18 May

Top Tips: Landscaping a Small Backyard Garden

Landscaping a small backyard garden should not prevent you from growing your favorite plants, building a nice deck, or using it for outdoor living. With careful selection of plants (compact shrubs, low-maintenance succulents, hardy ground covers, and nice border plants), and a minimal design scheme you easily turn your small backyard space into an enjoyable retreat.

 

Browse the following examples and see how easy it is to create a nice landscape design in a small backyard.

Use Vertical Space

You cannot change size of your small backyard but by using vertical space effectively you can make your small backyard look roomy. You can use small trees and slender bushes that grow in columnar fashion. You can also use tall objects like over-sized planters and vertical lighting effects as in the following picture. Also notice a Mandevilla growing horizontally to give an impression of expansion.
Small Backyard Design

Add Multiple Levels

By adding multiple levels, as in the following picture, you can maximize the use of vertical space. Terraced levels can also be used to create multiple focus levels. You can incorporate plants of different sizes (taller at the back and smaller on front terraces) with landscaping objects like rocks to create an overall impression of a small terraced garden.
Small Space Backyard

Divide Your Backyard into Functional Areas

To make maximum usage of real estate, you can divide your backyard garden into small functional areas. The backyard garden in the following picture is divided in multiple functional areas: outdoor living, vegetable beds, a BBQ pit and a small lawn bordered with ornamental plants. Each functional area integrates with others to form a useful backyard garden.
Small Backyard Garden

Create a Useful Central Area

Create a central area and then border it with minimal plantation. The small backyard garden in the following picture uses a functional central area that can be used for outdoor living bordered with compact and low-growing plants.

Small Backyard Design

Create a Single Focal Point

The small backyard garden in the following example uses a garden pathway as the only focal point. It is bordered with a mix of annuals and perennials grown in a country garden style.
Small Space Landscape
Create an Outdoor Living Area
The best usage of a small backyard garden in to turn it into a functional outdoor living area. The backyard in the following example uses most of the available space for day-to-day usage – plantation is minimal, furniture takes most of the space.
Deck in Small Landscape

Incorporate Indoors and Outdoors

By incorporating indoor and outdoor space, you can effectively maximize the use of limited real estate. The small backyard garden in this example is integrated with the living room.
Indoor and Outdoor Space Integration

Pave Your Small Backyard Garden

You with pave your small backyard garden with stone or interlocking bricks. A paved backyard gives you a plenty of space to use for outdoor living as well as container gardening.
Small Landscape Backyard

Use Garden Border

If you do not have enough depth in your small backyard garden, as in the following example, plant along the border. Mix and match plants of different sizes, colors and texture to create an attractive landscape.
Garden Border in a Small Backyard Garden
14 May

Lovely Flowering Shrub: Potentilla fruticosa

Potentilla is a genus of lovely flowering shrubs and small perennials from the family of Rose. These summer flowering shrubs make excellent plants for beginners. Most species, such as Potentilla fruticosa,  grow in almost any soil and are resistant to pests.

Potentilla fruticosa (Buy online) grows from 1 to 3 feet in height and produces attractive yellow flowers in late spring. Flowering continues till early days of fall. Potentilla fruticosa can be used to border plants, cover the ground in mass plantation schemes or as an outdoor ornamental plant. The ornamental value of the plant is because of its compact silvery-green leaves and attractive yellow flowers.

Potentilla fruticosa 'Lovely Pink'

How to Grow Potentilla fruticosa

Potentilla fruticosa like other plants in its genus prefers bright sunlight, regular watering and a well-drained soil. To keep the plant in shape, it is advised to prune annually at the end of the flowering season. When grown in colder climates, reduce or stop watering during the freezing period. Most Potentillas can be grown from softwood cuttings or divisions. Popular varieties include:

P. fruticosa ‘Abbotswood’ is grown as a hardy flowering shrub that produces abundance of white flowers.

P. parvifolia ‘Goldfinger’ is known for its large and prominent yellow flowers.

P. fruticosa ‘Goldstar’ grows as a compact and low-growing flowering shrub. It is suitable for growing as a ground cover. Flowers are yellow.

P. fruticosa ‘McKay’s White’ produces very nice white flowers.

Potentilla fruticosa 'McKay's White'

P. fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’ is the most beautiful flowering shrub in this genus. It is known for its lovely pink flowers.

P. fruticosa ‘Red Robin’ produces yellow flowers that gradually change their color to yellow-orange.

28 Apr

5 Beautiful Australian Natives You Need on Your Shopping List

Growing Australian natives in your garden can be beneficial to the environment and make gardening an easier task for you! Native plants attract wildlife to your garden and provide shelter for them. But that’s not all, they’ll also add a lovely touch of colour and interest to any garden.

To help you start your native garden here are some Australian natives that suit a variety of Australian gardens.

