Monthly Archives: July 2016

Fragrant Flowers to Plant in Your Garden

What Do Flowers Mean to You!
“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” ―Tennessee Williams
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” ―Emma Goldman
Think of a particular place where you would want to go when you are sad or in a bad mood. What would cheer you up then? William Wordsworth, the great poet, also suffered from pensive moods. On one such occasion, he wandered off alone, and finally, totally weary, sat down on a meadow lost in his thoughts. As he looked around, his eyes fell on the beautiful daffodils swaying in the cool morning breeze. He suddenly found himself smiling and realized the effect these lovely flowers had on him. They seemed to lift off the burden he felt in his heart in an instant, and that inspired him to pen this beautiful poem:
“For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
Flowers, with their lovely shapes and beautiful colors, exude a presence that lightens your overburdened soul. Their sweet fragrance is like a balm to your weary, hurting head. Does this mean that, like Wordsworth, we would need to find a meadow with beautiful blossoms every time we feel low? Of course, not! You can create your own little heaven on earth by planting lovely fragrant flowers in your backyard.
Here’s How…

Take your pick from the list of best smelling flowers in Buzzle’s garden and plant one or as many as you can in yours…
Go Wintry With White Fragrant Flowers

Lily of the Valley
Though they look fragile, you can enjoy the sweet fragrance of these flowers throughout the year. These perennial flowers are easy to grow in zones 2-9 according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). An easy-to-care plant, it does not require much care to bloom. November or December is the ideal period to plant the seeds. As it is a poisonous plant, be extra careful while planting it. Partial shade and moist soil enhance its growth. However, the plant can adapt to full sun or completely shaded areas.

Star Jasmine
These sweet-scented flowers are found in tropical or warm regions. The essential oils extracted from them are used in perfumes and aromatherapy, which induce a relaxing effect. It is an evergreen plant that grows well in zones with USDA code 9-11. The plant adapts well to heat, humidity, and light drought. However, the plant requires plenty of sunlight as its leaves remain active throughout the year, even in winter. The ideal time to plant Star Jasmines is late summer to early fall. The plant can be grown in a variety of soil types. However, when planted in sandy soil, regular watering is recommended.

Sweet Alyssum
These tiny, sweet-smelling flowers are grown yearly. They bloom well in zones with USDA code 7-11. The flower carpets are either pink, white, yellow, peach, or purple in color. They are perfect for cool seasons and can be easily grown. The plant prefers neutral to a rich mix in soil type. Though the plant grows well in full sun, keeping the soil moist with regular watering is necessary. Deadheading the plant promotes flowering. Alyssums grown in containers require more fertilizing than those planted in the ground.

Shrub With Fragrant Flowers
Rose
The sweet, enticing fragrance of roses captures the hearts of many a poet. Ample sunlight, regular trimming, and fertilization are necessary to grow a successful and blooming bed of roses. Summer, spring, and fall are their blooming seasons. USDA codes vary for every rose type. They need loamy type of soil. Generally, they are planted after the average last frost date. The plants need a good 5-6 hours of sun, though there are shade tolerant variety of roses as well. In addition, good air circulation is needed for the plant to grow well. Regular watering enhances their blooming, and in turn, you will be rewarded with a bed of beautiful, fragrant roses.

Daphne
The plant produces pink flowers with a strong, fruity scent from late January to February. The planting season is spring in zones with USDA codes 7-9. Daphnes grow best when the soil is well-drained, moisture-retentive, and rich with humus. This plant does not tolerate droughts. Light trimming is recommended every once in a while, especially within the area of healthy leaf growth. A must in your garden, exclusive and complete care can make these flowers blossom well.

