List of Perennials ~ List of Fail-Safe Plants

Gardening is more fun if you have some success to show for your time and effort. The following is a list of favorite fail-safe perennial plants:

Amsonia hubrechtli (Thread-leaf Blue Star): This former Perennial Plant of the Year is an American native with foliage that looks beautiful into late October.

Aster ‘Purple Dome’:  It likes the sun and will bloom from September until frost. Reaches 24 inches in height.


Autumn Bride Coral Bells (Heuchera villosa macrorrhiza):  A vigorous plant that is different from other coral bells. It reaches 20 inches, with wands of white in fall.


Autumn Sun Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia laciniata ‘herbsonne’): A dramatic, vigorous coneflower that reaches 5-6 feet high with bright yellow daisy-like flowers.

Baptisia Australis (Blue false indigo): A native plant that is drought-tolerant and super-adaptable.

Bigroot Geranium: This hardy perennial will grow in sun, shade, moist or dry conditions. Geranium macrorrhizum (pink) and White Ness (white) are favorites.

Black-Eyed Susan Summer Blaze (Rudbeckia ‘Summer Blaze’): This bright yellow plant thrives in full sun and attracts bees, butterflies and birds.


Blue Star Japanese Aster (Kalimeris incise “Blue Star’):  2 feet tall, pale blue flowers that bloom from midsummer. The deer leave it alone.

Boltonia ‘Snow Bank’: A large plant reaching 5-6 feet, covered with hundreds of white daisy like flowers in early September through October.

Carex ‘Ice Dance’: Good for the semi-shade garden, it forms low mounds (up to 12 inches) of variegated foliage; moderate rate of spread.

Coral Bells (Heuchera): You can’t go wrong with any of the scores of varieties that come in all colors, from maroon to black to peach. Most like partial shade and they are deer-resistant.


Day Lilies: Known as being indestructible, day lilies come in more than 100,000 varieties. Each year a variety is name the Stout Silver Medal Award Winner; any of the winners should be great. Find the listing at


Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla molis): A mounded plant with chartreuses leaves and unusual texture.


Montrose White Calamint (Calamintha nepeta ‘Montrose white’): 18 inches high, 30 inches wide and covered with tiny white flowers that bloom for months.

Northwind Switch Grass: Tall ornamental grass grows in a tight upright form and is very hardy.


Perennial Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophylla): Its dainty sky-blue flowers bloom for up to six weeks in spring, and its heart shaped leaves look great all season.  Super hardy; prefers partial shade.

Rozanne Geranium: This perennial’s violet flowers bloom from June to September. 18 to 20 inches tall and 24 inches wide. A former Perennial Plant of the Year.

Ruby Star Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Star’): As tall as 48 inches, this coneflower attracts birds but is deer-resistant.

Salvia ‘May Night’: An older hardy Salvia cultivar (1955) but still reliable, it provides spikes of deep indigo blue from the end of May into June. Needs well drained soil.

Shasta Daisy Becky: One of the best Shasta daisies. It blooms prolifically from July through August and reaches 30 inches or taller.

Learn How to Build an Herb Garden Here ~More on List of Perennials

Successful Gardening ~
Kali S Winters

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When & How To Prune Rose Bushes

If not properly pruned, rose bushes can develop into a large tangled mess and produce small, inferior blooms. If you would like to grow an attractive, well shaped, sizable rose bush that produces large lovely blooms, then follow the rose gardening tips outlined below.

Pruning your rose bushes at the right time of year can be just as important as how you prune. Rose bushes go dormant during the colder months and should not be pruned until they come out of this stage. This could be as early as January in warmer climates or as late as April in colder regions. In colder climates, it is best not to prune until all traces of frost has disappeared.

Another important aspect to consider when rose bush trimming is the proper use of hand garden tools. A good set of pruning shears as well as good quality leather garden gloves, is a definite must have. The shears must be sharp, otherwise you will risk tearing your stems instead of just cutting them. A well lubricated, fine toothed, sharp, cutting saw is ideal to use on the older, much larger stems.

You never want to cut your stems straight across. Always cut at an angle between 40 to 65 degrees. Additionally, make sure that the shear’s cutting blade is on the underneath side of the stem in order to produce a clean cut. Always cut upward. This way, any injury to the plant will be on the upper part of the stem. Try to make all cuts at about one quarter inch from a strong outside bud union or eye, the eye is where the new growth stems form.

