Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mulch! What is it good for? Absolutly Everything!

Milch mooch mulch. Its that time for us to have the mulch talk. Yes, my young gardeners. Let's have some frank talk about mulch.

First of all, what is mulch? Simply put: anything that covers your soil. It can be plastic, wood chips, manure, or compost. Or hazelnut shells or recycled tumbled get the idea. You want a barrier of something between your precious bare garden soil and the ravages of weather and weeds. Mulching your beds means you have to weed and water less often. Organic mulches also improve your soil's tilth and, to a lesser degree, it's fertility. If you spent time last summer cursing your weed population, a thick cover of mulch should improve your situation dramatically.

So, since you're all now planning to refresh or introduce a nice, comfy blanket of mulch into your garden, the most important question to ask yourself is this: What do I want to gain by mulching my garden beds?

If weed prevention and control is your top goal, you want a mulch with a lot of bark: Cedar play chips, arborist chips, or shredded bark. Toss some cardboard or newspaper down first, and you're really getting a jump on the weeds.

If general soil improvement is your goal, mulch with compost or a compost manure blend.

If you're a somewhat desperate Seattle veggie gardener, praying for a week of consecutively warm nights (keep praying, my friend) in order to grow melons, peppers, and tomatoes; you may want to investigate plastic mulches. They come in several colors, and certain colors are supposed to benefit certain plants. We carry them at the City People's Store, or check out Territorial Seed for more info.

Right-o. After deciding what type of mulch to get, you need to decide how you're going to acquire your mulch. Ordering in bulk is usually the best way to go if you need more than 1/4 yard of mulch, and trust me, you do. One yard of mulch is approx ten full wheelbarrows. If you have a lot of open ground, than can go pretty fast.

If all this is sounding good, give us a call. If you want to prevent serious summer weeding, call us now. The long wet spring coupled with current warming temps are creating a perfect storm for weeds. We can give you more info about mulch types, recommend places to order from, or set up a time to deliver and spread it into your beds for you. We're kind of mulching ninjas. I'm just saying.

More on the do's and don'ts of mulching, later.

Ah, the best part of mulching: when it's all off the tarp and in the garden. Satisfaction.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bulletproof Design: Spring Combos

A great spring combo from a clients yard: Ceanothus 'Vandenburg' underplanted with Sedum 'Angelina' with some added blue from Aguja at the base of the rockery. Give those plants what they want, full sun and well drained soil, and stand back! No shy growers, here.

Ceanothus is unmatched in leaf texture, branching structure, and bloom color. Its a bit of a James Dean, lives fast and dies young (for shrubs, anyway), but its fast and furious nature helps a brand new landscape fill in when you need some heft!

Sedum 'Angelina' is a workhorse groundcover that forms lovely mats of golden green. It tends to swallow other low growing things in its path, so this situation suits it well.

These two plants grown in combination is garden design that sings. The color contrast is fab and once established, they need little water and out compete most weeds. What's not to like?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What NOT to do... in the garden.

We are in full support of home gardeners. And love to help in every step of the way!
However, we are also in favor of strong, healthy plants! If you have questions, or are unsure of how to do something... anything... we are happy to help.

Prime example - tree pruning is a technical skill. This can greatly help, or hurt, a tree.
We are able to prune your trees - and if they are too large for our crews, we have a referral for a certified arborist.

Don't do this... call us first.
(Note: this is a Flowering Cherry Tree... can you tell?)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Found Objects

Gardens are FULL of surprises... planned and unplanned - we find joy in the smallest of details.
What treasures have you discovered?

Friday, April 22, 2011

What's that I see?

What is that in the sky?
I think it may be a GLORIOUS weekend for Gardening!
Everyone go out there and Enjoy.

We will touch base next week... with more gardening tips galore.

Until then...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fall Already?... Time for the End of Summer Cleanup

There was that day mid August where the clouds pooled and the wind shifted a certain way I knew it was happening again. And then the rains, so early this year. What does this mean for the garden?

Well, the rains make the spent blooms flop to the ground telling us they're ready to cut back. There will be quite a lot of seasonal pruning to do, especially those perennials.The rain does help put on a flush of new growth to everything and that includes restarting those dry, dormant weed seeds. So in a few days/weeks out in the un-tended garden, the weeds might have already started making a grand end-of-summer appearance.

Call us for a careful, detailed cleanup of your garden before the weeds take over! We're experienced and can turn a messy garden into a great place to spend the waning days of summer (or whatever season this is..)...

Happy gardens!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Correcting the Mistakes of the Inexperienced...

When thinking about a late summer or fall cleanup to the garden I feel like I should offer some advice. Opt for experience over price. Experience does matter in our field.

I had a bad feeling about a call that came in this week from one of our former clients. I get this often have when a client opts for a less expensive company and calls a few months or a year later. Their "camelias and rhododendrons have been butchered," Could I please hurry out and see what might be done, was the frantic request. They were putting the place on the market next month.

Now, after so many years in the field, I've learned that there is a certain amount of hyperbole that goes on when shocking pruning is done. In this case, however, the word "butchered" was pretty close to accurate. Actually that might be doing a dis-service to the art of meat rendering.

I drove to the site this week and took a look. In short, the Rhody and the Camelia may not survive the midsummer hacking. There would be a better survival chance if there was some kind of watering there, but in this case, no such luck. I've advised a few more corrective cuts on these shrubs and many more on the site but not too much more. We'll let them recover, put on some new growth and then next year after bloom-- after the time that blooming might occur -- more corrective pruning and assessment can be done.

The client would have spent less and had a sale-able landscape all year rather than now needing to spend what they already did to get some very unpleasant results and then more later to correct what ills were done.

The cheaper price very often leads to problems down the road that can surely leave a mess of butchered plants in its wake.