HGTV Gardening Shows

Since launching in 1994, HGTV has grown exponentially to include an impressive collection of entertaining and informative home decorating and improvement shows. The channel is available in the United States and Canada and can be found on channel 450 on AT&T U-verse in most viewing areas. Not an AT&T U-verse customer? Switch now with a Uverse coupon code and depending on which plan you get, you may receive up to $200 in a promotion card!

Below we will highlight three of the network’s favorite shows:

Gardening By The Yard – Premiering in 1996, the show featured gardener Paul James and many of the episodes were taped in his own backyard in Oklahoma. The premise was to show homeowners how to create a great looking garden without having to spend too much time or effort. Focus is placed on the simple basics of gardening, rather than getting into anything too fancy.

Yard Crashers – It’s an interesting premise – unsuspecting shoppers casually browsing around in their local home improvement store are approached by host Ahmed Hassan, a professional landscaper who offers to go home with them and give their property the Cinderella treatment. Many shoppers are so taken off guard they aren’t sure how to react. Others think it is a complete hoax and turn him down before he can start to make his case. Yet eventually Ahmed always manages to find an individual or couple who agree to bring the whole crew home with them. What follows is a total makeover on their yards and porches that never fails to amaze.

The Outdoor Room With Jamie Durie – Australian Jamie Durie is an award-winning landscape designer who has traveled across the pond to create many an exquisite outdoor oasis. Trouble is, he was unable to bring along his own hometown design team, so he has gathered together a new bunch of noteworthy designers. Each episode features an exacting new challenge that tests the skill and patience of each of his workers as they fight to please their perfectionist boss. Despite all of the sweat and tears, the outcome is always magnificent.

Enjoy these and many other entertaining gardening shows on HGTV!

Posted in Gardening

Growing Vegetables – Tips and Planting Times

More and more people are deciding to save money and eat healthier by planting their own vegetable gardens. However, if you’ve ever had any type of plant growing experience, you know it’s not as easy as it might seem. The term “green thumb” has always appeared to mean someone born to raise healthy plants. The truth is, almost anyone can have a green thumb if they follow simple planting tips.

Each vegetable comes with its own set of rules. This is where many tend to have problems — Planting your vegetables all at the same time and hoping for the best doesn’t work. It’s based on weather and temperature.

Plan your garden first. Decide what vegetables you’re going to plant and then follow instructions and tips you can easily find on the internet for the very best growing experience. Here are a few tips for a successful garden.

1. Planting Time. For example, lettuce should be planted in mid-spring as should tomatoes, watermelons, potatoes, onions, cabbage and many other vegetable staples. Peas, another staple, can also be planted in spring, but they can also maintain good growth by planting through the summer. Peas are one of the most simple vegetables to start with due to their easy growth. Avocados are another favorite with a bit of a difference in that they come from tree growth, and can be successfully grown throughout the year. As a rule of “green” thumb, most vegetables have a spring sowing period.

2. Soil Preparation. The type of soil is secondary to making sure your area is fertile and can drain easily while still maintaining the moisture needed to feed the garden. Stay away from any rocky areas which prevents healthy plant growth. Depending on your fertilizer preference you can choose from organic or chemically enhanced products. There is such a thing as too much fertilzer which causes, “fertilizer burn.” This is caused from over-watering. Use a few test plants after preparing the soil to see if you have the right mixture of growth enhancers. It will take longer but it will insure healthier vegetables. Composting is another way to insure healthy production. Compost will lower any acidic or alkaline soil content.

3. Depth and Spacing of Vegetables. This is important to the well-being of vegetables and each comes with their own set of rules. As two examples, Beets have been found to grow successfully when planted at a depth of 1/2″ and spacing of 4″ while broccolli should be spaced every 24″ at a depth of 1″.

4. Maturity Timing. You need to know when to expect your vegetables to come to maturity. In most cases patience is a virtue. Look to anywhere from 40 days to three years as is the case with asparagus.

The biggest tip is to do your research before moving ahead with your choices. Every “expert” has their own formula for a successful vegetable garden. The choices you make should come from good sound logical thinking.

Posted in Gardening, Vegetable Gardening

Top 10 Garden Perennials to Spice Up Your Garden

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the trees are green once again. It is that time of year to start working in your garden. Perhaps you love this time of year, along with choosing and planting new flowers, annuals, each year. But if you are someone who wants to really make an investment in your garden, and in the work that you put into it, you may be wondering what flowers are available that you don’t have to plant each year, otherwise known as perennials.

For once, you think you might enjoy spending less time planting each year and more time watching your hard work return each spring. With the right planning, and correct plant and flower choices, you can sit back and relax next spring as you watch your perennial garden come to life. Here are the top 10 perennials you may want to consider for your garden space.