It is also a good idea to have some type of sealer or pruning paint to seal the larger cuts. Just apply the pruning sealer to the cut ends immediately after shearing. This will aid in the healing process and it will also help keep the insects out as well as eliminating any possiblity of disease.

Take special care in the amount that you prune at any given time. This will all depend upon what you are trying to accomplish and on how well established the plant is. Moderate pruning, leaving 5 or more stems of up to 24 inches in length, will produce a large bush with nice, moderately sized, blooms. Light pruning, stems 3 to 4 feet in length, will produce an even larger bush but with smaller blooms on shorter stems. Light pruning is good for new or weaker plants. Heavy pruning, 3 to 4 stems from 6 to 12 inches in length will produce the largest, showiest blooms, however if the plant is too new or weak you may end up reducing the plants life span. It is best to wait until the rose bush has matured when applying the heavy pruning method.

When pruning roots, remove all suckers. Suckers are shoots that grow from the root stock. This is different from the grafted bush. Suckers may eventually take over the plant completely and kill the bush, so it is very important that they be removed.You can recognize a sucker when you see that it is coming from below the bud union and by the different leaf form and color. Always pull the sucker off rather than cutting it as cutting will stimulate growth again. Pulling if off causes the wound to form a callous.

Additionally when plant pruning, cut out all weak, spindly and deformed stems, and if possible cut out branches growing toward the center of the bush. If stems cross each other, remove the weaker one. Proper shaping and pruning makes for a lovelier bush and allows proper air circulation which will produce a much healthier plant.

This is but a small excerpt from one of 12 of my bonus books which you will get free when you order my ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. Learn more about Herbs!

Successful Gardening!
Kali S Winters

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Home Garden Supply

Because gardening has evolved into such a popular activity, home garden supply products are not hard to come by. You can buy outdoor garden decorations in various stores or nurseries, or you can order your home garden supply online or from catalogs. A gardeners products can range from equipment too fertilizer or to the actual plant itself.

You will obviously need the basic home garden supply no matter what you are planting, such as a hoe, spade, and maybe even a shovel. You must have watering supplies, like a water hose and perhaps a sprinkler. Other possibilities include a spade, a pot (if you are container gardening), and a pair of gloves for comfort, some secuturs, or a rake. When first starting a garden you will definitely want some type of mulch or potting soil to get your soil ready. There are a few types of potting soil to choose from, including organic potting mix, seed starting potting mix, cactus potting mix, and root development potting mix, just to name a few.

Once you have your garden planted, you must have gardeners products so that you can add nutrients to the soil to ensure a healthy plant life. Miracle-Gro is one of the most popular growing enhancements for plants. There are many different types of Miracle-Gro to choose from and what type you choose will depend on what you are trying to grow. You will also want to add fertilizer, such as 10-20-10 or triple 13, depending upon the requirements of your soil.

If you are growing vegetables or herbs, you may need select garden products rather than the regular flower garden products. If you are growing tomatoes you will need a tomato cage and ties to protect the plants against the wind. Many plants, mostly vines, are designed to grow on structures and you will have to have a fence or trellis of some sort to hold it’s fruits.

Gardeners products are not limited to just the gardening necessities; they can also come in the form of outdoor garden decorations. There are decorative flower pots, sundials, plastic figurines, stones or bricks for a pathway or looks, and even lawn furniture. Decorative garden accessories will add to the charm and uniqueness of your garden and are an excellent way to give it a personal flair.

The winter months will bring a whole new set of home garden ideas to store shelves. When the frost hits, the prime place to put your plants are in a greenhouse. However, if you do not have a greenhouse for whatever reason, a tarp of some sort can be used to cover plants up at night. You also might need a light source, like a heat lamp, to keep plants warm and to provide them with extra light.

New and upgraded gardening products are always popping up on the market. It seems like every day there is some home garden supply necessity that claims to be bigger and better than the last. While many gardeners products are not a necessity, they sure make the job a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Kali Winters is gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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How To Start a Garden in Your Backyard

In periods of financial difficulty, vegetable garden planting becomes a viable option that achieves two things: it helps the family reduce expenses related to buying food, and it offers the opportunity to sell the surplus to friends and neighbors. Starting a vegetable garden is not particularly difficult, as long as you put enough time, thought and effort into it.

The first decision you have to make is the location of the vegetable garden itself. You must place it in an area where it will be exposed to at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. The location must also be accessible to the water source. It must be near enough for short trips if you are carrying heavy pails of water, or it must be close enough to a hose connection either inside or outside your home.