Lilac
These sweet-spicy scent, star-shaped flowers grow in a cluster. They are hardy, easy-to-grow, and are low maintenance. Areas with chill and mild winter climate are most conducive for their growth, mainly in zones with USDA codes 3-7. During the summers or in areas with a warm climate, they need complete exposure to the sun, or light shade will also do. They grow in any soil type. They are available in different shades like red, pink, yellow, blue, etc. This plant does not require annual pruning; however, faded flowers should be cut off from the main branch. It gives the plant a chance to work on the new blooms.
Climbing Plant With Fragrant Flowers

Sweet Pea
These flowers are known for their intense fragrance. Their colors range from red, pink to yellow and white. Mild-winter climate is suitable for their growth. The USDA zones 8-10 are areas where they blossom well. They bloom best in early spring. The plant needs well-drained and loamy soil with exposure to full sun. They grow well in moist soil. Slugs and snails as well as rust, gray mold, and leaf spots are a menace to these plants. Hence, extra care is required to keep away these pests.

Wisteria
Wisterias, with purple and white-hued petals, look like a bunch of grapes. Spring and autumn are their planting periods, and April to June is the flowering period. USDA hardiness zones for the plant are 4-9. Wisterias grow well in full sun and partly shaded areas with well-drained and fertile soil. The plant dries out quickly in light or sandy soil. Therefore, it should be watered well in dry conditions and needs regular trimming to blossom beautifully.

Honeysuckle
This climber plant flowers in mid-summer. Its vines are suited to grow in partial shade to full sun, and the flowers emit a powerful scent. This is an easy-to-grow plant. The plant’s hardiness zones are 2-10. It needs moist and well-drained soil. Regular pruning is not required, just cutting back the overgrown shoots, and removing weak and damaged stems are enough. Water regularly in dry conditions.
Fragrant Flowers for Patio

Lavender
These flowers entice one with their sweet perfume, and blossom best in well-drained soil and ample sun. They bloom well in summer especially in hardiness zones with USDA 8-11. The soil type for the plant can vary from sandy, loamy to gravelly. Young lavenders need care like any other perennial plant. The plant can tolerate dry spells and heat if well rooted. However, watering in drought is necessary. Pruning 1/3 of the plant, weeks before hard frost, is recommended.

Dianthus
These spicy fragrant flowers come in pink, white, and red colors. They fit in both annual and perennial plant types. The USDA zones for the plants are 3-10. The plant needs fertile and well-drained soil. Watering and fertilizing regularly is recommended. Overwatering might cause the leafage to turn yellow. Weekly watering in enough. It needs good air circulation around its stems. Cutting off the top of the stem, layering, and plant division works wonders and prevents plant diseases.

Peony
These flowers are low maintenance and bloom all throughout the year. The USDA zones for the flowers are 3-8. The planting season is fall. The plant needs loamy soil with full or part sun exposure. The flowers bloom in fertile, humus-rich, deep, and well-drained moist soil. Watering the plant regularly is a must. The plant should be sheltered from strong wind. The flowers bloom best in sunny spots. Deadheading the plant every once in a while is recommended.

Fragrant Flowers at Night
Moonflower
Also known as Devil’s Trumpet (hardiness zones 8-11), they are available in pink, red, yellow, and white colors with a touch of gold in the middle. The plant grows well in fertile soil. It needs regular watering and fertilization. Ample sunlight enhances blossoming. The sweet scent of these flowers elicit a tropical feeling in you.

Nicotiana
The sweet scent of these flowers gets stronger at night. The flowers of this tobacco plant open at dusk; however, this perennial plant is short-lived. The hardiness zones for this plant are 5-11. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Planting it in sunny or partially shady spots is recommended. Deadheading the plant for enhancing a beautiful bloom would be a great idea. Removing the spent flowers promotes health in the plant.

