Category: Tropical Style

7 Evergreen Wonders of the Plant World

The importance of green space in our urban environments, as far as in our personal lives, is at the forefront of our heads today more than ever. Street curbs are being turned into rain gardens; community plots are blanketing former parking lots; parks are popping up in the very incongruous postindustrial sites. On each square inch of those victories, it’s imperative to guarantee an inspired and durable plant selection.

I believe that such a vital goal in planting design starts by securing solid bones: evergreen plants that provide construction and year-round interest — because off-season soil, yet fertile, rather looks like mucky dirt. Past overplanted rhododendrons and pieris, vinca and nandina, let’s discover seven top-notch evergreen plants for discerning gardeners.

CYAN Horticulture

Bear’s Breech
(Acanthus mollis)

No need to build Corinthian columns and plinths to rightfully enjoy acanthus (Acanthus mollis) in the garden. The model where the Greek decorative element originated, the acanthus foliage provides a bold, clean and durable appearance. It may die down through the spells but will sprout back. Together with cast-iron plant, described next, I utilize acanthus in large planters deprived of sunlight.

USDA zones: 6 or 7 to 11 (find your zone)
Water demand: Wet to moist dirt
Light demand: Partial sun to dappled shade
Mature size: 4 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Spring or summer

CYAN Horticulture

Cast-Iron Plant
(Aspidistria elatior)

A staple in the American South, cast-iron plant (Aspidistria elatior) is often sold as an indoor plant elsewhere. For me personally it is now essential for its darkest porches, in which it thrones year-round without flinching. It’s indestructible, so the common name was really well chosen.

The majority of the time it’s green all the way through, but some of the many collector’s selections occasionally trickle down to the trade, like this mesmerizing variegated one dubbed ‘Asahi’. Using its clearly upright growth habit and its compact, lush foliage, cast-iron is a standout.

USDA zones: 7 to 11
Water demand: Well-drained dirt
Light demand: Dappled to complete shade
Mature size: 2 1/4 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

CYAN Horticulture

Bessia
(Beesia deltophylla)

Dear buddy and plant explorer extraordinaire Daniel J. Hinkley is to thank you for the wide introduction and promotion of Bessia(Beesia deltophylla). This more compact grower deserves a prime place in unethical planters (as shown in this Vancouver garden) as far as in formal bedding and thoughtful woodlands.

Heart-shaped, its thick glossy leaves stay healthy appearing year-round. For extra cleanliness, I remove the gangly scapes produced through summer.

A few peeps will be left with such a green plant, but I rejoice in knowing that in spite of the weather ups and downs, my Bessia will tough it via. Loyalty, my buddy; that is what it’s all about.

USDA zones: 6 or 7 to 9
Water demand: Moist but well-drained soil
Light demand: Partial to full shade
Mature size: 1 foot tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

CYAN Horticulture

Upright Yew
(Taxus x press)

In comparison with broadleaf evergreens, coniferous evergreens are, generally speaking, that far hardier. From the warmer reaches of North America in addition to on the majority of its West Coast nicely into Canada, broadleaf evergreens abound.

In colder reaches, however, the selection is much thinner — boxwood, euonymus, hollies and leucothoes are a few of the more demanding contenders. Yet there is more to conifers than blue spruces and hedging cedars.

An all-time favorite is yew, upright (Taxus x press, shown here) or creeping. Its nice, dark green foliage has nothing to envy of almost any exotics.

USDA zones: 4 to 8
Water demand: Moist but well-drained soil
Light demand: Full to partial sun
Mature size: Variable
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Spring to fall

CYAN Horticulture

Mexican Orange
(Choisya ternata)

Mexican strawberry (Choisya ternata) must be the one evergreen plant I use the most. While I strive to refrain from falling back into the same plants over and over, this enchanting and flexible shrub is hard to resist.

Obviously rounded and complete, easily maintained to a more compact size, generously covered in superbly fragrant clusters of white blossoms, Choisya is as near perfection as it gets. There is even a golden-leafed version named ‘Sundance’ and a filigree-leaved hybrid called ‘Aztec Pearl’.

USDA zones: 7 to 9
Water demand: Well-drained dirt
Light demand: Full to partial sun
Mature size: 5 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Spring or summer

CYAN Horticulture

Pachysandra
(Pachysandra axillaris ‘Windcliff’s Fragrant’)

It’s far from my intention to recommend infinite blankets of covers. A default design stroke of too many designers and architects, ground covers could be counterproductive and, yes, a pain to keep. There are, however, areas — at the foundations of shrubs, along paths — where ground covers are all welcome.

