Allium For Garden|Space Gardening

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With their classic, plump flower heads, which seem to hover like purple clouds above other plants, alliums are one of the highlights of the summer garden. You might be surprised at the range of flower shapes and colours available among these ornamental onions – bright blue, white, gold, darkest purple and pale pink hues, as well as pendulous flowers, flat blooms and enormous flower heads like fireworks.

How to grow alliums

Planting

Plant bulbs at 2½ times their own depth in autumn and space them about 8 inches (or 4 inches in the case of smaller bulbs such as A. triquetrum). Some alliums have rhizomes (underground stems) instead of bulbs – these are the ones that look more like spring onions than dry bulbs on arrival. Plant these in autumn just below the soil surface and 4 inches apart.

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Allium giganteum

Position

Alliums aren’t too fussy, but a sheltered spot with well-drained soil in full sun is their ideal position.

For impact, plant alliums in groups. Create a year-long display with spring bulbs and hellebore hybrids in spring that will die down to make way for late-flowering herbaceous perennials, such as Japanese anemones, that will hide any untidy allium leaves and provide colour once the alliums are over.

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After care

To keep alliums tidy, gather up the dead leaves in early summer and remove any stems that become detached at their bases in late summer. Although all on trial stood up well, in a very exposed site you may need to provide support for stems. Keep an eye out for rust and cut back diseased foliage. Alliums are hardy in Britain and can be left in the ground all year round.

Some of the most noteworthy ornamental alliums include:

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  • Ornamental garlic (A. aflatunense) – lovely lilac-colored, spring-blooming type.
  • Giant onion (A. giganteum) – one of the largest blooming species, with globe-shaped flowers that grow up to 5 feet or more.
  • Golden onion (A. moly) is beautiful, especially when placed in a rock garden. Its yellow, star-like flowers make an impressive sight in the garden when planted in drifts too.
  • Bride’s onion (A. neapolitanum) – spring-blooming with star-shaped white flowers and narrow, green leaves.
  • Rosy garlic (A. roseum) – with its sweet-scented pink blooms, this allium species is great for adding to beds and borders.
  • Drumstick allium (A. sphaerocephalon) – these have reddish-purple globes and fit in nicely with companion plants like hosta. Their blooms, even once faded, still remain attractive throughout fall and winter.

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All About Lilies|Space Gardening

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True lilies belong to the genus Lilium and grow from plump, scaly bulbs. They are magnificent flowers that command attention wherever they are planted.

Lily flowers are valued for their very showy, often fragrant flowers. The 6 plain or strikingly marked tepals (“petals”) are often trumpet-shaped, sitting atop tall.

At home in both formal and naturalistic settings, lilies also most take readily to containers. They all make wonderful cut flowers.

By carefully blending early, mid-season, and late varieties into your garden, you will enjoy their bewitching blooms and seductive scents from spring through frost.

 

Planting

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  • Plant bulbs in autumn. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. The deep planting encourages the developing stem to send out roots to help stabilize the plant and perhaps eliminate the need for staking.
  • Note: Lilies do not thrive in Zones 9 to 10 without a period of refrigeration; they need a cold, dormant period.
  • For dependable blooms, lilies need six to eight hours of sunshine a day, yet they prosper in the presence of other low plants that protect their roots from drying out.
  • Water trapped beneath the scales may rot the bulb, so a well-drained site is essential.
  • Most of the popular varieties prefer acidic to neutral soil, but some are lime-tolerant or prefer alkaline soils (e.g., Madonna lilies).
  • Grow in soil enriched with leaf mold or well-rotted organic matter.
  • Dig a hole 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulbs are high and set the bulb in the hole pointy side up. Fill the hole with soil and tamp gently.
  • Space bulbs at a distance equal to 3 times the bulb’s diameter.
  • Water thoroughly.

