Tree Uses

People plant trees for a number of reasons but there are some uses for trees that might not have occurred to you. Here are some useful reasons for planting trees:

Food

A lot of trees give us food, particularly fruit trees such as apple, pear, cherry, lemon, and orange. The local climate dictates what variety of fruit trees can be planted; tree crops such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit prefer a warmer location whereas apple and pear trees do well in a cooler climate. Planting trees that provide nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans provide food, but they also beautify your property and provide shade. To look after trees in your garden, consider a Tree Surgeon Bournemouth at a site like kieranboylandtreeservices.com

Image credit: https://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01512/Apples-0_1512791c.jpg

Wood and Paper

Trees with softwood, such as cedar, pine, and fir are used in the manufacture of home and furniture. Rough wood requires a bit more shape, including ash, oak, cherry, redwood, and maple. Trees are also processed for plywood and all parts used from bottom to top, including the pulp, for paper.

Firewood

Dead trees, fallen branches and imperfect pieces of wood are put to good use in the fireplace, campfire, and bonfire. In addition, charcoal comes from charred wood.

Shade

Large trees with spreading branches are ideal for shade, cut heating bills when growing near your home, provide cooling in the summer and protect smaller plants. Some varieties of shade trees include maple, ash, sycamore, oak, linden, and elm. Shady trees also bring additional visual interest to a garden.

Beauty and Flowers

Trees are often used to add interest to your property, especially varieties that flower or look striking or unusual trees. Among the flowering trees that are often used for landscaping are dogwood, magnolia, oleander, witch hazel, red chestnut, crab-apple, tulip, mountain ash, and flowering ash. Rare and unusual trees make your home stand out from the other houses on the street.

Image credit: http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/13/590x/magnolia-tree-630524.jpg

Windbreaks, Sound Barrier and Privacy

If you need a windbreak, a good idea is to plant high trees together to serve as a barrier for wind and noise. As well as this benefit, they also add privacy to space. An established tree will cut wind exposure and help prevent snow from drifting into your property. They can reduce home heating and cooling costs as they cut the wind. As a side benefit, they prevent dust and protect, as well as attracting wildlife, especially birds. These trees include but are not limited to, pine, locust, pine, birch, cedar, and cypress.

Medical and Cooking

Some drugs are derived from trees. For example, an allspice tree, native to the Caribbean and parts of Mexico, has a fruit that, when crushed, used in cooking and added to a variety of drugs that relieve colic. There is a palm tree in Malaysia that produces seeds that can treat animals suffering from worms. Poplar buds are used for flu drugs and ointments. Camphor trees from Japan and China are used for muscle pain ointments. Dogwood tree bark can be used as a substitute for quinine and sassafras bark can serve as a diuretic.

Temperature Control for Indoor Gardens

The cooler the room becomes, the worse the problem gets. As temps climb above 80 degrees, another set of problems is encountered. The metabolism of garden plants becomes so high that C02 in the grow room is used up very quickly… a 6x8x10 garden area can become C02 deficient in approximately 45 minutes. This means that all photosynthesis (and therefore plant growth) stops, unless you are constantly exchanging the garden air or constantly adding additional C02. In extreme cases, high temps in the grow room combined with higher metabolism rates will simply cook the plants to death.

So, what is the ideal temperature for an indoor garden? That is a tricky question. In general, I like to keep my daytime temperature at about 75 degrees, and my nighttime temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler. This is just about ideal in a garden that constantly exchanges the air with a powerful fan. If you are adding C02 to your garden, however, it is more beneficial to keep daytime temps closer to 82 degrees. The slightly warmer temperature speeds up plant metabolism slightly and allows you to take full advantage of the extra C02 by speeding up plant growth rates to their maximum.

