The Lovely Plants http://www.thelovelyplants.com Landscape & Garden Design Magazine Sat, 09 Feb 2019 23:24:23 +0000 en hourly 1 18404465 10 Best Vines to Grow in Your Garden http://www.thelovelyplants.com/10-best-vines-to-grow-in-your-garden/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/10-best-vines-to-grow-in-your-garden/#respond Sat, 09 Feb 2019 23:23:04 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6313   Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan) Known for its bright yellow flowers, Black-eyed Susan is an easy to grow vine. It prefers a moist but well-drained soil under bright sunlight. Black-eyed Susan can be easily trained to twine up fences, walls, pergolas, and privacy screens in a garden, deck or backyard. This lovely vine can grow up […]

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Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan)

Known for its bright yellow flowers, Black-eyed Susan is an easy to grow vine. It prefers a moist but well-drained soil under bright sunlight. Black-eyed Susan can be easily trained to twine up fences, walls, pergolas, and privacy screens in a garden, deck or backyard. This lovely vine can grow up to 5 feet and produces attractive flowers in early or mid-fall. Some varieties also bear orange, white, blue and violet flowers.

Popular varieties include Thunbergia alata (yellow, orange and white flowers) and Thunbergia grandiflora (violet flowers).

 

Clematis

Clematis are one of the widely planted and the best vines to grow in gardens. They are popular for their attractive flowers that come in many different shades of red, pink, yellow, blue, purple and white. Clematis are usually easy to grow in a warm and sunny spot but they can tolerate spells of cold when protected from chilling winds and frost. The spring bloomers can be trained to twine up trellis and pergolas. The vine can grow up to 15 feet or more. A large number of varieties varying in size, growing habit and color of flowers are available for gardeners and horticulturists.

Parthenocissus

Parthenocissus is a small genus of climbing vines from the family of grapes. These fast-growing plants are the best vines to grow against a wall, fence, or almost any other structure in your garden that you want to cover or hide. These clinging vines can easily attach themselves to almost any surface with abundant and beautiful foliage. Most species of Parthenocissus benefit from bright sunlight and a well-drained soil. Popular species include Parthenocissus quinquefolia (also know as Virgina Creeper) and Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy).

 

 

 

 

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A Guide to Popular Flowering Plant Families http://www.thelovelyplants.com/flowering-plant-families/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/flowering-plant-families/#respond Fri, 13 Jul 2018 01:54:39 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6512 Acanthaceae is a family of tropical flowering shrubs from Africa, Central America, and Oceania. Most plants from this family are known for their showy flowers. Popular genera in this family include: Acanthus Aphelandra Crossandra Fittonia Justicia Megaskepasma Ruellia Thunbergia Amaranthaceae is a large family of herbs and flowering shrubs from tropics to temperate regions of […]

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Acanthaceae is a family of tropical flowering shrubs from Africa, Central America, and Oceania. Most plants from this family are known for their showy flowers. Popular genera in this family include:

Acanthus Mollis, Ornamental Foliage Plant

Acanthus Mollis, Image by meggle (flickr)

Amaranthaceae is a large family of herbs and flowering shrubs from tropics to temperate regions of the world. Plants in this family are known for their bright and attractive flowers. Popular genera include:

Iresine Herbstii, The Bloodleaf Plant

Iresine Herbstii, The Bloodleaf Plant, Image by Leonora Enking (flickr)

Amaryllidaceae is an ancient and popular family of bulbous flowering plants. Originally native to southern Africa, many species from this family are grown worldwide for their ornamental and commercial value. Popular genera from this plant family are:

  • Amaryllis
  • Allium
  • Boophane
  • Clivia
  • Crinum
  • Narcissus
  • Nerine
Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata/ Image by Maja Dumat

Apocynaceae, also known as Frangipani family, is a family of flowering plants, shrubs, vines and tress from many tropical regions of the world. Popular genera are:

adenium flowers

Araceae is a family of tropical plants known for their foliage and unusual flowers. Most plants from this family are grown for their horticultural value: Popular genera are:

Caladium, Colorful Foliage Plants

Caladium, Colorful Foliage Plants, Image from wikipedia

The family of Arecaceae, also known as Palm family, is known for tropical trees, climbers, shrubs grown for their usually evergreen foliage. Popular genera include:

  • Archontophoenix
  • Areca
  • Bismarckia
  • Calamus
  • Cocos
  • Phoenix
  • Thrinax
  • Veitchia
  • Washingtonia
Washingtonia Robusta, Tropical, Evergreen Palm

Washingtonia Robusta, Image by floresyplantas.net

Asclepiadaceae, also known as milkweed family, is a sub-family of Apocynaceae. Plants in this family are characterized by succulent usually waxy stem and unusual flowers. Popular members of this family are:

Stapelia Gigantea Flower

Stapelia Gigantea Flower, Photo © The Lovely Plants

Asteraceae, also known as Aster family, is one of the largest families and includes many popular flowering plants. Most plants in this family are grown for their horticultural value. Popular plants include:

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta, Image by Joshua Mayer

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Highlights from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/highlights-from-rhs-chelsea-flower-show-2018/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/highlights-from-rhs-chelsea-flower-show-2018/#respond Thu, 31 May 2018 00:19:57 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6484 The world famous Chelsea Flower Show by Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) concluded on May 26, 2018. Keeping up the traditions, renowned horticulturists, garden designers, nurseries and florists participated in this event to display innovative and charming garden designs and ideas at the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. RHS Chelsea Flower Show is known historically […]

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The world famous Chelsea Flower Show by Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) concluded on May 26, 2018. Keeping up the traditions, renowned horticulturists, garden designers, nurseries and florists participated in this event to display innovative and charming garden designs and ideas at the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show is known historically for introducing and showcasing new trends and techniques in garden design. Visitors can enjoy not only wonderful garden designs but also appreciate stunning floral displays, and many rare plants showcased at the show.

