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Archive | Diggin’ Spring

Soup up your yard with homegrown superfruits

Black Lace elderberry can beautify the landscape and provide bumper crops of nutritious fruits.

Black Lace elderberry can beautify the landscape and provide bumper crops of nutritious fruits.

(NAPS) Superfruits—fruits that are exceptionally rich in vitamins and antioxidants—are popular ingredients in a variety of healthy foods.

Fortunately, although “superfruit” connotes something rare and exotic, a surprising number of these plants, including aronia, elderberry and goji berry, are hardy shrubs that can be grown right in your backyard. They’re easy to grow and require no spraying or complicated pruning and produce pound after pound of juicy, nutritious fruit every year.

Aronia

Aronia is a large shrub native to eastern North America. With showy white flowers in spring and blazing red leaves in autumn, it makes an excellent choice for landscaping around your home. Large clusters of glossy black berries ripen in late summer, making aronia a standout in the kitchen as well as the garden.

The fruits are sometimes known as chokeberries because of their very sour flavor but they can be sweetened and used in juice, jam, desserts, even wine, which makes it even easier to savor their high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. In fact, they’ve been enjoyed in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Russia for decades.

Aronia tolerates winter temperatures as low as -40° F, and does best when planted where it will get at least six hours of sun each day.

Elderberry

Elderberry is another North American native shrub that you can count on to beautify the landscape and provide bumper crops of nutritious fruits.

Varieties that have been se-lected for ornamental foliage are especially useful for home gardeners, as they are even more attractive than plain green wild types.

Black Lace, which was developed in England, where elderberry flowers and berries are eaten regularly, has delicate, lacy foliage in a dramatic near-black color.

Black Beauty has bigger, bolder foliage but the same dark purple-black color. Both offer large pink flowers that give way to small black berries that are very high in vitamin C; research suggests they can be effective in minimizing flu symptoms.

Elderberry plants don’t mind cold weather, surviving through temperatures of -25° F, and they can grow well even in partial shade (up to four hours a day). For the most abundant elderberry harvest, you should put at least two plants in your garden.

Sweet Lifeberry goji produces antioxidant-packed berries of exceptional vigor, flavor and size.

Sweet Lifeberry goji produces antioxidant-packed berries of exceptional vigor, flavor and size.

Goji Berries

Goji berries are antioxidant-packed and sell for high prices at health food stores but they’re actually easy-to-grow shrubs. Also known as wolfberry, the rich purple flowers appear in early summer and are followed by gleaming red berries. The plants produce fruit continuously until autumn and never need spraying or special attention.

Though goji has been popular in China for many centuries, specially selected varieties have only recently become available in North America. These include Sweet Lifeberry and Big Lifeberry goji from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs, and they were chosen for their exceptional vigor, flavor and size.

Goji berries can tolerate temperatures as low as -20° F. They need to be grown in a sunny spot but they’re not fussy about soil and need little water or fertilizer once they’re established. They can be planted in the ground or grown in a large pot on a deck or patio.

Learn More 

You can find all these plants at a garden center, in the fruits or the shrubs section. They cost between $20 and $50 depending on size.

For further facts, tips and re-cipes, visit www.ProvenWinners.com/VitaminBerries.

 

 

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Fresh Market

DIG-RhubarbBy Vicky Babcock

With asparagus season nearly behind us, it is time to consider other vegetables to round out our diets. Look for sugar peas and zucchini soon at your local farmers markets. Another vegetable that enjoys a fairly long season is the mixed-up and often misunderstood rhubarb. Rhubarb is a vegetable high in vitamin C. It is also a good source of magnesium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin K, calcium, potassium and manganese. It is low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol.

Only the stalks are used in rhubarb as the rhubarb leaf contains oxolates and anthraquinone glycosides making it poisonous to humans and other animals.

While rhubarb lends itself most often to recipes you would consider the property of fruit, it is also a great base for relishes. Try the following with grilled brats or pork chops. We think you’ll agree that it’s a great choice in your diet.

