Creating Microclimates to Facilitate Growth

Many gardeners live in areas where almost anything can grow effortlessly.
Just plant the seeds and water it for a few weeks, and you’ve got a
beautifully lush plant. But if you live in somewhere like Colorado, you’ll
understand what its like to have a slim selection of plants that naturally
grow. It can be quite a challenge to facilitate the growth of a large
variety of plants, especially when the very world you live in seems to be
rooting against you.

Some people solve this problem by loading up their plants with every type
of chemical and fertilizer known to man. This usually works, but to me it
seems kind of unnatural to rely on man made materials to keep your plants
alive. Also, if I’m growing fruits or vegetables, I don’t feel very
comfortable eating something that is entirely composed of chemicals.

A gardening theory that I have relied on in the past to grow many types of
plants is that of creating a “microclimate” for each type of plant. This
is when you regulate the sunlight, shade, moisture, and wind factors for
each separate plant. It sounds like a challenge, and it is. But you can
regulate these factors in such a way that the plant feels just like it is
in the ideal growing conditions. This can be achieved by the use of wind
barriers, shading umbrellas, extra water, or different types or amounts of
compost.

If you’re ready to make an attempt at creating microclimates, you’ll need
to make a detailed plan in advanced. You should start by finding a large
shade providing bush or tree that will grow fast and naturally in your
area. Just look at some undeveloped plots of land and see what is there.
Most likely it grew on its own without any planting or care. This is what
you want to happen. Usually the growing of one plant can bring about the
growing of another more desirable plant.

If you have a fence in your backyard (you would be surprised at how many
people don’t) then you already have a good amount of shade to work with.
You can start the microclimate process using just the shade of the fence,
combined with (perhaps) a screen or large bush to shade your new plant for
the other half of the day that the fence doesn’t take care of. The fence
is also useful for shading against wind for very fragile plants.

Once you have established the shade, be it natural or unnatural, you have
created a slightly less harsh miniature environment. You must remember
this is a gradual process, and find a new plant to put in the shade of the
other one. Now your choices are a little more open. You don’t have to go
with a rugged plant like the one you did before; you can now choose a
plant that survives in cooler weather.

If the plant you are trying to grow next requires more moisture in the air
than your area provides, installing a fountain or small pond can fix this
problem due to the evaporation. You may think you don’t want to waste
water on a pond or fountain, but it’s all going toward the betterment of
your garden. It’s just like the watering process, only indirect. As an
added benefit, usually fountains are quite aesthetically attractive and a
great addition to your garden.

I can’t explain every stage of the process, because everyone’s goals and
setups are slightly different. But to reach your goal, you should do
research on every plant that you would like to have in your garden. Find
out everything you can about the zone that it flourishes in, and ask
yourself how you can emulate that zone within your own backyard. Almost
always you can take control of the environment and recreate whatever you
wish. Usually all it takes is some planning and strategy.

Container Gardening Tips for Newbies

Container gardens can create a natural sanctuary in a busy city street, along rooftops or on balconies. You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colourful pots of annuals, or fill your window boxes with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials. Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Container gardening enables you to easily vary your color scheme, and as each plant finishes flowering, it can be replaced with another. Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is variety in the height of each plant. Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.

Experiment with creative containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores.
Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect. When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting.
Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers. This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.

If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will delight your visitors. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, for they will not do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden.

If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will be more visually appealing than two similar plants placed each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring.
Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective.

With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of friends and strangers alike.

Various gardening

Various gardening magazines are available in the market. But would you like to know which stands out from the rest? Here are a selection of gardening magazines that anyone in love with his or her garden will appreciate.

COUNTRY GARDENS often showcases the more unusual gardens around the country. It introduces wonderful new ways to enjoy garden sights and scents. It helps the avid gardener to create an eye-pleasing, fragrance – filled country garden.

This magazine has very useful advice on setting up and caring for your garden. Every issue contains profiles of fascinating people and their gardens, inspiration for gardens and detailed garden plans. Best of all, it’s a trusted source of information that’s easy to understand. Every season carries a vast harvest of ideas to delight, motivate and guide any gardener.

How about a gardening magazine for those who want to become a better gardener? FINE GARDENING MAGAZINE from The Taunton Press brings you amazing design ideas, beneficial techniques, and the know-how to get the best results from your gardening endeavors.

In each issue you’ll find eye-opening bits of advice from the experts, detailed information on all types of plants, effective techniques and time-saving tips, straightforward tool reviews from editors and readers and planting suggestions for specific regions.

But for more intensive information on how to maintain a garden packed with style and color, then you’ll want to read GARDEN DESIGN. This gardening magazine brings out eye-popping photos, illustrations and useful recommendations on how to create a picture-perfect garden. It is written and designed for those who are passionate about their homes and gardens. Garden Design is more than just a dig-in-the-dirt gardening magazine; it’s for people who enjoy bringing in more aesthetic value for their homes through their gardens.

Garden Design encourages you to create stylish outdoor living spaces and rare gardens through cultivating rare breeds of plants, with updates on the best tools and techniques. It contains magnificent photographs and articles that capture the imaginations of gardeners everywhere.

For passionate gardeners, HOLTICULTURE MAGAZINE is the ultimate guide to gardening. The authoritative voice of gardeners, Horticulture serves as an essential guide and trusted friend, and is a main resource for serious gardeners from every corner of the country.

These magazines aim to instruct, inform, and inspire serious home gardeners. There are gardening magazines for beginners and expert gardeners. Discover or develop your green thumb with their latest gardening techniques and garden design information.

For Australian readers, there is BURKE’S BACKYARD. Springing form a TV series of the same name, Burke’s Backyard focuses on gardening décor as well as the all-important garden makeovers that have become so popular.

YOUR GARDEN is another beauty, claiming the prestige of being Australia’s gardening magazine, it usually features two or three popular flowers and how best to grow them, with a wealth of tips and information on other plants, tools and products for the garden.

GARDENING AUSTRALIA springs from the ABC’s feature of that name it features many wonderful articles by gardening experts and often holds a free catalogue from one of the larger nurseries.

easy tips on how to care for your plants

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider.

1. Watering
Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don’t water it.

2. Feeding
Foliage plants usually have high nitrogen needs, while flowering plants, K2O is needed. Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the compost. However, certain plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizer. Feed plants during their most active growth period.

3. Lighting
Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no sun. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Check the label to see what your plant needs.

4. Temperature
Houseplants can survive in cool or warm temperatures, but drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them. One thing that most plants cannot survive is gas heating. If you have a plant that likes warm conditions, don’t put it near an air conditioner in the summer.

5. Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. Grouping plants together often creates a microclimate that they will benefit from. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the temperature.

6. Re-potting
Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don’t require re-potting. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.

You just need to have a little care for your plants and in turn, you’ll reap the benefits. Indoor plants not only add to the beauty of your décor, but also give much pleasure to the indoor gardener.

Getting Started in Container Gardening

Sometimes, the urge to garden might be stomped out by other circumstances,
such as living arrangements or space constrictions. If you live in an
apartment, you can’t really operate a full garden, just because you don’t
really have a yard! I think that one of the best solutions for this
problem is to grow plants in containers. You can hang these, or just
arrange them on your patio, window sill or balcony. Just a few baskets or
pots, and your whole living area will look much classier and nicer.

A benefit of growing in small containers is the fact that you can move
them around to suit your needs. If you rearrange your furniture and you
think that it would look nicer if it was in the other area, it’s no
trouble at all to scoot it over. As long as the lighting is about the
same, your plant shouldn’t mind the transition at all. Another benefit of
the containers’ versatility is the fact that you can adapt it to simulate
any environment depending on the type of soil you fill it with and where
you place it.