Great for borders, the Veronica Sunny Border Blue Speedwell, has blue spikes. It doesn’t grow extremely tall, so it can be used in front as a border. This beautiful flower usually blooms from early summer to late autumn, making it a good choice to add beauty all season long. It does best in full sun, or just a small amount of shade.

Purple Coneflower, or Echinacea purpurea Magnus, is a prairie wildflower. It blooms mid-summer into early autumn. It thrives best in full sun and is hardy up to 40 degrees F below zero. Its petals grow downward, and it is a daisy style flower.

With Czech and German origins, the Black-Eyed Susan, is known as an American icon. It multiplies quickly and makes the perfect pass-along plant. This Goldsturm is a prairie flower that blooms in mid-summer through late fall. It grows to about 2 to 2.5 feet tall at its peak.

The Blue Pincushion flower pairs well with another perennial in the top 10, the Coreopsis Moonbeam. It blooms mid-summer to early fall, enjoys full sun to light shade, and grows to about 14 inches tall. It is hardy up to 30 degrees F below zero.

Blue Perennial Sage is also another popular perennial. It is referred to as May Night and has a blue to black colored flower. You will find it blooms mid-summer to late fall, as many of the other top 10 perennials. It grows to about 28 inches and does best in full sun.

The Threadleaf Tickseed, or Moonbeam, offers a yellow color and a ferny appearance. By itself it may not be that impressive, but pair it with another perennial of blue or yellow color, and you have a winning couple. It blooms in the early summer through the fall and does well in full sun to light shade.

Russian Sage, Purple Coralbells, Pink Astilbe and Purple-Leaved Beard-Tongue are among the rest of the top 10 garden perennials. You can choose to have an all perennial garden, or use some annuals to change it up a bit each year. It all depends on how much time you have to tend to your garden in the spring, your budget, and your personal tastes. Knowing more about the top 10 garden perennials can help you decide what is a good fit for your garden.

Posted in Gardening

Cherry Blossoms and Their Peak Season

The cherry blossom is by far, considered one of the most beautiful trees. It has been cultivated for its aesthetic purposes, and therefore does not produce fruit. The beauty of the cherry blossom tree comes from its vibrant pink flowers, which sprout abundantly throughout the branches. Although, one of the most popular cherry blossom trees that continues to be mentioned often, is the Somei Yoshino. The flowers are white as snow with a hint of pale pink near the stem. These flowers are commonly described as fluffy and full. They sometimes blossom in a cascade of flowers resembling a curtain of lustrous hair that falls from canopy to floor. The cherry blossom is commonly synonymous with Japan, which is where its origin stems. However, many other countries have adopted it and introduced the species to their own lands. These include Brazil, Canada, China, and various countries throughout Europe including the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Japan presented the United States with a gift of 3,020 cherry blossom trees in 1912 as an offering to rejoice in the nations’ new friendship. These trees can now be seen in Sakura Park in Manhattan and along the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. The West Coast including Los Angeles and the famous Balboa Park in San Diego also showcase their own aisle of cherry blossoms.

Although magnificent when blooming, the cherry blossom is hardly a sight to behold in the off-season when the branches are barren. It is important to witness their splendor in bloom. Depending on where you are located will determine the blooming season of your local trees. But the universal rule is that the milder the climate, the earlier the trees will bloom and blossom. For instance, the trees blossom in mid-March to late April in the United States. In Japan, the Cherry Blossom Trees begin to bloom in the fall or autumn and continue to bloom on-and-off throughout the winter. Blossom forecasts are announced each year by the weather bureau, so that the public can remain aware of peak cherry blossom picking season. Communities throughout the world hold blossom-picking festivals where appreciators join together to relish in the beauty of the flowers. In the United States, there is even an annual “National Cherry Blossom Festival” held in Washington D.C. It has been occurring for 100 years straight now. Because each blossom only lasts a week or two weeks maximum, the scheduling is watched carefully throughout the months surrounding peak seasons. Some places even host nightly parties during the festival, stringing lanterns outdoors at night for enjoyment.

When enjoying a walk through a cherry blossom garden, remember that the tree is a living entity. Picking and removing the cherry blossoms directly from their branches physiologically hurts the trees. It is comparable to pulling the hairs straight out of a human scalp or skin. When the blossoms are picked directly in this manner, they often times do not re-grow in that location for many years, and nobody comes to view bare trees. But this shouldn’t hinder the experience at all, as simply viewing this magnificent trees is plenty enough!

Posted in Blooming Info

Vegetable Gardening Basics

Growing your very own vegetables and sustaining your own vegetable garden can be extremely satisfying. Many people find that they benefit from having a garden of their own as they save money on fresh foods and are able to consume healthy vegetables that are not processed with chemicals. However, successful gardening consists of much more than just planting and watering. Below are a few basic steps that will ensure a successful and flourishing vegetable garden.

