This is a re-post of a blog we wrote in 2014. We updated some information and wanted to share it with our loyal readers.
With the weather in the Midwest taking a roller coaster ride this week, you may have done some planting on the warm days. Well now that the forecast calls for snow and freezing temperatures, we need to protect those plants!
Winter is well underway, and so is your cabin fever. If your green thumb is itching to dig in the dirt and bring something to life, then this is not your season. You may be wondering what you can do to satisfy your gardening craving when it’s bitter in your yard. The answer? An indoor garden. You can grow a wide variety of herbs and other plants with a few simple steps. Here they are:
If you like to cook, you’re in luck: herbs are the easiest plants to grow indoors. Do you want fresh basil for that margherita pizza recipe you’ve been eyeing? Perfect. Just plant a packet of seeds in a pot next to a south-facing window. Herbs such as oregano and rosemary grow well and add flavorful excitement to your culinary efforts.
Growing leafy greens inside is more involved than growing herbs, but it can be equally as rewarding. Leafy greens require more sunlight than winter days provide, but flourescent grow lights will give your greens the light they crave. Plant your seeds in damp potting soil, water them regularly, and leave the grow lights on for 10-12 hours every day.
Round root vegetables like carrots and radishes do not root as deeply as other varieties, and they do well indoors if the seeds are sewn at any point in time from mid-autumn to late winter. All you need is a box, pan or trough to get things rolling.
You can grow small tomato varieties indoors with some time and effort. You still need to stake the plants so they can handle the fruit’s weight, and most plants will need to be moved to a large container of potting soil as they grow, but the end result tastes like summer.
For more information on indoor and outdoor gardening, contact the team at Olympic Lawn & Landscape at (816) 875-9645 today.
The October Frost Doesn’t Have to Mean Your Plants Get Lost
Cold fall evenings don’t have to mean that your plants and flowers die right away. Frost damage can be avoided. Granted, you won’t have a lush, full, fruitful garden in the middle of December, but with the following tips, your garden will last until the weather is too cold to produce anything.
Methods to Protect from Frost
You can do several things to safeguard your plants from frost:
- Water the garden thoroughly before it gets dark.
- Consider using an electric fan to artificially create a breeze to prevent frost from settling. (Be sure to use caution and be sure to protect electrical connections from the elements.)
- Cover it up before dusk. Your garden’s stored heat is lost before it gets dark. If you can, build a frame around the plants, and drape newspaper, cardboard or plastic tarps over your plants to prevent heat loss.
- You can use jars to cover smaller plants, but be sure to remove them in the morning so they don’t overheat in the sun.
- Collect heat during the day by painting plastic milk jugs black, filling them with water, and placing them in the daytime sun around your plants. The collected heat will radiate throughout the night.
- Move container-grown plants inside. Or, if that’s impossible, wrap the pot in burlap or bubble wrap, or even bury the pot to protect the foliage.
If none of those efforts work and your plants do receive some frost damage, don’t cut the damaged parts off of your plants. The dead leaves and stems will insulate your plants from further damage. (You’ll have to prune your plants in the spring anyway.)
Pay the Cost to Fight the Frost
For more information about safeguarding your garden from frost until winter hits, call Olympic Lawn and Landscape at (816) 875-9645.
With so many hardy perennials in the botanical mix, we couldn’t cover them in one or two blog posts. (Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.) In part three of Perennials: Nature’s Survivors, we’re going to cover even more perennials that can stand the test of time and weather. Here’s our list:
This perennial is perfect for shady spots. Commonly called barrenwort, epimedium grows only 10-12 inches tall, and covers the ground with both beautiful flowers and foliage. The perennial is also highly drought resistant, which is great for dry growing seasons, which occasionally happen here in the Midwest. And, depending on which variety you grow, the plants may remain evergreen through the winter.
Russian sage adds a nice pop of color to your fall garden. It’s native to central Asia, and tough as nails. It can do well in hot, dry conditions. They typically bloom mid to late summer and keep their beautiful color for weeks. The plant’s silvery foliage is fragrant. It typically grows 3 to 5 feet tall, though dwarf varieties grow shorter than three feet.
Artemisia’s foliage color is absolutely stunning. This perennial is great for perennial borders. The colorful foliage keeps your garden looking great while the flowering plants go in and out of bloom. The foliage is a silver-gray color that doesn’t fade in sunlight. It resists insects and droughts, and its branches make a fantastic addition to indoor flower arrangements. The height varies depending on which variety you plant, from 5 inches tall to 3 feet.
