Beauty in Chaos: The Basics of Cottage Gardening

A cottage garden is a colorful tangle of tumbling flowers and plants that provides a cheerful welcome for visitors. This gardening style is an exercise in creativity and an expression of individuality, with each garden being completely unique. If you’ve ever thought about starting a cottage garden, here are some tips to get you started:

The basics

  • Invest in your soil: Soil quality directly affects plant quality, so make sure soil amendment is one of your first undertakings.
    Soil is filled with organisms that are essential to healthy plant growth, and adding manure or compost is a perfect way to ensure plants have the nutrients they need.IMG_20140802_112704403_1 (1)
  • Consider light conditions: Keep in mind that plants in their ideal conditions are going to thrive and require less upkeep. In general, flowering plants need more sunlight than foliage plants. Have a good idea of how much sun your garden area gets and at what times of the day: is it morning or afternoon sun? Some plants may prefer one or the other.
  • Start with a small area: This allows you to experiment with various plants and slowly build a more intricate garden. You can always move things later if you change your mind.
  • Tall in the back, short in the front: Be sure to position plants with regard to their height so that there is visual interest to pull the eye up and down. Also, take spacing needs into account so that full-grown plants don’t end up crowding each other.

Plant considerations

There are no right or wrong plant choices for this type of garden. Cottage gardens have a soft, romantic feel, which comes from classic flowers. Some traditional cottage garden plant examples are: hollyhocks, daisies, phlox, foxglove, roses and lavender. Don’t overlook fruits, herbs and vegetables as options: not only are they ornamental, but they are a return to the original purpose of cottage gardens, which was to produce food and flowers for a family.

beautifulflowersIt’s important to consider plant textures and shapes. Part of what makes a cottage garden exciting is the artful mixture of a variety of plant shapes and hues. Varying textures and colors give a cottage garden depth and, while at first glance things may seem chaotic, viewers quickly realize that there is a flow and balance in these gardens. Repeating plants or colors is a good way to create harmony and avoid a garden that appears jumbled.

Incorporate objects and barriers

Dress up your cottage garden by creatively using decorative objects, as well as fences and barricades. Fences or barriers can neaten the look of rambling plants and provide support for tall vegetation. When it comes to sculptures or decorations, the more offbeat, the better! Twig structures, lattices, sundials, birdbaths, and fountains are some objects to consider. Natural or worn materials look right at home in cottage gardens, but don’t overdo it: the plants should steal the show.

And the biggest tip for cottage gardening is to just have fun with it! These gardens are ever-evolving, so it’s perfectly okay to keep tweaking plants, placement and objects until you find the combination that speaks to you. Above all: take time to relax and enjoy your garden!

For more gardening tips, be sure to visit the garden center. Our friendly staff is on-hand seven days a week with answers to all your gardening needs.

Residential and Commerical Curb Appeal

The Time to Fertilize is Now!

FEED ME!!!

This is what all of your plants are screaming right now! If you are not on a regular fertilizing schedule, now is an opportune time to start. As we approach the warm weather plants are begging for food because they are about to take off.

WHAT IS N-P-K you say… ?

  • Nitrogen, or Nitrates, are essential components necessary to produce the protein in plants. As a result, plants grown with nitrogen added to the soil are stronger, healthier and bigger.
  • Phosphorus functions as one of the major players in the process of photosynthesis, nutrient transport, and energy transfer. It supports robust and brightly colored blooms.
  • Potassium in most fertilizers is water soluble otherwise can’t be absorbed by the plant roots. Potassium controls the plant cells that use water. Without enough potassium, the cells don’t efficiently use water and the plant is unhealthy. It then becomes vulnerable to disease and heat stress. Potassium also aids the enzymes promoting plant life. Without potassium, the plant cannot cycle the nutrients to feed roots, leaves and fruits.

