How to choose the right tree for your garden

Choosing a tree for your garden often turns out to be a difficult and important decision because a tree, you know, is not only a fundamental element from an aesthetic point of view, but almost always becomes something very long-lasting over time that could last longer than life. same as the house and the people who live there.
Its location, the color of its flowers, the size it can reach growing up are just some of the first factors to consider when we go to a nursery to choose one or more trees to be placed in the garden. But it is also necessary to keep in mind the climatic area in which we live and the not negligible “design element” of the garden, that is to think of our tree in the context of an area in which other shapes and colors will also be present such as hedges, flower beds and maybe some fountain, pond or garden furniture areas such as tables and chairs for example.

How to use the trees

If we want to avoid planting trees at random, finding ourselves after a few years with large and imposing branches that enter us from the bedroom window or, even worse, with large and imposing trees that can be a reason for discussion with the neighbors, we must first all decide how to use our trees.

  • Isolated trees: this “method” is used above all in the simplest contexts to highlight a single tree of which we can decide shape, color and as much as possible;
  • Trees as structures: in this case we can use trees to better define or enclose a particular environment;
  • Aligned trees: We can use solemnly aligned or more informally grouped trees for different purposes such as delimiting a property boundary or delineating an avenue. We can also use two neighboring trees to “frame” a landscape or to create an archway to access an area of the garden for example.

The unmistakable Tuscan landscape where the use of aligned cypresses serves to delimit the boundaries of avenues and gardens
Photo by Klaus Stebani from Pixabay

Ornamental features of trees

  • Leaves: the leaves are undoubtedly the most important decorative element of the tree. The color, the shape, the dimensions and also the texture present on the leaf surface, which determines the quantity of reflected light, are elements to be taken into great consideration. Shiny leaves, for example, are the brightest ones.
  • Flowers: the flowers are a little lasting presence compared to the life and the long season of the tree but still appreciated and decorative. We can also choose trees with fragrant flowers that can add an additional attraction to our garden such as Acacia dealbata or those with more summery scents such as Magnolia obovata or Plumeria Rubra. If you want to have a lot of flowers, the advice is to choose a sheltered location for your tree.
  • Fruits and berries: there is no doubt that some colorful berries or fruits can compete with flowers in a beautiful garden. Take lemons or figs, for example, which are decidedly decorative when loaded with fruit. But remember that many fruit plants need mild climates to thrive and that many birds are attracted to ornamental berries that show off intense colors at certain times of the year. the Sorbus acuparaia or Rowan of the fowlers, for example, is attacked by birds when its berries are not yet ripe.
    A different fate happens to the hawthorn (crataegeus): its fruits always arrive late and remain until late spring. In any case, it is always good to discuss with your trusted nurseryman to choose the right plant for climate and geographical area.

Trees for the garden in brief

Trees for small gardens

Maple (various species)

Birch (various species)

Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)

Winter beauty
and with decorative flowers

Mimosa ( acacia dealbata)

Photo by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from  pixabay
Photo by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from pixabay

Magnolia

Photo by Jaesung An from Pixabay

Plum trees, especially the Japanese varieties, bloom in early March with beautiful colors

Trees for pots

  • Araucaria ( big photo)
  • Cordyline Australis
  • Dracaena draco, the Dragon tree
  • Grevillea robusta
  • Salix caprea
  • Taxus baccata

How to choose the right time to visit (and check from home) the tulip fields in Holland

Choosing the right time to embark on a trip to the colorful Holland during the flowering period of the bulb flower fields, can sometimes be a bet with the pace of the season which, although in tune with the spring and summer blooms , risks making us take a trip that does not always meet our expectations.

If gardens and flower beds are cared for by gardeners and therefore constantly colored and filled with flowers with a unique beauty, the fields of the region of the bulbs are often regulated by the annual climate and perhaps in “delay” in case of prolonged cold or with flower cuts. if the heat of late April forces growers to anticipate this process to preserve the freshness of the flowers.

