Benefits of Gardening For Kids

kidsApparently, we can see how nature is treated these days.  It is a sad thing to know that people do not pay attention so much anymore to the environmental problems.  What can we do about this?  It’s as simple as starting with the children.  It is good to see the children’s involvement with environment-friendly activities. One such nature-loving activity that children could easily get their hands on is gardening. Why should you consider gardening for your children?

Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with:

1.  Science

In planting, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science like the plant’s life cycle and how human’s intervention can break or make the environment.  They can have a first hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed.  This would definitely be a new and enjoyable experience for the kids.

2.  Life

Watching a seed grow into a tree is just as wondrous as the conception to birth and growth of a child.  In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them. Gardening could actually help simulate how life should be treated — it should be with care. The necessities to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening – water, sunlight, air, soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities, i.e., water, shelter, air, food.  By simply weeding out, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided to be able to live life smoothly.

3.  Relaxation

Studies show that gardening can reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group.  More so, it stimulates all the five senses.  Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children who have been abused or those who are members of broken homes.  It helps build one’s self-esteem.

4.  Quality Time with the Family

You can forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely ambience in the garden.  You can play and spend quality time with your children.  You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other.  The bottom line is, always do what you have to do, together with your kids.  You might discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden.

Let kids become aware of their environment’s needs. And one way to jumpstart that environmental education may be through gardening.  It’s hitting two birds with one stone — teach them to respect life while you bond with them.

Butterfly Gardening

butterflyWhat is butterfly gardening? Simply put butterfly gardening is the art of growing flowers and plants that will attract these colorful and dainty creatures to your garden. Delight your family and visitors with beautiful butterflies, but be sure to create a safe habitat for them. If you own cats rethink your plans, because it would be a shame to attract these lovely insects to their death.

The design your butterfly garden is a matter of personal preference. Typical points to consider are the size of your garden and the types of flowers and plants you want to grow. Pick a style of garden that appeals to you, but ensure it also contains the plants and flowers that appeal to the butterflies you wish to attract.

It is important to find out which plants and flowers will attract the species of butterflies that live in your area. This information can be found at the local library usually.

To create the kind of environment that they find attractive, you will also need water of some kind. A birdbath will look attractive and keep the butterflies up off the ground, away from stray cats or mischievous puppies. A shallow dish on a post or hung in a tree will do just as well.

When planting your butterfly garden be careful how you coordinate the colors you choose for your flowerbeds. Although butterflies do not care about your choice of color, you don’t want your garden to be a hodgepodge of unrelated colors and textures. Butterflies are attracted to those flowers that have nectar rather than pollen, like honeysuckle, milkweed, summer lilac, Valerian, daisies, Purple Coneflower, Yellow Sage, day lilies and lavender.

Some people find it helpful to draw and color a layout of their butterfly gardening plan to see what the finished product would look like. Keep in mind that warm colors like red and orange are flashy and showy. These colors have a greater impact against a strong green background. Cool colors such as blue and purple are soothing and toned down and would work better with a white contrast to create the look of freshness and brightness.

In Search of the Best Gardening Tools

toolsDifferent kinds of gardens require different kinds of garden tools. Hardware stores mostly cater for a wide range of tools, but there are shops that specialize in the more expensive kind of garden tool that shouts quality. Wherever you decide to shop, here are a few pointers to advise you.

Do you have small garden or a large one? A small garden will not require the same large equipment that would be of use in an extensive one. A ride-on mower is unnecessary if you only have a small strip of lawn. Another point to consider is who does most of the gardening? Some tools are too heavy for use by women.

When you buy secateurs make sure the blade always stays sharp to avoid damaging the plant. Look for models that have blades that can be sharpened or replaced, models with tension control and with sizes that best fit your hands. Secateurs usually cost around $50 – $130.

Hedge trimmers or shears are handy – but only if you have a hedge, or plan on growing one.  Some hedge trimmers have curved blades to stop branches from sliding out when cut.

Forks are used for turning and aerating compost and breaking up lumps of soil. The cheaper ones are often not strong enough for heavy soil, so go for sturdiness instead of price. Forks usually cost around $30 – $100.

A shovel has a scoop blade and is best used to move around dirt and garden soil. A spade has a flat blade great for cutting edges, digging and dividing plants. The edge of a spade should be kept sharpened for clean and efficient cutting will cause the least amount of damage to plants. These are a basic garden necessity and usually cost from $30 – $50.

A pruning saw is used for pruning trees and larger shrubs, while secateurs are for plants like roses. Pruning saws have a narrow curved blade that fits between stems or branches and easily and cuts them as you pull the saw backwards. They are approximately $27- $55.

A chipping hoe is a handy tool for getting rid of small weeds. The Dutch or push-hoe is slightly more user-friendly as the action required to use it does not jar the neck and shoulder quite so much.

A rake is also a basic requirement for the garden. The strong rake with the flat head and sharp metal prongs is used for smoothing a garden bed and getting out the last of the bumps and weeds. The plastic rake is used to gather leaves and grass clippings only.

Gardening tools don’t have to be expensive. Flea markets and garage sales can be excellent places to pick up great tool bargain.

Choosing The Best Plants For Your Garden

bestplantsMany times we buy plants on impulse then find there is nowhere in the garden that really suits them. Before buying plants carefully examine your garden to see how much sun and shade it gets, whether the soil is well drained or waterlogged and whether your aspect is sheltered or windswept. You’ll then be equipped to go and buy the best plants for your situation; shade-loving plants for the sheltered areas, sun-lovers for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants for the parched areas which may be either sunny or shaded, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained parts.

But wait! Test your soil first, to determine the pH level of your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acid or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have alkaline soil to grow.  You can alter the soil’s pH level, but it’s much easier to simply plant for the soil you have.

Now you are ready to plant. Well – almost. Will you plant in groups or singly? If you buy ‘one of everything’ your garden may seem rather spotty. Group plantings are organised, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest.

Before planting out, place your chosen plants around the garden bed in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are satisfied. Grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting in groups of even numbers. Be sure that you have an interesting combination of colors and textures of plants. Tall plants should go to the back, or the centre if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Try to keep your plants away from trees. The roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture meant for your flowers.

The right color scheme is one way to maintain the harmony in your garden. Imagine the color of the flowers when they are in bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. Foliage color is also important. Many flower plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as attractive as the flower. This means that they are still attractive well past the blooming season and so have added value.

Care of the Flower Garden

flowergardenKnowing how to care for your flower garden can make a big difference in the look and over-all health of your plants. Here are some simple hints to make your garden bloom with health

1. The essentials must always be given major consideration.

Your flower garden must have an adequate supply of water, sunlight, and fertile soil. Any lack of these basic necessities will greatly affect the health of plants. Water the flower garden more frequently during dry spells.

When planting bulbs, make sure they go at the correct depth. When planting out shrubs and perennials, make sure that you don’t heap soil or mulch up around the stem. If you do, water will drain off instead of sinking in, and the stem could develop rot through overheating.

2. Mix and match perennials with annuals.

Perennial flower bulbs need not to be replanted since they grow and bloom for several years while annuals grow and bloom for only one season. Mixing a few perennials with annuals ensures that you will always have blooms coming on.

3. Deadhead to encourage more blossoms.

Deadheading is simply snipping off the flower head after it wilts. This will make the plant produce more flowers. Just make sure that you don’t discard the deadhead on the garden or mildew and other plant disease will attack your plants.

4. Know the good from the bad bugs.

Most garden insects do more good than harm. Butterflies, beetles and bees are known pollinators. They fertilize plants through unintentional transfer of pollen from one plant to another. 80% of flowering plants rely on insects for survival.

Sowbugs and dung beetles together with fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms are necessary to help in the decomposition of dead plant material, thus enriching the soil and making more nutrients available to growing plants.

Other insects like lacewings and dragonflies are natural predators of those insects that do the real damage, like aphis.

An occasional application of liquid fertilizer when plants are flowering will keep them blooming for longer.

Always prune any dead or damaged branches. Fuchsias are particularly prone to snapping when you brush against them. The broken branch can be potted up to give you a new plant, so it won’t be wasted.

