Have you ever wondered why some plants grow better next to one another than others? If you do, you’ll love learning what companion planting teaches you. The act of planting two or more species of plants together to achieve a culture benefit is popular among gardeners. Whether it’s for pest control or to produce a better crop, one thing’s certain. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with companion planting, you’ll be hooked.
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!
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.
Perennial plants are a great way to enhance the look and add some color to your landscaping. With the crazy weather we’ve been having in Kansas City, plants that can stand the test of time, temperature and tempest are a must. We’ve compiled a list of perennials with the flower power and fortitude to survive for years to come:
Daylilies are practically indestructible. It seems like all they need is a sunny spot. They are insect and drought resistant, and they offer a wide range of colors to choose from. They are available in early-, mid-, and late-season bloomers, or you can select repeat bloomers that flower from spring until autumn. They are easy-care plants, and they do have large dumps that should be divided every three to four years.
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
These plants produce wave after wave of fragrant flowers that are rich with nectar all summer long. Every fall, they die, but return bigger and better the following spring. Buddleia’s color choices are white, red, purple, blue, pink and lavender. They look great in flower borders or in containers. They do need lots of sun.
Dry, hot weather doesn’t stop the Coreopsis from flowering all summer long. While we may have more rain than we know what to do with this summer, it doesn’t hurt to plan for the future. These flowers are native to North America, and are one of the most reliable perennials you can grow. They produce yellow, pink, orange, white, red or even bi-colored blooms that dance in the wind. They also have few insect or disease problems. Removing faded blooms as they appear can promote even more flowers.
Sedums require almost no care. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors and won’t buckle to heat, drought, winter, cold or insects. They grow quickly and can make anyone feel like he or she has a green thumb. They prefer the sun, but can also grow in partial shade.
With these scrappy and easy-care flowering plant options, you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your lawn and landscaping needs. Stay tuned for part two for even more botanical survivors.
For more information on power perennials, call Olympic Lawn and Landscape at (816) 875-9296.
Gardening can be a great way to get outside, get some physical activity, and grow healthy fruits and vegetables for you and your family to enjoy. June is Safety Awareness Month, and to celebrate, we’re going to give you some expert safety tips to take to your home not so far from home: your backyard garden.
Dress to Protect
Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful pesticides and herbicides, sharp or motorized equipment, bugs, and too much sun.
- Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants to prevent injury when using power tools and equipment.
- Protect your hearing when using machinery. If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone who is an arm’s length away, the noise can be potentially harmful to your hearing.
- Wear gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET. Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots because ticks are usually close to the ground.
- Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
Power tools and even un-powered tools and equipment can cause serious injury. Limit distractions and be sure to use equipment and chemicals properly. Being prepared and aware of hazards can lower any risk of injury.
- Follow any instructions and warning labels on chemicals and lawn and garden equipment.
- Make sure all equipment is working properly.
- Sharpen your tools carefully.
- Keep harmful chemicals, tools, and equipment out of children’s reach.
Contact Us Today
Olympic Lawn and Landscape, Inc. takes safety seriously. For more information on gardening safety or to schedule an appointment for our expert lawn and landscape services, call (816) 875-9296 or contact an expert.
Spring is here, and it’s time for gardening tips. These helpful gardening tips just might give you a green thumb, so use them to begin your spring gardening rituals.
Don’t Start Too Early
Gardening in the spring is essential, but resist heavy work until conditions are right. One of the most vital gardening tips to keep in mind is that saturated soil can undermine your efforts. Cultivating or even walking on soil that’s too wet crushes its structure and can make it unsuitable for growing.
Take a Survey
Many homeowners leave gardening behind in the winter. With the arrival of spring there are a great number of gardening tips to keep in mind. Grab paper and pen to make a survey of the yard to see what needs to be done. Make note of any purchases you’ll need to make so you’ll have a list ready for your next shopping trip.
Get Rid of Debris
After winter storms, one of the most crucial gardening tips relates to getting rid of last year’s mess. Clear away any fallen limbs, dead leaves and other detritus to make way for the serious gardening. It’s also helpful to cut away the remnants of last year’s perennials.
Put Tools in Order
While waiting for the soil to dry so you can experiment with more advanced gardening tips, spend some time reviewing the status of your gardening tools. Make any repairs or get replacements now so that you’ll be ready when the right time arrives.
Prune for Success
Spring is an ideal time for pruning shrubs, bushes and trees. Hire professionals if you need to eliminate sizable limbs and aren’t sure you can do so safely. Shrubs that bloom in the spring can be pruned after the blooms fade.
Gardening is more successful when you know your soil. Spring gardening tips should always include a soil test kit that tells you what your beds need to ensure gardening success.
Make your garden a success. Call (816) 875-9296 or contact an Expert.
Plants get their names from some uncommon sources. For example, what does Greek mythology have to do with plants and flowers? The answer is everything! Many plants and flowers got their name from mythological figures like Zephyr and Venus.
Here are a few plants with mythological names:
• Flora. The goddess of flowers. She turned Cyanus into a cornflower as a way to honor his life.
• Adonis. The god of nature. Venus caused a flower to spring from his blood.
• Hyacinthus. Killed by Zephyr, Hyacinthus blood dripped and a flower sprung up from the ground.
• Paeon. The name peony comes from Zeus’ obligation to Leto. He turned Paeon into a flower rather than let him suffer the wrath of Asclepius.
• Crocus. When he asked the gods to help him win the affection of Smilax, they turned him into a flower.
• Narkeo or Narcissus. He drowned in a pool of water after admiring himself. A white flower floated in place where he fell in. His mother is remember by the name Liriope.