I had such big ideas for moving to a new place, but my husband helped me to come down to earth when he pointed out that our finances are not the best. He explained that we really need to help fix the things we have and making do, rather than running off with wild ideas to spend more on a home. He is right. So, I devised a plan to buy low-cost orange county shutters and other things that many people use to help make their existing home look great.
I have always loved the way shutters look, especially the wooden ones I see on homes. One of the reasons that I didn’t love the house we are now living in is because I never took the initiative to make it look better.
When I first started to price orange county blinds in my area, I was really surprised that one company was less expensive than others. I am not talking by a few dollars either. I was really attracted to the pricing, but I did not want to sacrifice quality just to save some money. I knew that it would be nice in the short term because I would not need to pay nearly as much for the window treatments that I wanted. I also knew that there was the potential that I would be replacing those same window treatments much sooner than I would others that cost more.
I looked over their website, and I quickly saw why they were less expensive. They are not a huge corporation.
A good gardening tip is that you can make more plants from your existing house and garden plants. This will cut out the expense of buying new house and garden plants. Look around for healthy plants to take the stem cuttings from to plant in a peat moss mixture using rooting hormone. This is what is called the mother plant. Make sure the mother plant has enough stems so the cutting will not kill the mother plant.
If you start your house and garden plants from stem cuttings instead of seeds it will take half the time to root. There a just a few things you will need : a mother plant, a flat for potting with a peat moss mixture, a sharp knife or razor blade, rooting hormone, containers for holding water and rooting hormone, alcohol, pencil or a stick, and a plastic bag.
Common sense tells you that you should take a stem cutting from the plant’s thickest green non flowering stems. The spot where the leaf attaches to the stem, known as the node, are the best place for you to take the stem cutting. The plants growth rooting hormones are concentrated there. Choose green, non-woody stems for taking the stem cuttings from the mother plant. Newer growth is easier to root than woody stems.
Cut with a sterilized instrument, either a very sharp knife or a razor blade, just below the node and then make another slanted cut about two or three inches further up the plant. This should provide you a stem cutting about three inches in length with two or three nodes. Trim off the side shoots and remove most of the leaves leaving a few since the stem cutting will need the leaves to provide food. Any large leaves must be removed as their wilting stresses the stem cutting and will definitely slow down the rooting process.
With your sterilized instrument make a clean cut in the bottom node. The roots will be formed from the sliced node.
Fill a clean plant pot or container with a peat moss potting mix to hold your stem cuttings for rooting. By using a peat moss potting mix you are giving the plant an atmosphere where the cutting will stay moist, not wet and sloppy.
You can make your own peat moss mixture; here are a couple of recipes:
½ sand and ½ peat moss or
½ perlite and ½ peat moss or
½ sand and ½ vermiculite or
½ perlite and ½ vermiculite or
Equal parts sand, perlite, vermiculite or peat moss instead of vermiculite.
Start by dipping the bottom inch of the stem cutting into the water and then the rooting hormone. This will help to speed up the creation of roots. The rooting hormone stimulates the stem cutting to send out new roots from the node. You will need to dip the cutting into the water and then into the rooting hormone. Tap off the excess as to not jeopardize your success with this stem cutting. If, after you have finished with your stem cuttings you have some of the rooting hormone left, throw it away. Once a stem cutting has touched it the rooting hormone becomes activated.
Moisten the peat moss potting mixture and poke holes in it to accommodate your plants. By making holes in the peat moss rooting medium with the pencil or the stick it will ensure that the rooting hormone remains on the cutting, not on the potting mixture surface. This will improve chances of rooting the stem cuttings and creating new house or garden plants. After you have successfully placed the stem cutting in the medium, gently press the potting mixture around it. You should plant your cuttings about 4-5 inches apart to allow for air circulation and room to root.
Place the container into a plastic bag and put it in a warm spot in the house. The reason for the bag is to keep the stem cuttings in high humidity and to hold in heat. You are creating a mini Greenhouse that takes up very little space. Don’t seal the bag as you need to allow for air circulation. Only after you see new growth should the cuttings be placed in a sunny area. Keep checking you stem cuttings. If the bag shows condensation you are likely giving it too much moisture. Take off the bag and let it dry out a little.
The way to test for new root growth is to gently pull on the plant after a few weeks. If there is resistance the plants are ready to be transferred into individual pots. Now you will have a new plant that you have cultivated from the mother plant.
Now use all these gardening tips and grow some new plants using stem cuttings.