Of the more recent candidates is this gorgeous pachysandra (Pachysandra axillaris ‘Windcliff’s Fragrant’). Eons from the oh-so-common Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), this one is slightly taller, thankfully a bit looser and clad with diminutive yet exceptionally fragrant flowers in the fall and again in late winter. A must-have plant.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water demand: Moist to well-drained soil
Light demand: Partial sun to full shade
Mature size: Up to 1 foot tall; spreads
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

CYAN Horticulture

Helleborusternii

In the past few years, there’s been an avalanche of newer winter-blooming hellebores. While some really represent a fantastic improvement, there is one older selection I profoundly cherish: Helleborus x sternii. For its compact habit, it has such outstanding foliar attributes and parsimonious purple-tinted blossoms I haven’t consigned this one to oblivion yet. Call me conservative if you will, but this hellebore is a keeper.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water necessity: Well-drained dirt
Light demand: Full sun to dappled shade
Mature size: 1 1/4 feet tall and 1 1/2 feet wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

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Easy Green: Country vs. City for Ecofriendly Lifestyles

It’s easy to idealize the country as the ideal place for living a green lifestyle, with fresh, clean air and plenty of space to live off the property. And while these features are surely there (and quite appealing for some), the surprising part is there are good ecofriendly lifestyle options that go alongside urban and suburban or rural living. Learn here how to make the most of all your own area has to offer, wherever you reside.

B. Jane Gardens

Country living sounds green … but can it be? While there are many advantages to living in the country, one big negative from a green perspective is the fact that you probably need to get in the car to get just about anyplace. If you live in a rural or suburban area, try these measures to minimize auto use:

Carpool to work with neighbors
Send little ones to school on the bus
Work from home or telecommute part-time
Cluster errands to reduce time in the car

Amy Renea

Use your property to the maximum. With ample property and distant neighbors, in the country you can grow much of your own fruit and veggies, or perhaps (based on zoning laws) keep livestock. Having the ability to select beans and lettuces for supper and gather fresh eggs is eating neighborhood at its best.

John Hill

The green key of town living: walkability. Living in a dense urban area provides one distinct advantage over rural neighbors — especially, the ability to walk nearly everywhere. And where you can not reach by foot, it is likely you can utilize public transportation, virtually eliminating the need for a vehicle.

You can even get the Walk Score for your own neighborhood, that takes into account things like proximity to markets, parks, shops and restaurants. Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in which this house shown is, scores a 98: “Walker’s Paradise.”

Read more about neighborhood walkability

Rossington Architecture

Embrace a lack of space. Living in a very small city apartment makes it a lot easier to buy less material. So the next time you find yourself bemoaning the absence of a nice kitchen or full-size closet, you can at least be reassured that you do your part to conserve resources. After all, little spaces not just take less material to fill, but they also require less energy to heat and cool, and also use less water compared to larger homes.

Tobin + Parnes Design Enterprises

Get creative with urban gardens. City neighborhoods are seeing edible gardens springing up anywhere from rooftops and fire flows to postage stamp backyards and community spaces. Greening up town is a superb way to consume neighborhood, to be sure, but less obviously, it’s also a boost to air quality. Even in the event that you have space for just a few pots on the balcony or windowsill, opting to add some potted edibles are able to really make a difference, including fresh air to your house and fresh greens into your dining table.

Potted

Grow vertically in town. Thanks to innovations like wall sockets (displayed here), you can even develop a garden right in your wall, inside or outside.

The buzz on bees. Gardens need pollinators, which is exactly why some town dwellers are even choosing to add beehives for their gardens. Bees take up very little space and can offer fresh, local honey to boot.

Gardens from Gabriel, Inc..

Go green in the suburbs. Owning your own single-family house does hold a few advantages over residing in apartment buildings and condos: You are able to make more lasting structural modifications without asking permission from a co-op or homeowners association. For a quick addition, try using a rainwater collecting system to store water for use on your garden; or to get a larger investment, you could even have solar panels installed in your house.

Aloe Designs

Give up some yard space for a garden. The edible garden motion is increasing by leaps and bounds, and in many suburban areas it is no longer uncommon to see tomatoes and peppers growing in the front yard and expanses of grass given in favour of raised vegetable beds. A family of four does not require a massive garden to provide fresh, local food to supplement regular market trips, so why not give it a try?

Tour this efficient backyard edible garden in Vancouver

Amy Renea

Chickens in suburbia. Just because you do not have acreage does not mean that you can not do a bit of suburban farming right on your backyard. Local ordinances vary, so make sure you check with your town prior to bringing home a backyard flock — and educate yourself on the proper maintenance required to keep healthy hens.

