Archive for the 'How To' Category

Off the Wall – a Look At the Trend For Vertical Planting

Next time you are driving along Piccadilly in district you may be taken aback by the installation of the vertical planted gardens on the side of the newly refurbished Atheneum five star hotel they stretch from ground level up to the penthouse apartments on the 10 th floor! This is a signature piece of the now well known French botanist turned living sculptor that is Patrick Blanc, complete with dyed green hair and green finger nails. He is the proclaimed grandfather and trailblazer of this fairly new trend for covering buildings with a variety of living plants. His work can be seen in many of the most cosmopolitan cities around the world, many of which are in his home city of Paris where they have been established for a few years now. The process is complex and works on the principle of hydroponics. Small, practically soil-less plants are stapled onto a foam board and covered with a capillary blanket which holds them in place. Water and a controlled diet of essential nutrients are then washed from top to bottom in a carefully controlled manner and recycled constantly.

The process is highly sophisticated and complex, but the effects are startling; a true “WOW” factor moment. However they are incredibly expensive and near impossible to copy and down-size to a domestic scale. But, like all good ideas, there is then a proliferation of similar processes that claim to offer the same effect. These have mainly developed for commercial schemes but then can be tailored for private commissions.

Take the Westfield Shopping Centre which boasts the largest living wall in Europe. It has a serpentine wall which runs the entire length of the shopping centre shielding it from Shepherds Bush. This system uses a plastic tile system with pockets containing soil and plants known as the system which uses a leak hose irrigation pipe to deliver water and nutrients via a simple dosage unit.

Another system also uses plastic tiles filled with horticultural rock wool (an inert blotting paper-like medium) and the small plants, again with no soil, are acclimatised in greenhouses before being installed at their final location.

Prices are not cheap. 300 – 400 per M will be the price installed and the planting can be adapted to suit most sites and climates. It is amazing how many plants that will grow vertically given enough water and nutrients. A ride down any country lane in Devon or Cornwall will show you how much will grow out of the natural walls you pass by.

Here are my top tips when planning you green wall:

Think about the aspect of your wall and plan appropriatelyif the wall is basked in sun for much of the day you will chose different plants to a wall in the shade. Try plants that naturally do well such as many of the ferns; for example Harts Tongue ferns, Maidenhair ferns and the smaller leaved varieties seem to do better. Heuchera, Bergenia and Euphorbia are also popular choices. Try sedum at the top where it is lighter and dryer with the more shade and moisture lovers lower down. Keep the planting bold in sweeps and drifts of single varieties Avoid using plants that will grow quickly and outgrow the space or any that require lots of pruning. Remember to keep an eye on the scheme once set up. It should be trouble free but remember if the irrigation scheme fails so will the wall. So the whole thing should be treated very much as you would do for window boxes or hanging baskets. So, if you have struggled to get something to hide that ugly garage or utility area and want the latest horticultural chic vertical planting could be just for you.

Finding Used Greenhouses for Sale

If having your personal greenhouse has always been a desire for you personally, but you thought that you simply could not afford it. Buying a second hand green house is now a new choice for you, and you can make your dream come true. It might not be easy to find aused green house close to where you live, but here are a couple of tricks that may help you find a greenhouse that you can afford.

Here Are Several Ways To Look For A 2nd Hand Greenhouse Inside Your Area:

If you are searching for greenhouses for sale, you might discover your self standing close to, scratching your head about wherever to begin. Greenhouses aren’t precisely typical thrift store or yard sale items after all. Try out these ideas to locate a used green house near you.

Garden Supply Discover Boards:

Many garden supply stores set up a notice board for that community to post info and ads that might be of interest to nearby back garden enthusiasts. These information boards might hold a treasure trove of information about nearby used greenhouses available.

