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Gardening & Informational Tips

Gardening Tips & Help For Your Plants



Cheap & Beautiful Plants

Chipmunk Control Tips
Dog and Lawn Tips
Daffodil Tips
Peony Tips
Blooming Plant Tips
Invasive and Banned Plant Tips

Bear at a hummingbird feederClick to enlarge. Bear stopping by for a quick lunch.

HomeTips page.

Below you will find various garden tips to help with those common gardening problems. If you have any questions on gardening, please email me and I will do my to answer them. Also, if you have any garden tips that you would like to share with my readers, please let me know so I can add them to the GardenTips page.

Tulip Tip: To encourage blooms next spring, remove the faded flowers. Also, snap off the top 3 inches of the stem to prevent seed formation so the energy will go back into bulb growth.

Slugs! To get rid of slugs from your flower and vegetable garden, just spread garden lime on top of the soil. When the slugs get on the lime it will dry them up before they get onto your plants. By By slugs!

Cheap & Beautiful Plants

Wild Viola's Wild Violets

You can have a beautiful flower bed for free. The first picture is of some violas that I found growing wild in my yard. I dug the tiny plants up, transplanted them into a flower bed, fertilized them, and I ended up with some large beautiful plants. They gotten so big I had to split them and transplant them into another bed. After a couple of years I had a large bed covered with different colored violas.

Then second picture is wild violets. Again I found them growing wild throughout my yard and I transplanted those tiny plants into another flower bed. After fertilizing them I have a very large bed of wonderful smelling violets. I have purple and white violets that bloom in the spring and they retain their large leaves until frost. They make a nice border between my woods and yard.

Weeds can even become unusual and interesting plants for you. I had a odd looking weed growing in my yard and it had a very pretty flower on it so, I transplanted it into a flower bed, fertilized it and my weed became a large and beautiful plant. A weed when fertilized may look very different and become a nice plant for you, just make sure it isn't invasive or you may have a problem

So you see, you don't need to spend much on plants to get a nice flower bed. A little time, work and fertilizer will do wonders for any garden.

Chipmunk Control Tips

Here's a garden tip on how to get rid of those cute little chipmunks out of your flower beds. When you find a chipmunk hole, just put a good size wad of dog and or cat hair down into the hole. Cover it back over with dirt and leave it alone. Sometimes the chipmunk will dig another hole in the same bed, just repeat the same step again. After a while the little critter will leave for good and not return. I've had the chipmunk get really mad and try and kick the dog hair back out of his hole. I just stuck the hair back into the hole and put a small stone over the hole. He finally got fed up and left for good. Sometimes you will get a stubborn chippy that won't leave. If that happens just add a little hot sauce to the dog hair and place it back into the chipmunks hole. That should keep him/her away for good and it won't hurt them!

If you're planting flower bulbs just add dog hair into each whole that you dug for the bulb. Put the bulb on top of the dog hair and then just cover the hole with the dirt. The chipmunks won't bother any of your bulbs. I have thousands of flower bulbs planted, I've added dog hair in each whole (no my dogs aren't bald) and I've never had a chipmunk bother my bulbs. Yes, I have loads of chipmunks. Also, planting daffodils can deter the chipmunks from digging in your flower bed.

I feed my chipmunks and squirrels all year long. People say don't you get more of those furry creatures? No, I have a few squirrels that live up in my trees and when another squirrel tries to come in from another area and horn in on the bounty, the other squirrels chase it away. In fact I have 5 gray squirrels, 2 red squirrels, one black squirrel and hordes of chipmunks that come and feed during the day.

Garlic you say? Yes, you can also put a fresh garlic clove down the chipmunk hole too. The chippies just hate the smell of the garlic and will leave. But, be prepared you may get garlic growing in your garden (great for a vegetable garden). That's one reason I don't use the garlic is because it sprouted every place I put it. When the garlic sprouted in my flower beds it looked like tall weeds growing up. So I stick to the dog hair, it does a good job and doesn't cost me a cent.

Dog and lawn Spots

Do you have a dog that makes those nice brown spots in your yard? Here is a cure that I've used for 3 different dogs for years and it works. From about March through September I give my dog a couple of tablespoons of tomato juice every day. Get the no sodium or low sodium tomato juice. Of course you may have to change the amount of tomato juice for the size of the dog. Some dogs have to get use to it and other dogs love it. This prevents the ugly brown spots on your lawn.


