Pre-Spring Garden Planning

Written by Tammy Clayton


Copyright © 2005 Tammy Clayton

The end of Februrary already? My how time does fly! The sun has already become more readily available than inrepparttar past few months. Perhaps more cold and clear, but those candle-hours are important torepparttar 113338 sleeping natural world; it is their built in clock. You cannot lie to a plant, it knows what time it is. Far more intelligent than one gives them credit for.

As you plan what to add to your garden this winter, I am sure you are paying attention torepparttar 113339 light and water requirements all good perennial vendors attatch to each entry in their catalog. This is very important to your success with each plant. But it is possible to mix more drought loving plants with those that require more moisture inrepparttar 113340 same planting with good results. The secret lies inrepparttar 113341 substructure of each given plant's area inrepparttar 113342 bed.

Drought lovers do like some water, they will reward you with a much more beauty with some weekly water...in a drought bed. But what if you want to put say - lavender and phlox in with lobelia and ligularia? Those water requirements can really hamper one's creativity! So some knowledge of drainage engineering will give yourepparttar 113343 ability to try mixing them inrepparttar 113344 same planting area. Lavender and Phlox like drier conditions. Not thatrepparttar 113345 Phlox will die in a spot where daily overhead watering is recieved. It will survive and grow huge, and flower excessively, but be stricken with fungus that makesrepparttar 113346 lower leaves yellow, icky looking and then become half defoliated. Ground watering is it's preferred daily moisturizing treatement. One can place it in a cornerrepparttar 113347 sprinkler doesn't hit and water that section by hand once or twice a week and it will reward you very nicely indeed. Since Phlox is rather tall, this avenue of placing it inrepparttar 113348 back corner works out well. It likesrepparttar 113349 moisture but not on its leaves. Roses fare better this way as well, especialy since one cannot control whatrepparttar 113350 heavens will pour down. Less black spot and such other marring problems will occur, if ground water is used vs. overhead.

Lavender onrepparttar 113351 other hand loves it hot and dry. It doesn't mind what heaven pours down IF there is a good drainage structure whererepparttar 113352 roots are. Too much water retention and it will slowly die. To conteract good soil water retention where one would like to plantrepparttar 113353 ever so beloved lavender row, a blind drain is required. It is called "blind" because onrepparttar 113354 surface you do not know that it is different fromrepparttar 113355 rest ofrepparttar 113356 area. In a planting area that is scratched once or twice a month some ofrepparttar 113357 substructure will mix intorepparttar 113358 top surface and changerepparttar 113359 color ofrepparttar 113360 topping soil. But oncerepparttar 113361 bed fills no one will see this. (Surface scratching, byrepparttar 113362 way will put much needed air tunnels to roots, create more water availability to roots, and lessenrepparttar 113363 amount of weeding one must do, if it is done twice a month.)

The smallerrepparttar 113364 particle size of soil,repparttar 113365 moisture it will retain. Clay havingrepparttar 113366 most minute pieces and sand havingrepparttar 113367 largest. Each person's garden area will have a totally different soil structure. If you are in hard clay, I would advise that either you excavate 6" of clay and fill with 7 inches of peat/topsoil 50-50 fill OR raiserepparttar 113368 bed at least 6 inches aboverepparttar 113369 harsh environment ofrepparttar 113370 clay. Raising it is much less labor than excavating! Not too many things will do nicely in clay. The only way around it is correction. Once you have nice workable soil, with good moisture retention, yet good drainage - you can go about planning what goes where and how to amend each area for certain plants.