Bonzai is a Japanese word, but its roots are Chinese and are derived from the word “punsa”. This word means “tree in a pot” The practice of growing trees in a pot was originally Chinese, but the practice of growing the Bonzai Tree was made into an art form by the Japanese when the concept was introduced to them about 5 centuries ago.
It was not until the early 1900s that the Bonzai Tree was introduced to the western world, but it soon became not only a popular hobby, but began to be considered a serious art form in horticulture by many people. Today, there are Bonzai Tree displays and shows, as well as stores dedicated to the Bonzai Tree.
It is a common misconception that the Bonzai Tree is small naturally, but this is not true. The Bonzai Tree comes from the same seed as its larger counterpart, but is grown in a specific way to ensure that it remains tiny.
It is vital for the beginner to know that the main element to growing a Bonzai is pruning this is the technique used that allows the tree to stay small. Without regular pruning, the Bonzai Tree will grow to its standard height and size.
The roots of a Bonzai Tree have to be pruned so that it will remain healthy. By pruning the roots, it produces a small thick ball or pack of root that permits it to be transplanted to an appropriate container. When pruning the roots, one-third of the roots are removed yearly so that new soil can be added and give space for new roots to develop.
The Bonzai Tree can grow to various heights. There are trees that are a few inches high and some grow much taller. There are no restrictions; it is only important that the Bonzai Tree is grown in a pot and attains the image of a full-grown tree as it would in nature. In the beginning, growing these miniature trees may seem difficult, but it won’t take long before you learn the art form of the Bonzai Tree and find that you simply can’t get enough of these unique plants.
Bringing the exquisiteness of a Japanese garden into your home with the Bonzai Tree is a great way to add beauty and elegance to your surroundings. If you are looking for a new type of indoor plant, or simply a new hobby, consider the Bonzai Tree.
Bird- table or bird feeder is a platform on which food for birds is placed, usually in a garden. Bird feeders offer the best way to turn your own backyard into a mini oasis for the wild birds in your area. They are usually filled with a variety of grains to suit the different species of our feathered friends. The most popular varieties of seeds include millet, safflower, sunflower and thistle.
Apart from satisfying the hunger of birds, bird feeders also provide an excellent ornithological treat. To everyone’s surprise the conglomeration of the rarest species of birds are often witnessed in our very own backyards rather than go miles in search of a bird sanctuary. To capture the essence of bird behavior, modern bird feeders are fitted with web cams. Bird feeders come in different varieties and design depending upon the species of bird they cater to. The most common types are ground feeder, seed tube feeder, humming bird feeder, suet feeder, oriole feeder etc.
Seed feeders are very much popular; they come either with tubes or hoppers. Mainly these feeders are laden with sunflower seeds to attract birds like chickadees, nuthatches, siskins and finches. They usually have a partition to segregate the different types of seeds. A suet feeder comprises of a cage like structure made of metal, coated with plastic. It is this plastic that contains a cake or suet. Suet is basically a bird feed containing animal fat, which prevent the feed from turning rancid and protect it from the adverse effects of moisture. Also they could be hung from windows or any tree tops thus giving us a clear view of the birds in action. These bird feeders attract birds like woodpeckers and flickers.
Unlike the seed feeders Humming bird feeders offer the feed in a liquid form. This usually consists of sugary syrup solution that is particularly preferred by humming birds. To attract the bird, the solution is painted in bright color. But care should be taken while choosing the coloring material, for often birds fall ill to harmful coloring agents.
Oriole feeders are orange in color. They too supply a liquid form of nourishment. They specially cater to new world orioles, a species of birds having a uniquely pointed beak and tongue. Apart from the quality of the feed provided in a feeder, the success of a feeder largely depends on the strategic location on which it is placed, its remote proximity from intruders like squirrels and cats. Squirrels pose a persistent problem for the birds as they tend to carry away the feed to their home, distorting our entire objective of feeding the birds. The best way to deal with them is to build feeders that can withstand the weight of a bird and collapse under any further weight.
In spite of the various advantages it offers to the birds, feeders still do have their own negative impacts on the bird community. The water and feed if not maintained clean would lead to spread of diseases among birds as they come in contact with one another. It also leads to the growth of certain dominant species leading to an ecological imbalance. So go get yourself a bird feeder and experience the vicarious thrill experienced by our avian fellow mates.
Are you looking for a way to add to your garden dcor? Want something everlasting, nature-based or stylized? There are many things that you can add to your outdoor living space to make it comfortable and inviting and still provide you with few hours of work on maintenance. Here are 7 ways to add dcor to your garden.