Rhubarb Relish

2 quarts chopped rhubarb

3 lbs. brown sugar

1 qt. vinegar

2 tsp. allspice

2 tsp. salt

6 small onions

2 tsp. pepper

Cook together rhubarb, onions and vinegar for 20 minutes.  Add spices and cook slowly for one hour. Place hot into clean canning jars and seal.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Township Farmers Everything Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Creative ways to use containers in your landscape

DIG-Creative-ways-Patio-container-gardenby Melinda Myers

 

Container gardens have long been used to add a spot of color by a front entrance or expand planting space in city lots, balconies and decks. Don’t let past experience and tradition limit your vision.Try one or more of these attractive, fun and functional ways to include containers in your landscape, large or small.

Add vertical interest to any garden or garden space. Select a large attractive container filled with tall plants like papyrus and canna. Or elevate a small pot on steppers or an overturned pot for added height. Create height with smaller pots and plants by strategically stacking and planting them into a creative planting. Try setting any of these planters right in the garden to create a dramatic focal point.

Create a privacy screen or mask a bad view. Use an arbor or other support for hanging baskets and then place a few containers below for an attractive screen. Or create a garden of containers to provide seasonal interest using a variety of plants. Use trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses for height. Save money by purchasing smaller plants. Elevate these on overturned pots for added height and impact. Mask the mechanics by wrapping the pots in burlap. Then add a few colorful self-watering pots in the foreground for added color and beauty. Fill these with annuals or perennials for additional seasonal interest.

Bring the garden right to your back door for ease of harvest and added entertainment. A self-watering patio planter, windowbox, or rail planter reduces maintenance and makes harvesting herbs as easy as reaching out the window or backdoor. Plus, guests will have fun harvesting their own fresh mint for mojitos or greens for their salads.

Define outdoor living spaces within your landscape. Use containers as walls and dividers to separate entertaining and play areas from quiet reflective spaces. And consider using pots with built in casters or set them on moveable saucers to make moving these pots easier. This way you can expand and shrink individual spaces as needed simply by moving the pots.

Create your own vacation paradise. Use planters filled with cannas, bananas, palms and New Zealand flax for a more tropical flare. Add some wicker furniture to complete the scene. Or fill vertical gardens, an old child’s wagon, metal colander or wooden and concrete planters with cacti and succulents. Add some old branches and large stones. You’ll feel as though you’ve hiked into the desert.

All you need is a bit of space and creativity to find fun new ways to put containers to work for you in the garden this season.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. Her web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos, podcasts, garden tips and more.

 

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Protecting your landscape from wildlife damage

DIG-Protect-lawn-from-wildlifeby Melinda Myers

 

They’re cute, they’re furry and they love to eat – your landscape that is.  If you are battling with rabbits, deer, groundhogs or other wildlife, don’t give up.  And if you are lucky enough to be wildlife-free at the moment, be vigilant and prepared to prevent damage before these beautiful creatures move into your landscape to dine.

Anyone who has battled wildlife knows the frustration and difficulty involved in controlling them. Your best defense is a fence. A four-foot-high fence anchored tightly to the ground will keep out rabbits. Five-foot high fences around small garden areas will usually keep out deer. They seem to avoid these small confined spaces. The larger the area the more likely deer will enter. Woodchucks are more difficult. They will dig under or climb over the fence. You must place the fence at least 12 inches below the soil surface with 4 to 5 feet above the ground. Make sure gates are also secured from animals.

Some communities allow electric fences that provide a slight shock to help keep deer out of the landscape. Another option is the wireless deer fence. The system uses plastic posts with wire tips charged by AA batteries. The plastic tip is filled with a deer attractant.  When the deer nuzzles the tip it gets a light shock, encouraging it to move on to other feeding grounds.

Scare tactics have been used for many years. Motion sensitive sprinklers, blow up owls, clanging pans and rubber snakes strategically placed around a garden may help scare away unwanted critters. Unfortunately urban animals are used to noise and may not be alarmed. Move and alternate the various scare tactics for more effective control.  The animals won’t be afraid of an owl that hasn’t moved in two weeks.

Homemade and commercial repellents can also be used. Make sure they are safe to use on food crops if treating fruits and vegetables. You’ll have the best results if applied before the animals start feeding. It is easier to prevent damage than break old feeding patterns. Look for natural products like those found in Messina Wildlife’s Animal Stopper line. They are made of herbs and smell good, so they repel animals without repelling you and your guests.

