Beautiful Flowers on My Balcony

balcony flowersAdding a bit of nature to your house is never enough. Planting fancy flowers and plants in your garden, front yard, backyard and in pots to place inside the house are the most favourable options. But have you considered planting flowers on balcony lately? The idea of having a beautiful balcony with sweet-smelling flowers is just so appealing. A large number of refreshing flowers such as jasmine, roses, sweet peas, pansy and hardy geranium can be grown in small pots. You can further place them along the balcony area. If you do not know where to begin, let us be your guide! You can start off with the following tips.

What You Need:

First, look for suitable pots to place in your balcony. They can be as big or as small as you like. The second thing you need to buy is a fine potting soil in order to grow your plants. Along with that, keep an eye for a good fertilizer too. The last thing you need to buy is the seeds or the already grown plants that you want.

Tools:

For quick gardening of flowers on balcony, look for a self watering container so you can easily water your plants yourself. If you have a tap near the balcony area, you can also use a hose with a spray. Lastly, for water preservation, find a sack of mulch to put it over your planted pots later.

Here comes the dirty Work:

With all the required material, get the plantation going. Fill each pot with the potting soil until full and place the seeds or the grown plant in it. Make sure you do not harm the pant in the process. Add water to your plant after planting and leave it for one or two days. After that, water your flowers regularly each day and add fertiliser to avoid any uninvited pests.

Things to Keep In Mind:

To add flowers on balcony, you must be aware of your area’s restrictions. This may include the weight of the pots and height of the plants, etc. As flowers need to be watered regularly, always keep some kind of tray under each of your pots. This will help prevent water flowing around your neighbour’s place or getting your balcony wet while you water the plants. In the process, do not forget to have fun with your flower balcony experience. Do not just add a zillion pots on your first day. Start from a smaller number of plants and as you begin to enjoy their presence and the hard work, only then add a few more pots. Till then, have a great time adding flowers on your balcony!  

Creating an evocative aromatic garden

Why create an aromatic garden?

rosemaryIn recent times aromatherapy has become well-known for its calming and healing effects. An aromatic garden can be very evocative, as well as beneficial to your well-being in healing, calming and relaxing. You can create an aromatic garden for processing your own oil or just to have the scents that will aid you in your busy, stressful life. A well-planned herb aromatic garden can be beneficial to you by being attractive and useful, such as in cooking and remedies for common ailments. Take pleasure from the rich aromas in your garden and watch the soothing butterflies.

Planning your aromatic garden

If you’re limited for space, the layout of your garden can include pots. Various shaped ceramic pots bring variation of texture and color to your garden. You can also have window boxes or balcony pots to add to the artistic effect and make more use of space. If you create an aromatic garden, pleasing to the eye as well as to your nostrils, with the delightful perfumes, you may be surprised at how much enjoyment you get from your garden and how well it makes you feel.

Organic methods

Organic methods are best, especially if you’re going to use the herbs in cooking as well as natural remedies. Your soil will not be polluted and your plants are unlikely to be contaminated. They will be natural and healthier for you. Insects, butterflies and bees will be attracted to your organic garden, making it a more pleasing spot to be in, and helping to maintain a healthy balance of destructive insects and those that prey upon them.

The conditions

The conditions of your scented garden are important. Herbs were originally wild plants so try to create the conditions of their natural environment. Herbs tend to like dry and sunny spots, but they are very hardy and adaptable.

Soil

Soil is a main factor to consider when you create an aromatic garden with herbs. Different herbs prefer different types. Let’s have a look at some aromatic herbs, their healing properties and which soils they thrive best in. If your plants aren’t thriving in your garden, I suggest you make raised beds with the soil best suited to your plants.

Aromatic herbs which like clay:

Bergamot with its uplifting properties. Lemon balm used as an antidepressant. Mint for healing respiratory problems and headaches.

Aromatic herbs which prefer sandy soil:

Chamomile as a relaxant. Fennel with its anti-toxic properties. Lavender which is soothing. Thyme used as a stimulant.

Aromatic herbs which prefer loam:

Basil good for concentration. Scented (rose) geranium which is a relaxant.

Aromatic herbs preferring chalk or limestone soil:

Hyssop, a sedative. Juniper as a stimulant. Rosemary which is invigorating. Sweet Marjoram used for calming. When you create an aromatic garden, you can put some paving stones between the plants. This is decorative and allows you easy access to your plants.