Look In Your Neighbor Hood Newspaper:

Check with the local newspaper to see if they sponsor any unique discounted ads for wanted products. It’s really possible that you can run a inexpensive ad since you are looking for some thing and not selling something. This type of exchange is good for the newspaper, and good for the nearby economy. This ad could only cost you a few dollars if you place it as a “greenhouse wanted” ad.

Try Your Local Library:

Your Local Library may have gardening classes and clubs. In addition, many gardeners use the local library as a source of information for insect control and garden tips. Talk to your librarian about how to get in contact with garden enthusiasts in your area to inquire about used greenhouses.

Check at the Department of Agriculture:

The Department of Agriculture may be able to connect you with someone that has a used greenhouse for sale, not to mention they’ll have all kinds of gardening tips for you.

Attempt to Find Other Individuals That Use Greenhouse To Garden In:

If you go and talk to some place that already have greenhouses you may be able find won for sale. You could run across a situation where the company needs a bigger greenhouse and is willing to sell you one of theirs at a reasonable price. There’s also a great possibility that they know of someone selling a greenhouse, just because they are already in that business.

In addition, you could also try out auctions sites, (like eBay) and online advertising (like Craigslist), or your local community sale website for any information about used greenhouses for sale. Take your time an be patient, you will find your dream greenhouse should you look in the right places.

The Recommended Process To Use Lawn Rollers

Many peolpe own lawn rollers however , are usually not really sure precisely how to make sure you end up getting the highest quality out of them. Doing this is actually really quite a shame because if you were to use lawn rollers properly, they might possibly transform your lawn within a number of weeks from remaining a tired pale, patchy lawn to preparing to be a beautiful lush, thick green lawn that any top gardener would certainly be proud of.

The very first thing in which anyone could very well use garden lawn rollers for would be to relay a entire entire lawn. In the event a person possessed a small section of lawn that was looking quite tired and also had many bare patches, then this is sometimes a beneficial thought to replace the entire lawn instead of spending a little fortune striving to treat the aged lawn with most of the several diverse products avaliable today. Now, the finest method to relay your lawn with the support of lawn rollers is to stripback just about all of your own turf and remove it from the area so that you are left with your soil. At this time, you will require to level out the soil and remove any excess so that your soil is level all the way through the whole lawn. Next, use your lawn roller to flatten out the soil until it is nicely compressed. Then you can lay your turf over the particular compressed soil and again use your lawn roller to work over the turf. By employing the lawn rollers to compress the soil and then to flatten out the turf, you will allow the roots of the the new turf to embed into the the soil and grow penetrating downward into the earth where they may provide strength and stability to the grass and also provide the roots the best chance to take in any nutrients and water up with the aid of the soil.

Soon after you have used the lawn rollers to lay and embed your turf you must thoroughly water the complete area as this will substantialy increase the probability of the grasses roots taking to the actual soil and allowing the grass to develop.

If an individual use your lawn roller just just before cutting the lawn then this will enhance the chances of your lawn obtaining a clean level finish throughout it’s life.
garden lawn rollers

How To Grow Tomatoes – 3 Secrets To Growing Tasty Tomatoes

Home grown vegetables can certainly change a person’s lives. I am not kidding, I am serious about this.

I basically grew up in the country and it was good that my mom every day cooked fresh vegetables.

When we needed some tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery – we just went to the garden and picked up some. There were no plastic bags, no genetically modified vegetables and fruits just the healthy home grown and mouth-watering delicious tomatoes, carrots.When I lived in the city it was extremely hard to get used to the tasteless, colorless “plastic” vegetables as I ironically call them. I think this was one of the motives why I went to live in the country once again, why I nearly always dreamed of a property with a vegetable garden. I respect more the significance of home grown vegetables nowadays.

I am really fond of tomatoes. The most important question is: How to grow organic tomatoes. Is it really complicated to grow your own delicious tomatoes? The answer is simple: no, not at all. For sure there is a lot of work involved but after all it is worth it.plenty of work involved but finally it is worth it.

Let me share the secret that I learnt from my mother who is a good gardener and who incredibly loves growing tomatoes.How to grow tomatoes?

