05 Jul

How to improve sandy soil organically?

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.

Lush Home Garden

Lush Home Garden, Image from topdesigninterior.com

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.

17 Jun

How to Keep Your Garden Fresh and Clean All Through the Year?

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.

Example of a beautifully maintained garden

Beautiful Garden, Image from hydrochanger.com

  1. Mulch: Mulch retains moisture in summer, warmth in winter and helps suppress weeds. It gives beds a neat ‘finished‘ look.
  2. 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.
  3. Plant Seasonal Annuals: By planting seasonal plants, you always have something green and in bloom for the most part of the year.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Shoot and Enjoy: Take a camera! Experiment macro shots of blossoms, seedlings and more. You can archive those shot and enjoy them year round!

Thanks Kristen and themoonhowl for these tips!

03 May

Create Your Garden Design in 5 Minutes

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.

GardenPuzzle

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

  1. To get started with your new garden layout, choose scenery (back yard, lawn etc.)
  2. Choose Scenery in GardenPuzzle

    Choose Scenery in GardenPuzzle

  3. Define the type of ground (fertile, dry, acidic etc.) and climatic conditions (your country, state and hardiness zone).
  4. Describe Garden Conditions

    Describe Garden Conditions

  5. Now that you have basic layout of your garden, you are ready to go ahead and start designing your landscape.
  6. Basic Garden Layout

    Basic Garden Layout

  7. Based on your selection, GardenPuzzle would display suitable plants for your climate. You can select from a variety of Conifers, Vines, Perennials, Trees, etc.
  8. Plants in GardenPuzzle

    Plants in GardenPuzzle

  9. Set surface type: Leaves, Grass, Lawn, Brick, Meadow, Planks etc.
  10. Surface Type

    Surface Type

  11. Add bridge, arbor, trellis, fences, garden furniture etc.
  12. Garden Equipment and Furniture

    Garden Equipment and Furniture

  13. 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.
  14. Plant Data

    Plant Data

  15. Save your project and see how your garden would actually look like.
  16. Garden Deign with GardenPuzzle

    Garden Deign with GardenPuzzle

Some of the features are not available in free version of GardenPuzzle.

07 Feb

Virtual Tour of My Succulent Garden – Part I

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 🙂

welcome to my garden

Here is a full view of my succulent garden.

succulent garden on rooftop

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.

large agave plants

Again, some older Agaves including Agave Lophantha, Agave Potatorum and Agave Victoria.

agave plants

Some offshoots from my Agave plants.

agave offshoots

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.

cacti on rooftop garden

This picture shows a smaller section dedicated to Hawothias, Aloes and other succulents.

haworthia dish gardens

I use both plastic and terracotta containers for them.

succulent plants in containers

There is yet another section for young seedlings. You can see 1.5 year old Melocactus and Astrophytum from my own seeds.

melocactus seedlings

astrophytum seedlings

02 Feb

My Succulent Garden

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.

my succulent garden

My Succulent Garden

My Succulent Garden Part 1

My Succulent Garden Part 2

My Succulent Garden Part 3

My Succulent Garden Part 4

My Succulent Garden Part 5

Agaves in My Succulent Garden

20 Jan

10 Ideas for a Beautiful Balcony Garden

The best thing a plant lover living in high-rise buildings and condos is a balcony garden. A balcony garden can be an excellent retreat for urban gardeners. Fortunately, you do not have to be a master gardener to have a nice balcony garden in your apartment. All it takes is:

  • Selection of right kind of plants – evergreen plants that can survive outdoor climate throughout the year and do not require regular care and pruning
  • Selection of right kind of containers – lightweight containers with proper drainage (in a variety of shapes and styles) that can be adjusted to your limited space either placed on the floor, hung freely or fixed in the wall.
  • Aesthetic sense – create focal points and do some experiments and DIY projects to add colors and fun to your balcony garden

If you are looking for some ideas to spice up your balcony garden or design a new balcony garden from scratch, scroll down for 10 ideas for a beautiful balcony garden for some inspiration.

balcony window garden

Image from Flickr © Blackwings

flowers in balcony garden

Image from Flickr © Ms Adventuress

growing flowers in balcony garden

Image from laportaverde.com

simple balcony garden idea

Image from cepolina.com

gardening in balcony

Image by Jenny Downing

bushes and plants in balcony garden

Image from Flickr © Pouletsue

balcony garden idea

Image from janesrooms.com

small balcony garden

Image from myrentalpad.com

simple and cheap balcony garden

Image from rthtg.net

balcony garden design idea

Image from greenscrafts.blogspot.com