It is important to note that photosynthesis (and plant growth) stop when the C02 in a garden drops below 250 ppm. With higher temps, the C02 in a fully enclosed garden is used very quickly and needs to be supplemented or replaced. That is how temperature affects C02 in an indoor garden. With higher temps the plants will consume more water. With more water, plants consume more nutrients. If you do not want your plants to become chemically burnt (over-fertilized), then you need to reduce the strength of your nutrient solution slightly whenever the garden is running at a warmer temperature.

Now that you know what temperatures are ideal for your indoor garden space and how it will affect the consumption of C02 and nutrients, let’s look at the most reliable methods for controlling the temperature in your garden. The very first thing I recommend is to have a large volume of cool air ready to exchange with the rest of your garden. A 4×8 foot garden area in a 20×40 foot basement is a good situation to have… the large volume of air can be constantly exchanged with the garden to keep it cool.

As your garden is confined to a smaller and smaller area temperature becomes more and more of a problem. If your garden is confined in a small space, you will want to ventilate your reflector separate from the rest of the grow room. This means having a fully enclosed reflector, pulling air from outdoors, through the reflector to cool it, then exhausting the (now warm) air back to the outdoors. This will prevent a lot of the heat from the light from entering into the rest of the garden air space.

The rest of the garden air space needs to be exchanged constantly with a powerful fan (either squirrel cage or centrifugal). Even then it may not be enough to keep high temperatures in check. This is especially true in the Summer months. If you are using this method and you find that it is not enough to keep your garden temps right, you only have one option… you need to introduce cold air into the garden. This is usually done with AC, but in Fall and Winter may be done in some areas simply opening a window and pulling air in from outdoors.

Those are the basics of indoor garden temperature control. I recommend always screening your air intakes to prevent outdoor pests from making their way into your garden. For more information, be sure to check out the included link, and happy growing!

Growing Vertical Garden

The whole point of starting this type of garden was that my Shorkie, Brandy, is very destructive and I still wanted something pretty to look at besides the gray fence. So, my first thought was “why not plant something we can use”? Hence the herbs and veggies. That wasn’t enough however, we were still looking at the ugly gray fence, so a few weeks later, we added the flowers and decorations. I still plan to add more to the fence when the temps start going down a bit. Hey, it’s hot in Texas right now!

My inspiration was a beautiful pin I saw on Pinterest and not only were there plants all along the fence, the fence itself was painted like a flower garden! Very inspirational and so much talent needed I’m sure. The first challenge I faced when starting to put plants on the fence was how to hang them without the weight pulling on the fence. First I came up with over-the-door hooks to hang from the support board from the neighbors side. That ended up being where I hung other decorations like a tiny birdhouse and a pretty sun. You see, I would have had to find half baskets and I’m on a budget here.

Ultimately, we ended up getting strong decorative metal hooks that my husband was kind enough to install on the support posts of the fence. They proved quite strong and now I have a plant hanging from each one, three in all. There are other ways to hang more plants at one time, like a long box held by brackets or maybe even half baskets that would hang flush with the fence. Truth is, the weather got hot and I decided to wait to add more because I’ve created enough I have to water already!

We have managed to harvest a few cherry tomatoes and a sweet pepper plus I use the basil for many things. The mint comes in handy as well if you like to make infused waters for instance. Also, it’s wonderful to have pretty flowers, lights and decorations to look at now all out of my puppy’s reach!

Garden Fencing

Whether you want to give your garden a more decorative look or you simply want a protective barrier then fencing is without question a very worthwhile addition to your garden. Garden fencing plays many roles. It defines the boundary of your property, can act as a partition to keep neighbours or unwelcome guests out and children and animals in. Where possible garden fencing should be aesthetically pleasing and attempt to match the architecture of the house and surroundings. Be aware also if there are any bye laws in place that have height restrictions on perimeter Fencing.

With so many fencing options to choose from it can be difficult to know what will work best in your garden. As already alluded to the style of your garden and your primary reason for garden fencing in the first place will quickly help you identify the perfect fence to satisfy your needs. The cost of timber plus the high upkeep of wooden or timber fencing has led to some innovative materials for fencing such as vinyl or plastic fencing making a reappearance.

