Just getting started is often the hardest step in planting a spring garden. With all the work involved, it can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. A great solution to this annual problem is to start the work in the fall. Here are some easy ways to get ready for next year’s planting:
Compost Heaps – While not directly beneficial to the garden at this point, it will allow you to jump start it when the spring finally arrives. Just keep adding your compostable material and rotating it throughout the off-season.
Cover Crops – In addition to preventing soil erosion, the right cover crop can add valuable nutrients and minerals to your garden with little or no effort from you. Some good choices are rye, buckwheat and clover.
Discarded Leaves – Collect them, shred them and add a 2” layer over your garden bed. They will decompose over the winter. In the spring, you can then turn them into the soil to keep it loose and mineral-rich for your new plants.
When relocating your fern indoors, make sure to place it near a window where it can get a minimum of four hours of sunlight daily. At the same time, don’t place it too close to a direct source of heat.
Fertilize at least once a month, though you may need to fertilize twice a month if the fern seems to be going through a growth spurt.
Raise the humidity level by installing a cool mist humidifier in the same room. If that’s not possible, spray the fern several times daily with tepid water.
Take care not to over water. The soil needs to be kept moist but with no standing water on top of the soil.
Reduce the heat at night. These ferns need a period of cooler temperatures in order to thrive.
Entertaining outdoors is many people’s favorite pasttime. Whether you’re throwing a weekend get-together or an end-of-summer bash, follow these basic tips for decorating your outdoor entertaining space.
Don’t Be Afraid of Patterns
Mixing and matching patterns is scary, but it can help make your outdoor space lively and fun. When mixing and matching patterns try to make sure the patterns share at least one unifying color.
Outdoor mirrors aren’t common, and most people don’t think about putting a mirror outside. However, if you have a small outdoor space, they can really make it feel bigger. Using mirrors outside can also make your space feel more formal and elegant.
If you regularly have backyard barbecues or just have casual get-togethers in your outdoor space, adding a television to your entertaining area makes sense. While you obviously can’t put a television in an area where it will be exposed to harsh weather, open air spaces that are fully covered are perfect spaces for a TV. Add heat lamps and you can use your space almost all year.
Visit Marvin Gardens for more information and to find garden design accessories perfect for your outdoor space.
If you’re looking for a new plant to spruce up your garden, then succulents are the way to go. Succulents will provide your garden with an incredibly unique look, and they are easy to care for as well. There are plenty of gorgeous succulents to choose from; personally, we recommend checking out the Echeveria succulent.
Echeveria succulents tend to thrive in milder climates and can be found in California as well as the American Southwest. They are one of the more popular succulents among homeowners due to the fact that they boast a colorful foliage throughout the year. While they are sensitive to cold, they make for a fantastic container plant, which means you can just take it inside during the winter months.
While they don’t need to be watered often to survive, Echeveria succulents do look their best with moderate watering. They also need full sun, but give them some shelter from especially harsh summer sunlight. Additionally, they are also tolerant to drought and resistant to deer, which means you don’t have to worry about your succulent becoming an afternoon snack!
Many homeowners bend over backwards to attract birds to their yard. While we have no objections to our avian friends, we also like to see a wide variety of insect life, including the magnificent butterfly, in our yards.
Butterflies thrive in a variety of conditions, but here are three ways to ensure that you always have a large, varied population in your yard:
Choose the Right Plants – Butterflies are quite picky in their choice of flowers. For example, monarchs are particularly fond of Blazing Star while swallowtails love Queen Anne’s Lace. Check with your local arboretum or garden pro for advice.
Add a Splashing Water Feature – Naturally, butterflies need water but will only drink from small droplets or mud puddles so a good “butterfly” fountain will spray water all around the area.
Put Off that Winter Yard Cleaning – Most butterflies spend the winter in a cocoon nestled in the dead material in your garden. Cleaning it too soon just eliminates the next year’s butterflies.
For more ways to attract wildlife to your backyard or for other great garden design ideas, contact us at Marvin Gardens. Find us online at MarvinGardensUSA.com or call us directly at 203-544-2020.
