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Got questions about labeling or organizing your plants? We’re here to help. Enjoy our blog “Metal to the Petal” to find ideas, images and answers as you keep your garden organized. We invite you to comment and share!   

Prepare Your Garden With Unusual Shapes and Materials

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Unique Raised Beds Prepare Your Garden for Growing Success

prepare your gardenA raised bed can work wonders to prepare your garden for optimal growing, with ideal soil conditions, a deep area for roots to spread and good drainage for your plants. With a little creativity and a raid of your garage or local flea market, you can create a raised bed that is functional and eye-catching.

There are some fun ways to prepare your garden with a raised bed, without needing an investment in a lot of hardware. Try these tips:

Tires, tubs and troughs: Look around your garage or basement, and you might find the perfect option for a raised bed. An old tire is a ready-made small raised bed, and several can make a fun design with plenty of growing space. An old plastic storage tub works great, too, but will require the easy step of drilling a few holes in the bottom for drainage. An animal feeding trough provides great depth for vegetable roots.

There are other fun ideas, too, like using terra cotta pipe segments to line your raised bed, or even PVC pipe, bricks or rocks. Almost anything that can be used as a border will work for your raised bed.

Choose your location: Your location for your raised bed will largely be based on the types of plants you want to use and the level of sunlight they require, but you may also have some preferences for how you want it positioned. If you’re placing your raised bed against a wall, you may still want to put a border between your garden and your wall. A painted or stained surface may affect your soil, and even a brick wall could have bacteria in it that you don’t want in your garden.

Consider space savers: A raised bed can be a great way to squeeze a garden into a small space, particularly if you use a tiered design. Even a couple of square feet can fit a tiered design that allows for several vegetable plants or flowers. A deep bucket with a relatively small circumference with a pole or cage can grow beans or tomatoes. Raised, tiered beds even have a benefit over other types of gardens because it eliminates competition between plants for water and soil nutrients.

Get creative with shapes: Your raised bed doesn’t have to be a rectangle or other traditional shape. You can create them to complement other shapes in your garden or make something whimsical, like a butterfly or a flower shape.

No matter what kind of raised beds you design, you can prepare your garden for success with Kincaid Plant Markers. They’ll make any garden even more attractive and help you identify plants to give them specific care as they grow. Place your order today!

Gardening Tips for Creating a Lovely Shade Garden

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Looking for a Shady Oasis? Try These Gardening Tips

gardening tipsIf you’ve lamented the lack of sunshine in your yard, wishing you could plant sun-loving hydrangeas and lavender, don’t despair. A shade garden can be a beautiful, refreshing setting for relaxation with the right gardening tips. From shrubs and hostas to daffodils, there are many varieties that can be combined to make a perfect shade garden.

Here are gardening tips for planning your shady outdoor space:

Evaluate the type of shade you have. Believe it or not, there are different types of shade that will influence the kind of plants that will work best in your garden. Make notes about how the light affects the area during different times of day, and you’ll discover whether you have light shade (which experiences a lot of sunlight during the day), partial shade (the area is sunny for at least part of the day) or dappled shade (sunlight filtering through trees). Heavy or dense shade may limit the plants you can use, but keep in mind that even light reflected off a white building can provide some sunlight for a shade garden.

Once you have a good understanding of the type of shade your yard enjoys, you’ll be able to identify the ideal plants for your space. Check plant tags to see how much sunlight each variety needs.

Prep your soil. The more light and porous you can make your soil, the better. Adding compost and peat moss to your soil will improve it and you can use it as a topsoil in areas where tree roots make it difficult to mix it into existing soil. You can also purchase a testing kit to determine the acidity of your soil, which can predict how well your shade plants will do in your garden.

Maintaining your shade garden is easy. One of the best advantages to a shade garden is the ease with which they are maintained. They require little fertilizer because the soil tends to be rich with nutrients from fallen leaves and decomposing beetles and other bugs. Watering also takes less attention than with a sunny garden because water doesn’t evaporate as quickly.

Control pests with these gardening tips. Snails, slugs and deer are just a few of the common shade garden pests that you’ll fight. Snails and slugs can be fought with pesticides, or you can deposit them in a jar of salty water to organically keep your population down. Better yet, encourage toads to visit your yard with shallow water pools that are changed often to keep mosquitoes down, too. Deer are trickier, requiring a high fence to keep them out. An easier option may be installing some plants that deer avoid, like sticky or thorny varieties.

It’s easy to mix up plant varieties in the cool, dark environment of a shade garden. Install Kincaid Plant Markers to keep plants well identified, so you can give them individualized care. Shop our full selection and choose the style that goes best with your refreshing shade garden.

