11 Nov

Beautiful Winter Flowering Shrub: Brunia

Brunia is a small genus of flowering shrubs known for their unusual flowers. These evergreen shrubs can grow upright up to 2 meters and produce dark-green foliage that resembles the foliage of a pine tree. Tiny silvery-white or pink flowers appear in tight and fluffy pompom-like flower heads. Attractive flowers heads of Brunia are produced from autumn to winter in abundance making them stand out in a garden. Tiny flowers start blooming after the first winter rain.
Brunia albiflora

Brunia is usually a slow growing shrub that requires bright sunlight and moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Most species of Brunia are sensitive to frost and require protection from long spell of frost and cold. You can propagate Brunia from cuttings planted in autumn or spring. You can also grow Brunia from seeds planted in autumn. Brunia makes a nice plant for filling empty spaces in landscapes. Flowers are usually used in fresh and dry flower arrangements.

Brunia albiflora

Popular species of Brunia include Brunia nodiflora (known for its pink flower heads), Brunia stokoei (velvety red flowers), Brunia albiflora (white flowers), and B. neglecta (silvery-white flower heads).

09 Nov

Beautiful Foliage Plant: Alternanthera ficoidea

Alternanthera is a large genus of usually low-growing annuals and perennials. Mostly evergreen most species of Alternanthera are grown for their attractive foliage. These lovely plants are ideal for growing along garden borders, as ground covers or in formal bedding.

Most species of Alternanthera do not require special care. A balanced soil, moderate watering and a sunny spot will keep them healthy. Some species of Alternanthera can be invasive and should be trimmed regularly to keep them in shape.

Copperleaf (Alternanthera ficoidea)

Alternanthera ficoidea, commonly known as ‘Red Carpet’, is a better known species from the genus of Alternanthera. Known for its colorful foliage, Alternanthera ficoidea is a low-maintenance plant that makes a good choice for both indoor (ornamental houseplant) and outdoor (ground cover) usage. It is grown from both seeds and cuttings and requires moderate watering in summer and protection from frost and overwatering in winter.

Alternanthera ficoidea is a fast growing plant and can be used to fill garden borders or empty spaces in landscapes and rock gardens. It grows from 6 to 12 inches in height and form mounds of attractive foliage.

07 Nov

15 Ideas for a Beautiful Stone Pathway for Your Garden

Pathways provide a nice solution when you want to control the flow of traffic in your garden. They are also useful when you want to replace uneven and muddy paths with a neat, even and functional pathway.

There are a number of natural and manufactured materials available for laying out garden pathways. My favorite material is stone. It is cost-effective, durable and easy available. Stone is also available in many colors and sizes. Depending on the size and layout of your garden, you can carve out neat and attractive garden pathways using stone. Be creative with you designs but make sure that your design in practical. Do not add unnecessary curves because mowing around curved path is a bit difficult. Also make sure that the surface is even and provides smooth flow of rainwater.

Ideas for a Beautiful Garden Pathway

The following is a collection of 15 impressive ideas for beautiful pathways built with stone.

Mosaic pathway built with stone:

Mediterranean Landscape by San Diego Landscape Contractors DeMaria Landtech, Inc.
Large rectangular stepping stones in this garden look nice and form a symmetrical design.
Traditional Landscape by Atlanta Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Howard Design Studio
A simple and cost-effective design made with gravel and stone.
Southwestern Landscape by Bryn Mawr Interior Designers & Decorators Fred Albert Design
Another simple and attractive pathway made with small rectangular pieces of stone.
Mediterranean Patio by Newport Beach Architects & Building Designers Homer Oatman, AIA
Nicely trimmed and cemented pathway made of stone.
Traditional Landscape by Upland General Contractors Rob Clark Construction Inc.
A modern pathway design made of gravel and stone slabs.
Contemporary Pool by Sydney Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes
Another simple and cost-effective for smaller gardens.
Tropical Landscape by Key West Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Craig Reynolds Landscape Architecture
Another modern and attractive design.
Contemporary Landscape by Coral Gables Architects & Building Designers OBM International
A simple yet beautiful pathway leading from the front door right into the garden.
 Traditional Landscape by Scottsdale Architects & Building Designers Matthew Thomas Architecture, LLC
Beautiful pathway design with two columns of stepping stones.
Traditional Landscape by Wilmington Building Supplies Chadsworth Columns
Gravel and stone used to form a nice, durable pathway.
Industrial Landscape
Attractive side walks made with tiles of stone.
Traditional Pool by Franklin Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers The Office of Joel Tomlin III, LLC.
Mosaic pathway made of stone.
Traditional Landscape by Seattle Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Studio AB
A beautiful example of pathway made with stone.
Contemporary Patio Pathway by Lake Forest Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Architectural Gardens, Inc
A traditional designed with stone.
Victorian Landscape by Minneapolis Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens
30 Oct

Landscaping with Ornamental Japanese Blood Grass

Ornamental grasses add a nice texture, unique formation and stunning colors to landscapes. Take the example of Japanese Blood Grass. Known for its fiery red color, this beautiful grass offers great ornamental value especially in the fall.