Planning
It is important to start your vegetable garden with a detailed plan in mind. Think about the location of your garden, as this is one of the most important aspects in the planning stage. Try to place your garden in a spot that gets a minimum of six hours of full sunlight a day and make sure the soil drains well. Areas that are exceptionally windy should not be used as the location for your garden as wind may break your plants and may cause unnecessary drying of the plants.

Choosing your vegetables
What you decide to grow in your garden will largely depend on what you and the other members of your household like and dislike. You may prefer to start your plants indoors from seeds or simply purchase and plant bedding plants.

You may also consider investing in a mesh or other fence to surround your garden to give it extra protection from dogs and other animals. In addition, this fence can help support plants such as tomato plants as wells as beans and peas. It may be helpful to plant your tallest plants farther back and your shorter plants near the front. This will allow for more even sunlight distribution and will help prevent the larger plants from shading the smaller ones.

Preparing the soil
Grassy lawn areas can be plowed in the fall. However, if you are unable to plow in the fall, you can do so during spring when the soil is dry enough to work. It is important that the soil not be plowed if it is very wet, unless it will be followed with a subsequent freeze. If you are preparing a small vegetable garden, the soil can be turned by hand using a shovel or spade. Larger gardens can be plowed using a garden tiller or small tractor. Create a level surface by raking soon after the soil is turned. This will create a smooth bed for planting.

Next, use a rake to pull the soil into raised rows that are about a foot across the top. Allow the sides to gently slope down to the walkways to permit appropriate drainage.

Sowing vegetable seeds 
Use the diagram you created earlier as a guide and mark where each row of your garden will be planted. Now would be a good time to place any trellises that will be needed for plants that will require support or that will climb as they grow. Be sure to establish where your walkways will be at an early stage, so you can avoid packing the soil as you walk. Now you are all ready to plant your bedding plants and sow your seeds. It is suggested that you water your garden thoroughly the day before you begin planting.

If you are sowing vegetable seeds, use a long piece of string attached to two stakes or a long piece of lumber to mark out your rows. Next, create a “V” shaped furrow with the depth that is recommended on the back of the seed packet. Next, tear the corner of the seed packet, and slowly start distributing the seeds down the row. Large seeds can be planted individually within the row. Next, cover the seeds with soil and firm the soil over them to ensure they get proper moisture and nutrition. Be sure to plant extra seeds to accommodate for failed germination. Water your garden thoroughly being careful not to disturb the freshly planted seeds.

Planting vegetable bedding plants
If you purchased bedding plants, water them thoroughly before planting to lessen the shock of transplant. To plant your bedding plants, simply dig a small hole, which is slightly larger than the roots of the plant. Set the plant in the ground and firm the soil over the roots ensuring good contact. Next, be sure to water thoroughly.

Maintaining your garden
During dry periods, be sure to water your garden more than normal. You can also use mulch between the rows to help control weeds while also preserving the moisture in the soil. Vegetable gardens can be a very satisfying way to grow fresh and healthy produce for your family. Save money, eat well and enjoy your new garden!

Posted in Gardening, Vegetable Gardening

Top Ten Annuals for Your Garden

Growing a garden is not only a rewarding experience, but it can also be fun. It doesn’t matter if its a vegetable garden or a flower garden; either one is a great way to spend your time. It may take some research in order to decide what to plant and how to take care of your plants. The best idea for your garden is to plant annuals. Annuals are plants that bloom continuously, but have to be planted every year. That way if you decide to change your landscape, you don’t have to dig any plants up. Here are the top ten garden annuals.

  1. Although the scent isn’t very pleasant, marigolds are a bright yellow flower that repels garden insects.
  2. Another top flower is geraniums. This flower is bright and attracts butterflies and bees. Another trait of this flower is it is deer resistant for everyone that lives in places of high deer populations.
  3. Daisies come in a variety of colors and make a great arrangement for your flower vase.
  4. Sweet peas do not do well in heat but would bathe your doorway or walk way in a sweet fragrance.
  5. Impatients are very adaptable and create a carpet of color. This flower also comes in many different colors.
  6. The star flower plant has a great smell that you can enjoy all day and into the night too.
  7. Morning glories are plants that grow on vines, so make sure you give them something on which to grow. It blooms every morning with a funnel-shaped bloom.
  8. If you want a bit of sun, plant sunflowers. These flowers are tough and grow tall.
  9. A hardy, easy to grow flower is the cosmo. This flower grows in any kind of soil and resists insects.
  10. Another good annual to consider is the bright zinnia. This happy flower is also easy to grow, and its beautiful bouquets make any room inviting.

By planting annuals, you can have blooms all season. Then, because annuals don’t come back, you can plant a different garden next year. It might take a little bit of work, but it is all worth it. Make sure you do the research, because some plants do not grow well in some places. Also read about how each plant needs to be taken care of so they continue to grow all season. Seeing your plants grow up and bloom is an amazing experience that you will treasure.

Posted in Gardening