Minimizing Garden Maintenance

home_gardenIf your gardens have become a ball and chain around your neck and their pleasure quotient has plummeted, it’s time for a garden maintenance makeover. The overall strategy to minimizing garden maintenance is to match plants to the conditions that encourage them to thrive. The good news is that if you apply some (or all—hint, hint…) of the individual tactics below, you can alleviate the drudgery and derive pleasure and beauty from your garden creations.

Sunlight requirements

All plants have a few basic requirements—light, water and nutrients. The most important (and easiest) thing you can do is to match a plant to a location that meets its light requirements. You’re not going to get a hosta that requires full shade to thrive in sunlight; its leaves will burn. Conversely, plants requiring light that are planted in shade will grow leggy concentrating their energy on reaching sunlight rather than on producing foliage and blooms.

If you’re in doubt about the sunlight in a given spot, you can track the sun each week before planting and especially before committing to installing a new garden. Watch the direction of its path and how far it moves in a week. Start tracking in late February to get a good idea of the sun’s trajectory where it’s going to fall during the growing season. Remember that winter sunlight can easily turn into shade once the trees sprout their leaves.

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Outdora Announces $100 Gift Certificate Winner!

T306We have another winner! After submitting a product review to the Outdora website, Margaret Shealy of Simpsonville, South Carolina has been selected to receive a $100 gift certificate from Outdora.

Her winning journey began after a fortuitous trip to a friend’s home. While visiting, she noticed a new wind chime they had recently purchased and decided her own home needed a little more music. A quick Google search for “wind chimes” brought her to Outdora and a few clicks later, she purchased a wind chime to call her own.

Margaret noted that not only was Outdora’s site easy to navigate, but it also allowed her to preview audio samples of each chime before making her final purchase. She continues to enjoy her American made, Corinthian Bells wind chime and is even considering adding another to her family. With her newfound wealth, she plans to purchase another wind chime or a gift for her brother from Outdora.

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St. Patrick’s Day and the Shamrock

shamrockSt. Patrick is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland but little is known of the connection that a simple plant such as the shamrock would have in history.  St. Patrick used the tri-fold leaf shape of the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to his congregation when he simply picked a stem from the shamrock plant. But the plant he picked, or the Irish shamrock (Trifolium dubium), does not do well indoors and in doing so, floral shops and grocery stores do not sell the “true” shamrock.  In its place, the Oxalis acetosella is sold to resemble the “true” shamrock for indoor use.

The plant that is sold now for St. Patrick’s Day floral arrangements hailed from Europe, Iceland, and Asia. The Oxalis acetosella is easy to grow and thrives in environments that have cool air, and bright light.  The shamrock likes to be crowded in moist soil. Fertilize the plant with an all-purpose fertilizer every two to three weeks while the plant is growing and flowering.

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