Rosebush

rosebushAn elaborate curtain of voluptuously shaped and magnificently coloured roses will certainly make a grand statement in any garden. Are you aware that the rosebush has predated human evolution? Yes, this most beautiful flower that is associated with love is one of the historic plants in the world.

Growing rosebushes

There are many kinds of roses…all are recognized for their heady fragrance and beauty. Many people have the notion that growing roses is a difficult and often unrewarding task. After all the hardships of growing this plant, after all the nasty scratches from the plant’s thorns, it would not show even a single bud. A lot of gardeners are not aware that for a rose to grow, the plant has to have rich well-drained soil, water and sunlight. Roses would thrive best in soil with pH that ranges from 6.5 to 6.8 and 5 to 6 hours of full sunlight. Rosebush has to have lots of elbow room as well.

Pruning Rosebushes

Pruning is done to remove old canes and also to remove branches that can get entangled in the center of the bush. Pruning creates healthy and beautifully shaped bushes as air circulation is improved thereby preventing the development of diseases. Although there are really no specific rules on how pruning must be done, it is also not advisable to haphazardly cut the branches. Pruning entails the cutting of the cane about half its height. The 45 degree angle cut must be made above a leaf bud that is facing outward. This will ensure that the branch will grow outward and not towards the center of the plant. Branches that grow towards the center of the plant tends to be weak and to get entangled with other branches so that air circulation is hampered.

Preventing rose diseases

Compared to other plants, roses are more prone to diseases. Black spots, a fungal disorder is the most common killer of roses. Rosebushes are prone to attacks of damaging insects as well. Leaves that are attacked by these pests must be removed immediately to get rid of the insects as well as the eggs laid on the leaves. Synthetic chemicals can be used to get rid of these pesky pests but package directions must be carefully followed.

Minnesota tip

Roses are hardy plants. Rose enthusiasts are often heard asserting that it would be difficult to kill a rose. However, harsh winters can really be real challenges for these plants. The Minnesota tip is one way of providing roses with winter protection. The roots are loosened on one side of the plant. The canes that are tied together are gently laid into a trench that is about 8 inch deep and covered with soil. The buried plant is then covered with about 6 inches of leaves when the ground freezes.

Grapevines in my garden

grapevinesWouldn’t it be nice if while you are strolling in your garden and feasting your eyes on the riot of colourful blooms and smelling the heady fragrances of flowers, you can also reach up in the grapevines to pluck a plump and juicy fruit still warm from the rays of the morning sun? Growing grapes in the garden is not as daunting as many people believe.

Growing grapes in the garden

Grapes are normally grown in extensive stretches of vineyards. Rows and rows of grapevines would stand like sentinels guarding a very vast area. As such, growing grapes in the garden would appear to be a farfetched idea. In spite of the limited space grapes can be grown in one’s garden. Yield from one or two grapevines in the garden may not be enough for wine making but the grapes would be more than enough for the table. The home-grown grapes will be made into juice, jams and jellies. More importantly, the bunch of grapes will be the envy of neighbours. After all, not everyone can grow grapevines in their garden.

Important considerations in growing grapes

The first thing a home grape grower should do is to consider the kind of climate in the area. Most grape varieties can adapt well to humid and warm climate. Growing grapes in your garden would not be a good idea if the temperature drops below 10°F. The type of soil would not be a big problem as most grape varieties can adapt to most soil types. The growing habit of the grape variety must be considered as well as it will determine the kind of trellis the grapevine will need.

How to grow grapes

Grapes can be grown from seeds or from grape cuttings. Growing grapes from cutting is proven to be more advisable. Growing grapes in the garden is kind of easy as this is a low maintenance plant. However, grape planting is a long term commitment. It would take a few years before you can taste the fruits of your labor. Decide where you want to plant the seed or the cutting. Check the soil. Grapevines need a lot of sunlight thus anything that can obstruct the plant’s exposure to the sun must be removed. Grapes would grow on any kind of soil but the sandy and loamy type is more preferable. Plant the cutting in early spring. An arbor or trellis will be necessary as the growing vines have to be trained to grow horizontally. The secret to luscious and healthy grapes is pruning. Pruning must be started the second year after the grape was planted. Pruning is necessary as it makes the vine grow the correct way and also improves the quality of the vine making it more resistant to cold and diseases. Growing grapevines in the garden is very rewarding. It would take a while before the first harvest but the savoring the fruits of your labor is worth the wait.

Peonies in Bloom

peoniesIf you are looking to make your garden more alluring with colour and fragrance, peonies are a suitable option for you. There are lots of varieties, so whether you want vibrant reds and pinks or prefer the understated elegance of white, you will be spoilt for choice. You do not need an exceptionally green thumb to grow peonies; all you need is some basic knowledge and a bit of patience.

Planting Peonies

Choose a sunny spot and start planting in late autumn. Remember to plant them no deeper than 3 or 4 cms below the surface in a well-drained soil, and adding a bit of organic matter before planting is a good idea. Though later they can do with comparatively less amount of water, in the first season or so you need to make sure that they are well watered. However, care must be taken to ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged as this is detrimental to their growth. One can expect the flowers to start appearing by April or May. As for which variety to opt for, the choices are many. The ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ and ‘Krinkled White’ are both early-flowering varieties of white and have a lovely scent. For more voluminous white petals, one might go for ‘Bowl of Cream’. ‘Sarah Benhardt’ is a beautiful light pink, sturdy variety that blooms late in the season. However, for a more eye-catching hue, choose ‘Red Red Rose’ or ‘Buckeye Belle’.

Post-Planting Care and Cutting

A bit of light mulching in the beginning of spring is advised, especially if the soil is poor. In about April, when the buds start developing, remove the buds from the side shoots for really big flowers later on. This is optional and need not be done if you are more inclined to go for moderate sized flowers. Bare-root plants flower quicker than container-grown ones. However, if you notice your peonies flowering inadequately even well into the season, it might be because the plants are not receiving enough sunlight and if this is the case, you need to move them to a more suitable position. Deep planting or a dearth of water supply might be other potential causes. Experts say that the condition of the leaves indicate if there are any problems with the plant, for example, yellowing leaves suggest nutrient deficiency. For some easy tips, visit http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/projects/creative-projects/how-to-grow-peonies/235.html. One should avoid cutting the flowers in the first year and wait till the second or third year. Cut flowers should be kept in a bath overnight and allowed to absorb as much water as they can. Vases need to be filled daily for the first few days for the peonies to last longer. Peonies thus, are not too much trouble to look after and if care is taken, the results are breathtaking.

How to Make a Cactus Garden

cactus gardenA cactus plant is usually found in desert areas or arid regions. It is one of the most exotic plants of nature that have the benefit of being planted anywhere. You can choose to grow a variety of cacti in your backyard, front garden, in a pot, or any other place you like. The best choice being a cactus garden, you can grow different types of it and give your home a more pleasing and exotic look. In order to start making your own cactus garden today, you must follow the steps given below:

Decide And Dig

To make a cactus garden, you need to start with planning. The first thing you need to do is find a location. Once a place is decided, mark a specific area for it. You can choose to plan an area in any shape such as a triangle, circle, square or semi-circle, etc. You can plant on flat ground or on a hill as well. For flat ground, dig the marked area 6 to 12 inches underground. For a hill, dig till a few inches under the ground level.

Planting the Cactus

Go to your local gardening store and find out the best cacti that can grow in your area. You can grow a cactus garden if the temperature of your area is under 45 Fahrenheit. As cactus plants easily grow in sandy soil, you can get cactus potting soil from the nearest market. Begin your plantation by first piling up a layer of lava rocks at the base of the hole. Fill the remaining hole with the cactus potting soil while placing your cactus plant carefully in it.

Keeping up With the Cacti

There are two basic maintenance requirements that you need to look after. The first one is that cactus does not need to be watered regularly like other plants. You can water it once a month by just making the soil moist and not full of water. In most cases, the rainfall is quite enough as the only source of water. As the second condition, feed your cacti plants with a good fertiliser only once a year during the spring season. Thus, keeping up with cactus plants is not at all difficult.

Accessorize

If you like to focus on the little details, you always have the choice of adding a few rocks on the sides or in between the planted area. This will give a more natural and appealing look to your garden, making it look just like the ones you see in movies! Making a cactus garden is thus not only rewarding but also very convenient with minimum maintenance and a beautiful outcome.