Unless you have already planned your trip in the height of the season and, in this case it will be more difficult not to find most of the blooming tulip fields and many colorful flower beds, there is a sure way to check the trend of the blooms in the region. flower bulbs and, if necessary, plan a last minute trip or a visit to the area to admire the splendor of the fields in bloom:

Flower map 2021

By clicking on the green flowers icon you can view the corresponding fields and their current flowering status. Whether you are already in Holland or planning a trip, this will help you know where to go to make sure you find colorful expanses of flowers already in bloom.

The purple camera icon indicates interesting monuments. This can be very useful if you want to visit something else and perhaps find gardens and flowerbeds tended by Dutch gardeners.

The yellow camera icon indicates local floral attractions. You probably won’t see many icons like this for a few months. After the pandemic, many will return.

Bikes, hotels and car parks are the classic icons of bike rentals, accommodation facilities and, of course, car parks.

How to grow Moroccan mint in pots

If you are thinking of planting and growing an aromatic plant, then the Moroccan mint must not be missing. Its leaves, if rubbed, are extremely fragrant and their aroma is strong, fresh and pleasant. So it’s a real gardening must have.

Moroccan mint is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Labiate family. This is durable over the years, easily cultivable, resistant to thermal agents and temperature changes.

In order to successfully grow Moroccan mint, just follow a few small rules and you will find that it is not difficult to take care of them. Here, then, are all the secrets for successful cultivation of Moroccan mint.

Moroccan mint: where to grow it

Moroccan mint, of European origin, is an evergreen shrub just like thyme, rosemary, sage and other aromatic plants. The cultivation soil can also be of a poor nature, since you must know that plants of this type do not need excessive nutrients.

Mint, in order to grow at its best, needs shaded areas. It is suitable in a professional garden or in domestic environments such as balconies and window sills. For this reason, pot cultivation is said to be not harmful. It is essential, however, that each pot used has at the bottom where you can let the watering water out.

In order for the plant to grow in a luxuriant and healthy way, it is necessary that there is a good part of garden soil, a percentage ranging from 10% to 20% of sand and one of fertilizer that can go up to 40%. The underlying layer of the soil also needs shards or gravel, useful for promoting the outflow of water and preventing stagnation.

Now that you know all the essential characteristics of this plant, surely, you will want to find out what are the treatments to which it is subjected, the times of ripening, harvesting and what dangers it can face. So let’s go on to explain how to grow Moroccan mint

Cultivation techniques

Once put in a pot, Moroccan mint needs all the nutrients necessary to grow. This Mediterranean species, you must know, does not need a lot of water, however, it is good to water it regularly without exaggerating.

To water the mint, lukewarm tap water or rainwater is fine. The most suitable moments to carry out this operation are early morning or late afternoon. In the evening, however, not having the sunlight from it, it could prove harmful to the plant. Watering mint at this time does not mean promoting complete absorption of the liquid, therefore, it would encounter the probable formation of particularly aggressive fungal infections. Finally, remember to always and only wet the earth and never the leaves.

To properly manage aromatic plants it is essential to keep the topping under control. This must be pruned in the spring, so that it can sprout again. Be careful, however, to the cut. In fact, you should never get to the woody part but always stop at the buds. To do this you need a sharp knife or, more simply, a shears.

The moment of the harvest can never be left to chance. In order to obtain a fragrant leaf it is important that mint has a maximum concentration of active ingredients, therefore, it is recommended to cut the leaves after a day or two without rain.

The harvest cannot be made by hand but a sharp blade or shears must be used. If the cut is regular, the branching of the plant is guaranteed.

Moroccan mint: the dangers

In order to take care of your Moroccan mint you must always pay attention to the pathologies that could develop.

You must know that mint is prone to attack by fungal diseases that can affect the root or leaves. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, for example, develops with a large concentration of air humidity, little light or a wrong fertilization and loaded with nitrogen. If one of the mint plants is affected by this mushroom it is necessary to remove it.

Attention also powdery mildew that develops when there is a hot humid climate and, finally, even the pseudo downy mildew is dangerous for its

How to prepare the garden for the winter

Winter is coming: if you are passionate about the Iron Throne, as well as gardening, you will surely have picked up the quote.
But readers of George R. R. Martini or not, surely, you will know that the cold season is almost upon us. For this reason you have to prepare your garden and protect it, along with furniture, tools and furnishings, in view of the cold season.