Easy Front Yard Landscaping

frontHaving a low maintenance front yard is the goal of many people. You can get easy to manage front yard landscaping done by any of the professional landscapers in your area or you can do it yourself. Either way you can have front yard landscaping done that will take minimal work to keep looking fantastic all year round. If you are going to get a professional in to do your front yard landscaping though, be sure to tell him that this is your over all goal, that you want to have a yard that will not take a lot of work to keep up.

If you have less grass in your front yard landscaping then you will cut out a lot of maintenance time right there. Mowing the lawn can take up a lot of time and energy so keeping the grass to a minimum is a great way to save on work. Talk to the front yard landscaping expert about alternative that you can use to keep your yard look good with little lawn area.

Some people choose to use clover instead of grass. Using a clover lawn in your front yard landscaping is a good idea because it will save you money and time. You will not have to mow it very often at all and a clover lawn is even good for front yard landscaping in area that is prone to droughts. They do well virtually everywhere. And best of all for those who want to get out there and enjoy their front yard landscaping, bugs hate clover.

Watering the yard can be a big hassle as well. That is why many people incorporate automatic irrigation systems into their front yard landscaping designs these days. This can save you tons of time and money. This is one of the easiest ways for you to keep your yard looking healthy and well watered during the hotter months of the year. No more hooking up the sprinkler or having to drag out the hose.

You can get a professional to install one of these systems for your front yard landscaping design quickly and easily or you can get a kit and do it yourself. I would recommend getting in a professional however, unless you have experience with this kind of thing. If you were to cause a leak then you could face some flooding and rotting and neither of these is going to do anything for your front yard landscaping, do you know what I mean?

Planning For Desert Landscaping

desertIf you live in a dry and arid climate then your desert landscaping is going to take a little more planning than some other parts of the country. desert landscaping will have to work with a plan that includes only plants and trees that can survive with much less water than some other plants. There is no point in planting something if it can not sustain itself afterwards. So take some time with your desert landscaping plan and make sure that you have done everything suited to the climate.

You could spend the money to get better irrigation put in but the money will be great and the time will be all consuming. It is much simpler for your desert landscaping plan to just include plants that will thrive even in the hot sun all day.

What makes using desert landscaping friendly plants so great is that not only will these plants do well even in the hot sun they will also be able to thrive in poor quality soil. This is a much needed quality because places that have so much sun tend to have poor soil as well. So in essence you are killing two birds with one stone as they say.

Here are some wonderful plants that you can use in your desert landscaping:

Longwood Blue bluebeard

This is a shrub, it is deciduous and it will grow back each and every spring. It will always come back healthy and happy and this makes it perfect for desert landscaping. It is not a tiny shrub, it will grow to be anywhere between 3 and 4 feet high with a width of about 2 feet. This is a lovely plant to use in your desert landscaping as it is not only beautiful with its pretty blue flower clusters and silver foliage, it is also very fragrant.

Autumn Joy

This is a wonderful perennial that you can plant for your desert landscaping. With this choice you will have great leaves in pretty whorls. These leaves can be any number of different colors and can be bought to go with any desert landscaping design. This plant is the ultimate for desert landscaping because it can grow in rock gardens with ease. This lovely desert landscaping plant also has a unique and interesting flower unlike any other I have ever seen. These small flowers grow in clusters and they can be a few different colors and shades. The most common are yellow, orange and red and pink. If you plant these in your garden you will have butterflies around all of the time and they make for lovely entertainment on their own.

Concrete Landscaping Can Add So Much To Your Yard

concreteTo hear the word concrete you may not think that it would be something to want in your yard but in fact, concrete landscaping has come along way in the last 10 years or so. Now concrete landscaping is all the rage and it is very pretty too.

You can use concrete landscaping for many different parts of your yard. Most people use concrete landscaping ideas and designs for the walkways and paths that wind through their gardens. This is more for those with larger yards but even if your yard is small it could do with some concrete landscaping. You could put down a lively patio that you and your friends could it at to have drinks or tea. There is nothing more fun than a little party out on the patio on a nice day.

