Plant bulbs now in Western Washington to enjoy spring blooms

This is a great week to purchase bulbs at the local nursery is as soon as you see them for sale, and add spring flowering bulbs to your landscape.

Western Washington has the perfect climate for growing tulips, daffodils, crocus and other spring bloomers as our mild winters and early springs are similar to what they experience in Holland, considered the bulb growing capital of the world.

The year of 2020 may be remembered for many negative things, but this month may be your chance to change the cycle of loss and lamenting and make 2020 the year you added hundreds of spring flowering bulbs that will perennialize and return for years in defiance of the darkness that was COVID-19.

This fall I will be adding more “Angelique” tulips to my front garden as this double pink variety looks like a peony but with a shorter stem that won’t flop over in the rain. I also will add more of the orb-shaped blue blooms of the flowering onion or alliums. The Allium “Globemaster” has huge blooms on stems up to 3 feet tall, and as members of the onion family this showstopper is naturally pest resistant.

Best bulb planting questions

Q. I have planted bulbs in the past and they have never bloomed. I know that down below the ground mice gnaw on my tulips, then if a few survive and get ready to bloom the deer move in to chomp off the buds! I am done with tulips. Are there any pest resistant bulbs?

A. Daffodils to the rescue! Mice and deer will not destroy daffodil bulbs underground or daffodil blooms above ground, so this is the good-to-go bulb for spring color in areas where deer roam free. You will need to protect daffodils from slugs and snails once the new shoots emerge in the spring. Like all bulbs, they need well-drained soil so they don’t rot in the winter rains.

Q. My soil is rock hard and full of rocks. It is difficult to dig holes for bulbs. Any suggestions for a lazy gardener?

A. I have two ideas for “no dig” bulb planting. The first is to scratch the soil, set the bulbs on top then cover the bulbs with 6-8 inches of topsoil. If you don’t want to have topsoil delivered to your home (deliveries are usually at least 10 yards, a huge amount that can be used on lawns as well as beds) you can purchase garden soil or raised bed soil in bags at home center stores or nurseries. Just open the bag of soil and pour it on top of the bulbs. Cover with a wood chip mulch to keep the mound of soil in place.

Q. How deep should I plant my bulbs? I have crocus, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths to plant.

A. The general rule of green thumb is to plant bulbs two to three times as deep as the height of the bulb. If you have squirrels, plant your bulbs

Read more

Gardening: Screening plants allow you to enjoy more privacy

Little Gem southern magnolia being used as a privacy screen.

Little Gem southern magnolia being used as a privacy screen.

Special to the Star-Telegram

Privacy is a prized commodity in today’s squeezed urban living.

Our little outdoor retreats are conjoined at the gas grills, and we’re trying to figure ways to isolate ourselves from those all around us.

Often that task falls to our landscapes, and fences come first. Certainly, wood fencing and brick or stone walls give great visual blockage, but they’re also, shall we say, rather like prisons. Plants can step in to soften them.

Vines are your best bets for relaxing the harshness of walls. But you’ll need to know how each type of vine climbs and which will be the best match for your particular structure.

Some types of vines twine around their supports, winding around wood or metal as they grow upward.

Carolina jessamine and the various honeysuckles are classic examples. They’re great on wrought iron or spiraling up wooden trellises, but they have no way to cling onto a rock or brick wall.

By comparison, other types of vines have suction cups or root-like appendages that hold them fast against almost any type of surface. English ivy, Boston ivy and climbing fig (“fig ivy”) are all in that boat. They can climb up a solid brick wall like adhesive tape sticks to flesh. That’s fine when it comes to brick or stone, but it’s not so good when it comes to window screens or siding.

Shrubs become the next big list of privacy plants, and that’s actually where most people spend most of their time thinking. “What types of shrubs would make the best privacy hedges?” they ask.

Let’s establish a few ground rules before we start taking names.

First, a plant needs to be evergreen. It’s nice to have some kind of shrub with colorful flowers in spring or fancy foliage in fall, but if it doesn’t have leaves five months each winter, it’s probably not going to make a good privacy plant. So, it needs to be evergreen.

And it needs to be adapted. There’s no point in planting a row of some sorry-dog plant that is just going to pout that we’ve asked it to grow in North Texas soils or climate. Oh, and did I suggest that it needs to grow to the height and width that you want without a lot of repetitive pruning and training?

Do a little homework on height. Take a piece of PVC pipe marked off in 1-foot increments. Have someone hold it up out where you’ll be planting your screen, and then you sit and stand in various spots in your landscape. See how tall the plant will need to grow to offer the privacy you need from the curious neighbors’ second-floor windows. This is a critical phase in picking the best possible plant.

I’ll leave the bed layout and planning to you and your landscape designer, but we can discuss plant choices and spacing. It’s generally best to set plants about

Read more

Music Wall Decor: Enjoy Music Indoors

Constructing a music room inside the house has become a popular choice for modern home owners. Even if you are not a true musician, you can still enjoy the pleasure of having a place where you can unwind and listen to your favorite music. Though music rooms serve a lot of purpose, one particular reason of building it is to exhibit your passion for good music and a chance to showcase your skills to decorate using various music wall decor.

Before you start your own concept of home accents and music wall decor, you should first determine what kind of music room you need and for what purpose.These sets of questions can help you plan and construct a music room that will answer all your future necessities .

1. Will this be a place where you can simply listen to music or will you be playing instruments and practicing with a band?