See highlights from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018:

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18-254 Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - The Myeloma UK Garden

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

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My Rooftop Succulent Garden 2018 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/my-rooftop-succulent-garden-2018/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/my-rooftop-succulent-garden-2018/#respond Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:47:12 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6459 My rooftop succulent garden has changed a lot since I first posted pictures of my succulent garden from 2007. You can see pictures of my rooftop succulent garden in 2007 here, here, here and here. A large part of my cacti collection is now replaced by Sansevieria, Agave, Gasteria, and Haworthia plants – most of them […]

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My rooftop succulent garden has changed a lot since I first posted pictures of my succulent garden from 2007. You can see pictures of my rooftop succulent garden in 2007 here, here, here and here.

A large part of my cacti collection is now replaced by Sansevieria, Agave, Gasteria, and Haworthia plants – most of them are rare hybrids or variegated varieties.

Here are a few pictures of my succulent garden including some of my recently purchased variegated Sansevierias and a few bulbs of the spiral grass.

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Best Fragrant Houseplants for Your Home http://www.thelovelyplants.com/best-fragrant-houseplants/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/best-fragrant-houseplants/#respond Tue, 27 Feb 2018 02:37:16 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6409 Indoor plants, especially fragrant houseplants are ideal when it comes to bringing nature and its goodness to your home. Weather you are looking for plants for your living room, patio, or the sunroom garden, fragrant houseplants freshen up the air and add that distinctive and irresistible natural look to your indoor space. The following are […]

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Indoor plants, especially fragrant houseplants are ideal when it comes to bringing nature and its goodness to your home. Weather you are looking for plants for your living room, patio, or the sunroom garden, fragrant houseplants freshen up the air and add that distinctive and irresistible natural look to your indoor space. The following are some of the best fragrant houseplants you should consider for your home:

Gardenia

Gardenia
Gardenia is one of the best fragrant houseplant you will find. Their dark green leaves and creamy-white flowers are a sight to behold and easily compliment any décor you may have. Gardenia may not be the easiest indoor plant to care for, but the look and fragrance they offer your living space are all worth the extra effort.

Jasmine

Jasmine fragrant flowers
Jasmine plants produce a particular nighttime scent and belong to a class of winter blooms. Not all of them are sweet smelling, but Jasminum polyanthum is what you will be looking for if the nighttime fragrance is your goal. Just make sure they sit next to a sunny window and are in an area with adequate air circulation.

Scented Geraniums

Scented Geranium
There is a wide variety of Scented Geranium with each having a distinctive scent. They are natives of South Africa and rarely survive the American winters outdoors. Scented Geraniums feature bright green lemon-scented leaves and colorful flowers. You can train them as standards, have them in hanging baskets and put them in cute pots for your living room or kitchen.

Spearmint

Spearmint in Flower & the Insects that came to Feed (48)
Most of us want a plant that is easy to grow and maintain. Spearmint releases a unique minty smell to make any living room feel fabulous. The aroma is almost similar to that of peppermint but has less menthol. Spearmint has a square-shaped stem and spear-like leaves. It is pest-resistant and is rich in vital nutrients, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. You can harvest leaves to spice up your morning tea and evening dessert.

Lavender

Lavender
Lavender has a reputation for its sweet fragrance and appealing flowers. It is generally a low maintenance plant that also repels mosquitoes and other bugs. They thrive in dry climatic conditions, and it’s perfectly fine to water them once per month. However, lavender requires a good dose of lighting so placing them on a windowsill is a good idea.

For more information on fragrant houseplants and gardening tips, check out Michelle’s website: https://www.gardeningleave.org

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Top Tips for Sustainable Gardening http://www.thelovelyplants.com/tips-sustainable-gardening/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/tips-sustainable-gardening/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 03:37:26 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6385 Sustainable gardening is a way of gardening that reduces waste, minimizes environmental impact and enhances natural environment. Modern gardening techniques involve usage of chemicals, fertilizers, and materials that not only impact natural environment but also become a source of pollution. The idea behind sustainable gardening is to adopt methods and use substances and materials that […]

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Sustainable gardening is a way of gardening that reduces waste, minimizes environmental impact and enhances natural environment. Modern gardening techniques involve usage of chemicals, fertilizers, and materials that not only impact natural environment but also become a source of pollution. The idea behind sustainable gardening is to adopt methods and use substances and materials that are sources from nature and do not harm the local ecosystem. Think of chemical sprays that kill insects bugs but also wipe out honey bees or friendly bugs that condition the soil or are eaten by birds. Killing those bugs affects population of birds that visit gardens not only to obtain their food but also to pollinate flowers or spread seeds. Disturbing a single link in the ecosystem eventually disturbs the whole ecosystem that might lead to catastrophic changes in the long run.

Sustainable gardening is all about being sensitive to the nature and minimizing impacts of gardening activities on the nature. There are a number of tips and techniques (such as composting, mulching, xeriscaping etc) you can use to make sure that your garden is sustainable. The following is a few easy ways to adopt sustainable gardening habits.

Sustainable Gardening

Avoid chemicals

Part of achieving a sustainable gardening is removing the chemicals entirely from your garden space. There are plenty of pests and weeds that may be easier to deal with using pesticides, but the damage it does to the health of your garden and wildlife as a whole can be massive. For this to work, you need to commit to de-weeding by hand and only using natural fertilizers to help your plants reach their full potential. This does not necessarily have to be as hard as it sounds, depending on the state of your garden. Planning ahead to cut chemicals from your garden can be the best way to integrate this sustainability effort slowly over time.

When you really want to use a pesticide, make sure you use an organic pesticide such as  EcoSmart Organic Botanical Garden Insect Killer

Reuse & Recycle Materials

From plant pots to your old rake, there are plenty of things that you can reuse and breathe new life into. The creation of these items takes a heavy toll on the environment, so getting as much use out of them as possible is important in order to achieve sustainability in your garden space. Recycling indoor items for use outdoors can also be a great way to boost your garden’s sustainability. A flower pot made out of your Aunt Mable’s favorite teapot may make a great interest piece, for example, as well as adding to your garden’s sustainability.

