Northern Michigan Garden Maintenance, Renovation & Design
7100 E Traverse Hwy Traverse City, MI 49684
13 Mar 2015

Top 10 Planting Design Tips

1. Try massing plants rather than having one of everything.repeat

2. Plant in odd numbers, though once you reach ten plants, you can ignore this rule.

3. Make a nice composition of plant forms. Add a little variety by mixing different forms, yet make sure you still have repetition.composition

4. Mix plant textures. Combine plants with large leaves and plants with small leaves to make your garden pop.

texture

5.  When choosing colors limit your choice by picking a theme (IE: monochromatic colors, complimentary colors, etc)

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6. Consider all plant heights… especially those itsy bitsy plants (12″ or less) for the front row.  This make a great border.

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7. Consider winter interest too.  (Twigs, berries, bark and flowing grass)

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8.  Fill your beds with plants! This not only keeps down weeds, but makes your garden lush. Do you really want to look at empty planting beds.

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9. Layer your plants.  Why not even have two, three, or even five rows.

10. If you have a long border to fill, create a pattern with your plants.

Most importantly experiment and have fun.  If something doesn’t work out, try a new combination… until you fall in love with it.

 

21 May 2014

Grandma Casey’s Rhubarb Crumble

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Grandma Casey’s Rhubarb Crumble

3 cups sliced rhubarb
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2T. Flour
Pour into greased 8×8 pan or pie plate

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
Cut butter into dry ingredients and spread over rhubarb mixture. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

General Rhubarb Care:

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  •  Prune off flowering stalk to continue to harvest
  • Compost, compost, compost – rhubarb is a heavy feeder so give him lots of love and he will give you lots of stalks
  • Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, but make great compost

Enjoy!

30 Apr 2014

Top Reasons Why We Mulch!

 

snow bed

Saturday, I spent the day shoveling the last of the snow out of my garden bed, and spreading it out so it would melt away.  (Spring Fever!)  I also took that time to clean out my beds of the last few leaves and prune the damaged limbs from the shrubs.  It was great getting those things done, but I am most excited about getting my garden and borders mulched. It always looks so complete, and  it will pay off big time in the season ahead.

Top 10 Reasons We Mulch at The Mossy Tree

1. Weed control. You’ll still get a few weeds that you can pull when you go by, but NOTHING compared to what you get when there is no mulch. Bare ground without mulch will work you silly trying to control weeds.

2. Protection from the elements. Rain will compact bare soil. Sun then bakes it. The result is not the best environment for plants.

3. Prevents erosion. You sure don’t want all that good soil running off somewhere else with the rain.

4. Improves the soil. As mulch breaks down it improves the soil texture by adding organic matter. (This is how
easy it is to improve soil!)

5. Helps maintain moisture in dry weather.

6. Can keep warmth in the soil over winter. Mulched beds won’t freeze as readily as un-mulched beds.

7. Keeps the soil cooler in summer heat.

8. Looks nicer.

9. Saves time. I think this is best reason of all. It saves you tons of time on garden chores you will never have to do!

That bears repeating: It saves you tons of time on garden chores you will never have to do!

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And the best time to Mulch is Spring!

13 Jan 2014

The New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardener

Happy-New-YearEven though the snow is still blowing and the temperatures are keeping us huddled around the fireplace, now is the time to start planning your gardens.  Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions I would recommend for the Gardener.

The Gardeners New Year’s Resolutions

1) Reduce Footprint

  • Limit chemicals in your garden and using eco-friendly supplies.
  • Instead of reaching for an herbicide, weed!
  • Don’t shower your plants with Miracle Grow,  plant in Jacob’s Premier Planting Mix to help establish and maintain healthy plants.
  • If your plants need a little boost, we love SuperThrive.
  • Compost

2) Save Water

  • 40 percent of average household water usage is in the garden.
  • Grow drought-tolerant plants such as these favorites:
  • Every time it rains,  save water in a rain barrel.

 

3) Attract Pollinators

  • Welcome birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators into your garden.
  • Avoid chemicals in the garden, and plant herbs and flowers to attract these important garden visitors.
  • Consider poppies, sunflowers, lavenders, herbs and other flowering plants, which are beloved by many pollinators.
  • Native plants are great at attracting helpful pollinators too.

Nasturtiums4) Grow Edibles … And Share the Harvest

Nothing tastes better than homegrown food, and you can’t beat the health benefits of freshly picked vegetables and fruits.

  • Growing your own edibles lets you know exactly where your food originated.
  •  Involving your children in kitchen gardens, help ensure they enjoy eating these foods later in the dining room. Kids who grow their own foods love snacking from the garden.
  • Have a large surplus? A wonderful way to share your harvest with those in need.


5) Save Work

  • Work smarter, not harder. Instead of running back and forth for tools, bring them with you. I like the Garden Bucket Caddy, because it attaches easily to a plastic tub for weeds. I use it to carry my gardening essentials, and sometimes a note pad, cell phone or sunscreen.
  • You can reduce those weeds from popping up later in the garden by mulching well early in the season.
  • Instead of watering everything by hand, set up drip lines and soaker hoses that save money, time and water.

6) Select Easy-Care Plants

  • Pick drought tolerant plants that require less work.
  • Ask local gardening center or master gardeners for easy-care plant recommendations for your area.
  • Avoid invasive plants that will cause future problems.
  • Native plants that flourish in your region and support your local ecosystem.

7) Resolve to sit in your garden once a week

  • Plan a date with your favorite person or your favorite libation and make it happen weekly. It’s the best way to enjoy the garden and the best way to keep an eye on things.
 8) Compost
  • The first step to having a healthy garden is building healthy soil.
  • Composting your yard and kitchen waste will save trash from landfills, while creating one of the best soil amendment products you can find.
  • Don’t throw away all that potential garden gold and make some magic that will keep your garden happy and healthy.

9) Out with the tired …

  • Tackle the trouble spot rather than putting up with it for another year.
  • Rip out that under-performing shrub. Replace that tired old crab apple.
  • Cruise the winter catalogs and magazines for some new ideas.

10) Pass Along Plants

  •  Gardening is all about sharing — plants, ideas, tried-and-true tricks and more.
  • Divide that treasured perennial and pass it along to a friend or neighbor.
  • Save seeds, they make a wonderful spring gift!

Happy gardening new year!