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Entries in palm (2)

Monday
Jun232014

Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets

 

Decorative urns are perfect container gardens.

A large and grand garden is a desirable amenity for your home, but not everyone has the time or energy to care for a large garden.  That doesn’t mean your property can’t shine with color this season.  Flower pots and hanging baskets are a great way to add a splash of color and accent your existing landscape.  Container gardens and hanging baskets create a lush contrast at entrances, patios, decks and pools.  You can buy precast stone, concrete, iron, glazed ceramic or composite planters.  Another option is to get creative and repurpose old wheelbarrows, cauldrons, or whatever you envision to hold enough soil for your flowers. 

Once you have chosen containers and baskets suitable to your unique style, place them in areas where they will be focal points.  It is important to have them in place before filling them with potting soil and plants, otherwise they will become too heavy to move.  If your container is very large it is smart to cut down on the amount of potting soil you put in.  The most efficient way to cut down on wasted soil is to fill half the container with packing peanuts, mulch or bubble wrap underneath a layer of permeable landscape fabric to keep the soil medium separated.  This will also help with drainage.  If your container lacks holes in the bottom, it is a good idea to provide a generous amount of course material in the bottom to prevent root rot.

Now it is time to decide what plants to put in your container.  Your plant palette can range from tropical to woodland depending on the microclimate conditions of your property.  Avoid crowding your container with too many plants because they will grow throughout the season, and you will avoid too much plant competition and die off.  When it comes to design, choose plants that follow these guidelines and you will be left with a stunning display year round. 

  • Container with Canna lily, Croton, Angelonia, and Sweet Potato VineTHRILLER: Start with a tall specimen that will extend above the other plants.         24+ inches. (Purple Fountain Grass, Dracaena, Canna Lily, Banana, Hibiscus or other standards)
  • FILLER: Plants that will establish a full and lush appearance of color on the ground plane.  6-18 inches. (Lantana, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonias, Coleus, etc.)
  • SPILLER: Plants the will creep down the side of the pot and create a flow of texture. (Licorice Plant, Scaevola, Verbena, Sweet Potato Vine, Vinca)

As the growing season continues, keep an eye on your containers and make sure that they get ample water in full sun.  They should be watered everyday and sometimes twice a day during extreme heat in the summer. If your planter is in a shady spot, it may require less watering such as every 2 days.   Apply fertilizer throughout the summer to promote healthy blooms.  Container gardens are a great way to provide quick and easy seasonal color changes in your landscape.  They require less maintenance than a large garden, but keep in mind, leaves naturally yellow and die, so remove them to promote new healthy growth.  For example, pinch Coleus flowers to prevent the plant from stretching and will result in a fuller plant.  Express your unique self through container gardens and hanging baskets this summer.  Goldberg and Rodler has professional landscape designers that can help you find the perfect plants for your containers and are more than willing to offer our expertise this season.

Written by Nick Onesto

Friday
Feb142014

Indoor Greenhouse Oasis

Feels a little tropical, even in the winterOne thing that gets me through these dreary winter months is knowing I will be back outside in my garden soon. Another thing is my indoor plants. No matter how big or how little your living space is, there's always room for a plant.

Not only do indoor plants look attractive but they also have health benefits. Plants increase the air quality in your home by raising oxygen levels, removing toxins from the air and maintaining healthy humidity levels. Low humidity indoors during the winter can do dastardly things to your respiratory system, caused by the heating systems that keep us warm. Plants can make you happy and improve your mental health. Caring for another living thing can give you purpose and be fun, too.

Some plants are super easy to grow indoors, like the Snake Plant. Snake Plant, cacti and succulents make great first time plants for a person just getting started. They need minimal care beyond occasional watering. The only real issue to watch out for is over watering, as that will rot the roots. Other plants are super temperamental like African Violets. They need special soil, fertilizer and much more care than other options. Just make sure when you choose a plant that it has attributes you want; non-toxic if you have small children or pets, if your windows face north and/or east  get a plant that thrives in low light, or a plant that tolerates dry soil if you're not around much.

A ponytail palm adds great texture all year round

In my experience, where you buy a plant from can have a bigger impact on how they grow than how you treat the plant. You can't see inside the soil at the store and you won't know until you have the plant home for a few weeks if there are any issues such as fungus gnats, mold, or root rot. Repotting might save the plant if you catch the problem in time. I usually quarantine a plant for a month in a separate room before I let it join the others. This prevents insects and diseases from spreading to all my plants if I bring home a sick one. You should do the same when bringing plants in from outdoors to over winter them. You don't want the outdoor garden pests coming in!

They sell all kinds of gadgets to help an indoor plant owner; moisture meters, irrigation globes, grow lights, and other products, but nothing compares to experience. So buy a plant and start learning! Start with something easy, like the aforementioned Snake Plant. Seriously, you can't kill it. I brought one home from college and it didn't take the move well. I took it out of the soil and left it to dry out in a vase for over a year. Repotted it and that Snake Plant is thriving today. Dracaena marginata, Dracaena 'Janet Craig' or a Spider Plant would also be good to start with. Some of the other plants in my home are Ponytail Palm, Jade Plant, Dracaena, African Violets, Orchids, cacti, Agave, Aloe and an array of succulents, among others. They all have different colors and textures to liven up my living areas. The Aloe is especially helpful if I burn myself in the kitchen. I even have basil and mint in one of my greenhouse windows. I miss my herb and vegetable garden immensely in the winter and these tide me over until spring. Next year I'm going to see if I can bring more inside! 

If you have any questions about your indoor plants or your outdoor landscape, email me at ashley@goldbergandrodler.net. Let's figure out your plantscape together.

A blown glass watering globe adds color to plants not in flower


A closeup of the aloe plant, great for soothing skin irritations; just watch out for the tiny spines when you peel it!