The first tip is the importance of effective microorganisms, we just call them EM. What are they responsible for? They produce very good nutrients and elements for vegetables and of course for tomatoes too. small microorganisms in your body, for instance, in your stomach that helps to digest certain foods. We couldn’t live without them nor the plants could live without them.Thethe most importantdifference between good and bad soil is that the good soil is more alive. It is such a shame that about 90% of all soil today is dead. It’s been treated with chemicals and sitting in plastic bags for months. You can easily grow your own microorganisms at home in a short time, purchase them online for a couple of bucks and you could have a six month supply. grow our own microorganisms at home in a very short time, get them online for a couple of dollars and we can have a six month supply.It is really easy!

Watering is the second tip of how to grow tomatoes. The major rule is to water the tomatoes as frequently as you can, just make a watering schedule for for every day and try to stick to it. It will worth it. They need a lot of water and microorganisms need water to thrive too. You should only water the soil, not the leaves. It is really important too.

Last not least the third secret of how to grow great tomatoes is the importance of quality seeds. It is honestly hard to find good seeds, one thing is sure you can’t purchasethe seeds at your local garden store. You can get them from a very trusted supplier that sells only the best quality organic tomato seeds. They will cost you around 3$-5$.

These are the 3 most important secrets of how to grow tomatoes in your garden. Buy EM, find a good seed supplier and don’t forget to water your tomato plants. You and your kids will certainly enjoy the best tasting tomatoes ever.

Lawn Décor Tips – Give Your Lawn Décor A Makeover


Decorating your lawn and garden space with lawn ornaments can be very enjoyable and rewarding . However, it may leave beginners overwhelmed or veterans stuck with what they have. In this article I’m going to share with you ideas you can use to spruce up that space again or start fresh with new lawn ornaments. In using these tips you’ll have your lawn and garden space looking just the way you want it in no time.

Anything you put in your yard for decorating is considered a lawn ornament. It doesn’t have to be store-bought or made by somebody else. You can create your own lawn ornaments by simply checking out your own resources. So if you think you have it all when it comes to lawn ornaments, the garden statues, stakes, planters, gnomes, flags, the cut-outs of people bent over in the garden, wind chimes, wind spinners , bird houses, feeders and baths, you name it and you are still not satisfied, try finding something lying around the house, garage, barn or other out-building. For example, an old paint can, tire rim, large milk jug, an old pair of boots, dresser drawers, tractor parts and old farm tools would make perfect lawn ornaments. They are just collecting dust anyway. Use your imagination to create something of your own by painting your home-found treasure (s) and using flowers and plants to decorate around it. I’ve seen lawn ornaments such as old claw-foot bath tubs, bed frames, toilet bowls, toilet seats and the like in a bed of flowers and plants or surrounded by other lawn ornaments. These can be creations of your own with literally endless possibilities. Make it a fun activity with your kids. Let them pick out the special lawn ornament of their choice from your stash and decorate away.

As stated above, lawn ornaments can be anything and there are many choices of lawn décor to choose from. With that said s ometimes people tend to go, and I’ll use this term lightly, overboard with lawn ornaments in their yard. If this is you and you think maybe you have too many lawn ornaments, think again! It’s perfectly normal, and mind I say very easy, to go overboard with all the cute lawn ornaments out there to choose from. But if you’d like to change it up a bit try adding more plants and flowers in the mix. This will even out the lawn ornaments versus nature (plants, flowers, grass and trees) ratio. I’ve seen beautiful yards with tons of lawn ornaments that are beautifully intertwined with lots of plants and flowers. What a rich way to decorate your lawn and garden space by mixing lawn ornaments with nature.