Live trapping can be inhumane and should be a last option. Babies can be separated from their parents, animals can be released in unfamiliar territory, and trapped animals can suffer from heat and a lack of food and water. Plus, once you catch the animal, you need to find a place to release it. The nearby parks, farms and forests already have too many of their own animals and therefore they don’t want yours.

The key to success is variety, persistence, and adaptability. Watch for animal tracks, droppings and other signs that indicate wildlife have moved into your area. Apply repellents and install scare tactics and fencing before the animals begin feeding. Try a combination of tactics, continually monitor for damage and make changes as needed.  And when you feel discouraged, remember that gardeners have been battling animals in the garden long before us.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV and radio segments and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, features gardening videos, gardening tips, podcasts, and more.    

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Make your water work harder this year

_Car-Road-trip-tire-tips2(NAPS)—Many homeowners looking to maximize the efficiency of their outdoor water use turn to drip irrigation systems as a solution for keeping weeds, diseases, garden pests, scorching heat and high water bills at bay. Drip irrigation systems are easily set up by even a novice gardener and will deliver an immediate water savings as they place the exact amount of water slowly and evenly at the plant’s roots—where it’s needed most.

Here are some drip basics to help you save water:

1. Start by estimating the water needs of your plants. Knowledgeable and helpful staff at a garden center can assist you in determining just how much water your plants need to be healthy. Different plants will have different requirements depending on their variety and the conditions of your yard, such as sun exposure and soil type.

2. Drip systems can either be incorporated into an existing automatic sprinkler system or through a manual connection to an outdoor hose faucet. A manual hose-end connection can also be easily automated by using a battery-operated timer such as the Rain Bird Electronic Garden Hose Watering Timer.

3. For optimum performance, keep your water pressure under control with a pressure regulator. These simple devices keep your water pressure in the ideal range of within 20 to 50 psi. Drip systems are most efficient when operating at the correct pressure.

4. Include a filter in your system to prevent clogging. Drip uses smaller diameter openings than traditional sprinklers, so tiny bits of dirt and debris may clog your system if you don’t use a filter. The good news is that filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

A well-designed drip irrigation system will lose practically no water to runoff, deep percolation or evaporation. Steady, consistent watering can also lower plant stress, which leads to healthier and happier plants while lowering your water bill.

Rain Bird, a global leader in irrigation technology, offers an online step-by-step guide to drip irrigation in addition to interactive demos and a drip calculation program to help homeowners and contractors design and schedule drip irrigation systems correctly. You can check it out at www.rain bird.com.

 

 

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Maximize your harvest with limited space

DIG-Maximize-harvest-Cucumber-7.11by gardening expert Melinda Myers

 

Increase your garden’s productivity even when space, time and energy are limited. Just follow these six simple planting, maintenance and harvesting techniques for a more bountiful harvest.

Maximize your planting space with wide rows. Leave just enough room for plants to reach their maximum size. Make wide rows, 4 to 5 feet wide, so you can reach all plants for maintenance and harvest. Minimizing walkways means more planting space.

Try interplanting. Grow short season crops like lettuce and radishes between long season crops like cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. The short season crops will be ready to harvest when the long season crops are reaching mature size. You’ll double your harvest and grow more vegetables, not weeds between your longer season plants.

Grow more plants per row with succession planting. Start the season with cool season vegetables like lettuce and spinach. Once these are harvested and temperatures warm replace with beans and onions. Harvest these and plant a fall crop of radishes or lettuce.

When you use these intensive planting techniques, be sure to incorporate a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, at the start of the season. Then add a mid-season nutrient boost if needed. The slow release nitrogen won’t burn even during the hot dry weather of summer. Plus, it won’t interfere with flowering or fruiting.

Go vertical. Train vine crops up decorative or functional trellises and supports. You’ll not only save space, but you will also reduce disease problems and increase the harvest. Growing cucumbers and melons increases light penetration and airflow, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Pole beans are much easier to harvest and produce an additional picking. Secure large fruited vegetables like melons to the trellis with a cloth sling.

Be sure to plant vegetables in containers if in-ground space is limited. A 5-gallon bucket or comparable size container is perfect for a tomato. Peppers and eggplants will thrive in a bit smaller pot. Grow vine crops in containers and allow them to crawl over the deck or patio instead of valuable gardening space. Mix flowers and herbs in with your vegetables. You’ll increase the beauty while adding additional fragrance to the pot.

Harvest often and at the proper time. Zucchini and other summer squash should be picked when 6 to 8 inches long or in the case of patty pan squash it reaches 3 inches in diameter. The flavor is better than those baseball bat size zucchini and you’ll have plenty to eat and share. Harvest your head of cabbage when firm and full size. Leave the bottom leaves and roots intact. Soon you will have 4 or 5 smaller heads to harvest and enjoy.

With a bit of planning and creativity you can find ways to increase the enjoyment and harvest in any size garden.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV and radio segments and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers web site is www.melindamyers.com    

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Easy tips for a manicured lawn

DIG-Manicured-lawn(BPT) – The days are getting longer, the grass is growing and yard work season has begun. Many homeowners strive to have the best lawn in the neighborhood, but the task ahead can often feel daunting and time-consuming.

Although yard work can be overwhelming at times, the steps to a great-looking lawn are easier than you think. To get started, here are a few tips for giving your yard that finished look:

* Keep grass approximately 2 inches in length and only take off 1/3 inch of new growth.

* Alternate the direction you mow each session. If you mow in the same direction every time, the wheels will create a rut in the grass.

* Plant flowers around the yard for a pop of color. Using mulch in flower beds will also add detail to your landscape.

* Use string trimmers around trees, rocks, fences and other obstacles to give your lawn a polished look.

* Use a broom to clean grass clippings and soil from pavement and walkways.

Yard work can feel easier and even enjoyable when using the right lawn care tools for the job. According to Troy-Bilt, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, one of the quickest ways to give your lawn a manicured look is using a string trimmer. It can handle everything from cutting down weeds to trimming around trees to cleaning up grass under decks. String trimmers are the most versatile tool every homeowner should have in their shed.

“Lawn mowers can maneuver around obstacles and larger plants, but it’s usually hard to get into tight spaces,” says Heidi Ketvertis, director of marketing communications for Troy-Bilt. “A string trimmer can get into places a lawn mower can’t reach and really give your lawn that polished look.”

Troy-Bilt’s TB675 EC 4-cycle gas string trimmer can help make life in the yard that much easier. There’s no need to mix oil and gas, and it can quickly convert into multiple tools with Troy-Bilt’s TrimmerPlus attachments.

Making your lawn stand out as the beauty of the block will take some work, but the end result will be worth the effort. Visit www.troybilt.com to learn more about lawn care products to help make time in the yard more enjoyable.

 

 

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Warmer weather home updates that are easy on your wallet

DIG-Warm-weather-home-updat

(BPT) – As the weather turns warmer, most of us are experiencing cabin fever, anxious to escape to the outdoors. But has the harsh winter weather put a damper on your outdoor spaces? Don’t fret. You can easily spruce up your exteriors with a few easy and inexpensive home improvement projects. Here are a few fast fixes that will have your home looking great without taking a huge hit on your wallet.

Unpack and update

The first step to enjoying the outdoors is to unpack storage areas and populate your patios and porches with furniture and accents that you put away for the winter season. However, often these pieces don’t fare well in storage and your once-beautiful accents may be scratched, faded or even rusty.

“It’s disappointing to find once-vibrant outdoor furniture and accents looking worn and outdated, especially when you’re not ready to invest in new,” says Katherine Merkle, Krylon brand manager. “Luckily, with a bit of spray paint, especially a version that’s paint and primer in one, it’s simple to revitalize your current pieces to make them lovely and enjoyable, only for a few dollars.”

Krylon’s Dual Paint + Primer spray paint is the ideal solution with a unique formulation that’s available in a wide variety of the most popular colors and finishes. It includes both the paint and primer in one can, so you can complete your projects easily and quickly in one step – with a great finish that lasts like you primed it. Plus, it works on many surfaces, including wood, metal, wicker, glass, ceramic, fabric, concrete and masonry, allowing you to update all your outdoor accents.

DIG-Warm-weather-home-2“Whether looking to add a vibrant pop of color to dull flower pots; restoring sun-faded patio umbrellas; or restoring damaged or dull furniture surfaces, Dual has the color you need in the simple, one-step, affordable solution you desire,” says Merkle.

