It's spring at the Tree Farm!
What's blooming now?
The forsythia, the pear and plum trees and the royal star magnolia (as well as the Tulip tree magnolias too!). But how does your landscape look? If it's looking a bit bare, but you can't make it out to the tree farm, never fear! Did you know we sell bulk mulch, bulk soil and compost, bulk rock, gravel and sand? And guess what- we have an online store! You can buy it at night, from the comfort of your own couch. While we still have to schedule the delivery within our existing orders, we are happy to work to deliver it whenever you need it. Take a look here!
We are having a crabapple tree sale running through the month of April. This Saturday, April 13, we are having a radio remote from the Tree Farm to show them off! Come visit us and take a look at all of our blooming trees. Our crabapple sale is 20% off of a crabapple tree- also, kids get a FREE baby tree!
Crabapples are a great blooming ornamental tree for our area. While pears bloom early, then come redbuds, the next great wave of pink/purple/coral blooms are our crabapples! The best new varieties like Royal Raindrops are 20' at maturity and have a nice "Asian"-type shape to them. They do well underneath power lines. They are bred to withstand fireblight and other diseases of fruiting trees. Also, they were bred to be ornamentals- no messy falling fruit. They have little bronze, hard fruit (called vestigial berries) that stay on the tree.
Another personal favorite of mine is the Lollipop crabapple: white blooming, neat and tidy. It keeps a smaller ball on top- it's great for courtyards or small front lawns. I love the white bloom and the Victorian-type feel of it. I've seen it listed at both 10' and 15' at max height. I think the 10-12' range is probably most appropriate!
Lawn and Garden presentation:
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Kansas City Flower, Lawn and Garden show. My old buddies at Family Tree Nursery sponsored a Garden Chat stage. I chose to talk about Thematic Gardens- that is Japanese, xeric, meadow, butterfly, etc. gardens.
--However, it's mostly a good primer on what makes a landscape design GOOD/ effective or powerful! It's also a call to homeowner to "get real" with themselves: what they can and will actually be able to do themselves.
--Also, I hope people will understand that there are landscape elements best left to the professionals. We, Lawrence Landscape, fix so many homeowner installed mistakes. Don't be one of them! Leave the hardscape, patios, paths to the experts. Also, get an expert opinion on your drainage- if you install a landscape and the drainage isn't correct, you can lose it all! Irrigation? Well, ask an expert!
Open the powerpoint presentation to take a look at some of the pictures and ideas I had to share!
Landscape Design in Winter... planning for spring!
Winter is a great time to plan out your garden. While things are bare, you can really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. This is the time of year that gardeners begin to plan and buy seeds. Now, I hope you have worked on your landscape designs as well. If not, I will touch on that more after this sample design: I give you a simple nativizing Butterfly garden bed.
One of the great things about a butterfly garden is that it can attract beautiful butterflies (duh) but is also low maintenance and can be as small or large as you want! It gets curious kids very interested, doesn't require fancy soil amendments and is generally an easy care job. It features annuals that can be grown from seed and re-seed themselves, perennials that (if not native exactly) will become very comfortable in your KS garden and a few shrubs for structure and year-round interest.
-Low Maintenance (no fancy pruning required)
-Xeric or simple water requirements (would like regular water until established, please!)
-Butterfly gardens need a place for butterflies to get water. This could be a rock that holdswater but some sources say that a shallow bowl, filled with moist soil worksbetter for the insects.
-They also need protection from wind, so place the whole bedin a protected place (or plant butterfly bush around one edge to form a windblock).
Shrubs to ground the bed:
Buddleia, ‘Black Knight’ (wonderful dark purple butterflybush- 5-6’H) (from plant)
Rhus typhina (Sumac), ‘Tigers Eye’ (from plant)
Perennial Flowers from plant:
Achillea (Yarrow), ‘Paprika’ (plant)
Coreopsis gradniflora, ‘Zegreb’, ‘Early Sunrise’ (plant)
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (seed or plant)
Lavendula, ‘Hidcote’ (plant)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) (plant) food source
Monarda (Bee Balm), ‘Raspberry Wine’ (plant)
Sedum, ‘Vera Jameson’ (plant)
Bronze Fennel (direct sow) - food source
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (direct sow or plant)
Larkspur (direct sow) - nectar
Liatris (Gayfeather) (plant, from seed) – nectar
Did you know that winter is a great time to get a design begun for your home landscape?
I really enjoy working on designs at this time of year because it's a slower, more mellow time of year. This gives me a chance to really learn about my client and work on a more complex or themed garden. I can complete a site analysis and client interview, especially efficient when the landscape is in dormancy. We can evaluate what's working and what isn't. We can also play with fun ideas- perhaps you've always wanted a Japanese garden or a xeric garden is a necessity in your life. During the slow time, designers are free to spend more time thinking and playing!
That being said, it's a good time to begin to think about what elements you will do-it-yourself and what elements are best left to the professionals! As a professional, I recommend consulting your favorite local landscape company and designer to get the best idea. I believe that small scale mulching and clean up of a few perennials and roses is a good thing for a homeowner (who enjoys it) to do. As well, maybe you have enough time and energy to work on adding some river rock to your downspout area. However, do you have drainage problems? Questions about your irrigation system's efficiency? Have a large scale lawn renovation in mind? Want to add stone edging? All of these are very important to the beauty and health of you landscape. These are the jobs that we end up re-doing for homeowners most often! So save yourself some money and invest in a complete landscape master plan/ design. This will give you an idea of where to start your own DIY work (if you want to do any yourself
Good morning! With the sprinkling of rain we got this weekend and cooler temperatures (at least temporarily), it makes me start to think of Fall.