To get good drainage, you need to go down at least 4-6 inches, depending onrepparttar 113371 plants requirements. SHARP drainage is engineered with pea gravel in a 2" layer, followed by 2" of coarse sand, topped off with 2" of your rich garden soil. In times of extreme moisturerepparttar 113372 worst of it will lay inrepparttar 113373 gravel bed. The gravel there also holds more heat thanrepparttar 113374 moisture retaining soil, therefore usingrepparttar 113375 warmth to do away with excess water faster. Variegated irises planted with a bed of road gravel 4" beneathrepparttar 113376 surface will grow three times more lushly than those in average garden soil - they love that heat! Heat and drought loving plants are much happier in that environment when regular water is recieved. It isrepparttar 113377 retention that causes decline and not what comes from above. More moderate drainage would be created using 3" of sand and 3" of soil on top. Since each plant has different needs, your engineering of drainage will require a bit of working on. But it opens doors to what you can put in a planting as happy bedfellows that no drainage field would never allow you to attempt.

Whack-O-Matic

Written by Tammy Clayton


Copyright © 2005 Tammy Clayton

Morning coffee withrepparttar internet has become a tradition of mine in recent years. The internet holds a much greater variety of information thanrepparttar 113337 newspaper, as well as less depressing things to read atrepparttar 113338 beginning ofrepparttar 113339 day. No one should have to wake up with murder and mayhem in their face. A more pleasant mindset is found in waking to checkrepparttar 113340 weather, respond to a note from a friend, or reading about an exciting new plant. This morning I went to look for further information on a particularly nifty new plant on one of my vendorís sites. Not finding that I clicked on another link that caught my attention in their Garden Writers section.

"Meatballs, Soapboxes and Tuna Cans", to be precise.

To a person who has never been employed withinrepparttar 113341 landscape industry, that phrase would bring to mind food. To insiders it would have a far different meaning. Of course where I worked it was baseballs and cubes. So this morningís coffee was sipped between chuckles.

The author (head of sales) I would venture to say is younger than 50. Those over 50 feel that these balls, cubes, footballs or tuna cans are a staple that is required inrepparttar 113342 landscape. Forrepparttar 113343 life of me I have never understood why we must have them. What is so necessary about using a shrub far to large for its placement and whacking off itís limbs to shape it into an unnatural form? Off with its head! It should wear a size 42 long jacket, but we will force it to fit comfortably into a 10 short. It is interesting to note that also helpless poodles have also fallen victim to this manner of unnatural shaping and they are not plants. A month ago I witnessed a house cat shorn in this manner.

Mr. Woods, who wroterepparttar 113344 afore mentioned article, has developedrepparttar 113345 opinion that it is an inherent human instinct. That we humans have so little that we actually have complete control over that our psyche has tuned in torepparttar 113346 helpless shrubs in our yard. While I giggled often while reading his words, it struck me that he has a good point. Why else would we so cruelly inhibitrepparttar 113347 wild beauty of a shrub? In my early years I had no reason to argue with my father,repparttar 113348 professional landscaper as to why we must do this. Quiterepparttar 113349 contrary, originally I assisted him in his whacking while trying to mimic his methods. It wasnít until I started to design plantings and began to see plants for their own individual beauty that I began to question this barbaric practice. It has come to be a long standing argument between us overrepparttar 113350 years. He refuses to budge from his Pro Juniper stance, insisting we simply MUST haverepparttar 113351 prickly old things. Yews and Burning Bushes have their place and are quite lovely if not placed where they can be gently shaped not beaten in submission twice a season.

During my contracting days, I would arrive at a clients home for a meeting about a landscape facelift to findrepparttar 113352 sad remains of Burning Bushes, Yews and Junipers that had resided alongrepparttar 113353 walk or foundation for decades. All of them left much to be desired inrepparttar 113354 looks department afterrepparttar 113355 last harsh whacking. Common sense told me that following decades of cruel treatment,repparttar 113356 poor things have given up growing hair. Why should they continue to grow it if forrepparttar 113357 past 25 years every attempt was quickly lopped off? How much squelching of creativity can a being endure before throwing inrepparttar 113358 towel? In voicing this thought to successful lawyers and surgeons , I must admit I was rewarded with raised eyebrows. Why do we insist on planting a shrub that will grow eight foot tall and 12 foot wide in a 30 inch wide space and insist it does not exceed those confines? I am in agreement with Mr. Woods, it is one area to have complete control over in our lives.

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