Landscape Contractor Serving Commercial and Residential
March 20, 2022 0 Comments

Seedy Beginnings

Just the sight of seed racks and onion sets was enough to stir a longing for new growth in the midst of the dreariness and silence of winter. With a plethora of varieties and cultivars, the decision to plant becomes more complicated.  Since this is the best time to get tomatoes and peppers going, I figured I would start there.

Along with the tomatoes and peppers, I got a jump start on my herbs. Usually one basil plant would do me for all my culinary necessities. But how can I have a seed pack with a million seeds and not start a million plants? I guess we will become avid pesto eaters this season!

If you have never planted vegetables and are unsure of when is the best time to plant, what plants do best started inside and which do well in your area, Southern States offers a great summary.

February 2, 2021 0 Comments

Show Your Outdoor Space Some Love

Checklist for February in Virginia:

 

  • Order seeds you plan on starting indoors
  • Cut back your grasses and perennials. They can be cut all the way to the ground since they regenerate from the roots up.
  • Overseed your lawn
  • Mulch your beds
  • Remove any remaining leaves
  • Prune your summer flowering shrubs.
  • Prune out winter damage from your evergreens and trees
  • To rejuvenate your hollies, trim back now or early spring
November 15, 2020 0 Comments

Off With Her Head!

With Fall upon us, you should not neglect the outdoors. 

Your irrigation heads should be on their way to dormancy and your perennials should be getting cut back. Most irrigation systems by this time are either blown out and winterized or on the schedule to be done. Proper maintenance of your irrigation system ensures that next spring is a smooth transition. Delaying this step can result in cracked lines if water freezes in the lines, and damaged heads.

As for your perennials, unless you like the look of the petrified remains leaves, and stems (which some do!) now is the time to cut your perennials back nearly to the ground. You can leave a few inches above the mulch for identification/location purposes. Most perennials come back from their roots and do not require the prior year's growth to revive. Fall is a great time to divide those perennials that seem to have taken on a presence of their own. In most cases, a sharp shovel and some well-placed shoves will cut your perennial so it can be transplanted or given away.

Some plants that you can hold off on cutting back due to their winter appeal are:

  • Grasses
  • Liriope
  • Heuchera
  • Sedum

So get out your shears and pruners and lop away!

November 4, 2020 0 Comments

Bulb Planting Time

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Fall is the time to plant those spring bulbs. Hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, and narcissus are all in order for a splash of spring color. For small amounts of bulbs, Costco and other wholesalers carry reasonably priced bulbs. For larger quantities (for your woodland setting, for example) or commercial applications contact a landscape professional.

To calculate how many bulbs you need:

Number of bulbs per square foot

 

Tulips, standard 5 Tulips, wild 9-13
Daffodils, large 4-5 Daffodils, miniature 6-11
Hyacinthoides 5-6 Eranthis 20-24
Crocus 8-12 Allium Globemaster 1-2
Muscari 14-18
Scilla 15-16 Hyacinths 3-4
Anemone blanda 20-24

In order to grow properly in Virginia, bulbs must be planted between October 1 and December 30.

Proper Care

Water

Never let your plants drown or drought. Slightly moist soil is your best bet. If the ground is saturated, the plants will rot at the roots. Not enough water will cause dessication. In the heat of summer, especially, keep an eye on the plants. The curling and drooping of branches and leaves is an urgent indicator: Water!

Watering in the morning or in the evening ensures that the most amount of moisture is reaching the plant and not just evaporating.

Protection

Your plants are newly installed and have nothing to keep them from shifting around: no roots to hold them firmly upright. Though installation is always done properly, outside factors such as wind, kids, pets and wildlife can cause damage or displacement of the plant. These culprits can rub up against, step on or urinate upon the traumatized plants and be a major cause of death or disfigurement.

Try to ensure that the plantings receive the least amount of disturbance within the first few weeks following the installation. As they get established they will still need to be checked for damage from insects, critters and acts of God.