Evening Primrose
Originally from North America, these beautiful yellow flowers are named so, as they bloom only at night. This biennial plant blooms from May to July. 3-11 are the best USDA hardiness zones where they grow well. The plant adapts in well-drained soil. The most common afflictions this plant suffers are aphids, leaf spots, rusts, etc. The oil from these flowers is used in the treatment of various heart ailments, arthritis, etc.
Fragrant Flowers of Hawaii

Frangipani
Plumerias or Hawaiian Lei flowers is another name given to Frangipani (USDA 10-11), and they are available in tropical and sunset colors. This tropical plant requires full sun and well-drained soil. They tolerate sea breeze but not high winds. Organic fertilizers are recommended for this plant. You can use different pruning techniques to promote blossoming in this plant. The plant may decay due to fungus; hence, proper care is needed.

Tuberose
The plant type is perennial, and its bulb-shaped flowers are rich in fragrance. Its hardiness zones are 7-10. The flowers bloom in mid to late summer. The plant grows well in full sun. Keeping the soil moist as well as monthly fertilization is necessary for the plant’s growth. In some varieties, these white flowers may have a touch of pink. They are used for making bouquets, as they withhold their scent beautifully even after being picked.

Gardenia
All that these flowers require are rich soil, light shade, and regular watering for them to blossom well. This plant flowers in early summer. These thick, light, and wax-like flowers are known for their intoxicating aroma. The plant can be grown indoors and outdoors as well. Its hardiness zones are 7-10. It needs well-drained, acidic soil. Regular watering and humidity leads to its healthy growth. A full sun and some shade in the hottest summers promote their growth.

Decorative Garden Fencing

Garden fencing has to be aesthetically pleasing, apart from being useful in keeping away stray animals. In fact, it is better to ensure it from the very beginning, so that all the future confusions can be avoided. The boundary of your property can be defined by the fence, which would save you from all the future arguments with your neighbors. It definitely gives a sense of security and safety. So, if safety and security can be attained with the aesthetics maintained, nothing can be better than that. It can also hide something that you want to hide. North Americans introduced this whole idea and now, it is quite popular in America. Gardening is one of America’s favorite hobbies, pastimes; you remember that even Charles Lamb described it as his primary activity after retirement in the essay “The Superannuation.” So, to save your favorite garden from any kind of transgressive activities, here are some of the decorative fencing ideas. Before choosing a certain design, do check if it matches with the architecture of the house and the surroundings.

There are ample options to choose from as they would increase the style quotient of your garden. The following can be simple, and they also come in a wide range of colors and designs.

Bamboo Fencing
It can give your garden a very exotic look, apart from ensuring your privacy and safety. These come in various designs such as Yucatan fence panels, reed, willow fence, etc. You can also go for a Kinakauji, Koetsu, or Rioanji-gaki style. Classic Kenninji fences are also a very good option since they can cover your garden quite well and are very artistic to look at. Traditional black tiles are also used with it to make it more beautiful. There are vertical strips of bamboo, combined with multiple horizontal, semi-round bamboo rails used for support. This kind of fencing can be designed in either single or double-sided, capped or uncapped. Though it really adds a character to your garden, it is not very long lasting and rots after just one season of rain, and snow would be enough to consume it.

Vinyl Fencing
It also comes in different colors and designs. The best feature of this style is that it is durable and requires almost zero maintenance. It gives you the full worth of money in terms of durability, and definitely, enhances the beauty of your garden, apart from keeping it safe from intruders. If embossed with wood, it provides the same look as you have got from wooden fencing, but with much more ease. PVC fencing is rot and rust resistant. There are no hassles of discoloring and graffiti as you can give them a simple wash, and they will be like new again.

Wire Fencing
This kind of fences is generally held by steel poles and is used to demarcate boundaries, wherein defining the boundary is really necessary and there is dire need to stay clear of intruders. You can definitely get it done if that is the situation, and then, you can decorate it with flower climbers and twirling plants, so that it can also look beautiful. These let in a lot of air and light, but do not keep your garden a very private area. The security is low when it comes to potential intruders who want something beyond the flowers in the area.

