Snow Warnings and Care of Landscape Plants

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March Snowstorm

The seasons have been shifting in the northeast, leaving many homeowners in much dismay when it comes to winter garden maintenance. Winter storms can hit late winter into early spring, causing more distress to plantings once they have experienced warmer than normal temperatures. As we await another winter storm, there are some precautions you can take to ensure the vitality of your landscape plants and protect them from possible damage.

SNOW WEIGHTED TREE BRANCHES: Most evergreen trees and shrubs can handle snow build-up on their branches, but in the instance of a heavy snow, the branches may become weighted down. Certain Arborvitae are susceptible to the weight of snow pulling down on them and may have already experienced sagging branches. Further damage can easily be avoided by wrapping the branches together with arbor tie. The cloth tie cannot be seen from the outside, will prevent future damage from another snow, and the tree will look unscathed.

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Arborvitae and Snow Care

BROKEN OR DAMAGED TREE BRANCHES: Before an approaching storm, try to walk outside and inspect trees and shrubs on your property for any broken or damaged branches. If you do spot a damaged branch, tie the two split halves together by wrapping them tightly together with arbor tie. Start by wrapping the two halves tightly together and continue wrapping above and below the crack for extra support. If caught in time, the cambium (or growing layer) of the plant will repair itself and fuse the two parts of the damaged branch together. I have personally saved split branches on holly, azalea and arborvitae using this technique and the plants have recovered beautifully. Identifying these issues now and tending to them prior to the snow can mean the survival of your plant.

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Arbor Tied Split Branch on Holly

SNOW REMOVAL: While it is tempting to go outside and start removing snow from weighted branches it is also a good time to exercise caution. Under the snow-covered branches could also be a frozen layer of ice.  Any manipulating of the frozen branches could result in easy breakage and permanent damage to your tree.  A helpful tip is to very carefully dig snow from around trapped branches and allow them to spring back up on their own. Never shake branches with ice.  It is best to let nature take its course and allow thawing to occur. The branches will gradually regain their shape as the ice melts preventing any harm to your landscaping.

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Snow Removal From Branches

SPRING BULBS AND SNOW:  Just as your spring bulbs are emerging, a late winter snow storm in March can cause much distress and uncertainty. Besides having to tend with the snow, there is some reassuring news!  While mulch protects dormant bulbs from cold, once they start blooming, a covering of snow will act as an insulator. The snow will help to hold in the natural warmth from the soil and provide protection. Once the snow is gone, you can continue to enjoy your bulbs!

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Spring Bulbs and Snow Cover

As mentioned previously, plants are very resilient, and with a little care can bounce back and recover nicely after a major snow. With a March snow on the way, warmer days may not look promising at the moment, but Spring is right around the corner!

Informational Links:

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening on Facebook
Landscape Design by Lee on Facebook
A Guide to Northeastern Gardening Blog

NEGardening on Twitter

My Published Books: 

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer

Landscape Design Combinations

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee 2017. All Rights Reserved.page-divider-autumn

Constructing a Natural Stone Patio or Walkway

Hardscape elements can add much beauty as well as serving a function in your outdoor space. Creating a natural stone patio or walkway can add an extra dimension to your landscaping and can be accomplished in one to two days, depending on the size of your area. There are a series of necessary steps that must be followed in order to ensure the stability and lifetime of your project.

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Walkway Construction

Before starting your project, clear your space of any grass, stone or debris and level the area as best as possible. There should be a slight pitch for water drainage, but no more than a five degree slope is recommended.IMG_5667

After leveling, construct a border for your walkway using a standard steel or plastic landscape edging. Lay a layer of landscape fabric to cover the area in order to keep out soil and prevent weeds from coming through. Use metal anchors to keep the landscape fabric in place. (Note:  Steel Edging comes in 16 foot sections.)IMG_5665

Once the edging and landscape fabric are in place, install a 2-3 inch base for your stone to sit in. Here a 3/4 inch pea gravel base is being used. Rake out the gravel to create a level surface.IMG_5663

Now you are ready to lay down the irregular bluestone slabs into the gravel base.  A recommended size for the bluestone slabs is approximately 2′ x 3′. Move the stones within the gravel to ensure they are level and comfortable for walking and push the gravel up around the edges. Your new walkway is now complete and ready to enjoy!

Completed Patio

Irregular Bluestone Patio on RCA Base

To construct an irregular bluestone patio, first clear the area of any grass or debris.

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Level the area and install a base of three to four layers of RCA (recycled concrete) while tamping down after each layer is deposited.  A solid layer of approximately four inches is recommended.IMG_5729

Afterwards, add a layer of clean sandbox sand and use a level to make sure the area is flat.IMG_5742

Once the base is fully prepared, using a stone saw, carefully  cut and piece the irregular bluestone slabs together to fit like a puzzle.  This can be a bit tedious but better to take your time.  Once all the stone is laid, fully clean off any dust or debris and wash down the new patio with a hose and allow to dry.  Once completely dry, it is time to brush polymeric sand into the grooves of the stone without getting any onto the surrounding area.  The polymeric sand will form a permanent bond between the pieces of stone to complete your patio project. Wet down lightly with a spray nozzle and let set overnight. (Note: Polymeric sand hardens like a cement and will not come off the surrounding patio once set with water.  Take caution when applying to ensure the area is clean of any remaining dust or debris.) Once these steps are completed your new patio is ready to enjoy!

