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Putting on Airs: Tillandsias

Looking for something easy to grow? Tillandsias should be on the top of your list. Tillandsia is the largest genus in the Bromeliad family with over 650 species that vary in color, size, texture and shape. In their native habitat, Tillandsias attach themselves to trees and rocks using their roots. They derive the nutrients and water they need from the air, hence the common name “air plant.” And like their name implies, no soil is necessary for a beautiful, thriving specimen! This versatile houseplant is not fussy, and when given minimal care, will adapt to most home and office environments.

About Tillandsias

Tillandsias are evergreen flowering perennials, and their native range spreads from the southeastern United States to Central and South America. While they are often associated with tropical regions, these diverse plants can also be found in deserts, high mountain ranges and rocky habitats.

It is a common misconception that these are rootless plants – in fact, their roots are critical to serve as anchors and keep the plants stable, though the roots do not absorb moisture or nutrition like other plants. Instead, these plants absorb all they need through their foliage.

Caring for Tillandsias

These delicate plants are easy to care for, but there are some tricks necessary to keep them healthy and looking their very best.

  • Light
    Place your Tillandsias where they will receive plenty of light but not direct sunlight. Direct sun will dry out the leaves very quickly and can cause dehydration and wilting. Home or office fluorescent lighting works just fine.
  • Temperature
    Typical indoor temperatures are perfectly suitable for Tillandsias, and a range of 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  • Water
    Once a month, soak your air plant in water for about 20 minutes. If the plant is flowering, a delicate rinse would be more appropriate so that the bloom is not damaged. When through soaking, shake off the excess water from the plant and place in an area with good air circulation so it can dry easily. In between soaks, spritz your Tillandsias 1-2 times per week with clean water from a spray bottle. Indoor heat and air conditioning rob moisture from the air. If your air plant leaves start to wrinkle or roll, this is a sign of dehydration. Give them a good soak and spritz more frequently.
  • Pruning
    It is not unusual for the outer leaves of an air plant to dry out and turn brown, and these spent leaves can simply be removed. If leaf tips dry a bit and turn brown, cut off the tip and continue with regular care. The plant will grow and look just fine.

One final note, Tillandsias have beautiful brilliant blooms but only bloom once in their lifetime. Depending on the species, the bloom may last several days to several months. Why not try several different Tillandsia varieties so you can experience these amazing blooms?

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Geranium ‘Biokovo’

“So many Geraniums, so little time.” If this is your motto, we completely understand. There are so many fantastic varieties to choose from, but geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ is extraordinary, and is one bloom you should certainly make time for.

Unlike our tender summer annual commonly called geranium (genus: Pelargonium), true geraniums are hardy, low growing, groundcover perennials commonly known as “cranesbill.” They look nothing like the more familiar, misnamed geraniums and they certainly do not behave similarly. The more you learn about these true geraniums, however, the more you will love them.

About ‘Biokovo’

G. ‘Biokovo’, originally found growing in the mountains of Croatia, is cold hardy and semi-evergreen in hardiness zones 5-8. Growing up to a foot tall and 12-18 inches wide, this cranesbill blooms in late spring, generally stretching from May to June with sporadic reblooming. The five-petaled, three-quarter-inch, white flowers show a tinge of pink in the center, surrounding brighter pink pistils topped with golden yellow stamens. The petals have a slightly frilly texture, giving these blooms a romantic delicacy. The leaves are slightly hairy, lobed, medium green, and develop an orange-red tint in the fall to provide beauty and color in different seasons. The foliage is highly aromatic with a pungent, orange-like scent when bruised.

Planting Geranium ‘Biokovo’

Produced on spreading rhizomes that can vigorously cover an area, G. ‘Biokovo’ is easily grown in well-drained soil with average fertility and neutral (7.0) pH. It is relatively drought-tolerant once established and will thrive planted in either full sun or part shade, but the hottest afternoon sun is best avoided. Deep shade will also stunt the plant’s growth and may limit blooming. Moist soil is suitable, but the soil should not be over saturated and only average watering is required. Fertilize in early spring for the best nutrition and most vigorous blooming. Plant divisions may be done in either spring or fall to expand the ‘Biokovo’ in your landscape or share it with other enthusiastic true geranium lovers.

