An English Garden Oasis

The English garden has been a staple of home decorating and style magazines for years. Something about the sprawling trees, idyllic wildflowers, and perfectly placed garden ornaments reminds us to let go of our carefully manicured everything and let nature take its course. The perfect blend of unkempt and tended, the English garden is the perfect landscaping style for recovering perfectionists, free spirit gardeners, and anyone who loves a splash of color.

The Rise of the English Garden

We may all dream of creating a “secret garden” of overgrown flowers and artfully crooked cobblestones, but the English garden (or simply “landscape garden” in the United Kingdom) wasn’t an accepted gardening style until the 19th century. Landscapers developed this freeform gardening method to balance the clean symmetry and intensive details of the 18th century French style garden. It’s no surprise that English style gardens gained quick popularity, both in Europe and across the pond in America. English gardens strongly influenced the development of public parks and estate landscapes.

Characteristics of an English Garden

Parks and estate grounds offer expansive examples of English gardens. Ponds, grassy knolls, and artfully aged rotundas serve as a backdrop to bright, barely tamed flowers and shrubs. Smaller homes display stone statues, architectural touches on benches and pavilions, and seemingly forgotten florals that add a touch of whimsy to the landscape.

Creating an Idyllic Oasis

garden urnIncorporating touches of English-style gardens to your landscape adds a pastoral atmosphere to your backyard. Plant flowering shrubs and thick bushes along fences and pathways. Place classic garden ornaments like birdbaths, Hellenistic statues, and stone sundials. Plant-life grows into wooden elements like woven trellises, creating a sense of structure while maintaining the careful disarray of the style. When pruning trees and shrubs in an English garden, avoid creating crisp, groomed shapes. Meld the English style with Southern attention to detail by balancing wild blooms with manicured grass.

Call Bloom’n Gardens Landscapes for expert advice on choosing a garden style that suits your Vinings home.

Tackling Winter Pruning: Roses

rose bushMany a movie has portrayed a similar portrait of the Southern woman: perfectly coiffed hair, a smart blouse, and stylish gardening gloves wielding pruning shears over brilliantly blooming rose bushes. The perfect presentation may be a myth, but it’s no exaggeration that roses are a Southern staple. Whether you prefer trimmed rose bushes against a white picket fence or wild blooms in an English style garden, proper care is essential to keeping your roses healthy. Here are three things to keep in mind when you pick up your pruning shears.

  1. The best time to prune roses is winter. Thanks to our temperate Georgia climate, Vinings gardeners can prune their roses as early as January. Winter pruning allows you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each bush. The unimpeded view allows you to cut away dead wood and thin overfull areas of your rose bush. Winter pruning primes your plants for spring growth, but their dormant state keeps your bushes from blooming too soon. Research the hardiness of your variety of roses and schedule your pruning between late January and early April.
  2. Overgrown roses die more quickly. Unlike trees and most shrubs, roses don’t grow exponentially larger. Old stems tangle with new ones, blocking sunlight and air from new blooms. Thinning and shaping your rose bush redirects nutrients to newer canes, allowing your roses to flourish.
  3. The biggest detriment to bright, hearty roses is a lack of preparation. Always wear heavy gloves to protect your hands from sharp thorns. Sharpen your shears before you begin pruning; dull blades will damage and tear the tender parts of your plant. Make each cut at an angle mimicking the natural growth of your rose bush. Assess how much height and thickness you want to remove before you begin pruning, but step back and reassess every so often. Poorly trimmed rose bushes can take seasons to recover.

Does your garden need a touch of grace? Call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape to help you incorporate Southern garden classics into your Smyrna landscape.

Sell Your Home with Curb Appeal

Selling your home is like putting on a play. You carefully arrange your props, prepare your monologues, and wait anxiously backstage as the critics write their reviews. The production phase is all about preparation: keeping unnecessary junk out of the way, creating the right atmosphere with natural home decorating, and getting your timing right. But ignoring your home landscape in favor of painting, cleaning, and redecorating is like forgetting to announce a play on the theater marquee. You’ll have a much harder time selling your home if you don’t invite people in.