GardeningTips Daffodils

Those beautiful yellow rays of sunshine in the spring is a welcome site. People make a mistake of just planting daffodils in flower beds. If you have a natural wooded area around your house, this is a wonderful place to plant daffodils. All you need to do is take a few in your hand and just toss them anywhere on the ground. Where they land is where you should plant them. You will be amazed in all the comments you will receive concerning your daffodils. People passing by enjoy taking in the beauty of the bright yellow flowers in your woods.

Make sure you try and resist picking the daffodils. Its best to let the flower stay, so it will get the nutrients it needs for next year. Also, don't cut off the leaves or tie them up so they die quicker. This again, won't let the proper nutrients get back into the bulb so it will flower nicely next spring. My daffodil leaves stay on until July, when they start to yellow a little I may clip them off, depending where they are at in my flower bed. Others stay on until they die out on their own. But this may vary depending where you are located at. Being I'm in zone 4-5 the bulbs will come up later then someone in zone 7.

Adding bulb fertilizer in the fall and early spring is also a good idea. This helps to make a good healthy bulb, which makes extra little bulbs and in turn makes more flowers. My daffodils have been to healthy. After about 15 years, I finally dug mine up in one of my flower beds. I started out with about 150 bulbs and ended up well over 1000. The reason I knew I had to get them separated, was do to the fact I wasn't getting very many flowers, all I was getting was mostly leaves. I couldn't have that, I love daffodils and more the merrier!

Peonies-Ants Please!


GardenTips Peony Single Single Peony GardenTips Peony Double Double Peony

Here is a garden tip that most people don't know about. If you have peony bushes and those annoying little ants all over the buds, leave them alone. What those wondrous creatures do is eat the wax off the peony buds, this in turns lets the bud open into the beautiful flower. If you get rid of the ants off the buds your flower won't open up, then the bud just dies off. As much as you may hate ants they are the miracle worker for the peony.

Blooming Plants


GardenTips Clematis VineClematis GardenTips HibiscusHibiscus
Climbing Hydrangea Climbing HydrangeaClimbing Hydrangea

Trying to get your flowering plants to really bloom? Try using a fertilizer called Triple Super Phosphate by Espoma its 0-46-0. You can find it at a local nursery or a good farm store. The middle number (46) is what you want for blooms and the higher the number the better. There is also a good product called Schultz Bloom Plus and its 10-60-10. Just be careful not to over feed the plants because you can burn their roots or the plant my not bloom at all. Always read the directions before using any type of fertilizer!

The flowering quince is a hardy slow growing bush that produces brilliant orange flowers in the spring.  Depending on the variety they can reach up to 10 feet tall.  During the fall season I prune mine to where it will grow more up right so the flowers will show up better.  They like sun to partial shade and feeding them in the spring and fall the 10-10-10 will do fine.  As the season progress you will get the yellowish fruit on the bush which can be used to make jams and jellies out of.

My clematis you see in the picture above is many years old. In fact I was ready to dig it up being it wouldn't bloom for me. The secret to the clematis, make sure you mulch the root base so the roots stay cool but the top portion likes more sun. But, I have clematis growing up oak trees which gets some shade. It really depends on the soil they are in and giving them a good fertilizer in the spring.

The beautiful hibiscus is a sight to behold. When this plant blooms in the summer it covers the new growth with those bright pink blooms. The old growth dies off in the late fall then in the late spring early summer it starts putting out its new growth. Every year the brush gets bigger and bigger with more blooms to enjoy. Of course I do feed it the Triple Super Phosphate to I get more of those wonderful blooms.

A climbing hydrangea can reach between 50 to 80 feet tall, so make sure you have a sturdy structure for support. These vines like shady areas so they do well growing under trees. I have two of them growing up 90' oak trees but, I wouldn't recommend letting these vines grow on small trees do to the fear the vine may kill the tree. If you have a hydrangea vine that doesn't blossom for you, just trim the top of the vine back. I let mine grow until it was about 5-6 feet high and then I started to cut the top back. The next following year I had a large amout of blossoms all over the vine and it bushed out two fold. So, about every other year I get the ladder out and trim the top of the vine back. The hydrangea vine you see in the above picture is about 8-10 years old and between 15-25 feet high.