Maintenance

As I tell those clients who want a maintenance free landscape, go plastic so I tell you: plan on it. If you want to preserve the integrity of the plants and your investment you need to anticipate an annual/bi-annual mulching and cleanup at a minimum.

Usually through the growing season you will find it necessary to perform (either yourself or your chosen professional) regular weekly or bi-weekly weeding. The weeds deplete the soil, sap water from the plant and sometimes actually crowd out the desirable plant. It is important to stay on top of the invaders before they become a problem.

July 30, 2020 0 Comments

August Checklist

The hot temperatures of August can turn even the hardiest of gardens into a wasteland.  This is the time to make sure you are continuing watering and other garden maintenance. However, watering can be a Catch 22:  you don't want to drown your garden, yet you don't want it to go through a drought either. So keep these tips as a Rule of (Green) Thumb:

Watering Tips

  • Slightly moist soil is your best bet. If the ground is saturated, the plants will rot at the roots. Not enough water will cause desiccation. In the heat of summer, especially, keep an eye on the plants. The curling and drooping of branches and leaves is an urgent indicator: Water!
  • Watering in the morning or in the evening ensures that the most amount of moisture is reaching the plant and not just evaporating.
  • Check your sprinklers for adequate water supply. Dry or wilting plants indicate water stress.
  • Water more frequently the plants in pots. Potted plants tend to dry out much faster than those in the ground.
  • Clean beds of debris to prevent critters nesting.
  • Deadhead your perennials and annuals.
  • Ensure adequate mulch coverage to retain moisture.
  • Check for water flow and sitting water around the house.
  • Schedule your Fall Project Consultation!

Download our Summer Checklist!

May 8, 2020 0 Comments

Late Spring Frost

This spring has definitely been different, so it should be no surprise that we would have a late Spring frost. Some hardy plants can handle light frosts, others can handle the dips below freezing. Few, however, can remain intact when the temps drop much below 32 degrees.

I recommend covering young plants as best you can, and if you have potted plants, bring them inside, or even under a covered patio or garage.

Here are some materials you could use to cover:

  • Old sheets, drop cloths, tarps, burlap, or newspapers.
  • Cardboard boxes, open them on one end, turn them upside down and place them over your flowers. Tape any cracks to keep out the cold air.
  • Empty pots, buckets, milk jugs with the top cut off, or other containers made of wood, plastic or clay to cover your plants (just be sure they’re tall enough to fit over plants without crushing them.
  • Pre-made row covers (from a gardening store)

Remember:

  • Place covers over your plants before the temperatures hit freezing. If you’re using plastic covers, wait until twilight to avoid the sun cooking your plants through the plastic.
  • If your cover is lightweight enough to blow away in the wind, weigh it down with rocks or bricks.
  • Remove cardboard or fabric covers as soon as the weather warms up.
  • Remove plastic covers as soon as the sun rises.

 

June 27, 2019 0 Comments

July: Too Early, Too Late or Just Right?

July is that mid-summer month that comes too late to the party to make the spring planting window, yet too early for a safe entry into fall. It is, however, the perfect time to really appreciate all your earlier labors and to re-evaluate the needs that have yet to be met.

JULY TO DO LIST:

  • DO weed your beds and remove debris to the compost pile
  • DO water every day when rain has not been regular; watch your plants for signs of dehydration in the way of droopiness
  • DO deadhead your perennials and annuals. Geraniums notoriously need attention as do all your spent perennials.
  • DO cut your hydrangeas and zinnias and fill vases throughout the house with fresh flowers.
  • DO freshen up your mulch
  • DO fertilize your plants

JULY NOT-TO-DO LIST:

  • DO NOT divide plants or transplant
  • DO NOT travel without making property care arrangements

July is also a great time to do a quick mid-summer spruce up to keep your property looking its best for the summer festivities!

HAPPY JULY 4th and beyond!