Tip 1: unadulterated Is Best. When adding products outdoors, from furniture to statuary, you should always look towards the most organic of products. When you do this, youll allow for something that fits within the landscape, not something that sticks out in it.
Tip 2: Flow Is Essential. If you have a large garden or landscape, you can create a flow throughout it to make it a much more livable and organic environment. For example, a pathway leading through the garden is important as it provides for a way to move through the area enjoying all of the principle sights along the way.
Tip 3: Overboard Isnt Good. Over crowding a space with too much dcor or even too a multitude of plants is bad business. Instead, look for a more nature-based landscape component. Overcrowding plants can cause them to eventually die or take over the entire garden. To much dcor can make it look cluttered instead of lavish.
Tip 4: Use Lines. Lines from your home or your edging can help to create a lovely look within the garden. The roof line of the house can be a line that leads the eye to something excellent at the end. Use the lines that you have to create a flow to the eye.
Tip 5: Charm Means Theme. While you dont need a specific theme throughout your garden dcor, you should look towards the same or similar offerings. For example, if you place a white metal table under your trees to produce a restful place, make sure that the chairs that go with it match it. Add a white picket fence or other matching pieces to tie certain areas of the garden together as well.
Tip 6: Uphold it. a large amount of of the aspects within a garden are going to need some upkeep. If you pull your weeds, dont let this be overshadowed by the fact that you havent washed that white possessions in a year. Keep up on broken or misplaced items as well. Within the duration of harsh winter months, make sure to put as much as possible in storage that can be broken.
Tip 7: Garden dcor is not done without the look for lovely patio items. Allow it to mesh with the settings that you have created too. For example, in a woodsy area, look towards an organic, lovely product such as teak to keep it looking as if it belongs there.
The aforementioned points can help to contribute to a lovely and fashionable garden dcor that is everlasting, easy to manage and a welcoming place to call your own.
Compost, made from decomposed grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and branches, becomes a dark, crumbly mixture of organic matter.
Learn how composting works. Even a newbie to composting can make good quality compost. It can be compared to cooking as art or part science. The following 7 factors will help you master the art of composting.
After a time anything that was once alive will naturally decompose. But, not all organic items should be composted for the home. To prepare compost, organic material, microorganisms, air, water, and a small amount of nitrogen are needed.
These items are safe to compost at home:
* grass clippings
* trimmings from hedges
* vegetable scraps
* potting soil that has grown old
* coffee filters with coffee grounds
* tea bags
* weeds that have not went to seed
* plant stalks
These items are Not safe to compost at home:
* weeds that have went to seed
* dead animals
* pet feces
* bread and grains
* cooking oil
* oily foods
2. What To Do To Make It Work
There are small forms of plant and animal life which break down the organic material. This life is called microorganisms. From a minute amount of garden soil or manure comes plenty of microorganisms.
Nitrogen, air, and water will provide a favorable environment for the microorganisms to make the compost. Air circulation and water will keep the microorganisms healthy and working. The nitrogen feeds the tiny organisms. You may have to add a small amount of nitrogen to the pile.
Putting on too much nitrogen can kill microbes and too much water causes insufficient air in the pile. You just cannot add too much air.
3. Beneficial Microorganisms
Bacteria are the most effective compost makers in your compost pile. They are the first to break down plant tissue. Then comes the fungi and protozoans to help with the process. The arthropodes, like centipedes, beetles, millipedes and worms, bring in the finishing touches to complete the composting.
4. Smaller is Better
The materials will break down faster if the microorganisms have more surface area to eat. Chopping your garden materials with a chipper, shredder, or lawnmower will help them decompose faster.
5. Size of The Pile
The activity of millions of microorganisms generates heat in the compost pile but a minimum size 3-foot by 3-foot by 3-foot is needed for a hot, fast composting pile. Piles that are any larger may hamper the air supply needed in the pile for the microorganisms.
6. Moisture and Aeration
If you can imagine a wet squeezed out sponge with its many air pockets, then this would be the ideal enviroment for the microorganisms in the pile to function at their best. Pay attention while your pile is composting, to the amount of rain or a drought you may have. Water in a drought and maybe turn the pile in a lot of rainy days. The extremes of these two may upset the balance of the pile. The use of a pitchfork would come in handy at this time.
7. Temperature and Time
Keep your pile between 110F and 160F and the beneficial bacteria will love it. Not too cool nor too hot.
The temperature will rise over several days if you keep a good ratio of carbon and nitrogen, maintain lots of surface area within a large volume of material, and maintain adequate moisture and aeration.
