patios, pathways, stairways and various garden structures.

Concrete is often used for paved areas, and the number of options available to homeowners is only limited by one’s imagination. The bright white of new concrete is highly reflective and sometimes isn’t the first choice of a finish. Given a little bit of time, any concrete will begin to age and the bright-white tones will mute to a tan, earthen color simply through normal weathering.

>> read “The Art and Science of Concrete”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Misc
Privacy in the Garden

When we are in our gardens, there are times when we may want to separate ourselves from the world outside. Sometimes an enclosed space feels right. Whether we are in a contemplative mood or just under the weather, sitting in the garden serves as a remedy. Other more practical needs, such as sunbathing, having breakfast in a bathrobe, or simply not wanting to engage in conversation with a neighbor, call for screening.

Often we really like our neighbors, but require just enough of a barrier that implies that we enjoy having them next door, but that our yard is not perpetually open for foot traffic. Fence panels and groups of shrubs work well in this situation, rather than continuous fence or hedging. Frequently, being seen in our yards is not a problem – we just do not want to engage in conversation with the neighbor.

>> read “Privacy in the Garden”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Misc
 
 
 

New from our Bloggers:


Renovate a Neglected Perennial Garden
Steps to renovate a perennial flower bed

[+] North Country Gardening