Care

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  • In active growth, water freely and apply a high-potash liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
  • Keep moist in winter.
  • Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch.
  • Water plants in the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • Stake tall lilies.
  • As flowers fade, cut back the stalks to the base of the plant.
  • After bloom, divide lilies. Replant using compost and bonemeal.

Pests

  • Gray mold is sometimes a problem, especially in a wet, cool spring or summer.
  • Viruses, spread by aphids, may be troublesome, although some cultivars are virus-tolerant.
  • Red lily beetles, slugs, and snails may occur.
  • Deer, rabbits, voles, and groundhogs may eat entire plants. Consider a wire cage for bulbs if this seems to be an issue where you live.

Harvest/Storage

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Displaying Lilies in Vases

  • Lilies make wonderful cut flowers. Choose lilies with buds that are just about to open, not tight and green, witha bit of the flower color showing.
  • As soon as you get lilies inside, trim the stem ends an inch or so, making a diagonal cut with a sharp knife.
  • If you worry that the orange pollen of lilies might cause stains, simply snip off the stamens in the flower’s center.
  • Before arranging in a vase, remove the lower leaves on the stems so that no foliage will be underwater.
  • A good lily arrangement will last 2 or more weeks. Change the water every few days.
  • To help prolong the life, add cut-flower food to the water. Lilies require only half the amount of food recommended for other flowers.

Recommended Varieties

Of the nine divisions of classification, Asiatic and Oriental are the most popular with gardeners.

  • Asiatic lilies are the earliest to bloom and the easiest to grow. Hybrids come in pure white, pinks, vivid yellows, oranges, and reds; heights are from one to six feet. Intense breeding has erased much of the Asiatics’ fragrance, but in spite of their lack of perfume, they are a favorite with floral arrangers.
  • Oriental hybrids bloom in mid- to late summer, just when Asiatic lilies are beginning to fade. From tiny two-footers to towering eight-foot-tall giants, Orientals are always a striking choice (the shorter ones are great for patio beds or container gardens). Adored for their intoxicating fragrance that intensifies after dark, Oriental lilies produce masses of huge white, pink, red, or bi-color blooms. They make wonderful cut flowers that will fill even the largest of rooms with their spicy scents.

Special Features

  • Attracts Butterflies

Wit & Wisdom

The name “lily” can be misleading because lots of other plants use it besides true lilies. Daylilies and water lilies aren’t lilies at all, and neither are lilies-of-the-valley or lilyturf.

With so many other plants using the name “lily,” it’s apparent that identity theft must have been around long before the use of computers and credit cards!

Up-cycled Garden|Space Gardening

Birdcage Planter

Do you love succulents as much as we do? If so, odds are you will love this birdcage planter. This birdcage planter makes for an easy upcycle. With little more than succulents, a birdcage and soil you can add a splash of greenery to your home or garden. Find out how to make your own birdcage planter!

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Succulents are awesome plants for upcycling as they require little water and can be planted almost anywhere! Pallets, corks and bricks are just some of the succulent-based upcycles we’ve showcased. A few weeks ago we featured a birdcage planter on our Facebook page and the crowd went wild! Happy to please our upcyclers, we immediately went on the hunt for a birdcage to repurpose. We found this turquoise gem at our local flea market. It was looking a little worse for the wear with some loose metal rods. Nonetheless, we thought it would make for a spectacular birdcage planter. So we took it home and got cracking!

How to make a birdcage planter

Once you’ve found your birdcage, give it a good soapy wash with disinfectant. Next determine if you need to give any additional TLC by reinforcing any loose metal rods etc. Once sorted assemble your succulents for use. One of the best things about succulents is that they grow easily from cuttings. If you’re lucky enough to have some big succulent plants in your garden, go ahead and cut some clippings to work with. Otherwise you can pick up some plants from your local nursery.

