Barrels Upon Barrels of Fun!

A fun way to add a rustic touch to your home or garden is by using whiskey barrels. In the 1880’s barrels were the best ways to transport goods because they are sturdy and convenient for shipping. Most barrels would be reused if they were of any value. One day when a farmer was trying to reuse a barrel that had hauled fish he decided to clean and burn the inside of the barrel to get rid of the fish smell then he added alcohol to the barrel for shipping and when it reached its destination the alcohol had changed color and acquired a taste from the burnt barrel. This created the name the whiskey barrel. Today, the barrels are still used but what do they do with the rest of the barrels that have lived past their use? Well it has been found that there are many other uses for the barrel. Barrels can be used indoors and outdoors to add a rustic and old-time feeling by creating different types of pieces. The Planter Some people want to spice up their front entrance and do it in a not so obvious way so they can use a half whiskey barrel as the potting area. A hole has to be drilled into the bottom for drainage. Then add soil, your favorite annuals or even some perennials, or a small tree to give the barrel a purpose and your home a new look starting with the front door. Some may find the half barrel still too normal so another option is to split a whole barrel in half the long...

Herbs, Herbs, Herbs!!

If you love cooking, nothing is better than having fresh herbs on hand to add an extra kick to your meals and wow your taste buds. You can grow herbs for a fraction of the cost you pay for fresh herbs at the grocery store, and it can also be a rewarding experience growing your very own herbs. There are so many wonderful herbs you can grow and most require little maintenance. Why not give it a shot? Some must-grow herbs include basil, thyme, parsley and rosemary. Basil Basil is a delicious herb and compliments many dishes, especially Italian cuisine. Basil needs to be planted in a sunny spot in well-drained, fertile soil. Once the warm weather comes to stay, basil growth will take off! As it grows, basil can become a bit leggy, so be sure to harvest often. By harvesting the energy will be directed into producing lots of new leaves. Avoid allowing basil to flower as it can result in bitter tasting leaves. There are several varieties of basil including Genovese, Thai and Lemon. Each variety brings a unique taste and look. Thyme Plant thyme in full sun for the best flavor. It prefers a well-drained, lighter soil that is not too rich in nutrients. Thyme only requires water in very dry conditions, so water sparingly. Thyme leaves are small but are packed full of flavor. Chop thyme up finely or tie a bundle of sprigs together and throw it in a soup to simmer and remove before serving. Thyme goes especially well with lamb, tomatoes, and eggs. Thyme is very attractive and in addition to...

Frost Damage in Ornamental Landscapes

The local newscasts have been showing us how the recent frosts have decimated the fruit crops around the state. What hasn’t made the news but has been happening outside your own home is damage to your ornamental and perennial landscapes. This past weekend had two days of clear skies which resulted in pretty good frosts. Plants that had been holding their own finally sustained some damage. Those growing away from buildings and in open areas suffered the most. Most of the calls we have been receiving concern Japanese Maples and Hosta. Other plants showing signs of frost damage are weigela, spirea, and some hydrangea. Most of the damaged plants should recover just fine. They just may not be as attractive as we would like them to be. Time will tell. The damage has not been too severe up to this point. Dead leaves and shoots that are starting to dry out may be removed at this time. Hold off on pruning back any live stems as they may be able to generate new leaves. This recent damage was not as bad as what we had a few years ago when we had a hard frost in May. At that time you could drive through some neighborhoods and see one house after another with wilted Japanese Maples and big beds of yellowed Hosta. It was a sad sight. Let’s hope that we have seen the end of the frosts for this year. Although it has been warm the past few days, predictions for the rest of the month are still for cooler temperatures. It is best to keep an eye...

5 Simple Steps to Container Gardening

1. Make sure you have all the materials gathered where you want your container to be displayed for the summer. This way you won’t have to move it in place when it’s really heavy! Materials Include: Large container with an adequate drainage hole Good quality potting soil such as Dr. Earth. Slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote (If not included in the potting soil) An assortment of annuals suited for sun or shade 2. If re-using an old pot, empty the old soil from pot and fill with new potting mix, and sprinkle with a slow release granular fertilizer, mix the fertilizer into the potting soil well. 3. Plants should be chosen according to what inspires you but should include: A Thriller plant: one that stands out above the rest. Should be tall and colorful, either with variegated foliage or exceptional flowers. Examples: Purple Fountain Grass, Cannas, and Alocasia. The Fillers: Eye catching plants that complement the thriller without overwhelming it. Plants with lots of body and those which add a nice contrast make great fillers. It is good to have a variety of fillers, some with beautiful foliage and others with stunning flowers. Examples: Geraniums, Coleus and Million Bells Spiller plants: these are the trailing plants to hang over the container and soften the edges of the container. Examples: Sweet potato vine, Ivy, Vinca and Licorice. 4. Depending on how the container will be viewed the Thriller plant should be placed in the center or along an edge of the container. Next the filler plants should be placed around the thriller and placed to fill up the pot....
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