Keeping a beautiful container garden is an easy way to boost the curb appeal of your home, and it allows you to move your plants inside more easily during the cooler months. However, if you don’t water your garden correctly, your plants will not thrive. While some plants, such as succulent arrangements, don’t require much water, some need moist soil almost constantly. The following are a few tips to help you water your container garden:
How Often – Succulents generally don’t need much water. The soil should be completely dry between each watering. If you water your succulents too much, it can lead to them declining.
How Much – You’ll want to add water to your container plants until it begins running out of the drainage holes in the pot. This will help to ensure that the root mass is watered sufficiently. However, if the soil is completely dry, which with succulents will probably be the case, you’ll want to water a second time to make sure the soil becomes hydrated.
How to Water – Avoid getting the leaves of the plant wet. Instead, focus the watering on the soil.
Espalier, a unique outdoor design idea, can help transform your garden into a work of art. Espalier is the process of training shrubs, bushes, trees, or woody vines to grow against a wall. The process can also work against a fence or a trellis. The end result is beautiful and the process is surprisingly easy.
You should begin by planning the pattern you would like for the growth and then select the location. Make sure to choose a location with a sturdy wall, plenty of room, and adequate light. Determine which plant you are going to espalier by selecting a variety with naturally spreading leaves similar to the pattern you desire. Before you plant, you must prepare the supports by running wires between nails in the wall creating the horizontal lines you desire. Plant a foot in front of the wall, position it so at least two branches run along the wires, and trim back so only two shoots are on each branch. Over time you should remove side shoots and keep branches trimmed to limit the amount of new shoot growth.
To learn more about espalier, or other unique design ideas, contact the professionals at Marvin Gardens.
Your front yard is gorgeous, filled with lush plants and a carefully manicured lawn. The back yard is the perfect oasis for relaxation. The side yard? Unfortunately, it’s usually home to an air conditioning unit and needs some attention. The time for your side yard to fulfill its potential has arrived, and it is time to create some beauty that will connect your front yard with the back.
To maximize the potential for your side yard, consider:
Hiding the air conditioning unit. Strategically wrapping the unit will reduce its prominence in the space and make it less of an eyesore. Make sure the unit is still accessible and the wrap allows for proper operation.
Planting low maintenance plants. Many side yards are hard to grow in. They either rarely see shade or never get a glimpse of direct sunlight. Determine if your area needs heat loving or shade loving plants and choose low maintenance varieties.
Adding a surprise. Beautiful potted plants along the house, stepping stones to the air conditioning unit, or a trellis all provide visual interest to the space. Add a surprise to make the space feel special.
If you’d like to learn more about designing an outdoor space, visit Marvin Gardens today!
Add a touch of sophistication to your home by letting French influence inspire your garden design. You can’t go wrong with the French when it comes to elegance.
As a start to this project, think about the quaint outdoor cafes France is known for, concrete balustrades, cast-iron seats, porcelain tiles, and topiary shrubs come to mind. Throw in birdbaths, fountains, and glazed pots to complete the mental picture. It’s perfect for an afternoon outdoor tea party, isn’t it?
But what makes French design so distinctive? There are two main elements, and these are geometry and water. Patterns are geometric: big and bold, whether they’re on the pathway, on the gate, or on the table. But even in their boldness and size, they are delicate. This is because water is often incorporated into the landscape to soften the otherwise hard edges. Combining these two elements in perfect balance is the secret to having a beautiful French design.
Don’t want to take chances with your garden? We, at Marvin Gardens, will be happy to turn your ideas into tangible results. Call us at 203-544-2020 and ask us how we can help you achieve your dream garden.
Decorating the mantle on your indoor fireplace is a great way to establish it as a focal point within the living space. However, can you do the same with your outdoor fireplace? Of course you can! There are a few different ways that you can decorate the mantle on your outdoor fireplace that will help to create a focal point in your outdoor living area. The following are a few ways to do just that:
Natural Elements – Because your outdoor area is visibly surrounded by outdoor elements such as trees, plants, sky and more, the fireplace may stand out more than you want it to, especially if your whole outdoor living area is more of an extension of the indoors. By decorating the mantle with flowers, plants or even stone sculptures or pieces, you’ll help add balance to the space by complementing the surrounding environment.
Contrast – You can also go the opposite route by making your fireplace mantle stand out. For example, add bold colors, such as red or yellow, in the form of vases or other decorations in order to draw the eye.