Hanging baskets make a wonderful gift for Mom on Mother’s Day, or any occasion really! Container gardening is easier than you think, and hanging baskets make a lovely addition to any porch or patio. Whether you plant your own from the start, or simply purchase a ready-to-go basket, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to keep your hanging baskets blooming all spring and summer long. Continue reading Caring For Hanging Baskets
Early perennial flowers herald the coming of spring and are a welcome splash of color in the late winter landscape. Perennials are plants that come back every year after declining during the winter months. Early blooming perennials include some bulbs, shrubs, ground covers or flowering plants.
Early Perennial Flowering Ground Covers
Early flowering ground covers work well with spring flowering bulbs as the bulbs come up within them and then die back allowing the ground cover to crowd out weeds during the summer. If needed, prune back ground covers after a bloom period. Examples of early flowering ground covers are evening primrose, ajuga, lily of the valley, creeping phlox and lamium.
Early Perennial Flowering Shrubs
Early blooming shrubs are often fragrant additions to the garden. Prune early blooming shrubs right after the bloom period because many set their blooms for the next season in summer. Examples are azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, viburnum, and spicebush.
Other Early Blooming Perennial Plants
Other plants that make a great choice for the early blooming perennial garden are dianthus, bleeding heart, lenton rose, sweet violet, lupine, and pasque flower.
Plant early flowering perennials among plants that don’t reappear until the weather warms. For example, plant hyacinth, tulip or muscari bulbs in the same bed you plant annual flowering plant seeds. The annuals will come up and cover the declining foliage of the flowering bulbs as the season warms. Also, plant early flowering shrubs under trees that lose their leaves in the winter. The barren trees make an excellent backdrop for early spring blooming shrubs such as azaleas and viburnum.
Not many plants are as tolerant of their growing conditions like succulents are. Here’s how to make an easy table top design that is beautiful on its own, or works as a part of a larger project such as a fairy garden.
By planting a pollinator-friendly garden you are making a difference for honey bees, bumble bees, other bees and pollinators that bring us 1 in every 3 bites of food.
Establishing habitat can be challenging but there are certain things you can do to make it easier and more successful. You are probably aware of many of the points listed below; use what is helpful to your site and disregard what is not.
- Choose a sunny location.
- Pick a site that has water access; most plantings usually need water for at least the first few weeks while they establish.
- Start with a manageable size for YOU to plant and maintain – a window box is enough if that is what works for you.
- Look for sites that are protected from strong wind.
- Provide nearby ground nesting sites with bare ground or debris (don’t be too tidy!) and wood nesting sites with wood blocks.
- Provide a source of water.
PLANT SELECTION – PLANTS VS. SEEDS
- Seeds will take longer to provide habitat, but they can cover more ground and cost less.
- Select native plants whenever possible (the FREE ecoregional planting guides at www.pollinator.org are really helpful for all!)
- The plants you select must provide nectar for carbohydrate and pollen for protein to the pollinators.
- Different floral shapes and colors will attract different pollinators. The Pollinator Partnership’s Ecoregional Guides will help identify pollinator needs.
- Monarch butterflies require regionally specific milkweeds on which they will lay their eggs, and also nectar supplying plants to fuel their flights.
- Though native plants are most helpful to local ecosystems and pollinators; here is a list of plants that do pretty well everywhere and are widely available:
- Lavandula spp. (Lavender)
Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
Salvia spp. (Sage)
Echinacea spp. (Coneflower)
Helianthus spp. (Sunflower)
Cercis spp. (Redbud)
Nepeta spp. (Catnip)
Penstemon spp. (Penstemon)
Stachys spp. (Lamb’s ears)
Verbena spp. (Verbena)
Phacelia spp. (Bells or Phacelia)
Aster spp. (Aster)
Rudbeckia spp. (Black-eyed Susan)
Origanum spp. (Oregano)
Achilliea millefolium (Yarrow)
- Plant like plants together – pollinators like large targets to find their source of food.
- Plan for continuous bloom throughout the growing season so that a good food source is always in bloom.
- Once you get your seed, store it in a cool dry place until you are ready to seed. Never store seed in a car, plastic bag or outside.
- If you are uncertain, check the pH of your soil. For forge seed germination and establishment, the pH should be between 5.0 and 7.0. An inexpensive pH meter can be used to conduct this test. Remove all weeds and other debris from the pollinator buffer site.
- Remove all grassy areas before seeding.
- Evenly scatter the seed throughout.
- If deer are a problem, install a deer fence.
- Cover the newly scatter seed with no more than 1/4” of soil.
- Water the newly seeded pollinator buffer weekly for 4-6 weeks post-seeding (if it is extremely hot and dry, water more frequently).
MAINTENANCE AND BEYOND
- Be sure to have an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in order to eliminate the impact of pesticides on pollinators. Access to clean forage is critical to pollinator health.
- Register your pollinator habitat – no matter what the size – on the Pollinator Partnership’s SHARE site (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment). You can create an account there and upload photos or videos of your pollinator garden. You will locate your pollinator garden on a Google map that can be visited and updated again and again and connects you to all the “pollinator people” across the United States who are “sharing” a part of their neighborhood for pollinators.
WHEN IS EARTH DAY 2017?
This observance always falls on April 22. On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, and companionship with nature! Walk through the woods in search of emerging wildflowers and green moss. Go outside, no matter what the weather!
WHAT IS EARTH DAY?
Ever wondered how Earth Day started? This observance arose from an interest in gathering national support for environmental issues.
In 1970, San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration. McConnell chose the spring equinox (March 21, 1970) and Nelson chose April 22.
Millions of people participated, and today Earth Day continues to be widely celebrated with events on both dates.
The most common practice of celebration is to plant new trees for Earth Day.
EARTH DAY DATES
|2017||Saturday, April 22|
|2018||Sunday, April 22|
|2019||Monday, April 22|
EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS
Celebrate Earth Day!
- Plant wildflowers! See our article, Wild About Wildflowers.
- Go native! Plants thrive when they’re natural to your area. See our article on natural landscaping.
- Bring nature into the garden with plants that attract butterflies.
- Try an organic vegetable garden. Here are tips on organic seed-starting.
- Conserve water. See our tips on a water-wise garden.
EARTH DAY QUOTES AND POETRY
The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck in the earth and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair.