Rose Planting Tips

Renoir's painting of cabbage roses, Roses in a...

Renoir’s painting of cabbage roses, Roses in a vase (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr Mom,

When spring is on its way and the ground is soft, it is the perfect time for planting roses. Roses have been a very popular bloom over the years, not only do they look good, but they smell wonderful too.

However, planting roses cannot be done just anywhere or in just any climate. They need special care and treatment. Here are some tips that you need to consider in order to successfully grow roses:

1. Roses require about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight everyday. It would be best to plant your roses in a clear area where there are not too many trees or other types of plants. The reason behind this is that the rose may lack sunlight exposure and the roots are also likely to become intertwined with the rose and throttle its growth. If you wish to replace an old rose bush, you should remove about 1 ½ cubic feet of the old soil and replace it with new soil so that the newly planted rose will have fresh soil to start with.

2. When thinking about the position of your roses you must consider the type of rose you are planting. Place ramblers and climbers along trellises, fences and next to pergolas or arches. This is important to consider because they need space to grow freely and these positions are perfect for bigger blooming roses.

3. Roses will look good in island beds which can be mixed with perennials. Smaller roses make great edging plants, which are perfect for combining in front of taller species. Dig a hole large enough for the size of the root ball, but remember to loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole. You can also add bone meal which acts as a slow acting resource of phosphorus. This will help establish a healthy root growth for your roses.

4. You should be careful when considering the planting depth as this depends on your climate. If you live in a cooler climate, plant roses deeper, but if you wish to plant in a pot, you must dig about 1 inch deeper than the usual potted level.

5. Make sure that you place roses in the hole carefully. The hole should be refilled with soil so that the roots are covered completely. Before you make the final covering, water the rose. Then mound the soil about 8 inches high around the base of the plant. The earth will keep the stems from drying out until the plant is completely rooted. As the leaves open, you can remove the excess soil that surrounds the plant.

These some important tips you need to consider when planting roses. It will be worth the effort, as your roses will bloom beautifully.

Steps to a Better Lawn

Lawn&Garden

Lawn&Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr. Mom,

If you’re lucky enough to have a lawn with a good topsoil base, much of the hard work of keeping a lawn beautiful is already done for you. But many of us do not have this luxury, and besides, even with a good topsoil base, you still have to work hard to keep a beautiful lawn and garden.

1. The best time to mow a lawn is when it is cool and dry. Wait for the morning dew to dry off, and before the afternoon heat takes hold. Alternatively, late afternoon or early evening following a watering in the morning is also a good time.

2. A hedge is a much better boundary divider than a fence. It will provide better privacy and keep pets and children in – or out. It will attract birds to its shelter, and provide a great backdrop for plants and flowers.

3. Bring the beauty of your garden to you; plant hyacinths near walkways and doors. Their magnificent perfume will swamp the spring air and make your garden really come alive.

4. Add your garden to non-garden items, such a lampposts and mail boxes. Surround these items with flowers planted to take advantage of the earliest to the latest flowerings. You could have white snowdrops, purple and gold crocus, blue hyacinths, and various colored tulips. You could also surround the posts with rocks to provide added interest.

5. Simple, but effective weed control can be achieved on your lawn by mowing often during spring. This will prevent dandelions spreading by eliminating the yellow blossoms and preventing seed formation. Mow high during late spring and early summer. This will allow grass blades to shade the ground, and will help prevent crabgrass from sprouting.

Your lawn and garden should be a source of pride and beauty. You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive fertilizers and herbicides, or fancy lawn furniture and ornaments. A little commonsense and thought can go a long way to making your lawn and garden a much better place.

Tips for Container Gardens

My lovely container garden

My lovely container garden (Photo credit: staticgirl)

Dear Dr Mom,

Here are several tips for creating a wonderful hanging basket or container this summer. The first is to use an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss. Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer. Real garden soil compacts and turns into concrete under the pressure of regular watering. And when it does, plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients. Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers. I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year. I dump it out of the pot. Chew it up with a shovel to cut up all last year’s roots and add approximately 10 % by volume of compost. The compost increases air spaces and gives plants a boost in healthy nutrition.

