Upcycling In 2016

download (19)Let’s talk about upcycling in 2016

Towards the end of last year, the world went crazy for upcycling. It truly captured the imaginations of a vast number of people – largely because upcycling can take many different forms. For those who don’t know, let me quickly bring you up to speed.

Upcycling is all about reusing something you have to produce something of higher quality and higher value. It’s a craze that so many people have joined in with because it is incredibly cheap and also creates things of beauty from what many would see as waste materials.

Upcycling wood

If you’ve built something out of wood in the past, no doubt you will still have odds and ends lying around your shed. Whereas most people would simply discard these parts, instead you should put them to good use! You can reuse old wood to make tables, steps, desks, cupboards and much more. Just have a look at some of these upcycled masterpieces:

Upcycling in the garden

Perhaps the most popular form of upcycling right now is in the garden. Creating pot plants, flower beds, bird tables, water features

Orchids Care Tips

download (18)Truthfully, growing orchids can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Most people get intimidated by them, thinking that is too difficult to care for them, but in reality is the complete opposite. To help you, I will share with you some tips that I have used in my own garden when growing and maintaining orchids that will have them lasting for years. First, let’s talk about what you need to do. In order to be successful in their development, you will need the following:

1 – Light

Most orchids need little or no direct sunlight. In doors, you should look for a location near windows. Outdoors, it is important to keep them in the shade. Good light conditions are essential to stimulate flowering and growth.

2 – Water

Water, in addition to the light, is an extremely important element when caring for orchids. Try to use soft water when watering your orchids, such as bottled water, running water, or rainwater. Avoid water saturation of the roots. Good drainage is crucial to their growth. They need a light and porous soil to prevent compaction of the substrate.

Common Orchid Plants Grown in the Home

download (16)There are more than 25,000 different species making the orchid plant one of the most diverse in the plant family. Below are some of the common ones grown in a home environment

Phalaenopsis (fal-en-OP-sis)

This is probably the easiest orchid to grow for beginners and would be the most popular. This orchid is often referred to as a “Moth Orchid”. These can be grown under fluorescent lights; they can burn quickly if left in direct sunlight. Re-potting only needs to happen every 2-3 years. With showy colours of red, purple, white, yellow, pinks and spotted harlequins, this type of orchid is sure to please. A happy mature orchid can stay in bloom for most of the year.

Cattleya (CAT-lay-ah)

This is another good choice for those starting out growing orchids. They are a perfect selection for those who live a busy lifestyle and sometimes forget to water their plants. These produce lovely fragrant flowers that come in orange, purple, pink, red white and yellow. Re-potting only need to happen every 2-3 years. The Cattleya is used for corsages. This orchid loves the bright light. Give them full

Best Dwarf Shrubs for Planting In Every Gardening Landscape

images (1)In concert with our latest article on Basic Landscape Bushes, we thought we’d highlight some of the best, basic landscape dwarf shrubs that suit most all landscapes. We understand that many people who are installing new gardens or fixing up and old one may not know a lot about what’s available and what they should choose for plant material, so highlighting the basic tried-and-true varieties could be useful. This is especially true for shrub choices.

Dwarf shrubs are necessary for basic landscape use, because they offer a transition between the more permanent shrubs that are larger and the perennial choices that tend to change more over time as plants die, fashions change, and landscape changes are necessary. Basic shrubs tend to stay the standard over time and their dwarf counterparts play that crucial intermediate role. Dwarf shrubs can also work in the landscape as small boundary line markers, anchor specimen beds, and can offer some screening use in smaller spaces as well as many other tasks.

Because of good breeding, many shrubs that are larger now come in dwarf cultivars so when choosing dwarf shrubs

Neighbour Disputes Regarding Trees and Hedges in Kingston

imagesTrees on Private Property in Kingston

Kingston Council and indeed many local tree surgeons receive phone calls from people unhappy that a neighbouring tree is causing a nuisance or obstruction to their property and they are not sure what they are entitled to do.

Tree surgeons and Kingston Council are obviously not able to get involved in these types of private matters and it is recommended that you try and deal with any issues you may have in a reasonable and friendly manner with your neighbour before they get out of hand and become a full-blown dispute.

There may be many reasons why a neighbouring trees overhanging branches are causing you problems and it is not unreasonable for you to wish to remove them. On the other had your neighbour may love their tree and be apprehensive and upset that any works may disfigure the tree, cause it to become diseased or even lead to the death of the tree.

