We often get asked, "What is something I can do to make my garden look better?" Here are some of our most common suggestions for homeowners to improve their garden.
Welcome With Flowers
Flowers inform your visitors that they are welcome. An assortment of flowers near the entrance of your home sends the right type of warm message for company. Flowers add color that attracts the eye while softening hard edges. It would be nice to have flowers everywhere, but most people are on a budget.
Flowers Are Not Just For The Ground
Hanging baskets and raised planter boxes will take your garden to the next level, literally. This method creates visual layers which is quite appealing. Hanging baskets can adorn walk ways and patios. Raised planter boxes can liven up a drab patio. Experimenting is easy since you can simply move them to a new location. Remember to layer your baskets and planter boxes. Three types of plants should be in your containers: something that drapes, something that fills, and something tall.
Choose Flowering Plants
This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of landscapes are severely lacking in flowering plants. Lilies, irises, and hydrangeas are nice choices for some low maintenance color in your garden. Azaleas, gardenias, crepe myrtles, and camellias should keep your yard in bloom for most of the year.
Hide Your Shed
Sheds are functional, but most do not look great. Try lining your shed with some potted plants that get tall. A trellis with a flowering vine can screen a plain looking shed. Try a vertical herb wall. It will add some character and be useful when cooking.
Make It Memorable
Your backyard is yours to enjoy. Make something just for you that you love. If you have a large backyard, use the extra space to create an escape that you and friends clamor too. An outdoor oasis can include water features, statues, ornate outdoor furniture, grownup tree houses, or other hidden surprises.
Everyone loves to get cut flowers. A beautiful display of color and fragrant scents truly liven up a room. A few days later and most people tend to throw out their once vibrant flowers. Well what if there was to get more bang for your buck? Read on to find out how to make cut flowers last longer.
Use these tips to make your cut flowers last longer:
Always use a clean vase
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people reuse vases that have not been washed. Simply was your flower vases between uses and you are in the clear.
Add something to the water
Fill your vase up half way with cool, fresh water. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with some warm water to dissolve it. Add the warm mixture to the vase. The sugar feeds the flowers while the apple cider vinegar kills off bacteria.
Keep the water level high
Try to keep the water level around the half way mark in your vase. A lot of people forget to add water to their cut flowers and they end up dying early from thirst. You can add some extra sugar and apple cider vinegar when you add water.
Rinse the stems
A quick rinse under the faucet can remove bacteria that may have started to form on the flowers. Fewer bacteria means longer life for your flowers.
Cut the stems
Give them a trim before placing the flowers in the vase. Use a sharp knife to cut an inch or more off the bottom of the stems. Be sure to cut it at an angle. Avoid using scissors if possible because they can pinch the stem and prevent it from taking up water.
Cut the flowers again
About every 5 days, take the flowers out and cut off another inch or so from the bottom of the stem. We have found this can extend the life of your cut flowers.
Stick it in the fridge
That's right, stick it in the fridge. Before you go to bed at night, place the entire vase and flowers in the fridge. The extra time in the cool air preserves your flowers like nothing else. There's a reason why you see professional florist using large refrigerated boxes to keep their inventory fresh.
These flower tips will keep your flowers looking great much longer. Give these a try on Valentine's Day and for all of your spring flowers you take inside from your garden. I hope you and your family can enjoy your flowers a little bit longer now.
We are finally getting some crisp cold weather. Those warm season flowers of summer are all but dead at this point and should be pulled up. After pulling the old plants, you will need to prepare the soil.
Pull the weeds first. Add at least two inches of organic additives like chicken manure, compost, etc. Till the soil between eight and twelve inches deep. Sprinkle on your choice of fertilizer. Form the bed into a nice plateau and rake it smooth. For new beds, most cool season flowers want sun. Choose areas that are well drained and have a lot of sun. The more sun, the better.
If growing flowers from seed, read your seed packet closely to get the correct planting depth and spacing from other plants. Generally, the smaller the seed, the closer to the surface they are planted. If you accidentally plant too many seeds, thin them out when they start to grow. Overcrowding will make your plants under perform.
Use mulch. It prevents weed growth, deters fungus from spreading, and holds moisture in the ground. Keep your colors simple. Stick to one or up to three colors per grouping. Too many colors become distracting instead of interesting and enjoyable.
It is time to pick out your flowers that will last into spring. It is important to get those flowers into the ground so they can get established before the real cold season hits. Here are some nice flower choices for areas that get at least six hours of direct sunlight: calendula, delphinium, dusty miller, galliardia, geranium, holly hock, larkspur, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage, kale, petunia, poppies, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, and toad flax.