Following these simple steps will help guide you into creating a welcoming patio or walkway for your landscape to enjoy for years to come. For other design and hardscaping ideas,  be sure to check out my book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, which is available on Amazon.

 As Always…Happy Gardening!

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/landscapedesignbylee

https://www.facebook.com/AGuideToNortheasternGardening/

https://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/NEGardening

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening; Journeys of a Garden Designer Zones 3-9

Author: Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

The Late April Garden: Bursts of Spring Color!

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The month of April is abundant with blooms as we start off spring, and one of the wonderful aspects of my job as a landscape designer is that I get to be surrounded by them on a daily basis.  For early spring color the use of flowering trees and shrubs such as Weeping Cherry, Kwanzan Cherry, Flowering Plum, Eastern Redbud, Magnolia, Viburnum and Ornamental Pear along with spring blooming bulbs such as muscari, hyacinth, crocus, tulips and daffodils bring bursts of color to the landscape. Add some early blooming perennials such as ajuga and phlox to the mix and you have an array of color! Here are some of the more popular flowering species for your early spring garden, followed by information for each individual plant.

Weeping Cherry

Weeping Cherry  (Prunus subhirtella Pendula)

Plant Type: Flowering Tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 5-8                Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Low
Mature Size: Height 15-20′ x 15-20′ Wide
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Weeping Cherry Blossom

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Red Tulip

tulip, pink

Pink Tulip

tulip, orange

Orange Tulip

yellow tulips

Yellow Tulip

Plant Type: Bulb (Tulip Assorted)
Deciduous/Evergreen: Herbaceous
Hardiness Zone: 3-9    Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 12-18″ tall
prunus kwazan cherry

Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’)

Plant Type: Flowering Tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 4-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun-Part Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: Height 20-30 ‘x 20-30’ Wide
Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox

Plant Type: Perennial, groundcover
Deciduous/Evergreen: Herbaceous
Hardiness Zone: 3-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 4-6″ tall x 16-24″ wide
Viburnum Fragrant 2

Fragrant Viburnum (Viburnum x carlcephalum)

Plant Type: Flowering Shrub
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 6-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun – Part Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 6-10′ tall x 6-10′ wide
Growth Rate: Moderate
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' Flower

Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow’

Plant Type: Perennial, groundcover
Deciduous/Evergreen: Herbaceous
Hardiness Zone: 3-9   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun – Full Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 4-6″ tall x 12-18″ wide
Krater Plum Blossoms 2

Krauter Plum Blossoms (Prunus cerasifera ‘Krauter Vesuvius’)

Plant Type: Flowering Tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 5-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun – Part Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 15-20′ tall x 15-20′ wide

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Try some of these beauties for spring delight in your landscape. For much more information on flowering trees, shrubs and perennials,  check out my book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, available on Amazon.

 As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Book Launching: A Guide to Northeastern Gardening

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I am excited to announce the publishing of my book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer. The idea of writing a book stemmed from my two blogs, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, which I started in 2010 and this one, A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, which made its debut in 2013.

Over the years, I developed a determination to put all my experiences into words in the form of a published book, and in 2013 I started this endeavor. After much persistence and determination the goal that I had set out to accomplish has finally become a reality. The publication is an accumulation of knowledge combined with personal experiences from over twenty years of being a landscape designer, with a focus on landscape design and plants hardy in a range of zones from  3-9.  The book derived its name from my original blog from back in 2010 and there is a story to be told about how it came to be.

A little bit about the book:

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening is a comprehensive guide of valuable information on plants hardy in a range of zones from 3-9, and gardening techniques backed up by my own personal experiences as a professional landscape designer, along with answers to frequently asked questions. Learn about landscape design principles, butterfly gardening, deer resistant plants, long blooming perennials, globe and weeping evergreens, flowering trees and shrubs, native plantings, shade gardening and more. Whether you are a novice or experienced gardener, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening will help you to create your own dream garden. Come along on my journey into the world of gardening!

A little bit about the author:

Lee Miller is a professional landscape/garden designer involved in the horticultural industry since 1996. Having started a gardening blog in 2010, she is the author of over 150 articles on general gardening, landscape design principles, gardening tips, planting, pruning, garden maintenance, feature plants and more. Her published book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, is an accumulation of information touching on a wide variety of gardening topics, all backed up by her own personal experiences.

A preview of my book is now online at Amazon and the publication is available in printed format as well as for kindle. I hope my readers will find A Guide to Northeastern Gardening to be both informative and enjoyable, and wish them all the best in their gardening endeavors!