If you are trying to make an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of
containers and plants, you can adjust the containers to be at different
heights by hanging them from the ceiling or placing them on supports.
Hanging them will allow you to make the most of the space you have. This
is called “vertical gardening”. If you pull it off right, you can make a
very pleasing arrangement of plants while conserving your valuable space.
If you live in an apartment, you know how important it is to conserve
space! One method of vertical gardening is the use of a wooden step
ladder. If painted correctly, you can arrange all the plants on it in a
beautiful, stylish cascade of color.

The maintenance of container plants takes slightly more time, since you
have to water more often and go around to each individual container.
However, the square footage for container plants is much less than that of
an actual garden, so the time spent on maintenance and watering is more
balanced. It is important that you don’t over-water your container plants,
as this can be just as fatal to their health as under-watering.

When choosing containers for your plants, you’ll want to buy them all at
once along with some extras in case they break or you add more plants
later. You don’t want them to be all the same shape and size, but
definitely the same style so that the compliment each other. Plastic
containers are the best and require the least amount of watering, but if
you want to stick with clay or earthen pots then you should line the
inside with plastic. This helps it retain water more, as the clay will
soak up water.

Another thing to remember when buying pots is the fact that the size of
the pot will ultimately constrict the size of the plant. Make a careful
choice of pots according to what you wish to grow in each one. If you
search for the plant you chose on the internet, you should be able to find
specifications as to how much root space it should be given. This can even
be an advantage for you if you choose a plant that can grow very large. If
you only have a limited amount of space for it, you can constrict it by
choosing a pot that isn’t large enough to support huge amounts of growth.

If the benefits of container gardening sound appealing to you, then you
should start planning out your container garden today. If you write a list
of all the plants you desire to have, you can do the necessary research to
find out what size and shape of pots you should get. After that, it’s just
a matter of arranging them in a way that makes your home look the nicest.

Choosing a Garden that is Perfect for You

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, the first thing you need to
consider is what type of garden you will have. There are many different
choices and often it can be hard to pick just one, but hopefully you can
narrow it down. But by narrowing it down, you’ll make the gardening
experience easier on yourself and the plants. If all your plants are
similar, then it shouldn’t be very hard to care for them all. So here are
some of the main garden ideas for you to choose from.

If you’re just looking for something to look nice in your yard, you’ll
want a flower garden. These are usually filled with perennial flower.
Perennial flowers are flowers which stay healthy year-round. They’re
basically weeds because of their hardiness, only nice looking. Different
areas and climates have different flowers which are considered perennials.
If you do a quick internet search for your area, you can probably find a
list of flowers that will bring your flower garden to life. These usually
only require work in the planting stage – after that, the flower take care
of themselves. The only downside to this is that you don’t have any
product to show for it.

Another choice for your garden is to have a vegetable garden. These
usually require a little more work and research than a flower garden, but
can be much more rewarding. No matter what time of the year it is, you can
usually find one vegetable that is still prospering. That way you can have
your garden be giving you produce almost every day of the year! When
starting a vegetable garden, you should build it with the thought in mind
that you will be adding more types of veggies in later. This will help
your expandability. Once all your current crops are out of season, you
won’t be stuck with almost nowhere to put the new crops. A vegetable
garden is ideal for someone who wants some produce, but doesn’t want to
devote every waking hour to perfecting their garden (see below.)

One of the more difficult types of gardens to manage is a fruit garden.
It’s definitely the most high-maintenance. When growing fruits, many more
pests will be attracted due to the sweetness. You not only have to deal
with having just the right dirt and fertilizer, you have to deal with
choosing a pesticide that won’t kill whoever eats the fruits. Your fruit
garden will probably not produce year-round. The soil needs to be just
right for the plants to grow, and putting in another crop during its
off-season could be disastrous to its growth process. If you’re willing to
put lots of work into maintaining a garden, then a fruit garden could be a
good choice for you.

So now that I’ve outlined some of the main garden types that people
choose, I hope you can make a good decision. Basically, the garden type
comes down to what kind of product you want, and how much work you want to
put into it. If you’re looking for no product with no work, go with a
flower garden. If you want lots of delicious product, but you are willing
to spend hours in your garden each day, then go for a fruit garden. Just
make sure you don’t get into something you can’t handle!