29 Aug

How to Landscape Your Driveway Like a Pro

Look at these simple and lovely driveways. They prove you do not have to be a professional designer to landscape your driveway. All it takes is careful selection of plants and a little maintenance.

Pro Tips: How to Landscape Your 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:

Examples of Beautifully Landscaped Driveways

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 brick designs dramatically improve the landscape. 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 of Interlocking Brick Design

Browse these beautiful examples of interlocking brick designs 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,

 

05 Aug

Lovely Ground Cover: Lotus berthelotii

Lotus berthelotii is an evergreen bloomer and is usually used as a ground cover in garden beds and borders or as an attractive hanging plant. The plant is known for its sickle-shaped red flowers with a prominent ‘beak’. The unusual shape of flowers give the plant its common name, Parrot’s Beak. These lovely flowers appear in clusters on trailing stems. The red flowers mature to turn in to orange-red blooms.
lotus maculatus
Lotus berthelotii is characterized by soft needle-like foliage that varies in color from light green to blue-green and silver. The bright flowers of Lotus berthelotii nicely contrast with the foliage and give a rich and delicate look to the plant. Long, trailing stems of Lotus berthelotii make it a nice plant for hanging baskets. The trailing stems can grow up to 10 inches. Prune stems ends to encourage branching.

Lotus berthelotii is usually grown from stem cuttings or seeds though the plants grown from seeds take some time to start blooming. Lotus berthelotii prefers a well-drained soil and partially sunny spot in summer. When grown indoors, place it near a sun-lit window where the plant gets 6 to 8 hours of direct or indirect light. When grown outdoors, Lotus berthelotii should be protected from cold winter by moving it to a greenhouse.

04 Aug

Beautiful Ornamental Tree: Chamaecyparis obtusa

Chamaecyparis obtusa, also known as Hinoki cypress, is an evergreen ornamental tree from the cypress family. This slow growing tree is used in gardens for their ornamental value. In its natural habitat in Japan, Chamaecyparis obtusa can grow up to meters though it takes much time for a plant to reach this size. Many dwarf cultivars are grown and sold commercially as ornamental trees.  Chamaecyparis obtusa is characterized by dense scale-like foliage that varies in colors from blue-green to bronze and from yellow to gold.
Chamaecyparis ob kosteri

Chamaecyparis obtusa grows as an erect evergreen tree and eventually assumes a pyramidal or columnar shape. Many cultivars of Chamaecyparis obtusa vary in size and shape. Most of them can be easily trained to make excellent bonsai. Attractive reddish-brown and nicely textured bark, and irregular branching add beauty and personality to these bonsai specimens. Dwarf Hinoki Cypress with stone

Besides its ornamental value, Chamaecyparis obtusa is grown for it valuable timber. The fine grained wood from Chamaecyparis obtusa is highly resistant to rot. In Japan, this high quality, aromatic timber is used in construction.

Chamaecyparis obtusa can be grown easily in slightly moist and fertile soil under full sun.

Popular cultivars of Hinoki cypress include:

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Aurea’: Grows upright and produces attractive yellow foliage.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Baldwin Variegated’: Grows as a dwarf ornamental tree with green and yellow foliage.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’: Grows as a dwarf ornamental tree with globular growth and produces dense foliage with yellow tips.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Dainty Doll’: A slow growing dwarf cultivar producing rich-green lacy foliage.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’: Known for its dark-green, dense and very attractive foliage. This slow-growing variety tends to natural form a miniature shape.