Clean and clear

Cold weather can leave outdoor spaces looking dirty and gray, so the next step in your outdoor update is to start cleaning. Pressure washing is a simple way to get patios, sidewalks, windows and siding looking clean and ready for the season. It offers instant gratification as layers of dirt, dust and grime are quickly blasted away. Don’t have a pressure washer? No worries that you need to buy one; most rental companies or home improvement centers offer reasonably priced daily rentals. Or it’s an opportunity to visit the neighbors who you haven’t seen during the cold months to borrow theirs.

Great, green grass

With your living spaces looking grand, now it’s time to turn your attention to your lawn. With the grass still soggy and sensitive, it may not be time to begin mowing or digging – but it is a good time for prevention. Since spring is often the key growth season for many grasses, the key to having a weed-free yard is to apply weed control to your yard to prevent them before they germinate. Your local home improvement store or nursery will help you determine the type and amount that is best for your yard. This easy bit of prevention will help create healthy and luscious greenery for the warmer months to come.

Get grilling

 

Once you’ve got your outdoors looking great, you’ll be ready to enjoy some outdoor entertaining. To prep your grill for another year of burgers and barbecues – make sure you start with a good cleaning. Home improvement expert Danny Lipford has a simple and inexpensive way to clean the cooking surface using aluminum foil and white vinegar. The acid in the vinegar cuts through grease and cooked-on food, while the foil acts as an abrasive to remove the food residue. Simply pour white vinegar in a clean spray bottle, spray the cooking surface and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, rub the cooking area with crumpled up aluminum foil. You’ll have a clean grill with items you probably have sitting in your pantry.

With a few fast do-it-yourself updates, your home and outdoor areas will be looking fabulous in no time – and all without a huge price tag. For more information on Krylon paint products, visit www.krylon.com.

 

 

 

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Container Gardening: Choosing the right plant for the pot

You don’t need a lot of space to enjoy fresh homegrown vegetables.

You don’t need a lot of space to enjoy fresh homegrown vegetables.

(NAPS)—It’s a growing trend: Twenty-one million households are planting container gardens. It saves space, helps control pests and overcome soil issues, and lets you enjoy fresh, homegrown produce even without a yard.

To ensure your success, it’s important to pick the right plant for the pot. Fortunately, seed companies are developing vegetable seeds well adapted for container gardens.

“Today’s container gardeners now have access to even more plants that are compact in size, yield more, taste great and feature unique colors and shapes,” said John Marchese of Seminis Home Garden seed.

To help you get started, consider these tips from experts at the University of Illinois Extension:

Choosing a Container 

• Anything that holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom may be transformed into a container garden for terrestrial plants.

• For vibrant plant growth, the containers must provide adequate space for roots and soil media, allowing the plant to thrive.

Soil 

• Soils for containers need to be well aerated and well drained while still being able to retain enough moisture for plant growth.

• Never use garden soil by itself for container gardening, no matter how good it looks or how well things grow in it outside.

• Containers often use soilless or artificial media that contain no soil at all.

• When these mixes are used, they should be moistened slightly before planting. Fill a tub with the media, add water and lightly fluff the media to dampen it.

• When filling containers with media, don’t fill the pot to the top. Leave about a one-inch space between the top of the soil and rim of the pot.

Fertilizer 

• A regular fertilizer program is needed to keep plants growing well and attractively all season.

• The choice of fertilizer analysis will depend on the kinds of plants you grow. High-nitrogen sources would be good for plants grown for their foliage while flowering and vegetable crops would generally prefer lower-nitrogen and higher-phosphorous fertilizer types.

Choosing Plants For Your Container Garden 

• Plants that thrive in like soil, watering and light conditions make successful combinations. When combining plants, size, texture, proportion, color, setting and lighting all play a role.

Caring For Your Vegetables 

• Containers offer the advantage of being portable. As the seasons, temperature and light conditions change, you can move your containers so they enjoy the best conditions for peak performance.

• Most fruit-bearing vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squashes and eggplant require full sun.

• Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and spinach can tolerate more shady locations, unlike root vegetables such as radishes, carrots and onions.

• There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to watering. You have to watch your containers and understand how much moisture each plant needs. Feel the soil—if the first inch or so is dry, add water until it starts to drip out of the drainage holes.