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The next thing we did was affix our birdcage base to the metal top. We thought of numerous possibilities for this and settled upon the simple solution of plastic zip ties. Our plastic base had a couple slits on each side so it was easy to slip the zip ties in and secure through the metal rods. If your base doesn’t have any slits you might have to create some or come up with an alternative method of affixing it. We attached one side first so that we were able to plant comfortably.

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We then filled the base of our birdcage planter with soil. Because there was an open slot on one side of the plastic base we reinforced the area with a bit of landscaping fabric. This allowed our soil to stay contained. We then started filling our birdcage planter with succulents.

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Once the inside of our planter was filled we closed it up. We then secured the second side of the birdcage planter with plastic zip ties. Now working from the outside in, we started adding some accent succulents to the outer sides of the planter.

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Satisfied our birdcage planter was complete we hung it up using a ceiling hook.

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Different Styles Of Japanese Garden|Space Gardening

You have made a good choice if you want to have a Japanese garden. Japanese gardening has been quite popular for the last few years and it is well known for the peacefulness and calmness that it can offer. In this gardening tips blog post, we are going to look at various styles of Japanese garden which you can incorporate into your current garden design.

Although there are different styles for Japanese gardens, your creativity and innovation will always come into play as you are free to combine or innovate some of the styles. Adding creativity into planning and setting up a garden always helps you to have your own unique garden that others will admire.

Japanese Garden Style 1: Zen Garden

Boulders of various sizes, gravel, sand and rocks are some of the elements that form a Zen garden. The plant that they use for this type of garden are normally small trees or shrubs. Zen gardens are designed to be dry. Boulders represent islands and the sand and gravel are drawn with some patterns on them to represent water.

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Originated from Buddhist monks, Zen gardens aim to provide the space for meditation as well as contemplation. If you are interested in some form of self healing arts such as yoga, a Zen garden is definitely the type of garden that you should have.

Japanese Garden Style 2: Tea Garden

Tea garden is the most important chapter in explaining Japanese gardening. Tea garden is normally being integrated within a Japanese garden because it would be odd to have a garden with just tea plants. There should be an outer garden and an inner garden when designing a Japanese tea garden.

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The outer garden will have a low gate with a path that leads to the inner garden. Plants in the outer garden are less formal as well. Tea ceremony is normally held between the gardens where a basin called tsubakai is found. Non flowering plants are normally used for tea gardens. In traditional Japanese environment, people will also have a building within the inner garden for tea ceremony purposes.

Japanese Garden Style 3: Island and Pond Garden

There are two types of pond garden. One will cover a large landscape with a pond that is big enough to fit in a boat. Bridges are sometimes incorporated into these gardens and bushes are planted on small islands created for the garden. The elements that can be included in such gardens are rocks, logs, lilies and other water living plants.

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Another type of pond garden will be the ordinary concept of designing a pond for your garden. Japanese style pond gardens often have features such as miniature buildings and bonsai trees around the pond. You can always start rearing Japanese Koi fish in the pond to add in more Japanese flavor to your garden.

Japanese Garden Style 4: Stroll Garden

A stroll garden simply means a garden that offers various paths where visitors can enjoy their time strolling though the garden.

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The practicability of this type of garden is extremely low as you are required to have a large yard in order to create an impressive stroll garden with a wide array of features.

Japanese Garden Style 5: Courtyard Garden

If you already have an existing garden where you would like to have some Japanese style, you can consider a courtyard garden. A courtyard garden is also suitable for those who have a small land for gardening activities. Bricks or fences are used to draw a border between a courtyard garden and the rest of the landscape.

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Keeping things simple is a golden rule of designing a courtyard garden. It often consists of a dry stream, miniature plants such as perennial plants and of course, small water features. A courtyard garden is simply an eye candy when seen from your house.

Miniature Waterfall In Your Terrarium|Space Gardening

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Making a waterfall in your vivarium or terrarium is an easy way to add visual appeal. Your pet will love the increased humidity from a waterfall, and the water movement will facilitate beneficial bacterial growth in your substrate, keeping wastes down and your reptile’s or amphibian’s habitat clean and fresh. There are several basic steps involved in constructing a waterfall for your vivarium or terrarium.

