Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Colors in Central Oregon

I always say that I love spring the best for all the hope and brightness it brings, but right now, with these amazing stunning colors, I am loving Fall.

Check out some of these amazing sites....

Stunning Red Maples!

Deep blue sky with yellow leaves......

Such a variety!

I love this contrast of the Blue Atlas Cedar in front of a maple tree.

Sand Cherry is a great hardy shrub and the fall colors are gorgeous!
A great example of the red branches of Red Twig Dogwood!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Planting Bulbs

What a lovely time of year! As I am wrapping up my garden one of my tasks is to plant spring bulbs which always invokes feelings of positive anticipation and makes me look forward to next year when the little surprises will poke their sunny little heads up in my garden.

Here are some steps to getting the most out of your bulbs:

1.  First, place your bulbs.  I usually plant in natural looking groups throughout the garden.

2.  Rake the bark mulch away and dig the soil to below the proper depth for your bulbs to allow room for organic soil amendment.  This helps to improve the drainage crucial for bulbs and adds nutrients.

3.  Add compost soil amendment and bulb fertilizer to ensure healthy and robust bulbs.

4.  Place your bulbs at the proper depth, tips up, roots down and sprinkle with a little more fertilizer, add more compost, fill with native soil and rake your bark mulch back over. 

5.  Look forward to the spring display!

Other hints and tips: Remember that deer love tulips so only plant them where they are protected from the deer.  Otherwise Daffodils, Narcissus, Alliums, Crocus, Hyacinth, Muscari, Frittilaria, Glory of the Snow, Miniature Iris, Siberian Squill and more.  Check out Deer Resistant Bulbs for more info and remember to stop by your local nursery.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Landscape Design Projects 2013

Since I have posted since forever, you must all be wondering what have I been up to?  Quite a lot it seems.  Below are some of the projects I have been doing this year, enjoy!

Water Feature, NE Bend

The backyard was more or less a rock shelf covered in Juniper trees and shrubs which the owners had removed but were at a loss as to how to make their backyard into the beautiful and bird friendly paradise they wanted. 

See all those rocks?  I brought in about 12 yards of garden mix soil amendment plus 3/8" gravel fines to make paths as a first step.  That gave me a few inches of good soil for planting (no joke!  the owner rented a jackhammer to plant some of the shrubs and small trees!).

Next step was to build a water feature.  I love boulders and the challenge of designing with water. I received such great help from Ewing's in NE Bend, thanks Molly!

We were able to dig about six inches down for the basin, the rest I had to build up.

That pond liner material is so cool!  I have some left over and wondering what kind of Halloween costume I could make out of it...

The structure is coming along, quite a puzzle getting all those Oregon Mossy Rocks to fit together.

Wow, the water feature is finished and it is gorgeous!!!  I look forward to getting it planted and filling in around it.

The soothing sound of water...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Small Greenhouses

This lovely "Junuary" heatwave has had me itching to get out into the garden, but I know, it is still January all I can do is think and plan.  So, I have been doing a lot of thinking and planning and one thing I am planning to do in my garden this spring is to redesign my little greenhouse. 
My greenhouse is a little 4x8 foot affair with a wooden frame covered in landscape plastic.  It does great for the tomatoes, basil, and  lemongrass I grow in there. My plan is to raise the height on one side to create a roof angle to catch more sunlight and to shed the rain better (I've only got a very small angle now).  Not a very impressive greenhouse at the moment, but in my dreams I will have one like this:

Here are some other styles:

My husband has built some greenhouses like this one, attached to the home, sometimes doubling as a sun room.

Another one like my husband has built for clients.

This one looks awesome!

This is a traditional conservatory or sunroom, usually found attached or built onto British homes.

Now this is a very modern conservatory, more of a glass room than a conservatory.

Here are some of the traditional styles of conservatories.

I would love a conservatory or sunroom attached to my house for these long Oregon winters! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gardening is healthy in more ways than we thought

We all know that gardening is good for us mind, body and soul.  Thanks to Flora Grubb for initially sharing this article from CNN Health, we now learn some other ways that gardening is good for you.

I know that when I am out in the garden I feel so refreshed and invigorated and that may be because of the "involuntary attention" involved with gardening.

"We live in a society where we're just maxing ourselves out all the time in terms of paying attention," says Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D., a horticulture instructor and researcher in the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Humans have a finite capacity for the kind of directed attention required by cell phones and email and the like, Taylor says, and when that capacity gets used up we tend to become irritable, error-prone, distractible, and stressed out.
Fortunately this "attention fatigue" appears to be reversible. Following a theory first suggested by University of Michigan researchers in the 1980s, Taylor and other experts have argued that we can replenish ourselves by engaging in "involuntary attention," an effortless form of attention that we use to enjoy nature.
Trading your BlackBerry for blackberry bushes is an excellent way to fight stress and attention fatigue, Taylor says, as the rhythms of the natural environment and the repetitive, soothing nature of many gardening tasks are all sources of effortless attention.
"The breeze blows, things get dew on them, things flower; the sounds, the smells," says Taylor, herself a home gardener. "All of these draw on that form of attention."

This next bit is quite different in the realm of gardening benefits, but makes sense.  We know that mycorhhizae bacteria is good for plants, why not bacteria that is good for us?

"Christopher Lowry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been injecting mice with Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria commonly found in soil, and has found that they increase the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood -- much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.
Digging in the dirt isn't the same as taking Prozac, of course, but Lowry argues that because humans evolved along with M. vaccae and a host of other friendly bugs, the relative lack of these "old friends" in our current environment has thrown our immune systems out of whack."

Wow!  Maybe that is why I really love getting my hands in super healthy soil.  Who would have thought?!?

Winter is the time to be planning for the upcoming season so hopefully this has given more reason to get out there as much as possible this year.