Blooming in the Valley…

Le Primitif Oil Drum Art

Le Primitif Galleries’ steel oil drum art is one of Haiti’s most unique art forms. Steel drums that were once used for transporting oil are turned into magnificent works of art.

The art form began in Haiti in the late 1950’s with a blacksmith named Georges Liataud, and many talented Haitian artists have followed in his footsteps. Haitian oil drum artwork is currently on display in such prestigious institutions as the Museums of Modern Art in New York and Paris.

The round ends of the 55-gallon oil drum are removed and the oil drum is set on fire to remove any paint or left over residue. After the drum cools, it is cut in half and the artist or an assistant uses all their body weight to flatten out the drum. This becomes the artist’s canvas. Next, the suns, moons, trees and other intricate designs are chalked out and cut out using a hammer, chisel and a nail. It is a labor intensive project which results in beautiful, unique art. No two pieces are the same.

Le Primitif Galleries provides “prosperity wages,” insuring that talented artists in Haiti are paid fairly so that they may continue to work and create these beautiful pieces.

Knapp Valley Gardens is proud to feature these striking sculptures that would add a whimsical touch to your home or garden. When you visit the Knapp Valley Garden Center, be sure to take time to admire the steel oil drum art from Le Primitif Galleries.

Reseeding Damaged or Bare Lawn Areas

  • Till or loosen soil to a depth of 3-4 inches, removing stones and debris. Top-dress with new soil as needed.                                                      
  • Apply a starter or basic quick release fertilizer like 12-12-12. One pound should cover approximately 100 to 150 square feet.
  • Apply half of the recommended grass seed uniformly over the entire area. Lightly rake this seed into the soil. Apply the remaining half of the grass seed over the area and tamp down lightly or roll to get good soil contact. One pound of grass seed will cover 200 to 300 square feet.
  • Cover the area to help retain moisture. This can be accomplished with straw or manufactured pellet mulch. Steep areas should be matted with a straw erosion mesh.
  • Initially, water several times each day using a gentle spray, keeping the top 1/2 inch of the soil damp taking care not to overwater. The goal is to keep the seed moist without oversaturating the soil. Once the seeds have emerged and are 1-2 inches high, water thoroughly once a day.
  • Fertilizer can be reapplied according to package instructions. 12-12-12 can be reapplied after 4 weeks. New seed will falter and stop growing if additional fertilizer is not applied. Additional seed can be added at this time to fill void areas.
  • When the new grass grows to a height of 3 inches it should be cut for the first time. Cut the grass to a height of 2 inches using a sharp mowing blade. At this point watering should be reduced to 1-3 times a week providing about 1 inch of water each time.
  • After the newly seeded areas have been mowed four times, it is safe to apply weed killer. As the turf thickens it will begin to choke out existing weeds.

 

Mulch Madness!!!

Time to get things looking nice again after the long winter. What makes a yard look better than some fresh mulch?!

Benefits of Mulching

  1. Mulch gives your landscape a well kept manicured appearance.
  2.  Mulch helps the soil retain moisture.
  3.  Mulch controls and slows weed growth.
  4.  Mulch helps insulate the root zone of your plantings by moderating soil temperatures throughout the year.
  5.  Mulch decomposes improving the soils ability to provide air, moisture, and nutrients.
  6.  Mulch helps to control erosion by slowing runoff and absorbing rainwater.
  7.  Mulch helps to reduce soil compaction.
  8.  Mulch reduces the likelihood of damage from weed whips and lawn mowers.

Proper Mulching Techniques

  1. If mulch is already present, check the depth. Mulch should only be three to four inches deep.
  2.  If trees or shrubs have been mulched too heavily, remove or redistribute excess mulch as needed.
  3.  Rake the old mulch and break up the matted layers that may have formed before applying more.
  4.  Do not allow mulch to come in contact with the bark of a plant by being piled up against the trunk. Keep mulch three to four inches from the trunk of trees and shrubs.
  5.  Extend mulch to the drip-line of the plant. The primary benefit of mulching occurs in the root zone of the plant.

Fall Fun!

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful fall so far! We sure are over here at Knapp Valley! We are packed full with all of our fall favorites!

