Maintaining your garden and landscape
Now that it is spring – it’s time to take a look at your garden to see all that is growing and blooming. What needs to be pruned, are there any areas in need of attention, how does everything look after the winter months? Regular maintenance of the garden and landscape is vital to the health and well-being of the garden – and the people who enjoy them. Any areas around the residence should be inspected frequently. As a landscape matures, it needs attention to keep it looking as good or better than the first day it was installed.
Walking through the garden will reveal problems. Litter, injured and/or dead plants, broken furniture, and other garden elements in need attention should be taken care of – immediately. If the garden appears neglected, it reflects on the community as a whole. There are also health and safety issues. A few of the areas to consider include the following:
Pruning shrubs – Electric hedge trimming must be banned from all gardens! Only hand pruners are to be used. Plants should be allowed to grow in their natural state and not turned into unnatural shapes such as tabletops, hockey pucks and bowling balls. Also, knowing when to prune is important so you don’t cut off all of the flowers. Find a person who knows how to prune correctly!
Tree care (Arboriculture) – Visual inspection of mature trees is very important. This will tell you if you have broken limbs or branches that need to be removed. Look for die back on branches. Low branches should be trimmed so people are not hit when walking under the trees. A certified tree arborist needs to be consulted for regular maintenance of shade and evergreen trees.
Irrigation – If you have an automatic irrigation system – you need to check to make sure all of the heads are functioning and hitting the intended areas. Make sure you have rain sensors to turn off the system when it is not needed. Check the watering schedule so you are not overwatering or watering too frequently. Leaking pipes and spray heads also waste water.
Walks – Power wash the hard surface walking paths regularly. Some communities with high traffic power wash sidewalks daily. Food stains, gum and other unwanted elements ruin the appearance of a walking path.
Lighting – Low voltage lights should be checked regularly to replace dead bulbs and reposition light fixtures. Regular 110 voltage lights on buildings should also be inspected and cleaned also.
Furniture – Are tables, chairs, benches, umbrellas and other furniture all in excellent condition? Any broken furniture should either be repaired immediately or removed to be repaired off-site and then returned.
Mulching – You may not need to mulch every year. If you have added mulch on a regular basis, you may only need to scratch up the existing mulch to make it look fresh, or, at most, add a thin top dressing. A common practice today is to create ‘volcanoes’ around trees and other plants.
Most important is to create a maintenance schedule with weekly checklists of the above mentioned items. More detailed gardens may require additional inspections, for example, ponds, water features and other garden items. Maintaining the garden and landscape insures that the gardens look their best and that they are safe for everyone to use. We need to help them look their best for everyone to enjoy.Read more
Memorial Garden in Tucson, AZ
Instinctively we know that the nature accepts us for who we are as residents of this planet. It does not judge us for what we wear or for the type of car we drive. Special garden settings can help us heal at our own pace and in our own unique way. In a garden people can come together to understand the difficult things that happen in life and are not easily explained or understood.
Involvement in a garden can help us heal. This is a story that we hear time and again. The garden created after the shootings in Tucson in 2011 is one of those stories. The story on NPR (Jan. 6th) highlights how we can turn to nature for respite and answers. A link to the story is at: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/06/168619054/how-a-community-created-a-garden-from-sadnessRead more
The Garden in Winter – Therapy for All Seasons
“I love the garden in winter just always as much I do in the summer. I find it very satisfactory walking through and then each month, there’s something slightly different.” This quote from Rosemary Verey is one that we can take to heart on this Winter Solstice day. The days may be shorter, however, it is rewarding to get outside and explore all that the (winter) garden has to offer.
“One of her lessons is for everyone, not just gardening people, and that is her example coming to something quite late in her life and being self-taught and self-made and at the end of her life,” Robinson told Here and Now. “She is world famous. Now, we might not all achieve that, but it is an inspiration that we can have an important chapter later in our lives”
To listen to the full story about Rosemary Verey, her gardening activities, how she influenced many lives, and the book on Rosemary by Barbara Paul Robinson – follow the link to the NPR story at: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/12/21/garden-advisor-vereyRead more
Therapeutic Gardens in the Workplace
How about taking your work outside to sit at a table, under a tree, the birds singing, a gentle breeze and the gentle sound of a water fountain – while you are at the office? This is not a dream – it is a reality. Businesses are providing gardens for people to work. The research validates the importance of incorporating the natural environment for productivity and restoration.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Going outside for short breaks – or stimulating the outdoors with foliage or images of nature – can reduce worker stress and list moods…Taking a nature walk can increase short-term memory capacity by some 20%.” To read more about the benefits of creating gardens in the workplace, refer to the 11-21-12 article “Bringing Work to the Great Outdoors”:Read more
Indoor Plant Therapy
I have been bringing some of my herbs inside for the winter. This is a great way to extend the growing season and have fresh herbs to use in cooking during the winter months. It is also a nice way to bring some of those great fragrances inside. Lemon balm in a pot by the window helps bring back memories of a great garden this past summer.
If you did not act quickly enough before the frost, there are a few stores that carry potted herbs. I have seen rosemary, thyme, chives and other herbs for sale. There are some things to consider when finding the right location and exposure for these plants. Sunlight, watering, temperature and other factors need to be taken into consideration. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal has some great tips on transitioning herbs indoors. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578094731197090020.html