-Importance of Compost-
+Compost has nutrients, but it is not a complete fertilizer.
+Compost provides nutrients in the soil until plants need to use them.
+ It loosens and aerates clay soils
+ Retains water in sandy soils.
-Using the Compost-
+ A soil amendment, mix 2 to 5 inches of compost into gardens each year before planting.
+ A potting mixture, add one part compost to two parts potting soil.
+ Make your own potting mixture by using equal parts of compost and sand or perlite.
+ A mulch, prodcast 2 to 4 inches of compost around annual flowers and vegetables, and up to 5 inches around your trees and shrubs.
+ A top dressing, mix finely sifted compost with sand and sprinkle evenly over lawns.
The final thing I would suggest once you have mastered the art of composting is to look very seriously at making your very own aerated compost tea. This elixir will give you results that are hard to believe.
Spring is in the air, and people are thinking about their yards. Some homeowners are excited to get out there and be one with nature, while others are dreading coming out of winter hibernation, firing up that lawnmower, and sweating off a quarter of their body weight in under an hour. Whichever of the two groups you belong to, landscaping companies in Duluth are a good bet for creating and maintaining a beautiful outdoor space. Here are a few basic yard components that are sure to make any yard stand out.
Flowers add color and interest to the landscape of your home. There are so many different varieties of flowers to plant, you are sure to find something that catches your eye. Essentially, there are two main types of flowers. Annuals need to be re-planted each year. Typically, they are meant to fill bare spots in the flowerbed and to add splashes of vibrant colors during the growing season. Perennials come back year after year and tend to spread out. These are great because you don’t have to spend time and money replacing them each year. Nonetheless, both kinds of flowers still need to be trimmed up and maintained either by the homeowner or a yard crew.
While some people like flower gardens, many enjoy having a vegetable and herb garden in their yards. These gardens can add a lot of visual interest as well as practicality to your property. Homeowners often find working outside and tending to a garden therapeutic. They can also enjoy many health and cost-saving benefits from harvesting fresh produce. Drip lines and elevated grow boxes can make growing your own vegetables even easier. Professional landscapers are capable of constructing and setting up these kinds of systems. Vegetable gardens can really become a stunning part of your yard.
Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs provide height and interest to the landscape of a yard. Going hand in hand with the garden, you might consider having trees planted that are not just ornamental. Fruit trees get beautiful flowers during the growing season, and provide food to the homeowner. If fruit trees are not something you think you need, then shade trees are a good option. Shade trees that have been strategically placed around your house can help cut down on cooling costs inside the home. Isn’t that a nice bonus feature? Planting trees seems easy enough: Dig a hole. Put the tree in. Water the tree. However, you have to be smart and careful about what kind of trees you plant and where. Remember that trees grow up and out, and roots do the same underground. Don’t make the mistake of putting a tree too close to the foundation of your home, power and sewage lines, and other places it might become a problem as it grows. Consult a professional landscaper to avoid these headaches.
When done right, grass is a personal patch of paradise. Skillfully manicured and richly green lawns just make a yard and home look good. That sea of tiny green blades is a luxury to walk on and beckons to kids to come out and play, pets to run around, and friends and family to throw a backyard party. There are a few varieties of grass. Each has its own characteristics. Some varieties grow thick, tall grass blades, while some stay right at ground level. Depending on the region where you live, one grass species might grow more successfully than another.Landscaping companies in Duluth will be able to help you determine what type of grass is best for your area and yard needs.
Periwinkle ground cover
Successful Xeriscape landscaping incorporates three key principles: drought-resistance, tolerance of a variety of soil types and hardy, native plants. These three factors support a wide range of landscaping ideas, six of which are presented to spark your creativity.
Six Xeriscape Landscaping Ideas
1. Beneficial and Aesthetic Wildlife Garden Design
Many Xeriscape plants are beloved by butterflies who feast on the nectar of the tiny flowers. Among these are the Autumn Joy variety of stonecrop, bluebeard, and coreopsis. The dark heads of coneflowers will draw dazzling goldfinches to your garden. Lamb’s ear, on the other hand, will prove helpful in keeping deer away from your Xeriscape garden. The soft fuzzy texture of the leaves is reportedly repellent to deer.
2. Traditional Row Design
Xeriscapes can be laid out in traditional rows, with tallest plants at the back, intermediate height plants in a center row, and a short-growing type in the front. Alternate the rows with grasses, shrubs and flowering plants. Leave room between for sunlight to reach the stalks and leaves, but shade the roots.