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Houseplant Care Tips

Houseplants- Garden Supply Co

Returned home from summer holiday just to find your beloved houseplants looking a bit peaked? Well, you are not alone. While it may be fairly easy to find friends or neighbors willing to pop over to water your outdoor containers, indoor houseplants are often overlooked and forgotten during vacation travel. And although your plants can probably withstand a few days, prolonged neglect can turn healthy houseplants into a wilted puddle. But before you throw those plants away, it may be possible to revive them with these helpful houseplant care tips.

Houseplant Care Tips:

To revive wilted houseplants, follow these easy steps.

1. Use a fork to lightly break up the dry surface of the soil. As a plant dries out, peat-based potting mixtures and the plant’s rootball shrink away from the pot sides, so any water will be shred and run off. Lightly breaking up the surface allows water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots rather than simply running down the drain.

2. Immerse the pot in a bucket of warm water. Wait until the mixture becomes completely wet and the bubbles stop appearing.

3. Allow any excess water to drain away, and then put the plant into a cool, well-lit location. If you caught the plant in time, it should recover in a few hours.

For more houseplant care tips, stop by the garden center. Our friendly experts are on hand seven days a week with answers to all your gardening questions!

Planting Guide

Our 2013 comprehensive planting guide will give you the “how to” on planting annuals to perennial trees and shrubs. Just Click on the image below or follow the link to our PDF, printer-friendly version. Happy planting!

 

2013 Planting Guide

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PlantingGuide2013  (printer-friendly PDF version)

Spring Check List

GSC in springIt’s here! Spring is finally officially here! And with spring comes peak planting time. Time to break out your gardening tools, lawn mowers, and those garden plans you’ve been pouring over all winter, and get out in the yard! Well………maybe just as soon as it warms up a bit more, right? But before you get too busy with your spring planting, there are a few things you should do to get ready first. Follow our spring check list now and enjoy successful and smooth gardening in the months to come.

Clean Up Those Garden Beds

It’s a good idea to clean up your garden beds before too much new growth occurs with the onset of warmer weather. As the new growth emerges, prune away any dead, winter-killed leaves and shoots, and compost them or bury them in the vegetable garden.

Press back any plants that may have frost-heaved over the winter. Maintain a 2-inch layer of mulch around your plants. Keep the mulch away from the crowns and directly away from the stems to avoid rot.

Dig up, divide, and replant any established plants if they’ve become too crowded. A key sign of crowding is if flowering has been sparse. Some fast-growing perennials need to be divided between one and three years after planting.

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Tune Up Those Lawn Mowers

Soon, it will be time to break out the lawn mowers, but before you do, it’s a good idea to give them a tune-up. Plan to service your lawn mower yourself or take it to a lawn repair shop. A few of the items that should be looked at include:

  • Air Filter- Clean or replace if damaged
  • Spark Plug- Clean or replace if cracked
  • Oil- Check to see that it’s filled to the right level. Change the oil as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Mower Blade- Replace if chipped, cracked, or bent. Maintain a sharp mower blade to cut the grass cleanly. This is important not only for a great looking lawn, but a healthy one, too. A dull mower blade tears the grass, leaving a rough appearance, and leaving it vulnerable to insect or disease attacks.
  • Tires- Examine the tires for wear and replace them if necessary to give you better traction and maneuverability.
  • Check for loose screws and bolts on the handle controls and the motor, now and throughout the season

Pull Out Those Weeds

Handpull or spot treat any winter annual weeds that may have already sprouted in your lawn and bedding areas. These pesky little invaders are not only unsightly, they actually pull moisture and nutrients out of the soil, robbing your plants of needed benefits.

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Check Those Garden Tools

Dull and broken garden tools are a side-effect of working in the yard. Of course, it’s downright difficult to, say, prune with dull shears. But shears that won’t cut will pull and tear instead, which only damages your plants, leaving them vulnerable to disease. So inspect your garden tools and repair where you can, and replace if necessary.

For more gardening tips, be sure to visit the garden center. Our friendly staff is on-hand seven days a week to help with all your gardening needs.

Happy Spring everyone!