Archive for February, 2010

Garden Idea Books & Designers

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Thinking Spring: Create a garden Idea Book

Though there is still snow on the ground and February has yet to pass as I write this, spring is around the corner. Yes there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Now is the time to consider how you want to use your outdoor space and what you would like to see there.

Success in conceptualizing gardens -and just about anything- is based on trying to visualize the elements that will become the building blocks of design. In my professional experience, there are a couple of varieties of clients for example, those that want to be wowed with minimal input, and those who collaborate in the design process. The ones who want to be “wowed” usually have some idea of what they like, but want a designer to guess, while the collaborators have some ideas but don’t know how to work them into their space.

Inevitably, the collaborators are happier with the finished product in the long run. They go through magazines and web sites looking for what they find exciting and stimulating, they are actively involved in the design process, while the other type of client takes very short lived pleasure in the final outcome of their garden because they tend to be less personally invested.

This is the time to start dreaming. First, how would you like to use your outdoor space? What room or rooms will it be? What do you need to do to make it more effective? What textures and color palettes would you like to draw form? How can you create this look and most benefit the local ecology? The last question in some ways is the most important since the health of your garden is very much dependent on beneficial insects and wildlife that interact with it. If you choose to get the help of a garden designer, their role will be to take the ideas you have assembled, let you know which will work with the architecture of your home, where they can be used successfully, and which plants will best marry your dreams, and thrive in your area.

Dreaming costs you nothing. We are all concerned about what 2010 is going to look like, especially since we are getting such mixed signals from the “experts”. Start collecting ideas for your outdoor space by collecting pictures and putting them in an idea file. Once you feel you have the right group of ideas, you can implement them in stages as you feel you can afford them. Don’t let concerns about the future dampen your enthusiasm for a garden of your dreams, just temper the speed with which you reach for it with whatever your economic reality is today.

Indoor Herbs

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The Toughest Herbs:

If you have been following along for the last few weeks, perhaps you just cant wait for spring. Many herbs are suitable not only for starting indoors, but for growing indoors. No fancy hydroponics are needed, just a window with fairly good light.

The following is a list of herbs that are relatively happy indoors:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Angelica
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Chives
  • Planting herb pots can be great fun with the kids. Buy some small clay pots, and let them paint them before you plant them. You will want to get some acrylic paint or some kind of paint not affected by water. Maybe even some colored sharpies if that is easier. Make sure you supervise this closely as acrylics (and sharpies) can be hard to remove.

    Proper seed and/or plant selection  is key to successful plant development. Try www.burpee.com/herbs or www.parkseeds.com. Both are very reliable suppliers, or if you really want to simplify things, you can order a seed kit from amazon.com, or a whole soiless herb seed starter kit pots and all

    amazonherbs.jpgamazon-herbs2.jpg

    Chia Herbs on Amazon                                                                            Herb assortment from Amazon

    Once the pots are decorated and planted, Find a sunny spot to grow your indoor herb garden. Ideally, it should be south facing, but if this isn’t possible try a spot that gets strong morning or afternoon light. That would be any window but North that is not shaded. Regular watering is important, but not too much. Most indoor plants die form over watering. Once a week should be sufficient. Make sure you feel the soil first before you water.

    You can also go to the Greener by Design fan page on Facebook for more info on herbs.