Instruction:

1. Place your pump. Generally, place it in a back corner.

2. Install the tubing by attaching it to the pump. We strongly recommend using reinforced tubing. Use about 6″ more tubing than you think you’ll need – you don’t want to cover the end of the tubing with foam when you make your background.

3. Place any fake rock/wood/hardscape in place, then foam it with Great Stuff Gaps and Cracks filler. Wear gloves and protect your work surface!

4. Let the tank sit for about a week to allow the foam to cure.

5. Use a serrated steak knife to trim and rough up the foam. Carve it how you like, and make sure all surfaces are roughed up so silicone will stick better.

6. While wearing gloves, apply GE Silicone II Window + Door or aquarium safe silicone to the foam. Cover all exposed foam.

7. While the silicone is still wet, sprinkle on dry coconut fiber or sphagnum peat. Press the substrate in with gloved hands.

8. Stand the tank up and remove any loose coco fiber. Use silicone and dry coco fiber to cover any exposed patches of foam.

9. Let the silicone dry for several days, until there is no longer a vinegar smell to the tank.

10. Once cured, use a razor blade to scrape any excess silicone off of the glass. Then, use a shopvac to remove any extra coco fiber or bits of silicone that are not attached to the background. Using the razor blade, cut off any excess hose that sticks out of the background.

11. Add your substrates, and plant!

Pond In Patio|Space Gardening

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Have you had your eye on an expensive water feature for your back yard patio? Water features are a great way to add visual interest to your back yard, and can help provide a calming oasis for you and your family to relax next to after a long day. Water features, however, don’t have to be expensive or labor intensive. With a few items from your local home improvement store, you can make a patio container pond in less than an hour.

mini-ponds-patio-tableThings you will need:

  • Any tublike container
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flexible liner in 20 mil thickness
  • Dechlorinator (available at any aquatic store)
  • Large stone or glass objects to add character
  • Water plants
  • Water creatures

 

Instructions:

1.  Go to your local home improvement store or pond supply and purchase a small pump and spray head to take it with you when you choose your pots. Examine your pump and spray head to see if you will need  glue to keep them together.

2.  Choose a large pot (with no holes in the bottom) for the exterior of your pond. You can use a large plastic container, but clay pots are beautiful and makes a big difference in the overall look of your pond.

3.  Choose a second, smaller pot that fits upside down in the bottom of the large pot.  This will be where you set the pump.  You want the pump under water, with the sprayer above the surface of the water.

4.  In the garden section, choose several inexpensive water plants. We chose several that were only a couple of dollars each. One has a purple flower on it, and another one looks like a miniature head of lettuce.

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*Goldfish are fun to add to container ponds.  You can buy them at pond supply stores, but they are cheaper at your local pet store. We bought some “feeder” fish for .15 each.Be sure to pick up some food while you’re there.

5.  To assemble the pond, place your large pot on your patio somewhere near an electrical outlet so you can plug it in. Next place the smaller pot upside down in the center of the large pot.

6.  Attach your sprayer to the pump. If necessary, seal them together with glue. Place the pump upright on top of the small pot.

7.  Fill the large pot with water. We filled ours about 3/4 full. You just want the pump to be underwater and the sprayer to be above the surface of the water.

8.  Arrange your plants in the water, and plug in the pump to make sure everything is working correctly.

*If you chose to add fish, float them in the bags for at least a few hours to acclimate them to the new temperature and allow the sprayer to eliminate any chlorine from the water.  Last but not least, open the bags and add your fish.

Here’s a video link  you can follow to learn the basics of patio pond.

That’s it, enjoy your work of art!

Trees For Small Space|Space Gardening

20 Trees for the Small Gardens

Native Trees

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Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) – Slow growing evergreen with shredding brown bark and dark green, leathery leaves. Clusters of pinkish white, pitcher-shaped flowers and red strawberry-like fruits are borne together in late autumn and winter. Height 5m.

