Thursday, March 5, 2009

How To Plan A Garden Right

by: David Kurshel
Gardening is a hobby that brings joy, entertainment, and a
better quality of life. It is a creative activity, the
result of which is a more aesthetically appealing home.

Thoughtful planning of a garden starts with the type of
garden you would like to have. Deciding on a type of garden
is essential defore choosing which design elements to
include. Will your garden be just a place to plant a bunch
of flowers, which will blossom only during the growing
season? Or would you rather have a thoughtfully-chosen herb
garden? Or maybe just a vegetable plot?

Another issue to consider is the climate in your location.
It can be surprising how little we know about the facts,
figures and statistics of the weather where we live. You may
want to consult an online map to get statistical data
regarding climate elements like rainfall per month or
average temperatures.

The next step, after having decided about the type of garden
and after investigating the local climate, is to figure out
the plants that you would like to grow in your garden. Think
of plants that are suitable for the duration of the growing
season in your location and that will survive the changes in
temperature, typical for your location.

The thoughtful planning of a garden involves one more factor
to consider - how much shade is necessary for each of the
plants. You need to make sure that there is enough light all
over the places you plan to plant your garden.

When you have finished with planning in theory, it is time
to start planning the plots in your garden. Again, think for
a good plan - one that brings joy, is easy to keep to, and
at the same time efficiently uses the available space.

Think about where to place plants that require a lot of
sunlight. The best place for such plants is away from
buildings and taller trees because these block the light at

Deciding which plants to grow near the house, and which
should be in the open also requires some thought. If you
prefer the sunshine streaming through your windows, then you
are best not to have bulky trees or bushes near the house,
where they will block the sunlight.

If you have decided that you will be growing herbs and
vegetables, the best place for them is near the house. When
they are near the house, it is more likely that you will be
using them for cooking. Besides convenience, you should also
think about the location of vegetables as far as their needs
for sunlight are concerned. This is especially true if yours
is mainly a vegetable garden.

Last, but not least, take into account your personal
preferences, when designing a garden. If there are
particular extras you would like to have, for instance
winding pathways or gazebos, include them in the initial
design of the garden. Your outdoor garden is constrained
only by the limits of your creativity and the growing season
in your location.

About the author:
David Kurshel is the webmaster of
BIO Gardening -- a
popular and extensive resource including articles and
a newsletter about gardening. For more information, go to:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do You Need Annuals or Perennials for your Garden

by: Linda Jenkinson
Do I Need Annual or Perennial Plants?

The crocus delights us in early spring as it dares to peek through the snow and lift its face to the sun. Soon after follow tulips, narcissus, iris, lilacs… all perennials that welcome spring with vibrant color and fragrance. Perennial plants bloom at different times during the growing season and delight you with variety in color and size from earliest spring to late autumn. However, many perennials like those mentioned, bloom only for a few short weeks and then disappear from the landscape until the following year.

Annual plants provide a garden with continuous bloom and color throughout the summer. The “mission” of an annual is to produce seed. Seeds sprout, foliage grows, flowers bloom and then the plant goes to seed. When the annual completes its mission, the entire plant— flower, foliage, and root system —dies.

Some annuals have a very short life span and depending upon when they are planted, may reseed and go through two or more growing cycles per season. Other annual plants grow continuously from spring planting until the first frost of autumn.

Since annual plants die completely at season end, they need to be replaced yearly. Depending on the cultivar, annual seeds can be planted directly into a garden or sprouted indoors for transplanting when weather conditions and soil temperatures are right for growth.

Annual transplants are also available each spring at gardening centers and many are sold in inexpensive flats that contain four or more plants. Annual plants can often be closely grouped to fill in barren areas of your landscape whereas perennials often need space to multiply and/or to grow to maturity.

Although some perennial plants are more expensive to purchase than annuals, in the long run you may find them less expensive since they last for longer than a single growing season. You can also purchase groups of assorted perennial bulbs in very inexpensive packs.