Also, check if the area has soil conducive for growing plants. It must have good drainage, and must be free of silt, stones, and other hard objects. Last, the location of your vegetable garden must be somewhere accessible, so that you can frequently check for pests and weeds when you walk by.

Included in your vegetable garden layout should be the type of plants and how many of each you intend to grow. This will help determine the size of the plot you will actually need. Afterwards, make a list of all the plants you want to grow. This decision cannot be completely random, especially since the yield of the garden will be what you consume as a family. Make sure to plant vegetables that your family would love to eat, or vegetables that you often use for cooking. This way, you are ensured of a direct benefit from your vegetable garden planting.

Make a plan for the arrangement of the vegetable plants in the garden as well. Remember, you must think about rotating vegetable crops. The first consideration is the frequency of yield. Perennial plants, or those that yield vegetables constantly throughout the season, must be placed at the back where they will be undisturbed by whatever gardening activities you have set for the rest of the garden. Put the crops that produce early together. These crops include radishes, spinach, carrots, beets, and the like. Make some space for replanting successively. Once these crops have seen their yield, you can then rotate your crops and plant the vegetables that are able to produce late into the season.

The last consideration for your vegetable garden layout is the reality that there are plants that cannot grow beside other plants. They are known as companion vegetables. For instance, there are plants that enhance the growth of others when planted together; there are those that inhibit the growth of others as well. It is important to take into consideration which crops inhibit the growth of others. For instance, potatoes are capable of inhibiting the growth of both squash and tomato plants. Broccoli inhibits tomato growth. Beans, on the other hand, inhibit the growth of onions. Carrots also inhibit the growth of dill plants. This does not stop you from planting all these plants in the garden. This only serves as a reminder of which plants you should separate from the others when making your vegetable garden plans.

Kali Winters is gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here! There you will find one of 12 free bonus books on Starting a Vegetable Garden….with instructions and pictures to help!  Find out more about Herbs!

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Small Garden Design Basics

The thing to remember while planting backyard garden is to start small. In raised vegetable garden beds, about 25 or 30 feet square, is just enough room for about 30 plants. This will give you a chance to try out your green thumb and if you find that you enjoy your small garden design you can always expand and increase your plantings later on.

The next thing you will want to do is choose a site. Gardening must be done in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight. Try and stay away from large trees that will take your plants water and nutrients, and at least three feet from any fences or buildings. In hot climates it is a good idea to choose a place that will have shade from a part of the intense afternoon sun. It is possible to have a healthy garden with even ten to twelve hours of sunlight, but the type of plants must be adaptable. While soil can always be improved, a site with good soil is a plus. Avoid areas that have rocky soil, steep slopes, or areas where water stands.

Now comes the fun part: start digging. Gardening is not a clean hobby; you’re going to have to get some dirt under your nails. First remove the rocks, debris, and any grass and weeds then dig the spot up about one foot deep. Level up the dirt and add compost or minerals if the needed. If your soil is too acidic, add lime; if it is too sandy, add peat moss. Plants will thrive in neutral to acidic soil with a little added fertilizer.

If you buy seeds then plant them according to the directions. If picking plants, choose ones with green, healthy looking leaves and stems and healthy roots. Put the smaller plants towards the front of the bed and larger ones in the back. The key to a successful beginning in gardening is planting at the right time. Make sure and wait until the frosts are over before planting. If you are planting seeds the package will usually tell you exactly when you can plant them to achieve maximum growth.

Once you have started and gotten into gardening, making sure your plants receive enough water is essential to their growth. Hand watering works well if you only have a few plants. Other options include sprinklers or sprinkler hoses. Watering is more effective during the cooler parts of the day. The type of plant will depend on how much water is needed, but most require about an inch per week. During the hottest periods plants will be need watering about three times per week.

One of the most helpful things to add to a garden is mulch or compost. Just a few inches of organic mulch will improve fertility and help the soil hold moisture. Wood chips, grass clippings, leaves, manure, and pine needles are all things that can be used as mulch.

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Design Japanese Garden

Japanese garden design is a cultural form of gardening that is meant to produce a scene that mimics nature as much as possible by using trees, shrubs, rocks, sand, artificial hills, ponds, and flowing water as art-forms. The Zen and Shinto traditions play a large part in creating Japanese gardens and because of this; the gardens produce a contemplative and reflective state of mind. Creating Japanese gardens is much different than the Western style and most would say it is far more meditational and soul soothing.

