Showing posts with label backyard gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label backyard gardens. Show all posts

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Choosing Flowers for an East West Facing Home

A Popular Easy to Maintain Full Sun Flower Basket
featuring Bell Flowers, Petunias, and Verbena
A Review of Flowers for a House Where the Afternoon Sun is in the Front Yard and the Morning Sun is in the Backyard
Or the reverse.

Our home faces directly East-West and over twenty years ago when we purchased our home, I wasn't experienced enough with flower planting to understand how the sun floated around our home to keep the poor things alive for an extended period of time.

I'm not a gardening or flower expert by any stretch of the imagination, however I have, via trial and error, found some easy to choose flowers that will survive the daily trip around the sun.


Climbing Rose Bush in Front Island

Our Front Yard is Fully Treed - Easy Care, However Not Flower Friendly

Ha! That solves it. Little room for flower errors.

After filling our yard with greenery, it became difficult to get annual flowers to grow. So other than a few select potted plants, there are few flowers to care for in the front.

As you can see in the featured photo, we have a small front island, however, after trying and retrying a variety of flowers in it, nothing seemed to grow. So we placed easy to grow juniper as ground filler to contrast with the stepping stones, and stuck with one climbing rose bush.

However, it's not just a rose bush, it has a spiritual connection.

A friend of our family was sadly diagnosed with cancer, and before he passed away we were able to purchase this rose bush from his store, and it's thrived for about twenty years now.

More freakishly, these are the ONLY perennial flowers to have survived our front yard for over twenty years. Divine intervention? We think of him every time we look at the rose bush, so we like to think so.


Begonias on the Table - They Like the Shade
Backyard Flowers - Morning Sun that Floats Away from the House by 11:00am and Finally Leaves the Yard by 5:00pm

I've essentially stayed with three or four types of flowers.

The flowers closest to the house that only feel sun til 11:00am, are 'Sun Impatiens' also known as New Guinea Impatiens.

Unlike regular shade impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens can tolerate about a half a day of sun. Morning sun is best.

To add color to the patio table, we used Begonias. They like the shade, and since the umbrella is up most of the time, they work in that spot.

For the flower planter which gets sun all day, we selected a mixed arrangement featuring three of my favorite flowers, Verbena, Bellflowers (Campanula family), and Petunias. However, skip the Petunias for a mostly maintenance free bouquet.

Popular New Guinea Impatiens - Easy to Care For
they can handle about 3 or 4 hours of a sun a day,
morning sun is best

The Complete Story of How We Landscaped this Challenging Yard, More Here:




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Sunday, July 8, 2018

How to Bring English Ivy Back to Life - A Review of What Worked

How to Repair English Ivy
Let me start by saying, I'm not a gardening expert.

What you'll find here is something I tried from an online search on how to bring English Ivy back to life … and it sounded too simple, but it freaking worked!

I can't guarantee you'll have as much luck as I did, but considering how easy it was, perhaps you'll be able to restore your Ivy as well? It's worth a try.

I've included a couple of videos, both taken just recently in 2018: One shows the disaster that our Ivy became this year, along with patchy, blotchy lawn.

The other video shows the results of new lawn growth and Ivy growth after using the two products indicated below.

BEFORE: Take a Look at the Disaster of our Ivy this Year. You'll also see the Lawn before the Repairs. What a Mess!



What Killed the Ivy You Ask?

The Ivy that surrounds our back patio has been there, without ever dying, since we had the patio installed in the early 1990s. I've NEVER had to repair it. The Ivy has always been a reliable patio ground-cover support.

We chose Ivy because it's maintenance free and has been so until this year, 2018.

So what took the life out of our Ivy? It could have been the harsh winter we just had, but I doubt that as we've had many harsh winters over the past twenty plus years. Or it could have been dog urine. We recently had a lovely dog visitor over the winter and he enjoyed choosing the Ivy to do his business on. Quite frankly, we suspect it was the doggie urine.

What Did We Do to Repair the Ivy?

The big secret was Miracle Grow. Honestly our Ivy was so bad that I really didn't expect it to work. After searching online for what to use to revive the Ivy, the most consistent response Google kept kicking back was 'Miracle Grow'. So I gave in, and tried it.

AFTER: Take a Look at the Ivy and Lawn After the Repair was Done this Year!




There's a Few HOWEVERS Though

1. However, as mentioned above, each year I repair our lawn with Scotts EZseed Patch and Repair. Scotts EZ is a combination of Mulch, Seed and Fertilizer.
Here's the Ivy fully Repaired - The Lawn Growing Nicely

I highly recommend Scotts EZSeed!

Every year I buy several large bags and spread it along the perimeter of our cedar trees and on the dry dead patches of our lawn.

The cedar trees suck the life out of our lawn, so after replacing our lawn three times over the past several decades, I decided to consistently repair it year after year instead. Best decision.

Also, I  did try another brand of Lawn Repair and Scotts was far superior.

The reason I mention the Lawn repair is because who knows whether the fertilizer in it somehow enhanced the Miracle Grow on the Ivy. Not being a gardener, I have no idea, but thought you should know.