Let’s briefly look at some of the fencing options available always bearing in mind, however, that your budget will have a major role to play in the type chosen:

  • Bamboo fencing can give your garden an exotic look as well as providing privacy. It is, however, not very long lasting and can rot after one season depending on the rainfall.
  • Plastic fencing which comes in different colours and designs. Perhaps its greatest appeal is its durability and minimum maintenance as it is rot and rust resistant and rarely discolours.
  • Wire Fencing can be unsightly; however, it fulfils its purpose of defining a given boundary. It can be decorated with flower climbers and twirling plants and over time can be made to look pretty. It lets in lots of air and light but is not very private.
  • Chain Link Fencing made of galvanised or steel coated wires. Easy to install and minimum maintenance. Cheap to install, lets in lots of air and light but provides little by way of privacy.
  • Wrought Iron fencing has more architectural appeal and character. It also of course has its advantages in severe weather conditions.
  • Wooden fencing can give an old world type style to a garden. They provide privacy but require maintenance. They definitely will add to your garden and there is a huge variety of wooden fencing on the market.
  • Stone Fencing is in reality more of a wall than fencing but it is an option. It can be costly to construct and once erected is unlikely to be moved again so may limit your options.

 

About Garden Gnomes

Garden gnomes have been around much longer than you probably think. The tradition has been around since the early 1800’s with Germany being the first to produce them in factories there and the gnomes were made of clay. However, they actually became popular in the 1840’s after folks in England started adding them to their gardens. The first garden-gnomes that were mass-produced came from Germany in the 1870’s. With the onset of the world wars, production of the garden gnomes soon came to a halt. The gnomes we know today, many made of plastic began making their appearance in the 1960’s. The gnomes are whimsical and cartoonish, but not necessarily to everyone’s taste. There is only a few manufacturers that make gnomes of clay and resin, and are finished by hand and not mass produced. The die hard gnome fanciers seek out these gnomes for their gardens. Gnomes come in a variety of poses and sizes.

Known as symbols of good luck, gnomes were also thought to provide protection over things like buried treasure. Even today they are placed in fields to watch over crops. Some were even placed in the rafters of barns to watch over livestock. Of course they are also most popular for placing in the garden. The farmers that placed gnomes in fields also believed that their good luck charm would ensure a greater yield of crops while protecting them from pests and other problems. Some even thought that the gnomes would help the gardeners through the night.

The word “gnome” is thought to be Latin for “earth dweller”. They were often referred to in German fairy tales. Similar creatures were found in folklore across the world, and were known by different names, such as the Hob in England.

Although gnomes weren’t really described very well in any of the stories, one thing is common throughout the world when it comes to their general look. Most are wearing simple clothing and a red hat and usually have a long white beard. The lady gnomes which aren’t that commonly seen in gardens, tend to be dressed in a simple dress and they have long hair also topped with a red hat. Is anyone else thinking that gnomes sound a lot like Smurfs?

Garden gnomes can be found these days in so many different configurations. Some may be holding a keg of beer, others snooze lazily in a hammock while yet others provide a source of solar lighting while mooning visitors to the garden.

Gnomes don’t always end up staying put in the garden where they are placed. Some have become the victims of a prank kidnapping. Photos of the kidnapped gnome is taken to show the adventures and travels of the little bearded guy, travels to some places that I’m sure most of us would envy.

Choosing Vegetable Seeds for Garden

Other considerations include garden size and design. Large vegetables, such as squash, should not be planted in a small garden since these ground vine plants require a spacious area. When confined, they will not be able to give good fruits. However, in case you have a small garden, add a trellis so that the climbing pants will grow upwards and not outwards.