To design a Japanese backyard garden, you will need to know that there are three basic methods for scenery. The first of which is called reduced scale. Reduced scale is the art of taking an actual scene from nature, mountains, rivers, trees, and the like and reproducing it on a smaller scale.

Symbolization involves generalization and abstraction. An example of this would be using white sand to suggest the ocean. Borrowed views refers to artists that would use something like an ocean or forest as a background, but it would end up becoming an important element of the scenery.

There are essentially two art forms to design Japanese garden: tsukiyami, which is a hill garden and mainly composed of hills and ponds. The other is hiraniwa, which is basically the exact opposite of tsukiyami: a flat garden without any hills or ponds.

The basic elements used in Japanese garden landscaping include rocks, gravel, water, moss, stones, fences, and hedges. Rocks are most often used as centerpieces and bring a presence of spirituality to the garden. According to the Shinto tradition, rocks embody the spirits of nature. Gravel is used as a sort of defining surface and is used to imitate the flow of water when arranged properly. Stones are used to create a boundary and are sculpted into the form of lanterns. Water, whether it be in the form of a pond, stream, or waterfall, is an essential part of a Japanese garden design. It can be in the actual form of water or portrayed by gravel, but no matter what form of water it’s in, it is crucial to a Japanese gardens balance.

There are several signature forms and types of Japanese garden plants, the main one being Bonsai. Bonsai is the art of training everyday, average plants, such as Pine, Cypress, Holly, Cedar, Cherry, Maple, and Beech, to look like large, old trees just in miniature form. These trees range from five centimeters to one meter and are kept small by pruning, re-potting, pinching new growth, and wiring the branches.

Japanese garden design is a tradition that has crossed the poet, Muso Soseki, who stated “Gardens are a root of transformation”. A Japanese garden is sure to bring about many different feelings and is definitely a transforming experience.

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Butterfly Flower Garden

When creating a butterfly flower garden, the possibilities of what to include in your butterfly garden design are endless. Below are some helpful suggestions to help you get started. They are designed to spark the creative process of your mind and get you started on your way to creating a lovely butterfly flower garden.

Before you even begin your butterfly flower garden, find out which species of butterflies are in your area. Consider taking an exploratory hike around your location with a butterfly identification book. This may take a little extra time and effort, but the results will be well worth it. After you have compiled your list of local butterfly species, be sure to write down in your butterfly garden plan what these particular species of butterflies use for nectar and food plants.

Make sure that your garden is in a location that provides at least six hours of sunlight per day. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures and therefore do better where they can be kept warm and protected by shelter.

Wind can be a butterfly’s worst enemy so be sure to incorporate plenty of wind protection in your design. You can plant tall shrubs and other plants in order to create a wind break, but a location that avoids the heavy winds is more appropriate.

The best possible location of all would be a butterfly flower garden placed on the sunny side of your home with windbreaks on both the west and east sides, or wherever the prevailing winds may come from in your area. Try and locate your garden close to a window so you can watch the butterflies from indoors. Provide seating outside too to take in the view as well.

If possible, you could excavate an area and build a stone wall around it. This would create the ideal windbreak for your butterflies. Create gravel pathways around your garden to spare you from walking in the mud.

There are many creative ways for constructing a butterfly flower garden. Take your time to design a garden that you will enjoy and be proud of.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here! to pick up your copy today! I’ve also included 12 free bonus books as well.

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Disease Free Roses

To make sure that your prized roses remain in the best of health, simply follow these tips:

1. Black Spots on Leaves

This disease is commonly known as rose bush black spot disease. The appearance of black spots are circular with fringed edges on the leaves. They cause the leaves to turn yellow. Remove the infected foliage and pick up any fallen leaves on the ground around the rose. Artificial sprays may be used to prevent or treat this kind of rose disease.

2. Stunted or malformed young canes

Known as powdery mildew, this is a fungal disease that covers leaves, stems and the buds with a fine, wind spreadable, white powder. It makes the leaves curl and turn purple. Spray with Funginex or Benomyl to treat rose fungal diseases.

3. Blistered underside of leaves

Known as rose rust disease, this is characterized by orange-red blisters that turn black in the fall. It can survive the winter and will then attack new sprouts in the spring. Collect and discard leaves that are infected in the fall. A Benomyl or Funginex spray applied every 7-10 days may help.

4. Malformed or stunted leaves and flowers

This is caused by spider mites. They are tiny yellow, red or green spiders found on the underside of leaves where they suck the juices. An application of Orthene or Isotox may help in treating this infestation.