The best time to do this work is, certainly, October. Next to the bad season but, at the same time, allows us to have a few weeks to plan the work, so you do not have to do it badly or too quickly.
We add that if we expect a lush garden in Spring, we must lay its foundation now.

1. Clean up the ground

The first rule is, without a doubt, cleanliness. Which is not just an aesthetic device. Remove the diseased and dried leaves, the dried roots and the dead flowers is of fundamental importance to avoid the onset of diseases.
Moreover, raked in order to eliminate the foliage, this could cause, in fact, stagnation of excess water and literally make our plants or parts of them drenched.
Insects could also enjoy decomposing material.
The removed material can be thrown away, burned or used to produce compost.
In addition, it may be appropriate to create a layer of stones, pebbles, gravel, to maintain soil moisture.

2. Prune plants, shrubs and trees

Autumn is the right time to prune the plants in our garden.The sap, in fact, withdraws towards roots and trunk.So arm yourself with scissors, saw and chain saw and cut the branches.This operation will invigorate the plant in view of the beautiful season.

3. Meadow and grass

October is the perfect month for the last lawn shearing.Let the grass measure at least 4 centimeters.Remove the moss and, to prevent it from reforming, increase the PH of the soil, perhaps with lime.

4. Remove the sick or annual plants and winter plants

Before winter we must remove the plants that seem to be destined for better life and the annual plants, such as basil.
We can replace them with winter plants. In fact, it is not said that the garden must be decommissioned.Some plants typically give the best of them in Winter.

5. Prepare a map

If you do not want to recompute the same mistakes in the following Spring, take care to mark the errors already committed and the diseases suffered by your plants, certainly we will have to change some choices.

6. Protect plants that are less resistant or weak

First of all, it is necessary to preserve the most delicate plants inside, which would not tolerate frost.
It seems impossible, but the plants need to acclimatize. For about a week, place them inside for a few hours, more and more, until they get used to the temperature change.
Other plants, even to be considered, can remain outside.
It is the case to wrap them in cloths and fabrics ad hoc available at the gardening stores.

7. Take care of your tools and keep the garden furniture

Clean and store the tools in a shed. Water is their worst enemy. If you expose them to the elements they will certainly rust. Clean the grass and olive cutter.
Free the furniture from dirt, polish them if necessary, and store them in a sheltered space, unless you want to throw them every season, even in this case the rains or the snow will damage them.

How to reduce noise at home and in the garden with plants


Noise pollution is becoming an increasing problem over time so that even those who own a garden often can not relax and enjoy their space both at home and outdoors due to the noise coming from outside.

However, nature can help us to solve or at least mitigate the most annoying noises that come from outside.
If our houses, made of “reflecting” and not at all absorbent materials, somehow implement the sounds of each type, the behavior of the plants is very different.
Wide-leaf ones, recommended to reduce noise are the most suitable to reduce any kind of sound and, having a more flexible and flexible constitution than that of all the elements present in a house (appliances and walls), offers better features in order to absorb or reduce unwelcome sounds.

Which plants to use

Let’s start from the garden, place from where come the loudest noise (road, outdoor facilities and, perhaps, loud neighbors).
When designing a real “noise barrier”, shrubs should be placed in the front row like a hedge. The Vibornum odoratissum seems to be very valid for the purpose, but most of the evergreens should make “good shape” also from an aesthetic point of view.

Behind this first row of shrubs, you can plant some trees or shrubs with dense branches or that reach the ground, such as holly and juniper.
Finally, if you have enough space, you can create a “barrier” of shrubs, right next to the house, but be careful to choose it according to your taste and in harmony with the rest of the garden.

If this is not enough to completely eliminate outside noise, it may be a good idea to add some pleasant and relaxing sound to your garden.
Water that flows, for example, is always a relaxing sound suitable to mask other unwanted ones and, without a doubt, the installation of a fountain or a small waterfall repay with time.

How do plants absorb sounds?

The plant parts such as stems, leaves, branches, wood etc. They absorb the sound. The rough bark and thick, fleshy leaves are particularly effective in absorbing the sound with their dynamic surface.
Deflection is another way in which the sound is reduced. When the sound waves hit a flexible material, like the leaves of a tree, the material will vibrate and the waves will turn into other forms of energy, in addition to being diverted in other directions.
Sound waves can also be refracted. If a room has all solid floors, sound waves bounce everywhere and can create echoes. When the carpet is added, the echoes disappear. The plantations covering the surfaces help to achieve the same business.