Along with adding flowers and plants to your beautiful yard or garden full of lawn ornaments, adding the right colors will do wonders. If you have a colorful display of lawn ornaments try adding more green plants or small trees to the area. You can also incorporate one or two different color flowers. This will settle the color-tone down a bit and give it an even blend of lawn ornaments verses nature. And vice versa, if you have a garden full of cherubs or angels  try including a colorful display of flowers and plants using garden planters. Beautiful yellow and red tulips or lilacs would bring those cherubs and angels to life.

Go ahead and take your kids on a scavenger hunt around the house; you never know what kinds of jumble you’ll find that will make great lawn ornaments. Your lawn and garden will be looking at its prime when you establish a good lawn ornaments verses nature assortment and determine the right colors to use. So if your garden and lawn ornaments are screaming for a makeover give it what it needs to create the story or theme you are looking to produce.

Green Your Backyard


To some, going green seems to be the latest fad. But unlike the ever-changing styles in shoes, cars and clothing, this “fad” is great for the environment, and will return benefits to you and your family. Follow these tips to start greening your backyard!

Organic Gardening :

Earth-friendly gardening is not about the kind of plants you grow, rather it focuses on the way you grow them. The biggest differences between organic and non-organic gardening are the types of fertilizer and pest control used. Organic gardening only applies animal or vegetable fertilizers, such as compost, instead of synthetic ones. Organic matter gives soil organisms something to eat. These organisms break down the soil and fertilizer and turn it into digestible items for your plants. Many organic gardeners even make their own compost from kitchen and yard waste, thereby not only nourishing the soil, but also reducing the amount of trash their households produce!

Organic gardeners also choose all-natural methods to ward off pesky insects. Instead of spraying dangerous chemicals to kill unwanted insect life, predatory insects such as ladybugs or lacewings can remove the bugs that damage flowers and plants. You can attract these predatory insects with plants like fennel, dill, allysum and cumin.

The type of plants you choose to include in your garden is another important consideration for organic gardening. Increase the natural health of your soil by finding plants that thrive in your geographic area. Also, alternate what you plant year by year to help create a mini-ecosystem in your backyard!

Eco-Friendly Lawn Care

Now that we’ve taken a look at organic gardening, let’s focus on Earth-friendly lawn care. Start with the kind of grass in your lawn. Just like your garden, it is important to choose grass that will thrive in your climate. People living in the North and Pacific Northwest, who deal with cool and humid climates, should plant fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. For those living in the warm and humid South or Southwest, zoysia, Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses are the best choices. People living in the cool and semi-arid Plains should plant Buffalo grass.

After finding the best grass for your area, it’s time to make sure your soil is nutrient rich and healthy. As with your garden, use organic products instead of synthetic fertilizers to feed your lawn. This will be a larger investment to begin with, but will pay off in the end. Synthetic fertilizers do not last as long as organic ones, which means you have to reapply a synthetic fertilizer more often. Make sure to sweep your fertilizer off the sidewalks or driveways and back onto your lawn to prevent water pollution. Both synthetic and organic fertilizers can cause water pollution if they wash down into storm drains instead of feeding your lawn.

Natural Landscaping

It may sound counterproductive, but reducing the amount of lawn in your yard is a great energy and water conservation method. A smaller lawn means less mowing, which in turn means less energy, whether electric or gas-powered, is used. A smaller lawn also translates into less water consumption. Watering grass uses more water than flower beds, or even vegetable gardens.

Now, you’re ready to transform your backyard into an eco-friendly wonderland! Head to your nearest gardening store or nursery and start planning. When your flowers, vegetables and lawn are in full bloom you’ll be glad you took the time to landscape by going green.

Earth-friendly gardening

The Best Tools for Gardening


Whether you have acres of garden or just a few pots, you will need the best gardening tools for the job.  Hardware shops and garden centres usually carry a wide range of gardening tools from the fairly cheap to the very expensive.  Apart from considering your budget, the amount of use your tools will get should be a consideration when choosing.