5. Weak and mottled leaves with tiny white webs under them

This is caused by aphids. They are small, soft-bodied insects that are usually brown, green or red in color. Aphids often cluster under leaves and flower buds and suck the plant juices from tender buds. Malathion or diazinon spray may help roses to survive this rose bush bug.

6. Flowers that don’t open or are deformed when they open.

Thrips could be the reason behind this problem. They are slender, brown-yellow bugs with fringed wings that also suck juices from flower buds. Cut and discard the infested flowers. Orthene and malathion may also treat this problem.

Remember that roses are hungry feeders that require a lot of fertilizer to remain healthy bushes. By following the tips mentioned above, you will soon have disease free roses!

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to grab your copy today!

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How to Flower Garden

Knowing how to flower garden can make a big difference in the look and over-all health of your plants. Here are some simple hints to make your garden bloom with health:

1. The essentials must always be given major consideration.

Your flower garden must have an adequate supply of water, sunlight, and fertile soil. Any lack of these basic necessities will greatly affect the health of plants. Water the flower garden more frequently during dry spells.

When using flower garden bulbs, make sure they are planted at the correct depth. When planting out shrubs and perennials, make sure that you don’t heap soil or mulch up around the stem. If you do, water will drain off instead of sinking in, and the stem could develop rot through overheating.

2. Mix and match perennials with annuals.

Perennial flower garden bulbs need not to be replanted since they grow and bloom for several years while annuals grow and bloom for only one season. Mixing a few perennials with annuals ensures that you will always have blooms coming on.

3. Deadhead to encourage more blossoms.

Deadheading is simply snipping off the flower head after it wilts. This will make the plant produce more flowers. Just make sure that you don’t discard the deadhead on the garden or mildew and other plant disease will attack your plants.

4. Know the good from the bad bugs.

Most garden insects do more good than harm. Butterflies, beetles and bees are known pollinators. They fertilize plants through unintentional transfer of pollen from one plant to another. 80% of flowering plants rely on insects for survival.

Sowbugs and dung beetles together with fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms are necessary to help in the decomposition of dead plant material, thus enriching the soil and making more nutrients available to growing plants.

Other insects like lacewings and dragonflies are natural predators of those insects that do the real damage, like aphis.

An occasional application of liquid fertilizer when plants are flowering will keep them blooming for longer.

Always prune any dead or damaged branches. Fuchsias are particularly prone to snapping when you brush against them. The broken branch can be potted up to give you a new plant, so it won’t be wasted.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to grab your copy today!

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Butterfly Garden Design

What is butterfly gardening? Simply put butterfly gardening is the art of growing flowers and plants that will attract these colorful and dainty creatures to your garden. Delight your family and visitors with beautiful butterflies, but be sure to create a safe habitat for them. If you own cats rethink your plans, because it would be a shame to invite these lovely insects to their death.

Butterfly garden design is a matter of personal preference. Typical points to consider are the size of your garden and the types of flowers and plants you want to grow. Pick a style of garden that appeals to you, but ensure it also contains the plants and flowers that appeal to the butterflies you wish to attract as well.

It is important to find out which plants and flowers will attract the species of butterflies that live in your area. This information can be found at the local library.

To create the kind of environment that they find attractive, you will also need water of some kind. A birdbath will look attractive and keep the butterflies up off the ground, away from stray cats or mischievous puppies. Butterfly garden dishes or any shallow dish on a post or hung in a tree will do just as well.

When planning your butterfly garden design, be careful how you coordinate the colors you’ve chosen for your flowerbeds. Although butterflies do not care about your choice of color, you don’t want your garden to be a hodgepodge of unrelated colors and textures. Butterflies are attracted to those flowers that have nectar rather than pollen, like honeysuckle, milkweed, summer lilac, Valerian, daisies, Purple Coneflower, Yellow Sage, day lilies and lavender.

Some people find it helpful to draw and color a layout of their butterfly garden design to see what the finished product would look like. Keep in mind that warm colors like red and orange are flashy and showy. These colors have a greater impact against a strong green background. Cool colors such as blue and purple are soothing and toned down and would work better with a white contrast to create the look of freshness and brightness.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, go to Click Here! to pick up your copy today!

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Basic Flower Garden Designs

Many times we buy plants on impulse then find there is nowhere in the garden that really suits them. Before buying plants carefully examine your garden to see how much sun and shade it gets, whether the soil is well drained or waterlogged and whether your aspect is sheltered or windswept. You’ll then be equipped to go and buy the best plants for your situation; a shade plant for the sheltered areas, sun-lovers for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants for the parched areas which may be either sunny or shaded, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained parts.

