June 2017 – Tips from the Landscape Architect

Watering

Here in Central Ohio we generally need to receive 1” to 1.5” of rainfall per week during the growing season for successful results.  For those of you with automatic irrigation systems, make sure you have it programmed correctly so as not to over or under water your plants and lawns.  I would also recommend a rain sensing device which can be attached to the controller so the system does not run during rainfalls.

For those of us without an automatic irrigation system, we need to become aware of all of our surroundings and to know when different plants need to have supplemental waterings.  The best way to water your container plants is by determining the size, 1 gallon, 5 gallon etc. and doing a count system to determine how long it takes to deliver enough water so the excess runs freely from the bottom of the pot.  Once you know what your individual counts are for each size pot then you can just automatically do a consistent count for each pot size and know that you are doing a perfect job of supplemental watering.

I have found the best way to tell when a pot needs water is to place a finger in the soil and determine if it is moist or dry.  High and consistent winds also will dry out a pot much quicker than on a calm day.  I check moisture levels in my pots daily.

Supplemental watering for plants planted in the ground does not dry out as quickly as those in pots.  Again check the moisture levels in the root masses of your plants as well as the surroundings soils and make the same determination of dry, wet or just right.  In ground plants should be checked weekly for moisture levels and then run your water at a slow but steady trickle on each individual plant as need watering.

Nurturing

Care of your plants and landscape is very therapeutic if you allow it to become a part of your routine.

I like the cup of coffee or glass of wine approach.  Use this time to enjoy your gardens and landscape.  Check regularly for moisture levels in the soil, the over-all health of the plants and observe the environmental surroundings that are affecting the landscape to survive.  Mother Nature always wins but we do our best to garden while relaxing from our busy and sometimes hectic lives.  Develop a daily routine and those dreaded big projects won’t hurt as much.  Plus you will ease your heart rate, burn a few calories and receive a sense of accomplishment while benefitting from your fruits of labor.

Importance of Native Plants and Perennials

This group of many types of plants that I call the pollinators, are a necessary ingredient for a successful landscape and garden.  These plants, when flowering, attract ants, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects which in return pollinate an estimated 50% to 80% of our food supply.  We also call these pollinator plants weeds when left to Mother Nature to plant in our gardens.  Learn your weeds and treat accordingly but in return plant more landscape friendly pollinator plants.  These include but certainly are not limited to milkweeds, butterfly bush, viburnums, blanket flower, coneflower, daisy, dianthus, yarrow, black-eyed susan, hyssop, bergamot, herbs and ornamental trees and shrubs.

Enjoy learning your pollinators as it will open up new possibilities to explore your landscape.  Eventually the garden bug bites, so take care out there and learn what makes your garden survive.