Imprata cylindrica’Rubra’ or Japanese Blood Grass grows up to 2 feet and forms tight clumps of green and red leaves this making a good choice for filling landscapes. 

Japanese Blood Grass can be planted along pathways where it grows as a low-maintenance ornamental grass.
Japanese Blood Grass can be grown in large containers and used as accent plant. When grown in containers, it is easier to control its otherwise aggressive growth.
The contrasting colors of Japanese Blood Grass make it a nice border plant. The colors depend on light conditions. Bright sunny exposure result in sharp and deep red color.
Japanese Blood Grass makes a nice accent plant.
Japanese Blood Grass can be grown as ornamental plant along ponds and pools.
There are so many ways you can use Japanese Blood Grass in your garden and landscape.
17 Oct

9 Examples of Halloween Inspired Garden Designs

Halloween is time of the year when you want to give your garden a little scary and spooky looks with Halloween pumpkins, scary characters and mysterious lights. Browse these excellent examples of Halloween theme garden designs for your inspiration. These Halloween inspired designs prove that you do not have to be a garden designer to create a scary but inviting garden. All you need is a little creativity.

02 Sep

Nice Ornamental Grass: Hystrix patula, Bottlebrush Grass

Hystrix patula, commonly known as Bottlebrush Grass, is a beautiful ornamental grass known for its attractive flowers. Also sold as Elymus hystrix, the Bottlebrush grass is rightly named for its long floral spikes that remind you of a bristled bottlebrush.

Hystrix patula is a tall grass that grows up to 1 meter and produces clumps of light-green leaves making it a nice ornamental grass for borders and flower beds. Green bristly flower heads appear in summer and last until fall. When in full bloom, Hystrix patula is loaded with bottlebrush-like flowers that stand out from its companions because of their attractive colors and unusual shape.

Ornamental Grass, Hystrix patula, Bottlebrush

Hystrix patula can be grown in almost any soil (loamy, chalky or sandy) as long as it is provided with moist but well-drained conditions.  As a low-maintenance ornamental grass, Hystrix patula requires full to partial shade and grows easily from seeds.

Like most ornamental grasses, Hystrix patula is a pest free grass and grows well with accompanying plants in a border or a flower bed. More information on growing and maintaining as an ornamental grass is available here: Hystrix patula, the Bottlebrush Grass

Also see:

29 Aug

How to Landscape Your Driveway Like a Pro

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

Pro Tips: How to Landscape Your Driveway

  • Select plants that do not require regular maintenance. Consider planting flowering shrubs and bushes, ornamental grasses or small trees.
  • Make sure that the plants you use along your driveway are compact and do not block the driveway.
  • Select drought-tolerant plants such as succulents. They do not require much watering and thus reduce the need for drainage and also the amount of water that touches your driveway.
  • If you do not have enough space to plant, use container-bound or hanging plants.
  • Use ground covers and creepers around your driveway to avoid soil erosion.

Also see:

Examples of Beautifully Landscaped Driveways

18 Aug

Interlocking Brick Designs for Backyards and Patios

I recently paved my backyard with interlocking bricks. Yes, I do not have my not-so-lush lawn now but the backyard looks neat and still gives me plenty of room to plant my favorites in the bordering raised beds. As I have observed and experienced, interlocking brick designs dramatically improve the landscape. They are durable and easily withstand long spells of freeze and thaw.

As opposed to concrete or brick and mortar floors, interlocking bricks can be installed in various patterns and offer a variety of material (clay, concrete, stone etc.) texture and color.

If you are considering interlocking bricks in your patio or backyard, this is a useful article on cost, material, pros and cons of installing interlocking bricks. If you want to do it yourself, follow this link for step-by-step DIY instructions on installing an interlocking brick pattern in your backyard or patio.

Examples of Interlocking Brick Design

Browse these beautiful examples of interlocking brick designs for your inspiration.

12 Aug

Hellebore: Beautiful Winter and Early Spring Bloomer

Hellebore is a small genus of winter-hardy perennials. They are loved by gardeners for their ability to grow in shady spots and produce flowers in late winter when very few plants can bloom. The flowers are actually colorful sepals that assume the shape of star-shaped flowers. These attractive ‘flowers’ bloom in various shades of purple, white, yellow, pink and red. These lovely flowers can last for two to three months thus making these plants a good choice for late winter or early spring interest.
Hellebore 'Peppermint Ice'

Hellebores can be grown easily from divisions. They prefer a rich and well-drained soil in a shady or partially sunny spot. Avoid over-watering and water only when the soil is dry. Most Hellebores are not fussy about growing conditions and can be easily mixed with common ground covers and evergreen plants in a garden bed. Mature plants will only require occasional cleaning up of withered leaves. A general purpose fertilizer can be applied to encourage healthier blooms to plants grown in containers.

Watlington Hellebore

Popular varieties of Hellebore include:

Helleborus x ericsmithii `Pirouette’ (rose flowers), Helleborus  x ericsmithii `Ruby Glow’ (rose-pink flowers, Helleborus  x ericsmithii `Winter Sunshine’ (cream flowers), Helleborus atrorubens (dark violet flowers), and Helleborus x ballardiae (burgundy flowers).

Hellebores are also sold as Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose.