It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year! Everyone seems to be in a better mood when they’re spending time with the people they love.
Going all out with décor is easy and fun. Putting up a big Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, draping garland around the house really makes it feel cozy and welcoming. Draping lights around the home and statues on your front lawn, is a fun way to make the whole neighborhood light up.
This year, incorporate some living décor for your holidays. Here are 5 ways to decorate your garden:
1. Decorate Containers
Containers are a perfect way to liven up a home. Finding a festive container or painting a plain one with festive colors or patterns will bring it to life for the holidays. Fill your container with winter hardy plants that are right for your zone, just be sure to use Espoma Organic Potting Soil to give it the nutrients they need.
2. Design the Grounds
With colorful winter shrubs, vegetables and flowers, planting in a design can bring cheer in ways that are unique and cheerful. With the colors and options your plants provide can make an image come through. Utilize the dead space in between your winter hardy plants to create a holiday design.
3. Plant an Evergreen
While everyone brings their trees indoors, plant one outside. You can decorate it the same way you decorate the one indoors. Plus you can enjoy your Christmas morning outside, depending on the weather. Use natural materials, such as pine cones, berries and flowers collected from your garden to decorate. Be sure to use Espoma Organic’s Holly-tone to keep the foliage green.
4. Train Your Plants
Adding a toy train to show off your garden is a great way to mix fun and childlike spirit to your garden. Utilize the plants you already have planted that will survive the winter. Have the toy train go around what you want to showcase. Add some twinkling lights and everyone who stops by will want a garden like yours.
5. Green Your Mailboxes
Draping an evergreen garland over a mailbox is a simple way to incorporate living décor to your holidays. Creating a garland requires few materials and can look festive within a few minutes. Be sure to add a nice large bow to tie it all together.
Want to keep making decorations for your home? Check out this Succulent Snow Globe from Garden Answer.
A beautiful garden that returns year after year and repels hungry deer sounds like a dream, but it can be real! Create an entire deer-resistant garden using plants these creatures strongly dislike.
Of course, a hungry deer will eat just about anything. These plants repel because they are fragrant, prickly or sap-filled. Utilize them strategically in your garden to keep deer away from favorites such as garden phlox or hosta.
Bee balm repels deer with its minty scent, but pollinators can’t get enough. Bee Balm blooms in violet blue, red, pink or white from July through August and grows relatively tall, 2-3 feet. Boost your Bee Balm with Espoma’s Organic Flower-tone fertilizer for big, healthy flowers. Best suited for zones 4-8.
Besides being a garden must-have, lavender deters both mosquitoes and deer. Its fuzzy and fragrant leaves just do not appeal to deer. Most varieties flower between June and August. Lavender prefers full sun with well-drained soil. Feed with Espoma’s Plant-tone throughout the growing season. Hardy in Zones 5 through 9.
Named for their dark brown centers peeking out of the gold or bronze petals, black-eyed susans thrive in the sun. Because its covered in course hair, deer and rabbits stay far away from it. These daisy-like blooms are perfect for a late summer or fall bouquet. They tend to grow to about 2 feet tall and handle high heat and drought conditions well. Grow in full sun in zones 3-9.
Yarrow is a vibrant yellow perennial with fuzzy foliage that deers hate. It has a lengthy flowering time from June through September. It is a relatively tall flower with an average growth height of 2.5-3 feet. Give your flowers a strong soil base to help them thrive with Espoma’s Organic Garden Soil. Best suited for Zones 3-8.
The colorful bell shaped flower with freckles on the inside is lovely addition to deer-resistant gardens. This plant earns its deer-resistant label because it’s poisonous to deer (and humans). Many foxgloves are a biennial, so flowers don’t show up until the second year in the ground. Newer hybrid varieties are perennial, though. They are self-sowers, so if you leave the stalks in, they will continue to bloom year after year. Use Espoma’s liquid Bloom! to keep the flowers coming. Grow in Zones 4-9.