 

Gardening at Home When Your Yard is More Like a Balcony

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Tips for Vertical Gardening at Home

gardening at homeWhen you think of gardening, you may picture long, sweeping landscapes with vegetable plots in the sun and flower beds lining the pathways that wind around a beautiful yard. Gardening at home, though, often means adapting that vision to fit your true surroundings. Maybe you live in an urban area, or maybe you have a large yard, but the thought of undertaking a large garden project feels overwhelming.

No matter what your reason, a vertical garden can be a fun alternative or a solution for gardening at home where there’s a limitation on space. It can also be a great way to introduce gardening to a small child in a smaller, more manageable setting or help a senior enjoy gardening even after they are unable to do traditional gardening.

Here are a few tips that you can use to get started planning your vertical garden:

You don’t need much space: Vertical gardening really is for the space-challenged, and you need even less space than you think. You need a space that’s only six inches deep and only about a foot wide to do some vertical plants.

Choose the right type of container: Herbs and onions grow well in a soft pouch, while plants like strawberries, lettuce and peppers do better with a more rigid container like a plastic bucket. Tomatoes will grow great in a pot that also has a cage to keep the plants from growing along the ground and bruising the fruit.

Hydrate your roots, but don’t drown them: Good hydration is one of the keys to a successful vertical garden. Some vertical gardening kits include a self-watering mechanism, but if you’re watering yourself, you’ll want to find a way to keep your plants hydrated. They need a way for extra water to run off, or the roots will rot in stagnant, wet soil. Perch your plants’ pots on a bed of rocks in a tray to provide a way for runoff, but without soaking the balcony beneath yours.

Good soil helps, too: Since it’s a small garden, spring for the good stuff. The best soil is less dense because it’s filled with peat moss, compost and perlite.

Explore the variety of vertical planters on the market: No matter what your tastes are or how small a space you have, there’s a vertical planter for you. From budget options to high-class models that will become the centerpiece of your garden, there are a lot of beautiful planters out there.

Gardening at home sometimes means getting creative with the space you have. Vertical planting stacks your plants to give you more space, but don’t forget to make room for Kincaid Plant Markers. Whether you’re gardening in an expansive bed or with a set of stacked vertical mini-beds, you’ll want the convenience of plant markers to help you identify what you’re growing. Check out our full selection!

Identifying Plants That do Well in a Drought

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Living in a Dry Climate? Identifying Plants that Thrive in a Drought Will Help You Enjoy Your Yard and Garden

 

identifying plantsIf you live in a dry climate, you can easily feel defeated trying to cultivate geraniums and roses. A region that gets little rain needs a different approach, and identifying plants that do well with minimal water will help you be successful.

There are also some guiding principles that set the stage for a beautiful garden, even in a drought:

Choose plants that are drought-tolerant: This may seem obvious, but many people have a hard time letting go of the idea of a yard that is more suited to a temperate climate. Identifying plants that thrive in a dry landscape may take some getting used to, but once you see how beautifully they grow in your climate, you may be won over. Looking for flowering plants? Try Yankee Point along a path or Flowering Bladder Pod. The Western Redbed is a lovely flowering tree that is also a water sipper.

Group, don’t scatter: To conserve water and other resources, group plants and trees together. Think about which plants have similar irrigation needs, and plants that benefit from a little shade can be planted next to larger plants or trees. You’ll save on mulch and likely gain a spot to plant more ornamental varieties.

Mulch around trees: Give your trees a healthy blanket of mulch to retain moisture and protect them from heat, and also mulch landscape areas and borders where they meet turf sections.

Be strategic with grass: Surrender your vision of a rolling lawn with lush, green grass. Instead, use areas of turf where sports, picnics or other activities make it a necessity. Otherwise, your plans for your yard and garden should be compatible with the climate where you live. If you plant a lot of grass, be prepared that it will likely be mostly brown, not green.

Get your hands into the dirt: Your garden will thrive in soil that contains a high level of organic matter. It absorbs and retains moisture better and is more drought-tolerant. You can get your soil tested, but you can also start by adding more organic matter into your soil as it is.

Design an irrigation system: In a dry climate, a lot of water gets wasted trying to keep lawns looking fresh and green. Use a strategic approach to irrigation, making the most of every gallon, and grouping plants to minimize water waste.

Living in a dry climate doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a yard of prickly cacti and rocks. You can have a beautiful landscape filled with interesting plants, trees and flowers, but you’ll need a plan for how your group them and manage their water needs.

Identifying plants that do well in a drought is just part of the fun. Invest in Kincaid Plant Markers to complete the look of your dry-climate landscape and garden. You’ll appreciate their sturdy construction for year after year of marking your plants, and their classic design will complement your beautiful plans.