Perennial foliage and flowers also die at the end of a growing season, but contrary to annuals, the root systems of perennial plants live over winter and resprout with new growth each spring.

Another advantage of perennial plants is that although flowers and foliage die back, the branches of perennial shrubs offer some visual appeal to a winter landscape.

Perennial plants may take more than one season to reach full maturity. Because perennials propagate from root structures, many types of perennials also need to be divided after three or four seasons to reduce crowding and maintain their vigor.

Although all perennial plants are able to resprout for multiple seasons, perennials are divided into to categories of hardy perennials or tender perennials according to the temperature zone in which they are grown.

Hardy perennials are those that can be left in the ground to return the following season. Except for occasional division and/or pruning, hardy perennial plants need little care once established.

Bulbs like tulips and daffodils are among the easiest plants to grow and excellent choices for a beginning gardener. Tender perennials need your help to survive the winter. Some can over winter when covered with a layer of mulch or otherwise protected from the elements with gardening appurtenances such as rose cones. Some tender perennials need to be lifted and stored indoors over winter.

So the question remains, do you need annual plants or perennials? Each type of plant is ripe with “pros” and short on “cons” if you love flowers. The best solution is to experiment by planting some of each to get a summer full of color, variety, and pure gardening enjoyment!

About the author:
Linda is leading author of Gardening You place for information on gardening topics and free e-books

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The history of the gnome

Greeted by a garden gnome people often grimace in horror and mutter some displeasure while thinking how anyone could anyone have one of those in their back garden. But we’re also told ( from people in the know) that there are approaching four million of them in southern Germany and if you know where to look there’s quite a few in the US aswell.

Well it doesn’t surprise me about the Germans, since the first gnomes graced us with their appearance about 160 years ago. The first logged appearance was in the UK about 1840 in Lamport Hall. According to local myths gnomes are very lucky. It is documented in the 1870’s that manufacture began on a large scale. Apparantly they are meant to help around the house and garden, and in more isolated areas were meant to guard over produce and livestock.

Eventually, the European gnome creators became experts and masters of their work. During it’s most popular period a gnome factory in Griebel, Germany produced over 300 different characters.
In 1989, after the collapse of the iron curtain, savvy businessmen entered the market in the Czech Republic and started to produce cheap imitations of the original characters. At first they were stopped from entering Germany by a law customs officers confiscate those gnomes who were infringing copyright laws.
Unfortunately, it is all now all quite slack on the German border. The grandson of the founder, Reinhard Griebel, now has just one workshop and the gnome museum.

The first gnomes were always characterised as gardeners carrying out daily country tasks, but this grew to fishermen, sportsmen, musicians and many more. Then they started to model ones from people still living out of clay or stoneware.

In North Devon, in the southwest of England, there is a gnome reserve. There are over one thousand pixies and gnomes in the four acre reserve. Gnome fishing equipment and hats are given out so the gnomes feel at ease.

They are others that have a very different opinion about them. provides Garden Gnome Liberation information and urges people to take action. They proclaim that “ Thousands of gnomes are enslaved across America. For too long we have let are neighbours usurp the rights of these gentle woodland creatures. Join the boycott. Organise a picket demonstration. Write to congress. Free a gnome. We’ll show you how.”

Some groups have even crossed to the wrong side of the law. In April 2000 the Garden Gnome Liberation Front in a nighttime raid on a Paris convention stole 20 gnomes.

By the way, if you’re thinking of selling your home, a study made in 2003 concluded that a gnome in your front garden would lower the price of your house by about £400.

About the author:
For more info: A house is not a home without a gnome.

Jan Money is from Poole in the United Kingdom and has been writing gardening articles since 2005.

Gardening Supply Info - Providing information and resources about gardening and gardening supplies.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tree Pruning Tips

by: Michael McGroarty
You are welcome to use this article on your website or in your newsletter as long as you reprint it as is, including the contact information at the end. Website URLs must be active links. You are welcome to use this article with an affiliate link,

There are two kinds of winter gardening. The first method usually starts in January as the gardening catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. This type of gardening is as easy as sitting in your favorite chair, browsing the catalogs, and either dreaming about what you're going to do this spring, or actually drawing designs for the gardens you intend to work on.