Sometimes you have a shady area that could benefit from some color. If you have an area that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight, try out the following flowers: viola, pansy, alyssum, diascia, and columbine. If you have an even shadier area that requires color, try out the following flowers: cyclamen, foxglove, primrose, forget-me-not, and lobelia.
Some cool season plants will bloom in fall, lose their blooms, and bloom again in spring. Think of these as getting double for what you paid for and enjoy the show. The extra root development will lend itself to much larger blooms in spring.
Vinca, aka periwinkle, is a super popular plant during Louisiana summers. The flower is everywhere you look and for good reason. The flower looks fantastic in Louisiana landscapes. It does well in hot weather and in drier conditions. Unfortunately wet weather and cool temperatures become the perfect environment for Phytophthora blight, the vinca killer. This disease is always present in the soil, but can affect vinca when conditions favor it for too long. It spreads easily by rain splashing onto neighboring vinca, causing crown and root rot. It can wipe out an entire planting in no time.
Here are some best practices for planting vinca:
It is time for landscape cleanup as the temperatures start to rise. Below is a ten item check list to get done before spring. With these landscaping items complete, you will be well on your way to having a great looking lawn and landscape.
Top 10 Ways To Cleanup Your Landscape For Spring
Professional Landscape Cleanup
GreenSeasons will have your lawn and landscape looking amazing, just give use a call. We provide landscape cleanup services in the greater Baton Rouge, greater New Orleans, Slidell, Prairieville, Walker, Denham Springs, Gonzales, Baker, Zachary, Hammond and Covington areas. If you need your landscaping cleaned up, just click here and we will give you a call.
If you would simply like some additional advice, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help.
We get asked very often about Louisiana super plants. What are they? Where to get Louisiana super plants? When to plant them? Where to plant them? Below all of these questions will be answered.
What is a Louisiana Super Plant?
What is a Louisiana super plant? These are plants which are strong enough to handle Louisiana's climate and pretty enough for you to want them in your landscape. Candidates for the super plant program undergo two strenuous years of testing in both north and south Louisiana. They also have to be easy to grow and distribute for nurseries. They are almost always marked with the Louisiana super plants logo shown to the left.
Louisiana Super Plants List
This is a list of the current Louisiana Super Plants. New plants are added twice a year so we will try to update this list when new plants are added. If you are interested in any of the plants, click on the name to follow a link to the LSU Agcenter page for each plant. There is information on planting, sun tolerance, and planting advice.
Where to Buy Louisiana Super Plants
Most nurseries will carry at least one or two Louisiana super plants. Click on this Louisiana super plant nursery list for names, locations, and phone numbers for all registered Louisiana super plant suppliers in the state. It would be best to call before you go to make sure they have the plants in stock since they have been known to sell out.
GreenSeasons is always proud to offer Louisiana super plants in any of our landscape designs. If you are looking for a landscape plan that focuses on using Louisiana super plants, just click here and we will give you a call.
If you would simply like some landscaping advice with Louisiana super plants, please contact us.
Mums are a very popular choice for fall color in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and throughout South Louisiana. Mums have a large array of colors to choose from to brighten up dull areas in your garden landscape. There are two ways to have mums in your landscape and that would be to either plant them as a perennial or to buy mums every year as an annual. Buying them is as easy as going to any store with plants, but planting them and having your mums come back every year seems to give gardeners some trouble. We will go through some steps for mum success.
Caring for Mums
Location is important since it determines the amount of light your mum will receive. Mums should have eight hours of sunlight every day. Most varieties of mums can get by with a minimum of five hours, but would look much better with additional hours of sunlight. Also, if you have a choice, morning sunlight would be better if they are only getting around five hours.
Mums should be watered whenever you see signs of wilting or dry soil. Watering this way will average about three times per week in the absence of rain. A layer of mulch, even in a planter or pot, will help to keep your mums healthy. Do not water excessively since mums can get root rot and that would defeat the purpose of putting extra time into watering them.
Since mums flowering is so brief, they may not need additional fertilizer if they are in good soil. If you find they need a little something more, try a fertilizer with a higher rate of phosphorus (the middle number in the N-P-K numbering on all bags of fertilizer).
How to Grow Mums in Louisiana
A lot of people will tell you to plant your potted mums in late October before the first frost of the year. The next time you hear this you can firmly tell them they are wrong. If you plant your mums in October, they rarely have enough time to develop their roots to survive the winter. You will have a much higher chance of success if you keep them potted during the first few frosty days and nights of the year. Move them inside during frosty nights until all of the blooms and leaves have fallen off. This shows the mum has gone dormant.