It's a really good time to look at your garden containers. Maybe they look fried? Maybe they look non-existent? It's time to change them out for plants that work in this next season!
Here are some of my faves for fall gardens that will last well into frost:
Ornamental Kale- 'Redbor'
Lysimachia 'Aurea' (creeping jenny)-
Another tip for container gardens: fertilize. Container plants need water when they start to wilt- it's ok, I promise! Any more than that and your risk overwatering. But if you want a really eye-popping display, use liquid fertilizer once a week. Our fall growing season is short- pick plants that stand up to cool weather and fertilize them to get the best show!
For more ideas, tips and best plants for our area this fall, come to our container garden workshop. It will be held September 8th, 2012 at the Tree Farm. It will be from 10:00-11:30 and I will have some containers for sale if you want to buy any. The price is $25/ person which includes three plants, fertilizer and soil. More plants will be available for purchase as well...
docs/Fall Container Gardens flyer.pdf
As well, thanks to our Douglas County Extension agent for a nice little article this Sunday in the Lawrence Journal World! Jennifer Smith, our extension agent, is a great resource for all garden/ landscape questions. Click on the link to read the article: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/aug/26/garden-calendar-fall-flowers-brighten-landscape/
Bagworms!! It could happen to you...
If you don’t have them now, then there is a good chance that you’ve seen them before. It's that little worm that lives in a sack. It seems to eat just about anything. It looks like an ugly, brown Christmas tree ornament.
Controlling bagworms can be as simple as plucking a couple bags or may entail hiring a professional for those hard to reach spaces. Either way it is important to achieve very thorough control: missing even one bag could lead to a thousand more the next year. Teh most effective control is a spry for bagworms. Lawrence Landscape does indeed offer spraying services!
In mid-June, the bags start to become visible. This is when the tiny worms begin to feed. As the worm grows, so does the bag. Feeding will usually cease in mid-August. Even after feeding has finished, bags likely will remain on the host plant.
Bagworms are most commonly known for attacking cedar and junipers. However this pest has shown itself NOT to be a picky eater. Over the past few years, I have seen them attached to sycamores, locust, river birch, maple, white pines, oak, cotoneaster, spruce, roses, ornamental grasses, and pears to name few. It is easy to see that a large portion of your landscape may be at risk. Evergreens should be monitored more often, as they have a tougher time recovering from severe injury.
Prairie Workhorses: beautiful, native (or semi-native) flowers that delight Midwestern gardeners. Any of these wonderful flowers will do well in full sun, not too much water and take on the June and July heat like a boss! Some reseed- so beware the volunteers next year. Or enjoy the volunteers next year, like I do!
-Cosmos: reseeding annual
-Cornflower/ Bachelor Buttons: reseeding annual
-Sunflowers: reseeding annual
-Daylilies: perennial (pictured)
-Yarrow: perennial (pictured)
-Tickseed Coreopsis: perennial
-Butterfly bush: perennial shrub (pictured)
-Marigold (the old fashioned reseeding kind)
-Bee Balm (spreading perennial, watch out!) (also pictured)
-Hollyhock and Hibiscus
Watering and irrigation:
With the intense dryness, your newly planted trees, shrubs and flowers are hungry!
-Your sprinkler is NOT watering your trees and shrubs (newly installed) enough!
-Buy a rain gauge and put it near your new tree or shrubs. 1” per week is necessary- A long deep watering, each week, is needed to help create a deep root system.
-Ever see a sprinkler running in the middle of a rain storm? Yes, me too. Get a rain sensor on your system- good for the environment, good for your pocket book, good for the municipal water system. Give us a call for more information.... (785) 843-4370
-MULCH. As dry as it’s been, throw down mulch to help keep whatever water is in the soil near the plants. Mulching staves off weeds but also keeps necessary moisture in the soil and root zone of the plant.
What else do these dry times call for? Tomatoes of course!
What do Midwesterners think about September through April: TOMATOES. The best reason to have a kitchen garden…. Everybody should grow at least one tomato! Add some basil, cilantro and a few peppers and you have, alternately, either Italian heaven or salsa madness. Even if you have only a patio, balcony, deck and a brown thumb, follow these tips for a more successful tomato:
Choose a great variety. This means that you should read up- seed catalogs are very helpful! Many people love heirloom varieties because they are more delicate, thin skinned, have more variety of flavor and great colors. Their seed can be collected and they can be grown next year from that! However, they are less resistant to fungus and diseases. They are also less tough when faced with too much water, too little water and the vagaries of Kansas springs and summers. I choose to grow a few old heirlooms- Cherokee purple last very well and an old fashioned Golden Boy because it’s sweet and mellow. I also grow the hybrids Early Girl (perfect small fruit that come on early and keep on keeping on! Perfect for sandwiches and salsa…), Celebrity and/ or Big Beef and Viva Italia roma tomatoes for sauces and freezing.
Don’t grow tomatoes in the same place every year. If container gardening, use fresh potting soil every single year. Bleach your containers.
Clean up every fall. Take away diseased plants immediately and don’t leave any tomato trash around to spread disease!
Fertilize well, use compost.
For container success: use potting soil. Use a large bucket, at least 5 gallons. Consider using a smaller variety of tomato- cherry tomatoes are good for containers.
Water evenly and deeply. Tomatoes are very deep rooted plants, like a tree almost. They want infrequent, very deep watering at their roots. No water on the leaves!