The second type of winter gardening is to actually get out in the yard and do a little work. Of course if it's bitter cold, you'd be better off waiting for a good day. Winter is a good time to do some pruning if the temperatures are around 30 degrees or so. I don't recommend pruning if it's considerably below freezing because the wood is brittle and will shatter when you make a cut.

One of the advantages of pruning during the winter is that you can see much better what needs to be cut out and what should stay. At least that's true with deciduous plants. The other advantage is that the plants are dormant, and won't mind you doing a little work on them.

Ornamental trees should pruned to remove competing branches. Weeping Cherries, Flowering Dogwoods, Flowering Crabapples etc. have a tendency to send branches in many different directions. It is your job to decide how you want the plant to look, and then start pruning to achieve that look.

But first stick your head inside the tree and see what you can eliminate from there. This is like looking under the hood, and when you do you'll see a lot of small branches that have been starved of sunlight, that certainly don't add anything to the plant. They are just there, and should be cut out.

Any branch that is growing toward the center of the tree where it will get little sunlight should be cut out. Where there are two branches that are crossing, one of them should be eliminated. Once you get the inside of the plant cleaned up, you can start shaping the outside.

Shaping the outside is actually quite easy. Just picture how you want the plant to look, and picture imaginary lines of the finished outline of the plant. Cut off anything that is outside of these imaginary lines. It is also important to cut the tips of branches that have not yet reached these imaginary lines in order to force the plant to fill out.

For the most part plants have two kinds of growth: Terminal branches and lateral branches. Each branch has one terminal bud at the very end, and many lateral branches along the sides. The terminal buds grow in an outward direction away from the plant. Left uncut they just keep growing in the same direction, and the plant grows tall and very thin. That's why the trees in the woods are so thin and not very attractive.

When you cut a branch on a plant, the plant sets new buds just below where you cut. When you remove the terminal bud the plant will set multiple buds; this is how you make a plant nice and full. Don't be afraid to trim your plants, they will be much nicer because of it. The more you trim them, the fuller they become.

Lots of people have a real problem with this. They just can't bring themselves to prune. Especially when it comes to plants like Japanese Red Maples. It kills them to even think about pruning a plant like this. Just do it! You'll have a beautiful plant because of it.

Look at the plant objectively. If you see a branch that looks like it's growing too far in the wrong direction, cut it. If you make a mistake it will grow back. Not pruning is the only mistake you can make. I hope this helps and doesn't get you in trouble with your significant other. Many a family feud has started over pruning.

About the author:
Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit his most interesting website, http://www.freeplants.comand sign up for his excellent gardening newsletter. Article provided by

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gardening - Natural Science NOT rocket science..

by: Linda Gray
Don't force yourself out of the most profitable hobby in the universe because you think it's too hard to learn ...It isn't!
Gardening is fast becoming the world's number one hobby, and with all the latest 'alternative' information we have to hand, gardening as a natural science is fun to learn about and rewarding in the extreme...

Produce your own fruit and veg - cut the shopping trips.

Keep it organic!- be nice to the planet, and your body.

Stay fit and healthy with exercise and fresh air.

Spend quality family time in the outdoors.

Turbo boost your creative spirit

And if that isn't enough to be going on with, learn about plant-kind in all it's glory. From trees through to fungi, there are millions of plants to research, grow and eat- no chance of getting bored!

First you have to take your first step.

Start gardening, be a gardener, enjoy your garden.

Starting from scratch? Let your imagination run wild. Stand in the centre (-ish) of your garden and imagine..close your eyes if you like.