If you have a lawn you will need a lawn mower.  Obviously size and type is dictated by the size of your lawn; you won’t need a sit-on mower for a few square metres of lawn.  Whatever size your lawn, you will need a lawn rake or an electric scarifier to remove any dead grass which is stopping the new grass from growing.  Long-handled shears are useful for keeping the edges neat or you could use an electric strimmer or an edge cutting tool (half moon shape with a sharp blade).

Secateurs are a must, even if you have a veranda garden.  Many plants will grow in pots, particularly if they have speciality dwarf varieties and most will benefit from occasional pruning.  You will also need secateurs for removing dead flower heads.  You should look for a type which has a tension control and control for the distance of the blades from each other.  This is useful for different sized plant stems and also for different sized human hands.

For container gardening and small weeding jobs a hand fork is essential with a trowel for planting smaller plants.  You may want to buy a bespoke weeding tool as well.  These are about 20cm long and thin with a slightly curved blade for making sure that the whole weed root is removed.

For larger beds, a full sized fork and spade will be needed for turning the earth and digging holes for shrubs.  These tools will have to do some hard work so buy the sturdiest you can find.  A rake is also useful for smoothing over soil ready for planting flower or vegetable seeds and a hoe for weeding.

If you have hedges or trees, obviously good shears or an electric hedge trimmer will be needed as well as a pruning saw.  Pruners with a long extendable handle are useful for pruning trees which are out of normal reach.

In the end you should buy the best tools for gardening that you can afford and which suit the job you need them to do.

Liz Canham is a keen gardener who has exchanged the relative ease of gardening in Southern England for the trials of gardening on the Costa Blanca in Spain, where her garden is at a 45% angle on the side of a mountain. To take advantage of her experience visit her website, Gardening for All and get some great gardening tips.

Butterflies in the Garden


Who doesn’t love to have butterflies in the garden?  Those marvellous vibrantly coloured insects with their fragile wings are a delight to watch.  However, you need to be careful if you have cats or puppies as they just love to chase them and unfortunately, they often catch and kill them.

To attract butterflies you need to choose plants for butterflies, not necessarily plants for you.  Hopefully you both like the same varieties, but butterflies are only attracted to nectar rich flowers and not all varieties of butterflies are attracted to the same plants.  You also need to provide plants to support the butterfly throughout its lifecycle.

Butterflies do recognise colour, so large plantings of the same of the same flowers that attract butterflies will work best.  Some butterflies are attracted to weeds so if you have a meadow or some uncultivated part of your garden, that might be suitable.

Some common plants that attract butterflies are of course Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) as well as Honeysuckle, Vibernum, Lilac, Lavender, Lantana, Azalea, Cornflower, Lupin, Verbena, Violet, Snapdragon and Hollyhock.  Herbs too, such as Mint, Sage, Parsley and Oregano attract butterflies.  This list is by no means exhaustive, just includes those plants which most people will recognise – there are dozens more so research is necessary to find out which plants attract your local butterfly population.

Most people probably don’t really like the idea of encouraging caterpillars but the butterfly needs to be supported through its larvae stage as well.  While larvae eat a huge amount very quickly, they only do so for a very short time so damage to plants is minimal.

It’s not only plants that attract butterflies but water too.  A birdbath or some other raised bowl would be ideal, preferably out of easy reach of cats, dogs and children.

Another factor for butterflies in the garden is sunlight as sun loving flowers attract more butterflies.  However, butterflies also need shade, not only from the sun but from wind and rain as well.

One last word of warning if you want butterflies in the garden and that is go easy on the pesticides as butterflies are easily killed by them.  Try a dilute solution of washing up liquid and removing infected foliage if you have trouble with plant pests and diseases.

Liz Canham is a keen gardener who has exchanged the relative ease of gardening in Southern England for the trials of gardening on the Costa Blanca in Spain, where her garden is at a 45% angle on the side of a mountain. To take advantage of her experience visit her website, Gardening for All and get some great gardening tips.