Donkey Orchids for Shade

Donkey Orchid, Diuris

Donkey Orchid, Diuris / Image by Morgan’s List

Diuris orchids are commonly called donkey orchids because their two upper petals stick up like donkey ears. The donkey orchid is a breath-taking plant that has a distinctive bright yellow flower which blooms from winter to the start of summer. They grow in regions with wet winters and well-drained soils, woodlands or grasslands.

Lechenaultia for Pot Plants

Native Blue Lechenaultia

Native Blue Lechenaultia / Image by Gardening with Angus

The Lechenaultia is a vibrant plant that comes in a rainbow of shades you can enjoy over many seasons. Although they can carpet the ground of your garden, they are suited to growing in hanging baskets or pots too. This is especially the case if your soil is very wet. They grow best in humid climates and are most commonly found in Western Australia.

Tea Tree for Cold Climates

Lemon Scented Tea Tree

Lemon Scented Tea Tree / Image by Melbourne Daily

This Australian shrub (or small tree) has stunning, thin green leaves and white flowers. It grows to a maximum of five metres and is adaptable to most types of soil. Although it can be grown for purely ornamental reasons it’s also a source for essential oil that’s used in beauty products and to repel annoying mosquitoes.

Banksia for Small Gardens

The Native Sentinel Banksia

The Native Sentinel Banksia / Image by Austra Flora

The Sentinel is a variety of Banksia that is perfect for those awkward corners of the garden that need to be filled. While the flowering shrub will grow to about two metres high, it only has a spread of a metre, which makes it perfect for small gardens.

The Sentinel Banksia prefers full sun or partial shade. It flowers from late summer to winter and loves to be pruned which means it’s easy to keep it at a controllable size. Sentinel’s flowers are loved by honeyeaters who will visit your garden to enjoy them from summer through to mid-winter.

Wattle for Easy Growing

Australian Native Wattle Plant

Australian Native Wattle Plant

The wattle is one of Australia’s favourite plants! There are over 1000 species of acacia and they make fantastic garden plants. Varieties of Acacia range from small shrubs to larger trees so they will suit most garden sizes.

The wattle responds well to pruning right after flowering and regular pruning will extend its life. You can enjoy the beautiful yellow throughout the year but they typically flower in spring, with a third of the species flowering in winter. The plant attracts a variety of native birds that come to feast on its nectar.

If you are interested in discovering more varieties of plants for your garden, this list of Australian native plants gives you a personalised list of plants that are suited to your garden.

24 Apr

Lagurus ovatus, Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass

Lagurus ovatus or Bunny Tails Grass is a lovely ornamental grass known for its puffy white flowers that resemble a bunny’s tail. This beautiful annual grass can be grown along garden borders or pathways, as an accent plant in the garden or an ornamental grass in xeriscapes.

Lagurus ovatus

Lagurus ovatus / Image via faroutflora.wordpress.com

Bunny Tails grows as a compact ornamental grass growing up to 20 inches high and about 1 foot wide. The blades are soft and about 1.5 foot in length. The ornamental value of this lovely grass is because of its fluffy, white oval flowers that start appearing in early summer. Bunny tails flowers assume tan color as they enter the fall season arrives. The flowers start to dry out at this time. You can keep them on the grass for winter interest. Stalks with dried fluffy flowers can also be removed and used in dry flower arrangement.

How to Grow Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass

Bunny Tails Grass

Bunny Tails Grass / Image by Mollivan Jon (flickr)

Bunny Tails can be propagated from seeds (Buy Seeds Online) collected from dried flowers. Seeds can be sown in spring. Plants grown from seeds take 1 to 2 year to attain the maximum size.

Bunny Tails grass comes from Mediterranean climates where it thrives in a rather dry climate. When grown in gardens or landscapes, provide it sunny exposure and water moderately. Bunny Tails prefers sandy soil that does not retain water. It is a drought-tolerant grass. Water it thoroughly in summer and then allow the soil to completely dry before watering next. When temperature falls, water sparsely.

15 Apr

How to Make Your Garden Magical this Spring-Summer Season

The season of barbecues and garden parties is almost among us, and what better way to see in the warmer season than a garden revamp after the cold and unforgiving winter season. Here, we’ll give you a few tips and pointers to help you make your garden a haven of peace and tranquillity that you’ll want to share with others.

Lighting

For evening entertainment out on your lawn, decking or patio area, lighting really makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of your outdoor entertaining space. Here are a couple of lighting ideas that are really cheap and easy to add to your garden:

Outdoor String Lights

Wrap them delicately around pergolas, trellises and archways or draped along branches to add soft and warm lighting to any area, instantly making your garden feel more homely and welcoming.