Feed your plants weekly. Nitrogen, the engine of plant growth, is water soluble and as you water your containers from the top the dissolved nitrogen is leaving from the bottom. I use a fish-emulsion liquid feed with seaweed to provide all the trace nutrients my plants require and recommend it highly. You can use any liquid plant food (like Miracle Grow or Shultz) to promote growth. Compost tea is the Cadillac of liquid plant food and if you make your own compost tea, your plants will respond with bigger and better blooms as well as increased vigour.

And finally, no matter the size of the container, it is important to soak it all the way to the bottom at each watering. Continue watering until water emerges from the pot bottom. This ensures the roots can reach all parts of the container and grow properly.

Money-Saving Gardening Tips

IMGP0854 - vege garden

IMGP0854 – vege garden (Photo credit: RaeAllen)

It’s easy to spend a fortune every year creating a beautiful yard. These five tips can help save you money in both this, and future gardening seasons.

1. Plan your vegetable garden according to what your neighbors are planting so you can share your vegetables when they’re ready for eating. Often I’ve had too many of one kind of vegetable I couldn’t give away because my friend’s were ripe at the same time.

2. Select perennials rather than annuals for your flowerbeds. As they multiply each year, cut them back and exchange with your friends so you both have lovely gardens and save money at the same time.

3. Compost your kitchen scraps, as well as your coffee grounds.  The end result is much better than any potting soil you can ever get buy from a nursery or hardware store. The price is right, and this is definitely recycling!

4. Instead of using mulch, try pebbles or small rocks in your garden as ground cover.  This will save you lots of cash since you won’t need to buy mulch in the spring and fall of every year.

5. Spend more money now by purchasing better quality gardening tools and you will save in the long run.  They will last for years, saving you dollars because you don’t need to replace them every planting season.  Same goes for gardening gloves- make sure you buy the best you can afford so they last all season.

Happy Gardening!

For Better Plants

English: A picture of compost soil

English: A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr. Mom,

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider.

1. Watering
A watering can is a must-have in every garden. It is recommended that you purchase the one with a narrow spout to ensure adequate watering. But that does not always apply, so the finger test may come in handy. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If you feel that the soil is damp, don’t water it. Otherwise, do.

2. Feeding
With foliage plants, they always need to be high in nitrogen. For flowering plants, on the other hand, K2O is needed. Fertilizers such as the slow release ones can be mixed with the compost. However, some plants like cacti and orchids need special feeds. Feed plants on the height of their active growth.

3. Lighting
Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no shade. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Others need sun or no sun at all like cheeseplants.

4. Temperature
With houseplants, they can survive in temperatures a little bit higher than 15 – 250 C or 55 – 750 F. But drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them.

5. Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. The compost will not dry out. Plants are capable of creating their own climate if grouped together. This tip can also be used for keeping the soil moist. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the day’s temperature.

6. Re-potting
Other plants require re-potting for optimum growth but some plants may not be suitable for this idea. They would not want their roots to be disturbed or other plants’ root system is small. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot.

You just need to have a little care for your plants and in turn, you’ll reap its benefits. You don’t only have a garden that can add to your house’s beauty you can also learn how to respect and nurture life in its varied forms.

Gotta Get A Rose Garden

Bridal Pink, cultivated by Eugene Boerner in 1...

Bridal Pink, cultivated by Eugene Boerner in 1967; taken at the Morwell Rose Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many of us, the act of gardening brings us closer to nature by getting us outdoors and allowing us the opportunity to tend and grow objects that in the absence of our assistance would not be able to survive, let alone thrive. There is a special connection between the growers of roses and their plants, however, which seems to go even beyond the basic instincts of the traditional gardener.

The first reason that roses can be such an addictive plant is the roots it has in our culture in the form of myth and symbolism. The same reason we are addicted to rose gardening is the same reason we are willing to pay a ridiculous amount for a single flower or bunch on Valentine’s Day- nothing in our society communicates more than the rose. This cultural phenomenon has been a part of western heritage for longer than anyone can trace. The rose was considered a flower of romance in ancient China, where it was first developed, and was used throughout the Roman Empire. British history is full of roses in every context- the theater where Shakespeare’s plays were put on was known as the rose, and some of the most distinguishing events in British history occurred during the long “War of the Roses”. Roses were not actually introduced to Europe in the cultivated style until the late 1700s, when they arrived from China.

