Category Archives: Landscaping

Urban Columnar Apples Are Hot!

Are you looking for an apple tree that is perfect for that small space?  You can grow this tree on your patio, deck or even in your flower bed.   The new Urban™ Columnar Apples are your answer to the problem.  Introduced to the market in 2011 by Garden Debut® these trees grow 8-10 ft tall and only 2 ft wide.  They have short branches and grow straight up.  The flowers are pink in color.  They are USDA zone 4-9. 

There are 4 varieties of the Urban™ Columnar Apples:

Tasty Red™ -Bright red with sweet flavor

Blushing Delight™-Red green fruit with sweet flavor

Golden Treat™-green gold apples that are tart but get sweeter with age

Tangy Green™- Lime green fruit with crisp tart flavor

You will need two for cross-pollination.  Supplies will be limited this year so if you are looking for these please come early.  

I am trying these in my garden and so far I have been impressed.

For more information on these and other great new plants you can go to www.gardendebut.com.

 

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Water New Plantings Well Before Winter

Hidden in the beautiful fall days we have enjoyed lurks a killer of new plantings.  We have had a very dry fall and the subsoil moisture is almost non-existent.  The cracks you see on the surface of the ground allow air to infiltrate the root zone of your newly planted tree or shrub.  Taking time to water  before the ground freezes will make your tree much happier in the spring.  Watering just an inch a week from now until the ground freezes solid may mean the difference between a live tree in the spring or one that looks like it belongs in a horror film.  For evergreen shrubs and trees watering is essential as they continue their search for moisture during the winter using up their reserves. 

Remember, healthy trees are happy trees and happy trees make for happy homeowners.

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Ewww, Japanese Beetles!

Is something chewing your hibiscus?  Has your linden tree been stripped bare? 

It seems that central Iowa has received a gift from the eastern states in the form of the Japanese Beetle.  This little guy is a voracious eater and can strip a plant bare of leaves in a matter of days.  They are very difficult to control because they spend their youth as a grub in the ground and then upon emergence they live in the tops of trees or on your shrubs mating and flying to the ground to lay their eggs.  The best method of control is to take a plastic grocery bag out to your garden and tap the adults into it.  I usually squash them and throw the entire bag into the trash. I recommend that you do this in the early morning while they are still sluggish.  The warmer it gets the more likely they are to fly away upon approach.

You can use chemicals to try to control them; but, because of their living arrangements it can be difficult to get good control.  Grub control, applied in July or early August and containing the AI Imidacloprid should help with the grubs.  Ortho Home Max Defence containing Bifenthrin as the AI will help with the adults but it will also take out beneficial insects as well so you should use it carefully.

You can spot the adult version of this little guy because of its metallic green head and bronze body but the most distinctive marking is the 6 white “butt” hairs on each side of the body.  An adult is about 5/16th of an inch long.

It is not suggested that you put out traps for these things as they will actually attract more of these beetles than you already have.

 

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‘Linesville Arborvitae’ Plant of the Month

This little gem is the very best in the line of small evergreens that handle our winter weather.  At 2’x2′ the ‘Linesville’ will make a very nice addition to your foundation planting or lining a walkway as a border.  We have had them growing out here at TimberPine for several years now.  They are in an area where they are subjected to a variety of conditions including salt from the sidewalk in the winter.  This plant has thrived in those conditions and wormed it’s way into the hearts of our designers with it’s no quit attitude.

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Growing Your Own Fresh Veggies

As a child, I remember walking through grandmother’s garden.  The whole thing was huge and ringed with marigolds to keep the bugs and rabbits out (not sure if that trick works or not).  The rows were neat and weed free and everything that the family would eat during the winter was growing there.  In my mother’s slightly smaller garden, I learned how to keep the rows weed free with a hoe and a lot of hard work in the hot summer sun.  As an adult, I live on a lot in the city where there is not enough space for a huge garden.   However, I still want to grow some of my own food.  Let’s be honest, it just tastes better than the produce you buy at the store.  I am going to give you some tips on how to grow your own veggies in a small space. 

Choose a good location for your garden.  This should be an area with 6-8 hours of sun light.  To prepare the soil remove the grass or sod growing in that area.  You can place this in your compost pile to break down for use in your garden next year.  Dig up the soil with a garden fork or tiller and add 2” of organic matter or compost.  Fluff the soil again until it is loose and crumbly.  Your “bed” is now ready.

When deciding which plants to grow you have two choices, either start them from seed or let someone else do the work and start with a small plant.  If you’re starting with a small plant, it is important to purchase your plants from a local nursery that you trust.  Though the box stores might have cheaper product you can never tell what diseases they might be selling as well. www.extension.org/…/Plant_Disease_Threatens_Tomatoes_and_Potatoes

Great plants for beginners would be tomatoes, bush beans, peppers, and cucumbers.  You can grow early spring crops of leaf lettuce and peas. 

Plant at least 2 but no more than 3 plants of every plant; unless you have a huge family or plan on canning or freezing the excess.  Plant the plants with enough space to grow, 2 to 3’ spacing for tomatoes.  3’ space for cucumber etc.  I let my cucumber vine trail through the tomatoes to keep the weeds down.  After planting, you should water carefully and soak the soil at least 1” deep.  I place newspaper in between the rows and cover them with grass clippings to reduce the weed growth .  After all, who has time to weed a garden these days?  This will break down over time and you can till the organic matter back into the garden in the spring.

Keep an eye out for insects and disease.  If you remove the insect by hand, you can reduce the need for chemical control.  If you have to spray you should use an organic product.   http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/organicag/supplpm.html

It is always good to remember that any chemical product will leave a residue which you will then consume, not a good thing if you want to live a long life.  For fertilizer you have several organic options.  Cow or poultry manure can be applied to the soil and worked in before planting or you can use topdressing of fish emulsion or bone meal. 

With these tips you can grow enough food for fresh salsa, BLT’s minus the B of course, or a cucumber salad in a space as small as 10’x10’.  Pick and enjoy!

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5 Plants On FIRE this Fall

I know you’ve felt fall acoming….pretty sure you got out your sweaters in anticipation.  But just so you know…there is still a lot of fall color yet to be seen. And if you act quickly, you might have something to enjoy in your own garden.  Here are a few of my favorite plants carrying great red fall color.

Flame Grass (Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens)

Red Gnome Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Regnzam’)

Burning Bush Tree (Euonymus alatus)

Bergenia

Sienna Glen Maple (Acer Fremanii ‘Sienna)

Happy Planting!


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Outdoor Oasis-Check

Get the most out of your backyard and create the space to relax…entertain…and simply enjoy yourself.

Lay out an inviting path.

Provide additional seating with a seatwall.

Be prepared for cooler seasons with a gas firepit.

Easily cook for the masses with a built in grill.

And finally, give your guests a focal point they can’t take their eyes off.

Project location: Winterset, Ia.  Landscape Designer: Adam Parrott

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