Perhaps the best garden contains vegetable seeds that are productive during the entire growing season. Go for an assortment that will thrive in the first, middle and latter part of the summer, and some that will produce vegetables during the fall. As an example, green beans grow during the early part of summer and throughout the season, corn in the middle to latter part of the summer, and pumpkin or squash during the fall. It can be tedious to come up with a garden so naturally, people do not want to enjoy the harvest just once.

There are several different ways to buy seeds. Once spring approaches, interested individuals can find seed packets in many places like home depots, garden centers or supermarkets. These products make the process easier by offering information such as the best time of planting for a particular region, the estimated harvest date, plus planting instructions. In general, these instructions include the distance between the seeds and the number of seeds that can fit in every hole.

Gardeners can ask local farmers to supply them with seeds that will best suit their area. They are equipped with the experience and knowledge needed to grow productive plants in their location. There are farmers that sell vegetable seeds on stands along the road or at their farm.

Those who like a certain variety can go for heirloom vegetable seeds. These vegetable varieties have already been around for at least 5 decades, and preserved by devoted growers. They are able to produce big compatible plants from seeds and supply varieties that are not available in supermarkets. Small growers consider them as some of the best-tasting plants that are available on the market.

House Plants

The immediate excuse is ‘oh when I grow anything it immediately dies!’ Anything or anybody taken out of their correct environment is not going to be happy. I would venture to suggest this is time for a new approach. If you know you have a dodgy history with plants then take the necessary steps to change. Ask appropriate questions to find out what will make the plant you have chosen flourish – do they like to be in the sun or do they prefer the shade, what about water -?a lot or a little? If you are still unsure, then the Internet is really the place to go; or Gardening Groups on Facebook, or Wikipedia. There are also sites dedicated to houseplants. Surely by taking the time to investigate, you are investing in the success of the plant. Nothing says wasted money more than a dead plant.

So you have your plant home and it is sitting there. It may or may not need water but it will certainly need a nice container. Think about your interior design room scheme. What would be the most appropriate? Decide the theme. Is your room rustic, then a lovely basket would look great. If modern, then you need something that is clean lined and simple – Perhaps black, white or silver in colour. A room surrounded in antiques needs a planter that fits in with the scheme. Old soup tureens make wonderful containers. I also adore those lovely swans that you can fill with plants – they can look really interesting. Why not look round on Pinterest for ideas, go to your local flea market, car boot sale or trawl eBay to see what you can find that you like. Another option is terracotta pots, the older and more interesting the better. As with any container make sure that watering will not do any damage, appropriate saucers fitting in your general overall design are most important. There is nothing more heartbreaking than water damage on a beautiful dark wooden polished table.

Care of your container is vital. Always line your basket with a black liner. Make sure if you are using china that limescale does not become an issue. Re-potting a house plant gives ample opportunity for cleaning the container too. Glass too for a more modern display also has to be kept clean and smart.

Don’t forget by having houseplants in your home you are improving your health! Plants produce oxygen. There is a theory supported by NASA that houseplants remove up to 87% of airborne toxins. To do this, you need 15 – 18 good sized plants in 6″ – 8″ pots. By helping you feel calmer and providing a purpose helps you focus outward which in turn can help your blood pressure drop. Your plants can contribute a ‘Zen’ feeling in a room. So with all this very positive information, I hope that you are feeling more confident about giving them another go.

The next step is to decide what effect you are looking for. Do you want just foliage or do you want flowers as well? Realistically unless they are orchids, you will be looking at a limited timeframe when they are at their best. Orchids by the way flower for 3 months plus! If you fancy growing them, then please do check out Kew Gardens to learn more about their orchid extravaganza. Other flowering alternatives include lavender or jasmine, peace lilies even a shrimp plant; Christmas cactus, azaleas, streptocarpus and begonias.

If you have the space, see if you can grow your plants from seed. Coleus do well here and they are fun to grow as they have the most amazing coloured leaves going from pale green/white to the darkest of plums.