‘Biokovo’ in the Landscape

Use ‘Biokova’ in the front of the perennial border and in rock gardens to add color, texture and softness. It will steal the show as a long-blooming ground cover or edging plant, and can be ideal to add natural, flowing lines to the edge of flowerbeds, driveways or sidewalks. There are no serious pest or disease problems associated with this or any of the many other hardy geraniums. It attracts butterflies and resists deer and rabbits. Why wait to add this beauty to your flowerbeds?

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Growing Under Black Walnut

If you have a black walnut tree on your property, you know how difficult it can be to find anything that will grow anywhere near this plant.

Black walnuts release a substance called juglone into the soil, which is toxic to many ornamental and edible plants and can stunt their growth significantly – in fact, juglone is used as a herbicide in some areas! A mature black walnut tree can have a toxic zone with up to an 80-foot radius, depending on the tree’s size and age. Every part of the walnut tree contains juglone and this substance remains in the soil long after the tree is cut down, continuing to inhibit anything that may be planted in its place.

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of plants that are less affected by juglone and can still thrive in contaminated soil. When choosing to plant in an area where a black walnut is located or where one once stood, it is safe to make your selection from the lists below.

Vegetables

  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Melons
  • Squash

Fruit

  • Black Raspberry
  • Cherry
  • Nectarine
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum

Annuals

  • Pot-marigold, Calendula officinalis
  • Begonia, fibrous cultivars
  • Morning Glory, Ipomoea
  • Pansy, Viola
  • Zinnia species

Perennials

  • Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans
  • Hollyhock, Alcea rosea
  • European Wild Ginger, Asarum europaeum
  • Astilbe species
  • Bellflower, Campanula latifolia
  • Leopard’s-Bane, Doronicum species
  • Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum
  • Cranesbill, Geranium sanguineum
  • Common Daylily, Hemerocallis
  • Coral Bells, Heuchera
  • Plantain-lily, Hosta
  • Siberian Iris, Iris sibirica
  • Balm, Monarda didyma
  • Sundrops, Oenothera fruticosa
  • Summer Phlox, Phlox paniculata
  • Polyanthus Primrose, Primula x polyantha
  • Lungwort, Pulmonaria species
  • Showy Sedum, Sedum spectabile
  • Lamb’s-Ear, Stachys byzantina
  • Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
  • Horned Violet, Viola cornuta

Ferns

  • Crested Wood Fern, Dryopteris cristata
  • Senstitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis
  • Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea

Bulbs

  • Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa luciliae
  • Crocus species
  • Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis
  • Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis
  • Spanish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides hispanica
  • Grape Hyacinth, Muscari botryoides
  • Siberian Squill, Scilla sibirica

Trees

  • Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum
  • Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
  • Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis

Vines and Shrubs

  • Euonymus species
  • Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus
  • Honeysuckle, Lonicera species
  • Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia
  • Arborvitaes, Thuja species

Black walnut can be a challenging plant to have in your landscape, but if you understand the unique characteristics of this tree you can easily pair it with other plants that don’t mind its toxic effects.

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Heath or Heather

Often mistaken for one another, heath (Erica) and heather (Calluna) look amazingly similar. To confuse things further, heath is frequently referred to as “spring heather” and some landscapers, garden centers and nurseries may use the names interchangeably. Both types of plants belong to the Ericaceae family, and they share many similarities.

Which is Which?

The key difference between these two popular landscaping plants is that heath blooms from winter to early spring while heather blooms from mid-summer to early fall. Heath features slim, needle-like foliage, while heather’s foliage is flatter and more scale-like. Heath generally only grows to 12 inches tall, while different heather cultivars can range from 8-20 inches tall. With their many similarities for location, soil type and sunlight, however, it is easy to grow these two shrubs together for a much longer and more brilliant flowering season.