Also See:

Harvesting Water

High water usage has a big impact on the environment, with gardeners being some of the biggest culprits of too much water use. You want your plants to survive, but at what expense? The compromise for this problem comes from harvesting your own water.

Use a rainwater collection barrel, buy a rainwater tank or simply keep a few jugs on hand for the drizzles. Either way, make sure that your plants are only being supplied by sustainable water. Of course, you won’t always collect enough water year round; but, it should go a long way to help your garden become self-sufficient.

Rainwater Collection Barrel

Rainwater Collection Barrel, Made with 100% Recycled Plastic and Plastic Spigot

Zero Waste

Don’t throw away a twig. No, really. If you want your garden to be truly sustainable then it needs to be a zero waste zone. No bin, landfill or dump should ever receive a scrap from your garden. So this means having a compost bin. Meaning all of your natural waste can be recycled back into your flower beds, creating the circle of life in your own garden.

Consider Sustainable Furniture Options

For a fully sustainable garden space, you need to ensure that everything you buy for your garden is responsibly sourced. Including the furniture. Outdoor rattan furniture is a sustainable option, with much of the rattan supply coming from Indonesia. Here communities are supported by the growth of this rattan for furniture and rely upon it for economic stability.

Ensuring you have environmentally friendly furnishings is a must for a sustainable garden space, so invest in this area of your garden!

As a whole, a sustainable gardening is not as difficult as you might at first suspect! Simply put in a little hard work from the beginning and you will have a beautifully sustainable space in no time.

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How to Identify and Get Rid of Houseplant Insects http://www.thelovelyplants.com/identify-get-rid-houseplant-insects/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/identify-get-rid-houseplant-insects/#respond Sat, 20 Jan 2018 02:53:42 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6361 Houseplant insects, if not identified and removed properly, can kill your plants. It is important to spot early signs of infestation by regularly examining your plants especially those surrounded by other plants or placed in hard to reach locations and corners. Most insects are small and live on parts of the plants that are not […]

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Houseplant insects, if not identified and removed properly, can kill your plants. It is important to spot early signs of infestation by regularly examining your plants especially those surrounded by other plants or placed in hard to reach locations and corners. Most insects are small and live on parts of the plants that are not usually visible such as under the leaves and nodes or around stems.

If you find your houseplants infested with insects, immediately isolate the affected plant and make sure that insects have not already spread. The next step to identify insects and use an appropriate insecticide to get rid of infestation. This following is a brief guide to identifying houseplant insects and getting rid of them.

Scale

Scales look like white cottony masses, sometimes with brown crusty bumps. Sometimes, they are flattened red or grey bodies. They can attack any part of the plant – stem, nodes or leaves where they suck sap from the plant and excrete sticky fluid. Scales are easily visible and are easily scraped off the plant surface.

How to get rid of scale insects – Scrape off larger scales and then use a soft brush dipped in soapy water or horticultural oil to clean affected areas thoroughly. Keep the plant under watch for at least a week and repeat the process, if required.

Scale insects

Mealybugs

Mealybugs usually look like scales because of their size and appearance. They are identified by their white waxy body and their habit of living in clusters. Plants infested with mealybugs would look distinctly weak, unhealthy and covers with sticky sap. Mealybugs usually live underside of leaves and cause deformation of leaves.

Mealybugs

How to get rid of mealybugs – Mealybugs can spread quickly and are difficult to control. If spotted earlier, mealybugs can be removed by wiping off the affected parts with a damp cloth or cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. Serious infestation can be controlled by using an appropriate insecticide and re-potting the plant with fresh soil. Do not use the infested soil.

If possible, use organic insecticides such as EcoSmart Organic Botanical Garden Insect Killer. I prefer organic pesticides because they use natural plant oils and have no harmful effects on humans and pets. Most organic pesticides are odorless and can be used safely on indoor plants.

Thrips

Thrips are one of the most common and difficult to control houseplant insects. They feed on fruits, flowers, leaves and stems of houseplants and lay eggs in silts they cut in plants. The eggs, if left unattended, hatch and send off a fresh colony of thrips.

How to get rid of thrips – There are thousands of species of thrips varying is size and color – some are easily identified and controlled whereas some of them are more resilient. Most species of thrips can be controlled by using an organic insecticide.

Thrips - Houseplant insects

Aphids

Aphids are small green, pink, brown, yellow or black insects that usually attach young buds, new foliage, and stems. These pesky houseplant insects live in small clusters and suck sap from plants resulting in weak growth and wilted leaves.

How to get rid of aphids – Isolate affected plants. If caught earlier, wipe off insects with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. Keep the plant under watch and repeat the process every two or three days until full rescue. If infestation is severe, use an appropriate insecticide. You may have to spray the plant multiple times at weekly intervals.

Hibiscus: Aphids on furled flower

Whiteflies

Whiteflies, like most houseplant insects, weaken plants by sucking plant sap and coating parts of the plants with sticky substance. Whiteflies are small, white flying insects that flutter around the plants and lay eggs under the foliage. Affected plants show signs of weak growth and poor foliage.

Whitefly
How to get rid of whiteflies – Move the plant to an airy spot. Wipe off eggs and larva with damp cloth or cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. If the infestation is severe, use an insecticidal soap or an appropriate organic insecticide.

Rubbing alcohol

Spider mites

Spider mites are too small houseplant insects to be noticed easily. They are wind surfers and easily travel from one plant to another. Spider mites live underside leaves where they spin protective webbing. These pesky insects damage leaves by sucking sap and making holes in them. Affected leaves usually show sign of discoloration or prominent yellow stripes. Spider mites reproduce quickly in a dry environment such as in a greenhouse.

Spider mites on corn leaf

How to get rid of spider mites – Remove affected leaves and stems. Wash the plan with a strong stream of water and then use an insecticide, preferably an organic insecticide like  EcoSmart Organic Botanical Garden Insect Killer.