Perhaps some of the addiction we have in cultivating roses stems in part from the same areas that our ancient forefathers found so appealing. Many roses have a very distinctive scent, and the shape of the rose is certainly unique enough in itself to warrant extensive cultivation and appeal. (Rose petals in a bowl are a natural deodorizer for the bathroom) Roses can also be found in many different colors and varieties, and there is symbolism attached to every colour that roses can be found in- red, of course, symbolizes love, but did you know that pink roses carry a message of gratitude, while yellow represent joy?

Roses also represent a singular species which can manifest itself in a variety of styles, and therefore a rose gardener really needs only to focus on rose types to bring all the variety to the appearance of her lawn and garden that could be wished for. Roses can be planted in the miniature style, as bushes, and as climbers. As has been noted above, roses are also available in several different colors which will add to the overall diversity in appearance of your garden. Roses are also available in petals of many different sizes to further add diversity to your landscaping. Species roses grow hips that are colorful and last well into the winter, and can add a further sprinkle of uniqueness to your landscaping by attracting birds throughout the winter months. (Rose hips are also packed with Vitamin C.)

Lastly, roses require as little or as much attention as the gardener wants to put in. Pruned bushes look ideal, but roses are also beautiful when allowed to grow freely. Roses also tend to be very hardy and resistant to diseases. The soil composition needs not have too many considerations, and the ground cover is totally up to the gardener.

Growing roses can be an addicting experience because of their history, their beauty, their variety, and their maintenance. Once a person dedicates their garden space to the cultivation of roses, the possibilities are limitless.

Organic Gardening – Get Started Today

Unloading a truck-load of mulchy soil for gard...

Unloading a truck-load of mulchy soil for garden project. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing your own herbs, vegetables, greens and fruit can be both incredibly rewarding and delicious. However, many gardeners rely on pesticides, herbicides and fungicides not to mention chemical fertilizers to help their garden grow. That’s not only unnecessary, it’s also unhealthy. All those nutritious veggies pack a much healthier punch if they’re sans harmful chemicals.

Step #1 Prepare your soil. Because your soil is the foundation of your garden, it is important to make sure it’s full of the right nutrients to feed your garden. Mix in organic material like compost or humus and consider having your soil tested. The proper soil conditions can make the difference between a sparse crop and award winning vegetables.

Step #2 Choose your crop. The second step to build an organic garden is to choose your crop. What are you going to grow in your garden? Initially, in addition to what you’re going to grow, you’ll want to decide if you want to purchase plants or start your garden from seeds. If you start early enough you can use seeds. If not, you can purchase organic plants from your local nursery.

Regardless of what you choose, seeds or plants, make sure they’re grown without chemicals.

Step #3 Organize your garden. Did you know some plants naturally protect other plants from disease and pests? It’s true. Marigolds for example, drive bugs away and if you plant them around the perimeter of your garden, they’ll help protect your herbs, greens and veggies.

Before transferring your plants into your garden, mark where you’re going to plant them. Make sure there is plenty of room between plants so they have room to grow and thrive. A tiny tomato plant can grow several feet high and several feet wide. Leave room.

Step #4 Natural pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. It’s been said that home gardeners generally use more chemicals on their gardens than farmers do. That’s a lot of chemicals! Interestingly enough, mild detergent and water protect many plants from harmful pests. Hot pepper sprays also work to fend off pests. And natural predators like frogs and ladybugs can keep your garden healthy and full.

Step #5 Maintenance. Watering and weeding are all you have in store for you until it’s time to harvest. Take care to not over water. Soil should be moist but not soaking. Weed on a regular basis to make sure your plants have all the nutrients and room in the soil they need to grow.

Organic gardening isn’t difficult when you start with a healthy foundation. Before you dive in and start a garden large enough to feed an army, choose a few plants you know your family will eat. Grow those successfully and next year you can grow a bigger garden.