These perennials make a great addition to any garden. Not only are they low-maintenance and resistant to things like weather extremes and insects, but they’re also beautiful, which is likely the reason you decided to plant a flower garden in the first place.
These survivors would make a great addition to any flower garden. For more information on how to make your garden great, call Olympic Lawn and Landscape at (816) 875-9645 and stay tuned for Part 4!
When many people think of fall colors, they think of deciduous trees and shrubs that display leaves with hues of red, yellow and orange. Maybe those same people think of perennials. However, annuals can be an inexpensive and vibrant alternative to grow with some late-season annuals. And with a mid-August rainy period like the one we’ve had in Kansas City this year, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to plant fall flowers.
Winter Is Coming
While everyone gets the itch to plant in the spring, the true landscaping enthusiast will consider even marigolds, which are notoriously tender for his or her autumn landscape. If your landscaping includes trees, autumn flowers will only enhance the beautiful palette of colors that already graces your yard. If your landscaping is tree-less, annuals and perennials will add the vibrant colors you want before winter.
Hardy Plants to Endure the Frost
Hardy plants such as mums, ornamental kale, flowering cabbages and dusty miller provide the landscape with pops of color well after frosty weather arrives. While kale and “flowering” cabbages are not technically flowers because they do not produce bulbs, they still grow gorgeous leaves for your landscape. Their hardiness and steadfastness mean that they will provide color long after real flowers are dead and gone.
Mix It Up
Throw in some more tender flowers, too. Their contribution to your landscape’s fall colors may be brief, but it will be memorable. When choosing flowers, consider something like marigolds: their golden hue will complement the beautiful foliage perfectly.
Take Advantage of Late Summer Prices
You can find cheap flowers in July and August. Be sure to check the leaves top and bottom for signs of bugs, because a bug-ridden plant is no bargain.
Olympic Lawn and Landscape offers lawn and landscaping services to the Kansas City area. If you’ve got questions about what to plant to give your yard more color this fall, call us at (816) 875-9645 today.
Childhood is all about playing, and having the right space for kids to play is paramount to their growth and development. Play facilitates education in everything from social skills to problem solving. The backyard can help create inspiration to last a lifetime. It’s not a bad place for adults to have a good time, either.
Don’t Break the Bank
The perfect backyard play area doesn’t have to cost a fortune or look like a three-ring circus. “Kids like height, they like water, they like plants, tree houses and stepping stones,” says Lolly Tai, a landscape architect and professor at Temple University in Ambler, Pa. “Give them a little water and sand, and all of a sudden creative play happens.”
Create the Place for Play
Planning is key to making the perfect space for children to play. First write down everything you want to include in your backyard play place. Do you want a swing set, tree house, sandbox, vegetable or herb garden? All of the above? Write it all down, then figure out the best spots to place these feature within your yard’s topography.
“It takes doing and thinking,” Tai said. Consider the different ways children and adults will share the space and try to make them work together. A vegetable garden can definitely be a part of the play area. Raised-bed gardens work well for kids because they’re easily accessible.
The Play Area Is Not an Afterthought
Provide shelter in a child’s garden. A shelter can be as simple as a tepee built with sturdy garden stakes and climbing plants. The play area is very important.
“If your whole backyard is beautiful and the plastic sandbox is just stuck in the corner, what does that say about the hierarchy?” said Michael Laris, director of product development and strategy for Playworld, which makes imaginative playground equipment. “A child has rights like we do to have proper spaces. We should do things beautifully and well for them.”
A backyard play area is fun for the whole family. For more information about how you can inspire your kids for their whole lives, call Olympic Lawn & Landscape at (816) 875-9645.
For people who love to get out in the yard for a little landscaping therapy, tilling the ground, planting flowers, mowing or even weeding provides a sense of calm for the mind and some physical activity for the body. For those who don’t love yard work, or are too busy or otherwise unable to handle landscape maintenance chores, we’ve put together a list of tips to cut the time and energy you spend working on your lawn and landscaping. (Even those people who love a little yard work can benefit from these.)
How to Lower Your Lawn Maintenance Time and Energy
Arranging Plants and Other Materials
- Use an edging material to keep your grass and plants growing where you want them to grow, and not where you don’t.
- Use paving or stepping stones for walking paths. Your mailman or the pizza delivery guy won’t necessarily take the time and effort to tiptoe through your garden like a ballerina.