Schwartz and Architecture

Expand your vision of the “homestead.” Even in the event that you reside in a town or do not want to garden, anyone can freeze and can clean, seasonal food by the farmer’s market. Widen your perspective and the range of changes that can be made right where you’re.

Tell us What do you love about where you live? What do you find is harder or easier about going green in your area?

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Central Plains Gardener's December Checklist

I bet you’re starting to overlook the garden just a little bit. You would give anything to feel dirt under your nails. Even a new scratch from a maple branch would be pleasant. As in love, it is all about the anticipation, and winter is the time to organize your spring and summer moves.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Have you been looking out your window in the “barren” landscape and needing for longer? The expression “winter interest” means something to people like us, who have four strong seasons. Winter interest we need. Start looking for structural variety so that following winter the snow produces a magical place for wildlife and you.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Perhaps you require a conifer to jazz up winter view with a few green — even one adaptable Thuja (Arborvitae) may get the job done.

Do not forget about leaving your dead-stemmed perennials status; their capacity to add winter interest is unmatched, and they provide cover for wildlife while grabbing snow to insulate their crowns and roots. Occasionally — in just the right sun — sparks of orange, rust, magenta and tan come living at a garden left up for winter.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Last year I had a sharp-shinned hawk visit my garden in winter, searching for songbirds which take shelter (and therefore escape) in my garden of winter interest. Things are very much living if you give a place for them.

Exteriorscapes llc

If you have a fantastic coat, a mild day gives you a chance to work outside. Hardscape and infrastructure chores get the blood flowing.

For instance, why not include a raised bed in December? You may create one out of almost any material (just do not use treated timber, which has chemicals that leach into the soil and poison plants). Raised beds may be used for optimal vegetable gardening, for dryness-loving plants or simply to create architectural interest — even sun interest.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

A simple rain string is something fantastic to have outside in winter, and it catches the crisp sunlight like an engagement ring’s diamond. You understand, it is that time of year. Perhaps a rain string would be a better option for your sweetheart?

Produce something amazing with the runoff from your roof

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Regardless of what you are doing, get outside. Simply because it’s cold does not mean there aren’t discoveries to be made. Get to know your garden in a season. The spent seed heads look more visceral, and the grasses more orchestral. Locate the world via the smallest and simplest pleasures. Let yourself be surprised.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Walk the garden and program out additions and subtractions throughout the bones, in which you want to add some depth, what is not functioning or is feeble. Make a few sketches. Take photographs to look at interior more than a cup of hot cocoa.

Upload the pictures to a photo editor and start drawing circles erase an entire bed and add an enviable inspiration photograph. It’s the best time of year to become interested in gardening — you can fall in love all over again as you get to understand the landscape afresh.

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Fantastic Design Plant: Sasanqua Camellia

I’m not certain if plant breeding, birth order or some thing else explains this, but at the camellia clan the Sasanqua camellia is your striving, adapting, hardworking sibling — compared to the hoity-toity Camellia japonica,using its perfect, almost waxen flowers and precious cultivar names such as’Debutante’ and’Swan Lake’.

There are scores of Sasanquas, plus they bloom earlier, with smaller flowers, than Japonicas. They can also perform far more landscape tasks in a garden, in sun or partial shade: floor cover, hedge, espalier, container plant, freestanding specimen. Plus they take considerably more sun (full sun except in hottest climates) and bloom before — in autumn and winter, when flowers are especially welcome. All in all, Sasanquas are one of the top tier of helpful evergreen landscape plants in California, the Southeast and similar light environments.

Monrovia

Botanical name: Camellia sasanqua. Many colours and varieties can be found;’Setsugekka’ is shown here.
USDA zones: 7 to 10 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Moderate; do not overwater.
Moderate requirement: Partial color, especially in hot climates. Will take more sun than Camellia japonica.
Mature size: As much as 10 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide, depending greatly on number
Tolerances: Generally trouble free if circumstances are appropriate; not as prone to petal blight (infection ) as Japonicas.

Monrovia

Distinguishing attributes. Evergreen leaves are deep green and fine annually. Flowers in shades of red, white and pink, double or single, are small (2 to 3 inches or so) but abundant. Shown here’s rose-red, double-blossom’Shishi-Gashira’ (also considered a Hiemalis camellia).

Monrovia

Bright red with a yellow center, Yuletide’ Sasanqua camellia blossoms in late autumn, just in time for the holidays. The plant is distintively upright, perfect for a container near the front door or other narrow place.

Monrovia

‘Pink a Boo’ is a offshoot of’Yuletide’ — note the similar bright yellow centre. The blossom is larger but this plant can also be a vacation bloomer. It shares the same upright habit, so it’s also great in a pot.

