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Entries in garden (21)

Wednesday
Oct162013

Long Island PULSE Magazine Article - Fall Takes Root

Fall Takes Root

 

Cool-weather gardening with landscape designer Thomas Rodler

 

Author: Ruth Thomas | Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 | Long Island PULSE Magazine

Spring has earned its reputation as the time to plant, but fall is also a good time to add an eye-catching mix of cool-weather plants to any landscape. Flower and shrub species that thrive in warm days and cooler nights can take root now and establish a full year of growth to come. Thomas Rodler, president of Goldberg & Rodler, offers a few pointers for establishing an autumn garden.

Long Island Pulse: What can be planted now for the biggest pop of color in the fall?
Thomas Rodler:
Ornamental cabbages and kale are popular and I haven’t had a deer issue with them. Montauk daisies are beautiful white perennial flowers that last until frost while sedums have interesting pink to dark purple foliage and will flower in the fall. Bugbane has a tall white plume flower and tolerates shade. Fall flowering asters come in pink, blue or white. Purple to pink Joe-Pye weed flowers until frost and Russian sage has spikes of blue flower that last into fall… Some fall flowering trees are sourwood (white flowers), witch hazel (yellow to gold flowers) and the autumn flowering cherry tree, which gives brilliant pinkish-white color. The Japanese dogwood tree has a fruit center that becomes a very pronounced pinkish color in the fall. Planting in the fall, when irrigation is often reduced, sometimes requires supplemental watering to avoid stressing the plant before winter. A good rule of thumb is to give a new plant about one inch of water per week throughout the fall.

LIP: What shrubs grow in quickly to add privacy shortly after planting?
TR:
For a shady property, plant skip laurel or holly shrubs. By the water, try more native plants like bayberry shrubs, eastern red cedars and junipers that fill in nicely. For a sunny location, plant evergreens such as the dark green ‘Green giant’ western red cedar (arborvitae), the bluish-green white pine, with bluish-green needles and the silvery-blue Colorado blue spruce for their height and because they provide a natural-looking border. In the wintertime if your yard has a lot of wind I recommend applying an anti-transpirant or anti-desiccant spray to newly planted evergreens to protect them from drying out and burning.

LIP: What are some specimen tree options and where should they be planted in the front yard?
TR:
Be very selective where you place a specimen tree as it is just an accent. Put it in a prominent spot but treat it like a unique piece of sculpture. The weeping white pine noted for its shape grows 8 to 10 feet tall and weeps down with its soft bluish-green foliage. The bloodgood Japanese maple has dark red foliage that is very contrasting. The weeping Norway spruce has lush dense foliage. Chances are the tree will be shaped at the nursery you buy from, but when it comes time to prune next year, do it between the end of August and the end of November, so the wound has time to heal before winter.

Fall Takes Root | Long Island Pulse Magazine - Covering Long's Island lifestyles, arts, fashion, business, nightlife and entertainment

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.

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. 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct162012

MADD Garden of Hope: Two Year Anniversary


On October 16th, 2010 the MADD Garden of Hope was dedicated at Eisenhower Park. The object of the design is to expose to people the horrors of driving under the influence and to provide hope.
 
When MADD Long Island asked Goldberg and Rodler to design another garden for them, we jumped at the chance (the MADD Garden of Awareness at SUNY Farmingdale was completed a few years ago and was designed and installed by Goldberg & Rodler).
  
The Kiwanis Club of East Meadow installed our planting and lighting design as a part of their “President’s Project.” Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonsalves was instrumental in getting the project funded and accomplished in a timely manner and the Nassau County Parks Department’s masons did a wonderful job on our paving design.
  
Sculptor Michael Alfano finally has a permanent home for his piece, “Stand Up, Speak Out,” which expresses the emotions he felt after losing a loved one to a drunk driver 20 years ago. If one person walks away vowing never to drive under the influence again, we have made a difference.
Friday
Jun012012

The Garlic & Vinegar Solution

No, this isn't a post about cooking. It is about using everyday kitchen ingredients to keep the weeds and creepy crawly biting things away. I don't like using chemicals on my property. I don't like weeds or bugs. I don't want to harm myself or my pets with toxic chemicals. What's a girl to do? Go to the grocery store! Vinegar is about 3 dollars for a gallon jug, garlic is 25 cents per bulb and mineral oil is around $5, depending on the size and quality you want to use. If you're not going to eat it, get the cheaper stuff!

Vinegar is a non-selective, organic herbicide. A few of my neighbors' aren't as attentive with their properties as I am with mine and their weeds are constantly creeping under the fence. Every year I buy a few gallons of vinegar and pour it along the fence line. I am careful not to splash my existing plants, because like I said before, it is non-selective, which means it will kill any plant, not just the weeds. It won't destroy heavy hitters like English Ivy, Morning Glory Vine, Crabgrass or Dandelions, but it weakens them enough for me to rip them out more easily. Organic yards take a lot of one on one work, but it is worth it to me.

I'm fine with most insects but my hospitality runs out when mosquitoes use me and mine as a snack bar. Garlic oil is a good mosquito repellant. You could rub it on yourself but that's going to be rather awkward smelling. It is better to apply it to the garden, as a perimeter application, and it has the bonus effect of deterring bunnies from the yard as well. I'm not going to claim that this will take care of all the mosquitoes, but for my purposes, it does a decent job of protecting me and my pets. See the recipe below to make your own.

You can repurpose the vinegar jugs when you're done, using them as planters, watering containers, or to keep your garlic oil in!

 

Garlic Oil

Ingredients:
1 head of Garlic
1 cup Mineral Oil
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 cups Water

Instructions: Mince several cloves of garlic and cover with mineral oil. Let it sit for at least 24 hours to infuse. Take about 1 teaspoon of the oil (I strain the garlic chunks out with wire mesh) and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake it up well and go to town! Store extra in a cool, dry place. You won't be cooking with it but no need to let it get any funkier. I usually make mine each time I need it.