Known as a classic cottage staple, bleeding heart has a sap that deer find disagreeable. Beautiful blooms develop quickly in late spring and will last throughout summer and foliage stays lovely into fall. It’s easy to see why their floral pendants, in shades of rose pink and white, will pack a punch. You can never go wrong with a bit of romance. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Espoma products for Deer–resistant perennials:
If you’re looking for the basics, learn how to plant veggies in containers!
The Espoma Company is excited to announce its sponsorship of the inaugural Great Plants Symposium on Friday, October 6 at The Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, MA.
This one day symposium is jam-packed with information, inspiring speakers and delicious food. Patterned after its sister symposium, the Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium, this is an amazing opportunity to learn what’s happening in the gardening world.
The excitement begins before the symposium even starts. Offered is a special 3- hour flower gardening program on Thursday where Kerry Ann Mendez will dive into what to plant in your garden that will bring you more bang for your buck. Kerry will also be giving tips and tricks on how to reduce stress for a happier, healthier life – and garden!
Speakers include award-winning blogger, Kathy Purdy, professional horticulturalist, Heather Lynn Poire, garden designer and plantswoman, Suzanne Thatcher, and as mentioned earlier, award- winning national speaker and garden consultant, Kerry Ann Mendez.
Cost to attend is $93 per person; $88 for Master Gardeners or Groups of 5 or more. This includes five garden lectures, refreshments, buffet lunch, handouts, garden gift and door prizes.
For more information and registration for the symposium, visit https://pyours.com/great-plants-symposium/ Special room rates available.
IF YOU GO:
What: The Great Plants Symposium
Where: The Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, MA
When: Friday, October 6th
How: Register by mailing in a check and form.
It’s easy to help your garden thrive when there is something beautiful to look at. Spring and summer seasons make this easy to do with their gorgeous floral blooms. Did you know that Autumn can have equally as attractive plants?
Even the simplest shrubs and trees make great additions to fall gardens, bonus points if there’s fall fruit involved. We’ve rounded up the top trees and shrubs that will provide year-round enjoyment and fresh fall fruit.
6 Trees and Shrubs with Fall Fruit
- Mountain Ash
This deciduous tree gets its name from the blue-green pinnate leaves and white flowers that bloom in the spring. Mountain ash truly dazzles in autumn, turning into a blazing purple and red. The white flowers transition to shiny pink berries that stands bright against its foliage. And despite the name, mountain-ash (Sorbus) are very different types of plants than ash and are not attacked by emerald ash borer. Hardy in Zones 4-7 and feed regularly with Tree-Tone for strong roots and trunk.
Crabapple trees offer beautiful hues. Varieties can include colors of burgundy, purple, red, orange, green or yellow. As the crabapple transitions into autumn, the fruit really begins to show. It transitions well into the winter, when birds will happily take care of the fruit. Hardy in zones 4-7 and feed regularly with Tree-Tone for strong roots and trunk.
- Beauty Berry
While you might not think twice about this shrub in the spring or summer, it shines in autumn. Its tiny pink flowers transform into brilliant ruby-violet berries that stop people in their tracks. This autumn shrub will give your garden something to talk about. Hardy in zones 5-11. Use Plant-Tone for beautiful berries.
This tree may be small, but it certainly is mighty. Even after the foliage falls in the autumn, the bright red berries remain, making it look like a red flowering tree. The berries on this tree aren’t large, but they last through a cold winter – unless the birds get them first. The Possumhaw is tricky – it ‘prefers’ acid soils but can ‘tolerate’ alkaline. Hardy in zones 5-8 and feed regularly with Holly-Tone for strong roots and trunk.
- Teton Firethorn
Stunningly bright in the autumn and winter, this show stopping shrub is the perfect edition to your garden. Vibrant orange fruit pop out from behind the foliage. The fruit thickly covers top to bottom on this plant. This shrub is tall and typically used as a hedge. Hardy in zones 6-9 and feed regularly with Holly-tone for radiant blooms and fruit.
This low-key shrub in the spring and summer saves it’s best for autumn and winter when the small yellow flowers transform into purple-red fruit clusters. They are shade tolerant and can last well into the winter. Hardy in zones 2-7 and feed regularly with Plant-Tone for gorgeous blooms and tasty berries.
