Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Turn your garden into a romantic Eden

Tired of gazing out your window to be greeted by nothing but straggly weeds? Many couples want to make their garden a peaceful, romantic retreat, but they don’t know where to start. The key lies in seeing your garden’s potential. Remember to take a holistic view when creating your paradise – colours, scents and landscaping are all key elements of a beautiful garden.
Here are some useful tips on how to turn your garden into a space you and your partner won’t want to leave.
Decision time
The first step when creating your romantic Eden is to decide what you want and make sure you and your partner share the same vision. For a garden to be truly tranquil and romantic it needs to have continuity. Having one modern corner of the garden that’s sporting pebbles and succulents and another that’s channelling cottage chic will feel anything but relaxing. Once you have a theme for your garden, you’re halfway there.
Scented plants and flowers are a definite must when creating a romantic garden. You can go for anything from fresh, invigorating citrus topiaries to sweet and floral jasmine and honeysuckle. Do your research and choose well and you can have your very own aromatherapy garden!
Don’t forget the fauna
What could be more romantic than coming home to a garden teeming with birds and butterflies? Plant well and it’s really not that difficult to attract winged friends. Monarch butterflies, for example, love swan plants and often choose to form their chrysalises on them. If you want to attract birds, you can take as simple or complex an approach as you like. Among the options are bird houses, bird feeders, bird baths, nest boxes and the delightfully simple tactic of filling a saucer with water and honey.
Nooks and crannies
Remember to consider how you can interact with your garden. You don’t want to be left standing on the lawn with nowhere to settle down with a book. Create special spaces using pathways, arches and outdoor furniture. Remember, it needn’t be too hard. Buy cheap gravel and sprinkle it on the lawn to create a pathway. Try edging the path with slightly larger pebbles. Climbers such as wisteria and bougainvillea make a beautiful canopy for an archway.
Water features
It will come as no surprise that having water present in your garden is hugely relaxing. You don’t have to go all out with babbling brooks and lily-covered ponds, most local garden centres will have a range of water features. Just choose which one you want, plug it in and you’re away.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garden Decor For a Complete Garden

Fountains and Waterfalls

The use of water in a garden with no natural water feature can greatly enhance it. Most people appreciate both the sight and sound of water, and it is definitely an aid to relaxation. I know I am not the only person in the world who finds it relaxing sitting or strolling by water.

Artificial garden fountains and waterfalls can make an impressive difference to your garden, either as standalone features or as part of a larger water garden and are well worth considering to help turn your garden into a complete outdoor haven.

Garden Statues and Ornaments

With a long historical background, statues have stood the test of time as a popular decor item. While classic statues may have been on a grand scale, and for public sites or stately homes and country mansions, they have found their own niche as garden decor in the modern and smaller garden.

Garden statues come in many styles and designs, some of them following ancient and classical traditions, such as cherubs and angels. Other popular subjects include animals, such as domestic cats and dogs, and wild animals such as lions and frogs.

Small statues, which some may call garden ornaments, can also be found for those of us with small gardens, and no scope for the great sculptures you may see in large country gardens.

Garden Containers or Planters

An important feature of any garden, especially those with patios, terraces or little visible soil, can be the containers or planters used to house some of your plants. Container gardening is a type of gardening in its own right, and you will find many books on the subject to choose the best plants to grow in a confined planter.

When it comes to the planters themselves, then you will find, as with statues, a wide range of designs, made from a choice of materials. There are attractive containers in concrete, fibrestone, fibreglass and plastic; if you like the reddy colour of terracota, then that can be used successfully in a formal or informal garden.

Planters, used carefully, can add height and shape to areas of the garden that may seem barren, and they can certainly bring a terrace or patio to life.

Other Garden Decor Possibilities

Really, there is no end to the possibilities of what you can use to decorate the garden. For particular holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine's Day, you may find ornaments and decorations to hang outside or stick in the ground. Then there are other types of decor that may be multi-purpose, with a functional or decorative use. Examples of these are decorative bird houses or garden lighting.

Allow your imagination some leeway as you design your garden, observe from visiting public gardens, plus what you see online, in magazines and around you, and I am sure you can come up with a unique mixture of garden decor and plantings that will be the envy of your friends and neighbours, and give you pleasure as long as you live there.

Indoor Dog Fence

Dogs are fantastic pets but some times can get into trouble inside your home. Whether its drinking out of the toilet chewing on your shoes an indoor dog fence can keep him out of restricted areas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cremation Urns at Discount

When it comes to dealing with the death of a loved one, there is nothing easy. There are so many things to attend to that it can quickly become overwhelming for many people. And it is not just the emotions that can be too hard to handle at times, as the financial aspect can be very scary.

Even when there are insurance policies in place, there are still a lot of expenses to handle. This is why cremation urns at discount can be an excellent way to go for many people. It is not just a great way to show how much you honor that person but a great way to save some money as well.

