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.

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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.

 

09 May 2014

Daffodils

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth

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!

17 Apr 2014

Operation Vole Elimination 101

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Voles

So you just discovered that those cute furry little things are the ones wreaking havoc on your landscapes!  Now, how to identify and eliminate!

Step 1:  Identitifyvoledamage

We’re talking voles, NOT moles. Voles are small rodents similar to field mice. They have small rounded ears, small eyes, and short tails. You’ll know voles by the snake-like tunnels that you’ll see all over your lawn. They’re very active in the spring and then their manic tunneling subsides.

IMG_4226Voles love fields with lots of weeds and coverage. They are active both day and night, especially evening and early morning hours. They love to burrow underground and will eat bulbs and root vegetables. If you have partially eaten carrots, potatoes, etc., you may have a vole problem. They also nest at the base of trees and shrubs which can cause damage to the roots, especially as they tend to chew the bark.  As the snow melts, we are seeing lots of vole damage in our shrubs.

Step 2: Eliminate

Nothing is sure when trying to eliminate voles, but here are some methods to try for your garden:IMG_4601

1)   Make your yard inhospitable to voles! Cut back brush, mow, weed, and create a clean space.

2)  Live traps near vole runways or the nesting sites at the base of trees and shrubs. Bait traps with peanut butter and set baits midday to early evening when voles get more active.  Relocate voles to a faraway field. The success to trapping is persistence.

3)  Bait voles with a registered rodenticide. Consult your local garden center or professional critter control agency.IMG_4599

4)  Protect a garden by fencing the area with a half-inch of mesh, at least 12 inches above the ground and buried 6 to 10 inches deep.

5)  Add gravel to the planting hole surrounding the bulbs. When you plant bulbs, drench or powder them with a fungicide to discourage voles.

6)  The best control method: an outdoor cat.

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