Pathway Lighting

Line your pathway with solar powered floor lighting to create an enchanted feel to your garden with minimal effort. For a really luxurious look, try taller bollard lighting you can get from places like Bulbs2Go.

Pathway Lighting - Bulbs2Go

Planting

Now is the time to be planting root veg and seeds to get a great yield in autumn, but the spring-summer period is a wonderful time to enjoy colourful flowers such as primroses, hyacinths and daffodils.

For continued blooming after bulb plants have finished flowering, line the edges of your garden with hardy annual favourites like sunflowers, marigolds, and nasturtiums. When their flowering periods are over, you can harvest the seeds of sunflowers and the flowers and seed pods of nasturtiums for delicious additions to salads and garnishes.

Furniture

The warmer weather is a great time to get out and enjoy your garden by entertaining friends and family. Invest in good-quality outdoor furniture that will last years and fit in with your taste and home aesthetics. Plastic furniture can look tacky and need replacing more often if you choose lower-grade plastic, but there are fantastic offerings all over the outdoor furniture market with woven plastic fibres that hold their shape and structure as well as look stylish.

Wooden garden furniture needs a lot more care and attention to look its best for longer, but is far more versatile and natural looking with more options for painting and personalisation. Make sure you coat the wood according to manufacturer instructions to keep it looking tip top.

There are so many ways you can help your garden look its best for summer, and all these things will instantly breathe colour and life into your outdoor space.

03 Apr

Lovely Indoor Foliage with Colcosia / Elephant Ears Plant

Colocasia also known as Elephant Ears Plant are attractive foliage plants that add a lot of character to a garden landscape. Their bold foliage also makes them excellent indoor foliage plants. If you are looking for nice foliage, rich colors and a low-maintenance plant for your garden landscape or indoor décor, Colocasia should be on top of your list.

Colocasia, Elephant Ears Plant

Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Colocasia or Elephant Ears Plant (Buy Colocasia online) produces prominently large heat-shapes foliage. The attractive large leaves grow on a 2 to 3 feet long stalk. Different varieties Elephant Ears Plant offers colorful foliage that varies from green to dark purple. Some varieties produce green leaves with prominent white variegation. Elephant Ears plant can grow from 3 to 5 feet and it does not take it much time to attain this size. In fact, Elephant Ears is a rather fast growing plant. When grown under right conditions, a plant from tuber can easily grow up to 3 feet in a year.

How to Grow Colocasia / Elephant Ears Plant

Colocasia or Elephant Ears Plant is grown from tubers. Weather grown in the ground or container, provide them with moist, rich and slightly acidic soil. When grow indoors, make sure that they are placed near a window where it receives bright sunlight. Because of the large size of its foliage, plants grown indoors should be provided with sufficient room to grow. Elephant Ears plants grown indoors also require higher level of humidity.

Colocasia can be easily grown in poolside gardens where they provide nice foliage and lush colors to the landscape.

When grown outdoors, Elephant Ears Plant should be placed in a spot where it gets plenty of sun in the morning and partial shade for the rest of the day. Plants under partial shade usually grow large foliage than those placed under sun during most part of the day. Colocasia / Elephant Ears Plant should be protected from strong winds, frost or freezing winter temperatures. If you are living in a colder climates, move your plants indoors or trim the foliage completely and tubers for the next season.

Popular varieties of Elephant Ears Plant (Buy online) include:

  • Colocasia ‘Black Magic’, a 3-5 foot specimen with dark burgundy-black leaves.
  • C. ‘Black Stem’ grows black stems with burgundy-black veins on green foliage.
  • Colocasia ‘Green Giant’ gets its name because of extra ordinary large foliage (up to 5 feet).
  • Colocasia ‘Nancy’s Revenge’ grows up to 5 feet and produces dark green leaves with creamy centers.
24 Mar

Top Gardening Blogs on my Reading List

I read and follow a number of gardening blogs because I enjoy learning from first hand experiences of other enthusiasts. Following is a list of top gardening blogs that I read on regular basis.

Balcony Gardener

All about challenges, opportunities, lessons learnt, and success stories of growing plants in a small balcony. Blog URL: http://balconygardener.ca/

Fine Gardening Blog

Everything a novice or an expert gardener wants to know – tips & tricks, landscaping ideas, plant profiles, articles and a lot more. Blog URL: http://www.finegardening.com/blogs

My Tiny Plot

“My Tiny Plot is dedicated to creating a beautiful garden, growing great vegetables, healthy fruit and the most beautiful cutting flowers.” Blog URL: http://mytinyplot.com/

Three Dogs in a Garden

A very well written blog on everything gardening. Loads of spectacular photos. Blog URL: http://threedogsinagarden.blogspot.ca/

Bloomingwriter: Gardening in Nova Scotia

Jodi DeLong shares his experiences of growing his favorite plants in Nova Scotia on this regularly updated gardening blog. Blog URL: http://bloomingwriter.blogspot.ca/