By going with such a route, you will not have to worry about an overload of funeral expenses such as the cost of a casket and the cemetery plot. Another thing that makes this a wise choice is that you will not have to deal with the emotional toll that selecting such items can bring on a person. So not only does going the route of cremation urns at discount save you money and stress but it is also a way to stay close to your loved one. Whether you place all of the ashes in one urn or you split the ashes up between several for loved ones to share, there is just something about having a piece of your loved one close to your heart.

When it comes to selecting cremation urns at discount, you do not have to worry about only being stuck with one or two to pick from. There are many urns out there that are very reasonably priced. This means that you will have a large enough selection to truly find just what it is that grabs your heart and makes you think of your lost loved one.

There are even options to have the urns engraved which makes the urn much more special. Engrave the discounted urns with anything that you want in order to make the memory and the honoring process of your loved one that much nicer.

And make sure that you are looking over all of the various options of materials and metals used for the urns you are considering. Just about any type of metal that you can think of can be used and there are even some ceramics that are available. You can go with the classic look of an urn or go with something much more contemporary. Whatever you can imagine, you can probably find it out there at a discounted price

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gardening With Strawberry Pots

One of my favorite commercial containers is the strawberry pot. Here is a container with the capability to hold several different types of herbs, flowers or strawberries, for that matter, all in one location. As a herb pot, it can be brought inside when the weather turns cold to continue supplying fresh culinary ingredients.

The first time I used one I would have fallen under the title of "greenhorn gardener". I filled it top to bottom with a good potting soil mixture so it would house the strawberry plants I had been babying. With the weight of the dirt, pot moving this container was an experience in itself and watering was a daily task. The strawberries, although tasty, were not abundant and that fall, I transplanted the berry plants to their own permanent bed. Undaunted by the experience, I cleaned out the pot and decided it was now be destined to house a herb garden the next spring.

The winter months gave me the chance to research herb gardening, which was also new for me. I quickly learned from several friends that the strawberry pot was indeed a great place to plant my new crop. As spring approached and the garden centers were gracious enough to open their doors filled with every herb I could think of, I started preparing my pot in readiness of its new tenants.

Other pots I had used for annuals had always been prepared with some type of filler in the bottom of the pot so as not to use excess dirt and make them easier to move. The decision had been made to make this pot as mobile as possible; therefore, filler was going to be a part of the planting process.

Placing plastics, styrofoam chips or broken clay pots in other containers before adding the soil hadn't bothered any annuals I had previously planted therefore, this method was to be included in the new herb pot as well, with a slight variance. I wanted to make sure the plants at the bottom of the pot were receiving the moisture their roots needed as well as having a system that did not require me to water every day.

I started with a two-quart plastic milk jug. NOTE (1) Holes were poked all over including the bottom. Discarding the cap, I attached an old piece of garden hose about 18" to 24". NOTE (2) Ideally, the hose would have a female end still attached to it. NOTE (3) The hose was inserted three inches into the jug, at the neck opening and secured with duct tape. It is important to make sure the opening to the jug is completely closed. This was going to be my watering device. NOTE (4) No dirt yet!

I placed pieces of broken clay pot in the bottom of the strawberry pot to ensure the drain hole in the bottom wasn't covered. This is very important so any excess moisture has a place to go. The water jug then was placed into the pot, hose attached.

Now comes the dirt. With the jug centered in the pot, I started adding soil. As dirt was placed to each opening in the pot, I gently inserted the roots of the herbs into the holes of the pot from the outside. Securing them in place with dirt and then adding dirt to the next level of openings. When the dirt reached the top of the water jug, I angled the hose to one side for easy access and continued with the process of adding dirt and herbs.

I like to plant Rosemary or Chives on the very top, or if you prefer, add a few annual flowers. Some of my other favorite herbs are Marjoram, Basil, Thyme, Penny Royal Mint, Parsley and Sage. To add color I'll include Pansies, Nasturtiums or Johnny-Jump-Ups all of which are edible as well.

When choosing herbs and where you are going to place them in your pot, pay close attention to which ones trail, spread, are compact or invasive. Some mint plants will try to sprout from all of the openings.

This kitchen herb garden fits very nicely on a deck, patio or sunny spot in your kitchen. If you are located in an area that freezes, I recommend bringing the pot inside when this time a year rolls around. These pots are not built to shield your plant roots from frost and if left outside, you run the risk of losing your plants.

Over the years, I have found that adding this type of water reservoir in my outdoor garden pots eliminates water wastage and ensures the plants get enough to drink.

NOTE (1) Any type of plastic container with a small neck opening will work. The water container needs to be conducive to the size of strawberry pot you are using.

NOTE (2) A piece of PVC pipe or other tubing works as well. I like the garden hose, as it is small and flexible, allowing it to be less conspicuous in the pot.

NOTE (3) If you leave a female end on the hose, you can attach your garden hose to fill the reservoir you have made. This is not a very big holding tank; therefore you do need to fill it slowly, with little pressure or you may blow the top out and possibly burst the jug.

NOTE (4) I suggest doing a test run before inserting your water jug into you plant pot. You can do this by pouring water through the hose (use a small spouted watering can) into the jug. The purpose of the holes in the jug is to leak the water out into the pot at a slow rate that will keep the roots moist not swimming.

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