Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Weeds?

Weeding is never fun.  In fact, for most gardeners it is probably the most despised chore of all.  One of the most important things to keep your beds weed free is ensuring you pull most, if not all of the roots.  To do this, you'll need the best tools for the job.  There are two types of weeding tools, and it has to do with the length of the handle.  The category names are simple enough.  Short-handled and long-handles.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Let me break it down for you.

Short-Handled Weeding Tools.

Cape Cod Weeder
This one comes in both right and left hand versions. With a narrow, hooked blade, this one is great for fitting into tight places. Find out more about this tool at Red Pig Tools.

Hori Hori Weeding and Bonsai Knife
One of my favorites.  This multi-purpose tool was originally used by bonsai enthusiasts, but once introduced it quickly becomes a favorite of most gardeners for not only it's weeding capabilities, but for transplanting, digging and pruning.

Onion Hoe
Also known as a hand hoe or a rock garden hoe, this is the short-handled version of the draw hoe.  It works well for weeding around closely spaced plants.  The one pictured here is an antique.  Keep your eyes open at yard sales and antique shops.

Asparagus Knife
You probably already own one of these, but you may not be familiar with the true name.  And if you have do have one, is it effective?  It's important to buy a good quality asparagus knife, one that is both strong enough and sharp enough.

Long-Handled Weeding Tools

Stirrup Hoe
Also known as a Dutch Hoe or Scuffle Hoe, this tool can accomplish a larger area in a shorter time because it uses a push-pull motion.  The one you find here is a great choice.

Draw Hoe
The Draw Hoe is the perfect tool for clearing weeds from large areas.  It chops the weeds up and then pulls them toward you, as you clear the area.
Named because that's exactly what it looks like.  OH MY GOSH!  I love this tool.  You can order your own here.  As a weeder and cultivator, it can't be beat.  It's also available in a short-handled version.

Weeding isn't an easy chore, but you can make it easier with the right tools.  The small investment is worth it, especially when it means you can spend the extra time on more pleasurable gardening.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Make Your Patio Picture Perfect!

Staring out the window at a plain, boring patio?  Unsure where to begin?  Not even sure what look you're going after?  It's easy to feel overwhelmed during the decision process.  If you're not careful, you'll just toss the thought away, and end up spending another summer failing to utilize what could be the best "room" of your home.  

Plants.  Furniture.  Art.  Color.  Seclusion.  Shade.  Sun.  Water.  Sounds.  Sights. Smells.  Flavors. All words that should be part of your patio vocabulary.  Consider all the senses when preparing your patio for the outdoor season.

One of the easiest ways to bring color and fragrance to your patio is with plants.  Find creative ways to display containers and let them overflow with blooms and foliage.  

Furniture choices.  If the furniture is as comfortable and inviting as the rest of the house, you'll rush to get out there in the evenings.  Choose a color and style that reflects your personal style.

Bring the relaxing sounds of a fountain into your backyard.  Garden fountains come in a variety a sizes and prices, and if you're creative and ambitious, you can make your own.

To make your patio more of a room, and less of a place to store your grill, think about ways
 to create seclusion.  A screen can instantly add a wall and give you some added privacy.

There are tons of ways to make your patio more inviting, more private, more appealing to your senses.  Share some of your ideas with us!  We'd love to hear what things you've come up with.  E-mail us a picture, too!  drdanslandscaping@cox.net

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Make a Rain Chain!

We've had a rainy spring in Hampton Roads.  As much as we'd like to be outside enjoying the spring, that possibility hasn't exactly presented itself to us the past few weeks. And since most of our thoughts turn to the outdoors when March rolls in, we decided to do a little investigating on the internet and find some of the best examples of do-it-yourself rain chains out there.  Well, and because we're expecting a little rain this weekend, why not put one (or more) together for yourself?

This first one is made with tiny little buckets and the do-it-yourself instructions can be found here.

Here's a unique idea, using spoons, that we found at Forever Decorating.

I'm Going to Texas takes the spoon idea a step further and incorporates the addition of forks into the idea.

On the Instructables site, we found the instructions for this simple copper rain chain here

This next design adds stone for more interest.   Since we found it on Dollar Store Crafts, you can expect the expense to be minimal.  

And last one (I promise) is this terra cotta chain that I am totally in love with.  I found it here

Now get busy, and make something!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Favorite Spring Annuals

Nothing can brighten your landscape with bursts of color the way the seasonal color of annuals can do.  We all have our favorites, and as you wait for the warm weather to set in, we want to tempt you with some new and not so new annuals that will most certainly give your home a welcoming smile.