The best noise reduction result has been obtained from the pithecellobium dulce thanks to its dense leaves all year round, to the position and shape of the foliage that hangs over the surface of the ground.

How to use milk in the vegetable garden and in the garden and why it works

Using milk in your garden and in your garden will probably prove a surprise to many. The amino acids, proteins, enzymes and natural sugars that make milk a food for humans and animals are the same ingredients used to cultivate healthy communities of microbes, fungi and beneficial bacteria in compost and garden soil. Raw milk is the best because it has not been exposed to heat that alters milk components that provide a perfect food for soil and plants, but any milk will provide nourishment and benefits. Using milk on crops and soils is another ancient technique that has been lost for large-scale modern industrial agriculture.

Milk is a fungicide experimented by research and a soft-bodied insecticide – insects have no pancreas to digest milk sugars. Dr. Wagner Bettiol, a Brazilian research scientist, discovered that milk was effective in treating oidium on zucchini. His research was subsequently replicated by New Zealand melon growers who tested it against the main commercially available chemical fungicide and found that milk exceeded everything else. To their surprise, they also discovered that milk worked as a leaf fertilizer, producing bigger and tastier melons than the control group.

Recently, David Wetzel, a farmer from Nebraska, completed a 10-year study on the application of milk at different levels to his pastures and recorded the results with the help of Territorial extension agent Terry Gompert, a university soil specialist. , pest and insect researcher.
What they found was surprising: the production of grass has increased dramatically; the porosity of the soil or the ability to absorb air and water doubled; activity and populations of microbes are increased; the cows were healthier and produced more milk on the treated pastures; the level of brix or sugar in tripled pasture, indicating that more nutrients were stored in the grass than before. The grasshoppers have abandoned the treated pastures – the sugars are a poison for the soft-bodied insects as they do not have a pancreas to process the sugars. This also explains why insects will leave the plants alone healthy and high in brix, as they contain more sugar than those stressed and sick. Milk works as a fertilizer.

 

How to use milk in the garden

Reading these data (and not only), it is possible to use the milk in different ways, which we will list later:

1. As a disinfectant

According to Michigan State University, “milk has proven to be an effective alternative disinfectant for greenhouse tools to prevent manual transmission of viruses.” Instead of using a toxic bleach solution to disinfect garden pruners and scissors, immerse them in milk to disinfect them. Milk also prevents the transmission of many diseases of the tomato as the tobacco mosaic virus. As a bonus, the tools do not corrode or rust when they are cleaned with milk.

2. As a fungicide

milk can be used successfully to combat fungal diseases such as mold and fungi. Spray a mixture diluted on the surface of the leaves of the plants reduces their susceptibility to fungus infestations. Milk is also a powerful additive to improve the adsorption of pesticides and prevent the outflow caused by strong winds and rain.

3. As a fertilizer

Since milk is a good source of calcium, you can use it occasionally to nourish your plants. This fertilizer can be used for vegetable plants such as tomatoes, peppers and zucchini that suffer from rot. If you have spare milk, use it diluted (50% milk and 50% water) to water the plants around their base or use this solution as a leaf spray.

4. Check the aphids

Milk can be used to control aphids. Research conducted by Punjab University in India shows that the use of cow’s milk is effective against aphids, thrips and mites. According to the published post, high concentration milk (whole or 50%) was harmful to aphids.
Associate professor Linda Chalker-Scott, an urban horticulturist at Washington State University, also writes that “The leaves coated with a milk spray may be less vulnerable to the attacks of aphids” in his article.

 

Decorate the house by following the Feng Shui using the plants

Taoism is a philosophy applicable to all aspects of life that finds its roots in times we do not know. It is from this doctrine that the Feng Shui is born, an oriental discipline that bases its existence on the importance and strength of nature. The term Feng Shui could be translated as Wind and Water, fundamental elements in the natural world that are related to each other and suggest a wider reading and interpretation of the environment around us.