Garden Care Simplified

Wonderful experiences of gardening in a terrace by Rizwana Mundewadi. Blog URL: http://gardening-simplified.blogspot.ca/

Metro Greens

“Metro Greens aims at inspiring the gardener within people, to encourage them to take up gardening – enjoying the sheer joy and pleasure of sowing a seed, watching it germinate and grow over the time, and ultimately witness the charm of flowering/fruiting.” Blog URL: http://www.metro-greens.in/

The Year Round Veggie Gardener

A blog about Niki Jabbour’s adventures as a professional garden writer, radio show host and obsessive veggie gardener. Blog URL: http://yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.ca/

66 Square Feet

“66 Square Feet (Plus) is a blog about gardening, cooking, and picnics; about the seasons, without and within; about the city where we live, and the places we go. There are plenty of pauses for foraging, and for cocktail-shaking. And for some good cups of stovetop espresso, too.” Blog URL: http://66squarefeet.blogspot.ca/

Other notable gardening blogs:

Paul Jung’s Gardening Blog – http://blog.pauljunggardening.com/

Down on the Allotment – http://veggies-only.blogspot.com/

Shirl’s Garden Watch – http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/

The Guardian, Gardening Blog – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog

Farhan’s Gardening Blog – http://farhansgarden.blog.com/

Green Roofs – http://www.greenroofs.com/blog/

Beyond the Wild Garden – https://beyondthewildgarden.wordpress.com/

 

18 Mar

Unusual Caudiciform Plants – Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants is a large group of plants that form caudex – a fat stem or root. The caudex in most Caudiciform plants is prominent and gives these plants a uniquely unusual shape and character.

Caudiciform plants make excellent specimen plants. Take the example of Adenium obesum, Beaucarnea gracilis, Cycas revoluta, most Cyphostemmas, and Dioscorea elephantipes. Like other Caudiciform plants, these attractive plants form caudex to store water and food so that they can survive long spells of drought therefore these are generally low-maintenance plants.

How to take care of Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants do not require much maintenance. Because they are able to store water for dry periods, you do not need to water them regularly. During the months of active growth, water sufficiently only when the soil is completely dry. Avoid watering when the plant is hibernating.

Grow your plants is a well-drained soil and feed them when they show active sign of growth. With a little experience with caudex forming plants, you will understand that most of these plants quick adopt to the surrounding climate. You can grow them outdoors as specimen plants, indoor on a window sill, or in a greenhouse (if you live in a colder region). Generally, they prefer dry conditions and good exposure to the sunlight.

Types of Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants come in all sizes. Some grow into tall trees, some have shrubby growth, some of them are vines and some of them are small succulents. The size, location, and shape of caudex in most plants vary greatly. Therefore, these caudex forming plants are further grouped in four categories.

  • Phanerophytes: These Caudiciform plants form succulent base which appears prominently above the soil level. Most Adenias, Beaucarneas, and some Pachypodiums are good examples of Phanerophytes.
  • Chamaephytes are Caudiciform plants that form caudex at their base. The caudex in these plants may or may not be prominently visible. Dioscoreas belong to this group of caudex forming plants.
  • The caudex in Hemicryptophytes is usually formed below the ground but the growth is usually above the soil level.
  • Geophytes are caudex forming plants that form both their caudex and the growing point underground. Ibervillea is a good representative of this group.

Popular Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Some popular species of caudex forming plants include:

Adenium obesum /Desert Rose (Buy seeds online)
Adenium obesum

Jatropha berlandieri (Buy seeds online)

Jatropha berlandieri

Jatropha podagrica (Buy seeds online)
Jatropha podagrica

Pachypodium brevicaule
Pachypodium brevicaule

Dioscorea elephantipes (Buy seeds online)

Caudiciform Plants, Dioscorea elephantipes

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus
Gerrardanthus macrorhizus (Bigfoot)

Euphorbia cylindrifolia (Buy seeds online)
Euphorbia cylindrifolia ssp. tuberifera Rauh

Yucca rostrata
Yucca rostrata-Beaked Yucca

Tylecodon paniculata
Tylecodon paniculata

10 Mar

Weekly Magazine: Garden Dispatch # 8

Welcome to this week’s Garden Dispatch.

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of landscape and garden design resources. In this issue, explore:

DIY: How to Grow Moss in Your Garden

Moss Garden

Plant Care: How to prune like a PRO

How to Prune

Great Gardens: The Biggest Rooftop Garden in the World

Rooftop Greenhouse

Plant of the Week: Cornish Lily

Cornish Lily

Garden Projects: Patio Garden make-over – New blends with Old

Patio Makeover

DIY: How to build a raised garden bed

Raised Garden Bed

Garden Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

How to attract birds to your garden