What Are Wind Spinners and Where to Use Them


If you are unsure what wind spinners are this information will be useful to you. Wind spinners have come a long way since their origin starting from the wind mill . They may be called many different names including: eye-catcher, pinwheel, whirligig, spinner, twirler & twister. Some people think of wind spinners as a child’s toy made of a wheel of paper or plastic curls attached at its axle to a stick by a pin, which is designed to spin when blown upon by a person or the wind. The wind spinners I will be discussing here are made of stainless steel and have many perks to its existence.

Wind spin ners that are made of heavy duty 400 series 18-gauge stainless steel are the best on the market. These wind spinners that are made of stainless steel last better & longer in the outdoor weather because they are guaranteed not to rust. That’s why it is important when looking for a wind spinner to check and see if it’s made of stainless steel. Also look for wind spinners that may come with a heavy-duty s wivel hook for easy hanging and turning in the wind. W ind spinners can come in many different forms, themes, colors, shapes, and sizes. There is always one for everybody !

How would you use wind spinners? They can be placed almost anywhere because of the different sizes they come in. Some wind spinners come as small as three-four inches in diameter. These types of wind spinners can be hung on your car mirror, anywhere in the house, your office or even as a tree ornament. These wind spinners make the perfect little gifts for people. Another size of wind spinners made available are eight inches and are perfect for on the deck, porch or in a window. And the most popular size is the twelve inch wind spinners. These are the perfect size for outdoor use as lawn ornaments in a tree branch, hook stand or hanging from a gazebo or arbor. Lawn ornaments do not need to be restricted to the ground. Wind spinners make great lawn ornaments at and above eye-level because of there beautiful ability to reflect the sun’s light almost anywhere you put them. Be creative with your selection of wind spinners and where to put them. The possibilities are endless.

When choosing a wind spinner made of steel make sure to check that it’s made of stainless steel. Also keep in mind where you want to put your wind spinner in case you may need to buy a hook stand or hanging wire. Most wind spinners come with a heavy duty swivel hook for easy turning. Follow the instructions on how to fan out your spinner for easier turning from the wind. Hope this information helps you better understand what these types of wind spinners are and how to choose one and where to put it.

Beginners Guide On How To Make A Hydroponic System


A hydroponic system is a very complex setup, and there is much information which needs to be learned about it. The process of understanding how to make a hydroponic system is one in which there are lots of steps involved, so the person creating it has to become really patient. That is however only the case if you want to build a system from scratch, you can also buy system like a HydroHut Deluxe and then all the figuring out hase been done for you.

Step by step

One of the very first and most essential points anyone understanding how to make a hydroponic system needs to learn is that the actual layout of the system is actually only going to be restricted by the desires of the designer. In other words, you can truly go full-scale and build whichever sort of hydroponic structure that you want.

An additional step in understanding how to make a hydroponic system is to gather the required components. These will certainly vary according to what the creator wants the system to look like, but one of the most standard and essential items is a ordinary tray. Remember that the system should provide means both to support the plant and to aerate the system.

A person is able to create a more complex system with much more pricey materials but then at the same time they can also buy it for almost the same price.

An essential tip to remember when understanding how to make a hydroponic system, is that short plants for example lettuce and spinach will probably be able to support themselves and so these are truly the best options to go with since they will have less threat of suffering from complications. Additionally take into account that you will find some great hydroponic grow tents offered that one can purchase and which will probably be of great help.

You will find also a lot of great resources available that is going to be useful to any person trying to learn how to make a hydroponic system, in particular those on the Internet. This is since with the web an individual is able to browse through literally hundreds of diverse websites in a matter of minutes, something that obviously could not be done otherwise.

The finest thing to do here would be to go on a search engine on the World wide web and type in “hydroponic grow tent” and then the diverse available options will pop up. Probably the most essential thing to bear in mind is that most simple and effective system is a HydroHut.

The author of this article, Hank Gordon, writes at his website Gardeners Info Point. com about the HydroHut Deluxe because the products from HydroHut are the best in the hydroponic grow tent maket.