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How to Create a Garden Pond: The Ultimate Guide http://www.thelovelyplants.com/garden-pond-design-guide/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/garden-pond-design-guide/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 22:46:40 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6323 Creating a garden pond can be a complex task; it can be difficult to manage every detail without forgetting a step. We are here to help. You always want to be sure to do your research and plan the location of your pond before you jump in to installing it and planting. We’ve created a […]

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Creating a garden pond can be a complex task; it can be difficult to manage every detail without forgetting a step. We are here to help. You always want to be sure to do your research and plan the location of your pond before you jump in to installing it and planting. We’ve created a guide to planning and putting in your perfect garden pond, from what type of pond to choose to how to best plan out your foliage. Let’s dive in!

Garden Pond Guide

Decide on the size of your garden pond

This step should be done first and foremost. The decision should be made based on three things: your budget, your land, and what you want. If you’re wanting a giant koi pond, but barely have room for a garden pond, you shouldn’t get your hopes up. Be realistic in your planning stages because otherwise, your dream garden will remain a dream. Small ponds give you more options for where you can put them, are usually cheaper, and are easier to maintain. Larger ponds can add to your property value, are larger and have to be planned for accordingly, and are a little further on the pricier side. Don’t forget to consider the cost and size of your pond liner: http://www.swelluk.com/pond/pond-liners-54/ – this is of great importance.

Visualize how you want the end project to look

This will help you stay within the lines of what you envisioned, as well as help you plan your budget accordingly. If you’re wanting to surround the pond with stones, lots of plants, and statues and fill it with fish, your budget is going to need to be pretty high. What kind of pond were you thinking, the liners or the plastic molds? The plastic molds are a little more expensive but they save you tremendously in maintenance and hassle with installment, plus it has a longer life.

Make a detailed budget and stick to it

This can be the most challenging part as surprise expenses happen, but it’s important to adhere as closely to your budget as possible, so it doesn’t kill you when those surprise expenses do happen. Shop around and research before you purchase your pond, plants, and whatever else you want to go around it; make sure you’re getting the best price. You might like these tips, provided by The Guardian.

Plan out the perfect place for your pond to go

Don’t just trust that the land will be fine in the area you pictured for your pond; do your research before trying to install it. You should place your pond in an area with level land that has ample exposure to sunlight for your plants. You don’t want your pond to be placed near any overhanging trees, if possible; the leaves litter your pond and it’ll save you a tremendous hassle in cleaning out the pond every day in the fall.

Garden Pond Design

Getting your perfect garden pond can be a challenge, but if you plan ahead, shop wisely, and stick to your vision, it can be possible. Whether you picture a small garden pond surrounded by stones and plants or larger pond with a bench swing in the background and statues for added elegance, you can make it happen with our ultimate guide. Be sure to do your research before jumping in and always plan ahead. We hope your garden pond is everything you envisioned it to be.

For your inspiration, here are a few examples of beautiful garden ponds.

@ large ponds one for fish and one is a watergarden traditional-landscape
Lot 82 tropical-landscape
Traditional Landscape traditional-landscape
Barnes contemporary-landscape
Maher Residence Back modern-patio
Chevy Chase contemporary-landscape
Dalkeith garden contemporary-landscape

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How to Make the Most of a Small Lawn http://www.thelovelyplants.com/make-small-lawn/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/make-small-lawn/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:52:31 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6268 They say good things come in small packages, and that’s definitely true for lawns. For one thing, they’re easier to maintain than large lawns, and it only requires a little of creativity to work around the challenges a small space presents. Here’s how to make the most of a small lawn if that’s what you […]

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They say good things come in small packages, and that’s definitely true for lawns. For one thing, they’re easier to maintain than large lawns, and it only requires a little of creativity to work around the challenges a small space presents. Here’s how to make the most of a small lawn if that’s what you have…

Also see: Top Tips for Landscaping a Small Lawn

Work out your priorities: First of all, decide what you to do with the space. Have you always fancied trying to grow your own vegetables, or are you harboring ambitions to be a green-fingered Mother Nature type that can cultivate even the most exotic species of flower? Whatever the case, be clear about your requirements, and don’t be afraid to sketch it out to help solidify your ideas in your mind. This will help you to plan out the space to ensure it ticks the right boxes.

Look at where the sun is: Next up, you’ll need to spend a little bit of time looking at the amount of sunlight your yard receives. It will depend on the way your property faces and the time of year, but just be mindful that you’ll need to make every square inch count if you don’t have much space to begin with. So, put sun-loving plants where the rays linger for the longest portion of the day, and plan something creative with parts of your lawn that are shadier.

Buy once, buy well: If you’re planning on sectioning off a portion of your small lawn for a patio, for example, (a great idea if you know you’d like to spend significant amounts of time dining or relaxing outside), don’t be tempted to buy cheap paving stones. Instead, buy them once and buy them well – good quality paving stones will last for years if you look after them well, and considering you only have a small area to cover, you’ll find that even the best quality paving stones are very affordable. The same is true for decking, or any other material you want to use to maximize your outdoor space.

Invest in the right tools: On a similar note, make sure you’re investing in the right tools to look after your lawn. For example, a small lawn won’t need a large, cumbersome power mower. Instead, you can probably just use a reel-action push mower, which is much lighter and will probably be easier to store away too. Likewise, if you like to use lawn feed, look for one that’s designed for small areas so that you don’t overwhelm the area you have.

Lawn-Boy Lawn Mower - Best choice for a small lawn

Lawn-Boy 177-32 Lawn Mower is simple yet gives surprising mowing experience. Probably the best available option for a small lawn. You can buy it online.

Grow vertically: A small lawn means you’re unlikely to have enough space to plant everything in the ground. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have all the flower beds and herb gardens you’re hoping for. The solution is to simply grow vertically – fill your space with climbing plants to add interest and texture to your small lawn, and consider planting blooms in pots that are hung from your fences or walls – you’ll get an awful lot of color and greenery into your yard by doing this.