Special Seeds 

“Just because they are using a smaller space to grow the plant doesn’t mean the fruit has to be small, too,” Marchese explained. “For example, if container gardeners are looking for a compact plant that produces large and tasty tomatoes, they should try a new hybrid tomato variety called Debut.”

Container gardeners don’t have to sacrifice flavor for a more conveniently grown plant either. “Husky Red is a medium-sized tomato hybrid that has great flavor. We have also developed a cherry tomato hybrid version called Husky Cherry Red that has the potential to set lots of sweet, flavorful fruit,” added Marchese.

Other compact hybrid tomato varieties include Patio, which produces about a 4-ounce tomato, and a saladette tomato variety called Yaqui that produces large-sized fruit.

Learn More 

For more information on home garden varieties, visit www.seminis.com.

 

 

 

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Seven secrets for a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape

Compact plants like ‘Lilac Chip’ butterfly bush contribute to a low-maintenance landscape.

Compact plants like ‘Lilac Chip’ butterfly bush contribute to a low-maintenance landscape.

 

(NAPS)—Anyone who thinks a low-maintenance landscape has to be plain green and ugly should think again. With a bit of planning, some smart plant choices and the help of these seven garden designer secrets, you can have a yard that’s the envy of your neighborhood—and enough time to enjoy it.

1. Choose plants that will flourish given the realities of your yard. Some plants like full sun while others tolerate shade; some don’t mind freezing temperatures while others are unfazed by relentless heat. Selecting plants that thrive in the existing conditions of your site ensures a healthy, attractive landscape. Observe the light levels around your home—six to eight hours plus of uninterrupted sun each day indicates full sun, four to six hours is considered part shade or part sun, and less than four hours would be a shaded site. Plants at the garden center should have tags that tell you their light preferences. Shopping locally helps ensure that all the plants you see will be suitable for the climate in your yard.

2. Plant drought-tolerant shrubs. These specially adapted plants thrive with limited water once they are established (usually after their first season in the ground). Drought-tolerant plants sail through hot summer days easily, saving you the time and money it takes to water the landscape. Read the tag attached to the shrub for information on its drought tolerance or look for visual cues such as silvery-grey leaves, as are found on Petit Bleu caryopteris, and narrow, needlelike foliage, as on Fine Line rhamnus.

3. Spare yourself the time it takes to prune your plants by opting for compact varieties. Compact (also known as dwarf) plants never get too large for the space where you’ve planted them so you don’t have to bother with confusing pruning instructions. Most people’s favorite plants are available in compact, no-prune varieties: hydrangea lovers can try Little Lime or Bobo dwarf-panicle hydrangeas or the tidy Cityline series of big-leaf hydrangea. Rose fans should take note of the low-growing Oso Easy series with its range of 10 vivid colors, all under 3’ high. Even butterfly bush, a shrub notorious for its giant, sprawling habit, is available in a compact 2’ height with the innovative Lo & Behold series.

The cheery gold of Chardonnay Pearls deutzia can brighten your yard.

The cheery gold of Chardonnay Pearls deutzia can brighten your yard.

4. Choose plants with high-quality, attractive foliage. These look great even when not in bloom, beautifying your landscape for months instead of just a few weeks. Colorful foliage, including the dark purple of Black Lace elderberry or the cheery gold of Chardonnay Pearls deutzia, and variegated foliage, such as My Monet weigela or Sugar Tip hibiscus, make engaging focal points from early spring through late fall. Mix them with such evergreens as Castle Spire holly and Soft Serve false cypress for year-round color.

5. Plant in masses of three, five or seven of the same kind of plant. This gives your landscape a cohesive, professionally designed appearance. Plus, weeds cannot grow if desirable plants are already taking up the space, eliminating that notoriously tiresome garden chore. Planting in groups of odd numbers is a designer’s secret for a bold statement that doesn’t feel too formal or fussy.

6. Mulch. A two- to three-inch-thick layer of shredded bark mulch not only gives your landscape a pleasing, finished look, it conserves water by reducing evaporation. It also keeps plant roots cool and shaded, allowing for healthy, vigorous growth that resists pests and diseases naturally.

7.  Don’t be afraid to re-place the plants that take too much of your time, or those that you don’t really like, with new, easy-to-grow shrubs. At www.ProvenWinnersShrubs.com, there are so many improved varieties available now that there is little reason to settle for anything else.

 

 

 

 

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