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Friday
May032013

Summer Annuals: Old & New

Coleus varietyImpatiens, lantana, elephant ears, petunias and other annuals are found in summer gardens year after year. The blight on impatiens has taken the number one landscape annual out of commission. Dragon Wing begonias are a great shade alternative. They flower profusely and look great in a bed or a container and provide a unique texture in the landscape.

 

 

 

Coleus variety & Elephant Ears

Coleus has some of the most beautiful foliage I've ever seen, is shade loving and there is a variety called 'Wasabi' that can take full sun with sufficient irrigation. 'Wasabi' is a bright lime green and makes a wonderful accent planting for both containers and beds. There is a plentiful selection of coleus varieties, with different colors and forms to choose from.

 

 

 

 

Caladium, Coleus & Begonia

Caladium is another showy foliage plant for shade and makes a statement as a centerpiece in a pot or as a mass in a bed. Bright annuals can make a shady area seem sunnier with contrasting colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Succulents & CrotonThe classics never go out of style but why not make a bold statement in your summer garden with some unique flowering succulents? For sunny areas, cacti and succulents are an easy way to make planters and the landscape pop. These plants come in a wide range of foliage and flower colors and offer a distinctive show that we rarely see up north. Agave, Sedum 'Vera Jameson' & Scaevola in SeptemberPrickly Pear Cacti are winter hardy on Long Island. Warning: Be careful of their tiny spines. Sticky tape can help remove them from your skin. There is a thornless variety but it may not overwinter as well.

For the past few years, we've tried a few ideas out at our garden center - including mixed pots of succulents. Not only do they have showy foliage and flowers, but they require very little water, making them a more sustainable and lower maintenance option in the heat of summer. Agave 'Americana' and Croton 'Petra' make an eye-catching centerpiece while purple ice plant and Scaevola 'New Wonder' trail over the sides and bloom non-stop through the summer until fall.

Many of the succulents we use in green roof and wall installations double as perennials and groundcovers in the garden. Sedum ‘Vera Jameson,’ Sedum ‘Dragon’s Blood,’ and Sedum spurium (many varieties) are just a few succulents that perform well in the landscape. Sedum 'Vera Jameson' blooms in late summer/early fall and gives us one last hurrah in the garden before the cold weather sets in.

Want some advice on annuals for your garden? Contact Ashley at Goldberg & Rodler

Monday
Mar252013

Storm & Winter Damage

Strong winds during last year's Hurricane Sandy cause a lot of damage to trees and shrubs in the landscape by uprooting them and breaking limbs. That damage was immediately obvious.

What you may have attributed to winter burn may be burned foliage from wind and saltwater damage. Damage that you can't see underground from excessive saltwater infiltration will show as a stressed or failing plant. The effects of this storm will continue to damage plants for some time but there are a few ways to mitigate the damage to your landscape such as irrigating a few inches per week in early spring to flush out salt in the soil, fertilizing with an organic, salt-free fertilizer to promote new leaf growth and proper pruning to ensure the structural integrity of the plant.

Not sure why your plants are stressed or are you suspicious of residual hurricane and harsh winter damage? A certified arborist can detect issues not visible to the untrained eye such as weakened limbs, injured root systems and salt damage. Decrease the chance of damage during the next major weather event. Call Gary Carbocci, an ISA Certified Arborist (NY0151A), at (631) 271-6460 at Goldberg & Rodler's Tree Care Long Island division and assess your landscape today.

Tuesday
Mar122013

Spring Start Up & Cleanup

Fast forward to three months from now. Maybe you're sipping a margarita by a pool, possibly in your own backyard, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and - Wait a minute, how can that happen if you don't start now? It's warming up and boy is there a lot to do in the garden, but you can't do anything without cleaning up first. There's vegetable gardens to plan, pools to open, patios to design, furniture to get out of storage, powerwashing, fertilization and pruning to be done.

Where to start?

Think of spring as the time to take inventory of your outside spaces. If you're unsure how to go about it, take advantage of our Free Property Analysis. We will professionally assess your property to determine if any damage has occurred over the winter, such as salt and wind burn. We can evaluate and determine if your turf needs remediation or if your plants need fertilization. What about pruning? Our certified arborists can study the health of your trees and shrubs and make recommendations. Maybe your trees were damaged in Hurricane Sandy or from all the heavy snow we had this winter. Proper pruning can help reduce the risk of damage next time we have a major storm event.

Goldberg & Rodler offers many garden care and landscape maintenance services to take care of your property throughout the growing season. We're here to answer any questions you may have. Don't delay getting outdoors, that nice weather is just around the corner, and don't we all want to be relaxing by the pool in our beautiful backyard gardens?

Tuesday
Mar052013

Spring is Almost Here!

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that I had to put on a wedding in my backyard and it needed massive pruning. I woke up and my hand was sore from clenching dream pruners! I think this is my subconscious reminding me that it's time to get out and cleanup the garden! Now is the time to cut back any remaining perennials and grasses such as liriope and carex. However, acorus only needs a good combing with a leaf rake.

Spring also means time to apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to prevent broadleaf weeds like crab grass or dandelions. This must be done before the forsythia finish blooming. Our expert arborist, Gary Carbocci, says to lime your lawn to raise the pH as our soil on Long Island is very acidic. Also see our article on how to use vinegar as an organic herbicide.

It’s also the best time to weed! Get those garden nuisances before they get established and add a fresh layer of mulch to beds, remembering to keep the root flare clear (see Mulch Volcano article here). Prune damaged branches on trees and shrubs. Trim yellow leaves on broadleaf evergreens. Any other pruning should wait until after the plant flowers so the buds aren't removed.

Wow, looks like I have a lot to do, but it will all be worth it once I can see my bulbs popping up. Bulbs are my spring alarm clock and I can't wait for it to ring.

Tuesday
Jan082013

Winter Interest  


During winter, the garden takes on a different character with the play of light and shadow. It is also a time when the unique features of certain plants are highlighted. Witch-hazel, to the left, is a small tree that blooms in February. It's a wonderful native specimen to showcase during a time when there are few things in flower. Camellias also flower during the winter, but be careful to protect their broad evergreen leaves with an anti-transpirant to reduce wind burn. These do best in a more sheltered area such as behind a windbreak or near a building.

In addition to flowers, there are countless
varieties of trees and shrubs with interesting forms, bark, berries, cones and evergreen color to animate the winter landscape. Berries provide food for birds during the winter as well as color for your garden. A mature Japanese Dogwood or Crape Myrtle (at right) both have multicolored, exfoliating bark that stand out in any landscape. The reddish color of the Crape Myrtle's bark is a striking contrast in a winter landscape. A Montgomery Spruce has beautiful blue needles all year (shown in bottom picture with the granite wall).

Grasses, whether evergreen or perennial, can give you good groundcover all year long. Green liriope doesn't get a haircut until Mid-March. Acorus only needs a light raking. Dwarf fountain grass plumes usually last though early winter if there hasn't been a heavy snowfall. Grasses like this should be cut down as soon as they start looking messy, but don't cut them down based on color. The brown plumes add a feathery, light look to your landscape and contrast well with blue skies and white snow.

Hardscape elements, such as paving, boulders and walls, stand out. Structural elements such as sculptures, pergolas and gazebos enliven an outdoor space all year but in winter they can take center stage. A patio heater or fire pit can make an outdoor space usable on mild winter days. Warm drinks like cocoa, tea and coffee can extend your stay outdoors but remember to dress warmly and to extinguish the fire before returning inside. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't have fun. An arboretum like Planting Fields in Oyster Bay is a great place to explore year round and there aren't as many people in the winter so you can relax more and take your time to enjoy everything. They have numerous trails through the woods on the grounds but they also have greenhouses to explore if it is too nippy outside.

Exterior lighting schemes can highlight unique landscape elements like the Westchester granite wall to the right. The light picks up the bits of mica in the stone and makes it glitter. During the summer, plants might cover most of this wall, but in the winter when the perennials die back it has a chance to shine. Winter is a time to showcase textures and elements not seen in the summer months when brilliantly colored flowers take center stage.