Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Annual Color Beds for Shady Properties

Crabapple LandscapExperts know, although twice as many bedding plants thrive in sun, there are many shade-loving annual bedding plants that can add vibrant splashes of color to shady or partially shaded areas of your landscape. Shade is welcome during the hot summer months, whether provided naturally by trees or by man made structures such as gazebos and arbors. Shade can be dappled or dense, and sometimes sunny mornings are followed by shady afternoons.

Shade-loving annuals are a joy because they provide many interesting textures as well as foliage and flower colors. Crabapple LandscapExperts take best advantage of a large pallet of bedding annuals for shade.

Perhaps the most familiar annual for shady spots is Impatiens, perfect for providing season-long drifts of color beneath trees or among shrubs. White, coral or bright or pale pinks bring light and color into dark areas of the property, adding the “wow factor’. 

The colorful "marbled" or "painted" leaves of Coleus are a great old standby that is ideal for shade. This attractive foliage plant, with ever-new introductions, is great for containers and underplanting. Because the leaves provide the color, there is no need to depend on flowers that may come and go, and that are actually small and insignificant in this member of the Mint Family. (New Sun Coleus are also available.)

The large, arrow-shaped leaves of Caladiums are a delightful addition to brighten up shady areas or bring a tropical look to the garden with their outstanding foliage color and texture. Beautifully veined white or pink leaves, sometimes enlivened with green, pink or red, light up the garden.  

Wax Begonias add a cheery note to shady spots, with bronze or green leaves and myriad small white, pink or red flowers.  Light colors show up especially well in shade. 

Ask the Floriculture Team at Crabapple LandscapExperts to evaluate your location and suggest  the plants that will do the best for your property, yielding a beautiful, colorful landscape and many appreciative residents.

Impatiens- Wiki Commons
Coleus- Garden Amateur

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Annual Color Beds for Sunny Properties

Imagine having your favorite color combination come to life with annual flower beds created for your properties by Crabapple LandscapExpertsNow is the time to plant annual color beds to enjoy ALL season long! 

Annual flower beds provide brilliant eye-catching color that adds curb appeal to a property, draws attention to a focal point or directs the flow of foot traffic. Crabapple LandscapExperts know how to select, plant and maintain resident-pleasing annual color beds.Crabapple LandscapExperts choose specially selected heat- and drought- tolerant flower cultivars that thrive in carefully prepared flower beds.

+ Quality soil preparation with good drainage may include raised beds or berms that provide a quality growing medium that produces great root systems and supports colorful blooming annuals to their maximum potential.

+The widest choice of annuals is possible with a sunny exposure (eight+ hours of sun daily)

+Sunny Color Borders can be designed with the color palette of your choice. For good design, Crabapple experts know how tall the plants get, whether they are upright or trailing, and what color choices are available so we can determine how your plantings will harmonize, time of bloom, scale, form, texture and foliage. We do the work and the property manager gets the compliments.

+Crabapple LandscapExperts carefully inspect young plants to make sure they are healthy, with large root systems and excellent budding. We trade exclusively with vendors that provide high quality plant material. 

+The LandscapExperts know the flowering habits of every type of plant, including requirements for sun exposure, moisture, spacing and removal of dead flowers and can guide you to a terrific selection. 

+For summertime maintenance throughout the season, rely on Crabapple LandscapExperts for best practices of fertilization including bloom boosters, accurate irrigation, meticulous weeding and proactive scouting to eliminate the possibility of pests.

Call your Crabapple LandscapExperts Rep to discuss the installation of a color bed on your property.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Berms and Raised Beds for Flowers

Is there a berm in your future? 

Crabapple LandscapExperts sometimes installs raised beds, also known as berms, in the properties they maintain to provide excellent growing conditions for annual color and for an optimum display of summer flower beds. Berms are simply mounded hills of soil created to enhance the overall landscape design.

Advantages of Berms, a.k.a. raised garden beds

Emphasizes a focal point (like the sales office, or pool)

Easy way to add interest and height to the landscape

Re-directs foot traffic or drainage

Creates subtle privacy by blocking unwanted views

Warms more quickly in spring

Improves drainage for plants

Prevents soil compaction

Crabapple LandscapExperts can prepare rich, amended soil tailored to the type of plants that will grow on the berm. After the initial construction, berms require less maintenance than conventional garden beds.

Crabapple LandscapExperts' Guidelines for Berms

Consider drainage in the area surrounding the proposed berm, which may redirect runoff to other areas after heavy rains

Berms are generally 18-24 inches high and typically 4 to 5 times as long as they are high

Shape mimics the natural flow or curves of the landscape

Curved berms look more natural

Slope gradually trails or spreads out onto the lawn

Berms may be created with more than one peak or ridge; off-center peaks are best –near one end rather than symmetrically in the middle

Varying height, slope and length make berms look more natural and informal

Edging can be added to stop the soil from eroding into the lawn

Microclimates on the berm: south and west facing berms are warmer; north and east facing berms are cooler

Water drains most quickly from top of berm, therefore Crabapple LandscapExperts use drought-tolerant plants at ridge; moisture-loving plants at the base of the berm

Taller plants down the backside of the berm, shorter ones at the top

Trees and shrubs may be planted on the berm

Overall mulch layer slows erosion and insulates soil temperatures

Photo credits, thanks to: Nature By Design, PCMG-Texas, Prime.PETA

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Potting Soils for Container Gardens

Whether you’re an apartment dweller with a balcony or a homeowner with a deck, it’s the time of year to begin thinking about planting a container garden to enjoy all summer.

If you enjoy flowers, you might be thinking sun or shade annuals, now available in riotous abundance at the local garden centers. If you like fresh veggies, maybe try some of the dwarf-growing tomatoes or cukes with full sized fruit and plant them in a large tub. If you are a good cook, a container filled with growing herbs is an attractive and useful addition to any outdoor living area.

The larger the container, the easier it is to care for. Plants growing in a larger volume of potting will stay moist and cool longer, contributing to better plant health. Choose a container that suits your architecture and taste, but be sure it is at least 14 inches in diameter and has a drainage hole at the bottom.

What type of potting soil should you choose?

Pick the one with a slow release fertilizer already added to the mix; some last for six months, which will be perfect to last through the summer. Other potting soils have “water grabber” additives that reduce the need for watering up to 75%. A non-toxic polymer plumps up when first watered and slowly releases the moisture to the plants. And some soil-less potting mixes have both.

If in doubt, ask Crabapple LandscapExperts for info on how to set up container gardens, or for a few tips on what plants to choose.

Tomato container photo courtesy