At this point you will want to plant the mum in the ground. Till the soil a good six inches deep to loosen it up and mix soil that drains well. Plant mums eighteen inches and two feet apart. Add mulch, leaves or garden debris up and over the base of the plant to prevent freezing. In late January or early February, prune the tops of the mums to under one and a half feet. Begin watering mums in early spring as they start getting their new growth and color. Apply some slow release fertilizer, 20-10-20, when the mums start to grow to ensure they take off. Your mums should be established then and will return for many years to add color to your home landscape.
Alternatively, you could leave them in pots in a climate controlled environment until the following spring if you have the room. That would also mean having what would look like a bunch of sticks in a pot with soil in your home for months and most people would not care to look at that for so long.
Butterflies are nature's dancing flowers. No other living creature has as many colors and moves in such great numbers as butterflies. This is all the more reason to have them visit your home. With the addition of a few plants, your number of butterfly visits will swell. Another benefit of a butterfly garden is hummingbirds are attracted to many of the same plants as butterflies, so it is like getting a 2 for 1 deal!
Plants for Butterflies
There are two classifications of butterfly plants you will want, host and nectar. You will want a good mix of both. Nectar plants will allow butterflies to feed while host plants are where butterflies leave their eggs. Important: Since butterflies leave their eggs on the host plant, do not treat it with insecticide. Also be willing to accept the host plant losing most of its foliage when the caterpillars appear.
A few nectar plants are zinnia, marigold, petunia, lantana, rudbeckia, butterlybush, purple coneflowers, butterfly milkweed, and salvia. Host plants include artemisa, nettles, hops, pawpaw, dill, legumes, parsley, fennel, wisteria, tulip poplar and passion vine.
Pick a spot that gets a lot of sun and very little wind. Create a raised landscape bed with some good dark soil. Landscape beds can be any size and shape. An idea is to have two separate landscape beds on both sides of an outdoor sitting area everyone can enjoy them regardless of where they are looking. Another option is to have them border a pathway in your yard so you can see the butterflies every time you walk through. Be creative! Once your beds are built, it is time to select where you want to put the plants in your garden.
There is only one thing to do once your plants are in and your garden is finished. Wait. The butterflies will come, they just have to realize there is a butterfly all you can eat buffet in your backyard. The best time to see butterflies in south Louisiana will be between 10 am to 3 pm during August and October. Butterflies can still be seen in the meantime, but those two months are butterfly prime time. So until then, keep an eye out and enjoy the show.
Spring and Summer Annuals
We get a lot of questions about what warm season flowers to plant in areas from Baton Rouge to Slidell to New Orleans, Louisiana. To help, we have put together a list of some of the common flowers you can plant, along with the sun requirements, distance from other plants and average height of each species. We hope this helps with adding beautiful flowers to your landscape.
List of Spring and Summer Flowers for Southern Louisiana:
^ Louisiana Super Plant
During the few cold winter months we have, we usually rush to get from warm building to warm car without even thinking about the landscaping. Its not as if we aren't interested in the exteriors of our homes and offices this time of year. The time, effort and expense of Christmas decorations every year are a testament to it. The added color brings with it a bit of happiness to both you and others. With a little knowledge and landscaping, you can bring a smile to the faces of those who visit your home all winter long, year after year.
Camellias are a staple of a traditional landscape in south Louisiana. They provide excellent color in the winter and are generally an attractive looking shrub all year. They come in different heights and flowering periods, though they all flower in the winter. Camellia sasanqua and Camellia japonica are sure fire bets for great performing plants.
These Bottlebrush shrubs can give your home both some added color and a slightly exotic feel as the flowers are unique in this area. They are easy to maintain and can be planted in a hedge row or by they selves. There are also varieties of Bottlebrush trees that could really stand out in your landscaping.
Pyracantha is usually planted along a structure and climbs up it. They produce the red berries shown above to provide an accent of color to your home. Sometimes described a climbing holly, they can be a great addition to a barren exterior wall or fence of your home.
There are more varieties of roses than I can keep up with. Your best bet is to go to your local nursery and ask the horticulturist which variety is best for both the area you intend to plant the shrub, the care you are able to give the it and the time of year you want it to bloom.
Loropetalums have both colorful foliage and a flowering period. Many people keep these plants pruned to the size of a small shrub which is unfortunate. These plants naturally expand and should be planted to grow more like a small tree than a shrub. This will allow the plant to really show off its color and you won't be driven mad by all the extra pruning you would have to do otherwise.
Holly bushes produce showy red berries. They are usually a sign that the holidays are near. Holly bushes are hardy plants that are fairly easy to maintain. They require pruning only a few times a year and any pest they attract are easy to both identify and get remove.
Most varieties of Azaleas bloom in late winter or early spring. They usually flower all at once in a large display of color. Generally their blooms are pink, red or white. There are varieties, such as the encore, that bloom throughout the year, although their number of blooms aren't as full. Azaleas are some of the easiest plants to grow and maintain in south Louisiana.