Chain Link Fencing
It is a kind of fence that is weaved of galvanized or steel-coated wires. These are placed vertically and are bent in a zigzag pattern. They are very easy to install and also, do not require much maintenance. They are also very cheap and like other wire fences, let abundant light and air, although they provide the least privacy. To make them semi-opaque, you can insert slashes in the openings.

Wooden Fencing
It gives your house an old-world look. It is appropriate for colonial homes that can be found easily in parts of lumberyards and home stores. If you want to get it done, you can also go for a simple split rail style that would give your house a rustic look. There is not much hassle as you get the readymade ones, so you can fence your garden within a day if you have all your tools in place. Wooden clapboards are also a good option, but then, they require regular maintenance to avoid rotting.

These are some ideas that you can use to decorate your garden and add to the aesthetics of your property. It will make you feel a lot better if you see beautiful greenery, with an equally beautiful fence around.

Ants in Vegetable Garden

Ants invading your home or garden can be quite frustrating. In the vegetable garden, they feed on nectar-filled flowers, sweet tasting vegetables, and fruits. In most cases, you will see their colonies feeding on strawberries and other soft skin fruits.

Despite the fact that all type of ants feed on garden plants, the most annoying part is they bite you when you step on them accidentally. In fact, you won’t get a chance to wipe them away as they usually live in groups.

No doubt, ants prove to be beneficial to the gardener by feeding on destructive garden pests such as caterpillars, spiders and small insects. But, some species like black garden ants live together with the aphids (for their honeydew).

In such a case, they are inviting a notorious pest in the garden. So, how do you get rid of them?

Methods

Though you can find several poisons for killing them, do not consider using commercial products. Rather you can rely on effective homemade remedies which are discussed below:

Pour Boiling Water

This method of drowning the garden ants with boiling water is practical if the number is less. For one mound, you require about 3 gallons of boiling water. Accordingly, pour boiling water in their hills and kill them.

Use Citrus Peelings

Collect citrus peelings (orange, lemon, etc.) and ground them by using adequate amount of water. Remove the liquid concoction and spray it over the mound. This method is an effective natural remedy for getting rid of carpenter and other garden ants.

Use Borax Mixture

Spraying a mixture containing borax is also effective in killing them. For this purpose, combine equal amounts of borax and sugar, and spray the mixture randomly in the garden or wherever you notice ants. Sugar attracts them, and as they feed on the mixture and the borax kills them. By following this method, you will be successful in getting rid of sugar ants.

Sprinkle Grits

Grits or hot cereals are a perfect choice for getting rid of ants in the yard and garden. As per your choice, purchase any brand of hot cereal from the market and sprinkle it in the garden, especially in the mounds and hills. After they feed on this hot cereal, it expands in the stomach and kills them.

Spray Baby Powder

Any kind of fragrance is a repelling agent for ants. So, take this advantage and spray baby powder, cinnamon, pepper or vinegar to repel them. Doing so will definitely help you in getting rid of lawn ants.

Grow Mint Herb

As already mentioned, ants hate any type of strong odor. The pungent aromatic scent of mint leaves acts a natural pesticide for them. So, do not delay in planting mint in your garden so as to get rid of these troublesome creatures. The permanent solution is to grow and maintain mint throughout the year.

In case, these methods do not work, you can use insecticidal sprays. I know it is not a natural way but, if nothing is working, you can consult professional pest control services and use chemical insecticides.

Flower Garden Layout

Flowers are essential components of a garden. They are considered as the centerpiece of any garden. In fact, a yard with a lawn, trees, and fountain, looks incomplete until one incorporates flowering plants to its borders and beds. While flowers look great in any kind of landscape design, proper planning enhances the aesthetic value of the yard. So, instead of growing them randomly like flowers in the wild, why not plan the garden layout first and design it neatly?

How to Plan a Flower Garden
Laying a flower garden requires some forethought, your creativity, and basic gardening skills. But, you don’t need a degree in landscape designing to proceed with the same. While planning a flower garden layout, certain criteria should be considered like location, yard space, adding flower beds, finalizing flowering plants, and design tips. And to make your project simpler, make a rough sketch of the layout including the plant placement and color pattern.

