Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Updated Containers New for 2012

A trend so new it is just now emerging, the new design vibe for large containers is to plant each with a single type of ornamental, then arrange the containers in a group. For many years (since before 2000) containers used for garden accents have been stuffed with loads of different kinds of plants. For example a Crabapple blog from last year explored the “Thrillers, Fillers, Spillers technique” of combining many types of plants into one container. But there are several advantages to mono-plantings. 

Clusters of pots offer immediate impact
The reason to group containers is because the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual pots. By concentrating on a single flower type or color, the impact is magnified. Beautiful color and texture effects are easy when grouping individual plants selected for bold and dramatic design.

Container groupings provide unrivaled flexibility
The design element of repetition is added to the landscape by planting a number of matching containers with a single type of plant. A variety of complementary containers also make an attractive grouping for patio, poolside or deck. By varying heights, tall background plants and cascading plants for the foreground add multilevel detail. 

Horticultural Advantages
Another advantage is that plants requiring different moisture levels can be watered according to their needs, instead of taking “pot luck” in a mixed container. Broad, waxy succulents that need little watering can co-exist with delicate flowers or ferns that require more water, and both can thrive. 

Whether an ensemble of colorful annuals and bold tropicals for summer, a utilitarian planting of herbs, or a high-impact planting of winter hardy shrubs, perennials and bulbs, your Crabapple Rep can design and select the best containers to match your architecture and reflect the   style of the properties you manage. Make an appointment to discuss an exciting grouping of pots to emphasize and enhance your community.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sundials and Armillary Spheres as Garden Ornament

Public landscapes are made more interesting by the addition of garden ornaments, and the sundial is both a fun and useful addition. The archaeological record indicates sundials have been in use since 3500 B.C. They use shadows thrown by the position of the sun in order to tell the time of day.  The position of the sundial must be aligned with the earth’s axis to give the correct time. Today, adjustments for daylight savings time, usually an hour off true solar time, are used during the summertime.  

A straight rod called a gnomon throws a shadow onto a flat dial of hours. The dials are often decorated with witty or humorous mottoes such as “Tempus fugit” (time flies),“I only count the sunny hours”, or “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be”.

Most sundials are laid flat, although some are mounted on buildings or walls. One really fun type of sundial is laid out on the ground with the hours as stepping stones. A person stands in a designated spot becoming the gnomon, and the his or her shadow falls on the appropriate hour. Your Crabapple LandscapExperts Rep can consult on installing such a feature for the properties you manage. 

Other sundials are formed like a three-dimensional, spherical globe, and these are called an armillary spheres. The armillary sphere is set on a plinth and forms an excellent garden ornament or focal point.

Often thyme is planted beneath the sundial and plinth as a pun on the subject.

Hours fly, Flowers die; New days, New Ways, Love stays. . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Landscape Features and Garden Ornaments

Crabapple LandscapExperts often work with property managers and Homeowners Associations to enhance the grounds we maintain. One way to upgrade a landscape is to consider adding appropriate garden ornaments. These can complement, organize, embellish, adorn, and/or protect garden spaces within the community. Above and beyond well-grown, beautiful lawns, flower beds, trees and plantings, Crabapple can help lower the costs of urban congestion in terms of mental and physical well-being by assisting you to provide a beautifully ornamented landscape.

There are a number of categories of landscape features and garden ornaments
  • Personal expression – mosaics, bottle trees, window frames, containers
  • Utilitarian statements– walkways, stepping stones, edgings, fire pits, dining areas, fences, gates, stairs
  • Artistic features –statues, fountains, ponds, wind chimes, gazing balls
  • Relaxation – benches, patios, gazebos, porches, hammocks, swings, play structures
  • Meditation – mazes and labyrinths, sundials, walls, wells, seating

These types of landscape features and garden ornaments are best coordinated with the architecture and scaled appropriately to seamlessly fit into the landscape.  Consult your CrabappleRep about adding any of these garden ornaments.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daylilies! Hemerocallis means Beauty for A Day

Crabapple LandscapExperts say, "If ever there was a sure thing in the gardening world, it has to be daylilies!" They are easy to grow, drought-tolerant perennials and are a familiar sight in metro-Atlanta Gardens. They tolerate a wide range of soils, are not troubled by diseases or pests, and bloom faithfully every summer, typically around Father's Day in Atlanta. They also thrive in containers, great for small gardens with limited space. 

Large clumps with long, skinny leaves produce at least a dozen flower scapes in June. Their botanical name, Hemerocallis, means “beauty for a day”. It’s true, each flower lasts only one day. But since there are many buds on each flowering stalk, the blooming season for individual plants lasts several weeks, as they open one-by-one in turn. The American Hemerocallis Society ( lists thousands of named daylily varieties and gives the number of days in bloom for each one. 
The most famous long-time bloomer is “Stella d’Oro”, with small, 2-3 inch, “school bus yellow” flowers that bloom continuously for about ten months of the year. These are widely available in Intown nurseries and garden centers. However, there are many improvements on this hardy little landscape variety, and newer versions are much more versatile colors that blend in well with other garden plants. For example, look for the Enjoy 24/7 Daylily Collection from Garden Debut or the reblooming 'Going Bananas' from Proven Winners. 

There are many kinds of daylilies. The most common way to group them is by time of bloom: early, mid-season, or late. Other ways to categorize daylilies include flower size (up to 7 or 8 inches); luscious colors ranging from white through yellow, peach, orange and red to pink and violet, or height of the scapes. Flower forms encompass trumpet, recurved, double and ruffled. Petal edges can be smooth, or have ruffled and shirred “piecrust” edges. Some flowers are brushed with an iridescence down the main rib of each petal called “Diamond dust”. By mixing and matching daylilies of various heights, flowers and shapes, I can prolong the display in my garden.
Another category are daylilies with the “open evenings” label. Although old-fashioned daylilies close at the end of the day, the newer ones are bred to stay open during the long summer evenings, adding to the enjoyment of the summer garden.

Normal daylilies with loads of smaller flowers have 22 chromosomes and are called “Diploids”. “Tetraploids” have double the number, with 44 chromosomes and are noticeably more vigorous, with larger, more intensely colored flowers on stronger scapes. “Miniature” varieties grow a mere 12-24 inches tall, with smaller flowers.

A few daylilies are fragrant, notably the old-fashioned, tall, Lemon Lilies. Some daylilies are evergreen, retaining a small green tuft all winter, while others are semi-evergreen or dormant, disappearing during winter to re-emerge each spring.

Daylilies flower best when planted in sun (6 hours or more per day) with a bit of shade in the afternoon. They prefer moist, yet well-drained soil. Amend the soil with compost when first planting and space plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Plant at the same level they were growing in the pots, or with bare root daylilies, plant the crown about an inch beneath the soil. Water in thoroughly, mulch, and later scratch some compost in around the root zone once a year.

Even if you cannot meet these conditions, go ahead and plant daylilies just about any place, including large containers, and they will do their best to provide you with a marvelous show. Your Crabapple Rep will be happy to discuss adding some daylilies to the landscapes on the property you manage.