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Entries in garden tips (3)

Monday
Jul222013

Helping You and Your Plants Beat the Heat

Anyone who's ventured outside the past few weeks knows how hot it's been. The temperature has hovered somewhere between a sauna and the surface of the sun. We have some tips for you to take care of your plants and yourself in hot weather.

For your plants: Water them. Water them deeply and at the cooler times of the day so the water doesn't evaporate before it can infiltrate the soil. It sounds obvious, but don't wait until you see that they're stressed from the heat. In some cases, it may be too late. Hydrangeas are drama queens, so their leaves will droop at the mention of hot weather, but they'll perk right back up after watering. Don't spray water on the foliage. Like a magnifying glass, the water droplets amplify the sunlight and can burn the leaves of your plants. Keeping a layer of mulch in the beds will help to insulate the soil and retain moisture. Remember to keep the root flares uncovered! For your lawn, watch out for fungus in this heat. Keep your lawnmower blades sharp and cut the grass high, around 3" tall. The taller grass will keep the soil cooler and deter weeds and the sharp blades will minimize damage to the blades of grass. Also, do not spray for weeds in the heat, you'll burn your lawn.

For yourself: Drink water. Drink A LOT of water. Once you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Stay away from soda, caffeine, alcoholic beverages and sugary juices. Wear light colored and lightweight clothing, sunscreen and bug spray. If your yard has trees, try to position yourself in the shade and move with it during the day. The earlier in the day, the better, but earlier and later in the day can mean mosquitoes as well as cooler temperatures. Mosquitoes love sweaty people and humid air, and if you're susceptible to bites it doesn't really matter what time of the day you're out. Remember to get rid of standing water in your yard to keep breeding down.

 If you're concerned about your plants and/or lawn, call us at (631) 271-6460 or email us and we'll come over and check them out for you.

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

Wednesday
Oct172012

Watering an Orchid with Ice Cubes

Look at all the new growth!

I have never had good luck with orchids and other indoor plants. Turns out I have been too caring, too loving and too nurturing and that has been detrimental to their health. Less is more! With my newest orchid, the instructions that came with it said to water it with ice cubes. I thought they were crazy, but since it had an unlikely survival rate I figured what could be the harm? So once a week I put three ice cubes on top of the growing medium, under the leaves. I ended up with little white bugs in the medium and all my flowers fell off! What did I do wrong?! I scoured the internet looking for help. The most common advice was to let the orchid dry out. If you can see its roots, let them go gray, and then you can start watering it again.

Fertilizer Ice CubesSeveral weeks later, I try the ice cubes again, but now less often, maybe once every two weeks. It is working! I'm getting new growth! New flowers! I'm great at this! Then it says in the instructions to fertilize after the orchid is done blooming. Hmmm, I'm doing such a good job, it hasn't stopped blooming yet! When I look at the fertilizer directions, it tells me how much to use, and to fertilize each time I water it. They give me a very small fertilizer to water ratio and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with all the extra. How long will it keep? I only have one orchid.

So I take a water bottle out of my recycling bin and wash it out. I mix up a water bottle full of orchid fertilizer and then pour it into an inexpensive ice cube tray. I figure I can freeze these forever and I won't have to worry about overfeeding my orchid. Since the ice melts slowly through the medium it can be absorbed better by the roots. Orchids don't like to sit in water and this has been super successful for my orchid. I am getting so many flowers and buds for new stems! I'm thinking about getting another!

 

UPDATE: 10.17.12 My orchid is blooming amazingly!!! Check it out!