Don't hold back. Let your creative thoughts flow. How much can you do with your space? Don't imagine for one minute that a simple lawn will let you off the hook here. A lawn needs maintaining, and mowing regularly - for EVER..and it can get kind of boring to look at as well! How about creating

a butterfly patch

a wildflowers corner

a vegetable plot

a herb garden

a water feature

Then you will need a shed to store your tools. Where would that be best placed in your garden? Don't waste a sunny position with a garden structure. Sheds don't need to be in full sun to survive!

Is there enough space to place garden furniture? Rather than going for the table-and-four-chairs-on-patio style, can you place benches and small tables in semi-shady spots near the honeysuckle or round the herbs?

When you think you have a reasonable idea of all you want from your garden, take some notes and think about it for a while. Don't leap in too soon-more often than not you'll land up doing the same job twice. Browse through garden catalogs, take a little time and do a little planning.

But not for too long! Don't let the ideas wither into another was-gonna-do-one-day file.

If you have enough of a budget to buy your garden structures and furniture, do this first, and position them in your garden. Then create your flower beds, vegetable plots and wildlife patches around these structures.

If you don't have cash up front, don't worry. The things you need will come to you. For now, prepare the space as if you DID have the shed, or bench or whatever, and work around these areas.

Start all the patches and work on them as and when you can, or start one patch and get it finished before moving on to the next. How you work in your garden depends on a number of things...

size of land and budget

helping hands available

seasons and the weather

time slots and energy levels!

Treat gardening as an ongoing hobby rather than a project to be started and finished. Plants are growing life forms and will always be changing the shape and feel of your garden. Go with it where you can, and prune heavily where you have to!

Get the kids involved with quick-germinating seeds, and fast-growing plants. Many retailers offer special seed mixtures for kids. Pumpkins are great for getting the kids interested in gardening.

Learn about edible flowers and teach the children what can and can't be eaten - and why.

Don't let the grass grow under your feet. Get in on the action now. Turn off the TV, put your wellies on and leap into nature!

About the author:
Linda Gray is a freelance writer and, with her partner. has spent ten years renovating a neglected acre of woodland. Find heaps of straight gardening advice and pots of inspiration at

Gardening-An Expression

by: Bonnie Moss
Give the same plants to several people, you will see several arrangements. Each one distinct and different, yet, using the same plants.

This is the ultimate reward of gardening- a means
to express, to create with the help and inspiration
from the gifts of Nature.

Gardening is not just physically and aesthetically
rewarding.It enriches the spirit. It awakens one’s
creativity that lies dormant from neglect, or lack of
motivation, or a popular excuse, not enough time.

Gardening is fast becoming a popular hobby of the times.
From the tropics , to the frigid climes, gardening centers
are offering more choices to tantalize even the most
conservative taste.

Each year, gardeners look forward with excitement
to their gardening; a hobby they take passionately.
What new plants are being introduced? What variety
of surprises awaits them? The ornamental gardener will be
glorious with the new plants or hybrids for the present
growing season. The vegetable/herb gardener
looks forward with anticipation at harvest time.

With so much variety to choose from, what factors
determine which plants to buy? After considering the
soil, weather, sun/shade location factors, the
choice is all about self- expression.

No two gardens are alike, given the same set of plants.

Colors are as revealing as the plants. A conservative
gardener will opt for traditional plants. At times, you see
the same plants, the same arrangements year after year.
Aha!! Perhaps the gardener does not adapt to
change too quickly. It may be lack of time, or change
of physical health.

Vibrant colors in the garden reflect a vibrant gardener.
A garden bursting with colors is very attractive and
pleasing to look at. It is inviting.

What about passion? They say red is a color of passion,
of energy and courage. Add white to the reds, and the
garden beckons the passer-by to take a look. Someone
said this combination looks like a candy cane.

My garden is overcome by burst of yellows and orange,
not really by choice. Somehow, it gives out a golden glow
as the blooms bask in the sun. It reflects my enthusiasm
for life. Many of my plants are gifts from friends, treasures
for my garden. Yellow flowers remind me of my mother.