Heath and Heather in the Landscape

Both heath and heather are low maintenance, low growing, perennial shrubs that love well-drained, acidic soil, but do not plant them too deeply or their shallow root systems may rot or smother. Heath, or spring heather, has tiny, urn shaped flowers in white, rose or fuchsia and is readily available in early spring. Heather will be more popular later in the season and into early summer, and its bell-like mauve, rose or lavender flowers provide lovely color to the landscape later in the season. Depending on the cultivar, heather’s foliage can range from bright green to golden yellow, reddish or even silvery-gray.

Both plants should be watered well, and mulching around the shrubs will help inhibit weeds and conserve moisture without overwatering. Pruning should be done just after blooming is finished to maintain and shape the plant mounds and discourage overgrowth and legginess.

Heath and heather look terrific planted en masse on a sunny hillside or in the shrub border with other acid-loving plants like azaleas and rhododendrons. They are a welcome addition to the rock garden and can brighten up a dwarf conifer grouping or container garden. Their mounding habit makes the plants easily spill over edges for a naturalized, graceful organic look ideal for cottage gardens and flowing landscape design.

It is important to note, however, that deer can be very attracted to both heath and heather. If these backyard visitors are a problem in your garden or pester your landscape, you may want to take a variety of steps to keep them away from your beautiful shrubs.

Planted together, heath and heather will provide you with a succession of dainty blooms to take you through the entire growing season.

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Herbs As Companion Plants

Practiced by organic gardeners for years, companion planting has become very popular for all gardeners. The concept is to plant together species that will benefit each other, to help prevent disease and insect infestation without the use of chemicals. In general, herbs and other aromatic plants like tomatoes, marigolds and onions are helpful in warding off insects. Certain colors, like the orange of nasturtium flowers, are thought to repel flying insects. While these practices have not been scientifically proven, many gardeners have been using them for years with positive results. Try it – and see if it works for you!

Best Companion Herbs

The exact herbs you choose to pair with other plants will depend on what you want to grow and what problems you want to eradicate. The most common herbs and their purported benefits include…

  • Basil – Enhances the growth of tomatoes and peppers. Dislikes rue. Repels flies and mosquitoes.
  • Borage – Companion to tomatoes, squash and strawberries. Deters tomato worm.
  • Chamomile – Companion to cabbages and onions. Improves the growth of all garden plants.
  • Chervil – Companion to radishes.
  • Chives – Companion to carrots. Deters Japanese beetles, blackspot on roses, scab on apples and mildew on cucurbits.
  • Dill – Improves the growth of lettuce, cabbage and onions. Dislikes carrots.
  • Fennel – Most plants dislike it – avoid using it as a companion herb and instead plant it away from the garden.
  • Garlic – Plant near roses and raspberries. Deters Japanese beetles.
  • Horseradish – Plant at the corners of your potato patch; deters potato bug.
  • Hyssop – Companion to cabbage and grapes. Deters flea beetles and cabbage moths. Dislikes radishes.
  • Marigolds – Plant throughout the garden as they discourage nematodes and other insects.
  • Mints (esp. Spearmint and Peppermint) – Companion to cabbages and tomatoes. Deters aphids, flea beetles and many types of cabbage pests.
  • Nasturtium – Companion to radishes, cabbage and cucurbits. Plant under fruit trees. Deters aphids and squash bugs.
  • Onion – Repels cabbage loopers, potato beetles, carrot flies and imported cabbage moths.
  • Oregano – Improves the growth of beans.
  • Parsley – Enhances the growth of roses. Repels asparagus beetles.
  • Pot Marigold – Companion to tomatoes, but plant elsewhere, too. Deters tomato worm, asparagus beetles and other pests.
  • Rosemary – Companion to cabbage, bean, carrots and sage. Deters cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot fly.
  • Rue – Companion to roses and raspberries, dislikes sweet basil. Deters Japanese beetles.
  • Sage – Plant with rosemary, tomatoes, strawberries, cabbage and carrots. Dislikes cucumbers. Deters cabbage moth and carrot fly.
  • Summer Savory – Companion to beans and onions. Deters bean beetles.
  • Tansy – Plant under fruit trees. Companion to roses and raspberries. Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs and ants.
  • Tarragon (French) – Enhances the growth of all vegetables.
  • Thyme – Improves the growth of tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. Repels whiteflies and cabbageworms.
  • Wormwood – Use as a border, keeps animals from the garden.
  • Yarrow – Plant along borders, paths and near aromatic herbs. Enhances production of essential oils. Attracts beneficial insects including ladybugs and predatory wasps.

