Hannah Thickett

A little view of my world

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Flower Gardening For Beginners

Planting a flower garden may be an overwhelming experience for anybody let alone a beginner gardener. The good news is there are easy ways to get around it by following these simple steps. Read on to find out what these simple tips are for planning your garden landscape and what lawn dcor to choose to get what you want from the sweet escape in your backyard.

A field of tulips

Before you head to a nursery or garden center, make sure you have a plan. Think about where you want to put your flowers and garden accessories, what colors you want where, how many and so forth. This will make your shopping experience much easier and faster and probably less expensive. You’ll want to enjoy a garden that’s in bloom from early spring to late fall by choosing annuals (plants that do not come back every year) and perennials (plants that do come back every year) based on when they flower. Refer to plant tags for specific information that pertains to your garden.

When picking plants at the nursery pay attention to the height and width before assigning them a permanent home. When it’s time to divide your perennials, offer to share your extras with your garden-savvy neighbors in return for plants you don’t have yet. Make sure to observe your yard’s sun and shade areas. Look for wet or dry spots. Watch for sandy soil and dense clay. By knowing your garden’s conditions, you can plant flowers where they’ll thrive. For soils that do not produce thriving plants consider putting garden accessories such as garden statues, gnomes, wind spinners, wind chimes, stepping stones, mulch, rock, and other lawn and garden dcor. When choosing garden accessories for additional lawn dcor around your garden, consider potting perennials and/or annuals in containers and placing them around your yard. Garden planters are an easy way to create colorful accents. Many plants benefit from deadheading, when faded blooms are removed to encourage new growth. To deadhead, cut off the spent slower close to a bud that’s lower on the stem or above a leaf node. To enjoy perennials or annuals indoors, cut the flowers in early morning or late afternoon, submerge them in lukewarm water and add a floral preservative.

Garden accessories or greenhouses are a great way to add a little extra something to any outdoor space. The nice thing about garden accessories is that they come in all forms, shapes and sizes. Choosing the right lawn dcor for your garden or backyard is always a fun experience because there is so much you can do with it. Garden stepping stones make transitioning from one place in your backyard to another very easy and it is also very decorative. Stepping stones can be anything from limestone rock, cement blocks or slates to flat plaques.

Don’t forget about your avian friends. Putting bird houses, bird baths and bird feeders in a flower garden invites even more color and entertainment to enjoy. There are tons of different kinds of bird feeders out there; some are decorative, some are for specific kinds of birds and some are very plain-jane bird feeders. Which ever strikes your fancy your avian friends will be sure to re-visit your flower garden. Other garden accessories you can consider putting up in your flower garden are wind chimes and wind spinners. You can find many different kinds of hook stands out there for hanging these types of garden accessories as well as brackets for the side of a post or wall.

Your flower garden will look amazing after following these simple steps in planning for a garden. The nice thing about garden accessories is that they are versatile. You can put them almost anywhere and plant flowers around them or accent some already planted flowers and plants with the garden accessories. Whatever you choose to do you will be happy with the result it produces.


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The Benefits Of Raised Bed Gardening

Making and planting a raised bed vegetable garden can be very beneficial to you and your vegetables. I will discuss building a raised garden bed and the pros and cons of raised bed gardening. After reading this article you should be able to decide if a raised vegetable garden bed is the right solution for you.

A raised bed garden

Why should you make a raised garden bed? There are several reasons, but two of the main reasons, are that there are poor soil conditions in your area or there is poor water drainage on your property. By making a raised bed for your garden, you are able to put the kind of soil you need for raising the plants you want. Also with a raised bed, the water will drain easily so that your plants will not die with too wet of soil.

When building your raised garden, you want to pick a location that gets full sun. Most vegetables require full sun to grow properly. It would be nice if the area is flat, but you can level your bed by digging in to the landscape on the high areas. You can make your bed out of almost any thing, such as wood, rocks, bricks or cement blocks. Wood is usually the product of choice, because it is easy to work with and less expensive than the other choices.

For best results, make your bed long and narrow, about 3 feet wide, then you can access all your vegetables without stepping on the soil and compacting it. The depth of the raised garden is up to you, but if you want carrot or parsnips, the deeper the better. Twelve inches deep is a great depth for all vegetables.