It, therefore, makes sense to try and have a friendly chat with your neighbour to assure them that any works will be carried out to a high standard,

Orchids = Basic Types and Origin

download (17)The Orchid is a type of perennial plant. (Perennial plants live at least two years or more – some seem to live forever while others live for decades before they die). They usually have three petals with the third petal forming a large lip, differing from the other two in color and sometimes shape. There are approximately 25,000 different species of orchids wildly growing worldwide. Understanding the different types of orchid can be useful to home growers.

There four (4) basic types of orchid:

• epiphytic

• terrestrial

• saprophytic

• lithophytes

Epiphytic Orchid

The epiphytic orchid, grows mostly in tropic and subtopic regions. They are attached to and suspended from tree trunks and branches. The epiphytic orchid has its roots exposed to the air so that it can receive moisture and nutrients. The epiphytic types of orchid are the most popular for growing indoors.

Terrestrial Orchid

The terrestrial orchid is the second of the major types of orchid. This type is usually anchored to the ground using underground roots. The plant uses the roots to get the nutrients it needs. Many people who try to grow terrestrial orchids attempt to grow

Gardening: Studies Show Gardening Can Reduce the Risk of Dementia & Other Mental Illnesses

download (15)Anyone who has spent any extended time in a garden can tell you that, after a few hours with their hands in the dirt, they feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Now, recent studies into the effects of gardening and mental health are taking huge steps towards proving, scientifically, that these improvements are not just a product of the placebo effect. In various scientific studies performed around the world, researchers are finding that there may actually be both biological, and psychological ways in which gardening can improve over-all mental health. These studies suggest that a decision to add a garden area to your out-door living space may play a crucial role in preventing many of the crippling ailments which seem to go with aging.

Gardening and Dementia

Some research suggests that gardening can help lower the risk of developing dementia. In two separate studies, researchers followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years. Their observations, respectively, concluded that those who gardened regularly had a 36% and 47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners, even when a range of other health factors were taken

5 Cardinal Rules of Culinary Gardens

download (14)Cook up something great – herbs every gourmet needs

Why look any farther for fresh flavors than your very own garden? A culinary garden can be the ultimate inspiration for budding cooks and gourmet chefs alike. Like any recipe, start your kitchen garden with the basics. Think light, placement, planning. Place plants of similar size and water needs together, for example. You wouldn’t want your woody rosemary to crowd out your herbaceous chives. More tips to get you cooking…

5 Cardinal Rules of Culinary Gardens

Location, location, location: Close to the kitchen, not to close for aesthetics. You want your culinary garden to be close enough to cut quickly. But remember, you’ll be cutting your herbs often, so the plants might not be the prettiest. If it will bother you to have cut-back plants as your first view out the door, rethink placement.

Shoot for the sun: By and large, herbs hanker for the sun. Choosing a sunny locale gives you the best chance for overall success with your culinary garden. Added to that, they just taste better, with more nutrients and richer colors that add up

How Gardening Services Can Help to Keep the Garden Arranged

download (13)Garden upkeep is usually a bit of a challenge, particularly for individuals who have a busy lifestyle or disinterest in gardening as a hobby.

Fortunately, assistance is readily available, especially for those willing to add life in their home’s exterior without making drastic changes. Creating a gorgeous garden is the final touch that every home needs. For people who are lucky enough to own one, gardening services could be needed for upkeep purposes.

Tidying is a word that is not usually used in relation to gardening. Nevertheless, it is one of the most regular areas of expertise that proficient gardeners provide on regular basis. Gardening services are usually affordable. Gardeners remove the stress of having to try and maintain a garden from those with little desire for the process of gardening itself.

One of the main methods that a gardener could help to improve is the layout of the backyard. They can also help to map out where particular plants are supposed to grow. Occasionally positions can easily be adjusted as desired by the expert. It might seem like there is very little carte blanche when

The Elements For Creating a Japanese Garden

download (12)The Key Elements of a Japanese Garden

Japanese gardens are growing in popularity nowadays. This can be attributed to its graceful combination of plants, water and rocks all meticulously arranged to invite a sense of calm and tranquility. If you’re looking to build your own Japanese garden at home, here are important principles you should keep in mind:

1. Your stone layout sets the foundation

As Ancient Japanese mythology puts great importance to mountains and stones as the foundation of the earth, the Japanese consider this as one of their most important principles in designing their own zen gardens. They believe that stones form the frame of the garden and if they are properly arranged, the other parts of the garden should automatically arrange itself. If you’re just in the process of designing your Japanese garden, some ideas include incorporating raked gravel around islands or laying out uniform-sized gray river rocks to create a stream bed.

2. The water serves as the basis of the whole garden composition

Water is considered an essential part of every Japanese garden, as it symbolizes the steady and continuous flow of time.