Identifying Flowers That Are a Perfect Fit for Your Garden: Hydrangeas Varieties for Your Region

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Get Help Identifying Flowers That Will Thrive in Various Growing Conditions

identifying flowersHydrangeas are valued for their big, puffy blooms and the ease with which they are grown, but you may be wondering if there’s a type that will work better in your particular region than others. Identifying flowers that will thrive in your yard can help increase your success.

If your yard is sunny… Choose a variety of hydrangea called Paniculata. These plants thrive in Zones 4 through 8, and should be trimmed in late winter or early spring. They tend to have large white blooms during the summer, which then fade to pink or red in the fall. They eventually turn beige and may dry attractively right on the plant and stay intact and pretty through most of the winter.

If you live in a cold climate…  You’ll want to try Smooth Hydrangea or Hydrangea Arborescens if you have a short growing season in your region. It’s also known as Snowball Hydrangea or Hills of Snow Hydrangea. The white blossoms, which appear in mid-summer and may last until autumn fade into green before they dry for the winter.

If you’re a novice… You may want to start with an easy-care hydrangea like Oakleaf Hydrangea. Among its attractions are big white flowers, a bush-like shape that can grow eight feet tall and has pretty peeling bark. This variety of hydrangea will do well in partial shade and where it has well-drained, moist soil.

If you like blooms all season long… While hydrangeas used to bloom only once a season, usually in early summer, hydrangea lovers may now enjoy flowers all summer. Identifying flowers that will give you round after round of blooms might start with choosing the varieties known as Endless Summer and Let’s Dance. These hydrangeas bloom blue and pink all season long. The exact hue of your flowers will largely be determined by the acidity levels of your soil.

If your yard is shaded… Do you love the cool summer days in your shady backyard, but still miss the flowers that come with a more sunny spot? Choose Mophead Hydrangeas, which bloom blue and pink in June and July with large balls of flowers. They are also beautiful into the fall, though they are susceptible to winter damage. Mophead varieties thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade, so watch the timing of the sun in your yard or get the right combination.

Any variety of hydrangea offers old-fashioned elegance to your yard, but mix in a few types and you will have a beautiful landscape. Choose Kincaid Plant Markers to help you keep your Mophead Hydrangea distinguished from your Snowball Hydrangea and you’ll love your hydrangeas all summer long!

Gardening Tips for the Space Challenged

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If You Can’t Grow Out, Grow up With These Gardening Tips

gardening tipsFor those that love the bustle of a city neighborhood, but miss getting their hands in the dirt, there’s a problem to solve. How can you get the homegrown taste with little land to grow vegetables and fruit? If you’re willing to get creative and value function over form, there are some ways to coax a good crop from a tiny garden. The gardening tips shared here aren’t as new as you might think; some have been around for centuries.

Start a tiny garden with some obvious climbers. Beans and peas love to climb anything that stands still long enough, and you’ll enjoy adding the fruit of your labors to your dinner table. Other sprawling plants may be a good fit too, if you’re interested in using some of these gardening tips for growing heavy produce vertically:

Melons, pumpkins and other heavy fruit need space to crawl. If it’s delicious enough, it will be worth all the effort, but you’re going to need to get creative to get these heavier climbers to mature in a small garden. To successfully grow these plants, you’ll either need to give up a portion of your living room for their sprawl, or come up with creative ways to support the heavy fruit.

You’re not wearing them anyway. You know those boxes of pantyhose you keep in your closet just in case you have an emergency? Forget it. Nobody’s wearing them anymore, not even to weddings and funerals. So get ready to make some great melon and squash slings with them! You can either push the fruit into a toe or into the knee, choosing based on how you plan to support the sling. As the fruit grows, the pantyhose will stretch with them.

If you just can’t grasp the idea of hose supporting your produce, there’s an alternative. This won’t get conversations started with your neighbors, but you can always use onion bags to support your heavy climbers. The sturdy plastic mesh allows the fruit to breathe and you can see its progress clearly. One item to note is that onion bags don’t have any give to them, so once your melon has outgrown it, you may be back to using your clothes.

Even if you decide to outfit your garden in pantyhose, you can lend your plants some respectability with attractive markers that identify the delicious fruits and veggies you’re growing. Take a look at our full line at Kincaid Plant Markers and, who knows? Maybe you’ll find even a variety that looks perfect with medium beige!

Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

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The Benefits of Gardening Extend Beyond Flowers

benefits of gardeningIf you learned to garden from a parent or grandparent, then you may be thinking about creating gardening opportunities for a senior loved one in your life. While it may take some extra initial planning, the benefits of gardening for seniors are extensive. Besides being enjoyable, it carries health advantages, too.

