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Home Improvement – Don’t Forget the Landscaping

WHEN you buy a new house or decide to improve your old one, you are, of course, concerned with every foot of ground that goes with it, for modern living and modern gardening can make every inch of your property usable and desirable.

New methods of soil improvement, grading, fencing and terracing make even sloping, hilly lots, hitherto undesirable, now attractive and choice. Modern chemistry has brought new nutrients to the soil and has provided weapons against the traditional enemies of the garden: disease and insects. Hardier bulbs and seeds make gardens more successful as well as wonderfully vivid. Fabulous hybrids have lengthened the list of flowering trees and shrubs, creating specimens for every color and design scheme, every type of house and garden.

New gardening equipment and materials speed the time-consuming garden tasks. New ways of living bring us into the outdoors, and barbecue meals and comfortable lawn furnishings make a small suburban back yard as luxuriously enjoyable as was previously possible only on a large estate.

Architecturally, today’s house is much more a part of the outdoors than was yesterday’s. Large picture windows, glass walls, glassed-in sun-porches and terraces all combine to make the garden a part of the house. Consequently, the view becomes that much more important.

A beautiful garden, a luxuriant turf and healthy blossoming trees all add as much to the interior of your home as your draperies or wallpaper. The effort and time you spend on your lawns and gardens will repay you in every way, indoors as well as out.

When you plan your grounds you will be governed by many of the principles you employ in decorating your home. Proportion, texture, color, line, harmony, function – these are terms that apply to landscaping as well as decorating. And if you have large grounds you will benefit from careful planning just as much as does the owner of a quarter of an acre.

Garden books are filled with formal plans for perfect gardens and grounds, but you will want to consider not the perfect garden in itself, but the one plan that will be perfect for your particular family. Analyze your family, its needs and habits; then design your grounds to best satisfy its prejudices, desires and demands.

The thing to do is hold a family council and talk over what you want to do. Of course, you will be governed by questions of cost and available space. Draw a plan of your property in fairly large scale, about 1/4 inch to the foot.

Now make a list of the things the family wants, such as a barbecue, tool house, drying yard, rock garden, fences, playhouse, badminton court, better lounging facilities.

Unless you are fortunate and have spacious grounds, you probably won’t be able to work everything into your program – but with planning, you can do things gradually. You can plan your garden so that it never looks bare and yet is always roomy enough for the additions you intend to make in the future. And some projects will serve more than one function.

For example, if you need a driveway and have young children, a blacktop that can be used for hopscotch and bicycle riding will serve a double purpose, and easily justify its cost. Or a fence that cuts off an unpleasant view can also act as a windbreak and a handsome background for a lounging area.

A retaining wall can double as a rock garden when planted with hardy dwarf shrubs and other rock-garden species.

Landscaping, if properly planned and properly executed will add to the comfort, improve the appearance and increase the value of your home.

Calla Lilies – Perfect For Decorating and As Gifts

Calla Lilies are beautiful flowers that are always in demand. For centuries, these flowers have been truly enjoyed and cherished. Created from the rhizome bulb, they consist of eye-catching leaves. The leaves are green in color, and are covered with light spots. The blossoms from a pretty thick stem. Several enthusiasts compare the shape of the flower to a trumpet. The texture is wet, and its fleshy feel is similar to autumn leaves. These miracles of nature are perfect for any garden of bouquet. They also work great as a houseplant, and are amazingly easy to grow. There are about 28 different species of this plant, all emanating from the southern region of Africa. The plants are accustomed to a warm or tropical climate. Many homes in the American South also consist of this fascinating flower. They are highly used at weddings, and even at some funerals. Their popularity ranges from North America to Western Europe. With its vibrant colors and unique patters, calla lilies are exciting to look at and care for.

Calla Lilies are very strong and durable. They can be planted, or even replanted, in several soils. They simply need a warm and moist climate to survive in. Like many plants, cold temperatures of frost can really damage their bulbs. Even though it is a tough plant, temperature changes can truly affect is longevity. This beautiful plant, unfortunately, can sometimes me mistaken as a weed. Landscapers, to make way for other agriculture consistently remove them. This might be a mistake, since the plant tends to have a strong foundation. As long as there is warm weather, growers can dig up the bulbs and replant them. This might take a little effort, but will achieve your desired results. Taking care of this plant is pretty easy. Since this flower can practically grow on any soil, all it needs to do is remain damp. Water is essential, however, too much water can kill the roots and ruin its beauty. You should take proper care when assisting this lovely plant.

Calla Lilies are used to liven up any bouquet or floral arrangement. With their lovely scent and dazzling color, the bride can also wear them as a corsage. They are part of many weddings, and truly capture the allure and essence of the ceremony. From entrance wreaths to table flowers, these flowers are in-season throughout the spring and summer. They are available in a number of colors; however, white and red seem to be the favorites. Many couples save money on these plants, since most weddings take place in nicer and warmer climates. Calla Lilies can also be grown indoors. They will require abundant water, since the plant needs to remain damp. A good amount of sunshine is also needed for plant growth. They work well in greenhouses, since there are good levels of humidity within them. Whether you grow them in the garden or inside, these flowers are sure to be an attractive addition. They are widely recognized and always available year round.

Edible Landscaping

I’ve been seeing a lot about edible gardening and landscaping this spring, and I thought I’d do a little more research on how we can take advantage of this in our own gardens.

Many people feel a strong connection to their flower garden, carefully selecting and planting annuals each year and nurturing their perennials. The same passion can be found in people cultivating their vegetable patch in the back yard. But there’s no reason why you have to choose between a beautiful landscape and a fruitful one. There are many varieties of fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious.

Edible landscaping is the practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. The same design principles are used, while substituting food bearing shrubs and trees for otherwise unproductive plant material. Edible landscaping is a mixture of beauty and utility. This is not to say that every element in your landscape should be edible, but those that are can be a healthy and economical bonus.

Almost any climate can play host to a lush edible landscape. Only the most shady and soggy soil areas are not suitable. The sunniest spaces with the best soil should be reserved for fruit trees and annual vegetables, while rocky areas with poor soil are prime for culinary herbs.

Combining edible elements with ornamental specimens can be particularly eye-catching. A colorful border of seasonal lettuce can be paired with dwarf nasturtiums, peppers coordinate well with dwarf marigolds, and strawberries and curly parsley compliment currants. Also try bordering your specimen trees with culinary herbs or plant them along your walking path or driveway. The key is to design your edible landscaping just like you would your aesthetic plants.

Edible landscaping isn’t just for the home. Many restaurants take advantage of rooftop gardens, specially growing herbs and vegetables that are then used in culinary dishes.

And don’t forget: your edible plants need proper watering, mulching, feeding, and pruning, just like your ornamental landscaping. Start small with what is simple and right for you. Choose dwarf trees and select fruit varieties that spread their bounty over several months. Just a few great edible selections to consider:

Edible ornamental berry bushes Highbush Blueberry, Clove Currant, Nanking Cherry, Elderberry, Oregon Grapeholly

Edible ornamental fruit trees Juneberry, Cornelian Cherry, Medlar, Paw Paw, Asian Pear

Vegetables Sugar snap peas, lettuces, marrow, root vegetables (carrots, radishes, onions, leeks), runner beans

Herbs Mint, sage, rosemary, basil, thyme

Keep in mind, whatever edible plants you choose, they need to end up on the table. The main goal with edible landscaping is to produce food. If you don’t use everything you grow, neighbors, friends, and family will be sure to take the rest off your hands!