How to use it. Choose a Sasanqua selection based on colours you like plus growth habit. Some varieties have a tendency to disperse; others stand upright. It is possible to see tendencies in young nursery plants, for example as’Shishi-Gashira’ (revealed ), which is compact and fairly low growing by character. To get a floor cover, start looking for spreaders like’Mine-Yo-Yuki’ or’Bonanza’. To get a hedge, try out a more upright type, for example as’Jean May’ or’Setsugekka’.

Growing hints. Plant in partial shade or full sun except in hot climates. Be sure that the soil drains well. At planting time refill the hole or bed with at least 25 percent organic matter. Cover the soil with mulch, keep it moist and feed regularly with special camellia food. To prevent diseases from spreading, try to pick up dropped blossoms — although Sasanquas are not as susceptible to petal blight as Japonicas.

To grow a Sasanqua at a container, start with commercial camellia combination or create your own with as much as 50 percent organic matter. Pot size can also be important: choose a diameter of 12 to 14 inches for gallon-can-size crops, and 16 to 18 inches for 5-gallon size.

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Cool-Season Vegetables: How to Grow Lettuce

Lettuce is over the iceberg range of diner dinner salads. In reality, even iceberg lettuce (also known as crisphead) is no longer that recognizable. The family is huge and rapidly growing. Lettuce itself is still a standard for salads, but it may also be added to sandwiches, used as a wrapping for a filling or cooked. (Look for darker leaves to get the most nutrition from the leaves) And despite its incidence in summertime salads, it is an actual cool-season harvest.

Lettuces are generally divided into four distinct kinds:
Leaf lettuces are easy to grow and quick to mature; you might have greens as early as a month after planting. They’re also pretty in the garden, with leaves varying in color from bronze to red to dark green. Butterhead lettuces are little and cream coloured, with a delicate flavor. Romaine or cos lettuce forms are vertical instead of round and dispersing. Crisphead lettuces are the recognizable iceberg types and Batavian lettuces, which resemble a mix of iceberg and leaf lettuces. They withstand heat the very best, but iceberg types specifically can bolt quickly.Within all these groups, there are different rates of maturity and degrees of heat tolerance. Start looking for lettuces that will do well in your climate.

Amy Renea

When to plant: For spring crops, sow seeds set out seedlings in early spring. (See thinning recommendations for spacing.) Continue to sow or transplant each couple of weeks so you’ll have a constant crop, remembering that unless the garden is shaded, temperatures above about 75 degrees will lead to lettuce plants to bolt (flower and set seed). Start up again in late summer or fall, when the soil temperature has cooled. In cold-winter climates, plan your crop so you’ll have lettuce until the first frost. In mild-winter climates, you can continue to sow or transplant through the winter.

Days to maturity: 30 to 90

Light requirement: Sun to partial shade; to prevent it from bolting ancient, plant in which other plants can color it.

Water necessity: Provide regular, consistent water; the dirt should stay moist.

Favorites:
Batavian: Cherokee, Nevada, SierraButterhead: Bibb, Buttercrunch, Deer’ s Tongue, Marvel of Four Seasons, Rouge d’Hiver, Sangria, Tom Thumb, Winter MarvelCos: Blushed Butter Cos, Crisp Mint, Little Gem (a rainbow variety), Parris Island, Parris WhiteCrisphead: Great Lakes, Red Iceberg, Reine de Glace, SummertimeLeaf: Australian Yellow, Black Seeded Simpson, Lolla Rossa, Oak Leaf, Red Sails, Red Salad Bowl, Salad Bowl

Barbara Pintozzi

Planting and maintenance: Sow seeds in rows about 1/8 into 1/4 inch heavy or simply by broadcasting; cover lightly with soil. Thin leaf lettuces to about 1/4 to 3/4 of a foot apart. Butterhead and romaine lettuces should be 6 to 8 inches apart. Crispheads want the most space; let at least a foot.

Fertilize the soil once you plant and around a month and a half afterwards. Maintain the soil consistently moist and weed carefully around the plants. Pests and diseases are usually not a issue, but a number of the typical suspects aphids, leaf miners, snails, mildew and wilt — along with birds, deer and rabbits may make inroads on your harvest.

Randy Thueme Design Inc. – Landscape Architecture

Harvest: Though you usually view heads of lettuce for sale in grocery stores and in the markets, you can harvest individual leaves of leaf, romaine and Batavian lettuces. In reality, a common way is to sow a mix of those seeds, enable them to grow, then cut leaves about 1/2 inch above the crown. They’ll quickly regenerate, and you’ll have an ongoing source for lettuce. It is also possible to consume the thinnings and young leaves of butterhead and iceberg lettuce, then wait until the entire head forms and harvest the entire plant.