Foliage plants are a joy. They take less maintenance and have all year round interest – often seen in offices. In this category, you might also consider Air Plants. They are something a little bit special as they only need spraying not watering. Well worth investigating. Foliage plants are interesting, do you keep them as specimen statements or do you group them for impact? You need to use plants with different textured leaves and different colours. Be warned, group plantings can be more difficult as all the plants will have different watering needs.

In this category, check out ferns, spider plants and fiscus. Peace lilies cross the divide as their flowers are somewhat exotic yet the leaves look great by themselves. Aloe Vera and eucalyptus have health benefits. Herbs growing in the kitchen look most authentic and obviously have a use too. Also in the heat, the aroma of the plants is really attractive. Curry plants are fun here. I would also encourage you to check out sedums. Fascinating plants that look great in a modern scenario. Pinterest have lots of beautiful examples of how they can best be set off.

Winter Care for Potted Plants

If you wish to include plants in containers in your garden, you have to make sure you care both for plants and containers during the winter.
Here are few tips to follow for best results:

  • Plant early – to get container plants off to a good start, you have to plant early. You cannot expect to plant them in the winter and see them thrive. According to expert gardeners, container plants need at least a month of warmer weather. It is good to start them in the autumn so that they can establish their roots before freezing weather sets in.
  • Pick the right pots – there are many pot types you can pick from. Resist the urge to go with beautiful clay or concrete pots. These absorb a certain amount of moisture, which can freeze in low temperature and thus crack the container. Plastic and resin are much better in that regard since they retain no moisture and those will not break or crack in the winter weather.
  • Don’t forget to water potted plants – winter damage most frequently occurs due to desiccation (drying out). You must not forget to water containers when they are dry, especially before you expect a hard freeze. It is best to water in the morning because that is when the soil is warming up.
  • Plants need good drainage – when you water plants, you have to ensure the water drains properly. Otherwise, it will accumulate, expand and possibly break the container. The planters need to have drainage holes and well-draining potting soil. Also, don’t let plants sit in a tray of water, as most winter plants don’t like soggy conditions.
  • Pick your plants wisely – container soil can get colder than ground soil, so it is important to select plants that do well at least one zone colder than the area you are located in.
  • Placement is essential – although sunlight is rather weak in the winter, you should still locate your potted plants in the sunniest possible spot. Also, make sure they are away from any strong winds that can dry the plants or topple over the pots.
    Protect pots – group your pots together for better protection and place them against a sheltered location. You can also wrap them in burlap if you suspect winter weather can cause them some damage.
  • Feed them slowly – one thing you should know about plants in the winter is that they actually absorb fewer nutrients then. Don’t even try to overwater and overfeed them – it won’t help them one bit. What you can do for them is use enriched soil and a well-balanced organic fertiliser when you plant them. This will give them a good supply of nutrients for the winter.

Grow Herbs Successfully

If you have no garden or very little space for growing crops, then herbs are the choice before any other. They can be grown in borders with flowers because they often have attractive foliage. They can be grown in small raised beds or containers in courtyards or on sheltered balconies. If you have no outside space in which to grow plants, herbs can be grown in pots on a kitchen windowsill.

If herbs are to be left outside over winter, it would be best to keep them by the back door for easy access in the cold weather. Some plants like French tarragon, rosemary, sage and marjoram will survive through the winter months. These perennials benefit from being cut back in the summer after flowering. This keeps the bush compact and the fresh, new leaves are good for picking. Others like bay will have to be kept in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory over winter.

Herbs are a perfect crop for children to grow because you only need small pots to grow enough for your needs and those pots can be in the shape of objects or characters to make the experience more fun. Herbs can also be grown as individual plants in the children’s flower or vegetable patch if they have one.

Then the fresh herbs can be added to simple dishes like salads or omelets. Children can make these using their own crops. Parsley can be added to egg sandwiches and basil to cheese and tomato sandwiches. Chives can be added to omelets.

