Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Try popping a few pavers out of an existing walkway in a random pattern and planting some creeping plants in their place to give it a fresh look. The only tools required are a small crowbar or hammer, small shovel or trowel and some potting soil.  Instead of throwing away the old pavers, save them to use as an edge around planting beds.

Some great plants to use are:

Mazus reptans, mazus: low creeping, semi-evergreen perennial that can grow in most soil conditions; prefers full sun to part shade; lobelia-like flowers bloom profusely in May-June

Ajuga, bugleweed: rapid growing low perennial that looks similar to miniature lettuce; leaves have a nice purple-green color; can grow in most soil conditions; prefers light to full shade; short spikes of purple flowers appear in spring

-Thymus, wooly thyme: slow growing low perennial tolerant of most soil conditions; prefers full sun; tiny purple flowers appear in summer

For other sunny areas, check a wide variety of sedums and other low growing plants.  In shade, try using a low fern or moss such as Irish or Scottish moss.

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While shopping at a local nursery this past spring, I decided to satisfy my urge to start seeds despite my northeast facing apartment with meager late winter sun.  As you can see, my perseverance paid off with this stunning purple Morning Glory  that catches the sunlight better than a stained glass window. I started a packet each of Morning Glory and Moonflower seeds to grow on the railing of my apartment balcony.  The idea was to have the Morning Glory color during the day and Moonflowers to grace the evening hours.  While the Moonflower vines are quite profuse in growth, they are not living up to their promising name of nighttime flora.  The Morning Glory is shorter in growth but most definitely has a better show.

The photo above is from very early April. The four cells to the left are the Moonflower vines (with bigger leaves) and the four cells to the right are the Morning Glory plants(leggy seedling with small leaves).  Once they grew larger, and the outside temperatures rose above frost danger, they were moved to the balcony to flourish.  Hopefully by the end of the summer the moonflowers will produce the show they are supposed to!  Stay tuned for that event.

Moral of the story: patience pays off in horticulture!

Article and photography by lilyofthevalley for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design.

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Houseplants are the guests that never leave shoe marks on the floor or dirty dishes in the sink. In return for their invitation, plants offer mental and physical relief from the chaos of daily life. I’ve written before how gardening is therapy, and working with interior plants is no exception.  With a winter as blustery and dreary as this one, there is no better way to “think spring” than getting a beautiful houseplant for your home.

Interior Plant Display

Plant a couple small foliage plants together in one container to create a mini garden.This display includes Asplenium nidum (Bird’s Nest Fern), Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ (Garden Croton) and Begonia sp. If you are adventurous add some natural decorations like feathers, branches or pebbles to give it a unique look. Remember DO NOT OVERWATER. The soil should dry out between waterings. Stick your finger an inch into the soil to feel the moisture level. If you water too frequently you will encourage root rot making your plant susceptible to a host of diseases and pests.

Some of my favorite low maintenance interior plants include:

1. Monstera deliciosa (Split-Leaf Philodendron)http://houseplants-care.blogspot.com/2006/05/caring-for-split-leafed-philodendron.html

2. Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig) http://tree-species.blogspot.com/2009/03/indoor-fiddle-leaf-fig-care-tips.html

3. Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant)http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Agavaceae/Sansevieria_trifasciata.html


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Smokebush Pushes New Bloom in August

It’s true. Plants growing on the tops of concrete covered rooftops in the sweltering heat island of Manhattan appreciate a little dihydrogen monoxide every now and again. One of my client’s in midtown west inherited a terrace full of a hodge podge of planters from the previous unit owner. Phase one of making the space his own was to make the existing plants happy. The addition of a fully automatic irrigation system turned his terrace into a brand new place.

Rooftop gardens need watered every day. They don’t take holidays off, and they certainly don’t rest on Sundays. If you don’t have an irrigation system, consider adding one as a smart investment. Multiply the number of years you intend to keep your roof garden by 250 (days of growing season) and then muliply that by the value of your own time. I think you’ll see that it makes sense to get it.

Just one month after installation, I already saw huge changes in the plants which were previously hand watered. Even this Cotinus pushed out a new bloom in August which normally would have emerged in June. I would say we are heading in the right direction.


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