Want to know how to fertilize trees and shrubs? Let Laura from Garden Answer show you how!
Easy-to-grow groundcovers aren’t just limited to grass. There are plenty of attractive solutions that suppress weeds and add interest to your yard.
Groundcovers that feature variegated leaves and bright blooms bring life to areas that might otherwise go unnoticed. Plus, most groundcovers use less water than typical lawns and don’t require mowing.
To get a groundcover started, dig planting holes twice the size of the plants’ roots, fill partially with compost, add the plant and then backfill with compost enhanced with Bio-tone Starter Plus. Water plants thoroughly after planting.
5 Ground Covers for Your Yard
Choose this perennial herb to create an aromatic, green carpet. Creeping thyme will grow between the cracks and crevices of stone paths and the pink or white blooms are lovely. Plant in full sun. Thyme is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-10.
2. Creeping Juniper
This evergreen thrives in the heat. It does especially well in poor and sandy soils, drought and hot summers. Use it to fill in slopes, hills or rocky terrain. Plant in full sun. Creeping Juniper is hardy in Zones 3-10.
One of the most dependable perennials you can grow, sedum quickly establishes in any sunny spot. Some sedums provide four seasons of interest, turning red in fall and winter. This low-maintenance, fast spreading plant will grow in even the poorest soil. Plant in full sun. Sedum is hardy in Zones 4-9.
4. Sweet Woodruff
Its star-shaped leaves and tiny white flowers make this shade-loving ground cover a favorite for many gardeners. True to its name, sweet woodruff will bring an earthy aroma to your yard. Plant in part to full shade. Sweet woodruff is hardy in Zones 4-8.
Pachysandra is a great ground cover for areas where deer are a problem. Plus, it requires little care once it’s established. Be careful, though. While this ground cover is great for deterring deer, it can be poisonous to pets and children. Grow in shade and moist, well-drained soil. Pachysandra is hardy in Zones 4-8.
Looking for something with more blooms? Find out the top annuals to plant in containers.
You love your garden, and so do the notorious neighborhood deer. They’ll try anything at least once and will come back for more if they like it. Not to mention the rabbits and other critters that think of your yard as their own personal all you can eat buffet.
Get serious about deer proofing your garden before the damage gets out of control. Early intervention is always best and you can prevent future invasions by taking action now. It’s much easier to deter one deer before the entire herd is grazing on your garden.
What do deer eat?
More like what won’t deer eat? Deer will eat any vegetation and the hungrier they are, the less picky they get. Growing plants that deer find less attractive is a good starting point, but a desperate deer might still take a bite.
Deer are big eaters. The average adult male consumes about five pounds of food a day.
If you want to keep the deer at bay, try out these tips in your own yard.
Deter Deer and Other Animal Pests:
1. Place strong scented plants near entry points such as garlic, rosemary and lavender. Or choose plants with textures like lamb’s ear, thorny roses, barberry or holly.
2. Fences are generally the best force to keep critters at bay, but they can be expensive. Choose an 8’ tall fence or plant tall, thick hedges around borders. If your main concern is rabbits, the fence should be 30” tall and buried 8-12”.
3. Use liquid or granular animal repellant. Spread or spray around the perimeter of your yard. Reapply after rain and as often as directed. Over time, deer can become used to repellents so you may need to switch products if you notice deer near your yard.
4. An element of surprise such as a garden ornament or scarecrow can deter deer. Move it around frequently.
5. Install motion sensors that light up as deer approach.
6. Enlist your pooch. Active and noisy pets can keep deer at bay.
What’s worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments below!
This year, let’s grow your best garden yet! All you need is a sturdy pencil, a blank notebook and a vivid imagination. You’ll almost be able to smell wild lavender and delicate roses.
With a detailed garden plan, your organic garden blooms right off the page.
Grow On! How to Plan Your Dream Garden
1. Reflect to Perfect. Think about last year’s garden. Jot down all your flowers, edibles and shrubs. Mark your favorite and most used plants. Cross off those that didn’t produce, succeed or required too much effort. What plants do you wish you had? What edibles did you spend too much on at the store? Add those to your plant list.