Use of vertical space in a small lawn

 

Use mirrors: Yes, really! Mirrors aren’t just for indoor use. When you place them outside in your small lawn, you’ll find that you make the lawn look bigger by reflecting it. Tuck mirrors behind a trellis or on a fence at the far end of the lawn to cleverly create the illusion of size, and just be careful to take note of where you’re placing it… you won’t want to reflect ugly drain pipes for example. It’s also worth hanging a mirror relatively low to the ground if you don’t want to interrupt a bird in flight. And remember to hang a mirror out of the sun – you don’t want to risk a fire in your yard, or your neighbor’s!

Using mirrors in a small garden

 

Select your flowers carefully: Finally, give some careful consideration to the plants you want to put in your lawn. Flowering shrubs are low maintenance, but it’s worth paying attention to what time of year they’ll flower and for how long so that one plant is beginning to flower as the other one is reaching the end of its season. Also, you can create depth and interest by adding plants of varying heights to help make your narrow lawn borders look a little thicker.

Also see: Best Flowering Shrubs to Grow in Your Lawn

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Gazebo Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes http://www.thelovelyplants.com/gazebo-design-ideas-gardens-landscapes/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/gazebo-design-ideas-gardens-landscapes/#respond Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:22:59 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6262 Planning to build a gazebo is your garden? Browse these beautiful gazebo design ideas for building a perfect outdoor living space. Also see: 8 Simple and Practical Design Ideas for Water Features in Your Garden 9 Examples of Beautiful Sunrooms How to Design a Beautiful Japanese Garden Photo by – Look for landscape design inspiration […]

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Planning to build a gazebo is your garden? Browse these beautiful gazebo design ideas for building a perfect outdoor living space.

Also see:

Gazebo in backyard
Wooden Gazebo Design Idea
Modern Gazebo - outdoor living
Poolside Gazebo Design Idea
Large Gazebo
Custom Design Gazebo
Small Gazebo Design
Gazebo Design Idea
Gazebo / Cabana
Gazebo / Log Cabin
Gazebo in Garden
Gazebo in Japanese Garden
Lovely Gazebo
Gazebo in Landscape Design

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Eco-Friendly Pest Control for Your Home http://www.thelovelyplants.com/eco-friendly-pest-control-home/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/eco-friendly-pest-control-home/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 14:52:48 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6244 There is no doubt that insects are an important part of the world’s eco system, so we should probably not simply try to kill them all off. This does not mean that you should find yourself pinned to the chair because a family of spiders is standing in the middle of the floor. It also […]

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There is no doubt that insects are an important part of the world’s eco system, so we should probably not simply try to kill them all off. This does not mean that you should find yourself pinned to the chair because a family of spiders is standing in the middle of the floor. It also does not mean that you should have to throw out a ton of food items because ants have found their way into your kitchen cupboards.

You want to make sure that insects stay outside of your home. Doing this successfully, involves using pest control. But what about the problem of using chemicals? We have already mentioned how killing all insects is bad for the ecosystem; you may be concerned about pest control chemicals, for the same reason. Many pest control experts actually offer services that are more environmentally friendly than was previously the case; you can find out more about eco-friendly pest control service. If you would rather try your own eco-friendly methods first, here are a few ideas.

Eco Friendly Pest Control

Eco-friendly Pest Control / Image via flickr

Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is simply a collection of fossilized remains of a species of algae. The remains consist of hard and sharp pieces which are microscopic in size. These pieces damage the exoskeletons of the insects that may be tempted to invade your property, killing them. You only need a thin layer of diatomaceous earth to do the job and you can sprinkle it wherever you choose, as it’s perfectly safe.

Mint Leaves

Mint is harmless to humans, but ants and flies do not like it. All you should do is scatter a few leaves around where there is a potential problem of infestation, and the culprits should be deterred. As an added bonus, mint gives your home a fresh and clean scent.

Soap and Water

This may sound like a really simple solution; but it can work. You just need to fill a spray bottle with a soap flakes and water solution, then point at the bugs you want to get rid of, and spray. The soap in the mixture damages the exoskeleton of the bug. The water then gets inside and the bug drowns. It’s as simple as that.

Keeping out Termites with Sand

Termites that invade from underground can be deterred by using a barrier of sand. They cannot tunnel through the sand in the same way that they can tunnel through earth. You can use sand around the foundations of your property, in crawl spaces and in any other area that may be susceptible to termite activity.

Nematodes and Termites

This may sound a little gross, but you can actually kill termites using a different type of creature; microscopic worms called nematodes. They are just pumped into areas where there is a problem with termites and they then kill any termites which are present.

You can use any or all of these solutions to try and rid your home of a pest problem. If you have any issues doing so, do not be worried about calling in the experts. You can discuss any concerns about chemicals with them, before any treatment is started.

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A Beautiful Example of Contemporary Garden Design http://www.thelovelyplants.com/contemporary-garden-design/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/contemporary-garden-design/#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 02:47:21 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6237 Bricks, concrete blocks, pebbles, rocks and stones are material for contemporary landscapes and gardens. These contemporary materials are used to design gardens and landscapes that are low on maintenance yet high in water efficiency. The whole idea is to cover the ground with ‘hardscape’ elements to reduce evaporation and retain moisture. The hardscape is filled […]

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Bricks, concrete blocks, pebbles, rocks and stones are material for contemporary landscapes and gardens. These contemporary materials are used to design gardens and landscapes that are low on maintenance yet high in water efficiency. The whole idea is to cover the ground with ‘hardscape’ elements to reduce evaporation and retain moisture. The hardscape is filled with drought-resistant or water-efficient plants. Hardscape elements also minimize the need to control weeds and use pesticides by naturally controlling weeds and preventing pests.

See more information and resources on water-efficient garden designs and a list of water-efficient plants.

