02 Sep

Nice Ornamental Grass: Hystrix patula, Bottlebrush Grass

Hystrix patula, commonly known as Bottlebrush Grass, is a beautiful ornamental grass known for its attractive flowers. Also sold as Elymus hystrix, the Bottlebrush grass is rightly named for its long floral spikes that remind you of a bristled bottlebrush.

Hystrix patula is a tall grass that grows up to 1 meter and produces clumps of light-green leaves making it a nice ornamental grass for borders and flower beds. Green bristly flower heads appear in summer and last until fall. When in full bloom, Hystrix patula is loaded with bottlebrush-like flowers that stand out from its companions because of their attractive colors and unusual shape.

Elymus hystrix (eastern bottlebrush grass)

Hystrix patula can be grown in almost any soil (loamy, chalky or sandy) as long as it is provided with moist but well-drained conditions.  As a low-maintenance ornamental grass, Hystrix patula requires full to partial shade and grows easily from seeds.

Like most ornamental grasses, Hystrix patula is a pest free grass and grows well with accompanying plants in a border or a flower bed. More information on growing and maintaining as an ornamental grass is available here: Hystrix patula, the Bottlebrush Grass

Also see:

29 Aug

How to Landscape Your Driveway Like a Pro

Your driveway does not has to be dull and lifeless. There are plenty of ways to make it green and attractive year around. Browse the following examples of beautifully landscaped driveways. These lovely driveways prove that you do not have to be a landscape designer to beautify your driveway. All it takes is careful selection of plants and a little maintenance.

What type of plants can be used along my driveway?

  • Select plants that do not require regular maintenance. Consider planting flowering shrubs and bushes, ornamental grasses or small trees.
  • Make sure that the plants you use along your driveway are compact and do not block the driveway.
  • Select drought-tolerant plants such as succulents. They do not require much watering and thus reduce the need for drainage and also the amount of water that touches your driveway.
  • If you do not have enough space to plant, use container-bound or hanging plants.
  • Use ground covers and creepers around your driveway to avoid soil erosion.

Also see:

18 Aug

Interlocking Brick Designs for Backyards and Patios

I recently paved my backyard with interlocking bricks. Yes, I do not have my not-so-lush lawn now but the backyard looks neat and still gives me plenty of room to plant my favorites in the bordering raised beds. As I have observed and experienced, interlocking bricks dramatically improve the landscape design. They are durable and easily withstand long spells of freeze and thaw.

As opposed to concrete or brick and mortar floors, interlocking bricks can be installed in various patterns and offer a variety of material (clay, concrete, stone etc.) texture and color.

If you are considering interlocking bricks in your patio or backyard, this is a useful article on cost, material, pros and cons of installing interlocking bricks. If you want to do it yourself, follow this link for step-by-step DIY instructions on installing an interlocking brick pattern in your backyard or patio.

Examples and Design Patterns of Interlocking Bricks

Browse these beautiful examples of interlocking brick design patterns for your inspiration.

12 Aug

Hellebore: Beautiful Winter and Early Spring Bloomer

Hellebore is a small genus of winter-hardy perennials. They are loved by gardeners for their ability to grow in shady spots and produce flowers in late winter when very few plants can bloom. The flowers are actually colorful sepals that assume the shape of star-shaped flowers. These attractive ‘flowers’ bloom in various shades of purple, white, yellow, pink and red. These lovely flowers can last for two to three months thus making these plants a good choice for late winter or early spring interest.
Hellebore 'Peppermint Ice'

Hellebores can be grown easily from divisions. They prefer a rich and well-drained soil in a shady or partially sunny spot. Avoid over-watering and water only when the soil is dry. Most Hellebores are not fussy about growing conditions and can be easily mixed with common ground covers and evergreen plants in a garden bed. Mature plants will only require occasional cleaning up of withered leaves. A general purpose fertilizer can be applied to encourage healthier blooms to plants grown in containers.

Watlington Hellebore

Popular varieties of Hellebore include:

Helleborus x ericsmithii `Pirouette’ (rose flowers), Helleborus  x ericsmithii `Ruby Glow’ (rose-pink flowers, Helleborus  x ericsmithii `Winter Sunshine’ (cream flowers), Helleborus atrorubens (dark violet flowers), and Helleborus x ballardiae (burgundy flowers).

Hellebores are also sold as Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose.

10 Aug

Garden Dispatch # 6

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of useful and interesting resources for gardeners and landscape designers.

How to Design, Start and Maintain a Rooftop Garden

Being an urbanite, I have been gardening on my rooftop for many years. I have grown a variety of plants in my rooftop garden ranging from large ornamental plants to miniature succulents. If you are thinking about turning your rooftop in to a garden, follow Marianne Cannon as she talks with landscape designer Christopher Owen about how you plan a rooftop garden in all sorts of locations, from a large garden on top of an apartment block to a small garage rooftop. http://gardendrum.com/2015/08/10/how-to-plan-build-plant-a-roof-garden/

How to Use Epsom Salt for Better Foliage

Gardeners have been using Epsom Salt in many different ways to improve health and foliage of plants. Epsom Salt is a natural source of magnesium and sulphur – two important elements  that encourage growth of healthy foliage. Read more on using Epsom Salt for growing healthier roses, vegetables and ornamental plants.

How to Grow Turk’s Cap

Malvaviscus arboreus var. mexicanus

Malvaviscus arboreus, commonly known as Turk’s Cap, is a beautiful flowering shrub from the family of hibiscus and hollyhock. Recognized by its bright-red flower, Turk’s cap makes an excellent plant for tropical and sub-tropical climates under sunny as well as shaded spots. Read these useful tips by Pam Penick on growing Turk’s Cap.

Product of the Week: Solar Powered LED Landscape Light

InnoGear Solar LED Light

If you are looking for a budget landscape lighting solution, check out InnoGear 2-in-1 solar powered LED landscape light. This tool-free installation light easily sticks into the ground. You can also use the mounting kit (included) to fix it on the wall. With automatic on/off and 2-levels of brightness, this adjustable LED light suffices almost all landscape lighting requirements. The InnoGear 2-in-1 solar light is water and heat proof. The built-in lithium battery can be easily recharged when the sun in shy.

How to Prepare Your Own After-Sun Lotion

After Sun Lotion

Ingredients (makes 2 oz.)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil infused with calendula
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa butter
  • 1 teaspoon Shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated beeswax
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons aloe vera gel

See details on Garden Therapy by Stephanie

Also see,