 As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

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Perennial Nutsedge Alert: One determined Weed

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Nutsedge Perennial Weed

If you see an unknown plant emerging in your garden or lawn that looks like this…it is known as Nutsedge, also known as nutgrass. Nutsedge is an erect, grass-llke perennial member of the sedge family. It emerges as a pale green spike starting in late May and is similar in appearance to a grass seedling. When a shoot reaches the surface, it forms a basal bulb which grows into a new plant, including roots that develop new tubers at their ends. This process takes approximately three weeks and the plant spreads rapidly throughout the summer months. Nutsedge does die back in winter when frost kills all top growth; however, most of the viable tubers will survive and sprout the following spring.

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Nutsedge Perennial Weed

If you see nutsedge in summer the best remedy is to remove it immediately, making sure to get all the roots and tubers. Tubers will be well beneath the soil and white shoots will be visible after pulling out the main plant.  Be sure to get all the new shoots and check regularly to see if any plants re-emerge.  The use of selective herbicides over the past twenty years has reduced competition from other weeds and allowed nutsedge to grow and spread more easily. Once established, this weed can be hard to control because its tubers have high energy reserves, multiple buds, and a long sprouting period. An addition, the tubers are resistant to systemic herbicides because the chemicals travel from the top growth of the plant into the roots and rhizomes but not into the tubers, which multiply. The most effective treatment is application of a pre-emergent in early spring.

nutsedge 3

Nutsedge Perennial Weed

When nutsedge matures in the perennial border it develops long shiny leaves that resemble the foliage of daylillies.  It also produces flower spikes in late summer as seen above, which can be misleading.  Keeping on the lookout, along with a little proactive maintenance, will prevent this determined weed from taking over your landscape.

2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.

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June Garden Blooms and Design Elements

3 garden 13When designing I like to incorporate elements into the garden which will give interest all year round, and especially enjoy a burst of color in spring, as do many of my clients.  In the above garden I have incorporated colorful evergreens, deciduous shrubs and perennials together to form a flow of color.

Color WheelAccording to the color wheel above, colors opposite one another, referred to as warm or cool colors, complement one another best.  When laying out your garden try to combine warm colors (such as yellows, reds and pinks) with cool colors (including purples, blues and greens) and repeat the theme by using the same color combinations throughout the garden. This creates unity and flow throughout the landscape.

15 garden 26  In this driveway planting the cool blue hue of the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar complements the warm hue of the Golden Oriental Spruce along with ‘Royal Burgundy’ Barberry, Nepeta and Coreopsis,  The nepeta (cool blue-purple) and coreopsis (warm yellow) will bloom profusely throughout the entire summer against the burgundy foliage of the barbery.

8 garden 23 Here Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is used along with a backdrop of evergreens and Gold Mound Spirea. Again the combination of warm and cool colors is used along with evergreens, which provide structure in the garden.2 garden 16In order to supply additional interest in spring and summer bulbs can be used to incorporate large blooms, such as these giant Globemaster Allium, which display eight inch blooms on top of two foot stalks and rising above the other plants in the garden.  A tip on planting bulbs would be to incorporate them along with other perennials that have full foliage as to hide the yellowing foliage of the early bloomers.  Here I masked the bottom foliage of the Allium with the lush green foliage of Daylily, which will jump into bloom afterwards.

These are just a few design tips that I am passing along. Until next time…

Happy Gardening.

You may also enjoy June Garden

  2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.

Book Announcement! My First Published Book!

FotorCreated BOOK PROMO 2 600 pixAfter two years of working on my book I am excited to announce that it is finally published! A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer is a comprehensive guide to gardening in plant hardiness zones 3-9.  My goal for the book is to share information on a number of gardening topics based on my experiences as a landscape designer over the years.BOOK PHOTO

A Little Bit About the Book:

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening is a comprehensive guide of valuable information on plants hardy in a range of zones from 3-9, and gardening techniques backed up by my own personal experiences as a professional landscape designer, along with answers to frequently asked questions. Learn about landscape design principles, butterfly gardening, deer resistant plants, long blooming perennials, globe and weeping evergreens, flowering trees and shrubs, native plantings, shade gardening and more. Whether you are a novice or experienced gardener, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening will help you to create your own dream garden. Come along on my journey into the world of gardening!

A Little Bit About the Author:

Lee Miller is a professional landscape/garden designer involved in the horticultural industry since 1996. Having started a gardening blog in 2010, she is the author of over 150 articles on general gardening, landscape design principles, gardening tips, planting, pruning, garden maintenance, feature plants and more. Her published book, “A Guide to Northeastern Gardening”, is an accumulation of information touching on a wide variety of gardening topics, all backed up by her own personal experiences.

Previews and further information are available on the following links:

Updated for 2016: Now in Amazon Softcover!

Amazon Kindle

Also here is a link to the full story behind the author and the book. I hope to share my gardening experiences with you!

As Always…Happy Gardening!

2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.

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