How To Grow Blue Grape Plants – Guide To Growing False Jaboticaba
By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Blue grape fruits are said to taste a bit like grapes, hence the name. The trees are beautiful with wedding bouquet type flowers followed by the bright blue fruits. Blue grape plants can be difficult to source but may be found at specialty growers. Learn more in this article.
Sweet Myrtle Care – How To Grow Sweet Myrtle In Your Garden
By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Sweet myrtle is a small tree to large bush that makes an excellent accent to the landscape. The evergreen plant is remarkably versatile and adapts to a wide range of conditions. Learn how to grow sweet myrtle with the information in this article.
How to Grow Crepe Myrtle
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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Crepe myrtles are summer flowering trees admired for their vibrant pink, red, purple, and white blossoms. Their natural beauty, resilience, and minimal need for tending make them a welcome addition to any yard or garden. Since the trees thrive in warm, humid conditions, they’ll do best in a well-drained patch of soil somewhere they can receive plenty of direct sunlight. Once you’ve planted your crepe myrtles, spread mulch around the base of the trunk to protect against moisture loss, apply a well-balanced fertilizer once a year, and water as needed to keep them producing healthy, flowers when they return each season.
Leave the Leaves. or Not?
Get those leaves off the lawn, but after that. maybe you're done?
This past fall there was a lot of talk about “leaving leaves” in the garden not only in gardening media circles, but in mainstream media too. Any advice that advocates skipping yard chores is sure to go viral, but let’s take a closer look so that you understand exactly where and why this is not bad advice, and where it’s a terrible idea.
The National Wildlife Association’s blog post was written a year ago, but went viral this fall. The advice, while not actually wrong, was a little unclear.
Yes, leaving fallen leaves to decompose does return valuable nutrients to the soil, provides habitat for lots of important and valuable insect species over winter, and acts as a natural mulch. Unfortunately, the article was not exceedingly clear about one place you do NOT want to just leave your leaves: your lawn.
The only way to leave the leaves on your lawn is to chop them finely with a mulching mower or a leaf shredder, or shred them in a trash can with a string trimmer, then return them to the lawn. (We describe how to do that in this newsletter article that we also wrote a year ago that didn’t go viral…oh well) You cannot leave a layer of fallen leaves as-is on your lawn…unless you want to have to do a lot of lawn repair next year. Layers of leaves block sunlight and trap excess moisture against the lawn, resulting in bare patches come spring.
It’s also a good idea to keep layers of leaves off of beds of fall- and winter-interest plantings like pansies for the same reason. A thick layer blocks sun and risks disease in wet weather. Rule of thumb: if you can’t see the plants underneath, the leaves are probably going to cause a problem.
Yet there are plenty of places where you can leave the leaves. You can leave leaves in wooded areas, on mulched areas, under shrubs and around perennials as long as you think of them like mulch: not built up too thickly (3-4” at most” and not piled up against stems and trunks. (You should probably think twice about thick layers of leaves if you have vole problems-voles can burrow under the leaves and wreak havoc in your garden over the winter.)
The main argument for removing leaves from everywhere but the lawn is purely aesthetic-most people prefer the clean look of traditional mulches. But leaving leaves and mulching over top of them in spring is an acceptable and ecologically safe option.
The courtyard didn't originally access the backyard, but McDaniel and Rogers immediately recognized that the brick wall drastically shortened their space. They broke through the wall and framed the new opening with wide steps and louvered shutters. Now they've created an easy entrance to the lawn— a feature not offered by most urban courtyards.
″There really isn't a formula,″ says McDaniel. ″Actually, it should be a bit haphazard." This explains the eclectic mix of elements, including moss-covered sheep a European carved-stone bust with aged patina French oil jars and the courtyard's centerpiece, a large glazed Anduze jar holding a bright purple plumbago plant.