Decide on the Location

The actual garden layout and the flower varieties to be planted depend on where the area is located. A sunny yard with fertile and well-drained soil is excellent for maintaining a garden. While any piece of land can be made into a beautiful flower garden with some effort, it is better to grow flowers in a suitable area. If possible, try to avoid a shady and damp location. For a shaded garden, the flower options are limited. In fact, colorful blooms look more vibrant in a sunlit garden.

Layout of a flower garden largely depends on how big is the area. So, yard space and total area of the flower beds should be considered first. Later, you can decide the plant types and their position in the garden, based on their height, flowering time, and color.
You can also add trellis, stone paths, and alike garden components. What about including a garden pond with colorful fish and water lilies? Depending upon your personal preferences, finalize the color scheme and flower cultivars.

Designs for Flower Beds

The flower beds should be wide enough (about 5-7 feet) so that you can have better planting options. Each bed can be demarcated from the other by straight or curved lines (as per your choice).
A formal garden looks elegant with straight lines. But, if you want something out of the box, select five types of varied colored flowers that bloom at the same time. Plant them in a five-petaled flower shape, with each flower variety representing a petal. Believe me, this pattern looks awesome in a home garden.

Choose Flowering Plants
You can consider growing all types, including annuals, biennials, perennials, and climbing vines. While selecting native flower species, make sure you consider the amount of care for each plant type along with the desired traits of the blooms. Like for instance, exotic plants surely add a unique touch to the yard. But, most of the species call for special care and are not suited for novice gardeners.

Why Choose Annual Flowers?

Annuals complete their life cycle in one season, i.e., they grow, flower, bear seeds, and die in the same season. They are most preferred for planting in bedding schemes, rather than growing at the borders. You can create a different flower bed in each season by planting annuals. Another advantage of selecting annual flowers is that they are available in a wide range of colors.

Some of the best choices are geraniums, spider flowers, Brazilian verbena, and daisies. You can design a color scheme by planting different annual flowers in the same bed. While doing so, make sure that the plants in one flower bed bloom at the same time. Annual flowers also serve as great space fillers before the perennials start blooming.

Biennial and Perennial Plants

Biennials develop their leaves in the first season and bloom in the next season. Then they shed their seeds and die. They are best planted at the borders and the hedges along with perennials. The most preferred biennials for flower gardens are foxgloves and hollyhocks. Perennial flowers are long-living plants, which bloom for a short duration (about 3-4 weeks) in each season. You can select perennials that flower at different times, so as to make the flower garden look lively. This way, there will be blooms in the garden throughout the year, irrespective of the season.

Other flowering plants include bulbs and climbing vines. Bulbs are very easy to grow and maintain in the garden. They flower in one season, remain dormant for a while, and again flower in the next season. Some of the stunning bulbous plants are tulips, daffodils, amaryllis, and snowdrops. If there are trellises, you can give a different look to your garden by growing climbing vines. Flowering vines like morning glory and hyacinth bean can be planted based on the color scheme of the surrounding area.

Garden with a Lawn

This idea is for a large sized garden, where you have sufficient room to incorporate a green patch. For lawns, ornamental grasses are maintained for enjoying greenery in all seasons. Once planted, they continue to grow for many years, provided that proper care tips are adopted. In short, a lawn requires less maintenance than a flower bed.
For people who have limited time for garden care, a lawn garden adorned with ground cover and flower beds is a perfect option. You can also include evergreen shrubs on the lawn boundary.

You may consider using containers and/or raised beds in the center of the lawn or in the borders. Fill the empty space with potted plants and your garden will definitely look complete. If interested, try experimenting theme-based flower garden design ideas. You can focus on a particular theme, like a butterfly garden, rose garden, summer garden, and proceed accordingly.