2. Wise Size. Sketch your current garden space. Should you expand or cut back? Consider if and where you’d like to place new garden beds, raised beds, containers or another vegetable garden. If this is your first garden, plan for 50-75 square feet.
4. Single or Mingle. Tweak the list of plants you want to add, keep or remove. Then decide which plants you’ll cluster and which to keep separate. Pair plants with similar water, light and soil needs. Plan where to plant them, and circle the plants you’ll start from seed.
5. Pick to Mix. Scrutinize your list to make sure you have a good mix of: plant types, scents, bloom times, beneficial plants, texture, sizes and color. Do the Safe Paws check to make sure all plants are safe for your pets.
Step back and admire your handiwork! In just a few short months, your hands will be in the soil making your garden plan spring to life.
Five years ago, we at Espoma converted our plant and offices in Millville, NJ into a sunny, solar-power sanctuary. And we’ve never looked back!
Learn how much solar power brightens our world along with simple ways to harness solar power.
Radiant Energy Reductions at Espoma
Vowing to reduce our carbon footprint, we installed 43,000 square feet of solar panels. This reduces as much carbon dioxide as planting 1.7 million trees!
Every year, Espoma generates enough solar energy to power over 60 homes and save more than 1.4 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
Click here to see how many light bulbs we’ve saved over the last five years!
Easy, Enlightening Ways to Use Solar Power
Solar panels are a big, initial investment. Luckily, you can still give solar power a shot by trying the below!
- Get a Solar Glow. Swap your outdoor garden lights or indoor desk lamps to solar energy.
- A Sun Deck for Your Tech. Charge phones, laptops and tablets using solar power! Switching to solar-powered tech chargers instantly reduces your energy use. If plugged in, tech chargers suck up energy – even without a device attached.
- Sizzle with Solar. Heat your home’s water with just a few solar panels. A fraction of the cost of a complete solar power system, you can test solar panels without the hefty price tag.
- Swim in the Sun. Whether you’re building a new pool or choose to convert a current one, you can heat pools and hot tubs with solar energy.
- Bask in Sunny Skylights. Opt for solar tubes instead of regular skylights. Solar tubes are cheaper, more energy efficient and better insulated than skylights.
Be a leading light, and use solar power! Don’t go solar solo, though. Share these easy tips with your friends.
Hanging baskets make great visual impacts when they are filled to the brim with bright summer blooms. They add instant color to any spot and are a sign of warm weather.
Though as days get hotter and the summer rolls on, hanging baskets can start to look tired: drooping blooms, minimal flowers and straggly plants.
Your hanging basket isn’t doomed. It just needs a good ol’ fashion pick-me-up.
Refresh your hanging baskets to keep them partying all summer long
Get ready to give your hanging baskets a make-over. With these tips, your hanging basket will be back in its prime in no time.
Take the Heat Off Hanging Baskets
- Test the Waters Hanging baskets need more water when temperatures rise. During the peak of summer’s heat, water baskets in the morning until water drips from the drainage holes. Check them again in the afternoon to see if they need more water. On windy days, hanging baskets dry out, so they will need even more water.
- Food for Thought. Feed hanging baskets with an organic flower food, like Flower-tone or the new Bloom! liquid plant food. Because of how much water baskets need, nutrients are frequently flushed from the soil. Regular feedings give your hanging baskets the energy they need to shine and bloom continuously.
- Drop Dead Gorgeous Blooms. As flowers fade, pinch them off where they meet the stem. Deadheading hanging baskets keeps them producing flowers and prevents them from going to seed.
- Which to Switch. Not every flower blooms all summer. If one of your flowers is done blooming for the season, swap it out. Gently remove the flower, replace it with a vibrant plant and fill with an organic potting soil.
- What to Cut. When your hanging basket is looking a bit wild or leggy, cut it back by 1-2”.
Look at that! Your hanging baskets already look better. Keep up these tips throughout the summer to keep hanging baskets fresh, beautiful and blooming.