You can prepare your site in two ways for your raised bed gardening. The easiest way but probably not the best way, is to place several layers of news paper or cardboard down over the existing ground cover. You should mow the sod as low as you can first though.

The other way is to dig out the existing sod and loosen the soil below your garden to a depth of eight to twelve inches. Doing this gives your garden extra depth and good drainage. This is especially important if you are planning on growing the root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes.

Construct the frame around your garden. You should now level your bed from all directions. This is very important, because if your bed is not level, the water will run off in some areas of your bed and will sit in other parts of your bed. To level the frame, remove some of the soil beneath the frame in the high areas. Once your frame is set, add your top soil and then you are ready to plant.

If you look at these instructions I have laid out, you will see that there is a lot of work involved. I’ve barely mentioned planting the garden, and the maintenance after planting. Is having a raised vegetable garden bed worth all this work?

Pros of raised bed gardening:

1. If you have poor soil or poor drainage. I have already mentioned this, but you are able to put good soil in the bed that will make your vegetable garden thrive.

2. Your garden areas are easier to access. They can be constructed at almost any height, so if you want very little bending over, construct a bed that is higher. This will reduce fatigue and injury to the back and knees. Also this is perfect for the elderly or disabled gardener that can not reach down to the ground.

4. Raised beds warm faster in the spring compared to ground soil. Your growing season can be prolonged. The soil will be warmer which will promote growth, but you still have to watch frost for the leaves of the plants. Another benefit, it is easy to place a tunnel of clear plastic over the garden bed, making a mini green house, thus prolonging the growing season.

5. Maintenance of a raised garden bed is a lot less. Each spring or fall, it is a good idea to top dress your garden with manure or compost, digging it in to the top two to three inches of the soil. This will help retain moisture and keep weeds down.

6. Fertilizer, compost and manure can be concentrated in the smaller growing area of a raised garden bed, making it possible to space your plants closer together. With plants being grown closer together, this allows the plants to crowd out weeds and shade the soil, reducing evaporation and keeping roots cooler.

7. It is easier to control weeds. Like previously mentioned, you can grow your plants closer together, but also it is easy to use plastic mulch because the width of the bed can be spanned by one roll.

8. Dead leaves and other garden debris is easier to clean up.

9. It is harder for rabbits, moles and other garden pests to access your plants.
10. Less chance of soil erosion.

11. As long as you make your beds deep enough, they are perfect for carrots and other root vegetables because the deeper soil is not compacted.

12. Elevated planting areas can be constructed on small decks or patio’s. You can grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers any where.

Cons of raised bed gardening:

1. Difficult to till, so the digging has to be done by hand. Though I have pointed out, there will be little traffic on your garden beds, so little digging is required.

2. The cost of construction is much more. Though that cost will be reduced in the maintenance of the bed, plus you will have a better vegetable harvest.

3. The edges or borders must be well reinforced during construction, or the beds will break down over time.

4. When constructing your raised garden bed, you want to remember that you should not use treated lumber or railroad ties. The chemicals will leak out and contaminate the soil. It is probably not enough to kill the plants, but may expose you to unnecessary chemicals.

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The Types of Lawn Mowers Available Today

Are you aware of the various types of lawn mowers? We love our lawns; there is something about having a beautiful lawn and garden that just makes you want to smile. All of the different greens from the various plants and the colors from the flowers are so pretty to look at; they allow us to de-stress and relax. A attractive lawn is the perfect place for get-together’s and for the kids to play.

Yet another lawn mower!

In order for us to be able to enjoy our yards and the calming effects it can provide, it must be properly maintained. In order to get to the point where your yard is the envy of the neighborhood, you are going to have to invest in a lawn mower. There are a number of brands you could choose from.

One in particular is Ferris Mowers who offers six types of lawn mowers that can full-fill any gardener’s needs. Since there are a number of types of mowers offered, some may better suit your needs than others. Let’s review what’s available.

The 6 Types of Lawn Mowers

Cylinder – This type of mower is named after its design. This mower has a cylinder that has several horizontal blades which spin around it as the mower is pushed. The adjustment of the cylinder determines the how the cut will look. This particular mower is best for lawns in which the ground surface is smooth. Cylinder mowers can have the blades turned by a motor or hand driven as its pushed.

