• Features

    Vegetable Gardening in a Raised Bed

    Anyone who has tried to dig a garden bed out of our clayey Michigan soil knows that it takes an almost Herculean effort to make it thrive. There is a solution: raised beds. They have so many advantages that raised beds are the only way I grow my vegetables.

    First of all, you don’t waste your time fighting that losing battle against poor soil, because you are filling your raised bed with perfect soil from the get-go. Raised beds dry out quicker in the spring, and the soil warms faster. You can make them whatever size works for you. Also, with very little work after the initial construction, you will have beautiful, light, fluffy, nutrient-rich soil to plant in year after year. [continue]

    Reusing and Recycling in the Garden

    The average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash per day; a whopping 1,642 pounds every year. Recycling programs certainly help lighten the load, but even recycling takes a toll on the environment. It takes trucks and processing plants to transport and recycle the items we put in our little bins on trash day. By far, the best way to help the environment is to shop for items that use less packaging in the first place. A close second is to reuse what you have. By reusing the items usually tossed in the trash or recycling bin, we can go a long way toward reducing our impact on the environment. [continue]

    The Best Annuals for Michigan

    Annuals are the least expensive, easiest way to get real impact in your landscape. For the cost of a few flats (or, even better, a few packets of seed) and minimal time, you can have a flower garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

    The flowers in this list are based on several factors. They are easy to find, both in seed and transplant form. They are easy to grow, whether from seed or transplants. They take a minimal amount of care, and, most importantly, they all work together nicely in a garden bed. They are a range of heights, textures, and colors that will add instant interest to your landscape. [continue]

    Creating Easy, Beautiful Container Gardens

    Somehow, a porch or patio just doesn’t seem complete without some potted plants. And why not? Container gardens can highlight these areas of your home, as well as allow you to grow a variety of plants in a small area. You can play with color combinations, try out plants that you’re considering for your permanent landscape, or just pick what looks pretty and enjoy it. While you can buy pre-planted containers at almost every garden center, it is satisfying (and fun!) to select plants and put them together into a container garden all by yourself. Think it’s too complicated, that you don’t have the “eye” for it? No way! I’ll show you how to create beautiful container gardens, and I’ll point you to some of my favorite resources on container gardening. [continue]

    Planning a Shrub Border

    A shrub border is a beautiful addition to your landscape. Besides being attractive, it will give you privacy and provide cover (and possibly food) for backyard wildlife.

    1. Seasonal Interest
    2. Repetition
    3. Diversity

    Seasonal Interest

    The goal of almost every gardener is to have a full four seasons of interest in their landscape.If you develop your shrub border with this in mind, our long Michigan winters will still give you something pretty to look at. The three things that will ensure seasonal interest are form, color, and texture. [continue]

    Looking Forward to Next Year

    Winter has settled in, we’ve had our first snowfall, and the time we spent in the garden already seems a distant memory. If you’re like me, you’re already looking wistfully out your windows into your garden. Maybe you’re wishing you’d spent more time there when you had the chance, before everything froze over. Maybe you’re already dreaming of what you can do in the spring. In the bustle of holiday shopping, baking, and whatever else your family does, it’s amazing that dreams of gardening can still sneak their way in. There are some things you can do to satisfy that not-quite-dormant gardening bug. [continue]

    Garden Design Basics

    Those of us who love plants often eventually find ourselves in a bit of a dilemma. We have so many plants, and maybe we’ve placed them haphazardly over the years. Maybe we’ve made sure that they were in the perfect spot, but after years of doing this, our gardens look like a bit of a mess. Our gardens don’t have the serene, cohesive feel we would like. Believe it or not, we can replace chaos with order, and it won’t be as hard as you think. Just follow a few simple design principles, and get ready to do some digging. [continue]

    Planning for a Fall Harvest

    Your garden is planted, and you can enjoy harvesting fresh produce throughout the summer. But for some of us, that just isn’t enough time! If you’d like to keep your garden fruitful into the fall, sometimes as late as November in some cases, all it takes is a little planning now.

    For a fall harvest, we’re obviously talking about cooler season crops, but warm weather standby’s like tomatoes are also a good thing to plant for a fall harvest. Here’s a good schedule to follow. [continue]

    Homemade, Natural Christmas Tree Decorations

    While winter and the holiday season may force a break from gardening for many of us, it’s a great time of year to pay homage to your favorite hobby. The Christmas tree doesn’t have to be a traditional, red and green, tinsel draped affair. Why not devote your tree, or at least some of its d├ęcor, to your love of gardening? Here are a few easy, do-it-yourself ornament ideas for gardeners. [continue]

    Garden Notes

    The end of the gardening year is upon us. The annuals are starting their decline as the weather cools, the deciduous shrubs are losing their leaves, and the lawn is covered in yellow and orange leaves.You’ve worked hard in your garden all year, and now is the time to reflect on the previous season, and start thinking (yes, now!) about spring. [continue]

    Those of us who love plants often eventually find ourselves in a bit of a dilemma. We have so many plants, and maybe we’ve placed them haphazardly over the years. Maybe we’ve made sure that they were in the perfect spot, but after years of doing this, our gardens look like a bit of a mess. Our gardens don’t have the serene, cohesive feel we would like. Believe it or not, we can replace chaos with order, and it won’t be as hard as you think. Just follow a few simple design principles, and get ready to do some digging.