Lapageria Rosea Chilean Bell Flower, Copihue

download (11)Lapageria is a monotypic genus meaning there is only one unique species of this fantastic plant.

The National Flower of Chile it is known to festoon the trees, shrubs and natural areas in Chile making a spectacular sight.

It has been called the “aristocrat of climbers”, one of the “greater glories’ of climbers and one of the most beautiful of all flowering climbers. Certainly plant collectors and horticulturists want to obtain and grow this plant, not just one but as many as possible.

As an aristocrat it is fitting it was named after Empress Josephine de la Pagerie of France and was pursued by Napoleon and married him. She was a keen gardener particularly with roses.

Interestingly Lapageria belongs to the family Philesiaceae which includes only two genera Lapageria and Philesia making it a member of one of the smallest flowering plant families. It was introduced into cultivation in Europe at Kew Gardens in 1874.

To grow this plant well one needs to understand what conditions it likes best and how it grows in its native habitat.

Strong, wiry, slender, twinning stems grow from underground rootstock and these stems

How to Grow Malva Moschata – Musk Mallow

download (10)General Information and Description

Malva moschata or musk mallow as it is often more commonly referred to due to the basal leaves having a slightly musky scent, is probably one of Britain’s prettiest native wild flowers.

A deciduous, hardy perennial in most parts of the United Kingdom and with rounded leaves, the foliage is delicate and almost fern like. Musk mallow flowers from mid-summer through to early autumn with a succession of the prettiest, fairly large, saucer shaped flowers in the most delicate of pale pinks, a delightful sight in any herbaceous border.

Easy to grow and requiring no maintenance, musk mallow has a bushy habit and will grow in most moist but well drained soils, although a rich soil can make it liable to flopping.

Plants are available from most good garden centres with the variety ‘Rosea’, probably the prettiest of them all with its deep pink flowers, whilst f. alba is a delightful albino variety. Seeds can also be purchased from garden centres for those who wish to have a go at raising some themselves.

Attractive to bees, musk mallow is ideal for flower beds and

Incorporating Vegetables in Your Garden

download (9)It’s not surprising that many people are opting to grow their own vegetables, especially since the food prices continue to rise. Many gardeners find themselves planting and tending to various plants and flowers, so why not add vegetable plants also. There are quite a few vegetables that you can grow in your own garden. Of course, you need to consider your climate when you choose particular vegetables.

Firstly, you need to designate a certain section of your garden as a vegetable patch. Create a pathway with cobblestones that leads you to the vegetable patch. You can build a low brick wall around the vegetable patch and add some cladding to the wall to give it a modern appearance. Within this section, check the soil and dig to loosen it. Then remove all the weeds before you plant anything. You may need to get a quality soil and fertilizer.

Once your vegetable patch is ready, you can go to your local garden centre to get a few vegetable seeds or young plants. Be sure to keep your climate, and the season, in mind when you

Which Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

download (8)We all find ourselves busy and worn out because our lives are packed with so many tasks. Quite often we forget to go to the grocery store after a long day of work to get herbs for a meal. I find myself getting home after work and realising that I didn’t get basil for the pasta dish we planned to cook. That’s when I decided to grow my own herb garden in the back yard.

My garden was already decorated and complete with a braai area. I have flagstone walkways with grass alongside them, along the walls of my fence I have rose bushes, and the braai area is paved with cladding. So I had decided to allocate a small section of about half a metre by two metres nearest to my kitchen’s back door. This section runs along the wall of my house. It doesn’t get too much direct sunlight during the day, because I didn’t want the herbs to be exposed to direct sunlight all day long. I placed one layer of bricks to partition this area. Then I added copings

Why Hire a Professional Tree Service Company?

download (7)Going green is the latest trend in the melting scenario of global warming. Every household observes a well-maintained greenery to make their property eco-friendly and soothing, to the eyes that often includes trees, flowering plants and mini shrubs. However, you alone can take necessary care of the attractive flowering plants by yourself with the help of water, fertilizers, and pesticides. But, when it comes to the trees in your premises, you need professional help.


When a plant is within reachable limits, when it is still young, you can prune and shape all its parts by yourself. But as it escalates high, spreading its branches, it becomes untameable. The ever-growing branches grow unrestricted; stretching in different unwanted directions, often blocking the air circulation to the ground. A professional tree service company are the best people who can help you prune the growing branches with their huge cranes can ingeniously control this green giant by giving it fresh new cut.

Cutting dead trees:

Due to several reasons altogether, some trees die out naturally and often acts as a barrier to the growth of other plants. It takes up

All About Composting

download (5)What should you compost?