Stone walls are another form of concrete landscaping that has really caught on like wildfire. Walls are what will frame the whole home. They are the gorgeous and steely frame to the glorious painting that is your front and back yard. There are many other reasons to have concrete landscaping such as walls as well. These walls are perfect for keeping your pet in the yard. If you have a dog that is prone to run away then look into this kind of concrete landscaping. These walls are also very good for keeping intruders out. The harder your home is to get into the less likely burglars will be to bother trying. So look into this type of concrete landscaping today and talk to a professional about it.

You can also use concrete landscaping to keep your soil in place. If there is a part of your yard that is prone to slipping then you can build a retention wall expressly for this purpose. The best thing about concrete landscaping is that while it can be functional you can make it look as if it is just there for looks. There is so much that you can do with concrete landscaping because concrete is so easy to work with. You can use concrete landscaping bricks or you can use whole solid slabs. You can even get custom made concrete landscaping stones that are in unique and creative shapes and patters. Take some time and see what all is out there in terms of concrete landscaping, you might just be surprised.

Backyard Landscaping Is About Many Different Things

backyardYour backyard landscaping is going to have to be about many different things but the most important one of these if your well being. Most people get into backyard landscaping because they want to change the look and feel of their home, they want to make it a wonderful place where their family can feel safe and comfortable at all times. Backyard landscaping is a great way to add some more peace to your life whether you are alone or you have a large family and tons of kids. You will be able to create a sanctuary with your backyard landscaping that you have never had before in your life.

Backyard landscaping does not have to be drastic or hard. You can do your own backyard landscaping or you can hire a contractor to do it all for you. The choice is yours but doing it yourself can be a lot of work, especially if you do not have any experience in this type of thing. There are all kinds of things that you will need to learn about before you start doing your own backyard landscaping. You will have to take a crash course in landscaping and this course will be jammed packed with all kinds of info that you never even knew was out there. You may be able to save some money on the work if you do your won backyard landscaping but if you screw things up too badly you may end up paying even more to get everything fixed.

If you want to get some backyard landscaping done you should only do it yourself if it is going to be a simple and straightforward job. If you need irrigation things dealt with and planes and elevations leave it to the professionals that do it for a living. These things may be over your head entirely. You need to watch out how you go about your backyard landscaping or you could end up with quite a mess on your hands.

There are a couple of great places for you to learn some more about backyard landscaping such as the local public library and the internet. You can get many backyard landscaping books out of the library and these will help you to make the best decisions as to your landscaping needs. You can also get many do it yourself tips online.

A Wonderful Backyard Landscaping Idea

backyardideasA good backyard landscaping idea is one that everyone can make use of. There are many different backyard landscaping ideas and most of them are pretty good but to find the one that is right for you and that is just what your yard needs may take some reading. This article will help you to find the perfect backyard landscaping idea for your home.

A good backyard landscaping idea is to use evergreens. The use of these fabulous trees will do o much for any yard. They will add a stately nature to the feel of your home while keeping it welcoming and warm. Many people like to use deciduous trees in the yard and this is always a good idea but it is the evergreens that will give the yard the structure and the stability that it needs for a good backyard landscaping idea and design.

You need to look for a backyard landscaping idea like the one above that will benefit you all year round. Deciduous trees will not be gorgeous in all seasons, most perhaps, but not all. Evergreens on the other hand are always fantastic and they look as beautiful in the winter as they do in the summer and this is why they make for such a great backyard landscaping idea. The key to any great landscaping design is to find a backyard landscaping idea like this that will keep your yard interesting no matter what time of the year it is.

Another good backyard landscaping idea is to use hardscape. This is the use of things like rocks, fences and walls. These can make your yard look very interesting during all of the seasons. You can have climbing plants on it in the summer and spring and pretty trees around it that will look great in the winter. When looking for a good backyard landscaping idea you need to look for other options besides just plants. There is much more to landscaping than just plants and trees.

Walls and fences can frame your property beautifully and using them is such a great backyard landscaping idea because they will just accent all of your other wonderful backyard landscaping ideas. They will frame your yard as a picture frame frames a gorgeous painting. Look at this kind of backyard landscaping idea as well in your search for the one.