Gardening Tips Archives - Floral and Hardy of Skippack
 

Gardening Tips

Did you know that digging in the dirt is good for your health?  Gardening is a life-giving giving hobby that has a broad range of physical and mental benefits.  It’s no surprise that the use of horticultural therapy to treat medical conditions is growing in popularity.  Gardening activities are widely used to help people cope with anxiety and depression in addition to improving physical health.  Gardening is also a versatile hobby that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.  Most people can participate in a gardening activity at some level.  Having kids plant seeds in a pot and watch them grow is easy, fun and educational.  Container gardening is also an easy activity that people of all ages can enjoy.  Gardening workshops are surfacing all over, even in bars and restaurants.  Gardening is a worthwhile hobby to pursue, especially considering all of its health benefits. Physical Benefits  Spending time in the garden...

Enjoy color in your gardens all year long by adding plants that are attractive in fall and winter!  You can easily mix these plants in your gardens to achieve year round interest. Place the plants strategically in spots where you can view them through your window during colder months.  This will allow you to enjoy your gardens even during stark winter days. There are many plants that can add color and texture to your landscape during fall and winter.  Some produce colorful berries, leaves or bark while others develop cool looking seed heads.  Listed below are examples of perennials, shrubs, grasses and evergreens that can add appeal to your gardens during multiple seasons. Perennials  Hellebores. Commonly known as the Lenten Rose, hellebores are some of the earliest perennials to bloom from late winter into spring and have long lasting flowers.  They’re trouble-free plants with evergreen foliage, making them attractive all four seasons.   Amsonia....

What is Spotted Lanternfly? Spotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, is an invasive pest that’s native to China. It was first detected in 2014 in southeastern Pennsylvania. SLF has spread since then and is currently under quarantine in 13 Pennyslvania counties (see map below). SLF doesn’t bite or sting humans but poses a serious threat to our agricultural industry. Which plants are affected? The pest feeds primarily on tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) but also feeds on other plants such as grapevine, hops, maple, walnut, fruit trees, etc. SLF has a wide host range and can also attack the plants in your backyard! It can cause serious damage to host plants that it feeds on. This pest has a piercing-sucking mouthpart that’s tapped into the plant like a straw. It sucks sap from the plant, eventually weakening and killing it. Identification and Life Cycle SLF completes its life cycle within one year. Adults lay 1-inch-long egg...

Hydrangea plants have beautiful clustered blooms that are available in a variety of colors and shapes.  Their stunning flowers provide a great addition to both gardens and floral bouquets.  Hydrangeas are popular deciduous shrubs that stand out in landscapes due to their showy flowers.  Colors range from frosty whites to vibrant blues and pinks.  Caring for hydrangeas is relatively easy once you understand some basics. 1. Planting Your Hydrangea Hydrangeas will thrive if planted in the right location!  Some varieties such as the Oakleaf type get very large and need a good amount of space.  Most hydrangeas also prefer part sun/part shade conditions.  Ideally, they like morning sun and afternoon shade.  Hydrangeas also need porous and moist, well-drained soil. Simple planting instructions include: Dig a hole that's as deep as the root ball and about 2 times as wide. Set the plant in the hole and fill it half full with soil. Water.  After water drains, fill...

The Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) is a nectar rich plant that attracts dozens of species of butterflies in addition to hummingbirds, bees and beneficial insects.  It produces masses of beautiful fragrant flowers from June through September and is hardy in USDA zones 5 – 9.                         Butterfly bushes are magnets for butterflies since they can reach the plant's nectar easily. The flowers have shallow receptacles that harbor a high percentage of sucrose, an energy fuel.  They also emit a honey-like fragrance, making them irresistible to butterflies.  Unlike other summer plants, butterfly bushes provide a food source late into the growing season.  Wildlife can feast on them after other supplies have been depleted. Benefits Butterfly bushes are viewed by some as invasive plants since they aren’t native and can spread.  However, it’s easy to control their growth with a little pruning.  Their...

