Espalier: Creating Art With Trees and Shrubs



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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.

Ideas for Turning an Unsightly Side Yard Into a Beautiful Walkway

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Source: Pinterest

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!

Decorate the Mantel of Your Outdoor Fireplace

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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

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.

Be sure to contact us at Marvin Gardens USA for garden design accessories today.

Great Low-Maintenance Plants for Your Northeastern Garden


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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

Low-maintenance plants enhance your landscape, require little attention and allow anyone to keep up a garden. Even seasoned gardeners need low-maintenance plants to balance the landscape. Below are a few plants designed to withstand the heat and flourish in your New England garden.

  • Ornamental grasses are ideal for a long, hot summer. The grasses blend well with other flowers and shrubs and evoke the wistful openness of the countryside. Maiden grass and feather reed grass are great options to consider.
  • Create shade with a grape-covered pergola. Grape vines are hardy and actually require an abundance of sun to grow and flourish. King of the North is a white grape that suits the Northeastern climate.
  • For water-friendly low maintenance plants that can flourish near streams or meadows, consider purple cohosh which adds a stunning violet hue to the meadow.
  • Many perennials are made to withstand droughts and hot sun. Russian Sage is a popular perennial.
  • For late-blooming flowers that brighten the transition to fall, consider the Japanese Anemone. The plant is known for blowing gracefully in the wind and also providing generous amounts of foliage.

If you would like assistance planning your garden, contact our team at Marvin Gardens.

Consider a Cottage Garden for Lush Beauty

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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

A cottage garden might not be a term you are familiar but I’m sure you’ve seen them on a regular basis. The proper definition is an informal garden design created with traditional materials, dense plantings, complete with a mixture of both ornamental and edible foliage.

  • Most people just assume it takes years to get that aged mature look. That’s not always the case. Try adding vintage furniture and antiques, plant moss around scarred walkway stones or use weathered wood to build raised flower beds or an entrance trellis. These are all easy weekend projects that create the illusion of timelessness.
  • If financially possible, add several mature shrubs, trees or an privacy hedge. Most nurseries provide this service or work with a landscaping firm that does. These older, fuller plantings gives your garden additional shade and permanence.
  • Don’t be afraid to over plant your annuals. Doing this from the beginning gives your garden a look of fullness. Just remember to use caution if doing this with perennials since they need more room to grow and absorb nutrients.

Marvin Gardens has everything you need to get started planning your cottage garden today!

Understanding Container Soil


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Source: Facebook

Container gardening is gaining popularity at Marvin Gardens. Knowing what goes into container soils can determine the success or failure of your plants.

Different potted plants require different kinds of container soil. Annuals and perennials do best with an all-purpose mixture. Cacti and succulents need a more well-drained blend. Carefully read labels on potting soil bags to select the right type. More experienced gardeners with big projects ahead may want to mix their own container soil. Taking the time to blend your own potting soil can assure great success for your plants.

Container plants need both organic and inorganic material to flourish. The most common organic matter includes peat moss, manure that has been composted for a year, ground up pine bark, or crushed coconut hulls (coir) – excellent for retaining water. Perlite, vermiculite and coarse sand are inorganic materials that improve drainage in the container. Finally, decent garden soil should be mixed in – be careful that it is disease and pest free. A basic potting soil mix would include equal parts of all three components mentioned above.

Contact us at Marvin Gardens for all your gardening and landscaping needs.

Why Add a Garden Gate?

Gates add a frame to the garden, increasing the organized and intentional appearance of the design.  Whether your garden is in the front or the back of the house, you should consider how people will approach the gate to decide the best placement.  It’s also a good idea to have a path weave from the gate entrance through your garden.

If you like the Secret Garden appeal, grow tall bushes and leafy plants in front of your fence and around the gate’s interior side so people can’t resist wondering what lies beyond the gate.  Vines also add to that naturally overgrown look that creates the impression of a mysterious and old garden.