Hover – Hover mowers are best for smaller lawns. The mowers are typically electric and petrol-driven (gas-driven) options. This mower is so named because the blade is very close to the ground. If you have a small, somewhat leveled area and would like an inexpensive, lightweight and quiet mower than this is the one for you.

Ride-on – Oh wouldn’t some of us like to have one of these! There are either 2 or 3 rotary cutting blades. Ride-ons can also be called lawn tractors or zero-turn mowers.

Rotary Electric – This type of mower is low maintenance, relatively inexpensive, lightweight and quiet. The typical downside to electric mowers is that sometimes there isn’t sufficient power and keeping the electrical cord clear can be a challenge. Ferris Mowers understands this and offers mowers with a rechargeable battery. If you can keep your lawn regularly trimmed and don’t need the power, then electric may be the way to go.

Rotary Petrol – Also called ‘drum mower‘, these are more expensive than the electric version as well as being heavier and noisier. Some come equipped with a 3 hp motor which gives sufficient power to make cutting your lawn a breeze. Two and 4-stroke versions are available.

Self-propelled – This type is super nice as it assists moving across the lawn without have to manually push the mower the entire time. The petrol motor must offer ample power as it needs to power both the spinning of the rotor blades and to turn the wheels.

There are no two lawns that are alike and not every mower will be able to handle every yard. Ferris Mowers offers a quality types of lawn mowers to ensure that every lawn can be properly maintained with the right mower.

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Types of Lawn Mowers

A lawn mower is great equipment. If you want to save your time and increase efficiency when it comes to taking good care of your lawn, this machine come into picture. Before deciding which machine is good for you it is advisable to first take a look at the available types of machines in the market. Finding about these machines and what kind of features they have will help you to finalize which one to go for.

A Lawn Mower

1) The first type is the “Push Reel Lawn Mower”. As the name suggests this has to be pushed manually with a handle attached to a cylinder. The cylinder at the bottom rolls on the lawn cutting the lawn blades. The width of the cylinder with blades on it has a width of about 12 inches to 20 inches. This is a manual lawn mower.

2) The second one is called as the “Rotary Lawn Mower“. Unlike a push reel type, this is powered by a gasoline engine, which can generate a power equivalent to 2 to 7 horsepowers.

Many manufacturers have even produced electrically powered rotary mowers. The main advantage of an electric one is reduced noise levels while working. But a gas-powered machine produces much more power than an electric one resulting in finer lawn cuts.

3) The third one is a “Riding Lawn Mower”. This machine is largely used when there are large lawn areas to be maintained. If you hate hard work then this lawn mower makes your life much easier, by making it possible to ride on it like a tractor.

The quality this machine produces is excellent. A riding machine has several more arrangements to attach additional fixtures such as snow blowers etc. these machines are expensive as compared to the first two types.

One very popular riding mower is the zero turning radius, which can work in areas where the landscaping design has lots of smaller areas covered with lawn.

This was just a brief introduction of the types of lawn mowers commonly available in the market. Make sure you look for their detailed reviews and rating before you make any final buying decision.

There are numerous other lawn mowers available on the market and you should truly assess your needs – how big is your garden? What type of grass do you have in your garden? Is the grass you are cutting close to the house or a distance? There are many questions you need to ask to get a proper assessment of just what you’ll need.

Don’t forget your storage needs, either. For larger lawn mowers you’ll want a good secure place to store it after use that is safe from the environment and the weather. For smaller mowers, while you’ll need somewhere to store them, due to their lesser cost and maintenance needs this isn’t as important.

Ultimately, only when you’ve fully assessed your needs will you be able to choose the right lawn mower that you’ll need.

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What you Need to Feed Your Lawn

Just like humans need food, water and shelter to survive, lawns depend on certain elements to live, sixteen to be exact. Most of these elements are already found naturally in the environment, but several others need to be added to your lawn. Adding fertilizer with these three elements, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, does the job.

sprinkling the lawn

Before you run out to the store to purchase a complete fertilizer, or, one that contains all three, it is important to understand why your lawn’s livelihood depends on it.

Nitrogen– This is possibly the most important element your lawn needs. It makes the grass grow and gives it its green color. It will also allow for more density, thick shoots, and sturdy growth, thus creating an environment that will naturally fight off pests and bugs.