One new variety I am particularly excited about is Potunia Mochaccino Petunia.  I love the large creamy colored blooms with the brown veining.  It's different, neutral colors but showy at the same time. And that little touch of pink?  Perfect!  I'm hoping it shows up at my favorite nursery.

I adore orange and impatiens, (yes, they are impatiens, not impatients) and so it's no wonder I felt giddy when I heard about this new impatien variety, Patchwork Cosmic Orange.  I've seen it described as "if impatiens and a pansy had a baby, it would probably look like Patchwork Cosmic Orange Impatien."  And I totally agree!  The Patchwork varieties also come in pink and burgundy colors.  

Speaking of orange, this shade of orange always gets my vote!  I enjoy planting calibrachoa in containers and this new variety will definitely find a spot in more than one container this season.  Aloha Kona Mango is it's name.  This is a non-trailing variety that's strong and upright.  It also comes in Kona Cherry, Kona Mandarin, Kona Tiki and Kona Midnight Blue.  Actually, they might all find a spot on my porch or patio this season.  

This is just a tempting view of some of my favorites.  On one of first days of spring, it's quite chilly in Virginia Beach and looking at a few new annuals has certainly warmed me up.  As I find new varieties or rediscover some of my old favorites, I'll be posting.  I'd love to know what you've found.  Please share!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New for 2013!

The start of a new year always makes me excited to discover what new plants are showing up.  I always relish the chance to be the first in my neighborhood with some of the newest selections.  During the month of January, I scoured websites, magazines and catalogs looking for new varieties that piqued my interest and I felt deserving of a place in my landscape.

My favorites, you ask?  Well, here are a handful.  Perhaps some of these varieties, if you are lucky enough to  located them in your area, will find their way into your yard.

Red Darling Hibiscus.  Gorgeous and deeply red, this Hibiscus will not only brighten your garden, but invite hummingbirds, as well.

Wild Swan Japanese Anemone.  This magnificent hybrid will bloom from June until the first frost.  A great addition to your rock gardens.

Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea.  A repeat blooming hydrangea that will surprise you with blooms of pink, maroon or blue with green highlights as the flowers mature.

Summer Cascade Wisteria.  A lovely addition for a trellis, this wisteria is a hardier variety that will add a whimsical, enchanted touch to your patio area.

Midnight Magic Crape Myrtle.  A new dwarf species with mauve pink clusters of blooms and a deep purple foliage.  It grows quick and top heights are only 12 feet.

Glamouflage Grape Petunia.  Like the grape color.  In love with the variegated foliage!

Plum Crazy Yellow Oxalis.  Bright yellow flowers sit daintily atop mounds of variegated red and pink foliage.

Popcorn Drift Groundcover Rose.  This super hardy groundcover rose gets its name from the way it's blooms start yellow and fade to a cream white, kind of like a kernel of popped corn.

These are just a few new varieties out there to get you ready for planting season.  Feel free to share some of your finds in our comments section.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013!  It's going to be a great year for gardening,   What are some of the trends for the coming year?  Let's take a look at What's In  for 2013 when it comes to your landscape.

Gardening for the Birds and Bess is In. 
Sure they're a fun addition to your garden.  Interesting to watch and add some color and beauty, too.  But there's a more important reason to play for the birds and bees.  Hummingbirds, butterflies and bess are responsible for many good crops and keep life growing.

Water in the Garden is In. 
It doesn't have to be a large water feature or a running stream, a bird bath, a small fountain or a tiny pond can make a difference.  Water is relaxing, it's pretty, it helps filter the air and it will attract animals and birds. 

Buying Local is In.
Using native plants in your landscape are cost-effective, easier to care for and also provide natural habitat for native wildlife.

Easier, lower maintenance Gardening is In.
 Low maintenance gardening allows you to enjoy the time you spend tending to your plants because you won't suddenly find yourself in the middle of an all weekend project.  It all comes down to what you plant.  Plants that don't require a ton of care. 

Eco-Chic Gardening is In. 
Green, sustainable and eco-friendly.

Curvaceous is In.
Curves are in when it , but sometimes a clean neat line still works.

Well Lit Gardens are In.
Not only does lighting set a mood, but it also extends the time you can spend working on your landscape.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Before and After

There are times when a Before and After image can really help you understand exactly what can happen when you transform a yard.  Here are a few of our favorite Before and After shots.  Enjoy!