Landscaping to Sell Your Home

Clean and Welcoming Front EntryLike a poster announcing a play, the effects of curb appeal are easy to ignore unless they’re absent. The most important aspect of increasing your curb appeal is lawn maintenance. Prune your trees, mulch your flowerbeds, and keep your grass mowed and watered. Tend plants that look unhealthy after this winter’s temperature fluctuations. Clean outdoor urns and flowerpots, and remove all but the most basic lawn ornaments. Once you’ve groomed your yard, you’ll have a clearer picture of what needs improving. Add bright, hardy flowers, classic steppingstones, and window boxes as needed to increase your landscape appeal.

Landscaping Increases Home Value

Over 70% of buyers list landscaping as an important aspect to consider when visiting potential homes. According to real estate studies, a well-maintained landscape can:

  • Increase the value of your home up to 10%
  • Make your house sell more quickly
  • Increase the property value of your neighbors

If you’re planning on selling your home, updating and maintaining your home landscape is crucial to getting a good price. Call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape to give your home the curb appeal it needs to succeed.

Tips for Winter Pruning

pruningThe recent cold snap may have sent Georgia residents scurrying indoors, but spring will arrive before we know it. While it’s tempting to wait out the weather, dreaming of bright blossoms while researching organic home décor and cutting edge hardscape designs, there’s still plenty to do to prepare your landscape for spring. Gardens lie dormant in the winter, bare of leaves and blooms. This unimpeded view of shrubs and tree limbs offers the perfect opportunity to make structural changes to your plants. January to March is the ideal time to trim overgrowth and reshape shrubs.

Pruning Plants in Winter

Winter pruning minimizes the risk of shock and disease in plants. Because pruning encourages growth, trimming limbs during the dormant season encourages a brighter, fuller garden when plants revitalize in early spring. Pruning  redirects nutrients to the most vital branches, encouraging better health and more abundant fruit and flowers. Prune your deciduous trees, ornamentals, and shrubs after the initial onslaught of cold winter weather, when frequent thawing and refreezing makes plants most vulnerable. Take advantage of your winter pruning spree and cut back ornamental grasses like liriope, which often become overgrown and bedraggled during the cooler months.

What to Prune

  • Diseased limbs
  • Dead branches
  • Branches than impede walkways and driveways
  • Potential safety hazards (limbs positioned near power lines or home windows)
  • Smaller branches in a thicker canopy

Pruning Tips

Incorrect pruning techniques make plants susceptible to disease, slowed growth, and the disapproving eyes of your neighbors. When pruning your plants this winter, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Choose a sunny day in mid to late winter
  • Use clean, sharp pruning shears
  • Angle your cuts to mimic branch growth
  • Research proper pruning techniques for frequently overpruned trees like Crepe Myrtles
  • Step back often to reassess what needs pruning
  • When in doubt, prune less

For more tips on landscape maintenance, call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape in Mableton.

Which Mulch is Right for You?

mulchMulch solves myriad problems in your flowerbeds. It discourages weeds, limits drought, and replenishes plants as it decomposes. Aesthetically, applying mulch to your flowerbeds offers a clean uniformity that highlights the bright perennials, elegantly limbed trees, and shrubs in your landscape. Mulch applied in January or February gives your plants insulation for the winter, slowing the deterioration of your mulch to give you better results and cost-efficiency. But with so many varieties and price tags, which mulch is right for you?

Inorganic Mulch

Rubber mulch, stone mulch, and glass mulch provides better coverage than organic mulches. Often made from recycled materials, these mulches smother weeds and protect tender plants without breaking down over time. The downside to inorganic mulches is two-faceted: you lose the nutritional benefits your plants receive when mulch decomposes, and they’re difficult to remove from your flowerbeds.

Wood Chips and Bark Mulch

These classic mulch options break down slowly, giving your plants months of insulation and revitalization. Wood chips and bark mulch have enough mass to suppress early-spring weeds, keeping your flowerbeds healthy and beautiful. Traditional mulch limits erosion, conserves moisture, and enriches the soil as it decays over time. Although wood mulch is more expensive than pine straw, garden centers sell wood chips and shredded bark in a variety of colors and textures, allowing gardeners to tailor their landscapes to their personal style.