If you prefer a more orderly and stately garden design, use your gate to frame an impressive sculpture, a classical fountain, or a particularly beautiful plant.  Design a pathway to travel from the gate and circle your garden focal point for a very deliberate and well-planned appearance.

Visit us at Marvin Gardens to see our selection of garden gates and accessories to create a beautifully designed garden of your own.

Plan a Garden Tea Party This Summer

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Source: Marvin Gardens

Summer is upon us, bringing beautiful weather to New England. Why not take advantage of the warmer temperatures to create a garden tea party with friends? Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Light afternoon tea: This easy to plan idea takes little effort on your part, as all you will need is traditional English tea and a few light snacks. Let the flowers in your garden provide the decoration.
  • The fancy tea party: Adorn a small table with bouquets, floral napkins, tiered cake stands, and vintage china for an intimate gathering.
  • Signature drinks: Use crystal glasses that will sparkle in the sunlight to serve a beverage such as Arnold Palmers. Glasses do not need to match; flea market goblets are a perfect way to add to the charm of the event.
  • High tea: Host a high tea offering guests a four to five course meal along with a range of teas and condiments.
  • Mix matched teacups: Gather a selection of vintage teacups and teapots and let everyone have fun choosing theirs.
  • Themed tea time: Choose a fun tea-related theme, like Alice in Wonderland, and have guests dress the part.

Stop by Marvin Gardens to take a look at our collection of garden accessories to inspire your tea party this summer.

Raise a Glass to Gardening

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Source: Marvin Gardens

One of the nice things about many small low-maintenance container plants is that you are not limited to the conventional terra cotta pot.  If the container of choice is large enough to accommodate soil and the roots of the plants, it can be just about anything.

Glasses make beautiful containers for miniature plant and succulents.  From wineglasses to martini glasses, these delicate containers bring some delightful and eccentric class to a garden or home interior.

The size and versatility of glass container gardens give them plenty of applications in your home.  You can use them to decorate your outdoor patio table or to arrange them into beautiful  centerpieces for a wedding.  They can line a mantel or the center of a dining room table, perhaps interspersed with tealight candles to create beautiful sparkling effects on the glass.  You can create individual pieces or group several together for an interesting effect.

The first thing to do is find glassware you love, whether it be wine glasses, champagne flutes or even margarita glasses. The size and style of glass you choose will determine the size of plants you will be able to grow.

Consider using some colorful accents in your glassware, such as colored gravel lining the outside of the soil or tiny fairy gardening accessories to add some whimsy to your pieces. Most importantly, have fun as you create these miniature masterpieces. As your plants thrive and grow, the time you invested will be well worth it.

For more inspiration for your garden and home accents, come visit us at Marvin Gardens and take a look at our fun and quirky garden accessories.

Add Comfortable Seating That Blends With Your Garden

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Source: Marvin Gardens

When designing a relaxing garden space in your yard, one of the most important elements to include is garden seating. Having comfortable seating available in your garden invites friends to spend some time admiring your floral handiwork, and it’s the perfect spot for you to take out a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade and relax in your own yard.  After all, you worked hard on it; shouldn’t you enjoy it?

When choosing your garden seating, comfort and appearance are the two vital factors to consider.  Rather than choosing cheap plastic or even the pretty-but-conventional iron outdoor furniture, you may want to consider something a little more organic to blend with the natural setting of your garden.

A wood bench that maintains the rustic and organic beauty of old wood is the perfect addition to a garden.  The bench would almost look as though it was grown in the garden, blending in beautifully with the plants surrounding it.  Benches also provide more versatility and comfort, allowing a few people to sit beside each other and enjoy conversation in the garden or inviting you to grab a pillow and sprawl out to read a book.

Come see the organically designed natural wood benches we have at Marvin Gardens, and picture it in a shady spot in your garden.  You may find it’s just the thing to complete your yard!