  • Carving Pumpkins
  • Heirloom Pumpkins
  • Mini Pumpkins
  • Gourds
  • Indian Corn
  • Corn Stalks
  • Broomcorn
  • Mums
  • Aster
  • Flowering Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Pansies
  • Ornamental Grasses
  • & More!!

Check out some of our fun creations…

Penguin-Gourds

Mr. Peanut

ArtPrize

We recently had the privilege of working with a couple of artists from Indiana, Chad Copeland and Alyssa Banas on their ArtPrize entry. Chad called us a couple months back and asked if we would donate some stone for the pond feature part of their art entry. Knapp Valley agreed to help them out and even allowed them to borrow a truck to haul the stone downtown to their venue at The B.O.B.

After setting up “Forgive Our Trespasses” the artists asked if we would help them out further and landscape around their art. Eager to support the arts, Knapp Valley sent down a crew and “beautified” the area surrounding the art. The landscaping really made a huge difference as you can see from the before & after images.

This is the artists’ description of their work, “Our collaborative works address many relevant issues of the modern world. Concerns with environmental destruction, overpopulation, and notions of the apocalypse, are on the forefront of our minds. Daily reminders of these issues, influence our artwork on an encompassing scale. As a whole, we gravitate towards recycled materials; these objects tend to guide our vision. When people see our work, we hope they are inspired to repurpose discarded materials. Our sculpture “Forgive our Trespasses,” fulfills this mission because it touches on the innocence of childhood, the purity of nature, and the disruption of these cycles by human consumption and waste.”

If you haven’t checked out ArtPrize yet, take advantage of this beautiful fall weather and see all the awesome works of art. Stop by “Forgive our Trespasses” and check out Chad & Alyssa’s art and Knapp Valley’s landscaping around their piece.

Maintenance for Your Garden

The one job that never goes away is the need to weed, prune, deadhead, and the general cleanup of garden beds. At Knapp Valley we offer a service that covers these sometimes overwhelming tasks. Our maintenance team will get to know you and your garden to help develop a plan that fits both needs.  Whether it be one visit at the beginning and end of the year or a visit once every two weeks we can help keep your gardens looking good.

Weeding and Deadheading

            Though weeding and deadheading may be simple tasks, sometimes the amount of work exceeds one’s ability to complete it well. At Knapp Valley we offer our services of bed maintenance to complete small to large weeding/deadheading jobs. Our maintenance crew has years of experience knowing what is and what is not a weed. Also, they have been trained to know what to cut back and when to deadhead each perennial to keep your garden bed looking good all year round. With our maintenance teams’ help you need not worry about weeding and deadheading, our crew will deal with it for you.

Pruning

            To keep the plants healthy around your home pruning is a necessary task, but what do you do when you are not sure how to prune a tree or how much to take off of a shrub? You can call Knapp Valley and we will send out or maintenance crew to do if for you. The crew is well experienced in dealing with all sorts of pruning jobs. From the smallest shrubs to larger trees our crews have dealt with most types of pruning jobs. For instance: Do you have shrubs that cover your windows? Or Shrubs that are twice as large as you like them? Or are there plants that have grown too tall you cannot see the plants behind them? Or do you have plants that are rubbing on your house causing unnecessary damage? In all of these cases we can help.

At this Grand Rapids home all of these problems were occurring, so a Knapp Valley crew was called in to care for all the pruning needs.

One of the landscape beds Knapp Valley cleaned up at this home

At this home, windows were blocked in some areas and several plants were overgrown. The plants were brought back down to a good size and shape to allow the homeowner to have views from their windows and be able to see deeper into their garden beds.

 

Ornamental Grasses in the Garden

Ornamental grasses have become increasingly popular over recent years. They provide a wide array of functions in gardens and landscapes. They can be used as backdrops, borders, screens, accents, ground cover, and erosion control. There are hundreds to choose from with different heights, colors, and textures. Some are grown for their plumes while others are grown for their foliage and form. They come in many forms from low-growing and spreading to large clumps. Most ornamental grasses bloom late summer into fall and can provide beautiful late-season color and many offer year-round interest. There are ornamental grasses available to fit the needs of any garden!