Exactly how much benefit companion plants give to one another will vary; be sure to choose varieties to group that have similar soil, light, water and fertilization needs. Even if their companion benefits may not pan out, you’re sure to enjoy a more diverse and vibrant garden filled with delicious vegetables and herbs!

NOTE:  Not all these herbs are available at our garden center.

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Acid-Loving Plants

Soil pH is a critical factor for gardening success. Some plants thrive in neutral soil while other plants prefer soil on the acidic side. The difference lies in the plant’s ability to use nutrients present in the soil. For plants that prefer an acidic soil a critical nutrient is iron. Iron is most easily available in soil with a pH of around 5.5. Without iron, acid-loving plants will turn yellow and suffer stunted growth.

What is pH?

pH stands for “potential hydrogen ions” and is the measure of acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. pH less than 7 indicates acidity, pH greater than 7 indicates alkalinity and 7 is neutral. Soil pH directly affects nutrient availability. Plants grown in soil with pH above or below their optimum range will be less vigorous, more susceptible to disease, less able to fight off insects and may even be weakened to the point of death.

How pH Affects Plants

Nutrients necessary for healthy plants are divided into three categories: primary nutrients, secondary nutrients and micronutrients. Primary nutrients are (N) nitrogen, (P) phosphorus and (K) potassium. These nutrients requited in the largest amounts for plant growth and health and are represented in numbers found on every fertilizer container (for example, 20-20-20). (Ca) Calcium, (Mg) magnesium and (S) sulfur are secondary nutrients that are also required by plants. These are required in lesser amounts than N-P-K but are also essential for good plant growth. (Zn) zinc and (Mn) manganese are examples of micronutrients. Micronutrients are required by plants in very small amounts. Most secondary and micronutrient deficiencies are easily corrected by keeping the soil at the optimum pH value.

Because pH directly affects nutrient availability, acid-loving plants develop iron chlorosis when grown in soils that are too alkaline. Iron chlorosis is often misdiagnosed as a nitrogen deficiency because both present with a yellowing leaf. Chlorosis of young leaves is the first symptom of iron deficiency, while a magnesium deficiency results in yellowing of older leaves first. Nitrogen-deficient plants will not only have yellow leaves but also weak stems, underdeveloped leaves and reduced root development.

What Causes Soil Acidity

Soil pH is influenced by the kind of parent material from which the soil was formed. Rainfall also affects pH. As water passes through soil it leaches basic nutrients such as calcium and magnesium from the soil, which are replaced with acidic elements such as aluminum and iron. For this reason, soils formed under high rainfall conditions are more acidic than those formed under dry conditions. Caused by pollution, acid rain also has an influence in soil pH. The application of fertilizers containing ammonium or urea speed up the rate at which acidity develops in the soil. The decomposition of organic matter will also add to soil acidity.

Testing and Adjusting Soil pH

Before planting any plant it is best to know the optimum pH range that plant will thrive in and the pH of the soil in which you will be planting. “The right plant in the right place” is always the best policy. Purchase a pH test kit or meter. These are available at most garden centers, or you may also send a soil sample to your county extension service. This will give you a more in-depth soil analysis along with the pH. To correct soil pH it is imperative that you know the soil pH before you attempt to change it.

Adding shredded pine needles, composted oak leaves or peat moss will assist in lowering soil pH over time. A quicker fix is the addition of two materials commonly used for this purpose: aluminum sulfate or garden sulfur. Aluminum sulfate will change the soil pH instantly because the aluminum produces the acidity as soon as it dissolves in the soil. Garden sulfur requires some time for the conversion to sulfuric acid with the aid of soil bacteria. The conversion rate is based on the fineness of the sulfur, the amount of soil moisture, soil temperature and the presence of bacteria. Based on these factors, the conversion rate of sulfur may be very slow and could take several months for a full effect. Acidifiers should be worked into the soil after application to be effective. Do not apply to leaf surface or burn may result. Read and abide by manufacturer instructions when applying.