More:
The way to grow arugula and other salad greens

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9 Flowers That Draw Butterflies

With spring blooms come the birds, butterflies and bees. Wherever you’re your local butterflies will crave the nectar out of your native flora. Here are a couple of of the crops I love to use in California to lure a visit from my fluttering buddies.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Horse mint (Agastache urticifolia). Mature butterflies are mad with this fragrant flower.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Silver Bush Lupine (Lupinus albifrons). Lupine is your butterfly hostess with the mostest. With lovely purple blooms, it is indigenous to the West Coast from Oregon down to Baja, Mexico, preferring dry locations. There are a whole plethora of native California butterflies which will reproduce only in Lupine! Among the loveliest is Mission Blue Butterfly, with delicate blue wings fringed with white and purple.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Purple Sage (Salvia ‘Celestial Blue’). This hybrid enjoys extreme warmth and is great for the sunny areas of your backyard. Besides butterflies, swallowtails adore the nectar of its amazing blue blooms.

Las Pilitas Nursery

When these blooms are lighter, they still do just fine!

Las Pilitas Nursery

False or Desert Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa). If you are hoping to see what goes into the making of a blossom, plant False Indigo. Southern Dogface Butterfly larvae rely on it for food. Indigo thrives in Arizona, New Mexico and California, from San Diego to as far north as Riverside County.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Desert Agave (Agave deserti). Agave’s spikes are dramatic, but where would be the blooms we all anticipate butterflies to love? Butterflies adore the little yellow flowers that emerge out of agave’s 15-foot blooming stems. Obviously, agaves love dry, exposed regions.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Narrow-Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). If you live in a milder climate, milkweed might be more appropriate to your backyard. Its stomping grounds vary from Washington to Idaho, and from Oregon through California and into Mexico.

Las Pilitas Nursery

California Yarrow (Achillea millefolium var. californica). Among the few plants which can tolerate swamps and it tolerates drought, yarrow enjoys an assortment of soil from clay to sandy loam — and the butterflies love it.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus). Rabbitbrush is indigenous to California and parts of Utah, in which the indigenous tribes say it saved the bunny from a fiery moon. It also provides a safe house for the Buckeye Butterfly.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Joaquin Sunflower (Bidens laevis). This daring daisy attracts Mormon Metalmark and a variety of other butterflies. Can you imagine the stir that the friendly, yellow blooms of the daisy would cause if paired with a tiny lavender Lupine?

More:
Pacific Northwest Gardener: What to Do in April

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Escape to the Tropics

Just for a second shut your eyes and transport yourself into a tropical locale. Take advantage of your creativity and inhale the ocean atmosphere, dine on the catch of the day, and sip on your preferred beachside drink — the one having a tiny umbrella.

I frequently remember encounters that way when I see houses with tropical decor. But chambers do not have to be decked out like the set of Gilligan’s Isle for my thoughts to drift. All it requires is only several essential components to prompt this kind of daydream. I invite you escape to the tropical zones with me and simply take a rest out of your everyday routine. If maybe you live in that clime, you will be reminded by this ideabook of your good luck.

Williams-Sonoma House

British Colonial decor is loaded with with tropical motifs. From prints featuring botanicals and unique fowl and flowering crops, this vignette offers an excellent beginning into a chamber that observes exotic quest.

Zuniga Interiors

A tray become a night stand as well as a headboard is an excellent catalyst to get a British Colonial divine bedroom. A sharp botanical print and places the mood for revery and wood board backdrop finishes the appearance.

Rough Linen

Return house in the ocean using a present. Weatherbeaten driftwood produces a headboard that is beautiful while the oyster shell windchime is a pleasant memento of a holiday that is relaxing.

Doyle McCullar Good Interiors

An oversize clamshell assumes the type of an attractive centerpiece.

maison21

In the context of a diverse modern combination, the clam-shell would direct me to suppose the venue of this glamorous house is in Miami or Palm Springs.

Allison Jaffe Home Design LLC

Have you been a shell collector? Corral your marine- inspired in a show to love even if your holiday isn’t in your close future.

Applegate Tran Interiors

What’s way better than having a chamber with sight lines going to the ocean? The solution would be having a chamber that opens to your balcony allowing the atmosphere to soak by means of your five senses.

Among the vibrant wood and neutral palette, the bamboo ceiling comes in in a near second-to the astounding views.

Next: See mo-Re pictures of tropical-type house layout