There are a few considerations you’ll want to keep in mind as you prepare to help a senior start gardening again:

  • Think about accessibility. Depending on your senior loved one’s mobility, you may want to create a garden in a raised bed, containers or hanging baskets. Tending a garden that’s level with the ground may present some challenges.
  • Add other conveniences, too. Purchase self-watering pots so that plants don’t have to be watered every day. If going outside is a challenge, choose indoor plants that can be enjoyed right where they spend time.
  • Gather the tools you need, including a wide-brimmed hat for shade and hand trowels and gloves that do not present extra challenges for those with arthritis.

Now that you’re ready with the perfect site and tools, take a look at some of the benefits of gardening in older adulthood:

Meaningful engagement: Gardening can give seniors a way to share their expertise and teach younger people about gardening. It provides a reason to go outside, visit with neighbors and include physical activity in their day.

Flora and fauna: Gardens not only produce beauty themselves, but they invite butterflies and birds to visit, giving seniors the enjoyment of watching their activities.

Healthy eating: A vegetable garden is a perfect way to help seniors get enough fruits and veggies, since they’ll be more likely to eat produce that’s grown right in their own garden.

A new plan: Seniors that garden will need to plan what they’ll plant, where they’ll plant it and when the timing will be right. After that, there are schedules for watering, weeding and fertilizing, which may help seniors’ brains remain sharp and active.

A harvest to share: Sharing the fruits of their labor keeps your senior loved one invested in the community. They can give their produce to neighbors and family members and enjoy seeing others appreciate their gifts.

Expand their living space: If you have a senior aging in place, a garden may help a house-bound individual feel that their world is expanded. A backyard garden with comfortable seating can offer an alternative to indoor settings and provide a pretty place to visit with guests.

The benefits of gardening for seniors are numerous, and it would be challenging to find a reason not to invest time in this activity. One of the greatest benefits is simply the pride and satisfaction your senior loved one will experience with growing flowers or vegetables. Help them show off their efforts with Kincaid Plant Markers, which attractively and clearly mark the varieties in your senior’s garden.

Plant a Variety of Tomatoes and Highlight Them With Quality Garden Markers

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Garden Markers Shine the Light on Your Tomato Varieties

garden markersTomatoes are one of the best reasons to start your own backyard garden. They are relatively easy to grow, and one plant will yield plenty of tomatoes for your table. All tomatoes are not created equal, though. Plant a variety of tomatoes, and use garden markers to distinguish between types and give them individualized care.

While any homegrown tomato is sure to please, there are certain considerations that go into choosing the right plants for your garden. Take a look at some of the factors you’ll want to keep in mind while shopping at your local nursery:

Resistance to disease: Working to cultivate a beautiful tomato plant can be so defeating if you then find that your plants aren’t able to resist the verticillium or fusarium wilt. It’s easy to tell which varieties of tomatoes will resist these diseases because they will have “V” or “F” after the name. You should also talk with your local nursery to see if there’s a risk of root-knot nematode or tobacco mosaic virus in your region, because some species are able to combat these diseases, too.

Growth conditions: Of course, all tomatoes need sun, soil and ample watering, but you also need to consider the space necessary to grow your chosen tomato varieties:

  • Determinant plants grow to about two feet, then focus their energy on producing and ripening fruit
  • Indeterminate varieties are unlimited in their growth

If you have a small space or plan to do a potted tomato plant, it’s best to stick with a determinant variety. Be sure to use garden markers so that you don’t mistakenly plant other vegetables too close to an indeterminate variety, as it may block sun and hinder the growth of both plants.

Time to maturity: This is a concern if you live in a location with a relatively short growing season. Be careful to check the timing and compare with the weeks of summer that remain. Tomatoes thrive in sun and warmth, so if you live in a cooler climate, look for varieties that ripen in 75 days.

Characteristics of the fruit: For many people, this is the consideration that most heavily informs their choice of tomato plants. Your preferences largely depend on how you want to use your tomatoes. Some people favor varieties that slice well for sandwiches, while others prefer types that dry well for sun-dried tomatoes.

No matter which tomato characteristics you prefer, you’ll love the juicy, hearty taste of tomatoes that you can pick right from your garden. Keep all of your tomato plants straight with garden markers from Kincaid Plant Markers. Durable and attractive, you’ll appreciate their neat appearance year after year.