2. Do you need the room to be sound proof?

3. How frequent will you be using the room? Daily, weekly or sometimes?

4. How much space do you need for the instruments if there will be any?

5. What kind of music wall decor and home accents will best suit your needs?

Music Room Design Ideas

When decorating a music room, the first thing you should consider is how to make the wall and ceiling look more interesting and appealing to everyone. One way to accomplish this is by using music note art and jazz wall art.

Music Note Art

These home accents are among the unique types of ornaments that can truly complement any media room. Music note art can easily harmonize with other decors with its original black and metallic tones. They are also fully customizable so you are free to choose a color scheme for your room. Music note art features fine quality black wire for the staff and notes, and the 26 "music note wall art adds fun with red notes plus clef and some note lines in brass tones.

Jazz Wall Art

If you like the idea of ​​decorating your media room with classic music such as jazz, then jazz wall art will be the perfect addition. Jazz wall art features a saxophone or trumpet. I highly recommend that you use rich metallic colors to accentuate the sax and trumpet for perfect jazz wall art or anyone who loves those versatile instruments.

If you need more ideas and concepts for your media room, you will find hundreds of others in the internet. You can also try consulting professional interior designers if you want to invest more for your music room. Have fun!

Source Article

Read more

Enjoy Mild June Days While Planting & Pruning in the Garden

Longer daylight hours and typically cool June weather means this month is the ideal time to plant, prune and make changes in the yard.

Plant Perennials for Summer Flowers: Pick up several of these easy-care perennials are at your local nursery and plant them in June: Spanish lavender, Echinacea, salvia, yarrow and California native iris. All love summer heat and full sun and once planted, they'll continue to bloom through most of fall.

Annuals Add Summer Color Too: Some flowers only bloom in summer and then they're gone for the year. For great splashes of summer color, add these plants to your garden: wax begonias, zinnias, nasturtiums, petunias, marigolds and snapdragons. Because they are temporary, all require little or no maintenance.

Add Succulents To Your Landscape: Succulents provide an interesting contrast to typical garden plants and shrubs. True to their desert origin, they require little watering. Easy-to-care-for succulents include jade plants, blue senecio and agave and aloe varieties. Don't forget colorful and interestingly shaped cactus.

Start A Container Garden: For those without a lot of space for an in-ground flower garden, container gardens provide a beautiful alternative. Start with a well-draining large pot and the right soil. The larger the pot, the less chance your plants will dry out. Place a coffee filter under the drain hole so only water, not soil, runs out. Use an organic potting soil mix especially designed for containers. Just about any flower will work well in a container. Choose flowers based on how much sunlight the container location will receive.

Revamp Your Landscape: While the weather is still mild, now is the time to remove poor performing plants or shrubs. Consider reducing or removing your lawn. Replace your current landscape with native, drought-tolerant plants and ornamental rocks. There are plenty of do-it-your-self plans and design ideas available online.

Check Your Irrigation System: Since you will be watering more in the coming months, check your irrigation system for any line breaks. A drip irrigation system makes the best use of water since water is applied slowly allowing it to reach deep into even the most densely packed soil. A drip system is also more efficient than an overhead spray system because there is no evaporation or runoff.

Protect Fruit From Birds: If birds feast on the fruit in your trees, place bird netting on the top of trees or add brightly colored streamers in the branches to keep the birds away.

Source Article

Read more

Holiday Decor: Spend Less & Enjoy More

Have you noticed that retailers start displaying their holiday decorations and merchandise earlier and earlier each year? Some people welcome the early holiday cheer, while others like myself; feel there is too much Christmas to soon. A scientific poll of 1,000 American adults, 73 percent agree with the statement that "it is annoying that the holiday shopping season has gotten earlier." Forty-eight percent strongly agree. Just 21 percent disagreed. But, if you are a gung ho ho shopper and into the themed holiday decorating then this time of year is definitely your best bet for great deals on all things "holiday".

What To Buy and When

Remember when the best deals came after the holiday? Obviously this is still true for items like Christmas cards and holiday wrapping paper. But now, retailers are introducing their holiday discounts early to ensure their stock is sold out by Christmas and, you don't have to wait and purchase after the holidays only to pack them away for the next 11 months before you can use them.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

The holiday season with its purchasing, wrapping and celebrating substantially increases the amount of waste we generate. However, there are many opportunities for the consumer to reduce, reuse and recycle their remnants of holiday cheer.

Before you buy anything new, take stock of what you already have, what you can still use and discard the rest. Social media sites such as Pinterest can give you great ideas on how to repurpose your current decorations.

Save your holiday decorations for reuse next year. Donate your old decorations to local schools, churches or other non-profit organizations.

Don't shy away from Do It Yourself holiday faire. YouTube videos are all you need to execute professional-looking centerpieces, bows, table décor, etc. Use natural ornaments such as pinecones, shells, dried flowers or berries to transform your old ornaments and adorn your home or office with refurbished centerpieces and wreaths.

What are the new trends in holiday decor?

One of the hottest trends in holiday decorations is black and white. Not only is black and white timeless, it is also the perfect backdrop to add any color, especially red and green. Use black and white and highlight your Christmas wreath, your table runner or your Christmas tree. Everything will look classic and elegant with a touch of black and white.

LED lights are overtaking incandescent bulbs on trees and homes. Remember, if you decide to upgrade your lights, LED also come in a bluish and yellow white.

How about using a winter theme instead of traditional Christmas decorations. If you use this more generic theme you can leave your decorations up much longer without your neighbors wondering why Santa is still on your roof in Feb.

Lastly, instead of scattering small decorations throughout your home why not decorate one or two areas of your home with larger pieces. Your fireplace mantel and your entryway can be used to show off your personal style.

Where to Shop for Holiday Décor …

Read more