Purples and blues in the garden are colors of reflection,
of peace and calm. Add white flowers to this and it
invites a meditative mood.

After colors, the arrangements of the plants reveal
something of the person. I have a friend whose
flowerbeds are symmetrical, weedless, picture-
perfect, right out of a magazine. Indeed, this expresses
her organized way of thinking and living.

A gardener who loves to re-arrange the plants and
loves to add new plants and ornaments shows an
enthusiastic and energetic spirit, ready to welcome
change, eager to experiment.

What about an overgrown garden? Perhaps it reflects
someone with scattered energies, at times, a full
plate, or one who does not have the time or energy
to tend the garden. It may well show one who starts
with a burst of enthusiasm that wanes quickly after
the planting is done.

No matter how you plan your garden, it is a
creative tool that allows you to express yourself.
Gardening is therapeutic,physically, mentally and spiritually.

Happy gardening.Don't forget to talk to
your plants.

About the author:
About the writer:

Bonnie Moss writes about spirituality, tools available to all
to walk the path. Visit her website , a metaphysical site that offers information on tarot, crystals, aura,angels, journalling and other topics.
She is the Executive Secretary of Tarot Canada International, contributes articles to the newsletter,
Future Endeavours and other ezines.

Visit her website:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

5 Pieces of Equipment Gardeners Can’t Live Without

by: Colin J Smith
Gardening is fun and rewarding and may be considered a hobby, talent or both and sometimes it’s just luck. Gardening is not as easy as it looks and involves dedication, time and consistency and many trials and errors. There are many aspects to maintaining a healthy garden, but some aspects are more important than others. An individual who likes to garden can have the knowledge to produce the best garden in the world, but without the right equipment and materials it just wouldn’t be possible.

Below you will find a list of the top 5 pieces of equipment which gardeners simply cannot live without:

1. Trowel – A trowel is a shovel-like piece of equipment which is used to dig up dirt and set small plants. There are many styles to choose from and type of handle on your trowel will determine how well it works. Easy grip, non-slide and non-slip grips are the best form of handle to choose. These will be easier to use and will require less work than any other form of trowel. A trowel with no grip will be difficult to use and could end up ruining your garden. Try one out in your hand first to ensure it feels comfortable. There’s nothing like having your hand cramp or the trowel slip while using it to dig in a beautiful, new plant.

2. Pitchfork – A pitchfork is a gardening tool which has 2-6 prongs and a long handle. The sizes of pitchforks vary, depending on what they are being used for. The space between each prong varies as well. Pitchforks are used to separate, lift and throw loose pieces of material such as dirt and leaves.

3. Spade – A gardening spade has a long, thick handle and a heavy flat blade. This tool is used to dig up and move pieces of dirt from one place to another. It can also be used to pack down dirt once the flower has been planted.

4. Pruning Shears – Pruning shears are tools which have a long handles and blades. This type of gardening equipment is used to allow gardeners to precisely prune rose bushes and other plants and unruly vines, etc. It can also be used to cut the grass at the edges of walkways and garden beds, in those hard to reach places. It is also used to trim the edges and remove dead leaves or wood on flowers. There is no other piece of gardening equipment which can do the same job as pruning shears. Without the use of this piece of equipment, your garden will end up looking messy and disorganized. Always, always, always invest in good quality pruning shears. Good ones have a lifetime guarantee and low-end ones will make shrapnel of your heritage rose.

5. Wheelbarrow – A wheelbarrow is one of the larger pieces of garden equipment. It is a cart with a handle and at least one wheel which is designed for easy transportation of materials from one place to another. Purchasing a wheelbarrow will save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you are off to the compost heap, and will make for a pleasant gardening experience. Another option is the 4-wheeled gardening cart.

There are many pieces of gardening equipment which will make this hobby easier and more efficient, however the ones listed above are recognized as the most important. These pieces of equipment will likely last a very long time.

About the author:
Colin Smith is a freelance write for– a site that features information about playground equipment, swing sets, riding lawn mowers and more.