Keep in mind that it takes time to alter soil pH and your soil will tend to revert to its old pH over time, necessitating repeated treatment. Attempting to change soil pH too quickly may shock and kill a plant. A good rule of thumb is to adjust no more than one point per season. It is also important to note that fertilizers recommended for acid-loving plants do not assist in adjusting the soil pH, but are instead formulated to work well in already acidic soil.

Acid-Loving Trees and Shrubs

Want to add gorgeous plants to your landscape without worrying about acidic soil? These plants thrive in soils with low pH, or come in for an expert consultation on your soil’s pH and what plants will do best in your garden, flowerbeds and landscape.  Not all of these are available at our garden center.

  • Azalea
  • Bayberry
  • Blueberry
  • Camelia
  • Cranberry
  • Dogwood
  • Fir
  • Fothergilla
  • Gardenia
  • Heath
  • Heather
  • Hemlock
  • Holly
  • Hydrangea
  • Itea
  • Leucothoe
  • Magnolia
  • Mountain Ash
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Oak
  • Pieris
  • Pine
  • Raspberry
  • Rhododendron
  • Spruce
  • White Cedar
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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Nurturing Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs faithfully reappear at the most advantageous time – after a long, cold winter, just when we’re longing for bright colors to relieve the monotony of winter snow and ice. Most spring bulbs are perennial and multiply in number every year, bringing more beauty to the flowerbeds each spring, but some problems can destroy a carefully planted bulb bed. Seemingly carefree, bulbs do require a bit of nurturing to ensure they perform their very best for years to come.

Tips for Bulb Care

  1. Good soil drainage is important to prevent bulbs from rotting so plan your site accordingly. Do not plant bulbs near areas where downspouts let out or large snow piles may build up and spring melt can drown bulbs.
  2. When planting bulbs in the fall, add a high phosphorus fertilizer to the planting hole for the development of strong roots. This will help the bulbs establish well so they can renew themselves each year.
  3. Bulb foliage will often break through the soil after a few warm winter days. This vegetation is hardy and its exposure to the cold will not damage your plants or prevent them from blooming. There is no need to cover, wrap or otherwise protect this initial foliage.
  4. Fertilize bulbs as plants are emerging from the ground. Do not fertilize once flowers appear. Use a 5-10-5 granular fertilizer to assist in foliage and flower development, ideally one that is formulated especially for bulbs.
  5. After blooming, cut back the flower stalk. This will force the plant to put its energy into the bulb for next year’s flowers and not into seed production that would dampen the strength of the bulb.
  6. Allow the leaves to die back naturally. The leaves are vital for producing food that is stored in the bulb for next year’s growth. Cut leaves, never pull, once they have turned yellow – pulling can damage the bulb. Do not tie leaves as this reduces the leaf surface required for adequate food production.
  7. When the foliage has completely died back the bulb is dormant, and this is the proper time to dig and separate bulbs if necessary. Flowering will often be reduced when bulb beds become over-crowded. If division is needed, bulbs should be dug and stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place and replanted in the fall.
  8. Fertilize bulbs again in the fall with a high-phosphorus, granular fertilizer.

With thoughtful care, you can easily help your bulbs reach their full potential and they will thrive for many years.

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Dividing Hybrid Hellebores

Hybrid hellebores bring us all sorts of happiness. These are one of the first plants to bloom in the late winter and early spring and are available in flower colors of chartreuse, cream, white, pink, red and deep purple. Hybrid hellebores are also those rare and treasured perennials that provide year-round interest, giving you the most bang for your buck and brightening your landscape in every season. As evergreens, they never lose their luster, and their flower shapes and textures are quite varied for even more interest, with a cultivar to suit any gardener’s taste. What’s not to be happy about?

A Love Divided

To keep these plants healthy and thriving, and to increase your quantity, division is a necessity. It is important to divide these plants carefully, however, or else you risk sadness with fewer blooms, lopsided plants or even losing these gems. Fortunately, it’s possible for even a novice hellebore lover to divide their plants with confidence.