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Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) – Although inconspicuous for much of the year, this small tree is very showy in autumn and early winter when the leaves turn blazing scarlet and masses of rose-red capsules split open to reveal orange seeds. Height 4m.

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Silver Birch (Betula pendula) – Distinctive silvery-white, peeling bark that becomes marked with black, rugged cracks as it gets older. In spring, yellow-brown male catkins appear and in late autumn the diamond-shaped, bright green foliage turns yellow before falling. Height 12m. Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ is a weeping form that develops a mushroom-headed habit with branches reaching to the ground.

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Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) – Choose the fastigiate form. Leaves turn deep, fiery red and yellow in autumn. Sprays of white flowers cover the tree in late spring, followed by bunches of red berries in autumn. Height 8m.

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Yew (Taxas baccata) – Choose the columnar or fastigiate form. Slow growing coniferous tree forming a dense, compact column. Height 3m.

Ornamental Trees

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Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) – Stunning white, starry flowers in springtime followed by edible, purple black fruits. Leaves turn from bronze in spring to green in summer to brilliant red and orange during autumn. Height 8m.

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Ornamental sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’) – Leaves open salmon-pink in spring turning yellow-green by summer. Clusters of yellow-green spring flowers. The tree has a lolly-pop, spreading form. Height 8m.

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Crab (Malus ‘Evereste’) – White flowers in late April are followed in autumn by orange-yellow fruits. The fruits are ­inedible but will nourish local birdlife. Height 7m.

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Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) – Cinnamon-coloured bark flakes and peels to reveal orange colouring underneath. Brilliant red and orange autumn colour. Height 6m.

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Himalayan birch (Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’) – Trunk and branches are a luminous white. Glossy dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn and yellow-brown male catkins appear in early spring. Height 12m.

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Weeping pear (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’) – Very elegant tree which forms a dense mound of weeping branches. These are clothed with downy, silvery grey, willow-like leaves. White flowers in April followed by small brown fruits in autumn. Height 7m.

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Red-flowered hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’) – A thorny tree bearing clusters of dark pink, double flowers in May and June followed by small red (inedible) fruits in autumn. Height 8m.

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Japanese flowering cherry (Prunus ‘Amanogawa’) – A narrow, upright tree ideal for restricted spaces. Young leaves are bronze-green, turning green in summer. The large semi-double, soft pink flowers, which are slightly fragrant, are borne in dense clusters in April or May. Height 8m.

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Snake-bark maple (Acer pensylvanicum) – Trunk and branches streaked green and white and brilliant yellow autumn leaves. Height 6m.

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Kashmir rowan () – Many fingered, green leaves turn russet and gold in autumn. In late spring, the tree is covered in clusters of pink or white flowers, followed by large white berries which last well in to winter. Height 6m.

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Purple-leaved plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’) – Dark red foliage changing to deep purple on purple stems, contrasting dramatically with masses of pink flowers in March and April. Height 10m.

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Laburnum (Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’) – Masses of long, pendulous, lightly scented clusters of yellow flowers up to 30cm long smother the tree in late spring. Note – all plant parts are poisonous if ingested. Height 8m.

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Kilmarnock willow (Salix caprea ‘Pendula’) – A dwarf growing, dense-crowned, weeping willow with stiff, pendulous branches. Grey and yellow catkins are borne in spring. Height 2-3m

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Crab (Malus ‘Royalty’) – Large deep pink flowers in spring followed by exceptionally bright red-purple fruits in autumn. Glistening, rich purple leaves. Height 6m.

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Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Osakasuki’) – Grown mainly for its spectacular autumn color, this is perhaps one of the best of all the maples. It has an open habit, and its large, seven-lobed, bright green leaves turn brilliant scarlet in autumn and last for several weeks. Height 6m.