Blue Fescue Grass

Short Grasses: Under 2’

Short clumping grasses make excellent border & sidewalk plants, while shorter spreading grasses work well in mass-plantings as ground-covers. Short grasses also standout in rock garden plantings and in planters. Some of our favorite shorter grasses include Blue Fescue, Blue Oat Grass, Tuft Hair Grass, and sedges like Ice Dance. Some good companion plants with short grasses include lavender and bell flowers.

Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass

Medium Grasses: 2’-4’

Mid-sized grasses work well in perennial borders, as accents among shrubs and perennials and should also be considered for screens. Some of our favorite mid-sized grasses include Switch Grasses, some of the Maiden Grasses, Little Blue Stem and Karl Foerster Grass. Mid-sized grasses pair nicely with daylilies, Coreopsis and Liatris.

Gracillimus Japanese Silver Grass

Tall Grasses: 5’+

Tall grasses add a nice vertical element to landscapes. There are some ornamental grasses that will grow up to 15’ tall. Of the tall grasses, Pampas grass is probably the most well-known. Unfortunately, it is not hardy in this area, so some nice alternatives include Indian Grass, Maiden Grasses (Silver Grasses), and Tall Bluestem. Tall grasses standout in the garden and make nice screens or statement plants. Some nice companion plants include Sage, Joe Pye Weed & Rudbeckia.

Dried Flower Arrangements

The girls in the garden center have been busy putting together lots of dried arrangements! Check out some of their fun creations below!

Dried flower arrangements preserve nature’s beauty for year round appreciation. Why not try making one of your own? Or come on over to Knapp Valley and check out some of our awesome dried arrangements!

Help! Deer Are Ruining My Garden!

Sure is cute, but sure can cause a lot of problems in your garden!

One of the most common problems people come to us with is that deer are eating all of their plants! What plants can you put in your garden that are deer resistant? What method works best for keeping deer out of your yard?

There are several plants that are “deer-resistant,” however, this does not guarantee that deer will stay away from them; it means they are less likely to eat these than others. If deer are hungry enough and there is nothing else to eat, you betcha they will snack on your Echinacea!

            There is still less chance they will eat “deer resistant” plants, so it is worth the shot, especially if deer frequent your yard. Some of our favorite “deer resistant” plants are Barberry, Boxwood, Rose of Sharon, Weigela and Viburnum. They are classic, functional and standout plants and deer will avoid them for the most part unless they are starving.

            If deer visit your yard and leave it looking worse for wear, eating even your “deer resistant” plants, you may want to try another method. Deer repellents are another great option. There are several different repellents on the market which you may need to experiment with before finding the one that works best for you. Most also require reapplication every thirty days or after heavy rainfalls. At Knapp Valley we have had success with Liquid Fence & Sweeney’s Deer Repellent, which we carry in our Garden Center.

Liquid Fence Deer Repellent

To use Liquid Fence, spray liberally on all plants and their perimeter. Repeat a week later and then once per month thereafter, re-applying after heavy rainfalls.

Sweeney's Deer Repellent

Sweeney’s Deer Repellent comes in the form of stakes which you place around your yard once a year. Air flows through the stakes which carries the repellent scent around your yard, triggering the flight-response in deer.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer there are also several recipes scattered on the internet that you can concoct in your own kitchen. Below is a popular recipe, which we have not yet tried ourselves but have heard many success stories about. (I believe this recipe was originally taken from Fine Gardening.)

Things You’ll Need:

4 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup peeled garlic

1 cup clear ammonia

1 cup Murphy’s oil soap

1 bar Ivory hand soap (optional)

Boil the cayenne in the vinegar for one minute, and then strain it through a coffee filter. In a blender, purée the garlic in two cups of water, and then strain that mixture through another filter. Combine the two filtered liquids with the ammonia and oil soap in a 3-gallon garden sprayer. Fill the sprayer to the maximum level with water, and spray this concoction around all of the areas you want to protect. For extra stickiness, float a bar of Ivory soap in the sprayer and let it slowly dissolve over several fillings. For maximum effectiveness, reapply weekly, as well as immediately after every rainstorm. More frequent spraying may be warranted if deer browsing is intense.

Hopefully you will find success using one or more of the above methods. Let us know if you have a tried and true method to keeping the deer out of your yard!