Planting lavender (Lavandula) is a great way to start off the spring gardening season. Easy to grow, these fragrant flowers can be pink, blue, grey, white or purple. A little effort now will pay off for years to come as this low maintenance perennial yields its aromatic and useful blossoms. Purchase a plant from a nursery, choose the right location, prepare the soil and plant. Just add a little fertilizer and water and watch it grow. Following these simple tips will provide a high likelihood of success.
The easiest way to plant lavender is to start with an established potted plant purchased from a nursery. Many lavender varieties can be started from seed, but that is more difficult and doesn’t have a high success rate. Choose a plant in a 4″ to 8″ pot with healthy leaves that are green (or gray depending on the variety) but not brown.
Water in the garden – whether a formal pool, a small stream, a short cascade or a wildlife pond – will allow you to grow many plants that do not thrive in any other conditions. Even in the smallest plot you can have a trough with dwarf water lilies floating in it. In a larger garden a formal or informal pond can create a strong focus and set the garden’s style. It may incorporate a fountain or waterfall to create movement, sound and liveliness and water lilies will complete the scene.
Floating plants, marginal, deep water and bog plants all add to the interest of a water garden but need to be catered for carefully. Ponds should be made with shelves at different heights so that pond baskets can be put at the heights best suited to the various plants.
Mulch is a term used in the agriculture and gardening industry to refer to a protective layer of covering placed on top of the soil to tame the effects of the climate. Mulch can be composed of natural or synthetic materials or the combination of both to form a wide assortment of covering substance.
Farmers and gardeners cover soils with mulch for various purposes. First it controls the proliferation of weeds by depriving them from sunlight and thus decreasing the chance for their germination. Next it helps retain water in the soil by slowing down the process of evaporation. Mulch also doubles as fertilizer when natural mulch materials break down into organic matter and nutrients which are beneficial for plant life. Certain materials of mulch can also repel insects that can be quite harmful to plants.
The wax plant (Hoya carnosa) is an easy-to-grow flowering climber. Its vigorous twining stems can reach 15 ft or more, and they must be trained on wires, trellis work or on a moss stick. New stems are bare – the leaves which later appear are fleshy and green, or green-and-cream on the variegated wax plant. Hoya yields fragrant flowers that will keep your home smelling fresh without the aid of scented soy candles.
The fragrant flower-heads appear between late spring and early fall. The miniature wax plant (Hoya bella) needs more heat and humidity but less light – it is best planted in a hanging basket.
Make the most of any fruit tree that you plant. Minarette trees will provide punctuation marks on a patio or roof garden and are excellent for growing on balconies. Citrus fruit, oranges and lemons, make excellent house plants and can be placed outside in summer for their flowers and fruit. If you have the space and want to grow a free-standing tree one possibility is to plant one or more of the modern minarette fruit trees in a large container, and use them as the the center of attraction in the garden.
Minarette trees grow upright on a single stem and will eventually reach a heigh of 6-8 ft. they can be planted as closely as 2 ft apart and therefore 2 or 3 trees can be grown together in a large container.
All plants need nutrients to survive and grow. In the garden they will obtain most of their requirements from the soil but because the area and soil volume in containers is limited and because they are watered more frequently, container-grown plants need regular feeding to thrive and produce the best crops.
The three main nutrients required by plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is essential for healthy leaf growth, phosphorus for the development of proper root systems and potassium promotes the production of flowers and fruit.