  1. Divide hybrid hellebores in the spring when it is in bloom. This will also let you see how the blooms are positioned on the plant so you can divide shapes appropriately.
  2. Choose a plant that has at least 5 flower stems. Each one represents a division and will give you great new plants to bloom.
  3. Dig your hellebores up with a garden spade by inserting it deeply into the soil around the perimeter of the plant about 6 inches away from the outer stems of the clump. This will keep the root system largely intact and uninjured.
  4. Lift the clump and shake off loose soil or any trapped rocks or ensnared mulch. You can gently loosen clumps with your fingers, but take care not to damage the roots.
  5. With a garden hose, wash away any additional soil from the clump so the plant roots are exposed. This will help them get established in their new location more quickly.
  6. Divide the clump by cutting through the roots with a heavy-duty serrated knife. Make your root cuts where you see obvious natural divisions between the flower stalks.
  7. Replant your divisions at their original depth, in a shady location. Include plenty of compost in the planting hole for good nourishment. Water well and continue to keep soil from drying out until your new plants are well established.

Before you know it, you’ll have many more hybrid hellebores to enjoy! If you have a few too many, be sure to share the happiness by giving them to family members, friends, neighbors and anyone else who can fall in love with these beauties.

Helleborus orientalis

Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Tips for Layering Bulbs

Bulbs are some of the easiest and most dramatic flowers you can add to your landscape and containers, and you can make them even more spectacular when you create layers of bulbs for lush growth and bursts of brilliant color. But how can you go about layering bulbs for the best results?

Why Bother With Layers?

Bulbs are already easy and productive, but they can be so much more when you create bulb lasagna with multiple layers. Layering creates thicker foliage that can serve as great ground cover, and incorporating different types of flowers adds more color variety and textural diversity to the landscape. Layers ensure there are no gaps in your flowerbeds, and can fill in difficult spaces such as tight corners, small pots or narrow areas. This maximizes the use of space in your yard, and when you choose bulbs with overlapping bloom periods, you prolong the flowering season to enjoy beautiful bulbs for many weeks.

Best Bulbs for Layering

Any bulbs can be incorporated into layers, but you will have the best results when you choose bulbs with similar preferences for moisture levels, sunlight exposure and soil type. Depending on the planting depth or size of container you may be using, you can create 2-4 layers, positioning the largest, latest blooming bulbs on the bottom layer and the smaller, earlier bloomers on the top layer closest to the soil’s surface. Popular bulbs for layering include…

  • Bottom (Deepest) Layer: Larger tulips, later daffodils, various lilies
  • Mid-Season Layers: Daffodils, tulips, allium, grape hyacinths
  • Top (Earliest) Layer: Crocus, freesia, snowdrops, scilla

When choosing bulbs for your pots or landscape layering, consider the flower colors and opt for coordinating hues, bearing in mind that the earliest bloomers and latest bloomers are not likely to be seen at the same time. This is a good opportunity to create a color-changing arrangement that will offer continual thrills as the seasons change. At the same time, opt for flowers of different heights for even more textural interest.

Tips to Create Beautiful Bulb Lasagna

When you’re ready to start layering bulbs…

  • Use a deep pot, at least 10-14 inches for two layers of bulbs, and up to 18 inches deep for a triple-layered pot. If you’re planting bulbs in your landscape, be sure the hole is deep enough for all the bulbs you’ve chosen.
  • Amend the soil well with compost, bone meal or bulb booster fertilizer to ensure strong growth for each layer. Because so many bulbs will be competing for the soil’s nutrition, good fertilization is essential, but do not over-fertilize or you may burn delicate bulbs.
  • Space each individual layer slightly wider than you would typically pack bulbs to give lower layers room to grow around upper bulbs, but don’t worry – they will find spaces between each layer and grow through with ease.
  • Provide good drainage in your pot or at the bottom of the hole with sand or gravel so excess water can drain away quickly. This will minimize the risk of root rot, even though a layered pot may require extra watering to hydrate a greater number of bulbs.
  • Deadhead flowers as their blooms die off, but leave their foliage intact. The growing leaves will continue to photosynthesize, adding nourishment to the bulb so it can rebloom the next season. Once the leaves dry and die off naturally, they can be removed.