Recommended Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Designing Beautiful Xeriscapes

Also browse these beautiful examples of contemporary garden design by Folia Horticulture + Design.

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Top Tips for Buying Indoor Plants http://www.thelovelyplants.com/top-tips-buying-indoor-plants/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/top-tips-buying-indoor-plants/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 19:21:21 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6213 When buying indoor plants, make sure that you pick a healthy plant that is great in shape, has no signs of disease or damage, and is ready to be transferred to the intended environment. When you are buying indoor plants, make sure that you understand their growing conditions and have sufficient space to provide them. […]

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When buying indoor plants, make sure that you pick a healthy plant that is great in shape, has no signs of disease or damage, and is ready to be transferred to the intended environment.

When you are buying indoor plants, make sure that you understand their growing conditions and have sufficient space to provide them. Once you have decided what indoor plants you want to buy, make sure you select the best available indoor plants available in the garden center. The following tips for buying indoor plants will help you select the best plant and avoid costly mistakes.

Tips for Buying Indoor Plants


  • Look for healthy foliage and sturdy stem. Avoid plants with drooping leaves or foliage showing signs of discoloration. Do not buy plants with damage or weak stem. Look for firm stem with no signs of damage.

  • If you are buying a seasonal flowering plant, pick the plant with lots of unopened buds. Avoid plants that are end of their flowering cycle.

  • Carefully watch buds, under the leaves, and tips of new stems for insects. Do not buy plants that carry bugs. Also watch for eggs and larva. If you have already brought home an infested plant, immediately isolate it from other plants and treat the affected plant.

  • Make sure that plants roots of the plants are not growing out of the pot. Roots growing out of the pot suggest that the plant has been potted in the same pot for a long time and it would be difficult to transfer it to another pot and that transferring the plant to another pot would put a lot of stress on the plant.

  • Always pick smaller indoor plants. Not only they cost less but also adjust easily in their new environment. You can also prune and train smaller plants to your desired shape. Buying smaller indoor plants also gives you freedom to fit them easily in available space.

  • Check the soil carefully. Make sure that it is not soggy or very dry – clear sign of neglect.

  • Do not place your new plants under direct sunlight. It is advised that new plants should be kept under indirect sunlight for a few days so that they can adjust to their new climate. If you are buying flowering plants, place them in the spot that is best suitable for them so that they are not stressed in the process of acclimatization. Flowering plants, when not provided with the right climate, may shed their flowers and buds immediately.

  • When buying indoor plants, make sure they are handled carefully during the transit. It is advised that they are properly wrapped and provided sufficient support during transfer.

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Creative DIY Gardening Idea # 33: Hanging Gardens http://www.thelovelyplants.com/creative-diy-gardening-idea-33-hanging-gardens/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/creative-diy-gardening-idea-33-hanging-gardens/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:04:44 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6206 Photo by Living Gardens Landscape Design – More contemporary landscape ideas

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5 Best Medicinal Plants to Grow in Your Garden http://www.thelovelyplants.com/5-best-medicinal-plants-grow-garden/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/5-best-medicinal-plants-grow-garden/#respond Sat, 03 Jun 2017 20:02:27 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6197 There are so many cosmetics, herbal extracts and natural products in the market that you can use for various healing effects and medical benefits that they offer. Most of these plants are not very hard to find at your local. You can also buy these plants online and easily grow them in your own garden. Here is […]

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There are so many cosmetics, herbal extracts and natural products in the market that you can use for various healing effects and medical benefits that they offer. Most of these plants are not very hard to find at your local. You can also buy these plants online and easily grow them in your own garden.

Here is a list of some common and easy to grow medicinal plants you should try.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is used for preparing various face packs and masks. Aloe vera gels are great source of Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, and E. Apart from these vitamins, it also has minerals like iron, zinc, copper, sodium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Just extract the gel from its leaves and apply it directly on face and hair for that shine. Old tissues of your skin are rubbed off and newer ones generate with this application of gel and that’s how you get a fabulous skin. Sunburn spots and dark circles or for that matter any kind of dark spots are alleviated with this gel.

Lavender

Lavender has many healing properties. It can not only improve your skin but also your mood and sleep disorders. The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of this plant gives you a blemish free and scar-free skin.

Rose

Rose petals are a great source of Vitamin C and that ensures that you have a soft and smooth skin. As a toner, rose water, is used since a very long time. It alleviates rashes and inflammation.

Tea tree

Tea tree has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil is an important ingredient in many skin care products available in the market because it enhances that natural glow of the skin and also removes dark spots.

Chamomile

Infusing the chamomile petals in your tea would bring in a massive change in your state of mind and body. It also rejuvenates skin as well as acts as an effective relaxant for sending you to a sound sleep.

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Lovely Indoor Foliage Plant: Balfour Aralia http://www.thelovelyplants.com/indoor-foliage-plant-balfour-aralia/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/indoor-foliage-plant-balfour-aralia/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 17:29:45 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6190 Polyscias balfouriana, commonly known as, Balfour Aralia is a beautiful foliage plant known for its attractive leathery foliage. Though a bit hard to find in horticulture marketplace, it makes an excellent indoor plant that does not require much maintenance. Originally from tropical regions of the Pacific, can be grown in bright and slightly humid spot near […]

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Polyscias balfouriana, commonly known as, Balfour Aralia is a beautiful foliage plant known for its attractive leathery foliage. Though a bit hard to find in horticulture marketplace, it makes an excellent indoor plant that does not require much maintenance. Originally from tropical regions of the Pacific, can be grown in bright and slightly humid spot near a sun exposed window where it receives plenty of indirect sunlight in the morning and occasional watering.

The plant is characterized by round, leathery, dark green leaves that look like dinner plates thus giving the plant its common name – the Dinner Plate Aralia. Variegated varieties of Balfour Aralia with gold and cream leaf margins are also available.