Identifying Flowers for Sweet Scents in Your Garden

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Tips for Identifying Flowers That Bring a Beautiful Fragrance to Your Patio and Pathways

identifying flowersCreating a garden that looks and smells good means identifying flowers that have the type of scent that you like in addition to being pretty. Sweet and musky varieties can be combined, too, to give the aromatic combination that will draw your family outside in the spring and summer.

It’s good to remember that flower scents do intensify during the evenings, so anything you plant during the day will get stronger by evening. If you enjoy having evening parties in your backyard, identifying flowers with a nice scent may encourage your guests to linger for hours on your patio.

Consider these options when you visit your local nursery:

Angel’s Trumpet: If you’ve got a wall or fence near your patio or deck, this is a great variety that smells fantastic. Even better, it often blooms several times throughout the year, so you can enjoy the fragrance again and again.

Jasmine: These dainty flowers add a nice scent, but be sure that you purchase a variety that does have a scent; many are unfragranced. Try a Jasminum Floridum for a scented flower, or if you aren’t concerned with being a purist, try the Star Jasmine, which is not true Jasmine but smells divine.

Plumeria: Often associated with Hawaii and other tropical locales, this flowering plant seems more like a small tree. They thrive in containers near a pool or by your spa and will produce lovely perfumed flowers.

Honeysuckle: With a heady scent and pretty white and yellow flowers, the honeysuckle is a persistent plant that adds beauty and fragrance to your yard. Just watch out for honeysuckle to nudge out other plants. It grows rapidly and expansively. Honeysuckle likes to twine and climb, so planting near a fence or trellis ensures its success.

Roses: The obvious choice for scented flowers is, of course, the rose. There are so many varieties of roses that you’ll never be forced to choose between scent and color. Plant liberally in your garden, but be sure to keep them away from paths and patio edges because of their thorns.

Jewel Mint of Corsica: Every garden should include some Jewel Mint of Corsica, if only to give you occasion to say it aloud now and then (a grand sweeping gesture of the hand as you say its name doesn’t hurt, either). These minty leaves are perfect for filling in between paving stones or anywhere you’d like a spreading, low plant.

Flowering Tobacco: By contrast to the Jewel Mint of Corsica, the Flowering Tobacco is the one you wish you could rename. Don’t let its humble name discourage you from planting these white, pink and light green varieties that give your garden a beautiful scent.

Identifying flowers doesn’t stop after you get your fragrant garden planted. Be ready to share your secrets when guests ask what’s producing that gorgeous scent. Kincaid Plant Markers allows you to attractively mark your plants for easy identification. Visit our website to learn more.

Edible Gardens Provide Beautiful, Tasty Landscaping Ideas

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Landscaping Ideas For Edible Design

landscaping ideasIf you’re in the mindset that a garden can be either a vegetable or a flower garden, then it’s time to consider what a fun yard you could create if they were mingled together. Take a look at new landscaping ideas, where form and function collide to make lovely edible gardens.

The concepts behind edible gardens are more broad than just incorporating a few flowers into your vegetable garden. These landscaping ideas capture the beauty of certain edible plants to create a lovely border around your house or a whole yard of delicious varieties. Consider these ideas and tips for your edible garden:

Add to your existing landscape: If you already grow a beautiful garden, then incorporating a few edible plants can improve the beauty and give you some delicious produce. Consider adding a blueberry bush, which provides pretty blooms in the spring and then delicious fruit, followed by pretty colors in the fall.

Plant fruit or nut trees: Trees are one of the best additions to a yard, because they provide shade in the summer and a windbreak in the winter, in addition to tasty snacks. Be sure to plant your fruit and nut trees far from any sidewalks or driveways.

Make sure there’s sun: Most edible plants require at least six to eight hours of sun each day to thrive. If you’ve got a more shady garden, you can still try some varieties of loose leaf lettuce, spinach or radishes. Small cabbage varieties and radishes make nice little border plants for a flower garden.

Get creative: Gardening is a great place for artistry. You don’t need to plant edibles in neat, straight rows, like you might associate with a standard vegetable garden. Think of graphic patterns or consider what might help shade out weeds.

Protecting your edibles: Most edible plants are susceptible to disease problems, so be sure to remove any affected plants to protect your other plants. Deer can also be a problem, but building the necessary eight-foot fence in a front yard to deter them usually detracts from the beauty of your garden. To discourage deer and rabbits, you may want to enlist the help of the family dog (or hire a neighbor’s) to spend time patrolling your edibles. Just be sure he doesn’t have a taste for lettuce.

For more landscaping ideas or to appropriately mark your garden so that you don’t mistakenly serve your geraniums for dinner, check out Kincaid Plant Markers. The timeless design will add to the beauty of your garden, and you’ll always be able to provide the right care to the right plants.

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