- Add a 2-3″ layer of mulch to control weeds and reduce watering.
Preparing Your Planting Beds
- Be sure to address any drainage or erosion issues before planting.
- Remove or kill weeds and grass before you plant.
- While tilling the soil may not be completely necessary, few plants will grow under compacted soil.
Proper Plant Selection
- Use plants that grow to the size you want them to at maturation. Doing so will eliminate the need for constant sheering.
- Consider using trees that don’t drop fruit and also have small leaves so you don’t have to clean up after them all the time.
- Reduce the number of annual plants needed. By reducing annuals, you eliminate the need for re-planting every year.
Always Be Prepared
The number one tip for reducing landscaping maintenance we can give is to have a plan. Whether your plan is a professional one or something you come up with on your own, you can eliminate redundant work. By setting a proper sequence you’ll avoid problems in the future.
Olympic Lawn and Landscaping is proud to offer quality lawn and landscaping services to the Kansas City area. For more information about reducing the time you spend doing yard work, or for help with a professional plan of action, call us at (816) 875-9296 today.
In part 1 of Perennials: Nature’s Survivors, we covered some powerhouse plants that can stand up to the harshest elements. These perennials are a great low-maintenance addition to any landscape. Here are more plants that can get down and dirty:
Baptisia is sometimes called false indigo, and while it may be “false,” it is not weak. Baptisia can live for decades. It is shrub-like with graceful blue, white, purple or yellow flowers in early spring. Its pea-like, blue-green foliage looks great even when the plant isn’t blooming. Baptisia needs plenty of sunlight and can grow 3-4 feet tall.
The coneflower was once found growing wild on the prairie. Now it is one of the most widely grown and hybridized perennials in the country. There are single-flowering, double-flowering, or even triple-flowering forms you can grow. Coneflowers vary from the traditional purple color to white, orange, yellow and red. They bloom early summer to fall and attract butterflies and birds.
Asiatic lilies are hardy, almost foolproof flowers. They grow quickly from bulbs planted during autumn or early spring, and they develop gorgeous flowers in a huge range of colors and bicolors. Their flower show is in full swing early to midsummer. Asiatic lilies multiply quickly, so you can dig them up and divide them every few years and spread them to sunny spots in your garden.
Hostas provide variety. They’re comfortable in the shade and come in hundreds of colors, shapes and sizes. Some of these power plants can grow to four feet tall, or some only grow to four inches tall. Hostas produce colorful foliage and have wands of blue, white or lavender during the summer. They’re easy to care for, and can be dug and divided to produce more plants whenever you need them.
These perennials make gardening fun and easy. Stay tuned for part 3 of Perennials: Nature’s Survivors. For more information on how you can use perennial plants to make your garden an enduring success, call Olympic Lawn and Landscape at (816) 875-9296.
We see the American flag everywhere. Sometimes it’s blowing in the wind in front of government buildings or it’s proudly displayed in parades. It’s even on the moon. We know the flag is a symbol of the United States, but what does it really mean? Why is it so important that military personnel salute the flag, and we sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at every major sporting event? Our flag has long been a symbol of freedom. Over one million American men and women have fought and died to protect that freedom. You may be wondering just what those colors mean.
The American Flag: Much More than a Piece of Cloth
The American flag has gone through changes over the past two centuries, but the colors remain the same. The flag has 13 stripes, representing the 13 original colonies, and 50 stars to represent the 50 states. While the Stars and Stripes’ colors did not have specific meaning when the flag was adopted in 1777, the creation of the Great Seal of the United States gave meaning to the colors. According to Charles Thompson, the Secretary of the Continental Congress, white signifies purity and innocence. red is for hardiness and valor. and blue is the “color of the Chief,” and “signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.”
Honor Your Country in Your Own Backyard
To honor our great nation and its flag, we’ve compiled a list of red, white and blue flowers to include in your garden for Independence Day.
- Red – salvia, geranium, verbena, poppies, zinnia, begonias, mums, snapdragons and celosia.
- White – geranium, alyssum, shasta daisy, salvia, mums, snapdragons, verbena and zinnias.
- Blue – ageratum, blue bells, lobelia, verbena and salvia.
Olympic Lawn and Landscape is offering some great Fourth of July specials on our landscape, lawn care, and curbing services to celebrate Independence Day. To learn more about our services, call (816) 875-9645 today.