Sometimes to get certain bushes to bloom, you may have to cut them back or damage them by hitting the bush with a stick. When you damage the bush (not hard) it sends a message for the bush to stop growing and send out blossoms instead. That's what I've been told, but I've never gotten it to work for me. I just dig the bush up and tell it I'm going to flush it down the toilet if it doesn't blossom. I then replant the bush give it a good understanding and leave it alone, of course water and feed it. That has worked for me lots of times and the blooms I get are wonderful.

Do you have a bush that never blooms for you? Check to find out if the bush sends out blossoms on new wood (this years growth) or old wood (previous years growth). This makes a big difference if you live in a cold climate where your bush dies back and only sends out new growth in the springtime. For example I have 3 flowering mock orange bushes and they never have blossomed for me. I finally asked a nurseryman if the mock orange blooms on new wood or old wood? He stated it was old wood. Well, that's the reason why my mock oranges hasn't given me a single bloom, because it dies back in the winter and sends out new shoots in the spring. So, now I have to find a good way to cover these bushes during the winter so the old growth doesn't die back so much.

Invasive Plants & Banned Plants

GardenTips Invasive Plant Pink Strawberry GardenTips Invasive Plant Pink Strawberry Bed

A garden tip for controlling invasive plants. These plants can be a gardeners dream or nightmare being they can cover a large area quickly. For example in the above pictures is a perfect example of an invasive plant, that's right I said plant. The plant is a pink strawberry plant that I bought 3-4 years ago. Now the plant has covered an entire bed which is about 100 feet long and 10 feet wide. Being the pink strawberry plant puts out runners, it will cover very large areas unless its controlled. In fact, I have to keep cutting this plant back because its growing onto the road. Being there is sand and some dirt down by the road its a happy camper and is sprouting babies. This plant does get eatable strawberries on it but I don't get a one from that whole bank. My wonderful chipmunk friends eat the strawberries before they turn completely ripe.

Banned Plant Creeping Jenny

The creeping jenny that you see in the picture above is banned now in New England. It will cover everything and anything in its path when left unattended. I have some creeping jenny that I planted before it was banned, it has covered areas where nothing else will grow. But, left unattended it will start to grow up trees and in places it shouldn't be at. The roots are small but every little runner has its own root system that's why it grows like it does. In the spring when it starts to come out, its a very pretty yellowish gold color, then it gets small yellow flowers on it, then after that it turns more greenish color in shaded areas. If you give the plant more sun it will stay that pretty yellowish gold color. Being I can no longer get this plant, I take and transplant it out of the beds where its getting over grown and put it in other beds. It takes very well to being transplanted which makes it a shame that its a banned plant.

Burning bush is another invasive and even banned plant now. In New England its being bannded do to the spreading of it into our natural wooded areas. What happens is the burning bush gets berries on it and the birds eat the berries and in turn distribute the seed everywhere. In certain parts of New England the natural wooded areas are getting invaded by the burning bushes and killing off various wild plants. So, starting 2008 I was told the burning bush will no longer be sold in New England.

Barberry bush has also been banned in New England. Like the burning bush it also gets berries and the birds eat the berries and distribute the seed. There is a nice variety of barberry bushes that will be taking a big hit. The wonderful thing about the barberry bush is it will grow almost anywhere even in bad soils with very low maintenance. They have wonderful colors too which make them very attractive in many areas of your garden. But, being they do grow with very little care, they are getting the ax, so to speak.

Don't Buy These Plants In New England.

According to the New England Wild Flower Society the following plants are considered invasive:
Norway maple, bishop's weed, garlic mustard, Japanese barberry, oriental bittersweet, swallow-worts, autumn olive, glossy buckthorn, Himalayan jewelweed, yellow flag iris, blunt-leaved privet, shrub-like honeysuckles, Japanese honeysuckle, purple loosestrife, Japanese stiltgrass, water-milfoils, common reed, Japanese knotweed, mile-a-minute vine, common buckthorn multiflora rose, water chestnut, creeping jenny.

Even if the experts have determined that these plants are invasive in most of New England, and harmful to the region's native plant communities, the plants are still widely available through nurseries, in catalogs, and on the Internet.

How You Can Help To Control Invasive Plants.

1.) Learn which plants are invasive in your state.
2.) Don't purchase invasive plants.
3.) Ask your local garden shops not to sell invasive plants.
4.) Inform your community about invasive plants.

I will be covering more about invasive plants and the ones being banned.

Keep checking back to this page from time to time for further information on various gardening tips, I'm sure you will enjoy them.



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