Showing posts with label backyards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label backyards. 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:




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

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.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Preparing for Winter's Backyard Birds

Backyard Bird World

It's time to review how to prepare your backyard for those charming birds that will spend the Winter months with us. It's not a difficult job, but it's a fun time to share the chores with children. Once the preparation is complete, you and the kids will enjoy a chance to see many different types of birds, even in the snow.
 
 
 
 

A Simple Preparation Process


Preparation for the Winter birds in your backyard involves a few easy chores.
  • Clean out birdbaths
  • Empty and clean all of your bird feeders
  • Repair or replace any damaged bird feeders
  • Fill feeders with a winter mix of seeds
Before you put away your outdoor hose, it's a good time to clean out your bird baths. Use a scrub brush on any concrete or porous surface baths in order to get any debris left. Then fill the bird bath with fresh water. And that chore is done.

Next tackle your bird feeders (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-watching/window-bird-feeders/). Make sure to empty any old feed and seed hulls. Clean them by either washing in mild soapy water, rinsing well, or wipe clean with a damp cloth.  This is the perfect time to check for any damage. Cracks in a bird feeder will only get worse with freezing temperatures. Repair the ones you can, but replace those you can't.

The last step is the most fun. Fill your bird feeders with good appropriate seed mixes. There are many options available on the market. Some are designed for all seasons, some are designed just for the winter months. So choose which is best for the birds that enjoy your backyard.

A Word About Birdhouses in Winter


Personally, I refrain from even touching my bird houses once they securely in place. Many of my backyard birds return to the same nest in the same house year after year. They handle repairing the nest as needed. I don't want to add my human scent to their protected baby-rearing home.

Choose a New Bird Feeder


www.Backyard Bird World
If I don't need to replace a bird feeder, then I choose a new one just to offer more feeding stations for my backyard birds. My favorite is a window feeder. I have several already, but adding another one just makes viewing the Winter birds easier.

Window feeders are mounted to the outside of your window with suction cups. Most are very easy to remove for cleaning and refilling. Once it's filled with food, the birds have no problem finding it.

So take a little time to prepare your backyard (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-houses-feeders/get-your-birdfeeders-ready-for-fall) for the birds that will share Winter with you. The chores are not difficult and it's a great time to show children the value of backyard birds. Make it an annual family event.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

3 Ways to Light Up Your Yard Without Using Electricity

By now we're all pretty familiar with solar string lights for the backyard, however there are additional creative ways you can incorporate solar lighting.

Here are three creative ideas to help you light up your yard at night by using the power of the sun during the day:

Table Umbrella with Solar Lights Via Amazon

Find Additional Solar Umbrellas Here
1. A Table Umbrella with Solar Lights 

In the evening, your backyard celebration will surely include people sitting around a patio table either chatting, eating, playing games or just relaxing. 

Most of the time we light a table using candles (sometimes bug candles). You can still light up that bug candle to keep those bugs away, however, a solar patio umbrella is a better way to naturally light up the entire table. Although lights attract bugs, we've battled that very effectively by putting a huge mosquito net over our patio umbrella. We've used this net when we have a sit-down dinner outside in our backyard as well. 

The top of a solar umbrella has a rechargeable solar panel that charges all day. At night, your umbrella will light up via an on/off switch. On average you'll find most solar umbrellas have approximately 24 to 40 lights. Of course that will vary depending up the size and manufacturer.


If you haven't heard of Luci Inflatable Solar Lights, you're going to love their many multiple uses and applications.

These compact solar lights that deflate to approximately 1" in size make them ideal for not only backyard gatherings, but also to take camping, hiking, as emergency lighting, pool lights, indoor mood or night lighting, and much more.

In terms of backyard gatherings, these waterproof inflatable solar lights are a great way to provide lighting in a pool at night. Just toss a bunch of them in the water and your pool will have multi colored night time funky lighting!

The goodness doesn't end there: The lights are made by USA based MPOWERD, a socially-conscious company who aims to provide lighting to poorer countries around the world where access to electricity is non-existent or limited. One example of their mission is the difference they've made providing portable inflatable solar lights to the victims of the Nepal earthquake in 2015.


If you're looking for a funky way to light up your backyard patio table and are especially eager to add colorful interest, then you're going to love these little gems!

They're appeal are the colors they emit at night and of course, the lovely mosaic glass also looks decorative during the day.

You can set this crystal glass mosaic solar light to single color mode or set it to cycle through all colors. You can also set it to emit a clear light through the funky colored mosaic tiles to give off a lovely constant pattern as you see in the photo displayed here.

Again, like all things solar, they charge during the day in the sun, and have an on/off switch for you to use it or not use it at night.

There you have it, three ways to light up your yard at night without flipping that electricity switch.

Happy Summer Savings :)




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Magic in the Air from Spring to Fall.

While most birds do not have any difficulty finding food for themselves in the spring, summer and fall, there is one exception to that rule.  Our everyday (I won’t ever call them ordinary) birds, the ones that frequent our gardens throughout the year, know very well how to forage for seeds, nuts and bugs.  However there is a bird that frequents us in the nicer months and I’m sure that everyone would love to have them in their gardens especially through the summer months.  Right now they are on their way to us, migrating thousands of miles in order to make it to our backyards.  They are so little and so pretty, about the size of a mouse, only much more colourful and faster than a speeding bullet.
If you look at the migratory maps, you can see where these lovelies have been spotted already and watch their quickening arrivals on our shores.  Every year there is a Hummingbird Migration Map put out, so that you can record the first sightings of these migratory birds.  This image is the map for 2015.  http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html
As you can see, they travel a long distance to make it to us and so when they arrive and all along their journey northwards, they love to stop at red feeders that are filled with sugar water, so that they can have the energy to continue on their way. 
Scientists believe that the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds can spot the red colored feeders from miles away and will make a bee line for those feeders.  Being such tiny creatures, they need lots of energy in a food source that is easy for them to metabolize.   Sugar water is just the thing for them.  Put the feeders out in the spring time and watch what happens. 
You have choices when it comes to feeders, the one I have  showcased for you here, is probably the top  model of feeders that catch the eyes of the “Hummers”.  
You also want a feeder that is easy to clean.  Sugar water needs to be replaced and replenished daily.  Start with a feeder with only a little bit of sugar water in it.  Once you know that you have Hummers coming to visit the feeder, increase the amount of sugar water in the reservoir.  Put the feeder somewhere where the red is visible from the skies, but also close to some bushes so that the little Hummers can rest in safety.  If you are really lucky, they may even choose to nest in the available shrubbery and you will be witness to the birth of the next generation of these beauties.

If you have time to watch, and see what all the excitement is about these birds, then check out this YouTube overview and you will begin to understand why people are so fascinated with these little critters.The Wonderful World of Hummers.

Once you fall in love with these little Mini-Mites, you will understand why so many people put out these hummingbird feeders.  Just to have a chance to see them up close and personal, is a treasure of nature that is unparalleled.

Keep those feeders full of nectar and the hummers will visit you until they start their trek back to the warmer climates....they need that energy.

They will also come back next year and delight you all over again.

Nectar recipe:  1 cup of sugar (granulated)
                         3 cups of water.
Boil water and add sugar, stirring mixture until the sugar is liquid.  That's all there's to it and you don't need to add any red fool coloring.....it's better for them without it.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON: