Monthly Archives: April 2012

Guide You On How To Plan For A Garden That Receives Partial Shade

A garden in your front yard is a wonderful way to make your property look more attractive. A well maintained garden can increase the curb appeal of your home and set it apart from the rest of the neighborhood. But what do you do if you have a garden that does not receive adequate sunlight and it is lined with big trees. Most plants require full sunlight to grow and flower, and shady spots can create difficulty in growing them. Proper selection of shade loving plants and a good garden layout can help you in creating a colorful garden in the shade.

Before we discuss garden plan for partial shade, it is important to understand what partial shade is. When an area of the garden receives 3-4 hours of the sun in the morning or late afternoon, it is referred to as an area that receives partial shade. The best plan of action in designing a garden that receives partial shade is to opt for annuals or hardy perennial plants that can thrive in partial shade. These type of plants are found in most nurseries, although you need to be knowledgeable about the kind of partial shade plants that you would prefer to plant.Partial Shade Garden

Planning a Partial Shade Garden

To plan for a partial shade garden, first you need to prepare a layout for the garden. Once you have a layout ready, you need to make sure if this layout will work for your garden. Sometimes we make ambitious plans for landscaping a garden but it does not translate into what we have envisioned due to lack of space. Given below are some important aspects of planning a partial shade garden.

Decide on a Layout
One of the most important aspect in planning a partial shade garden is the layout of the garden. Avoid over formal layout for the garden as a natural meandering appearance looks more attractive in case of a shade garden. Design a layout that looks organic with different heights of bushes and shrubs nestled in rows to create demarcation. Flowering plants should be planted in flower beds that have a more informal shape like an oval or kidney shape for best results. Partial shade garden layouts that also incorporate the big trees that grows in the area, works well too. While designing a shade garden layout, it is best that you work with the natural slope of your property.

Decide on Garden Size
The size of the garden should be such that it is pleasing to the eye and it is in scale with the property. A very large shade garden is difficult to take care of, particularly if you are planning to do all the gardening work yourself. A 10 by 12 feet garden layout is big enough to allow you to come up with a great design but small enough for you to take care of the plants and flowers. The garden plan size for partial shade should be such that it appears proportional to the height and scale of the house.

Choose Shade Loving Plants
Of course, the key to a successful garden plan for partial shade is to choose the right shade loving plants. There is not much point in planning garden layouts and other garden accessories if the flowers and bushes that are planted in the garden fail to grow and bloom. Some of the best shade loving plants are red twig dogwood, impatiens, hydrangea and periwinkle. You can also choose Japanese pieris, fuchsia and ligularia. Another no-fail shade loving plant is hostas. Hostas comes in a variety of colors and textures which makes it an ideal plant to grow in a garden that receives partial sunlight.

Add Interesting Garden Accessory
To make your shade garden look more interesting, add a focal point to the garden by using beautiful garden accessories. A bird bath or a water fountain makes a wonderful addition to the garden. Plant a lovely flower bed or mid height bushes around the water feature to give the garden more pizazz. A small wooden bench and split rail fence can also be incorporated into the garden to add accent to the partial shade garden.

Coming up with a garden plan for a garden that receives partial sunlight is not difficult. Showcase flowering plants as well as bushes and shrubs that thrive in the shade. For a partial shade garden plan to be successful, you need to make sure that all the elements from plants, flower beds and garden accessories are in harmony.


Interested To Know What Are The Plants Found In The Sonoran Desert?

Barrel CactusLocated in the south-western parts of North America, the Sonoran desert includes parts of Arizona and California in the U.S., and Sonora in Mexico. A unique feature of the Sonoran desert is that it experiences more rainfall than most deserts. During the hot, dry weather, sand storms alter the face of the desert by shifting the sand dunes. Flowers can be found in this desert if there is enough rain during the summer months. The snow-covered peaks of the Mount Catalina are a beautiful sight in winter.

The Sonoran desert has unique species of plants and animals, owing to its distinct climate. Some of the species of plants found in this desert, include tumble weed, fairy duster, devils claw and ghost flower. Curious to know more about the Sonoran desert plants? Here you’ll find information about the singular plant species found in this desert, some startling facts about them and more. Let us read about a few of the species of Sonoran desert plants.

Plants Found in the Sonoran Desert

Barrel Cactus
One of the tallest cacti on the planet, the barrel-shaped cacti is different from other cacti because of its average height of 8 feet. It has straight parallel ridges running along its sides and these ridges are covered with sharp, pointed spines. The Native Americans boiled the pulp of the barrel cactus for food and used the hook like spines for fishing. This is a beautiful cacti with red or yellow flowers.

Brittle Bush
It is a small plant which grows to a height of 2 to 5 feet. The branches of this plant are brittle and the leaves are broad at the base and narrow at the tip. The thick mat of hair on the leaves, prevents excessive loss of water and protects the plant from heat and cold. This plant belongs to the sunflower family and has small yellow flowers that appear during the summer months. The secretions from the stem of this plant, is used as adhesive and has analgesic properties. This plant grows abundantly in many parts of the Sonoran desert.

Desert Ironwood
This species is found growing on lower altitudes, mostly below 2500 foot above sea level. Belonging to the pea family, this plant is one of the tallest in the Sonoran desert, growing up to a height of 20 to 25 feet. The dense green canopy of the desert ironwood serves as a suitable habitat for a variety of bird and insect species. Not only this, many animals of the Sonoran desert survive on the leaves of this plant. The desert ironwood flowers during the summer months, when clusters of small flowers appear on the branches. The wood of the desert ironwood is used for making charcoal.

Chain Fruit Cholla
The chain fruit cholla is a cactus with segmented branches that appear like chains. The branches are covered with a thick growth of spines, which protect the plant from the heat. This plant is also called the “jumping cholla” because the segments get detached from the plant easily and attach themselves to the passing animals. This is the main method of propagation of the plant, which is adapted to grow in the most hostile desert conditions.Brittle Bush

Velvet Mesquite
Similar to the desert ironwood, the velvet mesquite also has a canopy that shelters insects and many species of bird life. It predominantly grows around streams and water bodies in the desert. The largest of the mesquite species, it has thorny branches that spread out in all directions. The dark green leaves grow alternately on the branches and are covered with fine hair. Many small animals feed on the velvet mesquite, which used to be the staple food of the Native Americans. Today, it is used as firewood and for making charcoal.

Hedgehog Cactus
The hedgehog cactus grows in clusters, having a cylindrical stem that has spines instead of leaves. It has attractive, bright red cup-shaped flowers that appear during the summer months. The fruits are edible and are red in color. Found only in parts of America, the pulp of this plant was used by the natives to prepare sweet cakes.

Saguaro Cactus
The Saguaro cactus is a species of cacti found in the Sonoran desert. It bears white flowers during summer, which remain closed during the day and open when the temperature drops at night. The fleshy stem of the Saguaro cactus helps retain water absorbed during the rains, which is then used by the plant to survive the long dry spells. Many animals, including mice and bats, feed on the stem of the Saguaro cactus. To protect this species of cacti, which is the state flower of Arizona, there is a national park named Saguaro National Park.

Soaptree Yucca
It is one of the most strikingly unusual trees dotting the landscape of the Sonoran desert. Growing to an average height of 15 feet, the soaptree yucca is called so because the trunk and roots contain a substance that was used as a soap by the natives. The leaves of this ornamental plant are triangular in shape and resemble those of a palm tree. The plant fibers are used for weaving baskets and other items.

Teddybear Cholla
At first glance, the short fuzzy branches growing from the tip of this plant make it appear like a cute teddy bear with protruding arms. However, just have a closer look and you’ll know what it really is! The teddybear cholla is completely covered with a mat of spines which get attached to you if you happen to brush against them. The plant bears yellow flowers during summer, which yield spiny fruits. The teddybear cholla is one of the many plants that have adapted to a life in the deserts. The thick growth of spines protects the plant from the extreme temperatures and the green stems contain chlorophyll necessary for photosynthesis. These plants can be found all over the Sonoran desert up to a height of 2000 feet.

You can see that the Sonoran desert has some of the most exotic plant species on planet earth. Do you love the thrill of exploring fascinating places? There you go! So now you know where to head to, on your next adventure trip.

French Intensive Gardening Is A Method Invented To Maximum Possible Yield

French Intensive GardeningAs the name suggests, French intensive gardening was developed in France from where it spread to other parts of Europe and the world. This method is also known as biodynamic agriculture, Marais system and square-foot gardening. The main objective behind this method is to generate maximum yield in least possible space. Although this method defies certain preconceived notions about agriculture and farming, it is highly effective.

What is French Intensive Gardening ?

French intensive gardening is a method invented to maximum possible yield with the help of particular changes in the garden layout and using biodynamic agricultural techniques. Apart from being productive, through this method a huge variety of crops can be produced within the limited space. Planning is extremely important in French intensive gardening as the type of crop and method of planting need to be carefully determined well in advance.

A unique aspect of French intensive gardening is the use of raised beds. The gardening beds are huge which allows people to walk through the entire area in order to maintain the garden. The garden beds are dug up twice which means that the soil below is loose and worked up. Due to this, light and fluffy soil is generated which is them improved by addition of humus and compost, leading to a respectable plant growth with wide and deep roots.

Instead of flattened garden beds, French intensive gardening advocates mounded beds which increase the surface area and thereby facilitate more planting. Establishing these kinds of beds takes a lot of effort but people feel it is worth it, as the yield is excellent. To maintain the garden bed, it has to be watered lightly everyday along with regularly adding compost and fertilizers.

Plant spacing is another important feature of French intensive gardening. Plants are grown in proximity to each other which ensures the soil staying moist and prevents unwanted weed growth. The various French intensive gardening methods are discussed below.

French Intensive Gardening Methods

Catch Cropping
As per the climatic conditions, normally it takes a lot of months to harvest a crop in the same place where a crop was previously harvested. During this period, quick maturing or fast growing crops like radish, onions or lettuce can be grown to utilize the idle space.