If you have heavy soil in your garden, putting herbs in a container with free-draining soil is your only option to ensure they will grow well. Put broken crocks at the bottom of the pot and use compost suitable for herbs. Grit added to the compost can help to improve drainage. All herbs benefit well from organic matter added to the soil.

Mediterranean herbs such as marjoram, rosemary and thyme like a position in full sun and will need well-drained ground. They can cope with growing in quite poor soil. Marjoram is loved by bees and butterflies and grows best in full sun but the variegated varieties can stand a little shade.

Some other herbs like parsley and chives prefer moister conditions and will tolerate some shade. Mint has similar requirements but must have its roots restricted in a container because of its invasive habit. The container can be sunk into the ground but any escaping roots should be kept in check.

Basil, dill and coriander are annuals and will have to be sown from seed each spring or early summer. Kept inside, basil may last for more than one growing season but it will become leggy. Basil grown outside likes full sun and heat; it is thought to originate from tropical Asia. Parsley is a biennial plant which flowers in its second year but can be sown every spring to ensure a continuing crop.

Sow a few seeds every two or three weeks from mid-spring to mid-summer to ensure a constant crop for harvesting. This won’t be too time-consuming if each new crop is planted into a single pot. Sowing instructions come on seed packets. Keep the packets for future reference if you intend collecting your own seed. Keep seed in labelled paper bags or envelopes to keep it dry, never in plastic bags.

The whole planting project can become a learning experience for your children.

If they are going to sow seeds in pots, get them to devise a planting programme on a calendar. They can count days and weeks to set out a plan for succession sowing.

Furthermore, they can draw a diagram for a planting scheme on a plain sheet of paper if they are going to plant up a small herb bed. This could be in a window box, an old sink or small raised bed.

They can keep a folder containing empty seed packets to remind them of a plant’s needs and sowing instructions. They can keep a gardening dairy with notes of their ideas, activities and results.

Wooden Garden Shed

Most garden sheds are used:

  1. To store small hand-held and large garden tools; manual and electrical
  2. A place to park the lawn mower, tiller, and other large gardening equipment
  3. Storing vegetables
  4. Cutting, planting, and transplanting plants
  5. Tool repairs

Many people prefer wooden constructed garden sheds rather than vinyl, resin, plastic, and various metal type sheds. It may be more expensive up-front, but lumber seems to have a longer life and therefore is less expensive. Wood is also easier to repair. The other types of sheds would need to be discarded and a new one purchased.

Plan before you start building. There are important considerations which need attention. Decide if you would like to build it or hire a contractor. Do you wish to assemble a shed kit or build it from scratch?

There is a wide variety of wooden type garden sheds which may be ordered from local sources or from online. Note any additional items which may be needed. These items may be concrete blocks, tools and other hardware accessories.

Manufactured sheds can be erected in a few hours or over a weekend. The do it yourself shed may also take the same amount of time or longer. There are variables for both situations.

If you’re anything like me I did window shopping, comparative price shopping, and talked to my friends and neighbors who had garden sheds for their opinions and experiences. Then I made my decision. In case you are curious, we decided to build a wooden shed as it could be designed and customized to meet our requirements.

Before you setup this is a list to review:

  1. Location
  2. Size
  3. Utility outlets (if electric and plumbing are to be installed)
  4. Local residential building codes, licenses, and permits
  5. Zoning requirements
  6. Location of underground cables
  7. Neighborhood restrictions
  8. Building inspections

The location of the shed needs to be in a clearing within short access to the garden areas and pathways for loading and unloading heavy gardening supplies. The size of this structure is determined by the tools and garden equipment which will be stored.

It is also critical to check overhead, underground, and around the placement of the proposed site. Are there any trees, shrubbery, or overhead wiring which may interfere with the structure? Before digging locate any underground cables, plumbing, or electrical wires.

Water and electrical utilities may or may not be essential. But if it is, planning is critical.