In its native climate, it grows up to 12 feet or more but it takes many years to attain that size. When grown indoors, it grows slowly and can be easily pruned and trimmed to keep it in desired shape. In fact, Balfour Aralia makes an excellent subject of bonsai.

Balfour Aralia

Balfour Aralia / Image via jardin-secrets.com

How to Grow Balfour Aralia

Balfour Aralia benefits from a well-drained soil and occasional application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer. The plant is prone to root-rot when over-watered therefore it is advisable to neglect on part of watering. Water generously when the soil is completely dry and then allow the soil to dry before next watering.

Balfour Aralia, Foliage Plant

Balfour Aralia, Foliage Plant / Image via pdiplants.com/

For healthier growth, make sure that your plant receives at least 2-3 hours of indirect morning light. A good shower to keep the leaves clean is also advisable.

Other popular species of Polyscias include:

Polyscias ‘Fabian’ (Fabian Aralia) grows scalloped dark green leaves on a woody trunk.

Polyscias fruticose (Ming Aralia) grows feathery leaves and makes a nice small tree for growing outdoors.

Alert: The leaves of Balfour Aralia are poisonous for pets.

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How to Care for Amaryllis in Your Garden http://www.thelovelyplants.com/care-amaryllis-garden/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/care-amaryllis-garden/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 13:18:24 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6164 Amaryllis are beautiful flowers that, if cared for correctly, will bloom year after year. They have a magnificent, exotic appearance and are best known for featuring red or red and white blooms. Although they do come in other colors such as purple, pink and yellow and some varieties are even multicolored. These colorful flowers are grown […]

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Amaryllis are beautiful flowers that, if cared for correctly, will bloom year after year. They have a magnificent, exotic appearance and are best known for featuring red or red and white blooms. Although they do come in other colors such as purple, pink and yellow and some varieties are even multicolored. These colorful flowers are grown from bulbs and Amaryllis is the more popular name for what is actually the Hippeastrum bulb.

Amaryllis are easy to plant and of all the flowering bulbs, they are the easiest to bring to bloom. While they are ideal for any garden, they also make fantastic houseplants and have become popular gifts at Christmas because of this.

Amaryllis

So, you have your Amaryllis bulb, now what do you do…?

Ideally you will plant it between October and January, they will then flower from winter to spring – generally within six weeks of planting. Amaryllis bulbs are tender and need warmth to grow therefore it is best to plant them in pots – in nutritious compost – and start them indoors, to avoid the frost. The Amaryllis should be grown in a pot only slightly bigger than the bulb itself, with two-thirds of the bulb remaining above the surface.

You should begin to water sparingly – then, as the new leaves develop, start watering regularly avoiding excessive watering while not letting the compost dry out.

Amaryllis should be placed in full sun – they will grow in light shade but they tend to develop better in brighter light – but remember to turn the pot regularly to avoid the stalk growing towards the light. You should feed your amaryllis bulb every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer and stake larger flowers as they start to grow.

Once the flowers on the initial stem have faded, cut the stem back to the bulb and another should grow and flower.

So, when can you move Amaryllis into the garden?

Firstly, as soon as the plant starts flowering it should be moved to a cooler spot to help extend the flowering period. Then, in the summer, once the last of the frost has passed, it can be moved outside. When choosing where to place it in the garden remember that Amaryllis should not be in intense sunlight, instead look for a semi-shaded position.

Once outside you need to be aware of and on the look out for slugs and snails! Similarly, if you find that your plant is flowering this could be down to growing in conditions that are too shady, or under-watering during the previous summer. But, this could also be due to attack from fungal disease or bulb pests.

You may be tempted to start pruning but you don’t need to do this until the leaves turn yellow (around late September) – then you can cut them back to around two inches from the top of the bulb. Your Amaryllis will need re-potting every two to three years in January to March – after flowering.

Amaryllis will be a great addition to any garden and if you care for them properly, you will be able to enjoy their pretty, colorful flowers for months and years to come.

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Best Specimen Plants to Grow in Your Garden http://www.thelovelyplants.com/best-specimen-plants-grow-garden/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/best-specimen-plants-grow-garden/#respond Thu, 04 May 2017 02:48:47 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6154 Specimen plants are usually grown in gardens and landscapes to create focal points. These plants are often characterized by unusual form, bold colors, attractive flowers, or lovely foliage. Best specimen plants have year-round foliage, compact growth and low maintenance needs. When grown indoor, small specimen plants can be used to brighten up small spaces by creating focal points or […]

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Specimen plants are usually grown in gardens and landscapes to create focal points. These plants are often characterized by unusual form, bold colors, attractive flowers, or lovely foliage. Best specimen plants have year-round foliage, compact growth and low maintenance needs. When grown indoor, small specimen plants can be used to brighten up small spaces by creating focal points or create dramatic effects by placing these plants at strategic spots. When grown outdoors, large specimen plants can be used to fill spaces or create permanent displays.

Some of the best specimen plants that are always at the top of my list include:

Colocasia esculenta – A nice specimen plant grown for its large, attractive foliage.

Taro, Best Specimen Plants

Pennisetum setaceum – Commonly known as ‘purple fountain grass’ is a beautiful specimen plant for growing outdoors.

Pennisetum Setaceum 'Rubrum'

Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Image by Matt Lavin

Miscanthus sinensis is a bold, upright and attractive grass.

Miscanthus Sinensis Grass

Miscanthus Sinensis, Image via Wikipedia

Acer palmatum or ‘Japanese Maple’ is a small tree with interesting and colorful foliage.

 

Dioscorea elephantipes is a beautiful specimen plan known for its unusual form.

