Recovering from Atlanta’s Polar Vortex

HardinessZones-compressedWell, I declare, Spring is in the air.  Soon it will officially be summer, but I must admit, it has been a tough row to hoe this winter and our landscapes have taken a bit of hard beating.  By now you should be able to tell what survived the extreme cold and what is best left for the compost pile.  From my observations there were about a half a dozen shrubs that were hit particularly hard.

Remember those USDA Hardiness Zone Maps, yeah the ones that say our area is labeled ZONE 7B, well for many years we have sort of “tricked” some plants not officially rated for our area to grow and thrive in our landscapes.  Or plants were only marginally hardy here, and well, guess what, they bit the dust, especially those plants that were not in particularly good health anyway. [Read more…]

Bloom’n Gardens TOP 5 Landscape Problems Solved

Bloom n gardens landscape problem solving

This past weekend the Bloom’n Gardens Team got some much needed face-to-face time with potential customers at the Spring Atlanta Home Show. It was great fun talking with everyone, allowing the homeowners to use us as a sounding board for all of their landscape issues.  People came with pictures in hand to get some creative ideas to fix those ailments and our staff enthusiastically gave out advice, or scheduled appointments to see the offending landscapes in person in hopes that we can strap on our Super Hero capes and come to the rescue.  Many times the homeowner feels alone in their problems, but I am here to tell you that there were definitely some common themes to the issues we are facing in our home landscapes.  The TOP 5 most sought after landscapes solutions, according to our Atlanta Home Show Audience are as follows: [Read more…]

Celebrate Spring with Bloom’n Gardens Landscape at the Spring Atlanta Home Show

Bloom n gardens Atlanta Home ShowToday we celebrate the Spring Equinox, the date that the day and the night share equal hours.  As a gardener we mark the calendar each year for celebration that there will now be more daylight hours to get things done outside, at least until the Fall counterpart shifts the tide. What better way to usher in Spring than a visit to the Atlanta Home Show.  Bloom’n Gardens Landscape will again celebrate our green thumbs with a unique landscape design in booth #1216. We love how the show allows us to connect with friends and customers and hope to create a garden space that gets you thinking about your OUTBACK. [Read more…]

How to use a color wheel

Flower Color WheelFrom the most experienced plantsman to the rankest amateur, the one thing everyone wants in their outdoor space is COLOR!  But how do you effectively use color in your garden?  First, remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to color in the garden.  Color choices are a matter of personal taste.  For some, a riot of color is just the ticket.  Others prefer to work with a single hue.

 

A basic understanding of color theory can help your figure out combinations that work for you, allowing you to combine blooms, foliage and other elements in ways that you will find pleasing.  Let’s start with a simple color wheel which is essentially the colors of the rainbow arranged around a circle.  Note that on one side of the wheel are what we call warm colors — yellows, oranges and reds. On the other side of the wheel are the cool colors — greens, blues and purples. [Read more…]

The reward of starting seeds

Bloom n gardens seed startingDo you love fresh veggies from the garden? I do.  There is nothing quite like picking a ripe tomato straight off the vine, taste just like summer. …Yum!  Vegetable gardening is an art that has seen some resurrection in the past few years. It seems like everyone is focused on eating healthy and saving money, which bodes well for backyard vegetable plots.  Ask the old farmer when to plant a summer vegetable garden and he will tell you Mother’s Day.  Why Mother’s Day you ask, that is around about the time the soil warms enough making it hospitable for seeds to germinate and roots of transplants thrive and grow.  More technically, for summer vegetables, the soil temperature should be about 60oF. [Read more…]

No “Bones” About It

Belgard paversThere is a very common old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Which we all take to mean it’s what a person has on the inside that counts not the overall outward appearance.  What makes each of us unique is the combination of flesh, bones, and soul that all combines to make us who we are, Individuals.   This same concept can be translated to your homes landscape, as well. I know it might seem like a stretch, but hear me out on this.  Of course, when we first look at a landscape, we hope to see pretty plants, clean beds, and freshly laid straw, these items are known as the “Softscape”. This outward appearance can be fussy, or as low maintenance as you like.  The important thing in making a good first impression is clean and neat, but all the fluff is what takes a landscape from good to great. Think about your morning routine, does it take a little or a lot of effort to create your unique look.  Do you make a good first impression? Let’s hope so. [Read more…]

Focus on “Special Effects” for Your Garden.

Bloom n gardens fat lambNow that March has come in like a lamb, the most exciting (and frustrating) time of the year begins for garden folks.  Every day it seems that something is exploding into bloom, tempting us to put out the summer annuals and tomatoes that are starting to show up in garden centers.  Even though it doesn’t seem possible sometimes, there is always the danger of frost.  So what’s a gardener to do?  Channel that spring energy into inspirations for landscape “special effects”.  Is there a cherry tree right outside your window?  Make it pop by planting some dark evergreens behind.  Are your hellebores blooming beautifully?  Encourage visitors to discover them by adding one of the many fragrant early spring flowering plants nearby.  Looking for ways to accent your garden is also a great way to enjoy the beautiful weather!