Pine Straw

Pine straw provides inexpensive insulation for your landscape. It spreads easily, giving your flowerbeds a delicate, enriched aesthetic as it protects your perennials from the winter elements. Because pine straw is lighter than most mulches, it works well for germinating seeds in the spring. Unfortunately, the same qualities that make it excellent for cultivating new flowers also makes it less effective at preventing weeds. When weeds start sprouting, pine straw will suppress the worst offenders, but it leaves a few stubborn sprouts for gardeners to uproot.

Too busy to mulch your flowerbeds? Call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape for your home landscape maintenance.

Happy Holidays from Bloom’n Gardens!

merry christmasIt’s been a month of juggling: garden upkeep, holiday shopping and decorating, and everyday tasks like getting the kids on the bus. Your holiday landscapes are set for the season. For some Smyrna homeowners that means elaborate Christmas lights, bright violas and pansies, rich earthy evergreens, and festive garden ornaments to bring the yard together. For other gardeners it simply means keeping the grass clear of leaves and broken branches. No matter what state your garden is in, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Garden enthusiasts reap daily blessings from the bounty of nature. Use simple touches of organic decorating to warm the spirits of your holiday guests. The holiday spirit is about spreading pleasure, peace, and goodwill. Cherish the time spent with your family and friends this holiday. Pour a cup of peppermint mocha, curl up by the fire with your family, and soak in the well-kept world outside your door.

Savor your family, your friends, and your holiday traditions this Christmas. Gifts, good food, and holiday garlands are the bow on top of the blessings we receive each December: time spent with the people we love. Bloom’n Gardens Landscape wishes Smyrna, Vinings, and all of Georgia happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and a bright New Year.

Mulching and Pruning in Winter

Winter gardening is a mixed bag: your bright blooms and flowering trees have gone dormant, but hardscaping, cold-weather perennials, and garden maintenance keep you rooted. Many lawn care tasks wait for the leisure of our Georgia weather, but with winter on its way, it’s finally time to start contemplating cold weather landscaping. Ensure your spring garden unfolds with splendor by planning next month’s mulching and pruning before you’re wrist deep in a bag of pine straw.

Mulching

mulchMost gardeners mulch in the fall or spring, protecting their plants from frost and sun alike. But mulching during the early months of winter offers myriad benefits—for both your backyard and your budget. Laying mulch or pine straw protects your plants by:

  • Discouraging weeds
  • Moderating soil temperature and reducing evaporation of essential water
  • Improving garden irrigation
  • Protecting plant roots from frosts or heavy sun
  • Improving soil composition

Mulching your flowerbeds also improves the aesthetics of your garden, giving your landscape a clean, cultivated look. Mulch spread in January or February decomposes more slowly than mulch exposed to the weather conditions of early spring, giving you better benefits on the same budget. Before laying mulch or pine straw, clear your garden of decaying leaves, fallen branches, and grass.

Pruning

Eager gardeners harm their plants when they prune too early. Pruning before your tree or shrub enters dormancy upsets the growing cycle and increases the likelihood of injured plants. Not only does timely pruning pare away dead and dying branches, shape trees and shrubs, and improve the beauty of your landscape, it also reinvigorates plants for a new growing season. Prune during late winter to prepare your plants for a successful spring.

For more tips on winter landscape maintenance, call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape.

Holiday Landscape Care

Download 31010 133It’s easy to let your yard work slip during the Christmas season. With all the decorating to do, presents to buy, and home organization before your holiday guests arrive, leaves and yard debris have a tendency to pile up. But continuous lawn maintenance is crucial not only to your holiday landscape, but also to the long-term health of your yard.

Winter Landscaping Pitfalls

Although garden blooming has slowed, the list of landscaping tasks just keeps growing. Raking leaves is essential to a healthy lawn. If allowed to coat your yard, fallen foliage will trap moisture and bacteria in your grass, leading to disease and stunted growth. Winter storms break branches and bushes, and the limbs that litter your yard become both eyesores and tripping hazards. The recent rainfall may have highlighted drainage issues to resolve in your yard. By diligently continuing winter lawn maintenance, you can ensure the health of both your Christmas landscape and your spring flowers.

