Soil, being the basic component of your garden, determines quality, health and volume of growth you can have in your garden. Hence before you start experimenting with anything else to make your garden lush and thriving, it is a good idea to spend some time and effort to improve your garden soil. The following are a few tips to improve sandy garden soil.
A sandy, light and granule soil is good for growing a wide range of plants. However, too sandy soil can make your gardening experience a tough job. It drains off moisture very quickly and forms a crusty surface preventing essential moisture from getting down to the roots. If you are living in coastal areas or near mountain range, you probably have a higher proportion of sand in the soil.
Improving sandy soil is not very difficult but it does require a lot of organic portion added to it. You can add well rotted compost and manures to correct the sandy soil. If you are preparing ground for plantation, the best way is to dig the organic matter into the soil several weeks before plantation.
If you already have an established garden with sandy soil, add gradual layers of organic matter as mulch. As a layer breaks down and becomes part of the soil, add a new layer and allow it to break down and become part of the soil. This continuous process may take some time to form a perfect soil however the results are satisfactory – lush and thriving garden.
Keeping your garden fresh, clean and adorable all through the year is quite a challenging task. Not just because you have to maintain your plants for all seasons, add seasonal plants, and manage the space but also because you really have to plan your garden and organize yourself for the hobby. However, with a few practical and simple tips you can manage to keep your garden maintained, fresh and clean for all seasons. Here are 9 tips for a fresh, green and clean garden for all seasons.
- Mulch: Mulch retains moisture in summer, warmth in winter and helps suppress weeds. It gives beds a neat ‘finished‘ look.
- Deadheading: Deadheading keeps the plants looking nice and promotes blooming. Always keep a bucket and pruners handy to remove spent blooms and any dead leaves from the area.
- Plant Seasonal Annuals: By planting seasonal plants, you always have something green and in bloom for the most part of the year.
- Be creative with containers: Containers not only make it easy to keep bright spots in the garden, they can be used to add thematic and dramatic effects to your garden. Experiment with containers of different types, styles and materials. You can find plenty of unique containers for your plants. The best part of planting in containers is that you can easily move them around as needed.
- Grow Evergreen Plants: Get some evergreen shrubs and trees for structure and a spot of green year round. There are a number of evergreen flowering shrubs and climbers available that you can use creatively in your garden. You can grow them against trellis, pergolas, against walls or for hedging purposes. Try Mandevilla, Hebe and Syzygium.
- Explore: Explore and admire your garden daily; not just to get the joy of admiring your work but to also catch problems early such as unwanted insects, early symptoms of disease or possible crop failure, and respond immediately.
- Weeding: For most weeding is a chore but it is wonderfully therapeutic as well. When you are stressed or just need to ‘escape’ for awhile, heading to my garden to weed is the ticket. It not only keeps the garden fresh and clean but also helps catch problems before they get out of hand.
- Get Early Crops: Plant new crops following harvest of an early crop – plant beans following lettuce, spinach and other cold-season crops. This keeps the garden producing, fills in those empty spots and provides less area for weeds to develop.
- Shoot and Enjoy: Take a camera! Experiment macro shots of blossoms, seedlings and more. You can archive those shot and enjoy them year round!
Creating and designing your garden landscape like a professional is just as easy as click-click-click. GardenPuzzle is a smart software application that allows you to design your garden layout before you actually start digging and planting trees and plants. Thus, you can imagine how your actual garden would look like.
You just have to define your climatic conditions and desired layout plan, the application suggests suitable plants and allows you to design your garden with simple mouse clicks. You can download and install GardenPuzzle on your PC as a desktop application or use it online in your web browser for free.
Here is a brief summary of my experience with GardenPuzzle
- To get started with your new garden layout, choose scenery (back yard, lawn etc.)
- Define the type of ground (fertile, dry, acidic etc.) and climatic conditions (your country, state and hardiness zone).
- Now that you have basic layout of your garden, you are ready to go ahead and start designing your landscape.
- Based on your selection, GardenPuzzle would display suitable plants for your climate. You can select from a variety of Conifers, Vines, Perennials, Trees, etc.
- Set surface type: Leaves, Grass, Lawn, Brick, Meadow, Planks etc.
- Add bridge, arbor, trellis, fences, garden furniture etc.
- Now ‘plant’ trees, vine, shrubs as per your choice. You can filter plants by size (large, small etc.) and type (vines, herbaceous etc.). GardenPuzzle provides complete information on habit and culture of plants that you choose so that you can select appropriate plants for your garden.
- Save your project and see how your garden would actually look like.
Some of the features are not available in free version of GardenPuzzle.
With this post, I would conclude this virtual tour to my succulent garden. Today, I am exhibiting some of the succulent plants that did not fit the categories of succulent plants I exhibited earlier that included Agaves, Cacti and Haworthia. In this post, I am exhibiting Aloe, Stapelia, Euphorbia and other succulents.
Now some photographs of Howarthias in my succulent garden. Most of my Howarthia plants grow in dish gardens and grow well in both plastic and terracotta dishes. These pictures show some of my favorite Howarthia plants including Howarthia Truncata and Howarthia Limifolia.
Here is second part of virtual tour to my succulent garden. In this post, I am showing cacti in my collection. You can see Ariocarpus – the Living Rocks (including restusus, agavoides and kotschoubeyanus), Thelocactus, Coryphantha Elephantides, Neoportaria Repifera, Capiopoa Cineria, Strombocactus, Echinocereus and Melocactus.
Finally, my succulent garden is in good shape; it has undergone major redesign. Before I take you to a detailed virtual tour of my succulent garden, let me show a panoramic view of the rooftop where these succulents live.
Let’s start with a welcome note 🙂
Here is a full view of my succulent garden.
These are some of larger specimens of Agave plants in my collection. You can see Agave Stricta and Agave Stritata in large terracotta containers as well as a couple of Agave Guiengola in small containers.
Again, some older Agaves including Agave Lophantha, Agave Potatorum and Agave Victoria.
Some offshoots from my Agave plants.
This section exhibits some cacti. The most prominent in this picture are Astrophytum Myrostigma and Astrophytum Ornatum. You can also see species of Copiapoa and Notocactus.
This picture shows a smaller section dedicated to Hawothias, Aloes and other succulents.
I use both plastic and terracotta containers for them.
There is yet another section for young seedlings. You can see 1.5 year old Melocactus and Astrophytum from my own seeds.
These days my succulent garden is undergoing major changes – in fact a major re-design primarily because of a small construction project. Because of the new construction, I had to squeeze my succulent garden and give away some 475 sq.ft. of space. I am experimenting with rest of the space and trying to accommodate as many plants as I can. Here is a sneak preview of my succulent garden. I will post a detailed virtual tour of my succulent garden later. By the way, it is a roof-top succulent garden.