People have been growing lavender for centuries, dating back to the ancient Egyptians.  They soaked shrouds in lavender to embalm their mummies and keep the flies away.  Later on, the Romans used lavender for purifying baths and actually gave lavender its name.  Lavender is derived from the Latin work “Lavare” which means “to wash”. The Many Uses of Lavender The use of lavender has grown in popularity over the centuries.  Lavender is an herb, well known for its medicinal benefits and beautiful aroma.  In medieval Europe, people fastened a sprig of Lavender to their wrists to keep the Bubonic plague away.  During World War I, it was used as an antiseptic to treat wounds and burns.  Today, the plant is widely known for it's therapeutic benefits.  Lavender helps elevate mood, reduce stress and alleviate pain from migraines.  Lavender is also a popular scent for sachets, soaps, lotions, perfumes, etc.  It has culinary benefits as...

The rose is known as the “Queen of Flowers” and has been a symbol of love and beauty throughout history.  It was designated the official flower of the United States in 1986, playing an important role in myth and poetry from ancient times until the present.  Roses come in every shape, size and color imaginable.  There are over 13,000 varieties available to choose from!  Rose petal numbers range from five-petal blossoms to full flowers of 100 petals or more.  Different rose types include climbers, shrubs, miniatures, Hybrid Teas, etc.  With so many options, there’s a rose that can fit any gardener's need. How to Make Rose Gardening Easy Roses are among the most fragrant and showy of all garden plants.  Yet, many people shy away from growing them since they have a reputation of being difficult to care for.   Anyone can become a successful rose gardener if they follow some simple steps: Choose the right type...

Spring is finally here and your gardens are waking up!  It’s time to plant, prune and prepare your beds for the growing season.  Listed below are some important steps to follow when getting your gardens ready for spring: 1.  Shape up your tools Clean tools– this is necessary so that you don’t accidentally spread a fungus, insect eggs or diseases throughout the garden.  Sharpen tools – sharpen pruners, shears, loppers and other gardening tools that are dull. This allows you to make clean cuts when pruning, keeping your plants healthier.  It also saves time with garden clean up if your tools are in shape. 2.  Test and amend soil Soil testing is recommended in order to ensure the best growing conditions for plants.   The test is cheap and easy to perform.  The results will help you discover if your soil is lacking nutrients and direct you towards the appropriate fertilizer combination.  It will also determine the pH...

Seed starting is a great way to get a jumpstart on the spring growing season.  It’s an enjoyable activity and an inexpensive way to grow a wider selection of plants.  Just one pack of seeds will produce a lot more plants per penny, compared to buying them as full-grown plants. Another reason for starting your own seeds is that more varieties of plants are available as seeds.  Seed starting gives you the flexibility to decide which variety to grow for each vegetable and flower.  You can grow that rare heirloom tomato that you can’t find at a garden center. Seed Starting Basics Before you begin, follow the directions on the seed packets so that you know when to start your plants indoors. They’ll need to be at the correct stage of development when it’s time to move them outside after the last frost.  Many vegetables typically need to be started indoors in early spring,...

There’s no reason to limit your gardening to the outdoors.  Houseplants offer a great way to bring the color and freshness of plants inside.  They provide a chance to interact with nature even if it’s a cold, winter day. Benefits of Houseplants Houseplants are good for your health and can brighten your mood. Growing plants is known to have many therapeutic benefits. The act of caring for them gives pleasure and reduces stress.  Houseplants also appeal to our senses with their fragrant smells and varying textures. Keeping the air clean is another key health benefit associated with houseplants.  They absorb pollutants and trap particle matter through their leaves.  Examples of good pollutant absorbers include spider plants, English ivy, golden pothos, philodendron, sansevieria and bamboo palm.  Spider plants have even been used by NASA to absorb formaldehyde on the space shuttle. Despite these benefits, some people shy away from growing houseplants since they’ve had little success...