Layering bulbs can be a great way to create a colorful, long-lasting display. Fast and easy to arrange with little care needed to look its best, you won’t be sorry you experimented with bulb lasagna!

Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Creating a Meditation Space in Your Garden

Gardening can be a relaxing, therapeutic hobby as you nurture seedlings, encourage growth and bring your harvest to fruition. But if you just want to take a moment to breathe, reflect and center yourself, it isn’t necessary to get out the garden clogs, sharpen your hand tools or get dirt under your fingernails. Creating a peaceful meditation space in your garden is easy, and can turn any garden into your own private sanctuary.

The Need for Peace

As our lives get ever busier with hectic schedules and cramped appointments, it may seem impossible to have any time for thoughtful reflection or meditation. Furthermore, smaller living spaces and more crowded urban areas can make it seem equally impossible to have any space for solitary peace. Without the ability to relax, we’re faced with skyrocketing stress in our lives, along with a host of different health problems such as tension headaches, high blood pressure, depression, obesity and more. More and more studies, however, are demonstrating that time spent in nature is beneficial for reducing stress and tension, and there’s no better place to easily enjoy nature than in your own garden.

Your Peaceful Purpose

Before creating your meditation space, you need to plan what you want to use it for in order to ensure you have enough room and all the right touches for your peaceful retreat. Meditation can mean something different to everyone – you might prefer a place for quiet, contemplative prayer, or you could be interested in an outdoor space for yoga practice. For some people, a restful space for coloring or painting is their ideal meditation spot, while others may want a natural niche for reading or journaling. Creating or listening to music may be part of your meditation practice, or even a cozy spot for an outdoor nap. Whatever means peace and relaxation to you, it can be incorporated into your garden.

Eliminating Distractions

Once you know how you will use a meditation space in your garden, it is essential to eliminate other distractions and interruptions from that space. Unwanted noises, glaring streetlights, unsavory sights and even unpleasant smells can interrupt meditation and disrupt your relaxation, but it is easy to plan your gardening to eliminate those difficulties. For example, a green wall or trellis can be used to block an unsightly view, and the plants on it will help muffle noises. You could also consider a small fountain for the soothing tinkle of running water to block traffic or neighborhood noises. Climbing, clinging vines can be used to cover structures with greenery to increase the natural feel of the space. Opt for arbors or pergolas that can help create comfortable shade and define the space without completely blocking sunlight, and consider fragrant flowers nearby if unwanted aromas are invading your garden.

Adding Joy to Your Garden Space

Once your meditation area is structured and distractions are minimized, it is time to add your own personal joy into the space. What brings joy to the space will vary from garden to garden and even from season to season, but it should be a personal choice and something that helps draw you into the space. Consider…

  • Seating
    In order to enjoy your meditation space, you will need a place to sit and relax within it. This may be a comfortable bench, a cozy chaise lounge, a soothing hammock or any other type of seating. A chair-sized boulder can be a natural alternative, or you may opt for a more whimsical swing to add a dash of fun to your personal space.
  • Sights
    You’ve taken steps to block sights you don’t want to see in your garden, but a good meditation space will also include sights you want to look at. A bird feeder or bird bath can invite beautiful feathered friends to share your space, or you might prefer a lovely piece of garden art, a gazing ball, plants in your favorite colors or even unique mulch or paving stones in a therapeutic pattern.
  • Sounds
    Pleasant sounds can help add a focal point to your meditation space, allowing you to focus on unique tones to help center yourself. A wind chime, waterfall fountain or even a way to bring your favorite music outdoors can be a wonderful addition to a peaceful meditation space.
  • Water
    Water can serve several purposes in a meditation space. Flowing or splashing water provides natural white noise, and the sparkles of the water are ideal for meditative gazing or creating soothing reflections. Consider different aquatic options, such as a small stream or brook, a weeping rock, a fountain or even a reflecting pool. You can even opt for a small pond for goldfish or koi if you desire.

Above all, remember that there are no strict rules for creating your personal meditation space. Whatever brings you peace and joy can be part of your design, and it can change as your tastes and preferences change. Garden meditation spaces can vary as much as any other part of the garden, but each one helps nurture our green spirits.

Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!