How to Cure Cabin Fever in the Southern Garden

Do you ever get a case of Cabin FBloom n gardens daffodilever? Being from Maine, I heard that term every winter. Of course, winter there can be really brutal and……………LONGGGGGG!  I cannot say that I miss those winters much. Sure, I love to see snow every now and again, but being cooped up in the house all the time can wear on you a bit.  One of the great things about Georgia is the fact that we do see a variety of seasons, but they definitely are mild compared to our neighbors to the north.  We are lucky that we don’t typically have weather events that relegate us to the interiors of our homes for days on end very often, but alas that was not the case this year. Here comes SNOWPOCOLYPSE 2014 ROUND I AND II, whew!  Is it possible to suffer from Cabin Fever after just a few days? Well I say, of course! And my recommended method of treatment is to go outside, now that it is beginning to warm, and explore all the plants that begin to pop out just as the thermometer climbs out of winter.   [Read more…]

Don’t Pull Your Hair Out Over Weed Issues!

bloomngardenslandscape Yard Cleanup Before and AfterDo you gaze out your window each summer and just want to pull your hair out there are so many weeds?  Why does your neighbor’s yard look so weed free, when you never see him out there pulling and pulling and pulling.  Stop suffering from yard envy and do what the pro’s do. Put out PRE EMERGENT HERBICIDES (Pre-M).  What exactly is this wonder of a substance? Pre-M is a class of chemicals that you spread/spray in the spring and fall that prevents germinating seeds from growing.  Mind you this means just about all seeds, including those that you actually wanted to germinate (more about that later).  They work by forming a chemical barrier in the top 1” of soil where most seeds lay in wait until optimal growing conditions rise allowing them to pop open and begin to grow.  They don’t prevent the seeds themselves from germinating, but interrupt the process before a sprout has the opportunity to push through the soil.

Are you ready to jump on board the PRE-M train?

Well, first off, timing is critical for Pre-M to be effective. As the chemical barrier begins to break down after six to eight weeks, you do not want to apply it too early, else you lose effectiveness.   But applying it too late can mean you missed out as well. Tricky, Tricky, Tricky, I know, but you need to actually read the weather cues to hit the mark. Additionally, if you plan to plant any new plants from seed (i.e. seeding a Fescue Lawn or direct sowing perennials), you must skip the PRE-M step and deal with pesky weeds after the new plants are established. Oh and by the way, as with any chemical, make sure you follow the label instructions when handling and applying the product.

Why do I still have weeds?

So, you put out your PRE-M, but you still have weeds showing up, what gives? Well several factors could affect the application. The first obvious cause for failure is that your weeds did not germinate from seeds but were perennial weeds that rose from existing root stock. Pre-m only works on seeds. If this was not the case, did you put your PRE-M out too early, or too late? Maybe you never watered it in. The easiest way is to apply it right before a rainstorm or you can use your irrigation system to water the area down. One other cause might be that the soil layer was disturb somehow breaking down that chemical barrier. Lastly, I hope you weren’t trying to save a few pennies and did not put it out at the appropriate rate listed. READ THE PRODUCT LABEL.  

In all, one chemical is not foolproof, but with good attention to detail, you can greatly reduce your weed population and get the landscape that you love.

Location, Location, Location……….

Perennial Bed_FotorBelieve it or not, we will be changing pansies for petunias very soon!  Annual color is a great accent, but the twice a year change-out can get old.  Perennials can be a great solution, but they can be higher maintenance.  Now, I know you are scratching your head, saying “But perennials are LOW maintenance!”  And you would be right.  Most commonly available perennials are tough, drought tolerant, long blooming, and don’t require a lot of fuss to thrive.  BUT in the wrong spot, perennials might require a lot of care.  How is this possible?  Well, you have to understand the qualities of perennials vs annuals. 

Annual/Perennial…What’s the DIfference

Annual plants put most of their energy into blooms.  They have to set as much seed as possible all through the season so that the species can continue.  Annual varieties are bred for more abundant and more rapid bloom cycles than they would have if left to the hand of Mother Nature, and cultivars that have larger flowers and that easily shed old blooms make a constant show of uniform color.  Perennials, on the other hand, have to live through multiple seasons.  They have to put some of the energy they “earn” from the sun into a “savings account” to get them through the winter, which means that their bloom cycles are more distinct.  Regardless of how healthy or well located the plant, there WILL be times when perennials look messy or tired.  Which brings us to maintenance.

How to Use Perennials Effectively

In general, for an area that is seen up close all the time, perennials need to be frequently groomed to keep them looking their best.  Otherwise, they are less “lush English garden” and more “weed patch”.  (By the way, those lush English gardens usually had a full time staff!)  BUT, if you need color on the far side of a wide lawn, or somewhere that will be typically seen from a moving car, you can use the “plant and forget” method.  Garden phlox and coreopsis are ideal for this type of situation.   Like real estate values, perennial maintenance requirements are about 3 things: location, location, location!