Using Perennial plants to complete the look of your garden

perennial plantsIt can often be difficult knowing what to plant when trying to create your garden. Some flowers and plants are not hardy and last only for a short amount of time, which can be disappointing, especially if you do not have the time to replant them. Perennial plants are an excellent choice for the budding gardener; as opposed to annual or biennial plants because by definition, they last for more than two years. There are many different types of these plants so you can achieve great diversity in your garden safe in the knowing that your plants will last a long time.

Types of perennial flowers and plants

There is a huge diversity of these plants, ranging from small, pretty flowers to huge blossoming trees. Beautiful flowers such as Daisies and Foxgloves, Primrose and Poppies all look very nice planted together; they will continue to reproduce and grow meaning that you will have a lovely garden with little difficulty. Perennial plants also include fruit and vegetable plants; from the humble apple tree to root vegetables. There is a wealth of plants which can be grown to fill up your fruit and vegetable bowl, such as leeks, sweet potato and asparagus plants. Furthermore, many herb plants such as chives, sage and thyme are quite hardy and can be regarded as perennial. If your garden is particularly large, you could consider planting an evergreen tree which is bound to last a life time.

The benefits of using perennial flowers and plants

Perennial plants are an excellent choice for your garden because they are extremely cost-effective. Furthermore, as these plants and flowers can adapt and withstand different climate conditions, they will hopefully re-blossom for a long time. The maintenance of these plants is yet another benefit of choosing perennial flowers to complete your garden; they are very low-maintenance. This is perfect for the individuals who want a beautiful garden but don’t necessarily have the time to tend to it. Planning the layout of your garden is also made easier with perennial flowers because you will know the exact colours and general appearance of the plants before you even plant them! Choosing perennial plants for your garden is something which is definitely worthwhile. You will easily achieve a beautiful garden with little fuss and a lot of ease. Even if you want variety in your garden, the huge diversity of perennial flowers means that your garden can look very interesting and colourful and you are satisfied knowing that your garden will blossom for several years. Therefore, using perennial plants is an excellent way to really boost the diversity and colour in your garden. A complete list of perennial flowers can be found here: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/perennials/perennial_index.html

Plant Fruit Trees in Your Garden

orange fruit treePlanting trees in your garden comes with many benefits. The first one is that you will save a lot of money on organic fruits expenditure, and it is good for the environment too. Fruit trees can be productive for about 15 to 20 years with minimum effort on your part while during the peak season, the plants can produce more than you can consume. Reasons to plant fruit trees The first reason why you should plant fruit trees is that you are sure of your own supply or organic fruits, and you know exactly what you are eating. This also allows you to have a steady supply of fruit all year round since you can preserve the surplus in fall, and it allows you to share the surplus with friends. The other main benefit is that it allows you to save on organic fruit expenditure since the cost of organic of is always high. Lastly, fruit trees filter the air, provide shade, condition the soil, and attract pollinators to other plants in the garden. Choosing the fruit trees Usually you find them in three main sizes, which are standard, dwarf, and semi-dwarf. The dwarf size is best for small spaces, and they can grow within an 8-inch diameter comfortably. They are also easy to prune and harvest, yet they take shorter to begin producing compared to their taller counterparts. The semi-dwarf sizes require a growing area of about 15 inches in diameter. They need pruning annually to maintain a good shape and the right height. Occasionally, these trees take time off and are unproductive for about one year, more so after a highly productive season. The standard fruit trees are apples, plums, pears and others similar trees. When you choose to plant these fruit trees in your garden, you must have substantial space, and prepare for intensive pruning. They can grow 25 – 30 inches in diameter, and may take several years to reach maturity stage when they begin fruiting. Maintenance The basic maintenance tasks after you plant fruit trees include pruning, weeding, and occasional fertilising. Smaller trees are easier to manage and spray, while larger trees are more difficult to manage. If you choose smaller trees, this will allow you to have many of them within a small space, and at the same time, it will allow you to have a variety of fruits that last longer seasons. Choosing the fruits to plant It is important for you to consider the garden’s soil type as well as the local climatic conditions along with the space available. You can actually ask you local nursery on the varieties that would do well in your area. The other consideration is matching the plants with the soil conditions, for instance, plums do best in moist soil, while apples will do well in drier soil. You must also consider the availability of pollination, since not all fruit trees are self-pollinating. Lastly choose plants that offer an extended harvesting season that will offer maximum return on investment.