2. That's not the only fertilizer in our yard. Each year I also put 36 Tree Fertilizer Spikes in the ground around the cedars. You can read about how awesome that works for the trees here.

So in summary, our annual routine is normally tree fertilizer spikes and Scotts EZSeed Repair for the lawn, but this year's disaster with the Ivy called for Miracle Grow to repair it, and it worked!

Here's What the Ivy Looked Liked Last Year and Every Year Before that - Before the 'Dead Ivy' Crisis of 2018.

We've restored the Ivy again and it's Well on it's Way to Looking Like it has for over 20 Years




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Sunday, June 3, 2018

An Easy Tip to Help Keep the Trees on Your Property Healthy - A Personal Review

Our Backyard Trees - Kept Healthy with this Easy Tip
About ten years ago, while visiting a client, I had to know how in the world they were able to get the massive trees on their property to stay so healthy and look so beautiful.

He pointed to the neighbors trees across the street and said, 'when we first purchased this house, these trees looked just like those'. And 'Those' weren't very nice at all. 

I asked him, 'what did you do?'

Here's the tip he passed along to me, and we've been using it ever since for the trees in our yard.

He said, every spring and fall, we put Evergreen Fertilizer Spikes around all of our trees.

'That's it?' I asked.

He was adamant, 'yep, just put them in and forget it'.

'How long before you saw results?' 

He said it was by next year that the trees had a new life.

Our Home Has so Many Trees, I Had to Try This Product

When we purchased our home over 20 years ago we hand planted over 50 Cedar Trees in our
A Closer Look at the Health of Our Trees
from Implementing this One Tip
backyard, and in the front yard put a Blue Spruce, a Birch Tree and an English Oak Tree, along with shrubs.

As the years went on I noticed that the cedar trees in the backyard were looking a little rough, and knowing that sparse Cedar Trees aren't attractive, an immediate solution was in order.

For some reason my mind believed that caring for trees would be complicated. Wow, was I wrong!

I highly recommend using Fertilizer Spikes to care for your trees. Our experience has been fantastic.

Not being a tree expert in any way shape or form, I simply had to trust that this product would do the job.

You can find Fertilizer Spikes at just about any hardware store or The Home Depot or of course, online. 

I'm not fussy on any particular brand. The only thing I look for, for our trees, are spikes that say 'Evergreen'. There are various fertilizer spikes for different types of trees and shrubs. Just pick the ones you need based on your trees/shrubs.

This year I added another fertilizer spike to the mix, one that was for both Evergreens and Flowering Shrubs.

How Do You Put Fertilizer Spikes in the Ground?

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. That's how :)

The ones I buy come twelve in a pack, with two plastic tops to use to hammer them in the ground.

It's like making Elephant Pudding (tee hee, an old elephant joke) - simply follow the directions on the package.

I use three boxes, that's 36 spikes for the backyard, and this year I used 30 spikes for the front yard. Some of the front yard spikes were for flowering shrubs.

Also, they say to use the spikes for spring and fall and I've only ever put them in the ground in the spring. However, I think this year I'll put them in the ground again in the fall.

I've put some of the product choices below, but as mentioned above, I'm not dedicated to a particular brand. Each year I just grab whatever is on the shelf at the local hardware store. I have used both brands featured below, and both were fine. I don't have a preference.




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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Backyard Garden Birds: Springtime Review

Backyard Bird World
With the arrival of Spring, many of us see charming birds return to our backyard gardens. So, it's time to review what these birds need to encourage them. Besides Robins, which nearly everyone of us sees as heralding Spring, there are many regional birds. Like the Eastern Bluebird. OK, that's one of my personal favorites. And I found an article on Easy Backyard Gardening that highlights these delightful little birds.

Great Photo Opportunities


The author of Best Wooden Birdhouses shares photos of the Eastern Bluebirds that occupy her own backyard garden. She has a wooden birdhouse for them that blends well with her wooden fence. A nice security features for the birds themselves.

Anytime you add bird-friendly features to your own backyard gardens you get great photo opportunities. I can attest to that. I have been able to get photos of baby Swifts in the nest, brilliant Northern Cardinals on my window feeder and Yellow Finches hanging out in my Cedar trees.

The simple addition of a good wooden birdhouse will give you plenty of photo opps. Just make sure to stop and see the birds.

Hummingbirds in Backyard Gardens


Most everyone can enjoy the return of the tiny hummingbird. With a few-well placed feeders (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-houses-feeders/care-of-hummingbird-feeders), these
Care of Hummingbird Feeders
birds will return to your backyard garden year after year. Hummingbird feeders take a little bit of care, but are definitely worth the time. Seeing the hovering little birds around your yard is a site worth enjoying.

So make sure to add feeders that will encourage hummingbirds to share your garden space with you. For those of you who enjoy planting flowers, add some bright red ones. That will also help hummingbirds be attracted to your backyard gardens. The beauty of the flowers will be enhanced by the presence of charming birds.

Get Your Backyard Garden Ready


Make sure to take a little time and get your own backyard garden ready to welcome back the springtime birds. Whether it's a new wooden birdhouse or a hummingbird feeder, the birds will appreciate it. And you will appreciate seeing the birds in your garden.





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