Fall into Spring

Fall into Spring

You know when you see sunny yellow daffodils that spring has arrived. If you plant the bulbs in September or October they will bloom in late winter or early spring.  Select healthy firm bulbs at a trusted garden center.  Steer away from any bulbs that are soft or moldy.  Look for large bulbs the bigger the bulb the more they will bloom when compared with a smaller one.

Daffodils are beautiful when paired with crocus or miniature crested iris.  Both plants enjoy moist but well drained soil.  Choose a site that gets full sun or light shade.  You can plant your bulbs in the fall up to about 2-4 weeks before the ground freezes.  The general rule for planting is three times as deep as the bulb‘s height.  When digging your hole for bulb placement, you can add organic material (like sweet peet® or leaf humus) for your bulbs roots to grow into & get nourishment.   A topdressing of organic mulch will protect your bulbs through winter & keep the soil moist while maintaining a cool, stable soil temperature during the spring.

You can celebrate the end of winter’s dismal weather with a colorful dramatic spring garden!

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow

A friend of mine texted me a picture of a plant to help her identify it.  It turned out to be St. John’s Wort.  This popular plant is able to thrive in poor soil conditions and has healing properties.  St John’s Wort thrives in poor soil conditions and does best in partial shade so that its leaves do not get sun scorch.  It blooms from early summer through mid September.  The bright yellow flowers make this an attractive cheery plant.  Once established the plant will flourish in all soil conditions. To keep this shrubby plant in shape it is best to prune it in the early spring just before signs of new growth.

The oil in the blooms & leaves helps give relief from certain skin ailments such as burns.  You can also benefit from the anti inflammatory properties of the flowers.  Try tossing a handful of blooms & leaves in you salad.  St John/’s Wort also has been used in the treatment of depression and is a mood enhancer,   It’s herbal supplement can be found in most drug stores.  As with any herbal supplement check with your Pharmacist first before trying it.

This pretty perennial flowering shrub is sure to enhance not only your garden but your mood as well!

New Plantings

You’ve spent lots of money and put hours of sweat equity in your yard…and it’s only June.  The month of May was a sidewalkatime to bring your yard back to life – mulching, trimming, planting, and watering.  It’s lookin’ really good…you now have the landscaped yard your neighbors are envious of.  But a note of caution – don’t get complacent!  There’s still work to be done to ensure your plants survive the summer heat and the upcoming winter season!

Experts at Three Z recommend at least three (3) or four (4) inches of mulch in your beds and around your plants.  If you’ve already mulched and your mulch is sparse or thin, you may want to consider adding more around new plantings.  However, take care NOT to pile mulch as it nears the crown or main stalk of any plant or tree trunk. This, along with heat and extra watering may cause some plant stems to rot.  Having a three or four inch layer around your plants will help maintain moisture and will protect your plants during the hot July and August heat.

When watering your new plants, here are some helpful tips.  Focus on the root zone, not the leaves; and water deeply and thoroughly so the water actually finds its way to the roots.  Water only when it’s needed – so watch the weather closely.  As far as time of day, consider watering in the morning.  If you happen to get water on the leaves, this allows time for them to dry out, hopefully avoiding the chance for plant diseases to gain a foothold.  And back to the mulch – a thicker layer reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil, helping to retain moisture.  A regimented watering routine is crucial so that newly planted trees and shrubs are well established when winter comes.

If you have any questions, please call our team of experts at Three Z.  Visit our website, http://three-z.com/ to check out our wide assortment of soils and amendments, mulches, sands, aggregates, limestone, and washed gravels.  We deliver the quality materials you need and provide the service you expect.

Gardening for the Greater Good

If you’ve ever driven by a nursing home or an assisted living facility in the spring or summer months, you may notice garden-settingaa resident or two sitting outside enjoying the grounds.   According to the University of Minnesota, “Roger Ulrich, a professor and director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A & M University, found that viewing natural scenes or elements fosters stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions, effectively holding attention/interest, and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts.  When viewing vegetation as opposed to urban scenes, test subjects exhibited lower alpha rates which are associated with being wakefully relaxed.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lend a hand in creating those therapeutic environments for our seniors?
Why not call a local nursing home or assisted living facility – perhaps they’re looking for individuals to water, weed, prune, plant and mulch to help maintain their gardens.  Chances are, they’d be willing to work around your schedule if you’re willing to volunteer your time.   Or, if you have a loved one in a facility right now, and they do not have a garden, consider spearheading the effort to create one.  Given the benefits noted above, why not share your gift of gardening with others.

Not sure where to start?  Here’s a helpful link to help you locate a nearby facility — https://www.caring.com/.  You may also find some volunteer opportunities on this site — http://createthegood.org/

Red, White & Bloom!

Hosting a patriotic party over the coming weeks?  Don’t forget to spruce up your front porch or backyard patio with flowers-redasome planters or containers.   A spirited planter or two will add to the festive look!

In the summer heat, remember that planters dry out fast, so to help retain moisture, add several handfuls of compost or peat to the potting mix.   Place plants from tallest to shortest in pre-moistened soil.  Flowers you may wish to include in your planter include Shasta daisies, Red zinnia, ‘Techno Blue’ lobelia, ‘Watermelon’ sun coleus, ‘Supercascade White’ petunia, and ‘New Wonder’ fanflowers.

Feeling crafty? Purchase some buckets that are red, white and blue; add drainage holes to the buckets; and then fill flowers2-redawith potting soil and flowers.  Don’t have a green thumb?  Simply purchase mini American flags and place them among your own planters and throughout your flowerbeds.   Whichever route you go, get the kids involved, too – make it a family project.  Talk about what it means to celebrate July 4th!

And remember…there are lots of patriotic gardening ideas on Pinterest! Go get inspired!

Northeast Ohio’s Hardiness Zone and Perennials Best Suited for It

The USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture, provides a Plant Hardiness Zone Map.  It is the standard by perennialsawhich gardeners and growers determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a certain location.  The planting and growing season in Zone 6 ranges from mid-March (after the last frost) through mid-November, which is considerably lengthy.  Most of Ohio falls in zone 6; the majority of Northeast Ohio is in Zone 6a.  (This means the coldest the area gets is between -5 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit.)  So what exactly does that mean to a Northeast Ohio gardener?  To get a more accurate breakdown, we recommend you visit the USDA website —http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/ or check out this article which was published shortly after the hardiness zone map was updated by the USDA — http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2012/02/what_new_hardiness_zone_means.html.

So what perennials are suited for Zone 6?  Gardeners and growers need to be aware that the weather in this area can abruptly change, which all of us are accustomed to – it can be 80 degrees and drop to 40 degrees the very next day!  Only in Cleveland, right!?!  Despite the temperature swings, it’s actually a very favorable environment – a long growing season complimented by generally mild temperatures.

For a through list of flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs that thrive in our hardiness zone, please review the information on this site: http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Gardening_Zone_6.   You’ll quickly see that we have an assortment of perennials to choose from, keeping our gardeners and growers busy all year long!