In this method, to utilize all available space in the best possible manner, a fast-maturing crop is planted between rows of crops which grow slowly. Quick maturing crops like onions, lettuce or radish can be planted between (or within) rows of slow maturing plants like cabbage, tomatoes or broccoli.

Succession Planting
This method of French intensive gardening involves planting the same quick-maturing crop over a period of 1 to 4 weeks. Plant one row each of lettuce, radish and spinach and leave some space around the planting which can be used later. After a week, plant one more row each of all the plants and do the same one week later as well. Subsequently, when one row is harvested, the second will be ready and so on. This will ensure a consistent supply of fast maturing vegetables all through the season.

Relay Planting
In relay planting, an altogether different crop is planted in the same space where a crop is just about to mature. This means that as and when the new crop is prepared for harvesting, the crop planted later has got an early beginning advantage. Thus more crops can be planted in the same space all through the year.

Wide Row Planting
A variation of the inter-cropping method, wide row planting involves planting of plants in groups or rows about 1 to 4 feet wide. Although walking space between the rows reduces, this method facilitates economic use of fertilizers and water. Also, it is tougher for weeds to grow in this kind of an arrangement. Make grids so that it becomes easier for marking out sections and enables proper utilization of space.

It should be noted that French intensive gardening is not for people who pursue gardening as a hobby. Rather only those people who are hardworking and dedicated towards gardening should start it. It involves hard work, especially in the bed preparation and maintenance stage, so only committed gardeners should try this method.

Basic Tips Concerning Gardening For Dummies

GardeningStarting a home garden that boasts greenery and vivid colored flowers sounds so interesting in today’s stressful life. It is wonderful hobby, by which you get to perform mild physical activities. For elderly persons, gardening of any sort is an ideal way to remain active and involved in relaxing activities. Regarding gardening for dummies, it focuses on planting instructions and guidelines for beginners.

When it comes to gardening, no one is a dummy. Apart from selecting the plant varieties and garden type (indoor, container, flower and vegetable gardening), the other tips remain the same. Remember that even an experienced gardener must start as a beginner. With time and experimentation, anybody can become an avid gardener.

Vegetable Gardening

Planting fresh vegetables and watching them grow are very interesting. And if you taste home grown, garden fresh tomatoes and corns, you will no longer want to buy tasteless vegetables sold in the market. Required steps pertaining tovegetable gardening for beginners are:

  • The first and foremost thing is to select the plantation site or in short, planning garden layout. Opt for areas that receive ample amounts of sunlight for maintenance of healthy vegetables.
  • Prepare the soil in the selected area. Using an appropriate garden tool, loosen soil and remove weeds or unwanted grass. Expose garden soil to sunlight for a few days before planting vegetables.
  • In case the planting site is large, you can separate it into garden rows. Between two rows, leave a small space for easy access to the plants. This will provide space for performing gardening activities.
  • Following this, plant vegetables or sow seeds, as per your choice. Types of vegetables that require least maintenance are tomato, cucumber, spinach, onion, garlic, carrot, squash, beet, herbs, etc.
  • Water the planted vegetables whenever the upper soil layer turns dry. Frequent watering is essential for dry climates. Remove diseased parts (if any) and uproot weeds from your vegetable garden.

Flower Gardening

Whether you say rose gardening for dummies or flower gardening for beginners, the basic guidelines remain the same. Maintaining a flower garden requires some basic steps, such as selecting varieties specific for the season, soil preparation and extra care for timely blooming. Step-by-step instructions for planting flowers are:

  • Planning for flower garden layout is a bit tricky, as your overall garden appearance depends on it. You can start with preparing soil and creating equal sized rows in sunlit areas. The most crucial part is selecting flower varieties perfect for the current season.
  • For choosing flowers, the best way is to talk to your local horticulturist and take his opinion. Apart from the flower size, flower color and plant height, take a note of the level of maintenance. As a beginner start with hardy flower species.
  • Decide the plantation area according to flower color and height. You can also create a border for the flower beds with a contrasting flower color. Once you are done with this layout plan, proceed with growing plantlets.
  • Grow flowering plants with reference to your plan. Then, practice the regular plant care tips to ensure timely flowering and production of healthy blooms.Gardening

Organic Gardening

Generally speaking, there is no virtual difference between a regular garden and an organic garden. The only distinguishing point is using chemical free soil and organic plant cultivars in the latter type. To be more precise, organic gardening is focused on establishing an environmental friendly garden. Thus, farmyard compost, natural fertilizer and chemical free pesticides are used in an organic garden.

So, this was a brief information regarding gardening for dummies. If you do not have a plot or yard, consider learning container gardening for dummies. You will need large pots, potting mixture and plantlets or seeds (whichever applicable) for gardening in containers. Move or rearrange the potted plants as required. Last but not the least, do not forget to involve kids in gardening activities. That way, they will understand importance of plants in nature and ecological balance.