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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Tips to Pick Plants For Your Koi Garden

Lotus Plants

Undoubtedly, since your pond contains Koi, a tropical fish, you may want to keep with the theme and place Lotus plants in your pond. Pretty much everyone with a tropical water garden will want a Lotus plant because the beauty is simply unmatched by other flowers.

Lotus plants provide beautiful blooms, and a smell that is unmatched. However, unless you live in an area that sustains temperatures higher then 65 degree Fahrenheit, you will need to have to have a place to house your Lotus plants during the colder months. A greenhouse setup specifically for water plants will work the best.

Lotus plants require soil, and a large amount of sunlight. They should be planted in water about 2 to 3 feet deep during the warmer months, and indoors during the colder months.

Water Hyacinths

If you simply do not have the time to plant and maintain your water garden’s foliage, or you are somewhat lazy when it comes to gardening, you may want to consider adding Water Hyacinths. Water hyacinths have become very popular recently because of their simplicity. They do not require any type of soil or planting, you must simply throw them into the water. Only minimal time is needed to anchor them down so that they do not float all over the pond freely.

Water Hyacinths are not only pretty, but are also very functional as well. These plants aid in the fight against both algae and blanket weeds.

One downside when having Water Hyacinths is the fact that they will take over your pond and yard if you allow them. Water hyacinths are very invasive, and will spread if allowed. In extreme cases, it may even jump the fence and take over the neighbors yard as well. Once they have caused this kind of infestation, it is notoriously difficult to get rid of them.

Hidden But Functional Plants

Alternatively, you may want to consider investing in plants that are not necessary seen. These plants live below the water line, and provide many needed functions to your pond. Some help you battle algae, put oxygen back into the water, or feed your fish for you.

You can find these plants in bundles at your local pet store or Koi dealer. The majority of underwater plants will not need additional support during the winter, so once you place them in the water, you may not think twice about them again. However, the benefits that you gain from having these types of plants make up for the fact that you are not able to actually see them.

 

Landscaping Ideas

1. Trees.
Apart from the fact that most trees are “set and forget”, i.e. plant them, water them, but largely leave them to their own devices; trees, whether a single specimen tree, or a stand or copse of them, add a focal-point to a garden. Depends on what it is you are after – somewhere to sit in the shade; something to contemplate – a particular tree of beauty; somewhere for the kids to play; maybe as the back-drop to the rest of the garden.

2. Ground-covers.
Plants with a growing habit that covers the ground, such as thyme, chammomile, or pennyroyal – make good lawn alternatives. Those plant names are often preceded with the word “lawn”. There are many forms of daisy’s that can cover a considerable amount of ground, in a short space of time – Osteospermum, or African Daisy comes easily to mind. Although in need of a bi-annual prune, the flower show far outweighs this small task. VERY hardy. Many colours.

Violets – Violets are VERY hardy little things, able to tolerate quite a range of growing conditions. If you plant half a dozen of these, by next year they will have re-seeded all over the place. Normally planted in the shade, they fair well in half sun situations. TIP: Once they finish flowering, either mow or whipper-snip them, down to the base – VERY short. This is because, in order to flower well the following season, after each flowering they need sun-light on the base stems.

Mesembryanthem, or Pig Face – Strikingly vibrant, almost florescent, orange/red/yellow flowers, succulent stems, leaves are greyish green, flowers are daisy like, and open in the full sun. Can be established in near desert situations, even in rock-walls.

Bacopa, or Snowflake – Perennial ground cover, flowers being white or blue and tubular with expanding lobes. Scented leaves, good plant for the shade.
Nasturtium – Round waxy leaves that hold the morning dew, profuse flowering from red through to yellow, and everything in between. A fast growing annual – leaves, flowers, even seed-pods can be eaten and or pickled – a nice pepper alternative.

3. Water Features.
Water features such as fountains, fish-ponds, or still-water-ponds, are a marvelous addition to your landscape. Not only pleasing to the eye but also helps aid relaxation, through the soothing sounds created.

4. No-Cost Plants.
Well, this is an easy one. Friends, family, or neighbors, are your best source of no-cost plants for your landscape. By this, I mean cuttings and or seeds. Most, but certainly not all, plants can be reproduced by taking cuttings. If you think this is too difficult regarding your experience – try something like geraniums. Now, I use this example as, if you have never taken and planted cuttings before – it is hard to fail with geraniums. Not the big, flashy, floppy flowering Pelargonium – these are generally a little more difficult to get going.
O.K. let us do this. Cuttings should be about 6 inches long and about three eighths of an inch thick. There should be at least one leaf on this cutting – not for any magical-gardening-type-reasons, more because if this IS your first time, the leaf tells you which way is up when you plant it. With this particular plant, the cutting can be left for up to 3 days, before it needs to be planted (yet another fine reason to choose this particular plant). If you do not already have an established piece of garden to plant into, get a pot and some potting-mix. In either case, make a hole one third as deep as the cutting is long – with your finger, or a pencil, put the cutting in that hole and firm the soil around the cutting. Water it. Sit down, relax. Congratulate yourself – you are now a gardener.

 

Tips to Caring for Trees

The first step is watering the trees. You don’t want to over-water, nor do you want to under-water. You have to find the perfect balance between drought and soaking. If you have young trees, that balance will involve more frequent watering than if you have older trees. Older trees only require watering during extremely hot periods. During those times, they will require a deep, thorough watering at least once a week, but when it is cooler if not damp, they need nothing but nature.

You also want to fertilize your trees, particularly if you have experienced drought, infestation or disease. Doing this once a year will ensure that your trees continue to grow and encourage flowering. The best times for fertilization are in the early spring or late fall. To know what kind of fertilizer to use and how to apply it, contact a local tree specialist with experience in your climate and tree-type.

Finally, you want to prune your trees. Pruning will allow your trees to take on a manageable shape and grow to their full potential. You’ll want to start by removing any small dead or dying branches. Then, get rid of branches that appear to be too heavy to remain in the air. This will not only help the tree but you as you continue pruning, as it will limit the possibility that a branch could fall and strike you during work.

When you make the first cut, cut a foot or so from the trunk of the tree. Make a second cut a few inches out from the first. If it’s a large limb, it should fall on its own and you can remove the remaining stub at the edge of the branch collar, or bulging area where the branch meets the trunk. From there, the wound you have created by removing the branch should callus over without decay. You should not need a wound dressing, unless something has gone wrong in the pruning process.

Whatever you do, you do not want to top a tree, meaning you don’t want to take shears to the top of the tree cutting off everything sticking up beyond a certain point, unless you absolutely have to. This act usually stunts the shape of a tree and takes away from aesthetics.

Your trees should be assets to your yard – they should be something you are proud of. Take care of them with proper watering, fertilizing and pruning, and they will be.