Best Specimen Plant - Dioscorea elephantipes

Pachypodium lamerei or the ‘Madagascar Palm’ is another beautiful specimen plant for growing outdoors.

unusual plant pachypodium lamerei

 

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Top Tips for Keeping Your Indoor Plants Healthy http://www.thelovelyplants.com/top-tips-keeping-indoor-plants-healthy/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/top-tips-keeping-indoor-plants-healthy/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 02:50:56 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6144 Keeping your indoor plants healthy and fresh all through the year is not difficult at all. Whether you are growing an exotic orchid, a tropical foliage plant, a miniature succulent or large specimen plant, general rules for keeping your indoor plants healthy and fresh are simple and universal. Photo by Rikki Snyder Select the Right […]

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Keeping your indoor plants healthy and fresh all through the year is not difficult at all. Whether you are growing an exotic orchid, a tropical foliage plant, a miniature succulent or large specimen plant, general rules for keeping your indoor plants healthy and fresh are simple and universal.

Keeping Your Indoor Plants Healthy

Select the Right Spot

Provide your indoor plants with the right spot. Not at all plants have same requirements. Some like prolonged exposure to the sun, some like indirect light. Some indoor plants can thrive in low lights whereas some benefit seasonal outdoor exposure. Make sure that you understand light, moisture and temperature needs of your plants and then provide them with the right indoor spot. Do not change location of indoor plants frequently. Plants that are moved frequently spend most of their energy adjusting to their new spot.

Protect Indoor Plants from Direct Exposures

Most indoor plants do not like direct exposure to harsh sunlight in the summer season. Do not put them on windowsill or near a window with direct sunlight during most part of the day. Avoid placing your indoor plants near radiators, heaters or air conditioners. Extreme and frequent change in environment is not good for indoor plants.

Monitor Temperature and Moisture Level

Use a temperature and moisture gauge to keep a check on indoor temperature and moisture level especially when you are using humidifiers, heaters or dehumidifiers.

STARRICH Portable Mini LCD Digital Thermometer Hygrometer Air Temperature and Humidity Meter Moisture Mete for Household

You can buy a quality device like STARRICH Thermometer, Air Temperature and Humidity meter to keep a check on indoor climate. Most indoor plants do not prefer extremely dry or moist conditions. If you are growing plants that prefer moisture, you can group them together to raise moisture level around them. It is a good practice to group plants with similar moisture and temperature requirements.

Provide Your Indoor Plants with the Right Pot

Repot your indoor plants into larger pots every two year or so. This will ensure that plants get enough room to grow their roots.

Water Your Indoor Plants Carefully

Indoor plants usually require less watering. A good practice is to allow the soil to dry completely before each watering. Water generously before next watering. Make sure that your pots have sufficient drainage at the bottom. This will prevent the soil from bogging and keep the roots properly aerated.

Act in Time

Keep a close eye on your plants and do not procrastinate if you notice something unusual such as pests, falling buds, or withering leaves. Be proactive and solve the problem as early as possible. If a plant infested with pests, immediately separate the affected plants. Natural and organic pesticides are better than chemicals and are safe for children and pets. Some organic insect killers such as EcoSmart Botanical Insect Killer can be purchased online.

 EcoSmart Botanical Insect Killer

Allow Your Indoor Plants to Rest

Allow your indoor plants to rest during the dormant months of winter. During this time, reduce watering and move your indoor plants to a little cooler place. Do not fertilize or repot them during dormant months.

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How often do I need a pest inspection? http://www.thelovelyplants.com/often-need-pest-inspection/ http://www.thelovelyplants.com/often-need-pest-inspection/#respond Mon, 17 Apr 2017 12:35:26 +0000 http://www.thelovelyplants.com/?p=6113 If you see pests in your lawn or on the plants in your garden, start inspecting your home for pest infestation. Similarly, if your home is infested with pests, they will likely creep into your garden and on to your plants. There are so many ways your home or garden can get infested with pests – soil, […]

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If you see pests in your lawn or on the plants in your garden, start inspecting your home for pest infestation. Similarly, if your home is infested with pests, they will likely creep into your garden and on to your plants. There are so many ways your home or garden can get infested with pests – soil, small animals, transferring indoor plants from outside etc. However with proper pest inspection, it is easy to protect your house from pest infestation.

Home Pest Inspection

There are many contributing factors that determine how long you can responsibly wait between inspecting your home for pests. As a general rule of thumb, you should always consider the effort involved in performing regular pest inspections versus the effort required to eradicate a large infestation. It will always be quicker and more cost efficient to exterminate a small number of pests in the early stages of an infestation. There are many precautions you can take to ensure your home will not see a full blown infestation. To maintain a pest free home you must know the major contributing factors for an infestation, which include: the environment in which you live, the abundance of wildlife in the community, and a history of repeated infestations. Learn more here about your free home inspection.

The environment in which you live can play a huge role in how often your home is ransacked by small pests. In colder environments, many pests will come into your home searching for warmth and a dry shelter. This is a natural behavior for the animals to survive the conditions. However, these are not harmless animals. Many rodents coming into your home carry dangerous diseases that can be transmitted to humans and our pets. If you live near a heavily wooded park or forest, you may need to check your home more often for rodents. If you live in an environment that is cold or near a lush greenbelt, you should perform a regular inspection of your home at least once every other month.

The single greatest factor for infestations is the abundance of pests in the area. As stated above, if you live near a greenbelt, you will most likely see more small rodents than other communities. This is because many rodents can live in the foliage with minimal predators and reproduce very quickly.  Similarly, there are pests that thrive in desert communities, such as: termites, scorpions, bees, spiders, and cockroaches. Cockroaches can be especially abundant in warm climates because they can reproduce at a very quick rate. A cockroach will lay up to 50 eggs in their ootheca, or better known as their egg sac. If you live in a community with a high abundance of pests, you should perform an inspection of your home once a month so you can quickly take care of any problem that arises.

If your home has a history of being infested with pests, there may be small spaces on your home you need to board up. A mouse can enter your home from a hole the size of a nickel, so this should be your benchmark for determining if a hole needs to be filled. Many rodents enter your home from appliances with hoses that lead to the outside of your home. You should fill all the gaps in these holes with caulking, and install metal mesh coverings to cover all vents. If your home has a history of pest infestation, then you should regularly check your home every month just to be safe.

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