Let Bloom’n Gardens Maintain Your Landscape

As we approach the New Year, it’s time to start planning your January mulching, February pruning, and winter lawn care. Bloom’n Gardens Landscape not only designs and installs backyard oases and gorgeous Georgia gardens, we’re also available to keep them tidy and thriving. Choose from a variety of Bloom’n Gardens professional lawn maintenance packages. Our services include leaf removal, edging flowerbeds, weed control, fertilization, pest control, pruning and mulching, Christmas lighting and decorating, and much more.

Professional landscape maintenance makes a unique, useful present for those busy bees that just want to stop and admire the roses. Whether it’s one-time garden care, seasonal decorating, or weekly lawn maintenance, our highly trained and friendly staff will take care of the heavy lifting so you can sit back and admire the view.

Keeping Your Winter Landscape Fresh

Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville 2010For many gardeners, “landscaping” means “planting.” Cobblestones, retaining walls, and large garden ornaments seem less crucial beside the vivid color of winter flowers and shrubs. It’s true that without berries, evergreens, and cool-weather perennials, winter landscapes would lack the crispness and warmth of the Christmas season. But inorganic materials play a key role in landscape design. As you assess your winter landscape, consider the unnatural elements that bring harmony and rest to the fresh colors of your winter vegetation.

Hardscaping

Any inanimate object in your landscape design falls into the category of “hardscaping.” Cobblestones, terraces, fences, retaining walls, and garden ornaments are just a few of the opportunities for hardscaping in your yard. Hardscaping brings unity and peace to your garden, creating fluidity with the architecture of your home and giving the eye a place of rest. Hardscapes create contrast with plants, balancing softer garden elements with the structure and permanence of benches and pathways. Incorporating these elements into your landscape is easier during the winter because, due to decreased vegetation, you get a better sense of the unique contours of your yard.

Pathways and Retaining Walls

Consider the larger elements of hardscaping before you begin planting holly bushes and winter ornamental flowers. Pathways, retaining walls, and garden benches have practical uses as well as aesthetic appeal. Sketch your garden design or confer with a professional to balance the natural slope of your yard, the need for visual harmony, and the function of cobblestones and retaining walls.

Ornamental Landscaping

Ornamental hardscaping includes a variety of elements of all sizes and functions. Some, like trellises or decorative wheelbarrows, anchor flowers and small plants to your design, marrying the natural and inorganic elements of your yard. Others, like birdbaths and feeders, attract living beauty to your landscape. Still other hardscaping elements are purely decorative. Ornamental landscaping adds visual interest to the design of your yard. Choose your garden ornaments carefully and sparingly to keep the focus on the broader scope of your landscape and home.

For landscape design, installations, and Atlanta lawn maintenance, call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape.

A Season of Blessings

thanksgiving flowersPreparing for the holidays rarely seems like relaxing. With the food to cook, the house to clean, and the décor to finish, we’re always thankful when the Thanksgiving meal rolls around. Meticulously prepared tables and decadent dinner dishes aside, Thanksgiving dinner allows us to step back and appreciate the blessings in our lives, from the fresh jewel-toned pansies popping up in our fall flowerbeds to the helping hands that assisted us in the kitchen. Whether you’re blessed with a home full of helpers, you’re preparing your home and landscape for out-of-town eyes, or you’re heading to a friends’ holiday dinner party, loved ones are number one on the list of “things to be thankful for.” So take a break from the yard work, natural holiday decorating, and flowerbed maintenance to spend Thanksgiving with the people who bless you.

During this time of giving thanks, we appreciate the bounty of our natural world, the gift of our hardworking employees, the blessings of our friends and family, and the trust of our loyal customers. Bloom’n Gardens Landscape would like to wish all our customers across Mableton, Smyrna, Vinings, and the greater Atlanta area a Happy Thanksgiving.

photo from flickr