Potassium– Since you can’t toss bananas in your yard, your best bet for this mineral is to use fertilizer! Potassium enhances your lawn’s ability to resist disease, drought, wear and cold weather.

Phosphorus– This is used to encourage strong grass root growth.

Most fertilizers you will find in your local home and garden stores will contain all three of these elements. However, there are different amounts of each. This is reflected in a three-digit number, such as 30-10-10, which tells the percentage of each in this order: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These blends will serve different purposes. For instance, more potassium in blends are good for winterization. The factors you need to consider are grass type, climate, time of season and soil type. Once you know what your needs are, you will be able to determine the right combination of these elements. An additional way to scan your needs is determine the current levels of these nutrients in your soil. This can be done through a simple pH test.

In addition to variation in percentages of the key elements, there are also different types of fertilizers to consider. There are four major options that will greet you in the fertilizer aisle: Granular (slow and fast-release), Liquid, Synthetic and Organic.

Granular fertilizers are perhaps the most popular, probably due to their ease in use and duration. Since these are dry, they are much easier to spread. Granular fertilizers can come in a slow time-release formula, which provides fertilization over two to six months.

This is an efficient choice for homeowners, as it will not need another application for months to come. Granular is also available in fast-release, and although applied in the same manner, the nutrients are released quicker and work better in cold weather. This method also costs less. However, grass burn can occur and there will be a greater need for watering.

Liquid fertilizers are just as the name says- in liquid form. These are applied by attaching a hose and nozzle to a spray bottle. The contents of the bottle are usually in concentrated form, thus the need to mix with the water. If you can use a hose, this is an easy method, more so than spreading granular around the yard. Also, since this a liquid, nutrients are available immediately to the roots of your vegetation. Herbicides can also be added or applied during this treatment. But, since the results are immediate, applications will have to be repeated more often than granular, and since liquid is more expensive to begin with, it can be more costly.

Synthetic fertilizers are usually manufactured chemically, hence being called synthetic. These engineered fertilizers offer immediate release of nutrients, and make lawns green.They simply penetrate the soil quicker. However, they are not natural, and many argue that lawns should be treated naturally. Applications of synthetic fertilizer needs to be redone more often, as results don’t last as long. They can also burn your lawn if not applied in a proper manner.

Finally, organic fertilizers are made from once living organisms and their bi-products. These are applied to the lawn by spreaders, rakes and even by hand. Since this a totally natural fertilizer, the organics tend to break down slow when releasing nitrogen. They will improve the texture and density of your lawn, especially when added to soil or lakebed sand. There are some drawbacks however, including a foul smell in the case of manures. Also, these soils tend to have more nitrogen than other elements.

In summary, when choosing a fertilizer, you need to consider many things: The current nutrition of your lawn, how much money you want to spend, how much labor you want to invest in application- initial and repeats, as well as personal preference. But with the spurt in technology, choices keep growing as more combinations are being introduced.

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For Pleasure Or Profit : Growing Herbs

Herbs can add a touch of magic to your garden with their supernatural associations and practical uses.

Growing Herbs

Records show that herbs were in use in ancient Greece where they were valued as flavorings and for their fragrance. Certain herbs were also credited with mystical properties. Herbs were introduced into Britain by the Romans who also valued the reputedly supernatural powers of the plants, as well as their culinary and medicinal uses. In Britain, too, herbs became a focus of superstition, reaching their peak of importance in the Middle Ages when every village had its witch, and every witch her herbs and potions. Herbs were also used to combat the witches’ powers; garlic, hyssop and wormwood all combated witchcraft and evil spirits.

The medicinal qualities of herbs were even more important. In 1597 John Gerard, the London herbalist and apothecary, published his “Herball”, a volume containing 1000 pages with woodcut illustrations of some 3000 plants. A rather smaller collection of some 400 plants was included in Nicholas Culpeper’s Complete Herbal first published in c1640 and still available from bookshops today.

For most of us today the main use for herbs will be as flavorings in cooking. A few plants within easy reach of your backdoor so that they are handy for the cook will be well worth the effort. You can even grow a small selection in a container on a sunny windowsill.

Generally herbs thrive on a light and well drained soil. Although herbs can be planted in borders throughout your garden, it is more usual to group them in one place. Many formal planting schemes have been devised ranging from a chequerboard design of alternating square slabs and plants to using an old wagon wheel with plants in between the spokes.