It’s recommended to compost vegetable waste, shells, flowers, fruits, tea leaves, droppings of household animals, leaves, small branches. It’s not recommended to compost weeds with seeds still in them. Once this kind of compost is distributed in soil, it becomes polluted. You can’t compost carcass meat, pieces of meat and fish, boiled vegetables. This kind of waste attracts rats and smells terribly.

When should you begin to compost?

It’s best to begin in the spring or at the end of the summer – August and September due to the good weather conditions and dry soil.

Where should you compost?

It’s recommended to compost in special containers or on specially prepared places on the ground. Using containers is more convenient since it takes less space and the right temperature rises much sooner. Containers provide faster maturity of the compost, and it’s easier to sustain humidity. On top of that, it’s easier to maintain and take care of the compost this way.

How should you compost?

The two most important things to take into consideration is temperature and ventilation. In order to have great compost, temperature needs to

Flowering Plants That Attract Butterflies

download (4)In order to attract butterflies to your garden, you need to know exactly what they look for nectar. Plant annual blooming plants amongst your perennial blooming plants to ensure continuous nectar throughout the year. Asters and Parsley are two of the perennials that provide food for the larval hosts. Remember that the more food you provide, the more species of butterfly that you will attract. Plant a garden that will provide continuous bloom as butterflies are active from spring to fall.

Additionally, they like sunny open spaces, shelter from the wind, and freshwater. Specifically, they look for host plants to lay their eggs. Herbs are very attractive to butterflies because they provide a great environment for their eggs.

The following are some of many flowering plants that are attractive to butterflies:

Lilac: comes in seven different colors, but most of us are familiar with the lilac color. They are perfect for your garden due to their pleasant fragrance. Most lilacs which bloom in the northern states for 2 weeks in late may. They also bloom in early- mid- and late season. They can grow from

Elegant Azaleas – Stunning Impact in Your Garden

download (3)Elegant azaleas can add a stunning impact in your garden. I have a faint pink azalea with darker markings on the petal edges that is gorgeous with prolific blooms from the bottom of the plant to the end of every branch.

I bought this evergreen azalea last spring and transplanted it this winter into a larger container where it busted out in a plethora of new growth filled with blossoms for the spring fashion show, the only thing missing is fragrance. The good news: azaleas can bloom for several weeks.

Two years ago, I planted a Red Bird Azalea that expanded and I had to transplant it after it doubled in size in one year. Some varieties are smaller and more compact and it is good to choose the correct size for your garden area.

When I was young, we lived in Chamblee, Georgia near Atlanta. At our new house, my Dad planted several azaleas in the front yard and they looked grand with their cranberry blossoms each spring. The azaleas grew well under the pine and dogwood trees in the right environment, in the shade

Beat the Summer Heat by Planting Vegetables and Flowers in May

download (2)Summer is almost upon us. May is when to plant vegetables and flowers so they are well established before summer heat takes hold.

Plant California Natives: Drought-tolerant plants will save water, but drought-tolerant California native plants will do even more-they attract beneficial insects and birds that lead to a healthier garden. Here are some flowering natives to consider: California yarrow, California mountain lilac, Channel Island bush poppy, lupine, purple sage and manzanita.

Aerate and Dethatch Lawns: Aerate and dethatch lawns so water has an easier path to penetrate to the roots. Aeration also helps reduce water runoff. Thatch is made of organic materials such as dead grass and grass roots. If not removed, it inhibits healthy grass growth. Once the lawn is aerated and dethatched, apply a light layer of lawn top dressing to keep in moisture.

Thin Out Fruit Trees: During May, fruit trees are often loaded with an abundance of small fruit. Some of the immature fruit will fall off naturally. If there still appears to be too much, remove smaller or discolored fruit by hand. By doing so, stronger fruit will grow larger

Why Tree Pruning Or Lopping Is Best Done In Winter

downloadWinter is also beneficial because all the leaves from deciduous trees have dropped and you can inspect the tree easily to ascertain which branches need removing.

Pruning trees on an annual basis promote growth as the tree needs less energy to maintain its foliage and use all its leftover energy to flower, fruit and or shoot out new leaves and branches.

If the tree is using up its precious energy to maintain a large number of branches, it has less energy to bare flowers and fruit. It’s this concept that vineyards use to maximize their harvest.

What to remove

When pruning a tree there are 3 things we look for.

No. 1 – Crossing branches: If you see branches cutting across each other this can leads to mechanical damage from the two branches rubbing in the wind. This will not only weaken the structure of the branch, but also leave it open to invasion by insects such as borer or white ants.

No. 2 – Deadwood: Removing dead branches only makes the tree look healthier, but it will actually be far better off. It gives the tree a chance to