How To Cut And Design Your Box Hedge

trimming the box hedgeSo, you have gone through the planting stage and want to dress up your beautiful hedge by some careful trimming and designing. Your box hedge that adds real beauty to your garden foliage eventually reaches a point where its dense growth rate needs control. It has sat in the shade of your garden and slowly but surely reached a point where cutting is needed. Follow these instructions and you will give your hedge a new polished look.

Trimming The Box Hedge

Do not trim too much as the plant should be allowed to grow naturally until it branches out and touches the garden. Try and do this in mid-summer and cut back carefully, a few inches below your desired height. Use a small pair of shears to allow you to cut carefully. Mark the horizontal points on the hedge where the cutting limits are needed using two sticks and string. Cut some of the shoots below the clipped areas; try for approximately 12 inches beneath the clipped exterior. This helps ventilate the plant and allows more sunlight to strike the shoots of the plant. Be careful when pruning, just take small steps on the cutting. Do not give your hedge a hilarious flat top, hold the shears vertically and trim the sides of the hedge.

Carefully Shape The Hedge

Do not overdo the trimming; it only needs to be done in mid-summer and then just once each year in January. Try and pick a day in January when it is not too cold. This prevents fungus from forming around the damaged areas after trimming before the plant has managed to heal properly. Do not traumatise the plant by cutting a few times a year. There is no need to shape the plant until enough consistent growth is seen. A box hedge becomes dense foliage and it should be allowed to grow naturally to that point first. Then just shave off any new growth, it shows as lighter coloured shoots. It requires very little care throughout the year.

Shaping Ideas for Box hedges

Have you thought about the shape while trimming with care? A walk alongside the neighbours’ gardens growing box hedges reveals a range of tastes on the shape. The topiary choices used by landscape gardeners can be carried out by you. You can sculpt a number of differing shapes. It is best to sculpt the hedge according to its natural shape. Does it look like a pyramidal object or a cone as examples? It takes trimming over a few seasons to get it right as it grows over the year. Cones are easy, start trimming the top of the hedge down the sides till its triangular. Cut at an angle and slowly. You won’t be creating a cone in one afternoon. This will be repeated as it needs to be a gradual process, so cut again twice during the year. Watch through the year as your box hedge grows into the design shape you visualised. Take care of you hedge and be patient.

Easy Plants for Beginners

gardeningWhen deciding to take up gardening, the best way to begin is to grow something that is going to provide you with a rewarding experience. Growing something and then finding that it has died will dampen your spirits, so begin with plants that are simple to grow that also require little maintenance. Indoor plants will take away outside influences like the weather. Nothing can be more disheartening than a late frost ruining your new fauna. There are lots of easy plants to grow for beginners and some that take little or no care whatsoever. Quick Growing Indoor Plants 1.Golden Pothos Vine is one of the quickest growing indoor plants available. This plant is best grown from a hanging basket and because it naturally grows in trees, this plant is happy in the shade. Killing this plant is not easy, unless you place it next to direct heat or fail to water it ever. The good thing about Golden Pothos is that anyone will think that you take great care of your plants. 2. Lucky Bamboo is great for lazy people who like indoor plants. They are happy to be watered whenever you feel like and they will live in pretty much any environment. These plants are great for offices and they are loved by Chinese people who believe they bring good luck. These easy plants make a perfect gift, better if they have been grown from a seed. Outdoor Plants When it comes to growing easy plants outdoors, things are a little more complicated, but nevertheless, there are plenty of options for beginners. To start with, you should prepare your soil properly by making sure it is relatively stone free and well fertilised. When the soil is prepared, you should choose low maintenance plants. These tend to be plants that are in flower for a long time and they don’t need to be tended to very often. 1. Shrubs are a good way to start because they do not generally need to be dead headed and they will flower longer. The best shrubs for beginners are Rudbekia which will flower for about five months beginning in July. There is no dead heading and the leaves will be green all year around. 2. Another very long flowering plant is a Hardy Fuchsia. This resilient shrub starts showing flowers in June and continues all the way through to November. There is no dead heading and they are a tough plant. They can be transferred to a bed and planted two inches lower in the ground than they were in the pots and this will create a solid root network.