According to Feng Shui, the image of the garden must enclose the right equilibrium between Yin and Yang, that is, a harmonious relationship between tall plants and powerful stems with bushes, small herbs and flat areas. This should bring the harmony that is created between natural forms to influence our reality, bringing within our life balance and stability. Inside our apartment it is possible to reconstruct this harmony of the Feng Shui garden through the Bagua map, an instrument of this Taoist philosophy that helps us locate precisely the areas and the corresponding energies in our rooms. This map translates all aspects of a private environment into 8 elements, called “Gua”: Career, Friends, Knowledge, Family, Affection, Creativity, Wealth, and Fame. Through the identification of the areas of the house and their respective fields of life we can proceed to position the plants to create in our private space a harmonious and proactive place according to the dictates of Feng Shui.

The modern home is a place full of negative energies and very influential on our ability to behave and relationship with others. According to Feng Shui, in fact, home appliances and all the technological elements in an environment would free electromagnetic waves from which it is best to defend themselves. Each plant according to doctrine has a specific prerogative and can help us in our everyday life. For example, the Aloe plant would remove these harmful substances through its famous defensive and soothing power; Clorophytum helps to create a relaxing atmosphere in the environment, and the ovate crassula is considered a real attractant of money. Plants that have negative aspects, such as the cactus that represents litigation and misunderstanding and the dry flowers that symbolize the end of life, must be placed outside the house so that they act as a shielding function, protecting our environments from negative events.

How to attract birds in your garden / terrace

It happens often, especially in spring, to wake up, listening from the nearby trees or from the under-roofs, the chirping of so many birds that populate our territory.
Those who have a garden know how useful the berries and small insects for the life of birds like sparrows, sparrows, hummingbirds, who each day pass and eat in abundance nurturing the little things in nature.
But would not it be nice to have them as guests without force keeping them imprisoned in some cage?
Here are some tips to attract small birds among our green areas.

1.Create an ideal natural environment

The presence of plants and shrubs that favor the arrival of birds are the basis for attracting them every season. The red holly berries in winter can be a great nourishment, while the less well-groomed areas can be the place to find insects to bring to their little ones in the spring. A small pond can be useful as a source of nourishment especially in the warmer periods.

2.Leave the crumbs.
Take the habit of not throwing away the small scraps of your food, such as bread crumbs. The little things that seem to us to be minimal waste, to a small bird could be as much of a meal, especially for a small child in the weaning period.

3.Avoid big birds
It is best to keep larger larger pieces, such as pigeons, crows and others. They can dirty and ruin your green corners rather than bring you color and cheer. Better get away from them now.

4. Avoid pesticides and chemical agents.

As far as possible, it is clear that our new guests are accustomed to living in wildlife and nourishing them wherever it offers them any kind of food suitable for them.
Filling our garden of pesticides or chemicals could mean endangering the very life of those who by the little fruits of nature derive daily nutrition.

5. Build a house for the birds

Obviously, if you want to create a place to host the birds, you will need to create a safe corner of peace. As high as possible and, above all, safe from noises or dangers. On the market there are so many,

6.Install a pole or railing
Birds are generally accustomed to spending their time on tree branches that can not be found in balconies or gardens. For this reason, to attract them, it would be best to install a pole or railing to give them a place to stay here when they come to visit us 🙂

 

6 ways to use coffee in the garden and in the vegetable garden

The generations before ours have taught us that coffee pots can be excellent natural fertilizers for garden and home plants and that, often what could be considered a waste, is actually an excellent product of reuse.

In this article we went to find out how plants and garden can generally exploit coffee in every state and love it almost as much as we love it.

1. Use coffee grounds in the vegetable garden.

This technique can bring great benefits to green leafy vegetables because it ensures slow nitrogen supply and lowers Ph, ensuring a strong and healthy growth of the vegetables themselves. The best solution is to mix coffee grounds on the ground at seed planting times to eliminate parasites, fungi and pathogen worms.

2. Fertilize roses with ground coffee beans.

What makes coffee very useful is that it has a high nitrogen content and can slightly change the Ph, increasing flowering, running the soil and thus creating a favorable means to support the growth of worms that naturally fertilize the surrounding area. On roses, you can also use tea.