But wait! Test your soil first, to determine the pH level of your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acid or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have alkaline soil to grow. You can alter the soil’s pH level, but it’s much easier to simply plant for the soil you have.

Now you are ready to plant. Well – almost. Will you plant in groups or plant solo? If you buy ‘one of everything’ your garden may seem rather spotty. Group plantings are organised, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest.

Before planting, place your chosen plants around the garden bed in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are satisfied. Grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting in groups of even numbers. Be sure that you have an interesting combination of colors and textures of plants. Tall plants should go to the back, or the centre if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Try to keep your plants away from trees. The roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture meant for your flowers.

The right color scheme is one way to maintain the harmony in your garden. Imagine the color of the flowers when they are in bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. Foliage color is also important. Many flower plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as attractive as the flower. This means that they are still attractive well past the blooming season and so have added value.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to pick up your copy today!

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Garden Aerator Basics

Do you long for a beautiful lush, green lawn, but your yard is just not cooperating? You’ve probably fertilized and watered your lawn 10 times over, year after year, thinking that may be the trick. Sometimes you may feel that you’re in a catch 22: If you don’t feed, fertilize and water your lawn, it will die. If you do feed, fertilize and water your lawn, it will die as well.

Your soil might be the culprit. If your soil contains clay, for instance, it can over time become as dense as a brick. Ever try growing something on a brick? Nothing is able to penetrate the surface. If you are struggling to grow in heavily, compacted soil, no wonder you have failed to make anything thrive no matter how much water or fertilizer you feed it.

Clay is made of very small, tiny particles. Works great for pottery but not very well suited for lawns. When you mold clay, it becomes shaped and compacted. Just think of your lawn after many sunny afternoons of outdoor fun with the kids. Your lawn has become compacted over time with all the heavy traffic. It essentially turns into a hard brick.

You may find that not every patch of soil on your lawn is the same. Under the trees or bushes for example, it may be moist and fertile, however not very well suited for grass because of the lack of sun. Other spots on your lawn will be denser than others. Just look along the driveway after the winter snow removal or how about that well worn shortcut to the sidewalk or driveway. Let us not forget the kid’s bike trails or the dog run. All these instances are the culprit of soils compacted.

You may have spent every weekend slaving over your lawn, but if the soils compacted you won’t get any results. To fix compacted soil you must first preform a couple of tests. The first test consists of simply going out to your lawn and trying to stick a sharpened pencil into the soil. If it breaks before you are able to penetrate the surface, than your soil is the culprit and you may be dealing with clay. Another test is to turn on the hose and let the sprinkler run for a bit. If the water sits on top of your lawn you have compacted soil. What ever you have applied to your lawn, whether its fertilizer, food or water was basically a waste of resources. You need to get those nutrients to the grass roots.

Aerate Definition:

One of the best ways to combat compaction is aerating. Aerating is the process of extracting holes about the size of a piece of chalk, evenly spaced over the surface of your lawn. Aerator equipment such as a plug type aerator or a deep core aerator are available for sale or rent at your local hardware store. Or you may just want to do a manual aerator by attaching aerating spikes or lawn aerator shoes to your kid’s and send them outdoors to play in the yard for the afternoon. Seriously, there are aerate lawn shoes available in the marketplace. The main point is that it is hard to overdo aerating lawns. Each hole will be a portal for water and fertilizer to reach the grassy roots.

Once the holes are open, you then want to spread compost evenly, about an inch deep, over your entire lawn. Rake it in after ward to make sure that it gets “forced” into all the holes. This will allow the water and fertilizer to slowly be absorbed into the surrounding soil.

After you have aerated and placed a top layer of compost on the old lawn, you will then need to reseed your lawn so that your grass will grow back with a heavier “coat”. The grass seed will embed themselves into the holes, where there will be plenty of room for moisture, allowing the roots to grow.

If your lawn has developed patches of bald spots, you can aerate on a smaller scale. You can either buy a hand operated aerating tool or use a spading or pitchfork to create the holes. Any tool will do as long as it perforates the soil deep enough, the deeper the better, to enable the compost and seeds to penetrate the soil. Just remember to keep the kids, cars, dogs and oh yes, the spouse off the area until the grass has filled in!

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Successful Gardening!
Kali S. Winters

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