(Family Features) A volatile economy and rise-and-fall real estate market have flipped the switch for many homeowners to become avid Do-It-Yourselfers, especially when it comes to gardening. Part of this is due to the long-term benefits that planting and landscaping provide.
Gardening offers a triple treat—it is good for the body, good for the mind and good for the soul. As exercise, gardening builds strength, endurance and flexibility. Dan Heims, co-owner/president of Terra Nova Nurseries, details the psychological benefits that go along with such pleasurable exercise. “There are undeniable benefits of fresh air and a reconnection with the earth. There is also the supreme gratification of nurturing tiny plants to maturity and the pursuant rewards of magnificent flowers.” Heims and the team at Terra Nova Nurseries are industry leaders in plant breeding technology, having introduced over 600 new varieties.
For homeowners more inclined to see gardening as “botanical expression,” transforming an ordinary area of turf into an English garden, country wildlife habitat or tropical escape is a fantastic creative outlet.
The long-term rewards come easily. Planting perennials gives gardeners pleasure year after year, as they do not have to be planted each year like annuals. Terra Nova Nurseries’ Echinacea “Maui Sunshine” and Coreopsis “Citrine” prove exemplary as they require little maintenance but are fragrant and floriferous.
Gardens are valuable providers for our ecosystem. Planting flowers, shrubs and trees helps trap dirt and dust from pollution and allows for more harmful gases like carbon dioxide to be transformed into clean oxygen. “People are discovering gardening like never before, more so now with environmental awareness taking place,” says David Wilson, director of marketing for Overdevest Nurseries and its Garden Splendor branded plants.
Garden Splendor plants, like the stately blue-green ornamental grass Schizachyrium ‘Carousel,’ will continue to help the environment well after the frosts of autumn have killed off the last annuals. Garden Splendor offers a full line of premium plants that supply long-term blooming and gorgeous foliage. Showcase varieties are delivered to participating garden centers at the precise times for planting.
Heuchera ‘Midnight Bayou,’ from Terra Nova Nurseries, provides similar longer-lasting benefits. It has been bred to be an ever-bloomer and grow larger each year, producing large silver-purple leaves that season into deep red purple.
Much like renovating a bathroom or painting kitchen walls increases home worth, adding plants boosts value both financially and physically. Real estate agents use the phrase “curb appeal” to coin the attractiveness of exteriors.
To liven up a front walkway and add curb appeal, Heims suggests planting Sedum “Chocolate Drop,” with clumping mounds of scalloped dark brown leaves and rose-colored blooms, or Echinacea “Flame Thrower,” with fiery two-toned orange and yellow flowers. Also, landscape additions like Garden Splendor’s Yucca “Color Guard,” which can grow up to 3 feet tall and requires virtually no maintenance, can supply dramatic effect.
Gardening can create privacy and minimize street noise. It can also create square footage. Add a bench and hearth to transform a garden into a cozy outdoor room. Or, place a table and chairs by a wall that stands in the background to Garden Splendor’s taller hardy shrub Sorbaria “Sem,” or shorter, more compact Hosta “Touch of Class.”
Becoming a gardener might seem daunting to some, but the long-term benefits far outweigh that stereotype. “More and more of us simply want to create and enjoy our own little bit of paradise, and improve our environment to benefit our family and those we hold dear,” Wilson says. To learn more, log onto www.terranovanurseries.com and www.gardensplendor.com.