I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far! Whether you are relaxing at the beach, on your way home from vacation, or just trying to make it through this heat, it is time to give your plants some summer love! Following spring and the first chunk of summer weather, I like to call July the “third season”. It’s possible that your plants got fried during these warm days, so it is time to refresh your containers, window boxes, and flower beds. Adding colorstar fertilizer to any new plants will help extend their season. Succulents are also a great option if you don’t have a lot of time for your plants. Other than freezing temperatures, succulents can stay alive almost year-round! Go around and pull out dead or bloomed out plants and see some of my favorites below to add to your containers.
FULL SHADE: This plant needs a little more love and attention but does great on a front porch. Caladiums and Maiden Hair Ferns are just a perfect combination. Now I did not even plant these guys, I literally took them out of the pot and put them into a container with no holes. Both of these plants love water- they are what I like to call water hogs. I give them two cups of water once a week for them to thrive.
FULL SUN: If you follow me you know I just love succulents! They just keep getting prettier and prettier every year to me. Now of course in the south you have to replant them every year (unless you can bring them in every time there is a threat of freeze). But if you are just slap done with watering your containers this summer and you came back from vacation and everything looks fried, just stuff and shove some succulents. They love the full sun and take the dog days of summer.
FULL SHADE: Hydrangeas, tropicals, and any mix of ferns always dresses up any container. If you water your Hydrangeas well they will eventually fade and look antique like in this photo.
FULL SUN: White Mandevilla, succulents, pink Angelonia, and pink Trailing Vinca love the heat and will put on a show for days!
FULL SUN: Boxwood, purple fan flowers, cuban oregano, and diamond frost just love the summer heat and full intense sun.
First off, let’s clarify what exactly a landscape designer or architect actually is. Yes, a landscape designer does tell you what color flowers to put in your yard and which bushes will best frame your windows, but the work of a landscape designer encompasses so much more. Hiring a designer is about creating “good bones” or a solid foundation for your yard. This is an investment that will not just last while you are in the home but, if done correctly, can last for decades. There are many wonderful things you as an individual can do around your own yard but hiring a landscape designer will help you avoid mistakes, and will they will bring the foresight and experience of what will and what won’t work for you!
My number one priority in any landscape project is functionality. My philosophy is that every aspect of your yard or garden should have 360-degree accessibility. You should be able to walk around each part of your yard and plants, shrubs, or trees should be planted where you can easily get to them. Also, your space should be designed specifically for your family. Do you have small children? There will need to be space for them as they grow whether that is a future basketball hoop or a playground! Are you trying to downsize? There is no need for you to have a massive garden or landscape design. Not only should a good designer help design what works for you now, but they should be looking towards the future. Some of the homes that we have worked on require a long-term plan of 50 years or more! A good designer will help you make wise investments about each aspect of your design.
One of the main things that I share with each client is that if you are not planning on making an investment towards proper irrigation and drainage in your yard, the rest of the project is a waste of your time and resources. Why? Because without correct water flow, other aspects of the landscape will not withstand time or outdoor elements. All it takes is one heavy storm to destroy plants without proper drainage. Irrigation will help your plants receive the right amount of water and without good coverage and watering, your plants will quickly fade. Without a drainage plan that expertly curated, your plants will sit in water and, just like any other living thing, will not survive. But if these aspects are done right, your yard and garden will be able to flourish for many many years. If you are wanting to make an investment in your home through landscape design, start with the good bones of proper drainage and irrigation.
While a landscape designer brings much to the table when it comes to your property, don’t get pressured into doing every phase at once! Live with your current landscape and get an understanding of what both you and your yard need! Start with a good drainage plan and after that you can move on to your evergreens, or your trees and shrubs. The last step for your yard is what I like to call the jewelry! This is all the color that gets added to your yard, from planted flowers to window boxes. When you are ready to make this investment in your home, sit down with a skilled and experienced designer who can help you create the best game plan for your space!
Your kids are out of school for the summer, the heat has hit, and it is time to escape to somewhere cooler- or at least someplace with a beach! As you pack up for vacation and check things off your list there is one thing that might be really easy to forget- your plants! Before going out of town, it is important to make a plan for your plant’s survival while you’re away. It is the worst feeling to come back from a trip and see all your hard work wasted on dead plants. I have several things that I do when I go on a trip to keep my plants alive. Today I want to share these ideas with you!
For your outdoor plants here are my recommendations:
• If you are able, hire a friend, neighbor, or a student you know to come and water your outdoor plants. This way, your plants won’t miss a day of watering.
• If you have an irrigation system, gather all your potted plants in one place so that your sprinklers can hit them all every time.
• If you don’t have an irrigation system, invest in a drip tube system from your local hardware store. These systems only cost between $20-$60 and run on a battery powered timer connected to your water hose.
• Give your plants a lot of water before you leave, especially around the root ball. I don’t recommend doing this regularly because too much water can be bad for your plants but saturating your soil before you leave gives them water to drink while you are away.
• Give your foliage a drink as well before you leave.
Tips for Indoor plants:
• It is best to invest in indoor plants that don’t need a whole lot of water. Plants like pothos and birds nest ferns and succulents only need watering once a month which makes them perfect if you travel often.
• Before you leave, give your plants a lot of water to drink while you are away.
• One of my most used tricks is to put a couple of inches of water in your shower, bathtub, or kitchen sink. Then place your plants (still in their pots) in the water. Make sure your plant has drainage in the bottom to soak up the water! This gives them enough water to survive while you are gone. I have done this many times and very rarely have I come home to a dead plant.
• If you use pots without drainage, giving your plant 1-2 inches of water before you leave can give them enough to last until you water them next.
• Self-watering bulbs are a great investment and work wonders on household plants.
Enjoy your summer travels and we hope our recommendations will allow you to come home to happy and healthy plants!
I have a huge affinity for window boxes in all shapes, sizes, and colors! They are very near and dear to my heart as they remind me of my childhood. My father is from Austria, and if you have ever been there or to other areas of Europe you probably noticed that window boxes play a strong role in the décor and personality of a structure. Growing up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, my dad brought his love of window boxes to our home and that memory has been with me ever since! We had window boxes on every window of our two-story house and my dad even welded a copper apparatus to water them! Each box’s key feature was red geraniums and I just remember looking out the window as a young girl and those red beauties being front and center.
A window box can be a great way to easily frame a window and bring color to your home. We use them frequently on our client’s homes and the boxes on my own windows bring in gorgeous humming birds and butterflies! Below I have included a few of my favorite window boxes in all different shapes and colors coming from clients to our travels! Next, I want to share a few of my tried and true tips and tricks so you can have the perfect box this season!
Tips from Me to You
- Every box should have three types of plants- tall plants in the center, shorter plants as fillers, and a trailing plant to soften the edges. Some of my favorites are pink Angelonia (something tall), diamond frost and pink million bells (filler), and Cuban oregano (trailing).
- Window boxes are small containers, so you need to maximize the space your plants have to grow. Don’t use rocks or pebbles at the bottom as they take up precious root space.
- Add as much soil as you can to give your plants the most space
- The bigger the box the better! Small pots turn into crockpots here in the south- they trap heat, killing your plants.
- The tougher the plant the better, your box will be taking a lot of sun! The pictures below feature sturdy plants.
- We love to build boxes for our clients because this way you can get the exact measurements you want. But if building isn’t your forte, check out these boxes from Home Depot.