3. Clump and Scatter Design
On a site that gets full sun, group the plants that love the light. Place bluebeard in the center of a circle. Orbit it with Hosta and edge with a low grass like blue fescue.
In shade areas that are hard to get grass to grow, Periwinkle is an excellent choice. Springtime blooms and year round evergreen ground cover.
4. Rock Garden Design
Xeriscape landscaping also complements a rock garden. Plant the least thirsty on the highest terrace or slope of the rock garden, in clumps rather than ruler-straight lines. On lower levels place the ground cover that needs more water.
5. Monochrome Rock Garden Design
Coordinate foliage with rock color for a xeriscape that highlights texture rather than color, using non-flowering plants and grasses with silver or pale green leaves among light and dark gray river-smoothed rocks.
6. Handkerchief Lawn Design
On your tiny inner-city front lawn, remove the turf grass altogether and plant coneflowers, iris, poppy, and lavender in a border around an ornamental grass like maidenhair. Your neighbors will stop to chat more often.
Saves Water. For most of North America, over 50% of residential water used is applied to landscape and lawns. Xeriscape can reduce landscape water use by 50 – 75%.
Less Maintenance. Xeriscape gardens typically have much lower maintenance requirements. This means fewer leaves to clean up and lower weeds maintenance. There is also reduced lawn mowing areas. Aside from occasional pruning and weeding, maintenance is minimal.
No Fertilizers or Pesticides. Using plants native to your area will eliminate the need for chemical supplements. Sufficient nutrients are provided by healthy organic soil.
Improves Property Value. A good Xeriscape can raise property values, which more than offset the cost of installation. Protect your landscaping investment by drought proofing it.
Pollution Free. Fossil fuel consumption from gas mowers is minimized or eliminated with minimal turf areas. Small turf areas can be maintained with a reel mower.
Provides Wildlife Habitat. Use of native plants, shrubs and trees offer a familiar and varied habitat for local wildlife.
Soil Preparation – Aerify and enrich soil. I use Liquid Nature’s Magic with Aerify to deepen water retention causing roots to grow deeper.
Bed Preparation – Install a landscape fabric to block weeds.
Plant appropriate plants – Lowe’s stocks plants appropriate to your climate and local requirements,
Mulch – Apply mulch to reduce water evaporation.
Suzhou, famous for the elegant landscape gardens, is a popular tourist destination in China. The landscape gardens show Chinese unique architectural style. Besides, there are several water towns near Suzhou. The tranquil village, bridge, river and people get along harmoniously with each other. Here, visitors may feel that time stops.
The Lingering Garden: It is one of Suzhou’s four most famous gardens. The garden used to be the private residence of a very rich merchant. It is so huge and so beautiful and extravagant. In this garden, there are full of people wearing Tang Dynasty style clothing and playing musical instrument, such as Pipa and Sanxian. They do that simply for the enjoyment of visitors. It really made the garden come alive. The cool thing about these Suzhou gardens is that they are designed so that visitors can only see what the creators intended them to see at any given moment. As soon as you turn a corner a whole new scene opens up and visitors are rewarded with scenes more splendid than the one they were just in. The Lingering Garden was filled with small hills, rockeries, caves, paths, pavilions and much more. How wonderful it is!
The Pan Gate: It is one of the two remaining ancient gates in Suzhou, and the only remaining water gate in China. The area originally had a temple, and only the pagoda is left from it now. The pagoda is well over a thousand years old and quite beautiful. The entire area has been turned into a scenic spot. It is large and very nice. There are many gardens, pavilions and ponds scattered throughout the area. It is a very nice place to stroll and relax.
Humble Administrator’s Garden: It is also one of Suzhou’s four famous gardens. It was totally different than the Lingering Garden. It was built during the Ming Dynasty by an official who was disillusioned with official life and decided to retire and move back to his hometown of Suzhou. He built the garden as a place to relax and forget about the cares of the world. The garden is huge! Each building and pavilions were meticulously placed and each has wonderful stories about them. The garden’s ponds and rivers are filled with lotus plants and when they are in bloom the garden draws visitors from all over for its Lotus Flower Festival.
Except for the beautiful tourist attractions, another attracting sight is the water towns near Suzhou. TakeTongli for example, it is a quiet and peaceful water town. No cars are allowed into the Tongli village. The village is filled with elderly people and they are quick to smile at visitors. Sitting next to a canal with your feet in the water, or sitting in a teahouse watching the gondolas pass by is a cozy thing! Tongli has several gardens also and when the tourists leave they are deserted and very magical. In such a quiet water town, visitors may fully experience the harmony with the nature.