3. Prevent fungal diseases

The antifungal and acidic properties of coffee make it an ideal supplement to eliminate pathogenic fungi and prevent the onset of debilitating plants, such as coffee rust. In practice, coffee grounds can suppress pathogenic fungi, including fusarium, pythium and sclerotinia.

4. Change the color of flowers

The dark brown coffee color of the morning can effectively turn the hydrangea into blossom blue! This is because coffee grounds have a capacity to lower the pH of the soil and hydrangeas change the color of their flowers in acidic soil.

5. Keep pets away from flowers and plants

Spraying used coffee grounds or even solid coffee beans on the soil, on leaves and around the plants can help keep pets away. It is simple, animals have a powerful sense of smell, and while the scent of coffee can elevate your senses, it has the exact opposite effect on your feline, hyper sensitive. For better results, spread a mixture of coffee grounds and orange peels.

6. The coffee is “good” for your evergreen tree

Evergreen trees like fir, pine and magnolia seem to benefit from slightly acidic soil. And ground coffee helps to change their pH as desired. However, it is advisable to do a pH test of the soil before proceeding with the administration of excessive coffee doses.

How to grow a mini-olive tree in a pot

The olive tree  is undoubtedly one of the most famous and appreciated fruit trees in the world. It is in fact a plant that produces olives, destined in part for the production of oil and partly for direct nutrition. The olive tree is therefore a plant indispensable for human nutrition. It is part of the Oleaceae family and is an evergreen plant. Its activity is continuous throughout the year, except for a slight slowdown in the winter months. It is commonly acknowledged that the olive tree is not well tolerated by low temperatures.

The cultivation of mini-potted olive tree
There are many people who nowadays decide to cultivate a mini-olive in their own home. This trend has been made possible thanks to the many changes that the plant has undergone over the years: it has become more resistant and is able to respond even more to stricter climates. The cultivation of the mini-olive in pot can be made by any person as it does not require any special attention. So even those who are not seasoned can try to grow this beautiful plant on their balcony. The first thing to do though is definitely to choose the best place to place the olive tree. In general, it is advisable to prefer a very ventilated area and well exposed to the rays of the sun. After that you have to make the choice of the pot, which must be large in size so that it does not compromise the plant. Of course, the type of jar to be preferred must also take into account other factors such as space available. Once you have purchased everything you need, you can proceed with the actual cultivation. It is important to know that the olive tree needs a fairly fertile soil to grow optimally. It must always be fresh and watered in the proper way. This, however, does not mean that watering is too frequent as it would surely generate the opposite effect. Therefore, proper irrigation is carried out from time to time but abundant: in this way we guarantee the plant the right amount of water without exaggerating. As far as the soil is concerned, it is also advisable to use half of the garden and half of the sand. During the autumn then, to help the plant grow, you can use the appropriate fertilizer to distribute on the surface. In winter, however, it is advisable to protect your mini-olive in a vase so that the cold does not ruin it. The vessel can be wrapped in a straw or plastic canvas while the plant can be covered with a fabric towel. If you do not have these items, you can still try to move the jar inside your home as long as it is placed in a space that is not too hot and especially bright. As far as pruning is concerned, it should only be done in case of need, eliminating all dried and damaged leaves. It is, however, preferable to do this before the fruit grows, therefore, between the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

The most interesting curiosities about olive tree
The olive tree is a plant that best suits the Mediterranean climate (therefore characterized by mild winters and warm summers) but nowadays it is planted successfully also in other areas of the world such as California, Argentina, Australia and South Africa. From a symbolic standpoint, this plant has always represented peace for both the eastern and western worlds. Already in ancient times it represented a sacred plant, a symbol of justice and wisdom. But it is in particular in the Christian religion that the olive has a certain value: it represents rebirth and peace as it is present in numerous passages of the Bible and of Jesus’ history. It is no coincidence that the olive tree is celebrated during the Palm Tree in which it symbolizes the very figure of Christ.

The winter.
The photo is clear: despite the snow and the cold, our little olive tree has resisted well to the “weight” of winter and, although it appears a bit ‘more unkempt (the leaves have fallen especially with summer heat) compared to spring, not seems to yield.
We are waiting for nature to take its course.