There are plenty of ways to garden in a small space: grow in containers, choose compact varieties, and grow up with trellises and obelisks. Let's not neglect the most obvious vertical space - walls! Below are a few options that we are offering at BGC this year:
Plant in a pocket (above left). Woolly Pockets are made of recycled materials, can be used indoors and outdoors. They are great for herbs, salad greens, strawberries, and annuals.
The framed succulents are planted in a self-contained watering system from Bright Green designed for indoor use as well as outdoors. Available in stained walnut or paintable frame.
The planter with colorful annuals is a Pamela Crawford Vertical Garden. Easy to mount and easy to plant. It works well with annuals and herbs.
This vertical garden from Gronomics is a true space saver. It's made from rot-resistant cedar and comes with a drip-irrigation system. We planted it with salad greens, herbs, pansies, and even tomatoes! The photo on the right was taken one month after planting. It's time to harvest!
All of the vertical garden systems are easily mounted on a wall. An old door would work well, too.
Big, bold, and lovely. Those words describe the clematis from the Raymond Evison Clematis collection. Add to that: long-blooming and partial shade lovers. Mr. Evison has spent more than 50 years breeding the world's best clematis and has introduced more than 100 cultivars. His most recent introductions have been compact and suitable for containers (pots with 18" diameter are a good size).
Following are a few that we are proud to carry this season:
'Alaina' has deep, creamy pink flowers, grows to 4 feet, and blooms in late spring and again in late summer. Flowers will last longer in a shady afternoon location.
'Cezanne' is a blue flowering variety that grows 3-4' tall and likes a partially shady spot.
Superb repeat flowering performance and lovely violet blossoms with red centers make 'Parisienne' a must have. Another compact one great for containers, it will bloom from early to late summer.
'Ice Blue' has dramatic large flowers May-June and again in late summer. Grows to 6' and is ideal for east, west, and north facing locations.
'Shimmer' rounds out our collection with it's 7" deep lilac-blue flowers. Plant this long-blooming perennial to grow on pergolas or trellis with roses. Grows 6-8 feet.
All of these clematis are easy to prune - just cut back to 12 inches in the spring. Plant them deep with annuals or perennials planted at their feet.
Why not start your own collection of Ray Evison Clematis this spring?
This spring we need to clue into nature's cues instead of our calendar of 'normal'. One of the easiest to remember has to do with the forsythia shown above. When the forsythia begins to drop is yellow flowers, the soil temperature is just right for dormant crabgrass seed to germinate. This is your cue to apply a crabgrass control product - one without fertilizer is best. Wait until the end of May to fertilize your lawn.
If you intend to reseed your lawn, do NOT apply a crabgrass preventer unless you are willing to wait until fall to sow.
Other cues from nature:
When the crabapple trees are blooming, put out your oriole feeders.
When the lilacs bloom, the hummingbirds will be here looking for their favorite feeding spots.
Seeding your lawn?
Here are tips from our friends at Heritage Seed Company:
Renovating- if your lawn is more than 50% weeds and dead grass, it is best to eliminate all living matter by using a non-selective herbicide such as KillzAll.
Overseeding- if your lawn is less than 50% dead grass and weeds and your existing lawn is thin:
1. Remove all excess debris and assess your lawn identifying spots that need reseeding.
2. If soil is compacted or has a half inch or more of thatch buildup, core aerate area to break up the thatch layer and to loosen the soil so the roots can better absorb moisture and nutrients. The cores should be 2-3 inches deep and 3 inches apart. Aerators are available at many hardware, garden centers and rental stores.
3. For overseeding, plant grass seed with a slit seeder 1/8 inch deep. Seed to soil contact is very important for success. Do not plant seed more than 1/4 inch deep.
4. When seeding bare spots, loosen soil to 1/2 inch with a rake, spread seed and gently rake seed into the soil. Cover with straw or pelletized mulch on sloped areas. The earlier in spring you reseed the area, the better jump you will get on weed growth.
5. New seeding of large areas, will have best results by planting your lawnseed at half the rate each in a north/south then an east/west direction. This will give you a uniform blanket of grass.
6. Apply a starter fertilizer at the rate of 3-4 lbs/1000 Sq. Ft.
7. Apply irrigation daily so the top ½ inch of soil stays moist until the area is mowed one time. Minimum of 4 weeks of daily irrigation to allow Kentucky Bluegrass to germinate. When the area is mowed once, irrigation should be applied less frequently at higher rates to get the root system to grow deeper.
8. Begin mowing once the first seedlings reach a height of 2 to 2 ½ inches to allow light to reach the slower germinating species. When overseeding, continue to mow the existing lawn at 2 to 2 ½ inches. After 6 weeks, raise mowing height to 2 ½ to 3 inches. Never mow more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in a mowing.
*Mower blades should be freshly sharpened every spring to prevent tearing and ripping out of the ground of new seedlings by dull mower blades.
9. Never apply crabgrass or broadleaf weed control products to newly seeded or reseeded areas until they have been mowed at least three times.
Mother's Day (May 11) is just around the corner and fortunately, so are these gorgeous hydrangeas with their lovely blue hues. It's Bloomstruck, the new hydrangea in the Endless Summer series.
Bred by Dr. Michael Dirr, this reblooming hydrangea macrophylla lives up to its promise of endless blooms. It blooms on old and new wood, grows 3-4' tall, 4-5' wide, and has great disease resistance.
Like other big leaf hydrangeas, it prefers a spot with afternoon shade. Bloomstruck's flowers can be pink, purple or blue, depending on the soil pH. To keep that fabulous blue color, add aluminum sulfate to the soil.
Other bud 'n bloom gifts for mom here at BGC:
'Sweet Fragrance' Easy Elegance Rose has the buds of a hybrid tea that open to a swirl of apricot petals and intoxicating fragrance.
'Paint the Town' Easy Elegance rose is everblooming with clusters of double-petaled blossoms. It's spreading and mounding habit make it suitable for landscapes as well as in containers.
'Sunny Knockout' Rose has bright yellow flowers that age to a pastel cream. It's the only Knockout rose that is fragrant. Blooms all summer and grows 3-4' tall, 3-4' wide.
photos courtesy of Bailey and Willoway Nurseries